Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Just a quick little post to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

I slept in until the very late hour of 5:45 am. I really did try to go back to sleep, but I just couldn't. Boooo.

Jeff and I don't really have much planned for the day. He's still sleeping. I'm hoping to take some time for ME!

And maybe I'll convince Mr. Homebody to go out to dinner on the Strip or somewhere.

What are your Thanksgiving plans? I hope they include some pie!

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Old School Blogging

I saw this over at Running with Perseverance and thought it sounded like fun. The actual hosts are Elaine from Miss Elaineous Life and Brittany from That's Vandy.

Where is your cell phone? Plugged in and juicing up for the day. Or through lunch.

Your significant other? Jeff. Happily married for nearly 9 years. Hard to believe it's been that long!

Your hair? Short and sassy.

Your mother? Never forgotten, though she passed nearly 19 years ago.

Your father? Far away, but we had a great time when he was out to visit back in October. We actually don't talk a lot, but I know he's always there for me when I need him the most.

Your favorite thing? My bed. Or my phone. Or my phone in my bed. LOL.

Your dream last night? Um. I had a dream where I was at a party or somewhere. I drank a LOT. When I woke up, I felt a little sick. Is it possible to get a hangover from a dream?

Your favorite drink? Right now I'd say a hot Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks. It's a rare treat, but so yummy!

Your dream/goal? Short-term? To successfully finish my marathon in less than two weeks. Didn't think I could write a post without mentioning it, did you? - I promise to stop blogging about my marathon after my marathon.
LOL. No guarantees.

The room you are in? The spare bedroom where my laptop resides.

Your fear? Being all alone. Losing my husband.

Where do you want to be in six years? With Jeff. Nothing else matters.

Where were you last night? At home. Re-watching The Big Bang Theory and eating leftover pizza.

What are you not? Crazy. My mother had me tested. LOL. All teasing aside, I'm going to copy Coco on this and say I'm not ambitious. I really love what I do and love my life, and I'm not overly eager to change it.

Muffins? I'll eat anything that's free. :) My all-time favorite is blueberry, though.

One of your wish list items? Right now, I'd really love a Roll Recovery for my calf. :)

Where you grew up? Alexandria, MN.

The last thing you did? Talked to Jeff about health insurance and helped log into the NV health exchange.

What are you wearing? Um. I haven't gotten dressed yet. I'm wrapped in a blanket.

Your TV? I'm watching GH right now. We don't watch regular TV - only Hulu and sometimes Netflix. Most of our TV watching is a marathon of one show or another.

Your pets? Sallie!! The cutest thing EVER. We only adopted her 5 years ago, but it seems like she's always been a part of my married life.

Wiped out after our run yesterday

Your computer? An HP Pavilion Entertainment PC. It was a top-of-the-line laptop when we bought it a few years ago. It's dying now, but I'm hoping it sticks around for a long time.

Your life? Just about perfect. I love my husband. I love my job. I love my co-workers. I love that I'm able to run as much as I do. And blog as much as I do.

Your mood? Happy and satisfied.

Missing someone? Since it's Thanksgiving, I'm kind of missing my MN family. 

Your Car? Genie, a scion iQ.

Something you are not wearing? Earrings. But then again, it's pretty rare that I do wear them.

Favorite store? Walmart. I'm not ashamed. You can get just about anything there.

Your summer? HOT! But it's a dry heat. LOL. I love summertime.

Like someone? I like most people. Unless you're really annoying. #sorrybutnotsorry

Your favorite color? Yellow or orange. Or bright, bold, fall colors.

Last time you laughed? Last night watching The Big Bang Theory.

Last time you cried? Watching a trailer for The Butler. You could say I get emotional watching TV and Movies (or even just previews).

What is one thing on your To-Do list? Fold the laundry that has been waiting to get folded for more than a week. I'm a little scared at how wrinkled everything will be. Oh, and I should probably do some more laundry soon, too.

Your turn! Pick a question or two to answer in the comments or link up a post with your Old School Blogging answers with Elaine and Brittany and tweet them at @elainea and @BrittanyVandy using #OSBlog!

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Marathon Monday #17

I think you'll really be pleased with my training last week.
I know I am. :)

The PlanThe Reality
Mon, 11/1822
Tue, 11/194
Wed, 11/20RESTREST
Thu, 11/215
Fri, 11/22REST
Sat, 11/2315REST
Sun, 11/24REST


I decided to skip the hills and speed work after the previous weekend's killer half marathon. My legs needed some rest + the marathon course isn't very hilly + it's the start of taper = easy running.

