About Me

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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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Case of the DA

Most of my runs in the past week or so have felt pretty mediocre, and sometimes, downright unpleasant. I think I can largely blame the heat (which is convienent this time of year), but there's also that unknowable factor, which I simply think of as the "drag ass" element -- there's no particular reason and all I can say is that I usually have the occasional week or two where the runs get done, but they feel like a lot of work.

That pretty much describes every run I had last week: Got 'em done, but didn't feel great about a single one of them. This evening felt a little better; although, I still feel as though the "drag ass" is bringing me down, yo. Still, I got 3 miles done in 28:53 so that's not too shabby, but it doesn't give me high hopes for this Friday's 5K. But you never know; maybe we'll have a freak cold spell and magically, I'll wake up on the morn of the 4th to 70 degree temps and 10% humidity. Good god, if that happened, I think there might be chaos here, so I probably wouldn't want to be out running a race anyway.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Golftastic

Golf actually turned out to be a great time. I haven't been in years, so I wasn't sure how I'd do (and I didn't do great), but the morning was actually nothing short of a golf cart of fun. We started out by stopping by Starbucks on the way, so by the time I got settled into the cart, I had my skinny latte to sip while I contemplated which iron to use. I started off pretty crappy -- 4 whiffs and 4 balls in the water -- but then I scored a par on a hole, so I guess I gots golfin' skillz; I just wasn't aware of them. Soon, Nike will be transferring their sponsorship from Tiger to Jess. And is it any mistake that my middle name is Ty? I don't think so, because I can be Tygress for the sponsorship dealio.
Here's Jerry at tee -- kicking that little white ball's ass.
And here I am showing off my putting abilities. Next to riding around in the golf cart, I think putting is the best part of golf...kinda like mini-golf without any clowns or windmills blocking the hole.
In the end, some of the numbers looked like so:

Outdoor temp: 97 degrees
Par for the (9 hole) course: 31
Jess's score: 62
Number of strokes Jess beat Jerry by: 5
Number of balls that Jess hit into the water: 5
Number of balls that went into sand traps: 4
Number of trees I accidentally hit when swinging vigorously: 1
Number of mushroom caps I mutilated (as pictured below): 2

After 9 holes, I was spent and sweaty, and honestly, a little sandy as well (I had a particularly hard time getting out of one of the sand traps), but I am eager to return and Jerry is delighted by this since he's been trying to convince me to go for the past couple of weeks. So, who knows, perhaps Michelle Wu better scoot over; I could go pro.

After the hot and sweaty morning spent golfing, Jerry and I decided we needed a cooler activity for the afternoon, so we went to see the new Indiana Jones at the cheap ($3) theater, and this is my review: I'm glad I didn't pay $9 to see it. The best part about the movie was, I think, the air conditioned theater; otherwise, there were some good parts, but mostly it seemed like a waste of movie-making resources. "The Lost Ark" was so the best of that series, which means that Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas could've saved many years of their lives by allowing that film to stand alone.

After we got home from the movie, I went for a 4 miler. And I think I'm gonna have to de-auto-pause the Garmin. It kept timing out on me and "auto pausing" when I wasn't stopped or even going slow. So, with all the pausing, it recorded my 4 miler as 3.81 (I know exactly where 4 miles are -- I run this route all the time), so the splits are for hell on that run as well. I guess I'll go back to my trigger finger and trust that I can keep it more accurate than the Garmin can. Damn technology.

Weekend Special

Running Knitter requested some visuals for the purchases I mentioned in yesterday's post, so here they are, some of my purchases for the household. First up, some doggie pillows. No wait. That's just my dog on the throw pillows I bought for the couch. He's made himself a cozy little nest there, hasn't he? Also bought some picture frames for this "collage" that Jerry and I created in the dining room. But now that it's up, we've both decided that it needs about two more frames on the left. See, we didn't want it to be balanced or semetrical, but we also don't want it to be totally unbalanced and as it is it's a little "right heavy." Plus, I want to change the 3 pictures in the 3 picture frame to replace them with some that are more in keeping with the "tone" of the others. Problem? Those kinds of pictures have not yet been taken. Otherwise, I'm pleased with the project.
So, thirdly, I bought this centerpiece for the dining table.
And last of all, new bedding. The angle of the light makes the picture look pretty dark, but it doesn't help that the new comforter is a chocolate brown too, so the effect here looks darker than it is in real life. Anyhoo...new comforter, new sheets.
In other, non-home related news, I did get a 3 miler in before the crab/ribeye gluttony last night, and it went pretty well (28:31) and helped me feel better about the incredibly extravagant dinner (even though what I burned in my run was probably the equivilant of my serving of potatoes -- on the plus side, Jerry and I did split one ribeye instead of eating both; still, it was tons 'o food).

This morning, Jerry has informed me that I'm going golfing with him. I'm not real excited about that because I'm sure I will suck. Plus, it's hot out there. So I will suck in the swelter on this Sunday morning. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

