t minus one week

Happy Easter!!

easter_wallpaper-t2

Next weekend I have my first road race of the year, the Shamrock Shuffle. Chicago does St Patty’s Day races two weeks late. That’s how we roll. It’s an 8k through the heart of the city. I’m looking forward to it but also worried a lil bit….

Here’s why. The last time I ran outside I was running in the marathon last October. I’m a cold weather lightweight. Anything below 70 degrees and you’ll find me on a treadmill. Perhaps that’s a little dramatic. I’m working on it. The weather in Chicago this week is holding strong in the 40s. Talk about gross weather for April. Oh well, I’ll layer up and suck it up. Let’s just hope that my legs don’t give out on me when they realize I’m forcing them to run on concrete and actually have wind resistance. It usually takes me a few solid runs to get my outdoor running mojo back. This year I’m diving in head first. At least it’s only an 8k.

Today’s workout: 6 miles (on the ‘mill of course) in 50:20; an 8:23 min/mile. No finger tingling to report.

cute-running-kitten-outside-picture

run like a cheetah

Lu comes home tomorrow! I’m trying to be a good wifey today by cleaning and having our fridge fully stocked for his return. I haven’t made any progress toward that goal yet. I still have several hours left to get my act together. Sundays are for relaxing, right? Aren’t you relaxing? You should be. And enjoying the holiday! Don’t forget to eat a cadbury creme egg (or three).

xo, lw

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a strange running side effect

This morning I went back to the ginormous East Bank Club with my poppa. First of all, the people watching in such a large space is amazing. It kept me entertained for a whole ten miles on the treadmill. It’s better than TV.

About eight miles in, something really strange started happening. Several fingers on my left hand began to tingle and eventually went almost numb. This had never happened to me before. I started thinking, do I feel right? Am I dizzy? No, I wasn’t dizzy. Even though I consider myself healthy and young, I know that I’m not above an injury or an illness… so I had to assess the situation and check myself. I was running at a faster pace than I typically would run for a ten-miler in the past (gotta get that sub-4, yo). I slowed down a few points and continued on my run. The tingling lingered and I ignored it. Then eventually it was gone. Has this happened to any of you before?

I did 10 miles in 1 hr 26 minutes, which translates to an 8:35 min/mile pace. I had to restart the treadmill after 60 minutes. I hate how most treadmills seem to be programed to turn off after 60 minutes. Um, you’re interrupting my workout.

When I got home I googled “fingers tingling during running.” The first hit? This article from livestrong.com actually titled “Tingling Fingers during Running,”… Check out an excerpt:

However, a more-common cause is lack of blood in your upper body, as your leg muscles monopolize your circulatory system during a long run. Running causes a number of vascular changes that could result in tingling or numbness in your fingers. While running, blood is directed to the lower body to facilitate movement of the large muscles in the leg. Over long distances, the body adjusts to a state in which blood concentrates in the lower regions. Less blood flow remains for the upper extremities, such as the hands and fingers, which can lead to tingling or numbness in these regions.” [source, livestrong.com]

Well, those darn greedy legs. Taking all the blood. Just as long as I’m getting enough flow to my brain, I’m good. As you peeps know, I am a nurse and was a physiology major in college so stuff like this interests me. I think the changes that occur in the body during exercise and with long term training is really cool. I’m a nerd.

There are some treadmills at East Bank that go up to 30% incline. Whaat?? That’s insane. I’ve never heard of a treadmill going up that high; I had only seen 15% until today. It also went to a negative 3% grade. Crazy stuff.

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I had the most delicious grapefruit this afternoon. Grapefruit is probably my favorite fruit. I said probably because I know I could never actually choose one fruit as my favorite. Grapefruit is up there though.

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My mom gave me something for Easter. Naughty girl. I’ve only had one.

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And here’s a picture of Molly just because she is so cute. I wish you guys could meet her because she has the best cat-personality ever. She’s a diva. She loves cuddling and massaging your face with her paws. She’s also a nervous wreck all the time. Oh, Molls. She cracks me up.

