TAT CN Header

Friday, November 30, 2007

Much Better

Feeling a lot better (mentally, emotionally) than I have all week. Mostly, because:
A. It's Friday!
B. It's payday!
C. I got a run in!

This afternoon, I got home and did a few household chores (my house elf is a real slacker), and then determined that I was gonna fix my mp3. See, what I haven't told you is that the good ol' trusty mp3 (I hope that statement is dripping with sarcasm) took a poop again, so for the last two weeks, all I have been able to listen to is the same 10 songs over and over. And actually, I don't think it's the mp3's fault -- it's really Rhapsody and Real Player's fault, so I dialed the familiar tech support number and spent a solid hour on the phone with Sahrish is India. Finally, Sahrish and I were able to re-format the player (yet again), update the Real Player software (yet again), and re-download my songs to the mp3 (yet again).

Yay!

So I had my tunes back for the run. Plus, as I was lacing up, Scooter was giving me the look-at-me-I-have-cute-brown-eyes-and-would-like-to-go-run-with-you-stare so I said, "what the heck," and I leashed him up. Running with Scooter is erratic, but it's fun. He loves to run and the joy he gets is obvious -- tail wagging, ears flopping in the breeze, tongue hanging from the side of his mouth -- and seeing his excitement always helps restore my own love and excitement for running.

Scooter can't hold out for real far (his method is simple: sprint for as long as possible and when you tire, pretend that you need to sniff something), so we only went 2 miles, but it was what I needed: the return of my mp3 and my Scoot d-o-double-g!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Answers and Confessions

First, an answer for those of you baffled by the grocery store scale: Yes, the grocery chain I frequent, Publix (which services Southern States including FL), has a scale in the front of every store. It's up by the carts and the vending machines. It's a great big scale you step onto and see what you weigh before setting about buying food -- it's a weird juxtaposition, I know, but I am drawn to that scale every time I go to the store. I must see what I weigh.

I'm not the only one though. I see other shoppers doing the exact same thing.

Secondly, a confession: I haven't run since Monday, and that was only 3 miles. I have to be honest here -- I'm just not feelin' it this week. In fact, in general, I've felt outta sorts this week: cranky, moody, stressed and tired. The reasons for this are as follows:
  • End of the semester. Students always complain about the amount of work they do at the end of a term, and I sympathize, I do (I vividly remember being a college student), but every time they write ONE paper, I read about ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY papers. So the next two weeks are a mountain of hell.
  • Holidays. Getting the shopping done, mailing gifts, sending cards, spending the extra dough; it's stressful, yo.
  • PMS. 'nuff said.
  • Money. December really strains the wallet; sure, there's the gift buying, but that's not all -- at the end of the month (technically, Jan 1st) some big bills come due: car insurance, property taxes, association fees (f*%^'n association raised our fees too -- bastards), plus all the other regular bills. Thinking about all this money stresses me out.

So, yeah, this stuff combined has me feeling...*meh* the last few days and is part of the reason I haven't gone running (even though, yes, I understand that running would help alleviate stress). The good news is that it will all pass, and I know this. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll get a run in (it's also pay day tomorrow too, so I might feel better then).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Highs and Lows

The Good: Left work a little early this afternoon.

The Bad: In order to clean the house. The guest toilet was getting, rather, um, moldy.

The Good: I turned on the Christmas music while I cleaned, and while mopping the kitchen floor is never my idea of a good time, it is an experience that is improved with "Rockin Around the Christmas Tree."

The Bad: After cleaning the house, I went to the grocery store. Blech. I hate grocery shopping, and it always makes me hate other people -- like the guy who cut in front of me at the deli counter or the lady in the parking lot who sat for FOREVER to wait for a parking space (I went around her, parked, and was in the store while she was still waiting for that damn space -- some people are mental).

The Good: I weighed myself at the grocery store (I know, it's a sick thing to do, but I can't restrain myself) and I was a pound lighter: 117. Huh. Guess I'm doing well at the "holiday weight loss challenge."

The Bad: I forgot to buy salad dressing and I left my other dressing at our friend's house on Thanksgiving. Dangit.

The Good: Thankfully, balsamic vinaigrette is easy to make when you have both oil and balsamic vinegar. Viola! Salad dressing.

The Bad: It's been raining off and on all evening here, so I didn't get a run in -- me no likey to run in the rain.

The Good: I did 30 minutes of yoga instead and 10 minutes of ab work. Thus, I'm feeling good and stretched out and very ab-y.

The Bad: Still an hour until "Project Runway" comes on -- why such a late hour for these shows?

The Good: I am making myself a cup of chamomile tea, and the smell of the tea, mingling with the scent of the cinnamon candle in the kitchen, combined with the soft Christmas tree lights, combined with the rain outdoors, makes me feel all warm and snugly inside.

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Hope yours was filled with more "good" than "bad."

