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My real life is a lot like THS (True Hollywood Story) except there's no fame, fortune, or drug addiction. Instead, I'm happily married, have two children, and a dog who's prone to barfing at 3 am. I love them all, but I also have to run away from them every day. I always run back, though.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day

After class, I came home and played with my new shuffle. I installed iTunes and got my music transfered -- well, everything but music that has been purchased. I still have to figure out how to do that without paying extra. So, without most of my music, I didn't take the new shuffle out for my evening's 3 miler; instead, I took the old mp3 (which works just fine).

My 3 miles today bring the month of Feburary to a close, and with the past two week's dismal mileage, my month's total falls far short of January's 95 miles. Thus? The total for February: 68 miles. YTD mileage: 163.

I'm hoping March will be a return to normalcy (February has been jam-packed busy) and I hope to have the mileage back into the 80-90 range. This next week should be a good opportunity to re-establish a routine since I'm on break (wa-hoo!).

So, to start off my break this evening, the hubby and I are headed out to a FL Panthers vs MN Wild game. We're meeting the "crew" in 30 minutes and we all chipped in for a suite, which means we get to watch the game in luxury, and even better, we get all we can eat and drink included in the suite's price! I, personally, plan on getting my money's worth. Hope everyone else has a supah-dupah Friday night!

Looky at What I Won:

That's right, bitches, I won it! See, you may or may not remember me talking about my department seeking to adopt a new handbook; well, even if you don't remember, that's okay: I'll elaborate. Textbook publishers are essentially to college professors what drug reps are to doctors or crack dealers are to crackheads -- they all try to push their product.

Well, it's like a feeding frenzy between publishers and their reps around here lately, and yesterday, one of the publishers hosted a book fair/luncheon in our department and was raffling off prizes. And, well, I'm sure you can guess that I won one of the raffle prizes -- the shuffle!

Now, my husband is against iProducts like Amy Winehouse is against rehab, but he has to accept the fact that I won one, and now I can finally have the iProduct I've been dreaming of. Granted, this kinda sucks because I will need to download iTunes and re-buy or re-download much of my music, but I'm so excited to use this little puppy. It's so pretty, isn't it?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Exhausted

After a good run yesterday, I was feeling ambitious this morning when I posted earlier.

Yeeeeaaahhh...then those ambitions pretty much went to shit.

I came home from school and crashed -- I slept for about an hour and a half, and then have pretty much spent the rest of the evening in a semi-comatose position in front of the TV. The good news is that after tomorrow I'm on spring break, which means no work for 9 days!

I can't tell you how much I am gonna enjoy that! Admittedly, I've been pretty much running on fumes the past few days and weeks, caffeinated fumes yes, but fumes nonetheless. I need a little gas in the tank.

Speed Reflections

Thanks for the compliments on last night's speedy 4 miler. Certainly, those were not usual digits for me (consistently running sub-9 min/miles for 4 miles has never happened before); however, in the past few months, you're right to observe that I have been working on getting faster.

I suppose D10 already said it best when she observed her own increase in speed, but I will repeat her thoughts here because they are so in synch with my own.

See from Sept '06 through Oct '07, I was pretty much solely focused on marathon training. First for Disney and then later for Chicago. And I think I was just so focused on completing the distances, I didn't even conceive of the idea that I could be pushing myself to go faster. After Chicago, when I resolved that I would lay off the full marathon for awhile, I started to see what I was capable of over shorter distances. At first, it was hard. I was so used to zeroing in on my marathon pace -- 10:30/mile -- that to pick up the pace was difficult.

But slowly, I have seen gradual increases in my speed ability. No, I have not been consciously doing tempo runs or speed intervals -- essentially my method has been much more simplistic: run faster. Plus, something I read somewhere (honest to god, I don't know where -- either in RW or on someone's blog) has stuck with me: "If you want to run faster, you have to run faster." In other words? All that time spent "wishing" I could run faster was useless; turns out I had actually had to push my little legs to go faster in order to see any difference. Weird, huh?

Anyhoo, by no means can I hang with the fast chicks yet, but the improvement is certainly satisfying.

In other news, it's 50 degrees here in South Florida today -- very frigid -- but to me, that means perfect running temps. So, later I plan on putting in something between 6-7 miles. I'm sure I won't be able to replicate yesterday's speed, nor would it be my aim to do so, but I'm looking forward to something a little lengthier.

Have a good Thursday, peeps!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Jess Runs on Dunkin'

On my way home this afternoon, I stopped by the grocery store for a few items. And what's right next door to the grocery store? Dunkin Donuts. Looking for a little pick-me-up for the afternoon, I decided to step into Dunkin and get a cup of coffee. Now, usually, I don't drink their coffee, but it was right there so I got a cup.

Yum-o! Marcy's right, that stuff is dang good. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's superior to Starbucks, but it certainly is a close rival, and based on what I'm about to reveal, is maybe also more powerful.

So, I got home, cleaned the house and then set out for a 4 miler. Here are the splits:

1: 8:56
2: 8:56
3: 8:49
4: 8:46

Total Time: 35:27

Yes, you are reading those numbers right, and yes, every mile came in as a sub-9er. Based on these abnormally fast digits I have concluded that Dunkin Donuts perhaps adds crack to their coffee. And if that's true? Fine with me -- I could become a Dunkin Devotee.

Crazy Ass Dream

Last night I had a weird, running-related dream that I thought I'd share with everyone:

In the dream, I was running Chicago again, but I was running the half (which, I know -- there is no half). So, because of what happened last year, race directors had decided to start the race at sundown to guarantee more pleasant temps, so the race wasn't gonna start until 8 pm instead of 8 am. I get to the race early, of course, and am standing around with the other races when rumors start spreading through the crowd that the race will be delayed.