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I’m off to go bowling and eat a little pizza. Fun Saturday evening with the crew. Have a good one guys!

xo, lw

the liebster

So there is this little thing floating out there in the blogosphere called the liebster award. It’s a fun way to tag your blogging friends and learn new things about them. Jan at Sprouts n Squats gave me a liebster nod. Thanks girl!

indexLiebster Blog Rules:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you
  2. Post 11 random things about yourself
  3. Answer the questions your tagger asked
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag
  5. Nominate people for the liebster award and link them in your post
  6. Tell the peeps that you nominated!

Random things about me:

1) I don’t love talking on the phone. I mean like calling someone to talk just because. Sometimes it takes forever for me to call people back. It’s rude, I know… I’m working on it.
2) I played alto sax and piano growing up. I still tickle the ivories on occasion.
3) I hate being barefoot. You’ll always find me with socks on or my ugg slippers, even on hot summer days.
4) I didn’t take my wedding band off of my ring finger until almost one year after Lu put it on during our ceremony. My plan was to literally never take it off. The thought that Lu put it on my finger was romantic. Then one day at work, I had just washed my hands and they were super cold… my wedding band fell off! I was so upset. Then I was over it. Now I only take it off when I sleep. I should make Lu put it back on my finger every morning. hehe.
5) I wash my hair every three days. Is that gross? If I have a hard workout but it’s not a hair washing day, I’ll rinse with plain water. Water is a pretty good solvent! If I have something important going on, I’ll make exceptions to this. It’s a loose rule.
6) Breakfast is my favorite meal.
7) Lilac is my favorite flower. We had lilac bushes in our backyard growing up. They are the epitome of spring to me and will forever remind me of May Day baskets. The smell is heavenly. I will have lilacs again in my yard one day.
8) I have a pineapple intolerance! It’s really sad because I love pineapple but it makes me sick.
9) Ten years ago I couldn’t run a mile without stopping. And last year I finished my first marathon. I’m a firm believer that anyone can train to run long distances (unless an injury is involved). So much of it is about heart and the mental strength of getting out there and doing it day-after-day.
10) I grew up playing tennis (my favorite sport). Our high school team was baller. State champs! I will always have a special love for tennis because Lu and I met at a tennis clinic! It was love at love-love.
11) My name is Laura, pronounced L-a-r-a.

Questions from Jan at Sprouts n Squats:

1) What is your favorite movie? I am so not a movie person. I can’t help but fall asleep during them. I can’t even think of one movie to name right now. But I do love Friends on DVD. I have all 10 seasons.
2) How many times a week do you exercise? Usually 4 days a week. I work 12-hr shifts 3 days a week and typically don’t exercise on work days because I’m just too drained. However, during marathon training season I will amp it up.
3) How long have you been blogging? I’ve been blogging for just over one year. I started in January 2012. Last year I’d post once every couple weeks or so. This year I’ve started posting more, daily or every other day. It’s a fun hobby!
4) What skill would you like to learn? Speak another language! Especially Spanish. I’m slowly workin on that. ;)
5) What is your favorite item of clothing? Probably my yoga pants. I don’t do yoga in them.
6)  Do you have any brothers or sisters? Two brothers… one older & one younger. They’re awesome! But I always wanted a sister. Maybe in my next life.
7) Are you a morning person or a night owl? By nature I’m a morning person. With nursing and working night shift, I’ve messed up my natural rhythm and I can do anything… rise early, stay up late. I adapt.
8) How do you have your coffee or tea? I’m a coffee girl all the way. Milk, no sugar.
9) What food could you not live without? Oh boy. Where to begin…  ;) I think I’m going to say fruit. I love me some fruits.
10) What is your favorite recipe to make? I love our chicken/broccoli/quinoa/pesto bowl a la this recipe.
11)  Winter or Summer? I’ve got summer on my mind these days. But I’m a seasons girl. I love the change.

Questions for the new folks (I’m stealing a few):

1) What skill would you most like to learn?
2) What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?
3) What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
4) Favorite Easter candy?
5) Favorite musician?
6) Do you workout in shorts or pants?
7) Night owl or early bird?
8) What’s your ideal date-night?
9) Favorite vegetable? Favorite fruit?
10) Name something you’d put on your ‘bucket list.’
11) What’s your favorite recipe?
 I’d like to tag the following cool gals for the liebster:

Roxanne @ Tri Balance Girl

Abby @ The life and times of… One of my besties from high school. She’s crazy busy these days with a toddler & a newborn so blogging is probably on the back burner. I’m gonna go ahead and tag you anyway but you can opt out & I won’t be offended. ;)

Hope you guys had fun reading my lil responses and I hope I didn’t bore you to tears.

