If I don’t do it, I’ll be grumpy

By , August 23, 2017 8:10 pm

It’s funny what kids remember. During one of our vacations with Gina and family this year, we were discussing the next day’s runs. I said “I have to run most days, or I’ll be grumpy!”

Luca picked right up on that. The next day, “Did you run yet, Aunt Kim? Are you grumpy?” And on other visits since then “Go for a run, so you’re not grumpy!” And (me) “Why does Aunt Kim run?” (Luca) “So she’s not GRUMPY!” Ha ha.

He knows it’s a funny thing to say, and that it’ll make me laugh, but I am sure he knows there is truth to it. He sees his parents work out each day and tell him how good it makes them feel – it’s not a new concept when Aunt Kim does it!

I was thinking about this conversation with Luca during my run late tonight. I had brought my running gear with me to work, to run during lunch break, but a coworker invited me out to lunch, so I did that instead. I enjoyed our lunch, but that itch was still there, and that chance of becoming GRUMPY if I didn’t run. So I did a quick run when I got home. I am not training for anything and don’t need to run, but I knew I would feel so much better, physically and emotionally, if I did.

View from my run tonight

And I was right. So yeah, I run so I don’t get grumpy!

(But let’s not even get in to the weird paradox of dreading a run until you start it (and being kind of grumpy), even though you know it’s going to put you in a good mood!)

Training Week 409

By , August 20, 2017 4:22 pm

Highlight of the Week: Actually doing a long run!

Monday | August 14, 2017: 3 m run (incl. 3 hill repeats) + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 75°/74°, Time: 32:43, Pace: 10:54 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fine, annoyed with all the bugs
Strength: sandbags, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but too hot

Tuesday | August 15, 2017: rest
Wednesday | August 16, 2017: rest
Thursday | August 17, 2017: 3 m run
Loc: VP Woods, Temp: 78°/79°, Time: 32:05, Pace: 10:41 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fine, legs just taking forever to warm up
Friday | August 18, 2017: teaching strength class + 4 m run (incl. 3×800) + 1,218 yd swim
Strength: sandbags, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fine
Loc: Lake Andrea, Temp: 77°/76°, Time: 41:34, Pace: 10:24, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: FitNation, Time: 25:45, Pace: 2:07 min/100 yd avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, goggles just too tight

Saturday | August 19, 2017: Efit Games + 17 m ride
Loc: around town, Temp: 75°/76°, Time: 1:03:08, Pace: 16.2 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Sunday | August 20, 2017: 12 m run
Loc: Kilbourne/DPRT Loop, Temp: 61°/69°, Time: 2:25:50, Pace: 12:09 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great, super annoyed with the bugs and confused by my pace


  • My legs still felt achy at the beginning of the week, so I gave them an extra rest day. And my quads still feel tired at the start of my Thursday and Friday runs. I wonder if I am running too slowly (and doing some strange gait)? I actually felt better during my intervals than my recoveries during speedwork this week.
  • Have you noticed I haven’t mentioned teaching fitness boxing in a long time? Last year we took August off from weekend classes, and it seems we are this year, too. Instead of classes this month, we had the “Efit Games” on Saturday. There were five teams of four people each, and we did various strength, speed, bodyweight, core, and precision challenges. There were prizes for the top three teams, a free shirt for everyone, and free breakfast after (and the event itself was free). People seemed to like it!
  • My Saturday was busy with the Efit Games and errands and a bike ride and a party. I was hoping to run too, but by the time I got home from the party Saturday night, I knew it would be dumb to do that and go for a long run in the morning.
  • I’m happy I didn’t run Saturday, because my legs felt good on Sunday. Although I kept trying to pick up the speed and NOTHING was happening. It felt strange. It was humid out, but I wasn’t miserable (for that reason – the bugs biting me through the hair on my head was making me nuts). I guess not doing long runs very often means when you do, you aren’t that fast, ha! I am happy I did one though – I am running a half with xaarlin in four weeks!

Link to Training Week 408

Random Thoughts Thursday 143

By , August 17, 2017 6:23 am
  • Whenever I pick Snow up, I notice he smells nice and wonder how, being an outdoor cat! I finally figured out what he smells like – cedar! Because… he lives in a house with cedar on it. Duh, Kim. Just, duh.

  • I’ve been bringing Snow in at night, when it’s dark, for short visits. The dark part is key – he gets scared if I bring him in when it’s light outside. But at night, his tail is wagging, he’s playing with toys, and hanging out. I feel like I am getting closer to being able to put him in the cat carrier to go get his shots/chip/get neutered (I tried in the winter and spring and it was a disaster).

