About Me

My Photo
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.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Keys Camping

Our camping trip to the Keys (we camped on Long Key, not Big Pine Key -- I was mistaken about our destination) this weekend was a fun excursion. My husband and I left South Florida after my class on Friday and we met up with friends at the campsite around 4:30 Friday afternoon. We were just in time to catch a little late afternoon snorkeling and beer drinking. Below: Scooter and I in the campsite.
Even though we weren't in Key West, we still held our own Sunset Celebration, below, from left: Ryan, hubby (Jerry), Jon, Erin, and Pete. Every sunset in the Keys deserves its own celebration!

The beers go down easily while camping -- helps the relaxation along -- but these boys put the beers down extra fast. Pete was so quick to shotgun his that the camera couldn't capture his speed. Saturday morning was a little rough for both the hubby and I, and it probably didn't help that Friday night was so hot that I barely slept; instead, I just laid in the tent, sweating, while the bugs ate my flesh.

Saturday was a beautiful day (despite the early morning hangover -- don't worry, by 9 am, I was feeling fine), and we spent the day doing various activities, but I mostly sat in a camping chair, looking at the ocean, alternating between water and beer. It was SO pleasant: And it's what I love not only about the Keys, but about camping in general -- you can go fish, or snorkel, or canoeing, or you can just sit back and do nothing; it's the most stress-free kind of vacation. Scooter, who doesn't really like to just chill out, spent most of the day running back and forth along the beach and swimming back and forth along the beach. By the end of the day, he was tuckered out.

Thankfully, Saturday night was a much better night -- a storm cooled the air -- and we slept much better than we did on Friday (still got eaten alive by bugs). This morning, we got up, packed our campsite and headed home. So, now we have the rest of the day to do laundry, scratch our bug bites, and nap. Ahhh...now I can focus my attention on worrying about Chicago: A week from today, I'll be running the marathon.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Beach Camping

This afternoon, we're headed to the Keys for a camp-tastic weekend. (And hopefully, we don't lock ourselves out of the truck -- like last time!)

Usually, when we go camping, we camp in the swampland northwest of here, but for this excursion, my husband, myself and several of our friends, will be heading to Big Pine Key for the weekend's camping. Should be fun!

So, I'll see ya on Sunday with a camp report. Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

3 Mile Success

Last night, I did a test run -- 3 miles -- and it was great! There was no IT pain for that short distance, and getting out there for the run felt amazing. It started to rain in the last mile, but that was fine (it was a cool, fine rain); my feet fell in line with the rythym of the music and I really did feel wonderful about it.

And even though it was just 3 miles, it helped me think positively about Chicago again, which is invaluable at this point.

So that was an excellent way to top of a day where I gave my class a little peep-show, and regarding all of your hopes that I had a cute bra on? Sorry. It was not a pretty one.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Apparently, My Capacity for Embarasment is Limitless

So, I selected a cute, black and white polka-dot shirt to wear to class today. It's got kind of a ruffle-y front and is a button-down shirt, with these little black buttons that look like the candy I used to eat off the strips of paper (dot candy -- is that what it's called?) when I was a kid. There's nothing out of the ordinary with this shirt, and I really like it (as some friends can attest, I am fond of polka-dots), but I want you to keep the above details in mind because this fairly innocuous shirt got rebellious with me today.

This afternoon, I am in my second, and last, class of the day and I'm teaching my little heart out. I don't know if I made a grand gesture, if I happened to turn abruptly, or if I took an unusually deep breath, but all of a sudden I heard the little clatter of plastic on the floor and I feel a breeze in my shirt. Looking down, I discover one of those cute, black buttons on the floor before me. Now, if fate were kind to me, that button would've popped off the shirt someone near my belly button or at the very top near my throat. But fate is not kind, people; no, fate is wicked.

That button was the one holding my busty self in.

So, there I am in front of 25 students (an almost equal mixture of male and female) and my bra, and what the bra contains, is on display for the whole room. All I could do was blush, laugh, and try to conceal my breasts by holding the two pieces of rebel fabric together. One student suggested stapling the shirt back together, and I did consider it, when a resourceful student came to my rescue with a safety pin she had in her purse. I was able to pin up the embarrassing peek-a-boo show, and I resumed the rest of class.

That resourceful student? She gets an "A."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Easy Does It

My massage this afternoon was very nice. Again, I had a lot of tightness in my left hip and left calf, thus the manifest IT pain around my knee, but she said she felt like she was able to loosen it up some. Plus, she was very positive about my plan for the next 10 days: equal parts rest, cross training, short runs. So, if I decide I need to see her next week, I can schedule something and she said she'd fit me in no matter what, but she said I probably didn't need another session before the marathon. Oh yeah, and I can resume foam roller-ing (so I can resume "humping" that thing, hey Wendy?).

So, the session had me feeling very relaxed (as a side note: she has these two cute little white dogs -- terriers, I think -- and they really love the human attention, so one followed me into the bathroom when I first got there and the other spent the entire time I was on my stomach staring up at me through the table's face hole; it was cute), and it helped restore some positivity about Chicago. (Although, she said she should smack me for running the 17th street bridge last Saturday -- twice. Did I mention that before? Yeah, that wasn't so smart.)

When I got home, Erin called and we determined to cancel our walk for the evening due to heavy thunderstorms. It's been raining heavily here for the past few days, and we knew we'd get soaked if we went out for a long walk. Therefore, I determined to continue the relaxation that started with the massage and I did a little yoga (my own sequencing), did my core work and my leg lifts and then took a nice, long, hot bath. Ahhhh. Nothing like a rainy evening to make the day feel cozy and comfortable: perfect for the "rest" part of my plan.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Gym Rat

This afternoon I tested out the gym on campus, and I have to say: I don't know why I avoided it before. It is small (certainly, it's no Bally's or 24 Hour Fitness), but they have everything you need: treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes, and lots of weight equipment; and I did fear that I'd run into a student while I was sweaty and in my workout clothes, but overall, it works (and it's free!).

So, I did the elliptical for 35 minutes at various inclines and resistances, and I felt like I worked up a good sweat. Granted, it was boring staring at the wall for those 35 minutes with only my mp3 for company (seriously, all the elliptical machine and treadmills were lined up along the wall -- boh-ring!), but it got the job done. When I got home, I did my series of leg lifts (Jane Fonda-style), my stretches, and my core work and now I'm showered and done -- and it's not quite 5 pm yet!

Awesome to have that outta the way for the evening.

Tomorrow, I have another massage, and I usually walk on Tuesdays with my friend, Erin, so I plan to continue with that as my cross training for the day. Maybe on Wednesday, I'll try a short run and see how the IT feels about that.

Weekends Need to be Longer

Sunday was such a relaxing day: I slept in (awesome!) and then the hubby and I went to breakfast and went grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping -- pretty much I hate everything about it -- but all we had in the fridge was that expired milk, so I guess we had to go. It's much better when the two of us go together; for example, when we shopped yesterday, my husband stood in line at the deli while I did all the other shopping. If I had to stand in the deli for that long? I would have strangled someone.

After completing our one chore for the day, we spent the rest of the day chillin.

I finished my book "Here if You Need Me" by Kate Braestrup. A memoir. Sort of. I mean, "memoir" conjures up troubled tales from a person's childhood, but it wasn't like that at all, so it could probably be more accurately genre-ized as a "personal narrative." Anyway, it was very good and I'd recommend it.

