Another “Nothing Planned Saturday”

Sometimes you have those weekends where you have plans. Music festival, beer fest, comic cons… And then you have those weekends, where beside one or two smaller things, you have nothing planned. What do you do? Besides training runs, here’s how my weekend turned out:

Splatoon

Splatoon
Don’t know what it is about online multiplayer games and shooting things, but I love it. Even more so that I’m a squid that can swim through ink and hit people with paintballs and paint rollers like a ninja. I have been told I have an addiction with this game, and it didn’t help that this weekend was Splatoon’s Art vs Science Splatfest. Sorry Billy Nye, but I pick Art class over Science any day.

Spoiler alert: Art won.

Mistborn - Hero of Ages

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn)
After settling down from our move, I was finally able to make it to the library and picked up Hero of Ages, the final book in Vin’s story from Brandon Sanderson. So far I’ve made it to chapter three and have already read through some events that make me fall in love Sanderson’s writing even more. With it being the last book with Vin, I already know there will be plenty of feels to the end of this story.

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother has been an on and off series for me. There are times where I sit down and watch four-five episodes, and then I can go several months without watching it again. Despite that, the characters in this show all have their own quirks and characteristics that make you feel an attachment toward each of them. There’s also some great life lessons included as well.

“If you’re not scared, you’re not taking a chance. If you’re not taking a chance, then what the hell are you doing?”

Marathon Training Essentials

So you’ve decided you’re up for running a half or full marathon. Congratulations, welcome to the insane asylum. Hopefully before this point you’ve done one or two 10Ks so you have a general idea of what you’re getting yourself into.

Once you have picked out your half/full marathon, it can get to be confusing. Where do you go from here? The following items listed below will help get you on your way to conquering your race!

Note: It doesn’t matter if you’re running a half or full, all of the essential items remain the same. The only difference is you’ll be needing more of certain items that I will explain in a bit more detail.

Marathon Training Essentials-1

  1. Shoes
  2. Training Plan
  3. GPS Watch
  4. Hydration Belt
  5. Energy Chews/Gels
  1. Shoes – These babies will be your biggest tool what gets you from point A to point B. While yes, you can go to Target or another convenience store and buy a pair of tennis shoes, I do NOT recommend this. Go to your local running store and talk to one of their professionals. A good running store will have someone who will sit down with you, go over your foot features (width and length), watch you run and have you try on a few different shoes. While yes, it is not $30, it is money that will keep your feet happy while beating the pavement and help prevent injuries.
  1. Training Plan – If you expect to go out and randomly run a few miles each week before your big race, you’re going to be in trouble on race day. There are several options out there; make sure they have easy run days, speedwork (sometimes called tempo or fartlek) days and long run days. Hal Higdon has several plans for you to choose from, from beginning runners to more advanced. He knows his stuff and has gotten me through several marathons.
  1. GPS Watch – Now that you have your shoes and your training program, you now need to make sure you’re actually getting the right amount of miles in while you run. Garmin is my trusted brand (love my 200). Not only does it tell you your mileage, pace and time, you can also hook it up to your computer and have it store your history. I have also heard good things about Soleus (that is a bit less costly.)
  1. Hydration Belt – Repeat with me: “I am not a camel.” Shorter runs you can hydrate before and after, but during your longer than 6 mile runs, you should really have water on your person so you can drink during. Water bottles are nice, but hydration belts give you more water access as well as room for your phone, keys, pepper spray, and…
  1. Energy Chews/Gels – So you’re not a camel. Your body, after a certain point, also needs to refuel on energy. For me, it’s about an hour. If I don’t get something after this point, by the time I get home I feel sluggish. Honey Stingers are a great energy source. They taste like gummy bears and are made with natural ingredients. ½ package per hour out running. GU and Huma are gels that also work for energy.

Mistborn

I enjoy reading Young Adult as much as the next person, but the past several books I picked up from the library were let downs. The heroine fell in love with the “bad boy”, the story didn’t have much plot… I could go on and on.

