TAT CN Header

Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 Resolutions

Despite the fact that my 2007 goals didn't quite pan out like I expected them too (see two posts below -- "The Value of Failing"), I still look forward to making new goals for 2008. So, here are the much anticipated 2008 running resolutions:
  1. Achieve some race variety. I would like 2008's race calendar to reflect a variety of distances and races. I haven't finished planning the race year (and much of it will probably be planned as the year progresses), but I would like to not only complete the races I have planned through April, but I'd like to do a 10K (a race I've never done before -- it's hard to find them, they're a disappearing species), a 10 miler, and maybe another 15K or something.
  2. Set a new 5K PR, dangit.
  3. Focus on what Runner26 referred to as the 3 S's: speed, strength, and stretching. I often neglect both the strength training and the stretching, and this neglect is what lead, I believe, directly to the IT pain I suffered in both legs throughout 2007. Plus, I'd like to see some improvement on my speed. That means I have to actually consciously focus on it, instead of just wishing for it.
  4. Enjoy the running. I have to remind myself of this from time to time. I run to relieve stress and to feel good, strong, and healthy -- and sometimes I lose sight of everything that running provides for me, so I'd like to keep that in mind in the forthcoming year. I may give a lot to running, but it more than returns the favor.

But, I also have some resolutions that are not running related, but are, I think, related to my general health. Running helps keep me in pretty good shape, but it's not the only thing I can do to take good care of myself. Thus, a few resolutions to help me keep my overall health care in mind:

  1. I'm giving up soda. Yes, you heard me right. I, Jess, am giving up my precious Diet Pepsi. I have one can left in the fridge (I purposely bought enough to bring me right up to New Year's Eve), which is for today, and then no more. I've decided that while it is delicious, the aspartame, the phosphoric acid, the carbonation, and the artificial flavors and additives just can't be good for me. So, I'm going to eliminate it. This is gonna be hard...
  2. I'm going to resume taking a multi-vitamin every day. Vitamins and I have tumultuous relationship -- I like to take them as a sort of "insurance" for my nutritional benefit, but I hate swallowing the dang thing ever single day, so off and on for years I have see-sawed back and forth with taking them and not taking them. I figure in 2008, vitamins and I are back on.
  3. I'm going to floss every day. Seems simple, right? But, I hate flossing and therefore do it about 6 times a year. No matter how many times the dental hygienist scolds me for not doing it, I just hate it. But I know it is vital for my dental health. So, bring on the floss!
  4. I need to make a few doctor appointments. I haven't had a general check-up in almost 2 years, and I haven't been to the eye doctor in 5 years (but, I do go regularly to the dentist -- every 6 months -- I'm good about that one). Oopsie. Time to do both.
  5. Eat better. Because I run, I often figure I can eat whatever and however much I want, but it's just not true. I need to eat more of what's good for me -- whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean protein -- and less of what's not -- extra fats, sweets, and refined carbs. Two months ago, I decided to cut fast food altogether (and by "fast food" I mean McDonald's, Taco Bell, Wendy's, Burger King, etc, but I do still eat at places like Panera and Chiptole, which my husband labels as "fast food" but I think they are in a different category), and I want to keep that up. That food is just toxic and I want to avoid it to the best of my ability.

So, that's it, health-wise, for 2008. Like all resolutions, I think of them as "guidelines" -- terms that are flexible and forgivable but that are intended to motivate me to being a better person and taking better care of myself. I think they're all achievable, so I'm looking forward to a healthier me in 2008!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Twilight Ten

Because I had the 5K yesterday, I bumped my week's long run to today, and because I like to sleep in, I'd bumped its time to this evening. The 10 miler went pretty smoothly:

1: 9:29
2: 9:38
3: 9:51
4: 9:55
5: 11:16 (walked while I took half my GU and drank half my water)
6: 10:34
7: 10:38
8: 11:59 (walked again while polishing off the GU and the water)
9: 10:54
10: 10:56

Total Time: 1:45:21

The second half was certainly slower than the first half, so I could've paced myself a little better, but overall, it was a good, relaxed run by myself. When I got home, I did some slow stretching and foam rollering and now my legs are feeling pretty good.

Hubby made a delicious smelling dinner, so I think I'll sit down to that and spend the rest of the evening chillin. Hope everyone had a good Sunday!

The Value in Failing

I didn't really mean to indicate in my race report yesterday that I thought that time was bad. I was just a bit disappointed because this 5K was the last one of the year where I had the opportunity to try and break my PR of 28:28, and at the Turkey Trot a month ago, I missed that by 5 seconds -- this 5K, I missed it by a wide berth of a whole minute and some change. That's the only reason I was grumpy about the time.

Breaking that PR has been important to me because it was the last chance of the year to actually realize one of my running goals for the year, but now I know that the year will expire and all of my goals I set for the year will be left unfinished.