Then, we watched several movies (it makes the hubby crazy for us to have Netflix movies that are sitting around unwatched -- so he was very pleased that we were able to watch not just one, but TWO movies yesterday). First, we watched "Blood Diamond" with Leonardo DiCaprio, who I used to think was just a lot of hype, but lately, I am beginning to respect his acting -- I mean "The Departed"? awesome. Very good. Again, I recommend it. Although, be forewarned: you'll probably feel uber-guilty for owning any diamonds; unless you specifically asked your jeweler whether or not they were conflict-free, it's very likely that any diamond on your hand cost someone in Africa their hand.

Lastly, we watched "Black Snake Moan" which was okay. It was good, in a weird way, but I thought the ending was too tidy given the conflicts in the film. It's not that I have anything against a happy ending -- with certain kinds of movies that's expected -- but this just felt like the sort of movie that solved some complexities with too much ease.

So, that was my Sunday -- went by too quickly and now I have to get back to the grind. I think this afternoon, after class, I'm gonna test out the campus gym; I've never used it before and I don't know why not. So, I figure: why not start today?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Super Saturday

Yesterday, I had little time to dwell on my pained IT band; instead, we spent most of the day at a Marlins game. I'm not any kind of sports fan, especially baseball, but the group went to the game in order to celebrate our friend, Pete's, b-day.

So, we arrived at the game a few hours early in order to tailgate -- as my husband and I are demonstrating in the pic above -- and sweat every ounce of fluid out of our bodies. It was easily 90 something degrees, and the sun was beating down directly on us; in no time, we were all soaking from the heat. Personally, I had the worst boob sweat and my underwear were saturated from perspiration (made peeling them off in the bathroom an enjoyable experience). This would have been embarassing, but since everyone else was suffering from similiar sweating, I didn't feel so bad. But, despite the heat, we did enjoy our brats and beers.

Inside the game, it was no cooler.
But, by then, we were used to the sweating, so we sat back to enjoy the game, drink more beer, and eat peanuts. Here I am to the left, with a big ol' peanut in my cheek. I look like a friggin chipmunk!

But I have to say, the peanuts and beer were the best part of that game -- to me, baseball is just as boring as watching the grass grow -- but soon enough it was all done (Marlins lost to the Mets) and we waited for the after game concert: Quiet Riot and Vince Neil -- sans the rest of the Crue. The concert was alright. But maybe it was because I was just so tired at that point, or maybe it was because it was the 3rd concert of aged rock stars I'd seen in just as many weeks, but whatever the reason, I was so ready to leave at that point. However, we did stay for the whole thing and while I did enjoy hearing the classics ("Kickstart my Heart" "Same Ol' Situation" "Dr Feelgood" etc), I thought that A.) Vince Neil has no business parading around in leather pants anymore, and B.) He also suffered from a case of mush-mouth. The choruses always came out clear, but for many of the songs, he sounded like he was sharing space with a watermelon in his mouth.

In the end, it was another fun day with my own Crew, but I was exhausted when we got home last night. And this morning's sober light reminds me that I have to return to the issue of my IT band and what course of action I should take. So, after consulting all of you, the massage therapist/physical therapist, and the team's coach, I have come to a conclusion. I am gonna rest today (fo sure), then cross train for a few days, and then return to running, but keep all of my runs around 3 miles (and see how they go), which at this point in my training, with the exception of the last long run, my runs weren't planned to exceed 4 miles anyway.

In the meantime, I see the massuese again on Tuesday and I have to keep up with the exercises and stretches she prescribed. Plus, I need to remember to ice after workouts, and IB around the clock. I feel like this is a solid plan, and when it comes to marathon day, I will do what I can. My husband has made it implicitly clear that if I can't finish, I need to step out of the race and not run through the hurt. I guess, perhaps, I need to mentally prepare myself for that possibility. It's not a pleasant thought though.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Beachfront Avenue

Because today is Yom Kippur, and much of our running group is observing the holiday, the coach decided to move us gentiles to the beach to run this morning for a change of pace. So, we started in downtown Ft Lauderdale, and then ran east to the beach and up A1A, along the ocean. It was a beautiful run, it's always nice to see the sun rise over the ocean, and there was a nice breeze that kept us all cool.

But all of that greatness couldn't help the fact that my IT was again paining me. I made it through 9 miles (although, I don't care to post the splits), but I started hurting as early as mile 5. So, of course, this greatly concerns me -- however, I am doing everything in my power to not freak out; my good attitude is all I have right now, so I have an iron grip on it -- and I am seriously thinking of taking the next two weeks, before the marathon, off.

Sure, I'll keep up with cardio (I can do the bike or the elliptical or walk or swim), but I'm thinking about giving myself the full two weeks off of running. I'm considering this because I think it might enable the inflammation to "de-flame" and, hopefully, the rest will leave my legs fresh so I can get through the marathon.

What do you guys think? Good idea? Bad idea? What should I do?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Scooter Update

Since so many of you have been inquiring, I figure I need to update you on the status of "Scooter vs. The Evil Association." So, here's the dealio:

Silence.

Yup. That's why I haven't really reported anything -- because we have heard nothing further. We submitted our argument via email and a hard copy statement that was sent via fax, and presently there's nothing more to do until we hear back from the board, which could be days, could be weeks, could be months. A friend sent some of our association documents to another friend, who is a lawyer, and she essentially said the ultimate decision will be up to the board, and we don't have much of a legal foothold to support our argument. She said that decisions like this really depend on the board members, so we are subject to their mercy on the matter.

In the meantime, I had to convince my husband to not call the real estate agent -- just yet.

On Tuesday, he literally had phone in hand and was making plans for selling our condo and he already had a tentative lists of properties in the area he wanted to see. I had to reign him in. True, I think this incident has reinforced how badly we'd like a single family home, instead of a condo, and true, I think we can afford it. But I would prefer to not act hastily. So, I made him a deal: If the association comes back to us and says Scooter has to go, then we will put the condo on the market immediately and we will look to purchase another home, one where Scooter's residence won't be an issue; If the association comes back to us and says that Scooter can stay, we can still plan for a new home, but he (my husband) has to wait at least six months before looking.

So, that's Scooter's story.

As for me? I discovered this morning that I've been drinking milk that expired 3 days ago. Tasted fine. But if I keel over later today, you'll know why.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rarh!

Lately, I've become sensitive to the over-use of the term "marathon." Like on TV, when it's gonna be a "marathon" of a certain TV show or movie; the other day, I overheard the caption "mini-marathon" on a TV commercial (wouldn't it be more accurate to call it a half marathon; you don't hear of half marathoners talking about that "mini" marathon they have to train for!?), and I sometimes hear people casually sprinkling their language with the term: "I did a marathon of house cleaning today" or "It was a marathon of paper grading," etc.

Now, I understand why the word is getting used in a such a manner, and it's never bothered me before, but suddenly I find myself feeling rather snarky about it.

I guess I don't like the idea of the race's challenge and difficulty being diminished by belittling comparisons. Grrr.

