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Friday, April 30, 2010

Found: Mojo

Finally, I had a good run. In part, it was a good run because I ran at dusk, so it was cooler; I ran by myself, which is a nice change of pace and I get to listen to my Shuffle; and I took yesterday off, so I had fresh leggy-legs. But, a few other factors contributed to the return of El Mojo.

1. I ordered the Garmin 110.This afternoon, after dropping in to my LRS and being told that it wouldn't be in stock until mid-May (possibly the end of May), I went home and ordered it from Road Runner Sports. I had a coupon code for 10% off anyway, and I can't lie about loving the savings. I went with the plain-Jane model pictured above. The pretty grey/pink model only comes with the HR monitor and runs about $50 more than the basic model shown above. I don't use an HRM, never have, and felt like it wasn't worth the extra $50. So, this little baby should be in my hot hands by this time next week!

2. Jerry told me that he has been crafting a medal for "My Own 13.1." He described the design of it to me this afternoon and it sounds pretty kickass. So, I think that means I have to earn my medal by actually trying to train for this invented race. I only have a few weeks to really "train" so I need to step it up a couple of notches!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy Birthday to ...

...the Jer-Bear! Here's a b-day message from your Little Bear:

Hope you have a great day! We all love you!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Halfway There

This morning, Norah and I went for another 3 miler, and this time, she fell asleep during the run. Ahhh, I love it when this happens because I feel more relaxed as I run. When she fusses during a run it kinda stresses me out since there's little I can do but run faster. So, when she snoozes, I feel like the run is more "mine" and that's nice.

So, that brings the week's tally to 10 miles so far. Good, good, I'm on track for my goal of 20! Of course, during the week, I'm usually on track; it's the weekend where the running goes to hell.

Anyhoo, Laura had another good comment about coping strategies; she said, "I would love to hear some strategies you use to not feel overwhelmed at times like this (or less overwhelmed!)"

I get lots of similar comments or questions about "balancing" running/work/motherhood/life and I always steer clear of directly addressing them because, well, I'm not sure I'm qualified to really answer this. Yes, my life has a lot going on, but truthfully, I rarely feel "overwhelmed," and I always keep in mind that there is always someone else out there doing a whole lot more (more kids, more work, more running), so I don't usually expound on this topic.

But, I can say these things make my life easier and more enjoyable when life gets busy:

1. I have a wonderful husband (whose birthday is tomorrow!) who does his equal share of parenting and domestic duties. So, that's not all my responsibility.

2. I have a child who sleeps well. Norah consistently sleeps from 6 pm - 6 am every night (sometimes there's a bit of variation on either side of that timeframe). I can not take responsibility for this; she just naturally established this sleep schedule early on, and it's awesome to be able to have the evenings free and to ensure that I always get about 8-9 hours of sleep a night.

3. I have a great job for me: It's flexible, varied, not-too-demanding, and satisfactory and meaningful. So, while I do have my times (like now) where I have a lot of work to do, I rarely feel much stress or dissatisfaction from my work. And, I can wear flip flops to work, which I sometimes do. Like today.

4. Beer. Never under-estimate the power of a frosty beverage to help de-stress. Better yet, a few beers and an episode of "Modern Family" and I feel down right awesome: Alcohol + laughter = a less-stressed Jess.

5. Coffee. A few cups of this a day and I operate like a well-oiled machine!

6. Okay, so the last two get a little silly, but that's actually my final coping device: Never taking any one area of my life too seriously. I'm not a super-wife/mother/teacher/domestic diva/running rockstar and I never will be. I do my best, but I often fail or fall short in some areas. This can frustrate me from time to time (not feeling great about the running as of late, as you can tell), but on the whole, most small failures don't bother me. I used to go to yoga at this studio back in MN when I was in my early 20s, and the instructor there always repeated a saying that I valued and I try to apply to my everyday life; she said, "You're not in competition with anyone, not even yourself."

So, that's some of the ways I balance life and cope with the busy times; what are some of your methods? I'd love to hear about them. Especially if they involve some combination of Vicodin and alcohol :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This morning, I ran a 3 miler with Norah, and there's really nothing remarkable to note about it: She fussed for a bit halfway through the run, but then clammed up and tolerated the rest of the ride without complaint.

I still didn't stumble upon my lost mojo; however, you guys had a few good comments from yesterday's post that I think deserve adddress, and which certainly do factor into the Case of Jess's Missing Mojo.