Upon further investigation, we learn that a mountain lion has escaped from Lincoln Park Zoo and race officials are worried that runners will be attacked by the puma while running through that part of the race course. Everyone starts freaking out and it's mass chaos. Soon, we see a zebra run by and shortly afterward, other zoo animals start walking or running by us, so everyone is screaming and running.

What is my dream-logic? I decide that since I'm gonna be running from zoo animals anyway, I may as well log 13.1 miles so I start to run the course. It's dark, animals abound (in a distinct part of the dream, I am running alongside a camel), racers are in a panic, and here I am trotting along the streets of Chicago running my "half."

I woke up before the dream went any further, but that's a weird one. Wonder where that came from? Can anyone offer some kind of dream interpretation?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Looking Ahead

to the rest of the year's race schedule.

At the beginning of the year, I just wanted to focus on what I had scheduled through February before I decided about races for the rest of the year, but now that February is almost over, I am forced to start thinking for really-reals in terms of what I want to do the rest of the year, in terms of racing.

First of all, I've discovered that I like the half marathon: great distance, relatively easy to train for, challenging yet satisfying. So, I'd like to run at least two more this year. My choices? I'm thinking first and foremost of The Colfax Half in Denver, CO on May 18th.It's a good opportunity because it gives me plenty of time to train; plus, I could stay with my family there in Denver. Additionally, my sister, who is 16 and a cross country runner, might join me so it would be a good opportunity for the two of us to do something together. I don't know if I could expect a PR outta this one though -- partially because of the altitude and I don't know how that will affect me, but mostly because of running with my sister (we could run really well together or not -- I have no idea).

The other half, I'm tentatively putting on the calendar, is Palm Beach -- but that's not until Decemeber so I have a long time to consider that one. I'd love to do Virginia Beach, but I doubt the cost quotient will allow for that one.

Aside from halves, I'd like to do a few other unique distances this year. I have my eye on the WDW Minnie Marathon on May 4th, which is a 15K up in Orlando. Disney always knows how to put on an event, so I think it would be fun; plus, it's an all-women event so that might be interesting -- I've never done anything gender-specific before.

And lastly, I'm considering the Army 10 miler in DC in October. Again, this could be another good family opportunity. I could stay with my dad, and in talking with him, I may even be able to convince him to run it with me. He already runs pretty regularly, but he keeps his distances short; however, I know he could train for this and I know he could do 10 miles. It's been almost 2 years since I've seen my dad, so a visit is really due -- a race would just be icing on the cake.

So, those are my thoughts. In between, certainly I'll sprinkle other distances in (March 8th, I have a 4 miler, for instance) but those are some of the bigger things on my horizon. I'll let you know when I make final decisions and I put them up on my sidebar, but until then, I welcome your opinions, thoughts, and even criticisms on the potential races -- especially if you have run any one of them -- whatcha think homies?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Details

I'm back in the Sunshine State! My flight arrived late last night, and by the time I got home and to bed, it was 1 am (needless to say, 7 am came around a little too soon for my taste this morning). But I promised some details about the bachelorette party, so here they are:

The bride, my friend Michelle, lives in a small town just north of Brainerd, MN, so one would have to make a pretty serious drive to get to a strip club; instead, we got together (sans strippers) first for cocktails, appetizers, gifts, and a few games, and then we hit the bars. Pictured below is the group of ladies. I'm on the right holding up the devil horns and sportin' a dangerously low cut dress. Here's Michelle and I.
So, to make the bar-hopping a bit more interesting, Michelle's sister, Laura, had devised a scavenger hunt, and we were each supposed to carry out a series of rather embarassing tasks. First up, I had to find a bald guy and kiss him on the head, but you know me, I always have to take things one step further.
I also got a piggyback ride from a guy, stuck my finger up my nose, asked single men for condoms, and even had a stranger write on my ass (I do have a picture of that but it is rather unflattering, so you'll have to settle for a nose-picking pic).
In the end, we had a good time, drank just the right amount, danced up a storm and had some good laughs. It was nothing but good, good times.

And like I said, I returned home late last night, and one of the best parts about traveling anywhere is the homecoming, especially when I've got a husband who must be trying to win some kind of spouse-of-the-year-award because I came home to fresh flowers and a gift (the movie that we both enjoyed last week).
Today, I was pretty tired, but I had class to teach and when I got home, chores to get to. I may or may not squeeze a run in this evening. I'll let you know if I do; otherwise, peace out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Checking In: Part Deux

The bachelorette party was loads of fun -- but I'll wait to fill you in on details and post pictures tomorrow when I'm at home. But, we didn't get to bed until about 3 am, and I was awake at 8:30, so I haven't really been well-rested. However, that didn't stop me from once again bundling up and braving the elements for a quick run.

Today was a little chillier than yesterday, but it was so pretty out: foggy with frosted trees -- it looked like a winter postcard. So while it was cold, I enjoyed a quick 3 miler. The air here at his time of year feels strangely good to breathe while running. Granted, it's sharp and almost harsh on the lungs, but at the same time, it's so crisp and dry that it feels good to breathe it. In Florida, the air always feels thick and moist; and it never has that sharp, clean feeling.

Yet, that crisp air comes at a price: my skin is dry, everything is staticky, and I've been parched since I got here. Still, it was a beautiful run, and it's so nice to be able to run at 11 am and not sweat to death.

