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Thursday, January 31, 2008

4 + 91 =

Tonight's 4 were certainly harder than yesterday's 3 -- mostly because it was way warmer today, and I'm not Superman, who gets his super-human strength from the yellow sun; not me, I wither in the warmth. The first 3 were fine, but in the last mile, I had to walk for a minute.

1: 9:36
2: 9:11
3: 9:35
4: 10:21

Total Time: 38:44

Anyhoo, these last 4 miles of January bring my month's mileage to a grand total of 95 miles.

In previous months and years, I haven't been diligent in tracking my mileage, but I kinda un-officially decided that this year I'm gonna keep track of it. There's something about this running business that eventually makes you a slave to numbers, which is somewhat of a miracle if you consider me -- someone who can't add higher than 12 without a calculator and who used to not even wear her Garmin regularly -- to have become the sort of runner who tracks and records all her mileage and all her times.

What will be next? Upgrading to the 305 and wearing the HR monitor? Oh sweet jesus, that does sound kinda fun...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Recovery Run

Today, I was gonna focus on doing a short, slow recovery run. But the right elements -- perfect weather, rockin' tunes, and feeling well-rested -- all collided this evening to create a great run. I still kept it short, but for me, it was not slow.

1: 9:08
2: 8:54
3: 9:00

Total Time: 27:03

Folks, you're pretty much lookin' at the digits of a speeding bullet.

Much Better and A Surprise Discovery

First of all, I am feeling much improved. Still not 100%, but somewhere around 90%. Clearly, my immune system is superior and I can fight off a cold faster than other humans.

Remember my dilemma about pants about a week ago? Well, I was able to exchange the pants, and I got a new pair of pants (in the size 6 -- but a different pair) and 2 shirts. Never doubt my ability to return or exchange clothing, you just may not want to follow in my wake.

Anyhoo, bringing up those pants for the sake of bragging about returning them is not my point. Remember how I said they felt big? Well, I have come to notice in the past week that several pairs of pants feel a bit big about the middle -- not by a lot, but enough to notice a little extra room about the waist. So, this morning I decided to unearth the scale and see if there was some kind of difference, and viola! I am 3 pounds lighter! Huh.

I haven't really changed my exercise habits or my eating habits, so I can't really account for this loss, except that perhaps the gods have just decided to be beneficent. Or...could it be the lack of diet soda in my life? I'm reluctant to believe this could help shed pounds, but it's really the only primary thing that's changed about my diet in the past 4 weeks (although, I will admit to you that I've snuck about a handful of them in since New Year's). I mean, I've read that diet soda hinders weight loss, despite the fact that it has no calories, but I always thought that was bologna. I mean, it has NO calories!

What do you guys think?

A. The few pound weight loss is a fluke, Jess, and you'll gain it back on Super Bowl Sunday with the beer and chips.
B. The few pound weight loss is the result of weeks of dedicated running and the conscious consumption of frozen egg rolls and light beer -- the exercise and diet regimen of champions!
C. Your scale is broken, Jess.
D. The weight loss could be the result of eliminating diet soda from your day to day diet -- the additives, carbonation, and fake sugar make you fat despite the fact that the drink has no calories and is delicious.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Not a 100%; More Like 75%

In my congested-haze yesterday, I forgot to give the shout out that I had intended. So...*clear throat*...drum roll, please:

I am excited to announce that my good friends Jon and Shannon are pregnant! Jon doesn't have a blog, but if you'd like to offer your congrats to Shannon -- hop on over to her blog and tell her "congrats"!

It seems, as of late, that this condition (pregnancy) is rather contagious. Two years ago, it was my friend Amy, then Erin, and now Shannon. If I'm not careful, I could catch this bug -- and that's not something I'm ready for quite yet!

But, speaking of "bugs," I am feeling a bit better today. Well, enough to keep on with my classes anyway. I'm still congested and my voice is a bit raggedy, but the fever is gone and that makes a huge difference in how I feel. Today, however, is my long day at school, so we'll see how I feel after 12 hours of work.

Hopefully, tomorrow I will feel even more improved and will be able to get out and run. I deliberately took yesterday and today off in order to allow the legs to rest after Sunday's race, but I think by tomorrow I should be ready to hit the asphalt again. Plus, the in-laws depart today, so I'll have the house back and will maybe have more time to get that desired run in.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Under the Weather

I don't feel so good today, homies.

Not because of the race yesterday -- I mean, I have some of the standard soreness/stiffness that results after a long run but nothing abnormal -- no, I feel like I've caught a cold.

Saturday my throat was kinda scratchy, yesterday when I woke up the throat felt sore, and by yesterday night, I felt feverish, congested, achy, and overall icky. I went to bed early and got plenty of rest, which certainly helped, but I still feel sick today. Blech.

I'm at school -- pressing through with my two classes for the day -- but all I can think about is returning home and crawling back in to bed this afternoon.

I think Karma is getting me back for commenting to a friend last week that I hadn't been sick in "forever." Now, the resulting congestion and achy-ness is Karma's bitch-slap in response to that previous comentary: "Oh yeah? Haven't been sick in 'forever' huh? Well, how's this for ya?!" Damn you Karma!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Miami Half: The Long Version

Pre-Race: The part that made me the most nervous in anticipation -- the getting to the race -- was actually quite simple. We got to the race easily, parked easily, and then had tons of time beforehand to stand around; however, I'm glad we got up early and got there early because it didn't take long to get crowded and I'm sure the traffic and the parking may have become more difficult if we'd arrived any later. At a quarter to 6, we assembled in our corrals and at 6:15, the race got underway:
Miles 1-4: The first miles were erratic in terms of pacing. The first mile was crowded so there was no choice but to stick with the crowd's pace, but the first mile was also probably the most scenic -- we crossed Biscayne Bay and the cruise ships were all lit with their night's lights and the sight of them with the city in the background was really pretty.