Last year, after I completed the Disney marathon, I made my year's running resolutions:
  • Complete another marathon
  • Complete a half marathon
  • Break my 5K PR
  • Run a race distance I never have before

Simple goals, right? Well, let's see what happened to them all:

  • Trained for Chicago, but only completed 8 miles of the race before bowing out due to heat exhaustion. Thus, I did not complete another marathon. I trained for it. Ran it. Did not finish it.
  • Trained for the A1A Half last year but training after Disney was plagued by IT pain that I kept ignoring. Race day? I was hurting so bad 2 miles in, that I walked off the course in tears because I knew I wouldn't be able to finish. That was the only half marathon opportunity I created for myself, so I did not complete a half marathon.
  • I only ran 4 5Ks this year: Corporate Run in March when I was still suffering from IT pain (this was the last race before I decided to take all of April off to really rest and attend to the IT), 4th of July 5K where it was a bazillion degrees out, the Turkey Trot, and the one I did yesterday. Never beat that 28:28.
  • Lastly, for all the running I did in 2007, it was mostly focused on Chicago, which consumed most of my running time and energy, and I never did accomplish a race distance that I'd never done before.

Therefore, in many ways, 2007 was a failure in terms of reaching and achieving my goals. I'm disappointed in this, but I also think failure is important. It can teach us humility, resilience, and mental/emotional flexibility -- all immeasurable things that are important to a runner, and to a person, nonetheless. So, even though 2007's running goals weren't a success, I tried my best. That's all I can ask of myself.

And now, I get to look forward to 2008 and set some new goals! Stay tuned for those.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Resolution 5K Race Report

Well, it was one of my slower 5Ks this morning, homies, and I can't pinpoint exacty why. True, the beginning was crowded and the road narrow, but my first mile was my fastest mile. And true, it was a warm morning, but isn't every day warm here in South Florida? No, I don't think there's any particular reason why I was a bit slow out there, and in general, I guess I just didn't push myself very hard (especially in miles 2 and 3). But, it's okay. Slow happens.

Mile 1: 9:15
Mile 2: 9:34
Mile 3: 9:54
Mile .1: 0:54

Total Time: 29:38

Friday, December 28, 2007

Additional Upcoming Races

In the back of my mind, I've been considering the ING Miami Half just as long as I've had my eye on A1A in February, but I haven't committed to it and haven't really brought it up. But despite the fact that it is only 4 weeks away and only gives me another 3 weeks afterward until A1A, I have four-fold reasons for wanting to do it.
  • For one, it's supposed to be a nice course. I like nice courses. And because this is South Florida, that also means it's a flat course. I like flat courses.
  • It's close. Miami is about an hour's drive for me (sometimes less, sometimes more, depending on traffic) so it seems like a shame to pass up an opportunity to run something that is nearby.
  • After March, the race calendar gets pretty sparse in Florida, so I feel as though I should take advantage of the races while they're available.
  • I can do it. I know I can, so why not?

Thus? I'm signing up! So, I am henceforth thinking of January and February as a double-header: 2 half marathons in 2 months! Yippie!

But, not to be forgotten, I also committed to Nancy's 9 on the 9th in January, and hopefully others out in blogland will be joining me "virtually" for that race!**

** Correction: Thanks to Marathoner in Training who corrected me on the 9 on the 9th. I thought it was January, but it's really February. I'm still signed up for the event -- I just would've been about a month ahead of you guys (could've made me the winner by default, right?)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Idiocy is...

...making the same errors over and over and failing to learn from previous mistakes; thus, I believe myself to be an idiot.

You may recall that last week, mid week, I made the mistake of running 5 miles at 3 pm and feeling absolutely awful because of the afternoon heat. Well...

Today, the particulars were slightly different -- 3 miles, not 5; 4 pm, not 3 pm -- yet the same feeling of exhaustion under the afternoon's sun after two miles and I felt spent. I walked some in the 3rd mile and still finished the 3 under 30 minutes, but I really need to learn to be patient and wait for dusk.

1: 9:21
2: 9:31
3: 10:44

Total Time: 29:36

Maybe a few more runs where I feel so hot my head will catch on fire and then I'll learn, and I can graduate from "idiot" to "moron."

Boxing Day's 5

My 5 miles yesterday were like buttah:

1: 9:38
2: 9:38
3: 9:47
4: 9:52
5: 9:46

Total Time:48:43

I got to run with a new pair of shorts and a new visor I got for Christmas, both by Brooks, and they were super-duper comfy.

This evening, I have a 3 miler on the schedule, and in between, I have to get started with some work for school -- prepping for next term. The last two nights I've had nightmares about being unprepared, so I'd best get some stuff done so my sleep is a little more restful!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Hodge-Podge Post

So, I don't think this post will have much cohesion, so bear with me as I haphazardly jump from topic to topic. First up? A few Christmas pictures.

