Family reunion

Mark and I went down to Portland this weekend for a family reunion with GREAT food and awesome people. I got so lucky - I love Mark’s family so much! This reunion was a bit different because Mark’s parents and sister/brother-in-law couldn’t make it, so we were on our own from our side of the family. We spent the afternoon chatting it up, dodging bees (maybe I was the only one running from them? Has NO one else been stung before??), and eating tons of food.

And maybe ogling some turkeys.

Christmas and Thanksgiving. Really!


This weekend we’ll be heading to Portland for a family reunion and some fun in the sun. Though… I just remembered we’re supposed to bring a dish to share at the potluck. I guess we’ll be making a quick visit to Safeway tomorrow!


Another thing we’re doing this weekend that I’m excited about is going to see Mark’s cousin play in a wheelchair tennis tournament. I can’t wait to go support her!


Not much else going on, really, besides staring out the window and wishing I was anywhere else… I could go for an oceanside dock right now. I’d love to be back in Utila, Honduras, jumping off the dock into the blue!

Lake Union 10K

Me, Karen and Kim after finishing, chugging water like crazy
I've decided that the 10K is the perfect distance: long enough to require focus and training but short enough so you don't feel like your legs will fall off at the finish line. Yesterday was a gorgeous morning for the run around Lake Union, and it was a good thing it started at 7:30 since it got HOT yesterday. Although that put me up around 5:45 to eat my bowl o' oats, and I don't remember the last time I got up that early.

The post-run breakfast was provided by Portage Bay Cafe but we didn't stick around for it since the line was so long. Plus I'd just eaten at PBC the day before so I didn't feel like I was missing out too much. Blasphemy, I know.

Serve it up

Now I’ve gone and done it.

I’ve been itching to start playing tennis more regularly for years now, so when LivingSocial offered a 50% discount for entry into a Seattle tennis league, I just had to do it. The problem is I’ve never really played tennis competitively before! I’ve had lessons and camps here and there but have never been part of a team or an organized league. The camps were in middle school and the last organized lesson I took was right out of high school. I haven’t hit around regularly since the summer of 2004 when I lived with my mom in Kansas City, but “hitting around” literally meant just hitting around and not playing a regular match. Even when I tried to play a match with my mom (who has taken up the sport and is quite good), I didn’t have the stamina to play through the whole match because my fitness was so poor.

Cut to 2011 and my fitness has improved drastically, but my tennis experience is still lacking. However, I can’t keep hoping that someday I’ll make the time to get better without actually making the time to take some steps to get better. So this is my first step. True to form, my second step was panicking about my unpreparedness and asking a friend of ours if he could hit with me so I wouldn’t feel completely out of place when the league starts in September. He had some great pointers and it felt SO good to be able to work on my form and rally consistently. Of course, also true to form, I’m now sore from using these muscles that haven’t seen consistent action in years. But I love being sore because it means you’re actually doing something! Plus, I love the forearm muscle you get from playing tennis, even though I only get it on my right arm. Unbalanced arms, what can I say.

And I may also be sporting a Transformers Band-Aid on a monster blister I got from my racket (nice to see you too, racket). Hopefully it’s a one-time-only kind of thing.


I wanted to do one more tempo run yesterday before the 10K on Sunday so I could get in a few days of rest before the race, so I set out to the Burke-Gilman with MiCoach to do some sprint intervals sandwiched between jogging.

Sad that I still got passed on one of my "sprints" by a loping 6'4" male who didn't even look like he was trying. I'm gasping my heart out trying to get into my red zone and he just breezes by. I think I detected a pity nod. So... as I like to say, A for effort! Even though my grade for the workout was only 72%. Dang you MiCoach and your red zones!

You shall not pass!
At least I got a brief reprieve when the University Bridge went up. Oh darn, I guess I'll take a break.


I made a friend!

Her name is MiCoach and she’s a free app I downloaded on my phone to help with my running workouts. The MiCoach app is made by Adidas and has an online component you set up where you can make a workout schedule, say, plan to run a 5K, which syncs to your phone. Then you can open up the app on your phone, select the day’s workout (or any workout from the schedule) and go! It also works with the playlists you upload to the app, turning down the music when your coach tells you to speed up or slow down, depending on what your goal pace is at the moment. The GPS feature tracks you, updating you at every mile as to what your time and average pace were for that mile.

I love it so much. I may not be able to run without her anymore! I’m doing a 10K plan right now (a very ambitious plan that is supposed to have me running four times a week – yeah right) and I’ve found the interval training to be most beneficial. The longest I’ve ever been able to do sprint intervals on a treadmill is 15 minutes (counting the warm-up and cool-down), and they’ve been sprint-walk intervals at that. But using MiCoach, I’ve been able to double those interval workout times and improve my pace. One goal on my 100 List is to lower my mile average to 9 minutes, which I now see is quite lofty. I’m a slow runner, you see, and my fastest mile I’ve logged on MiCoach so far is 9:05. This may sound good, but that was the first mile on my run that day – the next mile took 10:19 minutes. Maintaining that nine-minute pace is hard! But that’s why I have a coach to tell me when I’ve fallen out of my target pace and to get my rear back in gear.

Another cool thing: all the pretty graphs! I’m a sucker for visual data and the website and app provide charts galore. I can analyze my stats and admire the pretty colors to my heart’s content. One thing I haven’t been able to figure out is how to easily view my mile splits on the website. The app gives you a simple table with the information but I haven’t been able to find it on the website yet.