More Miscellany

I have nothing to unify my post and make it cohesive, so bear with me. I put things in bullet form for ease of reading. And because I'm feeling bullet-y this morning. Yes, it can be a feeling, not just a format.
  • I bit my lip last week while eating (I guess I just get excited and my teeth are over-zealous to gnash and my poor lip was an innocent bystander), and now it's this huge canker sore. It hurts. And my tongue can't help but continuously retrace its perimeter so that half my day is consumed with this thought: "Ouch. That canker sore hurts."
  • I did a lot of shopping yesterday. Bought some new threads (everything is on sale!), and I also bought some stuff for the house, including new bedding. Scooter had chewed a hole, yet again, in our comforter and stuffing was spilling forth. That was the 3rd comforter that he's done that to, and it better be the last (why comforters? and pillows? he maybe chewed up two shoes when he was a puppy, but that's it -- however, pillows and blankets seem to bear the brunt of his need to destroy). But, I got a new comforter and new sheets. They are pretty.
  • We went to dinner at the Olive Garden last night. Which always makes me think of "Old School" when Will Ferrell and his wife are in counseling and he says, " We were having a lovely dinner at the Olive Garden, when suddenly I wondered what kind of underwear the waitress was wearing. Chances are they're just plain cotton briefs..." Anyway, I used to have this thing against the Olive Garden because I thought they served mediocre Italian-ish food in a cliched Italian-ish environment (okay, so I still do think that). So, we've maybe gone there twice in the past 4 years. But Jerry was having a hankering for it (he has nothing against chain restaurants), and I decided to tuck my snobbery away, and I have to admit, it was pretty delicious. The wine helps. But seriously, it was a good dinner and we were able to walk in there at 8 pm and not have to wait -- a rarity on a Friday.
  • After dinner, we went to Barnes and Noble -- because, well, that's what we do. We're both book lovers, and often times after we go out to eat, especially on a weekend evening, we like to wander over to the bookstore (especially if we're nearby) and browse. But the weird thing about B&N on Friday or Saturday night is that it is chock full of teenagers. I kid you not. We thought it was extremely odd the first time we encountered the phenomenon, but now we're semi-used to it (or at least, we expect it -- I don't know if a person ever becomes "used to" hordes of teens). Our feelings about the teen-presence can be summed up in this way: We feel oddly satisfied that they're hanging out in a bookstore (although I'm pretty sure the lure of the Starbucks within is stronger than the books themselves), and really, they're not doing anything wrong, and there are few places for teens to hang out and not get into trouble; however, they literally lay down in the aisles or gather together in large groups that are loud and hard to navigate around, so we really wish they weren't there. Last night my comment was: "What ever happened to roller skating rinks? Too bad those aren't cool anymore."
  • I mean really, why did roller skating go out of style? It has all the necessary teen elements: darkened interior, pop music, dazzling lights shows, sexual electricity, and a concession stand. It's perfect for hanging out at.
  • Tonight for dinner, we are going to have a surf and turf extravaganza. Jerry went to Albertson's yesterday because they were having some kind of giant sale (he informed me that he saved $110) and he bought crab legs on sale and we already had some ribeyes in the freezer, so we're having those for eats tonight (I will try not to catch the ribeyes on fire as I did for Jerry's b-day back in April). I'm gonna be thinking about it all day today.
  • I'm glad I have a husband who shares grocery shopping with me. I hate grocery shopping, but he's delighted by it; the only thing is, he doesn't have much rhyme or reason to many of his purchases -- so he might come home with two giant containers of mayo (true life story) but may not remember milk. If something's on sale, he can be blinded by the good deals.
  • That's all for today. Hopefully I get a run in tonight before the feast. Have a good Saturday, peeps! Peace.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Miscellany

Yesterday, I didn't run -- no time with the bowling and all -- but I did do my required push ups and on my "max" set, I was able to pull off 7 consecutive ones. Yeah. I'm like Rambo now, bitches.

Bowling was pretty good and I was able to lift myself outta the rut I was in the past two weeks (must've had the perfect amount of beer and shots). My first game was not great, 105, but then I had an awesome game, 148 (here is where the right amount of alcohol kicked in), and then my last game was mediocre, 112 (too much alcohol at this point). But it was a close game, and a tense one since we were playing Jerry's team and the competition was fierce, but if I'm not mistaken, I believe we girls won one game and took overall pins, so we scored 5 points (out of 9) for the evening! It probably won't be enough to take us out of 9th place (out of ten teams), but it felt good to have that small victory.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hump Day Heat

This evening's 5 miler started off well enough, but after 3 miles, I was pretty much spent. It was 90 degrees when I headed out at about 7:30 pm and 77% humidity, so even though the first 3 went fine, after that, my face was a pulsing tomato, I was pouring rivers of sweat, and my fingers were sausages. So, in the 4th mile, I had to take a quick walk break. That seemed to help and I was able to finish up the fiver without another break.

When I got home, Jerry said, "Wow. Your face is red."

He's got some astute observations.

On the plus side, that Auto Pause function on the Garmin is pretty sweet. I wonder what other functions I'm not aware of...hmmmm...guess it pays to read the owner's manual, huh?

1: 9:14
2: 9:32
3: 9:44
4: 10:28
5: 9:47

Total Time: 48:46

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Easy 3

Today was my day 1 of week 2 in The 100 Push Ups Challenge, but at the end of week 1, the program advises that those who feel as though they need to repeat week 1 before moving on to week 2 should do so. I felt like that. I mean, I can observe some progress, but I just thought I needed to repeat the first week in order to be better prepared to go to the next step of the challenge. So I guess this will be a 7 week challenge instead of just a 6 week challenge. I feel a bit like a kid who got held back a grade, but as long as I graduate, I'll feel okay in the end.

Aside from the push ups, I also got in an easy 3 miler, without the Garmin (I figure I don't need to always run with it -- taking a break once a week seems like the right amount of distance, and who knows? sometimes a little space only strengthens a relationship -- but thanks to those who gave me the heads up on Auto Pause; I didn't know that was an option). The run was fine, but it was super hot out, despite the fact that I held off until 8 pm to go. Today was brutal; it was the kind of hot + humid that peals the paint off cars -- that's tough to run in, yo.

