Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cake Ramblings

I love cake.  I love cake a lot.  So going to cake tastings and choosing one baker and her cakes over the others was going to be difficult.  Much like puppies and kittens, all cakes are beautiful and deserve good homes.  There are also no flavors of cake that are off-limits in my world.  All flavors are good.  Coconut?  Check. Dark chocolate strawberry? Check.  Pineapple walnut? Check.  All three together?  Sure, I'm game! I could go on and on but you get the idea.  All desserts and all dessert combinations are OK with me.  So it was difficult to not only narrow down the bakers but to narrow down the flavors in the tiers.

Ah, the tiers.  I need to rant here.  I am personally starting a one-woman campaign to end the single-flavor multi-tier wedding cake.  Who is with me?  Most, if not all, bakers will be happy to make each tier a separate flavor without adding additional cost.  So you tell me why you would choose one flavor when you, and your guests, could have multiples to choose from?  More flavors = more choices which = happier guests.  The next time you go to a wedding like that you kick the newlyweds in the shins because it is the only way we can stop such madness from occurring.  With all the cake choices in the world why limit yourself?  Aaaarrrggghh! Also, we discovered bakers are really pleased to get to make something other than white cake with white frosting. 

We had a great time playing with the design and figuring it all out.  Because our guest list is small and cakes designed for our numbers of guests just look sad and lonely we upped the size of the cake to approximately double our guest count.  Seriously, those little two tier jobs really make me sad.  But then again, the cake is the part of the wedding I care the most about so I might be a little skewed.  Anyway, we are keeping the design a secret until the wedding day but I can safely say our guests will get three flavors of awesome (Kevin wants to keep the top tier for our anniversary otherwise they would get four) and it will be large enough to feel like a special occasion cake.  I love this cake so much I want to hug it.  Now I have to wait three and a half months to get to meet it in person.* sigh*

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Can Finally Stop Obsessing!

I am laying on a bed in Portland with the sun (yes actual sun) on my face looking out at the Willamette River with my head full of wedding ideas. Instead of amillion different ideas in my brain about all the possibilities of what we can do and how it should look we have finally made permanent decisions on how it should all be. Hooray! I don't think I could stand thinking about it one more moment . Yesterday we started our great Portland wedding vendor marathon weekend with visits to the ceremony and reception venues again, a cake tasting and meeting a DJ. Today is more cake and also florists. We are both so excited about what we have decided on and created! I really want to share the cake design but that will have to wait. Sure, I'll put on the wedding dress a billion times and show everyone but the cake is special.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Marathon Training - Week 3

So far so good.  I feel good and only had a little leg weakness after doing 18 miles in three days which my legs are not used to.  Here are the stats.

Monday - Should have been a rest day but I had to get my long run in that I missed Sunday.  I counted them towards last weeks miles but it contributed to some tired legs come Wednesday night.
Tuesday - Three around the neighborhood with light snow falling.  Kind of pretty actually.
Wednesday - Six that were supposed to be at marathon pace but fell far short of that.  Actually the first three were OK and then my legs started to feel wobbly and I slowed down a lot.  I didn't mind too much when I reminded myself of the previous two days' mileage.
Friday - Three around the neighborhood.  I am really starting to get used to the running in the dark thing.
Sunday - Eleven down by the lake.  This came in at an even 12:00 which is probably where my long runs should be right now.  What made me happy though was the last mile I managed an 11:13 which means I still had gas in the tank and could have either gone further or faster.  This is a good sign.  When I stopped after the eleven my legs were mighty wobbly though.

Weekly Total:  23 miles

According to Hal, this week was actually supposed to be my step-back week but I had to swap weeks because of the upcoming Portland wedding vendor marathon extravaganza.  My long run next week is only six miles and I get to run it down by the river in downtown Portland.  Oh, and I am adding strength-training in this week.  And another round of East Coast Swing classes. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Trees Were Killed To Make This Post

I need to take a moment and brag on my guy a bit.

