Currently (April) / 5 Things Friday

Currently - Oregon Trees // lynnepetre.com

Working from home, it’s hard for me to keep track of what day of the week it is. I sometimes go to a coworking space, I sometimes work from home, sometimes (most days) I sleep in (one perk of working on MST!), sometimes I don’t. Without a regular work commute and dedicated days in an office, the days easily bleed together.

But I do know today is Friday! So I’m hopping on the popular ‘5 Things Friday’ format to share a few items.

  1. Friday morning Breakfast Club! A few months ago, I started planning breakfast dates with fellow Partners (significant others of Tepper MBA students) on Friday mornings as a way to be social and kick off the weekend. It’s been a great way to catch up with friends and see new Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
  2. Gearing up for SUMMER. Immediately following the race this weekend, it’s about to get cah-ray-zee in my world. Alex and I are finalizing our plans to spend our summers away from Pittsburgh (he for an internship in California, me to be in Denver for work) and I’m super excited. And not only do I get to spend 3 months with my team in Denver, I have fun travel throughout the summer, too. It’s going to hectic and amazing and I feel so fortunate to be able to . I am bummed to be missing summer in Pittsburgh but, for me, it’s more important to be in Denver this summer.
  3. Swapping screen time for flipping pages. Every year, I say I want to read 1 book a month and I usually start strong in the early months of the year but then ‘life gets busy’ aka I stop making time to read. This year, after already finishing a couple of really great books, I’m making it a point to read more. It’s hard for me to give large chunks of time, like I’d prefer, so instead, I have been reading for 15-30 minutes in bed each night. I’m reading American Wife right now and can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.
  4. Co-working spaces. In the short time we’ve lived in Pittsburgh, coworking spaces have been popping up throughout the city so we work-from-home and work-remotes don’t have to work in our apartments or coffee shops, if we don’t want to. I’ve visited a number of spaces and last month, a new space, StackPGH, opened nearby. I’d cancelled my previous coworking space membership in December due to logistics/change in my work role so I ready for a change after a few months of working from my dining room. I signed up at Stack and am in love: it has huge windows, a cool vibe, lots of coffee and social, like-minded people.
  5. Pittsburgh Half Marathon Weekend! Aahhh! It’s here and I’m nervous/excited. Fingers crossed the weather holds out and my legs hold up and that there is a recovery mimosa in my hand after the race. I’m running the 5k tomorrow to earn my Runner of Steel medal and I’m looking forward to a mini-half-marathon-course preview!

And with that, I’m taking my Friday self out for pizza to carbo-load before this 5k in the morning. MmMmM.

Gear Review: SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt (Giveaway CLOSED)

SLS3 Running Belt Review // lynnepetre.com

*Disclosure: This product was provided at no cost to me in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.*

Last fall, my friend Chelsea connected me with her contact at SLS3 to review their Dual Pocket Running Belt. Travis, at SLS3, assured me that this is his favorite running belt of the bunch and actually stays put while running. Admittedly skeptical, I agreed to try the run belt and see if it lived up to Travis’ hype.

In my early days of running, I tried a whole slew of running belts: ones that zipped, ones that flipped, ones that held water bottles. None I loved – they jostled too much, crept too far up my waist or didn’t hold everything I wanted to carry with me. I gave up on running belts and switched over to a small CamelBak pack and have used a small pack ever since.

But this is exactly why I agreed to try the SLS3 belt – I went into this experience with an open mind, ready to see if the world of run belts had changed over the years. I knew I wouldn’t want to run the Pittsburgh Half with a pack so I was hopeful this run belt would perform well enough to win a spot in my race day outfit.

And ya know what? It did!SLS3 Running Belt Review // lynnepetre.com

The dual pockets on this belt are huge but still lay flat on my person while running. I slip my phone (Samsung Galaxy s4 + Otterbox case) into one pocket and my keys, snacks and chapstick in the other. I probably wouldn’t try to add too much more in the pockets but there is some extra room to carry cash, ID cards, pepper spray, etc.