Just past mile 3, I spotted Laurel running and I said a brief hello. She was running with her group, so I left her with them and continued on my way.

1: 10:26
2: 9:34
3: 10:27
4: 13:02 (bathroom break)

Miles 5-10: This is where I felt like I was finally able to find my pace and these were the miles that I felt the best. In miles 1-4, I had a hard time breaking away from the crowd, I stopped a few times at fluid stations, and I stopped to use the bathroom; but by mile 5, I felt like I was all set and I basically set the "cruise control" in these miles.

The highlight here was running up Ocean Ave in South Beach just as the sun was rising -- it was beautiful.

5: 10:10
6: 10:51
7: 10:04
8: 9:58
9: 10:58
10: 10:10

Miles 11-13.1: At mile 10, we started to cross back from Miami beach into Miami and the bridge back felt like a steep incline at this point, so I walked the incline and then ran the decline back into the city. Crowd support here was awesome, but I was starting to lose steam. The last few miles were slow but I knew I was almost there so I kept pluggin away.

At 12.5 miles, I saw my husband. I stopped briefly to give him a hug but then he told me to get going, so I headed out for the last .6 miles. Even though it was so close to the end, the mental boost I got from seeing him really helped in that end segment. The half marathoners broke away from the marathoners, and then we headed down the shute to the finish.

The crowd was loud and busy, and it felt great to come down that straight away feeling so good. I passed my husband and in laws and then stepped over the finish line!

11: 11:38
12: 11:51
13: 10:22
.24: 2:33 (? regarding distance is addressed below)

I had estimated that I would finish somewhere around 2:20, so my time of 2:22 was pretty close to my estimation. I think I could do the distance in a faster time (most of my training runs were faster), but I think I'd need a smaller race with fewer participants in my way; hopefully, A1A in 3 weeks will be an opportunity to improve on what I did this morning.

Post Race: I got my medal, got the chip removed, and got my refreshments and then met up with my family. We didn't stick around long (it was starting to sprinkle) before heading back home for a shower, a big breakfast and a long nap.

This afternoon, I feel great. My legs are a little tired, but aren't real fatigued and I can really appreciate the half marathon as a race -- it's long enough to feel challenging, but not as long and exhausting as the full marathon. It was a great race and I will probably do it again next year -- the scenery is nice, it is well-organized, and the course is pretty flat (with the exception of the bridges).

Notes and Anecdotes:

  • I saw a guy running barefoot. I've never seen someone run a road race in bare feet. I would imagine that would hurt, but he looked happy.
  • Right after the 3 mile marker, we were on one of the bridges leading us into Miami Beach and I suddenly felt myself sway and I thought I had vertigo. But, no. The bridge was moving from the weight of the runners and the cars on the other side. It was really weird. The actual asphalt felt soft under our collective weight.
  • My husband and in laws got to see Brian Sell, who was running the half, cross the finish line at 1:03, a new course record. I wish I could have seen the Olympian, but I guess once he finished, he didn't feel like chillin with the masses for a banana.
  • My only complaint? The general crowd. There were approximately 20,000 runners, and for most of the race, we were restricted to one side of the road and that wasn't really enough room to spread out; plus, it made water stations really crowded, as well as the finishers shute. In the future, if the race continues to grow in size, they may have to close the roads completely so that runners have enough space.
  • Garmin recorded the length of the race as 13.24; could the race have been mis-marked or did Garmin record the distance incorrectly?

Miami Half: The Quick Version

I finished with a chip time of 2:22:01. Brian Sell beat me by about an hour and 19 minutes. Dangit. I'd been hoping to be right on his heels :)

Anyway, I'll post something longer with pictures -- maybe later today or tomorrow. Right now, Jerry and his mom are cooking up a breakfast feast, and then I'll probably crash for a bit.

Peace out.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Congrats to...

...my husband, Jerry!

He got promoted at work yesterday -- he's worked hard and deserves it, so I'm proud of him and his accomplishment! And...now he can afford to buy me more Coach :)

But, back to what's most important here on this blog:


The expo was fun yesterday -- my Bib # is 16120 -- and I picked up a few do-dads at the expo. One funny detail though: the hat they included in my goody bag says "2007"! Oopsie. After the expo, we walked over to Lincoln Road in Miami Beach and walked in some of the shops and sat down for a beer. Eventually, we wandered down to the ocean so the in laws could see the beach, and then we drove up to Bass Pro and had a wonderful dinner a Islamorada Fish Company. By the time we got home, I pretty much crashed and I slept in this morning -- glorious!

Today, I think we'll mainly be lazy, and settle in early tonight. We have to get up at 3 am in the morning to leave the house at 3:30 tomorrow morning. I have made the executive decision to drive us all (I kinda have this control issue about race day morning) and we're leaving early to ensure enough time for parking, etc and the race begins at 6:15.

So, until tomorrow, my friends, auf vedersehen!

Friday, January 25, 2008


First up today, some answers to your questions about Minnesota-speak from yesterday's post:

Sarah: "Uff-da" is a generalized way of exressing something that is too much or excessive. It's equivilants might be: "oh my!" or "goodness" or my version: "holy shit!"

