From Sun to Snow

That time you thought you avoided chafing on your long run, and then realized otherwise when you got in the shower:


That is my favorite gif, forever and always. ❤

It was 57 degrees today, IN JANUARY, so I wore shorts and a tank top on my 12-mile run. Ludicrous! (I totally thought that spelling was wrong for a sec because I’m used to seeing “Ludacris.”)

I used my favorite anti-chafe ointment, Bag Balm, yet still suffered a bit of inner-thigh chafing. Ugh. Get excited for summer!

The run itself wasn’t super great, but I got through it.


The best thing ever is when I’ve finished my long run and have nothing to do the rest of the day except lounge and replenish the calories I burned. Basically, I run to eat and be lazy.

Let’s back up a little to last week and weekend! I made a very brief trip to San Diego on Thursday for my company’s annual meeting. Every time I go to San Diego, I wonder why I don’t just live there. It’s 73 degrees and sunny in January??


This is terribly rude of San Diego, and shouldn’t be allowed.

I snuck out of the hotel before sunrise on Friday morning for a three-mile run along Harbor Island Drive, pictured above. I wish I’d brought my phone to take a few photos because the city was lit up beautifully, and the water looked so peaceful. I even saw a falling star! Aww.

I flew back to Seattle Friday night to get home in time for a long weekend away with Aaron, three of my best friends and their significant others. I went from sunny San Diego to snowy Leavenworth!


Beautiful in a very different way.

We had tons of fun gallavanting around the Bavarian-themed town and enjoying the novelty of snow, since we don’t get much in Seattle.


The long MLK weekend happened to coincide with the Icicle Festival, which included activities like creating snow sculptures. The boys posed with these snow minions from Despicable Me!


The girls just posed.


And we all got this pic with the official ice sculpture of the festival to remember the trip.


Look how long Aaron’s beard is! This is almost four months of growth. He’s been growing it out since a few days before the wedding, and he’s trying to go for a year.

We rented an adorable house right in the heart of Leavenworth and were able to walk everywhere once we arrived. This was wonderful because there was some, eh-hem, drinking involved, particularly during and after the greatest football game of ALL TIME.


If you missed the NFC Championship Seahawks vs. Packers game — or even if you did see it — you MUST watch this Inside the NFL video about the incredible comeback the Seahawks pulled off. It shows the game highlights from the perspective of being on the field, and includes audio of the players talking to each other during the game. It’s so interesting to hear the combo of trash talking and never-give-up encouragement.

You may even cry at the end. Or maybe that was just me.

ANYWAY, that was so incredible to watch and celebrate with our friends! What a fun weekend.

The only other notable thing to report since last weekend is that I changed my blog design!

I’d used the same Tumblr theme since I very first started this blog, and I’ve been getting sick of it for a while. I just chose a simple, free Tumblr theme and customized it with a header I made with my extremely limited Photoshop skills. Do ya like it?

Makeovers and Long Running

Oh heyyyyyyy. It’s Tuesday. But let’s talk about the weekend, yes?

I spent the first half of Saturday with my mommio at the mall. We got makeovers at Clinique! So fun.


My mom hasn’t worn makeup in about two years, with the exception of our wedding, because chemo made her skin really sensitive. Now that she’s long done with treatment, she’s ready to wear makeup again, but since her hair grew back a different color, she needed new stuff to complement her new hair!

Our makeup lady did a wonderful job and made us feel like pretty, pretty princesses. Look how gorgeous my mom looks!!! It makes my heart swell about five sizes to see her looking so healthy and happy. ❤

Saturday evening was all about watching the Seahawks and their amazing WIN over the Panthers!



Is Green Bay even ready for this kind of crazy?

On Sunday morning, Aaron and I visited his former co-worker, who gave birth to the most adorable twin girls in December.

