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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.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Potter Break

Managed to take a brief break from Harry Potter to run my 4 miles this evening -- not much to report about the run; it was hot, humid, and buggy like always; however, I am continuing to enjoy the return of my tunes -- but now I need to get back to it! I'm trying to pace myself b/c I don't want to rush through the novel (it's the end, people, the end!) but I just can't help myself -- the story is so compelling!

See ya, homies, Potter is calling to me!

5 Miles and My Music

Instead of getting much Potter read yesterday afternoon, I spent several hours trying to fix the music situation on my computer and on my mp3. After two chat sessions and one phone call to tech support, I ended up uninstalling Real Player on the computer and reinstalling it (which means I have to completely re-do all my playlists, but at least I didn't lose any music), and I had to re-format the mp3 (wipe it clean) and then re-transfer all the music I want on there. It was a painstaking task that again left me frustrated with my mp3 and my music service (when I asked the tech guy why the mp3 had erased all the playlists on its own, he had no answer -- I would have been happier if he'd suggested gnomes), but in the end, I had my tunes restored, so I was pleased.

After spending that much time working on the music, I was excited to get out for a run and listen to it. I ran 5 miles, and while it was very hot, and very humid, I was happy with the run and the music made it so much more enjoyable. I need my music on a run like I need my coffee every morning -- it's an addiction, one that I don't plan to remedy any time soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sanibel

Sanibel, for those who aren't familiar with FL, is a small island off of Ft. Myers in the Gulf. It's a quiet island best known for its beaches, which are prime for shelling, and for the wildlife preserve. It's not a place to go and party (like Key West); it's a place to go and relax -- and that's exacting what the hubby and I did this weekend.

Our trip revolved around one thing: the beach. We spent most of our time lying on the beach, enjoying the sun and our respective reads. I think I really needed this weekend: I slept a lot, finished two books that I was part way through, got some rays, enjoyed the clear Gulf water, and even got a run in (also along the beach -- it was a beautiful run, even ran past a couple getting married at sunset).

We got home this afternoon, and since my hubby was able to finish Harry Potter at the beach, I plan on picking the book up and spending the rest of the day buried in Potter. Ahhh, what a lovely weekend. Hope everyone's elses was just as enjoyable!

Friday, July 27, 2007

On the Road Again

Is where we're headed this weekend. Geez, we're traveling fools! See ya on Sunday -- have a tubular weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday's (Mostly) Sober Bowl

I'll be honest, I really didn't drink that much at bowling tonight, so sorry, I think this will be mainly comprehensible prose. True, I had a few beers, and yeah, enjoyed one shot, but on the whole, I was mostly sober...could this correlate with the fact that I did pretty well with my game this evening? Bah. Why open that window to questioning myself?

Anyway, I did indeed go run 3 miles this afternoon after the "mom conversation" (see below to catch up). It was fucking hot. It was about 4:15 pm and 90 degrees (with humidity, somewhere around 99 degrees). Thank god it was only 3 miles -- I think I would have burst into flames otherwise (I figured it was my punishment for failing to get up early and getting it done in the pre-dawn hours).

Afterward, I had a bottle of water (16 oz), a Gatorade (16 oz), another bottle of water (16 oz) and then several beers (at bowling), and I didn't pee until after those beers. Ya think I was a tad dehydrated after that sweaty, punishingly hot run? Yeah, yeah I was. Pee was like the color of the beer.

I suspect that tomorrow I'm gonna feel pretty fabulous since I won't be hungover. This could be a new trend for me.

Conversations with Mom

So, this afternoon, I was chatting with my mom (biological one) on the phone and she was asking about my marathon training (she doesn't read the blog -- none of the 'rents do, do your guys'?), and I was describing my recent crisis of confidence, which she interrupted to inform me of the fact that it had started raining there -- this is how conversations go with her; the last time we talked on the phone, she described for me some fairly detailed observations about the crows outside her dining room window, so I'm used to her erratic conversational habits.

Anyway, her reasoning on my mental stuff of this week was simple: get more sleep, drink more water, make sure to take a multi-vitamin. This is how my mother has advised me on every single issue of my existence. That concluded that talk, and she went on to tell me about her own exercise schedule, which revolves around walking her dogs every day and riding her bike three times a week -- a solid schedule -- yet, she's frustrated b/c she's not losing any weight, and she's complaining b/c in the course of 20 years, she's gained 20 lbs. Pretty common for someone who's middle aged, but she told me that I really need to be conscious of this because (here it comes) soon I'll be 30 (not until APRIL OF NEXT YEAR!).

My mother is my no means a nag; in fact, she's pretty non-obstrusive, but she does seem to like to remind me that I am getting older (not that 30 is old by any means). I don't know if it's b/c she thinks I should be having children (she never says anything), or if it's b/c she thinks I live an existence that is pretty similiar to when I was 21 (and it's time to grow up?), but she often finds little ways to insinuate that I'm not a spring chicken anymore. This, of course, totally contradicts my image of myself -- I think I am quite springy and chickeny, and I plan on remaining so for the forseable future.

But I certainly am not the 108 lbs I was when I went to college 11 years ago...eek gad, could she be right? Am I on track to gaining about a pound a year until I'm the size of the Stay Puff marshmallow man? Gad, those mothers know how to pick at ya when you're down, don't they? Of course, I definitely feel motivated to run now...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Decision Time

Thanks to everyone for your wide variety of comments on yesterday's post: your advice, comments, and support help me and my running in many ways and they truly help provide me with a wide variety of views and ideas about running.