Scooter with some of his Christmas loot: The audience demanded pic of the new Coach purse:
Yes, Christmas was fun. We opened gifts, spent most of the morning on the phone with relatives, then spent the afternoon at a friend's house where we played games, drank a few beers, and had a splendiferous crab dinner (I love crab -- it's dinner and a project in one, very entertaining and tasty). Today, the hubby returned to work and I set to some chores:
  • returned a few gifts
  • laundry
  • grocery store
  • bank
  • return movies
  • wrote "thank you" notes for Christmas gifts
  • picked up the house
  • watered plants
  • officially registered for both the A1A half marathon and the 5K I have this Saturday
  • balanced checkbook

I also got to sit down for a bit this afternoon and read one of my new books. I finished "Atonement" last week (very, very good -- now I want see the movie) and I finished "No Country for Old Men"by Cormac McCarthy on Christmas (I think it is no exaggeration to label McCarthy one of the best living American writers, and this book, like his others, was awesome -- but it is violent, so it may not be suitable for all audiences -- I now also want to see this movie adaptation). So, what books did I get for Christmas that were in my pile to choose from?

I got "The Almost Moon" by Alice Sebold; I read her book "Lucky" (her personal account of being raped when she was in college), but I've never read her fiction before and this is her new novel. I got "Rhett Butler's People" by Donald McCaig; I am a huge "Gone with the Wind" fan and this take on Rhett Butler's story got good reviews, so I'm intrigued. I also got "The Quiet Girl" by Peter Hoag (author of "Smila's Sense of Snow), and I got the book that is now my current read: "The Sharper the Knife, The Less You Cry" by Kathleen Flinn. It's about her time learning to cook at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and I read about 50 pages this afternoon and I can tell already that's it's great. I love reading about food, restaurants and cooking, and so far it's a good addition to that genre. I would recommend it if you liked "Julie and Julia" or "Eat, Pray, Love."

Still left on my "to do" list for the day? Run my scheduled 5 miles, but I'll do that in about 2 hours, when it's a bit cooler out.

Happy day after Christmas everyone! I hope the return lines were short and the exchanges smooth!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Now, I know that Christmas is supposed to be about love, family, sharing time together, and all that other bologna, but I gots to say, this year? Santa was good to me, folks -- I gots loads of loot!

My husband and I got a Garmin GPS system for the car, we got new pots and pans (very much needed), and we got money and gift cards.

But those are presents I have to share. What did I get all to myself?

I got a stack of new books (yippie!), I got new running shorts, a new running visor, and an LED light bracelet for running in the dark (it really freaks my hubby out that I may get run down while running in the early morning), but the best present of all? A new Coach purse!! Ah, Santa, he knows my love of Coach well. It's a beautiful bag -- it's a suede sable brown with dark brown handles and buckle. I love it, and it was a complete surprise, which makes me love it all the more!

My husband also made out like a bandit, and Scooter too (he got lots of new toys and bones, and even a new collar and leash), so it was a glorious Christmas morn in our household.

For the rest of the day, I shall pose in front of the mirror with my new purse, and then I suppose I'll take a break from admiring it to go play with our friends. I hope everyone else is enjoying a wonderful holiday! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Eve 3

This afternoon, we went to lunch with friends and then spent the afternoon playing games and drinking beer. And despite having about 5 beers, I still went for an evening run after they left around 4:30 pm.

Now, I've never run whilst slightly intoxicated, but I would not recommend it. The run itself was fine, if a bit slow, but the overall feeling was not optimal:

1: 9:37
2: 10:07
3: 9:48

Total Time: 29:33

After I got back from the run, the hubby had prepared a beautiful Christmas Eve meal for the two of us: prime rib, twice baked potatoes and sauteed asparagus, so we ate up and it was delicious! I think we may just be lazy for the rest of the night -- maybe watch a movie or something (TBS begins its annual 24 hours of "A Christmas Story" at 7 pm so we'll probably watch that). And tomorrow? Presents!!

Hope everyone else is enjoying the holiday!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve Eve

There are many advantages to spending the holidays with family: the love, the joy, the traditions, the drunkeness. But there are also advantages to staying home -- just the two of you -- for the holidays:
  • No travel stress.
  • No crowded house with the heat turned up WAY too high while you roast in your sweater and fight the oncoming headache.
  • No guilt-eating of the holiday cookies and candies that your mother-in-law made. Just. For. You.
  • No decisions about whose family you spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with -- thus, no guilt about shorting someone on time with you.
  • No sleeping on the tiny bed your husband had when he was in high school, and now you, he, and the dog are all jammed in there.
  • No worries that your dog will crap in a strange bathroom and then smear it all over the place because you left him alone in a strange house while you went out for beers to catch up with friends.


  • Instead of spending last night at your grandparents' house eating the 7 layer Jell-O, you and your husband spent the evening at a relaxing wine bar where you both sampled lots of wine, ordered a cheese and olive platter, and played two games of chess.
  • You got to spend yesterday afternoon watching "The Simpson's Movie" and episodes of "Deadwood" instead of trapped in the kitchen explaining to your mother that it's your business that you never took your husband's last name.
  • You get to sleep in this morning intead of waking to the pounding of children's running overhead at 7 am.
  • You got to prepare a big breakfast with your husband, in your own kitchen, in temperate FL (with the windows open and a nice breeze), this morning instead of sitting down to a big breakfast in a kitchen 2,000 miles away and freezing temps outside.
  • You get to go to a matinee this afternoon instead of attending yet another gift opening at yet another grandparent's house.

