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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Oh Captain, My Captain!

This week has been busy -- not with running, but with fun times.
With my friend in town, we've been shopping, eating, drinking, bowling, movie going, beaching, and touring around Ft Lauderdale -- as we did yesterday by boat.
I feel like a tub of blubber with all the extra treats and beers, so when she leaves on Monday, I'm gonna have to eat nothing but salads. Still, it's darn fun having her here!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Camping: The Longer, More Detailed Version

Our stay in the swampland began on Saturday with a team effort between my husband and I: We locked our only set of keys in the truck. It was a combo effort -- I left the keys in there; he locked the truck. I could see panic in his eyes as he assessed how much it would cost to either A.) Have AAA come out to the middle of nowhere to unlock us, or B.) Break a window.

Thankfully, neither had to happen. Our handy friends were able to fashion a lock-picking device out of a marshmallow skewer and they managed to unlock the truck's back window where I had to shimmy through to unlock the rest of the doors -- below I am pictured emerging from the inside.

After the freeing of the truck keys, we mostly sat back and relaxed -- satisfied that collectively we had enough brains to figure out how to break into a Ford Ranger.

After going for a drive in the four wheel trucks, and after watching some others get stuck, then ticketed by the wildlife officer, we made ourselves a classic campfire and sat back with some beers to enjoy the evening. Scooter had spent the day running free like a wild dog -- sometimes a little too wild, so he was exhausted. You'll note in the picture below of me, my husband and Scooter, that Scooter is outfitted with his blaze-orange camping collar. That's right. He has the appropriate camping accessories.

Like I said in the "brief version," we had a lot of fun, and were pretty tuckered out when we returned home -- gritty with dirt. My friend arrived from out of town on Sunday night, and since then, we've been busy socializing and shopping. But I did manage to get a run in last night -- the first since last week's 5K. I don't know how much running I'll have time for this week, but next week, I've resolved to get back to it -- for sure.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Camp Report: The Brief Version

As much as I'd like to give a long, detailed account of our adventures in the swamps and woodlands of South Florida, as well as post the accompanying pictures, I'm afraid I just don't have time today.

So the long and short of it: We had a lot of fun.

We returned home late yesterday afternoon, and then had to prepare for a friend who arrived from out of town last night. She's staying the week with us, and I'll probably be busy playing with her all week -- so, I can't guarantee that posts this week will be frequent or satisfying.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


After class this morning, I am setting out on a camping adventure. My husband, Socoter, me, and some friends are embarking on a weekend trip into the swampland of Florida where we plan to relax, build a campfire, and drink some beer -- should be good times.

I'll return tomorrow, so it won't be a lengthy embarkation.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Dear A1A Marathon Participant,

We are writing to inform you that upon completion of the A1A Marathon, we did not receive your Champion Timing Chip. Please send the timing chip back to the following address ASAP to avoid the $30 replacement fee.


When I did not finish the 1/2 because of the ol' knee, I just walked off the course and went home -- timing chip attached. Later, I noticed it, but didn't know what to do with it. I know I cut it off my shoe strings, but where is it now? Probably in the posession of the good gnomes who scurry away with all my other things.

Dang. Looks like I'm gonna have to fork over $30.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

5K Finish

The evening was nice: breezy and cool, which was perfect for a run. My husband and I arrived early so I could register and so we could both meet up with friends. It was a big race. Much bigger than I anticipated, and before the start gun went off, the announcer said that over 5300 participants had shown up: that's quite the turn out for a 5K (maybe everyone was hoping to win the raffle for the Mercedes -- I know I was crossing my fingers).
Below are my comrades for the run: Jon and Ryan -- both work with my husband (the non-runner/picture taker for me). I lined up with them before the race, and the 3 of us had to push, claw, and trip over the walkers that crowded the front of the start line (ridiculous -- they need two starts for this race because the first tenth of a mile was chaotic). After the start, I lost track of my two friends and was on my own.
Despite being somewhat montonous (the race doubled back on itself twice), it was a fun run. My knee gave me minimal issues and I finished in reasonable time (not my best, but considering the infrequent training and knee trouble, it was alright). There were no timing chips and many doubts about the accuracy of the "official" clock (one guy said it was 2 minutes off, my friends reported about a 30 second delay), but my time on the finish clock was 31 minutes (there I am below in the orange shorts just about to cross the finish line; I did not win the Mercedes, dang). Definitely not a PR, but like I said, not too shabby (I beat those two boys).
Afterward, we all went out for beers and bar food (mmmm, delicious), and we just returned home -- just in time for "Lost." It was a fun night and a fun run.

5K Tonight

Tonight is the Corporate Run 5K. I don't really know how I'll do on it -- Monday's run really made my knee ache -- plus, I'm a little nervous about getting to it on time. I'll have to dash from class (change in the bathroom) to the race, and there's no predicting how the highway will be.