First of all, James asked if I had replaced the dead Garmin yet, and if not, he asked if that could be a contributing factor to my missing motivation.

In response, No, I have no replaced it yet; and yes, that is most certainly a factor for me right now. I am waiting to get the Forerunner 110, and I want to purchase it at my local running store (I try to use my $$$ there when I can) and they won't have it in stock until next week. At the earliest. So, yes, I am suffering from Garmin-withdrawal. It's so weird, but it's like that question everybody had to discuss in Philosophy 101: If a tree falls in the forest with no one around, does it make a sound? But, the question here is: If Jess goes for a run without a Garmin, did she really run?

I know I ran, and I record the miles in my training log, but without the Garmin's data, it really feels less meaningful. That seems wrong to admit, but it's true. I know I should just love running for running, but there's something about the numbers that I love too (which is truly weird because I really suck at numbers), and those numbers help make the running feel more concrete. So, yeah, without it, I am feeling a bit lost.

Secondly, Laura asked if the lack of running mojo spills into the rest of my life and negatively affects me in other ways. In short, yes. But mostly, vice versa. I try my best to compartmentalize, but I am not a robot and aspects of one part of life are likely to affect other aspects -- so, when I'm stressed at work or with other aspects of life, that spills over into the running. And right now, I have a lot on my table starting with work, which is really busy right now.

I have an awesome job with a great schedule, but I'm in the final weeks of class. Which means that as of May 7th, I'll be livin' La Vida Loca for the summer, but until then, I am literally surrounded by stacks of papers that need to be graded, final grades that need to be tallied, and floods of students asking me a million questions that all need my attention. So, the end of term stress is weighing me down. Plus, I'm attempting to organize and pack my office since I'll be relocating this summer (to my new kick ass office!).

So, I certainy think that once this term is over, I'll have a bit of time to decompress, and while I'll still be busy (working as a SAHM for the summer), I hope to be able to enjoy the running a bit more when it's not just one more thing on my "to do" list.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mojo Still Missing

For the 3rd Monday in a row, it rained this morning, so my morning run with Norah and the jogging stroller was a no-go. Thankfully, the rain abated this afternoon, and this evening, after dinner, I got out for a 4 miler. It was a little cooler this evening than yesterday morning, but it was still 81 degrees out there, so it was a sweaty 4 miler.

Still haven't found my mojo, but I'm trying to refrain from being a Negative Nancy about it. I know it will return eventually. For the time being, I am setting an extremely short-term goal of running 20 miles for this week. Perhaps I just need to achieve a small accomplishment to feel a little more motivated.

So, 4 down. 16 more to go.

Vote for Me!

So, remember my well-penned virtual half marathon race report? Well, now it's in the final sprint for the finish, and I need YOUR votes to win!

Yes, yes, there are some other mediocre reports also in the sprint, but don't allow yourselves to be distracted by reading and contemplating them. Just go here. And vote for me, Jess.

If nothing else, Jerry, you better vote for me!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Missing: Mojo

If you find it, please call.

This morning, I ran a 3 miler with Norah in the Bob and it was tough. Mostly because it was hot (the "feels like" temp was about 90), but also I seem to just be in a running rut. On the one hand, I feel like I should be running more and putting in higher mileage (mostly because I have this make-believe 13.1 that I planned for myself in May -- but, I'll be honest, I'm starting to doubt my ability to follow through on that plan). On the other hand, I feel...well...hot. And the heat is melting my willpower. So anything more than 4-5 miles seems like just too much effort.

Anyhoo...that's my complaint right now. On a lighter note, I find this picture of Norah hilarious: She's chewing on a puff, but doesn't she look a bit like this guy?

Friday, April 23, 2010

FunDay Friday

Thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday! I received a lot of comments here on the blog and on Facebook; plus, calls and emails from family and friends -- all of it made me feel super loved! It was a good b-day, and I got some good loot, and best of all, I saw Norah pull herself up to standing for the first time!