But, I am feeling much improved today; thus, I have decided to continue with training and am still planning to run Chicago in October. Last night, I went out for an easy-going 3 miler and simply getting out there helped clear my confused mind and helped me to think about and focus on why I want to do this. I do think I still have time to get back on track and train better, and yes, I agree, I think most of a marathon is mental -- so perhaps some training on that end will be helpful as well. And while I was looking around for inspiration yesterday, I came upon this quote, which seemed apt:

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."
- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Clearly, my mind has been tired lately. Having my family here for 8 days was simply too much. Even though I love them, and I enjoyed much of their visit, it is wearing to have company for that long, and to be honest, along with them comes a certain amount of drama -- drama that I have been pretty successful at putting to rest in my own life. So their departure today is a relief, and it will be nice to have my house back and my time back, and I think that will afford me the opportunity to relax some and re-focus my running. And I think I'll be able to sleep better -- a Jess who isn't well-rested is just not an effective Jess.

So, again thanks to everyone who commented: Lisa, I'd love to run with you in Chicago -- I'll have my people contact your people; Wendy, we'll have to find something convienent for us both and find time to get a few runs in together; Junebug, you are always practical, and I appreciate that; but final thanks go to Keith, whose succinct comment "sorry, you can't quit" really said exactly what I think I needed to hear. But again, "thanks" go out to you all: You RBFers are the best!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Showing you my Cards

*Caution: this post is lengthy*

I'm gonna be honest, homies, I'm feeling down and doubtful about Chicago right now. I could perhaps attest both feelings to a variety of factors: exhaustion (classes are busy right now, and with house guests, entertaining is draining), PMS, or even poor sleep; however, for the past few days I have been seriously questioning not just whether or not I can run Chicago, but whether or not I want to run Chicago.

This morning I was feeling so low about it, I cried some to my husband about it, and while he aims to be helpful -- telling me that whatever I choose is fine and that he supports either decision -- it's ultimately difficult because it's a choice I have to make on my own.

But to offer up a sampling of my doubts, they include:

Under/Sporadic Training: I'm nearly halfway through the training, yet my long run repetoire is sparse and I haven't run anything longer than 11 miles so far. The last 7 days have been particularly erratic and I haven't run a log run since the disasterous group run from over a week ago. I had promised myself after Disney that I would be more faithful in following a training schedule, but I find myself slipping back into my old ways. Not good.

Lack of Motivation: Even though I specifically signed up for Chicago because it sounded like fun, now I find it hard to get enthused about running 26.2 miles -- no matter the event or locale. I can certainly imagine my feelings of accomplishment and triumph with a finish, but thinking of not running it doesn't bother me (if I don't run, we'll still go to Chicago -- I have purchased the travel accomodations -- but I would just play a cheering roll instead of a participatory one). Plus, I keep thinking: I've completed a marathon, and that was all I'd initially set out to do, so why have I felt the need to continue with such long, strenous races when I might be better suited as a runner for shorter races?

Looming Feeling/Pressure: It certainly is great to have goals, but having the big race looming over all aspects of the training kinda takes away from some of the joy I get from running -- an activity that I mainly enjoy for its escapist nature. If I miss a run or do poorly on a run during training, I feel guilty and immediately question my ability to complete or do well in the race. I don't really like that added stress in my life (especially b/c I'm someone who likes to enjoy as stress-free existence as possible). For example, the past week when I haven't really been able to run, it has been in the back of my mind constantly and I find it infringes on my ability to relax, knowing that instead of enjoying a sunset celebration, I should be running the 5K.

Certainly, I know I can turn these thoughts around (I've had them before and have overcome them) and they may be temporary, so in two days I may not be thinking like this anymore (especially since I know that PMS makes me "blue" for a day or two and I am always a little irrational). Plus, I know I can make the most of the next half of my training; I can re-focus and I'm certain I could do the running. But, as I said at the beginning of the post, it's not necessarily a matter of "can" I do it -- it is the desire to do it.

The only thing that (truly) keeps me from deciding to not run it is that I'm the sort who hates to quit. And for some reason, deciding to not run Chicago feels like quitting -- opting out of a challenge that I chose to undertake -- and that's not how I roll. Even if I can't do something perfectly, I still always see things through.

So, I hope I've accurately painted the (mental and emotional) dilemma I'm facing, and in the end, I know that no one else can make the decision for me (although opinions, advice, empathy, and reprimands are all appreciated); I need to conclude what I can for myself.

Thanks for reading. Think I want a Diet Pepsi now. No, wait, maybe a cold beer. If only I didn't have another class in half an hour... is it "wrong" to go to class after a few?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Key West

If it's possible to jam a week's worth of Key West stuff into one weekend, we accomplished it. We went to the Southernmost Point: Hemingway's house (my personal favorite):
Hopped around and saw all the popular bars and had drinks in a few of them (to have drinks in all of them truly would take all of one week -- maybe more). Here I am in the Hog's Breath Saloon, drinking one of their brews:
And we enjoyed the Sunset Celebration held in Mallory Square (I think it's so cool that every night everyone gathers to watch the sun set):
Plus, we saw the lighthouse, shopped, ate, went on a ghost tour (did not see any ghosts), shopped some more, walked back and forth across the island about 2 dozen times, ate some more, and, in general, enjoyed our short vacation. But, phew, I'm a bit worn out!

