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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in Review: A Numbers Game

Running Numbers:

# of races run this year: 14 (6 half marathons, 4 5Ks, 1 4 miler, 1 15K, 1 10K, 1 10 miler)
  • Favorite race of the year: Colorado Colfax HM in May. It wasn't a PR, it had no significant or special meaning, but for some reason it just stands out as one of the best runs of the year.
  • Least favorite race of the year: Boca Raton HM in November. Poorly designed course, too small, crappy medal.
  • Thoughts: As I wrote previously, this has been an immensely satisfying year in running. I'm pleased with the race variation, the number of races, the PRs, and most of all the experiences. I think 2008 has been the best race calendar to date.

# of miles run this year: 786

  • Thoughts: Missed the 800 mark, but I don't mind. Mileage goals for the year will always be a goal to challenge myself with. 2008 won't be the only year to meet or exceed 800 miles.

Other Numbers:

# of books read this year: 38

  • Favorite book of the year: "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen
  • Least favorite book of the year: "Cell" by Stephen King -- not sure why I wasted my time on this one.
  • Thoughts: This is the first year I've ever tracked how many books I've read and when I read them. I actually thought the number would be higher for the year end tally because I thought I read about a book a week, but it's interesting to see my peaks and valleys in reading (kinda like with my running). When I'm really busy with work, I get little time for pleasure reading, but when I am on break, or during the summer when I have a lighter class load, I read (at times) several books in a week.

# of bowling games: 74

Highest bowling score: 203

  • Thoughts: I don't even want to add up the number of beers associated with these numbers. Let's just say it's immeasurable.

# of blog posts for the year: 407

Bringing the total number of blog posts in 3 and 1/2 years to a grand total of: 1,233

  • Thoughts: Man alive, I am a blabbermouth!


2008 has, of course, been a great year in non-measurable ways as well. I feel incredibly lucky to have such a great husband, a cute dog, wonderful friends and family. And I feel fortunate in my life in many, many ways.

Looking ahead to 2009:

Check back tomorrow for my New Year's Day unveiling of the "2009 Plans": I guarantee they're gonna blow your socks off!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

MN Pics

I took about 100 pictures while we were in MN, but here are just a few from our Christmas vacation in the northland.

Jerry, carefully applying his undergrad work in icing art to the craft of constructing a gingerbread house. Me, cross country skiing. You can't really tell by the picture, but it was like a blizzard out that day.
Scooter, patiently waiting for one of the cats at my mom's house to come out and play with him. He shares a complex relationship with cats: He is simultaneously enchanted and frightened by them.
Jerry and I gearing up for our snowmobile ride. My stepdad is lurking in the background. He got to wear his fancy-pants snowmobile stuff while Jerry and I had to suit up in various cast-offs. Oh well, we were (relatively) warm enough.
Me, with my new pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 8's. Yeah, that yellow just looks speedy, doesn't it?
Jerry and I on Christmas Eve at his parents' house.
Jerry, Scooter, and I -- again, Christmas Eve, his parents basement at the beginning of the "marathon of gift opening." Seriously, this process is just as ridiculously long and tiring as an actual marathon. It takes us HOURS to open everything.
Jerry and Scooter in the backyard of Jerry's parents' house. The beginning of our snowman.
Scooter hopped up on the base of snowman; he kinda didn't understand that it wasn't a perch for him to get a better lookout from.
Jerry and Scooter next to the completed snowman and the snowman's "snow Beagle."

Back to Running in FL

I didn't run at all while we were in MN.

Mostly because it was so bitter cold for the majority of the time, but also because we were just so dang busy. But really, that cold is something terrible. I guess that being away from MN for so long has caused some kind of climatic amnesia for me, and I had forgotten what sub zero felt like. I have to give props to those of you who live in MN (or anywhere in those northern states and Canada) who can remain motivated to train during the winter. Not just because you're braving the cold, but just because you commit to going to the gym or other indoor tracks when it's too cold or too dark. And my god, the dark!

Again, something I had apparently forgotten about. The sun doesn't rise until late, then it sets early, and even when it may be out (poking its face between the frequently overcast sky), it is weak and low in the sky. I honestly felt that for 2 weeks, it was never entirely light out. I must be part Kryptonian or something, because I need the bright rays from the yellow sun! Otherwise, all that darkness just makes me feel sleepy, and to be honest, a little sad.

So, again, kudos to all of you who live up north and remain committed to your sports through the winter: To continue to run, swim, bike, and whatever else you do while you go and come home in the dark and cold is really quite the accomplishment. Me, I think I'd just want to watch TV and eat carb-laden foods.

Anyhoo...I don't want to diss MN, but being away sure made me appreciate FL in the winter (don't worry, come April I'll be bitching and moaning about how awful the heat and humidity are here). It's sunny (thank you sweet baby jesus for light!), it's warm (how I love being able to wear my flip flops everyday of the year!), and it's humid (who knew I'd miss this stuff? but my throat isn't parched -- I don't wake up feeling like I just licked a Wookie -- and nothing is static-y).

So, despite the fact that it was 86 degrees yesterday afternoon, I went for a run anyway. And yeah, it was hot, and I got real sweaty and red in the face, but I was so in love with the fact that

A.) I was running! And it felt so good to have my heart beating hard and to sweat.
B.) I was running in shorts and sports bra. And the sun felt so good on my skin.

I just ran 3 miles, and I didn't take the Garmin, but like I said, it felt SO good. I'm definitely not going to make my goal of 800 miles for the year (although, I am very close: 783) since I had zero mileage in the previous 2 weeks, but that's okay. Strangely I'm not bothered by getting this close and not getting it done (sorry, I am not running 17 miles between today and tomorrow); maybe it's because I'm already looking forward to the new year and the fresh start, or maybe I'm okay with running however many miles I complete for the year, or maybe I'm just so tickled to be warm again that the heat has affected my brain.

Alrighty, I gots to be off. I still have lots to do (today's tasks involve exchanging and returning some gifts), and I have a lot of blogs to catch up on. Toodles!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Home Sweet Home

We arrived home last night at 1 am, unloaded the car, and promptly fell into the glorious comfort of our own bed. Seriously, nothing is better than being away and then returning home to your own bed; there is no greater comfort than your own pillows, sheets, and precious mattress. And ultimately, it's just so nice to be home.

The drive back was long and tedious and took us longer than the drive up (we hit some bad weather, some traffic jams, and had a narrow miss in a car accident), so we were incredibly grateful to get home last night and get out of the car. Today, we have a ton to do: unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping, sorting through 2 weeks of mail, etc, etc, but the sun is shining, it's 70 degrees, the sky is blue and the grass is green, so I'm okay. Ahhh, it's good to be back in FL!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Feliz Navidad, Bitches!

Merry Christmas! Hope everyone had fun-filled holiday festivities and that Santa brought you a shitload of running loot.

Personally, I made out pretty well -- got some new running shoes, some new shorts, and tons of gift cards for Nike and the local running store, so I plan to get myself all running-tricked out for 2009! I also made out like a bandit with other non-running related loot, so I guess I must've been extra good in 2008 and Santa noted my angelic behavior.

Today, we're mostly just chillaxin (Jerry's family does the huge whoop-dee-do on Christmas Eve), and tomorrow we have a lot of errands to run and packing to do before we head south again on Saturday.

Anyhoo, hope everyone is enjoying their time off with family and friends! And again, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back in Northfield

Sorry that I've been MIA the past few days, but it's been busy. On Sunday, we did indeed go snowmobiling. It was pretty fun, but even with all the extra snow clothes, I got cold pretty fast, so my time on the sled was pretty short. But Jerry went out for a pretty lengthy ride and had a good time.

Yesterday was my brother's b-day, so we had b-day celebrations and spent the night at his place, and then today we headed back south to Jerry's parents' in Northfield. It was another long day in the car (300 miles back across the great state of MN), but thankfully, we got to break up the journey by stopping for a long lunch with some friends who live near Pequot Lakes.

I have to admit that at this point, I'm pretty much ready to go home. Actually, I think I was ready about 3 days ago, but now I am officially declaring that I'd like to go home. Unfortunately/fortunately, we're not heading back to FL until this coming weekend, so I have several more days to yearn for my own home with my own bed, my own kitchen, and the sweet, sweet promise that I will one day be warm again.

But at this point, do you think there's any way I can convince Jerry to load me onto a direct flight back to Ft Lauderdale, so I can skip that bothersome 1,800 mile drive back?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Sports

Low-down on the x-country skiing yesterday:
  • It was snowing and blowing pretty hard. Hard enough that we only spent about an hour out there. On our return leg to the car, we were all pretty frozen.
  • I fell down 3 times.
  • Not hard, just sort of plopped over into two feet of snowy fluff.
  • It was a good workout. Despite the wind biting my cheeks, the rest of me was quite warm from the exertion.
  • Afterward, I was very hungry. Must mean I burned some serious calories. I hope so. The rest of the time, we've done nothing but eat and lay around.

