Working It Out – Drop Two Sizes

My latest exercise endeavor: Drop Two Sizes by Rachel Cosgrove

The cover? Blech. The model? Meh. The title? Horrendous. (All of which Rachel has addressed here.)

The workouts? Killer. The meal plan? Good. The results? Worth it.

I picked this up after her husband, Alwyn Cosgrove, co-author of the New Rules books that I love so much, recommended it to our NROL4W Facebook group for fat loss. I was definitely hesitant but I’m glad I went for it. As a result, we created a separate facebook group for those interested in her program and it has been so nice to have a support system!

The workouts are tough! They focus a lot on mobility, complex movements, a lot of off-loaded weights, balance stuff. It’s deceptively challenging. Especially the weekly metabolic sessions.

The diet is mostly common sense stuff – lots of fruits and veggies, lean meats, some complex carbs, a protein shake daily, and limiting yourself to 2-3 “splurges” a week (which is my biggest challenge). There is a little bit more to it than that but that’s the gist. Nothing crazy here! It works out to be about 1800 calories a day for me.

I doubt I’ll actually drop two sizes (as my diet is not squeaky clean) but I’d be really happy with one. I’m halfway through the program (almost) and can actually button jeans that are 2-sizes-too-small though they are NOT comfortable or flattering. Hello, muffin top!

I love that Rachel is a proponent of ignoring the scale – something I am seemingly incapable of doing. Most women gain weight (~4 pounds) on the plan. But lose 2 sizes. I’m on track with the weight gain, that’s for sure. But these jeans don’t lie. Something is going on with my body composition!

But there’s a problem. I’m essentially no longer running now (thanks to my hips) and now, my knees are acting up again these past couple weeks. My current internal debate is whether to continue on as is, modify the program to ease up on my knees, or stop completely. I have an appointment with my physical therapist in a few weeks and we’ll see what he says. In the meantime, I’m going to dial it down a little.

Portland Beercation

Exactly one week ago, Huz and I took off in our loaded down SUV to visit our metropolis neighbor to the south – Portland.

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Even though P-town is only a 3 hour drive (roughly) from us, I have never spent much time there. Sure, I’ve made the trek down there to catch an obscure concert or two while in college but we never dallied – there was always classes to get back to. I don’t even know how we really came up with the idea to visit… I think we read an article about microbreweries (Oregon has the most, per capita!) and joked how we should just do a brewery tour vacation. My running buddy, Ellen, is from there and was going down to spend the holidays and offered us a place to crash so that sealed the deal.

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We ended up going down for 3 nights, and 2 of which were spent at a hotel thanks to a Living Social deal. (We didn’t want to impose too much on Ellen’s family.) Our hotel was on the Eastside by the convention center so not exactly a happening spot BUT Portland has the most amazing public transit system ever so we were fine.

We rolled into town around lunch time on Saturday and headed directly to our first beer stop: Burnside Brewery. We had done a decent amount of research and formed a loose itinerary based primarily on location and reviews. I loved the atmosphere of Burnside and the menu looked great. I honed in on the gnocchi and buffalo ragu and was not disappointed though Jodus was a little saddened by his unimpressive grilled cheese sandwich and a mountain of fries that weren’t exactly all that good.

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Going into this vacation, knowing that beer drinking was our primary task, I settled on just doing samplers everywhere we went so I could try as many as possible (which ended up being over 60!). At Burnside, they had a full sampler of all their 11 beers so Jodus and I opted to split that. 44oz of beer for just me would have been a little much. Overall, Burnside’s beer was just average. We enjoyed the porter and the stout most of all but also had the worst beer of our entire vacation there – the Sweet Heat, a hot pepper wheat ale. We each had a sip and then it remained untouched which says something amongst beer lovers.

That afternoon, we had some giftcards and Christmas money burning a hole in my purse so we decided to take advantage of Oregon as a sales-tax-free state (compared to Washington’s lovely 9%) and make a fairly large purchase.

Yep, we bought new bikes. We’ve been talking about it for months and doing our research so when we went to River City Outlet, it was a fairly simple process. They were really knowledgeable and helpful and installed all our accessories for us. I would highly recommend them for locals. For those curious, I ended up with a 2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 (a cyclocross bike) and Huz ended up with a 2011 Jamis Bosa Nova whose selling point was disc brakes and fenders.

