Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The saga of inaccurate 5Ks continues: Girls Just Wanna Run “5K”

Perhaps someday I will run an actual 5K, but 7/21/18 wasn’t the day!

I ran the Girls Just Wanna Run 5K for my final summer short race.  I initially didn't think I'd be able to race on July 21 because we were leaving on vacation that morning, but when my husband told me we couldn't pick up our rental car until 9:00 a.m., I decided starting a local race at 7:30 a.m. was feasible.  It was the last weekend I had a short long run before marathon training amps up, and it was a relatively large women's only race (373 finishers) that I thought would be fun to try to win.  I mapped the course on mapmyrun from the online course map, and it read 3.10 (bingo!!), so I signed up at the expo!
Race shirt, after a different run
I was scheduled to run a 10 miler with 3 miles progressive fast finish, so I decided I'd try to run the race as a progression run, provided that I could go for the win running that way (since past winning times had been over 20:00, I suspected I could).  My goal splits were 6:20, 6:15, 6:10, then sprint the final 0.1.  I knew the course map well enough that I thought I'd be able to easily run it for a warm up, assuming it would be marked, but when I began my warm up I didn't see any markings so I ran the general area but not the exact course.  I was relieved to see a lead cyclist when I lined up!
Lead cyclist shown here!
I went out conservatively, and found myself out front less than a half mile in, so I felt my chance of winning with the progression run pace plan was good.  The lead cyclist was just in front of me, the course volunteers were enthusiastic, and I was right around my pace goal for mile 1.  I looked at my watch when it beeped - 6:19.  The course wasn't marked at all, but I was following the cyclist, which seemed simple enough.
Can you find me?
Not too far after the mile, the lead cyclist and a volunteer disagreed which street a turn was, which did not inspire confidence.  I remembered which street the course map showed us turning on, and the cyclist took me one block too far north.  At that point I thought, "Oh, geez, now it's going to be 2 blocks long", and mentioned that we were supposed to turn on Blaine, not Commercial, as the volunteer had said.  The lead cyclist said that the race organizers had told him the course was the same as last year, which meant a turn on Commercial.  We had this conversation during the race/progression workout, and I wasn't going to not follow him, so I continued on.  The cyclist then started second guessing himself and said he was going to go back to clarify for the volunteer, and I pleaded, "But I don't know where to go!" so he stayed with me.

I didn't know where our next turn was supposed to be, but he thought he did, so I continued on with my workout, thinking that we were going to run 2 blocks long.  Mile 2 was 6:16, so I was right where I wanted to be with my progression run, and just reminded myself to focus on hitting my paces and not getting upset about the distance.  We started nearing the finish line, and I realized it was definitely not going to be long, but in fact quite short (2.68!).  I finished 1st overall in 16:17, with my final split pace being 6:01.

I was disappointed because it was clearly a short course.  I told the finish line workers that I hadn't actually run a 16:17.  The lead cyclist only knew about the 2 blocks he'd added going north/back south, not the 6 that he'd cut off going east/back west, and he kept apologizing to me for making it long and insisting to the race organizers that it was long.  I can only wish I'd run 16:17 for a long 5K (or for an accurate 5K...or even for 3 miles!)!  I didn't know exactly where the second error occurred until I compared my Strava map to the course map, but essentially I ran 4 blocks less than I should have.  In the end, the race added 2:00 to my time for the 4 blocks, for an 18:17, which is still faster than I would have run per my Garmin, but at least closer! 

Official results are here.

I won a nice Thirty One brand over-the-shoulder large lunch tote for my overall award, which I grabbed, along with some great snacks, after my cool down before hurrying home to start our vacation!  One of my co-workers bought a similar lunch bag the week before, and I'd admired the size of it and ease of carrying it (we are always lugging a million things in and out of the building), so it was a timely and functional award!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fleet Feet track meet: If you think a 5K is short, try a 1 or 2 mile!

Because, why not run a 3200 m on the track against a bunch of teenagers in ridiculous heat and humidity?  Clearly I am getting crazier by the day, but this free Tuesday night track meet seemed like a great way to knock out another 2018 short race, and I ended up knocking out two!  Who cares if I was old enough to be the mother of most of the other females in the races and ran approximately my half marathon pace?
If you can't laugh at yourself, you're missing out
When I mentioned running the 2 mile at this meet, my coach said to do it as a "legit workout" (even though I'm not starting back to real workouts until August), but to keep my typical training pattern up I ran a normal run the morning of the evening meet.  Instead of doing an easy pace 4 mile double, I planned to run the race (2 miles hard along with a warm up and cool down) for my first double in 5 weeks.  Now that I'm writing all of this out, it seems like a worse and worse idea...you know what they say about hindsight!  But it was free and at a track only about 6 miles from my house, so it seemed like a crime not to do it.  If I was truly being crazy I'd have run to and from the meet as well (goals for next time!).