So to continue the full MN experience, today, we may do some snowmobiling. See, my parents' garage is like a warehouse of gasoline powered toys: They have snowmobiles, ATVs, dirt bikes and motorcycles. Essentially, if it requires oil, they have it. Several of it. So, my stepdad (who is the manager of quality control for Arctic Cat) has been eager for us to try out two of his brand new sleds, and since we just got a fresh dumping of the white stuff yesterday, I guess it's good snowmobiling conditions.

Me, I'm not so into driving them, but I'll ride on one if Jerry drives. I would NOT ride with either of my brothers or my stepdad. They like speed. Like, 120 mph kind of speed. That is not for me in a car, let alone on a snowmobile. No way.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Heat Wave

Well, we're having a "heat wave" here in Northern Minnesota today: It's a whopping 13 degrees. ABOVE zero! But that high temp is only because it's snowing out there. Tonight, the wind is supposed to pick up and the windchill is supposed to plunge temps into (possibly) -40 degrees. Ack!

But in the meantime, Jerry and I are going to take advantage of this "warm" weather and meet my brother for lunch and then some cross country skiiing. It'll be the first exercise I get since leaving FL, so that should be good, but how well I do with x-country skis will be interesting. I grew up downhill skiiing in CO, but I have never once in my life gone x-country skiiing.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Cross your fingers I don't break my legs. Not sure how I could do that on flat ground, but it's always possible with me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gonvick, MN: The Edge of Existence

Yesterday morning, Jerry, Scooter and I loaded back into the Escape for a full day of more driving. We headed 300 miles north from Jerry's parents' house in Northfield to my parents house in Gonvick. As we headed north, the snow got deeper and the temps got colder, but we made it, and today it is a "heat wave" of -3 degrees. Yeah. This morning when I took Scooter out at 5 am, the thermometer read -18 degrees.

I looked up the definition of -18 degrees in the dictionary, and you know how that temp was defined? "Fucking freezing!" Literally. The dictionary doesn't lie.

So, needless to say, I haven't run one inch since last Friday. My parents don't have a treadmill, the nearest gym in about an hour away, and to be honest my primary interest right now is curling up under a blanket by the fire with a book in my lap. And actually, it feels pretty nice to be relaxin like this. My mom brings Jerry and I hot chocoa, and it's pretty dang nice.

Tomorrow, we travel to the great metropolis of Grand Forks, ND because my mom recently earned her PhD, and tomorrow is her commencement and "hooding" ceremony. She worked pretty frickin hard on that PhD (the past 2 years have been solidly devoted to writing, writing, and writing her dissertation), so we're all proud of her accomplishment, and I know she's pleased that Jerry and I can be home with the rest of the family to attend.

Anyhoo...that's the news from "up nort." I'm gonna try to catch up with some blogs today (thankfully, they still have high speed internet at the edge of the world), but apologies if I don't get to you. Hope everyone is doing well!

Peace out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Northfield, MN

Today I type on an actual computer because last night, we made it to my PIL's house in Northfield, MN around 8:30 pm, and we were greeted with warm hugs but frosty temps. It was about -10 degrees last night when we got here and that's not counting the windchill!

Poor Scooter. He does NOT want to go outside to use the bathroom, and I'm afraid he may be suffering from a little constipation currently, since he basically goes outside and just shivers uncontrollably. He has no under-coat, bare little puppy feet, and with temps so low I don't blame him for not wanting to wade through snow to take a dump. So, even though I don't like clothes on dogs, I am seriously considering running to Petsmart to buy him a little dog sweatshirt or coat or something. Plus, some booties. Poor paws.

Anyway, aside from freezing our tookises (not sure of the plural on that one) off, it's good to have finally reached our destination. We got up early on Sunday morning, and left our house in FL at 5:30 am (where it was approximately 70 degrees, why god did we leave that blessed place?) and drove until about 9 pm Sunday night, and we stopped for the night at a hotel in Kentucky. Then, Monday morning we got up and were on the road by about 6:30 am, and drove until we got to MN, which was at about 8:30 pm last night, like I mentioned before.

In total, the trip was just shy of 1,800 miles, and took us about 30 hours.

Today, we are just chillaxin at Jerry's parents' house, and allowing the Escape to warm itself in their garage, and tomorrow morning we're going to head even further north (where it is almost certainly even colder) to my mom and stepdad's house. They got a bitch of a winter storm on Sunday night and many highways were closed up there, but hopefully by tomorrow, roads will be cleared some. Still, it may be slow going.

As per the running? I don't know how much I'm gonna be able to do now. I was counting on temps in the 30s, not the negative 30s. You can't be outside for much more than a few minutes in this weather, so until these temps break, running outside is just not gonna be possible!

Monday, December 15, 2008

This picture sucks, but...

We're still in the car. See Scooter in his bed in the back? Cute, right? We're in Wisconsin, so we're almost there! It's freezing!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Journey to the Northland

Tomorrow, we begin our journey to the NORTH. Where it is cold. And snowy. I have my reservations about leaving.

Today, we pack, then tomorrow, we will get up early and begin the long drive to Minnesota. It will probably take us 2 (maybe 3 -- depending on the weather) long days to reach Jerry's parents' house in Northfield, MN. We'll stay there for about a day, then load back into the car and drive about 5 and 1/2 more hours north to my parents' house in Gonvick, MN. For those of you unfamiliar with towns whose populations are less than 300, you may have never heard of Gonvick, MN before. Well, I am here to enlighten you:

Don't go there.

It's not the edge of the world, but it's close enough that you can see the edge. And really? There's not much to do at the edge of the world. But, we're not going there for entertainment; we're going to see family.

So, we'll stay with my family for 5 days, and then we'll again load into the car, and drive the 5 and 1/2 hours south to Northfield again, and stay there for 5 days. Then, again load into the car and drive the 2 (maybe 3) days back home. So, we will be gone a grand total of 16 days. That's a long time to be gone from home, and I'm sure that the entire time we're gone, Jerry will worry about whether or not we left a random appliance on and whether or not checking all the windows and doors' locks 3 times was adequate. But, we don't see our family very often, so it's good that we have the opportunity to go back and spend some time with as many people as we can. Because apparently, many of them have an allergy to airplanes and flying to warm, sunny FL (goodness, I must've been bit by the sarcastic bug in my sleep last night!).

Anyhoo, here's the lowdown on a few FAQs:
  • Yes, we're bringing Scooter with us. He's our fur-baby and we can't leave him in a kennel for Christmas! Bringing him along is part of the reason why we are driving.
  • I will blog while away (I mean, c'mon I just learned to mobile blog for all your sakes -- you'll be gettin' updates from the road, yo!), but the regularity of it may not be like the clockwork posts you have come to rely upon.
  • I will try to run while up there. It will be cold and snowy though, so when weather permits, I'll run outside; otherwise, there are some strategic gyms and indoor running locations I may end up using as well. Clearly, I will keep you apprised of the running while I post.
  • While I will be a diligent poster, I don't know how much I will be reading blogs. So, if I disappear from commenting, don't fret, I will eventually return.

So, before I depart tomorrow, I'd like to wish everyone out in blogland very Happy Holidays! And if you are traveling too, please travel safe!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Time to Party

Today is my department's Christmas party. So, how do a bunch of English professors par-tay? We go to lunch at a buffet. Yup. Doesn't get more wild than that. Of course, last year, I managed to get somewhat hammered at our buffet luncheon, but I have a list of chores for this afternoon (throwing a x-mas party for our friends tonight), so I don't think I will be partaking in any BEvERages this afternoon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Play "Misty" for Me

Despite spending some time playing with my new CrackBerry and learning to mobile blog, I did actually get a lot of work done today. In fact, I finished reading/grading the remaining essays I had, and I finalized all my classes' grades, entered them in the computer system, and viola! I'm done for the term! Tomorrow, I am just going in to my office for a few hours to get some things organized for January (when I return), and to make sure all my hard drive files are backed up to my jump drive (they are "ghosting" our hard drives over the break). So, just a few hours of work tomorrow, and then I'm home free for about 3 weeks!

Ah, what a relief.

Also, on my way home, I picked up Jer-Bear's final Christmas present, so that means I'm done with x-mas shopping as well. (And yes, as per your questions regarding Tuesday's post, we did open one gift each. Really, I just wanted Jerry to open one of his stocking stuffers: "The Dark Knight" on DVD because I wanted to watch it again. And it was just as good the 2nd time around as it was in the theater. I got to open one of my stocking stuffers too: An iTunes GC, totally sweet!)

Then, this evening I went for a "misty" 4 miler (39:14). See, it was pouring rain earlier, but by the time I got laced up to run, it was really just a light drizzle, so light that it was more like a fizzy fog. Quite enjoyable actually since it kept me nice and cool.