Continued Contemplation of Cell Phones

Good suggestions concerning the post below; here are some of my responses:
  1. I can't confiscate a student's phone. That's their personal property, and at the college level, I have no authority to take their possession, even if it were only for the duration of the class.
  2. Currently, the college has no behavioral policy regarding cell phone use (although my guess is that we're about a year away from composing one); right now, most instructors treat cell phones under the general "disruptive student" policy the college has which allows an instructor to ask a student who is a disruption to the class to leave and to mark him/her absent.
  3. My syllabus describes cell phone use under my "student conduct" section and essentially I say that it won't be tolerated -- just like rude language or other offensive behavior -- however, I don't have a "consequence" spelled out in my syllabus if they violate this policy (for years, just stating it worked fine -- but also for years, my evil eye and my stopping class to stare at them worked as well, but now? not so much).
  4. I was trying to think of some kind of positive reinforcement that might encourage them to leave their phone alone. My best idea, I think, was to track how many days in a row they could go without anyone using a cell in any capacity -- because anymore, it's really about the texting, not the ringing -- and it would be like jobs where they track a certain number of days without an accident; I could set a goal number of days and if they achieved that, I would reward them with something. Then, if someone was responsible for breaking that pattern and ruining their record, the class would berate that person, and I wouldn't have to. But my husband said I shouldn't reward them for doing something they should already know better not to do. Plus, it would be a lot of work on my end to track that for 6 classes.
  5. In the end, after reading your suggestions, reading some material I researched about the issue (apparently a concern at colleges across the country), and discussing it with my husband, I think the most viable solution is to make cell phone use an absence.
  6. And yes, it's too late in this semester to change a policy so I am looking to rewrite that section of my syllabus for next semester's courses.
  7. It's tiresome to have to spend my energy focusing on etiquette when students should already know what kind of behavior is rude and obnoxious, but I suppose, that's just the way it is. But for those of you who are parents? Please, please, please, reinforce basic manners in your children: they'll be such better adults.

Again, thanks for your input -- you guys had some forceful opinions on the topic! -- and it helps to know that I'm not the only one who finds this behavior unacceptable.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Suggestions Welcome

I need your assistance, peeps. But before you read further, I do not seek running advice for the conundrum below, so if that's what you wanna dispense, you'll have to return another day. No, today I need advice on a teaching issue (that I also think has larger social implications as well, so it may be relevant to the audience at large).

See, as each year and each semester passes, I find myself becoming increasingly frustrated and, to be honest, downright angry about cell phone use during class. To me, it's very rude and disrespectful behavior and even though I know I shouldn't take it personally, I do. Students are so attached to their phones these days (I know, I know, using that very phrase ages me about 50 years) that they are reluctant to abide by my policy to have them shut off and stow away their phones during class. Instead, their phones often ring in class, (and on Monday a girl even got up and left class to answer her phone!), and they receive and send text messages during class (they think I don't see them, but I do).

Now, I've tried a variety of approaches: I "embarrass" them (mostly means that I tell them to put the phone away in front of the class), I have asked students to leave (and thus mark them absent), and I have deducted points from their grade. But nothing really seems to entirely work. Thus, I am seeking creative suggestions to encourage students to not use their phones in ANY capacity during class -- you can offer up a suggestion that has a negative or positive reinforcement, or if you have another creative idea that offers something "outside the box," I am open to those as well.

I'm just getting to the point where I want to have some kind of remote zapper that shocks them every time they touch their phones during class, and that's not a good feeling to have. So, give me your ideas! I need some assistance here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday's Tres Tidbits

Okay, okay, because you guys asked to see it, here's my new purse! Pretty, right? I like the green -- very holiday appropriate, huh? If you were here, I would let you stroke it. It's very soft.So, this evening, I picked up my holiday cards from Walgreens. After making Scooter sit several times in front of the Christmas tree, with no cute resulting pictures, I ended up going with a pic of him chewing on the Santa hat. Part of me wanted to use a pic of all three of us, but there's not a great one in existence (either the lighting is bad, Scooter is only partially in the picture, either my husband or I am making a face, or we're holding beer -- not really what you want to express on a holiday card), and I didn't want to try and force a friend over to our house to take a few dozen new pics of us front of our tree just so I have a pretty card (but I did think of it). Thus, here is the image that will grace the Jess family Christmas card this year:Cute, right? But aside from managing the Christmas card and fondling my new purse, I also got a run in this evening, as promised. Again, like Saturday's run, I felt slooooooow. The numbers aren't too bad, but they do reflect a little ass dragging in my 3 miles:

1: 10:08
2: 10:09
3: 10:15

Total Time: 30:39

I need a good run to revive me: the past week has felt a little *blah* in the running department -- maybe all that energy that I've been devoting to holiday shopping, decorating, baking, and card ordering has zapped the energy usually reserved for running.

Oh well, I'm gonna go hug my purse now.

Best Husband Ever

First of all, thanks for the many anniversary wishes -- they are well appreciated.

We had a nice, quiet day for our anniversary: We mostly hung out around the house and then exchanged our gifts and went out for a nice dinner. My husband bought me a beautiful pair of diamond earings (and he even made sure, before purchasing, that they were "conflict free" diamonds -- after seeing "Blood Diamond" we will both be conscious of this), and while we were waiting for dinner, we strolled through the Coach store where I spied the prettiest green suede purse (I was gonna take pictures of it and show it off, but I don't want any jealousy here). It was 40% off, and my husband bought it for me as an additional anniversary gift! Such a guy, such a guy!