Smoky 5 Miler

It was cloudy and a bit rainy for my 5 miler last night, but rain wasn't the only thing in the air. Apparently, there was a fire -- not sure if it was far west in the Everglades or if it was closer to home -- and ash was blowing around during my run. It was weird, because in a strange way it resembled snow, so with temps in the 80s, the juxtaposition was odd.

But whatever the oddity, it was unpleasant to breathe and run in. What also sucked was that I stopped my Garmin at a light, and then forgot to re-start it. Doh! So I have the split for the first 1.3 miles, but then nothing else. I hate it when I do this; probably I should just let the Garmin continue to time while I'm paused at lights, but I hate doing that because it's doesn't actually reflect my pace when I go back and record the splits and the overall time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Catch Up

Thanks for the comments on the blog's 3 year b-day (below). It is appreciated! And for those who were wondering about final condo pictures, they were embedded as hyperlinks in the post. But for those who missed that, or who want another looky, click here and/or here.

Aside from the blog enjoying its b-day, we had a nice, relaxing weekend. On Saturday, Jerry and I went to see "Get Smart" in the theater and we both enjoyed it: It was funny and adventurous, and basically everything you look for in a summer flick. It's not gonna win any Oscars or anything, but it was thoroughly entertaining. Also, on Saturday, I managed to get a 3 miler (29:05) in before dinner and the thunderstorms, which lasted most of the night.

On Sunday, we went to the beach for a few hours and soaked up the sun, sand, and surf, and then went to lunch at a beachside restaurant. We came home in the early afternoon (again just before the thunderstorms rolled in), and took some naps, and then went to a friend's house for dinner -- where I had about a gallon of wine. Oopsie. I wasn't even gonna drink; I was gonna be good, but then I just sorta tripped and fell into puddle of wine. It happens.

No biggie though because I didn't have to teach today. It's our "break" between sessions in the summer term. Yes, one day refreshes us and prepares us to start the second half of the summer -- yippie! But even though I didn't teach today, I did spend the morning in my office grading and prepping materials for my new class that begins tomorrow. Also, I was packing. See, the English department building is going to be remodeled during the upcoming school year, but that means we have to temporarily (for probably like a year, maybe two) move to different offices. So I've been busy packing up my office and preparing for the move, which will be July 8th.

And now you're totally up to speed on the current life and times of Jess. Exciting, isn't it? Tonight, I do plan to run. If I don't get rained out (currently, the dark clouds are rolling in and the thunder is rumbling out there). Man alive, it certainly has been the definition of the "wet season" here lately -- rain and thunderstorms everyday for at least 2 weeks. I might have to Scuba my way to work soon!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

3 Year Blogoversary

Today, June 21st, marks the 3 year anniversary of this blog. 3 years! What started out as an experiment for 21 days (starting on the 21st of the month -- no coinky-dink) has turned into 1095 days. Who knew then that starting this blog and starting this experiment with running would lead to so much in my life? I certainly didn't.

So, in honor of the blogoversary, I am taking you on trip down memory lane: Buckle up; it's a long one.

When I started this blog, Jerry and I had just bought our condo and we were about month into renovations that would end up taking us two years to complete. So when I first began this blog, I was living in a condo that pretty much looked like this: Not too pretty, eh? Also, at the time, we'd just gotten engaged and we were busy planning our November wedding. Yet despite being very busy at the time, I can recall feeling as though something was absent from my life. It was hard to put my finger on because I was in the happiest relationship of my life, we'd just bought a condo, we were getting married, yet my job frustrated me because I was teaching as an adjunct professor and I had to teach at 3 different colleges in order to piece together a decent salary, I was stressed about money all the time (especially since we'd just added a mortgage), and I just needed something to help me relieve stress and I needed something that was mine. Just mine and that helped me escape the remodeling, the wedding, the dissatisfaction with my work. That turned out to be running.

When I started in June (I had run on and off for years preceding June 2005, but had never been committed to it), I ran in cotton shorts and t-shirts. I didn't have appropriate shoes or socks. I had an mp3, but no Garmin or other gadgetry, and I could run 3 miles, but it was slow. Prior to that June 2005 start up of "21 Days" I had run 2 races: 1 5K, which I finished in about 35 minutes, and 1 2 miler, which I don't even recall the time, but I remember I ran it in Bemidji, MN on the morning of July 4th, 2003 and I had been up until 3 am, drinking, the night before. I think I was still drunk when I showed up to the start line that morning. It was painful.

Through that initial summer, and into the fall of 2005, I ran a few 5Ks, some of which did NOT go well, and focused on simply making running a part of my life. The most significant race during that time was the Tamarac Turkey Trot -- a Thanksgiving Day 5K that starts right out our front door. It was the day before our wedding, and that day we were having about 25 people to our condo for Thanksgiving dinner/Groom's dinner, and I needed that race. It was perfect: Weather was nice and the course was familiar -- and despite everything that was coming together at that time, it was just me and running. I think that race was the official beginning of my appreciation for what running could do for me.

The next day, we got married:

A few months after we got married, we got Scooter:
Adding a Fur Baby to the mix certainly made life even busier, but I kept at the running, primarily racing 5Ks, and then in the summer of 2006, I decided to take the plunge and train for a marathon. I chose Disney because its timing was good, it was relatively close, and I thought it would be fun. I spent nearly 6 months training for that -- at the time, the longest I had ever run was about 5 miles -- and while Disney wasn't the finish I imagined for myself, it was a finish, and crossing that finish line in Epcot is one of the best moments of my life. It was the reward of months of training, and when I crossed that line in January of 2007, I think I finally began to think of myself as a runner.
After Disney, I suffered from a long battle with ITBS, and this caused me a DNF at A1A in 2007. I ended up taking nearly 2 months off of running before training for Chicago. The training for Chicago was long and hot (as long as I live in FL, I don't know if I'd ever again choose to train for a fall marathon -- running your long runs in summer in FL is brutal) and the race was, of course, disappointing. But, it taught me a lot. Since then, I decided to step away from marathons and focus on variety with races, and in the past months, I've enjoyed some of the best running and races of my 3 years: I had a 5K PR in February 2008, I've had some of the fastest and most satisfying training runs, I've run a 4 miler and a 15K, and I've run 3 half marathons, including A1A (where I DNF'd in 2007) and achieved a PR there, and the Colfax Half, which was one of my best racing experiences ever:
As 2008 continues along, I am still focused on race variation, and am planning some varying distance races for the fall (summer is just not a time for too many races in these parts), and I have nothing but high hopes for what running has in store for me. In terms of the running, I've come a long way from the initial post, and I'm light years ahead of those initial races.