P.S. Who can tell me where the title of this post comes from? The first person to tell me will win a...virtual pat on the back. Lame, yes, but you didn't think I'd offer an actual, tangible prize, did you?

More testing

I should be grading, but playing with mobile blogging is way more fun!

Enter Jess in the 21st century!

So, I got a BlackBerry on Saturday and I set up mobile blogging and now I can blog from anywhere! This is all going according to plan: First, I conquer blogger, then the world! Now, I just have to learn to text with greater efficiency.

Mobile blogging


Wednesday, December 10, 2008


This evening I returned to the running with 2.9 miles in 28:30. Why the odd distance, you ask? Well, my log has a pesky .1 in there for mileage, and you guys know I'm just a touch OCD with my recorded digits, and I want nice round numbers in there, so I cut my planned 3 miler a tenth of a mile short in order to accommodate such even numerals.

So, now we can all rest assured that my mileage for the month, and the year, will be without any kind of decimal.

Some may find such need for even numbers in my log a bit out of character for me, and some of you have expressed surprise that I'm like this, and I agree, some of my compulsions and desires for perfection do seem to contradict my general laisse-faire attitude. And while I like to give Jerry a lot of crap about his lock-checking (locks always need to be checked 3 times to ensure locked-ness), the fact of the matter is that I have a lot of weird compulsions of my own; here's a short list:
  • Our dishes are 3 separate, solid colors. I do not allow any two plates, bowls, or coffee mugs of the same color to be stacked on top of one another. The colors must alternate. One time, Jerry pissed me off by re-arranging our entire cabinet so that all the colors touched each other. I nearly ripped his eyes out for the work he had me re-do.
  • Despite being a voracious reader, and despite encouraging my friends to read selections I have enjoyed, I do not loan out books. Scratch that. I loan them reluctantly. And then I hover. My behavior is so reprehensible that friends choose not to borrow from me and simply purchase the book for themselves despite the fact that I have shelves of books. I'm sorry, I'm just very, very, very neurotic about my books.
  • I like household things to be in their designated spots, and nearly everything has its designated spot. For example, Scooter's leash hangs from a hook near the door. I like it folded over that hook. But frequently, Jerry returns from walking Scooter and just tosses the leash on the counter by the door. Unacceptable!

So, yeah, there's a small peak into my neuroses, but don't you judge. I know all of you are particular about something. What is it?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I am now officially done with classes for the term. Now, I just have two classes' worth of essays to read, their final grades to calculate, and then I'm home free! The end is near, my friends, very near!

So, after class today, I went and did some more Christmas shopping, and with the exception of one more thing I want to get Jerry, I am done with that too! Woo-hoo!

Because the shopping and wrapping dipped into my evening, and because my quads are still a little sore from Sunday's HM, I decided to skip a run this evening. Instead, I'm gonna have dinner with the Jer-Bear and try to convince him that we should each open just one Christmas present this evening. Just one can't do any harm, can it?

Monday, December 08, 2008

2008 in Reflection

I know it's not quite the end of the year, so it's a little early to do a "look back" at 2008, but because my race calendar for the year is officially closed, I figure I can go ahead and reflect on 2008's running and racing.

For those of you who were reading this blog around this time last year, you know that I regarded 2007 as a year of running failure. I didn't meet a single one of my running goals, and while I did a lot of running and racing in 2007, none of it was very successful (by the standards I had set forth for myself in 2007). So, I began this year, 2008, with a set of goals that I was determined to complete.

So, how did I do with them? Let's see:
  • Achieve race variety. CHECK! I ran 6 half marathons, 1 10 miler, 1 15K, 1 10K, 1 4 miler, and 4 5Ks. I think the only major road distance left out of that grouping is the full marathon.
  • Set a new 5K PR. CHECK! I set a new PR of 27:49 at the Weston 4th of July 5K back in July.
  • Focus on speed, strength, and stretching. Well...I somewhat did this. I definitely tried to focus more on speedwork, and while I had some attempts at creating strength and stretching routines, I never followed through with them. However, the goal of focusing on strength and stretching was to avoid injury, especially ITBS, which I have suffered from twice, and I managed to avoid injury almost entirely in 2008 (there was just a strained quad back in April, but that was due to playing soccer, not to my running). This year, I think in large part I was able to avoid injury by not training for a marathon. Keeping my weekly mileage to 20-25 miles a week has been enough to keep me in shape, but I haven't had any over-use injuries.
  • Enjoy the running. CHECK! Sure, I've had some bad runs, some bad races, some weeks where I "just don't wanna" but on the whole, I think 2008 has been the most enjoyable running year to date.

So, what did I get from running in 2008 (besides a shitload of rad medals)? Lots.

Primarily, I think I learned a lot about myself as a runner. I think that in the running world, the marathon gets a lot of attention as "the" distance for a runner to prove him or herself, but I'm just not sure the full marathon is for me. Realizing that is a huge thing for me. As a runner, and as a person, it's important to figure out what works best for ME. So, this year, I discovered that perhaps I'm best suited to middle-distance running: I like only having to run 20-25 miles a week; I like not having my entire life revolve around training; I like being able to go for a "long run" and be done by 8 am and still have the full day ahead of me; I like avoiding injury due to over-use; and I like the sense of accomplishment that a HM or a 10 miler can still bring.

Who knows? Maybe a full marathon will be in the picture again someday, but for now, I don't see it in my immediate future. Instead, I'll settle for reading about those of you who continue to pursue the full marathon, and I will live vicariously through your accomplishment of that distance.

Now, I know what you're thinking: What will be the 2009 race plans and running goals, Jess? The answer to that will have to wait a few weeks. I need to mull them over and give careful consideration to what's in store for me and running in 2009, so I'm afraid I will have to tell you to "keep your pants on" until the dawn of the new year. So keep tight for a few weeks, and in the meantime, I still have those 800 miles to chase (I'm currently at 770.1, so I think I shouldn't have any problems getting 29.9 done in the next 3 weeks), so you can keep tuned for that!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Half Marathon of the Palm Beaches Race Report

The race was, in short, my worst half marathon. Not because of the race itself, just how I ran it. In fact, the race is really nice and I'd love to run it again: Scenic course, flat, well-organized, entertaining water stations, nice medal, well-stocked food and drink at the race's end, and we had great weather.

I just ran the slowest 13.1 I ever have: 2:27:34. There's no particular reason why I was so slow (well, with the exception of that 5 and 1/2 minute wait at the porta-potty at mile 4 -- that was just ridiculous); no, I just couldn't muster up any speed.

I think that with so much going on lately, my head just wasn't "in the game" and I guess running it just to run it wasn't enough to motivate me to do my best. Oh well, I'm not really that disappointed. Bad runs and bad races happen, and I'm honestly just happy to be done with it and be done with the 2008 race season in general -- it's been a busy one!

Special thanks to Wendy for allowing me to stay at her place: She provided excellent accommodations, thanks Wendy!

Now...I think I may go take a nap.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Palm Beach, Here I Come!

Today, I am heading north to West Palm Beach. I am staying with my gracious hostess, Wendy, for the evening, and her accommodations are quite convenient: She lives within walking distance of both the expo and the race itself. And then tomorrow we will both run the Palm Beach Half.

This will be my 6th and final HM for the year. So, I'll fill you in on the race report tomorrow when I return home, and until then, Auf Wiedersehen!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Not Much

There's not much that's very exciting to report about today. I am finished with one more class for the term. 3 down. 3 to go. I finish one more tomorrow and then the last two next Tuesday. The end is in sight.

Jerry and I went for a 3 miler this evening, and it went well despite the fact that when we finished I proclaimed: "Good job! We ran the entire way!" and his response was: "Ugh..."

Went well for me anyway.

Oh, I also got my bib# for Sunday's Palm Beach HM: 1983. I like the fact that it's a date, but I wish I had something to attach to that year, like someone's b-day year or something. Anyone out there born in 1983?

I was born in 1978. Totally sweet year.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Checking Off Items on the "To Do" List

Some days, I really just astound myself with how awesome I am.

I mean, really, I have been on top of my shit today. I:
  • Went to the dentist this morning. Had to get a tooth re-bonded. That motherfucker keeps wanting to chip off. I told the dentist to make the bonding "extra sticky" today because I don't want to be back in that chair in 6 months again for the same thing.
  • Went to the Post Office and mailed two packages. Line was miraculously short and I didn't have one inkling that I might have to break someone's legs.
  • Finished the grading I had, met for the last time with 2 of my classes, returned their work to them, gave them their final grades, and bid them "adieux." 2 classes down. 4 to go.
  • Many students told me "thanks for being such a great professor!" and "you're the best English teacher I've ever had!" True dat.
  • Since I didn't hold either class for their full time, I was home about an hour and a half early, so I "surface cleaned" the house -- you know, the kind of mid-week pick-up and vacuum kind of stuff, not the scrubbing toilets kind of stuff.
  • Got dinner prepped and ready.
  • Went for a 5 miler (46:19). Felt glorious -- my 4th mile clocked in at 8:55, but that was my fastest; otherwise, it was an average 9:15/mile pace. It's only about 60 degrees outside, so this cool, dry weather really is to my running advantage.


