Friday, August 31, 2007

Dog Days

That term dates back to ancient Rome, when Romans believed that the dog star, Sirius, was to blame for summer's hottest months. However, the "dog days" typically ended in mid-August, and for most parts of the northern hemisphere, summer is now coming to a close; not so, here in South Florida. Here, the heat is still rather "dogged."

Temps are still reaching into the mid to high 90s on a regular basis and the newspaper reported this morning that at night, temps have only dipped below 80 at night on a few rare evenings this month. I know it must get tiring to constantly hear me complaining about running in this heat, but it's such a constant drain on my running that I can't help myself!

Tomorrow for the long run, I'm gonna be meeting the group at 4:30 am in order for us to get as much running as possible done before the sun rises; that means I need to get up sometime between 3:15 and 3:30 in order to give myself time to wake up, eat, digest, and drive to the meeting spot. I have to admit, I'm already a little keyed up and nervous over the long run. I don't really know why. It's a training run, not the race itself, but still, it's a long distance, I had a bad long run 2 weeks ago, and I skipped my long run last weekend. I know I need this one to go well tomorrow morning to put me back into a positive marathon mood.

I'm probably putting too much pressure on myself and am certainly over-thinking it. I know that. But just like I can't help but think about and complain about the heat, I can't help but worry over a long run. What I need to do is focus on the fact that after I finish the long run tomorrow, I may be "dog tired," but I will have the Poison concert to look forward to Saturday night and a friend's bbq/pool party to look forward to on Sunday. And, of course, the day off on Monday.

I just need to survive those first 4 hours of tomorrow morning, then this long weekend can rock the hiz-ouse! Cross you fingers for me, but, certainly, don't sacrifice a dog.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pleasantly Suprised

That I lost a few pounds. Not sure where I put them, but when I stepped on the scale this morning, I discovered I'd lost 3 lbs. Is it the mileage that's been building over the last six weeks or the effort to eat a little better or the effort to drink less? Or is it the work of elves? I'm not entirely sure, but I do know that if those pounds continue to remain lost, it will be less to haul across the finish line in Chicago.

*As a side note, about the book I discussed below: For those non-readers, it looks like you'll be able to catch "Twilight" in movie form (in about a year or two). I just knew it had to be optioned for a movie; as I was reading, I could picture it as film quite easily. And no, David, the ending is not so simple as the vampire making the human another vampire (even though that's what the human wants). And just so ya know, I did buy the other two books in the series, and I'm about 150 pages into the second one today -- I have literally had my nose in its pages between classes. Just as gripping as the first, in terms of plot.*

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Books, A Run, and Some Chicken Pot Pie

Thanks to a busy day, I was able to push the gruesome morning (see post below) behind me and get on with other things. So, after a busy day of classes, I was happy to come home, do a few household chores and then sink into my book. I spent all of the late afternoon and early evening finishing it, and I do have to admit that I really enjoyed it. It is, yes, a young adult book, but that doesn't much faze me; there's plenty of young adult fiction that I think is very good (Harry Potter, for instance).

The basic premise for this novel is simple, but fantastic at the same time: a vampire and a human fall in love. Quite the dilemma, right? It makes for good tension throughout -- should they be together despite the fact that the vampire is tempted to suck the life out of the human? And how can the human remain protected from the other vampires? It made for good tension, and the climax of the novel was so fast-paced that I couldn't put it down. And how couldn't it be exciting with vampires as main characters, eh? But, trust me, I have read books that made dull work of vampires (cough, "The Historian," cough).

Anyway, there were some weak aspects of the book, but I was willing to look past them; plus, I learned that it's the first book in a series, so when I finish typing this, I will be making a late night run to Barnes and Noble!

Once I finished the book, it was time for me to head outside for my evening's 5 miler, which went fine, but I clearly started off too fast and wore myself out early, as the numbers indicate:

Mile 1: 10:05
Mile 2: 10:17
Mile 3: 10:26
Mile 4: 10:51
Mile 5: 11:04

Obviously, I need to work to make those numbers go in the opposite direction, but for now, it works. After I got home from the fiver, my husband had some delicious homemade chicken pot pies ready (he's turning into Chef Jer-Bear: look for him soon on the Food Network), so I ate mine and it was sooooo good: flaky, buttery crust, with thick, creamy pot pie goodness inside!

So, like I said, I think I'm gonna quick dash to the bookstore to purchase the next 2 installments in this vampire/romantic series and see what's in store for my characters; and when I get back, "Top Chef" will be on. Ahhh, it's always good when the day ends better than it started. For that, I am grateful.

"Out, out, brief candle!"

This morning, right before I left for work, I took Scooter out for a quick walk before I departed for the day. Before we crossed the street that runs in front of our condo complex, we stopped, and while Scooter sniffed at a patch of grass, I watched a mama duck and her baby duck crossing the road. Then, rather suddenly, a car drove by the ducks -- perhaps oblivious to their presense -- and while the mama duck was able to scoot out of the way in time, the baby duck was smashed by the wheels of the car.

The duck's death made an awful sound -- literally like the cracking of an egg -- and I stared in horror at what I'd just witnessed. The mama duck quacked confusedly, but quickly, she wandered off to the side of the road and toward the canal where she was headed, leaving just me to stare blankly at the mashed feathers and blood that had been the baby duck. No one else noticed. Not the car that ran the duck over, not the other cars that sporatically drove by afterward, not the man watering the greens on the nearby golf course, and certainly not Scooter, who just continued to sniff the grass at his feet.

The baby duck's untimely demise has really affected me this morning, and on my way into school, I found myself tearing up over its fate. Even now, as I type this in my office, the tears are welling up again. What saddens me is not so much the duck's death in and of itself, but it was the senselessness of it, which made the baby duck's life seem so inconsequential and insignificant. Granted, it was a duck, so had it been spared, I'm not necessarily sure what it would have contributed to the world, but I suppose it reminded me of all the senseless deaths in the world, both human and non-human.

And this has filled me with melancholy.

Perhaps it's the full moon, or PMS, or just a general feeling of malaise that has been hanging over me for days now, but what I witnessed this morning really upset me. And now I have the whole day to brood on it.

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more: it is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing."
-- Macbeth, Scene 5, Act 5

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Compilation Tuesday

Here's what's up in my life besides running. A summary, if you will:

1. I got my hair trimmed on Saturday. All of them. The stylist said she thought I was 16 until she saw some gray hairs and then just had to ask how old I was. Then, she audaciously plucked out my favorite, lucky gray hair on my part without even asking. I've had that hair for years! That irked me.

2. Hosted a Body Shop party on Saturday night with my gal-pals. Drank some wine, ate some snacks, got to try out different beauty products. Party ended up doing well, so as the host, I got $40 worth of free product! It was awesome.

