Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spin Class > Arc Trainer and How I Survived a Wind Advisory

Let's start from the beginning of the weekend- Saturday morning.

Spin class started at 8:15 in the morning, and I hadn't cross-trained all week so I decided to wake up early and go. Ben doesn't like to work out until later, so we agreed to go separately. I got to the gym 10 minutes before class started, which seemed like plenty of time to me. Turns out the class was already full (people were getting turned away when I walked in). I foolishly thought that an early Saturday spin class would be half-empty- I guess I underestimated how many hardcore people work out at my gym. Oh well, on to plan B.

The elliptical and the bike both bore the heck out of me (I can only bike in spin class where there's good music and the instructor yells commands at me), so I decided to give the arc trainer a try. It was... interesting. I think I liked it better than the elliptical, but not by much. It's supposed to target more muscle groups and burn more calories than the elliptical, but I didn't feel like it did either. The leg motion just felt super awkward to me. The day wasn't a total loss though- I got in some abs and arms as well. But this week I'm going to spin class on Wednesday (like I normally do) to avoid another cross-train fail.

I ate like crap yesterday.  I was actually doing really well until dinner- I bought some grapes and apples and baby carrots (since I never get enough fruits and veggies) and snacked on those instead of Samoas. Satisfying enough. But then we met up with some friends for dinner at Whistlebinkie's, and it was all downhill from there. Ben and I both got a sampler platter OF BEER!

Ben purposely obscured my face with bright
sunlight so that you would focus on the most
important thing in this picture- BEER.

It was nothing short of awesome. You get 4 oz. of six different beers, all for $6. So basically, the equivalent of two beers for $6. Pretty sweet deal, in my opinion. Then I had the BBQ bacon cheeseburger with fries, like I always do because I'm afraid to branch out. I thought about getting a salad but figured it wouldn't be satisfying enough, and I would just leave hungry and eat a bunch of Samoas when I got home. In hindsight, perhaps I should have given that salad a chance.

I don't really need to LOSE weight, and I by no means watch what I eat (quite the opposite, actually). But if I want to race a PR in May, I don't need any extra pounds slowing me down. I think I'm at my healthy weight right now- I only go overboard every once in awhile (like last night), but I never go to bed feeling hungry, either. I got to my lowest weight senior year of college, but I was grumpy because I rarely ate what I want and when I did indulge, I got upset with myself. I'd rather weigh 5 lbs. more and eat what I want.

Sorry for the random rant about watching my weight. My point is, I just want to maintain the weight I'm at now. And BBQ bacon burgers every weekend probably aren't the answer :)

Today I went for a run that really tested my mental toughness. It was 41 degrees outside, which would normally be perfect, except the 25 mph winds with gusts of 45 mph made it feel like way less than that. I did 7.5 miles total in 1:09:30. Ben ran the first 2 miles with me before he turned around, which helped a little. At one point my headband flew off, and I had to run back to get it. Another time the wind gusted so hard from my left side, that it made my left foot kick my right calf. I just kept saying things to myself like, "What if it's this windy on race day?" and, "If you can tough this out, think of how easy long runs will feel in the spring!"

Save for some minor windburn on my face, I emerged relatively unscathed and with a sense of self-pride. Can't wait to do it again next Sunday! (But hopefully with less wind...)

What is your cross-training method of choice?

Do you watch what you eat? How often do you allow yourself to indulge, and what does your indulgence usually consist of?

Do the elements ever cause you to change your running plans (i.e. take it to the treadmill or cross-train in light of a freak windstorm)?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Surprise Hill Workout

Today I went to PiYo and then went for a 5 mile tempo run outside. I've decided that 30 degree weather isn't so bad after the first mile. But that first mile was FREEZING!

