Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wine, racing and envelopes, oh my!

As mentioned two posts ago, I spent a long weekend in my hometown.  I enjoyed having a day-and-a-half off from work. :)

Thursday evening, my parents and I attended the Better With Age/Evening in White wine and beer tasting fundraiser.  We had a blast at this event.  Here are some photos:

The tasting tent was full of people sampling wine, beer and appetizers

Mom, Dad and me.  All attendees were encouraged to wear something white.

Dinner was served on the lawn of the Linden Hill property, framed by the historic Weyerhauser and Musser mansions

Jeff Anderson, wine sommelier, gave three mini wine classes throughout the evening

I loved the lighting in the music room of the Musser home, where the wine classes were held

Dinner was served at 7:30.  Yum!

Dessert from DQ!

The live auction raised money for Horizon Health and the Friends of Linden Hill

Attendees could purchase and release "wish lanterns"

I hope this person's wish will come true!

Club Ramone provided music for the evening

Mom and Dad danced the evening away.  I joined in on the fun, too!
We plan to attend next year's event because we had so much fun this year.

Friday was not a pleasant day for me, however, which made running errands in town difficult.  I felt nauseated the whole day, with occasional periods of lightheadedness.  I suspect it was the rich food at the wine tasting that upset my stomach, but my stomach had been feeling weird earlier in the week, so this bout may have been a continuation of the earlier stomach issues.  I took a three-hour nap in the afternoon and felt a little better after that.

I was concerned that my stomach problems would have prevented me from participating in Saturday's River Rat 5K, but I felt fine when I woke up that morning and had a great race.  I will post a race recap later this week.  I ran six miles after the race to count towards my last long run before the half-marathon I'm running on July 4, and that was a hot and sluggish run.  I expect weather conditions to be similar on that race day, so it was good to experience them beforehand.

The rest of the weekend, I worked on addressing wedding invitation envelopes.  I am two-thirds done.  I still need to get addresses from several people, so that will be one of my major projects for the week.

Have you ever attended a wine or beer tasting before?  Are you able to push through stomach pain during a race or does it sideline you?

Friday, June 24, 2011

We Have a Winner!

Ladies and gentlemen... drumroll please!

Thanks to Random.org, I now have a winner for my Ultimate Minnesota Nice Giveaway.

#42 is the following comment:

Congratulations, ~K~!  Please e-mail me at richelle(dot)maciej(at)gmail(dot)com and I will get your goodies out in the mail to you!

Thank you to all that entered my giveaway and thank you for reading my blog!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Three x 2 Things Thursday

1. Today is the last day for you to enter my "Minnesota Nice" giveaway.  Seriously, there are lots of fun goodies you could win, so make sure you do so before 11:59 p.m. Central Time tonight.  I will post the winner tomorrow.  Good luck to all who have entered!

2. Life is getting busier around here now that future hubs and I will be getting married in less than three months (yay!).  I can't believe how fast time is flying!  Invitations will be going out soon, and we need to pick out music for the wedding ceremony so we can notify our musicians.  Other minor details need to be figured out, too.

3. Mark and I made an offer on a condo on Tuesday.  It's a short sale, so it may take up to two months or longer for us to find out if the bank approves our offer.  We really want this condo for several reasons:
  • It's close enough to my workplace, a grocery store, and several restaurants that we could walk there
  • It's move-in ready (once the current occupants move out, that is)
  • It's had several updates, and has a fantastic deck with a nice view
  • It's the right amount of space for us at this point in our lives
  • We can't beat the price (around $33,000)
 Mark and I are hoping and praying that the condo will become ours.

4. This week is the week for aches and pains of several kinds for me.  Not only is it "that time of the month" for me (sorry for the TMI!), but my stomach and right knee have been feeling wonky.  However, I'm feeling better.  I skipped my usual Wednesday night run and went for a four-miler this morning.  That extra rest day helped!  My stomach appears to be back to normal, too.

Have you ever lost a toenail before due to running?

Mind the gap!
I did last year.  It felt like a blister was forming underneath the toenail, and my toe felt tender when I pressed on the nail.  Eventually, I ripped off the nail.  Ironically, I feel like I'm going to lose the nail from that same toe again this year.  I'm not sure why; it's not my socks, and I'm wearing different shoes this year compared to last year.  Do you know why we runners lose toenails?