After breaking the bank, we headed back to check into our hotel quickly then went back out for more beer. Our next stop was Base Camp Brewing which ended up being our favorite of the whole trip. It’s basically just a tasting room but they do offer some food via food trucks. We each got slightly different samplers but managed to try all their beers between the two of us and were very satisfied. Our most favorite EVER was the IPL – India Pale Lager which is a style of beer they essentially made up. Points for ingenuity! Also, the Smores Stout had a roasted marshmallow on it. Winning.

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Our next stop, which included dinner, was Green Dragon Bistro & Brew. They are a nanobrewery with kind of a weird set-up so they actually only had one of their own beers on tap but I think they had somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 beers total! No samplers though so I actually had to drink a full beer. I enjoyed a Diamond Knot Brown while Huz worked the IPAs. For dinner, we each got burgers and they were ok. What was amazing though? Their tater tots. Jodus got some as a side with his burger and they were so good we ended up putting in another order. And devoured them.

After enjoying another beer, we headed back to the hotel. We were pooped – neither of us slept well the week prior.

Sunday, we went for a scenic (but icy!) run around the bridges and river of Portland then scarfed down hotel breakfast (gag) before heading out to a slightly less nutritious locale.

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Voodoo Donuts was high on my priority list when we started planning our little trip. It is iconic Portland, surrounded by a lot of hype and I had to try it.

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The donuts were really good and the place was fun and now that it is marked off my to-do list, I don’t really have a burning desire to go back.

We spent the majority of the day just wandering around the west side of the city, downtown proper. We went to Powells, a massive, heavenly bookstore, did some window shopping, and just took in the town until we reached an appropriate drinking hour.

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Lunch was at Rogue where we rendezvoused with Lisa! Lisa and I have been virtual friends for a couple years now so it was great to meet her and her boyfriend in person. Alas, I am a goof and didn’t actually get a picture with her but I did snap our beer!

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I opted for a porter/stout sampler while, true to tradition, Huz opted for IPAs. The beers were decent but uninspiring and the food was good. Overall, it was a fun lunch!

We headed back out to the streets of Portland and explored the Pearl District. We headed to Bridgeport for yet another sampler with high hopes since their IPA is one of Jodus’ go-to beers.

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My favorite here was the Blue Heron Pale Ale and one of their seasonal ales, the Porter. Must get my hands on that locally!

We headed down to Deschutes for dinner and I must admit, by this point I was feeling a tiny bit buzzed. It was super busy and a little cramped but we managed to find a wobbly table at the bar area to saddle up. Our server was amazing which made the experience a little more fun.

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Again, another pair of samplers for us! There were a few that I enjoyed but especially the Velvet Noir. We also really enjoyed the food but that could have been the beer talking. We opted to walk the mile and a half back to the hotel – it was a gorgeous evening but really flipping cold.

Monday was a day full of epicness. We packed up our things and checked out of the hotel. First stop: breakfast! We went to Tin Shed Garden Cafe and even though it was busy (they were short staffed) it was really good! Then headed to pick up our newly purchased bikes. Next stop: Lady Luck Tattoo. Totally on a whim, Jodus decided to get inked for the first time. He’s been waffling back and forth about it all year and on the car ride down here, we finally figured out what he wanted to get so we just did it! We worked with Jason, who was amazing. 

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His tattoo says “Life is eternal, Love is immortal, Death is only a horizon…” which is the beginning of a quote which means a lot in his family.

Lunch was at Lucky Labrador and, surprise! Another sampler was in order. This place was huge! And sprinkled with cute dog art so it was automatically a winner in my book! Food was basically sandwiches, soup and salad and it was all good! The beers all had cute names, too.

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We headed out to the suburbs after that to meet up with Ellen, finally! We putzed around her house and town a bit before heading back into the city to do a NYE dinner with her friends at Henry’s. The atmosphere was lovely, the food was fantastic, and I have zero complaints. It was also highly entertaining seeing all the girls in sparkly mini-dresses and high heels stumbling around. We wrapped up around 9:30 and didn’t have plans until midnight so we ended up going back to Ellen’s to change and hang a bit before heading back into the city.