I have no photos from this event, but just imagine 90 minutes of holding one perfect, fuzzy-headed infant, then trading that infant for the other perfect, fuzzy-headed infant that your husband was holding, then trying to get them to open their little eyes to say hi, then freaking out when they actually did open their eyes and start to cry. Ahhh, the joy of hanging out with other people’s babies, then leaving when they get fussy. 🙂

Pretty much the last thing I wanted to do after snuggling with warm, fuzzy babies all morning was do my long run out in the cold. After much procrastination and debating the limits of winter daylight, I sucked it up and did it.

11 miles, 1:46:49, 9:43 pace




Once again, I took three walk breaks of about 45 seconds each on the big hill in mile three, but I completed that mile nine seconds faster than I completed it during my last long run (10:56 –> 10:47). So that’s something!

I like running that hill early in my long runs so I can do the rest of the run on sort-of tired legs. Bring the pain, marathon training. Bring. The. Pain.

On Monday, I just lifted weights.

This morning, I ran three miles in about 28 minutes on the treadmill while listening to the first half of the latest episode of This American Life. It talked about how people’s expectations subtly impact others’ physical abilities, particularly in regard to blindness. I’m dying to listen to the other half on my run tomorrow!

Can other people’s expectations of you alter what you can do physically? Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller of NPR’s new radio show and podcast Invisibilia investigate that question – specifically, they look into something that sounds impossible: if people’s expectations can change whether a blind man can see.

It’s making me think about how powerful it really is to have people who believe in you, and to believe in yourself.

Catching Up on the Week

I’ve been a bad blogger! I was lazy the first half of the week, and the reason is embarrassing, really.

On Sunday, I did the elliptical for about 45 minutes for my cross training day, and it wasn’t worth blogging about. What a terribly boring machine. I listened to Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! so at least I learned something.

On Monday, I slept in instead of going to the gym, and then had a really tragic situation where I realized halfway to work that I had forgotten my work laptop at home. Since I can’t work without it, I got off at the next bus stop and took a bus back to the park & ride, drove home, got my laptop, drove back to the park & ride, and THERE WERE NO PARKING SPACES LEFT. So I took that as a sign that I should just work from home.

So I did. And I probably could have gone for a run at lunch, but I didn’t. It was rainy and I was lazy.

That night was The Bachelor premiere, so of course I watched all three hours of it and consumed as many glasses of wine while also filling out a bracket of which women I think are going to make it far and which woman will win. You know, classy shit.

Longtime readers will know my obsession with The Bachelor/ette extends way back before I started this blog. In fact, one of my bridesmaids (who also used to be my roommate) in her speech at our wedding reception praised Aaron for his many years of service as a co-watcher of this fine program with us, when the other roommates’ boyfriends conveniently bailed on Monday nights.

She described how Aaron would come over to our house, bring a can of Progresso soup to heat up for his dinner, sit by me and side-eye/roll his eyes at the TV for two hours while we girls analyzed every scene. It was in recognition of this begrudging loyalty that my roommate-turned-bridesmaid bestowed upon him a surprise “final rose” — literally, a long-stemmed red rose that she had hidden under her napkin — to the delight of all of us. It was awesome.

Anyway, I was obviously too exhausted to run Tuesday morning, so that’s my excuse. But here is a lovely picture taken from my office on Tuesday to make up for it:


Creepy fog situation. This was in the middle of the day.

I finally ran Wednesday evening, right after I got my hair cut. Just a boring three miles on the treadmill.

Did I mention that I chopped all my hair off in October after the wedding? I did. It was Aaron’s idea!


I’m aware that is an obnoxious shirt. The photo on the left is the morning after our wedding, when we ate breakfast at our hotel, hence my bleary, makeup-free appearance. I only wore the shirt then, on our honeymoon, and now at home with my sweatpants and fuzzy slippers. I’m not THAT embarrassing of a person in public.

Anyway, short hair is bomb! I get ready so much faster, and my ponytail is just a nub, so it never gets tangled when I run. I’m on board with it for the foreseeable future. Now it’s even a little shorter than the photo above.