But...I fly out this evening, and arrive home late tonight, so I'll fill you in the fun details of the trip tomorrow evening after work.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Checking In

My flight arrived last night without any hitches, and I have been enjoying my weekend with friends so far. Today, I got in a 6 miler. It was chilly, about 31 degrees, but I bundled up in my cold weather running gear and I tore through it. The first mile was something to get used to, and I could certainly feel how the cold made my shoes feel stiffer, but otherwise, it felt kinda good to breathe in that sharp, dry air.

After 2 miles, I felt adequately warmed up and I could appreciate my surroundings: the snow, the crisp, sunny landscape, the bare trees that are just brushed with frost -- it was cold, but it was scenery I usually don't get, so the change of pace was nice.

Unfortunately, the road was much hillier than I usually run, but I tackled the hills with gusto, and while it was hard to maintain my pace on the ascent, it was fun working hard on the hills and then enjoying each hill's descent. Here are the splits:

1: 9:13
2: 10:10 (had to walk for a bit to take off my top layer -- I actually got pretty warm)
3: 9:30
4: 9:41
5: 9:34
6: 9:24

Total Time: 57:38

So, yeah, it felt really good to get a run like this in after such a busy, run-less week. Tonight? We bachelorette party it up, so bring on the drinks! We'll see if I feel up to another short run tomorrow before my flight departs. I'd like to, but like I said, that may depend on many factors this evening.

Hope everyone is enjoying a nice weekend!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Last night, between laundry and packing, I did sneak a short run in. I just did 2 miles, and I didn't even take the Garmin along. I probably could have squeezed something longer in, but I was feeling rushed, and frankly, a little stressed, yet I felt like I had to run -- just to remind the legs of what their job is, even though they've had a relaxed week.

The 2 miler felt good, and all things seem to have recovered easily from Sunday's half.

I also did manage to get all my laundry done (hubby is on his own with his hamper) and got myself packed for the weekend. I'm pretty sure I over-packed, just because I don't know exactly what I'll wear and I need choices; plus, I did pack the running stuff, just in case.

I've been feeling so tired lately that if I sit down for too long, I just dose off. Such was the case last night for about an hour -- laid down on the bed to read some and before I knew it, Jerry was standing over me asking if I was finished packing (I was not). Spring break is a week away for me, and my big plans for the week off? I think I'm gonna sleep that entire time!

But for now, there's no rest for the wicked! I'm off this afternoon for the bitter northland for a weekend of fun! Should be good times.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Feeling Fine

First up, to answer a few FAQs after last night's post:

Jess, how ya feeling today?

Fine. I felt a touch out of sorts when I got up this morning, but it wasn't anything a few bottles of water and 2 Advil couldn't cure. It was probably good that last night was a week night, though; otherwise, the evening carried with it a distinct possibility of drinking and rockin' out until the wee hours. Pretty much the only two reasons we stopped when we did was because we couldn't get past Metallica's "Sandman" (that song is wicked hard, yo) and because our bassist wanted to go home and go to bed (sorry Jon, if you wanna be a rockstar, you have to learn to stay up past 8:30).

Jess, when does bowling start again? We miss you're drunken rambling and enjoyed the opportunity to criticize your grammar.

We bowl in the summer, June-August. So you still have another few months of relative sobriety to wait through. But I agree, I miss bowling too and I can't wait for June.

So...in other news:

Watched the lunar eclipse last night and thought it was pretty tubular. I thought it was weird how the moon got a reddish glow to it. Or maybe that was 10 beers that were casting a rosy hue over the scenery...

Today, after school, I have a few errands to run, then I have to pack for my weekend trip to the frozen tundra, and hopefully, I can also pack a run in (to the evening, not into my suitcase). I'm not sure if I'm gonna bring running stuff with me to MN or not. Part of me says, "Are ya crazy? It's gonna be cold and you won't have time -- you'll be busy drinking and participating in other debauchery all weekend!"

But the other part of me says, "Jess, you haven't run at all this week and it would be good to sneak something in over the weekend if you can. Besides, running in the cold does offer a certain 'toughness' to your already impressive running reputation." Thus, I think I'll pack the running stuff (it doesn't take up too much room) and just play it by ear.

So -- I'll update later today if I run (sorry, when I run). Lator gators.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'll Be Honest...

...I didn't run tonight.

Instead, I drank about 8, or 9, or 10 beers and rocked out with my homies in Rock Band. I had a whole lotta fun being the front-girl for the guys' band, and even though I sucked it up on some songs, it was tons 'o fun, and I'm glad they let me rock out with 'em.

And now I must go to bed. So many beers makes Jess sleepy. I hope to run tomorrow, but this week is shaping up to be a wash in terms of mileage.

Not Ready for the Cold

So, today in South Florida it's a little cloudy and rainy -- cool for FL standards -- and it's 74 degrees. But, this weekend, I am traveling to MN, and I don't think I can accurately prepare myself for the bitch-slap Mother Nature is gonna deliver to me: If that's not clear to you, that is a picture my stepdad sent me this morning. It's the thermometer at he and my mom's house in Northern MN, and it reads -31.2!!! That's a 100 degree difference.

I'm scurrrred!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sense of Bliss

I took everyone's advice yesterday and skipped the recovery run -- or rather, delayed it until Wednesday -- and I opted instead for an evening in bed with a book and a bowl of ice cream.

The book? "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weiner. It's an interesting exploration of different ideas of happiness in different countries. The writer manages to make the subject both insightful and humorous, so I'm enjoying it.