So, cross your fingers for light traffic and no lingering students!

Monday, March 19, 2007


I'm feeling much improved today and yesterday turned out to be, essentially, a wasted day. I spent most of it lying in bed watching tv and reading. The headache was never entirely tamed, and even when I went to bed, I still didn't feel 100%.

You'd think I'd learn, especially since I'm not new at being hungover, but once the beer hits the lips; it's just so good. I can't stop -- but I could be helped by sneaking in some water between drinks so that I don't dehydrate (I think that was why I had that stupendous headache yesterday).

Anyhoo, I hope to get a run in this evening since I've slacked off the past couple of days; I have to be somewhat prepared for Wednesday's 5K.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Uff-da, I'm feeling a little rough today.

We started at 4 in the afternoon, hit 3 separate bars, and drank many beers -- not one was green in color. Antics ensued.

By the end of the night, I was a drunk leprechaun, and I fell down in my friend's driveway (although I still maintain that my heel got caught in a sidewalk crack). And this morning I had the headache from hell.

My noggin has never been in that much pain before, and admittedly, it still aches this afternoon. Water for me today, nothing but water.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Calorie Fest

Last night instead of running, my husband and I went out to dinner (we never feel like cooking on a Friday night). We were both feeling like Mexican, but because we seem to end up at Chipolte nearly once a week (their meat may not have any hormones or chemicals, but there's something addictive about those burritoes), we decided instead to hit up a local Mexican restaurant.

Where I ate my weight in cheese.

Seriously, blood is going to have to fight it's way through my arteries to my heart after the conglomeration of cheese I had last night. That, and the Dos Equis, made for a pretty high calorie, high fat meal (I don't even want to think of how many miles I would have to run to burn off that dinner).

But today doesn't promise to be any healthier. It's St. Patrick's Day, so in honor of the Irish, we're starting our drinking early. We're meeting some friends at an Irish bar/restaurant where we can, hopefully, stake out an early claim (much like Irish immigrants did in the wild, wild west -- as portrayed in the Cruise/Kidman movie "Far and Away": I do like this movie, even though Tom Cruise's accent is completely unbelievable, but in my humble opinion, Cruise is hardly believable as a person) before the crowds threaten our territory. So, tonight, it's nothing but beer and potatoes (only Irish food there is, right?)!

Have a good holiday everyone! Shamrocks for you all!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I got the full-time faculty position I interviewed for 3 weeks ago!! Yeah, I rock!

I got the call last night, and I can't tell you how happy I am about it. I was on the phone half the night making calls to family and friends. It had been such a long wait between interview and notification, so I was starting to feel pretty dejected about it, so when the dean called me at home yesterday evening, I was surprised, relieved, and excited all at once.

The full-time status doesn't go into effect until the fall semester, so I won't be enjoying the monetary benefits for a few more months, but this is a huge validation of the work I've been doing for years. You can be sure that I will be having some green beer in celebration this weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Corporate Run: March 21st

A week from today is the "Corporate Run" which is sponsored in part by both my husband's work, Motorola, and my work, Broward Community College. Each year that I've lived here in South Florida I've wanted to run the "Corporate "Run" -- mostly because lots of our friends run it and I hate to be left out. So, this year it actually works out because I don't have to teach a class on the evening that they hold it.

I've decided to run it even though my knee is not yet back to its old glory (again, because I don't want to be left out), so I don't know how well I'll do, but I figure I've already missed out or didn't finish 3 planned races for the year so far, and most of my running goals are going out the window; I must salvage something.

The only thing that sucks is that because of my eleventh hour decision, I have missed the deadline to be a part of my college's "team," but I assume I can still sign up at the race; I'll just be teamless.

So, for the next 7 days, I am "Corporate Run" focused: 5K, here I come! (Knee, do you hear that? No wimping out this time! I wanna see a strong effort from you soldier!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Name is Jess and...

...I'm a sugar addict.

By now, most of you who read my blog may already know this since I often chronicle for you my love of sweets. But as of late, it seems increasingly clear to me that I not only have a sweet tooth, but that, perhaps, all 29 (yes, I counted them -- does this seem like the right number of teeth? seems like a lot) teeth crave sugar.

See, for Valentine's Day, my husband bought me a box of Fun Dip -- partially because he knows I love sugar, and partially for sentinmental reasons: on one of our first dates he invited me over to his apartment to watch movies, and I brought along some Fun Dip (some people bring a bottle of wine, I bring refined sugar) and ended up spilling the colored sugar all over the place. Anyway, I didn't consume all the packets of Valentine's Fun Dip right away; instead, I've been spacing them out, but in general I have about one packet a night (okay, sometimes two). A packet is 50 calories of sugary goodness, which in a sense isn't that bad (but, it would mean running a half mile to burn off); however, an extra 50 to 100 calories a day of refined sugar can't be helping me to shed those extra pounds that -- I'm convinced -- keep me from being the speed machine I'm meant to be.