We arrived at the track around the 7:00 p.m. meet start time.  The website had the 2 mile (which was actually a 3200 m) listed as the second to last event in the approximately 1 hour meet, so I expected to start around 7:40 p.m. at the soonest, and thought I had plenty of time.  Jon and Albani positioned themselves in the stands, and I went down to the track to talk to a friend who'd asked me to be on her 4 x 100 m relay (clearly they were desperate for a fourth person).  She told me that they'd announced that the 2 mile was the second event; they were running things in the reverse order as they were listed on the website.  So I had only the time that it would take to run the first event, the 400 m races, to warm up!  I hoped there were a lot of people in the 400 m and took off!

I ended up having time to run 1.4 miles (although I had to sacrifice a pre-race pee stop for it), so it wasn't terrible - but I need at least 2 miles to warm up properly for anything fast, preferably 3; I always run the course before any 5K.  I did not do any strides, drills, leg swings, etc., but I thought running with the time I had was the best way to maximize it.  I ran until they called the 2 mile, and then jumped on the starting line dripping sweat.  They ran men and women together, so it was a decent sized group.  The announcer (who was also jumping into races between announcing the meet) said, "We've got a ringer in this one, Sara Ibbetson" and after asking him what that meant, I told him that my 2 mile pace was about the same as my marathon pace so not to expect much.  Then he announced "Her 2 mile pace is her marathon pace, but it's fast, almost an Olympic Trials Qualifier marathon!", which was one of the highlights of the meet for me.  Then we were off!
3200 m start
I got out pretty slow even for me (1:36 first lap) because I wasn't warmed up enough, but then I settled into right around 1:30 for each lap.  I wore my Garmin for the data, but they were calling off the elapsed time each time we passed the finish line so I knew where I was at whether I wanted to or not.  My elapsed times were 1:36, 3:06, 4:37, 6:07, 7:39, 9:11, (did not get lap 7), and 12:15 for my total.  My 1600 m splits were 6:07 and 6:08 so I was very even.  I turned off auto-lap on my Garmin since I knew it would be off on the track, and my Strava was definitely off.

The race itself was pretty anticlimactic; I took the female lead within the first 200 m and spent the first 800 m passing teenage boys.  For most of the race I was pretty much in no man's land; there were 3 men in front of me but they were way ahead; the first male broke 10:00 and lapped me (hangs head in shame), and 2-3 were 11:10ish.  It wasn't long before I started lapping people, and some I lapped twice, so I had to run in lanes 2-3 quite a bit.  I got out-kicked in the final 20-30 m by the meet director/announcer/local Fleet Feet owner who I'd passed before the mile mark; I didn't realize he was close until it was too late and he went flying by me (although he probably ran a 1:15 last lap or something so may not have been close until then).  I had fun, and knocked out my first 2 mile tempo of the season!  Although I didn't have any performance expectations for this race for many reasons, running my half marathon pace for 3200 m seems pretty sad -- but I'd seen the post below from Kellyn Taylor a few hours before the event and it made me feel better that she'd run slower than her marathon pace for pushes on a 10 x 1 minute fartlek that same day!

Right after the 3200 m, I got Albani into the 200 m.  They'd originally said you had to be in 7th grade to participate in the meet, but they let her in as a 5th grader.  She beat the other youngster in her heat and ran a 0:42 200 m, which I thought was really good!  She had fun but she didn't know that you were supposed to stay in your lane on the 200 m because she's only watched me run long track races where you don't stay in your lane, and I didn't think to tell her.  Oops!  She only moved over 1 lane (towards the outside, so she ran farther), but it might have been to cut off her competitor...
Look at that stride!
Relay baton practice
Shortly after, I got recruited to run a 1600 m on the distance medley relay at the last second.  Nothing like - surprise, you're racing a mile starting in 30 seconds!  I ran an honest effort, but it felt much easier than my 3200 m effort, so I was surprised to squeak in under 6:00 (5:59); I guess I was finally warmed up after the 3200!  For anything short, I cannot make my legs go any faster, but I can keep going.  I couldn't run any faster than 12:15 on that 3200 m, but I think I could have run 3-4 3200 m reps at that pace.  I'm not sure if that's age or all of my marathon training or what, but I have a goal to work on it!  It's hard to judge too much by this event (or the summer 5Ks I've run), though, since the heat and humidity were so oppressive.
DMR start
Albani's 4 x 100 team plus one
Then Albani and I both ended the night by starting 4 x 100 m relays.  I told my relay in advance that my 100 m pace, much like my 1600 m and 3200 m pace, was also my half marathon pace, so they were warned.

