Friday, January 31, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Half Ironman Training Update

During January I've been able to reach my target goals for training.  I'm surprisingly not as exhausted as I thought I would be - strange, right?  I am surprised how much laundry I generate - hardly any from my work clothes, but wow the WORKOUT clothes are multiplying.

So during January, I am averaging 3 days a week swimming and I can swim 1500 yards without stopping.  No, I can't do flip turns without having the coordination of an elephant in water.  I tag the side of the pool and hope I'm counting correctly.  And counting? Holy crap, my math skills suck and I know this from trying to figure out the difference between swimming laps in a pool that's 20 yards length versus 25 yards length. The good news is I signed up to be a part of the Ohio Masters Swimming group and I am excited about doing drills and having help to impove my stroke. I have A LOT of work to do.

Biking.  Phew, what an ass pain! I fortunately have "toughened" up my "seat" and can now bike on the trainer for an hour with minimal squirming. I'm like a Starbucks cup of tea, though - I feel better if there's double insulation versus just a sleeve, if you know what I mean! I'm bored out of my mind.  I have tried to watch TV, but I hate the commercials.  I can't read because I slow down to turn the page and, before I know it, I am spinning at 11-12 mph pace and that just won't help me finish.  I think I'll have to go to a spin class or maybe take 2 classes back to back to get in a good session.

Running is funny.  I am completely disarmed by the fact that I don't have a long run.  I have been running half marathons and marathons since 2006 and my mind just can't adjust to only doing 3-5 miles regularly. The training plan I'm using got Greg through the Wildflower Half Ironman, so I know it's tried and true and well-tested. I do have to admit I like my body not taking the constant pounding of running - so that part I sure can adapt to.

For strength training, I've been going to Pure Barre classes once a week for the past 3 weeks.  I'm in love with this class.  Each instructor has had slight modifications, but I love that I'm really working my core (abs, arms, legs) without wrecking my knees.

Best part of all this is I'm down 4 pounds since the New Year!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thoughts Drifting Off to Hawaii

The half ironman training is in full-swing in this house, but that should not be our only Hawaii-related focus.  Megan, Bridget and I have found our minds drifting off to, what we believe will be, an amazing island vacation! Fashion, food, and island activities.  It only stands to reason that we should spend a little time on Pinterest daydreaming about spending 10 days in a warmer climate...and what better time to do this than now, when we're getting super frigid temps here in Northern Ohio!

We'll be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary while in Hawaii.  This might be a nice outfit just for that dinner!

Luau outfit, maybe? Would be nice for going to dinner on both islands.

Greg has scheduled us for a luau about 3 hours after our expected finish time.  I'm hoping the seats are comfortable and the people next to us don't mind the sweet scent of Icy Hot!

I've always been known as the turtle and not the hare.  Let's hope this little fellow will show me the way to each of the buoys and recognize me as one of his own!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Best Christmas Gift (and Most Used)

My parents gave me the Carry Me Om Tote from Lululemon for Christmas last month and I have been using it every day since the beginning of the year.  I love that it's waterproof, which is perfect for taking on my 3 times per week swim sessions.  I have a spot for my goggles, swim cap, and I don't have to worry about my phone getting near my soaking wet swim suit.  I can empty the swim stuff out, put in the running stuff, or even use it for a weekend bag.  Plus, I'm totally fashion-forward, which the gym is simply not used to seeing out of me!

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Splurge

I'm splurging and treating myself to a new pair of prescription sunglasses.  Hard to believe, but I've been wearing glasses since second grade and I've never owned a pair of prescription sunglasses.  I am fortunate enough that I don't have to wear my glasses while reading (yet!) or while doing everyday activities.  However, I do have to wear them while driving for distance.  I caught myself sliding my Ray Bans over my existing glasses and I knew that not only was a making a HUGE fashion faux pas, but I was probably giving passing motorists something to laugh at!

So thanks to Lenscrafters and their 40% off sale, I will be coming home this week with a new (designer) pair of prescription sunglasses.  Yay me!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Newest Fitness Obsession: Pure Barre

A Pure Barre facility opened near where I live about a year ago, and I had been wanting to try it out for quite some time.  I finally made the time and took a class together with my oldest daughter.  Guess what? I loved it! And so did she.  Never before had I enjoyed a workout like I did at Pure Barre and I couldn't believe all the muscle groups/body parts that were targeted.  I thought getting out of bed the next morning would be tough, but it was actually day 2 that challenged me the most.  Oh, and when I sneezed,  I felt my abs ripping apart or coming loose or something equally as dramatic.

The instructor was perhaps the best part of the overall experience.  She greeted Meg and I first asking if we had taken one of their classes before. She explained everything with a smile, helped get our equipment, showed us to a space and then kept touching base with us during the class.  It wasn't overkill either - it was much appreciated.