I started my run from the DAHLC (my gym) for the first time. I had never run this route, but I was pretty confident that I knew where I was going. At one point, I thought I took a wrong turn (which in hindsight I now know I was going the right way) so I decided to turn around. Problem is, I had just gone down a really long downhill, so then I had to go up a really long uphill. After that, I still didn't know where I was, so I just kept going west until I found the highway, then took the bike trail from there. It actually didn't alter the distance of my run much (it only added a tenth of a mile) but it sure screwed up my splits. Here's what they looked like:

Miles 1 and 5 were at warm up/cool down pace; miles 2-4 were at tempo pace. You can probably deduce that mile 2 was where I ran down the huge hill and mile 3 is where I had to run back up it. (Note to self: incorporate some hill workouts into training.) Mile 4 was probably closest to my ideal tempo pace, although it was probably a little fast.

After my workout I went to the dermatologist since I've had a rash on my face for a little over a month now. It started out as a small dry patch, but now it's spread over my entire chin. The PA shined a little light on it and was like "Oh yeah, that's perioral dermatitis." But since it was my first time being seen in that department, he wanted to get the doctor to confirm it. Same conclusion. Turns out I have to take doxycycline for one to two months to get rid of it. Meaning I'll have to apply copious amounts of sunscreen every time I go for a long run outside so my overly sensitive skin doesn't burn. And I'll probably get sick at some point because I love my dairy, and dairy and doxycycline don't mix well. I'm just glad it's not psoriasis- my grandma had psoriatic arthritis and so does my mom, so I was little worried that I was destined for the same fate. But it appears as though I don't need start worrying about achy joints just yet.

Do you incorporate hill workouts into your training?

How cold is "too cold" for you to run outside?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


We're back in cold and snowy Minnesota! YAY!

Running outside in California was nothing short of glorious. However, there was a lot of shin pain involved since I've grown accustomed to the cushioning of the treadmill. Since I have two races coming up next month, I've resolved to run outside at least twice a week. When I ran 7 miles last Friday in California, it was in the 70s. When I ran 3 miles yesterday in Minnesota, it was 20 degrees with windchill. This may take some getting used to.

Our trip was great, but it was way too short. Saturday night I wanted so badly to change our tickets and stay another week, but that's super expensive and I didn't have enough PTO.

Highlights of our trip included:

Jay Leno with Dave Salmoni and The Fray
We were pumped about getting tickets for this show! If you don't know who Dave Salmoni is, he hosts a show on Animal Planet called Rogue Nature, and if you have Netflix you should check out his other show, Into the Pride. Ben tweeted Dave asking if he'd be bringing any animals on the show, and he replied with "You bet I am!" He definitely didn't disappoint- he brought a baby jaguar, baby Eurasian brown bear, a ring-tailed lemur, and an albino python. The Fray performed their newest single "Heartbeat" and they sounded really good live. Christina Aguilera flaked out and cancelled, but we didn't want to see her anyways.

Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach
It was just fun to go for a walk on the beach. The water is freezing this time of year, so we didn't go swimming or anything. Venice Beach was really interesting... lots of characters there. "Marijuana doctors" are everywhere, as well as lots of homeless people. They have the right idea- if I was homeless, I would definitely live on a beach! We also saw Muscle Beach, where Arnold Schwarzeneggar used to work out. Later on I suffered a short bout of heat exhaustion (and no, this isn't the first time this has happened in 70 degree weather). Luckily I caught it early, chugged some water and rested, and was fine within an hour.

Ben and I at Santa Monica Pier

My 7 mile run in 70 degree weather
Lame, I know, but this was definitely a highlight for me. Ben ran with me for the first 3.5 miles (I love having my running buddy back!) so that made the entire run go by super fast. I felt like I could have gone another 7 miles! It just feels great to be getting my long run mileage back up (slowly but surely).

Finding a pair of Nike Tempo shorts for $10
Also lame, but definitely worth mentioning ;)


OMGGGGGG, best froyo ever! I got their blood orange frozen yogurt with blueberries, raspberries, blood orange pieces, strawberries, mango, and pineapple. So refreshing and delicious! It's a shame we only got to go one time. We thought we were in luck when we saw that there was one at the San Francisco airport, but it turns out you had to leave security to get there :( Our next Pinkberry experience will have to wait.