Where’s the strong heroine? The plot twists?

That’s when I did some research and decided to try the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanders after seeing several good things about it online.

And I’m very glad I did.

Mistborn

Here’s the first book’s description:

“In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?”

If you enjoy magic, these books include that as well. Allomancy is the magic of metals in the book. If you digest a certain metal, you get an ability power from said metal. (It actually reminds me quite a bit of Alchemy from Fullmetal Alchemist.) Abilities from metals include: strength, far sight, manipulating one’s emotions, and more.

Mistlings are born with a single ability they can use.

Those who were born Mistborn can use any ability in Allomancy.

The first book, The Final Empire, follows two characters’ point of view: Kelsier, a free-spirited rebel whose out to change the world even if everyone else thinks he’s crazy, and then there’s Vin, an orphan whose timid yet wise beyond her years and thrown into Kelsier’s insane idea after certain events unfold.

Keisler by marcsimonettiTypical Kelsier.

While each book is pretty lengthy (about 700 pages per book), the plot keeps the reader engaged. I began reading the first book and was being lead one direction in thinking how it would end, and then read events that had said plot go a complete different way. Plenty of mystery to keep you turning the pages.

The character development… There is a lot of character development. I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone who will read the book (which you should), but all of the characters, especially Vin, change due to events in the story.

I just finished the second book, The Well of Ascension, and enjoyed it as much as the first. There is a third, The Hero of Ages, that concludes the first story, and then a fourth that continues the magic of Allomancy, but in Western times.

If you’re looking for a good read that will keep you engaged through mystery and magic, check out Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanders. I can pretty much promise you if you enjoy those elements in a story, the book will not disappoint you.

Comeback Kings (and Queens)

If you couldn’t tell from the previous post date, we’ve been on a bit of a hiatus for the past several months. Believe it or not, there was a reason (well, several, but a major reason) why we couldn’t get to the keyboard long enough to make our usual posts.

Want to know said reason?

We are officially new home owners!

Excited

I had no idea how much work went into selling and buying a home until going through the process. We still have several boxes that need to be unpacked, but everything has been moved from one house to the other.

Not only was there hardly enough time to blog, but we had to miss out on things like Comic Con Chicago. Big letdown…

Being an adult can be a bummer.

Thankfully I have a nerdy boyfriend that we can do fun (i.e. playing live-action Splatoon while painting the bedroom) and nerdy things (like making a nerd cave out of the basement) to the house. We’ve already made a trip to IKEA for the designated game system shelves. We will be sure to post photos as that comes along.

With us moved into the house and more time on our hands, you will find more posts being added to our blog. Looking forward to once again sharing our fun adventures with you.

Pre-Disneyland Excitement

A few posts ago, I mentioned Chris and I signed up to run the second Avengers Half Marathon this November in Disneyland. Not only is it exciting to run an Avengers themed half marathon, it will ALSO be our first time visiting Disneyland itself. Being a Midwesterner, my family took me to Disney World several times growing up… In November, I’ll be able to say I’ve been to both parks.

To say I’m a Disney nerd is… Putting it lightly. Growing up, all I pretty much ever watched was Disney films. Whether it was singing “Everybody wants to be a cat” or feeling morosely when Mufasa took the fall, I was all in the Disney fever. Today… I still watch and play (looking at you, Kingdom Hearts) a lot of Disney. So you can only imagine how much Disney hype is going on in my head with only 5 months and 20 days to go until I see the land of the mouse.

(Yes, the countdown is on.)