Anyway, on to today...meh. I am not excited to return to work. After 4 days off, I have grown used to being at home, and the idea of returning to work today is no bueno. But I can't complain much, because I only have 3 weeks of the semester left and then I have a 3 week break! Wa-hoo!

And I do plan to run this evening as well. This past week has been a bit sluggish, but there was a holiday and, yeah, I just wasn't feelin' it. But this week, it's back to the grindstone: both with work and running. Another wa-hoo? Okay. Wahoo!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Anniversary

Today is Jerry and I's two year wedding anniversary! Honestly, it's hard to believe it's already been two years -- the time really does go by quickly. Anyway, it's been a great year together, so here are a few highlights, with pictures!
Christmas last Decemeber at my in-laws in MN. Camping last spring in Corbett. We also went camping in the fall in the Keys -- each spot has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
Key West in July.
Chicago in October. Aside from the race debacle, we had a good trip.
Halloween '07
It's been another wonderful year, and I appreciate being able to spend my life with someone like my Jer-Bear: he's the best! I can't wait to see what the next year will bring, and all the years after that!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Slowest 3 Miler Ever

This afternoon, I set out for a short 3 miler, and boy, did it feel like it. took. for. ever. It may be the pounds of turkey I've consumed in the past few days, it may be the allergy medicine I took this morning, it may be the unseasonable warmth, or it may just be one of those days. Whatever the reason, I got out there, got through it, and that's all I can say. Now I need a nap.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a holiday for gluttony -- lots of food and lots of drink, and I certainly worship at the oven and fridge in relgious fervor of both -- but it's also a holiday that gives us an opportunity to reflect on those people, places, ideas, things that we're grateful for. Yesterday, as we spent our holiday with friends, I was reminded of plenty that I am thankful for.

First of all, I'm thankful for my husband -- he's the kind of guy to wear a t-shirt and camo shorts to a holiday dinner and I love him for it. But more importantly, he's the most supportive person I know: He truly accepts me for who I am, and he provides me with the unique combination of feeling like I can maintain my individual identity while still having the security of couple-hood. Plus, he comes to my races and takes great pics for my blog (see below) -- which leads me to also be thankful for my good health and ability to run and race (again, see the post below).I am also thankful for my fur-baby, Scooter. Yes, he rolled in duck poop yesterday and then later coated himself in turkey grease (he's a delightfully sticky little bastard today), but again, I can't help but love him. And since I'm holding beer in both of these first two pictures, clearly, I am grateful for hopps, barley, and water and the delicious combination that it provides.All that beer made me brave, so I tried out the vocals on Rock Band -- I sang an awful rendition of Radiohead's "Creep" and then made some *slight* improvement with Weezer's "My Name is Jonah" and Garbage's "I Think I'm Paranoid." But I am thankful that the world is constantly inventing new ways to embarass myself and that my friends find me amusing -- even if they are laughing at me, not with me.
Which brings me to my friends. We can be a bit dysfunctional, like any family, but also like any family, there's few other people I'd rather be with on a holiday. I am VERY grateful for this group of people.
And lastly, I am grateful for fun times. I don't know how many of you got to enjoy a full-fledged Rock Band on Thanksgiving, but I did, and it was just one more thing that makes my life so much fun. "Fun" may seem like a silly thing to be thankful for, but it's one of my chief concerns in life -- I like to enjoy all aspects of my existence and have fun whenever possible: running, teaching, traveling, with family, friends, and at home. So, this, this right here? This was fun.
I hope everyone else had a fantastic holiday and enjoyed themselves as much as I did!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Trot 2007

Well, folks, I got close to a PR, but couldn't quite beat my previous best of 28:28. Here are the splits according to my Garmin:

Mile 1: 8:38
Mile 2: 9:27
Mile 3: 9:33
Mile .1: 0:55
Total Time: 28:33

However, there seems to be some timing discrepancy because the race clock also said 28:33 when I crossed the finish line, but the "official" chip time, according to Split Timing, was 28:43. I really don't know how my chip could be slower than the race clock -- especially since the race clock matches my Garmin time. But either way, I didn't PR -- yet, it was close. Very close.

So, on to the report, shall we? Below: Here I am after the race with Scooter (clearly he's more interested in that dirt than he is in posing for a picture). It was about 30 degrees warmer this morning than it has been for the previous two years' trots: In the previous years, the morning temps hovered around 40 degrees -- nice and cool -- but this morning it was 74 at the start, and while I don't want to make excuses for my failure to PR, I do think the temp messed with me some (I had really been hoping for a cooler morning). Standing at the start line, I could feel myself getting a little warm in my t-shirt, so I quickly made an executive decision: take it off and go in the sports bra and shorts. So, I re-pinned my bib and balled up my t-shirt. I'm glad I did this -- I'm way more comfortable in the bra and shorts. Below, I am to the far left of the racing pack. This was the beginning mile of the race, and I was feeling good and speedy. My husband didn't get a great shot because I distracted him by throwing my balled up t-shirt at him (accidentally pegged him in the face).
The race's start time got pushed back 15 minutes because of all the morning's last minute registrations (there ended up being 1400 racers -- this race gets more popular each year), so we didn't start until 7:45 so that means it was pretty warm by the end. But, this is Florida, so I guess I should expect such temps by now -- even on Thanksgiving morning. Below, I am partially concealed by someone who walked in front of my husband right when he was taking the picture, but you can still see me, right? At this point, I'm coming through the last tenth of the race, and my finish time was still a gamble. But I was also pooped here at the end, so I didn't push myself to sprint the last few meters -- perhaps I should have.
In the end, I'm disappointed that I didn't PR -- especially since I came SO close -- but there are other 5Ks out there (lots of them, actually) so I have plenty of opportunities to try for it again. And in the end, today is a day to give thanks, not to dwell on failing to beat a running record by 5 seconds. Besides, it's not a hurt that a few Bud Lights can't remedy. So...bring on the turkey! I'm ready for the holiday to get under way!

