Wednesday, June 28, 2017

30 x 30 Update

Hi everyone!  Today I'm dropping by to share my annual update on my 30x30 list.  I started this list when I turned 25, and now I'm almost half way to 30 (I turn 27 today).  Time is just flying by, and here is an update to how I'm doing.

Buy a house 4/1/16

Break 2 hours in the half marathon 10/11/15 (first time)
Break 4 hours in the full marathon

Complete a triathlon (sprint counts!)

Get Married 5/6/16

Visit Mexico I'll be sharing this in a post soon!

Splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime meal

Bungee Jump or Sky Dive 10/17/15

Visit Falling Water

Go to all the east-coast MLB stadiums (Remaining stadiums: Marlins Park, Tropicana Field, Turner Field, Yankee Stadium)

Cook a fancy 5-course meal

Plant a garden I started one this year!  So far I have zucchini, onions, mint, cilantro, basil and oregano.

Learn how to ski

Stay at a BnB in Vermont

Learn how to belay 11/6/15

Have a spa day

See a Broadway musical

Ride a jet-ski 7/4/15

Stay at a really fancy house on AirBnB More to come on this one soon as well :)

Attend a professional tennis match

Run a race for each birthday
  1. 2015: Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 miler (43:17)
  2. 2016: Butler Road Race 5 Miler (44:03) 
  3. 2017: Butler Road Race 5 Miler (44:26)
Get PMP-certified (No longer work in project management, so taking this off the list!)

See the Northern Lights

Attend a TED conference

Read 25 books off the Time All-Time Novel list
  1. 1984
  2. Atonement
  3. Animal Farm
  4. The Great Gatsby
  5. To Kill A Mockingbird
  6. Native Son
  7. Watchmen
  8. White Noise
  9. Ubik
  10. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Try Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga (I registered for a class!  I'll share more after I try it out)

Hike part of the Appalachian Trail

Learn how to sew and make something  I've made a couple of things on my sewing machine and I feel pretty comfortable on it now!

Be in a member of a studio audience for an event or show

So, I have 14 items crossed off, 4 in the works, and plans to cross off a few more pretty soon!  I still have a ways to go, but I feel like I have all of the fun ones left, with some scary challenges in the way (marathon and tri!).  Here's to three more fun years of crossing items off my bucket list :)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Butler Road Race Recap

Happy Monday everyone!  This weekend, I ran a local race, which just happens to be the oldest consecutively-run race in Western Pennsylvania.  This was the 42nd annual Butler Road Race, which is a 5 miler and 2k located about an hour north of Pittsburgh.  The town of Butler is really cute and small, and there always seems to be something going on there (from the Big Butler Fair to the Ice Jam).  This is my second year running the race, and it was a lot of fun!

The race starts out in front of the Butler Courthouse, with packet pickup at the nearby Diamond Park.  This is a relatively small race (248 runners in the 5 miler and 197 in the 2k), so pickup was quick and easy.  We got started exactly on time (9:00) and were on our way!

I got lucky that it wasn't a super hot day, and the temperature was around 73 when we started.  There weren't many clouds in the sky, but when one passed by the shade and breeze felt great!  The course in general is pretty challenging- it starts off with a big downhill down the main street in Butler (literally called Main Street), and turns left onto Penn Street.  We run on there for a mile or so, then enter a paved running path with some hills.  I ran the first two miles in 8:30 and 8:47, and grabbed some water.

This is an out-and-back course, so at 2.5 miles we turned around and headed home.  I was still feeling pretty good and was happy to have some downhill!  I felt like I was picking up the pace, but my body and legs weren't feeling it.  For some reason this summer, I've been struggling a lot with the heat and sun, and it just seems to zap all of my energy!  I pushed through and ran the next two miles in 8:40 and 8:39.

Picture from last year, but I wore the same outfit and ran almost the same time!

