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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 in Review

This has been, hands down, the most surreal and amazing year of my life.

I spent the first few months of 2009 primarily hunched over the nearest toilet. Pregnancy gave me morning, afternoon, and evening sickness, and I found myself puking in all kinds of places: at home, at friends' houses, in restaurant parking lots, pulled over by the side of the road, and at school. I was pretty miserable, but I kept on running. Around the end of March, the morning sickness abated and pregnancy got a whole lot easier, but running didn't. Still, I kept at it with slow, short distances and little expectation in terms of distance and speed.

I managed to run until I was 32 weeks preggo, but after my 2 miler on June 10th, I threw in the towel on pregnant running. It was too hard and too hot at that point. I am proud of the running I did while pregnant and believe I ran for as long was possible for me. For the remainder of my pregnancy, I still walked everyday, but otherwise, I allowed myself to take it pretty easy. Here I am just a few days before Norah's birth on August 10th: Looking at that picture makes it hard to fathom that I was ever that pregnant! Oh, how quickly that mom-amnesia sets in! I know that, of course, she was inside me, but at this point, it just seems absolutely unbelievable.

A few days after the above picture was taken, Norah was born, and life for me was changed forever.
I spent the first week or two in utter disbelief that I was actually a mother and that I actually had a daughter. And, in some ways, I still can't believe it. As everyone tells you: With children, your life will completely change, and it's very true, but you can't fathom how true it is until it happens. Not just because your sleeping patterns, eating habits, priorities, and relationship with your spouse all change, but also because you experience love like you never have before. At least, this was the case for me.

I fell in love with Norah with an intensity I never expected. And it's such a different kind of love from romantic or familial love that I had no idea that it was gonna sweep me off my emotional feet. Then, I also re-fell in love with Jerry. It's tough to explain, but it's like I fell in love with him in a different way. I guess I suddenly loved him for being a father (and such a good one at that!) not just for being my husband, and that too was a new and unexpected love. Lastly, I simply fell in love with my family: With Norah's arrival, I felt that what we had created was something that was all our own; and while my family still includes my parents, siblings, etc, this family that Jerry and I have built is really MY family.
So, yeah, Norah's arrival certainly was the most significant event of the year, but soon after she was born, I started to itch to run again. I was torn about waiting until the 6 week post-partum mark, or going ahead on my own when I felt ready. In the end, I went for my first post-partum run about 4 weeks after her birth, and at the 6 week mark, I set my sights on a few small races to close out the year. I began running regularly again -- at the slowest pace I've ever run -- and trained first for the Key Biscayne 10K on Nov 14. Completing that felt like I had officially made my return to running.
Since then, I also ran a Turkey Trot 5K and began my training plan for some HMs in 2010. In the end, assuming I do my planned 5 miler tomorrow, I will have run 437 miles this year. A fraction of the mileage many of you have logged this year, but considering I ran half the year pregnant, then took 12 weeks off, and then eased back in post-partum, I am proud of the miles I logged this year. They may be few, but each one meant a lot to me.
At the end of 2009, I find my life is infinitely more challenging than my life at the end of 2008: Balancing being a wife, mother, teacher, and runner has certainly been tough; however, my life has never been richer or more rewarding. And running has come to mean something much more significant to me. It's no longer just a way to maintain my physical fitness and help me decompress. Becoming a mother has helped me see running in two new ways: First of all, now it is "my" time, a space and time for just myself, which is worth a lot to any mother. Secondly, I run now for Norah -- to show her what women can do and what healthy and strong mean for a woman. Granted, she's too young to understand that now, but I hope that growing up with such an example will be influential in how she perceives her own health and strength.

For those reasons, the number of miles I logged this year are meaningless; yet, those same reasons have made running more meaningful.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Locating Satellites...

This morning when I checked the weather before our morning walk, I was suprised to see the temp was 44. Yes, 44! Degrees. Farenheit. In Florida! I nearly spit my coffee out.

So, I did what was sensible: drank another cup of coffee, and bundled Norah and myself up, and she, Scooter and I went for a rather brisk walk.

Thankfully, the day warmed up, but the high was only in the 60s, so it turned out to be another near-perfect day: Sunny clear skies, nearly non-existent humidity, and a comfortable, moderate temp. Perfect conditions for a late afternoon run.

