So Effing Ready For Taper

I think I’ve lost track of what week of training I’m on, but I CAN tell you that I’m now less than a month away from running the Chicago Marathon. Ack! (so that puts me at week….12?)

Truthfully, I cannot figure out how I trained for 22 weeks for Savannah because 15 weeks feels ridiculously long. Haven’t I been training FOREVER??

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In the past 12(ish?) weeks I’ve run two 16 milers, two 18 milers, one 20 miler, some other long runs that I can’t remember — and on Saturday I’ll finish out my peak week with a SUPER FUN 22-miler.  “I’m so excited! I just can’t hide it!”

Thank goodness for Tyler because he tolerates my whining and complaining at end of the run — and my rambling throughout. He is training for his first marathon and every long run is incredibly motivating for him. It’s so cute. Ahhh, youth.

Had a great run this morning! Probably my best in weeks --14 miles at a 9:59 pace. It's bizarre how our 12-miler last week felt so much harder!

For the most part, I’ve hit my training schedule every damn week. There have been a few shorter runs that I skipped, but I assure you, you would have skipped them too with sick kids, thunderstorms (I draw the line at lightening), and late nights spent working. Life happens and thankfully, my body understands that.

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I’ve reached the point of training where I begin to doubt myself and a little anxiety sets in. I think – did I do enough? Did I push myself hard enough? Thanks to my previous experience, I know that race day does not boil down to one singular training run, but the accumulation of the time spent on your feet (and I have DEFINITELY spent some time on my feet this go round), but I won’t pretend I’m not feeling nervous and jittery. My mind is full of questions — will I start out too fast? Will the adrenaline hurt me in the first part of the race — or maybe carry me through those last few miles? WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE? Should I wear my hydration vest?? Will I bonk at Mile 22? Obviously, these are questions I can ONLY answer on race day, but it doesn’t mean I’m not driving myself crazy.

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Then I remember I’m running a second marathon at the end of November. What the hell was I thinking?

Yeah. I’m ready for taper. Can you tell?

Switching Shoes {A Continuation of the Mizuno Saucony Shoe Story Saga}

So, a while ago I bought and RAVED ABOUT Mizuno Wave Rider 17s.

SOAWESOME

I loved them. I PR’d in them. They were my jam. They made my feet happy!

1:54:14 (unofficial) #bestdamnpr @bestdamnrace

And then I started marathon training.

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Not only was I running more, A LOT more, I was running more in higher temps. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that in Florida, in the middle of the summer, that shit gets HOT and it tends to destroy things.

This did not make my shoes happy.

Or my feet.

And, especially, my knees.

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My shoes seemed to start wearing early (with less than under 150 miles). I thought, “eh, I’m sure this is normal.”

I kept running. I kept increasing my mileage.

A few weeks ago I reached a weird breaking point and I started wondering why the runs after my 20-miler felt hard. At first, I chalked it up to training just feeling tough because I was adding more mileage and feeling tired. Except, I actually took a cut week, so that didn’t make sense. Then my knees started hurting. And my feet — oh my poor feet were KILLING me. I would just wake up in the middle of the night with them aching.

Then I remembered to check out the outer soles of my shoes.

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A-ha! Parts of my heel and toe were missing – and there was a lot of mid-section wear as well.

I was sad.

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Then I calculated my mileage (I started wearing my shoes at the end of May — I had JUST hit the 2-month mark and maybe 250, if that). W.T.F???

Maybe I’m spoiled, but I’ve never burned through shoes THAT fast before. I felt like I had been cheated, especially because I really LIKED the shoes. The kicker — I didn’t even RACE in those shoes.

So, I did what every person would do when they are angry at a brand for reducing the quality of their product… I found another one.

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Meet my new shoes — Saucony Ride 7s.

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I did a lot of research on these things. I needed shoes that could carry me through the next 100+ miles of training and 26.2 miles on October 12th (OMG, THE MARATHON IS IN 6 WEEKS).

My verdict, so far, is that they run a little shorter than the Wave Riders – so I have to half-size up. BUT, I don’t feel like an old lady after I run. In fact I had one of my best long runs in MONTHS last weekend.

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They are the weirdest shoes in the best way possible – if that makes any sense. They are cushy, but not too cushy. They are light (around 8.5-9oz), but feel substantial. The outer sole is solid and from all of the 90878291 reviews I read – really hold up. I wear custom orthotics, so I can’t talk about the inner sole – but the one time I ran in them without my inserts, they were comfy and didn’t bother my ankle.