  • I had my first malfunction in the new workspace yesterday when I got there and my locker wouldn’t open. Grrr. Apparently, some of the new lockers came with not-so-new batteries? So mine died on me with my stuff (that I needed!) locked inside. I was impressed the team was able to get it open in forty-five minutes of me reporting the issue! (and I questioned if I should just take my stuff home last night, but I left it in there, and am giving it another try…) On a positive note, I do love that many of the workstations have two external monitors (I usually only have one external monitor)!

  • I ordered my 2018 page-a-day-calendar way in advance so the same thing won’t happen as last year! I can’t wait to use it. This year’s has been a bit of a dud.

  • Has anyone else seen The Circle with Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, and John Boyega? I need to talk to someone about how horrible it is. Ha ha.
  • We’re watching the American version of The Office (I’ve never seen it but Steven has) and I am not sure I can handle it. Michael Scott makes me so uncomfortable, and mad. Does that feeling go away?

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 142

Why August is awesome this year ii

By , August 15, 2017 6:41 am

Enjoying the hammock Christina gave me!

Now I just need a good book to read out there. I am thinking about getting The Last Tudor, or maybe Three Sisters, Three Queens (it has better reviews). Any other Phillipa Gregory fans out there?

River Trip 2017

By , August 14, 2017 6:23 am

This will be my last recap post from River Trip 2017, I promise! (Ha, last year I recapped nothing, this year, EVERYTHING! But it’s been fun to have things to blog about.)

For me, going to Guttenberg has always been about going to the beach (and seeing family, of course), and we had PERFECT weather this year:

The same storms that damaged Pikes Peak and the closest town in mid July also went through Guttenberg. The island my family has cabins on had a water boil order and was without electricity for a bit. And sadly, my parent’s cabin seemed to get the brunt of the damage on the island – they had several trees down (on the cabin, of course… but luckily not the boat), and spent a lot of time getting that fixed in July. Anyway – all that’s to say I was grateful we didn’t have any storms and had day after day of perfect beach weather! (And am grateful no one was hurt during the July storms.)

That tree’s not supposed to be there

On Friday, we arrived in the late evening and focused on unpacking, and getting ready for RAGBRAI by fueling (and drinking)! No beach time on Friday!

On Saturday, we rode RABGRAI, and played around on the jet skis when we got back!

Photo actually from Tuesday, but you get the idea!

Then helped put the dock in so that we could go to the beach the next day.


The boys (Steven, his brother Andrew, and Steve) helped my parents lift the dock on to the trailer so that my parents could take it to the island ramp to put in the water. Then, Gina, Luca, and I helped my dad bring it down the river to my Grandma’s cabin by attaching it to a fishing boat and floating it down. ANd then we helped set it up and secure it in place. By the time we were doing that, the boys were smoking cigars on Grandma’s balcony, and had acquired paper and markers and were giving us ratings on our performance and style points as we set it up. Oh, boys. Ha ha ha.

We left at 9:30 am on Sunday to get a spot at the beach, and didn’t get back until around 4:00 pm!

We call the beach closest to Grandma’s house “Big Hill Beach” because that is where all of the nearby sand dredged from the river goes. The hill is a different size each year. People often set up man made water slides (tarp and water pump) on the hill, and we saw someone taking one down when we arrived. (Here’s an example, and the story of how I hurt myself on one.)

Every beach visit was to Big Hill Beach this year. The bigger boat that can carry more people and stuff to beaches farther away was out of commission (which my dad planned to fix but no longer had time to because of the house damage), so we were using smaller boats to go back and forth. Works for us – this beach is great – it has soft (HOT!) sand and no mud. The only issue is sun coverage from lack of trees. We used a tent for shade the day we were there the whole day, and went in the afternoons on the other days – since the beach faces east, the sun wasn’t as intense then.


Awesome new pretzel floatie from my snis! She and I loooooooove soft pretzels!

Although, my brain was still pretty fried from being in the sun all day, Sunday. We got back to my Grandma’s and some other family members had come up to join us for dinner and I was a bit out of it from all the sun. Oops! No sunburn though!

On Monday, we went out to the beach late after we got back from ziplining and lunch, and had a very special treat – my Grandma joined us at the beach! She rarely goes to the beach anymore – always cooking and cleaning. Oh, Grandma.

That was the one time we hiked to the top of the hill. What a workout! Of course, Luca makes it look easy!

