Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Against The Wind
The good side to this is that the weather is much cooler than normal, so this evening my run was both blessed and cursed by the weather conditions. The good side was that it was only in the mid 70s; plus the wind, when calmer, felt refreshing and cool. But, for part of my 3 mile loop, I run directly east -- straight into the wind. That's hard.
So, I did my 3 miles, but man, it wore me out. And my ponytail was a snarled knot when I got home: a tangled mess of hair that took a handful of conditioner to de-tangle.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Moment of Truth Tuesday
However, even though I'm not much for the whole diet thing, I figured: who couldn't afford to lose a few extra pounds? Perhaps it will help me fit better in a pair of jeans, or perhaps I can fit back into those black pants I have that have become rather *tight* as of late. So, I am following P.O.M.'s criteria and doing the following to help motivate me:
- Posting my weight as of now
- Posting my goal weight
- Posting my reward if I achieve said goal by February of 2008
So, here they are:
- Current weight: 118
- Goal weight: 113
- Prize? An hour long massage
Weight will be posted on "Moment of Truth Mondays" and you can either track my progress (or lack of progress) or join in the good times by posting your own "Moment of Truth" on Mondays.
So...this probably means less Halloween candy, huh?
Monday, October 29, 2007
I had lots of papers that I'd brought home over the weekend, but hadn't gotten to any, and I really just needed a day at home -- without distractions -- to get caught up. So, I called early this morning and cancelled my two classes for the day. And I think it was a good decision. I got two classes worth of papers graded and half of one other class done. I also managed a few household chores (while also watching a long program on the History Channel on the Battle of Thermopylae), ran to Petco with Scooter to buy a new bag of dog food, and went for a 3 mile run.
It can be amazing how much work I can get done when not at work.
It feels good to be better caught up, and even though I had to cancel a day of classes, I had room for it in our schedule, so it won't be much to make up when I return to class. I wish we got "teacher planning days" or something like that in order to do exactly what I did today, but there's no such luck. Thankfully, I do get paid personal and sick days, so taking one is kind of like taking a "planning day" and I'm glad that it's 5 pm and I have not only my work done, but my run out of the way for the day. Now I can make dinner and settle in for a long evening of relaxing.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Halloween Party '07
Like here when he tried to lay the smack down on a hippie and an illegal immigrant.
From left: Crystal as a pirate wench, Karen as a dark angel, Me, Amy as a hippie, Venessa as a medieval lady in waiting, and Shannon as Daphne from "Scooby Doo." Just looking at those shots kinda makes me vomit a little.
Oh good god, more shots? No wonder I feel like poo today!
It was a good time, but I so should NOT have stayed up until 2:30 am, I so should NOT have had too many beers to count, and I so should NOT have all those shots. All of those factors have lead to a very hungover Jess...I'm not sure if I'll feel recovered today.
If you'd like more pics and commentary, check out Shannon's blog. She was clearly feeling better than I and was up bright and early posting to her blog. Ugh...I think I'm going back to bed.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Halloween: A Retrospective
Well, I thought I'd take a short trip down Halloween memory-lane, and give you a peek into the Halloweens of Jess' past.
Favorite Costume Ever: 2nd grade when I was a kangaroo. My grandpa made my costume, and it rocked the hiz-ouse. It even had a pouch for my stuffed kangaroo that inspired my desire to be a kangaroo that year.
Worst Halloween Ever: When I was 5, it started snowing early on Halloween morning, but we still got ready to trick or treat that evening. I was a bunny that year as I recall (I was very fond of animal costumes as a child.) We lived on my grandparents farm at the time, so my mom had to drive my brother and I into town for trick or treating, but the snow all day made the roads very trecherous. We got about a mile from home and we had to turn around. No trick or treating that year. A waste of a bunny costume.
Most Work for the Least Reward: When I was four, my dog ate all of my brother and I's candy from trick or treating. Wrappers and all. My mom had put all the candy on my bed to sort through (you remember, looking for razor blades and stuff) and then she'd left the room for a few minutes -- when she returned, our Newfoundland had devoured it all. Strangely, he didn't die.
Most Embarassing Halloween Party: In college, one year at a Halloween party, I got very, very, very drunk. And I'd just started dating someone new, and he was also at the party with me and my friends. I got so drunk that at one point, I tripped and fell down and spilled my cup of beer all over everyone who was sitting on a couch. My boyfriend pulled me aside and told me I was "acting like a fool" and was "embarassing myself." I was so upset over his poor opinion of me that I left the party early and walked all the way home in the freezing cold. He and I later broke up.
Most Unique Halloween: Two years ago, Hurricane Wilma destroyed South Florida a week before Halloween. We were still without power for the Halloween party, yet everyone got dressed up, we had plenty of beer (not as much ice, though, so some of it was warm), and pooled together for snacks. We didn't get power again until a week after that celebration, but we put our hearts into that small party.
Most Recent Halloween: Last year. See for yourself.
Tomorrow, you can anticipate pics from tonight's party. Should be a good time -- the forecast predicts heavy intoxication -- and I am really looking forward to everyone's costumes.
Friday, October 26, 2007
And by the end of the day, the morning's incident with the crazy lady was already fading and was increasingly less meaningful. I got home around 9:45, ate, watched the episodes of "30 Rock" and "The Office" that my husband had taped, and then crashed. I got to sleep in this morning and it was glorious, so my batteries are feeling recharged and I am in a much better mood.