And, it's only 5:30 pm now. Are you people impressed by my awesome-ness now? You should be! If I just had a little more coffee, at this point, I think I could solve the financial crisis.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Common Crap

I have a case of the "I don't wanna run" today. Symptoms include lethargy and a desire to lay on the couch and watch TV.

Is there a known cure for this?

***Edit: The cure for the above ailment appears to be suckin' it up and gettin' out there for a run whether I want to or not. I did a 3 miler (29:41), and once I was out there, I was glad I "womaned up" and determined to do it. Now I can go lay on the couch and not feel guilty. Score!***

Monday, December 01, 2008

November Miles

I did get out last night for a short 3 miler (29:17), and I even managed to fit it in between showers, so I didn't get rained on at all. But it was WINDY! So, with that run, my mileage for November was 90.5. Shucks. If I had actually done an 8 miler yesterday, I would have tied my mileage for January, which was my year's highest mileage in a month (95 miles).

Total mileage for the year is 746, and I don't think I'll have a problem getting 54 miles in during December to round out the year around 800 miles. Originally, at the beginning of 2008, I had kinda thought I could aim for 1,000, but incredibly low mileage in June and July prevented that from happening. So, I suppose it will have to remain a goal for 2009.

Always something to aim for.

Anyway, it is still cloudy and blustery today, and it's Monday, after a 4 day weekend, so...yeah...I SO have a "case of the Mondays"!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Long Post

First of all, to answer a few FAQs:

1. In response to some comments on my holiday stress that I posted about yesterday: I'm not necessarily that stressed out about preparing for the holidays in and of themselves. In fact, I am 97% done shopping, holiday cards are done and in the mail, winter-wear clothing for MN is out of storage, and car is ready for the trip (oil is changed, SunPass is charged up). See, what's stressing me out is that I have not only the finishing holiday stuff to prepare for before we leave, but I also have the semester to finish (which means reading about 135 essays and finalizing grades in the next two weeks), I have a book review due on Dec 9th (I review about a handful of books a year for ForeWord magazine) and I've only read about 20 pages of my assigned book, I have the Palm Beach Half Marathon to run on Sunday, Dec 7th, and we are hosting a Christmas party for our friends on Dec 12th. So, it's all of these things converging at once that has me feeling a touch stressed.

2. Some asked if I'll be running while we're in MN for our 2 week vacation: Hells yeah, I am! I do have some winter running gear, but it's limited and somewhat make-shift, but it will do for just two weeks. But I couldn't go two weeks (especially during the holidays -- all that time with family, ack!) without running. Plus, since I don't have to live and run in winter conditions on a regular basis, I actually kinda like the change in weather and terrain.

So, on to today. As mentioned above, I have a shitload of essays to read, and worse yet, about 75 of them are research essays, so I spent most of the morning working on those: Some are really well-written and contain excellent research and writing; others are...well...like Thumper's mom says, "If you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all." The good news is that I made significant headway with them and I feel good about how much I got done.

After lunch, I settled in with these two
for some Sunday afternoon football, and we're currently watching a pretty tight game between Miami and St. Louis: C'mon, Fins! Pull your shit together!

BTW, what'cha think of this pic of Scooter? Funny, right? Doesn't he kinda look like a Gremlin?
I was gonna say that I'm gonna start calling him "Gizmo" but then Jerry said that Gizmo isn't a Gremlin and they only turn into Gremlins if fed after midnight; does anyone remember what they are called before that, when they're still Gizmo-esque?

As for running today, I slept in this morning for the first time on a Sunday since September, and I was gonna save my long run for early this evening, but now the weather is doing this:
Off and on showers, windy, cloudy weather, with tornado warnings until 8 pm. You can see how windy it is in this next pic: That's the flag on the 9th hole on the golf course directly behind our house. Not ideal running conditions.
So, after football, I think I may try to fit a quick, short run in (weather permitting -- it's pouring out there right now) and skip the long run since I don't want to gamble with the possible tornadoes. I've been apathetic about running this week and I'm logging some of the lowest weekly mileage that I've had in a long time, but I can just think of it as a step-back week, right?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday Stress Relief

We have 15 days until we leave sunny FL for the bitter cold of a Minnesota winter for our 2 week Christmas vacation. And while I'm looking forward to the trip and seeing so many friends and family, this means I only have the aforementioned 15 days to get a lot of shit done. So, as I told Jerry earlier today, "I feel like I might start flippin out a little bit about everything that has to get done before we leave." Thankfully, I've been like a well-oiled machine yesterday and today chipping away at my "to do" list, and I feel as though I have made some significant headway.

I even got a short run in this evening -- a 3 miler in 29:53 -- not very fast but it felt good to get out there, and it certainly helped to clear my head and de-stress me. That's two things I definitely need from running, and half way through my miles, I couldn't even remember what a "to do" list even was! Bliss.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

I don't know what I was thinking going shopping today, especially since everything I wanted to buy was stuff that could have been purchased at any time (no sale items or limited quantity items), yet I went out there. I braved the traffice, the crowds, the lines, the wailing children, the slow-moving elderly, the idiots and the frustration, and I have no idea why.

There must be some instinctual female tendancy that just draws women to the mall, and Target, and Best Buy on Black Friday; because certainly if it had been up to reason, I wouldn't have gone.

At least I got a lot of walking in. And I got a few gifts checked off my list. But now I'm pooped. Utterly exhausted -- both mentally and physically. So, Chinese is ordered, a movie is prepped in the DVD player, and I'm gonna kick back for the rest of the evening.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tamarac Turkey Trot 5K 2008 Race Report

While I was bright and shiny for this morning's Turkey Trot -- -- I had to coax this smile out of Jerry:
He was a little less than excited to get out of bed before 7 am on Thanksgiving in order to go run, so I had to be enthusiastic for the both of us.

It was a good morning for the Trot -- nice and cool -- and the crowds were ready for the morning's race. I think this race gets more popular each year, and this year there were about 2,000+ runners. Maybe more. Still no start mats at the beginning, but you know, it seems to be standard practice at these 5Ks to issue timing chips but not have start mats -- whatever.
So, the gun went off at 7:30 and we were off! It was incredibly crowded the entire race, but especially so in the first mile, and it didn't really thin out until the 3rd mile; still, we were able to keep a sub-10:00/mile pace which is what Jerry wanted. His primary goal was just to run the entire thing, his secondary goal was to finish under 33 minutes, and his tertiary goal was to finish under 30 minutes. He met his first two, and only missed the 3rd by a few seconds. Here are the splits:

1: 9:52
2: 9:27
3: 9:14
.17: 1:27

Total Race Time: 30:02

Here's Jerry after the finish:
I think he could have done the sub-30, and when I asked him in the last 10th if he wanted to push hard to the finish, he was pretty tired, and simply said, "no." Of course, afterward, I think he wished he would have, but he still ran an excellent first 5K, and I'm really proud of him. He's being blase about it, but I think secretly, he's proud of himself as well.

Now, we have food to make for Thanksgiving dinner this afternoon, there's the parade, the dog show and football to watch, and later there will be dinner, drinks and good times to be had, so I should be off so I can enjoy all of it.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving Day! Peace out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Trot Eve

Today has been a busy and hectic day with work and then running around afterward trying to get some errands done before Turkey Day tomorrow -- let's just say that when Jerry called me and I was in the Target parking lot, I told him I was about to "kick someone in the teeth."

That's when I know I need a good run. So, I got home, dumped groceries, etc on Jerry and then got my running stuff on and headed out the door. I did 3 miles in 27:33 and it felt good to get out there and pound away my day's frustrations on the pavement. Take that sidewalk!

Thank god I have running; otherwise, I might be ramming people with my car this time of year.

Anyway...now I feel calm and love humanity again, and that means I'm ready to ring in the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow! To start with, Jerry and I are running the Tamarac Turkey Trot 5K! This is my 4th year running this race, and it's probably my favorite one on the calendar -- mostly because the course begins across the street from our house and we run right in front of our place. So I can sleep a little later, I don't have to drive and park, and when I'm done, I just walk back in my front door: Just as easy as running any weekly 3 miler.

Plus, the course is a nice loop, and the weather is typically cool and crisp on Thanksgiving morn. But this year, it should be extra special since Jerry is joining me for the first time. So, I'm not gonna be out there aiming for a PR; instead, I'm just gonna enjoy the race and try to pace Jerry through his first 5K.

