Monday, February 27, 2017

Spring Thaw 10 Miler 2017 Race Recap

I've got BIG goals for my April half marathon. I'm aiming for an 8:30 // mile goal pace and therefore a new PR. I'm using a totally new to me training plan and putting in some serious hard work to make this happen. I wanted to use Spring Thaw as a gauge, could I really do this? Or was I crazy?

While technically I just finished week 2 of my 10 week training program, which called for a 6 mile long run, I have consistently been running more miles than that each weekend, so I felt confident I could finish 10 miles. This was the first long race I had done since May 2016, the Pittsburgh Half that hadn't gone so well.

The morning started out super gloomy, and was even raining when I woke up. I had originally planned to wear shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt, but feared I would be cold with the wind and rain, so I opted for a long sleeve - and that was a bad idea. Also, for I believe the first time ever in a race, I left my sunglasses in the car, the day was super cloudy and due to stay that way - and that too was a bad idea.

I knew within the first half mile that I wished I had worn sunglasses AND a short sleeved top. But it was too late. I will say though - I felt super fly when I realized my shirt and compression sleeves matched (BTW that link will save you $15 if you're looking to buy new compression sleeves // socks!).

Gretchen and I had talked about having similar goals and agreed to run the first 10 miles together, where I would stop & she would continue on for one more lap. We started off just in front of the 9:00 // mile pacer - with our ultimate goal being to negative split each of the 5 mile loops.

Miles 1-5 // 43:28 (8:42 average)

The first lap flew by and I felt good. Gretchen and I settled into a nice pace, and a good back and forth conversation, about pretty much everything. We ran the "Lake Loop" counterclockwise, which I do not enjoy. I typically run clockwise and feel as though it's more uphill counterclockwise. But, I was surprised with how well the first lap went, but I could tell as we came through the start line and went to start lap 2 that we had started out too fast, and that my goal to negative split the second half of the race was out the window.

Miles 6-10 // 44:42 (8:57 average)

By the time we crossed the line to start our second 5 mile loop by Garmin was registering 5.15 miles, so I knew this race would be "long". I had been taking water at each aid station, but avoiding the Gatorade, mostly sense I have ruined a lot of good workout shirts that way. Haha. I had not brought any sort of fuel with me, I am able to do 10-13 mile long runs sans fuel. I figured I would take something if it was offered, but did not bring my own. I had a breakfast sandwich with english muffin, fried egg, 2 slices of bacon and cheese for breakfast, along with a cup of coffee. However, all of that was eaten about 8AM for a 10AM race start, so by the start of lap two I could feel myself running low on fuel.

Luckily Gretchen agreed that we had gone out a little too fast on the first lap, and so we stayed together again for our second 5 miles. The last mile features a long, fairly steep after you've just run 9 other miles, uphill portion, followed by a matching downhill. The last quarter mile or so was lined with people who had already finished, cheering us on to the finish.

I split towards the finish chute and thanked Gretchen for our 10 miles together before she headed out for her last lap!

Chip Finish // 10 miles - 1:28.09 (8:49 average)
Garmin Finish // 10.17 miles - 1:28.12 (8:40 average)

All in all I'm super pleased with how the race went - our first lap was a perfect example of the HM pacing I'm trying to hold in April. For week two of my training plan with no official taper + a bike ride the day previous, I can tell I'm on the right track for a PR. I need to continue to work on my pacing - especially in the back half of a race, and remind myself it's never too cloudy for sunglasses. As well as practice taking in nutrition during long runs // races so I'm ready for April. A Gu or a few chews would have gone a long way around mile 7.

After the race I grabbed some Gatorade & pizza while waiting for a shuttle, that never came. I ended up walking a mile + to my car, which I was fairly grumpy about, considering I was short on time. I had places to be! I was KY bound to surprise my Momma for her birthday!