Viv: Yes, think "Fargo" for the accents. Even though every Minnesotan is offended by the accents in that movie and claim they are exaggerated, I have found that they are pretty much dead-on. However, if you want a movie with less stressed accents, see "Juno."

Marcy: I don't have a MN accent b/c I did not grow up in MN. I was born and raised in Colorado. I moved to MN when I was 18, and lived there for 8 years. Then I moved to FL. Where everyone speaks Spanish.

There ya go. Hope you feel adequately educated about the nuances of the regional language.

In running/race related news: after class today, I plan to quickly run my planned 3 miler, and then I'm piling into the car with the hubby and the in laws and we're headed to South Beach for the Race Expo. After we "hi-ho-expo," we'll probably walk around South Beach, hopefully spot someone famous, and then stop some place for dinner.

I want to get to bed early tonight in order to be well rested on Saturday -- so I can worry about Sunday's race.

Have a good Funday Friday everyone!

Thursday, January 24, 2008


That's what my Minnesota in-laws would say about my day/week so far: "Uff-da!" (Having them here is such a funny reminder of MN-speak. After being away from the region for almost 4 years now, their accents and sayings have my husband and I crackin grins at one another, "dontcha know.")

Class itself is busy, fo sho, but I also have other responsibilities with my work and those have been busy lately as well. See, just like it's important for college students to have those clubs and organizations on their resume, it's important for college faculty to engage in similar "extra-curricular" activities for professional development. That means committee membership, department posts, research, publishing, etc. Currently, I have 3 extra-curricular activities that I'm involved in:
  • I'm the English department liaison with the library (it's my job to order books on behalf of my department -- awesome job -- and my job to be the department expert on the library).
  • I serve on the campus' library committee (can you tell that I like the library? my mom was a librarian, after all, so much of my childhood was spent there and I have great affection for it).
  • And, I'm currently serving on the department's handbook committee.

That last one? It's the one that has me very busy right now. Every 3 years, the English department chooses the almighty handbook (you bought one when you were a freshman in college -- spiral bound grammar book -- remember it?) that we will use for the next 3 years. Exclusively. So, we have about 12 texts to examine and choose from. And that means we have about 6 publishing reps stopping by to try and push their particular two texts (textbook reps are to college faculty as drug reps are to doctors).

So, this morning instead of getting the extra time I usually enjoy -- surfing blogs -- I had to go to what are, essentially, sales pitches for 2 handbooks. And if there's anything more boring than trying to make a handbook sound interesting? It's two of them.

Anyway, add those meetings (which have been occurring every day this week), to my regular classes, and the fact that I'm staying today to help a colleague with a presentation (she's applying for a research grant and I have been helping her the past two weeks tweak her presentation), and I'm glad that today is a rest day for running.

Tomorrow, I run another 3 miler, Saturday I rest and Sunday is the half, so light running during the week to save up those "mighty" legs. Thus, even though it's only 3 pm, I am really looking forward to getting home this evening, sitting down to a nice dinner (in laws bought us a shiz-load of good food -- tonight, it's gonna be a seafood extravaganza with shrimp and crab legs!), and a beer.

Wait. That gives me a thought! I'm bringing a case of beer to our next committee meeting! Wa-hoo!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hump Day 3

Got my 3 miler in this afternoon, but -- phew! -- it was hot out there. In my 3rd mile, I really had to slow it down; I didn't want to catch on fire.

1: 9:13
2: 9:21
3: 9:57

Total Time: 28:33

But, I guess it was good that I got it done then because now it's pouring rain outside and we're getting ready for din-din.

Have a good evening everyone!

Tidbit Tuesday

Thanks for the completely divided advice on the pants. I still don't know what to do. If I just let them sit long enough in the closet, will house elves take care of the issue for me? I doubt it. My house elf, Lucky, is the laziest son of a bitch you'll find: it feels like I have to do everything!

Anyhoo...I'm sure I'll figure it out.

In other news, the in-laws arrived yesterday, but because I had a night class, I didn't get to see them until after 9 pm last night and then again only briefly this morning before I left for work. I don't know what my husband and they will do today while I'm being brilliant in class, but I think this evening we'll go out to dinner and such, which kinda poses a problem for my scheduled run today. Guess I'll have to try and squeeze it in before the fun begins.

As for today, I printed off some Miami Half info that has been sent to me via email, and I'm starting to get a little nervous about Sunday's race. Not because I'm scared of the distance or my finish, but I'm getting worked up about parking. By my estimation, I'm gonna need to leave home Sunday morning at like 3:30 am in order to have enough time to drive to downtown Miami, find parking, and get to the start -- which almost makes me want to drive down the night before and just sleep at the start line. I swear, for me, half the nerves of a big race are just the particulars of getting myself to the start line.

Is anyone else weird about this when preparing for a race? Or, am I the only one working myself into a tizzy about transportation?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


On Saturday, I went and did some clothes shopping and among my purchases, I got two new pairs of dress pants. But these pants are problematic and I need some advice about what to do with them.

No, they don't have razor sharp fangs along the waist (although, that would really be problematic); instead, they don't quite fit right. See, at the store, I tried on a 6. It fit fine, but I felt it was a little snug, and because they are 98% cotton, I figured it was best to buy the 8 instead. I bought two pairs because they were on sale, and when I find pants that fit, I generally stock up.