I'll report back tomorrow about the Turkey Trot, so have a good Turkey Eve everyone: I hope you have visions of stuffing in your dreams tonight!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Anniversary Evening

For our anniversary this evening, we got our dressier duds on and got a few pics in front of our Christmas tree. We got some pics with Scooter in there too, but he kept having "devil dog" eyes in each pic, so I don't think we got a Christmas card out of the endeavor. The pursuit of that will have to continue. Then, we opened gifts from one another, and here is my prized gift: A new Coach wallet!
I've been wanting a wallet, but Jerry always says that the wallets cost as much as the purses, so he's reluctant to buy them for me, but this time he let good sense go out the window and into the wallet. But now that I have this new wallet, me thinks it needs a new purse to go in, don't you?

I also got some kickass message t-shirts that all have a common theme; here's one:
If you can tell me what TV show this quote comes from you can win, well, my respect because that show rocked (it's no longer on). If you need further hints, the other two tees he gave me also had quotes from the show. One was: "It's as Ann as the nose on plain's face." And: "Has anyone in this family ever seen a chicken?"

Cracks me up.

After the gift extravaganza, we went to eat at this local Greek taverna, and it was excellent! We ate our weight in pita, hummus, grape leaves, feta, and kabobs. Yummy!
We sat at a table outside, with the fountain behind us, little candles on the tables, and it was a nice atmosphere with some great food, and some good wine.Now, I think we're gonna snuggle in and watch some TV (never got around to half of those Monday night shows waiting for us + we have some discs of "Dexter" to watch -- have you guys seen that show? awesome. Showtime is the best network on TV, too bad we don't actually get the channel; eh, that's what Netflix is for, right?).

Anyhoo, it was a nice anniversary celebration and I'm thankful to have such a good husband and three years of happy marriage. Thanks for all the nice anniversary wishes; I appreciate them!

3 Year Wedding Anniversary

Happy Anniversary Jer-Bear! Love,

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bowling -- we suck

Tonight pretty much sucked for our team: we lost and got only 2 out of 20 points (althought, the silver lining is that I got those 2 poits). Anyway,,,I'm pretty drunk now. Lot o beer and two shots.

Jerry s walkign scooter and then we have some taco Smell to scarf down and mOnday night shows to wach: How I met your mother, big bang theory, chuck, and heores.

No wodner Tuesdays alwasy sucks. We don't get to bed until late.

Tomoroww is our anniversary!!! # years! Wait, 3 year,s! Wahoo,

Will update tomorrow about that., Marriage is cool. Sometimes,

Bowling Prep

Tonight, in bowling, we face our friends and rivals: the Brew Crew. They bowl with us in the summer league we participate in, and we have a friendly competitive spirit with them, so tonight's bowling will be both fun and a little nerve-wracking since we'll both want to win so badly.

So, how does one prepare for such a face-off? By meeting at a bar beforehand and drinking. Duh.

With the pre-bowl drinks, the during-bowl drinks, and the after-bowl drinks (one team will need to be consoled one way or another), the probability for a very drunk Jess tonight is high. Could be disastrous. Or, totally kick ass. You never know with me.

So, I'm cancelling my office hours tomorrow morning in preparation for the inevitable, and I'm drinking lots of water today to hydrate. I can't be too hungover for tomorrow, though: It's Jerry and I's anniversary and we have plans tomorrow night for dinner and romance, which would be kinda ruined if I were a pile.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

O Christmas Tree and the 12 Miles of Sunday

Yesterday, Jerry, Scooter and I did put up our Christmas tree. Although, really, Scooter was barely any help at all; here he is trying to help Jerry fluff up the tree's branches (we have an artificial tree), and his little paws are no good at all with this task.Jerry and I have a tree "process" where our tasks are divided, and so far each year, it has worked out well: He assembles the tree and strings the lights, and I apply the ornaments. When the tree comes down, we apply the same method, just in reverse.
Here's Scooter, below, sitting in front of the finished tree. I know it's a little early for a tree to go up, and we've never put it up before Thanksgiving before, but like I said yesterday, we only have about 3 weeks to enjoy it at home before we leave for a 2 week Christmas vacation, so we wanted it up early this year.
Here's Scooter sitting in front of his stocking hoping that Santa will fill it with rawhide and rubber toys. He's being a "good dog" just like his stocking claims he is.
And here's Scooter chillin' in his new bed with Dirt Shrew by the Christmas tree. I don't know what it is, but there's something about having a tree up that makes the place feel so cozy.
This morning, I met Wendy up in Boca to run a 12 miler, and it went well. The air is still cool and crisp, so it felt nice to run. We did our 12 miler in 2:03:37 for an average of 10:18/mile, and really we had plenty of miles where we consistently logged a 9:45 pace, but once you add in a few walk breaks and a bathroom break, our overall pace was slowed. But still, it was a good training run.

We're both planning on running the Palm Beach Half on Dec 7th, so this was our last training run together until then. I have the Turkey Trot on Thursday, PB Half on the 7th, and that's gonna conclude my 2008 race calendar -- hard to believe it's getting to so close to the end of the year!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twilight Movie Review

In order to succinctly list my likes and dislikes of the film adaptation of "Twilight," I've decided to break it down in list form for chewable pieces:


  • The actors were thoughtfully cast and I thought they all seemed to play their roles well. Except the actor who played Jasper who, like Shannon noted, looked constipated the whole time. I especially liked Rob Pattinson as Edward. He did a good job.
  • The basic adherence to the plot. Yeah, there were some minor deviations and time condension, but that's necessary for a movie.
  • The small fan "nods": In one scene, Edward is holding a red apple in his outstretched palms, replicating the novel's iconic cover art; Stephenie Meyer makes a brief cameo appearance; and they placed Muse's "Supermassive Black Hole" prominently in the movie (everyone who has read Meyer's books and/or her website knows that she is a huge Muse fan and thanks them for their music in each novel's special thanks section -- she says that their music is a big inspiration for her -- which, I'm not a big fan of Muse, but I do like this song).
  • The use of Rob Pattinson (actor who played Edward)'s song "Never Think" during their prom scene. In general, I very much like the film's soundtrack.
  • Everything was pretty close to how I pictured it. Or close enough, which all I ask for.


  • Some of the special effects were cheeseball.
  • Some of the jokes seemed lame, forced.
  • Some of the lovey-dovey scenes were almost uncomfortable. I don't know if it's because the sexual tension between the characters made everyone a little squirmy, or what, but the romance between Bella and Edward in the book never seemed squirm-inducing.
  • There are just some aspects to the film that carry over from the book that are, I think, a little too sweet -- like candy coated cliches -- and the cynic in me just finds them a little too hard to swallow.

Anyway, as for today, I think I may eventually get out of my robe, get dressed and try to get a few errands and chores done. I'm also trying to convince Jerry to put up our Christmas tree today. (We're gonna be going out of town for Christmas, beginning the 14th, so we really only have a few weeks to enjoy a decorated house -- solid argument on my part, right?)

Friday, November 21, 2008

4th Photo

Okay, since everyone is doing it...I just have to follow along. By now I think everyone knows the rules: go to the 4th folder, pic the 4th pic, post it here, post the rules, tag people to do the same (go ahead if you haven't already). So, here is my pic, which I had to take from my Snapfish folders because I'm at work right now:This was October 2005 the day Hurricane Wilma whipped through Broward County causing millions of dollars in damage. So, what do we all do? Drink beer of course! From left to right: Amy, Erin, Kevin (in the back with his stanky Miller Lite), Ryan, and Jerry (with incredibly bushy hair!).

Despite the fact that the hurricane caused damage to the entire area, and damaged our friends' homes, and despite the fact that we were without electricity for 15 days, I actually think back on this time with a great deal of fondness. For one thing, we were all off work for 2 weeks, and every day we got together to help each other out, grill all the meat in our freezers and drink until we forgot about the hassles of dealing with insurance and FEMA.

In a lot of ways, it was like camping. For two weeks. With all of our friends. Good times.

As for me on this Friday, I have class, then hope to sneak a run in this afternoon, and then I'm going to a 4:30 showing of "Twilight"! Wa-hoo! I hope the film holds up to the novel; I'm kinda biting my nails in anticipation. Hope everyone else enjoys their Fridays, and for those of you racing this weekend, particularly all of you running Philly, good luck!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fast Fiver

I guess the little pep talk I gave myself earlier today helped pump me up for picking up the speed in this evening's 5 miler because I finished it in 45:53! I don't think I've ever done a 5 miler in less than 46 minutes (of course, I didn't officially go through my running log and check, but I'm pretty dang sure I've never done a sub 46 min fiver, pretty dang sure). My average pace was 9:11/mile, which for me, for a fiver, is pretty good.

Of course, I can't just chalk it up to plain old awesome-ness on my part (although, I like to think it is largely due to that); no, I think most of the credit for the increased speed is the cooler temp. It's only 62 degrees out there right now, with humidity at 51% (dew point at 43!), so it's perfect running conditions out there! Especially with the lower humidity, this miraculous thing happens: yeah, I sweat, but then the sweat evaporates, thus cooling me! What a revelation, huh?