Oh yeah, and number of miles ran this weekend? 0. I guess since I was at MILE 0 that makes sense, but for a person training for a marathon this past week has been a running bust. It's hard with company and traveling, but I really do need to get my act together.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Key Largo, Montego, Baby Why Don't We Go

Heading out to Key West today, folks. Even though today is usually my day to sleep in, I was up early this morning trying to get a few chores done: laundry, packing, running to the bank, etc. We're leaving around noon when my husband gets done with work, and then it's nothing but Keys, baby, Keys!

Have a good weekend everyone and I'll see ya back here on Sunday!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bolwing, Bowling, Bowling, Rawhide!

Okay, homies, this is gonna be the best bowling post ever! Because I have had the right amothiy of alcohol and I think I type pretty good.

So, I hadsome pretty good gmes. First game was alright, second game was aweosme and third game again was laright. B/c 2 team mates were gone, I let my sister and stepmom bowl int heir place (hope that's okay!) and my stepmom did awesome but my sister was still wokin on not getting it in the gutter. But she did improve and that's what counts -- plus, I think she had fun.

We did not earn any points (sorry, Shannon).

I had me lots of beers...and one shot. I think my setpmom was kinda leary about me drivy home but I said "I drive home all the time".....so maybe that eased her min!

Anyway....am sad that my friend Amy is leaving tomorrow for Denver. I had some mini tears ove rht eev departure. Hugged her. Hugged LBK (little baby kyle). Sad they are leaving but also happy fo them if this is the ahppier life they want...what can I do? Soemtimes friend smove away and all I can do is eat corn dogs. (Which was deiclisou).

Alrighty,,,enouh sad things. Amy and Kenivn and Kyle will be ahppy in Co and I will go ski there, so its cooll. Maybe.

Do they have corn dogs there?

Kidding, I grew up there, adn yet...I don't think I had a cron dog til I moved to MN (maybe that's where they invented corn dogs) andyway, they are delcious at the bowling alley.

Sokay, I will miss them all -- sad toseee them go but happy about corn dogs.

What else was ai gonna say? Oh yeah, quote of the night:

Ont he way to bowling, my sister was trying to figure out the exact confirguation of her visor (hat thingy)and she said: "I like t by pimpin wherever I go"!!! That is aweomse. My new motto.

I like to be pimpin wherever I gio. Yey, that's me. Pimpnin, Homies.

2 for Thursday

Because I kept hitting "snooze" this morning, I didn't leave myself much time for a run, but I knew if I didn't do something, I'd regret it. So, I dragged myself out of bed and got 2 miles in. I know it's not much, but it's better than nothing.

I wish I could say it was a fast two miles, or that I felt great afterward, ot whatever else I could add that makes 2 miles sound more glorious than they are, but I can't: it was a slow, hot (read: humid), and boring 2 miles (my mp3 seems to have died again -- it apparently erased ALL the music on there, on its own; I don't even wanna think about that thing -- it has caused me so much aggravation).

Maybe I can do better tomorrow, we'll see. And yes, tonight is bowling, and I don't know for sure if my family is coming with or not: they said they maybe would -- partially depends on how much they do today and if they feel up to being around a bunch of drunken hooligans.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wanted: More Sleep

My family arrived safely and on time yesterday, we enjoyed a nice dinner out, and then spent a relaxing evening chatting and catching up.

But this morning when my alarm went off at 5:20 for my planned run, do you think I got up? No, no I did not. I shut it off and went back to sleep for another hour. No run. Dang my lack of willpower!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Well, I didn't sleep great again last night (I think I had WAY too much coffee), but that happens. No running for today, and I'm hoping that while my company is here I'll be able to force myself to do the necessary running first thing in the mornings so I can better enjoy my afternoons and evenings with them. I'm excited for my stepmom and sister to arrive this afternoon -- I haven't seen them since my wedding (18 months ago) and my stepmom, especially, needs a good vacation.

I don't talk about my family much on this here blog, but that's primarily b/c I figure this isn't really the place for it, and b/c there's honestly too much to say and it requires a book, not a blog to explain. But essentially? My family is pretty dysfunctional. (Yet, I can't say that's been all bad -- it's shaped who am today and I don't think I turned out too badly.)

But the past couple of years have been rough on my stepmom: she went through both ovarian cancer and breast cancer (currently, is in remission for both and doing successful with treatment), she and my dad got divorced (so, "technically" not still my stepmom but I still think of her as family), and has dealt with my nasty teenage brother and sister (let's just say that my brother's behavior over the past year led him to a few nights in jail). So she needs a break, and I hope I can provide the right amount of fun and relaxation that she needs.

I'm looking forward to her and my sister's stay, and am excited to see them both this afternoon. Cross your fingers that I'll have the willpower to get up early tomorrow morning and get my 7 done.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday's "To Do" List

Teach classes: Check.

Wash guest bedding, make bed: Check.

Wash all windows (including large sliding glass doors inside and out): Check.

Wash Scooter: Check.

Dust, clean bathrooms, clean all floors, vacuum Scooter fur off couches, take out trash, run dishes, wash and dry all rugs: Check, check, check.

Finish reading stack of papers: Check.

Run 4 miles? Motherfucking Check.


That's right, peeps, with a little "can-do" attitude and a whole lotta caffeine, I got everything done on my daunting checklist. I friggin rock.

The Heinz 57 Post: A Little Bit of Everything

The group coach emailed me back today in response to what I sent her last night and she was very apologetic and took full responsibility for my getting left behind. She assured me that if I returned, it wouldn't happen again.