Last weekend was so dreary outside. I've really become a huge sunlover. When the sun doesn't come out to play, neither does Clarinda apparently. :( I went to bed early Friday night. Slept in late(r) on Saturday. Got up for a few hours and went back to bed for a few hours long nap. Lounged around the rest of the afternoon, and then hit the hay early Saturday night. Guess my body really needed some REST!

I probably would have had much more energy on Saturday if 1) the sun was bright and shiny and 2) if I'd just gone for a run.

Usually I'm tired after a long distance run, but it's a different kind of tired.

The kind that pumps you up. :-)

My 15 miles on Sunday were long and a little boring - despite my music. I wasn't really feeling it, but I kept plugging along. I kept thinking about how great it was going to be at the marathon when I'll have a running partner. Can't wait to meet you, Katie!

I know I'll need someone there to keep pushing me. To help me forget how many more miles there are. Someone to distract me so that the miles really fly by.

If you've been following along my Marathon Mondays since August, you'll know that I skipped quite a few weeks of training and my longest run was only 19 miles, of which I walked most of the final 6. I definitely could have done better.

Saturday, we watched a trailer for Ender's Game. The following quote really resonated with me.

So, while my training wasn't stellar by far, I know I'm ready enough.

Bring. It. On.

Up this week? The taper continues. My right lower leg has been a bit wonky today, so I think there will be a lot of stretching and rolling and icing along with my short(er) runs this week.

How does the weather affect you and your workouts?

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Happy Hug-a-Runner Day!

Just a super quick post this morning! Here's a little virtual hug from me to you!

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My First Job

In case you missed them, check out what I did this weekend - A fabulous half marathon and The RnR Vegas expo.

Today, let's join back up with A Happy Girl's Blobember challenge. I've missed a few days along the way. **sigh**

November 19: First job

When I was a teenager, my step-dad owned a Bait & Tackle store. My first job was working there. I stocked shelves and issued a LOT of fishing and hunting licenses.

Occasionally, I had to scoop out minnows. Gross. I always tried to get someone else to do that part.

I did love manning the cash register, though. :)

And sometimes I'd get to sneak a candy bar. With permission, of course.

It was across the street from a Hardee's (which turned out to be my 2nd job) and a gas station. It was also a short walk from the elementary school and the high school. Even when I wasn't working, I would often head there after school instead of taking the bus home - especially, if I had to stay after school for this club or that.

Probably the largest bait store in our small-ish fishing community, let's just say it got SUPER busy during opener weekend and summers. It was pretty busy for hunting season as well.

Looking back now, it was actually pretty fun.

What was your first job?

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Marathon Monday #16

This week's training ended so well that I'm inclined to say it was PERFECT.

It wasn't. Not even close.

But all's well that end's well, right?

Here's what it looked like.

The PlanThe Reality
Mon, 11/112REST
Tue, 11/126
Wed, 11/13RESTREST
Thu, 11/147
Fri, 11/15REST
Sat, 11/1613.1
Valley of Fire Half
Sun, 11/17REST

My overall mileage was about double from the previous week, but far from my plan. But I listened to my body, and allowed it the rest that I needed.

You might remember that on Thursday, I'd decided to downgrade to a 10k. I felt really good about that decision. It alleviated a lot of stress and helped get me really excited for the race.

If you follow me on social media, or read yesterday's post, then you know I threw that plan out the window when I got there, and change my mind back to running the Half.

It might sound weird, but I really think this was the BEST DECISION FOR MY BODY. I experienced NO shin pain during or after the race. In fact, running the half really made me feel so much stronger. I was only planning on wearing my compression socks during the drive there and then on the drive home, but I ended up running in them as well.

Yesterday, I shared how the day started. Very early wake-up. Picking up a new friend. Driving the hour to the race. Hemming and hawing on whether or not to change to the Half.

After talking to the RD about switching distances, we headed back to Genie, so I could put on my number and gather all my stuff.

I'd brought my new Camelbak Ultra LR hydration pack - even though it wasn't necessary for a 10k. Perhaps subconsciously I always knew I'd switch distances. I'd never run with it before, and I wanted to try it out. I plan on writing up a full review of it later, so let's just say it was difficult to get used to. It kept rubbing again the right side of my neck. It was annoying, to say the least. I kept re-adjusting all the straps, but nothing worked. It has two front pockets and finally a few miles in I had an epiphany. Move my phone to the right side pocket. It worked! It was just enough weight to keep it from rubbing my neck. Phew!

So, I dealt with that for the first few miles of the race, but it is simply so beautiful at Valley of Fire that it was completely bearable.