The class is fast-paced set to music and incorporates varying moments of working all leg muscles, glutes, arms, shoulders and abs....lots of abs.  After working each of the targeted groups, you take a moment to stretch and relax.  I wasn't sure I was going to make it after the first 12 minutes, but then found myself forgetting the time and really enjoying the experience.

Not only will I be back, but I've scheduled myself for 3 additional classes and plan to attend one class every week as part of my strength training for the upcoming half ironman.  As a girl with occasional knee problems, I loved that Pure Barre focuses more on building core strength and balance without all the jarring involved by exercises like plyometrics.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

If you haven't read this yet, stop what you're doing and read it immediately.  It's the Cleveland Bucket List by Scene Magazine. Greg and I enjoyed spending the morning marking off the activities either Greg, Megan or I have tackled here in Cleveland.  We hit 68 out of the 100.

So over the next few months, our family will be trying to check off the following:

1.  Take a tour of the Great Lakes Brewery. We couldn't believe that we haven't done this yet.

2.  Take a tour of Gotta Groove Records.  I didn't even know this existed!

3.  Karaoke at Tina's.  I've never heard of this place and I've never attempted Karaoke! I know, right?

4.  Visit the Cleveland Polka Hall of Fame.  Might also be a good excuse to eat at Sterli's afterwards or Sokolowskis.

5.  Bowl at an old-school alley.  Looks like we'll be checking out Mahall's very soon!

So what's your number? How many activities or places have you checked off the Cleveland Bucket List?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Half Ironman Training - New Year

After coming off some serious knee pain caused by painting two large rooms, I am back to feeling my old self. Phew!

Training is going well.  I am all kinds of exhausted trying to swim, bike and run.  Swimming is where I need to make the most significant strides. I am swimming 1,000 yards right now (slowly) and plan to sign up for a master's swim group to work with swimmers who can help me improve.  I have to say that being in the water feels so good...but it's resulting in a need for napping!

Biking on the trainer is boring as crap.  I've been watching cheesy movies to help the time go by, but no knee pain so I'm not going to complain one bit!

And running I love.  We invested in a good treadmill, which is helping eliminate any cold weather excuses.  Plus, I've been listening to a different album each time I run to make the time go by.  So far, I've been enjoying Eminem's new album, Red Hot Chili Peppers 2012 concert in Cleveland, and the Avett Brothers.  Love singing out loud (family not loving this as much as me!) to make those miles go by better.

If you have any tips to make those miles and training more enjoyable during these cooped-up winter months, please let me know!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Showing Cleveland to Our Friends

Meg's friends from college stayed with us a weekend or two ago and we had the wonderful opportunity to show them around our great city.  We enjoyed an afternoon at the Cleveland Museum of Art (including B), a trip to Little Italy to enjoy pastries at Presti's, and dinner at El Carnicero to introduce them to the best guacamole and salsa verde.

Can you guess which one is B? Love those masks!

Such a fun day to spend with these girls!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Her First Turkey Trot

Freezing temperatures, but Megan hung in there and ran her first 5-miler Turkey Trot.  This was my 11th year and her first "long distance" race - and hopefully, she'll be joining me for many more! Special thanks for Meg's friend, Kim, who joined us for the last 2 miles in her Pilgrim costume and provided the perfect entertainment!


Monday, January 6, 2014

Christmas 2013 Interview with My Girls

Christmas Interview 2013
What do you like about being a kid?

Megan:  Sadly, at 20 I need to act like an adult!
Bridget:  I like seeing my friends every day at school.
If you could go anywhere this year, where would you go?
Megan:  Hopefully, Prague in fall 2014.
Bridget:  Disneyworld and Hawaii.
What one word best describes you now?
Megan:  Hot mess in a pretty dress.
Bridget:  Happy and nice.
What is your favorite thing about your sister?

Megan:  Her sense of humor, she surprises me every time I go home about how smart and fun she is.
Bridget:  Fun, nice and awesome. 

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Megan:  First, I want to finish college.
Bridget:  Vet.

What makes you happy?
Megan:  family, dogs, friends, Costco.
Bridget:  family, friends, sister, dogs

For Bridget, now that you’re a first grader, what advice would you give to someone new in Kindergarten?
Don't worry, you're going to have fun!

For Meg, now that you’re in your second year of college, what lesson did you learn as a freshman?
To study and that you won't miss out on friend time.

What is playing on your ipod or iphone?
Megan:  Bastielle, Lourde, Tupac, and Biggie.
Bridget:  Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Teen Beach Movie Cruisin' for a Bruisin.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

25 Days of Christmas

Back to blogging after a short break. Work got REAL busy and my spare time was spent making sure the house was clean, laundry was done and presents were purchased AND wrapped. While I'm not one to complain, and would absolutely prefer being busy, I will look forward to a slower January. And so far, 4 days in, it's been just the kind of January I'd hoped for.