I tossed and turned last night in bed and couldn't fall asleep partially because of my email last night to her. I worried that I was being too critical and, perhaps, arrogant, but at the same time, I feel that I have to be firm and assertive in my running needs and goals within this group (and, as was mentioned, I am paying for it), and the group markets itself as accomodating all levels of training and running, so it should be able to accomodate me. So, thanks for all your comments re-assuring me that my response was appropriate in tone and content. That made me feel better this morning.

And the coach's response today was warm and I think she will address my concerns in future long runs, so I think the experience will improve.

But...I also couldn't sleep because I was thinking about everything I had to do today (because, yes, I blew off chores yesterday and went to see Harry Potter -- luh-ved it!). As I mentioned, I have company coming tomorrow (my stepmom and sister) and I want to get some stuff done around the house (like wash the guest bedroom window -- Scooter's snoot snot is all over it -- and wash the guest bedding); plus, I have a shitload of papers to read (and because I am a Muggle, I have no magic way of making them read themselves), and I have to run tonight. Thinking of that long list, and cursing myself for being lazy all weekend (though I wasn't too hard on myself; I believe that I deserve a certain amount of laziness on the weekend), I found sleep difficult last night.

The result? I'm tuckered out today. And what am doing that is not on my "to-do" list? That's right. Blogging. So, I'd best toddle off and get to work!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Follow-Up to Saturday's Dismal Group Run

This is the email I received this evening from the running group's coach:

Hey there!
I did not see you after the run on Sat. Are you ok?

Please tell me you had someone to run with > I apologize I lost track of you and Michelle.

Will you be out there this week?
Coach T

Below was my response; what do you guys think?

Good evening,

Yes, I'm fine, and I appreciate you checking up on me. But I'll be honest, I was pretty upset after Saturday's run. I ended up alone, and while the route was fairly straight forward and I easily found my way back, I was discouraged by being left behind and by myself. Frankly, my interest in a running group was not to run solo.

When I finished my run yesterday, I was a bit upset and, honestly, in no mood to socialize, so I quickly headed home. I'm no longer upset, and my wish is not to upset any kind of group dynamic, but I certainly have to seriously question if this group is right for me. Everyone just may be too fast for my level of running.

I will be out of town the next two weekends in a row, but I would like to give the group another go. If it's just not the right fit, I would appreciate recommendations for others who may be a bit slower and better able to accommodate my pace. Again, thanks for checking up -- that does make me feel better, and I will certainly return in two weeks on Saturday, August 4 for the long run; hopefully, this Saturday's lonesome run was a fluke.

Thanks,
Jess

I'm glad she checked up with me about the run since it did NOT go well (see Saturday morning's post below if you missed it), but at the same time I wanted her to honestly know how I felt about it. Do you guys think my response was appropriate?

*BTW, in response to some previous comments: This group is a formal group and I do have to pay for the training and the group runs (although, I have not paid yet -- had check ready on Saturday but then after the disappointing run, shoved it back in my purse). So, you'd think this would call for a higher level of professionalism (or maybe "athleticism"), right?

Chillin

Scooter's relaxed and reclined position here pretty much sums up the rest of my day yesterday: I just chilled.

After my long run yesterday morning, I stopped by the bookstore, got a few new reads, and then spent the rest of the day lounging and reading (interspersed with some tv watching and a little napping as well).

Then, last night I went out for dinner and drinks with a few close friends (one of whom is moving to Denver next week, so we needed the bonding time before she goes). We had fun eating, drinking, gabbing. After dinner we went to this bar that has outside seating, and in the time we were there (maybe an hour and a half), it was so hot that my feet and my fingers swelled. Seriously. I got home and had tree-trunk feet and ankles. It was unreal.

Today, I have a few chores I'd like to get done (we have company arriving on Tuesday and there's a few things I'd like to do before they arrive), but am also thinking about totally blowing off those chores and going to see the new Harry Potter. Hmmmm. Choices, choices.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Group Run

I'll be honest with you homies, my Saturday long run with the group? Sucked.

I was doing 8.5 today, as were several other people, and others were planning on 12 (those that go further take another route). Well, as I mentioned last week, most of these people are fasty-fasties, and just like last week, the bulk of them shot off at the beginning and I was far behind with two other women. Now I know I'm a bit of a slow-poke, but this is where I'm at and I don't be-grudge myself that; plus, I know that my long run pace should be about 10:30-10:45 per mile and that's what I was doing.

At the first water station, there was a split in the road: those doing 8.5 were going right, and those doing 12 went left. The two I was with? Going back. Fuck.

I tried keeping close enough to a pair of fellow runners on my 8.5 route, but slowly I fell behind and after awhile, I lost sight of them. So I was alone. Without a Garmin or my mp3, running a path that I was unfamiliar with, I quickly became discouraged and, well, pissed off. If I wanted to run by myself, I'd do it at home. The whole reason I wanted to join a running group was to run with other people! Make sense? Yes?

On the way back, I got a little lost and am not entirely sure what my total distance was (at least the planned 8.5: could've been longer -- felt longer but that's probably because of my mental frustration), but I found our meeting spot; I signed myself as "back" (restrained myself from adding: "no thanks to any of you fuckers"); I got in the car without waiting for others and went home. Now that I've showered and am enjoying the coolness of the house, I'm not quite as mad. After all, it's not their fault they're fast. However, maybe this isn't the right group for me. I don't know.

