Sunday, February 28, 2010

Week in Review

Not as many miles accomplished this week. I'm going to "blame" it on the birthday, Miami, and Patron XO. Sounds good to me at least!


Tuesday-one hour Ashtanga Yoga class at 6am with Meg joining me. Noontime tempo run of 3 miles at 5.8, 6.0 and 6.2 mph.

Wednesday-birthday. Still managed to do strength/core workout of 10+1 in 5:45 and 3 sets of 10 of squats and tricep dips.

Thursday-fantastic 4.25 mile run along the Miami shoreline. Tempo run of sorts because I had just 45 minutes to squeeze in this run before my deep tissue massage.

Friday-walked 2-3 miles around South Beach. Relaxing day.

Saturday-return flight. No workout.

Sunday-13 of the most miserable slushy, slippery, snowy miles I have ever run, not counting the Run for Regis half marathon this past January. It was like running in sand with terrible footing and no traction. I mean, seriously, this snow is REALLY getting old!

Hope everyone had an equally good week. Congrats to Kim for tackling an 11 miler this weekend!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I Heart You, Miami!

Wednesday was my birthday. Since I am over 21 (and can drink legally) and over 25 (and can rent a car), birthdays are just another day, but with red velvet cupcakes (my ABSOLUTE favorite). But this one is different - THIS one was wayyyy different. THIS one included a trip to Miami with just the husband. The short story: I got in a nice run along the Miami shoreline, a deep tissue massage, a good meal, great drinks, met a fantastic bartender and had shots with some interesting characters, a missed early AM yoga class (damn you, Patron XO), a nice walk on South Beach, a tattoo, and topped off the evening with 10pm room service for dinner we almost missed. A mere 48 hours in Miami and a lifetime of giggles and memories with the husband! As if 60 degree weather wasn't absofuckinglutely wonderful enough, both Greg and I scored upgrades to first class on Continental! Now back to mountains of snow ... blech!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Good Week of Running

I'm happy with all I was able to squeeze in this week and I'm looking forward to longer daylight hours (minutes) in the evening so I can increase my workout length. Plus, I can add Bridget to my rotation of running partners. So the recap:

Monday - rest.
Tuesday - speed workout of 4 sets of 800m at 6.5mph with 400m recovery at 4.2mph. With warmup, intervals and cool down, I finished 4 miles.
Wednesday - strength which included th 10+1 workout (situps/pushups) and 3 sets of 10 of squats and tricep dips.
Thursday - tempo run of 3 miles at 6.0mph.
Friday - rest.
Saturday - hodge-podge mix of 6 snowy miles in Peninsula on trails and towpath with Greg accompanying me on his mountain bike. He was a trooper because it was a miserable ride of thick snow with uneven patches and ice. Afterwards, we enjoyed ourselves with a couple wonderful microbrews at the Winking Lizard. He had this full body cherry stout and I had a Two Brothers Bitter End IPA. I will have to add Two Brothers to my list of attractions when visiting Chicago.
Sunday - 10 miles on Metroparks all-purpose trail with Megan riding alongside me and puppy taking the lead.

Best of all, I had fun this week in my workouts and I'm looking forward to squeezing in an early morning yoga session tomorrow!

Hope you had a wonderful week to review and an even better weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book Review: Power Travel

I recently read The Wall Street Journal Guide to Power Travel by Scott McCartney. He is a regular columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I received this book as a present from my sister-in-law for Christmas and could hardly put the book down. I would consider myself a pretty experienced traveler, but found a vast amount of information in his book to be “eye opening”. The chapter on Air Traffic Control shocked and educated me – I will forever be leery anytime my flight is now “delayed”.

Below are 10 interesting points I noted in this book. Read on, you might find them helpful, too:

1. Know the best day to buy. Airlines file price increases on Thursdays to see if competitors will match these increases over the weekend. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays are the best days to buy.