My Top 5 Reasons for Excitement for Disneyland

  1. The Food – If Disneyland is anything like Disney World in the terms of their food, my stomach is ready. While we won’t be able to eat all of our food from the parks (talk about eating out your wallet), we’re already looking into a few different places we’d like to check out. Bayside Brews to definitely be one of them. Mmm… Craft beer and pretzels; key to my own heart.Bayside Brews... Brews
  2. Disneybound-ing – When I first found out about Disneybounding a few years ago, my interests were perked. Wanting to dress up as characters AND going to Disney parks as said characters? Do you even have to ask? While I don’t have a serious list planned, I do already have a few ideas in mind.DisneyBounding
  3. The Rides – Fast? Heck yes. Spinning? Yes please. Roller coasters? Bring it. Amusement Parks to me were always about the rides (especially the roller coasters), and now I’ll get to try several new rides. Radiator Springs Racers being my most anticipated ride. Speaking of…Radiator Springs Racers
  4. Cars Land – When they first announced Cars Land several years ago, I was both excited and bummed. Cars is one of my favorite Pixar movies, despite the mixed reviews it received (probably because I grew up watching Nascar with my dad.) So while it was awesome they were opening several attractions for the movie, I wasn’t sure when I was going to get to see it since it was in Disneyland. Now, I KNOW I’m going to get to see it.Cars Land
  5. The Avengers Half Marathon – The reason that got us to go in the first place. Honestly… What could beat dressing up with other fellow Avenger geeks and running 13.1 miles through Disneyland and Anaheim?Avengers Half

Have you ever been to Disneyland and have any recommendations? Or do you want to go and have something you’re also looking forward to doing there?

Broken Cupid: When the Relationship Ruins the Show

Wednesday night. Sitting on our couch in front of the TV, I was hopeful and excited to see the season finale for Arrow.

By the end, I was tweeting with frustration my feelings on said finale.

My feelings on the pairing of Oliver/Felicity are pretty well known (to people who know me anyways). Felicity has been a fun, witty character throughout the series who I have liked. When the writers of Arrow started hinting romance between her and Oliver (the Arrow for those who did not know), I started being filled with dread. Their banter and conversations felt more brother/sisterly to me, and less like a good, solid couple. Then they started changing the characters themselves. Felicity by the end of this series was being less smart, and more demanding and thoughtless about what she did before she did it. Oliver, spoiler alert, left his life to become some guy driving off in a car NOT protecting his city that he had been swearing to do ever since episode one.

Oliver & Felicity

While I’ll probably give the next season a chance, for reasons like to see what happens with Laurel Lance/Black Canary, I’m disappointed. This show use to be more about action/adventure/mystery, and less about drama and relationships. Since they gave Oliver and Felicity feelings for each other, there’s been way too many dramatic verbal fighting and pouting between the two then I can stomach.

There are several shows that have been like this for me growing up. For example, manga/anime wise, Vampire Knight: childhood friend, Zero, was a much healthier match for the heroine, Yuki, and they ended up sticking her with the dramatic and brooding Kaname. Naruto, they stick the heroine with the guy who has beat her up physically AND mentally the past 200 episodes and they put the hero with a girl he never showed romantic feelings for until the show shows them married. Vampire Knight was ruined for me because Yuki was changed into a different, apathetic, uninteresting character. Naruto was ruined because… Seriously, putting someone with an abuser, both physically and mentally? Not only that, but the once strong female character is turned into a housewife.

While it’s not bad enough to kill the series for me, especially with how great the rest of the storyline has been going, The Flash’s Barry and Iris drama has me rolling my eyes. Growing up in the same house is one thing, and not that huge of a deal, but Iris has pretty much told Barry “no” to being in a relationship several times, yet keeps the other girls from dating him through manipulation. It’s twisted, and I really hope the writers fix Iris’ character before developing this relationship any further.

Barry & Iris

I’m not the kind of person to stop watching a show because two people I thought should be together, don’t end up together… I am, however, the kind of person to stop watching a show when the writers change characters so they do end up together.

Do you have any TV shows you stopped watching or started disliking because you disliked what they did with the characters and relationships?

Em’s Week Adventures

This past week has been one of the most fun and nerdy ones this year. Winter is no longer keeping us locked inside and the sunny, warm Spring weather has me out and about.

Thursday AND Saturday night I saw The Avengers: Age of Ultron and enjoyed it thoroughly both times. It must have had to do with the witty, Joss Wheedon one-liners, great acting by the cast, and more Hawkeye screentime.

