Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Did I do that?

Here's a lesson I learned this weekend: If you are invited to an event that is entirely centered around an activity you don't enjoy, don't go. Technically, I should have already learned this lesson when I attended a super bowl party last year. I can be slow on the uptake sometimes though, so Sunday night I attended Action Movie Night. It was organized by some friends on our broomball team, I hadn't seen them in awhile, Eric made wings with his deep fryer, and our BFFs were going, so I figured it would be a social event with Diehard mixed in.

I hate action movies, and I hate sitting on a hard kitchen chair for 2+ hours after running a half marathon while watching them even more. The highlight was (I'm assuming everyone has already seen Diehard) was when Carl Winslow confesses that he killed a kid one time, and somebody asked if it was Steve Urkle. I have no idea what that has to do with the plot, as I was deep into Angry Birds at the time, but I laughed.

These delicious pop rock cupcakes (explosive....get it?) Casi made for the event did help me make it through.

She actually enjoyed the movie, but Diehard 32 or something was filmed in Baltimore, and they needed to film a traffic jam, so she was a surprise "extra" in the film when they blocked off traffic for like 2 hours. Eric was unable to spot her car in the movie, and she's never forgiven him.

Monday morning I ran the worst 6 miles ever. My legs were so stiff that I felt like I was stumbling instead of running, and I just felt terrible overall. I even had to take walk breaks, which I never, ever do unless I'm trail running. I don't feel I can blame Sunday's "half marathon" since it wasn't actually a half marathon, and it wasn't an actual race effort, so I think I'm just going to blame Bruce Willis for that one too.

I somehow forced myself to go to yoga Monday night, in hopes of my legs not hating me on my next run. I needed to arrive 20 minutes early in order to get a coveted ticket that allows you into class, and even then I got the second to last one. Oh, January at the gym, how I love you. I got in 12 minutes on the elliptical, so I guess that's something.

My plan for the next few weeks is to try to get in two-a-days on Tuesdays and Thursdays, swimming in the morning, and biking in the afternoon. I woke up at 4:30 this Tuesday, half an hour before my alarm, to discover we had no power. The thought of trying to get my crap together to shower at the YMCA using a flashlight at 5am combined with the panic attack about not being able to use the coffee maker had me so overwhelmed I just reset the alarm for 7 and went back to sleep. 

When I woke up for the second time (something like 7:30), Eric was nice enough walk to Starbucks and get me a Venti coffee so that I could survive long enough to stop at Dunkin Donuts for more coffee on my way to work. I should have just had him get me two coffees but the lack of that kind of smart thinking is why I needed the coffee in the first place.

When I took my class outside for recess, I realized it was 60 degrees and sunny, so sitting on the bike trainer for an hour and a half once I got home would have been ludicrous. I raced home after the kids left, hopped on the bike, and got in 10 outdoor miles with Eric.  It was glorious. 

As soon as we got home I put the bike back on the trainer and knocked out another 50 minutes while watching Felicity. Eric made dinner and I loved life.

I actually didn't realize Eric was taking these pictures.
When faced with the possibility of amusing blog readers yet humiliating myself, of course I have to take one for the team. Full disclosure: When trying to use the word "ludicrous" in this post, I kept getting the wavy red lines, and no similar suggestions were coming up. I thought the rapper and the actual word were spelled the same, but when I turned to Google, everything that was coming up was related to the rapper. Then this happened:

None of those 75,600,000 suggestions was helpful, so I turned to Kara, who was able to help me spell the actual word correctly. Yup, I'd been trying to say riding the trainer would have been "ludacris" over and over....and over. And to think, when I got married, I probably couldn't have named even one single rapper.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Snapple Cloud Half Marathon Recap

I was really excited to run the Snapple Cloud Half Marathon for my second time this morning. So excited, in fact, that I hopped out of bed at 5:30 am, instead of pushing snooze and cursing the beeping 500 times.

The race was about an hour away,  but I declined all offers of carpooling, because I am an audiobook addict.

There was limited parking, so the race director had begged everyone to carpool and meet at this satellite parking lot a few miles away from the race start, but it seems like Kara, myself, and about 6 other people read that email. I hopped in her car, and we headed over to the race start. 

Can you spot our third race buddy in the back?

That's right, I ran an entire half marathon with a dog! And, I was not the most unhappy runner about Peanut participating.