I don't know, I'm feeling a little cranky today. Maybe it's because I'm all out of Diet Pepsi (drank my last one yesterday and have not had the opportunity to get to the store for a refuel; they do have vending machines at school, but it's only sold in 20 oz bottles there -- I can only drink it out of a can), and I guess my system is low on phosphoric acid -- this irritability is the result.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oops, I Did It Again

I'm keeping my weekly runs short this week, in part because I'm tapering and in part to ease the strain on my left IT band, so again this evening, I did 3 miles. And I didn't really even want to do that.

See, it's been a busy week so far and I've had non-stop activity since Monday morning, so when I got home this afternoon and slumped into the comfy chair, all I wanted to do was stay there and watch VH1's "Britney's Most Shocking Moments" (seriously, that girl...) and lull myself into a TV-induced coma. Eventually, I knew I could sit there no more, so I reluctantly pulled on my running clothes and got out there. Now, normally even when I don't feel like running at first, I usually get warmed up and, after a mile, I start enjoying myself, but tonight, that was not the story.

Oh, I went the full 3 miles, and yes, my knee was kind to me and gave me no pain whatsoever, yet I never found the run's mojo. So I slogged through it and was pleased that I just got it done. But to top off the craptastic run, there was, well, some crap.

I got back in the house and headed for the bedroom, walked into the closet and started untying my shoes when the stink hit me: It smelled like turd. "Fuck," I cursed silently, "Did Scooter have mud butt again?" A quick glance around told me, "no." And then I thought to turn my shoe over -- there was the source of the shit. I'd stepped in it.

And walked all the way across the house.

Oopsie.

Aspartame and Other Nefarious Goodies

After working hard for 3 days, I was finally able to catch up and complete all of the grading I had, and with the small reprieve (3 new batches of essays come in tomorrow), I decided to sit back for my last hour of the day with a mini bag of popcorn and a Diet Pepsi.

As I waited in the faculty kitchen for my microwave popcorn to pop, two colleagues laughed and warned me about inhaling the fumes (referring to the recent news that inhaling the microwave popcorn fumes will have a detrimental effect on your lungs) and then they teased me about the chemicals, preservatives, and artificial sweetener in my Diet Pepsi. I figure if I die from either my microwave popcorn or from being pickled by my Diet Pepsi, either would be a fine way to go.

Both beat getting eaten by a shark.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Totally Long Tuesday

I have spent most of the day today reading and assessing papers; these two batches I've been working on are called "process analysis" essays, which is a fancy way of saying "how to." "How to" essays can be somewhat dull and simplistic, but because they are an easy essay, they're a good mode to start with (I like to start easy and progress in difficulty as the semester progresses -- at the end of the term, these two classes will be writing arguments based on research). So, after a VERY full day of assessing process analysis essays, I have some step-by-step methods to share; thus, consider this a "how to" grade "how to" essays:
  • Consume as much caffeine as possible. This helps maintain alertness and helps keep you awake when reading. Of course, be careful not to consume too much caffeine -- it sucks to have your heart hammering away in your chest when your body must remain stationary, and it may make you want to hurl.
  • When it feels like your eyes may begin bleeding, pause and take a break. This may mean taking a few moments to catch up on blogs, answer emails, or changing a load of laundry; whatever the diversion, your eyes will bless you for the break.
  • Do not take out your feelings of anger and frustration when you have just read the 121st comma splice -- yes, the error may make you want to tear your hair out, but try to remain calm. This student only made the error 3 times -- it is the other 25 students with their few errors per paper that have compounded the feeling that no. single. student. on. this. earth. understands. sentence. coordination.
  • Consume more caffeine at this point.
  • It's a good idea to take breaks for exercise; as we all know, exercise helps lower stress and helps invigorate us, but if time does not allow for exercise, consider banging your head against the wall. It relieves pretty much the same tension.
  • Lastly, decide on a quitting time in advance. Yes, these papers may really need to be returned to students tomorrow, but are you willing to sacrifice a good night's sleep in order for Tommy to give his essay and your comments a cursory glance and then proceed to make the same mistakes on his next essay? Probably not. Therefore, determine for yourself: how late will you work? Is 10 late for you? Midnight? Decide this now. Your sanity will thank you later.

There you go folks -- now you are well-equipped to take on my grading for me. So...when can I get all of your addresses so I can start out-sourcing this stuff?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Friggin' Mondays

I woke up this morning to this tidbit from my husband: "Morning hon, Scooter had diarrhea. I cleaned up most of it in the entry way, but it's all over the guest bed's sheets, pillows, and comforter. Do you want me to take care of it?"

"No," I told him, "Don't be late for work. I'll get it." So, when I got up, there was a poo-covered guest bed to tend to. Poor Scooter. His tummy has been upset since Sunday morning when we were awakened by his retching in the corner of the bedroom (why is that dogs always puke either in the middle of the night or at like 5 am?), and the upset must've continued into the day and night -- we suspect the butt-explosion must've happened in the middle of the night. I sympathize; I know how it is when you've gotta go but there's nowhere to go. At least all the sheets and the comforter are washable -- I did, however, throw out 2 pillows.

So, that was not a great start to the day. Then, school was incredibly busy -- stacks of papers to get through, students dropping by, emails to answer, etc. When I left, I still brought home tons with me (I have two stacks of stuff I should try and plow through this evening): this is the consequence of shoving all that work aside during the weekend. Oh well, Saturday and Sunday were nice.

After school, I had just one more errand: I had to go by David's Bridal and get fitted for a bridesmaid dress. The wedding isn't until March, but this bride is ready, so the rest of the party has already selected their dresses and I'm the last to get in there. I arrived at the place around 5, and once the lady determined that I was a bridesmaid, not the bride, this was her attitude: there are the dresses, when you want to try one on, there are the fitting rooms. Then, poof! She was gone.

So, I pulled a few off the rack (the bride has a color, but is allowing us to choose our style) and headed for the fitting room. There, the door was unlocked for me and then I never saw an attendant again. Let me tell you, it's not easy shimmying into some of those gowns by yourself, let alone zipping yourself into them. Plus, in the end, I really couldn't judge which one I liked best; I narrowed it down between this one:
And this one:
But got no further than that. And, I'm not entirely sure which size I should go with. The size smaller, which fits, but is good and snug? Or the size larger, which is a little loose but could probably be brought in when I get it altered? Without anyone to consult with, I changed back into my regular clothes and just left. I guess I'll return with a friend and I'll have my "bitch game" on, because I guess I need it in order to get attention there.

Needless to say, by the end of the day, I was foul. And I didn't want to run. However, I know that when I don't want to run -- that is exactly when I need it most. So, I changed, pulled on my shoes and hit the asphalt. I just did 3 miles because I wanted to test the knee, and I didn't take the Garmin along for the ride. The 3 went well, no knee pain, and my legs were good after yesterday's massage.

The run felt great, the day's ickiness melted away and I truly was feeling renewed when I got home. Plus, it was encouraging that my knee felt fine; however, the truer test of its reoccurring pain will be Saturday's long run since it usually takes far more than 3 miles for the pain to set in. Until then, I'll continue with the instructions the masseuse gave me and hope for the best.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Massage Report

Well, there's lots to discuss concerning the massage I had this afternoon, so brace yourselves, I might get long-winded here.