Now, I don't have to sub today -- I can just teach my own (3 hour) class and then I'm done for the weekend, and Saturday night is our Halloween party, so I get to look forward to that. Have a good Friday everyone, and "thanks" again!
*BTW: "Little Miss Sunshine" was great!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
I Gotta Admit
There are several factors that seem to be weighing on me this week, but today, in particular, I keep feeling like I could cry at any minute. My reasons aren't very concrete, and this "blue" feeling may be PMS, but I think it's also a combination of things that are making want to crawl back into bed today.
First of all, I have had these extra classes all week, which is an extra strain on my time since I have my regular classes and grading to take care of -- a full load in and of itself. Plus, it kinda peeved me when the instructor I have been helping out waited until after 8 pm last night to ask me to sub for her 8 am class this morning. I have really been doing her a huge favor by taking over several of her classes this week as she recovers from bronchitis, yet I kinda feel as though she has been taking advantage of my generosity this week by expecting me to accommodate her classes at the last minute, and with vague instructions.
Anyway, thinking of this, plus, some of my own work, kept me up last night and I didn't sleep well. Thus, when the alarm went off this morning I literally felt a little ill myself because I was so tired. Poor sleep really affects me, and I have an already long day on Thursdays (night class keeps me here until 9:15 pm), so I wasn't really looking forward to the gray, rainy day before me.
But then, as I was walking Scooter this morning, I had a lady yell at me, and that? Well, that incident has upset me all morning. Here's what happened:
I was returning from Scooter's morning jaunt, and we were walking across our community's parking lot. Across the lot, there were two women with their dogs -- also residents of the community, I assume, and their dogs were barking and going nuts because of Scooter and I. Well, Scooter doesn't really bark, so he and I were quietly making our way towards our building when I hear: "C'mon lady! Move your ass!" What? Was she yelling at me? I turned to look towards the two women with the poorly behaved dogs, and one of them screamed at me: "Yeah, I'm talking to you! Fucking move!"
I didn't say anything. Instead, I just scurried into our condo, but I felt so flustered and furious I was shaking. So, her dogs were acting nutso, yet she was yelling at me and Scooter to move faster across the lot? It's not my fault that her dogs are badly trained and behaving obnoxiously! And I just can't believe she yelled at me like that! Part of me was so upset because I absolutely could not comprehend what had just happened -- it really did baffle me. Seriously. Why did she yell at me?
I'm not sure why this is bothering me so much today. Why can't I just brush her off as rude and incredibly obnoxious? Why do I keep repeating the incident over and over in my head, as if focusing on it will enable me to understand what happened? Why can't I let it go? Is it because I already feel "meh" today? Or am I bothered by my own non-response? Should I have yelled back at her? Should I have reacted differently?
So, that's it: I'm tired, I'm cranky, it's raining outside, and I'm upset about that woman this morning. Are those enough reasons to feel "the mean reds" today?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
After my long nap, I woke to find it pouring rain outside. I know some of you like to run in the rain, and I don't mind it sometimes, but to start in the pouring rain? No thanks. Not if I don't have to. Instead, I did some low-intensity yoga, some ab work, and 3 sets of push ups and I called it good. I know that this week is beginning to resemble last week -- running-wise -- so I'll try to get in a run tomorrow and Friday. I do want to re-establish a routine, but I have been finding that post-Chicago I seem to be lacking proper motivation. I'll find it eventually. It's gotta be around here somewhere.
For now, I am gonna drink my wine that I just poured and watch "Little Miss Sunshine," which arrived today via Netflix.
**Edit: At 8:15 pm, as I was about halfway through my movie and had just poured my second glass of wine, the phone rings. "Oh christ," I told my husband, "tell me I don't have to sub tomorrow." "You can say 'no,'" he tells me. I pick up the phone and hear the graveling voice on the other line. Yeah, she asked if I could sub for her again tomorrow morning (Thursday). Dammit. I wish I weren't so nice. I mean, I do get paid extra to do this, but it is draining and I have my own classes to tend to; plus, to be honest, I'd rather have the extra sleep instead of the money. Ugh. One last day of it. One last day.**
Notes on Site Meter
Bloggers who don't use site meter or who don't know what it is: Site meter tracks all traffic through your blog. It certainly is not a necessity, but it is fun to see how many hits you get an hour/day/week/month/to date. Plus, it provides you with detailed reports about that traffic: So if someone searched Google and found your blog, you can find what search phrase they used. You can also look at the location of all users (city, state, and country), you can find out what service provider they use, and if they linked to your blog, you can find out whose blog they linked through.
This info is mostly useless, unless you have ads on your blog, then tracking traffic is a bit more valuable, instead of just entertaining. My site meter is on the right sidebar, below the weather. That tells you how many hits I've had since I installed site meter in May of 2006 -- but they issue me a far more detailed report about once a week via email. If you would like site meter installed on your blog, it's super easy. Click on any blog's site meter and it's a hyperlink and will take you to the necessary info. Or, if you'd like, click here, and go straight to their home page.