Have a great Turkey Day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Trot: A Brief Retrospective

Two years ago, Thanksgiving fell the day before my weddding and I was pretty nervous about two things: hosting Thanksgiving for all of our family who were in from out of town for the wedding and, well, getting married. So what does a runner girl do when she's nervous? Run, of course!

I luckily discovered that right outside of our new condo there was a Trot on Thanksgiving morning, so I signed up the day of and ran it. I wasn't too speedy, but I got it done and felt good, which is what I really needed that day. Here is the report from Trot 2005. A year later, I was in the middle of training for the Disney marathon and my running had taken on a new dimension -- still, I was non-chalant about the trot: I figured it would be a good, short training run and I ran 8 miles the night before. Yet, I went out there and earned my 5K PR -- 28:28. Below, is the video of my easy going finish (I'm in the orange shorts and brown t-shirt -- that's Scooter's butt at the very end).

video

Tomorrow, I certainly would like to set a new PR -- as I've explained before I think the cooler weather and the familiar course are the perfect opportunity for such a race, but as I said yesterday, the pressure to do so is surprisingly nerve-wracking. Thus, I've decided to treat it as any trot should be treated: with fun. I'm gonna run that race and have a good time, and if I set a new PR, great. If not, I can't get too upset with myself. I'll let you know how it goes, and until then, enjoy your turkey day preparations!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Brief and to the Point

Yesterday: 3 miles

Today: Haven't yet done it, but I plan on another 3 miler.

Keepin' 'em short so that the legs retain some energy for Thursday.

Wednesday: Last day of work for the week and a day of running rest.

Thursday: Turkey Trot's 5K -- my desire, as you all know, is to attempt a PR and I'm getting kind of nervous about that. The pressure! My god, the pressure!

But then, afterwards, PR or no PR, there will be turkey. Oh yes, loads of turkey. And beer. Mmmm, beer.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Conversations with Mom

Yesterday I called to talk with my mom for a bit, and with her, it's kinda like conversation roulette; I mean, when I tell people that my mom is "kooky" or "absent-minded" I don't think they truly understand what I'm talking about; thus, a conversation with her (with all its un-expected twists and turns) reveals my point. I thought of recounting it here in summary form, but I think it's best captured in its exact nature so you guys can fully grasp what I am dealing with here:

Me: "What would you like for Christmas, Mom?"

She ponders for a bit.

Her: "Well, one thing I could use is a new pocket knife."

Me: "Okay. What do you need a pocket knife for?"

Her: "Well, you know, sometimes I just need a knife. Like to cut tags off or something. Like the other day I wore a new shirt to work and got all the way there and realized the tags were still on. So a knife could've been helpful."

Me: "You don't have a pair of scissors at work?"

Her: "Well, yeah, but I would've liked the knife all the same. And you know, I used to have one, but the last time we flew, the TSA took mine away."

Me: "Wait, you tried to take a pocket knife on a plane?"

Her: "Well, it was in my purse."

Me: "Mom, you can't have finernail clippers on a plane, let alone a knife."

Her: "I didn't know that."

So, the conversation continued along this hair-brained path until we got to what she was sending me.

Her: "So, I already mailed your gifts and they should be arriving any day. But can you do me a favor?"

Me: "Sure mom, what is it?"

Her: "Well, I can't find my checkbook, and I think maybe I put it in the box with your gifts. So, could you just be sure you check the box and see if it's in there?"

Me: "You maybe mailed your checkbook along with our Christmas presents?"

Her: "Maybe. I can't find it, so I'm thinking maybe I accidentally put it in that box and mailed it. Could you just double check because I can't find it anywhere."

Me: "Yes, I'll look for it when the package arrives. But Mom?"

Her: "Yes?"

Me: "If I find it, I'm writing myself a check out of it to pay for your pocket knife."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas Fev-ah

Even though I did spend some time on the couch yesterday, I also got started on my Christmas shopping, but I didn't do nearly as much as my husband did (he's nearly done with his shopping -- bastard). So, today we decided to wrap a few gifts and watch my all time favorite x-mas movie "Christmas Vacation" (my fav line from that movie? "Don't throw me down Clark." "I'll try not to Aunt Bethany.") And even though my husband was completely opposed to putting up the tree this early -- he usually insists that it can't go up until after Thanksgiving -- the movie and the wrapping must've put him in the appropriate holiday spirit, so we put up our tree!

