Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life Power Yoga Event

I feel pretty lucky tonight. Somehow, I got on a list for these Minnesota Blog Pantry events that happen every so often around the Twin Cities with bloggers like myself, and tonight's event was at the Life Power Yoga Studio in Uptown Minneapolis that opened about six months ago.

We were pampered with fruity waters, wine, and this delicious spread:

Sarah and I are ready for a girls night of fun!

We were also pampered with mini spa services, and I opted for a massage and facial.

My esthetician left my face feeling renewed post facial, even with just her mini treatment. She also reminded me of how important an SPF in your daily moisturizer is, because apparently I have some drying and age spots on my forehead--say what?! Yeah, that was a wake up call to load on the SPF and stay out of the sun!

Anyway, we had a choice of manicure or pedicure if we wanted as well, Jen took them up on making her feet beautiful!

Jen's pedicured toes
(My friend Emily is squirming in front of a computer somewhere right now looking at feet!)

We also talked blogger strategy, the main reason we're there. My friend Jen, spoke about the success she's having with Prior Fat Girl, and we all shared ways that we use our blog to enrich our lives, and how to make sure we keep don't deter from the message we want our blog to give readers. (Hmmm.... so what's MY message? ;)

Suzi, Liz and Jen discuss

The night wrapped up with a restorative yoga class, that, unlike regular yoga, is more of a seated, relaxing yoga, where you truly only concentrate on your breathing solo, not your breathing through as many movements. Although I had to leave the class early, it was a great time to relax and reflect, something not a lot of us take time for.

Jen, Anna (and baby), Suzi and I can't contain our laughter before yoga class

I LOVED this event, and would highly recommend coming here for spa services, or for a yoga class. I'm a regular Lifetime Fitness member, but this place is strictly yoga, and will probably help advance your yoga practice if that's what you're looking to do. It's a great location, and if you're worried about parking, don't worry, they validate. =)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fargo 5K & Half-Marathon Go Far Challenge

This past weekend I made my first trek to the state of North Dakota to run the Fargo 5K and Half-Marathon Go Far Challenge with my friend from college, Megan. She came down from Grand Forks, and we stayed with her parents who live near Fargo.

The 5K felt great on Friday night, and I tried to take it easy because of the half-marathon the next day. That was easier said than done though, I still ended up skipping walk breaks when I shouldn't have, and sprinting a bit at the end.

Pre-5K with Megan in her crazy Spandex Suit, that's an old dance costume from when she was 10, and she STILL fit in it!

I went back to Megan's that night, and rolled my leg, stretched, took some ibuprofen, and had a lovely ice cream sundae.

The next day, I felt apprehensive waking up. My IT band had some ache to it, and I could tell the race was going to be a tough one.

I started the race feeling alright. The weather was cloudy, but with a blanket of mositure in the air that felt like it was wrapped around my shoulders the whole race. I kept thinking, how am I going to do this today? But, to me, dropping out of the race isn't an option unless I'm being carted away by an ambulance, I signed up, I committed, I follow through.

The middle of the race felt great, I ditched my iPod and took in the sites and sounds of all the great spectators, and the bands that were set up along the course.

I became really dehydrated in the last mile; I felt dizzy, like I was going to puke, and kept dry heaving. I tried to eat a GU pack, even though I hate them, but that made me feel worse. So then, I ate one of my sport beans, but that felt like a piece of dry wool in my mouth, and took a lot of effort to swallow and keep down.

I finished the race with a grimacing look on my face (trust me, I've seen the pictures, they're too scary to share), but I finished and that's all that matters. After refueling with some chocolate milk, I felt much better, but was very relieved to have the two races behind me!