Today’s adgenda:

  • Back to the enormous East Bank Club for a nice workout with my poppa.
  • Grocery store.
  • Cleaning house before my sweet Lu returns.
  • Bowling & pizza tonight.
  • Enjoying this FIFTY DEGREE weather in Chicago. Thank goodness it’s not 30-some degrees anymore.

Happy Easter weekend to all you peeps out there! I hope we all have a great holiday and make this weekend a good one. & let’s all enjoy some Easter indulgences without the side of guilt. =)

xo, lw

the transition from blogger to wordpress

I had been considering switching to wordpress for sometime now but the thought intimidated me. I thought I’d have to start all over. I assumed my old posts would be long gone, lost in the depths of the interweb.

I was so wrong. It was the easiest thing ever.

Export blog from blogger ~~> save on desktop ~~> import blog to wordpress ~~> hope people keep following

Who knew over a year of blogging could be condensed into one file? It made me feel that my blog is so insignificant. Ok, I realize that my blog is extremely insignificant… but it does have significance to me! I have fun in this little corner of the internet recording my thoughts and logging my days. I enjoy looking back on posts and getting a lil nostalgic. So the idea that all of my thoughts and days were put into one file was a buzz kill. I tell myself it was a large file.

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I’m still trying to navigate wordpress and I have a lot to learn about all of the features of this site. I like having more creative liberty. However, change is hard. I kind of miss my old cute beanstalk site. What do you all think of the new digs? I’ll probably experiment with the template over the next few weeks so don’t be alarmed if the site looks completely different on random days. And don’t hesitate to tell me what you like!

For those wondering. How to switch from Blogger to WordPress:

1) In your blogger account go to Settings:: other:: export blog. It will then save your blog as one file on your computer [unless you are special and get two files].

2) Create a wordpress account.

3) In wordpress, go to tools:: import. You can then upload the file from your computer onto wordpress. And there you have your blog.

TGIF, folks. This is Good Friday… you know what that means. We’re all going to have a very good day. I like it.

xo, lw

marathon mayham

Remember when the active.com website crashed once registration for the 2013 Chicago marathon opened last month? I was a bit dramatic about it. Last night I was perusing Runner’s World after work and read that it happened again with the Marine Corps Marathon registration yesterday… Website freezing, error messages and it all culminated in a sold-out race in under two hours & thirty minutes. To the people who had issues registering – I feel your pain! Especially those of you who had this date marked on your calendar for months. What a let down.

I have a couple of new blogger friends (Tri Balance Girl & OlivetoRun) and an amazing second cousin once removed (…er something like that) who were trying to register yesterday for the MCM. I’m anxious to hear if you girls got spots. Hoping you all did.

What’s the deal people? Why are marathons now selling out & crashing websites? Because marathons are awesome. It‘s not shocking that they’re gaining popularity. Let’s take a look at a few stats:

Marathon stats:

Percentage of the US population that has run a marathon: 0.5% (current 9/12) [source]

Total # of people who finished a marathon in the US in…

1980:  143,000 
2009: 493,407
2010: 534,911 
2011: 554,143 
2012: 528,141
[source]; [source]
… wait a minute. There were fewer marathoners in 2012 than in both 2010 & 2011. What’s the excuse for website crashing now? Somebody stealing your bandwidth? Given the fact that there are billions of people on this earth and probably millions of people using the internet at any given time, I kind of expect that a website can handle traffic of 40,000. Is that unreasonable? When I was registering for Chicago last month I had a flashback to the days of dial-up. Or my mom shouting to me “you need to get off the internet because I have to use the phone!”. I guess we have come a long way…

Average number of miles/week during marathon training: 40 [source]

Average number of sneakers a runner goes through during training: 2 [source]

Average number of calories a woman burns running a marathon: 2880 [source]

The world record marathon time: 2 hours, three minutes, 38 seconds …um, just to put that in perspective, my half marathon time was 2 hours, 3 minutes, 21 seconds.

