NYC 26.2: Weeks 10 & 11.

Hal Higdon-NYC 26.2-Marathon TrainingWell it’s a good thing I started putting mileage on my legs early this year, because Weeks 10 and 11 turned into serious step-back weeks…

Week 10 was our first week back from vacation, and the week after Labor day.  So everything’s always a little wacky during a holiday week.  I really tried to make very early morning runs happen but I was not successful.  I got 4 miles in during lunch on Wednesday and Thursday, and a light 3 in between A’s naps on Friday with her in the jogger.  Saturday morning I was able to get 15 miles in but it was hot and humid, and I was tired.  Sunday morning I intended to get back into my Lithe routine, but A was sick and up a few times the night before so that wasn’t in the cards.  My total for the week was 26 miles, 5 short of the goal of 31.  Yikes.

Week 11 started out really good, and had potential to be a big mileage week (half marathon on Sunday!).  But it quickly derailed.  I got 5 miles in at lunch on Monday and felt great.  My schedule didn’t allow for anything on Tuesday, but I got another 5mi in at lunch on Wednesday.  Thursday morning I was supposed to travel to Atlanta for work but woke up at 4:30am soaked in sweat with a super high fever.  It came with a terrible sore throat and it didn’t break for almost 24 hours.  It was terrible.  So no running for me Thurs-Sat.  On Sunday I stupidly attempted to run in a half marathon (“I’ll just jog it!”), but felt miserable.  I stopped after 5 miles, just in time to have to walk through the finishing area with all the elite male runners finishing.  There I was just wanting to get my bag and get the heck out of there, but people probably thought I was some crazy elite runner.  So embarrassing. And it meant week 11’s total was a mere 15 miles, TWENTY miles short of the goal of 35.  Not good.

Week 12 had some highs and lows; I’ll recap later in the week.

Extreme(-ly Average) Couponing.

extreme-couponing-TLCI totally wish I were an Extreme Couponer.  If you haven’t seen the show on TLC that chronicles this group of money savers, it’s a total gem and I recommend checking it out.  Basically there are people out there who diligently collect and track coupons (we’re talking dumpster diving for circulars and JUMBO binders full of clippings) and are able to bring thousand dollar grocery bills down to just a few dollars.  It’s amazing.  The good ones maintain master Excel spreadsheets that help them to figure out the exact amounts of each product to buy and how much they’ll save before they go to the store.  One rejected coupon at the checkout and all their math is off.  It’s riveting.  And most of them have stock rooms at home built for the sole purpose of storing their stuff – I mean entire basements dedicated to storing the 100 jars of marinara sauce, 50 tubes to toothpaste, and 65 jugs of laundry detergent, usually impeccably organized and labeled.  I will say that I have seen a decent amount of them dedicate the stuff they know they’ll never use to their church or charity.  So they aren’t all just hoarding mass amounts of stuff they’ll never use.

But anyway, these people have serious skills.  Math skills, organizational skills, and supermarket skills (which you know are near and dear to my heart!).  And I totally wish I were one of them.  But sadly I am not, I’m just your average manufacturers-coupon-for-diapers-and-20%-Bed-Bath-and-Beyond-couponer.  But a girl can dream right?

Earlier this summer I noticed that I kept coming home from a trip to the store realizing that I had forgotten I had a coupon for something I just bought sans discount.  Very frustrating.  While out at Target one day (probably without my coupons), I noticed a fun ‘Real Simple’ coupon organizer on clearance.  I tossed it in the cart and ran home to organize my coupons.

First, I trimmed them all down to get rid of excess paper that I didn’t need.  Then I laid them all out on my kitchen counter, tossing the expired ones (except those Bed Bath & Beyond super coupons – they never go bad!).  Next I grouped like-kind coupons together: grocery, baby, household, etc.  This is what things looked like after that step:organizing-coupons-step-one

The coupon pouch came with labels so when I was finished arranging the coupons into a few logical piles, I wrote the category name on each tab.  Then I filed the coupons away, like so:

organizing-coupons-step-two

You can probably see I also tossed a pen and some paper clips in there.  The pen really only went in there since there was a pen holder (duh), but the paper clips serve a purpose:  when I’m running an errand where I know I’ll only need a few of my coupons I leave the big folder at home and just clip together the few that I need and bring them along.