To start with, this masseuse is also a physical therapist and she's a runner/cyclist herself and does some training on top of all that; this is why she's so popular with the group and is recommended by the running store -- she's like a 3 stop shop. When I arrived, she first had me do a series of different exercises so she could see how my knees and hips aligned and worked: the exercises told her several things about my physiology and my current injury.

1. I have good balance. (When I told my husband this, he laughed aloud. She meant I have good balance on one foot -- I am excellent at tree pose, for example -- and I am very capable of one-legged dips and squats. She's never seen me fall down, so her assessment of my balance didn't take forward motion into consideration.)
2. I am incredibly flexible. (This comes from years of yoga -- both what I do at home and what I've done in years of classes.)
3. I am well-aligned. (Nothing is leaning or tilting one way or another when I walk or do the exercises, so I'm pretty neutral and centered which means nothing really needs correcting in terms of my gait.)

So those were the good things. The bad things? Well...
1. I am VERY tight in my left hip and glut. (Thus, the pain in the left knee. As we runners know, where you hurt is not where the problem is -- the problem always begins elsewhere.)
2. I am weak in both my hips, but especially weak in my left hip. I also have some gluteal weakness.
3. I am compensating for hip/butt weakness by relying on my lower back and my hamstrings. Therefore, some of the IT strain begins in my lower back. (I have a really strong lower back and a lot of flexibility in my spine -- see, I can easily do back bending poses in yoga, either way, doesn't matter: camel, wheel, bridge, my back easily bends each way, so it didn't come as a big surprise that I perhaps rely on my strength there to make up for my apparently flabby butt and jelly hips.)

So, she showed me a variety of leg lifts to help strengthen my hips, especially, and she also showed me some stretches to help with the IT band. She also told me that after the marathon, I should really consider some strength training for my all the muscle groups in my upper legs. After that PT session, she then gave me the massage and paid particular attention to the legs.

Now, whenever I get a massage, I think of that episode of "Friends" when Phoebe bites the butt of her client and I always hope that the masseuse won't do the same to me; however, after being informed that I have weak gluts, I assume she wasn't tempted to bite into them!

Anyway, like all other masseuses (plural? "massuesi"?), she was surprised by the knots in my neck, shoulders, and back, and asked me a series of questions about my stress level and my job. Seriously, I don't think of myself as a stressed out person, but I guess I internalize all my anxiety and store it in my back b/c I ALWAYS have knots and tension there. But, the masseuse said she wasn't gonna focus on that today -- today was all about the legs.

Definitely tight in the outside of both hips, also tight in the butt (strange how my butt is both weak and tight, hmmmm...). The massage felt good at times, painful at other times, and relaxing at other points, but I could definitely feel some things loosen up. Surprisingly, I was also tight on the inside of my right leg and in the tendon of my left foot (which goes back to the foot pain I experienced about 3 months ago).

So, an hour and a half after I got there, I was standing there talking with her while her dog licked my leg (she has shop set up in her home) and I was feeling good, relaxed, and loose. And honestly? I also felt greatly encouraged. She was very positive about the steps to take so that I could successfully run Chicago in 3 weeks, and she asked that I email her tomorrow after my run to let her know how things feel. I have an appointment to go back next week and may even try to squeeze in another one right before we depart for the windy city.

We'll see if I'm sore at all tomorrow, but I honestly don't think I will be -- the massage was good and deep but she also took the time to really ease into that and then after massaging deep in my legs, she stretched them -- so I think the muscles got exactly what they needed. All in all, it was a great experience and I hope it sets the tone for the week ahead of me.

Ahhh...now, I'm gonna watch some movies; TNT is having some kind of vampire and zombie movie marathon, so I think I'll watch Blade 3 (my favorite one b/c it has Ryan Reynolds, grrrr...) and then Resident Evil. I do like my monsters!

Ikea?

Yesterday morning, I made good on my promise to see a massage therapist and I called for an appointment, and she wasn't there so I left a message. About an hour later, she returned my call and it went a little something like this:

Her: "Hi Jessica, this is Robin."

Me (thinking that she said Shannon, so I am assuming it's my friend, not someone I don't know): "What's up?"

Her: "Well, I hear you're having problems with your IT band."

Me: "You bought an Ikea bed?"

Her: "No, I said, 'Having trouble with your IT band'."

Me: "You what with an Ikea bed?"

Her: "What?"

Me: "What? Who is this?"

So, despite me coming across as the world's worst listener, and apparently, obsessed with Ikea as well, she did manage to fit me in for an appointment this afternoon at 5 pm. She also told me to start doing leg lift exercises to try and strengthen the muscles along the outside of my hip and she said to NOT foam roller b/c if it's inflamed, then the roller-ing will only aggravate the band. Okey-dokey then.

I'm looking forward to the massage; I haven't had one in almost a year and I think it will help in more ways than helping to relax that IT band. I'll let ya know how it goes. Hopefully, our miscommunicative start is not indicative of how the massage will go.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Caution: Possible "Funk" Ahead

So, this morning's long run was supposed to be a second 20 miler, but 7 miles in, my left knee's IT band was again giving me shooting pains and I had to walk for a bit in order to finish the first part of the group's loop. Worried about finishing 13 more miles with that kind of tightening and pain in my knee, I consulted the coach and she told me not to continue. She said it was better to quit the run and rest the knee than to push myself to finish the distance and really hurt myself.

As I drove home (and everyone else set out on the second leg of their loop), I was feeling pretty distraught: I am 3 weeks away from Chicago. 3 weeks! My taper begins after today's run, and I am in the home-stretch of this training. If this injury had cropped up 2 months ago? I would've said, "screw it" and I would've quit the training. But at this point? I can't quit the idea of the marathon! No way. I have worked too hard to quit now. So, my only options are the following: rest it for a few days, schedule a massage to try and loosen up the band (the group's coach gave me the name and number of a massage therapist who comes highly recommended by everyone in the group), ice it, stretch it, foam roller it, and do my best with the taper's runs (the longest of which is next Saturday's 12 miler).

On the plus side, I do have a 20 miler under my belt -- I just really wanted the extra confidence that one more would have given me -- and I have numerous other long distances between 12-20 miles that I have covered, so I know my training is in a much better place than it was going in to Disney last January. Yet, that's not enough to help assuage the anxiety of this knee and what it will do during the marathon. I suppose, I can just do my best with it, right? Unless anyone knows of some good, strong magic?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Scooter Saga Continues

Thanks for the comments concerning Scooter as an illegal condo resident: some of your comments were very helpful, and certainly all were encouraging.

After not receiving a response from management via email today, my husband and I drove over to the management office and spoke with someone there. She wasn't a whole lotta help, but she was nice. Essentially, she said we had to plead our case in writing, and the management board would consider it and decide their course of action. So, to ensure the fact that they have plenty of written material before them, I also wrote a letter and faxed it to the management arguing our side and pleading that they decide compassionately on Scooter's behalf.

Now, it's just a waiting game. Hopefully, we hear something back from them by next week.

My husband is still a bundle of nerves over the broo-ha, and I know he didn't sleep well last night and I know he won't be able to relax until we've received some kind of word back from the association and its management, but that's just how he is. Me? Oh, I'm concerned, and I marched into that office this afternoon ready to argue (and was a little disappointed that I didn't get to do so), but I am a little better at taking things in a step-by-step approach than my husband. I figure that I've done what I can right now, and that I'll just have to be patient until we hear back. Plus, I'm not going down without a fight: So, if the board responds negatively to our written requests, I'm not giving up until I can meet with management in person. And I can harrass like no other in person.