Ever since building the amazing kitty condo a year and a half ago, Kevin has taken an interest in wood working.  Actually, the interest was there before but he just hadn't done much with it.  Last year he designed and built our wonderful spice rack so one can quickly find the cumin. 
Just recently he built an LP holder for all of my old albums.  It holds all of them beautifully and is on wheels so we can wheel it out from the storage closet and listen to records like old folks and then wheel it back in when we are done.
Kevin would like to point out that these are indeed my records and not his.  But who doesn't love a little Culture Club on occasion?

Currently he is working on garage cabinets for all of his hiking and climbing gear.  There is also talk of a kitchen bookcase to hold all of our cookbooks. I am very proud of his ability to make these things but also how he will read and study just the right way to do them and then actually take the time to do them correctly.  Those of you who grew up in households where people knew how to make things might not think this is any big deal but I did not grow up in such a household so I think this is extremely cool.  He never ceases to amaze me with what he is capable of and with his interest in learning.  But if we could do something about the dust in the garage....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Marathon Training - Week 2

Week two went well other than a minor meltdown during Sunday's long run that had zero to do with running.  I rebounded strong the next day though so training schedule disaster averted.

Tuesday - Three miles on the basic home route after work.

Wednesday - Five great miles at the lake.  This wasn't supposed to a marathon pace workout but it turned into one and it felt fabulous.

Saturday - Three "meh" miles on the home route.  Nothing special but I did drag my butt out of bed early to do them because I had a busy day of wedding expo and Dave Alvin concert ahead of me.

Sunday - Wow, I shouldn't even mention this one.  Got up early in the very cold temps, went down to the home lake path and proceeded to have a kind of meltdown.  I go 1.3 in before I said "screw this" and stopped.  I didn't even run the 1.3 back to the car.  This was mostly brought on by many nights of interrupted sleep because of my dear and his never ending sinus dripping induced cough and snoring and an existential bridal/wife identity crisis brought on by the preceding days wedding expo. 

Monday - (which technically starts week three but I am fudging a little here) Nine miles in the bitter, bitter cold and pitch black after work at the lake to make up for the nine I didn't run on Sunday morning.  I was slow but felt really strong for the whole distance.  This also made me resolve to get faster.  Speedy people could have had that run done in around an hour-ish.  It took me 1:49.  Being a slow runner is a bigger time commitment.  I didn't finally thaw out until I jumped in the bathtub at around 10:00.  But I did it.

This week brings my first double digit run since June!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Weatherproof Wedding

Since our wedding is in the Northwest in May I  figured I needed to plan for rain.  I won't want to ruin my hair and makeup walking to and fro and my fabulous shoes are satin and therefore could be destroyed by water so I needed a plan of action.  Also, we want to take photos all around the Edgefield grounds and those grounds can get muddy and dirty.  So I decided to create the inclement weather wedding ensemble.

I might actually love this look a little too much.  Although I think the dress is a smidge long and should be taken up a stripe.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Might Regret This but...

...I just committed myself to doing something kind of scary.  Scary but exciting.  Details to come at a later date. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Goals

After some pondering I have come up with my goals for the new year.  Mind you there are lots of other little things I would like to work on such as keeping the house cleaner, eating healthier, getting more sleep but if I couldn't easily quantify it it didn't make the official list.  My goals are always SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-constrained) and not everything fits easily into that category.  Or at least I don't want to get that specific with some of them.  Here are the ones that made the cut:

1.  Run at least 750 miles - What do you do when you can't meet your 650 miles per year goal the last two years.  You yell at yourself and add 100.
2.  Finish a marathon - Registering is just a small part of the battle.
3.  One stretching session for each day I run during the week - Run four times, stretch four times.  Only way I think I can do this without injury.
4.  Lose 30 lbs - Yep, not giving up on the weight loss.  I don't want to be a fat marathoner or a fat bride. 
5.  Visit one place in state I have never been before - A perennial list maker.
6.  Visit one place out of state I have never been before - See above.
7.  Take a multivitamin at least five days a week - If I didn't have to take them with food this would be a piece of cake and a non-issue.
8.  Paint the downstairs bathroom, kitchen, living room and upstairs bedroom - I'm tired of the lack of color around here and it is high time my taste was better represented. Monster poster art will also be moved.
9.  Have a once monthly cleaning night - Regular cleaning will still be done as usual but this is for Kevin and I to tackle one big cleaning project together.  We'll open a bottle of wine, turn on the music and clean the joint up.  By the way, it was originally his idea.
10.  Not be further in debt than I am right now -  Ideally this would involve less debt but with a wedding, honeymoon, an elderly car that is incontinent of both engine and radiator, and an elderly cat that has been diagnosed with very early kidney disease I am going to shoot for a more realistic "hold steady".