I’ve been using this system for a few months now and so far so good.  I decided my folder was looking a little JV so I started visiting some sites like Coupon Suzy and Cool Savings to beef up on coupons.  And I’m happy to report I’m actually using them!  Being resourceful + saving money = amazeballs.

So moral of the story, even us common folk can get our couponing on, and keeping them well organized can possibly save you more dough in the long run.  Efficiency rules.

And since I’m still playing around with my camera and my new Photoshop app, I will leave you with a quasi-artistic shot of my nicely organized coupons.  Complete with my felt tip pen, half chewed by KP on the bottom.  Typical.  Happy couponing!

organizing-coupons-end-result

NYC 26.2: Weeks 7, 8, 9.

Hal Higdon-NYC 26.2-Marathon Training

Whew.  I’ve got quite a few weeks to catch up on here.  I’ll make the recaps as brief as I can:

Week 7: Got 3.5mi in Monday morning before work, another 3mi after work on Tuesday.  Wednesday I was forced to rest because of my schedule, but I got in about 3mi at lunch on Thursday and another 3mi in on Friday evening.  Saturday I managed a long run of 15 to round out my week at 27.5 – 1.5mi short of my goal of 29 for the week.  Seems to be the story of my life, the weeks that followed were no different!

Week 8:  Juice Cleanse week!  So things were a little off kilter, but I still managed to get the miles in.  Nothing on Monday since I wasn’t sure what I could handle with nothing but juice and liquid in my system (side note – loved the cleanse, can’t wait to post about it!).  Squeezed in 3.5mi at lunch on Tuesday.  Started my vacation Thursday with a 3mi jog to/from a Lithe class (last minute chance to tone my biceps!).  Got in another 3.5mi out in Montauk on Friday to loosen up for my long run of 16mi on Saturday morning.  There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather do long runs that Old Montauk Highway.  You can go for miles uninterrupted, and often you’ve got the ocean in view.  It’s spectacular.  I felt good Sunday so I squeezed in 3.5mi.  Total for the week: 29.5mi, 1/2 a mile off target.

Week 9: Birthday/Vacation week!  After a pretty successful Week 8 I was feeling good for Week 9.   I did a light 3mi on my birthday down to the Napeague Bay and back (another beautiful spot!).  Rested my legs Tuesday (still needed a break from long run on Sat), and then did 4.5mi on Weds and 7mi on Thurs with my new fancy GPS running watch birthday gift from B!  It’s awesome.  For someone like me who loves tracking things and loves numbers and happens to be training for a marathon, it’s perfect.  Rested my legs Friday and got in 17mi on Saturday at a decent pace.  Still not where I’d like to be for the marathon, but it’s also still hot.  Saturday also ended up being the day everyone decided to swim across the Napeague Bay (1.2mi) so I ended up doing that after my run.  Crazy, I know.  If I rode my bike home it would have almost been an Ironman in 48 hour timespan!  Total for the week: 31.5mi, again 1/2 mile off target.

Week 10 & 11 updates to come next week, and I’ve got the Philly Half Marathon this weekend.  So, lots more fun to come…

 

That’s Amore.

organized-cookies-depth-of-field

You know your husband really loves you when: a) he spontaneously makes you chocolate chip cookies on a Friday night, b) he puts the uneaten ones away in a tupperware (leaving the cookie trays and spatula in the sink for you to clean, but we’ll ignore that for purposes of this post…), and c) he ORGANIZES them in the tupperware because he “thought you’d like to see them nice and neat in there”.  Wow.  Of course I’m sure this reflects more upon the fact that he thinks I’m insane, but I’ll take it.  I saw these cookies on my counter Saturday morning and just had to snap a pic.

Speaking of which, notice anything different about this pic?  Anyone?  Probably not, but I do: it was edited in my new fancy Photoshop Elements program.  I brightened and lightened and enhanced and background-blurred to get the perfect organized cookie tupperware shot above.  I’ve been complaining for a while that I needed a better photo editing tool than what comes standard on my Mac, and my awesome in-laws got me the application for my birthday.  Which was a fantastic one, in case anyone was wondering.  I mentioned it in this post before we left to go on vacation, which was also stellar.  No work, no cleaning, no blogging.  I really took the week off and it was perfect.  Back to reality last week was a shock though so I do apologize for the very long blogging break.

But I’m back now.  I’ve got cookies and I’ve got Photoshop.  Watch out world!