Trust me, after running half a year in 90 degree heat, with 80-something percent humidity and a dew point that constantly hovers around 73 degrees, this present weather is like heaven! No wonder I do my best running between November and February!

P.S. For those of you "Top Chef" fans, did you guys watch the season premiere last night? Was it me, or was it kinda lame? IDK, I think TC may be losing its mojo -- however, did you see who the guest judges are next week? The Foo Fighters! Flippin' sweet! I can't wait for that episode! Okay, peace out.

***Edit: As Viv, the TV, movie, and all things pop culture diva points out in her comment, Yes, I am a week behind on TC. But dammit people, if it's new to me, it should be new to all of you!***

Middle of the Pack

Whenever I get race results back -- no matter the distance, the number of racers, the location of the race, or other factors -- I am always smack dab in the middle. Take the Ft Lauderdale HM, which I ran this past Sunday: I finished 62 out of 117 in my age group (which places me right in the 50% range), and I finished 786 overall when there were about 1600 participants.

It's even obvious to me as I'm running a race that I'm in the middle. How? Because in front me there are people as far as I can see, and behind me? Same damn thing.

So, I guess if I were being graded as a runner, I'd receive a "C." Huh. I was always an "A" student, and even though I've always felt pretty comfortable with my "average" running performance, looking at it this way provides me with a new competitive outlook. Dammit, I wanna have a 4.0 running average! I wanna "ace" the race! I wanna be race valedictorian!

What does it require to be this runner? More speedwork? Done. More time on the road running? Done. An inner will to win? Done. Drink less and eat better? Whoa, whoa, whoa, let's not talk crazy.

*BTW, as I was checking the results for the Ft. Lauderdale HM this morning, I realized that I reported my chip time wrong. I actually finished in 2:09:42 -- one second faster than I reported! So I actually shaved 3 seconds off my HM PR! Yeah, at this rate, I'll be at the front of the pack....ugh, never.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Scooter Speedwork

Tonight, as I was getting ready to go for a run, I had a little copper shadow following me around, so as I headed for the door, I looked down at my copper colored shadow and asked: "Scooter, ya wanna go for a run?"

He happily wagged his tail, "Yes, please!"I don't take Scooter running with me very frequently, and for good reason. For one thing, he can't do distance, but hey, if your legs were only this big -- -- you probably couldn't go all that far either. But also, Scooter's running is mostly limited to fetching small, rubber toys of this variety:
so he only really knows one speed: full throttle.

Knowing that I couldn't even get him to last for a full 3 miles, I adjusted my plan and decided to do two with the dog, and I wouldn't take the Garmin, I would just run for fun with him. This method has actually worked many times in the past to restore my waning mojo; there's something about that dog's love of running that helps to bring back my own love of running. I mean, when Scooter's running he just thinks it's dang fun; he doesn't know shit about distance or time; he just knows that running rocks.

Thus, running with him helps remind me how much I too love to run, and dangit, it is fun.

So, we set our sights on 2 miles: 1 mile out and 1 mile back. And right out the door, we hit the pavement at a sprint. He lagged a bit in the middle and we slowed some, but when we turned around, he got a fresh burst of speed (the turn around is a powerful mental advantage for him as well, I guess), and as we got in sight of home, he had a cute moment where he turned to look back at me -- ears were flapping, tongue was hanging out the side of his mouth -- and I swear his look said, "Are you ready for this?" And then he hit the gas.

In the end, it wasn't a lot of distance tonight, but a few times, I was running fast enough to nearly reach my "puke-threshold" and those last two blocks when he gunned it, I was sprinting like I haven't done in months. Therefore, despite the lack of distance, I still feel like I got good speedwork in, and even more importantly, I had fun. Especially when I've had such a busy race calendar in the past two months, I need to be reminded of that "f" word!


Bless me o' bloggers, for I confess that yesterday I did not run. It's been 6 weeks since I last missed a Tuesday recovery run.

My excuse? I just felt tired. I got home from work, put on my sweats, lay down on the couch, and that's pretty much where I remained for the evening. Eh, I don't feel too guilty about it. I figure that some days, my body is just telling me to rest, and I did get plenty of rest last night. So, hopefully, tonight when I get home I'll be ready to get back out there, and even if I'm not ready, I will find the motivation: One skipped run is enough for a week, and I don't want to have to confess again later for another digression.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Best Bowling Evah

Last night, I had the best bowling series of my life! In my first game, I bowled a 209!! Are you excited about that? You should be; I said 2-OH-Frickin-9! I've never broken 150 before and I bowled a 200 game!

My other two games weren't as good as that first one, but they were still way above my average: 155 and 148! I was pretty much rocking the shit out of that bowling alley last night.

On the unfortunate side, I drank too many beers last night, and this morning I feel a little poopy. Oh well, if it's the price the bowling gods demand for such greatness, I will gladly pay it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sink Story

Because it's Monday and I have nothing else to write about, and because some of you requested the "sink story" after Saturday's post, I decided that I will tell you the story. Although, I feel as though I may have set you up to expect a funnier and/or more interesting story than it really is. Anyway, without further ado: I present "The Sink Story" aka "Things Jess Does that Jerry Can't Comprehend."

Back in early 2007, we were re-modeling our kitchen (pics available here), and when we ordered our countertops, I specifically remember sitting down with the countertop representative from Lowe's and specifying that we wanted "thick" countertops because I was sure to stand on them. See, for those left out there who don't know it, I'm short. Like munchkin short. So to reach things on top shelves, I use either a wooden spoon (if that thing on the top shelf is near the edge) or I hop up on the counter and either stand or kneel on it while I reach whatever object was previously out of reach.

Yes, somewhere around here I have a step stool, but in my brain, pulling that or a chair over is too much work, and I can hop up on the counter in one quick, cat-like move, so why waste my energy dragging a chair over?

Anyway, our countertops are Corian, which comes with the sink built in as one seamless piece. So after the countertops were installed, the cabinets were installed, the plumbing was hooked up again, but before the appliances were moved back in, Jerry and I had to paint the kitchen. Including the ceiling.

As we were painting the ceiling, we were using step ladders, and yes, we were even standing on the countertops to get to some sections of the ceiling. As I was working over the sink area, I found that I couldn't quite get the right height: Step ladders didn't get me high enough, but standing on the counter put me up too high, so I looked around me, and aha! I stood in the sink. This put me at just the right height to paint the section of ceiling directly above me. So I was happily painting my section when I hear Jerry screech:

"What the hell are you doing!?!"

My thought: Is this a trick question? I'm painting.

I look at my brush to make sure that I am using the correct paint, I look to the ceiling to make sure that I am painting the correct area. Check and check. I don't understand his problem, so I'm just standing there with a perplexed look on my face.

"Get out, get out!!" He's yelling.

Get out of where? I'm still confused why he's red in the face and the veins in his forehead are pulsing.

"Get out of the goddamn sink! You can't stand in there!" He yells.

I look beneath me, shrug, and step out of the sink. "What's your problem?" I ask him.

"You can't stand in the sink! What were you thinking?!" He exclaims.

"What do you mean? I thought we got the countertops with dimensions specifically sturdy enough for me to stand on!"

"That doesn't include the sink! The sink is only about an inch, maybe an inch and a half, thick. It's not meant to support your weight!"

I place my hands on my hips: "How much do you think I weigh?" I ask.

"It doesn't matter!" He's still irate. "A sink is NOT meant to support a fully grown person!"

"Fine," I assent, "I'm sorry I was standing in the sink, but I didn't know I couldn't. You never told me not to stand in the sink."

He sighs, "Well, I didn't know I would have to tell you."

The sink incident has lived in infamy in our household, and along with other things I've done, has been amongst the ways Jerry says he tests for things "a kid might do." I'm not entirely sure what he means by that, but when I climbed through the kitchen window on Saturday, I made sure I didn't stand in the sink!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The 2 Second PR: The Ft. Lauderdale HM Race Report

Have I ever mentioned how fast I am at getting ready in the morning? Well, I am pretty speedy: Before a race, I can get up, get dressed, drink a cup of coffee, read my email, take a poop, walk/feed the dog, and be on my way within 30 minutes. The only thing that threw that timing off this morning was that after I walked Scooter, and as I was pouring my remaining coffee into a portable thermos, I heard the distinct heaving of a pre-barfing dog. We only have two area rugs in our house, the rest is either tile or wood, but the dog always barfs on the carpet, why is this?

Anyway, I was able to dash into the living room, lift the heaving Scooter onto the wood, and allow him to barf there. I gathered the necessary paper towels and began to clean it up while he proceeded to complete the necessary dog puke trifecta (he can never barf just once; it is always 3 times).