3. I am reading a new novel, "Twilight" by Stephanie Meyer, and I'm engrossed. I think it's a teen novel, and the characters' actions and dialogue are a little forced and cliche, but the plot is really compelling. This is the first sentence: "I'd never given much thought as to how I would die -- but even if I'd had, I would not have imagined it like this." Intriguing, right? Reading it kept me up a little late last night.

4. This is only the second week of class, but students are already frustrating me. Late assignments, missed class, and one email from a student with this subject: "I missed class on Monday and I need to ketchup." Clearly, I am waging an uphill battle here.

5. Tonight, my husband and I are going on a "date." Going to dinner and "Suberbad" since I missed it last week. I'm excited for the evening out.

6. I can't wait until payday this Friday. I really want a new pair of running shoes. My current pair are not that old (bought them in June) but they're already wearing out. Plus, they're really dirty.

There, now you're all "ketchup" on my life outside of mileage and times.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fresh Day, Fresh Run

So, after the weekend's failed long run(s), I think I like Wendy's advice best: scratch the weekend, start over. Therefore, I decided to put the bad run and the lack of a long run behind me and let this week be a fresh start. Granted, it is tempting to add some extra miles to my weekly runs in order to make up for the loss, but I think it might be self-defeating to do so since this week's runs are a little shorter in order to keep my legs fresh for Saturday's 18-20.

Thus, I just kept to tonight's scheduled 5, and thankfully, it went well (despite the fact that right now it is nearly 9 pm and is still 91 outside). I took the Garmin along; unfortunately, I forgot to reset it after last night's run, but the splits for the 5 are still calculable:

Mile 1: 10:02
Mile 2: 10:05
Mile 3: 10:20
Mile 4: 10:31
Mile 5: 10:40

I'm really ready for it to start cooling off around here, but I don't think that's in the near future. So, I continue to labor in the heat and do my best with it.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fatigued Four

Because I missed my scheduled 13 yesterday morning, I figured I should try and get something of length in this evening. I was aiming for 7, but once I was out there, the same lethargy that kept me in bed yesterday morning instead of getting to my long run plagued me again on the run. I just plain felt tired. Plus hot. Plus buggy. Plus, well, blah. No other way to describe it.

So, I did 4 instead. Not so fabulous, but I guess tired happens. The heat? Well, it seems to never stop happening.

Good Luck Sam!

From the left: My brother, Matt, me, and my youngest brother, Sam. Yes, my parents are fond of one syllable names: Jess, Matt, Sam (well, all of our full names are longer, but we never go by those). Photo was taken at my brother Matt's 27th b-day party in December '06.

Today, my youngest brother, Sam, leaves for the Army. And even though I'm not there to officially send him off, I figured I could do a little something here.

He's been talking about joining the Army for years, but has been serious about it for at least a year. For the past two years, while he's been finishing up his last two years of high school, he's also been enrolled in college courses at the University of Minnesota, so when he graduated from high school in May, he also had finished 2 full years of college. We were all hopeful that he would return to college this fall to complete his degree, but I guess he's ready for a little less book time and a little more action.

Last week, he spoke with a recruiter and took the Army's physical and intelligence tests. He scored so high on the intelligence test that the recruiter promised him any job he wanted; he wanted a position as an intelligence analyst, so they gave it to him. Thus, he departs from my parents' home in MN today for 9 weeks of basic training in Missouri; after that, he goes to Arizona for 21 weeks of intelligence training.

His position and the length of his training relieves me (somewhat) about his decision to join the military at this juncture, but I would be lying if I said I weren't anxious for his safety. I think it's a brave decision to join the military in a time of war, and I also know that his military service, the college experience he already has, and his future college experience (he does want to return after his 4 year committment -- or so he says now) will all enable him to be a valuable member of the future workforce; however, he's my baby brother and there's a war. I can't help but be scared for him.

But this is what he wants, and I support his decision and wish him the best of luck. He's so smart and so capable, so I know he'll excell in his training and in his field; he'll be invaluable to the Army, I'm sure of it. They're lucky to have him.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Confession

Bless me bloggers, for I have sinned: I did not go to my Saturday morning group run. Yes, it's true, I skipped the long run. Instead of spending my morning running with the faithful and getting it done, I spent the morning curled comfortably in my bed with my husband and dog (who really puts out the BTUs).

Honestly, bloggers, I had planned on going to the group run this morning: Last night I prepared a delicious carb-filled dinner, laid out all my running clothes and supplies, and I went to bed early, yet this morning, when the alarm went off, I just couldn't muster the strength to get out of bed. So, I poked my husband in the cheek several times to wake him (I needed to consult with him), and I asked: "I don't feel like going to the long run this morning. I'm really tired. Does this mean I'm a bad little runner?" He sagely replied: "Not to me." That's what I needed to hear. I rolled over, closed my eyes, and went back to guilt-free sleep. That's right, my friends, I did not even repent of my sin, I just continued on in blissful slumber.

These missed miles pain me now in the bright morning light, but mostly because I have been so good for a month (at least) now, and I have strived to run every run (some have been cut a little short, but I've been out there). But this morning? I guess my motivation puttered out. Perhaps I will make up some mileage tomorrow, I don't know, but for now I'm not gonna beat myself up too much over it: I seem to go in cycles -- weeks of motivated running and then a few setbacks -- so I know I'll rediscover my mojo.

And I'm positive I'll be back to worship at the dawn church of running next Saturday. This week, I had to sleep in.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I *heart* Magnets

I love magents. I really do. I don't know if it's their ability to suction mysteriously to the fridge (much like I do late at night), or if it's because they can be so fun and kitchy. My favorite fridge magnet? One I got from the National Archives in DC: it's a picture of Elvis shaking Nixon's hand. The pairing just strikes me as odd, and I get a little kick out of seeing it everytime I open the fridge door.

But I am not waxing poetic about magnets for no good reason; au contraire, I have my motivations. See, Amy over at The Lawson's Do Dallas is offering free magents to those who post links to her blog and give her special shout-outs. So, go visit her if you haven't already and have a good chuckle over some of her antics.

If I had been innovative enough, I might too have done something promotional to promote hits on my blog (I am whore for visitors, that's fo sure); but alas, I'm not crafty enough, or clever enough, to come up with an idea like that, and I certainly am not capable of manufacturing magnets (although, some sneaking suspicion tells me that Amy will be violating child labor laws in the manufacturing process; she strikes me as the sort to take advantage of her young son's tiny fingers to produce those promised magnets; but, whatevah! I'm all for puttin' those delicate fingers to work if I get my magnet outta the deal) -- and you people sure as hell aren't getting my Elvis & Nixon shake hands magnet!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

3 for Thursday

Got up this morning and ran an easy 3 miler. "Easy" by way of "slow" not as in "not difficult" or "simple"; in fact, I seemed to struggle more in this morning's 3 than I have in awhile. I don't know if it was the fact that I'd done 8 less than 12 hours before (and my legs were a little stiff), if it was b/c it was morning and I was, therefore, half-awake, or if it was because of the heat and humidity (it is slightly cooler in the morning -- but not by much -- however, the humidity is greater). Whatever it was, I took it slow and easy and just focused on getting it done.

