Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday Thoughts

A few headlines today that I found interesting:

"Kevin Costner records country music album" - Really? Can Kevin Costner even sing?

"Winehouse says, 'I'm a Mess'" - Well no duh... glad she finally figured out what the rest of us have known for ages.

"White Sox force 1-game playoff vs. Twins" - This wouldn't have normally been interesting to me, but I learned this weeked that Andrew is quite a White Sox fan. I learned more about baseball and the White Sox in this past weekend than I ever knew before (and I'm sure there's still a LOT left to learn.)

Anyways, yesterday afternoon I discovered that it would be 10 degrees cooler and partly cloudy today, so I pushed the 10-miler back another day to today. I feel pretty good about the decision. Instead of running, I hit spin class last night and worked on those leg muscles that don't get enough attention while running. I love it because I can totally tell it's a great workout (I sweat a lot, I feel the burn in my legs), but it doesn't leave my legs sore for running the next day. I also got my push-ups done... THAT I can still feel today.

I'm looking forward to hitting the path today. I haven't run since Thursday, and the weather is decent... so I feel like it should be a good run. I'm also excited because I utilized the message boards for the running club I joined and found someone to run most of my 18-miler with this weekend. I'm definitely glad I won't be doing it alone!

I can't believe that I'm as far into training as I am! It seems like I just started yesterday, and here I am up to 18 miles. I also have a half-marathon next weekend, and then it will only be a few weeks until the Battlefield Marathon. Crazy! For some reason, the training is flying by in a way that it hasn't during my training for my previous 3 marathons. I feel good about it though. I think I'm stronger, healthier, and more fit than usual right now. I think I'm in good shape... I just have about 4 really long runs to go and then it'll be almost time for the Memphis Marathon!

I've also started thinking a little bit about 2009. I turn 26 in May, so I'm determined to make a big deal out of running a marathon while I'm 26. So... my plan is to run Chicago next October.

I might also check into running the Little Rock Marathon in March so that I don't get too out of shape after Memphis and the holidays. I'll definitely do at least one more in November or December since there are so many races so close to me. It's exciting to be thinking about what I want to do next year, and in some ways it helps me to stay motivated to reach my goals these last few months of 2008.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Walking in Memphis...

Well, I can't say I spent any time walking on Beale Street like the song suggests, but I got to explore a bit more of Memphis this weekend than I have during the few other shorts trips I've made over there.

I had a pretty terrific weekend visiting Andrew and hanging out around town. I have to hold myself accountable and be perfectly honest that my 10-mile weekend run didn't happen. I took my clothes and shoes and fuel belt, but when Saturday morning rolled around I opted to put it off until today. When it's such a "short" long run, I can work it in to my routine on Monday to compensate for skipping it. With 18 miles coming up, I'm thankful I had a low mileage easy week last week. Besides, when you're only getting to see a boy every couple of weekends, it's no fun giving up a few hours together on those weekends to go run. So I didn't.

However, we did buy some yummy scones for breakfast (because if you're not going to do your run, you might as well eat delicious breakfast foods that offer no nutritional value) and sat by the river for a bit while we ate. Saturday was absolutely gorgeous, so it was really pleasant to spend some time outside. We drove around a bit, driving past Sun Studio and having lunch at Rendezvous (a famous Memphis BBQ joint).

Andrew and his roommates decided to have some people over that night, so we spent the evening grilling out, playing beer pong (I'm terrible at it) and having a little sing-a-long. I'm totally going to brag on him and tell you that Andrew is incredibly talented on the guitar and seems to be able to play pretty much anything. I love it.

We of course watched the Titans kill the Vikings on Sunday before I met back up with my sister's boyfriend for the ride back to Nashville.

It was a really great weekend. I like being able to just relax and take it easy. I haven't once felt guilty for skipping the run. I met a lot of really awesome people and got to see a little more of a city I've never really explored. No complaints here.

I only took a few quick photos, mostly of the Lorraine Motel where MLK Jr. was shot. I might upload a few later tonight if I remember.

The only negative thing from the weekend? Despite perfuming myself with bug spray, I got 3-4 mosquito bites that are driving me nuts today. Oh well. It happens.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just a Few More Hours Til the Weekend...