Today, the girls and I were talking about our tradition of the 25 Days of Christmas and whether we should keep this tradition alive. With a resounding YES, I got my answer. So, I'm recapping 2013 - mostly so I can access this list for developing next year's, in case I lose my paper list. I know....who keeps PAPER lists. I do, that's who. And I love keeping lists on paper so I can physically check off what I've done and keep motivated. But I am also prone to losing here I go electronically.

1 - antique ornament shopping. It's been a tradition for each of us girls to buy one old ornament, generally from Flower Child in Lakewood. We especially love those old Star Brite ornaments from the 1950s and 60s.

2 - a handful of mini Reese cups. When Bridget was almost 2, I had these on Day 2. She's always referred to the small Reese cups as "2s" and so I've made sure this continues on Day 2.

3 - a cup of hot cocoa for Bridget and Starbucks K-cup for Megan. I was able to pre-package Meg's first 13 days for her trip back to college so she wouldn't miss a single day.

4 - Write a letter to Santa. You must believe, you know, if you want presents on Christmas morning.

5 - Reese tree. I must have looked like a stalker mom while B ate hers...and I think I was salivating as much as my black lab.

6 - Family movie night. Funny story. We have been in the habit of going to El Carnicero in Lakewood on Friday nights. Because Friday was Family Movie Night, we switched our El Carnicero trip to Saturday. We ran into Eric Williams and B told him how much she loved his restaurant, and especially his rice. She said she would have been here Friday night, but that was Family Movie Night. He was so cool and asked her which movie she watched, to which she responded Elf. He began quoting from the movie and she really loved that.

7 - Holiday socks. I found some cool socks at Joann Fabrics for just $1. These are Meg's absolute favorite things to receive during the holidays!

8 - Wreath making kit. This cost less than $5 for each of the girls. I bought flannel fabric on clearance on bright green, cut them into strips, bought a wreath frame and a roll of ribbon, then stuffed everything into a baggie as a "kit". Easy to do and lots of fun.

9 - Make paper snowflakes. Just costs you a few pieces of paper and you have some stunning holiday artwork!

10 - Christmas book for B (Pinkalicious Christmas) and magazine for Meg (starring Lauren Conrad, just love her!).

11 - Girls interviewing each other. They've been doing this the last 3 years and I love the results. I'll post it soon.

12 - Santa bubble gum tape. Meg has been getting this since she was 4 years old.

13 - Family movie night and Angelo's pizza to-go. Mmmmm!

14 - Wicked at Playhouse Square. We got to dress up and introduce Bridget to her first musical at Playhouse Square!

15 - Pick out a real tree, chop it down and decorate. This year was Greg's turn to pick out a tree. B was so upset over how Charlie Brown-like the tree was that he selected that she said he wasn't allowed to pick EVER again!

16 - String popcorn garland. This was a bust because I had to work late and we didn't get off to a good (or early) enough start. Note to self: do this on a weekend, not week day!

17 - Donate one toy or book. This is an important part of the 25Days.

18 - Make candy cane milkshakes. Yum!

19 - Make a tree skirt. I found one at Joann Fabric on clearance for $7.99. Meg read the directions wrong and, well, the tree skirt is now just excess flannel fabric. Oops!

20 - Family Night at the Cleveland Orchestra. This was an amazing evening of Christmas songs. In such a politically correct world, it is nice to have an evening of Christmas carols and fun!

21 - Make a gingerbread house. I swear you need a background in Architecture or have some construction experience. I bought the kit at Target for $9.99 and this was one tough assignment!

22 - Afternoon Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz Carlton. I've been wanting to do this for the past 3 years, but have called for reservations too late. While this was a pretty pricey activity (and won't be repeated next year), it was absolutely wonderful. B truly enjoyed herself and Meg loved all the tea sandwiches. We got to dress up, enjoy tea and tiny sandwiches, and enjoy our time at one of Cleveland's nicest hotels.

23 - Drive around and look at all the beautiful Christmas lights. This is always one of my favorite activities!

24 - Christmas Pajamas and read Twas the Night Before Christmas. Time to wait for Santa.

25 - Santa, presents, my traditional breakfast strata and some wonderful family time!

Christmas Pictures

Reading her Christmas List to Santa

Picking out our tree - the look on her face tells you how she felt about Greg's choice!

Posing with Mrs. Claus and the Teddy Bear at the Ritz Carlton's Teddy Bear Tea
Love the look of surprise on her face!

She will always be 12.  Look at how thrilled to get Skip-it!