The ice cream? Vanilla with chocolate syrup. A classic combination. I like to mix it all together in my bowl and make it a chocolately, soupy concoction, yet I'm not so keen on plain chocolate ice cream. Am I alone on this?
Either way, my method of ice cream consumption makes me happy -- and if you can find bliss in a small bowl of soupy ice cream, the book I'm reading suggests that's brilliant.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Prez Day Pieces

So, the results were officially posted yesterday afternoon for A1A, and my chip time was 2:09:41, so the Garmin was just 4 seconds slower than my chip time. Coolio.

I also scanned the results and found I placed 69th in my age group, yeah, "69" baby! Sorry, that's my inner teenager emerging :)

Today, I'm experiencing the usual aches and pains of post-race soreness, but nothing unusual -- mostly that means that going down stairs sucks -- and I'm sure I'll be right as rain tomorrow. Can't decide if I should do a recovery run today or not though. Usually, I rest the day after a long race, but tomorrow I don't really have time to run, and that means I won't get a run in until Wednesday if I don't do it this evening. What say you folks? Recovery run tonight? Or save it until Wednesday?

After the race yesterday, I did spend several hours grading papers, but I also made sure I got the appropriate afternoon nap in, and in the evening, Jerry and I watch the movie "Stardust": And I have to say, I highly recommend this flick! For those of you who loved "The Princess Bride" growing up, I guarantee you'll like this, and even if you don't like "The Princess Bride" (which is just silly), I think this film is perfect for all audiences: it's got action/adventure, pirates, fencing, love, magic, murderous princes, and humor. Both Jerry and I gave it two thumbs up! And now we both want to read the novel, by Neil Gaiman, that the movie is based on.

I guess that's it for now, my dear bleaders (that's "blog" + "readers"). For those of you who have today, President's Day, off, I hate you -- but, I hope you enjoy the sales; for those who are stuck at work like me, let's petition for this to be a future day off! Why? Because 3 day weekends need to occur on a monthly basis; there needs to be a law. That's my opinion.

Peace out.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A1A: Race Report

The chip time isn't up yet, but my Garmin says 2:09:45 and I think the clock time was 2:11, so my guess is that the chip time will be similiar to my Garmin. Either way, it's an improvement over Miami by about 12 minutes.

So, the report:

Pre-Race and Start:
Wendy and I left our house around 4:45 and while we ran into some traffic, it wasn't bad, so we were parked and out of the car by 5:30 am. Quickly, we each used the restroom and then found our perspective places within the corral where we bid each other "adieu": I situated myself amongst the 10 minute milers and Wendy was between the 8:30 and 9 minute milers. The timing was near perfect because we only had to stand in the corral for about 15 minutes before the start -- way beter than the 90 minutes I stood before Miami.

I didn't hear the gun, but we promptly began at 6 am.

First Half:
Unlike Miami, where I had a hard time establishing my own pace in the first few miles, I felt like I found a comfortable pace immediately this morning, and I was able to remain within a pretty consistent window for the first 6 miles:
1: 9:49
2: 9:49
3: 9:59
4: 9:33
5: 9:28
6: 9:35

I saw the first front runner at about 45 minutes, and saw Wendy ahead of me shortly before the turn around between miles 6 and 7.

Second Half:
I was still feeling good at the turn around, and my miles continued to be consistent up until mile 10, then I slowly began to lose steam. But otherwise, my 8 and 9 minute times were the fastest I've ever had (was at the 8 mile marker at 1:17 and the 9 at 1:27).
7: 9:41
8: 9:42
9: 9:45
10: 10:21 (starting to feel tired)

The last few miles were a bit of a struggle because the wind picked up off the ocean and we were running straight into a steady headwind. Not so bueno for the last few miles, but on the other hand, the strong breeze also helped keep me cool, so I can't complain about it too much.
11: 9:59
12: 10:17
13: 10:12
.16: 1:29 (did significantly less "swerving" this morning than I did at Miami)

Total Time: 2:09:45
Avg Pace: 9:51/mile

Finish and Post Race:
When I crossed the finish line, I saw Wendy right away and she handed me a bottle of water and asked: "How'd you like that wind the last few miles?" (She finished about 13-15 minutes ahead of me, but I'll let her post her own report with details.)

After getting my medal and my chip removed, we both grabbed bananas and additional water, hit up the port-a-potties and then hopped on the shuttle back to the start where we parked -- it's nice that A1A finishes on the beach, but it sucks to have the finish in a different spot than the start -- and I think it was hotter and stuffier on that bus than it was on the course. Thankfully, it wasn't a long ride before we departed and walked back to the car. Logistically, everything felt perfectly timed this morning, so we were back to the house by 9:15 am.

Observations and Anecdotes:
  • I would not want to run this full marathon -- the out and back course is simple and flat, but somewhat boring. You have the ocean to look at, but that's it for scenery. I don't know, maybe Floridians take the sight for granted, but it wasn't a particularly exciting course, visually.
  • I saw a woman running in Keds. She passed me at mile 2 and I never saw her again. I assume she finished ahead of me.
  • I felt really good this morning. I felt like my pace was just right: it wasn't too draining, but it wasn't too slow either, and it makes me look forward to working on shaving off those 9 minutes and 45 seconds on the half -- a 2 hour half would be splendid!
  • I didn't feel it during the race, but once I got in the shower, I discovered some under-boob chafing. Yow-za. It was stingy.
  • Sorry, no pics as of yet. My official picture-taker decided to sleep in this morning. We'll see what Brightroom captured in a few days.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

DNF Reflection

Today, I join Wendy for the A1A expo as we get ready for tomorrow's half. And as I think about tomorrow' race, I can't help but think about last year's race.
I had been suffering from ITBS, but had basically been ignoring it until it became un-ignorable at A1A. The DNF last year was a first for me (and a cold, hard slap of reality about ignoring an injury), and afterward it resulted in taking a long break from running and resuming after nearly 6 weeks away from it. When I think back on this today, I realize how much I have changed, how I am such a different runner.