Thursday brought another boring three miles on the treadmill. But here’s another unrelated photo from that day:



This morning, I woke up at 4:45 and ran five miles of hill repeats on a steep-ass hill near my house. 


I also made the exciting discovery that my Garmin didn’t pick up a signal until I was one mile into the run. Add another hill at the beginning in your mind.

The base of the hill is 83 feet above sea level and the tippy-top is 356 feet, so it’s a 273-foot climb in a little over a half-mile. The biggest climb in the Big Sur Marathon is Hurricane Point, which starts at mile 9.4 at 40 feet and reaches 560 feet at mile 12 — so, a 524-foot climb over 2.6 miles. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a lot to you, but it’s a bit intimidating to this hill-a-phobe.


Aaron just told me about another route I could run nearby that would give me 750 feet of climbing over 3.1 miles. So… that’s exciting.

Anyway. Now I’m tired. I’ll take Saturday off, then do my long run on Sunday.

As always, you can check out my marathon training plan here.

Our Hawaiian Honeymoon

Right after our wedding, we flew to the Big Island of Hawaii for a week of sunny and fun honeymooning!


Aaron’s mom and stepdad, Greta and Mark, generously gifted us with this honeymoon in celebration of our wedding. They love the Big Island, and have vacationed for something like 20 years at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. So guess where we got to stay??


Amazing. Aaron and I had been to Hawaii together three times before, but we had always stayed at a budget hotel or in an Airbnb room. It was mind-boggling to be able to stay at this incredible resort for a whole week!

The view from our room didn’t suck at all.



Of course, something had to go wrong. I believe we were less than 24 hours into our honeymoon when I realized I was getting really sick. It started with a few sneezes on the plane, but I convinced myself those were just due to the dry air. I felt better when we got to our hotel, thanks to the humidity, but then started sneezing and constantly blowing my nose the next day… and it was all downhill from there. From about Monday evening through Wednesday evening, I was miserable with one of the worst head-and-chest colds I’ve ever had.

But luckily, we didn’t have too many plans for this vacation. Our goal was just to relax and eat a ton of good food. Aaron brought his bike and went for a ride nearly every morning, which gave me the opportunity to sleep in before we went to breakfast together. Then we’d head down to the pool or beach and soak up the sun.


We ate at so many incredibly delicious restaurants, including fancy dinners at Merriman’s, Huggo’s On the Rocks, Tommy Bahama (our fave — so amazing), and Roy’s. We’ve been to Roy’s on every island we’ve visited!


And guess who was having dinner at the next table over? Roy’s wife! So I guess we had the second-best table in the house. 🙂

Other notable meals include probably the best sushi I’ve ever had at Monstera, and the most unique sushi I’ve ever had at Sushi Rock. Aaron doesn’t like raw fish (or most cooked fish, either), but Sushi Rock offers sushi rolls with very thinly sliced tenderloin instead. He loved it!

Another favorite was Lava Lava Beach Club. We had fantastic onion rings and fish tacos, plus a great view of the ocean.


We also hit up the Kona Brewing Company, which we’d being dying to do ever since we discovered Kona beers on our first trip to Oahu in 2011. Big Wave Golden Ale and Wailua Wheat are two of our very favorite beers!


Of course, we had to get tasting flights to try even more beers.



Sadly, we just missed the last brewery tour, and it was getting a bit rainy that afternoon, so we went to see Gone Girl. Aaron hadn’t read the book, so he was completely surprised! We both loved it.

I finally started feeling better on Thursday, so we drove across the island to Volcanoes National Park to do a little hiking. The landscape of the Big Island is so varied and beautiful. It’s like Lord of the Rings in some parts, and the most desolate, black lava rock in others.


Greta and Mark had told us we could see lava flowing into the ocean at the national park, but a bunch of the park was closed due to toxic fumes in the air. So, we settled for hiking around and through a crater.


It was awesome!



I think it was about a four-mile hike in all. Nothing too crazy, but it felt so nice to be active and do some sightseeing.