The beauty of the park also kept me going through the massive hills. The first big hill came pretty much right away. I asked the RD afterwards about it, and she said it was probably at 16% grade. That's steep! And there were many more like it throughout the course.

I thought it was a simple out-and-back course, but just before mile 2, we jutted off down a side road. About two miles on unpaved trail. It wasn't too bad. A bit rocky, but not super sandy like the other trails in the state park.

There were so many views I wanted to take a picture of, but I knew if I did, I'd want to stop all. the. time. So, I first stopped after we were back on the paved road.

As I was pulling out my phone, a fellow runner asked if I'd like him to take my picture. Sure!

Valley of Fire Half Marathon

The hills were pretty tough, but since I was doing this for fun and trying not to push myself too hard, I walked up most of them. And down the really steep ones as well.

As I approved mile 6, I'd forgotten about the 2ish mile loop we'd done early on. I kept looking for that turn-around sign, and it wasn't coming. Probably around mile 6.5, I realized the turn-around point wouldn't be the same as the halfway point. Duh!

No big deal. I was still jamming to my music. Enjoying the beauty around me. Running my own race. I was feeling great.

Valley of Fire Half Marathon

We finally turned around at 7.6 miles. This is was the first aid station I stopped at. With my camelbak, I had plenty of water, but I wanted some fuel. They had an apple cinnamon gel that I sucked down and little cups of plain M&Ms, which I slammed. And then immediately started running again. Not my best idea. I was trying to chew, not choke, and run all at the same time.

After turning around, I started getting a little chatty. 

I'd been playing tortoise/hare with a young boy for the previous several miles. We were running the same pace just after the turn-around, so I asked him how old he was. 13. It thought that was pretty awesome. I told him he was doing a great job with the hills and asked if he'd run hills a lot. He told me not really. He also told me about the last half he'd done, how his family had gone camping in Valley of Fire over the summer, and then his mom found this race. His mom was out on the course, too, but further behind us. We ran together for a few minutes, but then I slowed down and never caught back up to him.

Next up, I talked with an older man from Quebec. I thought it was a long way to travel for such a small race. It was fun talking with him for a bit, but eventually, I started walking and he kept moving along.

Valley of Fire Half Marathon

Then there were two guys who I'd seen earlier in the race. I think we'd passed each other a few times back and forth. Since it was the same weekend as Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas, my first question was always, Are you running tomorrow? These two were! They underestimated how challenging this course was, and I assured them that Strip at Night would be a breeze after this one. :) They were having a tough time, so after a couple minutes, I put my ear buds back in and continued down the road.

I glanced at my watch every mile. Mostly because it would beep at me. But I never really looked at the cumulative time until 2:05. Could I finish in 2:30? Maybe. But I'm not going to push. Seriously, it was just too beautiful. I'm not sure I would've wanted to run much faster than I was. I was just enjoying being out there. Enjoying the course, you know.

Valley of Fire Half Marathon

I probably should have turned off my music altogether. I wasn't really feeling it, and I ended up losing some time trying to find something that would really grab me and pull me to the end. That never really ended up happening. Meh.

After walking down most of that first nasty hill, I managed to finish pretty strong.

Passing the 13 mile marker, and knowing how the finish line was set-up, I knew that I needed to turn into the parking lot, but it would've been nice to have a volunteer down there directing runners at this final turn. Maybe it was just me, but at that point, I wasn't really thinking straight, and I hesitated about turning in.

I didn't quite finish in 2:30. My time was 2:31:47. I'm totally happy with that.

This was a very small race. Less than 300 runners for all 3 distances. But the support along the course was fantastic! And the finish line was fun with lots of goodies. I had some chocolate milk, crackers, chips (for the ride home), a Clif bar. Plus there were more things, too.

Also, they announced your name as you crossed the finish line, welcoming you back. I still had my ear buds in, so I'm not sure if they did it for me, but they did it for most of the people that finished after me.

Valley of Fire Half Marathon

Overall, the race was very well organized, the RD was right there to answer any questions, the volunteers were supportive and encouraging, and the course was beautiful. I definitely plan to run this one again!

Here's a short video I took while running.

It's the same company that's putting on the Tri-States Marathon in less than 3 weeks! Running this half only made me more excited about the marathon. It is going to be so. much. fun!

Up this week? Taper time has begun. Sort of. I'm going to try to stick to my training plan, which is decreasing mileage, but I do have 15 miles on the plan for Saturday. Hopefully that's do-able. I also hope to focus on core and strength exercises to further prepare me for the marathon. These are things I know I should have been including in my training all along, but I've neglected them. I figure taper is the perfect time to increase that focus.