There was a final water stop with about 1 kilometer to go, so I stopped for a second to grab some more water and dump some on my head.  Dan was also waiting to cheer for me at this point, and ran along the road to encourage me. This is definitely the hardest part of the race, because there's no shade at all, and it's all uphill until the finish line.  I was pretty tired and ready to be done at this point, and my final mile time was 9:22 (Surprised it was that "fast", because I felt like I was running in place most of the time!).

Overall, this was a decent race for me!  I tried to just enjoy it and have fun for my "birthday race" (I've been running a race the week of my birthday for the past 3 years) and I think that I did.  The last mile was rough, but otherwise I had fun and felt pretty good, and hit my goal of breaking 45:00 (I ended up finishing in 44:26).  I decided that I'm going to take the rest of the month of June off of running and start fresh in July with some new goals and a new mindset.

How do you do with running in the summer?
Do you have any traditions for your birthday?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What's Up June!

Hi everyone!  Long time, no talk.  What better way to catch up than to do an old-fashioned "What's Up Wednesday" post?!  Here are some recent things going on in my life, and please let me know what's going on in yours.  I miss you all and I hope to start blogging more regularly very, very soon :)

On to today's post!

Eating - Lots of fun, new foods thanks to my CSA box.  I've gotten four boxes so far, and it's been so fun to try out new recipes and flavor combinations.  If anyone's interested, I would love to share a post on some of my favorite meals that I've made with ingredients that I don't typically use (radishes, collards, parsley, rhubarb), or how to use up those more difficult CSA veggies :)

Been up to - Work has been legit crazy lately.  I work on the mobile app team at a bank, and we have been working around the clock to release a new version of our app.  It's been over a year in the making, and we're getting down to crunch time!  It seems like I'm always working- day, night, weekends, and holidays- but I love it.  It's definitely interfered with blogging which is why I haven't been as active on here, but I'm hoping that once we release I'll have a little more free time!

Dreading - My race on Saturday if we want to get specific ;)  Running hasn't been happening as much as I want lately, and when I do go out for runs it's been awful.  I don't usually struggle too much with summer running, but lately I've been exhausted from the first step.  I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm not looking forward to my race and I'm hoping that I can start fresh in July.

Excited about - Summer trips.  This is going to be a very busy couple of months with lots of travel coming up!  So far I'll be going to Mexico, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Tennessee, and DC. I'm really excited to be getting out (it feels like it's been so long since I've gone on a trip and I'm getting major wanderlust!) and I can't wait to share what I do!


Watching - As usual, I'm all about the reality shows- America's Got Talent, World of Dance, and The Bachelorette.  I tried to watch the Handmaid's Tale (while I'm reading the book) but it just seems to move sooo slowly and I feel like I'm forcing myself to finish it.  I'm also on the last season of Parenthood and I'm so sad that it's ending!  I would have to rank it high up on my list of favorite shows of all's so good.

Reading - There are a few new books on my reading list: Handmaid's Tale (which I'm slogging through), Wool (which is really good and interesting but super long), The Nest (which is entertaining and light-hearted so far), and The Dry (which I haven't technically started yet but is in my queue).  As a side note, this always happens to me...I either have 0 books in my Overdrive queue, or 4 get checked out to me all at the same time and I have to rush to read them before they get returned to the library!


Listening to - 80's rock ballads!  I started listening to a playlist on Amazon Music at work one day (one of the only streaming apps that isn't blocked by my work's wifi) and found it to be the perfect work music.  There's something about the tempo and style of the music that is perfect for keeping me motivated and relaxed while I'm working.

Wearing - Here are a few recent looks:
Loving this striped blouse I just got at Target..super comfortable!
I've been looking for a pair of gray jeans for the longest time, and these ones from J Crew Factory fit like a glove!