-SPOILERS, HIGHLIGHT TO READ- I wasn’t quite sure why people didn’t enjoy the fact that Clint had a family. Sure, I know ships were sunk, but I felt like that was a nice plot twist. Also wasn’t quite sure why people were so upset about Natasha’s story either. Yes, she was upset when she revealed to Banner her sterilization in the Red Room, but I feel like she was more upset by the fact that she didn’t get to choose if she could have a child or not.

Also, that Quicksilver ending. Chris had me believing half way through the movie the first time that Hawkeye was going to die. “They’re revealing too much of his background story.” He whispered throughout the movie. He even started grabbing my hand through the battle in Slocovia. When Ultron fired those shots from the plane, my hand was squeezed and I couldn’t help but think, ‘Oh shit oh shit oh shit.’ Quicksilver was pretty much right on the dot. I didn’t see that one coming.–END SPOILERS-

Comic Book Day 2015 Stash

Saturday, as everyone knows, was Free Comic Book Day. We went to our favorite local comic shop who was having a small event. We grabbed a few comics as well as a commissioned sketch from a local artist. I asked for Hawkeye while wearing my “Because, Boomrangs” shirt from the Matt Fraction & David Aja comics, and the artist knew my taste. I got Clint Barton AND Pizza Dog. Spot on.

Hawkeye & Pizza DogMonday AND Wednesday Chris and I were in St. Louis watching Cardinals vs Cubs baseball. Both were fun games, and we ended up evening out in the end. Cardinals won Monday, Cubs won Wednesday. I did however win the war, as Cardinals took the series. Those are my boys.

Busch Stadium

While in St. Louis on Wednesday, we stopped by a comic shop I use to visit frequently during my St. Louis living era. Star Clipper, which had closed in one area, reopened in another part of town. I of course had to check it out. While it had the same vibe as the one I had frequented before, the new one felt more… Refreshed. I also liked chatting with the staff, nice to be around friendly fellow nerds.

Star Clipper

Friday night was spent seeing Matt & Kim live in concert. If you don’t know Matt & Kim, give them a listen. If you haven’t seen them live, go do so as soon as they are close to your neighborhood. I learned about Matt & Kim while I was in college, and have continued to love them because of their upbeat and energetic tunes. Their concert is just as upbeat and energetic, and we partied (aka jumping and screaming/singing) until close to midnight. (Their opening act, Waters, was good as well with their rock/upbeat music.)

Matt & Kim

Days of Future & Past

Things have been a bit hectic in my life, but let me help bring you up to speed…

Days of Past

This winter I had been training for an event I completed two weekends ago. I completed my second half-marathon with a personal record of 2:01.

Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon

The course was slightly hillier then I expected, but the weather was perfect for racing conditions. At 7:30am when the race began, it was 37°F and at the end it was closer to the upper 40s. The Sonic in me was strong.

After that race, I began to plan for the next full marathon I’d do… However it couldn’t be too far into the year because on November 15th, 2015 Chris and I will be….

& Future

2014 Avengers Half Marathon

…in Anaheim, California running the Avengers Half Marathon. Being a midwesterner, I have only been to Disney World, so it will also be the first time I’ve been to Disney Land. We are taking suggestions on where to visit and what to do while we’re in the area.

Speaking of, Avengers: Age of Ultron is starting to show on Thursday. Already have our tickets to see the movie.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

So far from everything I’ve seen previews wise, I’m feeling like this will meet Avengers standards, entertainment wise. Looking forwards to Hawkeye having more show time being himself and kicking butt then brainwashed this time around.

Also, might I say, Black Widow is looking quite badass in her new gear.

This is quite the geek weekend, as Saturday, for those who do not know is Free Comic Book Day. Looks like there are several good choices out there for grabs. I’ve got my eyes on Boom Comics’ issue. You?

Spider-Gwen

Spider-Man has always been a thing. I remember being younger and singing “Does Whatever A Spider Can” while swinging on the swings back in elementary school.