It was below freezing at the start, but supposed to warm up, so I just wore tights, a t-shirt, and my arm warmers. Kara got crazy and just wore a running skirt.

We were supposed to run in wave two, but we couldn't hear the announcer, so we just went when everyone around us started moving. The race was on  a canal path of crushed rocks and gravel. There were some huge puddles, and we even saw a girl slip in the mud and nearly fall into the canal! Her friend had to grab her to pull her back onto the trail. Wild stuff.

I wanted to PR in this race, although my recent runs haven't really led me to believe it was going to happen. After just a few minutes of running, I could feel myself wheezing, and unfortunately knew that meant I was going to have to stop for an inhaler break - so annoying. I had considered using it before I started, but I tend to get really light-headed if I do that, so I vetoed it. Once the crowds thinned a bit around mile 2, we pulled over to the side so I could puff away. I had a feeling that meant the race wasn't off to the greatest start. 

That seemed to set the tone of the entire race - my legs felt great, I was enjoying it mentally, but my lungs felt terrible. I was huffing and puffing and after a few miles had the horrifying realization that I was THAT PERSON - the annoying, loud breather. 

The race was supposed to be 6.55 miles out and back on the towpath, so when the turnaround came just after the six mile marker, we had a feeling this wasn't exactly going to be the "half marathon" we'd planned on. Shortly after the turnaround, Kara took a bathroom break and I held Peanut while using my inhaler again  (for real this time, not taking a quick puff and then taking off running again). Clearly, this meant both of us had basically given up on our time goal. 

Usually, runners seem to make friends with other runners during races, even if it's short lived. I've never encountered so many complete jerks while racing before. Right at the start, some girl rudely asked Kara if her dog was allowed to be there, and then muttered something like "I doubt it" while racing away from us. Now, no one despises the entire dog species more than me, but I would never be that rude to someone who's dog was clearly well behaved and not bothering me in the slightest. We also got cursed out by a guy we passed while he immediately passed us back, and Peanut got attacked. TWICE. The second time I came to a skidding halt in the mud to avoid falling on top of the snarling dogs, causing the runners behind me to slam into me. People follow Maryland's leash law about as well as they follow the no texting while driving law.

When we passed the leashless dogs (still roaming free!) on our way back, Kara prepared to inform the owners of the leash laws, and I eagerly yanked out my headphones in anticipation of the return Inner Race Bitch. Unfortunately, the offending dog walkers must not be English speakers, because they just continued on their merry way without even giving Kara a glance for all her angry shouting.

As we ran back towards the start/finish, all of the mile markers were nearly a mile off, so I wasn't sure which was wrong, the course or the mile markers, but I tried to mentally prepare for the full distance. We suddenly saw a big group of people shortly ahead of us, and went through a confused dialogue  "is that the finish?" "it can't be the finish, we're not even at mile 12" "there's a big crowd of people, they don't seem to to be moving, and they are blocking the trail".

It was the finish indeed, and 12.14 miles after we began, we were done. We'd been shorted on our half marathon. If I'd been on track to PR, I would have been devastated, but since neither of us were having a great race, we laughed it off. I'd been hot as hell and jealous of Kara's bare legs during the race, but, as usual, as soon as we finished, and I was standing around in 40 degree weather in nothing but a soaking wet t-shirt and thin arm warmers, I nearly died of hypothermia on the half mile or so walk to the car.

We were cool with being shorted, but Peanut was pissed.

I was pretty surprised and disappointed when I checked out my mile splits. I could have sworn we were going something like 7:30 at least during a few miles, but our times were all pretty slow (relative to race pace) - the fastest mile was only 8:22. I guess all that huffing and puffing made it seem harder than it was. Of course, according to my heart rate monitor, I should be dead, since my maximum heart rate was 213! I've never seen anything over 200 since I got a HRM nearly 3 years ago. My average heart rate was 183 - still pretty high. Still, seeing those times when I thought I was pushing so hard was pretty defeating. I guess that explains why Kara was barely out of breath.

Totals: 12.14 miles, 1:46:46, average pace 8:47 (according to my Garmin). Apparently the course is USTAF certified, so I can officially say I ran a 1:46 half marathon.

I did survive being in a car alone with a dog, so that's an important first. Not sure why the picture was flipped, I was in the passenger seat. 