Did you race this weekend?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday Fun - A race and an Expo

My alarm went off at 3:15am. I lied in bed for another 10-15 minutes. I was excited, but I still didn't quite want to get out of my warm bed.

Luckily, I'd set everything out before bed, so I didn't figure it would take me too long to get ready.

I headed out to my car shortly after 4am when I realized I hadn't eaten anything, so I rushed back inside to grab some PB bread and a banana.

And I was off to Mandalay Bay to pick up a total stranger my new friend, Crystal. We connected through the FB event page in the interest of carpooling the hour to Valley of Fire from Vegas.

After a little hiccup finding each other, we were off!

We were one of the first to arrive. We got all checked in and headed back to the car to keep warm and prep for the race. As you know, I decided to switch from the Half to the 10K, but then I saw the back of the shirt.

If you follow me on FB or Twitter, you know what happened next.

Yep, I switched from the 10k back to the Half. I had to earn that shirt! LOL.

Lesson learned: If you drive a Half Fanatic to a race, you're not going to get away with running a 10K.

Teasing, of course, but she did help convince me to go for the Half. It was 100% awesome, and I'm so glad I made the switch. 

**Full recap on the race tomorrow.** 
First, let's talk about the RnR Las Vegas expo.

I'd never really been to a huge expo like this before. Crystal is running Strip at Night tonight. She wanted to hit the expo after our half, and so did I, so we headed right there. Well, we stopped at my apartment first and then walked to the convention center.

Unfortunately, my phone was down to 15% after the race, and I'd forgotten my charger, so I couldn't charge it on the drive home. I really wish I'd had it at the expo. Oh well.

So much fun!

First stop was the Brooks Run Happy Island, where we each won a tee.

Then we stood in line to spin the wheel at Jamba Juice, and we each won a free smoothie. Score!

My intention was to get new shoes with the $100 Visa Gift Card I'd received from my co-workers on Friday, and Crystal had other things to check out, so we separated.

I was walking around trying to find a good deal on shoes, but they were all just so expensive and the booths selling them were so busy. Finally I stopped at the Red Rock Running Company booth. After talking to the guy there, he convinced me to stick with the Wave Sayonara.
Why mess with a shoe that works for you? Have you had any injuries?
Well, I've recently had some shin pain.
90% of the time that's caused by a change in your daily running. You shouldn't blame the shoes.
You know, it did start shortly after incorporating some serious hills into my running plan.
And so, I decided to walk around the expo and see what else I could spend my money on. LOL.

Let the shopping begin...

I spinned another wheel at Skirt Sports and won an additional 5% off, so I picked up these pretty pink arm warmers.

There were a LOT of booths selling headbands. I love the wider headbands that cover my forehead and wick away sweat. I found this super fun one for only $5 at Hippie Runner.

The ONE booth I wanted to check out was Sparkle Athletic. I've followed them on Twitter for a while, and they always seem like so much fun! I wanna join #TeamSparkle.

And now I can.

I was very happy with all my purchases. I had no idea what time it was, since my phone was home charging, but I figured it was time to head home.

On my way to find the exit, I stumbled upon this booth.

I mean how awesome is this company name - Women Having Optimistic Objectives & Healthy Attitudes, Whooha! It spoke to me so loudly that I simply could NOT leave without shopping.

I found this awesome long sleeve top in the sale bucket for only $15.

And this hoodie that I LOVE and not just because after trying the large and medium it was the small that fit best was a bit of a splurge at $40, but like I said I LOVE it, so I couldn't resist.

Now, I'm really off to the exit.

But wait! This booth has $10 tech shirts! Ok. Twist my arm.

What's this at the cash register?

A magnet for a Half at the LV Motor Speedway? They're offering $15 off registration TODAY ONLY? I can sign up right over there? What?

So, I sat down at the booth and hemmed and hawed about spending $70. I rarely spend that much money without consulting Jeff and I didn't have my phone. ARGH!!

But it was $70 TODAY ONLY and it was a local, ONE-TIME event.

Yep. I totally signed up. And got another free tee.

You could say I had a great time meandering around the expo, checking out the booths, trying samples, entering giveaways, and shopping.

But the best thing that happened?
I was recognized by a Twitter follower! How awesome is that?!

Do you enjoy race expos or do you just pick up your packet and skip the crowds?
Have you ever been recognized by someone you'd never met in person?

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

I've made a decision.

I'm going to run on Saturday.

This morning, I went out for a short run to see how my legs were doing after a weekend of icing, massaging, and rolling plus 3 more days of rest.

