Triathlon #3

This past weekend, I raced in the New Town Triathlon for the second year in a row. It’s a challenging race (and one of the more competitive tris in the St. Louis area) but I’ve had fun doing it the last two summers. My only goal this year was to finish better than last year. I ended up shaving about six minutes off my time this years, so I consider that a success!

The New Town Tri is just shy of Olympic distance with a .62 mile open water swim, 20 mile bike ride and a 4 mile run. The swim course changed this year, which I heard a lot of the participants talking about while we waited to enter the lake. Both last year and this year’s swim portion was the same distance, but this year’s swim course was longer.  So either last year’s was shorter than .62 miles or this years was longer than that. Either way, it was longer and my time only differed by 27 seconds from last year.

NewTownTri14_1

I’m not very good about practicing the transitions, but I do run through them in my head. I definitely improved my times this year and cut my transition times almost in half! Last year, I spent 0:05:23 (5 minutes and 53 seconds) between the two transitions and this year I was able to cut that time down to 0:03:21. Obviously, there is still TONS of time that I could cut out. Prime example as to why I should practice those.

One thing I did practice and sort-of nail down was dismounting from the bike when coming in for the second transition. I’m really happy with how I did on the bike this year. It’s the worst leg of the race for me, but I also have the chance to see the most improvement here. I’m not a strong cyclist, but I was able to increase my speed and cut down my time by 5 minutes from last year. It may not seem that impressive, but I consider that a huge win to me. Oh, and I did successfully dismount from the bike without eating it. Woohoo!

NewTownTri14_2

As for the run…enter some slight disappointment here. I consider the run portion my strongest of the three, but I ran slower this year. Perhaps I went overboard on the bike? I would prefer to not think that. Maybe I’ll blame the fact that it was probably over 80 degree with 99% humidity by that point. In all realty, I didn’t run that much slower than last year. I finished that portion just 1 minute behind last year’s time so it’s not the end of the world. (But it kind of is)

Official time: 2 hours and 7 minutes. Goal for next year: Under two hours.

NewTownTri14_3

I’m doing another sprint tri in two weeks and Tim will be joining me. It’s more of a fun one and doesn’t give out prizes, but it gives me another opportunity to practice and go through the motions.

—m.

Pre-Race Jitters

NewTownTri2

My triathlon is Sunday morning and the pre-race jitters have already set in. Instead of focusing on the progress I’ve made during my training over the last 8ish weeks, all I can think about is what I should have done more of—more swimming, biked longer, practiced transitions.

I did this triathlon last summer, so at least I’m more familiar with the event overall. I haven’t invested in a wetsuit, so I’m keeping my fingers cross about the water temperature. And that I don’t eat it when dismounting from the bike. That would be embarrassing. And probably painful.

But it’s not like I’m a pro. I do it for the challenge. And because it’s fun.

“because it’s fun.”  Said like 2 people ever.

(Trying to pump myself up here.)

—m.

Drooling Over: Engraved Rolling Pins

As if my love of cutting and serving boards isn’t enough, I’ve found a line of rolling pins I love. I don’t bake many things that require the use of a rolling pin, but if I did, I would for sure use one of these engraved rolling pis. I mean, who wouldn’t want their pie crusts or cookies to have designs in them?! The best part? You can order a customized pin!

RollingPins Valek Rolling Pins Etsy Store

June Recap

Nellie

I never get tired of Nellie with a big ol’ puppy smile on her face. We were getting ready for a walk, and she was uber excited.

Several months ago I came across a mention of Union Wine Company out in Oregon producing wine in a can and there was a sign up for preorders. You know I ordered some! The verdict at work was “it’s surprisingly not bad!” We weren’t quite sure what to expect. Now I can be classy when wanting to drink wine in an area that doesn’t allow glass (IE: a pool) instead of using a red solo cup.

UnionWine

Speaking of wine…in 2013, the United States consumed more wine than France for the first time ever. Clearly I helped contribute to this state.

I flew home to Nebraska for a long weekend…had a cousin’s bridal shower, a small family reunion and Father’s Day. While I was back, my grandma helped me make made me a clutch with fabric I bought. I’m pretty excited about it. We used this tutorial.

clutch

I repainted our bedroom and am not exactly happy with the results. We’ll see how I feel in a few months after I get a couple other things like new a rug and nightstands in the room.

bedroom4

The World Cup started a couple weeks ago…guess who has been glued to the TV? (Hint: Tim) Several of my coworkers and I took an extra long lunch to watch US vs Germany game last week. I made the St. Louis Post Dispatch gallery (picture 7 & 8) of soccer fans. July means Tour de France…guess who will be glued to the TV then as well?

June has also been a month of swimming, biking and running for me. I have my first triathlon of July in just two weeks. This past weekend’s long training day consisted of a 16 mile bike ride followed by a 3 mile run. I’m not where I’d like to be on the bike, but I did this race last year so I at least know what to expect for the most part. Tim is doing a shorter tri with me in late July (his first), so of course I get to drag his butt out of bed before 7 AM on Saturdays.

TimRun

And lastly, 40 Maps that Explain Food in America. Some of the maps are quite fascinating, and so true. As a farmer’s daughter, the agriculture maps are especially interesting to me.

I’m looking forward to July!

—m.

Wanderlustering

I am having a serious case of wanderlust. All I want to do is design stuff, eat my body weight in sweets (without gaining that amount of course) and travel the world.

QueenstownQueenstown, New Zealand / October 2013

I read an article (that I can’t seem to find) about how people who travel are never content with where they are. That is exactly me.