I still like some of last year's goals such as "take classes" and "volunteer" but I am trying to be realistic about the time commitments involved and how busy the first half of the year will be.  At least those are more on my radar since I put them in last year's goals list.

Anyone else have any goals for the new year?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Resolution Run 5K Run Report (or Embracing Your Inner Scandanavian)

Notice that doesn't say "race report".  That is not an error.  I wanted to do this run to celebrate the start of the new year in a fun way doing one of my favorite things:  going to a race.  Also, there is the polar bear plunge at the end that feels so good and invigorating that, coupled with the exercise, you can't help but start the year off on the right foot.  I also didn't intend on racing it because I knew I had an eight-miler on the schedule for the next day and the last time I really raced a race my quads were sore for two days.  So this was just a "run and enjoy the beautiful morning and the exercise" kind of run.

Temperatures at race time were 26 degrees.  I wore oodles of layers and stood facing the sun so it didn't feel too cold standing around for the start.  This race has grown quite a bit since I ran it back in 2007 and that became really evident once the gun went off.   The paths were probably too narrow for the volume of runners in the best of times but with large icy patches throughout the course it made it even worse.  At times we had to slow to a walk and twice even come to a dead stop while we maneuvered off course to avoid the ice.  Even if I wanted to post a good time it wasn't happening here.

The course winds its way around Magnuson Park before diverting near the finish line.  If you were just running the race and weren't going to go in the lake (i.e. you were a big wuss) you stayed to the right and went to the finish.  If you were doing the polar bear plunge you kept going straight and ran down a boat ramp right into the 41 degree Lake Washington, dunked your head (rules state it doesn't count it you don't submerge) and then ran up the ramp and then another 50 yards-ish to the finish line.  Here lies another problem.  Soaking wet runners dripping all over the freezing pavement makes for.........?  If you said ice all the way from the ramp to the finish line you would be correct.  So there was no finishing kick but merely a gingerly half-run, half-waddle to the finish line hoping I didn't break an ankle and ruin my marathon training in the first week.

All in all it was a good time.  The water actually feels really good in a bizarre sort of way.  Bracing and invigorating and refreshing and I firmly believe everyone should try it at least once.  I did it back in 2007 and thought it would be horrible but loved every icy second of it.  Of course, there was no way in hell I would stay in for longer than I had to.  I'm Finnish but not insane.  Sadly, my usual race photographer stayed in bed to both avoid the cold and nurse his so I don't have any photographs to share.

Here are the (just for fun) splits:
Mile 1:      11:03  ( this was one of the dead stop parts of the course)
Mile 2:      10:34
Mile 3:      10:10
Mile .19    12:47  (included the plunge portion of the event)

Also, I discovered that freezing cold lake water and a slightly full bladder leads to involuntary urination.  Sorry people who plunged right after me. 

Happy 2011!

Marathon Training - Week 1

Week one is behind me and it was actually pretty good.  I know two months from now I will be resenting my training schedule and whining about the runs I "have" to do but right now it feels good to have some structure to the training.  Here is how the week broke down:

Tuesday - Easy three miler around the work neighborhood.  I got to try out running with my headlamp and wear my new almost glow in the dark neon green running shirt. 
Wednesday - Five miles at the lake at my expected marathon pace.  More headlamp-y awesomeness.  Yes, I look like an uber-dork but I can see things.  I am an uber-dork with vision.
Saturday - Turned my three miler that should have been Friday into a run to start the new year.  Complete with polar bear dip at the end.  The report will follow soon.
Sunday - Eight on my lakefront trail.  Felt good although miles 2-3 felt tight and long for some reason.  I was reminded how much I prefer running in cold to running in heat.  The trail was beautiful and only really slippery where the pavement crossed it.  Absolutely gorgeous day.  More like those please.

So no cross training or yoga this week but I hope to incorporate that this week. 

Seventeen more to go!