Category Archives: sports

Bad karma and good chocolate

Have you ever had one of those days where you knew the whole day was going to be off before you even left the house?

You know the kind. You’re just leisurely walking the dog (emphasis on the leisurely because your dog suddenly walks like a 90-year old who needs a hip replacement) when your phone jumps out of your pocket and shatters on the wet cement.

This weather has us all like…

A post shared by Sarah Zalewski (@slmurphy) on

There’s something off in the universe, you think.

And how could you not wonder. Just a few hours prior the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. No seriously. They did. And they deserved it. Life will never be the same.

Do you ever think door frames and counter corners are out to get you?

Me neither.

Pop quiz.

Which of these items are essential for a successful post-work gym session?

A. Hair tie

B. Workout underwear

C. TWO socks

D. All of the above

Any guess what all these situations have in common? They require you to adapt. To shift. To consider wearing your glasses more often and to put out as much good karma as you can by texting your Cubs fan friends and family and telling them how happy you are for them.

Chocolate helps too. So here is a chocolate recipe I planned to post separately, but will now be forever linked to a really random few paragraphs about a string of bad luck and the team that finally broke the curse.

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Spooky Spiderweb Trifle 

  • 1 package instant chocolate pudding
  • 3 C Milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • Oreos (I used Halloween Oreos)
  • Brownies
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Cool Whip

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In a large bowl, mix cold water (or milk) into chocolate pudding mix. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Chop brownies and Oreo cookies.

Fold half of Cool Whip into pudding mix.

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Beginning with brownies, layer brownies, pudding mix, chopped Oreos in a trifle dish. Repeat until you run out of ingredients or reach the top.

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Add remaining Cool Whip to top. Drizzle chocolate syrup in a spiral. Using a toothpick, pull toothpick from center out to edge as if you are slicing a pie or a pizza.

Bonus points if you have a fake spider to add in the center. I didn’t so my spider is hiding under the whip cream and all you can see are her creepy eyes.

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springing into summer

Hey guys. Sarah here.

I figured since I’m paying to rent space here on the interwebs, I should make a concerted effort to chat with you guys a little more often. So here I am. Let’s chat.

Matt and I attended our last marriage prep workshop yesterday. Thanks be to God. Because what are sunny 80 degree Saturdays made for if not to spend the whole day in a church hall talking about conflict resolution and love styles with 16 other couples and facilitators who have never facilitated a class before. Don’t get me wrong. We learned a lot in both of our workshops, but being together for 5.5 years before you get married gives you a head start on the whole conflict resolution thing. As for love styles, a simple survey reminded us of another thing we’ve learned over the years. One of us will continue to give gifts and write out thoughtful birthday/valentine/just because cards for the partner who would rather spend quiet time together and the other one will meticulously clean the house and complete projects for the partner who would like it even more if they wrote a post-it with a simple smiley face on it.

You get the gist.

Truth is this whole marriage prep work has actually made us realize that we might actually have a good thing going here. Of course we’re in for the long run of hardships and rough patches like any marriage, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised how common our core values and goals are. And I suppose that’s better than the alternative sitting 60 days out from your wedding.

Moving on.

So I actually baked something this year for St. Patrick’s Day. I know it’s hard to believe but last weekend I started thinking about the responsibility that comes with having Murphy as your last name. You know like getting caught not wearing green on the 17th of March (never happens btw), not knowing how to properly cook corned beef or having a distaste for whiskey. Ok so that last one I really tried to get on board with post-college and I liked whiskey but it didn’t like me. The good news is the Polish are more fans of Vodka and that’s something I’m already on board with.

In all honesty I should probably start building up my tolerance for upcoming wedding festivities. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had hard liquor.

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Same old sugar cookies and royal icing that I’ve made in the past. You can find my sugar cookie recipe here.

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I forgot to mention that Matt finally returned from three weeks in Honduras so I let him open a few of our shower gifts.

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We’ve skipped right into summer weather down in these parts and I’m completely ok with it.

