Women Run The Cities: Part II

As I mentioned in this post, I had a wonderful time last weekend with Lisa in the beautiful city of Minneapolis. But we didn't just eat and see the sights. One of the things that I went to visit for was the Women Run the Cities 10 Mile Race, located in Minnehaha Park.

The night before I set out all my gear. Those striped things are either leg warmers or arm warmers, and were one of the free things we got when we signed up. The race was (shoe) chip timed. The race I had the weekend before was chip timed, but the chip was on my bib, which was super convenient.

This time there was no funnel cake carb loading, just a nice dinner of chicken and pasta, cooked by Lisa and served with a beautiful salad and lots and lots of water. Before the race, as always, I had to pee and not-surprisingly, I also had to go again around mile one. I have a pea sized bladder. It's ridiculous.

Aside from Lisa and I, we also met up with Raquelita, who lives a couple of hours away. She and her husband were really nice! And then we were off! This race was great, it went along the sides of the Mississippi river and was along a tree lined road. There were a few hills, one really big one around mile 4 and one around mile 7. The weather was about 44 degrees when we started but warmed up into the 50s during the race.

I finished first and then ran to the car to get the camera so I could take photos of the girls coming in.

Here is Lisa.

Here we are afterwards. 

Here is Raquelita. 

Afterwards, we went to Victors 1959 Cafe for brunch and some great Cuban food! We also bored Raquelits's husband to death had some great conversations about running, traveling, books and life! These girls were great and it was nice to finally meet up with them! I felt like we had known each other for years.

For those non-runners, you can look away now. Runners, here are my stats:

Total Miles: 10
Total time: 1:23:36 (according to Garmin)
Average of: 8:22/mile
Place overall: 140/1050
I was 14 minutes behind the 1st place girl in my age group and 20 minutes behind the first place overall. That means I need to run at least a 6:22 mile to win next time. YEAH RIGHT!

I felt good the entire time. I always try to keep up with someone who is a little faster than I want to really go. In this case, I was trying to keep it under an 8:30 pace. The first mile was packed with people and so most of it was spent dodging and weaving. Finally around mile 2, the course freed up and I was able to get into a steady pace. It went well until I was running mile 7 and I thought that I only had one mile left and when I got to the 8 mile marker, I was a little disappointed. My right hip and butt cheek were really starting to seize up by then. However, I just pretended I was doing a Yasso and my last mile was actually my fastest (7:55).

All in all, this was a good race. I would recommend it to anyone. OH, I almost forgot to tell you guys. I have never run a 10 mile race before, so this was also my 10 Miler PR! It sure is nice when it's your first time; you ALWAYS PR on your first time!

You may also want to read:
Raquelita's Race Report
Lisa's Race Report 
My Races and Places Page: Other runs I have done. 

One other thing. I JUST signed up for THIS Marathon. It's 10 weeks away. Do you guys think I can be ready by then? I can already run 13 miles. I figured I may as well just keep adding on, rather than trying to start from the beginning next year. However, it is going to be dark a lot (and cold) during my training times. What do you think? Is it do-able? 

What races did you run this weekend? How did you do? Have you ever run a marathon? Was the training intense?

Don't forget to go over to Jills and check out the other Fitness Friday posts!


Life On Canvas

Hi everyone. I am going to post today's 12 Weeks to Better Photos soon. But first, I have a little request for you guys. I recently got a Groupon for 2 (two) 16 inch by 20 inch canvas prints. I have to pick them by mid October. Do you know how hard it is to narrow your photos down to TWO!? It's such a big decision! I mean, there are so many I like, but now it's Pressure Time. Do I want landscapes or people? Travel Photos or photos of home? Black and White or Color? AAAAHHH!! And they are going to be kind of big, so I want to take that into consideration.

Can you help me? I have narrowed it down to seven. It was hard. I decided that I didn't want huge people staring at me (especially myself). It's down to travel, home and landscapes, or a combo of two. Now it's go time.