I did not take the Garmin along for the ride this morning. Garmin and I are like two people who just started dating: we need a certain amount of space -- otherwise, we could smother one another. Thus, needing some "me" time with the running, I left it at home. So, no splits.

I'm glad I got the run in first thing, so now I can rest assured that I got it done, especially when I wouldn't have had time to get it done any other time today (night class tonight, so I have a busy day ahead of me). And I can rest tomorrow and prepare for Saturday's 13 miler.

Good luck to the bowlers tonight! (My husband's team is hoping to capture the league's first place, so I wish them the best of luck. But also luck to my own team, The Pinderella's -- you ladies will rock, and to the rest of the guys.) I might stop by the alley if I finish class early, but if not, Goooooood luck!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Grrrr8

The highlight of my 8 miler this evening was that I nearly got run over at the intersection that marks my mile 5. A big SUV apparently did not see me and did not see that I had the right of way (little walk sign was clearly glowing in my favor!), and it had to screech to a stop and I had to jump back some. My heart jumped into my throat and I considered throwing my empty water bottle at it, but then decided that was a bad idea. Instead, I settled for the universal gesture of anger and ran on.

True, it was dusk, but I run on major streets that are well-lit and the intersections are especially light, so that SUV had no reason not to see me -- it just wasn't paying attention. Whatever. That's South Florida for ya, I'm taking my life into my hands every time I run down here with these drivers.

Again, I wore the Garmin, so here are the splits:

Mile 1: 10:20
Mile 2: 10:21
Mile 3: 12:00 (I walked some here at the end while I ate my GU and drank some of my water -- I am not talented enough to run and consume my replacements.)
Mile 4: 10:57
Mile 5: 11:12
Mile 6: 11:17
Mile 7: 11:16
Mile 8: 11:01

Total Time: 1:28:27

Not as consistent as Monday's 5, but still pretty consistent. I started out a little too fast; I want to keep my longer runs somewhere in the range of 11 minutes, which is what I settled into around mile 4, so that was good.

As a side note, my second-in-command toe has been feeling bruised lately. It hasn't yet turned black and blue, but I have the familiar feeling that this little toenail may be headed toward a bruise. If it blackens and falls off, it will be the second time I've lost this toenail. Cross your fingers that it doesn't. I've been enjoying having all my toenails as of late.

5 am Failure

I wanted to get up early this morning and do my 8 miles in the dawn's early light (how many of you thought it was "danzerly light" when you were kids? tell me I wasn't the only one!), but when my alarm went off at 5, I simply turned it off and went back to sleep. At 6, my husband asked if I was gonna get up and go run; "no" I told him. Early mornings just aren't my forte. Especially in the middle of the week -- on Saturday it's a different story because I can go back to bed after I'm done with the long run. On a Wednesday, I gots shiz to do.

Therefore, I'm gonna need to do the 8 this evening, which kinda sucks because I was gonna meet with the gang at happy hour for food, drinks, and then a viewing of "Superbad." But I think I'm gonna stay home now so I can go running. I'm probably gonna catch hell for missing it, but what can I say? I suck at getting up early, I need to get my run in, I'm in marathon training -- so I guess I'm a big dull, dud. Sorry homies.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dilly Bar Tuesday

Back in college, Tuesdays were an awesome day of the week: "2 for Tuesdays" meant 2 for 1's at Tjuan's, a popular Mexcian bar (where, on your b-day, they would pour tequila and margarita mix in your mouth for as long as you could take it; I did it one year on my birthday -- lasted about 9 seconds). Later, when I was in grad school and then after I was done with grad school but was sticking around teaching as an adjunct, Tuesdays were when a local band, Junction 51 played. And I was, well, a Junction Junkie. (It was at a Junction Tuesday that I met my husband, actually. A drunk friend spilled a full pitcher of beer on my lap, and my future husband was sitting at a nearby table. He was very helpful in securing some paper towels to help me dry out.)

So, yeah, Tuesdays used to rock. But now? Sheesh. A Tuesday is pretty lame. No running, cross training instead -- which is fine, I like a good walk, but I don't have anything special to report about it. And instead of hanging out at a bar listening to live music? We're watching "Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe" on Discovery and I'm learning more than I'm sure I need about cow poop. My excitement for the evening was a Dilly Bar.

Of course, that Dilly Bar was dang delicious.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Garmin and My 5

Everyone knows my aversion to my Garmin, but in the Saturday running group, I can't help but notice that everyone wears theirs, and, well, I like to be like everyone else -- conformity queen, you may call me. So, last Saturday, I was chatting about the Garmin with my running partner and I complained that the Garmin was bulky on my wrist and rubbed my wrist bone weird. She told me simply: "You just have to get used to it." In other words? Suck it up.

So, tonight that's what I did: I wore that damn Garmin. It was still bulky, it still rubbed my wrist bone wrong, and it was sweaty, but I kept it on the entire 5 miles. Thus, I present to you my splits:

Mile 1:10:13
Mile 2: 10:28
Mile 3: 10:35
Mile 4: 10:34
Mile 5: 10:34

I was dang consistent, wasn't I? Especially in miles 3-5. I guess I'm pretty much like a well-oiled machine at this point.

Nighty-Night, Slept Tight

Last night I went to bed at 9:30. Slept until 8 am this morning. Ahhh, there's nothing quite like 10 1/2 hours of sleep! I feel refreshed today, which is handy since today is the first day of fall term, and I have my first two classes of the semester today. Tonight, I have 5 miles on the schedule, so I hope the refreshed feeling lasts through the day so it can carry me through the evening's run.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

That Which Doesn't Break Me, Only Makes Me Stronger

Theoretically.

Practically? We'll see.

Anyway, after yesterday's long run debacle, you might be expecting another post about my uncertainties about this dang marathon, but no, I will not give the marathon that kind of satisfaction. Instead, I've resolved to take that fucker down. Downtown. Yeah.

I figure that set backs happen and, really, I ran far -- yes, I fell short of my expected distance and, yes, I felt like said distance was going to be my death, but hey, what else are Saturday mornings for? So, this week is a fresh week; it's a chance to start over and I'm gonna tackle each run with the same diligence as I have for the past several weeks (have you noted how good I've been since my mini-breakdown in July?). And I'm gonna be mindful of my diet, my sleep, and my alcohol intake (oh, how I love thee beer, but sorry, I need to have a fewer of you).

That said, I'm resting today. No running. Instead, I slept in, watched movies with the hubby all day (we watched "Schindler's List" -- husband had never seen it! can you believe it? we actually went to the theater when I was in high school to view it for my world history class -- the entire junior class went on a field trip; anyway, the movie is soooo good, but long -- 3 hours -- and emotionally draining), and now my Jer-Bear (that's my husband, Jerry) is making lasagna for us. Yummy carbs.