Amazingly, the belt really does not really move, even when packed with all my things. I suspect I can thank the the wide strap and buckle – the strap is 1.5 inches wide which is the same size as the pockets, not expanded, and when clipped together, the belt feels sturdy. Past belts I’ve used have had a thinner strap so when the pocket was full, there was no support to keep it in place. Not the case here!
SLS3 Running Belt Review // lynnepetre.com

I’ve used this belt on a number of shorter runs and my 10 mile run at the park and I’ll be wearing this belt for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this weekend. I love that I can stuff my phone and keys away – but still have easy access to pull my phone out for photos #realtalk.
SLS3 Running Belt Review // lynnepetre.com

Want to try a SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt for yourself? The team at SLS3 has offered to give one away! Enter through the Rafflecopter link below; giveaway closes on 5/2 at 12a EST.
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Training Update: Pittsburgh Half Marathon (#GameOnPGH)

GameOnPGH Banner // lynnepetre.com

It’s the final week! ACK!

Officially, it’s taper time for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon but really, with the travel in my life recently, I have been tapering for the past 3+ weeks. We’ll see how this translates for the race on May 1 but not much I can do about it now except roll with it.

After Mexico, I was home for 4 days and ran 10 miles before hopping a plane to Denver for a busy week at work. I’d brought my gear to run in my old neighborhood and meet friends for OrangeTheory but, for a number of factors, I didn’t do either. From Denver, I flew into Philadelphia late Friday night to play in a volleyball tournament all day Saturday before driving 5+ hours home. Whew!

Track Running // lynnepetre.com

So these last few weeks have been light on actual runs but I’ve been very active which doesn’t substitute for training but is better than being sedentary!

This week, I’ve run a few 3 mile loops, am playing volleyball and doing yoga. I debated doing an OrangeTheory class but decided to not risk sore or tired muscles in the days before next week’s race.

A few weeks ago, before the crazy 6 weeks of travel, I’d set some goals for the Pittsburgh Half and I’m hoping they’re still realistic.

  • A Goal: Under 2 hours
  • B Goal: 2:00-2:05
  • C Goal: Under 2:10

If I’d stuck with my training a bit better these past few weeks, I’d have 100% confidence in myself but now, I’m going to go out and just do my best next Sunday. I know I can cruise through the first half of the race and my 10 mile long runs have been strong…but I wished I’d given myself an 11 or 12 mile long run to feel really good about aiming for my A Goal.

Regardless of what happens during the race, I’m excited to be running (especially after worrying about my knee earlier this year), to see my friends (HeidiChelsea, Lauren – looking at you!) and to experience Pittsburgh on foot. Whatever happens, I’m going to run with a smile and feel grateful for this opportunity!

T-10 days!

Beach Vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Vacation in Cabo, Mexico // lynnepetre.com

Last week, I lived the (insanely) good life in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. There is, quite simply, no other way to put it.

Vacation in Cabo, Mexico // lynnepetre.com

Earlier this year, one of my best friends, Elizabeth, asked if I had any interest in a trip to Cabo, Mexico to celebrate her 30th birthday.

Elizabeth and I are friends from college and, through the years, have kept up a long-distance friendship that includes visits to each other’s cities but also big trips to explore the world around us. We’d been brainstorming ways to ring in our 30s – maybe with a trip to Costa Rica? – but hadn’t landed on anything that felt exactly right.

When she called and explained the situation – a friend in Minneapolis, WL, was also turning 30 and lucked into a sweet deal on 2 condos at the Pueblo Bonito Resort at Sunset Beach and we’d only need to cover our airfare – Sold! I was in. A quick search secured me a $400 plane ticket and we were booked.

Vacation in Cabo, Mexico // lynnepetre.com

There were 9 of us in total throughout the week and it’s impossible to succulently recap the trip – from the first class upgrade on our MSP>SJD flight (thanks, WL!) to the incredibly beautiful resort to lazy days spent in a beach cabana drinking margaritas to playing in ocean waves, it was all so dreamy.