Horse Races at Santa Anita Park

This is where the movie Seabiscuit was filmed. Jenni and I had no idea what we were doing, but Ben did his best to bring us up to speed. Ben ended up winning $35 on the first race because his horse won. I had bet on the horse with the worst odds, but he got passed by Ben's horse right at the end. I lost $10 altogether, and we ended up finishing $10 up on the day. But we didn't get charged for parking (the races were almost over) and we got in free because we accidentally walked in the employee entrance. So overall, it was good, cheap entertainment! 

San Diego Zoo
We walked around for about 5 hours and still weren't able to see everything! This was definitely the coolest zoo I've ever been to (which actually doesn't say much, considering it's closest rival would be the Alaska Zoo). My favorite animals were probably the elephants, gorillas, and giraffes. We didn't get to see the pandas because we went on a Saturday (the busiest day, and on President's Day weekend) and we would have had to wait in line for about 45 minutes. It's okay though, I've seen them in the movie Anchorman.

This elephant kept using a log to scratch his back.

Angry gorilla pouting in the corner.

Today I experienced my very first Fat Tuesday! I don't know how I've never heard of this wonderful celebration. I've never given up anything for Lent, but I would have at least celebrated Fat Tuesday with people who do give up things for Lent. This morning I had breakfast with some friends before work. I consumed four pancakes, two sausage patties, and a whole lot of fruit and orange juice. I took a late lunch for me (2:30) and still wasn't hungry, so all I had was a protein bar and two Samoa cookies. Then for dinner I had three pieces of pizza and two breadsticks. A successful Fat Tuesday, if you ask me. Good thing I'm going to PiYo and running 5 miles tomorrow!

Are you a Jay Leno fan?

Have you ever been to the San Diego Zoo? What are your favorite animals to see at the zoo?

Do you celebrate Fat Tuesday?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oh Well, We're on Vacation!

Vacation week has begun!

Yesterday, I woke up at the ungodly hour of 3:30am to shower and make sure I didn't forget anything (which is an all too likely occurrence when I go on trips). Then we drove an hour and a half to the Twin Cities. But first, we stopped at Kwik Trip, which is where my crappy eating day began. What else would you expect with 12 hours of traveling?

Here's what my meals looked like yesterday:

Breakfast: sausage, egg and cheese biscuit from Kwik Trip
Snack: 16 oz. vanilla white chocolate mocha from Caribou (BOGO for Valentine's Day!)
Lunch: orange chicken, fried rice, and an egg roll from Panda Express (if it helps at all, the egg roll was on the "Wok Smart" menu... whatever that means)

My healthy airport lunch.

Ben broke his plastic fork. He doesn't know his own strength.

Snack: lots and lots of Valentine's peanut butter M&Ms
Dinner: two beers and a BBQ bacon cheddar burger at Yard House

I think the only thing healthy I had yesterday was some OJ on the plane.

Oh well, we're on vacation :)

The Yard House was a pretty cool sports bar. They had hundreds of beers on tap, so I decided to try some out of the ordinary beers. I had their House Honey Blonde ale and the Rogue Dead Guy ale. They were both delicious! Ben ordered his burger medium, and it was rare all the way through. Of course he didn't say anything until after he ate half of it. So I did what any good wife would do and let him have part of mine. It was Valentine's day, after all.

This morning started off great. We had coffee and a much healthier breakfast than yesterday, then Ben and I headed out for a run together. It was 50 degrees and overcast, which is perfect for me. We only took one wrong turn, which I considered a success. Ben hasn't run since November, but he kept up with me just fine (jerk). We ended up doing 3.2 miles in 27:57 (8:45 average pace). I also got to use my Garmin for the first time, and I'm already in love with it! I hope it warms up in Minnesota soon, because I'm not going to want to go back to treadmill running after this week!