In terms of life, the past 3 years have been fabulous. We finished our remodeling and our condo is fantastic -- it looks far better than I could have ever imagined it early on. Scooter is the best little Fur Baby a couple could ask for. And after working for 3 years as an adjunct professor, I finally got the full time, tenure track position that I'd worked so hard for, and after years of worrying about money, we finally managed to pay off all our debts except our mortgage (which, who doesn't have that one?) and I feel as though we're in the best financial shape we've ever been in. Finally, I have had a wonderful partner in all of this -- my Jer Bear. He has supported and encouraged every part of my running, as well as our life together, and even though the running is selfishly mine, I don't think any of it would have been possible without his love and support.

On a last note: When was scrolling through past posts (1,023 of them) and scrolling through all the pictures we have (way more than 1,023), it was startling to see how rich our lives have been in the past 3 years: all the big events, but also all the holidays, the vacations, the time with friends and family, the klutzy accidents and the poop-cidents, wow. It's been a great 3 years; I can only imagine what the next 3 years will hold! I hope you'll all keep reading to see.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Friday!

First and foremost, there was plenty of Bud Light at the bowling alley last night. Perhaps too much. I sucked it up again at the actual bowling, but succeeded at getting pretty drunk. So today, I mostly laid around until midday when I pealed myself off the couch and got to some household chores.

I did, however, accomplish a run today. 3 miles. In the rain. No Garmin again. It felt pretty dang good.

I also rented a few flicks, and watched "PS: I Love You" earlier (tear-fest but it was pretty good and I liked it -- just make sure you keep the Kleenex near if you watch it), and now I'm gonna make dinner and watch "Charlie Wilson's War." Hope it's good too.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Race Registration and More Push Ups

Summertime in FL is not peak race season; thus, most race calendars have about, oh, say, 3 races scheduled in June, July, and August. Total. This is what makes the summer a good time to scale back on the running, like I've been, but at the same time, a race is a nice way to have some goal, something to look forward to, and that's why I registered for the Weston Independence Day 5K on July 4th (plus, I just love a race on a holiday -- makes me feel better about all the food and drink I will most certainly partake in later that day).

I registered for the 5K today, online, because last year, I ran this same 5K and ran into a snag on race day morning and had to bandit the race. This year, I'm not taking any chances. I pre-registered. I'm not expecting a PR (because, well, it's dang hot out there and that slows me down), but I just want to run with a bib and a timing chip this year. I wanna be legit.

In other news, I continued with the 100 Push Ups Challenge today with Day 2 of week 1, and I did 16 total push ups. It was hard. I was still kinda sore from Tuesday's initial challenge -- sore abs and sore guns -- however, on the "max" set I was able to pull out 6 push ups this time instead of 5. That's progress, people.

Tonight, no running because it's bowling. Yeah! I hope they have Bud Light tonight.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rained Out

It's been thunderstorming here on and off all afternoon and evening, and for the past hour and a half, the rain has been steadily falling, the lightning has been crashing and the thunder booming. So, I made the executive decision to opt out of my run for this evening. Rain, I don't mind (although, I don't like starting out in it), but lightning is like daring God to strike me down, and I don't dare.

Instead, it's been the perfect day for reclining on the couch with a good mystery, like the one here to the left (cool cover, right?). I give it two thumbs up: Intriguing plot, carefully crafted writing, interesting character twists and turns, Irish setting. What else could a mystery require? Perfect read for a stormy evening.

Now, I just need a cup of hot tea, and I'm all set. Cozy, huh?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Easy 3

After yesterday's wicked 3 miler in the evil humidity and devilish heat (did I utilize enough negative intensifiers?), I decided that for tonight's 3 miler I would leave the Garmin at home and just run an easy 3. I think it was for the best. Some days, it's just about returning to the running and forgetting the numbers and going with what feels comfortable; plus, the result is that I don't have to use profanity to describe the run.

In addition to the run, I also began the 100 Push Ups Challenge today. (Thanks to The Running Knitter for bringing this challenge to my attention!) I did both the initial test and day 1 of week 1 of the 6 week challenge and...um...it was challenging. The program doesn't specify whether the challangee can choose between regular push ups or modified push ups, but I decided to remain true to the core idea of a push up and I did regular ones. Uff-da. They were tough.

It broke down like so:

Initial test: 5 push ups. Don't laugh, they're hard.

This put me at Level 1 for week 1, so I did 4 sets of 2 push ups a piece, resting for 60 seconds in between, and then did one last set of my "max" which ended up being 4 push ups. Total = 17 push ups for Jess.

I like the idea of this challenge and I hope to stick with it. And then in six weeks I'll be sending out invitations. To the gun show.

Running Smarts

Today, in one of my classes, we were discussing the term "intelligence" and talking about the various kinds of intelligence and how it can be defined. Some students offered up athleticism as a kind of intelligence, and I agree that athletes do possess a unique kind of intelligence; this, obviously, led me to ponder running and its forms of intelligence.