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Nearly forgot we ordered a new couch back in January.

IMG_9677 And Finn isn’t too thrilled that he’s not allowed on it just yet.

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We made up for all the time spent inside on Saturday by spending the day at Ed Smith Stadium watching the Cardinals play the Orioles. Beautiful stadium. Great game. Decent company.

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Have a great week!

Race Recap: Sarasota Music Half Marathon

It’s been a while since I did a race recap for you guys. Probably because it’s been a while since I’ve run a race. If you care to read back as to why I took a little hiatus from running you can do so here. Now it wasn’t entirely because I briefly crippled myself as a result of my own stubbornness, but that may have had a little something to do with it.

The truth is I was really excited to be able to run year-round when we moved to Florida until I quickly realized that you really can’t do anything outside in Florida from the months of May-October. Let’s just say I have a new respect for air conditioning professionals and if I could I would purchase stock in cinder blocks and tile.

After boredom set in with my gym routine, I signed up for the inaugural Sarasota Music Half Marathon in February and was excited to have something to focus on after the holiday season. And then I realized that this race would require me to train THROUGH the holiday season. And then I realized that people who live in Florida don’t hibernate over the holidays. Instead, they rock their spandex and swimsuits right on through those holidays and into the New Year. As a Midwesterner I was thoroughly offended by this concept.

But I sheepishly got outside and ran with the rest of the spandex-clad Floridians, feeling every sugar cookie and piece of fudge along the way. And I will say, if you want to avoid the New Year’s resolutioners, just come down to Florida where no one takes any time off.

It’s pretty amazing how much more enjoyable races are when you run them healthy. I was a little nervous because I got hit with the plague a few weeks ago and really didn’t get my long training runs in, but when you combine perfect running weather, palm trees, gulf breezes, girl scout cookies and a solid brunch, it’s hard to find anything to complain about.

So here’s my mile by mile recap.

IMG_9271.JPGMile 0

Highs-giggling at runners with ear warmers and gloves to protect them from the frigid 55 degree with a high of 78 weather we were in for, watching the sun rise over the start shadowed only by palm trees and walking to the front of the starting line because apparently no one wanted to start by the 5:00 mile marker.

Lows-so only providing 20 Porta Potties for 2,000 runners may have been a little aggressive but no harm done.

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Mile 1

Highs-The Ringling Bridge. Literally. I was nervous about running a race with elevation but the marching band at the top of the Ringling Bridge helped to distract me from the crazy first-timers who were pacing at 6:30 1 mile in.

Lows-dead rat on the running path and no one in front of me raising a hand.

IMG_9289.JPGMile 5

Highs-This view. And knowing I didn’t have to climb that stupid beautiful bridge again for the rest of the race.

Lows-none. Feeling alive at five.

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Miles 7-9

Highs-Getting sprinkled with holy water (do you genuflect during a race?), exploring the bayfront and seeing a part of Sarasota I’d never traveled by foot before.

Lows-fewer spectators and forcing myself to run past the bloody mary bar because I was still feeling good with my pace.

IMG_9273.JPGMile 10

Highs-Girl Scout Cookie Station. Enough said.

Lows-Winding through a very pretty, albeit very twisted Selby Garden path on legs that only wanted to go in a straight line.

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Miles 11-13.1

Highs-Feeling familiar IT band pain and realizing I only had two miles to go.

Lows-Feeling familiar IT band pain and realizing I still had two miles to go. And not realizing how much more excited the lady in front of me was in the chute.

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IMG_9276.JPGPost Race

Highs-Best post-race party I’ve experienced in 10 or so races. Beer. Bagels. Bands and the Sarasota Bay. Doesn’t get much better.

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Remind me to tell you about our decision to finalize our wedding registry that afternoon and then stop by the greek festival on the way home instead of taking a nap or stretching like a normal human. Greek food makes everything better.