Jerry got home at 4, and I jumped into my running clothes and hit the pavement for a 4 miler. But however ready I was for the run, the Garmin was a bit lethargic. I don't know what its problem was: I can understand when it has trouble locating a signal on a cloudy or rainy day, but perfectly clear, sunny skies? WTF?! I had to stand around outside for nearly 5 minutes in order for it to locate the satellites, and then once it located a signal, it immediately lost it a quarter mile into the run. Luckily, I know a lot of my routes like the back of my hand, so I knew exactly what 4 miles consisted of, and with the timer still running, I had some sense of my pace: I finished the run in 40:48, which is about a 10:10 min/mile pace. Not so shabby.

It felt great too. Which is really the only data I need in order to measure a run's success.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Decade in Review

As the year comes to a close, and we all reflect on 2009, I also find myself reflecting on the decade as it too comes to a close. It's always amazing how quickly time goes by, but to think back on the past 10 years, utterly astounds me.

Ten years ago, I was a 21 year old college senior, and like my fellow college students, we all greeted the feared Y2K with an inhuman amount of booze. In my recollection, we were so eager to get into a particularly hard to open bottle of champagne, we ended up using a screw driver to pry the cork out, and I believe I lost my college boyfriend at a party (it turned out he'd been barfing and passed out in a bathroom...ah...college days!).

So, without further ado, the 2000's of Jess in review:
  • 2000: Graduated college. Started graduate school, which also meant my first year of teaching a college class as part of my assistantship. Was so nervous before my first class that I threw up in the faculty bathroom.
  • 2001: Cont'd with grad school, started to get the hang of teaching and was surprised to find that I liked it, got engaged to college boyfriend (same Y2K puker).
  • 2002: Wrote thesis, graduated grad school, began teaching as an adjunct professor, broke off engagement to college boyfriend, spent summer living on a friend's couch and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. In the late fall, I met Jerry. We were just friends then.
  • 2003: Cont'd teaching as an adjunct, but was really making my primary living via waitressing -- such is the humble existence of someone who gets an MA in English. Began dating Jerry. Fell in love.
  • 2004: Moved to FL with Jerry. Cont'd teaching as an adjunct -- at 3 different colleges.
  • 2005: Jerry and I bought our condo (and got started on remodeling it), we got engaged and, 6 months later, got married. Started running. Started my blog. Still teaching as an adjunct.
  • 2006: We got Scooter. I started training for the Disney Marathon. Was awarded "Adjunct Prof of the Year" at one college that I particularly liked working for, and then got a Full Time Temporary position there.
  • 2007: Finally finished the remodel on our condo -- just in time to begin to see the beginning of the end with real estate. Completed the Disney Marathon, but was injured so missed my time goal by a wide margin. Took some time off, then began training for Chicago Marathon -- that ended in disaster (haven't aimed for a marathon since). Was finally hired as a Tenure-Track Professor at my preferred college. Got to drop the other adjunct positions and finally began to make a decent salary.
  • 2008: Turned 30. Ran 6 half marathons, as well as a variety of other distances. Got preggo!
  • 2009: Most of my year was consumed with being pregnant and preparing for the arrival of Norah, but I still ran until I was 32 weeks pregnant. The pinnacle of the year was, of course, Norah's birth on Aug 1oth. And, after her birth, returned to running and ran 2 races this year: a 10K and a 5K. I have more to say about this year, but will save that for a specific "2009 in Review" post.

So, here I am at the end of the decade and I have found myself with people and in places I could have never expected back when I drunkenly rung in the 2000's as a college student. What will the next decade bring? I honestly have no clue, but I hope to still be enjoying a happy marriage, healthy and happy children (yes, plural), a rewarding and enjoyable career, an aged but still lively Scooter dog, and running. Everything else is remains excitingly open!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Loot and a 10 Miler

We had a great Christmas, and the best part was opening all of Norah's gifts. But, the second best part was that I got some great running stuff:

Plus, I got a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10s, another pair of Balega socks, and new earbuds for my iPod, and today, for my 10 miler, I got to use almost all of this new stuff.