The service is free, and somewhat interesting. But it won't add meaning to your life or even give you a hint as to the meaning of life. So, if you're searching for something more insightful, I suggest you check out another kind of website :)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Site Meter's All-Seeing Eye
But tonight, I was kinda bored, so I was looking at all the info provided to track you guys and see when you visit, for how long, how you got here, where you live (what TV show you're currently watching, what porn is on your computer, etc -- you know, all that I need to know about you). Most of the traffic was what I know, since 99% of you who visit leave a comment, but I was surprised to see how many of you lurkers are out there.
It's okay. I don't judge. Look all you want; you don't have to leave a comment. But I know you're there. I see you! Bwaaa-haaa-haaa! (Sorry, that was my best attempt at a typed evil laugh.)
I Really Don't Want to Work Today
Part of me even considered using a sick day today just because I felt like staying at home. However, it feels like bad karma to do that because as soon as I claim "sick" then I'm sure to actually get sick. But I really don't have any desire to teach today.
I subbed for another class this morning for a sick colleague and the class, like yesterday's, was a nightmare. These two classes are college prep courses, so the students lack many desirable qualities: skill, motivation, and maturity. Thus, they are late, disruptive, and inattentive. The only good thing about subbing for these classes is that it has helped me appreciate the classes I do have (I may complain about my students from time to time, but on the whole, they really do work hard for me and I think I am lucky to have students who, in general, appreciate my classes and the work we do in them) -- however, that doesn't necessarily make me want to teach today.
Granted, in my own two classes this afternoon, I get to teach far more interesting material (we're covering Sylvia Plath's poem "Daddy") than I got to teach this morning (I got to teach them about sentence fragments -- not so much fun), but again, just don't feel like doing it.
Anyone else feeling the "blah" of Tuesday today? Is there a holiday coming up soon? I need a long weekend or something.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Don't get too excited about my achievement because a split second later, I was toppled over like so:
Yes, Scooter is my spotter. He's not much for reassurance and he assumes that my presence on the floor means that he has a great opportunity to lick me on the face.
After yoga, I went for a 3 mile run and while the yoga went great today, the run was...meh. I mean, I finished it, but geez, I felt like I was moving at the speed of sloooooow. Ah well, maybe all that crow tuckered me out beforehand.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Yoga + Running
Crow is hard for a lot of reasons: it requires a lot of upper body strength, but it also requires a lot of balance. I could hold it for approximately 1.5 seconds before toppling over. But with each try, I could hold it for just slightly longer, and the last time, I held it long enough to shout to my husband: "Come-here-quick-and-see-what-I-can-do!"
Anyway, the workout yesterday was intese enough to leave me a little sore today -- but in a good way -- and as I've been reading this book, I've been thinking more and more about how I'd like to incorporate more yoga into my regular schedule. It just makes sense. Yoga is good exercise (good enough that in the years before I made running my primary form of exercise, I exclusively relied on yoga to keep me in shape); plus, it benefits a runner in many ways -- it helps improve flexibility, balance, breathing, focus, and strength. And in the book I'm reading, she includes a sample week's schedule that includes yoga work with a running schedule, so I think I'm gonna test it out this week.
Therefore, I started with the regimen today. I did 30 minutes of yoga, but this time I focused on poses that weren't as demanding -- a lot of forward folds, legs stretches and some core poses (I know that plank is supposed to be hard, but I could stay in that pose forever); additionally, I reserved the last few minutes for some breathing exercises and quiet meditation. Now, I'm not one to "OM," but it is relaxing and helpful to sit, clear your mind, and let yourself just be for few moments -- I think it's immensely helpful for focus and de-stressing.
After that yoga session, I got into my running clothes and headed out for a short 2 miler. This was only an hour ago (around 4 pm) so it was hot as hades out there (the "feels like" temp was 94 according to weather.com), so I didn't want to do anything long or anything fast; however, if I learned anything from Chicago, it's that I need to spend a little more time actually running when the sun is up because I can train all I want in the heat and humidity, but if I'm always doing it in the dark, I'm not building up any kind of tolerance to the heat the sun's glare can create.
So, I did my 2 miles and it went well, but I was glad the run was short because -- well, jesus, you saw that temp there! Yet, this short run reminded me of one thing I learned today: if I continue to do some of my running in the sun, I need to get a visor; squinting really does use up extra energy (an idea that I always thought was absurd).
Anyhoo, I'll keep you posted this week on the yoga + running experiment, and maybe by the end of the week I'll be able to hold the crow pose long enough to get my hubby to snap a pic. Perhaps that should be my goal.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
This evening, my husband is out enjoying a boys' night, which essentially consists of guys getting together to drink beer, smoke cigars, and play video games (I didn't claim that my husband was cool). With all my girl friends busy or out of town for the night, that leaves me and my date -- Scooter. And what does a date between Jess and Scooter consist of? Simple. Take-out Chinese, True Hollywood Story, and a little fun with Scooter's toys. Thus, the movie of the evening: Scooter playing catch with his "Raged Roo" -- it's the name of his kangaroo (it has its hands on its hips and has a pissed off expression, so the name just came naturally). Enjoy.
No Running to Report
Wednesday -- costume shopping.
Thursday -- my long day of classes (I don't get home until 9:30 pm).