We are going to "Action Movie Sunday" tonight, a party where a bunch of friends are all watching Diehard (and some other movie, but one action movie is more than enough for me). According to the emails, there isn't going to be anything for me to eat there, so I'm pretty sure I'm showing up with Subway in my purse.  Luckily I'm pretty sure everyone attending already knows I'm a weirdo.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I love the 90s

Sometimes I have plans with my friends that I am really excited about, but that are also sound really strange to other people. Like the time we celebrated New Year's Eve in the middle of February.

We called it New Year's Eve 2K7.2

Last night was another one of those times. We went over to our friends Carolyn and John's house to watch a bunch of home movies from Carolyn's childhood that had been converted into DVD. Sounds freakishly boring, but it was hilarious. We used to watch them when we lived together, so this was actually something we'd really been looking forward to.

I love the 90s. So much neon.

We ordered takeout, wore pajamas, and drank wine. Combining drinking with friends and wearing pajamas is the secret to my everlasting happiness. 

I got to combine that with my absolute favorite ending to a night, even: going to bed without setting an alarm. Is there any better feeling than going to sleep and knowing you can sleep as long as you want and no rude alarm clock is going to be screeching at you approximately four hours before you actually want to wake up? Around 9 I rolled over, started the coffee, and laid in bed alternating reading and falling back asleep for a little while. This is why I need to figure out how to be independently wealthy. 

The book I'm reading now. Ok, not the  greatest. I'll take recommendations.
Today is a rest day (and as we all know, I take the "rest" part extremely seriously) because tomorrow is a race day. Kara posted yesterday about the half marathon we are running together tomorrow. To sum it up, the plan is to run fast, the goal is to get a good time. I'd love to PR, my last half mary PR seemed to nearly kill me, so we'll see.

The good news is I'm pretty much guaranteed to PR over my time in this race last year. About half the race entrants didn't show up after getting an email from the race director basically stating "the course is under 6 inches of snow and ice, run the race at your own risk, and don't say we didn't warn you".

When your time is ridiculous, you may as well stop for a photo op.

Why waste money on "adventure races" when you can just wait for a regular race after a blizzard?

Tomorrow's forecast is sunny with a high of 48, so I think I should be able to run a tad faster. My usual race plan with Kara is just to stay with her (she's a fantastic pacer), whine for a bit about the pace, then just give up and accept it and be happy with my time when the it's all over. Celine is coming with me, though.

Friday morning I went to spin class (any triathletes read my blog and want to comment on whether or not that is actually at all helpful in training?). For years, I went to this spin class at my old gym downtown that I was totally obsessed with. It was so hard it would DESTROY me every week, but the music was fantastic and the instructor was so motivating (ok, I had a huge girl crush on her) that it also somehow flew by. I'm not even joking that giving this class up was one of the first "cons" I brought up when Eric suggested moving to a cheaper area to save money. I miss it so much now after writing that.

Spin class at the YMCA is the poor man's equivalent. I can compare it to a bowl of grapes vs. a brownie sundae for dessert. It had decent music, it was a pretty good workout, and it was over in 43 minutes. So short, so sad. 

Since I was done at 6:30 am, I decided to get a few miles in. I wanted to run outside since it was 50 degrees, but I had brought all this stuff with me to the gym, and it seemed like a pain in the ass to bring it all home first, so I just hopped on the treadmill. In writing that last sentence, I realized I could have just left all my stuff at the gym and got it after running, but that's my brain at 6:30 am before coffee. 

Amazing the difference "warming up" with spin class made. Usually I hit the pavement about ten minutes after my alarm goes off, and a 9:30 pace feels like a sprint. On the nice, flat treadmill yesterday, an 8:30 pace almost seemed too easy. I did three miles at an average pace of 8:13. I felt fantastic, even though the boredom of the treadmill still horrifies me. I would have kept going, but, as stated above, the lady of leisure lifestyle still eludes me, and I got bills to pay, so I had to go to work. 

I really need that "8:30 is so easy!" feeling to return and stay with me for all 13.1 miles tomorrow.

What's the weirdest way you and your friends have spent time together? I could really go on and on about mine.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday favorites

Thank you so much for all your supportive comments on my fear of dogs post! I tend to overreact (just ask my husband) so I loved all the validation your comments gave me.

