Friday, October 24, 2014

Three Things - October

A long while ago, I did a series of posts focused on talking about me on a more personal level.  If you want to read them some time, here's the list:

Three Questions - About Me

I'm Blowin' Sunshine #1
I'm Blowin' Sunshine #2
I'm Blowin' Sunshine #3

I'm a BE-Liebster #1
I'm a BE-Liebster #2
I'm a BE-Liebster #3

I realized in trying to come up with a post for today that it's been awhile since I've done a me focused post that is not health and fitness related.  So... here goes!


Three Things (randomly selected today from my stream of consciousness) - October




(1) My Husband

In trying to come up with three things to talk about today, I though about the fact that I haven't really talked much about my husband on this blog.  Some of that is intentional, since he's a little anti-social media, and is also a pretty private guy.  Some of that is unintentional, simply because I have too much to say about other things.

Although, to be fair, you HAVE seen him in a few posts - like the Bike/Paddle/Swim race report, the first BE-liebster post, and also randomly hidden in photos here and there in my posts where I may not necessarily call him out.

I guess my husband isn't a TOTAL stranger to you, then.  Heh.

Anyway.

My husband and I met a long, long time ago in a place far, far away.  AKA Madison, WI while we were going to college.  It turns out that a girl from St. Paul, MN and a boy Bloomington, MN (roughly 20 miles apart) have to travel to Madison, WI (roughly 250 miles away) in order to meet.

We started dating our freshman year of college, and just stuck together after that.  I guess when it works, it works - right? 

After college, we got engaged and eventually got married (in our early 20's, scandalously young per several people I spoke with at the time):




Now we're coming up on 10 years of marriage next spring.  Thinking of that commitment on another level, he and I joke sometimes that we've known each other for over half as long as we've been alive.  Which is almost true if you consider I'm only a few years off being 36, and we met at 18.

My husband's degree is in IT, and he also has his MBA.  Currently he works in business development for custom data warehousing programs.  Essentially, he's a computer guy with people skills.  Unlike some people out there:




A lot of people ask me if my husband is as active as I am (AKA crazy), and if he races with me.  While he does enjoy biking and being active, my short answer to that question is no.  My long answer to that is:

One time we ran a 5K together ... it was the first year I started running.  Knowing that a 5K was a fair amount of work, I had asked my husband if he wanted to train with me the month prior to the race, to which he replied the typical non-runner response: "It'll be fiiiinnneee.  I used to run track in Highschool.  I can do it." 

The race itself was fairly uneventful, but the ending is key.  Some time after we finished, I asked him if he had fun and if he wanted to do it again. 

His response? 

"That was a lot of work.  I don't think I want to do it again."






(2) My Job

When people ask me what I do for work, I kind of cringe.  If you've never worked in a sales based industry (IE products), my career seems kind of foreign.




With my Chinese Language degree, my hope was to get into some sort of international business position - which I did straight out of college, and never looked back.  The bulk of my experience until 2010 was in technical product design/development, sourcing, costing and price negotiation.  And it was largely (duh) focused on importing from China.  Long story short, I used to work as a Product Manager. 

I'm guessing the product development portion of my career doesn't surprise you, given the wacky costumes I dream up. 

And as a funny side note to being a Product Manager, I never in a million years would have guessed that I would have to know SO MUCH about artificial Christmas Trees for my career.  HA!

In the last few years, however, I did a lot of exploration in regards to what I WANT to do in life, and I realized working 60+ hours a week for a (slightly) bigger paycheck really wasn't worth it.  Almost three years ago, I took a small step back (more lateral than backwards, but whatever), and I am now employed as a buyer. 

I currently work for a mid sized company that makes what I describe as industrial lighting and complementary accessories - think florescent light fixtures for warehouses or large commercial barns, and the wiring, etc that goes along with that.  My company does the majority of the assembly for these products in house, so I simply monitor our inventory levels and based on previous sales trends, purchase inventory to ensure we don't end up with an out of stock that prevents assembly.




(3)  What I'm Up to for Fun Lately

Besides being active, I have a handful of hobbies that I rotate through to keep me entertained, as my mood suits me.  Like I've mentioned in the past, I'm pretty crafty, and I mostly like to do things like knit, cross stitch, sew, etc.

During the summer, since it's so nice out, all of those little hobbies seem to fall out of favor.  Obviously ... who's going to sit indoors and craft when it's 80 degrees out and perfectly sunny?!

Now that it's starting to cool down again though, I'm sure I'll want to get back into something.  I just haven't decided what yet. 