Now, it’s time for the IRONMAN World Championship! It fell on our second-to-last day on the Big Island, and the whole week prior, it was so fun to watch all the competitors do their final training rides and runs along Queen K highway, and see them swimming in the early morning.

Also, everyone we encountered throughout the week — from restaurant staff to real IRONMAN competitors — thought Aaron was competing in the race! Between his cyclist physique, his shaved legs, his cycling sunglasses (he forgot his regular ones at home, so he wore them all the time), and his bike and bike gear, it was a logical conclusion (and such a compliment!).


Apparently he got sick of explaining that he was just here on our honeymoon, but I think he loved it. 🙂 Sadly, no one thought I was competing… ha.

We watch the Ironman World Championship special on NBC every year, but it was so much more exciting to watch the race in person!



We arrived in Kona just as the final competitors finished the swim leg right before the cutoff. It was thrilling to cheer on the ones who just made it, but heartbreaking for those who didn’t. 😦


Here’s the thing: It’s hot as shit in Hawaii. Aaron and I were sweating and dying just walking around in the sun and humidity. I have no freakin’ clue how these people do an IRONMAN in these conditions! I guess that’s what makes them the best in the world.

We watched competitors on the bike leg for a while, then had lunch at Da Poke Shack. Best. Poke. EVER.


Ugh, I want it so badly right now.

Then, it was time to watch the pros come in from the bike and start the run.


Nooooo big deal. I’m just massive and incredibly fit and starting a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles in the ridiculous Hawaiian heat. (This is Jan Frodeno of Germany. He finished third.)


Nooooo big deal. I’m a little behind right now, but I’ll ultimately crush all the women in front of me during this marathon because I’m Mirinda Carfrae and no one can touch me.

We then found a prime spectating location out of the sun, with beer.


But headed down to the finish chute just in time to see the winners!


Sebastian Kienle of Germany won it for the men.


And Mirinda won for the women!

So exciting.

We stayed for a while and watched more pros and age groupers finish, and then had dinner at Huggo’s On the Rocks. It definitely had the best location and view of any restaurant we visited! Those bright lights in the distance are the IRONMAN transition area and finish line.


Then we went back to the finish line again to watch more age groupers and the “regular people” (who race for charity, or have incredible personal stories) finish. Tears in my eyes! All the emotions! I cheered so much.

Well, that about sums it up for our honeymoon. It’s nice to look back on it from a not-sick point of view and remember all the awesome food we ate and things we did! And, of course, all the quality time we spent together as newlyweds.


Thank you, Greta and Mark, for such a generous and priceless gift!

And thank you, Aaron, for loving me “in sickness and in health”! ❤

Return to Running

I’m back!!! Suck it, sickness!

The last time I was this sick was on our honeymoon. Actually, I was even more sick then. That was a huge bummer, but at least I wasn’t sick for the wedding. 

That reminds me that I need to write a honeymoon recap. We did go to the Ironman World Championship, which was amaaaazing. I’ll put one up in the next week!

Anyway, I finally ran again yesterday — just an easy three miles on the treadmill to see if I’d be able to do my long run today — and I felt fine.


Side note: Thank goodness for headphones, because there were some guys at the gym lifting weights and grunting/moaning so loudly with every rep. Is that really necessary?? If you sound like you’re going to die, mayyyybe your dumbbells are too heavy? Maybe I’m just being judgmental…

This morning, I made my favorite pre-long-run breakfast — a big ol’ paleo pancake — and it was so very, very delicious.


If you haven’t tried this recipe yet, get on it. It’s just a banana, eggs, flaxseed, vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon. (You can just use a banana and two eggs for super-simple pancakes, but I like the extra heartiness and flavor that the other ingredients add.)

The banana makes the pancake naturally sweet, so I just add a tablespoon or two of almond butter on top right before eating it. So filling and yummy!