Post Half-Marathon with Megan and her niece Allie. We received THREE medals for doing the Go Far Challenge!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Preparing for a Big Race

This weekend, I'm running the Fargo Half-Marathon, and Go Far Challenge, which means, I'm running a 5K Friday night, and a half Saturday morning. When my friend Megan, who lives in Grand Forks, and I decided to meet up at this race, she told me about the Go Far Challenge and I thought, "Super! Sounds so fun!" Was I crazy or something?! Did I not remember in my winter, just running to keep in shape lulls how sore I can be during training season? Oy! But anyway, this weekend, that is on my to do list.

Speaking of to do lists, I always have a list of things to check off before a race, especially an out of town one. Things like:
  • Charge the iPod
  • Charge the Garmin
  • Figure out packet pick up time
  • Determine race day outfit
Especially for traveling to races, I think it's important to have a back up outfit ready. If I hadn't brought a warmer, back up outfit for the La Crosse half three weeks ago, I would have froze my butt off.

La Crosse Half, 10 Mile Mark

Those shorts may make me look as wide as the Mississippi River, but if it weren't for them, those long tights and the headband over my ears, I would have been one cold cookie in 40 degree temps with lots of cold wind.

However, one of the most important pre-race to do's, is to get a kick ass manicure.

Today, I did just that, getting these rocking hot pink nails. I don't wear make up or wear jewelery while I run, both annoy me, but I love to have some fun nails to show off when I don't need gloves over my hands for races. The ritual gets me psyched up, and helps me pick out fun race outfits to try and coordinate with the nails.

Oh, one more thing, also equally important on the POST race to do list, a pedicure! Anyone who has to see your feet that next week will thank you!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Things I currently love

I've had so many random blog ideas lately, none enough to warrant their own post, so I thought I'd throw them all together with the things I love right now!
  1. These PF Chang imitation Lettuce Wraps from Iowa Girl Eats. They're delicious and also make great leftovers! The recipe requires quite a bit of chopping, so chop ahead on the weekend and store the items in the fridge for a quicker weeknight dinner.
  2. This Porcelain Berry Box Colander from Crate and Barrel. It's $5.95, much cheaper than the Anthropologie version I had just seen for $20. I love Anthro, but oftentimes their prices are ridiculous!
  3. Random Chipotle lunches in the sunshine with Molly from Snyder 5 who recently moved to a job near mine. We both share a love for Chipotle and stepping away from the office on beautiful days!
  4. The Clothing Swap Party my friend Sam hosted last week. It's a great way to find new clothes, clean out your closet, spend time with your friends, and not spend a lot of money!
  5. Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies, because they are three items: Sugar, Eggs and Peanut Butter, and they taste delicious!
  6. Reaching over 100 public followers on the blog, holy awesome, thanks readers!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Perfect Morning to Run & Eat

This Saturday was one of those days that reminds me why I put up with the weather I do in Minnesota. I love the four seasons, but I've been anxiously anticipating the summer/spring season, as winter has outworn it's welcome.

This Saturday I met a few people from the 10K clinic I helped lead to do our 10K "race" around the nearby lakes and enjoy a victory breakfast afterward. Besides having to pry a piece of beer bottle out of the sole of my shoe and slicing open my finger, the run was great!

Sunny, and almost too hot, I wished I would have worn a tank top instead of short sleeves. It was in the high 60's when we finished our run, and I had a sunburn on my arms to prove it.

Then we went to nearby Barbette for a delicious, and very affordable breakfast on their patio (ie sidewalk).

The Runners: Hannah, Me, Kristie & Connie

Barbette is known for their French Fries, and after how delicious their breakfast was, I can't wait to try their fries. I had the organic eggs with their Rosti Potatoes, slathered in ketchup. Their Rosti Potatoes are not like regular hash browns, they add seasonings and onions (but not big enough to crunch) making them flavorful and the perfect amount crispy.

All this, for $5.25!

This weekend's weather was an improvement from the La Crosse Half-Marathon last week (where I got a PR time of 2:36:11, thank you very much!) where it was windy, in the 40's with some sun. I hope this weather pattern continues for the next few weekends, especially in two weeks when I run the Fargo Half-Marathon and Go Far Challenge!