Friday -- well...We spent the evening watching "Transformers." (Which I give a mixed review on. I thought the graphics were unbelievable -- as in fantastic -- and, in many ways, it reminded me of my childhood playing with the toys. So the Tranformers? Good. Very good. The people in the film? Not really believable as humans. Their dialogue was unnatural and cliche, and sometimes their actions seemed less animated than the robots. I like Shia LeBeouf, though, even if some of his lines were terrible -- hey, he didn't write them -- he reminded me of the sort of charm Harrison Ford had in Star Wars. But his romantic interest? Wow, I could've done with her: In my opinion, she'd been better off posing for magazines since her demeanor was so waxen.)
Friday was the nice, relaxing evening that I needed, but no, no running. And today? We'll see. I have a lot of errands to run with the hubby. And I know I'll get back to a regular running routine soon enough, but maybe I jumped the gun on dedication earlier this week -- apparently I'm still in the I-deserve-to-eat-and-drink-and-do-no-excercise stage of the post marathon debacle.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Costume Ideas Revealed
Then, I decided I wanted to be Scarlett O'Hara, from Gone With the Wind -- one of my all time favorite novels and movies -- and she has lots of famous outfits, but could I find exactly what I was looking for? Of course not.
That's when I got frustrated folks and kinda gave up for a bit. The costume I found on Wednesday night is no where near as good as either of my first two ideas -- in fact, it's a bit similiar to what one of my friends went as last year -- but it will have to work for this year. And yes, it is a little slutty. (Although, no, I'm not going as "slutty teacher" -- I dress up for that role every day, so why do it for a party?)
I'll give you a major hint -- October is certainly the month we celebrate Halloween, but October is a month famous for other celebrations as well, and this gal would fit in perfectly for such an ale-tastic time.
There you go, that should give it away. In the meantime, imagine my dismay when I came across this site today: It has exactly what I had been looking for and while it is pricey, it's not nearly as expensive as others that I had seen a few months ago. *Sigh* Maybe for next year.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Instead...I went and got my Halloween costume!
Yes, instead of working out, my husband and I went out to dinner and then went shopping for my costume (he's had his put together since August -- well, one piece of the outfit needs to be found, but he's very close to being done). I have had ideas since about mid-summer, but when several key ideas didn't pan out, or turned out to be too expensive, I got discouraged and had kinda given up. But last night, we went to the Party Store and I started trying on costumes.
Gawd, it was a zoo there (I told my husband that next year his task is going to be to go out and buy me, like, 10 costumes and bring them home for me to try on at home, and then he can return the rest; I don't love a crowd), and this was the costume situation: I'm too small to fit in an Adult Standard costume -- I look like I'm in a multi-colored tent -- and while the "Teen" costumes fit, they're a little on the slutty side -- watch out fathers of girls; the costume world is hell-bent on turning your daughters into street walkers. But, the Adult Small fit pretty well. However, I couldn't decide which costume to wear -- so I ended up buying several to take home and try on in front of a real mirror (this was two stores later).
Once home, I determined that while I essentially liked all of them, only one was the best fit. Of the other two, one was a little too big and I can't find the necessary wig to complete the outfit, and the other...well, that one fit fine and we may keep it for other purposes...but it wasn't really a good fit for wearing to a party (let's just say that it may not be returnable anymore!). But, I am going to leave you peeps in suspense about the outfit I choose.
That's right, it's a secret.
Our Halloween party is the 27th, so you'll get pictures then. But until then? Distract yourselves with candy.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
The Game of Aggravation
Anyway, back to running...nothing new to report there. Last night, I walked the dogs with Erin and graded papers until almost midnight (had to resume the grading at 7 am this morning in order to finish and return essays to my students today). But tonight I do plan on running -- thinking of doing about 5 miles, but we'll see how I feel once I get home.
But since I don't have any running news to report, let me tell you about the new way that I annoy my husband (it's not my intention to annoy, just my nature). See, my husband is a big candy fiend, so this time of year at places like Target and the grocery store he makes his Holy Land pilgrimage and purchases enough candy to last us until Easter. This year, he added mini-packages of Starburst to the variety, and they come in little packets of two. But I only like the red kind (yeah, Wendy, you can have your "blue" flavor and I'll take my red). So, I systematically open the Starburst packages as I search for the reds, and if I don't find a red, I discard the Starburst package back into the Cauldron of Candy (you could fit a small child in there).
Last week, my husband discovered me doing this and suddenly the loose Starbursts and my habit clicked together for him. "What are you doing?" he asked, as I rummaged through the Cauldron tearing open the mini-packages and then tossing them back in. "Have you been leaving open packages of candy in the Cauldron?"
"Looking for the reds," I told him.
"You can't do that! If you open it, you have to eat the ones in there, no matter what!" Apparently, there's a rule book on eating candy that I haven't been issued.
"Yes, I can. Watch." And I tore into another mini-package, not red, I discarded it.
"Oh my God! I can't believe you! This. This. Is my new pet peeve!" he declared.
"That's fine," I told him. You can add it to the list.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
When Worlds Collide
But, in an interesting collision of worlds:
From time to time, I review books for "Foreword Magazine," a publication that reviews independently published books, and I've reviewed a broad range of books in the past, and I'm open to reading/reviewing a variety of material, but guess what I get to review presently? (No, not the "Porn Star's Guide to Kama Sutra" -- get your minds outta the gutter!) It's called "The Athlete's Guide to Yoga." This is awesome. Not only do I get to learn how to use yoga better with my training programs (it even has a section on running and yoga), but I also get paid to do so!