Moving right along, I got home that afternoon and re-tried them on at home (I always do this after clothes shopping because I have to test things out in front of the home mirror to re-assure myself that everything looks and fits fine), and I discover that the 8s are rather roomy. Too roomy for my taste (I had about 2 inches of extra room in the waist). So, I took that 98% cotton part to heart and did my best to shrink them (it's a humorous irony that most people try to avoid shrinking their clothes, but I am constantly trying to shrink mine -- hot water, high heat in the dryer; unfortunately for my husband, this has led to the accidental shrinkage of some of his t-shirts -- his things don't need shrinking, but I'm a lazy laundress and sometimes I forget to separate).

They shrunk -- somewhat -- to a point I thought they'd be wearable, but I put on a pair this morning, and again thought them too big. I tried a belt, but it was cinched up to the point where I literally had extra fabric in the waist all scrunched up. I changed out of them and put on a boring old pair of pants (which BTW, are from the same store and are also 8s and are also 98% cotton -- so this gives me hope that perhaps more shrinking will improve the current pants).

So, this is my dilemma, do I:
  • Return the pants and forget them?
  • Exchange the pants for a size 6 and hope that future washings won't shrink those?
  • Give them another few washings/dryings and hope for more shrinkage?
  • Take them in to a tailor to have them adjusted to fit me better?

Let me know your opinions, peeps, I need help!

Monday, January 21, 2008

To Do List -- Done.

Guest bathroom sparkling and clean? Check.

Guest bed linens washed and free of Scooter fur? Check.

Rest of the house spotlessly cleaned? Check.

Grocery shopping done? Check.

Plenty of beer in the beer fridge? Check. Double check.

3 new ceiling fans and a new entry way light fixture installed? Check.

4 miler for Monday done? Ch-check. (9:13, 9:17, 9:20, 9:26 -- Total Time: 37:18)

Alrighty, I think we're ready for our family to arrive tomorrow! Now...I need a beer.

A Few Notes

Okey-doke, a few comments before I am banished to the land of the bathroom to scrub tiles in preparation of the in-law invasion tomorrow (actually, I think I lucked out in the in-law department -- they're terribly nice, supportive people who think I'm da bomb, but houseguests are houseguests and anyone who stays with us for 7 days in gonna annoy the crap outta me; as my husband says, "whoa, that's gonna give you a headache"; apparently, I suffer from family induced migraines).

1. I forgot to tell you that I also added My Chemical Romance's songs "Teenagers" and "Dead" to the running playlist. Both are swexcellent for running! (That's "sweet" + "excellent" = since "swawesome" died last week, I needed to find a replacement -- and this time? Let's try to use it in moderation so it has a longer shelf life.)

2. "Cloverfield" was, quite frankly, the shit. For those frustrated by the previews, relax. There's good reason why the previews are so ambiguous -- allow the movie to provide the thrills and intensity that it sets out to do. Trust me. It's pretty cool. Plus? It was only 75 minutes long. Perfect. More movies could learn from that kind of editing (*cough* "Pirates of the Carribbean" *cough*).

3. Um...I had 3 things? Huh, guess not.

Well, I'm off to inhale Tilex and finish the laundry! What fun my MLK day has in store for me! Hope everyone else is enjoying their 3 day weekend!

Oh wait, I do remember my 3rd thing: "Water for Elephants" is really good so far. Pick it up today and get started on it. It's swexcellent! (Well, I never claimed to be very good at moderation.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Much Better

So, earlier today when I said I wasn't gonna run today? Yeah, I lied. I ended up running 5 miles, and everything about these miles was the antithesis of yesteday's crap run. 2 aspects of today's run were particularly conducive to a good run:

1. Cooler weather: It's in the 60s today with overcast skies and a breeze -- perfect for running!
2. I added some new tunes to spice up my playlist:

The Fratellis "Chelsea Dagger"
The Fratellis "Flathead"
Smashing Pumpkins "Tarantula"
Paramore "Misery Business"
Foo Fighters "Skin and Bones"

So, those factors, plus the fact that it's a whole new day, made my 5er much better. The only issue? Garmy had a hard tme with both finding and keeping a signal today. I had to stand out there for about 5 minutes for it to find its initial signal, and then in my first mile, I lost a signal for about .10 of the mile. Thus, my time on the first mile was recorded about 45-60 seconds slower than it should have, which means my total time was actually about that much faster too.

1: 10:11
2: 9:34
3: 9:10
4: 9:20
5: 9:29

Total Time: 47:48

Anyway, this wasn't the intended 8 miler for the weekend, but it does greatly improve my running spirits. And now I must skeddadle: we're off to meet some friends to see "Cloverfield" (hope the movie is more than just hype).

And that whole business in my post this morning about giving up alcohol for the week? I lied about that too. I can't go a whole week with houseguests without imbibing in some delicious cocktails! That was just crazy talk this morning.

Simple Conclusion

Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, and was contemplating giving my 8 another go, I came to a simple conclusion: My run had felt like I'd been sick but I hadn't felt any true symtoms of illness; still, it meant that I needed to look to the 3 things that I always have to go back and re-examine -- sleep, hydration, and nutrition. Poor quality of all 3 was probably the culprit in yesterday's crap run.

So, instead of pushing myself to make up the mileage today, I decided to treat myself as if I had been ill -- get a good night's sleep, drink plenty of fluids, and try to eat better. This morning, after nearly 11 hours of sleep (phew! must've really needed it!), I can already tell that I feel worlds better.