After reading a post at this gal's blog, I went over to take this free personality test.

Here's what it told me...

Your personality type:

Quietly forceful, original and sensitive. Tend to stick to things until they are done. Extremely intuitive about people and concerned for their feelings. Well-developed value systems which they strictly adhere to. Well-respected for their perserverence in doing the right thing. Likely to be individualistic, rather than leading or following.

Careers that could fit you includes:

Counselors, clergy, missionaries, teachers, medical doctors, dentists, chiropractors, psychologists, psychiatrists, writers, musicians, artists, psychics, photographers, child care workers, education consultants, librarians, marketeers, scientists, social workers.

I have to say that it's pretty spot on in giving a brief description of my personality... but a lot of the potential careers are not ones that have ever appealed to me, except for WRITER. I of course want that for myself someday. Today is not that day, but someday.

In other news, I had a great 5-mile tempo run yesterday. I kept a fairly quick pace (for me) and finished in 43:27. The best I've ever done a 5-mile run in is 42:00 flat, and that was during a 5-mile Thanksgiving Day race last year. Considering it was 90 degrees yesterday, I'd say that I'm running pretty comparably to when I was in great shape last year for that race. I'm looking forward to running it again this year to see if I can break the 42:00 minute time. I DEFINITELY run faster in cooler weather, thus why I run more of the longer races in the winter. :)

I spent the rest of my evening being a total couch potato watching all the premiers on ABC. I certainly enjoyed them, but I felt like they dragged out Grey's a little bit. At the same time, it was neat watching Bernadette Peters on there. I totally saw her in Gypsy on Broadway in NYC back in 2004. Not that I ever saw her up close in NYC, but I did kind of see her "in person" so it was cool to see her on tv. It's the little things...

I'm SO glad it's Friday. It's been kind of a hectic week, and I'm looking forward to heading out of town and hanging out in Memphis. I'm totally hitching a ride out there with my sister's boyfriend who is heading home to spend the weekend with his fam. We haven't really spent that much time together alone, so I'm thinking it'll be fun to get to know him a bit. I'm pretty sure when we get away from the house I'm going to be all like, "So Grant... we have three whole hours together! What do you want to talk about?!" because I'm guessing it'll freak him out a bit, ha. But seriously, I'm thankful to not have to be making the drive all alone. Driving through west Tennessee is pretty boring.

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. I'm looking forward to hanging out with the boy and getting a 10-mile run in before coming home to gear up for another high mileage week.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just One of Those Days...

Apologies for my absence yesterday. I had one of those days.. you know what I mean. I felt SO tired the whole day. I didn't eat a very good lunch. I wanted to go home and curl up in bed all day. I did after work and slept 2 hours. I spent the rest of the evening on the couch.

I feel a lot better today, and it's not that anything was really wrong yesterday. I just felt kind of blah. I didn't feel like doing much of anything.

So I didn't. I also took the day off from the gym. It was only a cross training day, but I just did my push-ups for the challenge and called it a day. My body was aching from Tuesday's Pilates class (phenomenal workout, by the way... I'll be doing more of that), so I decide that a full rest day was what I needed. This week is definitely a much lighter week for me. I'll be doing a quick 5 miles today, and then a 10-miler for the weekend. It's good to take it easy this week, especially since I know I'll be doing a big 18-miler next weekend. I can't believe I'm already up to such long runs. After that, I only have 2 more before marathon number 1!

I've been working on a big project at work that I'll be wrapping up this morning. It's nothing super exciting, but it's taken all of my time this week. It'll feel good to wrap it up and get it all off in the mail this morning.

I'm not going to lie. I'm pretty excited about the premiers of Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy tonight. I really hope they'll be worth 3 hours of my time. I'm not totally sure when I'm going to find time to pack for my trip to Memphis this weekend (yep, I'll be going to visit the previously mentioned boy). I might have to do that during my lunch break tomorrow, because I cannot be distracted from 7-10pm tonight.

This isn't the best blog post ever. I'm still a little tired. I'm not full of brilliant bloggy ideas today. But I wanted to say hi. And thanks for always reading. I'll be back in full force soon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Last night's run as was crappy as Saturday's was awesome.