Last night was incredibly traumatic for me. When I was moving one of our end tables over to my bike to get ready for my trainer ride, the heavy, wooden box that we keep all our remotes and crap in flew off and nailed my foot. After a lot of screaming and cursing, I remembered I was a blogger and took a photo.

I have yet to meet anyone who's pain tolerance is anywhere close to as low as mine (in fact, I really don't even understand what people mean when they talk about a "high" pain tolerance). This "injury" had me moaning in the fetal position on the floor for several minutes. 

Somehow I managed to pull it together and do my 90 minutes, which again I'm calling 20 miles, on the bike trainer. For some reason, I was getting really mentally overwhelmed with the time. The idea of riding for 90 minutes (or, soon, more) was freaking me out. Doesn't really make sense because I'll spend 90 minutes at the gym and not think anything of it, but I guess then I'm doing a variety of activities. I made it through though, and this was the first time I stayed on the bike for the entire time, without a drink or bathroom break or anything.

This morning, Lily and I did an easy six mile run in my neighborhood. Not much to say about that, so here's some stuff I'm obsessed with this week. If you want me to do you a favor, try one or all of these out. They are all awesome, I assure you.

It's making the time go by while I'm on the bike trainer. When I finish the series, I might need to rewatch my old Dawson's Creek DVDs.

Lady Gaga Pandora Station (on my phone!)

I have yet to give a thumbs down on this. How did I just create this station this week? It's really helping me not hate life during report card week.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Eric read in some men's magazine that you should eat them, and he made some, so I made a huge batch to eat with my lunch this week, and they are so salty and delicious. Plus, Kara Goucher said to eat one a day in her book. Since I'm eating at least 2 a day, I expect to be running 5 minute miles at my half marathon this Sunday.
I also expect my legs to look like this pronto

Cappuccino Peanut Butter
Cappuccino? Good. Peanut butter? Good. Can't go wrong here.


I know that's not exactly new information, but I swear he is looking better and better each week on Biggest Loser. My usual text conversations during the show with my sister Darcy and BFF Casi used to be about what the contestants were up to, now it's things like how great Dolvett looks in his weigh in outfit, and how freaking white his teeth are. Plus, everyone's day just got better as a result of looking at this picture. You're welcome.

What's your pain tolerance like?

What is something you can't get enough of this week?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My dog aversion: The History

I do a lot of bitching and moaning about work (hopefully this statement surprises you because I've successfully limited it to Twitter and real life). I definitely don't say enough positive things about it. So, I'll say this blog post is brought to you by two of my wonderfully amazing work friends. Both of them are teaching my class tomorrow (at different times) so that I can work on report cards, which is why I'm currently typing this blog instead of endless comments. How great is that?

Of course, no one wants to read a lovey-dovey blog about how magical and special everything is, just like no one wants to read Facebook updates about how much this person loves their significant other (who is probably sitting on the couch next to them as they type it). At least, that's how I feel. I try to limit Facebook interactions with my husband to ones that mock him in ways that I feel the world should know, instead of just being limited to private interactions that only we experience. He just updated his status and used the wrong form of "there", and even though I'm not a grammar nazi, I'm struggling not to call him out.

So, let's do some complaining.

Yesterday, as I was about to leave for work, I knocked over the coffee grinder, which decorated my just-cleaned kitchen with coffee grounds. Everywhere. I knew I'd leave for work, forget all about it, and get super pissed when I got home and saw it later that night. 

Then, I started to walk to my car, and an unleashed dog ran directly at me while its owner stood across the parking lot laughing. 

I should probably explain that dogs terrify me. I got bitten when I was really young because these total bitch neighborhood girls (I'm still calling them bitches even though we were all like 4 at the time) told me I had to bring flowers to our elderly neighbors' house in order to get into their "club". They knew there was a crazy dog that lived there, and I was too young to read the warning sign that said something like "crazy ass dog lives here that WILL bite anyone dumb enough to approach". I never thought about it, but this story probably explains why I was so against pledging sororities in college. 