Ahhh, it's so relaxing to stay in FL for the holidays!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

8 Miles, 2 Donuts, and a Latte in a Pear Tree

This morning when I got up at 6 am, it felt fr-fr-freezing out, but realistically, it was probably in the mid-50s. Still, as I drove to meet Wendy, I wore a long sleeved tech shirt, a sweatshirt, and I had the heat on full blast in my car (and part of me thought of donning mittens and a hat). But even though I was chilly to start the run, it was really the perfect temp to run in -- once I got warmed up -- and by the end, I had even shed my tech shirt and was down to the standard two pieces.

Mile 1: 9:41
Mile 2: 9:58
Mile 3: 10:01
Mile 4: 10:47
Mile 5: 9:55
Mile 6: 10:21
Mile 7: 9:52
Mile 8: 9:41

Total Time: 1:20:20

I stopped the Garmin right at the 8 mile mark, but we did run about one more block before stopping completely; I just didn't record it -- thus, my time this morning was about 6 seconds faster than "8 on the 8th" and I was pretty happy with the run. Plus, it was nice to run with Wendy again and the route along A1A is nice, especially first thing in the morning because we can see the sun rise over the ocean.

On my way home, I experienced an odd, intense craving for a donut, which is weird because I haven't had a donut in...I don't know how long. But it just sounded so good, so I pulled into a Dunkin Donuts close to home and picked up a few donuts and a coffee, and the donuts smelled so good that I inhaled one in the car -- the other I ate once I got home and got showered. So, I guess I got my donut fix for the year, and damn, they were delish!

Mileage for the week: 22. And today's the 22nd! And it's my bro's b-day! Co-inky-dink?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Funday Friday!

Today is a day of running rest, which is good because my legs are feeling a little tired from 5 days straight of running and they need their rest for tomorrow's 8 miler with Wendy.

So, I think I'm gonna go run a few errands (I haven't actually driven anywhere since Sunday -- it's been awesome! -- and I figure The Green Hornet will want to get out and stretch its wheels some) and perhaps treat myself to a Starbucks latte. Usually, on Fridays, I buy myself a coffee drink as a treat for "Funday Friday" but since I'm not on my way into work today, I didn't feel like I deserved it, but I'm sitting here sipping my regular brewed coffee and it just doesn't taste "fun."

*Side note* Have you guys ever noticed that when you eat peas, the next day, you poop them out whole? Or is that just me? I swear I chew them, but I also swear they are floating around the toilet in their original shape the next morning: What's up with that? Do they just move through the digestive system unchanged? I'm really puzzled by this.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Thanks for the earlier advice, but despite deleting the suggested files and folders, as well as downloading and running both Ad Aware and Spybot, the problem is still there. I swear I spent the majority of the day downloading programs and running scans and searches; each offered a new hope, but then I'd re-boot the computer and the same problem was still in existence. Ugh; I think it's time to pay an expert to come and fix it.

Anyway, I did get my 3 miles in this evening and they were helpful in easing the frustration that the computer brought upon me throughout the course of the day. I waited until early evening (instead of repeating my error from yesterday), and the temps were much cooler. I took it easy on the pace, and just focused on relaxing through the miles. In fact, I think I only glanced down at the Garmin twice during the run and was even surprised when it beeped at the end of the 3 miles.

1: 9:25
2: 9:51
3: 9:46

Total Time: 29:06

Tonight I'm gonna try my best to forget about the computer issues and settle in for some more "Deadwood" (first disc in the second season arrived today -- yippie!). Hopefully, we can get a computer geek out here to have a looksie soon, and until then, I'll just have to deal with the slowness and the pop ups.

The Computer is Officially


So, you may recall that I've been complaining off and on for the last few weeks that our home computer is infected with a virus. If you don't recall, then here's the recap: our home computer is infected with a virus.

Except it's not a virus.

See, what it appears to be is some kind of secret ad ware program that keeps opening pop ups while we're online, and it seems to be drastically slowing the computer. So much so that it can't keep up with my typing (so if you have gotten comments from me and you were wondering: "was Jess drunk when she typed this?" -- well, first check the time stamp, if it was before noon, I blame the computer; if it was evening, I may have been drunk). This problem is really bothering me since I am on break, so the only computer I am currently using is...yeah, the home computer! I have tried everything I can think of to find and remove this bothersome program, but it is a slippery little son of a bitch, and I can't seem to A.) find the wicked program, thus B.) I can't remove it.