What do you guys think: Is there a "running intelligence"? If so, how could it be characterized or defined? Is it learned, or is there some intuitive aspect that you either have or don't have?

I swear, sometimes I would label myself a "running genius," but sometimes I could label myself a "running moron"!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hell is Called Ft Lauderdale

Just as Kryptonite zaps Superman of his super-human strength, the humidity, today, zapped me of my strength, speed, and will to run. See, it rained this afternoon and that cooled things off a bit, so with the cloud cover and the reduced temp, I figured an early evening run -- instead of a late evening run -- might be possible. I neglected to think about how the 81% humidity would probably bitch slap every intention I had.

Within the first mile, I felt like I had concrete blocks strapped to the bottom of my shoes and my thoughts were disjointed strings of profanity; while I was able to run for the initial 2 miles, in the 3rd mile, I totally lost my endurance and a quarter of a mile into that mile, I had to walk. I walked for about half a mile and then found the last shred of motivation to jog the final .2 miles to finish up a very pathetic 3 miler.

1: 9:43
2: 9:35
3: 13:35 (fuckity-fuck)

Total Mother Fucking Time: 32:54

I know that bad runs happen just as surely as good ones do, but it doesn't make me any less angry about it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thick Six

The air was thick out there this evening for my 6 miler. It was thick in part because of the usual heat and humidity, but it was also hazy because the Everglades are again blazing to the west of us, so the smoke is lingering over the area mingly with the already soupy air. And I won't lie, the 6er was tough tonight. The first 4 miles were comfortable, but then in the 5th and 6th miles, I was done. I was sizzling, and I had to slow it down in order to finish 'er up.

1: 9:40
2: 9:43
3: 9:54
4: 9:54
5: 10:09
6: 10:08

Total Time: 59:13

On the plus side, the run was 99% bug-free. I have to think about those positives; otherwise, it'd be hard to find the shiny-side of running at this time of year.

Dad's Day

I didn't get my planned 6 miler in yesterday. Somehow, it never works out well to plan a run for a Saturday evening. Other plans always come up. So, I plan to make it up this evening. Jerry's going Scuba diving all day today and won't be home until late tonight, so I'll for sure have the time for my run.

Speaking of the Jer-Bear, Scooter wanted to send him a Father's Day shout-out here on the blog. Jerry and I don't have any human children, but Scooter is our Fur Baby and he loves his dad SO much:

"Happy Father's Day, Dad!" Love, Scooter

And Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there in blogland; hope you guys get the day to chillax!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tagged

I've been inadvertently tagged by those of you who tagged "everyone else who hasn't yet been tagged" and I needed an idea for a post today, so here ya go. I think I'll run later tonight -- maybe something longer, like a 6er, but for now, I gots nothing else to write about. Enjoy.

1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
Sporadic. I had run in high school through sports and even on my own time, and I kept it up in college, especially at first. But 10 years ago, I was 20 years old, a college junior, and most of my time was consumed with studying and partying. With hangovers, there just wasn't a lot of extra time. But I did occasionally run. Just not with any purpose or regularity.

2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?
Worst: The Chicago Marathon 2007. Hands down. I don't need to elaborate, right?

Best: The Colfax Half Marathon in May 2008. I didn't PR, but I just felt so dang good the entire way, and I finished feeling so good, that it was awesome.

3. Why do you run?
Because it's hard. And I've learned that most rewards in life come from challenging myself, and when I think back on the last 3 years of running, I'm proud of what I've accomplished. It's something that's entirely my own, and I've worked hard at it. Yet, there's still so much room for improvement and growth -- I think that's exciting because I know that running presents a never-ending personal challenge (think of all the potential medals!).

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?
I don't think I've ever received a bad piece of advice. Yes, I've had non-runners talk about the "dangers" of running and how I'll "ruin" my knees doing it, but I don't consider that advice.

Best: Get fitted for shoes by a Local Running Store. I was skeptical about needing running shoes that were fitted by a LRS (the cost, I thought, wasn't worthwhile), but when I think back on it, that first fitting was a running-epiphany (ya like that Wes? I used "epiphany" just for you!). Having the right gear, especially the right shoes, makes a HUGE difference in comfort and injury avoidance. So even though shoes are more expensive at my LRS, I always go there instead of ordering online because I'm so appreciative of what they've done for me and what I've learned from them.

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
Well, my friends and family all know this, but it's not something I've talked about much (if at all) on the blog: Before I met and married Jerry, I had been engaged to someone else and I broke off our engagement 5 weeks before we were to get married.

I was 24, and had been reluctant from the start (in fact, when he'd proposed to me, my first thought was "no" -- but I'd said "yes" because I didn't want to hurt his feelings and didn't want to break up; dumbest reason anyone ever had for getting engaged, right?). But I had planned everything -- we were literally down to the final details, when I cracked and determined that I simply couldn't do it. I did not want to spend the rest of my life with that guy. That was a horrible realization because I did love him in many ways, but I also knew what our life would be like together and I didn't want that.

Breaking off that wedding and leaving him was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but I don't regret it one iota. It was the bravest and smartest thing I've ever done.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Teensy Bit Too Much

Beer, that is.

But, I digress. First of all, the actual bowling sucked last night. I had 3 of the worst games I've had in a very, very long time. I don't recall my scores (best to forget them), but I do know that only one of them broke 100. And I think it was a 101. Gawd. It was embarrassing. So, we only won one of our games (thanks to Crystal; otherwise, it would've been a total scratch), and while we were pondering why we (ie, "me") were doing so poorly, we stumbled upon the reason: The bar was out of Bud Light, so we'd been drinking Miller Lite!