I may or may not put in some kind of run today, but I don't think I'll aim for the 8. Today, I'll rest up and start the week over tomorrow. Ultimately, I feel well-prepared for Miami in a week, so the failure to run the full 8 yesterday doesn't derail my confidence about the half. I'll aim for solid runs this week (may be difficult -- the in laws arrive in town on Tuesday and keeping up with runs with company in town can be tricky), but I also have to keep those 3 key things in front of me as I get ready for Miami. Thus, I think I'll refrain from the booze this week (again, did I mention my in laws will be here? -- not drinking with them, or because of them, may be tough), get a good night's sleep EVERY day of the week, remain hydrated, and keep an eye on my food.

As far as book purchases...I just bought one yesterday: "Water for Elephants" by Sarah Gruen. It was the Blogland Book Club selection this month and I have been eye-balling it for some months now. I read the first 50 pages last night, and I can tell already that it will be good.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Crap Run

There was only one word for my run this evening: shitty.

I started out intent on doing my scheduled 8, but only a mile in, I felt like poo. I can't improve upon that description by much: nothing hurt and I wasn't feeling sick, I just felt "blah." Could be the result of several factors, including the vague notion that sometimes a run just doesn't feel right.

Generally, I can work past such lethargy, but this evening, I got to the 1.5 mark and decided to turn around and go home. So, it was 3 miles instead of 8.

I haven't had this kind of crap run in a long time, and it seems like a fitting end to a week that has been pretty worthless in terms of running. Oh well. I think I may try to get up early tomorrow morning and give it another go -- we'll see if I'm up for a full 8, but I gotta put in something longer than 3 this week.

For now, I think I may take a quick trip to Barnes and Noble -- nothing improves my mood like buying a few books with some of my Christmas gift cards.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hell in a Handbasket

The running has gone downhill this week: no run yesterday or today. Yesterday, I was too tired and today -- well, I don't really have an excuse; except that this evening we went to a friend's for bbq and beer and the run did not get done beforehand.

I'm gonna have to make my Saturday 8 miler really count since the mileage this week has been weak.

Of course, I'll probably save that 8 for evening. Tomorrow? I am SO looking forward to sleeping in!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Foo Pics

The hubby and I and some crazy faces. Dave Grohl -- Foo Fighter frontman -- and the other Foo rockin it out on stage.
Yeah! Rock on.
For more, concert commentary, check out Erin's blog. She was a trooper last night -- the rockinest prego friend I know.

So, after a night with lots of beer, loud rock, and very little sleep, and a full day at work, I came home, made dinner and have pretty much pooped out. In other words? I'm skipping my scheduled run for the day. Part of me feels guilty, but sometimes, Jess needs sleepy time.

So Sleepy

The concert last night was really great (at the request of my concert-companions, "swawesome" has been put to bed -- after I told the waitress at dinner that a draft beer would be "swawesome," everyone pretty much had had enough), and the Foo put on one of the best performances I think I've ever seen: they played for a solid two hours, with a five song encore!

My only complaint? The show didn't get started until 8 pm, the Foo didn't hit the stage until 10 pm and we didn't get home and to bed until almost 1 am. That's pretty late for a school night, and this morning I am hurting for some more sleep.

I'll try and post some more details and pics later this evening, but for now, I need coffee. Lots of coffee.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Got My 3 Done

1: 9:21
2: 9:22
3: 9:25

Total: 28:09

Now I'm ready to ROCK OUT! Swawesome.

Homies That Rock

First of all, I got this picture, below, via email from Lisa this morning, and really? It's just priceless -- and I so wish I could have been part of the RnR in AZ crew this year -- but next year, if you guys are still planning on reconvening for the event, you can count me in! Until then, I think I might have to save these homies as my screensaver :) But, speaking of sportin' the classic Jess rock 'n roll pose, tonight I'm gonna be holding the devil horns high as I rock out to the Foo Fighters! Seriously, I'm psyched to see Dave Grohl and his fellow bandmates return to South Florida to rock the hiz-ouse. We saw them about 2 years ago when they swooped through on tour with Weezer (another of my favs) and the Foo were friggin awesome -- truly, they are a band that really rocks to see in concert. And tonight is gonna be even more swawesome (that's "sweet" + "awesome" -- I would like everyone to start using it regularly since it annoys the crap outta my husband, who swore to me last night that he is only going to use it to mock me) because we got really swawesome (see how versatile it is?) seats. Honestly. If I wanted to, I'm gonna be able to spit (throw my bra) on Dave Grohl -- we're that close.
And, what makes this event even more swawesome is that Jimmy Eat World is opening for them and I *heart* Jimmy Eat World (even though none of my concert companions really care for them). So, this afternoon after class, I'll need to run my 3 miler as speedy as possible, so I can get ready for pre-concert dinner and drinks. Hmmmm...what should dominate the run's playlist? Perhaps a little Foo and a little Jimmy Eat World? I think so!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday's 12

Not miles. Hours. At work.

Tuesday is my long day on campus: I have 2 day classes, then an afternoon of office hours, and then a night class, so I'm here from 9 am until 9 pm. I actually don't mind being on campus that long -- it does force me to get some work done (or read blogs and write emails, ya know how it is, homies) -- but it does mean that I take Tuesdays as a running rest day.