5. I have the best fiance ever... :-)

6. What's on tap for you this weekend?  I took a couple days off from work so I could enjoy a long weekend in my hometown.  I'm attending a wine tasting this evening, running a 5K race on Saturday, and working on addressing wedding invites.

Good luck to everyone who is racing this weekend!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father Figure

My dad is an awesome guy.

Me with my dad, snow tubing at Eagle Mountain on Boxing Day 2008
He checks my car (a.k.a. Miss Pinot Noir) every time I drive up for the weekend, and every 3,000 miles, he services her (i.e. oil change, checking tire pressure, etc.).  This next weekend, he will fix a problem with the front bumper.

Hiking at Cascade River State Park last summer
Dad accompanied me to Omaha in 2007 just so I could run a half-marathon and visit a state I had never been to before.

Dad reading a placard along the Missouri River
Dad took this photo of me at the 10K mark of the half-marathon
He puts up with a lot of crap from the women in his life, ha ha!

Mom takes a breather after a long hike
He has given me plenty of good advice over the years and has been so encouraging and supportive of my crazy ideas and dreams.  He has always been a good provider for my family.  He is now retired and loves to spend time tinkering in the garage, hunting, fishing, hiking and reading.

Dad and me at Temperance River State Park in 2009
I'm truly blessed to have such a great dad.  Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Race Report: ALARC Legends 10K

On Friday evening, I received an e-mail from Kris, the race director of the ALARC Legends 10K/5K:

Hi Richelle!
Steve Stenzel gave me your email and said you may be interested in running in our race tomorrow. I know it's late notice but someone that won a free entry from Steve's giveaway is now injured and can't run. Email me back or simply ask for myself or my husband Mark if you arrive tomorrow so we can get your entry comped.

After discussing with future hubs the pros and cons of doing the race, along with figuring out how I'd incorporate the race into my long run, I decided to do it and e-mailed Kris.

Mark picked me up at 6:30 Saturday morning and we headed over to Deephaven Elementary School, where the race started.

The ALARC Wall is a staple at the Twin Cities Marathon.  It served as our finish line.
The Wall and results tent
In case you want to know what ALARC means...
I asked for Kris at the registration table and a volunteer found her for me.  Kris got me signed up for the race and gave me my goodie bag.

I was really happy that race participants received a Headsweats visor instead of a race shirt.  I have way too many race shirts at home, and I really liked the visor.  Also included in the goodie bag were coupons and a pair of Fitsok.  Love those socks!

The rising sun and clear skies made the temps warm up fast, so I ditched the arm sleeves I was planning to wear and also changed into a pair of Mizuno running shorts.

Pinning on my bib number before ditching the sleeves... strange expression on my face!
I went for a 1.1-mile run at an easy pace to warm up my legs and also to start getting in my eight planned miles for the day.

After listening to announcements, the 10K runners started.

"Ready... Go!"

Starting out all smiles!
It was a small race, so I reached my desired pace in a few minutes.  The 5K runners started after we did.

Most racers opted for the 10K
About one mile in, we were running on a gravel trail that was part of the Minnetonka Trail system.  For some reason, I felt like the trail was slowing me down, but when I looked at The Red Dragon, I saw that I still had a good pace going.  Hmm… must have been my imagination.  The best part of the race was the scenery.  The course was beautiful and mostly flat.  The trail system ran along a portion of Lake Minnetonka, and we also ran through some tree-lined neighborhoods housing multi-million dollar homes.

I was treating this race as a glorified training run, not a PR race, but I did want to keep a faster-than-8:30-per-mile pace going.  However, it seemed like I was putting in a lot of effort to keep that pace going.  My legs didn’t seem rested enough from Wednesday’s hill workout or the cumulative effects of my strength-training workouts that week.  Oh well.

Sometime after mile 3, I came across a guy wearing VFF Bikilas.  He had passed me early on in the race and was looking strong, but now he was struggling.  I asked him how his feet felt, and he said they were sore.  He said it had been awhile since he’d run a longer distance race in his Vibrams, and his calves really hurt.  Poor guy!  I wished him good luck and continued on.

Future hubs was at the finish cheering on the runners that were completing their races.