So, this is gonna weigh on us for a spell.

But, I do need to focus on my long run tomorrow morning at 4:30 am, so I think I will go gather my morning stuff together into the pile I make every Friday night in preparation of Saturday's long run, and then I will think about making something delicious for dinner. Have a good weekend everyone! Toodles.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pet Upset

I was having a great day off today -- cleaned the house, ran a whole bunch of errands, got some new books, etc -- then around 4 pm, I checked the mail and everything went to hell in a hand basket: Our condo association sent us a threatening letter saying we have to "remove" Scooter from our residence!

See, Scooter is an illegal resident in said condo because our association has a rule against pet residency, but it's a rule that is causally ignored by many (lots of other unit owners have either a dog or a cat), so when we got Scooter, we knew were in violation of the association's "law," but we didn't figure it would matter much. 2 years later and I guess we were wrong. Apparently, they're getting' tough and they decried that Scooter needs to vacant the premises by the end of the month.

Oh sweet Jesus.

Since I had checked the mail after 4 pm, and the association's office closes earlier than that, I sent them a strongly worded email and asked them to contact me or my husband in response to this letter. Essentially, we are willing to pay a fine, but are not willing to get rid of our dog -- Scooter is our family and we can't imagine not having him! But, until we get word back from the association, we just have to wait.

This is not good, especially for my husband (aka "the worrier"). Within an hour of discussing said letter, he was online looking at real estate, assessing how much we could sell our condo for and examining other properties in the area. Clearly, this is a "worst case" scenario, but that's the thought he had first (well, his real "worst case" meant that our condo would sell below market value and we'd have to live on the streets -- but I won't bother you with too many of those nightmare details that were first to spring to his mind).

In order to help ease his mind and distract him, I got him to go out to dinner with some friends and I. We enjoyed some Cajun cuisine and a few beers and that did seem to relax him some, but I can tell that he's not gonna sleep much tonight. Damn association. I missed my run to comfort the hubby and force a few beers down his throat; however, I think the missed run was worth it. We both needed to get out after that letter, and sometimes, there are more pressing issues besides running.

So, hopefully, the association emails or calls us back tomorrow. I hope they don't keep us in suspense over the weekend. If they do, my husband could have us in an entirely different state by then!

L'Shanah Tovah!

Yes, I pulled a little Hebrew outta my repertoire for this post's title. I learned that the above greeting is the one most appropriate for Rosh Hashanah -- see, teachers don't just teach, they learn as well.
But I need to digress for two moments:
  • People, people! The only kind of cupcake to have is yellow cake with chocolate frosting! That's the only kind of cake we make in this household, so don't tarnish the good cupcake name by suggesting other flavors. Sheesh.
  • Also, David, Nancy, don't go encouraging Ryan by suggesting I drink Miller Lite -- that stuff is toad piss, and you remember it. Bud Light is the beer of champions. Plus, they spell "light" like Americans, not like those dirty Miller brewers who use the Canuck spelling.
Anyhoo...today, I have the day off! That's right! Today is the Jewish high holiday, Rosh Hashanah, but at school, we call it "fall holiday." At any rate, I get it off, which is super duper. Personally, I'm not Jewish; in fact, I am a person who is sans religion, but I think holidays are splendiferous and I enjoy the day to sleep in.

That was first on my list to do (guess I can add my little mental check mark next to that one), but I also have several other things I want to do on my day off, not all of them are very fun: clean the house, wash the bedding, grade papers, go to Target (need q-tips and sandwich bags), go get my eyebrows waxed off, gas up the car, and go to the bookstore (that's my fun one!). Well, best to start my busy day! (That means I'm gonna sip coffee and read blogs for an hour -- then, start my day.)

Shalom, homies!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Good vs Evil

Sooo, I was supposed to do 5 miles tonight, as I indicated on the previous post, but I've just been dragging today. This evening all I wanted to do was lay there and melt my brain with some mindless TV, and the lazy devil part of me encouraged this:

"Jess, you have been so, so good for the past several months with your marathon training and you deserve a night of nothing. Why don't you just snuggle in and rest? While you're at it, why not also indulge in a cupcake? Hmm? Doesn't that sound nice?"

Yes, yes, it did. But then the ambitious angel part of me piped up:

"Jess, you know you can NOT take a day off of running! You've come so far in this training. You have to run this evening. You can NOT let your lazy butt rot away while your brain enjoy its mental heroin."

Ugh. Stupid ambitious angel, you are always right, I sighed.

But the tug back and forth was too great to allow one side to win; thus, I compromised the two selves: I would run 3 miles.

"Fine!" huffed the lazy devil.

"Good!" cheered the ambitious angel.

So, I did 3 miles tonight. Not 5, not 0. Now...I do think I will have that cupcake.

Love and Marriage

When Erin and I walk once a week, it's a good chance for me to get exercise that's not running, it's good for the dogs to get a long walk, and it's good exercise for our mouths -- we really exhaust the last one there. So, last night, we were laughing and talking about the things that annoy us about our husbands -- something about Amy's post yesterday sparked us to gab about the annoying habits our husbands possess.

So, last night in bed, I was telling my husband this and listing for him the things that he does that annoy me (yeah, I must be a joy to be with) and then I told him he could list the things I do that annoy him. Thus, "the top 5" was born.

Top 5 Things My Husband Does that Annoy Me
  • Chew with his mouth open and slurp his drink. I swear, if I ever murder him, it will be during dinner time.
  • Throw his dirty clothes right next to or on top of the hamper. How hard is it to lift the lid and put them inside?!
  • He refuses to sleep under the same blankets as me. He says I'm too hot (something about sleeping next to "molten lava") and sometimes I even wake to find pillows wedged between us to keep my heat from creeping over and burning him, I suppose.
  • His obsessive lock checking.
  • He won't let me touch his butt. Seriously. I am not allowed to cup, carress, stroke, prod, poke, or fondle his posterior. It's off limits. I don't like boundaries. Sometimes I try to steal a quick feel -- that usually resuslts in an ass-argument.

Top 5 Things I do That Annoy my Husband

  • I'm a biter. Yup. And not the cute nibbling kind of bites. I like to bite down hard.
  • I don't respect the hands-off-the-ass rule.
  • I tell our friends and family embarassing stories about him (I have a feeling this post may not go over that great).
  • I never ask for help when cleaning or cooking. (I know this may sound weird, but I see his point.) I would rather do everything myself, do it my way, and have it take 3 times as long than to ask for his help, allow him to do things his way, and save myself the time. Plus, he thinks I vaccuum too many surfaces.
  • I tend to not "blindly agree" with him. So, if he's had a bad day and he's telling me about someone who really pissed him off at work, instead of me saying, "Oh, you are absolutely right, that guy is a bastard and I hate him because you hate him," I tend to argue the other person's side, "Well, hon, I can see his point..." I think the 2nd worst fight we ever had was over an incident like this where my husband ended up yelling at me: "We are a team! If I hate someone, you hate that person! Who do you hate? I'll start hating that person right now! That's what marriage is!"

There you go folks. A little window into our marriage.