What else is new - This weekend, one of my life long goals/dreams came true- I got my own kayak!  I am definitely a water person, and feel the happiest when I'm out on the water in a kayak, stand-up paddle board, boat, or just swimming around.  We moved to our area specifically because it's really close to a beautiful lake (where I run most of the time!) and now I'm excited to start kayaking there as well.  There was a sale going on at Dick's if anyone else is interested in getting one- I got this one (marked down to $280) and Dan got this one (marked down to $180).

What's up in your world?
Water or land lover?
Any trips coming up?

linking up with Mel, Sheaffer, and Shay
note- this post has some affiliate links.  thank you for your support :)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Top Five Friday : Busy Roads Ahead

This is going to be a WEEKEND.  For some reason I either have no plans, or all the plans in the world.  This is definitely the latter, where I have 2-3 social things to do each day, along with some errands to run and work to do.  On top of that, I'm also puppy sitting for the cutest dog in the world (besides Selma of course).  I'm sure I'll be posting a lot on Snapchat, so be sure you follow there to keep up! (My name is gretchxo).  Hope you have a fun- and maybe busy- weekend as well!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 

Song : El Dorado by Shakira

Shakira just came out with a new album and it's SO good.  I love all of her Spanish albums, and this one is no exception.  There are so many catchy songs but my favorite are Chantaje and Perro Fiel.

Podcast : Here to Make Friends

The new season of The Bachelorette just started, which means that one of my favorite podcasts is back.  Each week, HtMF recaps the episode, and usually has special guests (Allison Williams was the guest on this season's first episode).  While the talk can sometimes turn a little political which gets annoying, I love hearing the funny recaps of the dates and discussion of all of the contestants.  If you're a fan of the Bachelor franchise you need to give this a listen!

Product : Dog Leash

Now that it's getting warm out, I've been taking Selma on a lot of runs with me.  She's always loved to go running, but it was a pain to run with a leash and it would affect my running gait.  I finally decided to buy a running leash and I can't believe that I waited so long!  The leash comes with a belt that snaps around your waist, with a leash that attaches to the belt and to your dog's collar.  The leash has some stretch and give to it, but not too much.  It's really comfortable to wear, and Selma seems to love it as well.  If you want to start running with your dog (or just make it more enjoyable!) I would recommend checking it out.  I got this one from Amazon.

Show : The Bachelorette

Speaking of the Bachelorette, Rachel has got to be my favorite contestant/lead of all time.  Not only is she absolutely gorgeous, but I love her sense of humor and poise on the show.  She's able to have fun with all of the guys but also let them know that she's not a doormat (the way she handled the DeAngelo situation was incredible).  I love this season so far and most of the guys seem great, so I can't wait to keep watching!

Random : CSA Recipes

We got our second CSA delivery this week, and it's been so much fun trying out new recipes.  Last week I made a rhubarb crumb cake with a simple rhubarb sauce (both so good and easy), and this week I made an incredible miso crusted sweet potato with oven roasted radishes and sauteed kale.  These are all dishes that I would normally never try but they were all so good!

Who else is watching the Bachelorette?
Favorite recipe?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Butler 5 Miler Training : Getaway

Hi everyone!  I had a great and busy weekend away from home, which means that it interrupted my training a bit.  Sometimes that's all you need to feel inspired to work hard again, and some time with family is always good.  We went to visit Dan's family for his grandpa's birthday, and it was such a great trip.  We had a lot of fun, but now it's back to reality.  Here's a look at how my week of training went:


Rest Day!
I did my arm workout, and didn't run.


3 miles / 9:34 pace
I went on a run before work, and felt so sore when I started.  I took the first mile nice and easy, and started to feel a lot better.  It was so nice out in the morning, and it's crazy to me how light out it is by 6AM.  Crazy to think that I used to run in the dark all the time and now I need sunglasses!  I ran around Point State Park, which was getting ready for Arts Fest.


Rest Day!
I did my leg workout, and didn't run.