Albani enjoyed Zach and Shelby's dog just as much as the running and ice cream bars at the end!
This dog stole the show
All in all, this was a really neat event that our local Fleet Feet put on.  It was great to see runners of all abilities out there enjoying themselves.  Rumor has it that they might include a 5,000 m next year, and if so I will probably try to race it "for real" (e.g., not run a lot of miles that morning or work non-stop all day), although a July evening in Missouri is probably never going to be the time to run a fast time in anything, so I should probably just stick with the goal of running to and from the meet.
Team Ibbetson
Jon was a great cheerleader but I couldn't get him to run!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Set goals that make you want to jump out of bed in the morning!

While recovering from Grandma's, I've been pondering goals for my next marathon build.  I will be running the California International Marathon again this year, and I hope to:
  1. Set myself up for a fast marathon on December 2.  I've been working with the same coach for nearly 3 years now (my only coach as an adult), and I trust he will structure my training to accomplish this, so running what he tells me to run each day is an easy goal.  I imagine he will bump up my mileage a bit this cycle, but I'm not sure what else is in store.  I'm excited to find out!  My 2:45:00 or faster Big Dream Goal hasn't changed, but I also recognize I can achieve the fast marathon goal without hitting the 2:45:00 or better goal (2:45:01-2:48:59 also = fast marathon, for me -- and not that 2:49 is slow, just that is not my goal).
  2. Improve my get-up-and-go speed.  I have a hard time getting up to speed, which in some aspects is helpful (e.g., I negative split everything), but hinders my speed work and short distance running.  If I'm running a 1:25 400 m, I'm running the first 200 m in 0:45 and the second 200 m in 0:40, which really isn't ideal.  I'm going to work on this with strides that have walking/standing recoveries between, by incorporating more explosive plyometrics, and by lifting some heavier weights.  It's not essential for the marathon, but if I get faster I hope that will make marathon pace feel slower and therefore easier.  Currently there is not much differential for my pace across different race distances, which again favors the marathon so isn't the worst thing ever...it just seems that my 5K pace should be more than 20-30 seconds/miles faster than my marathon pace.
  3. Vary my training routes even more.  When I was training for CIM 2017, I got stuck on running the same routes, in particular what I thought were the fastest routes, even on easy runs.  Everything I run from my house is hilly to some degree, but how the elevation is distributed makes a difference in pace for me  (the "fast" routes are gentler rollers with more even elevation distribution).  After Houston, I made a goal to start exploring different routes, and I've been running a lot more courses than I was before then, but I am very blessed to live in a rural area with countless safe options.  During my recovery running, I've already added several new routes to my repertoire.  They've all been hillier, hah.
  4. Get more sleep.  This will be the most challenging goal for me, because it's hard to get enough sleep when you're getting up at 4:30-5:00 a.m. every day.  Even when I don't set an alarm, and no matter what time I go to bed, I pretty much always wake up between 4:30-5:30 a.m. (the latest I managed to sleep on our whole Minnesota vacation was 5:40!), so I simply have to get to bed earlier to accomplish this.  Since it takes me at least 30 minutes of reading in bed to fall asleep, I really need to be getting in bed my 8:30 p.m., which is Albani's school night bedtime.  8:00 p.m. would be better, but since I typically don't get home from work until close to 6:00 p.m., that's difficult!  If I run a double in the evening, there is truly no hope, so I try to do most of those at lunch. 
  5. Balance running what I want to do vs. the "perfect" training cycle.  In my 2017 training cycle for CIM, I was really focused on making everything "perfect"...I skipped races that I wanted to run in favor of workouts or mileage that I thought was slightly better, I wanted to hit certain paces on every run, and it was really important to me that all of my data showed I'd had my best training cycle ever.  I did, but I obsessed too much about it.  Then my cycle for Grandma's was the polar opposite...I felt like very little went right until the very end.  My performance was about the same at Grandma's as it was at CIM when you account for course differences, which is kind of humorous based on all of this.  There is definitely a happy medium in there and I am going to strive to find it!  I am confident it includes training well, but not worrying about each mile pace or every single workout and long run in isolation; it's the big picture of consistency day after day that matters most (plus our bodies know effort, not pace).  The biggest "imperfect" part of my current plan is that instead of running a 24 miler 3 weeks prior to CIM, I am going to run a local marathon at training pace 4 weeks prior for my longest long run.  I wanted to do this last year, but didn't due to that effort for perfectness ("It must be 3 weeks before and it must be 24.X miles in the same total duration I want to run the marathon in").  I am really excited about doing it this time and it also means I "only" have to wait 17 weeks to run another marathon, instead of the 21 until CIM!  To make it even better, I will be pacing a friend in her sub-3:00 attempt that day, since 6:50ish is an ideal training pace for that run.
While I'm excited about these goals, I've also gone through a bit of a post-marathon slump.  This is pretty normal for me, and I have learned that when we vacation immediately after marathons, the slump is delayed.  That tricks me because I think I've avoided it, and then it hits!  I am mainly falling prey to negative thinking...I am worried that I'm never going to be able to make improvements beyond where I'm at right now, or, even worse, that I am getting slower every week.  I feel "behind" where I was in 2017 at this time, and I also worry about my lack of speed.  I am sharing this bit not to whine or complain, but to be real.  I appreciate when other runners share both their highs and lows, because we can all certainly relate to both!  I'll keep plugging away and let this next cycle bring what it may.
Looking forward to our 1 year reunion in
December, CIM!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Shufflin' at Shuffle for the Shelter