Not exactly relevant but this is the youngest picture of myself I could find on my computer.
So, anyway, obviously that story ended with me getting bitten, and it turns out there wasn't even a club to begin with. Apparently the story about the other members climbing to the top of the basketball hoop was a lie as well. Please note, I have never tried to convince anyone that I am popular or smart through the use of this blog. I'm not really the type to "forgive and forget" or "get over things", so dogs and I have never made up.
I am positive every interaction with a dog owner will end with something like this.
Back to this morning. FINALLY, after a long impasse of the dog slowly advancing and me slowly backing up, inwardly panicking, the owner came and got it. I told him I had a lifelong phobia of dogs and he looked at me all accusingly and was like "This is a therapy dog". He followed that up with going over to his friend (who was standing right by my car) and pointing and whispering about me in the style of seventh grade passing time.

To make things even worse, I don't leave for work until the last possible second, so I really didn't have time for all this crap. And I was scheduled to appear on our school's morning newscast (this may have been morning announcements in your day) to discuss my running in order to make the children realize the importance of a healthy lifestyle (seriously, not making this up, also not my idea), so I didn't need to be all rattled about scary dogs and inconsiderate pricks who own them. I was extra frightened because just a few days ago one of my students got bitten by a dog on a leash so badly on the way to school that she had to leave to get medical attention. 

There's your usual whiny, bitchy post for the day. You're welcome.

Yet another unrelated thought: For a second, I could swear President Obama was talking about new markets in Panem today. I need help. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I looked at my Half Ironman plan!

I mentioned yesterday that I wasn't exactly a slave to my Myrtle Beach marathon training plan (as I usually am). I'm also supposed to be starting to train for May's Half Ironman triathlon this month, so last night I busted out the training plan. I'm not entirely following it until after the marathon (less than a month to go!) but I want to start incorporating more biking and swimming instead of easy runs.

The plan seems pretty intense, even this far out. It called for 20 miles on the bike today, and 25 miles on Wednesday, plus 4 swim days. Once I cut way back on the running that will be far more doable. Time-wise, at least.

Since it was icy, dark, and close to freezing out, the trainer will be my bike method of choice for now. I'm not complaining though. On grey, nasty days like yesterday, it's really nice to have the option to do my whole workout from the comfort of my living room.

Maybe "comfort" isn't the right word when referring to over an hour on the bike. I've been advised by full Ironman veterans that the butt pain really never goes away, so I'm trying to get on board with that. 

To clarify, the bike trainer is just a little stand that holds my bike in place so I can ride it indoors without falling over. It's not a fancy shmancy machine or anything, so there's really no way to "ride 20 miles" like the plan says. I decided to do a 90 minute ride, and hopefully that covered it. 

I did the same thing as last time with high resistance and some minute sprints thrown in every five or ten minutes, depending how into Felicity I got. That might be my longest time on the bike, and it really wasn't easy. It was great getting to watch TV though. 

I was really tired after the ride, but I've felt really guilty about my many opportunities to do strength training lately. Like, I've been at the gym, I've had the time, and I've been just way too lazy. I really just prefer to zone out until the time runs out on a machine, rather than have to think about all sorts of numbers like weight, reps, concentrate on form, etc. I like my workouts physical, not mental, you know what I mean? It's really unlikely I'll do weights unless I'm in Body Pump or watching a DVD so all I have to do is follow the leader. Maybe I should request donations for a personal trainer.

35 minutes of No More Trouble Zones later, at least I'd worked all my major muscles (the ones I know about, anyway). If you are familiar with it, yes, I almost always skip the last 3 circuits, because I suck. If you're not familiar, be impressed that I did a whole 35 minutes of weights. 

I left my Forever Lazy in Maryland while I was out of town this past weekend (purposely), and after my date with Jillian was over, I couldn't wait to take a long, hot shower and then be reunited. It was glorious. 

This morning Lily and I did 7 miles, average pace 9:40, my legs were miserable after the bike trainer, and my lungs were in terrible shape as well, although I've heard it can be quite awhile before you are truly recovered from bronchitis. 

I don't have any pictures, because it's really difficult to take a picture of yourself on a bike trainer, so I'll leave you with this. It pretty much sums up how I feel about any marathon.

I have to do report cards this week. FML. Cross your fingers for me.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The time it took over 3 hours to run 14 miles

It turns out driving 800 miles round trip to see your family in one weekend doesn’t leave a lot of time to blog. I’ll try to get better. I promise.

On Friday I went to spin, worked half a day, then hopped in the car for the 6-7 hour drive to my hometown in upstate NY. Taking a half day was genius, because instead of getting there at some time past midnight, and stumbling straight to the bed with my suitcase, I got there right around dinnertime. I met my dad and my sister for some delicious Indian food. After dinner, I had time to hang around my family’s pajama party for a few hours before lights out.