Here below is Scooter helping my husband out with the lights. Scooter's job is mostly supervisory, but he takes it seriously nonetheless.
When we weren't looking, he crawled under the coffee table to have a little gnaw on the Santa hat.
Here I am deciding the strategic placement of an ornament. A tree must be balanced in its ornaments and I like to ensure that there isn't crowding in some areas and blank spots in others. That's why our tree decorating is a strict division of labor: My husband assembles it and puts on the lights; I add the ornaments. So far, it's a system that works well.
I tried to get a "family shot" of the 3 of us by the tree but it resulted in several failed attempts. Believe it or not, this is the best of the bunch.
Finally, Scooter was tuckered out -- gnawing on the Santa hat, supervising the decoration of the tree, running around with empty wrapping paper tubes -- it's a lot for a little dog on a Sunday. Still, even tired, he wasn't ready to relinquish the Santa hat.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Running Date

This morning, Wendy and I met in Deerfield Beach, by the pier (pictured below), at sunrise. Deerfield is about half way between us. (Although, I think it may be a little closer to me than to her, but because she gets to drive a Porsche, I think it's fair to make her do more of the driving, right?)During the week, we had settled on doing 10 miles together -- for me that was a significant build in miles considering I hadn't done a "long" run since before Chicago and I would have to guess that it's been approximately 8 weeks since I've done anything longer than 6-8 miles -- for Wendy, this is a shorter distance, but since she's "tapering" (I put that in quotes because her taper includes mileage that for many of us would be "peak" miles in training) before Marathon of the Palm Beaches, she was okay with the shorter run.

Unfortunately, I don't have accurate splits to record here because I stopped my Garmin at a light and then, two miles later, realized I hadn't resumed its timer. But, the Garmin tells me that for the miles I do have recorded that the average pace was 10:45 -- this is due in large part because I forced us to take a few walk breaks (at first my tummy was kinda upset after a GU and then I was just plain pooped). I know that this is uber-slow for Wendy, so I do appreciate her patience with me!

But despite the relatively slow pace, the run went by quickly. I guess that's how it is when you have someone to talk to. I mean, I've run with people before -- frequently, actually -- but when you don't know those other runners that well, conversation can sometimes be...well...lagging. But, because I feel like I already know Wendy (despite us never having met in person before this morning), the conversation was much easier. And the time flew by. So, before I knew it, we were back at our cars, at the pier, and we were done.

Before we parted ways, I felt I was obliged to snap some pics -- since the elusive Wendy rarely posts pics of herself, and when she does, we all complain that they're often blurry. So, for your blogging pleasure, below is the non-blurry Wendy (standing by the trunk of her Porsche, BTW, can you tell that I am jealous?).

And here is a pic of the both of us -- post run so we're both sweaty and I have some kind of strange cow-lick going on. Maybe next time, I should remember to whip the camera out before the run.
All in all, it was a good run: cooler temps, good scenery, good company, and it forced me to return to some more significant mileage. Now, I'm home and showered, and after I get me some breakfast, I know that I should go do some Christmas shopping (haven't even begun yet), but a huge part of me also wants to make the couch my home for the day. We'll see which choice wins out.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I Guess the Cooler Weather Does make a Difference

Mile 1: 9:47
Mile 2: 9:34
Mile 3: 9:35
Mile 4: 9:44

Total Time: 38:42

And for tomorrow? I have a running date for 10 miles!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Cold is Coming; The Cold is Coming!

So, in the paper today, it forecast the weather here in South Florida to get a bitt nippy over the next few days. By tomorrow morning, it could dip into the 40s! And over the weekend, highs are expected to only reach the 50s or 60s. Brrrrr....So how does that affect me?

It means that I'm finally gonna get the running weather I'd hoped to have in Chicago!

Granted, starting out in 40 degrees is a bit too chilly for my taste, but once I'm a few miles in, it will feel awesome. But...I suppose this does mean that I need to dig out a long sleeved shirt, doesn't it? I wonder if I will feel the need to also don a hat and gloves? Huh, we'll have to see. I could potentially over-react to this change in temp.

Oh, that's okay. Maybe I'll also have use of a sweater or a jacket this weekend! Yay. I only get to wear that stuff a handful of times a year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Day in the Life of Jess

Taking a cue from Marcy, Lisa, and David, I decided to document my day in some pics. So, first up: Me getting ready this morning -- the mirror shot is an homage to Marcy. In the car on the way to work -- got the coffee in one hand, camera in the other. Who needs to steer?
My office at school. Yeah, pretty plain. But I have a reason for that. See, our building is slated to be re-modeled at the beginning of 2008 and we're going to have to move to another building temporarily, so I figure: Why decorate when I'll just need to move all my stuff? I figure, once the building is done, and we're back in our new offices (which are supposed to be double the size) then I'll decorate. For now, it's pretty blah. But, I have a window!
One of the classrooms I teach in. This classroom is in one of the older buildings, so it's pretty low-tech. But it's where the magic takes place: This is where I dazzle my students!
At the end of the day, I went for a run. A storm is blowing in, so it was a bit windy, but that also means that it was cooler out.
I put in a 6 solid miles, and the splits were as follows:

Mile 1: 9:55
Mile 2: 9:56
Mile 3: 10:05
Mile 4: 10:06
Mile 5: 10:14
Mile 6: 10:00

Total Time: 1:00:20 -- 16 seconds slower than my Monday 6er. I blame the breeze.

