Monday, November 22, 2021

Weekly Round Up: Climbing High


A weekly round up: eats, workouts, watches, and reads.  In this week's edition the stepsons and I had a weekend on our own, I'm getting "high" in my workouts, and I've now seen 98 of the AFI Top 100 movies (no need for a separate post this week).

Food and Life

I didn't do anything amazing in the kitchen this week so I'll skip our meal recaps.  The big event was the monthly Boy Scout camping trip, which is my one weekend a month to revert back to my [overrated] single life.  These trips are a ton of work for my husband, and there was something about this trip in particular that was even more onerous to prepare for.  Hubs has been extra stressed out over his Scout duties lately and the forecast was extra chilly this weekend.

And then the kids got sick with sore throats and wicked coughs.  Stepson #1, who never gets sick was Patient Zero and Stepson #2 came down with it a day later.  #1's COVID test came back negative but neither boy was in any kind of condition to go camping, and there's always a shortage of adults so hubs couldn't back out.  On Friday afternoon hubs headed out for a bachelor Boy Scout camping weekend, and the boys and I settled back for a family "do nothing" weekend.  

For our first solo night we got Chipotle and the next night we got Thai takeout.  We split a General Tso's tofu, a second tofu stir fry, and egg rolls.  The online order had an option for spice level so I chose "no spicy".  The boys loved both dishes, but I had to laugh at Stepson #1's review of the General Tso's: "I can taste where the spice should be".

Hubs came back on Sunday a little worse for wear and having gotten a lot of teasing for being the only one in the family to show up for camp.  The boys are both doing much better and miraculously neither hubs nor I got sick so all is well that ends well.


I've been making some noise about adding hill training into my workouts and last week I said that my job for this week was to tell you about my treadmill hill workout.  So here we go!

Monday: 3 easy treadmill miles, recovery from the previous day's race

Tuesday: hill workout c/o Laura Norris.  For my first time doing this I only did 3 miles, which is one cycle and I kept the incline at zero for my warm up mile.  Other than that I was able to follow through on the workout as written.  The first interval at 3% wasn't that hard, and as you might suspect the last interval at 6% was incredibly hard.

But it was also really exhilarating.  I've attempted treadmill hill work before and just found it hard, but there was something different about this workout.  I walked away from the treadmill with a nice endorphin high that I haven't had in a long while from my workouts.

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 4 treadmill miles.  I started with a speed ladder: one mile warmup and then 1 minute fast/1 minute slow, 2 minutes fast/2 minutes slow, 3 minutes fast/3 minutes slow, 2 minutes fast/2 minutes slow, 1 minute fast/1 minute slow and then repeat the ladder.  As I got toward the end, a little voice in my head said "hey let's do a quarter mile at incline and get s'more of those endorphins".  And so I did.  I only had one minute of speed left with the incline so that was harder but I also got that same buzzy high.

Friday: outside for 5 miles.

Saturday: outside for 6.25 hilly miles ("hilly" by my town's standards so 279 ft).  My logic is that if I'm going to take the trouble to run 6 miles I might as well "round up" to a 10k.

What's Next: 

  • I have two 5k's next week.  I'm hoping to keep my splits under 11 minutes and to get the final 0.1 at a sub 10 minute pace.  I've never run two races so close together so we'll see how it goes.  The weather is looking good for both days.
  • One of my IRL running friends is looking at the Merry Vertmas challenge.  I'm not quite ready to sign up but I do like the idea of tracking my "vert".  Maybe I'll "bandit" the challenge and start listing my weekly verts in these recaps.
  • I'm also tempted by the Runner's World Run Streak (run a minimum of one mile every day between Thanksgiving and NYE).  I love my rest days but I just feel like doing something different this year.


On the treadmill: I finished Psycho and started Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

On the couch: four more "new to me" AFI Top 100 movies.

Nashville.  I haven't heard the companion Unspooled episode for this yet but on one of the shows they discussed whether a legit bad movie should be on the list (their suggestion was The Room, which hubs and I keep joking about seeing some day).  Well...all I can think is that this category is already taken by Nashville.  I think the trailer is the strongest evidence that I can give you.  Tagline "it's the damnedest thing you ever saw" at 2:06 in the clip.  Now just scale the 2:22 trailer into a two hour and 40 minute movie and you've got the idea.


Spartacus.  I didn't know if I would be in to a big ol' three hour epic about gladiators.  And guess what, I was!  I've been continually surprised by how good so many of these movies are, and Spartacus delivered.  I was a little irked by the long run time, but yes Spartacus is another great example of a great movie that I would not have seen if I hadn't decided to knock back all 100 of these movies. Oysters and snails!  (lol you have to watch the movie to find out what that means.)

The Wild Bunch.  The last Western!  I didn't hate it and didn't love it.  In the last few weeks I've only seen 5 Westerns but it feels like 500.

Easy Rider was a miss for me.  The best thing about the movie was a very young Jack Nicholson, the worst thing about the movie was everything else.  At least it was short!

That just leaves Forrest Gump and Bridge on the River Kwai.  I'll catch those with the hubs later this week.


I took a break from the Unspooled podcast to listen to an audio book last week.  I think it's really unfortunate to introduce a book as "if you liked Educated you'll like..." but that's the best way that I can describe Woman Rising by Julia McCoy.  Her parents ran a cult, and had very specific beliefs, such as that once your kids are 18 you can't beat them anymore but you can charge them "stupid tax" and put them in financial debt to you.  Luckily for Julia her parents were not very computer savvy so they needed her help when they got their first computer and before long she googled "how to make money on the internet" and things took off from there.  What I liked most about this book was that it wasn't just "I escaped from a cult", it was "I escaped from a cult and built a business for myself and here are all the details on how I did that".

For actual reading, I started The Defense by Steve Cavanagh.


  1. Ahhh I can’t wait to hear what you think of Forest Gump! I probably already mentioned that it’s one of the “holiday weekend” favorites when all the kids are together, so we’ll probably be cueing it up in a few days :-)

  2. So glad you're enjoything the hills, Birchie! Well done.
    I had a look at that Merry Vertmas Challenge and it looks fun! I like that it has a broad scale to choose from - between 10'000ft and 400'000ft it's easy to find a right fit. You should sign up. ;-)

    Enjoy your two 5Ks this week! Races are the best way to train. I'm excited to see if you get that sub-11 pace!

    1. Merry Vertmas is right up your alley! My "bandit" goal is 5,000 ft between now and NYE, and that's going to be a stretch.

  3. I've never even heard of this "Nashville" movie. Now I'm sort of tempted to watch it...

    1. I had never heard of Nashville either. In an odd way, I'm kind of glad that I saw it?

  4. I'm reading Nowhere Girl: Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood, which also fits in that 'if you liked Educated' category. I haven't heard of Women Rising! Sounds interesting.

    I love that you made watching all the AFI top 100 movies a goal. I may need to consider something like that!

    1. Yes! I listened to the audio book of Nowhere Girl recently and it was great.

      I finished all 100 movies last night! There were a few dogs in there but I saw so many good movies that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. I definitely recommend.

  5. Oh, your poor husband. It was noble of him to follow through on that camping trip. I think he should be allowed to skip them in the future though!
    Good luck on your races! You're making me want to do hill training. I would either have to run on the treadmill at the gym, or go to the overpass at the turnpike because otherwise it's completely flat here. We'll see.

    1. I can relate! I have a lot of rolling hills in my town, but nothing like what I've seen in races recently. I'm hoping that the ice will clear out this weekend so that I can go back to the really hilly race that I did last month.