I have been thinking about doing some sort of silly cross stitch:




I also have a vest I've been working on from over a year ago which I should really pick up an finish.  Maybe I will.  It looks something like this from the back, without the sleeves:




I've also been reading more lately.  Nothing intelligent or educational... so I'm not going to admit what here.  But it's entertaining none the less.

Wow.  I just realized the above is a whole lot of words that basically amounts to nothing.  I have been doing nothing with my free time aside from running around outside in wacky costumes.  Whoops.  Seems like I have some character development to work on there.




And that's about it for today.  Random tidbits about me, as they fell out of my head.

Which leave the floor open to you.  If you have a question you'd like me to answer in a future Three Things post, let me know!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mankato 10K 2014 (Sibling Rivalry)


Mankato 10K (6.2 miles)
1:15:13 PR!
Average Pace 12:07/mile



Can you believe I've never raced a 10K before?  I know, me either.  For the weeks leading up to this race, I figured there must be some kind of mistake.  I MUST have raced a 10K before.

But no.  Somehow in 2012 I hurdled straight from a 7K, up to a Duathalon (run 3, bike 25, run 3), and right into a Half Marathon.  And then, I just kept right on going with Half Marathons, and straight into Marathon training.

Weird!

So here I sit with my first ever 10K completion.  Which is bound to be a PR... because every time it's your first time, it's a PR, AM I RIGHT?!?!?!?!  Whoop!  HAHAHAHA!

---

Before I get too deep into the recap, you might be wondering... Mankato?  Really?!  Isn't that like ... out in the country?




Well, technically yes.  But keep in mind that I live in the South West Metro area to begin with.  So, really, heading down to Mankato isn't TOO much further.  Plus, my gym does the whole party bus to this race, and I ran it last year and had a blast, so...???

Anyhow!  So begins my race recap.

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As is any race with me, the day always opens with two things:

(1) An early AM hissy fit
(2) COSTUMING!!

Side note: how is it that I've evolved from the occasional holiday race outfit into full on costumes for pretty much every race?  I don't know... I guess you can just start calling me Edie.





To keep the hissy fit at bay, prior to this race I downed my usual pre race coffee and banana.  And in keeping with my tradition of running this race as a skeleton (is it really a tradition if I only did it once?  Hmmm...), I followed up my breakfast with this:




Oh, right, my sister.  Yep.  She planned months in advance to run this with me too.  Don't we make good twinsies?!

Well, twinsies except for this:




There is only one Unicobb. 
*Imagine that said in a sinister, movie announcer voice.  I just did.  It was awesome.

Given the 4am wakeup call for this race, getting the above done on race day was a little ... slow.  I did mange to get out of the house on time, though, and was one of the first few on my local gym's "party bus".  Hoorah!

Like last year, given the early start to our day, the bus ride down was less party, more sleepy.  My sister and I chatted some to pass the time, and tried to keep warm since the cold air seemed to be seeping in every window crack and crevice. 

Before we knew it, we were parked at the start line of the race and ready to use the porta-potties.  And for 2014, I experienced yet another new porta-potty way of life, the trifecta:

- In the dark. 
- In the cold. 
- With two guys standing just off my left elbow. 

Yes, it's true.  For the life of me I cannot explain why, but apparently two men in their mid 40's were leaning on the corner of my porta-potty and chatting as I did my business.  A part of me thought of chiming in on their conversation as I occupied, but that was a little too gross even for me.  LOL!

Once I was done enjoying the porta-potty trifecta, my sister and I headed over to the starting area. 

Although the weather on race day was much nicer than last year (given the lack of rain), it was still somewhat cold pre-gun.  So, I did something at Mankato that I've only one once before: used gear check.  Yes, you are probably amazed to hear that given the many cooler races I have ran.  I guess I'm just OCD and try to avoid checking stuff as much as possible.  However, given I wanted to hang out at the finish line post 10K and cheer for my friends running the half, I decided it would be in my best interest to check something to keep me warm post gettin' my sweat on.

The gear check process was very fast and efficient, which meant we had an unfortunate amount of time to kill until the 7:30 gun.  Luckily the crowd was large and there was a sizable gap right in the center.  My sister and I snuck right in the gap and enjoyed the free insulation while we waited.

As we awaited the gun, I started up my GPS, and the two of us listened to announcements.  Apparently, just before we were due to take off, someone else was just coming in.  I don't know why, but a man had decided to run the marathon course in reverse - STARTING AT 3AM - and at about 7:20 he was just rolling in to the start corral... SO THAT HE COULD TURN AROUND AND RUN BACK AGAIN.  On the marathon course.  Two marathons in one day.