I've only given the book a flip through and a glance at the table of contents, but it looks promising (although, I don't want to pre-judge; I am supposed to remain objective in my review). I've long thought that yoga is complimentary to sports like running, but now I get to see exactly how I may be able to approach it so that it fits even better into my running. It's cool when two separate interests (running + reviewing) come together for me (= pleasurable learning experience for Jess). And it's even cooler when said experience comes with a free book and a check!
Monday, October 15, 2007
Eye on the Trot
First of all, the course is close. Like out the front door close. The start is about a half a block out my front door and the race goes right by my condo (and the 3 mile loop is one I regularly run). This proximity gives me a huge mental advantage: I know the course like the back of my hand so I know what mile markers to key myself into distance and I know where I will need to push myself for the final stretch. Plus, being so close takes away from the anxiety of getting to a race. Seriously. Part of my stress for each race is ensuring that I know how to get to the start line with enough time. With this race in walking distance, I can roll out of bed at 7 and be at the start line at 7:30 no problem.
Secondly, the weather here in South Florida on Thanksgiving is usually perfect for running. Morning temps for that time of year hover around 50-60 degrees (although last year was a little cooler than that), which is perfect for a 5K -- cool enough to run comfortably but warm enough to not need extra layers.
Lastly, it's this same course that I have consistently been able to achieve my best 5K times each year. As I mentioned previously, my time last year was 28:28 -- the time I hope to beat this coming year. So, with all of that in mind and in my favor, I decided this evening to run the course and time myself to see what kind of time (or lack there of) I am working with at this point.
I jogged over to the area where the race begins and set the Garmin. I didn't want to necessarily "race" the course, but I did want to push myself so I could understand again what it's like to push myself for time (I have spent the past 4 months just being concerned with covering the miles, now I need to cover the miles quickly).
Mile 1: 9:25
Mile 2: 9:33
Mile 3: 9:46
Total Time: 29:35
This is pretty much what I expected; although, it does demonstrate my key problem with the 5K: pushing too much too soon. Clearly, as the miles progressed, I tired and each mile got progressively slower. I don't necessarily care about negative splits, but I would like to see more consistent miles (10-20 seconds apart may not seem like that much, but within this short a distance, it kinda is). Plus, I understand that in order to achieve an improved time, I need to keep each mile around 9 minutes, reserving 30-50 seconds for that last tenth of the race. Ideally, I'd like the Trot's race time to be about 2 minutes faster than the above time I ran this evening.
I think it's conceivable, but I will need to be conscious of doing speedwork and I think I will make it a habit of timing myself on the course over the next few weeks to see how I can improve upon what I started with tonight.
Return to Running
It went well. I only went 3 miles, but it felt good outside and it felt nice to be running again, which made me think again about the upcoming race calendar. I have been browsing online and I have a few tentative races: a 10K in early November, 5K Turket Trot that is located right outside my door (really would like a PR on that course -- last year's PR was 28:28), and then possibly the half-marathon in Weston, FL in December, and the A1A half marathon in February (I have a bone to pick with this one since last year I had to bow out b/c of acute IT pain in my right knee, so I'd like to have a re-do on the course).
I haven't registered for anything yet, and as I said, this is a tentative schedule. I'll let ya know for sure when I have officially added the races to my schedule.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Sometimes a Little Breaky-Break is What a Girl really Needy-Needs
And Saturday night? I ate a HUGE dinner my husband made for us without thinking of the carb to protein ratio, AND I again stayed up until 1 am watching a movie. Because? I don't have to run today either.
I do realize, of course, that if continued, this behavior would lead me to weigh in as an lard-ass, yet right now, I'm just enjoying the running hiatus.
Today, I am going to see the Broadway production of "The Wedding Singer" not on Broadway, but at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts (Broward, Broadway, they're close enough, right?) with my friends and we're meeting early for lunch beforehand. Which means that I need to go get in the shower...pronto. Perhaps, I'll get that debut run in this evening, or perhaps not. I'm not that worried about the return run; I'll get to it when I get to it.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Ever since we got home Monday night, this week has been a flurry. I got behind with students and grading while I was away, so I've been eyeball deep in papers for the past 3 days (which has me convinced that when I die, I won't be buried in dirt -- I will be buried in paper), and I need a little space from school. Even though, who am I kidding, I never entirely get away from it; trust me, about 50 of those papers are coming home with me for the weekend.
Anyway, I have fun things planned for the weekend -- date night with hubby on Saturday and I'm going to see the stage production of "The Wedding Singer" with some friends on Sunday. And somewhere in there, I'd like to make a debut run(s). However, I'm gonna keep 'em short and I am not running with the group at 5 am -- this weekend, I'm sleeping in!
I haven't run AT ALL since the "defeat in the heat" last Sunday and I'm itching to get those shoes laced up and for my little legs to hit the pavement, but I am not itching to get up at 3 in the morning and join my regular group. I thought of running a 15K on Sunday that I ran last year, but while it's hard to resist trying for a PR on the course, I think I need to step away from racing/training for at least one weekend. However, I have been eyeballing the upcoming race calendar, so in the next few days, look to the sidebar to see what I plan for future races.
*As a side note, all of your innovative t-shirt suggestions on the post below has me thinking that we need to team up and start a business. Clearly, we are all missing the mark in our current professions. Who's with me?
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Last Post Regarding Anything Related to Chicago (Promise)
"I was barfing at mile 8 and was bused back to the finish at the Chicago Marathon 2007."