The world record has been broken four times at the Chicago marathon. It’s a flat and very fast course so I’d recommend it to anybody trying to PR. Who are we kidding. Aren’t we all trying to PR every time we run a race or is that just me?

this guy is on the prowl for a PR. i like it.
i think this is funny

Last night I had THE BEST seared and baked chilean sea bass EVER courtesy of my momma. I couldn’t handle how good it was. Perfectly cooked. One of my pet-peeves is overcooked fish. The more raw the better, please. Anyway, my mom has taken me under her wing for the past couple of days so I’m not lonely while the hubs is away. It has been a lot of fun.

 

Today we’re getting no-chip manicures. I’m going to run and possibly hit up Shred415 this afternoon. My mom tells me that she doesn’t really like fro-yo. I’m thinking today might be a good day to make her try Yogurtland. Hope you all have a good day today! xo, lw

happy 30th birthday!!

The dirty thirty. Wishing my big bro a very happy 30th birthday today!! He’s the bomb.

Waking up to a beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan. Not too shabby. Pictures never do justice. Especially when taken with an iPhone.

 
I also want to take the time this morning to announce that I think Blake Shelton is really cool. He is so hilarious. I want to be his friend and hang out with him. So does Lu.

Make today a good day. xo,lw

the yoga pants I’ve had for a decade

When I was 17 or 18 I got my very first pair of black yoga pants. Actually they were capris. And by were I mean are because I still have them and wear them multiple times a week. They’re nothing fancy and nothing close to expensive. I got them from Target… Champion brand to be exact. They’re a little bit worn but there are no holes and they look remarkably good. I think this may be the longest I have ever owned a single item of clothing. They have outlasted my lululemon pants, my nike pants, and all other pants I have owned. I love them and I will be so sad when their last day comes! By the way, I am definitely a larger person than I was in high school but since these are *yoga* pants the stretchy fabric has done me well.

Do you guys workout in shorts or pants? I’m a pants girl. Unless it’s crazy hot outside.  Today I did a five mile run that kind of kicked me in the booty. I think my body was in shock that I actually had to do something active after a day of nothing yesterday. To be honest, I secretly love bad runs. You know, those runs that are markedly slower than your regular pace and surprisingly difficult. I tell myself that those exact runs are the ones that make us stronger runners. Bad runs not only give us mental strength (because we fight through them) but also physical strength (because, for whatever reason, they’re physically hard!). Anybody with me on this?

Last night my mom and I had a relaxing girls night in front of the TV. The little one, Molly, hung with us all evening. She’s the sweetest.

 
Lu is safely in Nepal and having an amazing experience! He’s staying in touch by email… Thank goodness for the internet. He was greeted with real mums when he deplaned in Kathmandu. What a cutie.


Now for a few random thoughts…

Has anyone ever fallen off of a treadmill? I did one time in college. I stepped onto a treadmill that was open but it was ON!! It was going pretty fast and I couldn’t tell. I put my foot on it and flew off the back. It was mortifying. WHO would leave a treadmill running?? So mean.

Anybody watching Dancing with the Stars? You know who stole the show last night? Kellie Pickler’s body. Holy smokes. I want her workout/eating plan. She’s also an amazing dancer. Kellie for the win!


The close door button on elevators is fake. I am convinced of this. Both of my parents and Lu & I live in high rise condo buildings so we ride elevators a lot. I hit the close door button often and it never does anything. In fact, it feels like it takes the doors longer to close. That’s lame.

Tonight is a sushi night. Amen to that.

Have a great day guys! Make it good. xo, lw

monday woes

Let’s take a look at how my day has gone so far:

Wake up: 8am
Lounge on couch: 8am – 9:30am
Fall asleep on said couch: 9:30am – 1:30pm

All of this sleep today has left me in a fog. I don’t know who I am or what I’m doing. Finally, enough was enough and got my booty up to eat some food & read blogs about an hour ago.  There is a little bit of a back story as to why I am so excessively tired today but I’ll spare you the details. 

Raise your hand if you think I’m behaving like a jr high boy. 

I have absolutely nothing else to say right now (then why am I blogging? Good question.) I’m hanging out with my momma and her precious kitty today. We’re going to eat spaghetti later and enjoy some quality Monday night TV (real housewives, the voice, dancing with the stars… so many choices). There you have my Monday.