I can't explain this level of crazy, so please don't ask.

Anyway, I marveled at his commitment, took in the national anthem and - BANG!  Time to run.  With drones circling over head filming us, of course.  (I wonder if that video will make it on Youtube soon?)

I was eager to get out on course ASAP and get moving, since I had ran the half last year and wasn't sure how the 10K course would differ.  In the first mile, actually, both were exactly the same.  It wasn't until the first rolling hill of the Half Marathon that things switched up: while the Half Marathon would crest their first hill about a half mile past the 1st mile marker, we would only partially climb the hill and turn right into a neighborhood development.  From there on out, the course was totally different.  Although, interestingly, very similar in feel. 

I say they felt similar because like the Half Marathon, the first 3 miles of the 10K were a set of steady, rolling but easy climbs.  And like the Half Marathon, the last half of the course was a nice downhill coast into "downtown" with a flat stretch to the finish.  The finish for everything was the same, too, with the only difference being that the Half joined the main drag of Mankato down by Burger King, whereas the 10K joined down further by the Dairy Queen.  The final 3/4 or so miles of the course were the exact same for all races: 10K, Half and Full Marathon.




Although the course felt very similar in elevation, and was equally as beautiful with the fall colors, I noticed that I was a little spoiled by the half route in 2013 as soon as I hit mile two.  I much prefer the country side running on the Half course as opposed to the urban feel of the 10K. 

Not to mention, the 10K course was much less spectated, and thus less entertaining.

However, on the up side, the additional buildings around us meant less wind, which I gladly accepted.  Especially in the first three miles when I hadn't quite warmed up and was missing my wicking jacket.

My sister and I enjoyed our run and chatted as we went, only stopping to walk the water stops at about mile 2.5 and mile 4.5, with a final walk break just after the 5.5 mile mark (due to some minor knee pain my sister was having - a quick stretch and a short walk, and we were good to go after that).  The entire time, I was pleased that my feet issues didn't seem to be bothering me, and I never needed to stop because of them. 

Despite or walking, you can see that we kept a fairly level pace, too ... aside from the final mile where we took the walk/stretch break:





Somehow, though, the splits show up a little uneven on the breakdown.  I don't know why:

 

 

When we joined the "main drag" / final stretch coming into the finish line (by the Dairy Queen), I recalled my finish anticipation from last year.  Since the street follows an S shape the last 1/2 mile or so, it seems like you will never make it to the end, being that you can't see anything in the distance.

And then all the sudden you round the final bend in the S and you see it.  The finish line.  And ... you're done!

Well, unless your sister tries to slap you in the face and keep you from finishing first. 

True story!!

Actually, what happened is: I proposed we jump at the finish for the photographer and didn't clarify timing.  I jumped and was already coming down to land as my sister was going up.  Somehow in the tangle, she managed to get her arm out in front of me and catch me in the face/chest.

It really felt like a true sibling rivalry, my sister trying to hold me back from the finish so she could come across first.  I imagine it looked something like this:




Official race photos aren't up yet, but assuming the photographer caught us, I'll be sure to share that picture perfect finish in a future post.

Of course, as soon as we crossed the finish, we were ready for this:


 
 
We also stopped at the food tents to grab a few standard post race snacks (bananas, bagels, potato chips, water, Gatorade, etc).  Somehow, though, we missed the beer tent.  BOO!
 
After getting our desired treats, we headed back towards the finish line to watch the last few 10K runners come in.  Not too long after, the first few Half Marathoners came in too.  That's when the fun began, I just love cheering for people I know, and I caught about half of the runners on our bus.
 
Eventually, I couldn't take the cold anymore and decided to head back to the bus.  Where I was greeted with a FANTASTIC post race party spread and camaraderie all around.  And of course, it required the obligatory group photo:
 
 
 
 
A few fun party games (with prizes!!) ensued as we enjoyed our food and our company ... and eventually it was time to board the bus and head for home.

 



Which I wasn't too sad about, because it meant I got to go home, shower, and put on this:




And the fabulous post-race party prize I won:

 



Honey Badger Don't Care!

A little later in the day, race results were finally posted, and I was quite pleased.  Although a 12 minute per mile pace may not seem like a big deal to seasoned runners, it was 30 seconds per mile faster than my sister's usual pace - and on her longest course yet.  Given that the last time I set her up on a training program she suffered a stress fracture, I felt somewhat redeemed that my suggestions (and her hard work, of course) paid off.

Plus, I was super happy that I managed a 6 mile run with my plantars feet.  Despite the fact that I was hobbling a bit post race, that quickly righted itself after a night of stretching and a Monday morning wake up call.