I made a stop en route to "fuel up" both me & the car, and got a Chocolate Shamrock Shake - would not recommend to a friend. It's not mixed. So the first bit is chocolate shake, followed by Shamrock Shake - and as a Shamrock Shake enthusiast, the chocolate merely takes away from the wonderful fake minty flavor we've all grown to love. And I forgot to ask for no whipped cream, womp womp womp.

I made it to Morton's in time to have a expensive fancy drink at the bar before my brother and I had a seat at the table.

We reminded the folks there that this was all a surprise and they did a fantastic job. The gentleman told my Mom & Dad their table for two was ready and then proceeded to chat with my Mom the whole way to the table, blocking her view of my brother and I. At the last second he told her he had a surprise & moved out of the way so she could see us sitting there. It worked & she was totally shocked!

Who else raced this weekend?
At what temperature do you run in long sleeves?
Hands up - Shamrock shakes, love 'em or hate 'em?

Linking up with :Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights
Linking up with Marcia x Patty x Erika for Tuesdays on the run to share.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Five #60

There's kind of a lot happening this weekend, today is Ciara's birthday, so we're headed out for dinner & drinks after work today. Tomorrow morning is Spring Thaw 10 mile race. I thought it started at 9AM, but it doesn't start until 10AM. Which means I'll be cutting it close, 'cause I'll shower & then hop in the car to head to KY to surprise my Mom for her birthday, which is also today. If she's happened to find out I have a blog I suppose this will ruin the surprise, but she doesn't, and she barely Internets, so I think we're good. My Dad has made dinner reservations & my brother & I will be seated at the table when they arrive!

That's what's on tap for me this weekend - how about you? I hope you'll share what you're up to this weekend in the comments. :)

one // I am far from being a fashion guru, or fashion anything for that matter. But, I've finally been sucked into the vortex that is LuLaRoe. I bought a "Cassie" from an old HS friend of mine who has started selling, and while it's definitely out of my normal wardrobe wheelhouse I feel like it's super cute & spring-y, and so so so comfortable. And now I want more.

two // Prayers, good vibes, positive thoughts. Whatever you do, I've got a request. Mr. Sass' Goddaughter is undergoing some surgery today. She's only 10 months old, which makes everything just a little more complicated. Pittsburgh has a fantastic Children's hospital so we know she'll be in good hands. But since they live 40-ish minutes away her parents will be staying there 24/7 until she's released. I went into overdrive the only way I know how. Making food to send with them so they can stay away from that hospital cafeteria bullshit.

three //  As a result of #2 I have been a muffin making machine the past week. Last Friday I made chocolate chip zucchini (and carrot) muffins - and this week I made banana bread muffins + a last minute made-up recipe which turned out delicious! I stole some inspiration from my zucchini muffins, but since I was out of cocoa powder, and didn't feel like thawing zucchini I decided to make carrot cake muffins instead. So I shredded some carrots. I didn't add nuts, but those would be a great addition, and I'll definitely be making these again - should I share the recipe?

four // On Wednesday my 3 (2 human, 1 furry) former roommates and I got together for dinner, and to celebrate Tuck's 3rd adoptiversary. This "big bully" came home with us on President's Day 2014 and has been such a joy. He's smart, talkative (seriously, he grumbles, and whispers & speaks - often without prompting) & somehow the perfect combination of energetic and lazy.

five // Funnies...

Who else bakes their dog a birthday cake? 
Have a recipe or just wing it?
LuLaRoe - who's on the bandwagon?
What are you up to this weekend?

linking up with Heather, Amanda, AndreaTifDella & Katie

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hi new friends : A re-introduction of me

Hi friends - and happy Wednesday. We're halfway to the weekend, and that's definitely something to be celebrated!

I was all ready to post my January Meal Plan for 2 who knows what, but thought I had left the post in a lot better shape than I had. It needed lots of work to be blog ready and I didn't have the time to do it right & post on time.