Speaking of the munchkin... Today, she had her 8 month doctor check up, and here are her stats:

Height: 27 1/2 inches (60th %)
Weight: 18 lbs 1 oz (50th%)

She grew quite a bit in her past two months -- must be because we keep feeding her :) Anyhoo, everything else checked up great; she's in perfect health and is meeting all her developmental milestones right on target. And best of all, the two things the doctor was skeptical about clearing up on their own (her goopy eye and dry skin), cleared up -- magically -- in the past two months. So, all in all, a good check up for the little ankle-biter.
So, for the rest of today, Jerry and I have a rare opportunity: Jerry is off work today and I don't work on Fridays, so we're gonna take Norah to daycare at 11:30 and then we're gonna go out to lunch and...to a movie...in a theater! Woot! It's an afternoon date! And we're both stoked. I don't even remember what it's like being in a movie theater; will I be able to sit still for an entire 2 hours? Might be weird. But good weird, right? Hope so.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Birthday to...


Today, I turn 32 years old. So, in honor of my new age, I thought I'd list "32 random things about Jess' 32 years" -- there'll be a test tomorrow, so be sure to take good notes:

1. I was born in Ft. Collins, CO
2. The first movie I saw in the theater was "Bambi," but because I wouldn't stop crying after Bambi's mother was killed (in the first 5 minutes), my mom took me out and I didn't get to finish my first movie.
3. The first movie I remember seeing in the theater was "Gremlins" -- scared the bejesus out of me.
4. For grades 1-3, I attended school in a one room schoolhouse. It was just me and another kid (his name was Lucas and I will always think of him as "Mucas Lucas") in the same grade.
5. In 1st grade, I fell off the monkey bars and bit through my tongue.
6. When I was 7, I got a hamster and named him Marvin. When I was 9, I entered him in a hamster racing competition hosted by the local pet store. In a miraculous upset, Marvin won first place! He won himself a kickass HabitTrail, and I got my picture in the paper.
7. In 4th grade, I was placed in the "gifted and talented" program at school. I hated it.
8. I took 3 years of piano lessons. Also hated them. Especially hated practicing.
9. I was a Brownie. Also hated that. Only lasted one year in that and I lasted that long because my mom forced me to go because "the uniform cost a fortune" so she was gonna make sure I got my use of it.
10. I was in karate for 3 years. And loved that! I guess kicking and punching things was more a part of my personality than piano and cookie-selling.
11. I played soccer from when I was in 3rd grade until I was a senior in high school. I wasn't great at it, but I loved it too!
12. In grades, 4, 5, and 6, I had perfect attendance. That's right: 3 years and not a single missed day.
13. In 5th grade, I was on the Battle of the Books team (an academic event that would require more explanation that what I'm aiming to compose here -- essentially, a competitive "knowledge bowl" type thing based on books). We lost in the first round of competition.
14. The first day of middle school, I accidentally got on the high school bus. That was a disaster.
15. In 6th grade, I got de-pantsed by Adam Jack in front of my entire grade while we were at lunch. Most embarrassing incident of my life.
16. In 7th grade, I got detention for flicking a penny at someone during class.
17. I had braces.
18. I was in 9th grade when Kurt Cobain killed himself. It was a monumental moment.
19. When I was a teenager, we had a pet goose -- named Silly Goose.
20. I shut my finger in my locker in 10th grade and had to go to the emergency room. Got 10 stitches and that finger is weird to this day.
21. Before I got my driver's license, I had already put my mom's car in the ditch 3 times.
22. Two months after I got my driver's license, I committed a "hit and run" -- the police found me; that was bad.
23. I graduated high school a semester early. But waited until the fall to start college.
24. I have a tattoo, but it's such a cliche, so I hesitate to tell you what it is or where it is. Oh, okay: Chinese character, lower back. Go ahead and laugh.
25. I rolled my Honda Civic in college and I wasn't wearing my seatbelt -- I was thrown from the car, but miraculously, the only injuries I suffered were two chipped teeth.
26. Graduated college Magna Cum Laude, which makes me laugh cuz it sounds dirty.
27. I have an M.A. in English, which means I can write and talk real good.
28. I met Jerry when I was 24. We met in a bar. It's a good story.
29. We got married, in 2005 (when I was 27), on a boat that never left its dock. The boat was named "The Anticipation." I appreciate irony.
30. Even before we got married, we had decided that if we ever had a girl, we'd name her Norah.
31. I have never broken a single bone, had never had blood drawn before I was pregnant, had never spent the night in a hospital until I had Norah, and haven't been to the doctor (except for check ups) since I was a junior in college.
32. I currently weigh 3 lbs less than I did pre-pregnancy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Humid Hump Day

First of all, I won TWO games of raquetball last night! It was pretty swawesome.

