Fitness Friday: My Running Routine

I’ve never thought of myself as much of a stickler for routine. I’m definitely more of a “go with the flow” type of person, and I love a good surprise. However, in recent months I’ve found myself falling into quite a few rituals, and many of them involve my running and fitness habits.

Because I’m totally voyeuristic in my own blog reading (I love “Photo an Hour” posts like this and this, and I especially love seeing other people’s pantries, like when Emily posted the best.vlog.ever here), I assume that others are as well.

So without further ado, follow me on a journey through how I prepare to run anywhere from 3 to 10 miles… 🙂

First of all, every single run I’ve done since mid-November has been in the morning. When I was unemployed, that meant “whenever I woke up”, so I’d usually run around 9:30 or 10am. Same thing goes for the weekends, except I tend to take my sweet time on Saturday mornings, so sometimes I don’t get out until closer to 11. These days, I wake up at 6:30am on Tuesdays and 6am on Thursdays to run 3.1 and 5.4 miles, respectively.

how i fueled before my first 10k in september!

Until this month, I ate before every run. Always a piece of toast…usually with some kind of nut butter on it. Since I’m now waking up at 6-6:30am to run before work, I have been trying out fasted cardio during the week. I don’t really have an opinion one way or another about fasted cardio…I haven’t noticed much of a difference in my energy levels, weight, muscle mass, etc… MAYBE a little bit of weight loss, since I’m not eating before and after my runs on Tues & Thurs. It’s mostly just a convenience thing for me.

However, I always eat before my long runs on Saturday. I ran 10 miles the last two Saturdays, and I kinda think it would be foolish to not fuel before a run like that!

To avoid cramping, I eat immediately when I wake up and do the rest of my getting ready while the food digests 😉

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I use fitmixer Clean Energy before any run that is 4 miles or longer. I just like that it really is CLEAN energy: raspberry ketones, green tea extract, etc. I never feel groggy before my runs, despite the fact that they’re usually before sunrise. This stuff definitely perks me up, and I credit it for keeping my pace up!

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For the days when I’m running after sunrise, sunscreen is a MUST for me, at the very least on my face! This summer, I also started running with a hat when the weather calls for it. I had my first basal cell skin cancer on my scalp a little over a year ago, and with my family history it’s not likely to be my last so I’m not taking any chances!

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Nowadays I have been running in long sleeved shirts with a hood…AND thumb holes…AND my convertible gloves-to-mittens. Oh and I have about 6 of those headbands in different colors! They keep my ears warm, my ear buds in place, and my hair out of my face!

The funny thing about wearing all of that is I usually shed it throughout my run. I do it as like a reward to myself… “OK Katie, once you get to 2 miles, you can take off your hood…” “Great job! Now at 3 miles you can take off your gloves…” “Alright, now at 4 miles you can roll up your sleeves….”

…Umm, please ignore the fact that running has generally just become an excuse for me to talk to myself for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes in the morning…

Also, I can’t run without music. I used to have a running playlist, but as my mileage increased, the playlist became too short and I started playing my whole library on shuffle instead 😉 These past couple of weeks I have started off my Tuesday morning 5K with Taylor Swift’s “Mean” because it is a seriously catchy and fast tempo song, and when I listen to it while running I start off at a 9:15/mi pace! I’ve been trying to break my 5K record of 27:07, but I can’t manage to break 27 minutes! Maybe I need to make a “fast running” playlist 🙂

Do we share any of the same running habits?

Do you eat before running? Any thoughts on fasted cardio?

Fitness Friday: Pile on the Miles Results!

A little over a month ago, I announced that I was participating in the Pile on the Miles challenge this November:

Not one to set goals for myself and never actually follow through and see if I achieved them….Here I am to report back on how I did!

The challenge was to walk or run more during the month of November, with a goal to pile on extra miles, not pounds, during this food filled time of year.

While I did pile on some pounds last month, lol, I think I definitely achieved my goal of walking AND running more. My goal for the month of November was to log at least 100 miles total on my Fitbit, and to run 40 miles. A big improvement on my New Years resolution to run 25 miles in a month, eh? I’m still kind of in awe at the improvements I’ve made in my running this year, even despite my month in a cast over the summer.

Let’s see how I did:

POTMtotalmilesI get a weekly email from Fitbit letting me know my stats for the previous week and, upon looking at my emails from November, it’s pretty clear I crushed my overall goal…by 20 miles! I’m sure my increase in running helped.