Then I realized, I never really introduced myself. Sure, I have an about me page, and I've done a survey or two since I started blogging. I feel like I've connected with a few of y'all via email & commenting on your blogs, but since I've seen some new people around here recently, I thought maybe I should "re-introduce" myself. So let's take it back to the beginning...

Okay, not that far back...who knows, maybe we have lots in common - or maybe you'll decide you hate me. You probably won't, 'cause I'm great, but, ya know.

| edit | - it's actually really hard to write about yourself & not just repeat your "About Me" page.

I guess let's start with the basics. Hi, I'm Jessie. Which BTW isn't short for anything. You're welcome to call me Jess, but not Jessica - 'cause it's not my name.

I grew up in Kentucky, but then moved to Pittsburgh, graduated college, biked across the country, found a job, hated it, quit, found a different job, loved it, and decided to stay. Eventually I met Mr. Sass on the Internet and now we're getting married (soon!)!

But, you probably know most of that, so how about the good stuff, the stuff you probably don't know (and maybe didn't want to)...

Q : Can you recommend a good wine?
A : I buy my wine based on how pretty the label is - and based on if it's over or under $7. I love a good Trader Joe's wine though. If you're into that kind of thing, let's chat.

Q : Do you enjoy shopping?
A : Considering my favorite kind of shopping is wine shopping, followed directly by grocery shopping, I think it's safe to say, no, not really.

Q : How do you take your coffee?
A : On any given Wednesday, I take my coffee with just a splash of cream or milk. If I'm pretending I'm fancy you'll find me adding flavored creamer or ordering a latte or cappuccino like I know what that really means.

Q : Which would you rather do : wash the dishes, mow the lawn, vacuum the house or clean the bathroom?
A : I would rather hire a housekeeper. I actually really enjoy vacuuming 'cause of the little noise it makes when you suck up shit. In theory I would enjoy mowing the lawn. But I've literally only done it once. And it was about 4 weeks past needing mowed at that point, so sort of a sour first experience.

Q : Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?
A : Mr. Sass will tell you my hearing is impeccable, especially when it comes to hearing things he thinks he is saying under his breath. Or when I woke up from a dead slumber to tell him to quit eating all the muffins once I heard him opening the bag, from 3 rooms away & through a closed door. ;) He'll also tell you the second I give him a peck after work I can also taste if he's been eating things I told him to stay away from. Like cheese.

Q : What was your first job?
A : Well, my Dad owned a laundromat & tanning salon hybrid, so I would work as the attendant on weekends once I turned 15. But, the first job I applied for was Library Page. I re-shelved all the returned library books. It was my favorite. I could check out as many books as I wanted at once, and listen to music while no one talked to me.

Q : What's a random factoid about yourself?
A : I have mirror image freckles on the inside of my middle fingers.

Q : What did you want to be when you were a kiddo?
A : A physical therapist, until my Mom told me I might have to touch feet. Nope. Hard pass. I ended up deciding to be a supply chain major in college because I like shipping containers & thought they were cool. Nothing like basing huge life decisions off of your general enjoyment for random shit. But it all worked out & I love what I do.

Q : What's something you wish you could change about yourself?
A : My general organization skills. I'm the kind of person that's messy, but knows where things are. My co-workers all laugh 'cause my desk is scattered with napkins that I've used to take notes instead of a notebook. Whatever. I've tried really hard to embrace organization in the past, but nothing has really stuck, so right now I'm sort of just rolling with it.

Q : If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life?
A : Sushi, or general tso's with a whole bunch of fried rice and a side of wonton soup. Mmm.

Your turn - I'd love to hear your answers to any of the questions above!

Linking up with Amanda.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Weekend Highlights : I can't believe it's February

I hope with all of my being y'all got some weather as good as we did this weekend. Saturday AND Sunday brought 60+ degree temperatures and sunshine! So I made plans to get outside soak up as much vitamin D as I could, in case we really do get 6 more weeks of winter.

On weekends where I have a lot of pictures to share, I kind of love using hashtags, otherwise I can get a little wordy and then we'll be here all day, and ain't nobody got time for that.