It could have a little stick figure on the front with its mouth open and barf spewing forth!
And, maybe I could buy that finisher's medal that's up for bid on ebay to go with my shirt -- would the comedy be too dark? Or would it be richly appreciated?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Chicago Medals: Up For Sale
Check it out.
How much should I bid, homies?
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Chicago: In a Few Pictures
Here's my best T-Rex pose in front of Sue at the Field Museum. We spent half the day here: It was great. We also got to visit the Art Institute and see all the same pieces that Ferris Buehler did, so that was awesome.
Below: Me (you recognise that face, don't ya?) with the other RBFers at Barb's 27th Mile gathering on Sunday night. Sorry homies, I don't have time now to hyperlink your asses, but from the left: Denise (MN Firefly), Barb (Running Jayhawk), Dawn (don't know if she has a blog), Mike (Out of Shape Guy, aka "Mr. Jayhawk"), Margo (Running My Mass Off) and Tiffany. There were lots of other runners and bloggers there and it was a beer-tastic good time.
The trip, as I mentioned before, was great. We ate a lot of good food, got to visit some neighborhood stuff in Wicker Park and Bucktown, walked the Magnificent Mile, visited Navy Pier and rode the Ferris Wheel (a little frightening -- neither my husband nor I remembered that Ferris Wheels freak us out; however, it did offer a wonderful view of the city skyline), and saw Soldier Field and the outsides of the aquarium and planetarium. We rode the shit outta the CTA (I *heart* it -- so convenient and reliable, if a bit slow due to some construction out on the Blue Line), and in general, we really enjoyed the city.
Now, if they could just figure out the water situation on a marathon course...
Chicago: Two Days After
Today, I am still feeling a bit out of sorts -- lingering headache and some slight vertigo (which is also the result of flying -- I am very sensitive to motion sickness and I usually feel a plane or boat ride for days after I'm done with it) -- and while I considered using a sick day for today, I decided that ultimately I have too much to do at work and too many students to catch up with, so here I am -- at school like a good little soldier.
Certainly, in retrospect, there are things I would have done differently (brought a fuel belt), and there are things I think race coordinators could have done differently (anticipate that hot runners will take more than one glass of water), but in the end, this was a unique race day and no one could have fully understood beforehand what would happen. So I'm not bitter about the experience. It was a disappointment, of course, (I mean, if I think about the money, time, and effort that I spent on this singular race I get a bit down) but ultimately focusing on what is now the past is rather fruitless.
As I said yesterday, I'll learn from the event (and I hope other runners, coaches, and race organizers do as well) and I'll apply that knowledge to my future running. For now, I don't see a marathon in the near future, but I was thinking that pre-Chicago. I think I'll focus on some smaller events and races and just see what happens. Specifically, I'd like to work on a PR for a 5K and I'd like to complete a half marathon, so those goals are now what I'm beginning to think about.
Anyway, I still want to post pictures of the race and from our trip (plus, I do have lots to tell you about the trip overall -- which was great BTW), so I'll post again soon to provide you with some lighter material. Until then, congrats to all of those who were able to finish Chicago, and congrats to all of those who gave it their best shot! And lastly, thanks again for all of your emails, comments, and calls -- it has been wonderful!
Monday, October 08, 2007
Chicago: The Short(er) Version
But, I did not finish.
So, by now, everyone out there in running blogland has heard of the horror that was Chicago this year, but I know you want to hear my story as well, so brace yourselves: It's not brief.
I was confident Sunday morning at the start; despite the predicted high temps, I figured that my training in FL had prepared me for heat and humidity, so I was self-assured, if not a bit cocky, that the heat wouldn't be an issue for me. When the gun went off at 8, the sun was just starting to position itself over our heads, and by the time we actually got to cross the start line, at 8:24, it was already quite warm, but I was wasn't worried.
The beginning of the race was everything I'd hoped for: an enthusiastic crowd, bouyant racers, and the sights of Chicago before me. But, quickly things started to go downhill, and that confidence I'd started with went as well.
At the first aid station (mile 1.5), the crowds were already hot and clammoring for water, so I took a cup of what I could -- about 1-2 ounces of water -- and figured I'd be fine until the next station. I was hot at this point, but it was early, so I felt sweaty but felt I'd manage. I had to pee, though. Pee bad. So, at 3 miles, I pulled off to use the restroom, but the lengthy line seemed like a waste of time, so I dashed off into the alley and peed between two dumpsters -- that, I have never done before and I can now add a "check" next to interesting experiences for that one.
At that point, I was already so hot that I wanted to lose the shirt I had on, so I re-pinned my bib to my shorts and tossed away my shirt so that I was running in my sports bra and shorts -- my standard FL running uniform. This change helped cool me a little, but I still needed liquid, which I was hoping for at the second aid station. But was there any?
They had run out.
Fine. Next aid station it is. But, by this time, the sun is directly overhead, and I am HOT, and already feeling very tired, which isn't good b/c it was only mile 4. At mile 5, I told Lisa to go without me because I needed to walk -- I was that spent that early. Between miles 5-7 all I could think about was water -- I was so thirsty and I was so hot (passed by a bank that said the temp was 91 degrees) -- but at the next aid station, they were again out of fluids. I nearly strangled someone right then and there. Thankfully, a kind spectator was handing out bottles of water (this turned out to be true all along the course -- the people of Chicago were the most inspiring part of this story -- if not for them, many more runners would've had more serious consequences), so I took a bottle of offered water and downed it along with a GU.
