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My real life is a lot like THS (True Hollywood Story) except there's no fame, fortune, or drug addiction. Instead, I'm happily married, have two children, and a dog who's prone to barfing at 3 am. I love them all, but I also have to run away from them every day. I always run back, though.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Change of Plans

I learned yesterday that my planned half marathon in October has been cancelled. Apparently, the race's big sponsor went under, and well, when a business goes out-of-business, they don't really want to fund a race. So, this throws a wrench in my plans, but thankfully, I'm a quick thinker, and I checked out other local races, and I believe I have found a solution.

There's a 15K on October 15th that I can run. Now, I may teach English, but I can do math, and I know that 15K is less than a half marathon, but it's the closest I think I can come within that time frame. And really, I just want the opportunity to run a longer race before the marathon in January to get a feel for it.

Plus, 15K sounds longer -- no one in America can calculate kilometers anyway (you Canadians, shush).

But, I've gotta find me some gum before my evening class; I have turd breath, which is weird since I had an antipasto salad, not a turd salad for dinner.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ernesto, Cont'd

Turns out that Ernesto is no big deal (despite how he may think of himself). It remained a tropical storm, so the area got drenched in rain, but that's about it. The storm never really strengthened like predicted, so what we have here is just a very breezy thunder storm. But the good news is that I got the day off again today and so did my husband, so it's like a weekend in the middle of the week! Pretty frickin' cool.

Yesterday afternoon, I went out and did my 3 mile run. It was a little windy, and at first, it was drizzling on me, but the rain ebbed, and my run went fine. In fact, if it hadn't been for the overast skies and the wind, it would've been a helluva hot run because of the humidity. As it was, I was still sweatin' like a monkey.

I wonder if the gym will open back up this afternoon? Otherwise, I guess I can do my cross training at home.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ernie, without the Bert

The threat of Ernesto has closed most of South Florida, so that means no work for me today -- picture me doing a little jig! Plus, it looks like Ernesto will now remain a tropical storm instead of turning into the predicted hurricane. Awesome: A day off and no real threat. Oops! I shouldn't have said that; I hope I didn't jinx us. Anyway, I'm hoping for a day off tomorrow as well (the storm is supposed to make landfall in the middle of the night), but a four day week before Labor Day is already like having your birthday the week before Christmas, so I shouldn't get too greedy with my wishes.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ernesto and Other Notes

It's a little difficult to concentrate today since Ernesto is threatening to hit our area in the next few days. Right now, the storm is just a Tropical Storm, but forecasters are saying that it will most likely turn into a category 1 hurricane after is crosses Cuba, and then it is headed directly for South Florida (but there is always room for uncertainty and it could wobble any which way within the projected "cone"). People are scrambling to get supplies in order here and I'm waiting for the word on whether classes will be cancelled tomorrow or not; we'll wait and see. Cross your fingers for us!

In other non-storm related news, last night I had great 5 miler. It was humid, but there was a slight breeze, so it wasn't unbearable; plus, I had some new tunes, curtesy of a friend, and that made the run go by quickly. When I got home, my husband and I enjoyed some "big salads" for dinner and I had some Gatorade -- perfect recovery meal. This morning, I did some yoga and ab work. I think I need some new yoga videos to help mix things up, does anyone have any suggestions?

That's about it for today. I'll keep you bloggers updated about the storm as soon as I know more (and if we continue to have power)!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Weight of the Matter

So, I want to lose 3 pounds. Sounds feasible, right? I want to lose 3 pounds in 3 weeks. Also possible. But it probably means fewer grill cheese sandwiches. Dammit.

My weight has always fluctuated since high school, and at my tubbiest, I was 125 lbs (for being Smurf height, that's at the high end of my BMI range). Once several years ago after a depressing break up with a boyfriend, I dropped down to 107 lbs -- the weight I entered college at. I was proud of myself earlier this summer for weighing in at 115, but since then I have gained back a few pounds and this morning I was somewhere between 117 and 118 (it's hard to tell sometimes with my scale; it's not digital). My ideal weight is somewhere around that 107-110 mark, but I'm really not that concerned if I ever weigh that much again; plus, everything I've read about nutrition while training for a marathon reports that you shouldn't be trying to lose weight while training for a marathon because you need to ensure that you consume lots of calories in order to have enough energy to put in the miles.