Now, my belly is full of delicious chicken parmesean, and I am prepared to spend the rest of the evening chillin'. There's the start of a new season of "Project Runway" and I can't wait for the fashion drama!

Hope everyone had a stupendous day!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

5 Things

Today is a day of running rest -- so, no running to report. Thus, I thought it was a good opportunity to report my "5 things" that I've been tagged for. But because I think there's little about me that I haven't shared previously, I figure I'll go with the theme of "5" for this list:

1. I am 5 feet tall. Even.

2. I wear a size 5 shoe.

3. I am the oldest of 5 kids.

4. I have danced on tables (or on the bar) in bars in 5 different states: MN, FL, CO, WY, and MT.

5. When I was 5, we lived in Ft Carson, CO (my stepdad was in the Army), and I betrayed the orders of an MP (military police). See, at the intersection by the elementary school, there was an MP who directed traffic and always signaled to us children when it was okay for us to cross the road. One day, on a dare, I crossed against the MP's directions. I was so scared of what she would do to me that I ran all the way home from there. I can still hear her yelling: "You come back here!" I thought my mother would skewer me for that transgression, but thankfully, my parents never found out.

If you haven't been tagged, consider yourself tagged! All you have to do is list five random things about yourself -- you don't have to adhere to the theme of 5.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day Cont'd

Went for my run this evening as promised, and I did 6 miles. The miles felt good, and while it is harder to pull back the shorter hair (see post below), I did wear my visor, and it worked out pretty well (although, I think I had it a little tight because it kinda felt like it was squeezing my skull).

Anyway, here are the splits:

Mile 1: 10:04
Mile 2: 10:00
Mile 3: 9:52
Mile 4: 10:13
Mile 5: 9:55
Mile 6: 9:59

Total Time: 1:00:04

Veteran's Day Vacation

I have the day off today in honor of the holiday, so this morning, I ran a few errands and then went to the salon to get my hair cut and my eyebrows waxed. I've been thinking of getting my hair cut for awhile (a real cut, not just a trim) and this weekend I decided I wanted to go ahead a cut it short again. Despite the fact that my husband told me to think about it for a week (he thinks I act too rashly), I went ahead today and had the stylist chop it off. The picture isn't great (maybe I need to go and put a little make up on, I don't know), but you can see that I had it cut to about chin-length; that means she took off about 6 or 7 inches of hair. It feels a little weird right now, but overall, I like it.

You can probably also see in the pic that the area around my brows is still a little red from the wax, and even though the girl who did them was a "heavy breather," she did a fine job there as well (but I really do hate it when someone is leaning over me breathing on me; I mean, I'm the sort of person who doesn't even like to face my husband in bed because I feel like he's breathing on me -- and it's all hot, and well, I just don't like someone else's breath in my face).

Anyway, for the rest of my day off, I think I'm gonna try to get a little work done, do a little reading (the fun kind) and then go for a run. I wish every weekend were a 3 day weekend!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

R and R

That's what a Sunday is all about, peeps.

I slept in, watched about 3 hours of "Ugly Betty" online (finished the 1st season on DVD -- now I have to catch up with this season), read, took a two hour nap, and then ran my now standard 3 miler, which went just dandy.

RE: your comments on the previous post about winter? This is South Florida, homies, it is never winter here. Currently, the temps are cooler, but that still means that each day the temp reaches a high of about 80, so, yes, I run in shorts and a sports bra pretty much year round. There may be a few cooler days where I start in a t-shirt, maybe a long sleeved shirt for the really "brrrr" days, but otherwise? My running uniform rarely varies.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Takin the Visor out for a Spin

My new visor, Garmy, and I went for 4 miles this morning: All three enjoyed the trip.
Mile 1: 9:55
Mile 2: 10:07
Mile 3: 10:11
Mile 4: 10:12

New Race for the Calendar

Nancy proposed a unique race for the blogosphere: A virtual race for all the RBF! Great idea, right? The details are simple: run 8 miles on the 8th of December, record your time, and post about it as you would post a race report. Unfortunately, there's no system yet for t-shirts or prizes, but if you have an innovative suggestion for either, hop on over to Nancy's blog and give her a suggestion.

But, I'm in! I think it sounds fun, and I'm adding it to my race calendar on the right. Everyone else, who hasn't already committed, you're invited to join us on our virtual race!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Note To Self

Dear Jess:

Just because your household is out of sandwich bags, doesn't mean that it was a smart idea to throw your chips into the same tupperware as your sandwich. What you may have learned in 3rd grade science is now coming back into sharper focus now that you are eating soggy chips, right? Clearly, the chips absorbed the moisture from the sandwich since they were locked together into an air-tight container, and now the chips are inedible by self's standards.

Good job loser. Now you have to eat your sandwich sans chips. And everyone knows that's the crappiest way to eat a sandwich.

Maybe next time you'll remember to buy more sandwich bags in order to avoid errors of this nature.
Yours,
Yourself

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Shopping

Thursday is my long day at school since I teach a night class and I usually just stay on campus between my afternoon and evening classes in order to catch up with work. But today, without much to catch up on, I decided to get outta here for a bit and do a little shopping. Or, "browsing," I should say since I think "shopping" implies some manner of direction and I was just kinda wandering aimlessly.