I don't need the new shoes for another few months because I just bought my current pair in November and they have minimal mileage on them so far, but I did use a pair of my new socks, my new earbuds, and my new handheld water bottle, which I loved! With this new handheld, I could finally drink while running, and with its little pocket, I fit 3 GU cubes (which was just the right amount for this distance).

The 10 miler went well, and I ran very consistently (only had to stop for 2 lights, and with the handheld, I didn't have to walk to drink and eat), and finished it up in 1:44:46 with an average pace of 10:29/mile -- the same pace I maintained for my 9 miler last week.

After the run, I showered up and put on my Recovery Socks. I don't they're necessary for a "long" run such as this, but I figured I'd test them out. I'm wearing them right now. They remind me of the compression socks my grandfather had to wear after his open heart surgery a few years ago. Except mine are fuschia!

Hope the Running Santa was good to everyone else! I hope to catch up on your blogs later this evening.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thanks, Santa!

I think Santa came a day early for me and brought the gift of speed. For my 4 miler this morning, I was given an average pace of 10:16/mile and finished the run in exactly 41:00, which is most certainly the fastest 4 miler I've run in awhile.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve 3 Miler

After having a few days that were a bit chilly by SoFlo standards, today was the PERFECT day: Low 70s, low humidity, sunny, clear, light breeze -- seriously, that is sublime weather. So, this evening, I went for a quick 3 miler around 5 pm, and with the sun setting, it was really my idea of the perfect evening for a short run. I didn't bring the Garmin; instead, I just listened to my tunes and enjoyed the evening air -- not many of us get to run in shorts this time of year and it's this season that makes me feel lucky to be running in FL. Good run. Good, good run.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


As I've mentioned in my past few posts, it's gotten chilly here in South Florida, and for the most part, that's a nice change of pace and is especially nice for running. But, when it comes to my daily walks with Norah and Scooter, it means that we've had to bundle up a bit.
Scooter didn't have to bundle up since he comes equipped with a fur coat, and I think he'd rather chew his own foot off rather than be stuffed into a doggie jacket. But he does tolerate me when I do things ike this:

He reminds me of that little dog the Grinch has!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Misery One Miler

This morning, I got up early in order to complete my entry for Running Laur's virtual 1 miler. I actually had a planned 3 miler, but the RD is flexible and allowed those of us with scheduled runs to just use our fastest mile for our entry.

At 5:30 am, it was 50 degrees here in South Florida, which I know for many of you this time of year sounds like swimsuit weather, but for FL, that's about as wintery as it gets. In preparation for the run, I had set out my running clothes last night and had laid out tights and a long sleeve shirt, and admittedly, I also dug out a hat -- just in case. But this morning, I decided that the hat would be too much and would probably make me hot, so I just stuck with the shirt and tights. And I'm glad I had them because I was pretty cold setting out.

Of course, I quickly warmed up and had a nice run, but it was by no means race worthy. I can get runs done at that god awful hour, but I can't seem to pick up the pace, so my overall time for the 3 miles was 32:48 and my fastest mile was 10:49. Not very impressive, but I'll take it. An unimpressive run is better than no run at all.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

9 Miler and Some Laughs

Yesterday, Norah laughed out loud for the first time while watching Scooter and Jerry wrestle. It was so cute -- kinda like a Beavis and Butthead laugh (heh-heh-heh-heh) -- and we laughed every time she did. Today, Jerry got her to repeat her laughs, so I quickly whipped out the video camera and taped it. She was laughing more before I pulled out the camera, but you get the gist of it from this.

Cute, right?

In actual running news, I got out for a 9 miler this morning, and as predicted, the temperature had dropped over night and it was only in the mid-50s when I set out around 9 am. Perfect running weather, except for the strong headwind I was running into for the first half of the run. But, once I turned around and had the wind to my back, the going was much easier, and I finished it up in 1:34:18 for an average pace of 10:29/mile.

Tonight, it's supposed to get even colder for an overnight low of 47 degrees! People, that is friggin' COLD for South Florida, and I fully expect to spot people in parkas tomorrow.