I think I may have to pay someone to come out and do it for me. Which sucks. However, if one of you is a super-smart-techy and you have advice, bring it! Here's the basics: McAffee labels it a "Potentially Unwanted Program" called "Adware Zeno" but apparently McAffee can't remove it. I have tried everything I can imagine to find and remove the program, but it is nowhere, not even in "hidden folders," so I am dealing with an invisible enemy. Any advice? Aside from pitching the computer and buying a new one?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It was a Mistake to...

...run my fiver at 3 pm today.

Despite the cooler temps, it's still in the 70s in the afternoon and with the midday sun beating down on me, I was beat part way through the run.

Mile 1: 9:29
Mile 2: 9:20
In mile 3, I knew I had to scale back on pace because I was already feeling hot, tired, and parched.
Mile 3: 10:46
Mile 4: 10:28
After those 2 conservative miles, I was able to recover some and my last mile was slightly improved.
Mile 5: 9:44

Total Time: 49:49

I was SO thirsty when I got done and my fingers were swollen -- so I knew I was dehydrated. Certainly, I should not be running in the afternoon sun, I just don't handle it well, but I should have also taken into account the fact that I have been taking my allergy medication the past few days and that stuff also dehydrates me. Oh well, I still did the 5 miles within 50 minutes, so it wasn't too bad.

But the 3 pm time frame was also a mistake because my 5 mile route takes me right by the high school. So, yeah, me running in my sports bra and shorts right when school is letting out led to some unwanted attention from passing teenagers in their cars and on the sidewalk. Not too smart Jess, not too smart.


I did not get up early this morning for my 5, so I'll have to do those miles later today. Mornings just aren't my 'thang.

But, I did want to tell you guys to run, don't walk, to go see the movie "I am Legend." My husband and I went last night, and it far exceeded my expectations. I don't want to give much away about its plot, so I won't go into much detail here, but it is the most intense and most intriguing "zombie" movie I've ever seen, and I'm a fan of zombie movies -- this just has so much more depth, so I really hesitate to call it a zombie movie, or even a horror movie, because it doesn't really feel like either, even though it kinda feels like both. And Will Smith? Pretty dang good. I mean, he was good in "The Pursuit of Happyness" but this is a whole other world of good, considering that for 99% of the movie he's alone.

And if you have a soul, I guarantee you'll shed a tear. Only zombie movie that's ever made me cry. Sheesh, it was just SO good.

Unfortunately, I dreamt about it all night last night. Wasn't the best night of sleep, but it was worth it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Things

Now that I have plenty of spare time I get to spend that time doing two of my favorite things: reading and running.

Generally, I would guess that I average reading between 50-60 books a year (although, I'm not entirely sure, but part of me is thinking of actually keeping track in 2008); I read approximately a book a week (sometimes more, sometimes less -- so, like I said, it's an approximation). But, this is officially my 5th day on break and I finished "The Golden Compass" and I read "The Complete Persepolis" and am currently reading "Atonement." The theme of my book selections as of late seems to be books that are currently adapted as movies, but seeing as I haven't seen any of them as movies, they're all new to me.

So, a brief review of them: "The Golden Compass" was good (it was no "Harry Potter," which all young adult fantasy will now and forever be compared to, but was still good). It took me until about halfway through to really get into it, and then the last 150 pages or so were pretty exciting and it ended without a resolution, so I'll probably read the other 2 in the series so I can see what happens. "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi was REALLY good and I highly recommend it. It's a memoir told in comic book form, but I hesitate to all it a graphic novel, since it's not fiction and the illustrations are not really reminiscent of a comic book. It's best compared to Art Spiegelman's "Maus I and II" (which if you haven't read those, they are a must). Lastly, I am reading "Atonement" by Ian McEwan, and I'm not far in it, so I can't make any definitive judgment's yet about the story, but so far, the writing is really rich.

Thus, I spent most of my day in the comfy chair in the living room reading, but this afternoon I also made time for my scheduled 3 miler, and it went well, a little faster than yesterday:

1: 9:14
2: 9:23
3: 9:30

Total Time: 28:09

I would like to have seen more consistency in the miles, but overall, I was pleased with the splits. Tomorrow, I have 5 on the schedule, and I think I may try to get up and do it first thing in the morning, but you guys know how I am with morning runs, and with the cooler temps and no work, it's hard to push myself to get it done early. But we shall see.

Anyway...back to the comfy chair and the awaiting books!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Run Day

I can give myself a little "check" next to my first scheduled training run for A1A: 3 miles.

1: 9:33
2: 9:43
3: 9:32

Total Time: 28:49

Some cool weather blew in last night, and even this afternoon, when I ran, it was only in the mid 60s. It's glorious to have more pleasant temps -- I can turn off the AC, open windows in the house, and it's not too shabby for running either.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Back to the Regularly Scheduled Running

I have kept the A1A Half Marathon in mid-February in the back of my mind schedule-wise for the past 6 weeks or so, yet I haven't been "training" particularly for that race. And without a schedule, my running is a bit, well, erratic. Take November, for instance: one week I ran 33 miles and the next? 12 miles. Clearly, Jess needs a schedule for consistency's sake.