Thanks for all the comments on the previous post: You guys are like peas to my carrots! (We go together real good -- so, yeah, we ate at Bubba Gump's last night and I still have lots of "Forrest Gump" sayings in my head, alright? But, hey, we all have a little Forrest in us right? "Run, Forrest run!")

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Some Salt Left for the Tears

Again, for this morning's long run, my alarm went off at 3:45 am. I did not want to get up. I had been sleeping so well, and really, it was a great night of sleep overall: fell asleep quickly and easily and slept solidly through the night, which doesn't always happen the night before a long run. But after laying there for about five minutes, I rolled out of bed and eventually out the door and met the group at 5 am.

This morning's weather was a huge improvement over the last few weeks. While it was still humid, it was much cooler and we had cloud cover for most of the morning, so that helped a lot. And I was feeling great. I was aiming for 18, as was the woman I was running with, and within the first 10, I felt good. I had carried some GU with me, and was taking half of one about every 3-4 miles, so between miles 10 and 13, I was feeling really good. Yeah, my legs were starting to ache and my new shorts were rubbing me wrong, but those were minor complaints.

It was almost immediately after 13 that the good buzz wore off and nothing but weariness and pain took its place. My partner was feeling good so she helped to push me to 15, but by then I was really feeling spent: my knees ached, my feet hurt, my breathing was becoming labored, and mentally, I was spent. We walked for a bit, but as soon as we resumed running, I started to hurt again. She helped me to get to 16.5 and then I'd had enough: I was just feeling so worn down and my legs were killing me, so when she asked how I was, I just started to cry.

I felt like an idiot for crying, which made me cry some more, but I was phsyically hurting and I was mentally beat. You'd think that the mind would win out in this one and tell the body: "Look, you only have 1.5 miles left!" But the body was winning with its retort: "Yeah, but I've already run 16.5 miles!" I told my partner to go ahead without me; I would just walk the rest of the way on my own -- I knew the way and I didn't want to hold her back. She reluctantly left me behind (I had to reassure that it was okay to do so) and promised to come and pick me up once she'd reached the meeting place.

After she left, it was just me, my tired body and my disappointment, and the latter two were really a drag. I walked to the last water station (mile 17) and then about a tenth of a mile past that, I spotted the coach's car as she pulled to the side of the road for me. Grateful for the ride, I again started to cry once I got in (I also felt really stupid and embarassed, which, again, just made me want to cry more).

Thankfully, the coach was SO nice! She told me not to worry about it: She said she'd picked up many runners (one guy, 3 weeks in a row) and had herself once walked the entire last 3 miles (hoping all the while that someone would come and get her). This made me feel better. So did her other comments about how difficult the distance is and how hard the sport is in general, and she told me I was being too hard on myself and that I shouldn't beat myself up over it. But she also asked about my sleep and my diet as of late -- both of which could use some revising. She said that I really have to be thinking about the long run 2 full days before it, and I know that my Thursday night drinking and eating have probably hurt me, as well as the poor sleep on those nights (she emphasized that it's what you eat and how you sleep 2 days before the race, not just the day before).

Bowling is done for me (I have a class Thursday night that starts this coming week), so I think I'm gonna make a good, conscious effort to minimize drinking of all kinds -- this is hard for me, but it starts today (when we are scheduled to go out tonight with friends). But I also need to be a better eater and sleeper as well. So, I'll keep all of those aspects in mind throughout this next week. Next Saturday, I scale back the miles, but then the next weekend is my 20, so I have to begin thinking ahead to that.

For now, I'm tired and I have a pounding headache (might be a touch dehydrated), so I think I'll go rest now.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A New Kind of Meme

Okay, we are all fond of memes. They make for easy posts, they are fun to fill out, it's fun to tag others and learn their responses, and we all get to learn a little something extra about one another. But, many of them ask the same things of you over and over (where you have lived, what movies you like, where you vacation, etc), so I have decided to make my own up (because I'm bored and would rather take the time to do this than clean the house -- oh, and it needs it too).

Viola:

How many teeth do you have?
28. Wow. That seems like a lot! And I had my wisdom teeth extracted when I was 14, so that would've been 32 teeth! That's a lot of chompers! Rarrrr!

Have you ever had braces?
Oh yeah. And headgear too. I blame a year of having to wear that torture device for my current drooling problem -- I'm a slobber monster when I sleep.

Name and tell us a bit about a pet you had as a child.
Marvin, my hamster, was a racing champion. He won a local pet store's race in his plastic ball when I was 8. We both got our picture in the paper.

Where were you born?
Ft. Collins, CO

How many siblings do you have?
1 full brother, 1 half brother, 1 adopted brother, 1 adopted sister, 1 step-brother, 1-step-sister. I am incommunicado with both step-siblings. All are younger. I am the oldest of this brood.

What was your high school's mascot?
The Ranger. Not entirely sure what that was. All the imagery revolved around a horse, but I'm still unclear on that one.

What was your favorite Halloween costume (either childhood or adulthood)?
One year I was a kangaroo. My grandpa made the costume for me and it was awesome. That same year, my brother was t-rex. He kept threatening to eat me.

What's your favorite smell?
Pavement after it's rained. Oh, I also like freshly mown grass.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
There's a lot to choose from here: hmmm, is it vomiting on the side of my car after a night of drinking? No, that can't be it. Let's see here: marriage? house ownership? career? awards within career? graduating college magna cum laude? finishing a marathon? breaking up when it was hard to do? I think I have to go with marriage. I love my husband, and I honestly never thought (before I met him) that I was "marriage material."

Do you put the TP on the roll so that it feeds from the bottom or the top?
Over the top, please.

Have you ever broken anything?
Just men's hearts.

If you could travel anywhere, and the budget was not a factor, where would you go?
Italy. And I'd stay there for awhile too.

What is your dream job?
New York Times Book Reviewer

What is your most embarrassing moment?
I got depantsed in the 7th grade. In front of a lot of people.

What is your worst fear?
Being trapped in a close, tight space, like a mine, an elevator, under the bed sheets, in an MRI machine, in a coffin. (So, hubby? Please put your compulsions to their best use and triple check that I am truly dead before putting me in the ground!)

What year did you graduate high school?
1996

What was one of your new year's resolutions for 2007?
Run a 2nd marathon.

There you go. You guys know the drill: You are ALL tagged! Copy the text, paste it into your post, and answer the questions with your own, original tidbits of interesting info, and pass it on if you so desire. Happy meme-ing!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Way to Start the Day

Locked myself out of the house this morning -- real smooth. I had to call my husband a work (actually, because he rarely has his cell phone turned on/charged/with him, I had to call one of his work associates and have him relay the message to my husband to call me back on my cell -- my husband works for a cell phone company, folks, and he NEVER can be reached on his cell) to come and let me back in.

