TAT CN Header

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

3 Miles with a Crab Apple

This morning, I again did my run with Norah in the stroller, and again, she wasn't that happy about it. I don't know what the deal has been the past two days, but she just gets cranky about halfway through -- I think she gets tired of being confined to the stroller (which, if that's the case, we have a loooooong road trip ahead of us this summer when we drive to MN). But again, because of the timing of her crankitude, I had no choice but to "just keep running" and get home, so I had to listen to some baby-whining for a few minutes.

Thankfully, tomorrow is a running rest day, so perhaps with a day off, she'll re-adjust her attitude about riding along in the stroller. I hope so. And, if not, well...I guess it's good that she's happy the rest of the time!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday's Ten

This morning, I ran 4 miles with Norah. It didn't go that great. Well, the run went fine...for me...but Norah, apparently, wasn't too happy to be along and for about a half a mile, she bawled and nothing could comfort her. Since she rejected all my efforts to make her happier (pacifier? toys?), I had no choice but to run her home as fast as I could. Thankfully, she eventually stopped crying and while she didn't sleep, she was at least content.

Then, this evening, I decided to put part of my new training schedule into action: some strength training. So, I pushed aside Norah's toys: And broke out this DVD:
10 minutes is about all I can handle for strength training. Any more than that and my attention starts to wander. I chose to do the upper body workout because my arms are currently like water pistols and I'd like them to be full-fledged guns. At the end, the workout ends with a few sets of push ups, and Scooter, sensing that I was on floor, came out to join me:
Afterward, my arms felt like limp noodles and I felt that the only kind of arm workout that I wanted to do for the rest of the evening was a 12 oz curl. Hmmmmm...choices, choices:
Decided to go with the Amstel, and lordy, my little string bean arm is havin' a tough time lifting this -- thankfully there's a reward at the end of this burn!
I might regret these 10 minutes of strength training come tomorrow morning when I can't lift Norah out of her crib!

Can't Think of a Title

Thanks for all the enthusiasm regarding "My Own 13.1"! Many of you asked to join me virtually, and I think that's a wonderful idea; however, I'm not hosting a virtual race. It just seems like a lot of work. But, as I said, I'd love it if others wanted to mark their calendars and run their own "race" that day!

That being said, I ran my first training run yesterday evening. I haven't run in the evening in a long time, but with the time change, after Norah was in bed and after we'd had dinner, it was still light out (granted, it was only 7:15 then, but still, the day does feel longer with that extra daylight). So, I don't know if it was running in the evening, running with the iPod, or running without the jogging stroller, but some unknown factor made me a bit faster, and I finished 3 miles in 27:40.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ze Plan

After the Disney Princess Half on March 7th, I was ready for a training break. I ran 3 HMs in 3 months, and I was looking forward to a bit of down time in a training cycle. But after about a week, I began feeling dissolute without another immediate race on the forefront of my schedule, so for the past 3 weeks, I have been running, but as I mentioned earlier this week, it has felt less meaningful.

I have been scrutinizing the race calendar for South Florida for awhile and, as I said before, there's really nothing out there but 5Ks until October (and travel for race purposes is not within our budget this year). Granted, I could focus on the short distance races and perhaps work on a new PR, but truth be told, I don't feel much motivation to run a 5K, even for a PR try, and I feel even less motivated to pay $30 to run a 5K.

So, I was again feeling "meh" about the running schedule, but then the clouds parted, rays of sunshine beamed down upon me, and my mind was flooded with brilliance: Why not train for my own 13.1?

That's right. Set a date, select a route, create a training plan for it, and then, come "race day" go run my own 13.1!

I was immediately excited about the idea, so I set to outlining the specifics for myself: I decided on a date, I created a training plan, and while I haven't confirmed a route, I have a few good ideas and I am definitely keeping it close to home so there's no "race day" driving, parking, etc. I think I may even try to create my own shirt for it and I asked Jerry if it would be possible for him to either machine or laser cut a medal for me, and he said, "maybe," which I took for a "hells yeah!"

So, I proudly present to you Jess' 1st Annual:

My Own 13.1
When: Sunday, May 23rd
Start Time: 6 am
Location: Tamarac, FL
Entry Fee: $0
Registration: Open
Expo: Nope

Already, I feel more excited to run! Training starts tomorrow.

Food Revolution

So, I was gonna ask yesterday, but got distracted, did any of you see Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution on Friday night?