2. Seasons and weather matters. During the winter, consider flying later in the day to allow for snow removal and delays to get worked out. In summer, travel early in the morning as opposed to late afternoon when thunderstorms are more likely. is a great source for checking the history of a particular flight, airline, city and specific route – useful for determining delays, disruptions or cancellations. will also give you a graphical image on a map of where a particular flight is.

3. Frequent Flier Programs. Did you know the first frequent-flier mile program was offered in 1981 by American Airlines? It was patterned after the Green Stamp program and became a great way to encourage brand loyalty. But not all frequent-flier programs are created equally. Know your program and the parameters (fine print).

4. Take advantage of technology. Airlines offer flight alert notifications for your cell phone, either as voice, text or email giving you gate information, departure or schedule changes, and baggage claim information. The alert comes in before the gate agent makes the announcement. This can give you an advantage over other travels if you need to rebook a flight or find a hotel before the rush.

5. Be prepared with travel information. Always have your hotel phone numbers with you for both your location destination and, if you have a connecting flight, for that location as well. You never know if your flight might get cancelled and you find yourself competing with a gate-full of people for the same grouping of hotels.

6. Travel light, but if you have to, know who can ship packages. FedEx, UPS, Luggage Forward and Sports Express can often ship your larger packages much cheaper than an airline can. Not to mention, these shippers can track your package – airlines can’t (and you don’t want your package lost - especially if it's your tri-bike).

7. Your ass isn’t getting larger, the seats are getting smaller. Airplane seats are based on a 1950s Harvard University study of New England passenger trains that found 18” inches as an acceptable seat size. So if 18” is acceptable, then, we don’t mind being squished in 17” seats for short flights. After all, who needs comfort for an hour or two? (Uhmm, me, that’s who and Kevin Smith!) Also, not all seats are created equal with respect to leg room – go to to find out the best seats for your particular airplane/flight.

8. If you feel wronged, get the Federal government involved. You can find a wealth of information as well as recourse information at

9. Booking your hotel is an important part of travel. I wasn’t aware that certain online sites have exclusive agreements with hotel chains. This means you might find one price for a Kimpton Hotel on Expedia and a different price on Travelocity. Check all sites and comparison shop, but also be aware that sites “own” each other – i.e., also owns It's also a good idea to always check the individual hotel site just to make sure you're getting the best deal.

10. McCartney has a section called “Power Splurges”. I liked this section because we sometimes are fooled into skimping at some point on flying/staying/driving a rental car resulting in sacrificing comfort and pleasure. Remember, he says, that travel is an adventure and should be enjoyed. And I am a girl who sure does love traveling :)

I will definitely start following McCartney on his blog . As I try to cross off a few more states this year, resulting in more airplane rides and hotel stays, I will certainly remember the good advice I received from this book!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

10 Plus 1

I wasn't able to squeeze in a lunchtime workout today so I had to improvise at the house. Since today was a cross-training day, I knew I needed to be creative at home. Steve wrote about his 20+1 workout where you do 20 situps and 1 pushup, then 19 situps and 2 pushups, 18 situps and 3 pushups until you get to 1 situp and 20 pushups. At the end of the workout, you'll have done 210 of each. Viper over at Boozehounds modified the workout to 10+1. I figured I could do 10+1, and then I co-opted husband. We laughed through the whole series to the point that we got an ab workout just from the laughing! The best part, Megan offered to do the workout with me tomorrow! Afterwards, while still in the moment, I did 3 round of 10 of squats and tricep dips. Cross-training with my family - a great way to spend a Wednesday evening!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Fairytales and Frogs - An Afternoon at the Zoo

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo opened the Rainforest to a day of Fairytales and Frogs. Kids were encouraged to dress as princesses or fairytale characters and, of course, we did! Bridget was able to put her Sleeping Beauty costume to yet one more use! And I'm not sure who enjoyed the day more - Bridget got to see swimming turtles and a crocodile - Meg enjoyed the snakes and frogs and I enjoyed seeing bats in the dark hanging upside down (although I don't want to see them outside of the zoo). Afterwards, we capped off our "girls day out" at Prestis for baked goodies and yummy lattes. It was a wonderful way to spend a Monday holiday!

