Friday, June 29, 2007

The Week in Recap

I have been meaning to and trying to update this all week, but didn’t have the pictures wanted to include them in the first post…so hence, a wait, but they might be worth it!

Last Friday I was down at the 3rd (well 4th if you could the time trial that had happened that morning) stage of the Nature Valley race series. Big bike race around the mid-Western region of Minnesota. It started with a speed trial in downtown St. Paul last Wednesday, a road race in Canon Falls on Thursday, time trial and then speed race in downtown Minneapolis on Friday night, another road race on Saturday in Mankato and finishing with I think another speed race on Sunday in Stillwater. I saw the race on Wednesday night and then went with a couple of friends to the race on Friday night. It was quite cool seeing the bikes going through (top speeds of 39 mph) on the roads of downtown Minneapolis. The team my friend works with were there and I managed to get this cool picture, totally on a fluke, of one of the members of his team (I just put my camera out and snapped a picture, had no idea who or what it might take a picture of). The other picture is getting into some of the last few laps of the race and while the bikers were more toward the far side of the lane for most of it, this last part they spread out and we could’ve almost touched some of them! After the race we headed (myself and my two friends) to our local hangout and had a few drinks. Then it was home as we were all kind of exhausted after long days.

Saturday I got up and actually went for a long run. In fact the run was 13.25 miles in length…longest I’ve done in quite some time and it felt good. I averaged a 9:21 pace which wasn’t bad considering it was a bit warmer out by the end of it (I didn’t get running till 11). My parents were in town and I met up with them for a drink at my uncle’s legion for a street dance and fireworks later that evening and then called it an early night.

My plan on Sunday was the Pride parade and then a work happy hour/meet and greet of the international sales team and then the end of the race series party my friend was having, which was convenient since all events were in downtown Minneapolis. Unfortunately last minute had back outs of people going to the parade so I didn’t make it to that, instead I had a run, did some cleaning and just relaxed for part of the afternoon at Lake Calhoun before going home, getting cleaned up and heading to Brit’s for the party. It was nice to get to meet some of the people there, and we ended up doing some Lawn Bowling and then I said I was going to the party and others wanted to join me, so we walked over and had some beer. It was a nice night, but I was again quite exhausted so ended up home in bed by 1.

This week so far my running is way off. I had 42 miles last week but this week I’m only at 15 and it’s Friday. I’m planning between 6 and 8 tonight, but don’t know when or if I’ll get a run in the rest of the weekend as it’s kind of packed. I’m meeting a friend at my place after she’s done with work and going to Lake Harriet band shell for music tonight, then it’s another friends birthday so I’ll probably meet her for a drink, my “friend” is meeting us maybe at the band shell and then I’ll be crashing at his place tonight as he sponsor’s a triathlon every year and goes down and does massage at it and asked me if I wanted to come along. I’ll be there helping get people signed up for massage etc…this will go to early afternoon I’m sure, then maybe a nap by Calhoun and/or stopping to see some friends since we are up close to their place for the tri…tomorrow night the people still in town for the meeting are planning an outing to see a band play and I said I’d be joining them, so most likely I’ll be heading out for that and maybe staying at my sister’s place if I opt to have a few drinks…we’ll see how tired I am though! Sunday I think I need to relax! I might grill up some ribs and hopefully will find time for a run then, since tomorrow I might not get one. It was kind of nice this week though, on Wednesday I was downtown to see a band play and met up with my “friend” there and then he and I went for a run. I haven’t run with someone in so long and it was kind of fun doing that again. And I have never really run with someone that I’m actually dating…so that was even more fun actually. We’ll see how things continue to play out.

Still no buyer’s for my condo. There is a good and bad to that. On the good, I have more money to throw at bills and things for right now (but maybe I should be saving up for more toward a downpayment), and there are plenty of things on the market I like and would consider buying, so hopefully it stays that way, mine sells (I’d love it if I could have a sale to close maybe October, move end of October/early November, but you can’t ever guarantee something like that). I know it will eventually sell, and I’m sure I’ll find something I deem perfect for me at the time, but the unknown is kind of a pain. I’d almost take it off the market and just stay where I am, but I just have so many “wants” that I need more space for (like my exercise room, I’ve determined I’m buying some bowflex changeable weights ones I have space to have that kind of stuff)!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Thursday Run