As for myself, I was planning a morning run tomorrow and I think I might have to pull out my capris and a long sleeve tech shirt. It's actually kind of exciting to get to wear those running items -- I only get to use them once or twice a year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Santa Saturday

So far, we've had a very nice Saturday. I ran this morning -- just a short 3 miler (but tonight the temp is supposed to drop down into the 50s, so I'm gonna do my week's long run tomorrow); then, we went out to lunch, and Norah fell asleep in the car on the way there and then proceeded to sleep through our entire lunch, which made it very nice for Jerry and I. Then, we ran a few errands, and finally, went to the mall to see Santa!

The line wasn't too bad and we waited for less than 30 minutes, which was fine since Norah feel asleep while Jerry held her and she slept through the wait and woke up right when it was her turn to sit on Santa's lap. We couldn't coax a smile out of her for the pic, but at least she didn't cry (although, if she had, I honestly would have just found it funny).

While waiting in line, we saw two kids break down in tears on Santa's lap and we saw one excited little boy who had cut out pictures of the toys he wanted so he could show Santa visuals of what he wanted for Christmas, which I thought was so dang cute.

This afternoon, we plan to continue the festivies by baking some sugar cookies, and Jerry made an official declaration that his cookies are gonna kick my cookies' ass, so I guess I better pull out the apron and get bakin, because I don't bake loser cookies!

Friday, December 18, 2009

4 Month Stats

This morning, Norah had her 4 month check up at the pediatrician's, and here's her current stats:

Height: 25 inches (72 percentile)
Weight: 14 lbs, 2 oz (55 percentile)

I think it's funny that's she's above average for height since I'm so below average for height, so what height she's getting, it's coming from Jerry's side!

The rest of the appointment was good; she's healthy and on track with development, so the check up itself was uneventful. At the end, she did get a few shots, and because Jerry was busy at work today, he couldn't make the appointment which meant I had to hold her while the nurse tortured her with needles. It was awful: Norah cried and I nearly cried. But, it was fast, and by the time we got out of the exam room and up to the reception desk, Norah was calm and smiling at the receptionist.In other news, it's been pouring rain here since yesterday evening (the news said we got nearly a foot of rain last night!), and this afternoon, I was walking Norah and Scooter and some idiot car drove through a puddle right by us and splashed all 3 of us. Norah broke out in tears -- more out of shock than anything else -- and I had to pick her up and soothe her while giving the driver the finger. Seriously, it really pissed me off that someone would be so oblivious to us and so inconsiderate. If I hadn't had Norah and Scooter with me, I would have run them down and, and, and...hmmmm...giving them a thorough talking to? I don't know what I would've done, but I was pretty pissed at that car.

Which suddenly reminds me: I had a dream last night where I was fighting with someone and I have a distinct mental image of me wielding a baseball bat. Don'tcha ya hate when you only remember a small part of a dream? I wonder if I was fighting a regular person or if it was a zombie or something; and yes, fighting zombies is a regular dream repeat for me. And it seems that swinging a baseball bat is not an uncommon part of my dreams. Huh. Maybe if I'd had a bat with me this afternoon, that car-splasher would be sorry!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tired, Tired, Tired

Last night as we were getting ready for bed, I was bitchin' and moanin' about how tired I am, and I was telling Jerry how I can't believe that pre-Norah I ever thought I was busy. When I think back to before she was born, or before I was pregnant, it literally blows my mind to think about how much extra time I had (yet, at the time, I don't think I realized or appreciated all that extra time). I am not kidding when I tell you that I used to sleep 8-9 hours a night, and then come home from work in the early afternoon and take a 2 hour nap. Goodness gracious, I would kick a puppy to get that much sleep now!*

Jerry replied, "Yeah, but you wouldn't trade that, would you?"

No, of course not. Norah is worth WAY more than a few hours of sleep to me, but it is amazing how your life does a complete 180 once you have a child -- to think, I used to just walk out the door (anytime I wanted to) with just my purse!

We marveled over all the changes the last year has brought for us, and Jerry chuckled with: "Just wait, when we have another kid, you'll be saying, 'I can't believe I ever thought that just Norah was a lot of work -- I used to get so much sleep then!'"

I laughed too at that because I know it's all about perspective, and I'm certain I will say something like that one day.

