Belated Photos.

This was 2 weeks before Halloween. I’m slow, okay?

We traipsed through the mud together to find our pumpkins. Lexi jumped for joy at making it safely. We won’t discuss the hail that happened on our hay ride back to the barn. We also won’t discuss the fail that was the attempt at carving. Lexi carved a fabulous cupcake. I wanted to carve 13.1. But failed epically. Sigh. We did succeed at roasting some delicious seeds though. Pumpkins are still relevant in November, right?

My friend’s little one insisted on taking photos at the pumpkin patch. I’d like to think I imparted some of my skills to him. Here’s one of his shots:

Definite potential. Terrible model.

This model on the other hand:

Damn. She must be a runner or something.

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Addictions.

Hello. My name is Jessica, and I am addicted to almond butter. And gum. And running. And cupcakes.

Handling these addictions is not easy. But I manage.

I once tried to quit chewing gum cold turkey. It lasted 2 weeks. I developed other nervous habits…clenching my teeth, biting my nails, chewing my lip. It was really rather unhealthy. And besides, what reason is there to stop chewing gum? It’s not bad for you. After all, Trident contains xylitol! Xylitol helps to neutralize the pH in your mouth after you eat, preventing your mouth from becoming too acidic (read: it helps prevent cavities!) But, when I realized I consumed an entire Costco size pack of gum in 3 weeks, I knew a had a bit of a problem. 3 weeks = 21 days, Costco container of Trident Original contains 20 packs with 18 pieces in each. 20×18= 360. 360 pieces of gum in 21 days. That’s just shy of a pack a day. It’s like I’m a smoker. I’ve quelled this obsession down to a piece of gum after each meal. You have to remember, I love teeth. And that piece of gum is the fastest way to fresh breath and peace (piece? hah.) of mind.

Two weeks ago, I travelled to Seattle for my lovely Auntie’s birthday. In addition to celebrating with family, I decided to be a complete tourist and traipse around Pike Place Market with a good friend of mine.

Anyone heard of Post Alley with the delightfully disgusting gum wall?

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Isn’t it lovely? 6 feet of sugary bubble tape purchased.

4 1/2 consumed to create this splendid work of art.

Number of times I touched the wall: 37.

Ew.

My next addiction: almond butter.

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The above is hands down the best snack in the entire world. There’s just something so entirely blissful about munching down on a sweet-tart Pink Lady apple and 2 spoon fulls of crunchy, nutty, wholesome almond butter…

A really rather healthy addiction. Unless you consider the fact that each tablespoon contains 100 calories. One hundred calories of bliss. I usually purchase it at the grocery stores that offer the ‘grind it yourself’ type option. That way it’s fresh almonds and no added sweetener. That being said, I have a particular weakness for Justin’s brand Maple Almond Butter. There was this once that I consumed an entire pound in 2 days. Please don’t judge.

My third and newest addiction….running.

 

I think about it, dream about it, talk about it; it’s incessant, really. The half-marathon is less than a month away, and I cannot shut up about it. I want to run every day, but refrain. You see, my left hip was recently replaced by that of an 80-year old woman’s. I’m none too sure what’s going on. It’s encouraging the people I’ve talked to lately that are also runners. Rain or shine, they’re out there getting their run on. No such thing as bad weather they say, only soft people.

Suddenly, my thoughts are filled with the next pair of running shoes I’m going to purchase, the GPS watch/heart rate monitor I want and how much waterproof gear I really need (a lot). The Camelbak I want. All those fabulous knee high socks I saw at the running store… Now I know what is going on the Christmas wishlist.

The above are shoes I scored at the Nike Employee Store. LunarEclipse +. Retro and super comfortable. Not recommended for runs longer than 5k.

Filling my thoughts too is what half-marathon I’m going to run next. I’m not stopping at one. And there are so many options. You can go on vacation and run a race? I like this thought. Though, that Rock and Roll Half-Marathon in Las Vegas doesn’t sound too brilliant. Alcohol and athletic achievements aren’t generally synonymous.

Let’s talk about Progress:

Cross-training has been mediocre at best. I’ve been a slacker at strength training. Stretching is becoming my best friend. But, I’ve been a good runner.
I’m up to running 20 miles a week now. 20 miles. Boys and girls, I feel like a badass. I want to shout this aloud. Do a happy dance. Tell anyone who will listen and force those who won’t. Never in my life have I run this much. Sunday, I ran 7 miles without stopping. And it felt good. Who am I and when did I become a legit runner?

My biggest obstacle: my brain. The negative self-talk. ‘Oh, you’ve been running for so long, your legs must be tired.’ ‘Your lungs are hurting…stop’ I’ve just had to give my brain the middle finger (kindly, of course) and turn of whatever obnoxious tunage I have on at the time to drown out that silly little voice.

Don’t worry, I can do this. And I will. Just watch.

My shin splints are immensely better. I’m unsure whether this is due to ice, ibuprofen or incredible compression socks. Let’s just call them the Terrific Trio and leave it at that.

My hip is another story though. Sigh.

What I’ve learned: I love running in the rain. 4 degrees C for a run is absurd not bad once you start moving. Windshield wipers need to be invented for glasses as they tend to fog and obscure one’s field of vision. I hate wearing pants.

All gone.

Happy -Almost- Birthday to Me (Lexi)!

I’m turning 25 next Friday and I can’t say I’m too thrilled about it.  I guess I should be saying “YES! I can finally rent a car without the added fee!” But after that, what’s left? I’ll tell you what’s left…senior citizen discount!  Whomp. Whomp.  The only thing that makes that sting of “another year older” a little better is PRESENTS. Who doesn’t just LOVE presents!