Thankfully, he finished up his third barf, and then went and ate his food, so I got it cleaned up and was still on my way to the race right on schedule.

I got there at 5:30 am, parked, walked to the start, stood in line for the porta-potty, and was in my corral by 6 am, ready for the 6:13 start (weird start time, right?).

Start-Mile 7:
The National Anthem was performed, a few fireworks were launched and we were off! The race started on 17th street, right by the port, and we headed west along 17th, and then turned north along US 1 through Ft. Lauderdale. The Garmin lost its signal as we went under the river, so the splits for miles 2 and 3 are off, but split the difference and you'll see that I was right on pace.

Around mile 3, we turned east on Las Olas, and then at 4.5 miles, we joined A1A and headed north. There was a strong wind coming out of the northeast and blowing across the ocean, and a few times I had to hold onto my visor, but the wind mostly gusted, didn't blow steady, so at times I had to fight it, but overall it wasn't bad. The temp, in general, was PERFECT this morning: a cool 68 degrees! Thank you sweet baby jesus.

Just after the 10K marker, I had to hit up a porta-potty again (a little too much coffee I guess), but thankfully, there weren't any lines so the restroom break only cost me about 40 seconds.

1: 9:49
2: 10:35
3: 8:49
4: 9:35
5: 9:46
6: 9:44
7: 10:34

Miles 8-Finish:
Running on A1A, especially Ft. Lauderdale's section of it, is the perfect running road: it's flat and straight with a good view of the ocean. So once we had turned onto A1A at 4.5 miles, I knew exactly what the course would entail: run 4 miles north, turn around and run 4.6 back to the beach finish. To me, this is perfect. There's no swerving through city streets, the crowd thins out, and the out and back course is my ideal course (a turn around provides me with a huge mental benefit).

So I was feeling good at the turn around at 8.5 miles and I knew it was just a steady 4.6 to the finish. I kept plugging away and tried to maintain my 9:45 pace, which I did a pretty decent job of, so these miles went pretty smoothly. Sure, I began to suffer from the typical fatigue that settles into your joints and muscles during the last half of a race, but overall, I felt good and I knew that either tying or breaking my PR (by a smidgen) would be possible.

As I neared the 13 mile marker, I picked up the pace: I only had one minute to tie my PR and I had to at least do that much. As I was sprinting toward the finish chute, a guy on crutches chose that moment to cross the race path, I wanted to just plow into him for being so inconsiderate, but instead I mumbled a profanity under my breath, swerved around him and gunned it for the finish line.

8: 9:38
9: 9:45
10: 9:48
11: 9:42
12: 9:51
13: 9:42
.28: 2:20 (I guess being nearly 2 tenths of a mile over is a pretty standard Jess-deviation at this point)

Total Time: 2:09:43

Yes! A PR by 2 seconds!! (My previous HM PR was set, as I mentioned yesterday, at A1A -- a nearly identical course -- last February with a time of 2:09:45, so I was pleased to be so consistent with the two races.)

I got my medal, loaded up with some fruit and a bottle of water and boarded a shuttle back to the start. I felt good afterward, and the only thing I was kicking myself for was that one bathroom break, but hey, if a girl has to pee, she has to pee, dammit.

I got home and Jerry made me breakfast (pancakes and bacon: excellent combo for a post race breakfast -- carbs, sugar, protein, calorie dense).

All in all, this was a good race, and a huge improvement over the HM I ran last weekend. This is the first 13.1 in a series that's being started by the same organizers who do the ING series, so there's gonna be one in Miami in March, one in Chicago in June, and one in Atlanta next fall, and then they'll repeat Ft. Lauderdale next November. I think I will do it again: Great course, well-organized, and a nice medal.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Locked Out

This morning, Jerry and I had plans to go shopping (gettin' started on those x-mas lists!) and have lunch together. Before we left, Jerry took Scooter for a walk, and I took the garbage out. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that as I went out the door that Jerry had locked it on his way out with Scooter, so I shut it behind me, and when I got back from the garbage, I realized I had locked myself out. Praying that Jerry had his keys, I met he and Scooter on their walk. No dice.

He was without keys, but thankfully had his phone.

After calling friends, who got us a locksmith number, we went back to the house to wait for the locksmith to arrive. As we waited, Jerry decided to see if he could McGyver his way into the house, and he did manage to pop the screen off the kitchen window, and open the window from the outside. The only tricky part?

The window is about 5 feet off the ground, above a hedge that is about 2 feet wide. So, guess who got hoisted up over the hedge and through the kitchen window?

That's right. Moi.

I've been hoisted through many a window in my time, so I'm no rookie at this; by now, I'm like a ninja at getting into both locked houses and locked cars.

So, I got in through the window and unlocked the front door, we cancelled the locksmith and saved ourselves some cash. But, man oh man, was Jerry peeved. First of all, he was peeved that I had locked us out. Secondly, he was peeved that I had clearly opened the kitchen window at some point and had not locked it when I had re-shut it, so despite the fact that my oversight was our ticket back inside the locked house, he was pissed off that our entrance could be duplicated by ne'er-do-wells just because I am absent-minded about checking locks. Lastly, it wasn't easy for him to remain calm while we were locked out because Scooter thinks it's a grand time to be outside and he's acting like a maniac, and me? Well, I'm a laugher. So I think it's kinda funny that we got locked out, and Jerry could absolutely not see the humor in the situation.

Also, once I unlocked the front door for he and Scooter, I said to him: "Oh! I bet you were nervous I would step in the kitchen sink [sink is directly in front of the window], weren't you?" He just gave me a weary smile and nodded that, yes, he had thought I might do that. "Well," I told him, "you can rest assured that I stepped only on the counter; I did not stand in the sink!"

*Someday, I may have to relate the background to his well-based paranoia about me standing in the sink, but for now, this narrative is already getting lengthy.*

In the end, all was well and we went to lunch and got some shopping done. And we made sure to finally utilize our "key hiders" that we've had sitting around for about a year.

And in other news, tomorrow I race! I don't have too much to say except that I fear it will be very warm tomorrow morning. Today it was in the high 80s (car said 91 when we got in after shopping, but I think that thermometer is always a little high), and tomorrow it promises to be nearly the same: hot and humid. But I still have high hopes that it will be a good race, and I'm pulling for a new HM PR.

But even if I don't get it, I still plan on one more HM for the year, so I do have one more chance to break my own record. So, wish me luck for tomorrow morning, and I will be back then to report on the race!

Check ya later, homies!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Today, I went to pick up my race packet for Sunday's Ft Lauderdale Half Marathon, and the packet pick up was at my Local Running Store, so while there, I decided to pick myself up a few goodies. I know that Christmas is just around the bend, and even though I just issued Jerry the edict that he couldn't buy anything more for himself between now and Christmas, I went ahead and bought myself two new pairs of shorts and a new sports bra. Oh, and I threw a new stick of Body Glide in on the purchase as well. I think I will test out the new bra and black/red shorts on my run this evening. I think it will be my first co-ordinated running outfit! Exciting. I feel like matchy-matcherson.

The race on Sunday looks like it promises to be a big improvement over the HM I ran last Sunday: The course is VERY similiar to A1A (where I got my HM PR of 2:09:45), the race seems well-organized, and the medal looks cool. I have more to talk about in terms of previewing this race, but I think I will save those thoughts for tomorrow. For now, I'm gonna skip along and clip tags off my new merch!

Have a splendiferous Friday everyone!

P.S. Jerry and I ended up not playing Rock Band last night at our friends' house while babysitting. Instead, we opted for the WiiFit, and I must say, if anyone wants to challenge me on the hula hooping, I will take you down! Cuz I totally rock the hiz-ouse on that one.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Babysitting, Not Running

No running tonight; instead, Jerry and I are babysitting. Right now, Jerry is feeding Baby Miller, and according to Baby Miller's 'rents, that means he should be down for the night in about 30 minutes. After that, Jerry and I are breaking into their beer and rockin' out on Rock Band 2!

Babysitting was never this awesome when I was a teenager.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Got Motivation?

You'd think with my day off yesterday, and with all the extra sleep I got, that I'd be revived and ready to go today, but in fact, the opposite was true. This morning, it was like starting the week all over again (and if there's anything worse than a Monday, it's feeling like there are TWO Mondays in the week!); so when I got home this afternoon, what I wanted to do most in the world was lay on the couch and watch HGTV's "20 Ways to Add Value to Your Home" (I get suckered into countdowns like Brittney gets suckered into rehab -- there's some powerful need to see what will be number 1).

So, I had to dig deep into the motivational reservoir in order to haul my ass off the couch, put on my running clothes and lace up. It's hard to know why some days I can't wait to get out there and run and on other days -- despite the fact that I know it will feel good once I'm out there -- I have to force myself to run.