HERE IS WHERE I NEED YOUR HELP! I have to pick TWO of these to make into prints. I don't really care if they go together per se, because I can always hang them on different walls, or in different rooms. Here they are. I have numbered them so if you could let me know which number you like the best, that would be so helpful. I am driving myself crazy over here (believe me, picking these 7 was not easy and I am still doubting/second guessing my choices).

Thanks so much for your input! 

And now, the 12 Weeks to Better Photos: Week 4: Flash

Okay, so for this week's assignment, we had to play with our flash. I rarely use my flash. I feel like most of the time it washes the subject out. But, that may just mean I need more practice.

The assignment was to go outside and take photo of someone with the sun at their back without the flash and then with the flash. The second part was to go outside on a cloudy day and to use the flash to brighten up the subject.

There were no sunny days so I decided to stimulate the sun by doing my photo inside. As you can see, if the light is behind the subject, it is better and brighter to use your flash.

For the second part, we luckily (?) had a lot of cloudy days, so it was no problem. Again, the flash brightens it up just a tad, which can be helpful at times. 

I was not really super excited about this assignment to be truthful. Not only do I not like my flash (the one that comes on the camera) but I also don't take a lot of photos of people, or subjects that necessarily need lighting. However, I do feel like I learned that flash is not always bad! Maybe I would like to use it more if I had this. 

Anyway, make sure to link up over at Kate's and join us for week 5: a lesson on Composition.

Do you use your flash a lot? Do you like it? Please, don't forget to let me know which of the above photos I should put on a 16 x 20 canvas!!!!


Closed For Maintenence

Hello everyone. You may or may not know that I have been doing a little maintenance around these parts. Let's call it "Fall Cleaning". I've been sorting and arranging and filing and organizing. It makes me feel better and it also looks better too! So, what am I talking about? Let me tell you.

First up, I reorganized my Reader. I had WAAYY too many subscriptions and I didn't have time to read them all. Also, many of them were people who were doing the 365 Project at the same time as I was, and their blogs have been inactive for some time. So I went from 161 subscriptions to...71. Yup. It took some time, but I finally got down to ZERO posts, without "marking all as read" (I think I still have "people I follow" who are not counted in the "subscription" count, but I am not sure.)

Secondly, I have been working on some label buttons and they still aren't quite what I wanted but here they are anyway. These are a few of my favorite things. If you are reading this in Reader, you can click out to see them on my left sidebar, for now. Or, if you click on them, it will take you to the appropriate topic. Tell me, do you think it is too busy over on that side?

I also created "Find Me Here" buttons, although I am not really sure how I feel about them either. I would rather have the logo from whatever site it is, but I am not savvy enough to do that, so I just made my own the only way I know how. Where do you guys find the P, the F, the envelope and the little bird?

To top it off, and to try to get rid of some of the busyness, I changed the background to a solid color. Is it TOO white?

I would appreciate any feedback, tips and comments!

Do you change your look often? Do you ever go through and "clean up"? How do you keep your blog looking fresh?


Women Run The Cities: Part I

Last weekend I went to visit a fellow blogger, Lisa, who lives in Minneapolis. We had a great time walking around the city, over the bridges, back over the bridges, under the bridges, over the river and through the woods.

I knew I would like Lisa (as if I had had any doubts) when she asked if I wanted an apple. When I said yes, she said, "let me grab the apple slicer". I was thinking, "Apple slicer? Isn't that called a KNIFE?" (this girl is batty, people) And then.... VOILA!

Awesome. The girl has gadgets. Everyone needs one of these! 
P.S. This is a Honeycrisp apple, which is native to MN. 

 Lisa, who had a bit of a cold, was still an awesome host. She took me all over the city. First we went to the Guthrie for a view of the Stone Arch Bridge. Good name, huh? I guess somebody just called it like they saw it!

Here we are. Yes we color coordinated on purpose! If you ever need someone who knows how to put the self timer on the camera and get a photo of practically nothing, I am your man. The stone arch bridge is somewhere behind that bannister.

We went to the farmers market, where they had lots of fun veggies. We also got to see a cooking demonstration while sitting in the sun (it was a chilly 44ish when we were outside) drinking coffee. Now THAT is my kind of day.