I’m hopeful. Which is a good thing since I just ordered another pair that will (if all goes well) be my Chicago Marathon Shoes, next month.

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Imagine these shoes with a TON of names written on them. Can’t wait!

TL;DR version… the running shoe love story saga continues because companies keep changing designs and quality. Or they just like to piss me off and keep things interesting (verdict is still out).

Will I switch back to Mizunos when I’m running half marathons?? Will I try Brooks again? Will Saucony become MY SHOE? Only time will tell.

Shoe love/hate… Which brand has disappointed you the most?? Which brand did you not expect to love/wear?

Eating For A Cause {Taste Of The Nation Orlando 2014}

As you may or may not remember, last year I was Paula’s date to Taste of the Nation Orlando.

Well, this year – I signed on to be a Media Ambassador for Taste — and I brought a date of my own.

Ready to Taste the Nation!! #OrlTaste

I have to say, I have yet to be disappointed by this event. So much food. So many drinks. So little time. This year was no different.

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Dan and I arrived at the World Marriott around 5:30 to check in early and take a media tour of the event. I have to say, I’m glad we did this because we were able to scope out the booths that we KNEW we wanted food from and ones we wanted to pass on. We also had the chance to meet Melissa d’Arabian (she was judging a taste off and repping for Food Network!). Unfortunately, she was running late and well – food called. I did get a picture from afar…

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She seemed nice.

Speaking of food… I agree with Paula’s assessment – the food was just plain BETTER this year. The restaurants in attendance (many were repeats from last year) really brought their “A” game. I was truly SAD when I got full (and I mean FULL). The best part of this ENTIRE event?? The $$$ spent on the tickets go charity. All of the food and drinks are donated by the restaurants. So while the $150 is a little steep — it’s NOT being pocketed for profit. In fact, a record breaking $301,317 was raised that night. Yay!

Another perk of the night? I got to hangout with Paula, Cheyanne, and Katy.

Love these ladies! #orltaste #sofull

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I did not drive home.

I think Dan had fun too.

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He loves being adored.

As far as favorites go — I have to say Darden really BROUGHT IT (which surprises me slightly). Capital Grille was by far the best food and Bahama Breeze had the best drinks (fruit infused mojitos — Dan had a jalapeño pineapple mojito that was AMAZING) – although Tito’s was a pretty good second. Other favorites included K Wine Bar, Marlow’s Tavern, Calla Bella, and Disney’s Yacht Club (the last two were neck-to-neck with their scallops!).

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This is what happens when you too busy making out with your food to take pictures.

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There were also pirates.

I was a little (like teeny tiny) disappointed in the wine selection – except for the wine at the Longhorn booth (again – Darden spared no expense!). Most of the pours were tiny in comparison. Maybe it was me though? Maybe I looked like I didn’t NEED anymore wine? (it’s becoming abundantly clear that was probably the case as I look through my pictures ;)).

As for dessert… one word: DONUTS. Marriott whipped up some fresh and melt in your mouth cinnamon-sugar donut holes with dipping sauces. I’m not one for sweets, but I could definitely go for a few of those right about now!

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I tried some of these too, but nothing compared to the donuts.

So in summary – I ate A LOT and I had so much fun being a Social Ambassador for Taste of the Nation OrlandoI’m beyond thrilled it was yet another great event that just keeps getting bigger and better every year. The best part (besides the amazing food – which by the way – was perfect after running a 15-miler!),was meeting some really great people doing amazing things for Orlando.

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Especially Second Harvest! We’re looking forward to Family Night next week.

I’m looking forward to being involved with these organizations for a long time. Thanks to Share Our Strength and TOTN Orlando for the wonderful opportunity!

Things Lately

Hey, remember me? Is this thing on?

*crickets*

As you can probably tell, things have been…busy lately. Maybe busy isn’t the right word, because I swear I’m always busy. Hectic? Beyond busy? Chaotic? Yeah, that’s it. Needless to say, my life has been blowing up in front of my face — and for some reason I feel compelled to document it.