Almost immediately, things weren't right in the tummy and about 5 or 10 minutes after consuming the water and GU, I was positioned by the course barfing it back up. And if there's anything worse than swallowing that snot-textured GU, it's barfing it back up. This was trouble, and I knew it. I was dizzy, faint, nauseaous, I could feel my pulse racing, and I was already exhausted. Not good.
So, I resolved to stop for help at the next medical tent. That happened to be at mile 8. I stopped running and walked up to the tent. I didn't really know what to do, so I just stood there for a moment until a nurse came up to me and asked what was wrong. "I don't feel good," I said simply and then burst into tears. She sat me down in the shade, gave me ice packs and a glass of water and took my pulse and registered some vitals. She had one diagnosis: heat exhaustion.
So, along with about a dozen other people, I was loaded onto a school bus and driven back to the finish line. I was so upset at that point that I didn't even notice the hundreds of people in the med tents back at the finish; all I could think about was my own failure to finish and my disappointment and frustration. By the time I found my husband, I was a wreck: emotionally, physically, and mentally. My head was throbbing (felt like my eyeballs were pulsing), I was crying, I felt dizzy and weak, and, ultimately, I was dis-heartened by the day.
My husband was the right dosage of what I needed at that point. He brought me water, Gatorade and snacks, we sat down in the shade at Grant Park and he comforted me and soothed me. By the time I had re-grouped and determined that I wanted to go back to the hotel, we were walking up Jackson, when we noticed a herd of runners headed our way. What was this? This wasn't the course! And the majority weren't running -- they were walking. What was up?
My husband stopped a woman and asked; "The shut down the race," she told us. "What?! Why?" I asked her. "No more fluids. And they have too many medical emergencies. So it's over. We're all headed to Grant Park."
Later, I heard of many runners who, like me, had either been bused back or had been hospitalized due to the heat. This morning, I bought the Chicago Tribune, and there was the complete news: 1 man died, hundreds were hospitalized, thousands didn't finish.
What a disaster.
I feel a bit comforted by the fact that I was not alone out there suffering in the heat, but I still feel frustrated, and admittedly, embarassed about my "defeat in the heat," but I guess I can't be too hard on myself -- if I am, I will just be miserable. Ultimately, the conditions were out of my control and I had a bad race. That's that. As my dad said when I called him after the race: "Shit happens. Not everything can be a success." So, I suppose I put the experience behind me, learn from it, and move on.
For now, I'm back home and that's a comfort in and of itself. So, even though there is more to report, pictures to publish, and stories to recount, I will save those for this week's future posts. Right now, I need to get back to life at home -- post-marathon.
Thanks for all the good wishes and concerns for my safety: I appreciate it all!
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Thank you, first and foremost, to my husband, who will accompany me to the race and who will be waiting at the finish line. His patience and encouragement with this marathon has been invaluable. I certainly have been a pain to deal with as of late -- I've had one thing, and one thing only, on my mind -- yet, he's been understanding of my distraction. Thanks hon!
Secondly, I'd like to thank all my friends -- here in FL and in MN. You guys have all been more interested in this running than any good friend should have to pretend to be, and I appreciate it. Despite the fact that we could all talk about more interesting topics, you guys always ask about my long runs and my races and inquire into the health of my knee (or whatever else might be ailing me), and that is really awesome. Thanks.
Next, I'd like to thank my family, who even though they are far away and far apart from one another, always keep me in mind. Yesterday, my stepdad called to ask about my knee "or hip, or whatever it was that was hurting" and to make sure I run safely in Chicago. He tried to encourage me to step out if I start to hurt too bad; "m-hmm" I replied. "Oh well," he concluded, "I know you're a determined sort and won't do it, but your mom and I just want you to be safe." They have my best interests at heart. But he's right, I am the determined sort. So, thanks to the family as well -- all of them.
Lastly, a big thanks to all of you who read this blog and who post valuable insight, advice, encouragement, and smart-alec-remarks. Everyday I look forward to what each and every one of you will say and I always appreciate each comment (as well as your own inspiring blogs); some days, it's what keeps me dedicated to running, and it has certainly helped push me in the training for this race. Seriously, I don't know how many times I had just a singular thought on a difficult run: "I've got to finish this ________miler so I can blog about it for my homies." You guys are the bestest!
Alrighty, that's it for now. Thank you again, and I'll see ya on the other side!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Last Training Run
Alas, I am not that sort of person.
What I can tell you is that there's a strange mixture of relief and sadness about finishing the training: I'm relieved that the more than four months spent preparing for Sunday is nearly over so that I can resume my regularly scheduled life (in which I will surely choose some other race to train for and prepare for); but I'm also saddened that the training is at its end. As mentioned previously, I've spent more than four months of runs with a singular goal -- prepare for Chicago -- and now that they're over, it's like a huge chapter in the year and in my life is coming to a close.