Yep, another midnight run! We did the First Run 5k to ring in the new year and I had a lot of fun even though it was ridiculously cold! It was fun and well organized, with a rockin DJ, snow machine, and lots of heaters. It wasn’t a PR for me but I didn’’t expect to after the copious amounts of eating and drinking we did the last … month, basically and especially that weekend! We wrapped up the run, watched the drunks stumble home, and headed back to Ellen’s for champagne and pie. And House Hunters. And crashed at 3:30am.

The next morning, we went out for brunch to La Provence in Lake Oswego. It was a bit of a drive, and a lot of a wait but zOMG was it worth it.

What you are looking at here is the risotto cakes with poached eggs, potatoes and roasted butternut squash. What you don’t see is a fabulous soy café au lait and a piece of wheat toast the size of my head. Everyone was equally satisfied with their meals and I will definitely be returning when we come back to P-town.

It seems slightly less epic going through all the pictures now of our weekend but we really had a blast and ate and drank so much that we are more than ready for our annual detox! Happy New Year, all!

Jingle Bell 5k – Seattle

Heeeyyyyyyyy! Yep, I’m still around, still running. This past weekend, I headed over into the city with my friend, Ellen, and my Huz and totally rocked some awesome socks at the Jingle Bell 5k.

Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled about the route and knew it would be super crazy busy so I settled on just having a good time and enjoying all the ridiculous peeps out there. It was highly entertaining.

As we were walking up to the race, I decided, after seeing the hoards of people, that a PR was not in the cards and I wasn’t going to go for it. And then we took off. And we were dodging people left and right and irritated at all the walkers (!!) we were passing who should have been behind us. (Seriously, makes me ragey.) And before I knew it, we were at the mile 2 mark and I was *gasp* on track for a PR.

So I went for it. I kept a comfortably uncomfortable pace (so consistent, actually!) and then the last little bit bolted for the finish line. I totally PR’ed (31:33 official chip time) AND if I hadn’t had to dodge so many damned people, I could have probably eeked out a sub 30:00 (total mileage ended up being 3.35 miles instead of 3.1). I was super stoked about the surprise PR and really happy with my split times:

1: 9:32
2: 9:33
3: 9:31
.35: 8:45

I’ve got another 5k on the books for New Years… we’ll see if I can nab that sub 30:00. Not sure since it is a midnight run. But it’s flat which this one was not. We’ll see how the conditions go.

It should also be noted that my husband is amazing. Last month, he ran his first ever FULL marathon and finished in 4:15.

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I actually meant to do a post about it but I think I just forgot. I had a blast cheering him on with our friends and he totally killed it.

I’m ridiculously proud of him.

Catching Up

Yep, it’s been awhile (yet again) since I’ve popped in to say hello! The main purpose now is for a race recap! But when I went to look at my recap page, I realized that I haven’t even recapped the last race from back in August. Whoops. So, this is going to be just one giant “catching up” post.

I guess we’ll start with racing since that was my intention.

Way back in August, I ran the Oly Run 10k (again). It happened to be one of the hottest days of the year and the race didn’t start until 10am and we were already sweating buckets. Needless to say, it was not my best.

I actually set out running the race with my husband and friend, Ellen, but after the first killer mile, I set them on their way. Hubs ended up keeping Ellen company the entire time and they rolled in a few minutes before I did, equally beat up by the heat.

The course this year was different than last year so I can’t really compare times but the fact that it took me over 10 minutes longer this time says it all. My chief complaint was the late start – the route was a little better this year, and it still went to a good cause, so I’m happy I ran. (Also, it was a month earlier this year than last year. Why? I’m not sure.)

After this 10k in August, the next race I had lined up was the Poulsbo 10k in October. After being plagued with knee injuries since the end of last year, I wanted to take it easy on the distance front and focus on getting faster. So my intent was for Oly Run and Poulsbo to be a “before” and “after”, theoretically. Yes, this is flawed. The conditions were VASTLY different but both were decently hilly courses.

A couple weekends ago, I ran the Poulsbo 10k and it was cold and rainy and windy. A stark contrast to the 90* dry heat from August. And that extra 10 minutes that Oly Run took me? Gone. I came in around 1:05. Not a PR for me but a decent effort considering my knee (and now hip) have been bothering me and I haven’t been logging a lot of miles.