It’s been a while since I’ve just written about a run. Sure I’ve made mention of what I’ve been doing in passing with other updates, but there really haven’t been any stand out runs. Everything all kind of blends together. I have run a number of them without watch (mostly wearing HRM though just trying to get a feel for numbers before I work out the mins and maxs). I’ve even had a few runs without anything but my MP3 and they have ranged from bad to OK or average but something yesterday hit me. Maybe it was the early afternoon chocolate chocolate chip muffin, or the Pizza Hut Express breadsticks so I’d have the energy to run without having to wait till I made dinner, had it eaten and then rested it off…Anyway, last night I could’ve gone further, I only ran 7 (had planned 5 or 6) and wish I had done at least 8. The first mile stat I’m not sure of, but I know it was slow due to stopping to say hi to a neighbor and pet her dog, but then I was off and most of the miles fell right around 8:35 pace, and HR stayed around what it has been most runs. I’ve been averaging maybe seeing a high of 167-175 (but that’s usually coming up the last hills), and most of the run has tended toward being in the mid-150s, which none of this means much yet since I only know my min and not my max HR yet. But I’m guessing this is going to come close to the average range that most runs should be in (65-75% effort I think). It was so nice to have finally achieved a good run though. Final run time had me at an average of 8:38, which it's been a while since I've effortlessly hit those paces. Maybe it was the slightly cooler weather last night that helped too. The run on Wednesday was only 4 miles and that one I almost bagged because it just didn’t feel good, legs felt dead (and I had only done 7.25 the night before) so I just don’t know. I’m still not sure about a fall marathon either, but it’s that time to start building mileage up, looking at a training schedule and getting something going soon if I’m going to even consider doing one…I’m still kind of playing it out to see what happens and if I can get into Twin Cities yet.

Wednesday night I went and checked out a bike race. First time I had ever been to one, at least in that capacity. It’s a pro race series going on in the area right now. Mostly within the metro with a couple of trips about an hour away. It was fun and Jelly Belly was there handing out sport beans, as was Nature Valley (which makes sense since it’s the Nature Valley Grand Prix) handing out granola bars. The race was a sprint in downtown St. Paul. Just a short circuit for an hour. There is another leg of it tonight in Minneapolis and me and a couple of friends are going to go watch and have a few beers to celebrate Friday. Should be a nice evening. That is if the rain holds off!! Tomorrow my parents are in town so I'll probably see them and I might be crashing a wedding, we'll see if I feel up to it or not. Sunday is the Pride Festival parade and I always enjoy checking out the festivities in the park during Pride so I'm hoping to make it down there too. I have yet to actually get to see the parade!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Stone Arch Art Festival

Every Father’s day weekend the city of Minneapolis has an art fair that I enjoy checking out when I can. I used to live a mere 2 blocks from the activities and I so miss that time and that area…but oh well. At least I can make visits over to the area. The Stone Arch Bridge is a pedestrian bridge over the Mississippi, just down from the locks and dam and new dam set up that is being used as a power source as well. There is a new park area that you can walk out and basically be in the middle of the Mississippi as well and it’s kind of neat to see the rushing water, the downtown views and the bridges. Anyway, a “friend” of mine (namely the guy I’ve been seeing as of late) lives walking distance to the area and suggested going on Saturday afternoon. I drove to his place and we made a quick run to the Farmer’s market first so I could
get some fruits and veggies. Then we went over to the art fair and checked out some great stuff from local and even not so local artists. I didn’t even up buying anything at this time, but saw a lot of things I would’ve loved. Next year, when I’ve sold my house and am in something new I
swear I’m getting something!! We wandered, ate some bad for you food (OK, actually I didn’t really eat there, but my friend did) we stopped to sit and talk, wandered some more, saw some baby ducks, ended up sitting by the river for a while chatting, then back to the art fair and actually sat down at one of the restaurants for
dinner and a beer, which turned into 3 and then decided to get some beer and go sit on the roof at his place…well, we didn’t quite make it to the roof as his neighbors were watching Apocolypto and we got sucked into it, and ended up watching the part we missed (continuing into the part we had already seen) shortly after we finished the first run. More beer and movie finally gets over and I was feeling hungry. Luckily we are in downtown and there is a late night pizza place just a couple of blocks away so we went and got a couple of slices and then went back and crashed.