Number of times I have locked myself out of the house now? This makes it 4. (5, if you count the time, I thought I locked myself out, but really the key had just slipped into the lining of my shorts).

I think I need to hide that key outside. Or...maybe, make sure I have my wits about me when leaving the house instead of la-de-da-ing my way out the door. There's something to be said for my husband's OCD (he triple checks everything he does); has he ever locked himself out of anything? No. No, he has not.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Answers and Eight

A few notes before I get started on my 8 mile report:

1. No, I don't worry that students will stumble across my blog. I don't advertise to anyone but my friends about it, so my co-workers don't know of it either, and I think they'd have to look for it to find it. (That is, until I become very, very famous. Obviously, it will be hard to avoid the publicity then!) I worry more that I might drunkenly stumble across a student at a bar. That has happened in the past, and Mondays are a bit awkward after that.

2. Finding pants for a smurf: yes, that is hard. This is where I'm thankful for the FL climate -- I can wear capris and bermuda shorts year round, so that helps, and there are lots of dress capris out there that work well. As far as full length pants, I have to shop the petite section of stores. My fav for dress pants: Banana Republic. A close second is Express. Although, some of the dress pants I have from both stores have been hemmed -- some lengths are a better fit than others. My fav for jeans: American Eagle. And thankfully, jeans shrink up a little. So when I buy 'em, I immediately wash them in hot water and dry them on high heat, and that shortens them up some. Pants I can shrink; shoes, I cannot.

Alrighty, so that's it for Q &A time. Now, on to my 8 miler this evening: in short, it went well. Took along a GU and an 8 oz bottle of water. Had some water and the GU at mile 3, and that helped a lot -- by mile 5, I was feeling fan-fucking-tastic. Drank the rest of my water at mile 5, and I wish I'd had a little more, because by mile 7, I was parched again. Near the end, I was wearing out, and a half mile from home, I swear I smelled bacon. Whether it was weariness or smells from someone's house, I'm not sure, but it smelled delicious.

Right now, I'm sipping on my Gatorade (had a bottle of Smart Water when I got back -- luv that stuff!) and am waiting for the new episode of "Top Chef" at 10. Later gators!

Back to School Clothes

Today is the last day of my "vacation." (Yes, it deserves quotes b/c even though I've been off, I have spent a lot of time planning for fall term, moving into my new office, and re-potting plants. Alright, so the last one's not school related, but it's work nonetheless.) Tomorrow is the faculty start-back (translation = 2 days of meetings) and classes begin on Monday.

Therefore, I spent today shopping for my back-to-school wardrobe. (Before I get too far here, I do have to pause for a moment to say that, yes, part of the reason I became a teacher was because I just luh-ved being a student so much. With the exception of the first 4 years of my life, I have experienced the thrill of going to school every single fall of my life, and I honestly don't know what I'd do with myself if it were August and I weren't preparing for the fall semester. Granted, here in FL, we don't have the glorious autumn that the northern states enjoy -- I miss that most about living in MN -- but I still get the same excited feeling before fall term. It's like Tom Hanks' character in "You've Got Mail" says, "It makes me want to buy a bouquet of sharpened pencils." I could elaborate on why I love autumn the most -- the holidays, the weather, the feeling that each new school year is really the beginning of a whole new year -- but perhaps I'll save my poetic rhapsodizing for another time.)

I feel like it was a pretty successful shopping trip: I came away with 2 new pairs of pants and 4 shirts, plus a new pair of running shorts. I actually got a new sports bra and another shirt as well, but after getting home, I decided I didn't love either much, so I think I'll return them. I could've spent far more money and gotten loads more, but let's face it, I'm not Rockfeller here, and despite what you may hear, community college instructors are not rollin' in the dough.

I am particularly pleased with the 2 pants b/c I am kinda in a weird place in terms of size right now -- in other words, I'm between sizes. In some stores, I'm an 8, in others, I'm a 6, and in others, neither works (plus, with pants' waistlines getting lower and lower, if I sit in some of these, my tat is on full display, and if that is true, then ya know my ass is hanging out -- not school appropriate; I don't care if they are college kids). So, to find two pairs that not only work, but fit in a totally tubular way is, well, tubular.

I would've liked to find some shoes as well, but finding shoes for these munchkin feet is hard and that really deserves a trip in and of itself (I was briefly in DSW, but there was a screaming toddler in there and I just can't handle that, so I exited right away). Shoes will have to wait for another trip.

But, shopping wears me out (had to take an Excedrin Extra Strength when I got home -- I love those, they're a delightful little cocktail of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine), so I think I will rest up a bit before this evening's 8 miler and enjoy the last few fragments of my time off.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Post #652

I know that most people make a big deal of round numbered accomplishments, and some simply like round numbers. Me? Eh, I'm not much of a numbers person. I don't keep tally of my weekly, monthly, or yearly mileage (although, I am aware on a week to week basis of how much I've run, I just don't record it). I don't wear my Garmin, or a watch, or a homing device, so I only know time when I race. I don't do track repeats (numbers with an "X" are even more intimidating than plain numbers), and I have no idea what my heart rate is (resting or otherwise). So, when I do slow down and take note of numbers, they are often not "round." Thus, post #652.

In order to commemorate this post, and the more than 2 years worth of events, I thought I would take a page from Vanilla and present to you a "best of" post; therefore, below are some of the highlights from this habitual running and the life that goes along with it. They are in no particular order. Enjoy!

The First Post: This was the beginning of both my blogging and my running; you'll note that not a lot has changed in 2 years.

The "I Pooped Myself Post": Probably one of my most infamous incidents and posts. This one endeared me to many readers, but what was most surprising was how many of you could relate.

The Marathon Post: My triumph of Disney. Take that Mickey! I totally kicked your ass!

The 5K PR Post: One of my best running moments and the reason I *heart* Turkey Trots.

The Barf Post: This has been an issue that has plagued my running both during and after running. I guess I have a sensitive stomach, yo.

The "I Fell Down" Post: I have fallen down many times in my life, and twice while running, but this crash was the worst.

The "Before I Actually Pooped Myself, I Had Some Close Calls" Post: My little lead-in kinda says it all, right?

The Scooter Post: When we got our dog, Scooter. He was the. cutest. puppy. ever. period.

The Wedding Post: Yes, I had time to post on the morning of my wedding. For the only posted picture, you can read this post.

The Bachelorette Post: If you think I'm the sort of gal to puke in a limo and dance on stage with male strippers, well then, you'd be right. I am just that sort of gal.

The Wilma Post: With so much attention on Katrina (and rightfully so), little was noted about Hurricane Wilma, which caused millions in damage to our area, and was the worst hurricane experience we have had: hubby and I were without electricity for 14 days.

The Bug-Booger Post: I don't know how many times this has happened to me since, but back then, it was all new.

And lastly, I leave you with classic Jess: The Drunk Post: While I'd like to say that this was singular in its appearance, I would be lying if I did. My archives are filled with drunken posts such as this.