The 10k route for Poulsbo was new this year. (I ran the half last year and it is my half marathon PR.) The route was boring. I wouldn’t do it again. I did run the first 2 miles with Ellen, who was doing the half route again this year. Then I split off on my own and meandered my way through neighborhoods before heading back to the finish line.

Crossing it was the saddest I’ve ever been after a race. No one greeted me. There was no photographer. There were maybe only a dozen people milling around. I grabbed my ribbon, ran to my car, and drove down to Front Street to try to catch my husband on the half route but he was too speedy. I did see Ellen and Marissa, though (from my Ragnar team this year!)

I headed back up to the high school to wait for them all to finish. This was the upside to running the 10k – I could finally support all my runners who have been there to support me along the way. My amazing husband PRed (and didn’t end up in the ER) and Ellen finished very strong considering she didn’t feel very well the day before. Marissa’s crossed the finish line with her daughter and it was adorable.

This unofficially marks the end of running season for me. I have a 5k Jingle Bell Run in December and that’s it. Because of my aches and pains, I’m going to take it easy with running through the winter but still try to keep a small base then hopefully I can come back strong and healed next Spring.

In other news, since I have been MIA pretty much all summer, we got in a few good hikes this season, husband is training for a full marathon next month, my mom came to visit, I had a lovely birthday, we made our annual trek to Arizona to visit family, I participated in a Heart Walk last weekend, and all is good in our neck of the woods. We are drinking a lot of beer, and now eating a lot of pumpkin. As always, you can follow me on twitter or Instagram (leftovers4lunch) for more regular updates.

xoxo – thanks for sticking around!

Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage 2012

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And another Ragnar bites the dust! W00t!

For those of you that don’t know what Ragnar is, it is a 12-person (or 6 if you are Ultra Awesome), 200-mile relay race. Our race went from Blaine, WA (the border of Canada) to the south end of Whidbey Island. It took us about 29 hours total to complete!

This was our second year running and we had a blast. It was a little bit different of an experience since we weren’t rookies this time around and ended up fulfilling most team captain duties but it was just as much fun and just as challenging. (Last year can be found here!)

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{Pre-race carb fest at our house with most of the team and our fabulous volunteers!}

Like last year, Huz and I were Van 1 but we were different runners than last time so we got to experience different legs. We were also in a van of all new vanmates and two of them were runners from our team last year but in Van 2. Then there were the two rookies!

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{L to R: Ellen, Marissa, Me, Nicole, Blake, and Huz}

We ended up borrowing my dad’s F-150 for our “van” and boy was it cozy! But Ellen and Nicole swear it was better than using a Durango like they did last year – more leg room! Our team name was None of the Above and we were going with the Americana/political theme. (If you don’t get the reference, you need to watch Brewster’s Millions again.)

Friday morning was very gross out. Pouring down rain, thunder, windy, hot mess. It made trying to decorate the truck interesting. We buzzed through check-in then shivered in the rig until making our way to the start line.

{Ellen in full get-up!}

The rain let up a tiny bit and I got it all started!

My first leg was my longest. I thought it was going to be 6.8 for some reason but it was only 6.3 which was a pleasant surprise.

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It was pretty boring, actually. Flat, straight, highly trafficked, raining. Not all that much fun. I was glad to be done. I handed off to Ellen and got to enjoy spectating and supporting our runners for a few hours.

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Ellen totally rocked her leg and while she was out running, we befriended a pirate who liked my pinwheel.

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Blake was our 3rd runner and is a total speed demon.

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Fabio is jealous of that hair.

By this time, the rain had let up and it only sprinkled so no more super soggy runners!

Pretty quickly, he handed off to his sister, also a speed demon.

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Marissa, one of the rookies, took over from there.

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Then the Huz was up!

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He was a little nervous about running (we all know what happened last time he pushed himself) but he did great and kept up an awesome pace.

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When he pulled into the next major exchange, our van had a few hours to kill before gearing up for our next legs so we headed to Boundary Bay Brewery (again!) and met up with a couple of our Superstar Volunteers for a late lunch.