There was NO pain!! Yay!

Still, I wasn't sure if I should risk running. I wanted to wait a few hours to see if any pain started later in the day.

To be honest, there has been some twitchy-ness. Not pain per se, but also not 100%. I'm still not real confident in my decision to run, but I want to do it.

So, I'm taking the risk.

Sort of.

I've downgraded to a 10K. I figure that might be a bit safer and less risk of having to make another difficult decision in a few weeks when it's marathon time.

My new Procompression socks are waiting in my mailbox at home (according the USPS tracking info). I figure I'll wear them tonight and on the drive to the race Saturday morning. Since I've never run wearing compression socks, I don't think I'll wear them during the race. I'll use them for recovery instead.

Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for me and stay tuned for a recap after the race.

Who else is racing this weekend?
Anyone coming to Vegas for Rock and Roll?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

An Epiphany about Produce

November is moving right along!

November 13: An epiphany you had this summer

Runners often joke about being able to eat whatever we want.

Will run for ice cream. Will run for cupcakes. I thought you said rum.

But most runners recognize the importance of proper fueling - not just during the long runs, but always. There are lots of theories out there on what exactly is the best way to eat.

No matter what you choose - paleo, low carb, clean, etc - fresh produce is probably a key component.

CONFESSION: The produce department freaks me out.

I realized this summer just how intimidating the produce department is for me. I want to eat more veggies. I really do. They make me feel so clean and healthy.

But I can't stomach buying produce. There are so many choices, and I don't always know what they are or what to choose. I find myself just grabbing some bananas, packaged salad mix, maybe a couple roma tomatoes, and getting the hell out of there.

Becaue of this, it seems we really only have fresh produce during the weeks that we purchase a Bountiful Basket. I ♥ Bountiful!

Mostly because it takes the stress and anxiety out of produce shopping. Plus I get to try new things that I'd never try on my own.

Where do you get your produce?
Does the produce dept freak out anyone else?

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

♫ Cutest Little Pup ♫

Ok. Back to Blogember. Writing prompts come from A Happy Girl. She has a prompt everyday, but I've gone on my own a few days already, but I'm back on track today.

November 12: Your first pet

I've posted about my first dog before, but she was awesome enough that maybe she deserves her own post.

I don't remember how she came into our lives, but when I was a teenager, we got Mitzy. She was a pomeranian/poodle/chihuahua mix. We think.

And she was super cute! I wish I had more pictures of her, but this was long before the days of Instagram.

So cute that I even made up a song about her cuteness.
♫ Cutest little pup in the whole wide world. Cuter than anything. She may be full grown. She may even stink, but she's still the cutest little pup in the whole wide world. ♫ 
I would lie and snuggle with her and serenade her with this goofy song.

She was a great snuggler - just like my Sallie-girl today. I loved when she would snuggle up by my legs when I'd sleep at night.

We had lots of other dogs and pets, but Mitzy was always my favorite and will always hold a special place in my heart.

Tell me about your first pet.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Marathon Monday #15

I promise I'll be getting back to the #Blogember prompts starting tomorrow.

But today, it's time for an update on marathon training.

Usually, I have no problem listening to my body UNTIL THERE IS RACE IN JUST OVER A WEEK!!

The PlanThe Reality
Mon, 11/4220 min yoga
2 with Sallie
Tue, 11/55
Thu, 11/76
Fri, 11/8REST
Sat, 11/922REST
Sun, 11/10REST

This was probably one of the toughest training weeks. I think because the end is getting so close AND my shins decided not to play so nice.

I can't pinpoint exactly when the shin pain started. I'm pretty sure it's been around for the last several runs, but I don't think it was around for my 18-miler a few weeks ago.

But this past week it got bad. At first, my shins didn't really hurt at all when I was running - only afterward when I was doing my normal day-to-day walking (i.e. from my desk to the bathroom, etc).

I ignored it for the most part and tried just running through it. I figured I'd continue with my training and use my TAPER time for the necessary healing.

Then I tried to go for a 6 mile training run on Friday. I'd already decided to skip the speed aspect and just run for fun. It was not pretty. Not pretty at all.

Even worse than the pain, though, was knowing I was facing a decision. Do I continue running through it, risking further injury, or do I rest, risking undertraining? Do I skip the half marathon? Do I skip the full?