I was pretty sure I would achieve this goal easily, but the running goal was a little more of a challenge…

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BARELY nailed it! I definitely found myself increasing my mileage toward the end of the month. I remember not wanting to run more than 3 or 3.5 on my last run before my race, but I calculated This was A) to be prepared for my 10K on the 28th and B) to make sure I’d reach 40 miles. And I did!

Since I no longer have access to the Fitness Center in the building I used to work in, I have been focusing a lot more on my running lately (and the occasional living room workout with hand weights!) – needless to say, I have kept up with the running since Thanksgiving, and I already have 15 miles logged in just the first week of December!

I don’t know how I’m going to keep up as Winter approaches… I have been bundling up for my 40 degree morning jogs (which REALLY isn’t that bad, I know), but luckily I usually have sun…until now. It’s slated to SNOW tonight! In California. What the heck?!

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This is my “I’m Makeupless and Frightened of Running in Cold Weather” face. You likey?

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

Runners: How many miles to you run each month?

How are you staying active during the holiday season?

Fitness Friday – 10K Edition!

Three posts in 1 week, look at me go!

I’ve VERY excited about what I’m sharing today! It’s been in the making for a while and a little over a week ago I finally made the plunge and registered…

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For my first 10K!

At the beginning of this year, I set a few fitness goals for myself. They were pretty simple ones, like registering to run a 5K and running 25 miles in one month. I ran my first 5K in March, and as long as I run 3.5+ miles tomorrow, my second goal will be realized!

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Kinda funny that I’ve only gone for 6 runs this month and I’m set to have my best mileage ever!

As some of you know, my boyfriend and I broke up a little over two months ago.  Soon after, I suppose in what can be considered a coping mechanism, I began making a habit of going on long Saturday morning runs followed by a trip to the Farmer’s Market. For the last 3 years, I’ve pretty much regularly run 2-3 miles, only exceeding 3 miles a handful of times…But when I started running on Saturday mornings, I realized I could extend that distance, since I wasn’t held back by time like I usually am when I go for runs on my lunch break.

On August 1st, my furthest ever run was 3.4 miles. I was already contemplating running the 10k, but wanted to play it by ear…so I started running. But what started off as “let’s see if I can run 3.4 again” turned into one of my best runs ever…..

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Not just in the distance, but check out my split times! I have been doing much better at pacing myself for my first mile and saving my energy for the end. I think that has been key in increasing my distance.

After this run, I went to New York for a week and decided to see how my workouts went there before making a decision about the 10K. I tried to work out when I was there and stayed somewhat active…and when I came back, I kept up with the long Saturday morning runs:

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I decided to go for it and create a loose training plan for the 10K on September 8th. Because I decided to register only 3 weeks before the race, I knew I’d have a challenge ahead of me, increasing from 4 miles to 6.2 miles in such a short amount of time. My training schedule looked something like this:

Week 1: two 3-4 mile runs during the week, 4.75 mi run on Saturday

Week 2: two 3-4 mile runs during the week, 5.25 mi run on Saturday

Week 3: two 3-4 mile runs during the week, 6.2 mi run on Sunday

Seems kind of quick, right? I asked a few friends, who all assured me I can totally do it. So I’m doin it!

Of course, I haven’t really stuck with my plan… instead of two short runs during the week, I’ve just been running twice a week and increasing my mileage by at least .25 every time I run. I went from 4 miles to 4.85 over the course of a week! I’ve also been keeping my pace very slow, I usually average slower than 9:30 min miles.

In addition to my runs, I’ve been keeping up with “cross training” AKA sorority girl elliptical + abs workouts. I also played kickball with my cast. I know I know, bad Katie…I didn’t actually play in the field, I just kicked and ran! I think sprinting around the bases has actually improved my running form 🙂

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The Straw-ber-ritas help too 🙂

By the way, my cast came off on Wednesday and my orthopedist said that my bone healed beautifully!!! I was extremely nervous, given my history of low bone density and how long it took last year’s break to heal. But I am extremely thankful that my calcium regimen served me well this time around! With the help of the above thumb brace, I may have even played dodgeball last night….shhh don’t tell my doctor 😉

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Last summer, I really found myself in a funk when I broke my hand. This time around, without that boyfriend support system, I was really worried that would happen again…but thanks to a consistent work out “regimen” I stayed the same happy and perky Katie that I usually am. Yay exercise!