Thus, I have nothing running related to report; however, I do have a few student-related stories:

One student, the most unique, is 82 years old. Yup. You read that right. 82. She decided after her husband died to return to college and earn a degree, and this is her second semester. Can you imagine? 82 is my grandparents' ages! She's very interesting and has lots of valuable insight to add to class discussion, but I can tell her long-winded comments annoy the younger members of the classroom. 18 and 19 year olds don't really appreciate having a grandmother in the class. I wonder, though, if they'll ever reflect back on her and her endeavor and appreciate her courage and bravery for doing what she's doing -- daring to live life for as long as she's capable. I hope so. Certainly has provoked me to think differently about "retirement."

One guy showed up to class today when he hadn't been there at all last week and he hadn't contacted me. The first part of their first assignment was due today. He asked me after class if he had "missed anything" last week. I told him, sarcastically, "No, we've been waiting for you to show up before we did any work." I noted this afternoon that he withdrew from the class.

Lastly, in one of my literature classes this afternoon, we were discussing the short story "The Story of an Hour" about woman, in 1894, whose husband dies. As part of our discussion, we compare and contrast the nature of marriage in 1894 and marriage in 2008. I asked them to list some of the motivations for marriage in each era, and three people said "looks" were the main reason people get married in today's modern world. "Looks"! Man, I thought such superficial attitudes were only on TV. Guess I need to adjust some expectations.

That's it for now. I'm sure I'll have more as the semester progresses. But one thing's for sure: teaching at the college level is never boring. No sirreee, always interesting.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday 4

After class today, I stopped by the grocery store to do the week's shopping. And as I read last week on Redneck Mommy's blog, "The only thing I dislike more than sucking cock and stepping in dog shit, is grocery shopping." That. That right there is my sentiment exactly. She was just, oh, so much more eloquent than I could be in expression.

This afternoon's visit pretty much summarized why I hate the grocery store:
  • Parking sucks. I always have to circle to find a space, and that alone makes me angry enough to plow down the elderly and small children.
  • The full parking lot pretty much guarantees a long line at the deli, where there is inevitably 2 people working. At their slowest possible speed. I mean, c'mon, slice faster bitches!
  • The aisles in the grocery store are really only wide enough for 2 carts -- yet people are either too absent-minded or too clueless to realize this, and one of these days I'm just gonna start ramming carts outta my way.
  • There were 3. Count them: 3 lanes open. So the line to each one was several people deep. I chose one at random and got stuck behind the. slowest. lady. in. the. world. Seriously, I didn't know people still wrote checks (or that the grocery store still accepted them). Nor did I know that it is possible to read an entire People magazine while waiting for someone to write a check (it wasn't a total waste -- I did get the low down on Britney's latest wacko-attacko).

Needless to note, by the time I got home, unloaded the groceries and put them away, I was more than ready for the stress relief of a run. And it was everything the grocery store was not: fast, efficient, and rewarding.

1: 9:25

2: 9:22

3: 9:24

4: 9:12

Total Time: 37:24 (Blogger is screwing with my spacing -- thus the giant spaces between splits. Can't figure out why.)

As per my blister after Saturday's 14 miler: it deflated on its own and didn't bother me on this evening's run. But I did learn that many of you are "pickers" -- grossos!

Roachy Beginning

Woke up this morning to find myself staring down at a cockroach. It sucks when the first thing you spy on a Monday morning is a cockroach on the floor. He held his ground too and just stared back at me. And he was still staring at me 5 minutes later when I sucked him up in the vacuum -- brave fucker.

For months, we haven't seen a single roach, but in the past few days I bet I have sucked up about 5 or 6 in the vacuum (big ones too). It sure doesn't make me want to empty the vacuum's container.

Hope everyone else woke to far more pleasant visions this morning.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Racers and Rest

Well, they're off! And by "they" I mean all of those who are running either the full or the half marathon in Arizona this morning. For those of you who want some updates or witty banter, stop by the RnR blog for my commentary.

Meanwhile, those who are running Disney today are 4 1/2 hours into it, so I hope everyone there is having a good race. As for Houston? I'm not sure of that race's start time, but I do hope that racers there are also enjoying a good race.

As for me today? The closest I am getting to running is via observation. Sunday is rest day for Jess. And I plan to do that like it's my job.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday Long Run

This morning I met Wendy again in Deerfield to run A1A for a 14 miler. This is my peak distance before Miami in two weeks -- next week I'll scale back to an 8 miler -- and I was feeling pretty tired this morning. However, I did have a great night's sleep, so that did help. The run itself was a little slow, especially after 8 miles because we took more frequent and extended walk breaks, but after the run I felt great, and right now I feel pretty energetic -- rare: generally, I pretty much feel like going back to bed after a long run.

1: 9:44
2: 9:45
3: 9:53
4: 11:09
5: 9:52
6: 9:51
7: 9:45
8: 11:26
9: 11:26
10: 10:37
11: 12:12
12: 10:20
13: 12:47
14: 11:53

Total Time: 2:30:52

So, yeah, we were petty consistent through 8 miles, but then the timing became more erratic. Like I said, we did quite a bit more walking than usual, but that's fine, we still got the mileage done.

Strangely, I have a big blister on my left big toe, and I haven't had a blister in a long time. Should I drain it? Or let it drain on its own? I kinda want to pick at it.