One thing I wasn't prepared to look out for on runs here is the peacocks. There are tons of them around here and they're protected under some bird law (basically they are to Arcadia what crows are to Rochester). Did you know that they are collectively called "peafowl?" The males are called peacocks, and the females are called hens. The males are the ones with the crazy feathers. Thankfully we only saw one male on our run, but it came out of nowhere and we both jumped. I'll put up some pictures as soon as it's nice enough to go for a walk (it's raining out now).

We were going to go to Jay Leno today, which is exciting but it wasn't a very good guest or band (Bill Maher and The Punch Brothers, who I've never heard of). We've been trying to get tickets for Friday because the guests are Christina Aguilera and Dave Salmoni (from one of our favorite big cat documentaries, Into the Pride) and the band is The Fray. I got an email back with tickets for Thursday, and Jenni hadn't heard back yet, so we figured we had no chance. Well, we were just talking about our plans for Jay Leno today, and Jenni got an email saying she got tickets for Friday! Needless to say, we are pumped! :)

Have you ever been to California?

Have you ever been to the Yard House?

Did you run today?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bloomin' Onions and Social ICE

Workout: Easy 3 mile treadmill run, 27:25. Legs felt fresh after my rest day. Also did abs and arms.

Today we were going to hit up the Pizza Ranch buffet for dinner, but then we decided to go to Outback with the brother and sister-in-law, niece, and nephew. We actually went to Outback last year on February 13th to celebrate Valentine's day, and about 5 hours after we finished dinner, our niece Chloe was born! So we figured there was no better way to celebrate V-day and Chloe's birthday than going back to the Outback. Our nephew Charlie wasn't sold on the idea right away, but halfway through our meal he exclaimed, "I didn't know this place was so good!" :)

They have an awesome "Sweetheart Deal" where you get a bloomin' onion, a 9 oz. sirloin plus a side and salad for each of you, and cheesecake to share for $38.99. We did the same deal last year, too. We got there at 4:45 hoping to beat the rush, but it was still a 50-60 minute wait. Nothing can keep me from my bloomin' onion (or my sangria)!

Ben and I took down that bloomin' onion in
record time!

Delicous steak, medium well of course.

If you like your meat or fish undercooked or raw, don't ever work in a parasitology lab. Ignorance is bliss, my friends.

(I don't have a picture of the cheesecake because we ate it too fast.)

After dinner we headed over to Social ICE. It was a really cool experience... emphasis on the word cool. 15 degrees, felt like 3 degrees with wind chill. I'm surprised I lasted a full hour- it's no secret that I'm a wimp when it comes to cold weather. I wanted to get an ice glass, but decided on the hot mulled cider instead. It was way too cold to be holding ice in my hands.

The ice bar. Bartender in the parka is a smart girl.

What Leah and I would look like if we were
ice sculptures.

This thing didn't do a very good job of keeping
us warm, but all the good heaters were taken.

All in all, it was a fun experience. I'll probably go back next year. Ben says this just prepared us better for California- now 60s and 70s will feel downright tropical!

Do you like Outback? Are you a bloomin' onion fan?

How do you like your steak?

Have you ever been to an ice bar?

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Overdue Rest Day, Complete with Dilly Bars

Happy Friday everyone!

I feel like I'm already in California mode, so today has felt extra long to me. (Never mind the fact that I still have to work Monday before we even leave.)

Yesterday I took my new shoes for a 4 mile tempo run on the treadmill. 1 mile warmup, 2 miles @ 8:20 pace, and 1 mile cooldown. Today was my rest day, which was long overdue. I try to take a rest day at least once a week, but my schedule got kinda shaken up this week, so today is my first rest day in 10 days. Oops.

My Garmin came in the mail yesterday, but I haven't gotten to play with it yet. I did set up my Garmin Connect online, and I plan on getting the watch itself set up tomorrow morning. I don't foresee getting a chance to use it until I get to California, though :( Any temperature below 30 degrees is a no-go for me. I think running the Alaska state cross-country race in snow with nothing but a tank top and split shorts on scarred me for life.