The stress of these decisions was compounded when I ordered a new Camelbak hydration pack AND paid for expedited shipping, so I could use it on my long run over the weekend. It made me sick to my stomach knowing I'd paid the extra shipping for nothing. I simply couldn't risk a long run on Sunday - not after Friday's short run. I hate wasting money, and it seems so silly, but that really made slowing down and resting my shins an even more difficult decision. :(

I still haven't decided what to do about the half on Saturday. I spent the weekend icing and rolling my lower legs, hoping for some relief and some healing.

marathon training rolling pin

Last night I even broke down and ordered some Pro Compression marathon socks. I've heard great things about Pro Compression, so I'm kind of excited to try them out, but also nervous about wasting money if they don't help.

My fingers are still crossed for a miracle this week.

If no miracle comes, I'm still going to the race on Saturday. I'll volunteer instead. Last minute volunteers are always welcome, right?

If no miracle comes, I'm still going to hold out hope for the full in December.

Up this week? I'm not really sure. Continued icing and rolling, I'm sure. Maybe I should concentrate on some cross training and core work. Definitely lots of healing thoughts and hopes for a last minute healing miracle.

Have you ever had to make the difficult decision to take a DNS due to an injury? If so, how did you deal with it?

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

What's for Dinner? Week of 11/10

Yesterday, I picked up a Bountiful Basket, which means lots of veggies in my fridge. It makes meal planning a little easier when I know I have produce that I need to use.

So, once again, I'm skipping the Blogember topic today, in favor of a little meal planning.

menu planning

Here's what I've got planned for this week.

Sunday - Bean loaf with mashed potatoes and asparagus (for Jeff) and zucchini (for me).

Monday - Bean and spinach enchiladas. 
Most likely this will be a variation of my Bean 'n Mushroom enchiladas, since I also have mushrooms to use.

Tuesday - Zucchini boats.
This will likely be a leftover night for Jeff, since I don't think he's a big fan of zucchini.

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Salad.
We got two big heads of romaine in our basket, so we'll need to have big salads at least one night this week. I'll likely be eating lots of salad for lunches, too.

Friday - Spinach pasta toss.
I'm still unsure if I'll be running a half marathon on Saturday, but just to play it safe, pasta sounds like a great pre-race meal, right?

Saturday - Leftovers

What are you eating this week?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Our visit to Valley of Fire State Park

It's Day 9 of Blogember!! Are we having fun yet? Today's topic is about our favorite places to shop online. I'm not really an online shopper, so instead, I'm going to share some pictures of Valley of Fire.

Back when my parents were visiting, we took a day to visit this state park.

Valley of Fire Mouse's Tank Trail

Perfect weather. Blue skies. Gorgeous views!

We started at the Visitor's Center. I didn't take any pictures there, but there was a lot to see in the center. And lots to learn. For example, millions of years ago, it used to be a sea. Seems so weird that it's a desert now.

In the visitor's center, I talked to a ranger to decide on which trails for us to tackle.

After pulling my Dad away from the exhibits at the Visitor's Center, we headed to Mouse's Tank trail. What is Mouse's Tank? It's an interesting story, actually. Mouse isn't a what, but a who. A Southern Paiute Indian renegade in the 1890s, accused of murder and other crimes, hid out at this natural basin.

Valley of Fire Mouse's Tank
Looking down into the basin

It was a gorgeous trail! Along the way, there were tons of petroglyphs.

Valley of Fire petroglyphs

The trail itself was soft sand. It was kind of like walking along the beach - with cliffs instead of ocean views.

After dumping the sand out of our shoes, we headed to the Rainbow Vista.

Valley of Fire Rainbow Vista

From there, we took the Rainbow Vista trail to the Fire Canyon.

Fire Canyon Valley of Fire

Again, the trail was very soft sand, but it was pretty well marked, and GORGEOUS, so totally worth it.

Our calves got a great workout for sure.

These pictures don't really do this state park justice, it really was breathtaking. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Vegas who is looking to get off the Strip for a day. It's an only an hour away and very easy to find.

My Biggest tip for visiting Valley of Fire? Wear hiking boots. Running shoes were okay, but they sure welcomed the sand, and filled right up with copious amounts of sand. We were totally surprised at how many people were hiking in flip flops. Weird.

I can't wait to go back.

As a matter of fact, I'll be heading back there next weekend for a half marathon - The Valley of Fire Half. I've been looking forward to this half for MONTHS and visiting the park with my parents only made me more excited about it.

My shins, however, seem to have other ideas. I've been spending my weekend icing and rolling and massaging. I'm still holding onto hope that I'll be able to run on Saturday. If not, I'm planning on still driving to the race to volunteer. It won't be the same, but it would still be fun.

Stay tuned...

Have you ever visited Valley of Fire?
What's your favorite state park?

For more pictures of our hikes in Valley of Fire, visit my Facebook album.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

It's About Time!