However, I think that losing a few initial pounds would be helpful and would make me feel better. So why the three week time limit? That's when I face off with my friend Ryan for our 5K challenge, and I figure if I'm carrying 3 pounds less for that race, I just might fly through the course a little better.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Some Cross Training, Saturday Alarms, & a Dog in the Laundry

Yesterday afternoon I got home from class feeling beat from a busy first week back to school and a huge part of me wanted to bury myself in the cool covers and take a nice long nap, but instead, I resisted and I cleaned the house, did the laundry and even went to the gym and did my cross training. I went 30 minutes on the eliptical machine (and was next to a woman who reeked of cigarettes) and then lifted (arms and back).

And I was full of good intentions last night when I tucked myself into bed to get up early this morning and fit my run in before sun-up, but when the alarm went off at 6 am I said, "Please no!" and shut it off and returned to dreamland. This means I now I have to wait until this evening to go for my run because I don't want to do five miles on the treadmill -- that's just too awful for me.

That's about it for this Saturday. Took Scooter to the vet this morning for a regular check-up; poor little fella had to get a fecal test (nobody likes a stick up the butt), but he got four new toys so he's pretty happy now -- just chillin in the clean laundry.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I deserve a pat on the back

Because I actually got up this morning and ran. Yes, that's right. I did it. 3 miles. That's what was on the schedule, so I feel on track today, and it's a good thing I got it done this morning; otherwise, I won't get home until late tonight from class and I know won't run then (I will be tired, I know it, and my brain will be goo).

I also picked up Hal Higdon's "Marathon" book yesterday. Read the first few pages. Makes me feel like a legitimate runner!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Confession

Bless me bloggers, for I have sinned: I skipped my planned day of running yesterday and instead of making it up with a longer one this morning, I did the scheduled short run with the planned strength training. With classes starting this week, I've been very busy, and yesterday was one long-ass day on campus, so I didn't fit my run in.

I do think, however, that walking from building to building and up and down flights of stairs should count for something.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An Ode to Snacks

There are many things I love to eat: big plates of spaghetti, thick hunks of cake, heaping bowls of ice cream, and piles of chicken marsala. Unfortunately, I can't really eat like that, even running can't burn as many calories as I'd like to consume, and usually when I have those above mentioned treats, I try to limit my portions (note the word "try"). But aside from a deep love of all things rich and fat-laden, I also love many snacks that aren't too bad for you, and because I love a list, I thought I would give to you a top ten among light snacks.

These treats are all approximately 100-150 calories in their appropriate serving size. Here they are in descending order (best for last):

10. Banana

9. Snack pack sized cottage cheese

8. Apple

7. Small pita (pitettes, they are often called) and tbl spoon of hummus

6. Biscotti

5. String Cheese

4. Snack pack no-sugar Jello-O (cherry, please) with a tbl spoon of Cool Whip Free

3. Package of generic fruit snacks

2. Starbucks Tall No-Fat Latte

1. 100 calorie pack Chips Ahoy!

If you have your own to add, please do so. I'm always looking to expand my low-cal snack repetoire!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Talk Dirty to Me!

I think the pictures tell the story of our night at the Poison concert best (hint: comments precede the appropriate pictures -- didn't want to confuse anyone):

Here's the gang at the end of the night playing in the funfetti up by the stage. Our seats were no where near this close, we were up on the lawn (getting poured on and slipping in the muddy grass) but I think that's where they put the awesome people, because we had a blast!


I don't know these people (met them in the parking lot while tailgating), but they are the perfect example of the sort of "color" one sees at an event that features Poison. Clearly, I was under-dressed.

I fell in the mud, no wait, let me re-phrase that, I was dragged through the mud by one of my cohorts. I was a diiirty girl! (Psst, that's my husband standing next to me. This is a monumental moment bloggers: He let me post a picture with him in it! Maybe he wants a bit of the limelight?)

This is how you get an event started -- in the parking lot! We spotted four Camaros (spelling?) which was a little disappointing. We thought for sure there would be loads of Camaros, Trans Ams, and Mustangs, but really, they weren't outnumbering any other vehicle.

It was a grand time, my friends. So my advice? See Poison in a town near you. Especially if the tickets are $15. That was less than the price of two beers inside the concert!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Sunday's Schedule

I ended up skipping my cross training on Friday, so because I felt guilty about it, I did my cross training yesterday (30 minutes eliptical, weights) and I plan to run my four miles some time today, instead of taking today off. The trouble is that I slept in this morning, so I blew running when it was cool outside, and tonight I'm going to a concert (Poison!) so I won't get to run then. That means, yes you guessed it, I'll have to go to the gym and get my miles in on the treadmill. Icky.