The dips you see are when I had to slow down for lights and bridges,
then get back up to speed. I'm not sure how I got into the red zone
a few times - the music must've been good.

 One more thing: your workouts get graded. To some that may seem like a nightmare, but I always loved when grades were posted in school! How do you know how to improve if there’s no benchmark? I perform best under pressure. My best workout to date is a 95%, which was a huge improvement over my previous best of 86%. I’ve never failed a workout but I don’t think I’ve gotten above a C+ in interval runs… see, always room for improvement!

So if you need a little motivation, I completely recommend the app. And it’s not just for running; it can be used for biking, walking, and weight training, as well as give you personalized fitness plans to improve your tennis game or soccer physique. It’s pretty sweet. I swear they aren’t paying me to write this. So go get active!

Visitors: continued

We took Megan and George to the Fremont Brewery, a real kid-friendly
place close to the Fremont Troll.

The weather did not cooperate the day we took them to Alki Beach.
Yes, I'm holding a manta ray... Lily's souvenir from the aquarium!

George and Lily

Friends since '93... yay. :)


Lily having a grand time at Chinooks
 I’ve known Megan since third grade and I could tell you SO many memories that involve her…
  • An unplanned trip to the pool involving bikes and, uh, fibbing, that landed both of us in big trouble
  • Goldfish crackers and glow-in-the-dark silly putty
  • dc Talk and Sarah McLachlan. LOTS of Sarah McLachlan.
  • Riding the Zipper at the carnival over and over and over. And over.
  • Getting to be in her wedding to George nearly five years ago
  • I could go on!
And now she and George have a baby! Lily is 15 months old now and a bundle of energy. Which brings me to how “baby illiterate” I am. When Megan asked me if I might be able to procure a portable high chair and a pack-and-play for their stay, I said, “Sure!” Only later did I think, “What in the world is a pack-and-play?”
I’m really not joking when I say I know nearly nothing about babies. My (twin) brother and I were the babies of our extended family so we never had younger relatives around to take care of on a regular basis. The youngest child I’ve ever babysat was two and a half, well past those infant months. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve held a baby. I know. I told you I wasn’t joking! I was also never one of those kids who played with baby dolls – I jumped right into Barbies and paper dolls and completely skipped anything having to do with babies. Just never struck my fancy. Nor have I ever been someone who is fascinated or entertained by babies. I’m not really sure why, but I think it must just be because I’ve never been around them for long. Maybe at some point in my childhood I decided I wouldn’t be stereotyped into the typical female who loves babies? I don’t know! All I do know is that at some point we’ll probably have a baby and I’m sure I’ll be in love with her/him. I’m not worried. :)

Patience pays

Adorable, no?
I fell in love with these Target wedges about a month ago but couldn't bring myself to pay full price for them - a whopping $29.99. On a side note, that's what the economy has done to me - I now expect more from my retailers for less. Charlotte Russe absolutely ruined me by charging $2.99 for some cute embellished tank tops that I now wear at least once a week. So now when I see a tank going for $15 or more, I think, *gasp* robbery!

Back to the wedges, it's a pretty good bet that you'll see cute summer fashions on clearance in a month or so after they hit the shelves, and since Seattle summer doesn't start until August anyway, why not wait? I found these on the clearance rack for $14.98. A worthy deal.

The only problem with waiting to purchase is your size might not be available anymore - these wedges also come in beige but they sold out in size 6.5 faster than I could search for them. I'm hoping for a restock at some point!

In other shoe news, I just had to return my second pair of Nine West pumps to Nordstrom. I know I wear shoes hard and fast, but I expect better from pricier (not to mention real) leather. The leather along the bridge was ripping on the inside, which I consider unacceptable since I'd only had this second pair for less than two months. The first pair started ripping in the same place after three months and I exchanged them for a new pair, hoping it was a one-time-only defect since the shoes fit me SO well. But alas, not so much. I hate to continue taking advantage of the generous Nordstrom return policy (anything can be returned at any time, no questions asked or receipt necessary) so I didn't exchange for a new pair and am now on the hunt for some new classic blacks. 

Motorcycle ride #1

The scary part is over – I went on my first motorcycle ride with Mark. It was a bit nerve-wracking for me but I tried to get over my fear enough to look around and enjoy the scenery. Our friends were nice enough to loan us a jacket and helmet that fit me perfectly, even down to the purple flowers. :) No doubt Mark’s passenger was a girly girl!

We drove from Seattle to Issaquah, a 25-minute freeway drive that crosses Lake Washington. As I watched the road pass beneath my feet, I had to make myself pretend I was in a car so I didn’t get overly nervous. And yes, at times I just closed my eyes and held on. But I couldn’t get too close to Mark because if he let off the gas or braked, our helmets would bump into each other – so every once in a while he’d get a bump from behind and an “Oh, sorry!”

Being on the motorcycle reminded me of ocean snorkeling, and here’s why: you’re out in a vast environment with very little protection against the elements. It sounds dramatic but that’s what it felt like, especially to a newbie like myself. Now that I know Mark is more comfortable with the extra weight on the back, I bet our second ride will be a little less white-knuckled on my part. And hopefully I’ll be less sore next time! My inner thighs were aching the next day from holding on. Who knew?