So, my run for tonight? Another 5 miler. I'll give you the report on that afterwards. Have a happy hump day! Peace out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Random Tuesday

Yes, it's that time again: A post full of unrelated tidbits.

  • I have been having very vivid dreams lately. Two nights ago, I dreamed I was fighting a pack of evil vampires (as opposed to the "good" ones who were on my side), and I, in particular, was pitted against the most evil vampire -- he could shift shapes -- and I killed that fucker with a very sharp stick that was like my sword (why the dream didn't afford me an actual sword as a weapon, I don't know).
  • I always avoid the news on 9/11. Something about re-visiting the events of the day bother me. So, instead of listening to NPR on the way to work today, I listened to some rockin tunes. I have to admit that singing along to Avril made me feel far perkier than listening to yet another report about roadside bombs in Iraq.
  • I almost plowed into a student in the parking lot (her car, not her) this morning. I feel for students b/c parking on campus sucks. But it's not an excuse to pull out without looking. It made me wonder: if I total my car, how much would the insurance company pay me? Not much. My car is getting pretty ghetto, and something tells me that 1998 Honda Civics aren't excatly pulling down the $$$ on the market.
  • I woke up with a rather brilliant new idea about how to teach a particular short story. I'm gonna test the idea on my two classes today; I am crossing my fingers it will be a success.
  • I think I'm gonna go buy another cup of coffee from the campus cafeteria -- I am feeling the need for extra caffeine today. Not so much b/c I feel tired, but b/c I feel pretty wired from the previous two cups at home, and I'd like to maintain the buzz.
  • My hair looks really good today; seriously, I look like a shampoo ad. Too bad I can hardly stand to wear it down and I'll probably tie it back in a pony shortly to get it outta my face.
  • Today is cross-train-Tuesday, so I'll probably walk my miles with Erin tonight, but for some reason, I am antsy to run. Maybe it's the caffeine.

Okay, homies, that's your dose of randomness, enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

5 for 5

I've been like a saint with the stretching and foam rollering the last few days, and it seems to be working since I experienced no IT pain in my left knee for this evening's 5 miler. If I'm good all week, hopefully it won't hurt me again during Saturday's long run -- and then I can also be issued my halo.

Mile 1: 10:21
Mile 2: 10:24
Mile 3: 10:40
Mile 4: 10:48
Mile 5: 10:24

Total Time: 52:40

This week the weekly runs are fives straight across the week. Should be stimulating. Shall we see if my times vary as the week progresses?

But guess what else? I got my Chicago bib# and race info in the mail today! My # is 36421. Seems lucky, right?

Evaluated

Last Friday, I was observed in my classroom by my department dean. This can be a stressful event -- it can make an instructor anxious to know that every part of how he or he conducts the classroom is being scrutinized -- but, I am actually pretty comfortable being observed. Don't get me wrong, it still makes me a little nervous, but I'm confident in my teaching methods and have experienced a great deal of success with most students; plus, I welcome feedback from my peers and superiors (teaching, especially at the college level, can sometimes feel lonely because it's just you and the students; that can make it difficult to understand how well you're doing in the classroom, so I like to be observed from time to time in order to better understand what I'm doing well and what needs improvement).

So, I felt the class time on Friday went well, but I was, honestly, a little nervous to receive my feedback and meet with the dean to discuss his observations. This morning I got to do both, and it made me feel awesome!

He had nothing but glowing comments and said that he was extremely impressed by every aspect of the class! He even commented in the feedback that "the class was so interesting that I sometimes found myself forgetting to take notes." I can't express how important a review like this is for me (a new full-time faculty member), and it really helps reinforce that I am doing something I'm good at and enjoy (the dean also commented that I clearly "take joy in teaching" and that my interaction with students was "energetic and dynamic"). He was also impressed that I don't use notes while teaching -- something he commented on in person and on the written feedback, and he asked how I had such tremendous recall.

Students have asked this before as well -- one girl once asked if I had a photographic memory. Do I have a super-human memory? Of course not. I'm just very familiar with my material (I've taught the short story we were discussing about four dozen times), and I do have a pretty good memory. Especially if I write something down, I pretty much remember it permanently (yet, I can't always remember to take my keys with me when I walk out of the house -- it's a tricky thing, the brain).

Anyway, this review has really helped make my Monday.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Saturday Night's Alright

Last night, my husband and I were invited to a party where we didn't know anyone. Well, we knew the person who invited us, Erin, but I have a sneaking suspicion she only invited us because her husband is out of town and she didn't want to go to the party by herself. Suspicions aside, my husband and I enjoy parties, mostly because they often have two very important and necessary ingredients there: food and beer, so we accepted the dubious invite and attended the party with Erin.

This party was like traveling back in time about 10 years. See, right now, almost all of our friends are either married or in significant relationships, so when we go out or have parties, there are shenanigans, yes, but not much by way of drama. But this party? Oh holy cats, there was drama. The party took place in the home of two younger guys who are roommates and who rent the place -- thus, my intense feeling of being transported back in time. The place was really nice, but it was definitely a bachelor pad: it hadn't been cleaned, various knick-knacks that adorned various surfaces were clearly the possessions of young, single guys (a Jagermeister machine in the kitchen, a replica of the lamp from "A Christmas Story," World of Warcraft figurines and memorabilia, and, well, a bong), and their party presentation was simple: keg and chips.

Along with the single guys, came the single girls (by the end of the night, one of these guys and one of these girls mysteriously stole away to a bedroom, and then I really, REALLY, felt like I was back in college -- ah-kward!), or the people that were kinda couples, and one or two that were certainly couples, but who weren't married or engaged or involved in any kind of seriousness. My husband and I were the only married people there at the end of the night (well, Erin is obviously married, but the hosts believe her husband, Ryan, to perhaps be mythical since they've never met him). But, aside from the time travel, it was a fun party.

Anyway, because I had been pretty tired from yesterday's run, I only had a couple of beers and then switched to water for the rest of the night in order to be the DD -- my husband, meanwhile, took full advantage of the aforementioned Jagermeister machine. On our way back, we hit Taco Bell for some chalupas (which did not sit well with me), and then went home.

Today, my left knee is still hurting, so I will follow everyone's advice with the icing, the stretching, and foam rollering. Today is a rest day, so I am just gonna take it easy.

BTW, at that party last night, I found myself, at one point, in a conversation with several other women and they were discussing various forms of exercise, and this one girl kept going on and on about how terrible running is for you: "It's so hard on your joints and it kills your body! It's awful for you! Awful! Besides," she said, "walking burns just as many calories." I didn't interject any rebuttal -- I didn't know these people and besides, my knee was aching.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

13.5

Not much to report about the long run this morning. Another Saturday where I was up early and out there running. Originally, I'd been thinking this run would be 12 miles, but we did 13.5 instead. Towards the end, my IT band on my left leg was starting to hurt (it was hurting at the end of last week's 20 as well), so the last 2 miles were a walk/run combo.

I guess I'll need to ice it, and make certain I'm actually doing the foam roller. I was being so good with the roller when I had ITBS in my right knee, but once that faded, the roller started to collect dust in my closet. Guess it needs to come back out. I have less than a month until Chicago, and I don't want to get derailed at this point.