I am doing a summer of short races.  I considered using the phrase "summer of speed", but I am not sure that anything I run will actually be speedy...in fact, I am more sure it will not be!  These marathon legs have a hard time getting turnover.  I sure admire those people who race equivalent performances at all distances in the same season!

I participate in a yearly competition my running club hosts that requires a certain number of races in different distance categories.  The races that I have run/have planned for 2018 fulfill all I need (and then some) for every category except for short distance.  I had one 5K on my 2018 schedule, a local fall race that I run because of the prizes offered.  I need to run 5 short distance races total, so I had the bright idea that I would run the other 4 when I'm between marathon training blocks (and of course running no speed work).  I knocked out the first at the Duck Waddle on June 30, and the second one a week later at the Shuffle for the Shelter on July 7.
It was quite sunny, & I forgot to change shoes so raced this
in Hoka Cliftons
I figured the race would be small since it was an inaugural event, and I also figured it would be the wrong distance because pretty much every race in my area that isn't certified is off.  I just secretly hope that if they're wrong they will be 3.0 instead of 3.2 (I've also had 2.6 and 3.4...)!  I tried to plot the course on mapmyrun.com from the course map before I decided to go to the race, and kept coming up with 3.2-3.3, but I couldn't map it quite right because it started and finished in a parking lot, had a turn around that I couldn't quite figure out (on race day I learned that it was also in a parking lot), and it wasn't clear exactly how the two loop course worked - so really I couldn't tell.  It was my only local race option this morning, and we are going to be on vacation on July 21 and 28, so I didn't have too many other options to get the races done before my Saturday long runs become long and important again.  A slower time is also better than not having the minimum number of races in my running club's competition, because in the latter scenario you can't compete in the contest at all.

On race morning I was the annoying person asking a million questions, because I was trying to run the course for my warm up and was not familiar with the area, and as I mentioned had struggled with the course map.  The race organizers were very kind and helped me figure out the course, and also told me there would be a bike lead.  I then ran the course for my warm-up, and it measured 3.43, but then I learned I didn't have to go all the way through the starting line before starting the second loop, so I still didn't know how long it actually was.  The race organizers were so nice that they even checked in with me on what distance it was before the start, since I'd been asking about the course beforehand.  I doubt they expected someone to be so concerned about the precise distance of the small fundraising 5K, and they probably complained about me later (not really, they were extremely nice people, but I did have a lot of questions - I also made sure to compliment all of the things they did well)!
Just after the start
After the race began, I was out in front pretty quickly.  Having the lead bike to follow was very helpful, although the course was also well-marked.  I ran by effort, but looked at my watch when we finished the first loop to see the distance (1.60).  On the second lap, I completely let the pedal off the metal...I just didn't have it in me to hurt.  In the end my splits looked like 1 mile at 10K pace (5:59) + 1 mile at half pace (6:08) + 1 mile at marathon pace (6:27) - for 6:12 average for the 3.19 mile race.  I was almost embarrassed to share my splits, but we've all been there, right?  I just couldn't go to the race pain cave...I think that had something to do with running 5Ks a week apart.  In the Duck Waddle I hurt a lot in the final mile, but I also ran quite a bit faster, and I hope that I negative split.  I'd originally planned to run a Firecracker Run too, but I'm sure glad that didn't work out - I doubt I'd have had that in me (on July 4 I fast finished a 9 mile run in 6:22, 6:26, 6:11 and really don't think I'd have raced much faster than that)!
The lead bike looking back for me
I finished about 90 seconds ahead of the second runner (the overall male), and received a gift certificate for a free massage for my award, which I was really pumped about, particularly because I wasn't expecting it.  The race organizers were so nice and did such a great job for a first year event, I couldn't even be annoyed about the course.  Plus, the Duck Waddle was a little short, so I figure my times will balance each other out in my running club's competition, and at least I got a massage for my solid regression run effort!  Results are here.  Only two more summer short races to go!
Can't wait to redeem this!
I made it into the Marshfield Mail newspaper