I had to get a scone from the best place in MN to buy pastries. This was what Lisa said many people had told her, but she didn't know firsthand, since she can't have gluten. Yum! I could have had one of each of these pastries!

And then we went and bought some bratwurst for lunch from Kramarczuk's.  We picked a jalapeno and cheese brat and a wild rice (MN specialty) brat. We cooked those up and served them with a salad and rosemary potatoes. Lisa made sure I didn't go hungry while staying with her.

I wanted to do this, which is to ride around the city drinking and pedaling. But we had other things to do. 

Like...take a walk next to the river. 

And eat Gelato.

We also spent time walking over the Stone Arch Bridge, taking photos, walking around downtown, drinking coffee, eating guacamole and browsing the bookstore. 

So yes, as you can see, we did the things I love most: walking, taking in the sights and, most importantly... EATING. Lisa must have named another half dozen restaurants that I will need to go to next time I come to visit. But there is always too little time and too much to do!

Lisa was a great host and we had a great time. Now I'm trying to convince her (and anyone else who wants) to come to San Francisco so I can return the favor. It sure is fun going to visit people and it's nice to have a local to show you around! 

I wasn't just there to stuff my face though. Tune in on Friday when I talk about the 10 mile race that we ran on Sunday!

What did you do this weekend? Have you been to Minneapolis? Have you ever crossed the Mississippi on foot?


Marvelous Marin

If you have never been to the Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur, you need to hightail it down there right NOW and get yourself a Point Reyes Porter. If you have never been to Point Reyes, you should go there either before or after going for a beer. Your choice. It is a little sticky outie thing (a point, hence the name, I guess) about an hour north of San Francisco that has the cutest tiny little lighthouse on it. You can walk down to the lighthouse or you can go surfing or beach-combing nearby.  {Photo Credit} **If you are from the Bay Area, you are hopefully have fingers crossed with me that the Giants are kicking Diamondback booty! (or already did, depending on when you are reading this)**

If you are new here, welcome. What we do each Sunday (inspired by Kim's Grab a Beer and Look What I Did Last Week) is get comfy on the couch, get your favorite brewsky out of the fridge and check out what happened last week! You can join in by going to Kim's site and leaving your link there! Let's get started!

As you may have already heard about my race recap post, my Dad came into town and we did some Missouri style sight seeing. This may be my new favorite barn. 

We took a hike at the Trail of Tears State Park. You walk along the Mississippi for a while and sometimes the bluffs are pretty huge! It's a lot different from the Mississippi that is near New Orleans!

Then we headed to the district fair. Where we ate copious amounts of fried foods in the name of carb loading.  And we saw things like this. Huh, camouflage is a good look for a pickup and is only enhanced by the addition of the hand-made sign on the back.

I found a new ride. Sweet, huh? I'm really loving the color and it handles like a dream. 

Then there was the race. This girl whupped my butt. Probably because she was more streamlined than I was. And had sportier glasses. Actually, this was before the race, where I said to my Dad, "huh, I bet she is from South Africa". So he, being the Dad that he is, goes up to her and says, "where are you from?" "South Africa," she says. "Can  you take a photo with my daughter?" Aw, DaaaAaad! Some things will never change. (PS she was a good sport and a very nice girl)

After the race, I ate a whole ramakin of cheese. And a strawberry shortcake. In the name of recovery.

A few wise words: 

And...last night I parked my car in the "red car" parking section. If you think you are smart and are going to take down my plate number and find me in rural MO, you are wrong. It's a rental and you may just be stalking an overweight, hairy, biker. But that would be funny. I shouldn't have told you. You would have had quite a surprise!

Well this was not a very exciting week in photos, but probably because work has been super busy! We are getting close to finishing up in our area and who knows where we will be off to next. A new hotel, a new running trail, a new set of coworkers, like I mentioned earlier this week

What about you? What did you do this week? Has your week been busy/slow? Boring/fun? Are you doing anything fun this weekend?

Also, I added a new thingy -- if you like this post, you can Stumble It. The icon is right at the bottom of the post (probably right below this line here).