Happy Labor Day weekend everyone! If you have Monday off like me, I’m sure it will be a good one 🙂

What’s the longest race you’ve done? Did you follow a training plan?

Do you find that your happiness + activity level are linked?

Fitness Friday

Text with both hands. Use scissors. Cut food in a straight line. Play dodgeball.

Run 4 miles. Hold a long ass plank. Learn to play (and win!) beer pong left handed.

Despite my injury, I’ve been trying to focus on things that I can do, instead of things that I can’t.

Last summer, I had a really hard time trying to get around with my broken hand, and my frustration at not being able to do the simplest tasks really took a toll on me. I stopped working out almost altogether, was generally unhappy and feeling hopeless, and mysteriously dropped 5 pounds.

It helped that I had a support system (boyfriend) last summer. This time, I didn’t have someone to insist on taking me to the ER right away. I didn’t have someone to make sure my arm was elevated while I slept. I have to drag my bike up my stairs all by my damn self. And while that realization really crushed me when I broke another bone last week, I had another thought that brought me back to reality: I’m the only person who can control my happiness.

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thank god for BFFLs

So I’ve turned my focus to something that I can control, something that lets me set goals and achieve them: fitness! And more specifically, running. We had a break in the 90-100 degree days and dropped into the high 80’s this week, finally allowing for some bearable lunchtime running weather.

On Saturday morning, I went on my usual run and did a pretty speedy (for me) 5K: finished in 28:44, which is a 9:15 min/mile pace.

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It was pretty hot early in the week, so I opted for the sorority girl workout I mentioned on Wednesday: elliptical and abs allllll the way.

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[kickball was definitely more about fun than fitness this week :-P]

I usually skip workouts on Wednesdays and Thursdays because I have kickball on Wednesdays (which is a good workout! I’m guaranteed at least 3 at bats and, thus, 3 sprints to first base) and dodgeball on Thursdays (ok, not really an intense workout), but since I wasn’t going to be able to play dodgeball last night and the high was only in the mid 80’s, I decided to go for a run at lunch.

When I run, I usually hate it the entire time. I am constantly calculating how far I’ve gone and, more importantly, how far I have left, and telling myself things like “OK, I’m 1/5 of the way done…just 4 more times!” I also usually have a distance in mind before I run.

On Thursday, I knew I wanted to go at least 3 miles, but I wasn’t sure how much further I was going to push myself. The furthest I had ever ran was 3.4 miles, and I felt like I was gonna die when I did that. So I decided to play it by ear.

To my surprise, I felt great during my entire run. I feel like I finally experienced that runner’s high that everyone talks about. I started thinking, “oh my god, maybe I can make it to 4 miles…just maybe!” I also started off very slowly and gradually increased my speed, just like you’re supposed to.

This is probably the main reason why I could keep going for .6 miles further than my previous furthest run…

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Yep! I made it to 4 miles!

I couldn’t believe it, and I felt so empowered for pushing through and achieving something I previously thought impossible. Maybe a 10K is in my future!

I was so happy that I was inspired to sign up today for the Color Run happening in Sacramento tomorrow. 5k is no sweat to me anymore 😉

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Super excited to participate in this. I don’t even care if I run the whole thing, it’s going to be a blast!

Have a great weekend!

Fitness Friday

After getting caught up on Wednesday with all my blogs, my Google Reader (yesss I will continue using it until I reallyhaveto switch. It’s just so easy!) has been getting backlogged eeeeven more. Want a hint as to why?

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i love that my real work is being overshadowed by my current obsession..

Need another hint?

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YEAH. It’s March Madness time.

I wasn’t into March Madness until my sophomore year of college, when my dorm had a TV and my hallmate Kate and I got ob-sessed with watching the games. In the last 5 years, UCSB has actually made it into the tournament twice! They were ranked #15 both times and played #2 seeds. They had a worthy attempt against Ohio State when I was still in college (so close!) but in 2011, they got destroyed by Florida. We’re talkin’ a 30 point blowout.

We didn’t make it into the tournament this year (University of the Pacific won our conference’s championship), but I still have a stake in the tournament: the law firm I work for offers a $600 prize for the first place finisher in our pool! If Kansas had beaten Kentucky last year, I actually would have won 1st place in our 100+ person pool. They didn’t, so I got more like 15th place, but needless to say, I have done my homework and I’m in it to win it this time!