Late addition to this post - how sweet is this that they sent
thank you notes to participants?!  I've never received one
 before in my 26 years of running.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What I'm Craving This Month (June 2018)

Our garden is in full production mode, and results in many, many fresh vegetables and blackberries!  I eat a lot of produce year-round, but this makes me up my game.  I also took pictures of most of the meals I ate on our vacation, so this post is mainly "what I eat from our garden" and "what I eat at restaurants".

When we eat something like this, Jon says, "I'm going to live forever!"  Beets and spinach from our garden, plus herb-roasted salmon and a cinnamon topped baked sweet potato.

Kale chips from garden kale.

I mentioned my experimentation with easy healthy tuna salad recipes last month, and here is my winning formula:  tuna, plain greek yogurt, finely chopped crunchy veggie of choice (sugar snap peas, celery, carrots, etc.), finely chopped sweet addition of choice (raisins, red onion, red grapes, etc.), garlic salt.  I measure nothing and just put the amount that looks right.  Sandwich on whole grain bread or in a whole wheat pita for a perfect summer no-cook meal!

Smoothies are still winning!  This one had frozen mango, frozen banana, garden spinach, almond milk, and peanut butter protein powder.

My favorite protein powder.

I ate a lot of homegrown beets this month.  Beets are really good for endurance athletes!  If you've never eaten fresh beets before, read about beeturia before you do...if you don't inform yourself you might think you're dying!  This happens to me and my family members every time we eat more than a couple fresh garden beets, but if we have canned beets it doesn't.

This tastes far better than it looks - it is a red lentil vegetable curry.  If you've never tried red lentils you should; their flavor is amazing!  Use full fat coconut milk in the curry to boost your healthy fats and the satiation factor of this type of dish - not to mention it also tastes amazing.

I should have written down the names of the restaurants we ate at on our vacation, because I don't remember any of them!  This was a lemongrass veggie, chicken, and rice bowl that was super heavy on brown rice under the top ingredients you see here, and was therefore perfect for carb-loading on the Thursday evening before my Saturday marathon.

This was my post race lunch at a Thai restaurant near our Duluth hotel.  The place looked a bit sketchy on the outside, but had fantastic food!  I took away leftovers from this one; post-marathon and after some really long runs I get full really quickly somehow (not my normal, but Jon says my body is too tired to digest much, haha!).

One of two plates at the Grandma's Marathon VIP reception.  My favorite part was the artichoke dip (in the middle on a cracker), but the peanut sauce (covering veggie spring rolls) was to die for, and I think this was my first time eating a torte (top left-hand side of plate).

The day after the race I was craving a big piece of chicken/turkey/fish, which never happens.  I ate both of these chicken breasts, covered in a cranberry sauce (served with a salad that isn't pictured), at a mom and pop joint in Grand Marais on Father's Day.  Jon and my dad got ribs!

The picture doesn't do this sandwich justice - it included cubed chicken with pesto sauce and melted fresh mozzarella, along with some fancy arugula and roasted tomatoes

 My first fudge kabob did not disappoint, nor did Lake Superior in downtown Grand Marais!

I craved a lot of protein and baked potatoes in the days after the marathon; this was another meal where I ate two chicken breasts (under broiled Swiss cheese and mushrooms).  The veggie of the day, plain corn, was disappointing.

French-Canadian split pea soup with multi-grain bread.  This was probably the largest bowl of soup I'd ever had.