Dammit. That shit threw off my game!

Of course, I still drank plenty of it. Too much, perhaps, as is touched upon above. And after the bowling, some of us lingered at the alley's bar and had more beers. Again, not truly needed because this morning I had a head that weighed about 100 lbs. Thankfully, I don't teach on Fridays, so I get to sleep in if I want to, and I took advantage of that, then took two Advil and have drunk (yes, that's the correct verbiage) two bottles of water so far.

Ugh...how is it that beer can go down so smoothly (even that crap Miller Lite), yet it can mistreat me so thoroughly the next day? All I did was love you, beer; why can't you love me back?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bug Blanket

Observe this picture: Ignore the fact that I look like poo (I just returned from my run and no one looks pretty then, so shut it); instead, focus on what appears to be the black pox coating my chest and face. No, that's not some New World disease. That's a blanket of bugs. Gnats, to be specific. Lovely, eh?

They went in my eyeballs, in my mouth, and one even flew straight up my nose. There were clouds of them, and despite those clouds, they're gnats so I couldn't spot them until I was in their midst. And I'm sure my sweaty self was like the La Brea Tar Pits for those insects -- they just got mired in my perspiration. Blech. My eyeballs are still red from the assault; next time, I need goggles.

But aside from that, the 3 miler went well:

1: 9:01
2: 8:47
3: 8:57

Total Time: 26:45

This evening? I'm off to bowling! Wish me luck! Mixed with plenty of booze.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's not the Heat; It's the Humidity

It would not be hyperbole to describe the present outdoors like that of a sauna. Seriously, the humidity is an unbelievable 79% out there, which makes the running a bi-atch. So, like Marcy mentioned yesterday, the one benefit to running in the heat is that it provides you with the perfect excuse for slowing down the pace, and that's exactly what I did on my 5 miler this evening.

I tried to slow the pace by about 20-30 seconds per mile, and I think it helped me fight through that thick air.

1: 9:53
2: 9:45
3: 9:39
4: 9:42
5: 9:42

Total Time: 48:42

Now...I can't linger because I must watch the season finale of "Top Chef" -- exciting! But if that greasy-haired Lisa wins, I will break something (she does NOT belong in the top 3, and it's not just her apparent allergy to shampoo that makes me dislike her: there's a lengthy list of her deficiencies); I'm rooting for Stephanie because, well, there's never been a woman Top Chef and I wanna see a woman win -- cook up a storm chica!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Family Walk/Run

This evening, Jerry and I went for our regularly scheduled "family walk." By "family" I mean: me + Jerry + our Fur Kid, aka Scooter. Scooter is kind of a pain in the ass to walk. For one thing, he's part Hound Dog, so he's his nose's bitch -- and it demands that he stop every 5 to 10 feet to smell whatever rock, stick, or blade of grass whose scent is intriguing. Thus, a 3 mile walk must be like an olfactory orgy to Scooter's nose; it's time consuming to pay heed to such doggie delights.

But secondly, he sucks to walk because he's not great on the leash. We kinda brushed over that too quickly when training him as a pup and have never found the time or inclination to return to training him on this point. So he walks like a kid on crank -- weaving back and forth without care or concern about who or what he walks in front of or behind. If he weren't on a leash, it would be whimsical, but because one of us is getting yanked back and forth across the sidewalk and around trees and bushes, it's rather annoying.

By the end of a family walk, Jerry is generally pissed off at Scooter and I am pissed off at Jerry for being pissed off at Scooter and Scooter is basically pretty damn pleased about getting out for such a nice, long walk. This evening, on our family walk, it started to rain about 3/4 of a mile from home, so we decided to jog back, and therefore, we stumbled upon the key to getting Scooter to be focused on the task at hand (and I stumbled upon the key to getting Jerry to run). Scooter seemed to think that the both of us jogging behind him was the best kind of chasing game he'd ever played, so he ran along in front of us and never once veered off to the side to sniff or fake pee (see at a certain point, he's just lifting his leg -- there's no pee left). Plus, Jerry was happy that Scooter wasn't being a pain in the ass -- Jerry was happy, Scooter was happy, Jess was happy.

So, the 3 of us alternated between walking and running in that last portion home, and it worked well. Scooter, in particular, was energized by the trot, and he spent a good 10 minutes once we were home just running back and forth inside the house (if only I could find a way to bottle this energy; certainly it would sell better than Red Bull). After Jerry and I were both showered up and in the car on the way to the bookstore (I didn't really need new books but Jerry did and so I still came home with two new reads to add to my stack), we decided that on the next family walk, we may decide to try and do a run/walk combo for the entire 3 miles.

Ha! That's right folks, just give me a few more weeks, or months, and I bet I'll have the hubby running a 5K! Of course, now that my trickery has been revealed here, he'll probably try to revolt against my ingeniously evil plot, but it's too late now. I have him and Scooter in my clutches!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Paint it Black

The best part about summer running is the cool shower afterward. And tonight I needed it more than ever: Not just to wash away the sweat, but to also wash off the black blanket of bugs that are an additional trademark of summer running. I'm certain that the few that missed my eyeballs made it down my throat. Yum.

1: 9:32
2: 9:20
3: 9:28
4: 9:37

Total Time: 37:59

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sunday Yoga and Miller Time!

Today, I tested out a new yoga place that I discovered nearby (I don't know if the place is new, but the discovery was), and I give it a "B-" it terms of quality. I mean, on the one hand, it was a pretty good workout: the poses were a good combination of challenging and invigorating and it was a 90 minute class. However, on the other hand, it reeked of hippy and I don't think the instructor was all that well-practiced. The hippy part I can look past (after all, yoga attracts the hippies like honey attracts flies -- but for my part, no, I do not want to purchase scented oils or sanskrit-printed tank tops), but the instructor's faults are harder to hurdle over.