But it's ok. Really. I just ran 16 miles on Saturday. I can't expect my body to bounce back by Monday in order to have an awesome speed workout. Plus, I went to do it at like 8:30pm... I never run that later. And, while this may be TMI, trying to do a speed workout 20 minutes after starting your period isn't ideal.

So I only eeked out 3x800m and 1x1200m. I don't care for only seeing 3.0 miles when I hop off the treadmill, but I knew it was right to cut it a little short. I don't want to wear my body out. I need to scale back a bit this week. I've decided to make my long run 10 this Saturday and then do the 18-miler next Saturday. I really want to make sure that as I increase mileage and do my mid-week workouts that I also allow lighter workouts in between the big ones. I feel good about this decision.

I also started the 100 Push-up Challenge. I like that it didn't take very long, and I also like it that I can feel it in my armpits today. That means it's working! I took some before pictures, so I'll be curious to compare in 6 weeks to after pictures to see how being able to build up to 100 push-ups affects my upepr body. Now if I could just get seriosu about my abs... they could use some serious tonage! I'll be off to try the pilates class tonight. I've never been, but I've done other classes by the same teacher so I'm betting I'll enjoy it. I also think it'll be a good workout for my poor little core who could use some help. I know that building it up over the next month or two will really help my marathon time in December!

Has anyone read The Abs Diet for Women? I'm thinking about checking it out, but I wondered what other readers have thought. Let me know if you have read it! For any of my males readers, if you've read the men's version (that I believe came out first), I welcome your opinion, too, since the books are similar.

I think I'm feeling really excited about fitness right now even though my run last night wasn't the best and my hips are feeling tight again today (and I wish I could figure out how to get the yoga DVD I have to open on my computer... a plug-in is missing, and I can't figure out which one!).

I picked up the new fitness schedule at the gym last night, and they are offering a bunch of new classes to target your core, or to work on your upper body, or to focus strictly on cardio. I want to try to spend some more time getting to these kinds of classes on days I'm not running now that summer is over and I have more time on my hands. I'm definitely getting the upper body with the push-up challenge, but I figure if I can do something core-related once a week then I'll be in good shape with keeping my entire body toned up.

I really want to get to yoga every Thursday night, too, but it's going to be tough since Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy premier this week. I'm not ashamed to admit that I am addicted to both shows.

Wishing you all happy workouts!

PS - I've got fitness on the brain. I promise I'll start including more about other things, soon. But I'm glad some of you liked the PostSecret I posted yesterday! Thanks for your comments!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A PostSecret


A favorite from this week over at PostSecret

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy First Day of Fall!

Surprisingly, it actually feels like fall today. Or at least for the time being. It is supposed to be 85 later today, so I suppose that's not very fall-ish. Nonetheless, it felt AMAZING when I walked the mail out to the mailbox a few minutes ago. I'll take it. As long as I can get cool mornings for my weekend long runs, I don't care what the temperature is the rest of the day.

I spent yesterday cleaning my house from top to bottom. No, it wasn't terribly exciting, but it was long overdue. I scrubbed my bathroom. I vaccumed all the floors (and discovered the vacuum is making a burning smell, so I ran it over to my mom and dad's so that dad can check it out). I cleaned mirrors. I dusted. Now that I think about it, I didn't really do that much. Since I keep things pretty tidy, it's not a huge chore to give the house a good cleaning. The only things I didn't get done were laundry and cleaning out my closet. I'm determined to pull out all the clothes I don't wear anymore sometime soon!

I also went over to the middle school to help a teacher friend of mine grade some papers. I'm all brushed up on my linking verbs now!

I finished out the evening by putting out all of my Halloween/fall decorations. Most of the things I have are pumpkins or scarecrows, but I do have a few black cat things since I actually have a black cat. My favorite is a ceramic black cat on his back so that his tummy is a candy dish!

This is definitely Tucker's time of year since he's kind of a Halloween kitty, and he definitely liked the decorations I put out! It's hard to tell in this picture, but the placemats have pumpkins and black cats. I also have this cool metal pumpkin in the center of the table.