So, today I sat down and made myself a training schedule for the next nine weeks preceding the half marathon. The schedule is a combined product of several schedules I've been looking at and my own expertise; thus, I am planning on running 5 days a week with the long run on Saturday (and my long run distance will peak with 13 miles) and my rest days on Friday and Sunday. So, starting tomorrow, I commence that schedule with a 3 miler, and since I have the next 3 weeks off, it should give me the necessary time to re-establish a solid routine.

Even though I have planned for Sunday to be a rest day, I didn't run yesterday, so I felt like I needed to get out and do something today; therefore, I ran 3 miles this evening. I didn't take the Garmin along, so I don't have splits to report, but I can tell you that it went well and felt good.

I can't tell you how reassuring it is to have a running plan; it makes the running feel so much more organized and purposeful. I feel more focused already.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Christmas Meme

I got this holiday appropriate meme from Wes, and I couldn't resist:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bag? Wrapping paper. I love wrapping gifts and always have. As a kid, my parents used to have me wrap just about everything but my own gifts, which kinda sucked because then my stuff was the only stuff under the tree that wasn't wrapped pretty.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. I agree that real trees smell good, but I think that's their only good quality -- otherwise, they're expensive, messy, and hard to dispose of.

3. When do you put up your tree? Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take down your tree? New Year's Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, but not too much of it -- it's so rich!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Ewok village.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My dad.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My brother Sam.

10. Worst Christmas gift you've ever received? The year I wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid, and I got Rainbow Bright instead, I threw a fit. My mother gave me a "talking to" over that one!

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail! It's the one time of year I actually look forward to seeing what's in the mailbox!

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Christmas Vacation.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I try to start early, but every year I'm still at it right up until the day of reckoning.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? I don't really have a favorite and there was never any traditional food in my family. However, I do like any occasion to stuff myself with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, etc, so I guess they're all my favorite!

16. White or colored lights? White.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.

18. Traveling for Christmas or stay home? Staying home this year. And I'm thankful for that. Even though I know my husband misses his famiy at this time of year, I prefer to have the holiday with just us. Traveling and spending all that time with family gives me a headache.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Most of them.

20. Angel or Star on top of tree? We don't have a tree topper. It's au naturale.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The crowds at the mall.

23. What I love most about Christmas? It feels cozy: the lit tree, the present wrapping, the baking, the movies, the music, there's something about it all that just feels "cozy."

So, you guys know the drill, you can consider yourselves all tagged if you'd like to copy and paste the meme to your own blog -- have fun with it and happy holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2007

All Caught Up

Finish grading and submit term grades. Check.

Throw Christmas party with friends. Check.

Get drunk enough to have fun but not so drunk as to have a hangover. Check.

Pay bills. Check.

Balance checkbook. Check.

Mail presents. Check.

Get relatively close to finishing Christmas shopping. Check.

Run 3 miles. Check.

Have a nice, relaxing dinner and evening of chit-chat with favorite prego friend. Check.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Shmursday

Yes, my holiday luncheon was much more fun yesterday than I had anticipated. I was welcomed at the "cool" table (this description prompted my husband to ask "who's 'cool' amongst English department faculty?" well, me to start with); and we had us some drinks. I stuck to beer, but one colleague had 3 shots of tequila! Lordy, I have lived some wild days in my life, but I don't think I ever got started on the tequila before sundown.

Anyway, over the course of sitting in the restaurant for nearly 3 hours, we bonded. It was awesome, and when I got back to the office, no, I did not grade (I'm not that irresponsible), but I stuck around for awhile and organized some materials and answered some emails, etc -- then I went home. And I have to say, the residual effects of drunk Jess in the afternoon is sleepy Jess in the early evening. So, I struggled to stay awake during "The Bourne Ultimatum" last night, but then I was wide awake for "Project Runway": however, I did not run at all last night, so that was a bust.

This morning I have to finish up my reading and submit my grades (shouldn't take me too long); then, I have a house to clean and food to prepare for this evening's soiree. Goodness, I feel popular this week.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


my holiday "luncheon" with my department? Yeah, I had me some beers. I'm feeling pretty good and buzzed right now. Som may even call me a bit drunk.

Don't worry, I didn't drive.

But now I need tosit here in my office for a couple of hours to sober up before going home.

Should make reading papers interesitng.

