Tuesday, March 30, 2010

20 More Miles Down

Last weekend officially marked our second to last “long” run of our marathon training. And by “long”, I mean longer than about 12 miles. We have another 20 mile run this upcoming weekend and then we are on the home stretch to the actual marathon.

This weekend’s 20 mile run was tough. It had been over a month since we had run that distance and this time around it was about 20 degrees warmer and included 20-25 mph winds the entire time. Neither one of those things are good when it comes to running long distances. In fact, the first 4 miles or so were directly into the wind. Luckily we turned around and did 10 miles with the wind at our backs before doing the final 6 miles against the wind.

Our run started at Turkey Mountain in Jenks. We headed across the Arkansas River and back South past the new Riverspirit Casino(one of about 5 million casinos in Oklahoma). At about 96th St., we turned around and headed towards downtown Tulsa. Right outside of downtown is when we crossed back over the Arkansas River and headed towards the finish.

This is kind of what our run would have looked like on a map:

Eight miles into our run, we each had a GU energy gel. Neither one of us thought they were very good.

At mile 14 is when we had our favorite running snack, Clif Shotbloks. We love those things. They have such a great flavor and make you feel like you’re getting some nourishment during the run. This time around we had the Strawberry flavor.

After our run, we went home and relaxed the rest of the day. We decided to make homemade potato chips for dinner. Stacy got us a mini fryer for our birthdays because she knew we like making potato chips. We weren't sure how it would work out, but the chips turned out great!

Sunday we went to Roland, OK for my college roommate Chris and his wife Liz's baby shower. They live in Moscow and are back in the US until Liz has the baby. I hadn't seen Chris in 8 years before I saw him last summer. So it's been great to get to see him again so soon after. We'll also see him at his brother's wedding the week after we get back from Australia.

Overall we had a great weekend. I forgot to mention that we started the weekend off by eating at our favorite pizza place, Hideaway Pizza.

So between the pizza and the long run, it was a good weekend.

This weekend is our last 20 mile run and we're looking forward to getting it over with and setting our sights on Big Sur in 3 weeks!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Take That Snow

Even though we got that lovely snow the past few days, we made it out for a run this afternoon! Yay! The snow melted just enough to clear most of the streets in our neighborhood. It was really wet and we had to be strategic about which way we went, but we got in 7 miles. Not the 20 we had scheduled, but it's better than nothing, and it felt really good to get out of the house. Like my Dad said, "That's Dedication!" Haha!


That's how I was feeling with Continental Airlines this morning after we received an email telling us that our flight to San Jose for the marathon had been changed. The flight I booked for us was leaving Tulsa at 3 p.m., flying to Houston, and then leaving again at 5:45 which put us to San Jose at 7:48 p.m. just in time for dinner and some time to relax before going to bed.

Then we got the email this morning telling us that our flights had been changed. We were now leaving Tulsa at 3:20 p.m., getting to Houston with a four hour layover before our flight left at 8:50 and put us to San Jose at 11:05 p.m. just in time to go to bed. Needless to say I was pretty ticked. The whole reason I booked those flights was so we could have our Friday night in San Jose.

I called Continental and luckily they told me that if the flight change didn't work for me, I could get a full refund for our tickets. I was actually pretty surprised it was that easy.

Before I cancelled our tickets, I jumped online and found a flight from Tulsa to Denver and then Denver to San Jose on United. We get to San Jose at 8:15 p.m. which is only about 30 minutes later than originally planned. Plus we don't have to sit on a four hour flight from Houston to San Jose anymore. The bonus was that the tickets on United were actually 5 bucks cheaper than Continental. I know it's not much, but it's still cheaper.

I'm still annoyed with Continental but at least it all worked out in the end.


That's the status of our 20 mile run this weekend. When we were in Las Vegas last weekend, I looked at the upcoming forecast for Tulsa and was glad to see that it was going to be in the 40s this weekend. Forty degree weather is perfect for a long run. You sweat a little, but remain pretty cool throughout the entire run. Unfortunately, 8 inches of snow and 30 degree weather isn't so good for a long run. And that's what it was yesterday and is the same today. Here's what we saw this morning when we looked outside:

This weekend's weather has been strange. We drove over to Fayetteville on Friday night to see Beth's sister Stacy and have dinner with Beth's parents and Stacy's golf coaches from Arkansas. It was nearly 70 degrees outside on the drive over and was even 63 degrees when we crossed the Oklahoma/Arkansas border on our way back around 11 p.m.