Last of all: best of luck to everyone who has a race this weekend (there's quite a few), so I hope everyone does well and has fun at RnR in Arizona, at Houston and at Disney! Race safe!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Perceived Reality

Some days the difference between how I perceive a run and how it really is is significant. Today, for example, I felt tired (as I pretty much have all week) and slow, and I thought for sure I was running much slower than usual. But when I finished up the 3 miles and reviewed the laps on my Garmin, I was surprised to find them evenly paced at my normal pace:

1: 9:33
2: 9:31
3: 9:28

Total Time: 28:33

I guess this is why the Garmin is a handy device. Sometimes it's there to remind me that perception is not always the best tool of measurement when it comes to assessing a run.

Anyhoo, on a related but separate note, I thought you guys might appreciate a brief running/mother anecdote: I received an email from my mom today checking in on me and asking about my regular news, and I emailed her back, mentioning in my note that I was in the middle of training for 2 half marathons. She emailed me back that she was glad I had decided to go with half marathons instead of full marathons because she and my step dad were worried about me "ruining" my legs and feet doing all that running that I did when training for Disney and Chicago, and she feels it's best for me to stick with the shorter races for my own good.

Her comment seriously made me want to sign up for a full marathon. I'm 29 (almost 30), and I don't know when I'll ever quit feeling rebellious against my mother.

Maybe it's another case of my perception versus reality, but sometimes my mother really rubs me wrong.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lazy Legs

My legs have been feeling fatigued this week, and at first I was puzzled since my mileage has not been anything out of the ordinary, but then it dawned on me this evening during my 6 miler that it's probably because for the last 3 weeks my legs spent their days propped up on the couch, but this week I'm back at school and that means several hours everyday standing in front of the classroom, in heels. So, I guess the legs need to ease back into the semester as much as my mind does.

Anyhoo, despite the tired legs, the 6 miles went just fine. The weather outside was pleasant and my brain was busy unwinding from the day, so the 6 miles went by quickly.

1: 9:46
2: 9:47
3: 9:41
4: 9:51
5: 10:01
6: 10:14

Total: 59:22

Now, I think I might do some foam rollering to try to ease some of this muscle tension in the pooped out leggy-legs while I watch Jeopardy! Dang, I'm a nerd.

Official Commentator

For those of you running the Rock n Roll Half in Arizona this weekend, I have been named the "official commentator" on your race! So, I will be posting updates about your progress here, and while I expect to receive phone calls and emails on race day to help me update, please also leave your bib#s here in this post's comments so I can track you online and update readers on your progress.

I'm looking forward to posting lots of excellent finish times!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Lethargic 3

The last two days have been very busy -- and this afternoon I felt beat and pretty much done with whole "return from break" thing. So, when I set out for the evening's 3 miler, I was NOT feeling it. I got out there. I got it done. And, yes, I felt better afterward for having done it. But some days? They don't feel like run days.

1: 9:47
2: 9:48
3: 9:48

Total Time: 29:25

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

1 Week Down, 51 To Go

So, now that we are a week into the new year, I figured I'd give you a brief update on my resolutions:

1. I'm doing just dandy without soda. However, I should qualify/clarify what I gave up: I did NOT give up caffeine. No, no, no. That's just crazy. I still drink my 2-3 cups of coffee every morning. I don't think I could dress myself without the java; instead, I did give up my one Diet Pepsi a day. And really, I wasn't drinking it because of the caffeine (next to coffee, the caffeine in a diet soda is neglible), I was drinking it because it was a sweet, delicious treat every afternoon. Now, I just get water. Not as sweet or delicious, but better for me, I think.

2. I have been good at taking my vitamins everyday. I gag just thinking about it, but I have been doing it.

3. Flossing every day has also been going well, and I had a dentist appointment yesterday that went fine, so the teeth are good.

4. I haven't yet made appointments for the eye doctor or regular check up doctor. But I still have 51 weeks to get those two appointments in.

5. As far as eating better, well, I have been trying to be more conscious of what I ingest (I'm munching on a healthy apple right now), but I can't say I've made any major dietary changes in the past week.

So, all in all, I've been doing pretty well with the resolutions. Of course, 7 days is not necessarily reason for a ticker tape parade -- by now, you should all know that it takes 21 days to form any kind of habit :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Back to the Grind

My first day of the term went alright -- except for the fact that I brought the wrong syllabus to one class (in my defense, it's the same class, same time, but one is on Monday/Wednesday and the other is Tuesday/Thursday -- so yeah, I brought the TR stuff to the MW class) but it's no biggie; I can bring them the right materials on Wednesday. One weird thing though: in one class I have two students with the exact same first and last names. I've never had that before. I told the two of them that they'd have to include their middle names on their work.

After class, I had a dentist appointment. My toofers were in good condition and I thanked my lucky stars that I didn't get "The Floss Nazi" (one hygienist there is a little rough). So, with clean, cavity free teeth, I came home and laced up my running shoes for a 4 miler before dinner.

It was a great temperature out -- cooler but not cold -- and the run went smoothly:

1: 9:20
2: 9:11
3: 9:34
4: 9:32

Total Time: 37:38

And now that dinner is resting comfortably in my tummy, I will retire for the evening to rest up for day number two of the term. Hopefully, tomorrow I will bring the right materials to the right class.


Need a new exercise regimen? Something to help you keep those New Year's Resolutions? Well, go check out my friend Ryan's blog for his patented 7 minute muscle program that he guarantees is "Better Than Nuthin." Seriously, even if you don't apply the 7 MM technique he describes, I guarantee it will work your abs from laughing. It made me spit out my coffee this morning, and that almost never happens.