I feel like I run more consistently than ever now; plus, I run with a greater dedication to a schedule and with a greater knowledge of why I constructed the schedule in that way. I am more consistent with taking the time to stretch and use the foam roller. I run smarter, faster, and more efficiently. True, I'm still not the speediest person out there, but if I look at where I started from and where I am now, there's a huge margin of improvement -- I guess that's what I should see after nearly 3 years of focusing on this running shiz.

So, tomorrow, I know I may not be that fast (Wendy will beat me by a long shot), but I do hope to improve on the half I did 3 weeks ago (but if I don't, I'm not too worried). However, no matter my time, I know I'll run a much better race this year, and while I don't want to label this attempt a "revenge run" because of my failure at last year's race, conquering it will help lay that disappointment over last year's DNF to rest.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Funday Friday

Today, I was back to the grind with classes, but at least it's Friday, so it wasn't too bad.

After work, I went to David's Bridal to have my bridesmaid dress, for the March wedding, fitted. They had to take it in a little on the top, and then had to hack off about 8 inches of the bottom because...well...I'm barely bigger than a smurf so an adult gown is a leeeetle too long for Jess. The finished product should be done in two weeks, and I should be good to go.

The wedding isn't until March 15th (the Ides of March!), but next weekend, I'm flying up to MN for the bachelorette party (woo-hoo!) and while I'm not excited for the cold weather, I am excited to see my friend, the bride, and party down with all the other ladies.

But, this weekend, I have the A1A half to focus on. So, tomorrow, Wendy is meeting me and we're going to the expo together, then she's staying here overnight (Scooter will keep her company in the guest bedroom, I'm sure), and we have the race bright and early on Sunday morning. I think I feel pretty ready. A1A is smaller than Miami, so I'm not nervous about parking and traffic, and now that I've finished a half, I'm just looking to improve on my time, so I feel pretty relaxed about the race on Sunday.

But...I gots to go. We're going to our friends' house for some game playing and beer drinking this evening. Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Productive "Sick" Day

It was a busy day off, but I got everything on my list done:
  • finish laundry? check. even washed all the bedding -- deserves a double check!
  • finish reading papers? ch-check.
  • play with Scooter? of course, check.
  • complete returns and exchanges? check.
  • buy hubby's v-day gift? check. even picked up my brother's b-day gift and mailed it off as well -- another double check!
  • pick up around the house? check.
  • complete scheduled run? check: 3 miles (9:24, 9:09, 9:07 -- total time: 27:41).

Plus, after being so busy at home and at work for the past 6 weeks, it was nice to have a day all to myself. And now, I'm sitting back and chillaxin' ("chilling" + "relaxing") while the hubby prepares our Valentine's dinner. Ahhhh, it was a nice day...

Whimsy Wins out over Reason

Those of you who commented on last night's post with a responsible "Jess, you absolutely need to go to work tomorrow -- faking sick for a day off is bad" were very logical; however, Jess is resilient to logic. Thus, you guessed it, I went with those folks who said, "Go ahead, take the day off, woo-hoo!" Like you really thought I'd go with the "be a good worker" bologna?

So, yup Jerry, I cancelled classes today and I am currently doing the first load of laundry, and I plan on the following list of "to-do" for the rest of my "sick" day:
  • finish laundry
  • finish reading the papers I brought home with me (and to my credit, I did work on them for 2 hours last night)
  • pick up around the house
  • play with Scooter (his little Beagle-self is very happy that I'm home for the day)
  • do my returns/exchanges at the mall
  • find a v-day gift for hubby
  • do my scheduled run

That should keep me busy!

Have a good Valentine's Day homies! Give your luh-vers an extra squeeze today!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hump Day

The torrential rains ceased late this afternoon and I was able to enjoy my 3 miler in pleasantly cool-after-rain conditions. They weren't the speediest miles, but they sufficed:

1: 9:27
2: 9:34
3: 9:39

Total: 28:41

So...unrelated to running, I really want to take a sick day tomorrow. Not because I feel sick: no, that's silly, but because I don't want to go to work (and I have a whole pile of papers I haven't finished reading). I tried to reason with my husband that I could get a lot done tomorrow if I don't go to work: finish reading those papers, do the laundry, return/exchange a few items at the mall (hubby bought me a new purse for v-day, and while it's real purty, it's a dark brown, and I have a lot of browns in my purse collection, so I was thinking of exchanging it for a black purse), etc. Thus, it's not like I'd be laying on the couch watching all the discs of "The Tudors" that have arrived from Netflix (although, that also sounds like an excellent activity).

However, Jerry says I shouldn't call in sick because I'm not sick and he argues it's wrong for me to fake it in order to get a day off. What do you guys think?

Do I go to work tomorrow like a good girl? Or, do I use a sick day and get some shiz done?

Braving the Elements

Lightning striking near downtown Ft Lauderdale last night: Students were scared that perhaps God was trying to target them :)

Actually, I have had pretty full classes today and yesterday -- despite the "inclement" weather. I've really only been missing a few students out of each class, which is pretty much par for any given day of the week, day or night class. However, this rain the past two days has created quite a tizzy, which is weird, since South Florida is a sub-tropical climate and we get rain on a daily basis for 6 months of the year.