Our second meal in Canada was Thai, because we were exhausted and it was connected to our hotel.  The portions did not disappoint.  I ate the salad before I remembered to take a photo, but the first photo shows edamame (soy beans in pods, you do not eat the pod part), some type of thin soup, and the remainder of my salad dressing.  The second photo is my green curry entree.  I carried out leftovers from here, which is rare.

And one can never go wrong with a veggie omelet!  I ate this out of a to-go container while Jon drove, after I closed our car trunk with the keys in it and the doors locked while in a zombie-like tired state, and then dealt with getting getting the car's locks popped while Jon and Albani ate on our drive home.

Final Chinese dish of the trip, chicken and veggies sauced with enough sodium to last a normal person a month.

And back home we were overrun with yellow squash and kale and out of most groceries, hence an omelet made with yellow squash and topped with kale chips.

Blackberry smoothie with fresh blackberries from the garden.  It took me several tries to find a really good combination for this recipe, but we had enough blackberries to make hundreds of them!  We froze what we couldn't eat fresh, so I'll be consuming many blackberry smoothies.

Roasted summer squash and zucchini was plentiful.

Jon made this salad and it turned out really well.  It contains cucumber, red onion, and tomatoes (all fresh from our garden), and the dressing contains olive oil, vinegar, and a little sugar, salt, and pepper.  I am too lazy to make anything like this but I ate a lot of fresh cucumbers and tomatoes!

Anything with peanut butter and sugar constitutes a preferred dessert for me.  These peanut butter covered grahams and peanut butter malt balls from the bulk bins at Lucky's (a local grocer) were amazing and something I can't truly buy in bulk!

Books in 2018 - Second Quarter

This continues my un-originally titled Books in 2018 Series.  The first quarter list can be seen here.  I suspected I would have a shorter list in the warmer weather months, and that hypothesis was correct!
My little reader
  • The Walk by Richard Paul Evans - I'm continuing to read Evans's work, which I mentioned often in my first quarter list.  This was the first book in a five book series and left me ready to read the others.
  • Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson - I recommend this memoir.  It was very touching!
  • Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans - The second book in The Walk series.
  • A Step of Faith by Richard Paul Evans - The fourth book in The Walk series.  Neither my library nor the associated branches that I can do inter-library loan from have the third book, which makes no sense.  From reading the second one I knew that the books could stand alone, but this was also frustrating!
  • Walking on Water by Richard Paul Evans - The fifth book in The Walk series.  Definitely read this series!
  • Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding - I read Bridget Jones's Diary years ago, so when I randomly saw this one at the library I picked it up.  It was nowhere good as I remember the first book being.
  • I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley - This memoir was also okay, but nothing you need to add to your reading list.
  • The Broken Road by Richard Paul Evans - I didn't realize that this was the first book in a new trilogy when I picked it up; I prefer to wait until the entire series is out so I can read them straight through.  I will be anxiously awaiting!
  • Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave - This was an entertaining one and I hope to read more by this author now!
  • We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby - I finished it, but I wouldn't read it again or pick up another book by this author...I am more conservative than she.
  • Bridget Jones's Baby by Helen Fielding - I liked this more than Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. which I'd checked out at the same time, but still think you can find better books.
  • How Did You Get This Number by Sloan Crosley - I liked this better than I Was Told There'd Be Cake.
  • My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella - My friend Liz posted about reading this book, and I've enjoyed other books by this author so I checked it out from the library the next time I had the chance and enjoyed it.
  • The Forgotten Road by Richard Paul Evans - This was the second book in a trilogy (The Broken Road, which I read in May, was the first), but the third book doesn't come out until spring 2019, ugh!  This was a really good read.
  • The Noel Diary by Richard Paul Evans - This one wasn't as holiday-themed as you'd think by the title, and his books never disappoint.
  • The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion - I'd read The Rosie Project and didn't realize there was a second book until Liz mentioned it (clearly I enjoy reading her reading lists!).  I agree with her that the first book was better.
  • Summer Secrets by Jane Green - I finished this on my Grandma's Marathon trip and highly recommend it and anything else by Jane Green.  I read every book she'd published several years ago, but now more have come out and I need to catch up!
  • The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty.  I purchased this one in a little book shop in Grand Marais, Minnesota because I'd nearly finished the three books I brought on the trip but still had about half the trip left.  It had some unexpected twists, and I've liked everything I've read by this author (The Center of Everything is a really good read from her).
Mid-May Albani started our library's summer reading program, so now she earns bonuses for the reading she does anyway!  I signed up for the adult program, but logging her reading was so involved that I never logged my own.
This is an amazing coupon book!