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Power of 30: September Challenges

I’m an idea person. The one you may or may not want to have at a brainstorming session because I’m going to use the crap out of my right-brain in order to come up with creative and innovative ways to solve the problem. And I know what you’re thinking. This girl must suck at math. But I’ll have you know I can handle the number game just fine thanks to forcible encouragement from my parents to complete advanced math classes just for the fun of it. (mom and dad- this is me backing into a thank you for making me take AP Calculus when I wanted to take another P.E. class) Plus, I read something this week that said us right-brained folks are going to rule the world or something along those lines so we have that going for us.

Anywho, bottom line is I am an idea person. And in being one, I tend to come up with new things before I let the other things I came up with have time to grow legs. I’m also an extreme creature of habit. And while these two traits may seem counterintuitive, it’s the combination of fresh ideas and the ever-prevalent Catholic guilt I associate with things I’ve already committed to that usually keeps me going.

Bet you’re wondering how this plays into my Power of 30 goals, right? Well I told myself as long as I was doing these challenges, I would continue to update you regarding the month prior in the first week of the next month. Confused yet? Let’s revisit September’s goals:

  • 30 miles in 30 days
  • 3:00 minute plank

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I have to laugh at myself a little considering last September I was gearing up for the Chicago Marathon and averaging 30 miles a week and this September I was lucky if I could get 3 consecutive miles in on the treadmill because it was too hot to run outside. That’s just the way life goes. When we first moved, the locals kept telling me to wait for October to get some great running weather so I’ve rescheduled this challenge for this month and I am already off to a better start. I guess that’s the perk of making up your own challenge. You get to try it again next month without any recourse.

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I did manage to reach a 3 minute plank last month. I’m not sure how much plank work if any you’ve done in your life but building yourself up to a 3 minute one without rest is harder than it sounds. It may seem silly to compare the concept of holding up your body with your forearms and toes to a metaphor for life but it is just that. You can’t just up and do it. If you can you either have 1) a very high pain tolerance or 2) an awesomely strong core. For the rest of us, it takes small incremental increases to build up to a larger goal. It takes more than just ab muscles. It takes mental and physical strength. It takes practice. And when built upon, second by second, you can reach that goal that may have seemed too lofty just a few weeks before.

And then you can collapse onto the floor in a giant heap of sweat and wonder how long it will take you to plank for 5 minutes.

Until next time.

 

 

 

A weekend under the Arch

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a weekend recap on the blog. Please accept my apologies. It’s not that I don’t love sharing my every free moment with thousands of my closest friends and the occasional Internet troll, but rather that our weekends haven’t been filled with much more than trips to Lowe’s and the occasional beach visit. Not that there’s anything wrong with Lowe’s. Except for the fact that it’s not Target.

It’s probably no surprise to you that we are big Eric Church fans. So when we had the opportunity back in April to get pre-sale tickets to his first big headlining tour, we decided St. Louis would be a good spot to catch a show. Even better when as the date approached, we found out one of my best friends and her husband were planning a babymoon/anniversary trip the same weekend. Bonus!

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We caught a Cardinals game and got to put all of those fall clothes we had packed away to good use under a very brisk November-like September sky.

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On Saturday, we had breakfast at a cute farm-to-table spot downtown, immediately followed by lunch with some of my favorite guys…and my sister, too.

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Saturday night was everything I expected it to be, minus the hour-long-line to get in and the fact they ran out of beer by 9:30. Perhaps the latter explains the reason I am just now feeling like a normal human again.

Until next time Midwest. Back to the 90’s.

 

 

 

Running in a humid climate

Hey remember when I used to run outside?

I don’t.

OK so I do remember it, but I also remember it being much more enjoyable. I was back in Illinois a few weeks ago and got a chance to run on the trail near my parents house. The weather was perfect. I could actually breathe. And for the first time in a long time I remembered how much I love to run outside.