I realize, of course, that it is all leading up to the marathon, which hasn't happened yet, but in many ways, I think training for the marathon teaches us just as much, if not more, than the marathon itself does. Especially because I'll be finished with that marathon in a matter of hours, but I've spent days, weeks, and months in training. Over that course of time, I've experienced euphoric triumphs and I've felt unbelievably disappointed and frustrated: I've sweat (a lot), I've cried, I've laughed, I've nearly barfed, I didn't finish some runs, I exceeded expectation on other runs, I've been rained on and splashed, I've eaten my far share of gnats, and I've turned around because of lightning, I've run through incredible heat and humity, I've run in the dark and under heaven's hot glare, I've run tired, and I've run with all the energy of a crowd, I've run by myself -- miles and miles all alone, but I've also run with others, I've even been left behind by others, I've run to the sound of crashing drums and to the quiet of the night's air. I've run.
I think it all -- bugs, sweat, lightning, disappointment, fear, joy -- has helped me understand myself and what I am capable of in a new way. So, no matter what race day brings, I know I trained well and I've made this MY experience.
That has its own sweetness.
*I'll post again tomorrow morning, peeps, before we go, and then you probably won't hear from me until we get back Monday night. So:
Good night. Sleep tight. See you in the morning light.*
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Freakin Out, Dudes
We leave on Thursday. At 11:40 am. Would anyone like the flight number as well?
Also, my bib # is 36421, so you can spend Sunday morning tracking me. If you'd like, I could wear a homing device.
So, yeah, the stress of thinking about the marathon has finally gotten to me. I thought I was doing pretty good by remaining calm and focused, but the anxiety about the race, the trip, etc has finally caught up with me and I have to admit that I have been a bit short with people today. I snapped at a student (although, christ, this guy has been testing my patience for awhile now -- late all the time, late work, missed days, incomplete work, etc -- anyway, I told him today that he has to get his act together -- or else), and I had a yelling match with my husband over ordering pizza. Yup. We used "fuck" pretty loudly and frequently while arguing over whether or not to order a pizza and if so, what kind of pizza to order. It was, without a doubt, the most unnecessary argument we've ever had.
We both apologized to one another, but the atmosphere has been a bit tense here in Casa de Jess this evening.
So, after spending most of the evening grading papers (discovered 2 that were plagiarized -- get this, they were the same paper, and they had each gotten it from the same website; sometimes I think students forget how many anti-plagiarism tools I have at my disposal, including the same tool they use to plagiarize: the Internet), I went out for a quick 2 mile run.
I had been planning to cross train, but when that was cancelled, I decided to go ahead and do a short run and I'm glad I did. It felt good and it helped relieve some of the building stress.
At this point, homies, I imagine that waiting for marathon day is something comparable to being at the end of a pregnancy -- damn the fears and anxieties, you just want to get it over with.
"My Bags are Packed/I'm Ready to Go"
Yesterday, I set out all the stuff I'm packing for the trip: regular outfits and my marathon outfit. As far as the marathon outfit, I decided to go with essentially the same thing I wore for Disney, but I am bringing along an old sweatshirt for marathon morning since the forecasted low is 54 degrees. For some, that may sound like beach weather, but for me, that sounds like a frigid start. Now, I have been debating what to wear over my singlet for about a month now and I've gone back and forth between the virtues of an old sweatshirt and a technical shirt. Ultimately, I wanted something that I could toss away and not care about, so a sweatshirt it is. Plus, if it is 50 degrees Sunday morning, I'm gonna be COLD, so I want to remain warm while I'm standing around waiting for the gun.
Aside from clothing necessities for the trip, I have the following to take care of before we leave:
- Buy Drammamine for flight (I'm a barfer otherwise)
- Finish grading essays I have so I can return them tomorrow in my last class
- Charge the garmin, the mp3, the camera, and my cell phone
- Remember to pack all of the above gadgets
- Clean the house (I hate leaving behind a messy home when on vacation)
- Tighten the mini-screws on my sunglasses (not a necessity for the trip -- I've just been meaning to get to this)
- Print/pack all necessary agenda stuff and phone numbers (it's gonna be BUSY!)
So, I gotta go homies! Lots to do!
Monday, October 01, 2007
Another Smooth 3
A quarter mile from home, I got splashed by a car that went straight through a puddle that soaked me, but as I said, I was only a quarter mile from home, so it was alright. That driver is still a bastard, though.
Again, no IT pain, so that was super duper.
When I got home and had showered, I settled in front of the TV for some "Chuck" and some "hump" time with the foam roller. Have you guys seen that show? It's pretty good: kind of a blend of action and comedy. I've only seen two episodes (that's all there's been so far) and I really like it. Made for a good foam roller/stretching/hip exercises distraction.
Again, I did 3 miles, and again it went well. No IT pain, which is very encouraging.
This week I plan on running another 3 this evening, cross train tomorrow, 2 miles on Wednesday and 2 miles on Thursday before our flight leaves. The distances are super short, but that's what's on my schedule, and really, I just want the legs to remember how to run -- on the whole, I want them to be rested for the big show on Sunday. Right now, I'm nervous about the IT flaring up during the marathon, but I can't do anything about it if it does, so I'm just gonna pretend that it isn't a possibility. I feel like I am in perfect health, so why not go into the marathon with that frame of mind?
BTW, I am getting nervous for Sunday, partially b/c I have so much to do between now and when we leave on Thursday, but I slept great last night and I'm just trying to concentrate on one thing at a time this week so I don't overwhelm myself mentally or emotionally. Plus, I have these bug bites to scratch and that helps take the mind off the marathon.