My nine-mile run was surprisingly great, given how crappy I felt earlier this week. It was fairly hilly, but I finished with a 9:30 average pace and felt good the whole time.


Mile 3 was a beast of a hill. I used to be able to run up it easily while I was training for the Eugene Marathon, but today I had to stop to walk three times. The key is to keep moving! I’ll get it back with some practice.


In contrast, here is the elevation profile of an eight-mile run I did while training for Eugene. Ha. Ha. HA!


It feels good to challenge myself more. Plus, running hills just makes a long run that much more interesting. (Remind me I said that when it’s time for my 20-miler.)

After my run, I had — wait for it — a MASSAGE. Best thing ever.


Our insurance covers several massages per year, so Aaron and I have both started taking advantage. I like to have the therapist focus on my back, neck, and legs, and it seemed like she spent most of the hour today on my legs. Ah-mazing after a long run!

One last thing before I go: I made paleo sweet potato chili earlier this week, and it was soooo delicious to have all week long! Here’s the recipe if you want to try it —-> Paleo Sweet Potato Chili

Note: I halved the amount of chili powder, and I thought it was perfect.

You can make it in a slow cooker, but I wanted it sooner, so I just did it on the stovetop. Very simple and quick! And the flavors kept developing throughout the week, so my last bowl was by far the best. (You might get this deliciousness on the first try if you go the slow cooker route.)


All About Rent the Runway

Since I’m still sick, I sadly have nothing to report on the fitness front. But I mentioned a few posts back how much I love Rent the Runway and that it deserves a post of its own, so here it is!

Note: I’m not being paid to promote Rent the Runway or anything — I just really love the service — but some of the links in this post will earn me credit toward dress rentals if you use them to create an account and rent a dress.

I’m not a very fancy person, but I had several occasions to be fancy in 2014 because of my friend Sarah’s bridal celebrations and wedding, and my own bridal celebrations. I hate buying party dresses and only wearing them once, so I decided to give Rent the Runway a shot!

I created my Rent the Runway account and started looking for a dress to wear to Sarah’s bridal shower in June. I added several dresses to my shortlist, but really relied on other customers’ reviews when it came to making my decision.

The reviews are so, so helpful because you find out things like whether the dress runs large, small, or true to size; what kind of bra you can wear with it; whether it’s restrictive or loose enough to dance in; whether or not it’s flattering for a particular body type; and any little quirks, like if the straps are a little too long and tend to fall down.

Many reviews also include a photo of the woman who rented the dress wearing it. I love being able to see how the dress fits real people — not just a model, who will always looks amazing. I try to find a woman who has a body type similar to mine so I can get an idea of how the dress would look on me.

For the bridal shower, I chose the Springtime Air Dress because it was a beautiful color and had great reviews from other renters.


It was so fun to wear! The dress was also really well-made; I had never before worn a dress that had boning to keep its shape and keep it from falling down. But I’d also never worn a designer dress that cost ~$400 off the rack before!

I also loved that two sizes of the dress are included with every rental. Dresses definitely fit differently depending on the style and designer, so it’s awesome to have the size you think you’ll be, plus a backup size just in case. Usually my typical size 6 fits, but I’ve worn a size 8 a few times, too.

Returns are easy, too. A pre-paid UPS envelope is included with your rental, so you just put the dresses in the envelope and drop it in a UPS drop box or at a UPS store. And no need to worry about cleaning — Rent the Runway dry-cleans every dress. If you accidentally damage a dress, a small insurance fee covers that.

Next, I ordered the Grapefruit Spritz Sheath for Sarah’s wedding in July.


I felt like a classy lady! Loved the color as well. It was another beautifully made, but expensive dress that I’d never be able to wear if not for Rent the Runway.

By this time, I was fully addicted, and paid $29.95 to upgrade my account to PRO so I would get free shipping and insurance on every rental for a year. (Shipping and insurance adds up to at least $14.95 per order, so going PRO is worth it if you plan to rent more than two dresses in a year.)