Second of all, this morning, I ran a 3 miler with Norah in the Bob and I have one word for that run: HUMID.

I got spoiled by our unseasonably cold winter and cool spring, so now that April's typical heat and humidty are starting to creep back to normal FL levels, I feel like it's a complete blow to the system. This morning, it wasn't too hot (about 70 degrees at 7:30 when we headed out), but the humidity was at 90%. So, I was completely drenched in sweat when we got done, and I was so hot, that I honestly felt a little sick afterward. Thankfully, Norah had fallen asleep on the run, so I had time to sit in front of a fan for a few moments while I sipped my water, and that helped cool me off and make me feel better.

I'm gonna have to buck up and get used to this humidty because this is just the start of it, and really, it wasn't all that bad compared to what it will be once summer gets in full swing -- afterall, the dew point this morning was "only" 67 degrees (in July, it'll be about 73 or 74 degrees on a regular basis).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

On Sunday morning, I had originally intended to do a long run of 10 miles, but when I got out there, it started to rain on me, so I only ran 4 miles. I figured I'd get the other 6 in later in the day, but no dice: It rained all day.

The rain continued into yesterday morning, so I never got a Norah + Bob run in either. And, last night, Jerry's brother was visiting from out of town, so again, no run.

It's kind of frustrating missing runs or cutting runs short; however, I'm ony training for my own 13.1, so there's no real demand to get all the runs in (but, I'm trying to make it feel like there is so that I'm motivated to actually do what I have planned for myself). So, that's why it was nice to get my planned 3 miler in this morning -- a return to the schedule!

The run was warm (definitely getting to be summer here in FL), but otherwise, uneventful. Which feels good; I like my runs to be rather routine.

As for tonight, I am playing raquetball, and I again hope that this will be the week that I finally win a game. We'll see. Don't hold your breath in expectation.

2 days until my birthday...I have surprisingly few packages waiting for me from you guys. Don't worry, there's still time to get rush shipping :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Norah's Nap

After a busy day -- story time at Barnes and Noble, a trip to the baby store, and lunch out -- we thought we'd have no trouble getting Norah to take a nap this afternoon. We thought wrong. Twice, I tried laying her down for a nap, but each time I'd go in and check on her, she was just playing in her crib:
(Her eyes are all squinty because of the camera's flash -- I swear I didn't give her a doobie before nap time.) So, after nap attempt #2, I decided to strap her into the Bob and take her for a run. In mile 1, she was still wide awake and playing with her toys, but by the end of mile 2...
...voila! She was down for the count. And, once we got home, she continued snoozin' -- bonus! Plus, the run was an un-planned 3 miler for me, so it added a few extra miles to my week -- double bonus!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Early Birthday Loot

My birthday isn't until the 22nd (go ahead, mark your calendars), but some gifts have been trickling in from friends and family over the past few days, and I'll be frank: I have no self-control. Gifts must be opened. So, yesterday, I opened up the following from my brother:

Genereous brother, isn't he? Wonder what I got him for his birthday, hmmm...can't remember.
Anyhoo, this morning, I was excited to add the first shirt pictured and the new socks to today's running attire, and they worked out great. I like these new tech tees that look and feel like cotton -- very comfy!
Gotta love the b-day loot!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Mordor Half Marathon

***The following is a work of fiction. This “race report” is being manufactured for Jamoosh’s Virtual Halfathon.***

I had initially been hesitant to register for the Mordor Half Marathon but only because the race would require travel to Middle Earth, and that’s race travel that stretches the budget. However, after reviewing the course map, surveying the potential field of participants, and speaking personally to the RD (Gandolf responds very promptly to email), I decided that this was a “can’t miss” opportunity.

Turns out, Middle Earth is actually in New Zealand, an island I’ve always wanted to visit anyway (who wouldn’t want to visit an island where sheep outnumber humans?!), so I caught the red eye flight from Ft Lauderdale to the Shire on Friday and was in Middle Earth by Saturday morning. I was a bit jet-lagged, but a day’s worth of rest was all I needed for Sunday’s race.