Tonight one of my co-workers brought in salt and pepper kettle chips and Top O' Tater onion and chive sour cream. There are no words to describe how tasty it was! Definitely the best snack combination I've had in awhile. Then another co-worker bought DQ for everyone, so I had a mint Dilly Bar for dessert. I think it's safe to say that I ate my weight in chips and ice cream. My fettucine alfredo Smart One can stay in the freezer until Monday night.

Tomorrow night we're going to Social ICE, "the largest outdoor ice bar in the upper Midwest." They have ice glasses, ice sculptures, and of course, several ice bars. I think it's safe to say there will be lots of pictures in tomorrow's post!

Yesterday I realized the ice bar was this weekend and I said to Ben, "Oh, ice bar on Saturday!" To which he replied, "You SPAR?!"

Then on Sunday we have my niece Chloe's 1st birthday party! I can't believe she's 1 already- it seems like just yesterday we were visiting them in the hospital on Valentine's Day.

Any big plans for the weekend?

What's your favorite Dilly Bar flavor?

Are you working out tomorrow?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wine Wednesday

Today I bought yet another running accessory:

My Mizuno Wave Rider 15s!

I know, it's like running Christmas around here (made possible by our Minnesota tax return). Once again, I bought them on a Wednesday (spin class day) so I don't get to try them out until tomorrow's tempo run. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?

Spin class was awesome, as usual. I finally felt comfortable, so I pushed myself harder than I have the last two weeks. I realized just how hard halfway through my ab workout afterwards, when it became evident that I should probably eat something before I passed out.

After my workout, I did some grocery shopping and took my car for a much needed bath. Note: one time through the Kwik Trip car wash does not remove all crow droppings. I had to do several touch-ups once I got home. And with my luck it will probably get pooped on while I'm at work tomorrow.

Wednesdays are nice because I actually get a home-cooked meal. Tonight we're having beef stroganoff- one of my favorite (and easiest!) recipes I got from my mother-in-law. All you do is throw 1 lb. stew meat, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a can of french onion soup in the Crock Pot and cook on high for 4 hours. Serve over rice or noodles, and voila! You have delicious beef stroganoff.

Ben sent me to the liquor store for a bottle of wine. I came home with three.

My liquor store haul

Okay, so they were only $2.97 each. I am by no means a wine snob, so I really don't mind buying cheap wine. The liquor store in Stewartville is extremely overpriced, so I'll take what I can get.

Do you like wine? Red or white?

Have you filed your taxes yet?

What was the highlight of your Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Easy" Runs and My New Training Partner

Yesterday was strength day, and I had an awesome leg work out. It included:

Leg curls
Leg extensions
Leg press
Calf raises
Pilates moves for hips and butt

Needless to say, my legs were toast this morning. But I went for an easy 3 mile treadmill run anyway.

Honestly, I don't think I know what my "easy pace" is. I recently downloaded a half-marathon training plan from SmartCoach on It's a great tool- you should check it out! It takes one of your past race times and calculates what pace you should be training at for easy runs, long runs, etc. My plan includes song tempo runs and speedwork, and will hopefully get me a sub-1:51 finish come May. One thing that surprised me is that it says all of my easy runs and long runs should be run at a pace 10:10, which is kind of slow for me (I ran the majority of my long runs at about a 9:15 pace last year). So I'm not sure if this means that I'm faster than I think I am, or that I need to slow down some of my runs before I get injured. In the past I've never done much speedwork- I would always just try to run my normal routes faster than I had the week before. This is brand new territory for me!

Remember how I said I would buy my GPS watch after I met either my 10K or HM goal? Well, this little steal of a deal may have changed that:

Garmin Forerunner 405

If you want to score one too, Walmart has them on sale for $139 right now! I paid the extra $6 for expedited shipping so that I'll have it in time for our trip to California :)

I think this watch will be a helpful tool for reaching my race goals. I can't wait to try it out!