Friday, August 18, 2006

We Shook On It

My friend Ryan and I have entered into a binding wager (punishment of withdrawal from said agreement is death, just so you know Ryan) concerning my upcoming 5K in September. We have agreed to both race to beat our own PRs. My best time is 29:52 and his is 28:00. If one person beats their own PR but the other one doesn't beat his or her PR, then the loser has to pay the winner's race entrance fee. But we are undecided as to what we should do if it's a draw. What do you guys think? Should we just each pay our own entry fee? Or is there an alternative that's more interesting?

This does provide me with some extra incentive and I would love the opportunity to kick his ass since he is the bane of my bowling existence (yes, his team beat ours last night and they were able to take second place in the league, ass goblins). Anyway, I'd better start putting some serious efforts into my training: No skipping the cross training this afternoon!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Morning Run

This morning I joined the ranks of smuggy smuggersons and I ran early. I have a full day today and bowling tonight, so I knew that if I was going to fit my run in, I had to do it early. And I actually did it, which is kind of amazing. I got my 3 miles in for the day, and now I am showered and ready to go; I can understand why getting it out of the way in the morning is so appealing (plus, it is so much cooler!).

I may have to get used to this: Fall semester is going to be a busy one and if I want to get my training in, I'll have to rise early most days of the week. Crap.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

5 pm Run...

...NOT a good idea. I figured since I planned to only run 2 miles that I needn't worry that it was still about 92 degrees outside with the sun shining down. A mile into it, I was spent. Sweat was dripping into my eyes (which prompted my deep thought for the day: tears and sweat are essentially composed of the same elements -- salt and water, right? -- so why does one sooth the eyes and one sting?) and I was blinded.

I trudged on and finished my measly run for the day (I had some strength training on the menu as well), but I sure do wish I had just driven the ten minutes to the gym and ran my 2 miles in air conditioned comfort.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Numb Butt

So, today was the first of four days of faculty workshops before the semester begins next Monday. What does that mean? Mostly it means sitting on my butt for eight hours listening and watching PowerPoint presentation after PowerPoint presentation on how to be a good (no, wait, great!) college professor.

I don't sit well for that length of time.

As an instructor, I spend most days standing (and pacing) in front of a classroom while students sit (this experience certainly gave me some perspective about their point of view). I also walk back and forth between buildings on campus, and up and down stairs to the various classrooms I teach in. Yes, some days are spent locked away in my office sitting and reading papers, but I can never do that for an extended period; I always give myself breaks where I get up, walk around, and do something else. I don't know how people in an office can do it; my butt is literally uncomfortable and sore (even sitting and typing this now is trying for my butt and low back).

To stay awake for a full day of lectures and workshops, I fueled up on about five cups of coffee (don't be too worried, I interspersed coffee guzzling with bottles of water -- which means I made many trips to the bathroom, and that helped break up the day some), so now I feel like I could wallpaper a bathroom (except my efforts over the past year have been to de-wallpaper my house)! And for once, I'm looking forward to my run this evening: I need to burn off the excessive caffeine and I need the physical exertion; my legs are killing me -- they are begging for some exercise!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday: Not my "run" day

Yesterday was a lovely rest day -- it feels so good to do nothing and not feel guilty about it; it's on my schedule: no running. And today is a day for yoga. I plan to go to a class at the gym this evening. I haven't been to yoga in about 8 weeks, and I just can't practice in the same way at home (primarily because I have a dog who thinks the mat looks like a good place for him to lay down, and he licks my face whenever I get close to the floor), so I'm looking forward to this evening's session.

Tomorrow I hit the trails again. Well, not trails, sidewalks.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

29:52

A new PR for Jess! 29:52 (could be a few seconds less -- it was a "fun run" so there were no Champion Chips to record individual times)! My first mile was a little too fast (9 minutes exactly) and from there I got progressively slower. I passed the second mile marker at exactly 19 minutes and then barely got to the finish under the 30 minute mark, so I had a 9, then 10, and then 11 minute miles.

But despite my slowing throughout the race, instead of speeding up in the course, I am still very pleased with my time since it's my best so far. The last 5K I ran (back in February), was about 30:30 I think.

It was a good run, not too hot, and now I think I will shower and take a nap.

P.S. My digital camera is in its last days (it's dying a slow death), so I'm currently taking donations to buy a new one. I would prefer the new 7.0 pixel Sony Cybershot, so if everyone chips in about $20, I can have a new one within the week. Thanks. I promise to take better pictures (or really, I promise to have my husband take better pictures -- many thanks to him for getting up at 6 am to join me for the morning race!).