So, without further ado, today's splits:

Mile 1: 11:08
Mile 2: 10:25
Mile 3: 10:26
Mile 4: 10:45
Mile 5: 10:53
Mile 6: 10:36
Mile 7: 10:26
Mile 8: 10:41
Mile 9: 10:40
Mile 10: 10:36
Mile 11: 11:12
Mile 12: 11:48
Mile 13: 14:39
Last .5: 7:07

Total Time: 2:31:08

So, you can see how I slowed in miles 11 and 12 and walked much of 13 and a half. But, I'm not disappointed in it. I'll be vigilant with the IT in the left knee this week and see how it goes. Have a good Saturday, homies! I'm gonna go lay on the couch now.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sleepy

I had class until 9:15 pm yesterday, got home about 9:45, ate the dinner my husband had made me. Helped take the wild hounds outside, and was in bed by 10:30 -- was probably unconscious within minutes. I was pooped.

And I could've kept on sleeping this morning, but I had to get up early to sub for an 8 am class -- my own class on Friday isn't until 11 am, so I normally get to sleep in until about 8 or 8:30 before meandering in. So, I'm sitting here sipping my coffee and wishing I could've had about 2 or 3 more hours of sleep.

Seriously, I don't know how people get by on 6-7 hours on a regular basis. I need a solid 8-9. Or 10.

And it's not like I get to sleep in on Saturday morning -- I need to meet the group at 5:30 am tomorrow for my long run, so that means I need to get up at about 4:15. Yippie. Maybe when I get home this afternoon around 3, I'll just go back to bed and stay there until tomorrow. Sound good? To me, it does.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Early Morning

We're dog-sitting for some friends -- Wilson, pictured here to the left of Scooter, is a pug/beagle mix but he mostly looks pug, doesn't he? Anyway, because of the extra dog in the house, and thus in the bed, I didn't sleep great last night.
Then, they were both up at 5 am -- ready to go outside and eat breakfast. After our walk and the dispensing of food, I decided to just stay up. Normally, I go back to bed after taking Scooter out, but that's because he'll eat his breakfast and then crawl quietly back into bed for awhile. But when his friend is here? Fat chance of that. They were both wild this morning, so I thought it best to close the bedroom door, let the hubby sleep, and I started the coffee.

Since I was already up, I decided to go for my run early. I did a slow 3 miles (I didn't take the Garmin along, but I know my times were no where close to what I did on my 6 last night), and it was nice and cool this morning -- humid, but much cooler. It's a good feeling to have that run outta the way for the day, especially since Thursday is my long day at school.

Hopefully, these two will wear one another out today and they'll crash tonight: here's to wishful thinking!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I dunno...

Mile 1: 10:12
Mile 2: 9:56
Mile 3: 9:46
Mile 4: 9:46
Mile 5: 9:37
Mile 6: 9:59

Total Time: 59:18

Maybe the devil was at my back. Because for me to do 6 miles in under 60 minutes? Well, that doesn't happen very often.

As Succinct as Possible

Cross training last night was a regularly scheduled walk with Erin. At first, we thought we might get rained on, but we were lucky and escaped the storm, but it was a humid 3 mile walk and we were both quite sweaty when finished. An buggy. Erin, in particular, was wearing a blanket of bugs.

Today, I have 6 miles for my mid-week run. My weekly runs are starting to gradually slope off even though I'm not officially tapering yet. I'll do that run this evening when the sun sets. I forecast the climate to be humid and buggy again.

I finished the 3rd book, "Eclipse," in the Twilight series. Yup. Read all 3 books in 9 days. Or rather, I inhaled them. Reading them so quickly has left me a little dazed. I read them too fast, but it was hard not to since the story was so absorbing, and now that I'm done, I kinda don't know what to do with myself. Part of me is tempted to re-read them just so I'm back in the story. The next book in the series doesn't come out until next fall; dang it, so I guess I have to return to the books I was reading previously -- there are not vampires in either of those.

I'm putting the student issue I've been worrying over behind me. I sent a concise email to her yesterday, and I think that should do it. I consulted with two fellow faculty members yesterday and both gave me positive feedback about the way I'd handled the situation, so I'm feeling more confident with my response to her.

I'm kinda screwed up on my days this week -- can't believe it's already hump day!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Already Tuesday

Thanks for the input concerning the student issue below. I haven't yet replied to her email, but I probably will send a concise statement similiar to what I typed earlier, but I still think it wise to let it sit so that I can be certain of how I want to respond. My husband said I shouldn't respond at all; he says she's just trying to provoke me and hurt my feelings so she doesn't deserve a response. Which may be true, but I feel compelled to acknowledge her comment.

But seriously? I thought about it all day yesterday. Certainly in each semester, when I have somewhenre between 125-150 students, there's bound to be one or two that give me issues and who dislike me; however, I've never had a student accuse me of favoritism. So, this accusation hits a nerve. In part it unnerves me because I do strive so hard to be so objective when grading student work, which is pretty hard when grading writing. But I use a series of rubrics which I created to help make the process of grading their work much more specific, and I think it helps make the grading more objective. Plus, when tallying a student's final grade I stick to my syllabus' guidelines concerning the breakdown of percentages (this particular young woman mostly earned a C because of her excessive absences and some missed work -- she might have done better had she turned everything in and been there everyday).

But it also hits a nerve because, let's face it, I do prefer some students over others. I'm not a robot. And over the course of a semester, sometimes several semesters (I frequently have students take me for more than one class), I develop a certain like or dislike for some students. I try not to let my personal preferences interfere with how I grade a student (in fact, it has pained me to issue poor grades to a few students who I really liked and really wanted to succeed). Yet, her comment made me think that perhaps she was right: did I favor some students and not her? If she'd ben a different student, would I have assessed her work differently?

Concerning her grade, no, I'm no wavering on that. The more I look at her work over the semester (re-consulted my records for her), the more I think she deserved the C. I probably will give her a short reply to her rather venomous email, and, yes, I will remain courteous. But maybe it's a good thing she sent it; maybe I do need to hear her opinion in order to remind myself to strive for fairness when looking at student work.

Anyhoo, after brewing over it for most of the day yesterday (even my very excellent book could only distract me from thinking about it for bits at a time), I really needed my run last night. As I noted yesterday, my legs were still pretty stiff from Saturday's 20, so I decided to turn my planned 5 into 3, and I think that was a good idea. Once out there, the run was a smooth as butta, and halfway through, my legs felt great. It rained yesterday evening, so the air when I went running was cooler, although still very humid, and the run was nothing but pleasant. I didn't take the Garmin, so I just listened to my music and let it determine my pace, which was comfortable. Certainly I could've done 5, but I think the easy 3 was a better way to recover. Today? My legs feel great. So, I cross train today and then add some distance to tomorrow's mid-week run.

Monday, September 03, 2007

My Day of Non-Labor: A Summary

I am still sore today from Saturday's 20 miler. But I have mostly been sitting around or laying around reading, so I think my legs will be rested enough for a recovery run later this evening. I would like to do 5 miles, but we'll see what the legs feel like when I get out there; it might be a 3 miler.

My left foot swelled up yesterday afternoon and evening, and it's a bit of a mystery as to why. At the concert on Saturday, I did get bit by some fire ants, but I wouldn't think that'd be enough to make my whole foot swell. But last night, I just went to bed with it swollen and when I woke up today and it was still swollen, I decided to take an anti-histamine. That helped. Swelling went down, but now I have the side effects of the anti-histamine thrumming through my veins.