November 8: 5 minutes on the prompt: Time

The passage of time is so weird. It's finite and calculable, but there are days when time seems to drag and days when it seems to fly by!

When we're young, we want time to go so fast! We can't wait until that next big thing.

Same is true with adults. Sometimes. But it also seems that time goes by so much faster once we're older. No kids necessary.

The other day, I was thinking about my mom, and it occurred to me that she has now been gone longer than she was in my life. It struck me so odd how significant she was in my life for the first 17 years. It seems so hard to believe it's been nearly 19 years since she died.

I still miss her immensely.

And looking back at my time with her, it will always seem much longer and more significant than any other time in my life.

What do you think about time? Does it pass too quickly or too slowly?

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Day in the Life of Clarinda

November 7: A day in your life

These posts are kind of fun! I wrote one just over a year ago, but my life has changed A LOT since then.

My work days now look a little like this.

5:00 Alarm goes off.
Check my phone for any important updates.
Get out of bed and feed Sallie.
Dress for a run/workout (unless it's a REST day).
Run or workout for an hour or so. (blog, catch up on Social Media, watch TV if it's a rest day)
Eat breakfast.
7:30 jump in the shower. (7:00, if I'm planning on biking to work.)
8:00 head to work. (7:30ish, if I'm biking.)
8:30 clock into work.
Enter orders, run reports, put out fires, etc.
1:00ish Eat lunch
30 minutes later... Back to work.
5:00 punch out and head home.
Make dinner and watch TV with Jeff.
9:00 head to bed.
Make sure my alarm is still set for the morning. Catch up on social media.

My weekends are a little more flexible. I usually try to go for a long run on Saturdays, so I can rest and relax on Sundays.

Is your day similar or very different from mine?

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

There's an APP for that!

Did you miss me yesterday? Ha! :)

I ran out of time and didn't get a post up. I've got to start planning better if I'm going to be successful the rest of #Blogember. Good thing I'm taking a rest day today, so maybe I'll get a couple other posts scheduled.

November 6: 5 favorite apps

This is a hard one. I'm not really an APP girl. I mostly just use my phone for email and social media. Let's see if I can come up with 5.

CharityMiles. This is an awesome app for runners, walkers, or cyclists. You just start the app when you start your journey, choose a charity, and get out there! For every mile you go, money gets donated to the charity of your choice. Win-win!!

HIIT interval. This has become my lifesaver on long runs. I set the intervals for 10 min of work and 1 min of rest, and I'm off! It will also come in handy for after the marathon when I get back to doing other workouts beside primarily running.

PhotoGrid. This is my favorite app for making collages for Instagram. I ♥ Instagram!

FitFluential. I don't use this one as often as I'd like, but it's a great app for all things FitFluential. You can easily share their posts from all their social media channels.

FedEx Mobile. If you get a lot of random packages (or a few), this is a great app. It alerts you whenever a shipment is headed your way, and makes tracking those packages super easy! Way more user friendly than the one offered by UPS.

That's really all I've got.

What am I missing out on? What are your favorite apps?

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Marathon Monday #14

I'm skipping the prompt for #Blogember today in favor of ...

Definitely wanted to do better last week, but sometimes you simply have to listen to your body.

The PlanThe Reality
Mon, 10/2822 with Sallie
Tue, 10/286
45 min yoga
Wed, 10/30REST6
Thu, 10/317
Fri, 11/1REST
Sat, 11/22019
Sun, 11/3REST

Monday was SUPER windy, so I while I did get my run in, I skipped riding my bike.

Tuesday, I couldn't get to the treadmill. Gym was locked. So, I hit the yoga mat instead, and moved my hill workout to Wednesday.

Thursday, I was a mess, so I opted to make that a rest day. Friday turned into another rest day. I was still feeling sore and moving slow in the morning. I considered running after work and moving my long run to Sunday, but by the time I was heading home from work that no longer appealed to me. I probably should have done it anyway.

Instead I ate crap for dinner and stayed up WAY too late.

Needless to say, I didn't set myself up for a successful 20-miler. Not surprisingly, it turned into only 19 miles with LOTS of walking. I'm not beating myself up about the walking. It is what it is. I'm trusting my training, and I know I'll do better on Dec 7th.

In the meantime, I need to get my legs in check. My shins are kind of hurting me after Saturday's run, and my big toe is still a little tender. Good news is that my left quad seems to be better now. Here's to a week of massaging, icing, and hydrating!!