Did you have great weather in your neck of the woods this weekend? What did you all do?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Two Kisses For Maddy

Per the recommendations of many friends, last weekend I picked up a copy of Two Kisses for Maddy by Matthew Loeglin. I had read Matt’s story before, from when it was first published in the Twin Cities local newspaper, to recently when I saw friends attending fundraisers for the foundation named in his late wife’s honor.

Matt is a Minnesota native, who lives in California, and in March 2008, 27 hours after his daughter Madeline was born, and following a tough pregnancy, his wife of three years, and partner of 12 years, died of a Pulmonary Embolism. She never got to hold the daughter she so highly anticipated, leaving Matt and Maddy alone to take on the world together.

This book chronicles Matt and Liz’s life together pre-Maddy, Liz's tough pregnancy, Madeline's birth, along with Liz's death the next day, but mainly tells the story of a father and daughter taking on life sans mother, a concept that Matt explains was foreign to so many people, and the questions that ensued because of it.

Last week, I was lucky enough to meet Matt and also hear him read from this book at a reading and signing in Minneapolis. I thought this book was amazing at my first, but hearing a chapter read by the author himself made it even better.

Matt reading Chapter Eight from the book

If you read one book this year, even if you’re a person who hates to read, you must read this book. Two Kisses for Maddy is a quick, wonderful read, and I would have finished it in one day, if I hadn’t had to put it down at certain points so that I wouldn’t be completely emotionally exhausted. Matt is real and raw as he writes about his fear, his anger, and his love for Liz and Maddy.

The way Matt wrote this book was engaging, and best of all conversational. As a reader, I felt as if Matt was across the room from me, narrating the past three years of his life to me.

He spares no feeling; his writing is littered with curse words, just as if he were in fact, describing these events while sitting across the room from you. It was with these words I could so vividly feel the emptiness, sorrow and fear that encased his universe after Liz died, along with the hope he had for he and his daughter’s life together.

When I began the chapter that starts the day after Maddy's birth, I was in denial that Liz was really going to die when the chapter concluded; of course I knew it was coming. It's like when you're watching a terrible scene in a movie and think this time it might end differently, but of course it never does. Matt still heard his wife say, "I feel light headed," and felt her body crumble, doctors still rushed in to help her, but their efforts were no match for the pulmonary embolism that took her life. The chapter closed, and Liz was dead, and every crushed emotion Matt described, brought my chin to my chest in sobs.

I cried for Matt having to witness his wife’s life slip away, I cried for Liz for all that she will miss, and I cried for Maddy who will never know her mother, and is so innocent.

Matt describes throughout the book how he could feel so many couples at his wife’s memorial services giving him the “I’m so glad that isn’t us look,” and I have to admit, I cried with relief as I read, that it wasn’t Ben and I.

Last week when I met Matt, it was because I was over an hour early to the book signing, and he walked into the book store to introduce himself. I have to admit, I reacted like I had just seen Justin Timberlake (but with more talent, sorry JT, but it’s true!) when I first saw Matt. I contained my squeals but ran up to him and exclaimed how excited I was to meet him, how much I loved his book, and how I was there super early to make sure I got a spot and how the bookstore owners thought I was crazy.

The celebrity author himself!

The next thing I knew, my friends Cindy and Darcie, plus a new friend Nancy (all who Matt already knew) and I were across the street having a drink with him while shooting the shit before his reading; Matt is just honestly that nice of a guy.

Matt and the Ladies

And if you think Matt is great, Maddy is even more lovely. Your typical adorable three year-old, she was more than happy to "sign" my book and accept some (ie the whole bag of) Peanut Butter M&M's.

Maddy, multi-tasking

I’ll say it again, if you read ONE book this year, read this one. You’ll value Matt’s honesty, and Maddy’s innocence, but most importantly, you’ll close this book truly valuing those you hold close in your own life.