(Me wearing my New Nike Hoodie!!)

Apparently the older we get, the more difficult we are to shop for.  My parents had me pre-select my gifts this year, leaving me super anxious in anticipation the last few weeks.  Naturally I asked for airfare and running gear.  So I got a slew of Nike-running gear and round trip airfare to my lovely BAWSTON (Boston, MA)! I can’t wait to continue my half marathon training by running along the Charles River!

(Look at that pic! It’s legit the most beautiful city run!)

On a more “my current running news”: I’ve been running a lot of tracks this week.  I’ve been dropping by Valley Catholic & some middle school by SE Yamhill for a couple hours with my mom’s dog.  It’s a strange thing to say but I’ve always wanted to go running with a dog!  I never have! Tho, I’ve decided to bench Honey Bear (my moms dog) from any future runs as she completely folds after about two miles.  Giving me a look like “we’re walking now. Actually, sitting is better.” So much for that running partnership.  I’ve also taken to running around the Wilsonville Business Center during my lunch break.  Being a running novice and all, I’m trying to just run a minimum of four miles every day.  If I can run farther, I will.  If my shins give me grief, I call it good.  So far, So good!!

Here’s some of the cool stuff I got:

Nike Vapor Running Jacket! It’s wicked cute! This fully weatherproof and lightweight jacket was an absolute necessity with the Oregon Rainy weather.  Love it!

Nike lightweight waist pack w/four water bottles! This is much more lightweight than I had anticipated.  I don’t feel like it’s weighing me down at all. I can run with it and be completely balanced! A++++++

Nike Air Pegasus 29! Made for running on the pavement- super cushy!  I ran a 10K in these shoes earlier today and it was like running on fluffy clouds and marshmallows. The perfect shoes to run 13.1 miles!

My Best Friends.

 

This weekend was a bit intense. In a good way.

Trail running is amazing. And. I am immensely thankful for being introduced to it. Puddle jumping and getting muddy while running? Count this girl in! I, however, have a lovely left shin that is none too happy with my running more than 20 miles in three days’ time. (Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment?)

Friday, I discovered an extension to an existing park trail near my house. Not entirely sure of how far I wanted to run that day, I went at a leisurely 9:15/mile pace. Unfortunately for my olfactory glands though, I had to cross paths with a main road and fast food restaurants. My nose engulfed in diesel exhaust fumes and the overwhelming smell of grease, I unfortunately lost my lunch. I could not get home fast enough to brush my teeth. Friday’s run totaled 5.05 miles at an average pace of 9:13/mile. My small mishap aside.

Saturday, I acquired myself a badass running partner (I love you, Lexi! You’re a badass running partner too. I’m sorry our schedules haven’t been able to mesh. Sad face.). He was so kind as to even map out our run in Forest Park (the white squiggly line):

It looks like a pretty little run, doesn’t it? All squiggly and so much green surroudning. 7.92 miles. I glanced briefly at it before putting on my running shoes. Yes, that’s quite a distance, but I’m ready to kick this trails rear end. -Hey, guess what? It was all uphill. Did I mention this running partner of mine is a sadist and a marathon runner? This route didn’t even phase him. By Firelane 2 at the end (by far the most loathsome hill in existence), I was dying. My legs were about to fall off, my lungs were collapsing in on themselves and all I could think about was how splendid a cupcake would be right about then…

But I survived. And then did it again on Sunday. (Who am I?!)

Sunday’s run took us to Silver Falls State Park. We did the Trail of Ten Falls and the Rim Trail.

This trail map is mediocre at best. Sorry, everyone.

I cannot even come close to describing the beauty of Oregon forests in the autumn.

 

 

The weather couldn’t have been better either. A perfect 20 degrees C. According to the interwebs, the trail is 8.7 miles long. I tried using my Nike Running app on my phone with just the GPS, as there was not any cell reception. It tried to tell me that I ran something like 14 miles with an average of a 6:46/mile. I’m a rockstar, but I’m no Steve Prefontaine. Come on, now.

I will admit, I wasn’t the most dedicated runner on Sunday. There were many photo ops along the way that could not be ignored. That’s my defense. Many miles and a steak dinner later, I was exhausted from my weekend but unwilling to admit it.

This brings me to Monday.

I have 3 new best friends.

Compression socks. Ice. Ibuprofen.
There’s not much else to say.

Both my left shin and hip are a little unhappy at the moment. I took today off and did some low-impact strength training. All for the love of running, right? Or maybe it’s love of cupcakes…

 

 

Candy Coma.

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This was our Halloween. Nancy Drew, amateur detective, chasing after the ever-naughty Ke$ha.

We danced. We sang. We had small adventures. Every runner needs a reprieve once in a while, right?

A guilt run is in order for today. Yesterday was Halloween, after all. That candy coma is still in effect…or is it a candy hangover now? Either way, I’m feeling a new 5k pr in my near future to rid myself of post-Halloween guilt.

I never want to look at one of these again:

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They’re addicting. Mint and chocolate make the perfect union. We won’t even begin to discuss how many I ate. Or how many miles I’d need to run to burn them off. -Wait. I shouldn’t be talking about candy. This needs to be about cupcakes.

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Look at this little inspiration of a cupcake. Isn’t she the cutest thing ever? (As a side note, I was an 80’s rocker chick. I basically found all of the neon in my closet and put it on. Plus my tutu. One cannot ever go wrong with a tutu.)

Trail run this weekend!

46 days, boys and girls. Lexi and I both are officially registered for The Holiday Half

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That’s a wrap.