So, anyhoo, that's a long intro to my main point: I was too tired for an early run again today. But the upside is that b/c today is my last day of class, I'll get home a few hours early and will most certainly have time to fit it in this evening before it gets dark. And, because today is my last day for the term, I'm hoping to get some rest in over the next two weeks -- during Norah's naps or opting to go to bed extra early, and I should be able to since I won't have to use that time to grade papers like I do now.

*Really, I know I should be the last person with an infant to complain about sleep since Norah sleeps from 6 pm-6:30 am, but just because she sleeps a solid 12 hours a night, doesn't mean I do. I usually go to bed around 9 pm (yes, Jerry, sometimes I want to be in bed by 8, shut up) and I am always up at 4:30 am to pump. And yes, I could eliminate that 4:30 "feeding" and endure a few days worth of discomfort and then be able to sleep later, but I want to keep that "feeding" because: A.) It is partially what motivates me to stay up and do those early runs on the days I actually do them, and B.) That one "feeding" alone provides Norah with the majority of the milk she needs for bottles at DC and her early evening with Jerry.

And, no, I would not actually kick a puppy. I *puffy heart* puppies. But a tired Jess is not a reasonable Jess.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I skipped my workouts on both Monday and Tuesday.

There, I feel better now.

My excuse? Simple exhaustion. I just felt so tired both days that I skipped the morning to sleep in and then I failed to get them done in the evening because after a full day, running or cross training were the last two things I was interested in. My reasons for such tiredness are the result of a confluence of three things: Having company back to back, getting ready for Christmas, and concluding the semester. Having them all coincide has left me wiped out.

However, I resolved last night that I wouldn't let another day slip by without getting my run in, so this morning, I rose early and ran 3 miles (33:07). And just as I knew it would, getting out there and doing it made me feel WAY better than skipping it the previous two days. It's amazing that I've been running for 4 and 1/2 years now, but I still need reminding that I actually feel more energized when I push myself to do the running rather than skipping it in favor of sleep or sitting in front of the TV.

Thankfully, my life is about to be a whole lot simpler for the next few weeks: No more company and we get to enjoy the holidays by ourselves, I'm nearly done with my xmas shopping and preparations, and by tomorrow afternoon, I'll be done with the semester; then, I get to enjoy 2 weeks off at home, which I am SO looking forward to!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Miscellany

First of all, Norah had a great weekend with her Grandpa:His name is Ernie, so he brought her a stuffed Ernie, which worked out for some cute pics of them together.

And, we had a great Christmas party on Saturday night -- we had a lot of fun and all got some great loot!

Jerry's dad left this morning, and then I had a doctor appointment, so Jerry took the morning off. My dr. apt was just an annual check up, and really, the only reportable thing about that is that I am officially back to my pre-preggo weight! I had weighed myself at home a week or two ago and saw that, but today at the doctor's office, their scale reported the same number, so I was pretty pleased.

Of course, the suck of the matter is that while the weight is gone, the shape isn't necessarily back. Not that I ever had abs of adamantium, but before pregnancy, I did have a relatively flat, firm tummy. But, now it is...squidgier...than before. So this is part of the reason for incorporating the cross training into my runing routine; running is great for burning calories, and it does some toning, but I really need to work on strength and stretching exercises in order to restore my body to some of its former shape.

Lastly, I chose sleep this morning instead of an early run -- I just feel completely exhausted today -- so I suppose an evening run after work is gonna be in order if I am going to continue to adhere to "ze plan." That's okay; I really appreciated that extra hour of snooze time this morning!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

8 Miles

Yesterday's cross training consisted of shopping, wrapping gifts, and cleaning the house, so I never got around to testing out Jillian Michaels' Shred. But, I think all 3 of those activities count, and the good news is that I'm about 95% done with my Christmas shopping. I just have to get everything for Jerry (but his stocking is done and so are his gifts "from" Norah) and then go stand in line at the PO to ship off everything else. Ugh...not looking forward to that.

This morning, I did not get up early for my planned 8 miler; instead, I "slept in" until 6:40 when Norah got up, then went for my run at about 7:30. It was later in the morning than I had originally planned, but since it's a Saturday and Jerry's home, I don't necessarily have to run in the pre-dawn hours if I don't want to, and because it's December, the weather is temperate enough to run mid-morning. So, I ran my planned 8 miler, and it went pretty well. I actually remembered water this time so that was a huge bonus right there.