I guessed about 10/16 correctly yesterday and only had 1 upsetting loss (I’m lookin at you, New Mexico!), so I’m not doing too badly so far.

Aaaanyway. On to the Fitness.

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obligatory makeup-less workout clothes mirror shot pic!

I had a bad head/chest cold for a week at the end of February, so my workouts suffered. But then I got back into the swing of things and had 2 good weeks of workouts, eventually reaching the 3 mile mark during a run on Saturday! Proud moment right there.

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Do you all remember this song? I listened to it during my 3 mile run and I’d like to think it inspired me 🙂 Unfortunately, I tend to run as fast as the beat of whatever song I’m listening to, so my pace was preeeetty slow with this song taking up a majority of my run. {the picture on my background is my brother in front of my Papa’s favorite tree behind my grandparents’ house, by the way!}

After that awesome run on Saturday, I got sick again on Monday. Yeah. WTF? I sucked it up and had a mini gym workout on Wednesday. Would’ve gone for a run outside, except that it looked like this:

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I love how seemingly everyone in the US had a blustery/rainy/snowy first day of Spring. But with the wind that came with this storm came an onslaught of POLLEN everywhere. So I’m currently unsure whether I have a sinus infection, or just really bad allergies. Knowing my luck, I probably have both.

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I was really hoping that with last week’s successful runs I’d get back into a 3x per week routine, but that was just not in the cards this week. My gym workout was a little less intense than usual, but I really didn’t want to push myself. It’s looking like we’re back into the 70’s today, so I’m hoping to go for a run. Don’t worry, I have my nasal decongestants ready to go! I also have my sunscreen:

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So important for me. I need to find a way to protect my scalp too (I had a cancerous mole removed there earlier this year) but the thought of wearing a hat while I run is not my favorite.

I’ve also got some leftovers to look forward to for lunch! From a protein-packed veggie burger I made this week. Looks like you all have a Meatless Monday post comin’ your way soon 🙂

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Happy weekend, and best of luck with your brackets!

Do you follow March Madness?

How do you stay active when you’re sick?

Fitness Friday

How strange it is to be blogging in the PM hours! The three-day weekend kinda threw off my blogging schedule, but I wanted to fit in a Fitness Friday post before the “Friday” title no longer applied, and plus I was in no mood to do anything but sit on the TV/computer tonight anyway.

I had a couple of non-eventful days at work, but the week ended with two crazy crazy days. I was pretty much ready to dance out of my office today, but alas, it was one of those days where I was given a dozen fires to put out in the last 2 hours of the day. Woe is me! I was definitely happy to leave (albeit 15 minutes after the scheduled time), and ended up stopping at Groc Out (Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, to the uninitiated) to buy cheese, crackers, and wine. I was pretty good about eating well this week, so I figured I deserved it!

Garlic jack and jalapeno havarti…. MMMMMM.

Now that that is out of the way, this is what I’m watching whilst I type:

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“I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it…I’m swamped!”

Best. Movie. Ever.

Anyhow, on to the fitness stuff.

Here’s my workouts for the last two weeks:

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I’m not sure why I logged this week’s dodgeball game and not last week’s (though it might have to do with the fact that we played a really good team this week and I actually hustled!)…ha. But I kept close to my 3x per week schedule, despite essentially taking a 5 day break over the three day weekend 😛

I was particularly proud of last Monday’s run, as it was my fastest and furthest since late NOVEMBER, right before I had my stomach illness.

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I was hovering in the 9:45 min/mile pace for the last few weeks, and decided to just go for it. I felt pretty good, but the rest of the week I was feeling kind of ill so I didn’t get to keep up my mileage. I’m still hoping to run a 5K next month…we’ll have to see if I get up to speed in time!

NO PRINCESS BUTTERCUP! DON’T KILL YOURSELF!

Erm…not sure where that came from 😉 Anywho, I think most of my other workouts are self explanatory. Except maybe the “rows” I referred to – those would be these.