I absolutely love my little boy, and the below picture is a good example of how close he likes to stick to me when I'm around the house.


It was a pretty good weekend. I got to spend some time relaxing around the house (especially since I wanted to conserve my gas after all the crazy people sucked the gas lines dry). I like the weekends where I'm on the go and staying busy, but it's still nice to have one on occasion that allows me to just hang around and get little things done around the house.

I'm starting the 100 Push-Ups Challenge today with some girlfriends of mine. We decided that if we hold each other accountable that it might be easy to get through the 6-week program. I took some "before" pictures last night so that I can hopefully see some change at the end of the program. I'm also crossing my fingers that it'll help me tone up my abs a bit, too!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Another Long Run Bites the Dust

16 miles. 2:39:00. 9:57 m/m average pace.  Oh yeah.

It was fitting that I was listening to DMB's "I Did It" when I finished.

"...But I did it justice
I just did it for the buzz, oh..."

"...For such a lovely crime I'll do the time
You better lock me up I'll do it again
I did it
Do you think I've gone too far?
I did it
Guilty as charged..."

It made me smile.  I'm totally guilty of being a crazy distance runner.  And I LOVE it.

Today was a good day.  I am wanting to condition my body to maintain a consistent pace around a 10:00 m/m in order to reach my goal on race day.  I definitely feel great that so far I can manage to do that for 16 miles!

The weather was also very cooperative.  Cloudy.  65ish.  A slight drizzle for a few miles when I got started.  I felt strong.  Sure, my legs were burning the last few miles... but I kept on running.  I took a few very short breaks to eat some GU and have some fluids. I also took a needed bathroom break after 10 miles, but I stopped the watch for that since I had to walk over to the town center, go in and then get back to the path.

I found myself picking the pace up a bit over the last mile, which actually surprised me because I was feeling pretty tired.  I tried to start thinking about the last mile on race day... and all the people that will be there to watch me.  It was a good feeling, and I finished strong.

I'm pleased.  10 more miles is still a long way to go, but I'll get there.  The 18-miler is on the schedule for next weekend before I take it back down a notch and run in a half-marathon.  Things are going well.  Except that I'm totally worn out and good for nothing today! :)

Before I wrap this up, I feel inclined to make a short addition to last night's media rant, and then we'll be done with that.  I in no way was trying to insinuate that the media is to BLAME for the economy problems right now or the gas issue... my point was clearly missed throughout the post by the person who left the disagreeing comment (that has been deleted not because I'm not for free speech, but rather because I made it pretty clear I wasn't looking to get into a disagreement and that I wasn't looking for comments of a disagreeing nature... this is my blog and I was just ranting, not starting a discussion or argument).  

I don't disagree that there are some problems out there... but my whole point is simply that the media MAKES IT WORSE than what it really is most of the time.  I guarantee you that Nashville would have had plenty of gas had the media not freaked everyone out.  If people had gone about their business as usual, I'm pretty sure we'd have been fine.  Case in point? EVERYWHERE else in Tennessee has gas right now.  Memphis. Chattanooga.  Clarksville. Cookeville.  All of them have gas. So what's up with that? (And yes, I heard Knoxville has an issue, too, but I'm betting since they've had hundreds of citations for gouging this past week that they probably don't have a good reason to be out, either.)

When the media says things like "there may be a shortage" when they have no proof that might be true, it creates a HUGE problem because people scurry out to get gas and drain us of every last drop.  Then the media gets to say, "Oh, well we called that one!"  It's ridiculous.  I only wanted to express my irritation that the media no longer exists to simply share an unbiased presentation of facts... everything they do is about money and ratings... that is my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.  We're done with that now.  Thanks for allowing me to rant.  We now return to our normal cheerful disposition.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Rant on the Media

You won't read a lot of posts like this from me, but I'm irritated.

I had been chatting with the boy I've briefly mentioned over the past few weeks about potentially making the 3-hour drive to visit him today.  We decided to wait until a better weekend for numerous reasons, but even if we had decide I should go today, I would not have been able to do so.

Why is that?  Because of the media.