Fill in the blank… I am having a _________ Monday. Me? I am having a l-a-z-y and unproductive Monday. And I wouldn’t change it. Sometimes we all need those sort of days. xo, lw

training log

One of the things I enjoy doing is keeping track of my runs, mileage, mile pace & how I felt on the run. Also, I am very high tech so it makes sense that I would track my runs in a good old spiral notebook. I use colored pens because I’m still not over the gel pen craze from junior high.

I often use map my run to get an average mile pace but then I write out my run separately in my spiral notebook. I’m looking forward to using my Garmin once I’m able to run outside again. I also keep track of days I do a Shred415 workout or weighs/cross training. It’s nice to have a record so I can visualize my progress. It’s all laid out line-by-line in front of me. Way easier than navigating something on a phone ap or the internet in my opinion.

my old school running log

What I would like to do is decorate the front of the notebook with inspirational quotes and pictures. I should start saving some magazine clippings. I’m artsy. I have a dream that one day my notebook will be filled from front to back. One run per line… So that would be like a billion runs. I actually just switched to this notebook from a smaller one. I started my first log in 2010. 

my first running log

Aw, that lil book is cute! Maybe I should switch back to that little guy. I actually only had a handful of pages filled up. Now I’m not sure which notebook to use. I liked how my first one was easily portable. Decisions, decisions. Do you guys keep track of your workouts? Anybody old school like me and hand write them out? Happy Sunday! Make today a good day! Your girl’s headed to work soon. xo, lw

just a little local gym

This morning I hit the gym early with my poppa. By early I mean 9 am. Most of you probably know my gym of choice is usually Shred415, which is the only gym I actually have a membership to. I’ll also hit up our apartment gym when I’m in a pinch. And of course I run outside on the lakefront when the weather cooperates. Today I went to my dad’s gym as his guest. It’s just your run-of-the-mill small local gym…. not. This is the gym of all gyms. East Bank Club downtown Chicago. I can’t even get over how large this place is. It is 450,000 square feet to give you an idea. To put it in East Bank’s own words from their website:


“The Club’s facilities include a quarter-mile indoor running track; eight indoor tennis courts; three racquetball courts; a squash court; a 20,000 square-foot cardiovascular room; a free weight room; five aerobics studios; a Pilates and GYROTONIC® studio; physical therapy; a 60-bike spinning studio; four swimming pools (two indoor, two outdoor); two regulation-size basketball courts; an indoor golf driving range; a pro shop; a dry cleaner; a full-service salon and spa; a daycare center; a car wash; a casual grill; a gourmet deli; an elegant restaurant; catering facilities; a juice bar; a 60,000 square-foot sun deck and much more.”


That’s a mouthful. When we walked into the cardio studio, I was overwhelmed and didn’t even know which machine to do. Oh wait… all I ever do is run. I did 7.05 miles in 60 minutes (8:30min/mile). Per usual, I planned to go longer on the treadmill but I got bored… story of my life.

cardio studio

My dad is into rowing so I joined him on the rowing machine for 3000 meters. My core and back are already sore. That thing ain’t no joke. After rowing, we went over and did our fair share of stretching. My pops is also really into stretching his calves with a little rocking device. Has anyone used this? It gives such an intense, deep calf stretch. It was amazing. I wish I had one at home (he does).

calf stretches

After my workout, I had to check out the smoothie bar. I got a mixed berry smoothie with soy milk and whey protein. It was amaaazing. I slurped that thing up so fast. I could have easily eaten every calorie I had just burned at that smoothie bar. They had a chocolate-peanut butter milkshake. Omg. I need more milkshakes in my life. 

yes.

This afternoon I’m going to wash my hair for the first time since Tuesday. Did I just say that out loud? Don’t judge… I have trained my hair to go many days without shampoo. Normally I would have washed it yesterday but Lu wasn’t home so what’s the point? ; ) [I’d like to add that, yes, I am showering on the daily. Thankyouverymuch. Just not shampooing the hairs.] Feeling a little sleepy right now. Thinking I may just doze off for a little bit…. hope you guys have a great weekend! xo,lw