Which makes me realize, I need to stop making excuses and get back out there.  I've been way too lazy with my running in the last 6 months, and it's time for a change.  Let's see how the next 6 months go!

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And that's the story of how race bib #51 joined my collection.  Here's to another race soon...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day Off

Some of you already know that my sister was in town over the weekend.  As such, I took Friday (10/17) off work to hang out with her, her husband, and her two kids.

I mean, how could I not?  Look at these kids.





SO... being that I took a day off last week, I'm going to take a day off here too.  Don't worry - you'll see more of what my sister and I were up to on Wednesday's post.

Oh, and BTW, that Anna hat my niece is wearing?  Yup!  My sister made it.  Check out her shop.  Her 20% off Halloween sale is still going too, coupon code: SPOOKY

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Funny #3

I'm guessing you wouldn't be surprised if I told you - a lot of stupid, funny stuff happens to me on a regular basis.  And usually, it's because I unknowingly set myself up for it.

In honor of my follies, I decided to start an occasional post tradition on my blog:  the Friday Funny.  Whenever something worthy of my unique brand of stupidity happens, I post a snippet about it here.

And so, with that introduction, I bring you the latest installment of the Friday Funny (this one isn't exactly tied to me, but everyone keeps saying it should be, so hang with me here):

Video link in case the below video preview doesn't work.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On the Go - Easy Portion Size References

Courtesy of this article, today I thought I'd share a couple of quick ways to help you gauge food portion sizes when you're on the go.

Since dressings and spreads are always tricky, I thought it might be good to highlight these two first:






And just to show you how out of control portion sizes are in the US, check out ice cream.  Boo.






Feel free to check out the entire article for more quick ways to keep track of what you eat.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Recipie: Delicous Dinner - Asian Style Turkey Burgers

A few months ago, I told my husband to make turkey burgers for dinner.

Yes, he does cook!  In fact, in our house, I do most of the grocery shopping and he does most of the meal prep.  It works out well because (1) he's a great cook and (2) he gets home way earlier than I do on a normal work day. 

The only down side is that means I have to do all the dishes.  Boo.




Anyway, he must have been feeling inspired that night because he decided for some reason to make burgers based on this recipe.  Which worked out great because we always have fresh ginger in the house, and who doesn't love ginger?!

PRO TIP: if you buy a huge ginger root at the grocery store, you can save time by peeling and shredding it all at once, then wrapping it in saran wrap in a tube like shape, and freezing it.  Then, whenever you need ginger, unwrap the roll on one end, slice of a few rounds of ginger without thawing, and throw the thing back into the freezer for next time.  That's a trick I learned from my father-in-law, also a good cook.  (Hey, must be genetic).

Since we didn't have all the ingredients in the house, my husband made a few modifications (below), and we enjoyed the burgers with our usual vegetable and fruit sides. 

And since it's a pan cooked recipe, the added bonus to this recipe is that it allows you to enjoy burgers in the house now that cooler weather is setting in.  Lose, win ... right?

Regardless, we really liked them.  Maybe you will too?

Enjoy!

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Asian Style Turkey Burgers


 
 

 


Ingredients
  • Ground turkey (we used one tray's worth from the store)
  • Diced onion, about 1/2 cup
  • Fresh ginger, 1-2 tablespoons grated
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Fresh cilantro, finely chopped, about 1/4-1/2 cup (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Mix all ingredients by hand in a large bowl. Fair warning, the mixture will be very thin and somewhat messy.  Try to be patient, it's worth it.

Preheat a nonstick pan.  Form mixture into patties and carefully place into pan.  (Since the mixture is very loose, grilling is not recommended).

When the patties cook through on one side, flip and allow to cook on the other side.  Try not to flip too early, as your patty may fall apart.  Timing will vary based on how thick you make your patty and how high your heat is.  Use a food thermometer to check temps and ensure safe meat handling.

Serve your patties with your favorite burger toppings and sides. 

Optional: tastes great with a sriracha mayo (just mix sriracha with mayo to taste and spread on the bun).

Makes 6+ healthy sized patties.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Funny #2

I'm guessing you wouldn't be surprised if I told you - a lot of stupid, funny stuff happens to me on a regular basis.  And usually, it's because I unknowingly set myself up for it.

In honor of my follies, I decided to start an occasional post tradition on my blog:  the Friday Funny.  Whenever something worthy of my unique brand of stupidity happens, I post a snippet about it here.

And so, with that introduction, I bring you the latest installment of the Friday Funny (courtesy of the Twin Cities / TC Marathon and 10 mile race):