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Each team is required to have 3 volunteers or they have to pay extra. David and Shannon volunteered to help us out since they couldn’t actually run the event and they were totally great sports. Mucho thanks! (Our 3rd volunteer, Ben, was at the finish line!)

The down time went pretty quickly and before we knew it, night hours were approaching and Van 2 was telling us to get ready! My eyes were definitely starting to get tired – 5 hours of sleep the night before wasn’t the best.

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I started us off again with a cranky 6-miler (almost). It was only supposed to be 5.1 miles but there was road construction so I had a detour and it ended up being 5.9.)

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My run was right at dusk. There was the one nice long hill climb that I cursed my way up and was so glad to see the “1-mile-to-go” sign.

At this point, it was pretty much dark and our energy levels were tapering off and the camera didn’t really get pulled out  but we continued in the same order and all did really well and didn’t sustain any injuries. Ellen almost puked sprinting at the end of her leg but that was the most excitement we had. And a few wrong turns that were a little stressful to navigate.

We finished off this segment of running in the early morning. I think 1:30ish? We headed to the next major exchange, rolled out sleeping bags on a gym floor, and got 2 hours of shut eye again before heading back out.

I was feeling like complete crap and didn’t know if I was going to make it but I felt better as soon as I started running. The last one was the shortest of my legs but had the gnarliest hill too.

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It’s kind of funny… at the beginning of the race there was so much energy and chatter and excitement and towards the end, you are falling off, the van is quiet, tension is high, people are stiff and sore and (in my case) very nauseous.

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Delirium sets in and you start to find everything very entertaining. Like slugs that are nearly a foot long. And twisted safety vests.

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We were all thankful to be done by 11am. Jodus brought it home strong!

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We all showered up, got some lunch, and headed to the finish line to party in the *gasp* sunshine! So glad that the sun decided to come out and play!

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Van 2 definitely got the short end of the stick – they had the longest, hardest legs at the roughest times BUT they also happened to have the gorgeous runs. I was only a tiny bit jealous.

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Meeting up at the finish with our other van was so great! You hardly get to interact with the other van at all except for 10-15 minutes at the major exchanges while you wait for the last runner to come in. We were blessed with such a great group of people, I wished we could have hung out more!

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We all ran across the finish line together, got team photos, then plopped our tired butts down in the grass for some mimosas! It was fabulous.

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We made our way back to the ferry and headed home. It was an exhausting but really fun weekend that is so hard to translate into a blog post. You can find all of my pictures here and there is also a little slideshow that Marissa put together!

Yep, we are already thinking about next year. I’m addicted to Ragnar.

Firecracker 5000

I hope everyone had a fabulous 4th of July celebration! It was kind of strange having a day off in the middle of the week but I’m not complaining! We took advantage of the day off by staying out super late on Tuesday… We ran the Firecracker 5k at 11:55pm!

Hubs and Ellen and Nicole.

Before the 5k, we headed over to a friends house for BBQ then took the ferry into the city for the midnight run.

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Such a terrible picture, I’m sorry. Anyway, I made all the girls “running skirts” using stitch witchery, discount fabric, and some sport elastic. They are kind dorky but fun for the event. And we plan to reuse them for our political-themed Ragnar race coming up in a couple weeks. Whatevs, it was fun to get all dressed up in patriotic gear.

This was our first time doing the Firecracker 5k and going into it, I just wanted to have fun. Isn’t that what midnight runs are all about? There was a ton of amazing people watching.

I don’t know these people. I jacked this from the Firecracker 5000 facebook page.

The route took us around the Seattle Center and seemed to be uphill the entire time.

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Nicole is a speed demon so she took off way ahead of us. Huz and Ellen hung back with me and let me set the pace. The road was pretty rough in patches and we had to dodge cones and turtles the entire time but getting cheered on by bar-goers was definitely the highlight.

The race was pretty awesomely organized. The pre-race stuff was cool – a few good booths with free samples, lots of people watching, plenty of facilities to use at Memorial Stadium. The start corrals were pretty informal. We hunkered down around the 10 min/mi marker knowing I wouldn’t be able to hang with that but starting out, it seemed good. It only took us a couple minutes to get over the start line and we were off! There was a little bit of congestion on the course but it wasn’t a huge deal.