Quick unrelated rant? Mr. Sass got a text, literally as I sat down to write this, that the Best Man for a wedding he is in wants them to go to Vegas for a 4 day weekend. The best man claims flights are only $130, which while that doesn't sound bad, add in hotels, meals, activities and possibly paying for the groom himself and you have a seriously pricey bachelor weekend. When did this become the trend? I feel like asking folks to potentially take 4 days off of work plus spend $300+ is too much. Am I crazy? Do you agree? Makes it hard too if everyone else is doing it & you have to be the one that can't afford it, or can't get the time off. Not everyone works a nice little 9-5 M-F schedule.

Phew. Okay, now that that's out of my system, on to some weekend highlights, hashtag style.

#ChocolateChipZucchiniMuffins #OhYeahIAddedCarrotToo #GettinCrazyOnAFridayNight #AlreadyAlmostGone

#EightMiles #ShouldHaveWornShorts #FinallySomeSunshine

#EmeraldViewPark #DoILookSporty #TestingOutSomeNewHikingShoes

#ButWaitItGetsBetter #Pittsburgh #CityOfBridges #LoveThisCity #ThreeRivers

#WantedToTryANakedChickenChalupa #TheyWereOut #IWasSad

#RoastingVeggiesOnASaturdayNight #IAmTooCool

#McConnellsMillStatePark #JustGettinStarted #SundayFunday

 #UnmarkedTrail #WereRebels

#NopeDefinitelyNotARealTrail #WeMadeItWork


 #SportySpice #PhotoShoot #MrSassLovesBeingMyPhotographer


#SassUncut #SassBehindTheScenes #ProbablyGonnaHaveASockTan

 I'm sad it's Monday again already, but my nice little weather app claims the sunshine and warm temps are going to stick around for the week, so here's hoping for some more vitamin D.

How was your weather this weekend?
Crazy big trip for a bachelor party - yay, nay?
What was the best part of your weekend?

Linking up with :Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Five #59

Happy Friday friends! We made it!

This weekend is sort of the calm before the storm so to speak. No big plans - but next weekend I'll run a race & make a quick weekend surprise trip, the following weekend I have a girls getaway planned, followed the few weekends after that by bridal shower #1, my birthday, bridal shower #2, bachelorette shenanigans, Easter, HM#1, HM#2 & then our wedding! Which seems like it's far away when you say 86 days or whatever, but not so far away when you figure every weekend will FLY BY.

Also - RAGNAR! Heard of it? No? It's a 200-ish mile relay race. 12 runners, 2 mini-vans & 200-ish miles to run in about 36 hours. I'm putting together a team along with Ciara & we still need 4 runners! This specific Ragnar is Ragnar PA & runs from Lancaster to Mt. Pocono, June 2-3, 2017. If you think you may even be the least bit interested in joining us, email me {theacquiredsass AT}& we can chat details, how it works, money, anything you want to know. If you just want to read more - check out my recap posts.

Ragnar DC, Leg 1 - Recap, Leg 2 - Recap, do I still need to post my 3rd recap post, from all the way back in September? Maybe. Maybe not. Haha.

Either way - you can be sure you'll see this pop up a time or two more until our team is filled just in case any of you bloggy friends want to come join in on the fun!

Now on to some Friday Five!

one // Can I profess my love for online RSVPs? Yes? Because it's my blog & I do what I want?! Yes! We have all but 2 wedding invites officially in the mail! And within a few days of mailing them, we've had over 30 people RSVP. We're doing it all online, to save $ and time - and so far, it's working wonderfully. The Knot sends us an email to let me know who has RSVP'd & whether they accepted or declined - plus I can see it all on our website! LOVE IT!

two // Pizza. Mmm. Pizza. A co-worker and I headed out to lunch on Thursday - and we headed to Blaze Pizza. I've definitely professed my love for Blaze on some past Friday Five posts. I topped it with a little bit of pretty much everything & it was so good.