Up this week? This weekend is my last long run. I'm really hoping to prepare better during the week, so I can have a successful run on Saturday. After that, I have a super hilly half, and then it's TAPER time. A time I'm really looking forward to at this point. :)

How do you deal with minor aches and pains to prevent further injury?

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

5 Favorite Blogs

Normally on Sundays, I share my weekly menu. Or I try. I'm not feeling very motivated this week. Nothing is really looking or sounding good, so I think it's gonna be a winging it type of week. We have some leftovers from last week that we'll need to eat. Maybe that's my problem.

Anyway, in lieu of a menu plan, here's Day 3 of Blogember.

November 3: 5 favorite blogs

In no particular order...

Up & Humming. Primarily a running blog, but also just a lifestyle blog. She's a runner in Tampa, and her posts are fun and entertaining. I'm a pretty new reader, but she's quickly become one of my favorites! Another thing I love best is her attentiveness to comments; she always replies, and I love that!

Run, Eat, Repeat. Monica just seems super fun! And she runs. A LOT. But she also like to eat a lot. Something I can get on board with. :) I'm a pretty new reader of RER, and I feel like I've missed out on so much. Her posts are engaging and fun. I'd love to run a race with her someday.

Runaway Bridal Planner. Another new to me blog. She sucked me in with her beautiful Travel Tuesday posts. She's on a quest to run a full marathon in all 50 states, and she's well on her way.

From Ice Cream to Marathon. What can I say? Katie is amazing. And a wee bit crazy. She just signed up for a 100-miler in April. She ran her first marathon earlier this year, and she's flying out here to Vegas in just 5 weeks for #3. It will be my 3rd, too, and we're going to have a blast!

Mommy, Run Fast. Laura's posts are so informative, and I've learned a lot about running from her. She's a running coach and really knows her stuff. I often pin her posts for future reference.

What's one of your favorite blogs?

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Walking is OK

I'm a little late getting my second post of #Blogember up, but better late than never, right? :)

November 2: Favorite inspiring quote

This afternoon, I went for a 20-mile run. It was beyond tough. I was tired and sore practically from head to toe. I wanted to quit. I even considered calling Jeff to come pick me up.

But I didn't.

One of my favorite inspiring quotes usually helps me through a difficult run.

As I shifted from running to walking, this quote lost some of it's powerfulness. Turns out maybe that voice was right.

But then, of course, I remembered another favorite.

And at that point, I became perfectly OK with walking the final three miles. I was still OUT there. I was still preparing for my marathon. I was still doing good for myself.

I was still lapping all those suckers at home, AND I was still earning bragging rights.

Because isn't that at least a part of why we run. LOL.

What's one of your favorite inspiring quotes?

For more quotes that I find inspiring, feel free to follow my Quotations board on Pinterest.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

4 Lessons I've Learned about Running

I feel like this year has really just flown by! Only 2 more months of 2013. Wow.

I've got a half marathon in a few weeks, and a full a few weeks after that, so lots of fun things still to come this year.

Other than continuing my marathon training, I'm hoping to join Running with Ollie and A Happy Girl for a 30-day blogging challenge. The challenge is to blog every day in November, and A Happy Girl was sweet enough to provide writing prompts each day.

November 1: One of the best lessons life has shown you.

Since this is primarily a running blog, it makes sense to share the lessons I've learned from running.

Do what you love.

I'm not sure why I love running so much. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it takes a long time. But I really do love it - even when I don't always recognize it. There are lots of options out there for being healthy and working that cardio, but I choose running. It will always be my first choice. Even when others might try to convince me to do more variety.

Listen to your body.

Running will always be my first choice, but that means I still need to listen to my body. She will tell me when she needs a rest. She will tell me when it's OK to push a little harder. Thankfully, I've never experienced a serious injury. Just minor aches and tweaks. And a long spell of nasty shin splints. I'm glad I've learned this listening lesson before experiencing any major issues.

Be flexible.

I'm in the midst of training for marathon #3. My first marathon in 10 years. Training is hard! And, sticking to a training plan is just as difficult now as it was in my mid-20s. Sometimes more so, because now I'm married and need to consider my time a little more carefully. Sometimes training doesn't go as planned, and you've got to be willing to roll with it. Make changes as you listen to your body or as life throws you curveballs.

Runners are awesome.

Most of my runs are solo, but the running community is so awesome and supportive and friendly. I love crossing paths with my fellow runners. A simple hello or slight wave can really buoy my running spirits. During races, you'll almost always make conversation with random strangers on the course. Not to mention, all the support and motivation from the running community online. Yay for running bloggers!

If you're a runner, what lessons have you learned from running?
If you're not a runner, what's the best life lesson you've learned?