I had a good run last week, so I can't totally discount the group, and just b/c I had one bad run with them doesn't necessarily mean that I will never return. I am out of town the next two weekends, and will have to run by myself then anyway, and when I return I'm inclined to return to the group and give it another chance. If I end up alone again, I may just need to shop around again for another, slower bunch of runners.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bowling last night was tons o' fun. First off, my husband and I had a friend over for dinner before bowling and he brought along a 12 pack of delicious Bud Light, so the 3 of us had a few beers with dinner. Thus, when we arrived at the alley, I was already comfortably buzzed.

And that's why my game peaked in game 1. I had just the right amount of alcohol for that first game (it has to be enough to make me loose and relaxed, but not so much that I can't stand up straight) and I did well, but then it went downhill -- because I kept drinking. Game two hated me and game three was slightly better but was still embarassing. Our team totally lost all points and I'm sure our ranking is going to dip down to the bottom numbers now (we're not so hot this season).

Above pic: Me enjoying my beer in a sensible manner, and no, I don't take regular pictures: What fun is a picture without my tongue hanging out the side or my eye cocked? Below pic: Erin and I. Well, mostly me. I kinda edged Erin outta the pic.

But, bowling is only half of the Thursday night experience, so the loss didn't really affect us too much, and after we finished, we were all congregating by our last two teams playing, eating corn dogs (I scarfed down two and I wonder why I can't lose those 5 lbs), drinking the last of our beer, and chatting. For some reason, no one was really ready to go home, so I suggested we all go back to our place.

The drinking continued at our (newly finished) house, and people played Guitar Hero on the Xbox. Either the Gutar Hero or the drinking kept people around longer than normal, and it was 1 am before everyone left, which is a perfectly acceptable hour on a weekend, but for a work night, it's kinda late. Not a problem for me b/c I don't have classes on Friday, but my husband was a little slow this morning getting ready for work, poor fella.

All in all, it was good times, good times. I maybe over-hugged some people, but on the whole it was the right amount of fun without the "after drunk guilt." That's two thumbs up in my book.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thurday Boling

Okay, b/c of some comment,s i's trying to be good a tyoer:

Soooo...Bolwing: Wwll, I pekaed in game one. So that kinda sucked. But the alcohol wa awoooosome!!! I had many, many beers, (warmed yp a4v 4:30 : woohoooooo!!) and currently we have poepl over playing some guitar heor oa nd drinkingosmebeers!!!

Which is wawoem ! yay!

Okay, I', gonna write this bettr otomorrow/. I to dont suck at wirint when runk! ya!

T.G.I.T

Thank God it's Thursday.

This, right now, is my favorite part of the week: Thursday afternoons. Granted, b/c I teach college, my schedule changes every four months -- thus, my favorite part of the week changes, but for now, this summer, this is my fav. At this time, I am done with classes for the week, I don't have to run, and I have bowling to look forward to tonight!

And while, yes, I always have papers to read, class to plan for, a house to clean, and laundry to do, I don't have to do any of that this afternoon. Thus, Thursday afternoon is mine! All mine!

What will I do with that kind of power? Use it for good? Or, for evil? I opt for lazy: I'm thinking of changing into some sweats, plopping down in the comfy chair, and watching some Seinfeld on DVD. Ahhhhhh.....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Motley 6

Thankfully, I charged my mp3 for this evening's 6 miler b/c I don't know if I would've made it through that last mile without a little Motley Crue and some "Kickstart my Heart." At that point, I was feeling pretty fatigued: I was hot and sweaty as hell, my fingers were swollen to the size of frankfurters, my shorts were rubbing me on my side, and I was very thirsty (despite a water break at 3.5 miles).

So even though I felt like walking the last mile, the Crue came on, my heart was kickstart-ed, and I cruised through my final mile. (And if there's anything sweeter than peelin off wet, sweaty clothes and getting into a cool, refreshing shower, I'd like know; otherwise, I think that is the closest to heaven one can get.)

Now, I have 4 papers left to read before "Top Chef" and then I'm hittin' the sack.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tubular Tuesday

My walking partner got stuck at icky work this evening, so Tuesday Walking was cancelled. I considered just taking the day off, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get an extra run in, so I went out and put in another 3 miles. My mp3 battery died at mile 2, so I had to run the last mile with only the voices in my head, but it still went well.

Again, I don't know times, but I still felt fast -- just like yesterday -- and that was awesome. I hope the momentum continues through the week. No, wait, scratch that. I hope it continues for the next 3 months. That would be sweet.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Beep, Beep!

I didn't bring a watch or the Garmin for my 3 miles tonight, but I gotta say, I felt frickin FAST. I swear that to passersby, I was just a blur, much like the Road Runner as he speeds away from that darn Coyote.

I'm tellin ya, not even an Acme Anvil coulda slowed me tonight.

I was on fiyah!
In the past eight days, I have consumed record numbers of alcohol and fatty, high-cal food. Partial fault goes to the holiday last week and celebrating it twice, but the majority of fault goes to moi. And I can feel the effects of my gluttony today (sometimes the fat cells need a few days to coagulate and make their final resting stop on my thighs). I feel like a fatty-fatty-two-by-four.

I didn't make the mistake of weighing myself this morning (Mondays are bad enough, who wants to step on to the scale and add to the misery?), but as I sit here, I feel like a lard ass. Not good.