To Do List

What I have on the schedule for the remaining portion of the week:
  • Finish papers and calculate term grades. I'm nearly there, and one more day of grading will probably enable me to finish up. I'm afraid my eyes will bleed or my brain will melt before that happens, but I must press forth and hope for the best.
  • Department holiday party. This should be interesting. It's a "holiday luncheon" -- that we each had to chip in and pay for (you think publicly funded institutions foot the bill for these swank events?) -- at, get this, a buffet. I hate buffets, but I have to be a team player and go. This is the only time of year that I wish I worked for a corrupt, money-hungry corporation that put on a booze-fueled holiday party where someone got up on stage with the band and belted out "Rock Lobster." I think that would rule.
  • Host our friends tomorrow night for our annual Christmas party/Secret Santa exchange. Despite the fact that I have heard grumblings about the day and time, I'm sure that once everyone has the appropriate amount of beer in them, we'll all get along fine and have a jolly time.
  • Attend commencement on Friday.
  • Get some runs in. I started the week of solidly: a run on Monday and a walk in on Tuesday (granted, my husband and I walked to the grocery store to get Dove ice cream bars, but I still count it as exercise), now I just need to keep it up. I'd like about 2 more short runs and then something a little lengthier this weekend to round the week off.

And then I'm free! Body and soul free! Well, with the exception of the running -- I always have that to tend to.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Consistent is as Consistent does

I had a very productive day today, and it was topped off by a solid 3 miler where I managed to pace my miles to near precision:

1: 9:31
2: 9:32
3: 9:30

Total Time: 28:33

Soon, I'll be a well-oiled machine!

Monday Report

No running yesterday. Instead, I did some Christmas shopping, some laundry, some reading, and watched some movies (we watched the 3rd installment of "Pirates of the Caribbean" and I give it two thumbs down; blah, what was worse than the story was that it was a story that didn't want to die -- it felt like the longest movie of my life).

On a side note, I have had a headache for, I swear, 4 days now. It's a tension headache, I know it, because it's in my neck and shoulders, and while some methods temporarily relieve it (hot bath, aspirin, exercise, massage), it keeps re-appearing. I know it's because I'm under stress with the end of the semester and with the looming holidays, but I hope it's not a brain tumor. That would suck.

Today, I don't actually have any classes, but I have a shizload of papers to read, then I hope to get a short run in this afternoon. Tomorrow are my last two classes and then I just have to work like a busy little beaver to get papers and grades done by Friday. The end is in sight.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

8 on the 8th

The best thing about a virtual race is that there is no pre-set start time. Thus, I took advantage of sleeping in on my Saturday and saved my 8 miles for this evening.

The "race" went well: No line at registration, no crowds at the start line, and I was able to pace myself pretty consistently.

Mile 1: 9:51
Mile 2: 9:46
Mile 3: 10:46 (walked while I took my GU and drank half my water)
Mile 4: 10:14
Mile 5: 10:06
Mile 6: 9:55
Mile 7: 10:02
Mile 8: 9:43

Total Time: 1:20:26

I wanted to finish in 80 minutes or less, but I missed that goal by 26 seconds (maybe I need to learn to take a GU and drink my water while running -- but I don't know if I'll ever be that coordinated). But aside from falling short, just slightly, of my goal time, I can call it a PR (since it's my one and only 8 mile race) and that makes for an excellent race.

Hope everyone else's 8 was grrrrrr8!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Funday Friday

Lately, I can't seem to compose a cohesive post, so stick with me as I once again post several random thoughts together:

I think that if I ever have a child, and that child is a girl, maybe I would name her Stella. I like the name, and I love the beer. Yes, this idea occurred to me last night when I was partaking of a few Stellas, but that makes the idea no less valid, right?

I may strangle a student. Either today or sometime early next week. I'm just saying, it's a possibility. So, if I stop posting for a long period of time, assume I'm in jail.

Our home computer is still afflicted with the "ick" (did any of your childhood fish ever come down with that strange condition? I had two fish go to the big toilet bowl in the sky because of "ick"). We have attempted various vaccines, but so far, the virus is resistant.

Tomorrow is the "8 on the 8th" -- are you guys ready to rock that (virtual) race? I know I am. I think I may blow away those in my age group. Kidding. Marcy and Wendy and MPA are all in my age group, and I believe any one of them could kick my ass in this race. But, 4th in my AG still sounds good. I just won't tell friends and family that there were only 4 in my age group (actually, there may be more, but I don't have time to compile them).

And lastly, two funny student observations:

1. I was walking by a small group of students who were standing outside chatting, and I overheard this: "Dude, after I finish my finals on Monday next week, I'm gonna smoke a big, fat joint!" Me too, dude, me too :)

2. At the end of the semester, our whole department meets to read the prep students' final exams (it's a state exam they have to pass in order to enter into regular freshman composition); it's a tedious process and it takes hours of reading. And these are prep students, so much of their grammar/spelling skills are on par with most 8th graders...anyway, yesterday I read an essay that had the funniest line and every time I think of it, I chuckle to myself. It said: "The only thing I like better than my sports, are my women." Does that not slay you?

Anyway, have a happy Friday everyone, and good luck to those running the 8 tomorrow. I'm looking forward to your race reports!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

3 instead of 5

What I mean by temps dropping "significantly" is that instead of temps being in the 80s for my run this evening, they were hovering around 68, and this morning it was 50 when I went to work. That's much cooler, and it's real nice.