Sunday morning, I woke, well-rested and ready to run 13.1 miles. The course was a destination course that began in the Shire and ended at Mt. Doom, so the start line was set up right in the heart of the Shire – right outside the former residence of Bilbo Baggins. Upon arrival, I quickly hit up the port-a-potties and then got in my designated corral. I assume that because I am so short, I was corralled with the hobbits and dwarves and other short-legged beings, so I was pretty far back from the start line (elves were, predictably, up there with the elite runners). Despite the fact that I was far back, I was still able to enjoy Gandolf’s fireworks that were timed to coordinate with the race’s start, and which were impressive enough to rival any Disney display.

So, without further ado, Gandolf waved his wand, and we were off!

In miles 1-5, I struggled a bit to find my own rhythm. I don’t normally run through the countryside, so it was hard for me to establish my footing, but after the initial few miles through fields and woods, I was able to get the hang of “trail” running and I fell in step just behind most of the other humans (hobbits, at this point, were WAY back seeing as they had to stop for second breakfast). My time wasn’t as fast as it would be if this had been a road race, but I was comfortable with the pace I was running, so I felt happy with that.

Miles 6-10 were those perfect “cruise control” miles that sometimes happen in the middle of a long run – the kind of miles where I can just zone out and let the legs do their work; I love it when this kind of auto-pilot kicks on! Plus, I really needed that feeling because while the early miles had possessed some beautiful scenery, towards the end of this leg, as the course wound closer to Mordor itself, the landscape got tougher to navigate, and the running got down right HARD.

In the valleys leading into Mordor, there were lots of low shrubs and bushes that were prickly, dense and difficult to run through. It didn’t help that there were also an abundance of flies and gnats in this region, so I was swatting at the air as I ran, and this slowed me down considerably. I had remembered sunscreen, but not insect repellent, so I was suffering from a few bites on my face, legs and arms. Thankfully, by mile 11, we had passed that kind of harsh vegetation and bothersome fauna; however, that doesn’t mean the course got any easier at this point. To the contrary, as we passed through the Black Gate of Mordor, we were running into the last part of the race, but the last 2.1 miles were the hardest of the entire race for two reasons: the steep incline and the rocky (gravel, really) terrain.

Plus, it was hot as hell.

Being from FL means I’m pretty well acclimated to heat, but nothing compares to the heat emanating from a nearby, active volcano, so I was sweating buckets at this point and I had drunk all the water I was carrying with me. Big mistake since I had read in the race description that in the final miles, the race would not be providing any water stations. I knew I just had to suck it up and finish the remaining miles parched as I was, but it was hard to ignore the rough, sand-paper feel of my mouth and my lips were so dry and cracked at this point, they felt like the desert-landscape itself. My one consolation at this point was in comparing myself to my fellow runners and seeing them troubled by thirst in much the same way, so I knew I wasn’t alone in this challenging endeavor.

Finally, the finish at Mt. Doom’s base was in site, and the noise of the crowd reached out to me and motivated me to give this tough race the strong finish it deserved, so I gritted my teeth and kicked for all I could. The finish’s spectators were amazing, and I felt their energy push me in those final moments of the race, and when I crossed the finish line, I didn’t care what my time was, I was just glad to be done!

I walked through the finsher’s chute, picked up my medal:

And then gratefully collapsed with my precious and a bottle of water.

In the end, this was, by far, the toughest 13.1 miles I have ever run, and I can see how it’s billed as a “once in a lifetime” event since I think few people in their right mind would run it more than once; however, with that being said, it certainly is the race of a lifetime – I don’t think any future race will be able to compare to this experience!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Putting the "Work" in Workout

This morning's 3 miler with Norah felt like a toughie. Nothing in particular was bothersome; it just felt hard. Could be several reasons for this:
  1. Today was the 5th day in a row that I've run. Altogether, the miles don't add up to much, but without a break, the leggies get tired.
  2. It was windy and few things are harder than pushing a jogging stroller into the wind.
  3. Norah decided this morning that 5:30 am was a perfectly normal time for a baby to get up, so by the time we went for a run at 8 am, my coffee had already worn off.
  4. My allergies have been bothersome for the last week, and while anithistamines help control the snot faucet that is my nose this time of year, they also make me a bit groggy and lethargic (even when they say "non-drowsy").