three // Half marathon training has officially started! Just in time for there to be gross weather oh Wednesday for my speed workout. -__- I STRONGLY considered bagging it & trying to do it Thursday morning, or Thursday after work. But I figured this first week would set the tone for my whole training cycle - and I may as well start it off on a high note. So, I laced up & went out. And  seriously, the weather sucked. But my paces did not. Which I'm hoping is a sign of fast miles to come. :)

four // More food talk. Valentine's Day dinner - Mr. Sass cooked venison filets, scallops (with homemade butter that we made from cream) + Parmesan roasted broccoli. And then we topped it all off with some bubbly & a trip to Graeter's. Graeter's is a Cincinnati ice cream chain that finally opened a store north of Pittsburgh. They were featured as one of Oprah's favorite things - so you know it's good. My sweet Momma sent me a gift card as a Valentine's treat once she found out one had opened nearby.

five // Funnies...

 Yeah - that's a hard pass. Set that plate right on down & move along sir. I SAID MOVE ALONG.

 And me, 100% when I'm grumpy with Mr. Sass but quite haven't figured out exactly why, or what I want to do about it.

What are you up to this weekend?
Who has run Ragnar before?
How did you celebrate Valentine's Day?

linking up with Heather, Amanda, AndreaTifDella & Katie

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Budgeting 101 : Sass Family Money Goals

I talked last week about how Mr. Sass & I are diving in to the world of joint finances, and while we're not officially joined yet, we know we will be soon and it's important to us to have a plan, a budget, and a set of goals.

Some of these goals are long term - with a completion date set to align with retirement, others, we've broken down to be more short term.

Make a budget | Self explanitory here, we want to lay out reasonable money expectations for the 2nd half of 2017, and our first 7 months as a married couple. We figure those first 7 months will be a test run of sorts and we can follow it up by tweaking out 2018 budget. I'll be following up with another Cash Confessional once we're officially married.

Pay off the house (in 24 months) | The house we're living in now is small. And it's not the house we hope to raise a family in someday. It's just fine for now though. Since it's literally the only debt that exists between the two of us we want to focus on paying it off. We're not sure if it's something we'd want to keep as a rental or sell off and enjoy not having to use the sale money to pay off the loan, but either way, we plan to pay it off - and quickly. I'll talk more about this if anyone is interested - is anyone interested? But, we plan to devote one whole salary for two years to accomplish this. We have to toss the numbers into our official budget spreadsheet, but we're 99% sure this will be NBD.

Save one salary for a new house | While we plan to spend 24 months & one whole salary paying off the current house, realistically we think we'll be moving within 5 years. After this house is paid, we want to keep saving hardcore for the down payment on our Forever Home.Our unofficial plan is to start looking at houses this summer, and planning to strike if anything that meets most of the checklist comes up, regardless of if that's in 2 years or 5 years. But, considering we want land, a big kitchen, front porch, room to build an additional work shed // garage, attached 2 car garage, nice flat backyard and all within a small specific area that's not far from where we are now, and all for a fair price, I'm not concerned we'll accidentally stumble upon our dream house soon (or ever).

Reach $1M net worth | There's literally no reason for this goal, other than it means we're making progress towards retirement. And it sounds cool as hell to be worth a million dollars. Even if you take all our cash, retirement savings, stock market funds and the value of the house, we're a ways off. But I have a feeling this will snowball quickly if we keep plugging away at it.

Save $3M for retirement | Have you heard of the 4% rule? It's the thought that you're safe to pull 4% of your nest egg each year, and that it will continue to sustain you as it will be growing at a rate higher than 4% each year - and growing enough to sustain inflation also. So, by that rule of thumb, $3M would give the Sass family $120K each year to live off of in retirement. Which, right now sounds exorbitant. It's way more than we spend right now. I'm not even sure what we would do with it all. While this number is half researched & half pulled out of our asses, we want to be cognizant that $120K may not buy nearly as much in 30 years or 50 years as it does now, and that we don't want to be restricted when it comes to travel budgets. So, $3M is the goal, and I have a feeling this is a goal we'll come back to and tweak as needed over the years.