Anyway, I turned off the TV at "Number 6: Add a second story" (because, shit, I live in a condo, dudes: if we want a second story, we're gonna have to evict our upstairs neighbor) and I went for my 4 miler. And just as I knew would happen, once I was out there, I felt good, and I finished the miles in 37:54, and I was happy that I got the run in. Now, I have some pulled pork in the crockpot and I'm just waiting for Jerry to get home so we can dig in.

On the plus side of this Tuesday-holiday-business is that despite the fact that today felt like a Monday, it's really a Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day Vacation

This morning when Jerry left for work, he said: "Actually take the day off today -- don't grade any papers and don't do any housework -- just relax and enjoy your day." I was still half asleep so I responded with an "M'kay," but when I got up, I decided I should take his advice. While I do have some papers I brought home with me, and while I'm sure I could find some household chore to tend to, I thought he was right: I don't have too many days at home alone where I don't have anything going on. I should just spend the day relaxing.

So, that's what I did. Here was the schedule for the day:

First of all, I slept in. Didn't get out of bed until 9:30. Awesome. Then, I played with Scooter for a bit: He likes me to throw toys for him, and right now his favorite toy is his November Turkey. It's name is...can you guess? That's right, Tom. So I threw Tom the Turkey for Scoots for a bit until he was worn out. BTW, Scooter is only 3 years old, but he's getting very gray about the snout, don't you think? We've started calling him "Graybeard." Then, I sat down at the computer and got caught up on blogs. By 11, I was caught up with my blog reading, and I took Scooter for a walk; when we returned indoors, we did some more playing with Tom the Turkey.
Then, I had lunch and afterward, sat on the couch and read for awhile. I'm teaching Toni Morrison's "Beloved" in one of my literature classes, and I needed to re-read the novel, so I read that for a bit, and then fell asleep on the couch for about an hour. Scooter napped with me, and when I awoke, he was ready for more toy time. So, we went for Round 3 with Tom the Turkey -- you can see how worn out Scooter is getting in this pic below (both ears flapped back, tongue hanging out), but he will play with his toys until he falls down from exhaustion.
After Round 3 with Scooter, I laced up my running shoes and prepared for an afternoon 3 miler, but then I stepped outside, and it started to pour rain. Crap on a cracker. I came back in and played a little more with Scoots: This time his squinty eye definitely denotes how weary he is. That, or he smoked a doobie when I wasn't looking.
We only had to play for about 10 minutes, and the rain passed, which enabled me to get out there for the planned 3 miler. It did rain on me as I was running as well, but for such a short run, it didn't really bother me. The run was a little slow, but they were recovery miles so they're supposed to be a bit slow. I finished it up in 29:19.
So, now I'm showered, Scooter is finally, finally out of energy and he's crashed on the couch here in the office, and I think I will start dinner now (I'm gonna make "Chicken Fucker Chilli" aka White Chilli). Ahhh...what a nice day of vacation!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Okay, Okay

So, tyou guys want drunk? Well, I gots it! I drank my fair share if te Bus Light, and becaue Crystal also has the day off tomorromw, we had some additional beers at the bar afterward. yay! So, some pictures: crystal and I without me blocking her face with my beer bottole:I'll add some hyperlinks some other time; like tomorroe. But you can read Crystal's blog at: some adress I dont know off the top of my head, sorry crystak. Here's alll 4 of us" the Mixed Nuts! Yay. we got 16 poitn of pf 22. That's pretty good. I rocked. Kick of .... I got 141, then 120 something, then 120 something. Okay. Here's the Jer-bear and I:
If he could pose for a regular picture. that would be awesome, no scratch that, swaesome. But he cant. face cant make a regular pose. I guess.
Anyway, I ate a brick of cheex and a ton of wheet thins. so no wi', going to bed! Check ya later homies! Yay. Gla di don't work tomoorw. Herrty hD TO DRINK SODA AND DRIVE HOME! hAH HA SUCKER!

A Monday That's Like a Friday


So, tomorrow is Veteran's Day. This means a holiday. This means no work for me.

Tonight is bowling. This means drinking.

Factors A (no work tomorrow) and B (I will drink excessively tonight) are likely to equal a hungover pile of Jess-crap tomorrow morning.

So, what am I waiting for? Bring on the Bud Light: Wa-hoo!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Boca, Bitches! aka The PAL Boca Half Marathon Race Report

Last night we went out to dinner with some friends and then afterward we went to their place for some Rock Band. We didn't rock out all night, and for rock stars, we were pretty conservative with our beer drinking, but still, I had a total of about 5 beers. I don't typically drink the day before a race, but I figured if I limited myself and was still in bed by 10 pm, I'd be fine.

I was right.

I got up at 4:30 this morning feeling exactly like I hadn't had a single drink the night before. So this pretty much de-bunks the myth that I can't drink the night before a race. Wish I had tested this previously, because there have been some pre-race days where I really could have used a beer.

Anyhoo...got to the race, in Boca Raton, at about 5:45 this morning, and picked up my packet and timing chip. It was a small race, less than 500 running the HM, so packet pick up went quickly and easily, and after standing in line for the bathroom, I had about 5 minutes to get to the start. Perfect timing -- I hate standing around at the start for a long time.

Start - Mile 7
The race began without much introduction, no National Anthem, no gun, nothing, just "go" from someone with a megaphone, and we were off. We started on A1A, and headed south. At about 1.5 miles, we turned off A1A and ran through a residential neighborhood, and then rejoined with A1A again until a turn around the 3.5 mile marker.

A1A is a nice road for running -- nice and flat, and because we avoided the bridge that Wendy and I usually run over when we run in Boca, it was an easy road for running. However, it's not that interesting. You can't really see the ocean along this stretch because of the hotels, etc that line that side of the road, so with the exception of the residential neighborhoods that we detoured through, the scenery was pretty boring.

At mile 7, I was puzzled about the course because we were re-entering the Spanish River Park (where we started), but I was seeing front-runners circling back along A1A. At this point, I began to deduce what the second half of the course would be like (a second loop), and it was here that I knew that second half would suck.

1: 9:33
2: 9:31
3: 9:43
4: 9:38
5: 9:45
6: 9:56
7: 9:58

Miles 8-Finish
Mile 8 took us through the park and circled right by the finish line. This was terrible. I've never run a race like this where you circle past the finish, but to any race directors out there? Do NOT do this! It is demoralizing to run by the finish when you are more than 5 miles from finishing. And while there's nothing wrong with an out and back course (actually, I kind of prefer this kind of course), an out-and-back-and-back-out course really sucks because it feels like you're doing laps.

So, we looped back out of the park and onto A1A, again headed south, but this time, traffic wasn't being re-routed, so we were running on the side of the road with cars going by us. NOT safe. We got to the 10 mile marker and then again deviated off A1A into a residential neighborhood before re-joining A1A again, but this time we were running on the path that runs parallel to the highway (this path is what Wendy and I normally run on -- it's nice, wide, and asphalt -- it's a nice path except that this morning it wasn't closed to the race: there were regular Sunday morning runners, people walking their dogs, and even people rollerblading past us).

Just past the 12 mile marker, we again entered the park as we made our way to the finish, and this time when I neared the finish, I wasn't looping past it. Because it was such a small race, there wasn't any kind of crowd at the finish, so I crossed the mats, stopped my Garmin, and got my medal, all without much ceremony. I got my chip removed, grabbed some water, and was done for the morning.

8: 9:59
9: 9:53
10: 9:57
11: 10:13
12: 9:58
13: 10:27
.28: 2:41

Total Time: 2:11:19

Post Race Reflection
In short, I would not do this race again. The course was poorly designed (and I overheard some other runners speculating that it was mis-measured, which makes that .28 instead of .1 on the end make better sense, but I don't know if that's true or not), dull, and a little dangerous. On the course, there were fluid stations, which were well-manned and stocked, but there were no porta potties on the route and no medical stations.

At the finish, there were no bottles of water, just paper cups with a big five gallon cooler of water and Accelerade; plus, while they did have a pancake breakfast, they didn't have any portable food like bananas or bagels. I was by myself, so I didn't want to sit down for pancakes (and I rarely do right after a race -- I'm not truly hungry until about an hour later), but I would've liked something to take with me for the drive home.

Lastly, the last part of the course ran through the park, as I previously mentioned, but this is also where we parked, so as I was finishing, cars with racers were trying to leave, and the same was true when I finished, I was trying to leave but I was literally driving around and waiting for racers still on the course. I made sure to give racers plenty of time and room, but some drivers were a bit more aggressive, and I think this also made the course A.) dangerous for runners, but B.) again demoralizing: when you know these people have finished and are trying to leave and you're not even done yet, it stinks!

So, yeah, I had a lot of gripes about this race, but ultimately, it was still a nice morning for a run, and while I didn't PR, I did the race in a respectable time, I got a medal, and I completed my 4th HM for the year.

Hopefully, the Ft. Lauderdale HM that I'm running next Sunday will be better.