Bridget and Megan on the second floor of the Rainforest exhibit

Bridget watching the Macaw - and the anteater (which left the picture as I snapped it)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Another Snowy Week of Training

Puppy and I did 12 miles today - a new personal best for him. Of course, he's laying on my bed right now and doesn't show any interest in moving. Didn't really get in much cross-training this week, but I did get in a speed workout, a tempo run, a long run and each day I made a point of doing a pilates hundred each day. I'm finally able to do a 100 without breaking it up into 2-50s.

Tues- speed workout. 1/2 mile warmup followed by 4 sets of 800m at graduated pace 6.5, 6.6, 6.7and 6.8mph and 400m recovery between each at 4.2 mph. with 1/2 mile cooldown  Total distance 4.0 miles.

Thurs - tempo run with hills and 3 rounds of 8 each of stork lift, reverse lunges and side squats with row using 9# weights. My glutes were screaming at me Friday.

Sunday - 12 mile long run at 2:21 a personal best training run for me and puppy. I kept an even pace for the first 8 miles and, since I still felt good, I kicked up the last 4 miles a bit and finished feeling really good. Stretched when I got home.

Might squeeze in yoga later today or maybe the 6 am class. Looking forward to Greg's famous valentine's day tacos!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day is Upon Us!

At my house, we do not celebrate Valentine's Day because Hallmark or American Greetings says so. We celebrate Valentine's Day because it's an opportunity to turn a sappy day into something fun as a family. If you want to know the true origin of Valentine's Day, you can go here. But for me, Valentine's Day became something fun, creative and different in 2001 when Meg and I first spent February 14 with a very nervous Greg.

For a guy, Valentine's Day is territory that must be carefully navigated, much like a minefield or teaching Steve Wozniak to dance. But he scored. Big. On the first one. He came over to my single mom apartment (complete with a 19" TV) and surprised me with When Harry Met Sally DVD (my favorite rom-com at the time & only my 2nd DVD to own). But the best surprise was the gigantic assortment of valentines candy that he gave Meg (I think he bought everything on display at krogers) and the look of pure excitement on her 7-year-old face. Of course, it was followed with the look of "do you think mom will actually let me eat all this?!" For me, that was the best Valentine's gift - that he made such an effort to make Valentine's day special for my pumpkin. Keep in mind, we had only been dating for 6 weeks or so at this point, so gift buying and the underlying message it sends had to have been tough for him. But he scored. Big. We were both happy.

The second year, as we were shopping at krogers (afterall, we were in Athens-krogers was the only place you could shop) and Greg was bemoaning the pressures of valentine's day for a guy - you know, the cliche evening of candy, flowers, restaurant - and I said "let's just do tacos. It's not a big deal.". This Sunday will be our 9th valentine's day dinner of tacos. We have not missed a single one and, this year, Bridget will enjoy tacos, too!

So no matter what your V-day tradition is, I hope that you're spending the day doing something you love!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom

"The sense of responsibility in the financial community for the community as a whole is not small. It is nearly nil." 
— John Kenneth Galbraith (The Great Crash 1929)

Because I work in HR, very few people are aware that I actually have a degree in economics. While English majors had crushes on Hemingway and Faulkner, my crush was John Kenneth Galbraith. I can honestly say that I loved reading his book The Good Society, a copy of which is in my office. The quote above is from his research of the 1929 crash, but how appropriate it is today.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Book I'm Raving About

I just finished Mud, Sweat and Gears: A Rowdy Family Bike Adventure Across Canada on Seven Wheels by Joe "Metal Cowboy" Kurmaskie. I came across the Metal Cowboy in Bicycling magazine, which ran a featured article on his trip in an issue within the past few months. I logged the title into my iPhone notes (I love love love that feature) and made a point to pick up the book. I am so glad I did. Joe wrote the book, but his wife Beth inserts footnotes that are hysterical. I started the book on Thursday evening and laughed until I finished it last night. I highly recommend this book for anyone with a family and some athletic goals. Poor Greg had to hear me wax on about how I want to drag our family on a bike adventure around Mount Rushmore! As any good husband would do, he just nodded his head hoping this was just another one of my fleeting, wild adventures and that I would soon dismiss it. Honey, I'm serious :)