Do you try to incorporate some form of strength into your training?

Are you following a training plan right now?

Do you own a GPS watch?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chicago, Here I Come!

Last night I did something very exciting...


After having to put my marathon dreams on hold last year (more about that HERE), I knew I wanted to go for 26.2 again this fall. I thought it would be fun to make a trip out of my first one, plus I've heard that Chicago is great for first-time marathoners. Flat and fast with electric crowds. I am SO there!

Of course, I have some other goals I want to accomplish before Chicago. I'll be running a 5K, two 10Ks, a 15K, and two HMs. I previously made myself a goal to run a sub-1:52 half, but I'm going to lower that to sub-1:51 so that I can qualify for Corral D at Chicago! Since there are 45,000 runners, starting in the top 12,000 would be nice :)

Yesterday, Ben and I laid out all of the races I want to do. We came to the conclusion that after we get our tax return, I can buy my Mizunos (yay!) and if I accomplish either my 10K or HM goal, I can get a GPS watch. How's that for some motivation?

Totally random but also totally awesome-

Something you don't see everyday

You just don't see a lot of hot air balloons in Stewartville!

Today we're headed over to our sister-in-law's sister's house (confused yet?) for some "steak, very unhealthy food, and beer." That's a direct quote. Combine that with football and Super Bowl commercials, and you've got the makings of one of the best. Sundays. EVER.

But first, an easy 5-miler :)

Any big Superbowl plans? Who are you cheering for? 

What kind of "very unhealthy food" will you be enjoying today?

Did you register for Chicago?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Protein Mishaps and a New Pain Regimen

Workout: Treadmill, 4 miles/34:28, 0% incline.

Today I woke up at 6:30 to do laundry. Shoot me. Not the best way to start the otherwise best day of the week.

Thankfully I had plenty of energy for my run! 7.1 mph felt almost effortless- I think it might become my new "easy pace" soon. (Granted, it was at 0% incline, but still- a month ago 6.7 mph felt hard!)

My legs felt great throughout my entire run, but as soon as I stopped (literally the third walking step that I took) I felt a shooting pain in my right knee (my ITBS problem knee). It was one of those "Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap" kinda moments.

I immediately hopped off the treadmill and started rolling it out. My knee has been aching every since, but it doesn't feel like ITBS anymore... just sore.

See what I mean about worrying about injuries? Yesterday I thought I had a completely new injury, and today I think my old one is back. Ben thinks I'm crazy. I probably am.

After my run I went downstairs to buy some milk to mix with my protein. The milk hadn't been stocked yet, so I grabbed a yogurt instead. My coworker laughed at me as I mixed my protein and raspberry Yoplait Light in a small styrofoam cup. I choked it down, but it wasn't easy. It very closely resembled the consistency of cake batter- I wouldn't recommend it.

Work was pretty busy up until I finished all my work around 9:00. Nobody else needed help so I decided to just go home early. Came home, popped some ibuprofen, cracked open a Coors Light, and am currently icing my knee.

Ibuprofen + beer + ice... 100% proven to relieve knee pain. I should market this regimen.

I'm excited for PiYo tomorrow. I haven't done any strength work in over a week (bad Aimee). I hear Saturday morning PiYo is like Wednesday PiYo on steroids. But I'm always up for a challenge :)

Do you use a powdered protein? What brand? What do you usually mix it with?

What is your favorite yogurt flavor?

Any big plans for the weekend/Superbowl? 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Pain in the Butt and Dirty Laundry

Workout: Treadmill, 3.0 miles/26:38, 0% incline.


They felt so lightweight and bouncy (very technical description, I know). I wanted to keep running, but I have this little thing called "work" that prevented me from doing so. I already can't wait for tomorrow's run!