1. Rhode Island is GLORIOUS in the summer.

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Today we got a little lost and ended climbing over rocks (cue anxiety!) before hitting the Cliff Walk. Still ended up chasing the sunrise with this amazing view. #seeonmyrun #newport #wooendorphins #sunrise

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I could probably post 25 more images that look vaguely similar, but different than this. I was in Newport last week for work and while it sucked being away from my family – the rest of it really did not suck. Although, I think I said “I wish I was on vacation…” about 100 times a day.

While I was in Newport, I squeezed in some awesome runs with my coworker.

 

 

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What’s funny is that this was taken at 5:30am — those are some EARLY sunrises!

I love that I work with people crazy enough to meet me at 5am for a good run! Both times we managed to hit the Cliff Walk at sunrise and both times is freaking amazing. The second day, however, we got a little lost and I ended up climbing over rocks with a very apparent look of terror on my face.

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I’m a wuss. 

The last night we were there we took a group trip to the Cliff Walk and it turns out that Woody Allen was shooting a movie.

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All of that lighting was for the movie.

We didn’t see him (nor did we really care to), but we did see Emma Stone. Truthfully, it was more exciting to hang out in the beautiful weather, with my coworkers. You can tell we were having a horrible time. The weather was just terrible.

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Oh, I ate a eat gigantic lobster along with some mussels and clams. Give me alllll of the New England food, please.

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Newport, why must you be so fantastic? *sigh*

2. Girl’s Night Out happened. Again.

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For the 3rd year in a row, a bunch of us got together, got silly, and drank waaaay too much.

This year we went to a super secret speakeasy (which, I loved – maybe I’m a hipster?), a rooftop bar where I managed to tweak my knee dancing (don’t ask), a bar where one of my friends almost won a twerking content (technically she did win because we got free shots), and a club/tattoo parlor (?) with stripper poles.

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I don’t even recall taking half of these pictures. For more fun check out Paula’s post...

3. The Girls’ Night Out plague is REAL.

The first year we went out, I ended up with an ear infection and a horrible summer cold. Last year,was just NOT a good year for a bunch of us. I was in a postpartum/baby haze, so I don’t really remember details. This year was GREAT, until we got home. One person has pink eye, another ended up with a stomach virus. While I didn’t get sick – B came home with stomach issues and E ended up with Coxsackie virus (OMG THIS VIRUS IS SO HORRIBLE).

What sucks? Coxsackie virus What doesn't suck? Hanging out with this guy. Just wish it was for a happier reason.

Poor baby.

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It does not keep him from being adorable though.

This week was exhausting. But it was worth it. Well, the hanging out with my ladies was worth it. The kids being sick though? Totally sucks.

Oh and one side effect of this whole ordeal is that E refuses to nurse (can’t blame him) — so we might be done. I’m still pumping (barely any milk) in the morning and at night – just in case this is a strike (he still loves the milk), but it’s not looking good. I never thought I’d wean this early (it’s early for me!) and without any kind of warning. My Dr. wasn’t kidding when he said “third kids tend to be a bit of a wild card.” The saddest/possibly most ironic part is that it’s during World Breastfeeding Week. Sigh. Bad timing.

4. I found myself a long-run running buddy!

Cut back week! 10 miles with Tyler. Running buddies are the best.

It’s funny because even though Tyler and have raced together — I never thought to harass him to come run with me. Although I think we are very similar in that we don’t necessarily NEED to run with anyone, but the company is always nice. He’s also training for Space Coast (you know that OTHER marathon I am running this year?).

5. I MET MY FUNDRAISING GOAL!!

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I actually had to change this writing my post because I received a donation from my aunt that tipped me over. Wooooo-hoo! One less thing to worry about. Now I just have to worry about running that race. #cuepanic

But in all seriousness — THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of you who have donated! I can’t wait to share my Chicago Marathon experience with all of you.

6. I finally FINALLY cut my damn hair.

Suddenly, I feel 5 yrs younger and 10lbs lighter. I also feel kinda like a douche taking a selfie in these sunglasses.

I’ve been procrastinating – but the last time I had my hair done was in JANUARY. I love it though and I love my stylist. She is seriously the best.

I’ve gotten a little wiser and scheduled my next appointment already. It’s 2 days before I leave for Chicago. I might have to go a little crazy… hmmmm.

7. If you need a good dystopian book to read, I’m currently reading/rereading the MaddAddam trilogy. I’m pretty sure I read Oryx and Crake years ago — but I have book amnesia.