What are you still doing here? Go over there!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Last Day of Break

Today is my final day of my Holiday Break -- 3 weeks have never gone by so quickly -- and I feel as though I should do something significant to take advantage of my last day off, but nothing really comes to mind. But whatever I chose to do today, tomorrow I have to get up early, get dressed in clothes that aren't sweapants, and return to school. It's the start of a new term.

No running for today. It's rest day for me, homies.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Saturday Dozen

Wendy and I met up again this morning for a 12 miler, and despite a strong wind blowing off the ocean and an upset stomach (I would not recommend Cajun food and beers the night before a long run), the 12 went well.

For first 3 miles, my stomach was really iffy (poor choice of aforementioned dinner and drinks) and for a bit I seriously thought I might hurl, but we took a walk break in the 4th mile and after a bit, the stomach settled and by the time we reached 6 miles, I felt fine. The temp was perfect out, and we were able to keep a very even pace (almost exactly 10 minute miles -- with the exception of the miles where we took brief walk breaks to drink water or take GU).

1: 10:02
2: 10:07
3: 10:09
4: 11:14
5: 10:10
6: 10:09
7: 10:36
8: 9:56
9: 10:57
10: 10:36
11: 10:53
12: 10:14

Total Time: 2:05:11

2 interesting anecdotes:

1. A cranky bitch snapped at Wendy to "move over" on the path. Wendy had moved over but I guess we hadn't created an adequate space for this approaching woman and her running partner to pass us. The woman was such a bitch about it that I kinda felt like pushing her into the grass. Most runners I know are nice, happy people; this woman was not. I am guessing that she was on the return leg of a 20 miler and she was cranky because she was tired. Yeah, that's the excuse I'll give her.

2. We passed a young woman who was running in what appeared to be a 2 piece swimsuit. And the top of the suit was kinda of a peach color, and since she was white, from a distance it was hard to tell if she was wearing a top at all. The whole getup looked very uncomfortable to run in.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Goldilocks Goes for a Run

This 3 miler was too hot.

This 3 miler was too cold.

But, today's 3 miler was just right:

1: 9:16
2: 9:02
3: 8:54

Total: 27:12

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Continued Cold

The cold snap here continues with temperatures here in South Florida dipping into the 30s, and with a "wind chill" (I've never heard the weather people use that phrase in this region before!), it has certainly dipped below freezing in some spots. Bad news for citrus growers and Disney goers alike.

So for my run today, I donned clothes that I haven't pulled out of the closet in over a year: running tights, a long sleeve tech shirt that has extra long sleeves with thumb holes (kinda doubles as simple gloves), and a stocking hat. I just had a 3 miler scheduled for today, but I took a route that is out and back -- in this case that meant 1.5 miles into the cold wind and 1.5 miles with it to my back.

1: 9:44
2: 9:37
3: 9:35

Total: 28:57

Once I got out there and I warmed up, the cold weather was actually comfortable. It's just that initial shock that is hard to adjust to. Now, I know that all of you who live in colder climates are laughing at my struggle with the recent cold temps, but consider how suddenly the cold descended on us: Tuesday it was 80; yesterday, we woke up and it was 38. That's a huge difference overnight. I know it's not as cold as what some of you are currently experiencing, but it feels dang cold to me right now.

The good thing is I get to break out some rarely used cold weather clothing: sweaters, coats, etc, and that's kinda fun -- it's like getting new clothes!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Five Frigid Miles

As I mentioned earlier, temps plummeted last night here in FL -- getting as low as 30 in some parts (abnormal for FL), but by the time I ran today (mid-morning) it was in the mid-40s. Brrrrr.

It started out really cold. The first 1.25 miles was north, straight into a wind that occasionally took my breath away, but after I turned east, the wind was hitting me less directly and the miles started to go more smoothly. I could appreciate the chillier temp as I got warmed up, and by the 3rd mile, I was enjoying the cooler weather and how much easier it is to breathe cool, dry air. The last .25 of a mile was north again, and I had to push hard into the wind in order to maintain my pace, but in the end, the 5 miles went well and I was pleased with how even my splits were.

1: 9:41
2: 9:42
3: 9:31
4: 9:35
5: 9:36

Total Time: 48:06

40 Degree Difference

Okay, some of you may have pictured my New Year's Eve like so: a downtown hotel room, tons of friends, buckets of champagne, Snoop Dogg, and me in the center sportin' 2008 glasses and a noise maker. I know, I know, I may seem like a rockstar, but the truth is that the closest I get to being a rockstar is pelting out off-key songs on Rock Band -- no, my New Year's Eve was more like this: me, my husband, some friends, some games, fireworks, and a cooler of beer. So, basically it means I was sippin beer and kickin ass at "Scene It" for most of the evening, but somehow, all those beers, and the half a bottle of Asti caught up with me and I was pretty drunk. Good thing our friends have a spare bedroom because my husband and I crashed there for the night.

Yesterday? I was a pile. All. Day. Long.

I watched about 3 hours of a show on TLC called "Big Medicine" about these two bariatric surgeons who perform gastric bypass surgery on obese people -- I was fascinated by it. Each time my husband came out in the living room, he'd ask: "Are you still watching this?" Yes, yes, I was.

Anyway, I had the headache from hell all day, so I did not run. Let's call it a "sick" day, okay? Today, I plan to run my scheduled 5, but overnight the weather has dipped into the 40s! Can you believe it? It's absolutely frigid out there, and it's not supposed to get much warmer today. The cooler temp should be nice once I get warmed up, but to start, I'm seriously thinking of pulling out the wool hat and mittens!

Yesterday, it was 80. Weird.