Because I’m uptight, I started my panic attack about how to get my long run in early last week. Last year, a long run attempt in Rochester in January yielded only 6 pathetic miles, because when the roads look like this midday, an early morning long run isn’t going to be very successful.

Snow makes running exciting.
So I called in the big guns. Kari and Kara gave me some expert advice when I frantically emailed them last Thursday. They recommended 14 miles (I’m only VERY loosely following my training plan, and not following it all regarding long runs, but rather letting my schedule dictate them). They also came up with the plan to try running outside, and switch to the treadmill if necessary.

I made it nearly 6 miles outside. The weather was actually beautiful, sunny with no wind or snow. My many layers (including an Under Armor coldgear base, which I highly recommend) kept me nice and toasty even with the temperature in the teens. The problem was that the sidewalks had a few inches of snow on them, and the roads were a mess of ice and slush. My shoes and pants were soaked within the first mile, so after doing a loop around town, I headed back to my mother's house. Luckily I'd thrown shorts and a t-shirt in the bag at the last minute, so I quickly changed out of my wet layers, threw on the new clothes, and drove to the YMCA to finish the run on the treadmill.

I hate the treadmill, so that tells you how gross the roads were. At least I only had to do 8.3 miles there instead of the full 14, and my feet were dry.

Only getting a sliver of my face in the picture wasn't an accident.
I don't have any official time or pace for this run, especially because I suck at the treadmill and hit the emergency stop at least 3 times per use. But I started just after 9am and with the slow going on the ice, combined with changing clothes and driving to the gym, I didn't hit the showers until nearly 12:30. The 14 miler took about as long as a 20 miler.

Once I was showered, my sister and I picked up our friend Melissa and headed to a cafe downtown, to do what this weather called for: sitting around and drinking hot chocolate. Or, in my case, an Aztec mocha, which is a mocha with chili pepper.

I spent many, many nights at that coffee shop in high school with my friends (I wasn't a partier back then). Random tangent: Any readers who have moved away from their home town may be able to identify with the feeling that when you go back, things are supposed to be exactly the same as when you left. Things like new Walgreens at a formerly empty intersection corner can throw you into a tail spin. 

Melissa is recovering from surgery on crutches, so I dropped off her and my sister, Darcy at the coffee shop and then left to go park. When I got back, I searched all over the sitting area upstairs trying to find them, but they were nowhere. I was totally confused because the only areas left were down a steep set of a stairs (crazy to attempt on crutches), or an area off to the side, but there would be no way they'd sit over there, because that was the smoking section. 

I was just about to walk downstairs when it occurred to me that there was no more smoking section. NY banned those something like 10 years ago. But my high school self remembered it that way, so in my mind that's how it was.

I just realized the rest of my pictures are all food, and they aren't even all the wonderful food consumed this weekend. What can I say, I'm a fatty.

Baltimore doesn't have Reese's McFlurries anymore, so when I found out Rochester still did, I really had no choice but to head to McDonald's Saturday night.
Maybe I can quit teaching and make money off a documentary about a girl who eats nothing but McFlurries for a year.
Sunday morning I went back to the YMCA. I knew I really should get some miles in on the treadmill, but I just couldn't bear to get back on it. Instead, I did 50 lame minutes on the elliptical. Better than nothing.

My mom made huevos rancheros for my sendoff breakfast (it's basically eggs and cheese on tortillas with this amazing tomato chili sauce), and yes I had to Google that to figure out how to spell it.
She's such a talented cook, she can make over-easy eggs for 6 people at once!
Huevos rancheros and fried potatoes - breakfast of champions

I always hate leaving my family, but bills gotta get paid, so back to Baltimore it was. I didn't even need a nap this time, and I barely even cried while I finished listening to Mockingjay. I took a break to visit my grandma in her nursing home at the halfway point of the trip, which I think helped. Side note - I didn't care for the ending to Mockingjay when I read it the first time, but the second time through I loved it. Thoughts?

Do you get upset when your hometown has the audacity to change things without your consent?