Joe takes along his 3 boys, one of which is still nursing and turns a year old on the trip. Joe leads a tandem with his 9-year old son Quinn and younger brother Enzo attached on a trail-along-bike. Bringing up the rear was Matteo in a tag-along while wife Beth joined on a bike all to herself. I loved being able to identify with Beth's lack of bike skill, yet her love for adventure.

A line I found laugh-out-loud funny was how Joe explained why Enzo sang so much on the trip. He wrote that the Trail-A-Bike rider (Enzo) "wears more of the road trip that anyone else...seems that when the world treats you like a rolling Jackson Pollack canvas, singing helps."

If you're thinking of a crazy family adventure that no one will forget, this is the book for you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Another Snow Fiesta

Today I had to get in my long run. I "thought" about doing it Saturday, but the winds and snow accumulation pretty much sent me back into a curled up ball on the couch with a blanket and piping hot cup of coffee. That, and I decided to go to yoga instead - HOT Powerful Flow Yoga...emphasis on the HOT. I have to say this week's workouts left me feeling positive about training and, if all goes well (no injuries or boredom), I'm pretty sure I will stick with this line-up.

Workouts for the week included:

Monday - Stretch and Strengthen day with 3 rounds each of 20 squats, 20 situps, and 20 tricep dips.

Tuesday - Speed workout with 1/2 mile warmup followed by 4 sets of 800m at 8:49 pace (6.8 mph) and 400 recovery between each at 4.2mph, Total distance: 3.5 miles.

Wednesday - Swimming 500m. It always feels good to be in the pool, especially in the middle of the day (except for the heavy chlorine scent in my hair).

Thursday - Tempo run. Ran 3 miles at an average pace 6.2mph or 9:40 in 29:04! This is huge for me. My rosy cheeks were full of color at work for close to 2 hours. I couldn't have been happier!

Friday - rest.

Saturday - 1 hour Hot Powerful Flow Yoga at Inner Bliss. I tried out a new teacher, Shannon Sabol. She had an entirely different style and music preferences. I learned a couple new poses that I hadn't tried before. My chautaurungas are improving, but I still need to work on my warrior poses as my quads need to gain more strength. Afterwards, I did some strength training consisting of 3 reps of 8 with 9 pound weights of stork stand, side-step squat with row, reverse lunge with T raise and one set of pilates hundred.

Sunday - 10 snow-packed, but sunny, miles with puppy. Jameson led the entire way and was oblivious to the chunks of ice lining his hindquarters! It was a good run as I finished 2 hours in yak trax and 20 degree weather. Phew, glad that's out of the way. My quads were screaming the entire run compliments of too many warrior poses on Saturday.

After my long run, my girls and I enjoyed some quality time at the library, picked up Julie & Julia for a little chick-flick night in lieu of super bowl watching, then took our books to Starbucks to enjoy a nicely-earned Caramel Macchiato.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and is refreshed to conquer Monday!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Expanding the Definition of Family

This blog started out as a way to track the wonderful traveling and race adventures of my family. What originally started out as Greg, Robin, Megan and Bridget has turned out to include more! My sister-in-law Kim is going to join us in a race or two (or three). And if I'm lucky, she'll be running Cleveland and Salt Lake with me! Go Kim!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another Reason I'm Not a Fan of Open Water Swimming

Of course I am THAT person who clicks on to major news stories...especially if the news story has nothing to do with work and would only provide me with strange party conversation. In California, the headline was "Giant Squid Invades Monterey Bay." Now, I don't know about you...but I definitely don't need MORE reasons to fear open water swimming. It's enough that I have to worry about the possible invasion of 4-foot long, 100 pound Asian Carps swimming alongside me in Lake Erie, but this, too?!