So, I didn't do 5 or 6 miles this evening; in fact, I struggled to even motivate myself to go (I really, really wanted to just lay on the couch all night and continue watching "Deadwood," which BTW is awesome -- very grown up material -- but best series since "Weeds" and whole hella better than "Rome"). But, eventually, I pried myself from the comfy clutches of the couch, and I did 3 miles.

1: 10:01
2: 10:02
3: 10:18

Total Time: 30:22

Motivation has been like a roller coaster companion for me the last few weeks; I'm hoping that the break I have between semesters will be the cure I need to rediscover consistency. But for now, I'll take what I can make myself do; so now, if you don't mind, I think I'll return to the couch for a night cap of "Project Runway."

Peace out.

Boring Happens

Yesterday evening, I got in a quick 2 miles with Scooter, which was fun, and when I got back I did some ab work and push ups while I watched "Seinfeld" -- I tell ya, one of the best ways to do strength training or stretching at home is with a fav sitcom before me.

Today, I woke to find that temps had dropped significantly, so I'm looking forward to a run this evening with the cooler weather. I'd like to do something a little longer this evening, like 5 or 6 miles, so I'll let ya know how that goes.

I really have nothing else to chat about. Sorry for the boring post.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tidbit Tuesday

So, yeah, our home computer definitely has a virus. I never gave it a flu shot, and now look what happens. Anyway, because the computer is sick, I really can't use it until it gets fixed, so comments on your posts will be limited until the computer is on the mends. Sorry, homies.

I did have a good run last night, and I hope to repeat that feeling on tonight's run as well.

After my run last night, where I probably burned around 300 calories, I ate a Chipotle burrito that has approximately 1,200 calories. Don't worry, my body had it's revenge: Starting at about 10:30 pm and persisting through this morning, I had a terrible case of mud butt. Seriously, I think every piece of food I've digested in the past week, exited through my butt in the past 12 hours, and all I can tell you is that it left my butt feeling stingy. This has tainted my love of Chipotle slightly.

I would not recommend the Sci-Fi series "Tin Man." It's really falling short of expectation, and while we were watching last night, I felt downright bored. But now that I've invested 2 nights of viewing on it, I feel compelled to finish the series.

I have a lot of papers to read this week, and because I have meetings tomorrow and Thursday mornings that cut into my office hours, I have to try and squeeze that reading into a more compressed time period. Thus? I really have to skedaddle. Next Friday can't come fast enough.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I had a great run this evening. Just a short 3 miler, but man, it felt great.

I would like to wax poetic about it, but something is fucked up with our computer -- I think it has a virus (damn you, McAffee, you let the defences fail!), so it's best to get on and hop off the Internet as quickly as possible. Perhaps I'll ruminate on this evening's run and blast you with some figurative language about it tomorrow while I can safely type away on the web from my office computer.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sleepy Sunday

Had a few too many cocktails last night while watching "Ocean's 13" with the hubby and some friends; consequently, today has been one of the laziest days on recent record. I spent most of the day doing one of three things: sleeping, reading (I'm reading "The Golden Compass" -- yes, Lisa, I decided to check it out for myself; I'll let you know what my final review is -- and so far it's an intriguing, fast-paced tale), or watching tv (watched the movie "Licence to Wed," which I would give a C+ to: it was cute, but I thought its humor and plot were canned and cliche; still, I *heart* Jim from "The Office").

Note, no running listed there.

I have to say, since the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day, the running has pretty much been non-existent, but I hope to remedy that this week by getting more frequent runs in; plus, I have the "8 on the 8th" on Saturday (and so do many of you).

As for the rest of this evening? More of the three activities listed above. We got the first season of "Deadwood" on Netflix, so we're gonna check it out -- does anyone watch that series? -- and then we'll possibly watch the Sci-fi mini-series "Tin Man" (looks interesting, mostly because I like "The Wizard of Oz" and I'm always intrigued by the various recreations of the story, ie, "Wicked," so I want to see how this version compares).

Saturday, December 01, 2007

'Tis (Officially) the Season!

Today, my husband and I spent the afternoon in the holiday spirit -- we baked! We made sugar cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate-almond candy. While we were merry in the kitchen, we listened to Christmas carols and had ourselves some extra spirits (mmmm, Bailey's is the perfect baking cocktail). So, here's the afternoon:

Me, rolling out the dough for the sugar cookies. Got a little flour on my nose (it is one of the universe's mysteries that the second your fingers are coated in something, your nose will itch). Some of the pretzels dipped in chocolate in the foreground and the hubby in the background. He was the master craftsman behind the chocolate side of things today.
Some of my finished cookies. I discovered that I am not good at piping, so I mostly got sprinkle-happy. The more sugar, the better, right?
Certainly, it is always a bit odd to celebrate this time of year here in Florida, because as we're baking away and listening to "Winter Wonderland," it's in the mid-80s outside and we're both dressed in shorts and t-shirts; however, I guess we've grown used to it because it felt like good old fashioned fun! Happy Dec 1st everyone and enjoy your Saturday!