What are some of your money goals?

Linking with Amanda.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Weekend Highlights : Run, eat, repeat

I talked on Friday about how all of our weekend plans were turning out to be a wash. Well, I'm happy to report Mr. Sass and I had quite an enjoyable weekend - even if things didn't go according to plan.

Friday ended up being a sick day for me. When I woke up to go to the gym I felt awful, so I turned off my alarm and kept on sleeping. But when I woke up to get ready for work, I still felt terrible, and even moreso was worried about spreading the germs through the office. Nobody likes someone sneezing everywhere. Luckily my job allows me to work from home. While it's one of my least favorite things to do, I figured it was for the best.

We had a low key evening, complete with enchilada soup, a few episodes of Blue Bloods, and an early bedtime. We had pre-cana (mandatory pre-marital counseling) on Saturday from 830 - 430 PM and I was determined to run a few miles beforehand. I knew I wouldn't be able to stand sitting around all day.

So, at 6AM on Saturday I dragged my butt out of bed and headed to nearby North Park to get in 5 miles on the paved "Lake Loop" - I finished in plenty of time to head home, shower, and scarf some coffee and hard boiled eggs before heading to class.

While Mr. Sass & I agreed the day was not a wash, and that we definitely learned things, neither of us does well sitting around for 8 hours at a time. We were beyond antsy by the end of the day. And a little disgruntled that the one day Pittsburgh decides to be 55 and sunny we spent inside. He suggested we go for a run, and despite my 5 morning miles, I'll never turn that man down when he asks to run with me. We hurried to change our clothes & headed back to North Park, for another 5 miles on the Lake Loop. 5 miles with the sunrise and 5 miles with the sunset.

We hustled to shower, get dressed and shovel down some dinner before meeting our friends at Draai Laag - another new to us brewery. We stayed for a beer or two before heading on to nearby Grist House, another new to us brewery. Both had great outdoor space, and I can't wait to head back in warmer weather & snag a table outside.

Grist House closed at 10PM, which we thought was a typo until the bartender started yelling "LAST CALLLLLL" around 945PM. We knew our time was limited. A few other friends were headed out to join us, so we made a third and final stop for the night at Sidelines where after one more beer and a basket of wings it was time for bed.

Sunday morning called for scones. The weather was pretty blah and Mr. Sass has been pointing out that all of the baked goods I create seem to be destined for my office and never for his belly, and he was right. I picked up some strawberries to make an adaptation of Budget Bytes White Chocolate Scones. I used fresh strawberries & semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of white chocolate.

I had never so much as attempted scones before, but they turned out great and would be super easy to adapt with your fruit // chocolate of choice. Mr. Sass gave two thumbs up, especially since all 8 scones were staying in the Sass house. I made a simple vanilla "icing" to drizzle on top, but most of them didn't last long enough to get drizzled.

Then we went hard creating a chore chart (okay, so that was all Mr. Sass because I really don't give a shit and really don't notice dirt until something is filthy), finished addressing wedding invites, and meal prepping for the week. All before it was time for dinner with friends at new-to-us brewery #3 of the weekend, Spoonwood Brewing.

In general I thought the food was meh, but the beer was good, and they had local wine and cider on draft as well, which is always a plus in my book, as a former non-beer drinker.

Half marathon training starts today! Which, while it seems like I've been waiting for this forever, I don't know why it finally snuck up on me while I'm still getting over a cold. Still playing around with how I'll recap my training each week, sneak it into my weekly recaps, or have an entire training recap post. Let me know if you feel strongly about one or the other...

How was your weekend?
What's the best piece of marriage // relationship advice you've ever received?
What's the worst piece of relationship advice you've ever received?

Linking up with :Holly & Tricia for Weekend Highlights