Normally, I don't like much reality television, but this was really good.

Oliver, as most of you probably already know, is a world-renowned chef (he has several shows on the Food Network), and in this show, he goes into this West Virginia town, which is supposedly the "unhealthiest" city in America -- the obesity rate among adults there is 50% -- and he attempts to influence how they cook and eat, and he focuses specifically on concerns centering around the town's children. I thought the parts dealing with his attempt to reform school lunches was particularly poignant. If you missed the show, you can watch the full episode on ABC's site here.

Friday night is kind of a bad TV night for a show (except for people like Jerry and I who certainly are home on a Friday night!), so I doubt it got the audience it should have, but if you think you might be interested, it airs on Friday night, on ABC, for the next 5 weeks.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

More Snoozin

On our run this morning, Norah fussed a little about halfway through, but I think she was just fighting sleep because it was one or two irritated whines and then she was out. And, again, I am continuing to enjoy her stroller slumber: What's funny, though, is that after I got out of the shower, I discovered that Norah wasn't the only one takin a snooze:
Apparently, my run wore Jerry out as well!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Norah has never been much of a napper -- her sleeping philosophy seems to be a sort of "all or nothing" approach -- but she will fall asleep while in motion. Thus, the beauty of our near-daily 3 miler: If I'm lucky, like I was this morning, she continues to snooze while I shower and get ready. It doesn't happen every day (in fact, this kind of long-term-snoozin' is really the exception, not the rule), but when it does happen, man, it's glorious!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rest Day

No running for me today. Why? No clean sports bras.

Do I see this as a problem indicating that I should do laundry more frequently? No.

I see it as a problem that indicates that I should buy more sports bras!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Single Parenting: Part Deux

Jerry is in Orlando for a conference for the next few days, so it's just me and the niblet until Friday......And I think she may already be ready to strangle me ;)

Thankfully, I again have the help of my trusty friends Erin and Ryan, who will be picking Norah up from daycare and watching her both Wed and Thurs evenings while I'm in class. If it weren't for them, Norah would be attending night class and learning about poetry! Actually, as a baby, she might enjoy the sound of poetry more than some of my students do!

Anyhoo...in Norah + running business, I have been keeping up with the runs as of late, but I've been keeping them short and have been primarily been running with Norah in the jogging stroller. Sometimes she falls asleep, but sometimes she stays awake the entire time but doesn't make a peep. Yesterday, it rained a bit on us during our run, and her barefeet got a little wet, but she didn't complain -- what a trooper!

But while I have been running, I feel like it's lost some of its purpose since I don't have a schedule right now and no certain race plans. I know that April-October are typically maintenance months for me here in FL, but I think I will still find a few 5Ks and try to put together some kind of schedule for the next few months that just helps me feel like the running has some significance to it. Most of you guys experience this cycle in the opposite time of year as I do; any suggestions for the off season?

Okay, Norah's in bed now, so I'm gonna catch up with some DVR'd shows that I missed last night (I was getting my ass handed to me in racquetball -- have yet to win a game of that), so toodles!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I Just Can't Quit You!

After doing some blog-contemplation over the weekend, I came to the following conclusion: I'm not gonna quit, nor am I gonna take a posting-vacation. Yes, I know...go ahead and take a moment to do your happy dance.

There, done? Okay, then you're ready for the second part: What will have to give is the amount of reading and commenting I do. I know, I know, some of you are thinking, "Jess, I have barely enjoyed your cute profile pic and witty banter on my blog as of late anyway!"

And I feel guilty about this; seriously, I do. But to keep up with everyone who I'd like to keep up with is just impossible for me right now. I know this means that I might lose some of you as readers, and that's perfectly understandable (a lot about blogging is the reciprocal give-and-take commenting aspect), but it's what I gots to do. Yo.

So, I will try my best to pop in and visit everyone as I get time, but don't be offended if I no longer appear with regularity on your blogs. Hopefully, this summer I will have a little more time for blogging, but for now, I hope you keep reading here.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


So, you may have noted my absence on the blogospehere the last couple of days, and there's a reason for that: Frankly, I have been mulling over my blog and considering taking time away from it.

Honestly, the thought of quitting altogether has crossed my mind more than once in the past few months, and my reasons for this are simple: I don't have the time for it. Between my family, work, running, and all the various other aspects of life, I often find limited time to devote to this blog, and especially, limited time to devote to reading and commenting on your blogs. And, at the end of the day, when I find that I have an hour or so to myself, sometimes blogging is the last thing I want to do.