I finished it up in 1:24:16, which is an average pace of 10:33/mile, which is right within my target pace range, so that was good.

Anyhoo...my FIL is here for the weekend, so we've been visiting with him, and he has graciously offered to watch Norah this evening while we go to our Christmas party with friends -- not that he has to do much; she goes to bed between 6-6:30, so he's mainly just volunteering to be here in the house with she and Scooter while we're out. Scooter will probably require more attention than she will.

But speaking of the holiday party, I must skedaddle to make the appetizer I'm bringing. Toodles!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

4 Months and 4 Miles

Today, Norah is 4 months old. And she continues to be such a sweet baby who eats and sleeps well, and seems to be a happy, healthy girl.

This month hasn't brought about any major milestones, but rather, it's been a refinement of many things: She's stronger on her tummy and she tolerates it for longer periods of time now. She sits propped up better. And she reaches for and grasps things with better and better control. And, everything she grabs goes into her incredibly drooly mouth.

She is also "talking" up a storm now -- lots of baby babble that sounds mostly like a hybrid of a cat and a pterodactyl -- and recently, she's been sticking her tongue out and trying to make sounds. I can't quite describe it very well, and I have failed to get it on video so far, but it's pretty darn cute to watch her experimenting with talk. And we have lots of good "conversations" :)

The last thing that has been significant this month is her continuing interest in the world around her. She turns to see us when we talk, and we can see her concentrating on watching, hearing, and touching things. She has even taken a keen interest in watching Scooter, and we've even seen her reaching out to him in an attempt to touch him.

And, of course, she remains as cute as ever:
In running news, I got up early this morning for a 4 miler. It went well, and I finished it in 43:25. It was again incredibly humid out, and there was fog! We don't have fog very often here in FL -- but the effect was kind of fun, kind of like running through a cloud.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Right on Schedule

I overslept this morning by about 20 minutes, and my first instinct when I oversleep is this: Oh well, I can't go run now. Then, I go back to sleep. But, this morning I powered past such apathy and got out of bed and got ready.

With 20 minutes less time than usual, I didn't have as much time to get ready for my run as I normally do, so after pumping and taking Scooter out, I skipped my usual cup of coffee, etc and hopped right into my running clothes and got out the door. I ran a solid 3 miler and was back with plenty of time to shower before Norah woke up. And, I'm so glad I didn't just brush the run off because I had slept in some, which is exactly what I would've done a week ago.

Now that I have a hard copy training schedule to follow, I feel so much more committed and motivated, and registering for and committing to those races in early 2010 has really provided me with the necessary mojo to create some consistency for myself. It's been so long since I ran with a schedule that I had kind of forgotten how helpful it is!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cross Train Tuesday

I am the sort of runner who runs and...rests. I really don't do any other kind of exercise. Occassionally, I do some yoga, and occassionally, I do some weight training, but by "occassionally," I mean like once a month. Or so.

So, in an effort to remedy this and in devising my new training schedule for the HMs I mentioned yesterday, I decided to incorporate some cross training on Tuesdays and Fridays. Problem? I don't have a gym membership, so I have to look elsewhere to find methods for cross training. Problem solver? On Demand.

Even though I have long known that On Demand has exercise programs, I've never really thought to explore it and see what's there. What I discovered is that there's a plethora of programs on there -- all for free! There's everything from yoga to Jillian Michaels to a variety of aerobics and strength training programs; in fact, there was so much to chose from, I felt a little overloaded trying to select something for today.

In the end, I decided to do a 15 min yoga ab program, and it worked out perfectly. I like short, concise workouts when it comes to any form of strength training and this worked out very well: It was challenging, so I felt like I got a decent little workout, but because of its short length, I didn't get bored.

For Friday's XT, I'm thinking of testing out that She-Devil Michaels and doing Shred 1. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Question: What's more painful than training for 3 half marathons?

Answer: Paying the registration fees for 3 half marathons!