But because it's February and not June, suddenly, no one knows how to drive or venture out into the downpour. One student, who just stopped in my office, said: "I braved the elements to be here"!

I bet everyone who is getting pounded by snow, sleet, and cold temps appreciates that! Maybe later, I too will "brave the elements" and get my run in for the day. Might be hard. It's tempting to just go home, put on a kettle of tea, and watch movies all afternoon -- it is pouring out there.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Not too Much to Report

Houseguests flew home today -- just in time too because we're having cloudy, rainy weather today. Which has led to low student-attendance today, and I've already had 3 students call to see if classes are being held tonight. Granted, there were reports on the news of severe thunderstorms and the possibility of tornadoes in some areas, but really? It's just a rainy day.

Therefore, I'm guessing that my night class this evening will be somewhat sparse in population.

But, I'm glad that Tuesdays are a rest day for me -- tornadoes or no -- me no likey to run in the rain.

Well...I'm off to my class! Should be good times: Any bets on the number in attendance?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Misnomer

Now, this

1: 9:23
2: 9:05
3: 8:49

is a negative split. I don't care how the labeling seems backward, it still feels so much better!

Total Time: 27:19

Weekend Summary with Houseguests:

Drive to the beach with all 6 of us in the car. Endure 45 minutes of kids: "How much longer until we get there?" "Mom, Colby's touching me!" "I'm not touching him; he's touching me!" "Mom, I don't wanna sit here, how come I have to sit here?" "How much longer until we get there?"

Spend several hours baking in the sun, while the 2 boys run back and forth in the waves and do not tire one bit.

Drive back home with all 6 of us in the car and endure another 45 minutes of kids: "How much longer until we get there?" "Mom, Colby's touching me!" "I'm not touching him; he's touching me!" "Mom, I don't wanna sit here, how come I have to sit here?" "How much longer until we get there?"

Repeat on both days.

So...yeah, I'm beat. Between the time in the sun (which means I now look like a cross between a leather handbag and a lobster), and the constant kid-noise, I just want to return to a quiet home and sleep for about a week. But instead, I'm here at school (where there is an entirely different kind of whining to deal with); thankfully, our guests depart tomorrow and we get our house back.

Having kids around for a weekend is the best kind of birth control I can imagine.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Pics

The past few days have been busy with our houseguests. Yesterday, after my run and haircut, we went to the beach. Thankfully, we did get some fun in the surf and sun before the rain clouds moved in and rained us out. Below, our the nephews and my husband in the water. Later, my husband took the nephews to a local aquarium store (it's a big ass store, so it's cooler than it sounds) to see the sharks and sting rays and the rest of us took advantage of the quiet and took some naps. When they returned, we went out to dinner at Gameworks (like a Dave and Busters -- arcade + restaurant), had dinner and played plenty of games (personally, I rocked the Skee-ball lanes).

Today, I think we're going back to the beach, so hopefully the sun that's out now will stay that way.

Below is the promised haircut pic: I like my new bangs, and wish the SIL ws down here all the time so she could cut my hair! I've lived in FL for almost 4 years and still haven't found a regular hairstylist, but I think that moving to a new state just to cut my hair is not on her list of priorities.

Lastly, a Scooter pic:
He's been so busy running around, playing, and wrestling with the boys, that sometimes he just crashes. Too bad the kids have yet to do something similiar. Seriously, I'm pretty sure if you squeezed out the juice of a little boy, you'd uncover the ultimate substance for energy drinks!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

9 on the 9th

Considering how many stops we made this morning, our time wasn't too shabby, but I don't think either Wendy or I will be winning this thing!

1: 9:48
2: 10:52 (had to stop and wait for the bridge the first time)
3: 9:41
4: 12:28 (I had to make a restroom stop)
5: 9:38
6: 11:03 (had to walk for a bit)
7: 9:44
8: 14:01 (had to stop and wait for the bridge on the way back -- this time for much longer)
9: 9:45

Total Time: 1:37:05

Otherwise, our miles were pretty consistent at a 9:45 pace and it was a good run.

When I got home, Jerry was just finishing up breakfast for everyone, so I got to come in and sit down to a nice breakfast, and then after I showered, my SIL (who is a hair stylist) gave both Jerry and I hair cuts. I'll post a picture of mine tomorrow -- it's the return of the bangs! -- but for now, I have to skedaddle.

Thanks to Wendy for running with me this morning (I'm sure that on her own, she would have had a much faster "race" today) and I hope everyone else did well with their own "9 on the 9th"!

Friday, February 08, 2008

First Thing Friday

Marcy asked yesterday: "Didn't you just have houseguests?"

Yes, yes, we did. But Florida is a popular destination this time of year and our family and friends often want to take advantage of the escape Florida offers them as they tire of winter, so even though we just had my MIL and FIL stay with us for a week, we have more family arriving today. This time, they're only staying for 4 days, but because there will be 4, instead of 2, and 2 of those guests are children, I imagine it will feel like a long visit (I'm picturing it as being very loud in our house -- good thing I have a full bottle of Excedrin Migraine in the medicine cabinet :).

It is nice to have family come and visit -- I just wish they could space it out a little better. Anyhoo, they arrive late this afternoon, so I knew I wouldn't get a run in this evening; thus, I got up and did my 3 miles this morning. And I am so not a morning runner! I got it done and out of the way for the day, but that's about the best thing I can say about it; otherwise, I felt slow, tired, and bogged down by the humidity. Blech.