But, I am reluctant to quit altogether since I have invested a lot of time and effort into blogging (this blog is nearing 5 years old), and at its heart, I enjoy writing my blog and reading your blogs, and I know that if I just go and "retire," I might come to regret permanently leaving.

So...I'm contemplating a break: A vacation from blogging. However, I don't know how long this vacation would last or if I even really want to take a sabbatical in the first place; it's just a thought that keeps repeating in the forefront of my mind, so I thought I'd share it with you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

I tried taking some cute pics of Norah in her shamrock tee for St. Paddy's, but every shot I got made her look like a drunk Leprechaun. But, then, I figured, maybe that's just as appropriate!

I think I've had this exact same expression the day after St. Paddy's in the past:
Happy St. Paddy's Day everyone! Go light on the green beer!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hair Cut

This afternoon, I got my hair cut. All of them, actually:Then I went and messed up the stylist's hard work by pulling it back in a pony for my run. Here's the gross, sweaty version:
As the sytlist was cutting my hair, she noted that some of my hair that I lost post-baby was now growing back in those short, whispy wings. I told her it was pretty terrifying to see so much hair fall out (about 4-5 months after Norah was born, my hair was shedding like crazy -- seriously, it was a bit worrisome), and she told me that she'd seen some women who had lost whole chunks of hair post-baby! Ack!

Anyway, this conversation led to her asking about Norah and what kind of hair Norah has, which just made me laugh because...well...you've seen Norah; she doesn't have much hair:
She told me not to worry, that Norah's hair will grow in eventually. I again had to laugh at this because it's never worried me. When I was a baby, I too had just fine, barely-there-hair and it wasn't until I was well into toddlerhood that it started to really grow, and even then, according to my mom it "came in all weird." Example, here I am at about 20 months old: Barely any hair up there! And, I have to agree with my mom: It looks a little weird.
Thankfully, by the time I entered kindergarten, my hair was perfectly normal.
So, I'm sure Norah's hair will eventually grow in. And, then -- if she wears it long -- I hope she pulls in back in a pony for running :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Edition: Break's Over

Today, sadly, is my last day of spring break: Back to school tomorrow. Sighhhhh. Oh well, it was great to have the week off and we had a nice weekend to top off the break.

And today, we spent most of the day outside. We went to the park for a picnic and to the playground with some friends; here are some pics:

I did some running too over the weekend, but just kept the runs short and easy. I don't have a training plan right now and no races on the horizon -- this is the time of year when the race schedule begins to dry up in Florida -- so, for now, I'm just enjoying running "free" for the time being.
Hope everyone had a nice weekend and adjusted to the time change just dandy. Don't you think the "spring forward" should happen during the work week so we have one less hour during the week instead of on the weekend? It just doesn't seem fair.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Victory is Mine!

Thanks to those of you who had inventive ways of getting my race pic that I was too cheap to purchase: Your ways of circumventing copyright laws were appreciated, but only Kelsa actually went and DID it for me and then emailed me the pic! I love it when you guys offer suggestions for help, but love it even more when you do the work for me!

So, if you look at my profile pic, you'll see that it has been updated with this pic. Yes, the watermark is visible, but I don't care. I'm just so happy to have that pic in my possession -- and for free! Thanks again, Kelsa!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Race Pics

So, normally, I don't buy official race pics because I always look terrible in them. But, I was browsing pics from the A1A Half from 2 weeks ago and was surprised to discover that I liked one. You can view it here.

But, when I went to buy it, I was shocked (shocked!) to see how much it cost. I was thinking I'd pay, like, a few cents, maybe a dollar for it. Nooooooo. If you went to the above link, you saw the prices. Absurd, I tell you, absurd! So, of course, I tried the illegal copy/pasting route, but the damn thing is copyright protected (damn you, federal laws!), so unless I want to fork over $15 (minimally), I don't get this pic.

Kinda pisses me off.