So, that's it for now, folks. Feel free to browse the archives and read the other 651 posts that are in there, if you so desire. And hey, if you recall any other post or incident that I wrote about that you found particularly funny/touching/aggravating, go ahead and share!

Monday, August 13, 2007

5 Miles to Start the Week

Some brief rain came through this afternoon, so it helped cool off the area some, and when I set out for my evening run, it was still warm and muggy, but it was much better than the last few days. Thus, I was able to put in my scheduled 5 miles.

Nothing much to note about 'em: they went smoothly and that's the best I can ask for. However, I am enjoying a few new tunes on the mp3 that make the miles that much easier and more enjoyable:

"Girlfriend" Avril Lavigne (I lurv the part where she sings, "And hell, yeah, I'm the motherfuckin princess!" I know that Avril is the pop version of girl angst, but still, I like a little grrrr from my girls; plus, this tune is just plain catchy.)

"Helena" My Chemical Romance

"I Bet You'd Look Good on the Dance Floor" Arctic Monkeys

"I Write Sins, not Tradgedies" Panic! At the Disco (These guys are growing on me -- I like several of their songs; also, it's just awesome to have an exclamation point in your band's name. Seems exciting.)

"Joker and the Thief" Wolfmother

"Thanks for the Memories" Fall Out Boy (Had this song on the computer since about, oh, Christmas, but just recently added it to the running playlist and it works quite nicely with the family of tunes.)

For the 5 miler this evening, I got to hear most of these since the playlist went from "F" for "Faint" by Lincoln Park to "L" for "Lit Up" by Buckcherry. Is it lame to listen to my songs in ABC order?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Forecast for Today

I mentioned yesterday that I check weather.com before heading out for a run, but why do I do it? I honestly don't know, but I actually check the weather several times a day -- mostly out of habit, partially out of curiosity, but largely because I wonder if it ever changes. This is Florida, so predicting the weather is a job for a trained monkey; everyday, it is hot, humid, and there is a chance of rain. It gets a little more interesting in the winter: less hot, less humid, fewer chances of rain. But for a meteorologist in FL (seriously, we must get all the ones that graduated at the bottom of their class here -- and the news stations just accept it: "eh, hire the guy -- sure he has a 2.0 GPA, but hell, this is FL, what kind of forecasting do you think he has to do?"), the only exciting time must be hurricane season when there is the possibility of severe weather.

In the case of an actual hurricane, they get to do one of two very exciting things: one, stand in front of a green screen and talk about the storm moving towards us and try to think of something innovative to say since this will be broadcast for the next 3 days straight and, really, it's just the same spiel each time; or, two, stand out by a blowing palm tree (or with the ocean as background -- that's classic as well) and talk about how no one should be out in this weather.

However, as of late, the heat has dramatically spiked, and as I have mentioned, it's like running in the inner circles of hell, and weather people are all lathered up and excited at the change: heat records, heat advisories to post, and lists of things you should not do in the heat (ie, be out in it). This would be an excellent time of year to have a gym membership -- and I'm sure membership sales soar during August, but alas, I have no membership so that means I have to hit the outdoors on a near daily basis. Hopefully it has its payoff for a fall marathon in a northern state, but it has also had me questioning a fall race again. Running 3-5 miles is do-able in this weather (at either dusk or dawn), but now that my mileage is getting up there, every run seems like a task assigned by the devil, and I have to question my sanity for repetitively getting out there and doing it.

Thankfully, today is a rest day, so it's nothing but central air for me: however, tomorrow I go back out and greet the heat. Yay.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Baker's Dozen

This morning I got up at 3:45 again (not an hour I relish) in order to get ready and get to the group run by 5 am. The run went pretty well, and I did a total of 13 miles this morning. I think my partner and I went out too fast in the first 5 (we were averaging a 10:08 pace and my long run pace should really be about 10:45-11:00), and that kinda hurt the both of us later because in the last 2 miles of our 13, we were both wearing down. But we finished it up and learned our lesson: next week, slow down.

But what made it hard as well is what's been making this whole week unbearable: the heat and humidity. At 4 am, I checked weather.com and it was 85 degrees plus humidity, so you know that by 6 am on the road, it was in the low 90s. The sweat was just dripping off us and our clothes were entirely soaked. Plus, in the past two weeks, the horseflies have been swarming to me like a fat kid to a cupcake. This morning, I got bit at least 3 times, and I'm sportin bites all over from the past week's runs (they turn into small welts on me that itch like crazy!). Damn flies. The city needs to lay down a blanket of pesticide (screw the environmental consequences, I want those fuckers dead) to eradicate them.

Anyway, despite the heat, the flies, and my little rant there, it was good to get the 13 done this morning and have another good group run. Next week, the coach told me I should aim for 18. Yikes. Kinda freaks me out to be thinking of those distances, but I have to get em done, and I do like having someone to consult with about my schedule and tell me what to run. Makes me feel like I have to do it.

Well, I'm gonna finish my giant bottle of Smart Water, stretch, and then chill out. Enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Lesson Learned

I just have to face it: Without beer, I suck at bowling. As was demonstrated in my first game last night. See, I arrived at the alley sporting a bottle of water and my goal was to try and "be good"; of course, I kinda struggle when it comes to any form of moderation, especially with alcohol, so I was gonna hold off for a bit with the drinking, so as to ensure that I not drink too much. But, in my first game, on nothing but water, I was sporting a score of 47 going into the 8th frame. Not good.

So, I went to the bar and got myself a beer. Just one.

Came back, had a few sips, went up to the lane and bowled a strike. Thus, I was able to at least pull off an 88 in the first game (still dismal), but I didn't start closing frames until I'd had that sweet elixir. By the second game, I'd had that first beer, plus a glass or two out of a pitcher, and I'd hit my stride. Second game: 141.

The last game tapered off some and was not so great, but I think it was somewhere around 116; thus, the lesson learned? I need beer to bowl. It's science. Unfortunately, I only have one week left of league (there's actually 2 weeks left, but next week is my last week b/c classes start the following week and I will have a Thursday night class this fall, so I'll miss the last night of league), so there's only one more week to try and tweek the alcohol/bowling ratio and I doubt my team is gonna pull itself up out of 5th (maybe we can land in 4th) place. That's okay. We're just there to have fun.