I got home on Sunday, called my dad then tried touching base with a couple of friends that I had already made plans with for the art fair and one of them decided it would be fun so she came and we went back and wandered some more. My “friend” called to see where we were and ended up meeting up with us for a bit later. As we wandered, looking at the old cars that go on display down there as well, we ran across my uncle’s car and later ended up sitting by it, having a beer…saw my uncle finally a bit later and, as usual, he had won first for his car (he has a mint condition 55 Thunderbird). Chatted with him for a bit and then ended up going home where I just vegged the rest of the night.

Bad weekend in that I didn’t do any running. I only had 28 miles in last week…oh well. I got up and did 6 miles this morning. It was a bit muggy but not too terrible. I so need to get back into a better and regular plan and eating habit. My weight is getting away from me again! Ah well.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just an Update

Nothing too terribly exciting to update or state. My weekend was actually pretty quiet. I went to the local hangout on Friday (it’s summer, might be time to try something new, my roommate and I are in a rut, it’s what we do on Friday night, without even discussing what we are going to do), was there a bit later than planned, came home, watched TV a bit and crashed. Woke up too early on Saturday, got up, went for a 4 mile relaxed run then spent the afternoon at Lake Calhoun because it was nice…OK, upper 80s might not feel nice to some people, but the humidity is still really low all things considered so it was nice, even a breeze and a weird rain (no clouds, all sun but rain was coming down, go figure). I stopped and bought a few more plants to put in my pots on my balcony (might have to get a few taken and posted) and that was the excitement of my Saturday. I talked to a friend on the phone, hung out on my balcony and read a book and went to bed kind of early. Oh, and I had done a second run in the evening of 5 miles…so a total of 9 for Saturday.

Sunday was more relaxing really. I got up early and talked to my parents, then went for a run, then went to lunch. After lunch I went and bought a rose bush to have on my balcony and with any luck can transplant to the ground if my house ever sells! It looks quite pretty, it’s called a double delight, red and white and yellowish looks…the most fragrant one I found too. I love the way it smells. So now everyday, provided something is blooming, I can “stop and smell the roses”…right outside my door. After buying roses, I made a stop at Calhoun again for more sun. I think I’m finally a decent color…granted my skin is very pale to begin with and only in Hawaii do I get dark, and I know it’s bad for me, but I so love the sun…and what better way to spend a nice Sunday than laying by a lake, people watching and reading?

Work is still going along. I’m still working and learning and trying to get up to speed as quickly as I can. My new work group is great. I like all of the people I’m working with so far, all of them have been here for at least 15 years I think too…Soon I’ll be in my permanent cube too, over by the rest of the group. That will be nice.

I’m starting to study for the GMAT too. Math is where I know I’m going to need the most help, so it’s the areas I should start with…and I should get a couple of practice tests and things going soon so I’m all set to take it, hopefully the beginning of August since application deadline for Spring 2008 is October 1. If I don’t get it in by then, I will have to wait till Fall 2008 for entrance, although if I got accepted, I might be able to start in the summer…we’ll see. My boss is well aware that grad school is on my mind and as soon as I’m ready, he is ready to work with me on the getting enrolled etc and it might even go on my work goals etc for my review for next year, which would be kind of cool (although scary, how much will it hurt me if I don’t get in?). There really is only one school I’m even considering. There is one other I might consider, but Carlson School of Management, where my undergrad is from, is the only ranked school in the area. We’ll see what happens though.

Friday, June 08, 2007

New Job, Great Benefits

A quick update and hopefully a longer one over the weekend…maybe some pictures too. Although I don’t know of what!