My next rental was the Futuristic Sequin Dress for my bachelorette party in August.


When else can you wear a fully sequined dress when (a) it’s not New Year’s Eve, or (b) you’re not in Vegas? Another fun one.

Next: the Lace Sierra Dress for another friend’s wedding at the end of August.


Then, Rent the Runway really came through with dresses for my bridal shower and rehearsal dinner. The bride often wears white at these events, but I would never buy a nice white party dress because it’s a pretty impractical thing to own. You certainly can’t wear them as a guest to weddings!

The Ivory Scarlett Dress was perfect for a one-time wear at my bridal shower, though.


And perhaps my favorite rental of all was the Madeline Sheath for our wedding rehearsal and dinner.


It was business in the front/party in the back! (I swear my spray tan wasn’t that orange in real life. Or at least it wasn’t after I scrubbed the shit out of it in the shower.)

Anyway, it was a totally impractical dress for my everyday life, but perfect for that once-in-a-lifetime occasion.

And that’s it so far! I haven’t had the occasion to rent in a while, and I probably won’t for some time. It was worth it to wear special dresses for some very special events, but I definitely won’t make it a regular habit. I have a few nice dresses I can pull back into the rotation since my friends may not remember them now that I haven’t worn them in a year or so. 🙂

If I ever get the chance to attend a black-tie event or other formal occasion where a gown is required (oh please oh please, someone invite me to one!), I’ll definitely be hitting Rent the Runway again!

Books I Read in 2014

Happy New Year!!!

Since I’m still sick, Aaron and I canceled our NYE plans yesterday and celebrated from our couch. I got up only to dance along with Taylor Swift’s performance of Shake It Off on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. It was basically this:


Don’t pretend like you’re not impressed.

Aaron stayed awake just long enough to clink champagne glasses and and smooch, and then he poured his champagne into my glass (score!!! 2015 off to an awesome start already) and went to sleep.


It was lovely.

As I look back on the past year, I’m really proud of one bit in particular: I made good on my commitment to read more!

I read 30 books in 2014. I drifted into super light/mindless reading in the few months leading up to the wedding and after, and then didn’t read anything in December because I spent all my time listening to Serial and reading about the case online. Oops?

Here’s the rundown:

!!!!!!!!!!! = OBSESSED, read now
*** = loved it and recommend you read it
+ = read as part of my book club

Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kaling
The Kid – Dan Savage
*** Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn (loved the movie, too, but the book is even better)
*** Oprah: A Biography – Kitty Kelly
Bossypants – Tina Fey

Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet – Jamie Ford

!!!!!!!!!!! Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
State of Wonder – Ann Patchett

+ The Invention of Wings – Sue Monk Kidd
*** Wild – Cheryl Strayed
*** Love With a Chance of Drowning – Torre DeRoche

+ *** The Boys in the Boat – Daniel James Brown
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage – Ann Patchett

+ Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
*** The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (believe it or not, first time I ever read it!)
*** Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
Thrive – Arianna Huffington
I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends – Courtney Robertson (is my Bachelor obsession showing?)

Life on Foot: A Walk Across America – Nate Damm
*** The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein (a re-read; quite possibly my favorite book ever)
+ *** The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith (actually J.K. Rowling writing under a pseudonym)

*** Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
Single by Saturday – Catherine Bybee (here’s where I started with the cheesy romance novels to de-stress from wedding planning)

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon – Stephen King
Wife by Wednesday – Catherine Bybee
Married by Monday – Catherine Bybee

+ !!!!!!!!!!! The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker
Taken by Tuesday – Catherine Bybee
Fiance by Friday – Catherine Bybee

Drinking and Dating – Brandi Glanville (I have no excuse for this one…)

All Serial, all the time.

I’m currently reading The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta because I read on someone’s blog that she liked it (although I can’t remember who), but now I see the Amazon reviews are kind of bad. Sad times. I’ll keep reading and decide for myself!

Now I need more ideas for my 2015 reading list. What was your favorite book you read this year?