At the beginning of May, I felt this way and resolved to try and lose 5 lbs. Did I do it? Nyet. I am still 5 lbs fat. So, today I re-resolve to lose those extra pounds of chub and try to become the lean, mean running machine that I'm always aiming for. I guess that means I need to go to the grocery store, and no more Bud Light and mini egg rolls for me. Straight up salad, here I come.

*Editor's note: Okay, Erin, I guess you weren't drunk this morning, b/c Blogger won't let me write a title for this post either. Booger.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Last Night

So, after running yesterday morning, I spent the entire day helping my husband with projects around the house. We worked all day and in the end, we were proud of ourselves for finishing the house and getting it cleaned. Thus, we decided to show the place off and invited a few people over for a couple of celebratory drinks.

Okay, things got out of hand.

By the end of the night, one person was angry over being constantly teased (you say something stupid once in this group and it never dies, so I can understand his frustration), one person was crying, and one person left without his pants on (a little incident with Scope in places where they shouldn't be -- explaining that one is just too hard). My husband made up for being sober on Thursday and had a little too much and is still in bed.

Me? I'm fine: I didn't get angry, I didn't cry, I managed to keep my pants on, and I feel fine this morning. But it has me puzzling over why every time we have people over things escalate like that. It doesn't happen at other people's houses.

Anyhoo, I'm thinking that today will be a well-deserved rest day. Rest from running, rest from chores, rest from work. I'm gonna chill out, read my book, maybe watch a movie.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Group Run

went well.

And, yes, I had nothing to fear. True, these people are pretty serious runners -- most of them were trim, toned, and speedy (I was the "back of the pack" with a few others and we were pacing at 10:00-10:30, so most people were running 8:00-8:30 miles!) -- but they were also very nice, and the coach frequently circled back and forth between the sub-groups to chat and encourage, so that was nice.

As I mentioned previously, I planned on doing 9 miles today, but with the group, I ended up doing 10, and it was 10 that felt good (didn't even need a walk break; although, I was grateful for each water station) despite the incredible humidity and the bugs. At the end of the run, I was literally soaking wet with sweat and I was coated in little black bugs.

Now, that I've experienced the group run, I really don't know how I ever did those long ones by myself; it was seriously that much better, and it just makes so much better sense: it's more motivating, it's safer, and it's better paced. I plan to return to the group next Saturday morning and continue with them. But then what sucks (well, only kinda), is that I'll be out of town two weekends in a row (be in Key West one weekend and Sanibel the next -- poor me, right?) so I'll be on my own for long runs then.

Ahhh, it's good to have that run out of the way for the weekend (and to feel some of my confidence in my training restored), and tomorrow I can sleep in and relax knowing I already got it done! This must be why everyone touts getting up early and getting it done, huh?

Marathon Program

As per some questions: I have been following Higdon's Novice 2 program, but for me, I think the weekend long runs were a bit accelerated (I only have one marathon under my belt, and it was a struggle to finish that, so I am very much a novice marathoner). So, now in week 5, I've decided to keep the Novice 2 weekly runs, but switch back to Novice 1 weekend runs. We'll see how it works.

This morning, I'm actually up at this ungodly hour (currently, it's 5:05 am) b/c I'm meeting a running group at 6 am for the first time. I am pretty nervous: Did NOT sleep very well, tossed and turned, and when the alarm went off, I really felt like not getting out of bed. As I have expressed before, the idea of a running group mostly freaks me out, but as is also clear: I am not good with the long runs by myself -- and I must seek others if I'm going to be successful with this marathon training (trust me, it crossed my mind this morning that maybe -- to avoid the group running -- I should just not run Chicago; although, that thought has already crossed my mind in other forms as well, for now, I have to ignore those doubts).

So, I need to finish up my cup of coffee, get my shoes on, go to the bathroom and then skedaddle: instructions were quite firm as to the strict 6 am start time. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Aftermath

Okay-dokey, looks as though I'm going to need to put a baby gate up around the computer on Thursday nights b/c I cannot be trusted. And good lord, I can NOT type when intoxicated!

Soooo, yeah, I had a good bowling night. First game sucked, but then the beer kicked in and I did much better in the 2nd game, and then I had two shots and more beer and still rocked that alley in the 3rd game. Unfortunately, our competition was tough, so we didn't win all the games -- I think we took home 5 out of 9 points for the night (2 points per game and 3 points if you get total pins: I believe we won one game, but took total pins). And even though I showed up to bowling ready to go to bed -- I was soooo tired yesterday -- by the end of the night, I was wild! And my husband, who wasn't feeling very good and was totally sober, was a little annoyed with me. But I had fun.

Anyhoo, aside from drinking far too much this week, it's been an irregular week in terms of everything: including running. I had my rained out run on Monday. Our walking on Tuesday was also rained out, so we did Dance Dance Revolution for 45 minutes (it was a good workout, but I suck at DDR), had my 5k on Wednesday, ran 3 miles last night -- slowly b/c I was just dragging, and I was thinking of doing something short again today. I guess we can label this week a "cut back" week even though that was not my original intention. My long run this weekend is also a little shorter, 9 miles, b/c I decided to go back to the novice 1 program and integrate some of that schedule with the one I've been using. The long runs were just too accelerated for me, I think, in the novice 2 program.

But for now, I need to get to my chores: hubby has me on trim-painting duty, so I'd best get to it!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hey Homies!

Yeah, I'm drunk, yeah, Id on't regret it!1

So myhusbad says i douhl g not be on the computer, but Isa "srew you!@"' Yea, we migh need to get hism tom more beers!!