Could be just one of those, or a combo of all four, either way, it wasn't easy but I still got it done, and now I get to enjoy a rest day tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Garmin Forerunner 110

Thanks for all the input you guys provided about your experiences and observations regarding various GPS devices, particularly your various uses of Garmin's Forerunner series. Particular thanks for informing me of Garmin's latest upcoming device: The 110. I had no clue this was forthcoming, and after doing some reading and researching about it online (particularly a few product reviews), this seems like exactly the kind of Garmin I'd like! It's essentially a simplified version, so it primarily just provides time, distance and pace, but it can be upgraded with other features as well. But truthfully, what I truly care about and use is the basic features: time, distance, pace. In fact, I'm embarassed to admit that I hardly used all of my 205's features, so even though this new model is being advertised as a "beginning runner's gadget," it sounds right up my alley!

Cost? Relatively affordable. For the basic model, it retails for less than $200, and the basic model is all I need (I don't use an HR monitor). A quick call to my local running store later, and I found out that they'll have models in as soon as the first week of May.

And, with my b-day next week, I'm sure to get some b-day money from my parents, grandparents, etc, so I think I'll just stash that b-day cash away and wait for this new Garmin to come out in a few weeks! Until then, I'll just run without, which is kinda nice in its own way -- even though my left wrist feels lonely.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Almost Rained Out

It rained all morning today, so Norah and I missed our usual morning run. But it cleared up this evening, so after Norah went to bed, I laced up and went out for a quick 3 miler. Of course, I have no clue how quick or non-quick it was since I didn't have the Garmin, but it felt good.

I'm kinda undecided about how to proceed from here regarding the Garmin's death. Send it in to Garmin for refurbishment? Buy a new 205? Upgrade, shell out the moola, and go for the 405? What are your opinions/thoughts?

And, remember that dead possum I noted last week? It is now just some black goo and a skeleton. Decomposition sure is fast here in FL!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Green Turtle Gallop 10K Race Report

This report really begins yesterday when my Garmin died.

I was headed out for a short run yesterday morning, and when I turned on the Garmin, and all I got was the "black screen of death." I tried a few tricks I know that have worked to resurrect it in the past, but none of them worked: It seems to be the death of the display screen, not the device itself, and I think there's no coming back from that. The Garmin is about 3 and 1/2 years old, and I think that's longer than the average lifespan for the device, but still...I mourn the loss.

So, that meant that for today's race, I had to pace myself by "feel" -- something I haven't done for a race in close to 4 years. What didn't help was that the race's mile markers were not accompanied by time clocks, so with the exception of a guy standing at the 1, 5 and 6 mile markers shouting out the time, I had no clue what my pace was as I ran.

At mile marker 1, I was at 9:14 -- which was about where I wanted to be; and at mile marker 5, I was at 47:30 -- a little slower than I wanted, but again, about where I wanted to be; but then at mile marker 6 I was at 57:20 -- NOT where I wanted to be (I had been hoping for an overall time of about that). Of course, I knew I had slowed some in the last mile because the 6th mile was pretty much all hill and then the last portion of the race was a winding path that went up and down small hills through the park where the finish was located, but I hadn't figured I'd slowed to a 9:50 min pace, but I guess I did (I only have their word for it).Therefore, I finished in 59:18 -- gun time (chip time was identical and was meaningless because there were no mats down at the start: when are RDs gonna realize that without mats at the start, all the timing chips are completely useless?!) -- which is a new PR and still fell within my "pie-in-the-sky" race goal!

So, even though I feel like I could have had it in me to run a faster race, I'm still pleased with this time and, let's be honest: It's always nice to fall just a smidgen short of expectation so that I have endless goals to pursue.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

8 Months and Race Goals

Today, Norah is 8 months old, and while the past month has been full of fun developments, the most significant milestone has been her attempts at crawling, most recently, she's learned to get her knees up under her and get her tummy off the floor. She's most motivated to go after cans and water bottles like we've bribed her in the following video:

It's exciting to watch her learn this new skill, but it also means that soon she's gonna be a hand full! Still, though, so fun!

Anyhoo...aside from Norah cakes, tomorrow is the Turtle Trot 10K so I thought I'd outline a few preliminary goals for myself:

Pie in the Sky Goal: Beat the 60 minute time frame. McMillan tells me that I'm capable of finishing in 57:27 (based on my most recent HM finish time). I would be thrilled with such a finish.

Secondary Pie in the Sky Goal: Beat my previous 10K PR, which is 1:01:25.

Realistic Goal: Beat my time of 1:05:20 that I ran last Nov (3 months after Norah was born).