Each time we arrive in Ohio to visit my in laws, we have to extend the 8 hour drive so Eric can take a tour through town and make note of every new street light and change in font of a restaurant sign.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keep your germs to yourself

I really don't know how bloggers post every day of the week, much less two or three times a day. This was one of those weeks where I had nothing but time, but nothing to say. I really didn't want to assault my loyal readers with some crap post that was a waste of time, so I said nothing. What would be a smart solution would be to generate a list of topics that I could write a post on when I am lacking ideas. So....feel free to think of any. And leave them in the comments. Thanks!

After my 20 miler last Sunday, I started getting really sick. It was just a basic cold, where my head felt like it was going to explode from congestion, nothing new or exciting. Whenever I get a cold, it hits my asthma, so it turns into a cold plus coughing and wheezing. Any blog post I would have written about my activities Monday (which, luckily, we had off from school, thanks to Dr. King) would have been something like "blew my nose, threw the tissue away, whined to my husband about how sick I feel, got another tissue, repeat until the whining turns into crying". Fascinating. 

I really wanted to run Monday, since I had the day off, but I'm a pretty big follower of the "neck and up rule". If your symptoms are from the neck up, you're ok to exercise (which is why I went for the run Sunday, I wasn't coughing or anything yet then). As soon as they are anywhere below your neck (aka. lungs) it's a bad plan.

I took Tuesday off too. Because I'm a big whiny baby and I was starting to cough like crazy again and I was terrified of contracting bronchitis again. Bronchitis is really really not fun and I would really like to avoid ever having it again. 

Tuesday I was THAT GIRL at work, the one who is constantly blowing her nose, sneezing, hacking, and making everyone else stay ten feet away and wonder why this rude bitch brought her germs up in here. It's not really like me to do that, so I put in for a sub on Wednesday. 

Tuesday afternoon was warm and sunny, but I resisted the urge to "just get a few miles in" and went straight home and got in bed. By the time I emerged Wednesday around noon, I felt like a new person. I felt so good that I went grocery shopping, which made me feel guilty for not being at work, but, whatever.

I considered going for a run, but the winds were gusting over 30 mph, and since I had taken off work due to my lungs hurting, I decided not to be an idiot and set up the bike trainer instead. I rode for an hour while watching Date Night. I thought it might be hard to stay motivated to push it hard enough to get a good workout, but I was so wrong. I cranked up the resistance, and did one minute sprint intervals with between 3-5 minutes of rest, depending how lazy I felt in between, and I was dying. DYING. I need to really get my quads in shape for this Half Ironman.On the bright side, exercising in my living room while watching a movie was a win. Now I totally want a treadmill.

I went for a 6 mile run this morning, average pace 9:33. Nothing life changing. It was freezing, 25 degrees but felt like 20. Might as well get used to it, it is January, after all. I tweeted it to Dolvett to see if I could accomplish my life dream and get him to retweet me.

Our school is doing a Family Fitness Night this evening. I'm on the planning committee, so I'll be teaching kids and parents about healthy eating this evening. Hint: Don't keep buying chocolate and then eating it all in one night, every night. I haven't quite mastered that one yet. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A scientific experiment

Yet another week of blogging slacking due to real life getting in the way. I don't really mind (and I'm kind of guessing most of you don't either) when it's a result of a busy social life though. It's when it's due to grad school or report cards that it's lame.

Wednesday was a very important GNO (girls night out) with my former roommates Casi and Carolyn. We went out to eat at a Tapas restaurant. I stopped in my old workplace (Starbucks) at about 9pm on my way home, and a friend was extremely confused when I said I was heading home from GNO, not to GNO. What can I say - that's why I love these girls. We agree on certain things. Sangria with whipped cream? YES. GNO over at 9pm so we can all get up early and workout before work the next day? YES. 

What isn't improved with whipped cream?
Thursday morning was Body Pump, which I can summarize in one word: pain. Thursday night was book club, which was fun, but I can also summarize briefly: rich people problems. Let's just say all the members are a bit more financially comfortable than a teacher married to a teacher may be, and yet their lives are just oh so hard.

I'm lucky enough to have a running buddy who trains and runs crazy races with me, and Friday night was her birthday!
When we aren't covered with sweat and dirt, turns out we look pretty good!
We celebrated in style - my first limo ride since junior prom!
We started with dinner at, funnily enough, another tapas restaurant. I went prepared this time and had a big snack after school. I don't know how it is other places, but in Baltimore, you aren't going to leave a Tapas restaurant feeling full unless you are prepared to reach your credit card limit.