We ventured into town a couple of days – once for Elizabeth’s birthday dinner, once to spend the day at the sister resort, walk around the town looking for local shops and dinning on non-resort food. (Insider’s tip: Cabo’s downtown caters to the tourists on vacation so there was less local shopping than we’d hoped but it’s still worth wandering around.) We tossed out our watches and lived a relaxed life, (mostly) disconnected from the ‘real world’.

Vacation in Cabo, Mexico // lynnepetre.com

We watched sting rays jump out of the water making their way up the shore in the evening light; we walked through a beautiful cactus garden, taking millions of photos. We ate avocados for breakfast, tacos for dinners and spoke a teeny bit of Spanish we knew whenever possible. The 7 days flew by in an instant and I can’t believe I’m already back home in Pittsburgh, nursing the last bit of sunburn on my back.

Vacation in Cabo, Mexico // lynnepetre.com

Lazy beach vacations are not my typical choice for spending free time but, damn, did it feel good last week! It was a perfect celebration a new year, a new decade and a great friendship. Truthfully, I’d never considered a trip to Mexico before but Cabo is definitely on my radar for a future long weekend beach getaway.

Pittsburgh Running Route: North Park Lake

North Park Lake Loop // lynnepetre.com

Soon after moving to Pittsburgh, I asked around for favorite running routes to help get myself acclimated with my surroundings. I kept hearing about North Park and its infamous 5 mile loop and how all Pittsburgh Marathoners would do a majority of their long runs at this park.

This past weekend, I woke up late and missed my opportunity to run with Raela which was likely for the best. I headed out to North Park to run 2 laps around the lake for a 10 mile training run. No pausing to say hi/bye to my friend, just 10 miles of me and the pavement…something I honestly haven’t done much of this training cycle but knowing I’m running the half solo, I wanted to get a solid long run in by myself and make sure I could keep a steady pace.

North Park Lake Loop // lynnepetre.com

IF YOU GO….

North Park is ~25 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. I would offer tips on how to get there but Google has told me different ways to go each time. If you’re going during rush hour, give yourself ~35 minutes since there’s no highway route.

There is parking throughout the loop so you can start wherever is most convenient for you. I parked at JC Stone Field since this was at an ‘end’ of the oval and I planned my run so that I ended with a downhill cruise where I could see my car (I hate not knowing how much further is left).

The running/biking path follows the lake through the park. It’s very well marked and obvious where to go to continue on the path. The loop is shaped like an oval and surprisingly, it felt like time passed quickly.

North Park Lake Loop // lynnepetre.comThe weather was beautiful for March so there were lots of people out – runners, bikers, roller-bladers, strollers and dogs all out enjoying the same path as me. In the park, people were fishing, kayaking, picnicing and more. As a solo female runner, it was comforting to have so many people out and about – should anything happen, someone would be around to offer a bandaid. (I’ve heard weekends are usually busy-ish in the winter time, too.)

There are bathrooms at several points along the route and all looked to be open (not sure if this is a seasonal thing; I know the bathrooms at the the North Park Boathouse are open in the winter). Be sure to bring your own water, though; all of the water fountains I passed were taped up and not in service. I had stashed my water bottle and a coconut water in my car and made a pit stop at mile 5 before taking off for loop 2.

Lastly, there are a number of races at North Park throughout the year. If you’re a little bit shy about showing up and not knowing exactly how to get around the park (it’s big!), registering for a race would be a great way to get acclimated.

Compared to the 2.5 mile loop I’d spent many, many, many mornings running in Denver (HOLLA Heidi, Paula, Christine and others), I really enjoyed this 5-mile loop distance. I can’t say I’d be excited to run more than 2 laps (and especially not 6, like Chelsea) but 10 miles around the park felt like a good distance.

Side note: there is also an off-leash dog park, zip-line course, hockey + ice skating, horse trails, a swimming pool, restaurant/cafe and much more to do at North Park. So if running isn’t your thing, you can likely still find something fun to do at the park.