Base Goal: Have fun, save the turtles!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

It's for the Turtles

For awhile now, I have been hemming and hawing about running the Gumbo Limbo Green Turtle Gallop 10K. The pros for running it were simple: 10K opportunities are rare in this neck of the swamp, and especially rare this time of year, so I felt as though I should do it (the next 10K on the South Florida race calendar doesn't come around again until November). However, the cons were also pretty straight forward: I didn't really want to drive to Boca early on a Sunday morning. So, yes, laziness was the primary reason I hadn't yet registered.

But, last weekend, I mentioned it to Jerry and he said, "Go for it! You wanted a race to run now anyway." "You're right," I said...and then preceded to allow the early registration to pass me by on Monday. But, then, this afternoon on Facebook, some friends were discussing running it, so I butted in and invited myself to join them. So, there ya go: An hour later, I was all registered. All the proceeds go to the Gumbo Limbo Sea Tutle Rehab Center (which is where strung out sea turtles go after a bender, I guess), so it's for a good cause. Plus, I have the opportunity to best the Key Biscayne 10K I ran back in November; I ran that in 1:05:20 -- I think I can beat that now. And, that's a good cause too, right?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Of Dead Possums and Other Wednesday Observations

First of all, I sadly did not win at racquetball last night. I came close in one game by tying the score 14-14, but then I lost. It kinda sucks to always lose, but to be honest, it doesn't bother me that much; I still like playing.

Secondly, I went for another 3 miler with Norah this morning, and I have two observations to share about that:

For one, passing people with the BOB is awkward. Our sidewalks here in South Florida are only wide enough for two people abreast. But, one person pushing a jogging stroller is the equivalent to a person and a half, so in passing fellow pedestrians, I feel like I'm just barely shaving by them if they remain on the sidewalk. Also, while I do give people verbal warning when I approach them from behind, I still seem to sneak up and surprise a lot of people, so not only am I taking up a lot of room on the sidewalk, but my ninja skillz are also scaring the bejesus out of some.

While passing people is awkward, passing by dead animals is even worse. At least I don't have to yell "On your left!" for that, though.

Yes, that was my clumsy transition into my second observation about today's run: a dead possum. Possum are frequently the victims of roadkill in South Florida, so it's not uncommon to see a smooshed one by the side of the road, but this particular dead possum appears to have just dropped dead in the middle of the sidewalk. I noticed it last Saturday on our run, and this morning, its decaying corpse was still there. But now, of course, it is getting more and more disgusting and the putrefaction while passing it is awful.

I, at least, know that it's coming and can breathe out of my mouth as we pass it, but Norah doesn't understand me when I say, "Oh gross! Norah, plug your nose!" so she has to breathe in that disgusting whiff of rotting animal carcass. I hope this doesn't ingrain itself in some deep-seated part of her baby-brain so that in therapy, 20 years from now, she'll have to un-earth the devastation of having her mom push her past a dead possum.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Two Things Tuesdays

One: Ran 3 miles with Norah this morning. She was a bit of a fuss-bucket, but on the whole, she was quiet. I wish I could magically make her fall asleep each time, but it seems to be a game of chance: Sometimes she sleeps, sometimes she doesn't. Short of drugging her beforehand, I guess I just have to continue to gamble with each run.

Two: Tonight, I play raquetball. I've been playing every other week now since early February, yet I have not managed to win a single game. No, I didn't say a "match"; I said a "game" (3 games in a match). So, I haven't magaed to win a single GAME in two months of playing. I gotta step it up a few notches! Perhaps, I should make sure I put on the "ass kickin" shoes instead of the "just got my ass kicked" shoes. Silly me, I must've been putting on the wrong shoes for the past 8 weeks.

Monday, April 05, 2010

"Running" Errands

This morning, I had two things I wanted to accomplish: One, go to the store to return a movie and pick up a few grocery items; and two, go for my planned 3 miler. So, I decided to kill two birds with one stone by combining the two tasks.

There's a Publix on my standard 3 mile route, so I strapped Norah into the running stroller and brought my wallet and the movie along (this is where the stroller actually comes in handy -- mesh pockets and the under-carriage basket worked out perfectly for this task). It's about a mile to the store, so we ran there -- ran right up to the door -- dropped off our movie and picked up a few necessities, checked out, and then we were on our way again so as soon as we walked out the electric doors, we were running again!