On Sunday Steve mentioned wanting to try tubing behind a boat someday. I don’t think he knew we had a tube! So we took him out for a ride on Monday. After he got the hang of it, I told my dad to give him hell and try to flip him off. Ha ha ha. It took a while, but we were successful! I decided to ride too (I haven’t in YEARS!) and they got me, too!

Monday also included cake (for my birthday) and an entire dessert bar. NOM!

Tuesday was another afternoon beach day, followed by late night s’mores:

And we also went back Wednesday afternoon, after lunch in Balltown. The Wednesday night excitement was seeing a riverboat go by.

Then Thursday came and it was time to pack up and go. Sad face. Luckily, it was raining Thursday morning, so I didn’t feel as sad that we weren’t going to the beach.

Rainy day view of the river

Our cars at the “Blue Cabin” – where we stay with Gina, Steve, and Luca

We made our traditional “last day” pancakes (we try to make these every time we’re with Gina, Steve, and Luca, on the last day of the trip).

Then the sun came out which was great for photos but made me really sad we were leaving. The week flew by!

Ha, I photoshopped the calamine lotion out of one photo (because I was printing it for Grandma), but not the other!

We had such a fun week! It was the perfect combination of doing activities, and lazy beach time. I was very happy we got out to the beach four days in a row. I don’t think I relax anywhere else, like I do on the beach there – whether I am playing, chatting, or resting my eyes.

I came back to our home in a great mood – from having a great trip and from being off work for a week. I didn’t realize how badly I needed a long break from work until I took it. It felt fantastic not to think about work (either of my jobs) for almost an entire week!

So, like I’ve said in every other post about this trip, we are looking forward to doing it again next year. In the meantime, I need to plan our next trip to see la otra familia, because we miss them!

Training Week 408

By , August 13, 2017 5:53 pm

Highlight of the Week: My late evening Tuesday run.

Monday | August 7, 2017: 4 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 71°/71°, Time: 43:52, Pace: 10:58 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, just hot
Strength: sandbags, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Tuesday | August 8, 2017: 1,008 yd swim + 7.2 m run
Loc: FitNation, Time: 22:20, Pace: 2:13 min/100 yd avg, Difficulty: easy-ish, Felt: good to stretch out
Loc: VP Woods loop, Temp: 79°/70°, Time: 1:18:36, Pace: 10:55 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great

Wednesday | August 9, 2017: rest
Thursday | August 10, 2017: 3 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 83°/79°, Time: 32:36, Pace: 10:48 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but legs still a bit stiff/sore
Friday | August 11, 2017: teaching strength class  + 924 yd swim + 3 m run
Strength: sandbags, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: FitNation, Time: 20:38, Pace: 2:14 min/100 yd, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fine
Loc: hood, Temp: 73°/73°, Time: 32:33, Pace: 10:51 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: happy it was overcast

Saturday | August 12, 2017: 5 m run (incl. 10×1:00)
Loc: Lake Andrea, Temp: 61°/66°, Time: 50:27, Pace: 10:05 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Sunday | August 13, 2017: 7 m run + 11.6 m ride
Loc: VP Woods Loop, Temp: 59°/68°, Time: 1:21:35, Pace: 11:39 avg, Difficulty: hard, Felt: tired tired quads
Loc: up Kilbourne and back, Temp: 74°/72°, Time: 43:52, Pace: 15.9 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good


  • We’re doing a sandbag workout in my classes this week. My students hate sandbags. So much that I haven’t made them use them since April of last year! I have new students now, and this was their first time with them, and yep, they didn’t like them either. My guess as to why is that they are hard to grip and awkward – on purpose. They do a lot for your hand and lower arm strength. And that’s not something that gets worked a lot – even on the instructor! My lower arms were sore on Tuesday, and they felt like heavy rods during my swim, but they eventually felt better!
  • I typically don’t run in the late evening, but I did Tuesday and the low humidity was SUCH a treat!
  • Someone was able to read my tattoo at the gym Friday. Yay! Ha, I can’t see it since it’s on my back, and was curious if the ink is fading so that you can’t read it. I’m happy to hear it isn’t.
  • There was a kids triathlon going on when I did my run at Lake Andrea on Saturday. During my cool down, I came across a kid lying on the grass in the shade so I stopped to see if he was alright. He was thirsty and wanted to quit, so I gave him some water and encouraged him to walk, but he wouldn’t. I went to look for his parents, found them, and came back, and he had started moving again. Oh, kids. Ha ha.
  • Sigh, my quads were not happy to be running Sunday am! They felt a little sore when I started and I thought they’d warm up. I almost felt better after three to four miles, but by that point, I said “screw it” and called it a day at seven (I was planning on ten+). So… yeah, last week I mentioned I wanted to do my speedwork separate from my long run, and I did – but doing it the day before my long run is even worse on my legs! I rode my bike a few hours after my run though, and felt great!