March Training Update: Pittsburgh Half Marathon #GameOnPGH

GameOnPGH Banner // lynnepetre.com

It’s been a hot minute since I shared a training update! I’m now 5 weeks out from race day and I’m feeling pretty good. If you’d asked me last week how I was feeling, I would have had a much different answer after travel and visitors the past several weeks.

Let’s rewind:

I opted to not stress about hitting all my training runs during my travels; the time I get to spend with friends and family is so short that I was not about to divert attention from the moment at hand.

In Vegas, we walked MILES every day which = long hours on my feet which is better than long hours sitting all day. In Oregon, Lucas and I went trail running twice, 4 miles each. We also walked (or skied) more than 10,000 steps every single day we were there which is more than I typically walk in a work-from-home day.

Trail Running Bend, Oregon // lynnepetre.com

But did I long run during these trips? Nope. I brought my gear and told myself, ‘if it worked out do a long run before everyone woke up, it’s on.‘ I didn’t make it a priority and thus, no long run happened. And I don’t regret this choice one bit.

It did mean that I *needed* to get out and run 8 miles this past weekend. I’d planned to do it on Sunday afternoon after my dad and his wife left and I spent much of Sunday morning dreading it. We’d eaten super greasy and incredibly delicious pizza on Saturday night and a heavy hotel-restaurant breakfast Sunday morning – not ideal pre-long run fuel. I almost tried to negotiate with myself – just run Monday morning before you start working! – but instead, texted my friend, Raela, with my planned route and we made a plan to meet.

I haven’t been running with the run club as I’d hoped to do but have been lucky enough to talk Raela into running some of my long run miles with me recently. She’s usually game for 3-4 miles so I’ll plan my route to pick her up for the middle or last miles of my run. Breaking up the solo miles is such a boost!

For this week’s long run, I ran a 3 mile loop, picked up Raela to run the same 3 mile loop and then ran the final 2 miles myself. And it felt good!

8 Mile Long Run // lynnepetre.com

(Obviously, this is not training exactly as I will race but, again, I’m less concerned with doing things exactly by the books this time around. I’d rather break up my run and spend 30 minutes catching up with my friend.)

I finished these miles and still felt like I had gas in the tank; I’d started out pretty conservatively, afraid I’d crash partway through the run, so this run really boosted my confidence.

I’m looking forward to my 9 miles this weekend – I’m spending this week eating better, hitting my training runs, doing yoga and drinking lots of water (and no beer) so I’m expecting (hoping) this weekend will feel even better than last week.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women’s Trailbreaker Pant (#ORInsightLab)

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women's Trailbreaker Pant // lynnepetre.com

DISCLAIMER: As a participant in Outdoor Research’s #ORInsightLab, I am offered the opportunity to test seasonal gear in exchange for my honest review. This post is not sponsored but I did receive the gear for free.

Winter did not come to Western PA this year. And this winter-loving gal was so disappointed! Thanks to Winter Storm Jonas in January, we got one solid dump of snow and past that, there wasn’t much snow to write home about and certainly not enough to play in. It was so stinkin’ mild!

That said, I did find a few opportunities to get some snow time in to test the Outdoor Research Women’s Trailbreaker Pant. I took these pants to Colorado in December and Oregon in March to ski and the day after Winter Storm Jonas, I hit up the local ski hill here in Pittsburgh for a few hours of midwest runs. I’d hoped to get more snow adventures in before the official start of spring but the weather has not been on my side.

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women's Trailbreaker Pant // lynnepetre.com

ABOUT THE PANTS

As you can see in the very top photo, these pants have a clear upper/lower separation and each portion was thoughtfully designed to accommodate snow adventures. The upper is made of a breathable, double woven soft-shell fabric so it’s super stretchy. The legs of the pants are made of waterproof three-layer Pertex® Shield+ so when you’re skiing, skinning or snowshoeing, your pants and legs stay dry. These pants run true to size and are fitted but still roomy enough to wear running tights underneath for the chilly days.