So, I registered for the Miami Half, the A1A Half and the Disney Princess Half this evening, and I think my checking account just had heart palpitations about the race fees. Oh well. I'm looking forward to all 3 races, and it's gonna be an awesome half marathon bonanza in January, February, and March!

3 Miles and Outtakes

For the past few weeks, my running has been very inconsistent: One week, I have regular runs and I log some respectable mileage; then, the next week, I barely run at all. In an effort to correct this, I decided that this week is a fresh start and my primary goal is simply some consistency. So, to start off such freshness, I got up at the ungodly hour of 5 am and went out for a 3 miler. It was nice and cool out, so the run felt good. It wasn't fast (33:06), but I got it done. And on a Monday morning at that!

In other news, yesterday I stuffed Norah into a cute holiday outfit that my stepmother had sent her, and Jerry and I staged a photoshoot in an attempt to capture some good pics for our Christmas card. It's not easy taking pics of a baby, but we did get some shots that were decent, and in the end, I put together a card that I felt was "good enough." But, what I thought was funny were some of the "outtakes." If I were a more creative person, I'd find a clever way of using these pics for the Christmas card!

Without further ado, here are a few pics that did NOT make the Christmas card this year:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Beach Baby

I've been MIA the last few days because my dad was in town visiting. He arrived Thursday evening and spent the weekend with us. We had a good visit, and he enjoyed meeting his granddaughter for the first time. And, since part of any visit to FL should include a trip to the beach, we spent yesterday morning doing just that (despite the fact that it wasn't a very sunny day).

So, here's Norah doing "Super Baby" beachside. Here she is with Jerry. She got to dip her little legs and toes into the water.
Here she is with me -- she's clearly more interested in the towel than anything else.
Here she is with my dad; she's wearing her swimsuit cover up here. Yes, not only does she own a large variety of swimsuits, but she also has accompanying swimwear accessories.
And here we are as a family; unfortunately, she's scowling at the camera, but I swear that she didn't have a grumpy moment during the entire outing.

So, I just dropped my dad off at the airport, and it's back to normal for us but only for a few days because Jerry's dad is coming to visit us next weekend. We're referring to this month as "The December of Dads"!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Of Snails, Sprinklers, Snot Rockets and Sweat

One hazard of running in the dawn's early light is that the night's snails are still sliming their ways across sidewalks, and I always feel bad if I step on one, so I do my best to keep a sharp eye out for them and avoid crushing them. This is tough to do in the 5 am darkness, but streetlights help illuminate the path and I can distinguish their "snail trails" glistening in the semi-darkness. And lord knows that snails, unlike the lightning-fast lizards, are not fast enough to scurry out of a runner's thundering footfalls, so I always have to be vigilant.

South Florida has been in a drought for the past few years, so during the winter (which is more accurately called the "dry season"), watering lawns is restricted to either the pre-dawn or post-dusk hours. This means that many communities set the timers on their sprinklers for the time when I am running in the early morning. And unfortunately, it seems that these sprinklers are often times do more watering of the sidewalk than the grass, so I constantly find myself getting sprayed. In some ways, it's not so bad because it's kinda cool and refreshing; but in most ways, it's annoying because the last thing I want on my early morning run is to get splashed in the face with water.

Snot Rockets
I am still somewhat congested, so admittedly, I had to fire off some snot rockets this morning on my run, and one of them did not get much trajectory and I found myself with a stream of boogers on my face. Not so bueno. I had to wipe it off with my hand and then wipe my hand on my shorts. Gross. As Jerry told me last night, "You're cute, but you're filthy."

The humidity this morning was 93% (rain is in the forecast), so it was a sweaty, sweaty run, and when I got home, I was literally dripping sweat on the floor of the bathroom as I got ready to shower. Yeah, between the snotty nose and the sweaty face, I was a picture of prettiness. Guess I needed that sprinkler to the face!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Back at It

After nearly a week with no running, I finally woke up this morning feeling good, so I got out there for an early AM 3 miler. Granted, the running loosened some of that mucus up, so there were some phlegmy coughs and a snot-rocket or two, but that's why running after a cold or flu is good: It helps dislodge up some of that congestion.

Other than simply getting up and actually getting out there for the run, there's not much to report about it.