To be honest, I can probably count on both hands the times I’ve run outside since we moved to Florida. If it’s not the heat it’s the humidity. And the humidity is usually preceded or followed by a pop-up thunderstorm that comes out of nowhere. We’re talking nowhere folks. This morning as Finn and I attempted to go out for our morning walk the sun was shining. The sun was shining, the skies were blue and it started pouring.

But yesterday morning there was a break in the heat so I headed out for a run as the sun was coming up, knowing that as soon as it did I’d probably pass out on the side of the road. I got four miles in and was pretty happy with it. And along the way I thought about the various mental and physical adjustments you have to make when you run in a new climate.

Don’t try to be a hero.

Who cares if you limped ran through 26.31 miles last October. When it comes to running, weather can be a huge factor. One that makes every training session unique. I’ve had days where I felt energy like never before, only to bonk 2 miles in. And I’ve had days where it took everything in my to agree to 1 mile only to breeze through 4. There are so many factors that come into play when you are running outside you can’t possibly meet your expectations every time. As the most covered song by bloggers and 5 year-old girls alike says, “Let it Go.”

You can walk if you want to. 

I say this even though it still kills me to actually do it. I’m as competitive as they come so even on runs by myself I try to justify reasons I can’t stop to catch my breath or stretch my legs. Human bodies are pretty special, but even they take a little time to acclimatize to changes in weather and environment. If your body is telling you to slow down, (and we’re talking really telling you not just whispering from 500 yards behind you telling you) stop and walk for goodness sake. The reality is that you still have to make it home don’t you? Slow down and recover. No one’s chasing you. And if they are don’t stop. Don’t slow down. Kick it in a little more why don’t ya?

Wear a heart rate monitor.

Remember what I just said about slowing down when you feel like you need to? Well wearing a heart rate monitor can help you make that decision more accurately. Running may seem like a fairly physical feat, but if you’ve ever been out on a run solo and find your motivation lacking, you’ll quickly realize how mental the feat really is. Wearing a heart rate monitor well allow you to match the way you think you feel to how hard you are actually working. Seeing those numbers gets you out of your head and helps you have a more efficient workout.

Bring water.

Oh just bring it. Even if you’re too proud to. I used to play by the rule that if it wasn’t over 6 miles, I didn’t need water. And while that’s sort of true, (you should be hydrated enough to exercise for 45 minutes without water) when your running in high heat and humidity I think you should throw that rule into the ocean. Heat and humidity can prevent your body from releasing heat as efficiently so by the time you realize you are dehydrated it could be too late. If you don’t like carrying water with you, plan an out-and-back route where you can leave it halfway. It’s only cumbersome for the first few minutes but if you don’t have it, everyone you pass will look like a giant jug of Gatorade or the Kool-Aid Man and you’ll seriously consider tackling them.

Mix it up. 

So you’re not going to get the mileage you thought you were because of the weather conditions. Mix it up. Do a set of walking lunges. Throw in some body weight squats, high knees or butt kicks. Alternate sprinting and walking as you make your way back. Yes, people may look at you funny, but it’s likely that they are really just picturing you as the Kool-Aid Man because they are just as thirsty as you are.

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Dunk tanks and Explosives

This weekend I flew home to celebrate my nephew’s 8th birthday, complete with a mix of water sports, explosives and cotton candy. I know what you’re thinking. What else could a bunch of 8 year-old boys want, right?

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Right.

I can take little to no credit for the party or the details because my sister handled it all herself. Perks of moving thousands of miles away I guess. Since Owen’s birthday falls just after the holiday, he’s chosen to celebrate it outside shooting water at his friends for the past several years. And this year was no different, except that he decided he wanted it to be Fourth of July-themed as well. Talk about a practical kid!

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My sister rented a cotton candy machine and a dunk tank. We held the entire party outside in my parent’s backyard and sprinkled in a few kid-friendly fireworks, complete with a Jake-led water gun crew to put out the flames once the show was over. These boys are all on a baseball team together so it was the perfect mix of sports and sugar.

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Happy Golden Birthday Owen! I’m so glad I was able to celebrate with you this weekend!