Have you guys ever actually purchased a race pic? Did you sell your plasma to buy it?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Seven Months

What better way is there to celebrate a 7 month b-day in the spring time in Florida? Playing outside in gorgeous weather, of course!Mom and Scooter dog also enjoyed the morning outdoors:Norah was a cool chick in her sunglasses and hat...and requisite drool:Too bad she really didn't want to tolerate the hat......and, she'd prefer to drool on the sunglasses rather than wear them. A very fun morning outside in the sunshine! Can't believe she's already 7 months old; time is gonna slow down at some point, right? Right?! Oh well, at least I get to have days and weeks like this to appreciate that fleeting time with her.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

On My List

My list of things to get done during break continued today with the following: Note that I save the best for last :)

After all my chores, I rewarded myself with a 4 mile recovery run, and despite a little stiffness in the first mile, my legs loosened up fine and I finished the run in 39:22. So, now, I can add a little "check" next to that one! Ahhh, how satisfying is it check things off a "to do" list?

Now, I have about an hour before Jerry and Norah will be home so I think I'm gonn a go do the one thing that's not on my list: Relax!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Spring (Break) Cleaning

On my list of things to do this week was clean out my closet, and as it turns out, that meant sorting through quite a bit of running gear. For one thing, I had six pairs of running shoes, so I weeded out the four oldest ones and plan to donate those.Then, I discovered that I had five of these kinds of bags:
And, I certainly don't need all five, so I kept one, and put the others in the "donate" pile.

Lastly, there is, of course, the entire drawer full of race shirts. In years past, I have simply donated my excess race shirts -- many of them don't fit well, or are poorly desgined anyway -- but I haven't sorted through this drawer in about 2 years, so I discovered I had about 20 shirts. Here's a random assortment:
Some are good shirts: The Miami shirts and A1A shirt from this year are good for regular short sleeved tech tees; my Disney Marathon shirt is a good long sleeved tech shirt (very necessary since I only have three long sleeved techs all together); and my Colorado Colfax HM tee is one of my favorite "hanging around the house" shirts.

But, with those few exceptions, I don't ever wear these shirts, and most are too big for me. So, what to do with them? I don't really want to donate some of these since many of them are from memorable races. One idea is that I could have them made into a shirt quilt (but I would need to have someone do this for me since I don't have a crafty bone in my body). But aside from that idea, I have no clue how I could better appreciate and utilize these tees. Any suggestions?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Report

At the expo, on Saturday, I picked up this little beauty from Lift Your Sole's booth:Love it! And, of course, I got my t-shirt, goody bag and bib:

I had no expectations or real goals going into this race. After two disappointing times, first at Miami and then at A1A, I figured I would just go into this half for the fun of it. No goals. Nothing. I especially felt this way after I woke up Saturday morning with a sore throat; I knew I was coming down with what Norah had, and this morning, when I got up at 3 am, my throat felt ragged and my nose was a bit drippy. I popped two Advil and figured I'd do my best.

Can pretty much be summed up with: Cold as hell!

It was only about 38 degrees at 4:15 when we arrived at the start. I had decided to go with capris, a shell top and a long-sleeved tech over it. And it wasn't enough. I was wishing for a throw away sweatshirt topped with a parka.

I spent most of my hour and forty-five minute wait standing in line for the porta potties, which actually timed things pretty well: I peed with about 10 minutes to spare before the start, which meant that I had a completely empty bladder at the start of the race -- seems like a small thing, but after the past 2 HMs, it was a blessing. Also, I was assigned Corral A, which was the first one, bonus!

The race got underway with a typical Disney fireworks display, and because I was in the first corral, it only took about 2 minutes for me to cross the start. My toes were freezing from being out in the cold for so long, and running actually kinda hurt at first, but I was eager to run at that point so I could warm up!

The first mile was crowded (13,000+ runners), but it thinned out after that and was comfortable the entire way.

The highlight of the course was, of course, running through Cinderella's castle: The scenery was perfect, such a good fit for the princess theme, and the crowd there was amazing. Otherwise, I was disappointed that Disney's course for this race took us through virtually no parks; it was almost all highway. So, not too scenic (like the other races of theirs that I've done), but the wide asphalt was good for thinning out the crowd and it was, for the most part, flat.

After the first mile, I warmed up pretty well, but I never felt hot and I didn't shed my top shirt until mile 11, but despite the chill of waiting in such cold temps, to run in such temps was perfection, and the miles just went so easily for me. The Advil did their trick and my throat felt fine for the duration of the race, and my drippy nose wasn't unmanageable (besides, I was wearing sleeves for wiping!).