So, yesterday I tried to refrain from the sugar(I at first tried to trick myself by having a Diet Sprite, but my palate knew better: aspartame is no substitute for the 'cane), but as I sat watching TV last night, I could hear the Fun Dip calling to me from my closet (I put it in there so that it would be less tempting, but that ploy has failed to deliver results). I yielded and got a packet, and settled in front of the TV to enjoy my sugar. But then it happened: one wasn't enough. I needed more -- needed it, I tell you! I especially had to have another stick (for those unfamiliar with Fun Dip, or if you haven't had it since you were five, the "dip" is just flavored sugar, but you "dip" into the dip with a compressed sugar stick that is delicious) because the stick is my favorite. So, I broke into another pack, this time leaving the dip alone but going straight for the stick. Of course, consuming that didn't squelch the craving either, and I broke into another packet to get at the stick and leave the dip untouched. One packet and three sticks later, I was feeling a little sick to my stomach and also a little wired.

I'm thinking of throwing the Fun Dip out. I know it will just be replaced with other sweets: ice cream or mini cookies, but I have to start somewhere. That, or I'm gonna need to join SA (sugarholics anonymous); heck, maybe that would be helpful anyway. I could join the circle of others who can relate to my childhood habit of eating a handful of sugar cubes on the way to the bus stop; there has to be others out there, doesn't there?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Saturday, March 10, 2007

New Tunes

I added some new songs to my MP3 for running: A little Fall Out Boy, a pinch of the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, a dash of My Chemical Romance, and a sprinkle of The Arcade Fire. Combined with previously loaded songs and my reliable 3 mile route, it was the perfect recipe for a Saturday evening run.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Today is a rest day from running, but I've been busy otherwise.

Even though I'm on break, I still have school work to catch up on: papers to read, classes to plan, etc, so I've been working on that stuff for the majority of the day -- one project that I thought would take about an hour ended up taking about 3 hours! Also, I'm trying to take care of some errands: grocery store, Target, Walgreens, etc, and those take time as well, so today doesn't feel all that restful. In fact, it's 5:15 pm right now, and this is the first moment where I've felt I could take a break from stuff, uff-da.

Thankfully, I still have two days left of my vacation before classes resume on Monday; I wish spring break was two weeks!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Jessica the Great

While I'm on break, I've been trying to sort through some pictures and organize some albums -- needless to say, I haven't really gotten very far; however, I was reminded of a token from my childhood that I thought you guys might appreciate: my biography. As written by Virginia Ammons when I was in first grade and she was in fifth.

See, for a couple of early elementary years, I lived with my grandparents on their farm in CO, and I attended a one-room schoolhouse; seriously. There were just two of us in the first grade: me and Lucas-Mucus (having to always partner up with that snotty -- literal boogers -- kid bugged me more than I can express; I hated having to stare at that slime-covered upper-lip of his); my mom credits my experience in that school with much of my later accelerated learning; Cherry Valley worked in a unique way since there were so few students (30 total: grades kindergarten through fifth), and essentially, students worked at different grade levels for different subjects, depending on individual skill (kinda like a Montessori). So, I was good at English and worked at the fifth grade level with them, but I sucked at math, so I worked with Lucas-Mucus on that.

So, as a fifth grade project, we wrote biographies of one another and Virginia had me: "Jessica the Great."
Here we are, partnered up, and I, of course, am the small, dark one. This photo was glued on the inside jacket of the spiral bound book that was all about me and my favorite things. Fav movie? "Journey of Natty Gann." Fav TV show? "Cosby Show." Etc. So, as you can see on page 19 below, my "favorite thing in life" was that I ran "fast."

Personally, I love the illustration -- it DOES demonstrate speed, doesn't it?

I think about this little book from time to time, and especially this page, and when I'm running, I try to picture my knees moving back and forth with the sort of speed illustrated by Virginia Ammons -- my pony tail flapping in the wake of my speed. I certainly no longer think of myself as fast, but 23 years after this book was bound together, running is still one of my favorite things in life.

Where Virginia chose the title from, I have no idea, but it has stuck over the years, and I have always thought of myself as "Jessica the Great" (running is partially what makes me "great," but the "greatness" is really a general attitude); I hope everyone else thinks of themselves in similiar terms: We all should be our first name + "the" + a chosen adjective of significance. What's yours?

Scooter's Smacky

My student, Chelsea, did make it into the final 9 for the next Pussycat Doll show (see previous post below) last night, and it was kinda a nail-biter since she was chosen last. But, now I'm gonna have to watch that stupid show every week to see how she does.