Tomorrow I will escape from the house for a bit in the dawn's early light and meet up with Wendy, who was gracious enough to be my partner for tomorrow's "9 on the 9th." I''ll report on it afterward, and I'll look forward to everyone else's reports as well -- so have fun with it!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Rest of the Day

After the "chocolate shotgun" experience this morning, everything else about the today was like buttah. I had classes and then came home and cleaned the house very thoroughly -- we have houseguests arriving tomorrow (my sister-in-law + her husband + their 2 boys; it's gonna = a house full for the next 4 days!) -- and then I went for a 6 miler.

1: 9:35
2: 9:23
3: 9:37
4: 9:49
5: 10:03
6: 9:57

Total Time: 58:25

So, my times tonight forced me to contemplate: If running the second half of your run faster than the first is a "negative" split, is running the second half slower than the first a "positive" split? Makes it sound like a good thing, doesn't it?

Close Call

I could also label this post "The Revenge of Chipotle" -- either way -- this morning's ride to work was dicey.

For those who have been long time readers, you know how I have some prescribed "poop stops" on my ride to work -- a Starbucks, a gas station, and a Publix -- these are places deemed clean enough and located strategically that should I feel the need to crap on the way to work in the morning, I can pull in and feel okay about myself. Long time readers also know that one of my greatest fears is to crap my pants, and with good reason.

So, as you know from the post below, I decided to skip an evening run last night and opted for Chipotle instead. I assume it's the combo of Mexican spices and black beans that really get the system moving, but I also suspect Chipotle employees of injecting laxatives into my burrito, because I swear that after I eat that food, my pooper is like a slip 'n slide for the next two days.

This morning, after I had my first cup of coffee, and before showering, I was able to drop a deuce -- ideal timing -- and I figured I had the "Chipotle" dump for the day.

I was wrong.

On the way to school, my guts started to feel distinctly uncomfortable. But I'm the sort who, optimally, would like to try and hold it until I can safely get to work, so I passed up my first two options: Starbucks and the gas station. Now, the last option, the Publix, is a bit farther apart than the other two and it is, unfortunately, after the busiest light on my route. So, of course, after I have passed my first two options, the situation clearly becomes more dire and in order to focus, I have to shut off NPR and blast the AC (because I get real hot when I'm holding in an explosive poo).

At the dreaded light, I hit the red -- duh, because Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor and thinks the game of will-Jess-crap-herself? is hilarious. While waiting and praying for the light to turn green, I seriously thought that I was gonna have another terrible situation on my hands, but while thoughts of calling in sick to work (because I'd shit myself) were swirling through my brain, the light miraculously turned green, I sped into the Publix parking lot (nearly running a woman down who didn't have the sense to get the fuck outta my way!), and then sprinted into the bathroom.

All I can tell you is that it was sting-y, and the relief was like heaven.

Clearly, this was the running-gods' way of making me pay for choosing that cursed burrito over my run last night. Sorry, running-gods. I swear this morning's situation was punishment enough, and I promise to be penitent this evening and get my scheduled run in!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Running vs. Burrito

I was feeling rather sluggish this afternoon when I got home from class, and still wasn't feeling too enthused about an evening run when the time came around. I knew that I felt obligated to run, but I just plain didn't feel like going -- so I was kinda bitching and moaning (to myself) as I started to get out my running clothes...but then, I was literally saved by the bell!

Erin called. She had just gotten done at the prego doctor, and she was near Chipotle -- did I want to join her for a burrito?

Does anyone say "no" to a Chipotle burrito? If they do, I don't want to know them.

Of course, I said yes and stuffed my running clothes back in the drawer. Granted, eating a 1,200 calorie burrito instead of getting out there for a run may not be the best choice in terms of running; however, I believe in two things:

1. Sometimes, it's okay to skip a run. I try not to skip too many, so this makes the occasional missed run alright.

2. It's always better to make people, not running, a priority in life. I think it is just as healthy for me to enjoy a relaxing dinner and some laughs with my friend as it is to get a run in.

So, I missed my run today. Which is coolio -- would've been "junk miles" to me anyway since I would just be running to run -- and tomorrow I'll get my scheduled run in and I don't think the legs will mind the extra day of rest.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday

...or, Fat Tuesday.

However, neither "fat" nor "super" really apply to my day today. I will certainly listen to the results of "Super Tuesday" but even for me -- someone who loves to observe politics -- this political year has already become exhausting and it's only February; and I'm not religious nor am I in New Orleans, so Mardi Gras doesn't really apply to me either.

Although trust me, I would much rather be spending the evening throwing back whisky shooters and showing people my hooters than being slogged down in class all day -- heck, I'd probably rather be a ballot counter in California (wait, no, let me subtract that comment -- I would NOT like to have that job today) than to be slogged down in class. Because? Classes are busy right now, yo!

Which is why...you'll have to be satisfied by the worthless jibber-jabber above to suffice as today's post because I have to get back to work. I have two batches of essays I need to finish reading and a mountain of other tasks for this week.

This is exactly the kind of work I need a trained moneky for. Or, an army of trained monkeys for. Or, gnomes, house elves, children -- some kind of trained minion to do my bidding.

Monday, February 04, 2008

New Shoes

It's been a busy day, but I did make time for a 4 miler with my new "silver bullets" and it went well. New shoes are always a bit...weird...at first. I mean, the old ones are so molded to my feet that slipping into new ones always feels stiff and awkward at first, but after the first mile this evening, they felt good and I could tell the difference in fresh cushioning.