I think about what it would be like to live in a different city. I’m constantly looking up road trips across the US and what kind of weird and wacky things are along the way. I have a constantly growing wish list of places around the world I want to see/visit. I’m always tempted to take a chunk of my savings, buy plane tickets to some far away land and spring a trip on Tim. I keep track of how long it’s been since my last trip and have a countdown until the next one.

hawaiiTop of the Haleakala Volcano in Maui, Hawaii at sunrise / September 2010

Speaking of next trip, Tim booked a long weekend getaway to Chicago in August for my birthday. I’m also planning on flying out to San Francisco in November to visit a good friend of mine that just moved there. Knowing these two trips are in the foreseeable future is certainly helping my wanderlusting.

NotreDameParisTrying to get a picture in front of the Notre Dame in Paris / May 2009

I’m no where near having a “world traveler” status, but that’s what I want to work towards during my life. I not only want to see these other places, but I want to actually learn about the culture. Eat the local food. Walk down quieter streets that aren’t filled with tourists just to look at the buildings and architecture. To go on hikes and explore the landscape. I could fill an entire post with places and things I want to see and experience.

But until then, I need to learn to be patient.

Traveling requires time and money…two things that a 26 year old trying to pay off student and car loans while establishing her career doesn’t have a lot of.

GardenOfTheGodsSiamese Twins, Garden of the Gods outside Colorado Springs, CO / June 2012

I also need to learn to be more content with where I am in the present.

Stop dwelling on that fact that it’s been five years since I’ve been to Europe, and dream a little less of the day I get to return (cough*2016*cough).

It will happen in due time…at the right time.

I came across another article while I was looking for the one I mentioned above (I may keep looking for future reference), and there was a section that really rang true to me.

We all seem to be victims of ignoring what’s actually happening right at this very moment, which is only natural when we have so many choices and opportunities available to us.

We can all forget the whole point of happiness, and that’s peace of mind, acceptance, and mindfulness. Essentially, it’s being happy no matter where you are in the world, or what you’re doing, or whom you’re with.

Being mindful quiets the mind and brings us a sense of peace that no other quest for a “perfect life” could ever bring.

Mindfulness helps you to appreciate life as it happens. It stops us from agonizing over what might’ve been or what could be. It just brings us back to the present.

Yes—embrace everything that comes along. Yes—go out and see the world and enjoy everything this life has to offer.

But whenever you feel yourself losing focus and wondering about where you’ll be happy next, bring yourself back to the present, look at what you already have, look around you and enjoy the moments that are happening right now.

I’m not necessarily looking for happiness in other places—I have more than enough here in St. Louis—but I know how happy it makes me feel when I do get to explore and experience other places. I’ll never stop having that wanderlust feeling. I can only hope to cross off as many places as I can from my list in my lifetime.

—m.

Taking Care of the Green Monster

You know how Fenway Park in Boston has a giant wall called “The Green Monster“? Well we have had our own version of that—our bedroom. A few years ago I had painted our bedroom a green that Tim and I had picked out together. Green is his favorite color and really wanted a green room. It certainly wasn’t my favorite idea, or color to paint our bedroom, but I painted anyway.

Well about six months ago, I finally decided I had enough of the green color and started picking up countless paint swatches. I purchased at least eight paint samples, ranging from dark blue-greens to very light, bright greens. I pretty much hated everything once I got it home. The lighting in our room is a major issue—it’s so weird and changes quite a bit throughout the day. We knew wanted to go lighter because the large oak tree in our front yard blocks some natural light.

So fast forward to a couple weeks ago, I finally picked up a gallon of Valspar’s Montpelier Madison White and repainted the room. And guess what? We don’t love it. It’s totally not what I was picturing. The color definitely has undertones of green, which we wanted but I wasn’t prepared for how light it would turn out. Considering the name of the paint has “white” in it, I should have known better. We’re going to keep the color for a couple of months and see how we like it, but I have a feeling I will be repainting the room again.

The last picture I could find was this one (with way awful lighting). I think it was right after we had just purchased our new bed frame.

newbed_1

After painting and rearranging the furniture (which I also don’t like but Tim does), this is the room now.

bedroom1

You can see in the panoramic pictures below that our room isn’t very big, so we were hoping it would feel more airy by going with a lighter color. (I took these pictures with my iPhone, so they aren’t the greatest.) We really only have two wall options for our bed placement since the only vent is under the window, which we don’t want to cover up.

bedroom2 bedroom3

I’ve been actively searching for a new dresser ever since we got the new bed a couple years ago. Our old dresser and current night stands are from Tim’s high school days, so it’s time for us to get “adult furniture”. Finding a dresser was actually pretty difficult. Either the dimensions didn’t work, I didn’t care for the style or the price was too high. Well it just so happened that the same weekend I was painting, West Elm was having a bedroom sale. Our local St. Louis store had the one I wanted in stock, which resulted in a phone call to Tim. Thirty minutes later, the 6-drawer Niche dresser was being loaded into the back of my car. Oh yeah, and it weighs over 200 pounds.

bedroom4

We plan on hanging up the two frames that are currently resting on the night stands (which will also be replaced). I love the look of frames placed on either side of a headboard like that.

bedroom5

The next items on my list for this room include
• New night stands—Something like these white ones
• A green rug for under the bed
• A round mirror for above the dresser
• Lamp for Tim’s night stand
• New ceiling fan
• New blinds
• Curtains??
• Any other decor items I may come across

So despite the new paint color not being what I pictured while, it is already an improvement. I’m just happy the green is gone! I seriously think I feel so much more relaxed walking in and sleeping at night with the new color. Not sure why I didn’t repaint sooner!

—m.