I rokced at bolwing and I ddi real geooo! Yay!

Okay, husbad says DO NOT Pulish!! I say "yeh, wlell ti do waht I want!"

thats how I roll.

A House becomes a Home

When we bought our condo 2 years ago, we were kinda looking for places that we could put our personal touch on. Thinking he'd enjoy having a house as a project, my husband was eager to have weekends full of construction where he could put many of his abilities to use. Thus, our condo.

Certainly a project.

An old man had lived here and had lived here since the place had been built: mid-80s. There was floor to ceiling wallpaper. There were floor to ceiling mirrors in the living room, wallpaper on the blinds, the outlets, and even on the ceilings in the bathrooms. There was terrible carpet, outdated tile, and old, decrepit cabinets.

We set to work. And we worked and worked, and no project went easily (pulled down some wallpaper in the master bedroom, for example, and the whole wall came with it), but within the first six months, we had finished both bathrooms and both bedrooms. But then we lagged; slowly, the office was finished and we started to de-construct the other rooms, and then let many months fall in between projects; then the new year, and suddenly we were on fire again. So in January we set out to finish this place. We started in the kitchen. Above (top picture), is the kitchen as it was a year ago: old cabinets, crappy laminate counters, old tile floor, poor layout.

It all came out. As you can see from the pic (second pic) with my husband working on the plumbing: that gaping hole was where the sink used to be.

For many months, we washed dishes in the bathroom and ate primarily take out and pizza, but slowly it came together, and when the tile was installed last week, the kitchen project was finally completed. We do still plan on replacing the appliances (we'd like stainless steel), but that will be several months from now when some of these construction costs have been paid off.

What was left for improvement was the living room/dining room. All those walls with black splotches? Those used to be all mirror, baby. (We briefly considered the idea of abandoning the idea of a "home" and just turning this place into a discotheque.) We tore out the old carpet, which was grody, chipped up the old tile in the entryway, tore out the old half wall and my husband built a new one with shelves, and yesterday -- on his holiday -- my husband installed the flooring.
We still have trim to do, and there are certainly some touch ups that need to be finished, but otherwise? This completes the 2 year endeavor to remodel.

I can't believe it. This project has spanned not just 2 years; it has been an era: In that time, we got married, got Scooter, I ran a marathon, I got a full time teaching position, we traveled, we bowled, and we drank a lot of beer, so now that it's finished? I honestly feel like a huge chapter is coming to a close. Now we will finally be able to live in this entire space: We will be able to have friends over to watch a movie and those friends won't have to sit on the bed to watch the TV!

Granted, I will now care if someone spills a full glass of red wine on the floor, but I guess that's how adults live.

Once we finish the last details, get some furniture in here, and get a chance to pop the cork on a bottle of champagne, I'll feel settled. I suppose my husband will be lost without the constant feeling that a project is looming, but our credit cards will get a breather and I hope it's the end of arguments over what kind of knobs to get for the closet doors (remodeling is not easy on a marriage). So finally, this place will feel like "home."

Caffeine, Please

It is wrong, just wrong to have a holiday in the middle of the week and have to return to work the following day. Especially a holiday that is celebrated by barbeque, beer, and late night fireworks.

I'm gonna need extra cups o' joe today!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day 5K

Short version of the race:

Time: 29:22 Not a PR, but not too shabby.

Long version of the race:

I got up at 5:15 am in order to have a cup of coffee and enjoy a Cliff bar for breakfast before heading out the door at 6 for the race. I arrived at the festivties at 6:30 and figured 30 minutes before a 7 am start time would be plenty of time to register, get my bib, get my chip, and get to the start line. And while it was plenty of time, I ran into a snag.

As I was standing in line, registration form and money in hand, they ran out of numbers. No more bibs, no more chips, end of the line. Now, I wasn't the only one left standing there in line sans the necessities, and I would've been more understanding if the woman behind the registration table hadn't been such a be-atch. She starts loudly announcing: "You snooze, you lose, people. You should've registered ahead of time. Registration is closed!"

"You snooze, you lose"!?

If race day registration is open, they need to be prepared. Sorry, bitch, I did not snooze (note the time I got out of my sweet, sweet bed), so "fuck you" b/c I'm running a fucking race today. Crumpling up my registration form and tossing it in the trash, I tucked my $20 in my short's pocket and headed for the start line without a bib or chip. I figured I wouldn't be official, but I could still go by the race clock and that was close enough (besides, I've never had a chip time that was drastically different from the clock time).

The start was crowded -- clearly this race was more popular than anticipated -- and in the first tenth of a mile, it was hard to break away from the group. Plus, as can be imagined (it is a holiday today), racers were primarily families with kids. For those of you who know me, or have read this blog long enough, you know that I have nothing against kids (in fact, one fine day I hope to have a few ankle-biters of my own); however, I do NOT like kids in races. Typically, they are unpredicatable: they swerve in and out of traffic, and slow down, speed up, or stop without warning or consideration of those around them. So, I spent the first half mile dodging the little beasts before I was able to break into my own stride.

Time at mile 1: 9:25. Excellent. I was on target for my intended pace. Time at mile 2: 18:40. Again, excellent. But then the sun started to rise and the heat/humidity really began to get to me (I could see it affecting others around me as well). You see, at 5:15 when I rose this morning, it was a cool 75 degrees out -- but it was 90% humidity. That adds at least 10 degrees to the temp, and by 7:20, my guess is that it was easily in the upper 80s -- and sweat is NOT evaporating in that kind of humidity. Sticky, very sticky.