3 miles / 8:31 pace
I had a dentist appointment and worked from home, so I got to run during my lunch.  I went out with Selma for a quick 3 miles.  To make this a speed workout, we did a short fartlek (random fast segments with some rest periods).  It was a lot of fun and Selma had a blast!


5 miles / 9:08 pace
I went to one of the parks near my in-laws' house, so Dan and Selma and I headed over for a run.  It was a warm day and the park didn't have a lot of shade, but I loved it.  For some reason I always have great runs when I'm in Carlisle, so this felt amazing.  I ran around the park for 5 miles and ended sweaty and happy.


7 miles / untimed
I headed out a bit earlier in the day to get in a quick run before Dan's grandparents made it to town.  I took it easy and ran without my watch.  Later in the day we went out to a hibachi grill for Dan's grandpa, and it was SO amazing.  It was my first time, and the presentation was so much fun and the food was delicious.  


Rest Day!
We traveled back home in the afternoon, and by the time we got back I was so exhausted and had no desire to run.  I did a quick yoga flow to stretch out then passed out in bed.

Do you like to run when you're on a weekend trip?
City or country?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

What's New With You? Linkup #17

Happy JUNE everyone!  Can you believe that it's nearly halfway through the year and summer has (un)officially started?  Time seems to be flying by lately and I've been so busy lately, that I almost forgot about today's linkup!  That's's already time for the monthly linkup with Kristen and me.  Make sure you link down below and tell me what's going on!

Goals and Resolutions

Do Something Crafty.  I didn't do so well with this in May.  I was really busy with work and other things (see below) so this kind of got pushed to the side.  In June I really want to sew something- maybe a dress or cute top for summer.

Be Musical.  I got a few new piano books, and they're really challenging me!  I can already tell that I'm improving a lot, and the music is really fun to learn.  I've been using this as a way to de-stress at the end of the day, and I'm loving it.  The books that I got are 100 of the Most Beautiful Piano Solos and Harry Potter. In June I hope to play the saxophone and violin more, but also keep working on the piano.

Stay Active.  This was definitely an active month for me, both with training and other activities.  I have two races coming up in June that I'm really excited about and have been training hard.  I've also been spending a lot of time at different parks with Dan and Selma hiking and going to dog parks, and doing a lot of yard work as well.  I've been staying busy!  During REI's big semi-annual sale, we also decided to get roof racks for our cars so that we can buy kayaks and stand up paddle boards.  It's something that I've always wanted because I love being on the water so much (and we live a few miles from a beautiful lake), so I'm hoping to get out there soon.

Drink Beer!  I went to one new brewery in May- All Saints Brewery in Greensburg.  It was a really neat place with an amazing flight (all of their beers on tap- 10!- for $11).  I'm hoping to try out at least one in June, and also have plans to go to a local winery and whiskey garden as well.

Other Stuff

Nordstrom's semi annual sale is going on, and while I'm not planning on buying anything, I've been window shopping!  Here are some of my favorites: (note- sale goes until June 4, and the links below are affiliates)
Madewell stripe tie front top - I love tops that tie in the front and I think this one is so perfect for spring/summer/fall
Zella crop leggings - Zella makes some really great workout clothes, and I really like the dot design on these
Alice + Olivia embroidered a-line dress - Definitely out of my price range, but how gorgeous is this dress!  I love all of the details on it
Treasure and Bond wide sleeve sweatshirt - I live in simple black and grey tops, so I like how this is basic with a twist
French Connection sunflower stripe sheath dress - I just think this dress is so adorable and would be really flattering

We got our first CSA box.  We'll be getting these weekly until November, and I'm already loving it!  In our first box, we got two types of lettuce, spinach, rainbow Swiss chard, radish, herbs, rhubarb (which I've NEVER tried), and a fresh loaf of bread.  If anyone has ideas on how to cook/eat rhubarb please let me know, because I have no clue what to do with it!

That's all I've got for today- let me know what's new by linking up below!