We woke up at 4:45 a.m. on Saturday morning to take Beth's Mom to the airport and it was 35 degrees and raining. We came home and went back to sleep and when we woke up, there was snow everywhere. And that's how it's been since. We did have a chance to go by IO Metro and pick up our table that Beth mentioned in an earlier post. We also found another table in the store that was 25% off and decided to buy it. Now we just have to figure out how to get the other table home now. Here's a pic of the table we picked up yesterday:

After we picked up the table and realized we weren't going out again, I decided to make some homemade salsa. I don't really have an exact recipe that I go off of and every time I make it, it seems to be a little different. This time around my salsa included tomatoes, red onion, green onion, garlic, cilantro, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, sugar, salt, black pepper, cumin, fresh lime juice. Here's what it looks like:

We've decided to push our 20 mile run to next Saturday. It's supposed to be in the low 60s. I'll believe when I see it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Snow Today...Seriously??

View from our family room window this morning.

As a Texas girl I have not been in that many snows and nothing like we've seen in Tulsa this winter, but this takes the cake. Snow today, the 20th of March, the last weekend of Spring Break, the first day of Spring, after 70 degree weather yesterday, I could go on. I'm pouting today because we were supposed to do our second 20 mile run this weekend because we switched last week and this week for our trip to Vegas, plus we need to pick up an awesome table we bought for our family room, and my Dad is supposed to come back over here from Fayetteville (we have their car to pick up the table). And it's snowing. This changes all of our plans, except we are going to have to figure out how to get the table without getting it too wet. I don't know what my Dad's going to do, and we don't know how bad it's going to get. They are saying 4 to 8 inches and it's not supposed to stop until tomorrow morning. We are hoping we can run tomorrow afternoon. I was not in the mood for another snow.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Las Vegas Trip

We just got back from a birthday trip to Las Vegas yesterday. We left on Friday after work and stayed for 4 days. Here's what we did!

Friday-We arrived in Las Vegas around 11:30 pm, so it was almost not Friday anymore! But we had to fly to Dallas, have a 3 hour layover and they fly to Las Vegas. We got our rental car, drove down the strip (I've never been before), and checked into our hotel, the Wynn. I couldn't believe how busy, crazy, and crowded the hotel/casino was at basically 1 am by the time we got to the hotel. We had a minor mishap with checking in. No non-smoking king bed rooms left, so they said they had a king room that was wheel chair accessible. Fine, we said...sometimes those rooms are bigger anyways! Well, we get up to the room and it has two double bed and they are small! So Tony has to go back down, argue with the desk lady, then talk to the manager, and they decide they can give us a "Tower Suite" with a king bed. It's supposedly an upgrade, but we thought the room was the same as the other. Not really any nicer or with more ammenities. It just had a different entrance/check in that was more private. So it ended up working out, but I felt bad that Tony had to go back to get it figured out. After we finally got our room, we were so tired from traveling and gaining two hours so it was really 3 am at home, so we went to bed!

Saturday-Tony's 30th Birthday!!! The whole reason we took a trip this weekend. Since we are hard core runners like we are, we stuck to our schedule and did a 16 mile run on Saturday late morning. We had a Starbuck's breakfast, got in our running clothes, and drove out to Red Rock Canyon to do some running.

It's a good thing we took some pictures when we did because we didn't last too long out here. It was really sunny but the temperature wasn't bad, it was the WIND! We found out that wind gusts were up to 30 mph. Not exaggerating, it was the worst wind we've ever run in. We made it 3 miles out at Red Rock and had to come up with plan B. We decided to head back a few miles into a residential area and run in neighborhoods, along a freeway path, and some other areas nearby. The wind was still bad, but it wasn't as bad since we weren't in the wide open like out at Red Rock. We only had a 2 mile stretch that we had to run face into the wind.

After our run, we went to In-n-Out Burger! Tony has talked about this place ever since we decided to go to Vegas, and I wasn't sure if I was going to be a fan because all they have are burgers. Don't kid yourself, I didn't have a burger. I had a grilled cheese! It was awesome though! I know Tony loved his burger too. I can't wait to be able to go back when we go to California in a few weeks. The best french fries too. After we ate, we checked out a Trader Joe's, an organic-ish type grocery store that we don't have in Oklahoma or Texas. It was a cool little place.

After all this, it was about 3 in the afternoon. We went back to the hotel, showered, and went over to Fashion Show mall across from our hotel and did a little shopping, but mostly walking around. We made a stop back at our hotel to change for dinner. Since it was Tony's birthday we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. We went to Bar Americain in NYC last year and loved it, so we figured we couldn't go wrong. We were right! The food was amazing! We had margaritas, a chicken taco appetizer, pork tenderloin & mahi mahi for dinner, and churros for dessert. Describing our meal like that doesn not even do it justice, because it's so beyond anything that we could ever make or get at a normal restaurant. Everything we ate was delicious! It was kind of late when we got done eating (not for Vegas time, but you know, we're boring!). Tony did a little blackjack machine playing before we went to bed. Overall we didn't really do much gambling at all. Just a couple $5 tries here and there. We didn't win any money either! So it made it kind of hard to keep going or want to play more money. I'm sure if I weren't there Tony would have gambled more, but we tried to find things we wanted to do together.