It wasn't that she was bad; it just felt like there was no plan or flow to the workout. So for a series of poses, she'd have us doing standing poses, then she'd switch to floor poses, then back up to standing ones. Granted, I like a combination, but I think that the series should make sense, and most classes I've been to with experienced instructors can make the poses and the transitions between them feel cohesive and fluid. This session felt kinda haphazard. So, will I return? I'm not sure. Probably. If for no other reason than to test out a different instructor, but we'll see.
Then, this afternoon, Jerry and I went to visit our friends and their new baby, Miller. We both got plenty of "Miller Time" in and I'm happy to report that this time he didn't cry when I held him! Here's Jerry, aka "The Baby Whisperer," warming him up -- getting him nice and calm for me.And, here he is with me. Isn't he cute?Both times we visited them in the hospital, we made our visits pretty short, but this afternoon, we were able to spend a little longer with them and with Miller, and it was nice; we each got our fill of baby cuddling, and since he mostly sleeps right now, he's easy to hold and admire. Before we know it, he'll be wiggly and sassy -- best to enjoy his submissiveness now.

So, yeah, that's been my Sunday. Now I'm off to finish grading papers -- what joy!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

No Pool for You!

Today I did some "at home" yoga and then planned to go swim some laps. But on my way to the pool, I spied others using it and turned tail for home.

See...thus far, I have been able to use our community pool as if it were my own private pool, but it does truly belong to the community; it's just not in high demand -- especially during the work week. But I guess on a Saturday afternoon people felt the urge to get to the pool and there were quite a few there. It's not big enough for all of us -- especially when one of us wants to use it for laps -- so I skipped the workout instead of attempting to freestyle between the water noodles. It's okay; I've gotten in quite a few workouts this week anyway.

So, instead of exercise, I put my efforts into a rich dinner and half a bottle of wine. And maybe I'm adding a few beers and some brownies I baked this afternoon as dessert. What? Just because I barely burned any calories today doesn't mean I can't consume a small country's worth tonight!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Double Trouble

Today, I again thought I'd do a double workout -- run + swim -- but unlike Wednesday's double, I decided to do the smart thing: Run first, then swim.

All of Viv's talk lately about acclimating to the heat had me thinking that perhaps I too need to learn to work with the heat instead of against it, so I decided to go ahead with an afternoon run, despite the fact that I would usually avoid such timing. I only did 2 miles because I figured that anything longer would fry me (it was 94 degrees out there, after all); indeed, the 2 miles were enough under that blazing sun.

1: 9:51
2: 9:23

Total Time: 19:14

After that, I was pouring sweat and I could feel my pulse in my eyeballs, but I continued through with the plan, and after I got home, I quickly stuffed my sweat-slicked self into my swimsuit (I think brain surgery might have been easier to perform), and then headed out to the pool.

Last night at bowling, my friend Crystal gave me some swim pointers, so I tried to keep those in mind today as I hopped into the (very refreshing) pool. I think it went well, and I even executed a few flip turns. I'm sure they were messy, but the fact that I was even able to do them boosted my confidence. In the end, I did 18 laps (previously, I'd been mistakenly referring to lengths as "laps" -- so yesterday was truly 16 laps, not 32), and afterwards, I felt suitably pooped from both workouts.

But now I can kick back and chill for the rest of my Friday. Hope everyone has a killer weekend!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

S'ya Wann aKonw How bowling was...

Prety cool.

In the first game, I got a 144. Pretty much peaked there. After that, I have no clue what my score was, but I know it was not as good. Maybe somewher in th e 120s.

But, I did have many beers and one shot of ... something. Don't know what. It was delicousoy. Though.

Then, Jerry and I enjoye da classic boling alley corndog and then we had some Taco Smell: Only timeI crave fast food -- after bowling. So, I ha d chaulup a and half a nacho supreme, yum.

Okay, I'm gonna go watch the last ten minute sof "Pride and prejudice" (because i started watcihgn it this afternoon -- yeah, that's what I do in the afternoon, 'kay? I watch movies! bvut today I didn't get to finish it). Love me some Elixabeth bennet and Mr. Darcy. *Heart8 that story!

Bowling Begins

This afternoon, I went swimming. Used the spit-anti-fogging method. It worked. Although, I think I may have been a little overly enthusiastic with the spitting -- I had quite the spit puddle in each lens. Anyway, the swimming went more smoothly today than yesterday and I was able to do 32 laps.

In other news, I got a call today to join a summer soccer league; the only problem? It's on Thursday nights, so I can't go. Why not? Cuz, startin' tonight, it's bowling season! That's right, for the summer, I like my sport to be drinking beer, eating corn dogs, and attempting to knock a few pins down in between. So, no summer soccer. Only summer bowling.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Air You Could Swim In

First and foremost, Jerry and I got to go to the hospital this evening and visit Baby Miller (who is, we calculated, the weight of 10 12oz cans of Miller Lite and two one ounce shots as side cars), and I can report to you folks that he's pretty darn cute! He's got a full head of hair (which I like on a newborn -- kinda diminishes the "conehead effect" and reduces the alienishness of a baby), and despite being told that he had big ears, I felt his ears were very small and cute. He does, however, have GIANT feet. And like his dad, all his toes are of similar length -- nearly prehensile!

I held him first and he wailed (he'll be an excellent addition to Rock Band); then, Jerry held him and he was cool as a cucumber. Of course, Jerry is the Baby Whisperer. He must possess the right kind of "crook" in his arms or something; whatever it is, babies are always calm and content in Jerry's arms, which bodes well for me whenever we have kids.