Link to Training Week 407

The way to Balltown

By , August 11, 2017 8:00 am

Balltown is a tiny town (population 73!) in Iowa, located twenty-two miles southeast of Guttenberg. Why would we possibly be interested in going there with Gina and family?!

2014 Balltown visit!

Well, because of two inside jokes. A few years ago, when we were visiting Guttenberg for Independence Day, my mom suggested we go to the fireworks show in Balltown. I asked “how do you get there?” meaning, “what road do you take/what direction is it from here?”

But my mom interpreted that as “what is the road like to get there?” and started doing big arm/hand signals to indicate hills, then curvy roads, then curvy roads on hills. We found it hilarious, and have to tell the story, including all the wild arm movements, to everyone who visits Guttenberg. (I know, inside jokes are never funny when you explain them.) So, despite never having been to Balltown, Gina, Steve, and Luca have been making Balltown jokes for years, and were interested in going.

And the second reason? Ha – Steven, Gina, Steve, and I planned out all of the meals for this trip and told my mom she got a “wild card” that she could pull at any time (except on my birthday) and we’d do whatever meal she wanted. She pulled the wild card after breakfast on Wednesday the 2nd and said we’re going to the Balltown diner for lunch. Sounded good to us!

And bonus reason number three – it’s called Balltown – snicker, snicker, hee hee.

The diner in Balltown is the main attraction. And here’s your history lesson – Balltown has the “oldest continuously operating restaurant and bar in the state of Iowa,” having been open since 1852. It’s called Breitbach’s Country Dining, and it’s been in the family since 1852! Cool!

They’ve had some bad luck in recent years, though. On December 24, 2007, an explosion in the basement caused the entire original building to burn down (no one was hurt)!

Construction started in March of 2008 and the new restaurant opened in June of that year, and was even more successful than before… until late October 2008 when it burned down by ANOTHER fire (again, no one was hurt). What the heck?! They rebuilt again and the restaurant opened in August of 2009. And hasn’t burned down since, phew. My dad and I thought it was funny that the state fire marshal was there the day we visited, though.

But how is it the “oldest continuously operating restaurant and bar in the state of Iowa,” if they had to close twice to rebuild? They never fully closed. During construction, they used a building across the street for a bar and a few tables! And there you have it, ha ha.

I didn’t take any photos of the restaurant but you can find them on their website. I was surprised how modern it was – I was expecting it to be more like a diner, but the space was really nice (and new, duh, since it was built in 2009). Everyone said they really liked the food (I only had a baked potato since I ate such a large breakfast). We ordered a few pieces of pie (they are known for them) and I can confirm the raspberry was tasty!!!

Balltown also has some gorgeous scenic overlooks over the valley down to the Mississippi River and the Wisconsin valley on the other side.

Photographer photographer

It’s great for photo ops!

We made a few stops on the way back – the first was at the Blessed Mother Shrine grotto built in to the bluff of North Buena Vista,

and the second was at PromiseLand winery, just outside of Guttenberg. On Sundays in the summer the winery picks people up in downtown Guttenberg and gives them a tractor ride (I think) to the winery for live music and drinking. We missed that on Sunday, so I was happy we still got to check the place out.

A few of the wines they make were from Iowa grapes. We brought home a red and a white – sweet, of course. Now I can think of this trip when we drink them!

Random Thoughts Thursday 142

By , August 10, 2017 6:10 am
  • Ha, Jen texted me this image last week and said she thought I’d appreciate the section in red. Long story short – I had been doing this community 5K for YEARS and they changed the format and location this year and I didn’t care for it. Apparently I wasn’t alone! I’m glad it’s going back to its original format.

  • We’ve been getting the basement ready (removing junk from the ceiling, cleaning, and organizing) for awhile so we could properly set up our workout area, starting with a smith machine for Steven to use! (I plan on using it too!)