So, I could feel myself slowing in the final mile, and while I was not disappointed by a finishing time of 29:22, it now seems so obvious why my 5K PR was a November race.

After I crossed the finish line, I grabbed my water, and headed out to my car (I'm not really the sort to hang out at after-race activities, especially since I was by myself this morning -- hubby opted to sleep in on his holiday). But, I couldn't find my car. I don't know if it was post-run amnesia or what, but everything looked the same to me. After wandering around the parking lot for nearly 10 minutes, I finally got my bearings (spotted a Starbucks I was certain I had walked past on my way in) and located my car. Plus, the fact that I had managed to not lock myself out of it was an extra bonus.

All in all, it was a fine race, but I guess if I choose to run it again next year I'll have to remember to pre-register so I can "officially" run it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Considering...

...a race tomorrow morning.

I haven't run a race since March, and it's kind of a vast wasteland for races here in FL in the summer (too hot -- most races are held between Nov and Feb when temps are optimal and even then, start times are early: Disney, for example, started at 6 am), so I've been scanning local race calendars, but many of the 5k's are races I've done before and am not overly eager to repeat (two of them I probably will just b/c it's good racing practice and it's always kinda fun to see if you can beat your own course time). The 5k I'm considering for tomorrow is not one I've done before, so that might be interesting, and a race may be just the thing I need to light a fire under my lagging attitude.

Of course, starting the 5k at 7 am means that the race will be warm, to say the least, but I think I can deal with it for 3.1 miles. I doubt it will be a PR event, but it could be a fun 4th event for the early morning.

What do you think, should I get up early on my holiday and run a 5k?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rain Soaked

About an hour before my 3 miler this evening, the sky darkened and thunder clouds loomed overhead. I figured that was good: The rain would cool the day off and be over by the time I set out on my run. Wrong.

It was sprinkling when I set out and I thought: "Hey, I'm tough -- it's 3 miles; I'll run through it." At first it just drizzled on me, but it quickly upgraded itself and it started to pour. Then, I thought: "Okay, this is gonna suck" but I kept through it. Then, the wind kicked up and the rain started pelting me with sideways pellets and it began to pour even harder. I hadn't even gotten to the .5 mile point and I was completely drenched (shoes sloshing, shorts clinging, sports bra a soggy mess) and I could barely see, the rain was falling so hard.

"I'm not running in this kind of fuckery," I thought then, and I turned around.

So, my planned 3 miles? Yeah, turned into 1 mile.

For now, I'm glad I came in -- it's still a torrential downpour and the lightning and thunder are crashing around the house (better wrap this up before the power blinks). Damn you summer rain; we need the moisture, but you make running hard!

Monday, Monday

We were busy all day yesterday with home projects and cleaning, so by the time we finished up in the early evening, both my husband and I were ready to sit back and relax. We made ourselves some dinner and then settled in for some "Freaks and Geeks" (one of the best cancelled shows ever).

So, no running for me yesterday -- I needed the day of rest.

Last night, we also made a trip to the bookstore to pick up some new reads. I'd finished reading Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" last week, and was very much impressed with it, and had kinda started reading Stephen King's "Dreamcatcher" but I could tell 60 pages in, that I wasn't in to it. I like Stephen King and do think that he gets brushed over by critics and academics all too often; however, I don't think all of his work is noteworthy. Sometimes, his novels lack depth, characters are flat, and the plot is tired, and even though I just started it, I could tell that this novel was not something I wanted to spend another 700 pages on. So, I pulled my bookmark (kinda like pulling up anchor) and got me two new books: "A Dog Year" by Jon Katz and "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hoisenni (I'm positive I didn't spell that right, but I don't have the book with me, and am too lazy to look up the author's name; in fact, I might have gotten the title wrong as well). Started the first one last night and am loving it -- I always like good dog tales (pun intended).

Tonight I have 3 miles scheduled. Stomach is feeling a little queezy this morning and I don't know why. I had yogurt with raspberries for breakfast -- bad berries?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Land of the Free

The 4th of July celebration (a few days early) by the numbers:
30 people

2 kids

4 dogs

9 lbs of fried fish

$1000 worth of fireworks

144 beers

And a partridge in a pear tree.

It was awesome: there was a fried food extravaganza: cheese curds, fry bread, onion rings and fried fish. We drank quite a few beers (I don't know about the rest of you, but I lost count when I'd had 5 beers before dinner), and then lit off a small city's worth of fireworks -- ohhhh, ahhhh.

I don't know if it was the early run from yesterday, all the food, or the beer, but by the end of the night I couldn't keep my eyes open, and when we got home, I crashed. This morning, I slept late and felt like I could've slept all day (my exhaustion is documented by the oh-so-flattering-pic my husband captured of Scooter and I this morning; apparently, we were so beat that we slept the same way as well).

Scooter's still crashed out: it's tiring for a little dog to play all day and then freak out over fireworks all night.

Today, we plan on cleaning up the house (tile installation was completed yesterday but we need to do some clean-up) and my husband is finishing up a few projects in the kitchen, then he'll need assistance putting the appliances back in there. I will take some pics and show them off later -- it turned out really well, and now we're one step closer to having our house finished. Yippie!

I will kiss the finished flooring when we're done with this project: this house has been in the process of remodeling for 2 years. 2 years! I'm ready to be done with it, so we can actually live in the whole place.