There are a couple of key features of these pants that I love:

  • Removable, zippered internal gaiter with power strap slot – Honestly, I used this incorrectly and did not put my power strap through the slot but I *did* use the zipper to access my boot buckles when I wiped out and my buckle unclipped. That said, the gaiter is removable, if you so choose, but they also make your boots easy to reach without having to readjust your gaiters.
  • Avalanche beacon pocket – For backcountry enthusiasts, avy beacons are a must. The Trailbreaker pant includes a zippered pocket with a mesh section and key clip to hold a beacon for safer backcountry play. The last thing anyone wants to happen is to lose an avy beacon if you’re caught in a slide so wearing one in a zippered pocket, clipped to the pants, is a pretty smart design element.
  • Zippered outter thigh vents – while I didn’t have much need for these this year resort skiing, I appreciate this element in thinking about previous backcountry trips. Having an easy way to cool down when snowshoeing many miles uphill into a hut would be phenomenal!

Gear Review: Outdoor Research Women's Trailbreaker Pant // lynnepetre.com

PRODUCT DETAILS

Outdoor Research Women’s Trailbreaker Pant, $215 (on sale now!)

Cheers to 30

Oregon March 2016 // lynnepetre.com

Last Monday, I celebrated 30 successful years on this Earth. Which, as I’m sure everyone feels when they turn 30, feels completely nuts. How the heck am I already 30?! And then I stop to think about all that I’ve done in the past 30 years – even just the last 10! – and I feel like 30 is an appropriate age.

On recent birthdays, I’d lamented that I didn’t even FEEL like I should be turning 26, 27, 28, that I still felt like I was years younger. And that was probably true.

But these days, I feel much more ‘adult’ about life thanks to things like: buying a car with my husband, working for a high growth tech company and growing/evolving as a manager of an expanding team, working remotely for said company, moving across the country to support Alex’s dream of earning his MBA, celebrating the marriages of so many friends and family and most recently, excitedly welcoming babies! The past couple of years in particular have had a lot of growing and stretching which has made me realize that I am very much an adult. (Maybe being the single source of income for our family has something to do with feeling like a responsible adult, too. #sugarmama)

Birthdays, like the new year, lend itself to reflection on the past and what the future will bring. I can’t help but think about what the next decade holds: Alex’s MBA graduation, settling down in a hopefully more-permanent location, probably buying a house, likely expanding our family (Alex already agreed to a new fur child when we find our next home!), maybe dancing at weddings for a sibling or two or all, definitely buying my youngest sister a beer on her 21st birthday.

THIRTY feels like such a big number but really, I feel content. (6 months ago? Not content. Today? Content.) We’re almost halfway through this MBA journey and are looking ahead to ‘the rest of our lives.’ It’s stressful but also exciting. I’m ready to not be in limbo, to not move nearly every year from apartment to apartment, to have a place to grow a garden, to have money for a big vacation. I’m excited about the next decade and undoubtedly looking back, thinking, Holy cow! Look at everything we did in the last 10 years!

Oregon March 2016 // lynnepetre.com

This year, I woke up on my birthday in Oregon with Alex visiting a couple of our favorite people. How unlikely and completely amazing is it to have Couple Besties where both genders are best friends, too? We couldn’t have been luckier that the universe crossed our paths in Wilderness Trekking School in Denver.

We spent our time in Bend, OR hiking to giant waterfalls, trail running in national forests, dropping our jaws at Smith Rock, skiing on a VOLCANO! and – most importantly – laughing/lounging/hugging/savoring every moment with our friends. (We also cheers-ed Alex locking down a killer internship during our trip! More to come but we’re both pretty psyched about our summer plans.)

Oregon March 2016 // lynnepetre.com

I couldn’t have imagined a better way to ring in 30 than with a few of my favorite people, playing outside in a beautiful place. Looking forward to the new adventures ahead in the upcoming year and beyond.