So, aside from the first mile's crowd, I set my pace and was amazingly consistent:

1: 10:19
2: 9:36
3: 9:29
4: 9:31
5: 9:32
6: 9:53
7: 9:36
8: 9:39
9: 9:30
10: 9:45

At this point, I knew I was headed for a PR; I just had to maintain my pace, and it would be in the bag. Of course, the last few miles were the toughest: Highway overpasses and then lots of twists and turns as we wound our way through the backside of Epcot, but I did well maintaining my pace:

11: 9:49
12: 9:35
13: 9:19
.27: 2:12 (yeah, lots of weaving early in the race added about .17 to my distance)

For the grand total PR of: 2:07:52!

So, I crossed the finish feeling great and got my medal:
This was the first HM in a long time where I finished and felt like I could keep going. In fact, I finished and barely felt fatigued. I think that's partially the cool, crisp air, but I also think that the past few months of training and racing have really just put me back into my former shape, and I felt great!

After the race, I caught a shuttle back to my hotel, showered and was on the highway home by 9:15 am. Which meant that I got home in the early afternoon and was able to spend the rest of the day with my family (who I really missed in the 24 hours I was gone). My sore throat this morning has now blossomed into a full-fledged cold, but I am at least thankful that my symptoms this morning remained minor so that they didn't interfer with my race.

So, all in all, a great race for me personally, but a good race overall. Gotta love Disney; they make those expensive race fees feel well worth it!

A new PR!


Friday, March 05, 2010

Princess Plans

Tomorrow, I kick off my spring break by heading up to Orlando for Sunday's Princess Half Marathon at Disney. I'm excited for this half since I'll be joined by a few friends, and because, simply, Disney knows how to do a good race.


One dilemma and one drawback:

First, the dilemma:

It's gonna be damn cold at the start. Well, cold by Florida standards, and thus, cold by my standards. It's predicted to be about 4o degrees at the 6 am start (I know, I know, for some of you that sounds like a heat wave, but for me, that's gonna feel chilly); now, granted, it'll warm up some and, really, those temps are perfect for running: cool, dry air is way better than the hot, humid air that I've run every other Disney event in, but standing around at the start at 4 am in 40 degree weather is gonna be cold.

So, what to wear? Clearly, the ideal would be some kind of throw-away layer with a short sleeved tech underneath, but I really don't have any throw away sweatshirts or long sleeved tees. I do have one really old sweatshirt that I could probably part with via this means, but I'm a bit reluctant to do that. So, I think I may go to either Target or Walmart this morning and see if they carry any cheap, disposable shirts that may work well for this purpose.

That, or...wear a long sleeved tech over a short sleeved, and take it off and tie it around my waist once I get warm. This is a less wasteful option, but a more cumbersome one.

Or, there is always the garbage bag option; I'm just not that found of that one.

Any further suggestions or help? I'm open to other thoughts.

Finally, then, my one drawback about this race:

Jerry and Norah are staying home, so it will be my first night away from Norah. I'll only be gone about 24 hours, but still, I'm gonna miss her! But, maybe that will motivate me to run the race faster so I can get home to her :)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. Norah has a cold. At least, I think it's a cold. She's all boogery this morning, but she seems in good spirits.

2. It's 45 degrees here in South Florida this morning. That's pretty frigid for here, especially for March! And the high today is only supposed to reach the low 60s. Bet there are some pissed off spring breakers. Oh well, guess they'll have to drink to stay warm.

3. Speaking of spring break, after 9 pm tonight, I too will officially be on spring break! Wa-hoo! What sucks, though, is that I have about 100 papers to read over the break, but I don't care; I'm just SO looking forward to the week off. Norah's gonna go to daycare in the afternoon all next week and I'm gonna have about 4 hours each day to get shiz done!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


What's tougher than running in to a 15 mph wind?

Answer: Running in to a 15 mph wind whilst pushing a baby in a jogging stroller. Uff-da!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Brisk BOB Run

It was another chilly morning here in South Florida, so for my run, I decided to don a long sleeved tech shirt, but still decided on shorts: For Norah, it was harder to decide what she should wear since she doesn't have the benefit of warming up by running, and she has the added breeze created by riding in the BOB, so I chose to err on the side of caution and bundle her a little more thoroughly:
By the end of the 1st mile, I was pretty warm and wishing I had chosen a short sleeved shirt instead; oh well. Norah seemed comfy and didn't make a peep (since she fell asleep) so I assume that meant she was neither too cold nor too hot. So, despite the fact that I was a little warm, it was still a good 3 miler, and for Norah, it was a good 30 minute nap.
And, before I sign off, I just have to show you Norah's shirt today; it's totally kick ass: She's Bat-Girl!