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Apparently, it’s going to be a series on HBO, so you should read it now and throw in your friends faces when they get addicted to the series and want to know what happens. Not that I would do that.

And with that… it’s 9pm and time for bed. I have 14 miles in the morning, Taste of the Nation Orlando tomorrow night, and a whole bunch of other stuff in between.

What’s the last book you read? Where’s your favorite place to vacation? 

Hooked On A Feeling {Guardians Of The Galaxy Movie Review}

Alternative Post Title: The Time My 8-Year Learned How To Use Inappropriate Words, Appropriately

Last week I was invited to see a preview screening of Guardians of the Galaxy.

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© Marvel 2014

This movie has been on my radar for a while because B is SUPER into comics and he was given a GOTG Comic last year at the screening of Iron Man. He read that thing until it fell apart and it has been SO excited about seeing it play out in the theater. We watched all of the trailers together and he gave me the back story to every single one of the characters.

Let it be said that my expectations going into this thing were low. I mean, a talking raccoon and a tree? Really? I do love Chris Pratt, but… A TALKING RACCOON AND A TREE?

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© Marvel 2014

I’m going to get a little ahead of myself here and say that I was 100% WRONG about the talking raccoon and tree — and in the meantime, I fell in love with this little ($175 million dollar) movie.

I found the set up a little more complex than other Marvel movies — and since a large part of movie is about how the Guardians get together I won’t go into it. All you really need to know is that it’s about a band of misfits, in space, who are on a mission – of sorts. Sound like a few other movies you know?? While I’ve seen it compared to Star Wars (and Avengers), I feel like there’s more of a Firefly/Serenity vibe. Also, while it’s Marvel and it DOES tie to The Avengers storyline, this is free-standing movie that has nothing to do with any of the other Marvel movies out there.

So, let’s get to that whole talking animal tree thing… Is it just me, or did the commercials/trailers make them seem lame and like a distraction?? Maybe they didn’t want to ruin it, but I actually thought Rocket and Groot (and their relationship) got some of the best laughs and emotional moments. No, really. I completely attribute this to Bradley Cooper doing some stellar voice work, as well as being easily amused by a tree that only says three words.

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As for the others — I thought Zoe Saldana did a fantastic job as Gamora. She doesn’t put up with any BS (yay – more strong female characters) and her fight scenes are legit. Dave Bautista surprised me as Drax. I mean, he’s a WWE wrestler and he pulled off a performance I didn’t expect. Lee Pace (the main dude from Pushing Daisies) plays Ronan (aka – the big bad) and I have to say I didn’t even REALIZE it was Lee Pace until after I got home – mostly because he’s in blue makeup, but also because he is so sinister.

© Marvel 2014

© Marvel 2014

Why so blue?

The real star of this show though is without a doubt Chris Pratt as Star Lord/Peter Quill.

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 Hello ladies…

I might have had a soft spot for Chris since his days on Everwood (watch it… cry…laugh….fall in love with Bright Abbott) and of course he’s one of my favorite parts about Parks and Rec — but this movie is his show and he is FANTASTIC to watch. I’m actually a little mad that now I’m going to have to share him with the WORLD (and I suppose galaxy).

Another aspect of the movie that I loved (and don’t typically pay attention to) was the soundtrack. A big plot point in the movie is Peter’s 1980’s Walkman and mixed tape from his mom – and they did a great job of streamlining it in. Ever thought you’d watch a prison-break scene to the tune of the Piña Colada Song? Yeah, me either.

As far as B’s review… Yeah, he loved it. Was it a little violent? Sure. But no more violent than Star Wars or the Avengers. Were there several jokes that went over his head? Yep. I will warn you that he learned a few new choice words that were not previously in his vocabulary.

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And that’s not the worst of it…

This movie had more profanity in it than the last four Marvel movies combined (I defend my parenting choices here by saying that we did talk about how their is a time and a place for profanity — and at this age, it’s never). There was also a scene in the beginning of the movie that made him (and me) a little sad – regarding Peter’s mom. So parents, be prepared for a few questions.

I did think there are a few weird quirky parts that I just couldn’t get into (I found all of the “Collector” scenes bizarre – perhaps I am not a big enough Marvel fangirl?), but overall it was a highly enjoyable 2-hour summer movie.

So bottom line — Get really to cheer on a bunch of oddballs for movies to come. And Chris Pratt? Welcome to “Top 5 List.”