My first week is almost over and I survived. I came in Monday and had orientation, a few videos, etc. Then I was shown my cube (temporarily in the executive area by the executive kitchen, convenient!) where I have a nice 20” flat screen monitor, the 17” at home now seems so tiny…I’ve spent the week doing training modules that are required by the company, and talking with my boss as time permits, working through documentation of required things, learning about other things that are and are not allowed and actually doing a couple of reviews of actual terms and conditions (what will be the bulk of my job). I also found out about the parent companies tuition reimbursement deals…umm…can you say fantastic? At my old job, I know there was an option, but it was very tough to get. It had to be in the budget, it had to have specifications met on how it related to your job and just was overall a pain to try to deal with. While I wanted to consider getting my MBA, it wasn’t affordable and seemed a huge hassle. I’ve also had tuition reimbursement before, usually tuition covered, you pay it first, they reimburse you if you get at least a C, you cover fees and books…not here. 100% of tuition is paid by the company to the school, you don’t have to worry about it. You can purchase textbooks via an intercompany website through B&N or another source and have the company pay for them up front too. The company covers the cost of taking the GMAT or any other test (I wonder if they would pay for a GMAT class…I’m guessing probably yes, but I think I will try studying on my own first) as well. That thing isn’t cheap to pay. They also pay application fees to the schools…again those can be not so cheap…when you are taking classes, you are allowed up to 3 hours each week for study time that is paid…and finally, when you finish a degree program, master’s, doctorate or anything, the company rewards you with stock and/or stock options….and it DOES NOT have to be related to your actual job. If I wanted to get an advanced degree in underwater basket weaving, they would pay for it. Unbelievable. Needless to say, last night was spent in part at B&N buying GMAT prep books which I will be putting to use over the summer, hopefully taking the GMAT in the next two months (as soon as I feel confident I’ve refreshed my math skills sufficiently to hit a high 600-low 700 score) and applying to an MBA program to start either Spring or Summer 2008.

In other news. Hmm…running has been OK. I think I’m run down or something. I started trying a heart rate monitor and I don’t know what is going on. The friend that got it to me is going to help me look at the data I’m collecting and have been collecting for the last week and see what we need to do and what I should be focusing on, then getting low and high settings going. I need to get another low reading as I know you should take an average over a few days and I haven’t managed to do that at all. Maybe I’ll take a nap after work and see if I can get a low then…and tomorrow morning, and Sunday as well. Then it’s just getting the high. I haven’t decided on any new races. Grandma’s is out. Twin Cities is most likely going to be my focus. I know it’s full at this point, but in July I know another way in and I’m going to most likely use that in and attempt a BQ off it. We’ll see what happens. That all depends on my friend that may potentially also “coach” me, as much as I am coachable that is…he knows I would be difficult, but mainly its because he wants me to cut back on mileage and my best run so far has been with higher mileage…so that leaves me wondering!! Anyway, we shall see.

Nothing really planned for the weekend. Maybe a trip to the local place tonight, tomorrow is supposed to be nice so happy place visit and maybe to dinner with a friend out on a lake area bar/restaurant if she’s game for it. But we’ll see. Some GMAT prep/studying of course and cleaning and organizing around home, cleaning up the car, the garage and maybe getting some more plants out, but that’s about it. I’m actually even getting to get out a bit early today as my boss likes to leave early on Friday as well and encourages in early and out early!! Yay!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Well, maybe not nerves, but something...I suppose I should be feeling something, but I'm not sure what. It's the day before my first day of my new job. Kind of a scary thing, like going to school for the first time again...

I have had a few days off from work over the past couple of days. It's been kind of nice.

My last day at the old job was sad, but I made my goodbyes, then met up with a friend for lunch. Later went out to my hangout and chatted with some friends and then went home to bed, as my dad was in town and I wanted to meet him for breakfast the next day.

I took my dad to breakfast to a place we hadn't been forever, not since I was a child and we used to go visiting my aunt and uncle that lived near the place. Then I got home, did some errands and a few things then met up with a friend and had a few drinks at his place, got some dinner then went to see GB Leighton at their regular gig, which was fun. My friend lives only a few blocks so we walked there and back and had a few beers along the way home too.

Woke up with a slight hangover, but went to breakfast, hit the farmer's market (miss the farmer's market on Thursday's downtown, only thing I miss about working downtown) and then I headed home and got my oil changed. Later, the friend came over and we grilled out and went to Cold Stone...OK, so this friend is a guy I've been kind of dating lately...maybe I'll have to give some more info on him...

My friend was heading out of town for the week but he had a heart rate monitor that he was going to loan me to try out as I've never trained with one and we've discussed training a bit...again more on that later, anyway, I went and got it from him. Got home and my roommate and I went out to dinner with a friend of hers and then another friend called, she was in town, and we went out and met her for a drink, which ended up being a late night.

Relaxed after Friday night and then just decided to stay in after running a few errands. It was a nice laid back night.

Went to Grand old day with my roommate, another friend and a friend of hers. It was nice, relaxed. Ate a bunch of fat bad for you food, watched some bands and had a nice afternoon even though the weather was bad. I thought about going for a run this evening but am just kind of relaxing. I did run this morning, which I guess helps...I should go figure out what I'm wearing on my first day at the new job...and get something rounded up for lunch tomorrow...