For those like BCG, who don't know who the Pussycat Dolls are, well, I suggest you turn on MTV or VH1 every once in awhile -- kidding:) They're a musical group and a Vegas show (I'm not sure if it's one in the same -- can anyone else shed better light on that?) and they sing the song "Dontcha Wish Your Girlfriend was Hot like Me."

But aside from former students who are now on reality shows, I just had to share these pics of Scooter snuggling his little yellow bear (yes, I'm very literal when naming my pet's pets).

If you read the comic strip "Get Fuzzy," it will totally remind you of Bucky Kat's stuffed bear "Smacky." If you don't read "Fuzzy," well, you're missing out on some laughs.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Totally Whack

So, I'm sitting here flipping through the channels, waiting for "Lost," which doesn't come on until 10, and I stopped for a bit on a new reality series on the "CW" called "The Next Pussycat Doll"; well, I think that's the name of it, anyway; they're auditioning for the next addition to the group. So, I notice that one of the girls looks familiar, and I'm intrigued: Is that one of my students?

I kept an eye out for her to re-appear, and upon further scrutiny, and the mention of her name, Chelsea, and her hometown, Cooper City, FL, I knew it WAS one of my students! Actually, she was in one of my classes last semester, and she withdrew from class about 6 weeks into the course (did she withdraw to film this show? I don't know!), but I remember her.

It's so weird! That girl who sat in the back row in the 12:30 class is now on my TV screen! I hope she makes it to the final 9, so I can see her go farther in the competition, but if she speaks and her grammar isn't correct -- well, like I said, she withdrew 6 weeks into the semester, so I can't take responsibility for that.

3 Miles and a Burrito

I ran 3 miles this evening, and they went well. There was a little knee discomfort at the half way point, but I ran through it, and it dissipated. Was able to run the entire way, so that felt good.

But the 300 calories, or so, I burned were immediately replaced by the 8 billion calorie burito I had for dinner from Chipolte (calorie estimation may be an exaggeration). But damn, those burritoes are delicious!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Yesterday's 3 Miler

was alright.

I couldn't tell if it was arduous because I hadn't run in 15 days, or because my knee was aching. In the end, the 3 were a combo of walking and running, and I didn't feel terrible about that, but also didn't feel splendiferous about it either. I guess that's how it is sometimes.

In other news, spring break is awesome. My husband took two days off work to chill with me, and we've seen two movies: "The Departed" was amazing! (although I do have some criticism) and we went to see "Zodiac" in the theater yesterday, and we also thought that was good (but VERY long -- I had to pee twice during the film). And today, we're headed to the beach! Yeah, spring break rocks!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Down, Dog

With the knee restricting my running the past few weeks, I've been doing a lot of walking, but I've also been trying to practice yoga on a more regular basis. But, it's hard with a little dog who thinks that every time I'm on the floor, I'm there to play with him.

Here I am Sunday morning, preparing for the wheel. It's not easy holding a pose while Scooter is licking my face, and while I am, thus, laughing. The benefit to doing yoga at a studio must be: the down dog, minus a dog.

But, speaking of the knee (kinda), RW had a brief segment on IT bands: an appropriate stretch and: a recommendation of fish oil daily (Omega-3 fatty acid), which, as you know, I have resumed taking (going on 6 days of consistent vitamin and fish oil intake). That article encouraged me in my fish oil endeavor (the blurb speaks of its anti-inflammatory properties) and I've decided to not let gagging keep me from taking the necessary nutrients. I just have to get used to it.

And because it has now offically been two full weeks of no running, I will test out the quality of my IT band's rest by trying a short run today (I'm thinking of something in the range of 2-3 miles). I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Dog Walk

This morning, I am not the exerciser in my family; instead, it's my husband. He and Scooter are partcipating in a "dog walk" here in downtown Ft Lauderdale to benefit the county human society. They are joining other friends with their dogs to walk and donate support (and dollars) to the shelter.

I wish I could walk with them, but I have class this morning (2 1/2 hours until my spring break officially commences!), so I can't go. I hope they have fun walking (I'm sure my husband's arm has already been stretched beyond its normal capacity -- Scooter will be so excited to see so many dogs, his friends included)!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Looking Forward to the Break

This week, and really the whole month of February, has been very busy: Classes have been full and every time I return a batch of essays, I'm getting a new batch; at home, we're in the middle of construction and we've had limited use of our kitchen for more than two weeks; in the back of my mind, I'm still stressed about that interview I had more than a week ago and which I haven't heard a peep on; and all other matters of work and home have made this week in particular a busy one.

Which is why I'm so glad that after tomorrow morning's class, I have the next 8 days off for spring break: woo-hoo! And I'm not planning anything!

Except for maybe a triumphant return to running (cross your fingers for the knee).