  • I keep forgetting to ask – who has seen Get Out and what did you think of it? It was different than I thought it would be. For some reason, I had it in my head that it was a slasher movie, and gory. It wasn’t. But it was messed up!
  • When I went in to the office this week, it was to a (somewhat) new space/floor. My company is getting rid of all assigned workspaces – when you go in to the office, you either reserve a space to use, or find a hot desk (non-reservable space) to use. Some staff were freaking out about losing storage space and finding a space to sit each office visit and so on and so on, but I am excited to sit in different places and by different people each day I’m in. So far, sitting by different people already let me overhear some interesting information (which is partially the point of this – information sharing and collaboration with people you don’t normally see).
  • My Aunt Sue gave me this print with a note that seeing it made her think of me and that she thought maybe I’d like to send it to someone else, but it made me laugh so much I framed it and kept it for myself!

  • And… a lovely flashback to a week ago when I had what felt like a million mosquito bites. Ouch.

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 141

Why August is awesome this year

By , August 9, 2017 7:23 am

As I am writing all of these River Trip 2017 posts I’ve been looking for posts to reference from our 2016 river trip and they aren’t there! You know why? Because as soon as we got home from our river trip last year, we started working on demolishing our second floor ceiling* (and replacing/repairing electrical, HVAC, structural, etc., etc.). And that is all we did for most of August. I never prioritized the time to recap last year’s trip (sad face)!

So happy our ceiling doesn’t look like this anymore

Don’t worry, this isn’t me announcing I am going to recap it now (ha, although, I still do have more to write about this year’s trip). This is just me remembering how intense last August was – working on the house during the majority of our free time – and me being grateful we haven’t had a huge project like that since then.

So happy our living room doesn’t look like this anymore – we had to sleep down there (for a month) while we did the second floor project

That project desperately needed to be done and I am glad we did it (and so proud of Steven for organizing/coordinating/doing it all, and proud of myself for my contributions and what I learned), but man, we did NOT get an August last year. Which is why August feels so awesome this year! We have plans for the weekends, free time on the weeknights, and most importantly, a (clean) ceiling over our heads on the second floor! Woot!

*Our current house was a foreclosure that sat empty for several years, becoming a welcoming home for animals. A family of flying squirrels lived in the attic before we moved in, and for a month or so after we moved in. The squirrels damaged/soiled much of the attic and ceiling. When it got hot in the summer (as it does, ha) the second floor smelled like a barnyard because of the all the damage/soiled spots. This project HAD to happen. But gosh, were those squirrels ever cute!!!!!

Hiking in Pikes Peak

By , August 8, 2017 6:26 am

When my siblings and I were kids, my parents took us hiking at Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa during our spring breaks. The park is thirteen miles from Guttenberg, and free to visit, so when we were coming up with activities for our vacation with Gina and family, it immediately came to mind!

Gina, Steve, and Luca, Mom and Dad, me and Steven

For awhile I’ve wondered why Pikes Peak Iowa has the same name as the mountain in Colorado, and I finally looked it up – it’s because they are both named for the same explorer – Zebulon Pike. Thomas Jefferson authorized Pike to lead several expeditions, including one through Iowa in 1805-06, and the one through Colorado in 1806-07. When Pike was in the Iowa area, he was looking for areas for military posts. He recommended the high point on the Iowa side (now Pikes Peak) for the strategic advantage, but the government choose the low prairie across the river in Prairie du Chien, (now) Wisconsin (info from here).

This area has a interesting history. In the 800s-1200s Native Americans lived here and you can still see their effigy mounds on the trails! You are at street level with them, so it’s kind of hard to make out the shape of the animal, but I can always tell where the head, legs, and body are. The Native Americans built these to celebrate their oneness with mother nature.

And there’s your history lesson for the day!

We visited Pikes Peak on Tuesday, August 1st. A tornado went through Pikes Peak and McGregor, the town north of it, on July 19th, so some trees were damaged and parts of the trails were closed, but none that affected where we were going. I looked at the trail map for the first time on this visit (I had always visited as a kid and didn’t have an interest!!!) and realized there are eleven and a half miles of trails!

We’ve only ever visited the area I circled in red on the map above. I need to get back and check out more of it. Maybe a trail run for River Trip 2018?

On this trip, we stuck to the Bridal Veil, East Hickory Ridge, and Weeping Rock Trails. We saw stunning vistas of the Mississippi River,

that area in the back right of the photo is Prairie du Chien

A little photographer photographer action going on

a waterfall,

71% of our crew was wearing Asics!

cool rock formations,

and beautiful forests.

Our hike ended in the shaded woods, which I appreciated, because it was getting close to midday and was hot out. We ended up hiking 1.6 miles and everyone did well. Gina had been taking Luca on lots of morning walks this summer to get him ready for the hike, which I thought was super cute (and smart)! I wonder if we’ll go back next year, or if I will ever check out the northern trails!

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