Lately, my left hip and butt have been hurting. Every once in awhile I feel some pain on the outside of my left knee, but it's not debilitating. It hurts when I'm driving or sitting down at work, but it usually doesn't bother me when I run. From what I've read, I think it might be piriformis syndrome? Not sure. But it literally is a "pain in the butt." I've been trying to take more time to stretch before and after my runs (~10-15 minutes) and I've been foam rolling each night. I also iced last night and will again tonight. It might be nothing, but after my bout with ITBS I've found that I worry about injuries a lot more. Hopefully it's nothing, and I am just being my normal hypochondriac self :)

Today I actually found a microwaveable dinner that I liked:

Smart Ones Fettucini Alfredo

It was pretty tasty (although not as tasty as the McDonald's french fries I had for dessert). I think the key is it stay away from the dinners with meat in them- it always tastes fake and it grosses me out.

I've put off doing laundry for way longer than I should, so now I will suffer the consequence: waking up extra early to throw a load in so I actually have clothes to work out in.

Laundry is one of my favorite things to do.

Do you put a lot of time into stretching before/after a run?

Any frozen dinners that you recommend?

Do you ever run out of workout clothes?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New Running Shoes (!) and Chicago (?)

Today I got to do one of my favorite things in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD. And it wasn't spin class- although that was fun too.


I've done a lot of research on a few different models, so when I went into The Running Room today I had a good idea of what I wanted to try on. I had no idea I would walk out with a new pair, though!

I tried on the Asics Gel Nimbus 13 (I've been running in the 12s since last April) but they felt a little too controlling. I also tried on the Brooks Ghost 4 and the Glycerin 9. The Glycerin had a lot more cushioning, but I liked the lightweight feel of the Ghost. I wasn't planning on trying on the Mizuno Wave Rider 15, since I didn't like the 14s at all when I tried them on last year (turns out neither did anyone else in the running world). But I decided to try them on anyway, and I was surprised at how much I liked them. I had a really hard time deciding between the Ghost and Wave Rider.

But in the end I chose... (*drum roll please*)

The Brooks Ghost 4!

The Wave Rider felt more responsive, but in the end the Ghost won out because it had more cushioning in the midsole. I didn't think I was going to buy any shoes today, because when I looked at The Running Room's website, they had all of their shoes marked up to $50 over retail price. So when I saw the they had the Ghost for retail price ($100) in store, I was all over that! Plus, I can return or exchange them within 30 days if they don't work out (although I don't foresee that happening).

Honestly, don't be surprised if I end up buying the Wave Rider in the next couple months. It was hard not to take them home with me too!

Mizuno Wave Rider 15

I really wanted to try out my new shoes today, but I begrudgingly stuck to the plan and went to spin class. I still had a good time and a great workout, but I can't wait to run tomorrow!

My dear friend Kristin drove down from La Crosse to visit us today!

Kristin was my first friend at Luther who wasn't a guy. When I transferred I kind of inherited Ben's group of guy friends, but it was hard to make new girlfriends. Religion class brought Kristin and I together sophomore year, and I am so glad to call her one of my closest friends!

We went to Riverview Greens, the local golf course, to check out their awesome happy hour specials. $1 taps, 2-for-1 drinks, and FREE PIZZA. It doesn't get any better than that, my friends.

Plus, we had the entire bar to ourselves:

Not a creepy local in sight!

Then Kristin brought to my attention that she and Ben had never taken a picture together. I don't know if that's true, but we decided an awkward shoulder lean picture was necessary:

Awkward friend photo

I know for a fact that I'll be doing a marathon this fall, but I haven't decided which on yet. Last year I registered for the Twin Cities, but had to drop out due to ITBS. This year I'm thinking about making a trip out of my first marathon. Registration for the 2012 Chicago marathon opened up today, and I am very tempted to register! I'll have to decide soon though, since those 45,000 spots fill up fast!

How often do you buy new running shoes?

What was your first race ever?

Have you ever ran a marathon?