Osteochondritis Dissecans, 4 Years Later – Update

A few weeks ago, I mentioned it had been 4 years since my last Osteochondritis Dissecans knee surgeries but that something felt a little wonky, to be technical, so my doctor recommended an MRI to see what was going on.

Turns out, good news!

At this point, the MRI does not show anything that my doctor thinks needs to be addressed right now. Everything is still intact and situated where it’s supposed to be which is a major relief.

Knowing the call could have gone in the very opposite direction, as has been the case so many times in the past, I did not even try to contain my excitement as my doctor in Denver relayed this to me over the phone last week; I fist pumped and let out a huge sigh of relief.

Mt Evans Run // lynnepetre.com

Outside of the initial moment in December and weeks immediately following, I’ve had very little interruption to my fitness life. I modified when I needed to but far and away, my knee has felt really good recently. I’ve managed to hit my long runs and have not had any knee pain during or after. I’ve continued to work out at OrangeTheory and play volleyball with my friends. I even went skiing twice! (I was just careful to not do anything too crazy.)

So I was cautiously optimistic that I would not need any medical course of action but, of course, I’m not a doctor so while I waited to hear back, I tried my best to have no expectations or opinion either way. Instead, I kept doing what I was doing. If it did turn out I needed to go under the knife again, I sure as heck was going to maximize (and appreciate!) my running and OrangeTheory classes in the meantime.

Saucony Shoes // lynnepetre.com

I’m really excited to be officially greenlighted! I’d spent most of my winter dreaming up spring/summer/fall plans and surgery would have thrown a pretty miserable wrench in the mix. A wrench I am glad to dodge, this round!

It’s Britney, B*tch

Britney in Vegas // lynnepetre.com

I spent last weekend in Vegas with my friends and let me tell you, it was just the recharge my soul needed.

I know, soul recharging and Vegas? Seemingly contradictory but in this case, 100% true.

Britney in Vegas // lynnepetre.com

As I put together my out of office list at work for my trip, I realized I hadn’t taken a vacation day since mid-September which is kind of crazy. I, of course, had the standard holidays off but I used nearly all of my PTO time in 2015 to move across the country. So taking a couple of days off from work, from Pittsburgh, from real life was much overdue.

I met one of my best friends, Nancy, and her longtime friend (and my new friend), Cheryl, in Vegas for a long weekend of girl time. The main event was to see Britney Spears at Planet Hollywood but before and after that, we spent hours catching up, strolling the strip, eating delicious food and sipping expensive cocktails. I even managed to see my sister, who lives in Vegas, TWICE during my trip! And to top it off, I found a Jersey Mike’s in the Vegas airport. My favorite sandwich shop has no nearby locations in Pittsburgh so at 8:30 a.m. PST, I stepped in line and ordered a Club Supreme for breakfast.

But Britney! What a show!

Britney in Vegas // lynnepetre.com

Nancy snagged us floor tickets so we were RIGHT next to the stage, close enough to practically touch her. As we were waiting for the show to start, we kept an eye on the VIP section just behind us and a few minutes before the show started, we noticed a couple of familiar faces stroll in. AJ and Kevin from the Backstreet Boys!

Britney in Vegas // lynnepetre.com

Teenage Me could not even handle what was happening. The show was so fun – Britney changed costumes at least 6 times, sang all her best songs, nailed all her dance moves and dropped confetti paper from the ceiling at least 3 times. We sang and danced our little hearts out and soaked in the experience.

As the weekend came to a close and my plane lifted off the ground to return me back to Pittsburgh, I felt so grateful for amazing women in my life, both near and far. I’ve been fortunate to meet really great lady friends in my adult life and I cherish these friendships; we may not see each other as often we’d like or talk every week but when we do get together, it’s like no time has passed at all and we pick up exactly where we left off.

Britney in Vegas // lynnepetre.com

After 5 months with no PTO, I couldn’t have imagined a better way to spend a couple of days away from real life. Good friends, great times and a happy heart.