My biggest challenge/goal at the moment is to make sure I eat enough protein in general, and especially on the days that I’m working out. My aim is to maintain my weight (I lost 5 lbs without trying at the end of last year and want to avoid losing any more), and I think protein is a big part of that. I’ve been doing a pretty good job at eating a minimum of 45g per day, but getting up to 60-70g on workout days is still pretty difficult. SO, I’ve been eating a lot of chicken:

leftover lentil stew

leftover lentil stew

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a surprisingly well-balanced dinner for me. chicken breast (protein), Alexia sweet potato fries (starch), and spring mix with homemade balsamic! (veggies)

I’ve also, unfortunately, been relying on a lot of bars lately for protein and fiber. Mostly for lunch (I experimented with a few new soup/noodle cups that were really not filling enough to last all afternoon so I had to supplement them), but also sometimes on dodgeball nights, since my games are often right around dinner time.

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MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA. YOU KILLED MY FATHER. PREPARE TO DIE.

Ahem. Sorry. That picture is my collection of bars in my desk at work.

I have the Fiber One brownies with my Greek Yogurt at breakfast, while the Luna bars and Luna Protein bars usually accompany not-quite-complete meals, especially on workout days. I’m actually planning on doing a post soon on all the products I’ve been trying lately- soup cups, protein bars, and what have you…keep a lookout 🙂

Luckily, the weather has been pretty great lately for exercising outside:

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There have been a few times that I haven’t felt well enough to go for a run outside, but have geared up anyway just to sit in the grass in my comfy leggings, soak up the 60 degree sun, and stretch a bit. That was actually going to be the case for me today, but I felt so good after a good 5-7 minute stretch that I just went for it and took a really easy, slow 2.2 mile jog. It totally perked me right up and helped me feel great the rest of the day. Plus, I switched things up and listened to a Podcast instead of music to keep me distracted from how crappy I felt:

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Any other Wait Wait fans out there?

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Fitness Friday

Well, folks, I have survived another week. And yes, survived is totally the correct word and not an exaggeration haha.

Check out the fun week I have planned for just one of my bosses next week:

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Yeah…. I don’t envy him.

Or myself. You should see the spreadsheets I had to make to keep track of all those meetings!

The days I feel best equipped to deal with all the stress are the days I fit in a workout on my lunch break.

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We’ve got a nice little gym in our building with a couple of ellipticals, a couple of bikes, and a couple of treadmills, along with half a dozen weight machines. I swear I only take these pictures because I never know what kinds of photos to post in fitness-related entries, haha.

I have been keeping up pretty well with my 3x per week workout routine. Here’s what I’ve done the last two weeks (not including a 7 mile bike ride on Sunday!)

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So what I meant by “real” side planks is that usually I look like this, but on Wednesday I did side planks that looked like this. Ironically, I think the ones I have been doing are actually more difficult!

I’ve been doing a lot better than last time I checked in on my protein intake. My average used to be in the 40g/day range, and now the average is closer to 50/60g, meaning I’m higher on active days and lower on inactive days, as I should be.

This is thanks to a batch of chili I made last week, and a couple of other food factors as well:

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Turkey meatloaf from my mom. Awww yeah. I’ve been buying a lot of ground turkey lately, usually making it into meatballs. Tons of lean protein!

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Lentil tacos fed me for two meals. Yum.

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I am also giving these Luna Protein bars a try because they were on sale for like 50 cents each at Grocery Outlet Bargain Market (AKA “Groc Out” {pronounced gross out} AKA my favorite place ever). I’m not the hugest fan but they have put me at my correct protein levels a few times on work out days.

Also, dodgeball is obviously an excellent workout (even if it is usually canceled out by a beer or two afterward):

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I’m not sure where my weight is at these days because the scale in the gym is out of batteries, haha. I shouldn’t care, but I am concerned about losing (or gaining) too much. I don’t want to go above or below my normal weight by 2-3 pounds. My stomach issues still pop up once in a while, causing me to eat fewer calories than I should on some days. I hit the right amount of nutrients, but my calorie count has definitely fallen below what it should be on occasion.

I’m hoping to run a 5K on March 16th here in Sacramento, but I haven’t made the plunge yet and signed up. Luckily, the weather has been great for jogging and I am feeling confident; I just need to slowly inch back towards that 3 mile mark!

In my quest to run further and faster, I finally updated my jogging playlist. It’s all pretty much cheesy pop/hip hop music that makes me wanna sing and dance as I run. OK, mostly sing…why else would I have a song from the Jersey Boys soundtrack on there?

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I wish I could say I was taking it easy this weekend, but T-Man has friends coming into town PLUS I have an important application (which includes a couple of essays) due Monday, so it looks like I have a few more days of balancing work and play ahead of me!

Any fun plans this weekend?