Friday, August 11, 2006

No Sweat Prep

Tomorrow is my "No Sweat" 5K (something tells me that title is a misnomer), and I'm all ready. I'm registered, I have the directions, I have my clothes ready, and I have my breakfast determined (bowl of cereal, cup of coffee -- hope it flushes the system ahead of time and perks me up). So, the race is at 7 am (poopy morning race on a Saturday morning), and in order to fully digest my planned breakfast and to drive there in time, I think I will need to get up at 5:15 am.

That's what I hate about races -- the time. I suppose if I were a morning runner, it would be perfect, but I hate getting up early and can't say I ever run my best at an early hour; however, I will work through it. I'll at least be excited for the race; my husband on the other hand, may fall asleep on the sidelines.

He's being such a good husband and supporter by agreeing to come along (and be the official Jess picture-taker). He does demand breakfast afterward though, and we will both probably go back to bed for a long nap once we get home. I'll let everyone know how it goes tomorrow: Cross your fingers and pray it's not too hot!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Insomnia

I can't sleep tonight. Not sure if it's because I took a two hour nap this afternoon before my cross training session or if it's because I know I can sleep in tomorrow, but for whatever reason, here I am. Sometimes when I can't sleep or when I'm bored and I turn to the Internet, I Google people I know or have known and see if I can find what they're up to. If I can even find them, they're not up to much. But after I have exhausted that list, I Google myself.

It's weird Googling yourself (I know everyone reading this has done it, and if you haven't, you should -- it's a quintessential online experience). I'm used to seeing hits for an artist who shares my name, a doctor practicing in Ohio, and a poet who lives in New York, but I wasn't prepared as I scrolled through a new list today of the runners with my name. There are other Jesses out there running 5Ks and marathons and half marathons, and for a moment, I had an out of body experience when I thought I had found myself, but it turned out to be another Jess who ran a Turkey Trot the same Thanksgiving I did, but she was in a different city.

After that, I had to quit. It begins to make you feel as though you're not you're real self. And it definitely undermines the notion that you are unique; not a reality I was searching for at 1 am. I was looking for something to put me to sleep, but now I have questions about "identity" that will keep me up all night!

Cooler Temps

Yesterday evening, a cooling rain helped drop the temps in our area, and my evening run was actually very pleasant. If only I hadn't eaten about a dozen pot-stickers for dinner (they're so small and they go down so easy), I might have felt a little more comfortable during my run. As it was, the entire three miles felt like I had a brick in my stomach.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Hottest Year Ever

If you have been thinking that this summer feels hotter than any previous summer, you would be right. According to weather experts, this year is the hottest recorded year so far. The only other year with comparable heat was 1934 (the middle of the Dust Bowl). And the summer's not over yet!

Plus, according to the National Climatic Data Center, we are having record heats at night as well; the atmosphere is retaining more mositure so it's trapping hot air close to the earth, and that's why it doesn't feel a whole lot cooler when we go for our runs after the sun has set. No wonder I'm such a sweaty monkey when I return from my runs (and I've been keeping them around 3 miles lately because I just get so hot on anything much longer).

So, make sure you're keeping cool and hydrated. I don't want reports of spontaneous human combustion filtering through the blogosphere!

Monday, August 07, 2006

An Unexpected Run

Not all runs are planned. Sometimes, we runners are called into action at unexpected moments. This afternoon was just such a moment. We have been dog-sitting Wilson, the pictured puggle, since Wednesday, and he's been very good and he is an incredibly sweet dog. But also, apparently, a sneaky one.

This afternoon when I got home from class, I took both he and Scooter out for a walk, and when we got back, I unleashed them when we were at the threshold of the house (this allows them to sprint indoors to the water bowl without yanking my arm off). I have never had an escapee, but today, Wilson took a look behind him, realized he was free, and ran. Scooter paused for a second and then was off in pursuit.

I was running and chasing them (not very effectively because I was still wearing my heals from work, and they aren't prime shoes for a quick jaunt across the parking lot). They were pretty fast for two dogs that mostly lay around all day. Scooter, to his credit, came to me, but I had to out-wit Wilson as he rounded the corner of a bush in order to catch him.
I wasn't winded, but a short sprint in the early afternoon heat was not something I needed and those dogs got a few choice words and some smacks on the behind: They immediately looked very sorry. Maybe I should start strapping on my running shoes all the time, just in case I am called upon to run -- if superheroes keep their capes under their regular clothes, maybe my shoes should all be capable of morphing into running shoes at a moment's notice. Dang, that would be handy.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sunday Comics

Some days, I swear, Darby Conley is tapped straight into my brain for humor (remember, fellow runners, laughing is just as good for your heart as running)!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Batter is Better

It's that time again, when the craving for yellow #5 hits me, and I just have to have some yellow cake with chocolate frosting. But tonight I decided to mix it up some and make them into cupcakes (just another C-R-A-Z-Y Saturday night!), but whenever I make cake or brownies or cookies, the one thing I fill up on before I even get to the baked goodies, is the batter. In fact, I have to declare that I like the batter more than I like the actual baked product.