1: 9:39
2: 9:43
3: 9:35
4: 9:29

Total Time: 38:27

Now, I have to skedaddle because we're meeting with "our people" for our tax preparation this evening. Cross your fingers for a swawesome tax return!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

New Shoes and A Challenge

One detail I forgot to include in yesterday's race report was that I did not run in new shoes. For those devoted readers who remeber that I mentioned on Friday that I was going to get new shoes, I did not lie -- I did go, I just didn't get the shoes on Friday.

Because my feet are smurf-sized, the store was out of my size (they only carry about one munchkin size per store) so they had to call one of the other stores, who did have it in stock, and have it sent over on Saturday, after the race. So I ran the race in an old pair of shoes, which is probably best anyway, and then picked up my new pair. And man, they are purty!

Brooks changed the colors on them and now they are silver and periwinkle (when I oohed and ahhed over them in the store and remarked on their new color, my husband asked "WTF is 'periwinkle'?"). I haven't had a chance to take them out for a spin yet because today is a rest day, but tomorrow, you can bet that I'm excited to lace those "bullets" (b/c they're silver, I'm naturally gonna call them the "bullets") on and test 'em out.

I tried to post a picture of them on here -- so everyone could admire their beauty -- but Blogger is being a be-atch and I'm having some issues wih uploading pics. So, I'm sorry, you'll have to do without a visual for the "bullets."

Like I said, today I rest. Like God, I too need a day off, plus it's Super Bowl Sunday! The one day of the year my husband and I watch sports, so this afternoon we're headed to a friend's house for a party: lots of beer, food, and commercials (sorry, "football").

But, tomorrow, I am back to the miles. Eric challenged me to a February mile-off to see who can rack up the most miles in the month, and anyone who wants to join the challenge can feel free to be a part of it -- be forewarned that we're aready 3 days into the month -- but Wendy? You can't participate. Anyone who runs 173 miles in a month is gonna smoke us in this kind of challenge, so I'm sorry, you'll just have to sit back and observe the mortals and their mileage.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

28:17

That's right folks, I have a new 5K PR! I beat my old PR, 28:28, by 11 seconds this morning on a 5K course that is not easy.

See, here in South Florida, most running surfaces are flat. Flat. Flat. Flat. Except for...bridges. Those are our hills, and this race has not one, but two bridges on the course, and one of them (the steeper of the two) is right at the 3 mile marker. It's just cruel.

Anyway...I don't want to skip to the end and ruin it for you.

The weather was cool and cloudy this morning -- exactly how I like a race day to dawn -- and the race registration, start, etc were very smooth, and there were only about 500 runners so the crowd was small. A quarter mile into the race, we came upon the first bridge, and I knew it was there, so I just paced myself one step at a time up and over and it wasn't too bad. After that, the majority of the course wraps through residential neighorhoods in downtown Ft. Lauderdale and these houses are beautiful to look at, so I enjoyed the scenery and just kept pluggin along.

I was pushing myself, certainly, but there's a difference in feeling -- some days, you're pushing yourself and that push really feels exhausting; but other days, you push yourself and it just feels good. Today was the latter feeling, which is really encouraging because I've worked hard in the past few months to make my short race-pace 9-9:20/mile, and to be running that and feeling so good is a huge difference for me. So, as I approached that wicked bridge at the end, I felt pretty strong; I glanced down at the Garmin and knew that my time was petty solid but because I don't do hills regularly, I also knew that it could throw my whole race off.

As I started up the incline, I just gave it all I had, and I managed to maintain my pace (but I was really working hard to do so); once I reached the top of the bridge, I just had the decline, which leads straight into the finish, so I let the decline do most of the work as I breezed through the finish and the clocked ticked off 28:17.

I think that had the course been flat, today might have been a day for a 28:00, or maybe even sub-28:00 5K, but that's wondering for a different day. Right now, I'm just pleased that I beat my previous PR. Now, I guess 28:17 will become the new time to beat.

Splits:
1: 8:59
2: 9:09
3: 9:07
.1: 1:01

Total Time: 28:17!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Thinking of Tomorrow

I think today after class I'm gonna stop by my local running store and get a new pair of shoes. I've been alternating between 2 pairs that have about equal mileage on them and I think both are ready to be retired. I've been buying the Brooks Adreneline for more than 2 years now, so the trip to the running store should be quick -- I don't even try them on anymore.

Then, I'm not sure if I'll run tonight or not: part of me wants to (just to get that first Feb mileage underway) but then I also think it might be wise to save the legs for tomorrow's 5K (but then again, a 5K is short so my legs don't really need "saving" for that).

Tomorrow's Rotary 5K is kinda special to me in the way that the Turkey Trot is also near and dear. See, the Rotary 5K was the first race I ran here in Florida, and I remember that year it was so cold we could see our breath. The following year, it was raining and the race was in the afternoon, and last year? I didn't run it last year -- I was sick. So, I'm glad to be able to run it tomorrow.

Having the HM last weekend and the 5K this weekend has me thinking about the difference in races. Clearly, longer races like a marathon, or HM, are difficult because of the distance. A 5K is a very different matter -- the distance isn't the issue; it's speed that is first and foremost for most runners in a 5K. Thus, the 5K poses a different kind of difficulty for me: with a long race, my primary concern is just finishing. Sure, I have a timeframe in mind, but really, I just want to finish. With the 5K, I know I can go the distance, but I have to go the distance quickly and that means running as best I can for 3.1 miles straight. It takes a different kind of physical exertion and mental competence to do this.

I am, of course, still hoping to beat my 5K PR of 28:28 (which is now starting to feel like a mythical time), and if I can run like I did on Wednesday, then I think I will; however, I am realistic and I know that every single day is a different running day and all I can do is put forth my best and hope the effort pays off.