Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cheap Tricks: Runner's Edition

I'm getting ready to run my 3rd half marathon this Spring.  If you're a distance runner- I would love to hear about your crazy tricks!  Here are a few of mine...

1.  Nasal Decongestant:  When I lived in MN, I ran in cold weather quite often.  The cold often caused my nasal passage to get blocked.  On a few scary occasions, when I was miles from a water source, I ate some snow out of the ditch to clear my throat.  This works.  What works even better is two nasal decongestant tablets prior to a long run.  I recommend this for any long distance you plan to run in chilly weather.
2.  Peanuts, Popcorn:  These aren't just for baseball spectators.  Salty snacks the night before a long run will keep you hydrated the next day.  I picked this tip up from a lady I used to work with.  She, her husband, and her son have done dozens of marathons.  Anyone that has ever run a long distance knows the amount of sodium your body loses during a long run.  I can see it and brush it off my arms and my face.  If you think is loopy talk, you can read more about this here:
3.  Forgo the "out and back" route by using public transportation:  I have to admit, a lot of my running routes have been out and back type of patterns.  The trouble with these is the temptation to give up before you really get "out".  To avoid this "give up" option, make a plan to run somewhere and then take the bus home.  I find it easier to follow through when you're not constantly tempted to alter the route.  I have to caution you against using this trick without checking the weather though:  I got really cold and wet on one occasion.
4.Vasaline:  To avoid "skin burns" or discomfort due to friction:  Vasaline does the trick.  I put this on the inside of my arms above my elbows.
5. Tunes:  Music will keep you moving and make your run more fun.  It's funny when I think back to running with a personal CD player not too many years ago.  I had to replace the batteries every time I went to the gym.  God bless Steve Jobs and the IPod- it changed my life.  I get new music all the time and I'll listen to whatever I just bought on repeat until I start to hate it a little.  If you're looking for some good music, I recommend downloading Girl Talk "Feed the Animals" and "All Day" albums. These are free albums that are made up of all kinds of songs that are mixed together.  Think The Jackson 5., playing on top of a Black Eyed Peas song, with a guitar riff transition from the Grateful Dead.  It's a brilliant hodge podge and the best running music I have ever had. 
6. Training Plans:  Hal Higdon is where it's at.  Everyone I know that runs uses his training plans.  You can find Hal here:
7.  Caffeine:  I hate running in the morning.  But, road races mostly take place during this time. When I drag myself out of bed for these, I drink something with caffeine + cereal.  I always end up going back to bed after races- which is annoying to me, but anyway...
8.   Running buddy:  I used to think I wasn't a chatty runner:  but it turns out, I am, as long as the other person is too.  I can't maintain a constant stream of talking.. but taking turns telling stories makes a run go by pretty quick.
9.  Roadblocks:  For non-Runners or Beginners:  I used to think I hated running... turns out I hate sprinting.  Some people confuse the two.  If you feel like you want to die while you're running, you need to take it down a notch and work your way up to something quicker.  For Beginners/Intermediate:  Never run less than 2 miles.  The first two miles is always the hardest.  You need to tough it out to mile 3.  At this point, enough time has passed that you body has both warmed up and muscles have naturally numbed themselves.  Enjoy the buzz.
10.  Mind- Body Connection: Your mind comes up with amazing thoughts and novel ideas while you're running.   When you're running, you have nothing better to do but to figure out your life.  Realizing this will make running your addition, but also your therapy.

Anyone else have a crazy running trick? 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sweet December

Hello all!  I must say it's been a while!  Life has been pretty crazy for the past month or so! I had a birthday- 27th ride around the sun!  The same week we packed up our apartment and then I headed to a conference at the Lake of the Ozarks Wed-Fri.  I got back to town on Friday afternoon just in time to close on our new house!  The next day we moved (in the rain).  Thank you to Marty, Candice, Mike, and Tiffany- you guys were such a big help!  We dove right into unpacking and doing house projects.  I painted our bedroom that first night.  I was so excited- I was painting until 1 in the morning!  The next work week was crazy because the semester was wrapping up.  But we got more work done on the house each night.  We ordered pretty much all of our furniture on-line- so we came home almost every day to huge packages on the front porch. Between couches and Christmas cards- I feel as if the mail fairies have truly blessed us recently.  Next we headed down to South Carolina to spend Christmas with Joe's family.  We had a great time and we even got an unexpected white Christmas.  Now were back in Rolla and things are slowing down just a bit.  My family was planning to come down this past weekend, but they didn't make it due to the blizzards up North.  I'm sure something else will pan out for us soon though! Now for a list of everything we've accomplished so far and some pictures!
1.Painted the bedroom- Valspar "Bear Claw" (Terracotta Orange)
2.Put shelf paper in the antique bedroom furniture I refinished this past fall
3.Painted the basement Valspar  "Porcelain Shale" (Charcoal Gray)
4.Insulated the attic
5.Created electric outlets in the basement (so we could hang the tv on the wall without all the cords showing)
6.Installed a porch light- there wasn't one before- just naked light bulbs, hanging out
7.Installed a new kitchen faucet- our old one was was installed backwards and it drove us crazy. We figured if we were going to reinstall something, it might as well be something we liked.
8.Made, painted, installed custom shelving in the basement for all the stereo/video game stuff
9.Refinished a coffee table for the basement (we brought this back inside a LITTLE too soon- it has little kitty footprints on it now- opps.  I think it adds character.  But- maybe we'll fix it in the Spring)
10.Painted the living room Valspar Gourd.  The shade was a lot darker than I thought it would be. I was not happy. So- my smart husband asked the Google gods "how to lighten paint" and I ended up following their advice:)   More about that later.
11Textured the ceiling in the basement and painted it white.
12.Cleaned.  A lot. The last owners had 3 dogs, one of which shed a lot of black hair. All over the place.

I think that's it. A home is a lot of work!  But- we love working- ergo, so far, so wonderful!

Alrighty- what to do when you paint your walls and you're not happy... Here's my before shot. I wanted gold... it seems I made a stop over at orange juice...

My remedy involved a trip to Lowe's.  I am starting to feel like some sort of regular in that store- they're getting to know me there!  Anyway... I purchased a can of interior faux finish... same stuff I used for the bedroom set redo:
This time I had it tinted "Gypsy Gold".  This color is about 10 shades lighter that my base coat "Gourd".  I also got a special paint brush that is used for Tuscan faux finishing.  You can find these by all the faux finish pamphlets at Lowes. Next, I taped off all the trim just as if I was going to repaint the room.  Then, the fun part, painting random X's all over the walls, working side to side, overlapping as I went.   When each wall was complete, I went back and blended the X's with a wet flour sack dish towel.  The results...

Much better!  It was a good mistake to make because I'm really happy with how it all turned out.

Alrighty- pictures of one other thing I don't think anyone has seen in our house...
There's a little workshop.  Which is great for this handy man...
I think he looks pretty happy:)