I don't worry about consuming raw eggs (I've been doing it since I was a toddler, so I assume I have a tolerance for any strain of salmonella), and the glory of the goop is delicious. In high school, I used to make chocolate chip cookie batter and just leave it the fridge and then pull out the bowl and eat some batter; I wouldn't even bother making the cookies -- if I was feeling truly decadent, I would mix that cookie batter with some vanilla ice cream. I guess you could say I invented chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream; damn that Ben and Jerry for stealing my idea.

With all this posting about drinking beer, scarfing down Taco Smell, and slurping up cake batter, I bet you guys think I'm a food slob, but I have been on course with running (yesterday I was forced to use the dread treadmill -- icky) and cross training (kinda). But if we were meant to live on fresh fruits and veggies, then they'd grow on trees. Wait a sec...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Drinkin' Beers

The thing about drinking beer which makes sticking to a healthy diet so difficult is not necessarily the beer itself (although it doesn't help), but instead, it's the cravings for salty, fatty foods that immediately prompt you to seek a Taco Bell drive-thru: That's what ruins the healthy eating.

Last night at bowling, I had me some beers (and it did help my game), and then afterward my husband and I hit the drive-thru. It's no surprise that I ate too much icky taco (seriously, it wasn't even very good, yet I kept stuffing my face) and then went to bed feeling bloated and fat. Not very good for a girl who's trying to be a speeding bullet -- chubby bullets don't go as fast.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Speed Demon

Last night, I ran my fastest three miles ever! (Well, not ever, but the fastest in a long time.) I don't wear a watch or a Garmin (I know, it's like running in the dark ages, but I hate the feel of a watch on my wrist -- it rubs my wristbone wrong), so I don't know my exact time and I have no idea what my splits were, but the kitchen clock said 7:56 when I left and read 8:26 when I returned. That's thirty minutes minus the walking out to the path and back time, so minus two minutes; that equals 28 minutes!

Basically, I was moving so fast, I was a blur to the naked eye, kinda like Superman.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Road Racer

Feeling a bit sluggish with running motivation, I decided to invgiorate my attitude by looking forward to some fall races -- the race schedule has been added to my sidebar over there, but don't bother trying to click on them, the links don't work (most don't have an actual page, and those that do don't connect well). The first of which is in a week and a half. Am I crazy?

Maybe.

It's a 5k, so the distance isn't worrisome, but the date is: August 12th. A race in August? In Florida? Maybe my husband should just commit me now. Last year when I ran a 5k in August, I nearly went up in flames, but I'm hoping that the 7 am start time and a year's worth of running under my belt will better prepare me for this race.

We'll see.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Green Means "Go!"

Yesterday, the god of green lights was smiling down on me from the heavens.

Stop lights are the bane of the urban running existence, especially in an area that has few trails or parks where runners can gallop free from the cement paths that run alongside the roadways. Many of my routes have been designed to avoid as many intersections as possible, but certain routes can't help but coincide with traffic lights. Last night's route was an old one of mine that stretches two miles north and then doubles back on itself: It only has three lights, but because I double back, the number of lights doubles.

Sometimes, I have to stop at every single light and wait, and this throws me off -- once I stop, I feel as though I lose some of my momentum. This is why it is also better to be a morning runner, because even when the lights are against you, at five am, there's no traffic, so you can cross against the lights and pray that a random car doesn't plow you down.

Last night though, I must have been running at exactly the right tempo, or else I was just lucky because I hit a green light at every intersection. One was a close shave though. You see, some of our intersections have installed those timers that inform the pedestrian of how many seconds they have to cross the street (handy devices I think, but can also be a bit stressful: when you know you only have 20 seconds to get across, you can feel a bit pressed for time), and as I approached one of the intersections on my path, I noted that I only had five seconds to reach the other side. So I dashed!

And I triumphed! My foot hit the sidewalk at the 0 mark, and I felt a bit like I had just finished a race. The rest were green with plenty of time to cross; now, if only I could ask the gods to bless me with the same kind of string of lights when I'm driving. The commute would go so much faster!