And for today? What, bowling doesn't count as cross training yesterday? (Never mind the fact that I take in more calories in beer than I expend in bowling.) Well, I did not get up early this morning (stayed up until after midnight last night in order to watch "Hot Fuzz" again with some homies -- the movie was just as funny and just as awesome with a second viewing), but it is raining, so hopefully it's a little cooler out there today. I'm hoping to do a short 3 miles this afternoon or evening; I want to keep today's run short because tomorrow morning I have my long run with the group.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dog Days

This afternoon it was just too hot to attempt a run of any length, and because I have bowling this evening and won't be able to run then, I guess today is a day of rest. In lieu of running, I decided it was a good chance to stay indoors in the sweet central air, roll out the yoga mat and do some yoga, some core work, and a few push-ups (girl style). However, Scooter seems to believe that the mat is for his comfort instead of mine: He's such a noble beast, isn't he? With his one ear folded back. He makes floor work of any kind hard since he believes that a human on the floor is an invitation to play, and today he thought it was just plain conveinent that I wanted to lay on the floor with him. Finally, I got him to scooch to the far side of the mat and was able to get my stuff done, but it's a bit hard to focus on sun salutations with this face staring up at me:
Best part is, if he'd follow my instruction, we could do "down dog" and "plank" together -- he's good at those two poses, but he's not much for formal training and when he does those two stretches, he rarely uses the mat.

Clarification

First and foremost, I am NOT preggers. So yesterday's nausea can not be contributed to morning sickness, but how is it that I just knew one of you would throw that out there? (Erin.)

Also, I should clarify that I did not actually barf on the run yesterday -- I just felt like I was gonna, and yeah, I had a coupla moments were I kinda heaved, but I didn't actually vommit.

There, now that those two issues are all cleared up, um...hmmm. I don't have much to say. The rest of yesterday was coolio: did some school work, went to the grocery store, hubby and I went to an evening movie, "Ratatouille" -- it was very cute, theater was nearly empty except for two other families with a few ankle-biters a piece, and I got our tickets at a student discount! (I didn't ask for it, just said "two" and he told me the total and I was thinking, "Isn't that the matinee price?" but I didn't argue, and when we got inside and looked at the tickets, my husband pointed out that the ticket guy had given me the student price! Awesome. I must totally look 19!).

And today? Well, I really have nothing to report as of yet. Part of me thought of trying to rise early again for another early run, but the larger part of me wanted to sleep in, so guess which part won out? I don't know, maybe I'll go for something short later on -- hard to say -- it's hot out there today, and I'd hate to make myself sick again and then have you guys re-confirming your pregnancy suspicisions. Sheesh.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

An Early 4

This morning, I wanted to get a mid-week long-ish run in, so I got up at 5 am in order to try and beat the heat and get 8 miles in. I got up, had half a piece of toast with peanut butter and some honey and a cup of coffee -- I mention this b/c I think it plays a role later on -- then I got dressed and headed out the door around 5:45.

Even though it was dark and certainly cooler b/c of the dark and the early hour, it was still 81% humidity out there and the air felt thick and hazy. As I started out, my breakfast felt a little heavy in my tummy, but I figured it would settle out within a mile; besides, this is a regular pre-run breakfast for me, so the tummy is used to either this exact combo or something similiar to it. But as the run continued, I started to feel worse and worse. I don't know if it's cuz I was so hot (sweat was just sitting on me), or if I didn't digest fully, but at mile 2, I literally thought I was gonna blow chow.

I stopped there for moment, and leaned down -- face towards the grass in case I barfed -- and took a few deep breaths. I haven't felt nauseous on a run in over a year (back then, stomach issues were the order of the day, but my tummy toughened up and I haven't felt sick during or after a run in quite some time), so this was odd. While I rested for a moment and let my nausea pass, I decided to turn around and do 4 miles instead of the intended 8.

Halfway back, I again had to walk b/c my stomach felt queasy, but then I resumed running and was able to round out the 4. Sucks, but I'm not gonna beat myself up over it. I'll adjust accordingly and perhaps tomorrow I will eat and drink differently before the run, and, maybe, just maybe, it will be slightly cooler too.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Jess' Day Off

So far, my day has been nothing but relaxing. I slept in (glorious!), lounged about and read the news, drank my coffee, and checked the blogs (oh, I like to keep a close eye on all of you). Then I did a few household chores: dishes, made the bed, watered plants, took out the garbage, that kinda shiz-nit. And then I went laid out by the pool for a spell.

It was too hot to lay out there for long (sweat was dripping off me and onto my book, so that wasn't very comfortable), but the pool was surprisingly refreshing and it felt nice to soak up a little sun and get my dose of vitamin D for day. After I showered, and got myself dressed, I decided to go shopping, but you know what? Everyone is at the mall doing back-to-school shopping, so the place was pretty busy and I only had the patience to visit two stores before feeling done with the whole business.

But before heading home, I stopped by the running store to stock up on some GU and Sports Beans (I've never tested them out before and I'm thinking of giving them a go), then came home and made myself a salad for lunch. The rest of my afternoon? I think I'm gonna plop down on the couch and do some reading in the cool comfort of air conditioning.

Having no agenda and doing what I wanna do at my pace is pretty sweet. If only this vacation could last all summer!

Monday, August 06, 2007

3 Outta 5 Ain't Too Shabby

I graded essays all. day. long. today, but in the end, I reached my goal by finishing all my classes' grades and submitting them this evening. Phew. That's one big project that is done with.

After finishing with the grades, I'd hoped that the temps had cooled some outside and I went out for my evening run. However, it was still like the surface of the sun out there. Still, I set out thinking I would do 5 miles, but a few steps on these weeble-wobble legs, which felt as flexible and as willing to run as two bags of cement, I made the executive decision: 5 was not going to happen. Thus, I settled on 3.

The first mile was a bit tough -- ran through a cloud of little black bugs and one went in my mouth and another flew into my right eye -- and it was hot like the inner circles of hell, but on a good note, after that first mile, my legs started to loosen up. By the end of my 3, I was actually feeling pretty good and probably could've done a full 5, but I figure that my legs are still recovering from Saturday's long run, and it was best not to push them past their capacity today.

I feel pretty darn good now: classes are done, run for today is done, hubby is making me some dinner, tomorrow I'm determined to not do a damned thing -- yessiree, I'm feeling sat-is-fied.

Monday, Monday

Still a little stiff today, but my legs are much improved over yesterday, and they should be fine to do my run this evening (hopefully it will be cooler then -- heard on the news this morning that temps are gonna be in the record highs today and in the next few days).

Yesterday, I got most of my chores done: cleaned the house, took care of laundry (took all friggin day!), read some essays, and finally finished Potter. Man, was that book good. The last 150 pages were so drammatic that I literally could not put it down -- I give two thumbs up to the way Rowling was about to bring all the plot intricacies together, not just from this book but from all seven books, and weave them into one of the best climaxes I've read in a long while. Plus, she was able to bring the whole story to a satisfactory resolution that I felt brought the series to a perfect close (although I did cry a lot at the end -- mostly b/c it's the end; I mean, I've been following Harry Potter and reading this story for nearly ten years, so it's the end of an era!). Of course, I'm now considering a re-read of the whole series, but first, I have several other books in my to-read stack, so I'll take care of those first: maybe I'll come back to Potter in a year or so when the plot details have faded some in my memory.