After dinner, we headed to a club. Although I'm normally the type of person that considers DVR and sweatpants a Friday night match made in heaven, I was super excited that Lily chose this place to celebrate. Sometimes, you just need to dress up, get wild, and dance your ass off with your girls. 

I did not forget my New Year's Resolution - Whooty Awareness all the way

This picture sums up any night out together entirely. Eric taking weird pictures of himself, and me constantly dancing with my hands up and mouth open.
On a night like this (where we go to a bar and neither one of us needs to drive home), Eric and I generally engage in a competition over who can get the most drinks bought for them. He usually dominates, but I totally smoked him this time. It's our way of cutting back during the recession.

You have to pretend to be interested, but only when the drink buyers can see your face.
We still found some to spend together - after all, yesterday was the 6 year anniversary of our first date!

My late night, post bar eats have really improved since my younger days. My roommates and I used to make at least two boxes of Macaroni and Cheese, and here I am eating a Subway sub. Getting those veggies in is important at 3am.

Saturday was uneventful. Highlights included a five mile run (the fact that I completed it the day after a crazy night out and 4-5 hours of sleep on an air mattress was the highlight, not the run itself) and watching Titanic with Eric, only to learn that he had all the lines memorized. Like, ALL the lines. 

I'd been excited for my Sunday morning run for awhile. I had a trail run planned with Kara, and fellow Stone Mill 50 Miler Perry. We met in the middle of our respective locations at Rosaryville State Park for 20 miles on the trails. 
It was freezing at our 8am start. 
Kara and Perry found three other friends who wanted to join us. I need to learn from them, because no one responded to my "Hey want to drive an hour and then spend four hours running on trails on Sunday morning?" email.

I felt great and was enjoying the run until mile 8, when suddenly I felt exhausted and way too out of breath. Saturday I had gotten hit with a cold (I know, I just recovered from bronchitis two weeks ago, WTF, I did my time already), so that wasn't at all helpful. I knew we had less than two miles to go until our epic snack break though, so I sucked it up until then. When we were almost back Kara said she wasn't feeling well and wanted to walk for a minute, and while I hate to see a friend in pain, the excuse to walk was oh-so-thrilling to me. We hadn't walked AT ALL until that point, and walking up the hills is one of the main reasons I love trail running so much.

Here's the other one. We set up our aid station in the back of Kara's car, as per usual.

"Oh, sorry, Kara, you were trying to take a picture? Stuffing my face really takes precedence".
Here's something shocking:

Peanut (Kara's coonhound) ran with us for 16  miles, so that gives me a new dog PDR. I'd previously done a ten mile run with two dogs. When we got back, the others were busy adding extra mileage before snacking, so I offered to hold Peanut while Kara took a bathroom break. I really did my duty to the animal community when I poured water in her bowl for her too. (I mean, I actually do my duty to them every day by not eating them, but let's not split hairs). 

After a few minutes of eating salted potatoes and oreos and drinking Gatorade, I was more than halfway to hypothermia. I (almost) always feel hot when I run, but standing around in sweat soaked clothes makes me painfully cold. Even though I'd been feeling rough, I was more than ready to run to warm up when we headed back out for the second loop. 

The second loop had the best sights. 

Can you spot Perry, Peanut and I at the mansion?
I am honestly not sure how I finished 20 miles, but I think it had something to do with the fact that if I didn't do it on the trails where I had nice people to chat with, I'd be stuck doing it next weekend all alone in Rochester, NY, where yesterday the feels like temperature was 6. 

Also a stray dog chased us for the last mile and a half and I was terrified.

So, for the record, a rough night of drinking + a cold is not an equation for a run that feels good. Throw in some asthma on top and you really have a winner.

The Baltimore Ravens made the playoffs, and the game was this afternoon. Eric asked me if I'd be home in time to "watch" it with him. I was confused about what difference it made if I were home ignoring the game or not home. Either way I wouldn't actually be "watching". I managed to make it home and get showered by the fourth quarter, so I quickly threw on my jersey, and I'm pretty sure that me reading blogs while wearing it  for those last few minutes really helped bring the Ravens to victory.

Eric had two orders of cheesy bread from Dominoes on the table when I got home - I don't think I can imagine a better welcoming committee after a long, hard run. 

What's your favorite late night (possibly post bar) food? How about favorite post long run meal?