First 10K finisher
This little guy just finished the 5K
His sister was hot on his trail!
At mile 4 of the race (mile 5.1 at that point in the morning for me), I opened up my strawberry-banana Gu (thanks, Marlene!).  I really liked that flavor.  I consumed it slowly, taking a little bit at a time.  Unfortunately, there were no water stops for the second half of the race to wash down the Gu.  There was one water stop during the first half, and it was during the out-and-back portion, so the 10K runners hit it twice.  I stopped both times, but I wish there would have been a water stop later in the course.

My 1.1-mile warmup had been on the last portion of the course, so once I reached a particular bridge, I knew that I didn’t have that much farther to go.  I focused on keeping the pace and maintaining good form, which I had been focusing on throughout the race this time, not like Stillwater.

I had been trailing two of the older guys you see in the pictures above (the yellow singlet and the guy wearing the white hat) the second half of the course.  It was good mentally for me to chase them, even though I didn’t pass them.  I don’t think they would have let a young whipper-snapper like me chick them!

Soon, the finish was in sight.  Stay strong, Richelle!

There were no timing chips, just an old-school finish chute where volunteers ripped off the bottom tag from the bib numbers.  Even though Mark’s photos showed that I had finished just under 51 minutes, a few more seconds were added to my time, probably because they waited until I was completely through the chute.  I would have been upset if I were going for a PR, but I wasn’t so I didn’t really care.

Official finish time: 51:12
Average pace: 8:14/mile
Overall place: 38/87
Gender place: 8/38
Division place: 2/12 (20-29 age group)

After finishing the race, I gulped down some water, then went for my 1.1-mile cool-down run.  Gosh, my legs felt tired!  Once I returned, Mark and I headed into the cafeteria where volunteers were serving a pancake breakfast for the runners.

I'm not immediately hungry after a race, so I'm glad the pancakes were small.
We sat through a presentation honoring two new inductees into the Legends Hall of Fame, then it was time for awards.  I won a certificate for finishing in second place in my age group… sweet!  I’ve won a few 5K age group awards, but never a 10K award.  I was excited!

Me holding my age group certificate and door prize
Receiving my door prize.  Mark didn't take a picture of me receiving my certificate.
 They had a pretty interesting way of choosing the winner of the grand door prize.

Heads or tails?
This was a fun race and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have participated in it.  I hope to do it again next year.

The swag: lots of coupons, along with the visor and running socks
Don’t forget about my giveaway!

Future hubs is training for his first duathlon in August.  He would appreciate any advice you have to give.  Check out his blog HERE.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Paper galore!

Future hubs and I headed to my hometown this weekend to work on assembling wedding invitations with my mom.  On Thursday, Mom had picked up the printed parts of the invites from Butch the Printer Guy.  Then, she and a friend of hers got a head start on the project Friday and completed half of them, minus the final embellishments.  Once Mark and I arrived Saturday afternoon, we got to work!

Grand Central Station!
Double-sided tape was our best friend
Mark prepares to attached the gold accent piece to an invite
Even Dad joined in on the fun!  He put stamps on the RSVP postcards.
By Saturday evening, we had fastened the fronts (the "formal" invitation part) and the gold accent paper strips to the second half of the invitations.

Sunday, after church and brunch (future hubs and I took Mom and Dad out to eat to thank them for all the work they've been doing for the wedding, especially my mom), we got back to work.

Mom adheres the back printed sheet (containing reception/dinner/dance info, directions and hotel info) to the blue card
Mark, the champion taper
I did lots of taping, too!
Measuring precisely where to put the embellishments
Mom uses tweezers to place the embellishments on the gold accent piece

Making sure the embellishments stick!
After several hours of hard work (made easier by listening to the Minnesota Twins games and oldies on the radio), we completed the invitations.  Whew!

Next weekend, I'm driving home again to work on addressing the envelopes.  I hope to have the invites sent out the last weekend in June, which would be 2 1/2 months before the wedding.  Wow, it's coming up fast!

This weekend wasn't all work, however.  I participated in the ALARC Legends 10K for free on Saturday morning!  Thanks, Steve!  I even incorporated the race into my long run for the week by warming up for 1.1 miles before the race and cooling down with a 1.1 mile run.  Total mileage on Saturday = 8.4 miles.  Stay tuned for a race report!

For those of you that are or have been married, do you have any advice for me as the wedding date draws near?
Seriously, I appreciate all the help I can get!