It felt good to get so much done yesterday but also have time to finish Potter (and watch a few episodes of "Weeds" with the hubby as well -- it's the best dang show around!). Today, then, is my last day of the summer semester, so I have a shitload of papers to read as they come in today, and I have final grades to process (they're due tomorrow by 3 pm, but I'm gonna strive to get them done today). So, today will be a full day of work, but then the reward? A week and a half off! I will, naturally, have to spend some of that time off planning for the fall term, but at least courses will be done and I'll have more time on my hands. The faculty starts back on August 16th and then classes resume on the 20th, so I'm gonna work hard today and then enjoy my break.

Soooo...that means I have to skeddadle to class! Have an excellent Monday, peeps!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sore

This morning, when I got out of bed, I felt like I'd aged a little over night: I was so stiff in my legs that I felt like I was walking like my grandmother. I guess 17 miles have their consequences. My quads are especially sore.

Guess I'll have to be sure to drink plenty of water today and do some stretching. It's gonna be a rest day (for running); and since I have been such a slacker the last few days, today I have to get around to getting some stuff done: student essays to read, laundry to finish, a house to clean, Harry Potter to finish (I'm so close to being done).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Saturday's 17

Last night, my husband and I joined some friends at their house; we ordered Chinese and watched "300." I really liked the movie -- it was very violent, but honestly, it wasn't as gruesome as some critics made it out to be and I thought that the violence in "Sin City" was far more disturbing and graffic than this -- it was very stylized and I liked the artistry and cinematics of the film. On the whole, I thought it was neato-burrito and would recommend it (to mature audiences only).

We got home a little later than I had wanted, but that's how a Friday night is, and I didn't get to bed until 11:30. This would've been just dandy except I had to get up at 4:00 this morning in order to make it to the 5 am group run. When my alarm went off at 3:45, I so thought about not going. I seriously tried to justify staying in bed, but in the end, I knew I had to just suck it up and get out there (hey, if 300 Spartans can face a Persian army of millions, I figure I can face a long run at 5 am).

I started at 5 b/c I wanted to do a longer run and the more time before the sun rises, the better. So, I joined the early group, found someone who was my pace (yay!), and we were off. I'd originally planned to do 14, but once we were on the road, the momentum of the run and at the insistence of my fellow back-of-the-packers (there turned out to be four of us), I ended up doing 17.

You heard (or, read) me right, I did 17 miles this morning.

Admittedly, by mile 13, I was really starting to stiffen up and by 14, I seriously wanted to be done, but I pressed forth. At mile 14, 2 of our merry little band went ahead, but one other woman and I took our time through the last 3 miles alternating running with some walking. I was glad for her company; she pushed me to keep running through some times when I wanted to drop into the grass and crawl, and I appreciated having the company for that distance. And in the end, I was so happy that I decided to go for the longer run (like 14 isn't enough, right?) b/c right now, I feel really good.

It's hard to believe that a little more than a week ago, I wanted to quit. Now, I feel like a million bucks and I've done 17! I guess that's the ebb and flow of marathon training, and learning to deal with those highs and lows is part of the process (probably one of the more difficult aspects, really). Plus, it makes a huge difference how the group run goes -- this one went well, so I think I'll stick with them -- the one poor run must've been a fluke (fingers crossed).

Ahhhh...so now that I'm showered, hydrated, and fed, I'm beginning to feel sleepy. 41/2 hours is not enough sleep for Jess. I think I will return to the land of slumber and take it easy the rest of the day -- perhaps I will finish Harry Potter!

Have a great Saturday, peeps!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I Guess it's Friday Now

Bowling went well tonight. I sucked at first (82 in the first game), but as the beer flowed, I improved (last game was 141). The tricky part is finding that balance. If I start with that kind of buzz, by the end of the night, I'm standing there at the end of the lane trying to stand up straight, but if I start off too sober, well, you can see the result! It's just plain embarassing. It's a catch 22.

Soooo, afterward, several of us stopped by a local bar and enjoyed a few extra pitchers o' the sweet stuff and some good humored banter (and some rather awkward banter, but we'll just leave that alone -- some things between friends are best left at the bar where they belong). Thus, it was a great night with friends. Tomorrow? Oh Jesus, I have a lot of papers to read. Monday is my last day of summer class -- thank god it's nearly over -- but I have a lot to get done before then.

Let's hope I get a run in tomorrow -- lord knows I'll need the break between essays.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

7th Heaven

My 7 miles this evening were a little wet, but otherwise, they went well. For some reason, it took me a long time to warm up and my legs didn't feel real loose until about mile 3, but once I turned around at 3.5 miles, I was feeling good and that carried me through the second half of the run.

I did get drizzled on, but it was alright: the rain brought some cooler temps and helped keep me from sweating to death. Now, I believe I will have a little snack, settle in for some "Top Chef" on Bravo, and then hit the hay.

A Walk and More Potter

Yesterday was a cross training day, so Erin and I went for our Tuesday walk for the first time in about...oh, six weeks. We had been so diligent with our schedule for months, but then work, travel, family, etc impeded our regularly scheduled Tuesday walk, but yesterday we were able to resume the workout. And all I have to say about that is that it was HOT. The poor dogs, they were both spent afterward -- Scooter went home and just laid on the cool tile for awhile to cool off.

I too was hot and tired afterward -- it's weird, sometimes I feel more tired after walking than I do after running. Erin must push me hard :)

Anyway, I spent the rest of the evening reading Harry Potter and I stayed up a little later than I had wanted. I've been so tired lately that I really wanted to make an effort to get to bed early so I could get plenty of sleep, but the Potter kept me awake longer than I wanted, and I had to just draw the line and put the book down so I could go to bed. Thus, I am still tired today (it didn't help that even after I put the book down and turned out the light, that my husband and I talked for half an hour about what kind of wand we'd each have if we were magic -- I went with a simple Oak wood and Phoenix feather filling for mine, but my husband said he'd want Redwood for his and dragon scales for the filling: we are dorks, I know).

But one of the reasons I love Potter (all the books) is that reading them reminds me of reading as a kid. I always loved to read, and my mother's rule about reading at night was simple: I had a very specific bedtime (8:30 -- even in the summer -- until I entered middle school), but as long as I was in bed reading, I could stay up as late as I wanted to. Trust me, there were many a school morning when I cursed myself for staying up to finish a great book (like a Ramona book or something by Judy Blume, no doubt). That kind of excitement for a book is what I'm reminded of when I read HP, and I think many others feel that way as well -- it reminds us (or me, anyway) of why we love reading in the first place: it transports us to another world and allows us to experience something completely out of our own existence, and in the case of Harry Potter, that transportation takes us somewhere quite fantastic. Thus, it's a little difficult to put not just the book, but the feeling, away at night.

Anyway, b/c I have so much work to do (student essays to read instead of Potter), I probably will only get a snippet in this evening. Plus, I have a run to do, 7 miles. At least it will give me time to puzzle over all the mysteries the book has presented so far.