Sunday- We spent Sunday going a lot of walking around the strip, checking out the different hotels/casinos and all that is Las Vegas. We had lunch at a place called Strip Burger, across from our hotel, with burgers, chicken sandwhiches, and really good sweet potato fries...so I was sold! I tried fried pickles too...and liked them! We wore ourselves out walking around this day and had a later dinner off the strip at a Mexican restaurant...Viva something. It was your more traditional mexican food, but it was really good! Sunday, we basically ate and walked around to sum it up.

Monday- Our last full day. We had kind of had our fill of walking around the strip, so we went for a short morning run and decided to check out the outlet mall and then go to Hoover Dam. We found a few things at the outlet mall and then had to go to In-n-Out for lunch again. We made the drive out to Hoover Dam which took a little longer than anticipated due to some road construction by the dam that had the road down to one lane, but we thought it was totally worth it. It was crowded too, but it was nice to be outside and see something new. It was scary high though! It was scary looking over the side down the dam to the river below.

We made the drive back and rested at the hotel a little bit before going to dinner at Casa di Amore, an Italian resaurant also off the strip. The food here was delicious and they had half-price bottles of wine on Monday, so we left stuffed! After dinner we walked down the strip again to see the fountain show at the Bellagio. I thought this was awesome! One of my favorite things to see on the strip. That wrapped up our night. We went back to get ready to leave in the morning.

Our final assesment of our trip was that we had a good time spending time together, but we didn't really love Las Vegas. We had a hard time finding things to do since we didn't really want to gamble a lot or go to the newest/best clubs at night. Plus it was really crowded and if you know us at all, you know we don't do well with crowds! It was kind of funny to see these replicas of places that we've been to (Paris, Venice, NYC)...not quite the same as the real thing! The casinos & hotels were nice and cool to see but there's only so many casinos you can walk through and Louis Vuitton's, Gucci's, etc. that you can walk by...they are everywhere! Not to mention the CROWDS! We kept commenting on all the different types of people there, old people in scooters, people in their 20's of course, Europeans, typical tourist looking people, couples with kids of all ages...even babies in strollers, people with money to spend decked out, and average joe's in torn jeans and tshirts. It made for interesting people watching! Like I said, I'm glad we were able to go because I'd never been and it was nice to go some place to celebrate Tony's 30th, but we were glad to be heading home too.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

9 Weeks of Training...Check!

We're another week closer to our marathon and one week past the half way point. We have 7 more weeks to go, so plenty more long runs around the corner, but I feel like the hard part is over. We've run as far as we're going to run in our training, so the unknown element isn't there anymore. We still have to run 20 miles two more times, but at least we've done it once and we know we can make it! We ran 16 miles today and it didn't seem too bad because we had already done it plus some! And I'm finding that I'm less sore afterwards too. In addition to the long runs, the tempo runs have been a challenge and continue to get faster. We've done two types of tempo runs. They are on Wednesdays in our schedule and have progressively gotten longer and faster. One of the run types has us doing one mile at a time basically sprinting with a half mile in between slow to recover. Those miles started at 7:09 pace and doing 3 of them and we build up to 7:00 and 4 or 5 of them. That's hard for me, but I haven't missed the pace yet. We haven't gotten down to 7 min yet though! For the other type of tempo run, we run the miles consecutively and at a fast pace, but not crazy. We started with 7:39 pace for 3 miles and we build up to 5 or 6 miles in the 7:20s. These are tough too, but do-able. Probably the other hardest part about these runs is that we have to do them on a Wednesday night, after work when we're tired and not really in the mood for fast running. They have definitely helped though and we've found that they've gotten easier as the weeks have gone on, just like the long runs have. So the training continues even though we're heading to Las Vegas next weekend. We're planning on doing another 16 miles next Saturday there and then eating some good food afterwards. Seven more weeks to go!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Rockin New Socks

These are one of the three new pairs of running socks Tony got me yesterday! I got him a pair of these Thorlo Experia running socks for Christmas and he brags about how great they are all the time. So I've been talking about wanting some for awhile, and lo and behold, the Sunday paper brought a coupon for Sports Authority and new socks are on my feet! I haven't cared much about "running socks" but now that we've been running these long distances its nice to have some socks that have some extra cushion. I wore them for the first time today and I'm really liking these socks. I had to work only a half day because we had conferences, so I made up my run from yesterday this afternoon. I'm so excited that spring is coming! It was 65 degrees and sunny today! I am loving this weather...so I hope it sticks around because I'm over the cold weather. I'm ready for short sleeves, shorts, and a tan!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Random Pics

We went to the Tulsa Zoo on Sunday. It was our first visit and the only reason I wanted to go was to see the polar bear. Polar bears are my favorite animals so I was pretty pumped. Unfortunately, I must have missed the news last May that the one remaining polar bear at the Tulsa Zoo died. Much to my dismay, the only polar bear we saw on Sunday was on this picture:

Here are a few more of our pics from the zoo:

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