But aside from curling a newborn today, I got in not just one, but two workouts! I swam + I ran!

In the pool, I was not so spectacular. Buoyed by the success I was beginning to gain from the weekend's swimming, I dove in this afternoon feeling confident, but a few laps in and I was sputtering and coughing like I had on the first day. Dammit. Like Paula crooned: "Two steps forward and two steps back." Also, my goggles advertised themselves as "anti-fogging" but after a few laps, they would fog up, then I'd have to take them off, rinse them, and a few laps later, they were fogged up again. Any suggestions?

So, then, on to my land attack: I ran this evening in air that was pretty similar, in molecular construction, to the water I swam in (63% humidity + 85 degrees = uncomfortable). It was friggin' miserable, and I felt as though I should have just stayed in my swimsuit! I did 3 miles in that sweltering sauna and I was a sweaty monkey when I came home; next time, it may be advantageous to switch the order of that workout.

1: 9:25
2: 9:23
3: 9:18

Total Time: 28:07

Congrats to:

My friends Erin and Ryan, who ushered in baby Miller this morning --after nearly TWO days of labor!

He was born this morning, and weighed 7 lbs, 10 oz, was 21 inches in length, and was reported to have "big ears like Ryan" and was also reportedly as "furry as Ryan."

I'm excited to see the new family, so hopefully, Jerry and I will get to go see them in the hospital this evening, and I can't wait to meet Miller -- with his described features, I'm sure I'll love him just as much as I'd love any baby animal!

Congrats again, guys!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Well, This is Interesting...

Looky at what arrived in the mail today: No, that's not a finisher's certificate, like the kind most races send out afterward; instead, it's a "participant certificate." WTF? By this time, most who raced but didn't finish Chicago in October 2007 have moved on and would just as soon forget about the debacle -- we don't want "fun run" medals, we don't want emails sent asking what could have been improved about the experience (um, water would've been nice), and we don't want fucking "participant certificates" sent nearly 9 months later.

The note at the front of the Results Book, from RD Pinkowski, says: "The 2007 race presented runners with unexpected challenges." Der. And it continues with: "Your commitment to take on the Marathon under less than ideal conditions merits recognition." Really? Here's my fake excitement: "I get my name listed in this fat book?!""Because I didn't finish?!"

What a mockery.

Seriously, I pretty much moved away from my experience at Chicago immediately: I learned a great deal from the experience and I honestly don't regard it with [much] bitterness or ill-will. However, I do want to put it behind me; I don't really want to be reminded of the time, effort, and money I invested in training and running that race -- especially since it ended in disappointment for me.

So, Mr. Pinkowski? You can take your Results Book and Participant Certificate and go to hell. I sure hope they have stocked fluid stations there; because I hear that heat exhaustion is a bi-atch.

Monday, June 02, 2008

JADP

Over the weekend, I continued to work on what I have come to think of as the "Jess Anti-Drowning Project," JADP for short. Yeah, it's not such a catchy acronym, but I can't be witty every day of the week; plus, I'm sure that with continued use and reference, JADP will become catchy. Anyway, acronym attempts aside, this meant that I swam on both Saturday and Sunday, and I can report to you fellow folks that I deserve a pat on the back for the improvement I made in the course of a few days.

By Sunday's swim, I was feeling much more comfortable in the water and was breathing easier and more efficiently. I even did 26 lengths (of the 30 foot pool), which totals 780 feet. Yeah. Only 4,500 feet to go to complete a mile (which means "only" another 150 lengths of that tea-cup sized pool). I know they're not gonna be asking me to join the team in Beijing this summer or anything, but I was so pleased with the improvement yesterday that I started brushing up on my Chinese anyway (even though it's the second hardest language in the world to learn -- Japanese is the hardest, if you want to know).

My plan over the summer is to integrate swimming with running as a complimentary form of cross training and a break from the day-in-day-out brutality of sizzling under the FL summer sun, and goal A with this plan is to improve enough to move up to a grown-up sized pool for laps. Goal B is to swim a consecutive mile. Goal C is to become a formidable threat on both land and sea.

Today though I took a land break (part and parcel with Goal C) and went for a 3 mile run (yeah, take that swimming -- I can run 3 miles, so boo-ya!):

1: 9:29
2: 9:16
3: 9:21

Total Time: 28:08

Afterwards, Jerry and I went to our favorite Cajun restaurant and I ate my weight in Shrimp 'Po Boys and drank a delicious Stella. Thus, I am absolutely certain I ate more than the 434 calories I burned during those 3 miles. Damn you scrumptious Cajun food and your Creole Voodoo; your spice-spell seduced me!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

# 1000

This post is my thousandth post. That's right. 1-0-0-0.

I have been contemplating the post for a few weeks now, trying to find meaning in the number and attempting to think of some unique way of celebrating the feat, but to be honest, I couldn't think of an effective gimmick that would be original, and very little meaning or fulfillment could be found, so last night I was talking to Jerry and I mentioned: "Tomorrow's blog post will be my 1000th post."

"Wow," he said, "what a giant waste of time."

And in some ways he's right: I mean, where's the book deal? The product sponsorships and endorsements? The optioned movie version of my life? My signature scent? Sure, I could draw satisfaction from my accomplishments in those years and within the posts that described said accomplishments, and sure, I could derive joy from all the people I have met and connected with through this blog, but I'm a red-blooded American who is consumer driven and trained to measure any level of success by the bling. So, again, I ask: where's my fortune? Fame? Cocaine addiction?

Goodness, if I don't get any blow outta this project, I'm gonna have to seriously re-think it!