A student I had this summer was displeased with her final grade. She got a C and she felt she deserved a B, and ever since the summer semester ended, she's been sending me emails asking for explanations for her grade, yet she hasn't wanted to come in and talk to me about it in person or pick up her final two essays. I hadn't heard anything more from her in about two weeks, and then I got an email from her this morning saying she thought I was an unfair grader and that I showed favoritism toward some students in my grading. This bothers me. I really strive to be as fair as possible in my grading, and I do think her work was C work. Part of me would like to snarkily reply to her email quipping something mean about how her writing in her email demonstrated her C level writing skills (she didn't capitalize "I" and she spelled "showed" as "should"), but I know that is inappropriate. I wonder if I should respond to her at all? If I do, I would merely say "sorry you feel that way; I strive to always be fair when grading student work; I appreciate your opinion and will keep it in mind in future courses" but I am not sure I even want to respond. Best to let it sit for a day or two before I decide.

The 3rd book in my vampire series is very good. I doubt I'll finish it today, but it's hard to take a break from it -- the story is really intense.

Hope everyone else is enjoying the day off today -- it's glorious, isn't it?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Posion Packed Weeked

Sorry, I tried posting earlier today, but Blogger wouldn't allow me to publish my post, so the Posion report was slightly delayed...I know, you guys cried a little in anticipation, right?

Anyway, here are some pics to help illustrate the evening concert. Top left, we got to the venue early in order to tailgait: we grilled some brats and enjoyed a few beers beforehand -- we also got to observe the interesting cultural surroundings (Posion concert-goers can be interestingly attired; in fact, next year we may need to go ahead and get creative with our own outfits -- clearly, I should've been wearing something in leopard print).
Once inside the concert, we found a good spot on the lawn and bought ourselves some $8 beers while we listened to the opening bands. The weather was warm, but the sky was overcast and we had a nice breeze, so the evening was fine for an outdoor concert, and thankfully, we didn't get rained on like last year.

I don't know if $8 beer truly does taste better than a regular 12 oz can, but it must've because we started sucking those beers down fast, and we quickly began to enjoy concert shenanigans. Our foursome, below, danced, sang along, fell down on the lawn quite a bit, and enjoyed the show.
Here, from the left is Ryan, me, Erin, and my hubby, the Jer-Bear. Ryan was kind enough to remain sober in order to haul all of us back from the concert safely and he was very patient with our end of the evening broo-ha, which included Erin peeing in the parking lot, me puking, and all of us making the token drunk calls in the car on the ride home.

Below: me rockin out! Posion puts on a great show, which says a lot since they've essentially been playing the same set for 20 years, but they still hammer out the classics with as much energy as I imagine they would've 20 years ago. And despite the fact that I think a little less of Brett Michaels now that he's on that ridiculous "Rock of Love," I still loved him like I did in 7th grade when he sang "Every Rose Has Its Thorns"; sorry David, I forgot my lighter for that number.

All in all, it was Posion-tastic. And all day yesterday I kept marveling at how great I was feeling after my 20 miler; however, after being up for more than 20 hours, drinking my weight in beer, and dancing the night away, I was not only ill, but I was sore. This morning I felt like I'd aged about 10 years as I hobbled to take the dog out. So, I spent most of the morning sleeping my hangover off, and prepaing for the afternoon bbq. Once we got to the Labor Day Weekend bbq that our friends were hosting, I was feeling fine, and Bud Light and I reconciled, but I have to admit that going up and down the steps of the pool was a bit stiff. But once I was in the pool this afternoon with a beer in one hand and a kabob in the other, I was fine.

Thank God, tomorrow is another day off. Two days of drinking require that I need some rest tomorrow. My husband and I plan a whole lot of nothing, and I, in particular, plan to sit in bed and read the 3rd book in my vampire series. With any luck, I may be able to polish it off. Hope everyone is enjoying the long weekend! Peace out.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What'd you do this morning, Jess?

Well, I'm glad you asked that question, homies, because I ran 20 miles! Yeah, I did!

Okay, so now that I've blurted it out, let me back up and give you the full report: Last night, I was very good and went to bed at 9:30, and actually, I pretty much fell asleep right away and slept pretty solidly through the night. Right up until my alarm went off at 3:15 am. Yes, you read that right: 3:15 am. Let me tell you, that is the middle of the night, my friends, but I got up, got ready, and met the group at 4:30.

My partner and I decided that the best way to do the 20 was to break it in half: do two loops of 10 miles. I was whole-heartily in favor of this option because I like the mental sense of halfway, so we set off at 4:30, did our first 10, then stopped to use the restroom and recover a bit, then we went on and did the other 10. Of course, we stopped at all water stations, where I took just water but also dutifully swallowed the GUs I had with me (yuck! does anyone ever get used to these? they taste like snot!), and my partner had to make a second bathroom stop. But, otherwise, we were full steam ahead.

Granted, the last 3 miles got tough and we would run for half a mile, then walk for half a mile, and you'll see us slowing in the numbers below; still, I made it until 16.5 miles before needing to walk at all, and despite needing to walk some of the last portion, I was mentally and emotionally fine -- big difference from 2 weeks ago! So, without further ado, here are the numbers:

Mile 1: 10:45 (exactly the pace I wanted)
Mile 2: 10:38
Mile 3: 11:12
Mile 4: 12:04 (huh. oh, I know why this is slower -- I forgot to stop the timer when we stopped at a water station here)
Mile 5: 11:11
Mile 6: 11:13
Mile 7: 11:02
Mile 8: 11:02 (this is right within the target range)
Mile 9: 10:58
Mile 10: 10:51
Mile 11: 10:50
Mile 12: 11:03
Mile 13: 10:56
Mile 14: 10:55
Mile 15: 10:43
Mile 16: 10:55
Mile 17: 18:50 (and this is where the walking begins and where we needed to take an emergency bathroom break -- but all the previous times are pretty consistent, don't ya think?)
Mile 18: 14:42
Mile 19: 13:07
Mile 20: 13:39

Total Time: 3:56:45. Not too shabby. I figured it would take us 4 hours, so that time fell right within the perfect range. But get this, total calories: 2717! Yup. There's nothing like burning nearly 3000 calories before 9 am!

It's a huge relief to me to get that 20 done. I might do another in 2 weeks, but if I do 16-18 then too, it will be fine. Getting this beast outta the way feels like I've climbed the training mountain and now I can see the valley below -- and seeing an end to this training is the best view I can imagine at this point.

Before I go, I want to include a few side notes from this morning's run: I wore my new kicks and they worked well -- no blisters or anything; my second-in-command-toe on my right foot is definitely blackening; I got chest chafed a bit from my sports bra -- it was dripping sweat, so the chafing is no surprise, but I didn't even notice until I got home -- I suppose I'm immune to pain at this point; and lastly, there are some absolutely reckless drivers out there: we had to yell some obscenities at one guy who yelled out the window at us as he flew by and literally rode the white line -- I kinda thought my partner was gonna meet a similar fate as that duckling earlier this week; it was scary.

So, I hope everyone has an excellent holiday weekend -- I know I will now that I have that big run behind me. Tonight? Poison, baby! Tomorrow? Poolside drinking and bbq-ing! My life is pretty sweet.