1: 10:35
2: 10:55
3: 10:16
.14: 1:09 (8:02 pace!)

Final: 32:56 (Overall pace: 10:27)

I don’t really remember specifics about the course other than it was a little rough. I got grit in my eyes halfway through and couldn’t see anything for almost a mile. I even had to pull over for a minute to try and clean my eyes out. I just ended up squinting and trusting Jodus and Ellen to make sure I was going the right direction.

A couple of the hills were definitely challenging… I did say to Ellen at one point that I couldn’t maintain our current pace for the whole hill so we pulled back a little but it was hard to not get swept up in the energy. In the end, I still had a good kick in me and ended up passing a few people in the final stretch… and then felt like puking.

In the end, I ended up with a (small) PR and I was proud. Considering it was a night run on a non-ideal course, I know that I could do even better in the future and that was a rewarding feeling. (Which is a nice change of pace, no pun intended, from the demoralizing half marathon and long runs I have been doing.)

All in all, I’m not sure if this is a race I would do every year but it was really fun. We had to high tail it out of there to catch a cab to the last ferry home and we ended up sleeping in until 10a the next morning.

Our 4th was low-key – breakfast out, some yard work, and a grilled dinner. Happy 4th, all!

Rhody Run 12k – 2012

Yep, Hi! Still alive. I’m not going to apologize for being MIA lately. I wish I could say that it’s because we’ve been busy but we haven’t really. I just haven’t been cooking at all and, let’s face it, this is primarily a food/recipe blog. I haven’t been cooking because I’m being lazy. And I’m trying to clean up my diet which leads to some pretty boring chicken + broccoli kind of dinners. And the weather has been better so we’ve been grilling up burgers. I’ve also really taken a step back from the computer and rekindled my love of books. Pretty much every night of the week, you can find me curled up on the loveseat under our living room window with a library book in my lap. And I am loving it. I’m 56 books into this year and am showing no signs of slowing down.

But what has slowed down considerably is the amount of  running I’ve been doing this year compared to last year. Coping with a knee injury for the past 6 months has been tedious. It’s plummeted not only my cardiovascular conditions (which is pretty nonexistent to begin with) and taken my motivation along with it. The nicer weather lately has been helping but it’s hard to see how much of a hit my pace has taken. I’m trying not to let it get me down and to just make the most of this upcoming race season. The bright side is that my knees (and feet) are doing well for the time being so it’s time to get back into the running saddle.

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And starting off this running season, we ran Rhody this morning. If you could call it running, really. More like shuffling for me. I was dreadfully sick this past week – fever, chills, coughing, runny nose. I actually called in sick to work 2 days. But I didn’t let that stop me from hustling across that start line. Rhody is a special run for me – not only is it my “Hometown” annual run, it’s also what I consider to be my first real race last year. It kick started my running bug so I was eager to revisit it, even though there would be nothing kicking about today’s run.

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It was cold and rainy at the start and I was miserable. A picture is worth a thousand words. So not thrilled.

My husband on the other hand, was rather chipper and optimistic!

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I forced him to run on his own this year and not suffer alongside me in my misery so he used the opportunity to try out his half marathon pacing in preparation for Rock n’ Roll next month. He killed it.

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Jodus finished in 1:02:25, then ran the 2 miles back to my dad’s house while I continued to plod along.

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Yep, that’s me trying to dig in. But I wasn’t the only one – look at all those other faces around me fighting their way up a mile long hill! Ok, Dad, I’ll smile for you.

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Yep, I need to lay off the beer.

I ended up crossing the finish line at 1:28:28, which is 6 minutes slower than last year. But considering the sickness and the whimpy miles I’ve been putting in,  whatever. I finished without hacking up a lung. (You can catch my splits and the route on Daily Mile if you are curious.)

We also enjoyed the Rhody Parade on Saturday, which happened to be a gorgeous day out and we even turned a little red. But this morning was dreary and gray. Boo hiss.

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(I’m overdue for a retarded picture of myself anyway. It’s usually husband that is so good at making an ass of himself!)

And one obligatory parade shot of my favorite chair ladies:

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We are now home sweet home and about to gorge on pizza. Peace out, Girl Scouts.

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