While shopping, I was reminded of my love of two unattainable things: tall boots and a winter coat. Well, the first is unattainable; the second is just impractical.

See, every fall, I see the shoe stores lined with tall boots. Beautiful, tall boots. But aside from the fact that few come in my size, I can never wear these tall boots because I have such gigantor calves. That's right. The boots won't zip all the way up because of my meaty forelegs. But each year I try. I think to myself: "Self, maybe this year, the styles will be a bit wider and thus more accommodating for a generous calf like the one you possess; or maybe, who knows? Perhaps your calf is skinnier this fall than it was last fall."

So, standing there in DSW, I took my shoe off, pulled a gorgeous Nine West boot from the box, inhaled its intoxicating leather scent and tried to zip that fucker up. Could I? Of course not. If I would've tugged on that zipper any more, I would have zippered my calf-skin into the boot and I promise I would have been howling in pain in the back of ambulance instead of back here in my office telling you my boot-woes.

Damn. Another fall, and I'm no closer to fitting my fat calves into pretty boots.

That's how I found myself standing in Old Navy lusting after the cutest winter coat. Coats, unlike evil boots, always fit. And there was this cute winter pea coat with these little fake bone toggles that was just too awesome on me. And for $70? Seems like a steal, right?

Well, not if you live in a climate where a coat is not necessary. It rarely dips into cold temps here, so winter wear is totally impractical. Part of me wants to buy it for the trips we make to MN at Christmas (once every other year), but since I know we're not going this year and since I know that next fall a newer, cuter coat will catch my eye, I know that the pre-emptive purchase would be silly. But this logic didn't help lessen the lust I felt for that coat.

*Sigh.* I guess I should just be thankful that I kept all my money in my pocket instead of wishing for the purchases I just can't have.

Oh, I did buy a Nike visor for running though. That kinda made me feel better.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Time on my Hands

I gotta say, this week has been pretty sweet so far.

For the first time in about 5 or 6 weeks, I finally feel like I'm caught up with shiz-nit. All my work at school is caught up. The house is squeaky clean, I've been getting my runs in. I've had time to finish a book and watch all my Netflix. Geez. Did I get just one extra hour with the time change?

Anyway, early this evening when my hubby got home, we were chatting in the living room and I was fidgeting to go for a run, but we were having a nice chat and I didn't really want to go for the run and cut the chatting short. So, I suggested a "family walk" -- he, Scooter and I -- since Scooter and I didn't do our weekly long walk yesterday. Hubby agreed and we were off.

We did the 3 mile loop that I often run, but because the hubby has proclaimed that the only reason to run is "if you're being chased," we just walked. It was a fine evening for the stroll: cool temps continue and even though it was dusky by the time we got home, it was still light enough to be out and about. When we got back, we fixed ourselves dinner, and settled in for a little "Ugly Betty" on DVD (I am really enjoying this show; does anyone else watch it?).

Every week should be this easy-going.

The only downside to this time change is that it is only 8 pm right now, yet it feels like it has to be about 11. Shouldn't I be in bed?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

3 for 3

First of all, I want to take a moment to give my friends, Erin and Ryan, a special shout out since they just announced that Erin is pregnant. Ahem.

"CONGRATULATIONS!!!"

Won't these two have a beautiful baby? And isn't Ryan gonna be peeved that I posted this pic below of them? (I took it at the Poison concert back at the end of August -- approximate time of conception as best as I can estimate; hmmm...I guess it gives new meaning to "Every Rose Has Its Thorns"...but that's a thought for another day -- anyway, I told them to pose like they were in a yearbook pic: Ryan didn't like that, as is demonstrated by a look that I think he'll recognize on his future child when said child is crapping its pants.) So, take a moment, and hop on over to both of their blogs and congratulate them. It really is wonderful news!

Anyhoo, since my walking partner is preggers, she wasn't really feeling up for a walk tonight (actually, that's only partially true; she's also swamped at work, but I like to refer to her as "preggers" or "prego" and I only have about 7 months to do so; thus, I like to get it in as often as possible). Therefore, I went for another 3 mile run instead.

Again, it felt good: weather remains lovely and temperate and the legs felt good and strong. I am the queen of 3 right now. Don't mess with me and that short distance.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Hello, Consistency!

The running as of late hasn't been much in terms of distance, but I do have to say that I am returning to a more consistent routine. For now, that seems to be good enough.

For Monday? Another 3 miler down in the books.

Again, the cooler weather was nice; plus, with the time change and the seasonal change, it's nice to be able to run at 4:30 or 5 in the evening and be done with it early instead of waiting until 8 or 9 at night like I do in the summer. Seems like I have so much more time in the evening then.

Of course, I could also rise early and run first thing in the morning and have the evening completely open. Bah. Who likes to do that?

Moment of Truth Monday

Previous weight: 118
Weight as of this morning: 118

Yeah, I didn't really expect a change -- mostly because I haven't changed anything about my eating habits, drinking habits, or exercise habits. I figure I will slowly evolve, and I have 3 months, so I'm in no hurry to shed those 5 pounds.