At some point last year, I started hearing about ‘Spider Gwen’ and seeing her pop up around the internet. The first thing that really got me was her costume, created by Jason LaTour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi. The design was very creative and bright compared to all of the other Spider-Spin-offs I’ve seen. Not to mention, it’s Gwen Stacy, same girl (SPOILER ALERT) who was suppose to be dead.

Spider-Gwen Design

Now, I was not a huge Spider-Man fan. I liked the character, but didn’t necessarily follow along in the comics. I very much enjoyed watching The Amazing Spider-Man movie with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, and thanks to the internet, was spoiled about Gwen Stacy’s demise after looking into the series. Gotta love the internet.

So other then watching both movies, I didn’t get a whole lot into the Spider-Man universe until I found out Spider-Gwen was getting her own series. I went out and bought Spider-Gwen Issue #1 when it was released. Read through, loved the art, but wasn’t instantly drawn in by the story line. It felt a little slow to me… Still decided to give it a shot and collected the next two when they came out.

Spider-Gwen Covers

Glad I did.

Spider Pig Cameo

Gwen Stacy’s sarcastic-humor is a nice touch to her character as well as the add-in of Spider-Pig in the second issue (thank you The Simpsons). Like I said before, the first villain, the Vulture didn’t seem like much of a threat at first, but I liked how the progressively built his character and pitted him against Gwen.

Gwen Stacy

Gwen’s character design is also interesting enough as well. The fact they decided to give her shorter hair than her original counterpart was a nice touch, and the fact that they give her moments of mourning for her universe’s Peter Parker is a good swing in the right direction in character development. I look forward to seeing what happens to her guilt for Peter Parker’s demise in future issues. Not to mention she was a drummer for The Mary-Janes.

P.S. – I wasn’t much of a fan of Mary-Jane in the first place, but Spider-Gwen’s version of Mary-Jane really makes me not like her. Can’t understand why Gwen stuck around with her for so long.

Looking forward to seeing where Latour, Rodriguez and Renzi take Spider-Gwen next (as well as really wanting some cool Spider-Gwen gear).

Bad Habits

When I started running a few years ago, I didn’t read up on it or look into proper techniques. I mean, it’s just running, right? How much could really be involved? Turns out I was super wrong. While running short distances is no problem, when you get into longer runs, bad habits will really come back to bite you. I’m currently recovering from an IT Band strain and can’t run more than a few miles, as an example. I thought I’d share a few of the good habits I’ve started, so hopefully you can avoid the same mistakes I made.

1. Drink Water. I know this sounds simple, but up until a year ago, I used very little water on my runs. I didn’t even own a hand carried water bottle when I trained for my first half marathon. Granted I still don’t use one on short runs, but anything 8 miles or more? You bet I’m grabbing my water bottle (or belt!).

2. Use energy gel. Whether it’s in goo or chew form, use them. I thought it sounded ridiculous at first, but it made a huge difference. I don’t feel like I want to die when I finish a long run anymore, which is pretty great. Plus they give you that nice boost at the end to keep pushing for those last few miles.

3. Stretch! This is what led to my current injury. I never stretched or foam rolled my legs after a run, and apparently when you’re training for a marathon and running 15 miles or more every other weekend, this is really a bad idea. I’ve started foam rolling ever since, and it makes my legs feel a thousand times better. It literally takes 5 minutes, and should be done after any long run.

4. Find a training program. When I ran my first half marathon, I just winged it and ran whatever I felt like on my training runs. It wasn’t the end of the world and I did finish it, but once again, it could have been a whole lot easier. I discovered this during my second half marathon in which I used one. There are a whole bunch of training programs out there, so take your pick! I use (and enjoy!) the ones by Hal Higdon.

There you have it. Four simple things that will make your running life a lot better. If I could go back in time, I’d start doing these things from the beginning so I could avoid the current injury I’m dealing with.

injured-runner

Thanks to Emily for encouraging me to make these changes!