Ran the remaining 2 miles of the loop and we were back home: Run done, check! Errands done, check!

And even though Norah didn't snooze during the running, she did crash for a 40 minute nap once we got home -- double check!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter Eight Miler

Well, technically, today is not Easter, but it's Easter weekend, and I like using alliterative titles, so there ya go.

This morning, as the title suggests, I wanted to do my "long run" of 8 miles. So, at 7:30 am, Norah was acting a bit sleepy (when you get up at 6 am, 7:30 feels like the morning is getting on, I guess), but Jerry and Scooter weren't even out of bed yet and I was itchin' to get my miles in. So, I figured I'd toss Norah in the stroller for a few miles, come back and leave her in Jerry's care and then go finish my run up.

So, I strapped her into the stroller and we went for a 3 mile loop. Despite her apparent sleepiness during breakfast, she didn't succumb to the land of nod for the run; however, she was quiet the entire time, and that's really all I ask for.

We got back to the house a little before 8, and Jerry and Scooter were up by then (sleepy heads!), so I literally handed the stroller with Norah in it off to Jerry and then turned around and headed back out for my remaining 5 miles. Interestingly, those 5 miles were slower than my initial 3 pushing the stroller, and, in general, the run was a touch slower than I would've liked, but I still finished it in 1:19:10, which is a 9:54/mile pace and as long as I keep the pace at sub-10 min/mile, I'm usually pretty pleased.

Now, since it is Easter weekend, I'll leave you with an Easter pic of Norah and wish all of you a happy holiday! Toodles!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Four

This afternoon, I ran 4 miles under clear, sunny skies and 80 degree temps. Perfect weather for sitting on the porch with a beer.

But for running? A bit too hot and I'm glad I remembered sunscreen beforehand. It was 30 SPF but I still had some tan lines afterward. Pretty certain the sun will be my ultimate demise.

Finished in 37:48.

That's all I have to say about that.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Moody Jess

*I apologize in advance to the male readers: This post discusses girly bits...and probably not in the way you wish it would.*

About 6 weeks ago, we decided to begin transitioning Norah from breatfeeding to formula. There were several reasons for this, but at the heart of it, I was sick of pumping. Lugging the pump back and forth to work, getting up at 4 am to pump, pumping before bed, keeping track of the frozen breastmilk, well, it just all started to feel like a chore. Norah was more than 6 months old at that point, and I knew it would take awhile to fully transition to formula, so while I did have reservations about fully switching from breastmilk to formula, I also felt completely fine with the choice (discussing this could take up a full post on its own, but I want to try and remain as concise as possible).

So, slowly, I started cutting out one feeding at a time, starting with that 4 am pumping session. And, gradually, we used up the frozen breastmilk and began using formula (which Norah took to just fine); and, bit-by-bit, I cut down on the actual breastfeeding until finally, about two weeks ago, she had her last boob-feeding and made her full transition to formula. The gradual approach worked well -- it took a long time, but I didn't have to suffer through any painfully engorged boobs or wacko hormones.

But...I still experienced a huge hormone shift. (Yeeeahhh, kinda explains my whole "wanting to pull the plug on the whole blog business" doesn't it?) It was like a serious case of PMS. It didn't help that this coincided with the post-spring break-blues and the post-slew-of-races-blues. And anxiety about Jerry-being-out-of-town-blues. So, it would be understatement to say that for the past few weeks, I have been feeling a bit outta sorts.

Then, earlier this week, my lower back began aching, my stomach felt kinda crampy, and I felt -- in general -- gassy, bloated, and lethargic. Yup, you guessed it. True PMS. So, for the first time since November 2008, I have my "Aunt Flow" visiting. (Hey, guys, if you're still reading -- I warned you!)

In many ways, this hasn't been nearly as bad as some friends had warned me it would be, but in other ways, both my brain, my emotions, and my body are like, "WTF?! We were enjoying the smooth ride of those breastfeeding hormones!"

And, while this does kinda suck right now (and I do miss the intimacy of breastfeeding), on the other hand, I can go home tonight and drink 3 beers if I wanted to. And, if I wanted to, I could sleep on my stomach. And, if I wanted to, I could wake up and drink 5 cups of coffee tomorrow morning. So, while I do miss nursing, and having the 'ole period back isn't the funnest thing in the world, it is also nice to have my body back. I kinda missed it being entirely mine.