However, I did want to address your comments last week about how "tiny" I am based on the above numbers:

Remember folks, I am short. Really short. I barely skim the height chart at 5 feet, so as I have mentioned before, I am just 3 apples high. Thus, my weight puts me within the normal range for my height. In fact, according to most BMI calculators, I could weigh as little as 95 pounds and still fall within the normal weight range (my current BMI is 23 which is normal too).

So, I know that we often get caught up in weight in terms of its number, but we have to remember what is right for our height and build (I happen to be a descendant of hearty peasant stock -- we Irish are experts at surviving on potatoes and whisky-- so I will never weigh in at a waifish 95 pounds, I can guarantee that). With that practical thought in mind: good luck to the rest of you following along on the weight loss challenge as you face your own numbers on "Moment of Truth Monday"!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fall Back

It always seems like each day needs an extra hour in order to get everything that needs done, done. So, once a year, we get to see what that's like. And I gotta say, it's awesome.

I got up this morning feeling refreshed from a long sleep and was delighted to look over at the clock and see that it was still early. I wrote my final draft of the book review I've been working on (when it's published in December, I do recommend "The Athlete's Guide to Yoga" by Sage Rountree -- I mean, isn't her name enough to demonstrate that she's a practiced yogi?), I graded some papers, I finished the laundry, and I returned a call to my dad. All before noon!

Plus, with the temps here in South Florida finally cooling off, I opened up the house today and it felt great to turn off the air conditioner, and have a fresh breeze blowing through the condo. This added to the relaxing afternoon I spent on the back porch in a chair reading my book ("The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield -- another recommended read; it's quite absorbing).

And, in the cooler temps, my late afternoon 3 miler felt perfect (THIS is the season to run here in FL). And now, I have a deliciously buttery chicken baking in the over, and as I type, a cool breeze is wafting in off the porch. Could a Sunday be any better?!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Scooter and His Toys

Here's Scooter and his toy, Raged Roo, chillin on the living room rug, and they seem to make a fine pair. But, Roo must've done something wrong, because later today, I discovered him facing the wall, in what appears to be a "time out." Whatever he did, he looks pissed off at the wall about his punishment.

Friday, November 02, 2007

For the First Week Since Chicago...

...I have actually managed to eke out some regular running. Tonight, I ran another 3 miles (making the 3 miler my tried and true distance), and they felt good. Nothing too special about them, but I did do some informal speedwork.

I didn't have Garmy along, but for the last mile and a half I would really push myself during the fast part of the song on the mp3 (Foo Fighters' "The Pretender" and Matchbox 20's "How Far We've Come" work really well for this) and then I'd pull back a little when the song resumed a slower tempo. Like I said, pretty unscientific, but it felt good and I felt pretty fast.

Like a bullet.

Upcoming Race Plans

So, after much dilly-dallying, I finally committed to a race calendar over the next six months. Nothing too exciting: several 5Ks, the A1A half, and a 4 miler. Info is to the right on the sidebar -- although most of these races are small and don't have actual web pages, so some of the links are dummies.

Further in the future in 2008, I am contemplating a variety of races -- primarily I am thinking about the Boulder Bolder (10K) in May and perhaps the Army 10 miler next October in DC, but because I'd have to travel for those (but stay for free with family), I have to put them on the back burner for now until the hubby approves the 2008 travel budget :) Also under consideration for next year: A1A 15K in October, Lighthouse 10K in November, and the half marathon of the Palm Beaches in December.

As you can see, my interest in the marathon has waned since Chicago, which is fine, and what I'd like to focus on in 2008 are race distances that I haven't done before: 10K, half marathon, 10 miler, 4 milers or 5 milers, etc. The full marathon is still something that I think I will return to at some point (it is, after all, a challenging and rewarding distance), but in the near future, I just don't have any plans for one (because it is also extremely time consuming and exhausting).

Variety is gonna be the name of the game in 2008.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Tidbit Thursday

Yeah, that title would work better if today were Tuesday, but I can't force alliteration, people.

So, I have several random notes to include today, none of which is related by any one dominating theme:
  • We got a total of 5 trick or treaters last night. 5. This means about 10 lbs of candy remain in the Cauldron of Candy. I sure hope the house elves eat it before I do.
  • Speaking of house elves, they did a poor job doing my grading for me. I ended up having to read all of those papers myself -- and that didn't make me happy. Thankfully, I finished all stacks of papers, and for a brief few hours (until 6:30 this evening when I get a new batch), I am blissfully free!
  • It looks like FL is in the clear for TS Noel -- forecasts now say that it is going to miss us by a significant margin, so TS warnings have been lifted. Still a bit breezy out there.
  • I thought I was going to witness another duckicide this morning when a car hit the brakes before smashing an adult duck that was crossing the road. I feared for its life, so I turned my head and covered my eyes (I didn't want a repeat image), yet I was relieved to see that the duck narrowly avoided getting hit. Thank goodness.
  • Recorded another podcast with a colleague this week. See, last spring, I was invited to participate on a colleague's blog that he uses for one of his literature courses and I recorded a podcast discussion about John Updike's short story "A&P." This week, I was invited back. We discussed Raymond Carver's "Cathedral." The podcast isn't up yet, but if you'd like to visit the site (like if you're dead bored or you like the sound of my voice -- I know I do), you can do so here. I'm like the rockstar of the English department podcast.

That's it folks. Have a happy Thursday!