The local news in Nashville today announced that there would likely be a shortage of gas in our area because some of the trucks won't make it here until the middle or late next week.  Best I could tell, they offered no substantial evidence of this.  (Not to mention, anyone who drives knows that those truck drivers have no problem speeding along to their destination and cutting off everyone in their path.  I find the claim hard to believe for that reason as well as that we had gas by the gallons only 2 days after the hurricane this weekend and find it hard to believe it'd take longer to get to us now than it did immediately following the bad weather.)

Here's the problem.  Everyone went out and got gas.  So now we have none.

Let's get something straight people.  There are MANY reasons why I'm not using my degree in journalism to work for the media.  One of the biggest?  Journalism is supposed to be unbiased, but I think most of the major news media outlets are unbelievably biased.  Any election year will prove that, but that's not what this post is about...

The media outlets are NOT non-profits.  They are doing their thing to make money.  Sure, they go around saying they are trying to get the best information to you as soon as possible, blah blah blah.  But you have to remember that they make money every time they go on the air.

Someone who is connected to the oil industry is also connected to the media.  If you've ever read the book Skinny Bitch, it's kind of like how people in the food industry are connected with the FDA.  I guarantee you that money has been exchanged somewhere (and I'm not suggesting illegally or anything, but there are always ways) and the media announces that there is a "shortage" so everyone runs out and buys gas at the ridiculous gouged priced of $4.19 (or more) and cause all the gas stations in a 30-mile radius to run out and they make a helluva lot of money. (Don't even get me started on the price gouging.  It's ridiculous we don't have a better system for nipping that problem in the bud.  You gouge your prices? Then you spend 10 years in jail.  I guess this is why I'm not a lawmaker).

You don't have to agree.  And honestly?  Don't leave a comment if you disagree.  I'm not posting this to start an argument, and I'm being very honest that this is my opinion.  After obtaining a degree that would enable me to work for the media, I am confident it is the last place I'd want to work.  There's no such thing as sharing news simply for the sake of keeping the people informed these days.  It's all about the benjamins.

Further commentary?  The economy.  The media is making it sound worse than it actually is right now.  It's called sensationalism.  If they announce all the banks are going under and we all go and pull out all our money, what happens?  The banks go under.

I really think it's sad that we now live in a world where we think we have to know everything all the time anyways.  I don't think it does us any good.  We have a very biased media right now who is trying to raise fear and panic among us.  This is not good.

Sorry for the rant.  I know this is a mile away from my typical cheery disposition.  I'm just getting fed up with all the crap the media pulls and that people actually buy it (literally and figuratively).

It Comes with the Territory

This is the part during marathon training where I start to question myself a bit. Granted, a lot of people question my sanity before, during and after, but that's not what I'm talking about.

You see, marathon runners do something that less than one tenth of one percent of the earth's population does. Seriously. Look it up in Runner's World or google it or something. We are know our sanity is worth questioning. That's not really the point.

However, every marathon runner inevitably raises personal questions about his or her self while training for the next race. Sometimes it's terribly introspective, and other times it's simpler things like the training plan.

Mine is always about preparation. At this point, I've put in close to two months of preparation. I still have a little over 2 months more to go. I've done this before, and I know that I'm not supposed to feel prepared right now and that I probably will closer to race day.

But this is where I always start to question. I wonder if my training plan is sufficient. Granted, I'm following the same one I used to set a 26 minute PR with last year other than a few alterations (namely running a marathon before I run a marathon). My question this year revolves around if I'm really doing enough. Last year I had already run a marathon just a few months before starting to train for the next. This year? I had only run a few halfs.

Ultimately, I know not to be concerned. I'm training hard. I'm trying to put good things in my body like water and fruit and vegetables and the occasional chocolate decadent dessert (come on, it's good for you and you know it). I'm getting excited about the cooler weather because I know I run better in it. I've got a great training plan.

The questions usually linger for about a week, and then I find my "second half of training second wind." I remember the 3 marathons I've already done. I realize I'm knocking out long runs like there's no tomorrow. I find that sense of knowing I'll reach my goal again on race day.

For example? I ran 10 1/4-mile repeats yesterday at an 8:00 m/m pace (which is hella fast for me these days). I killed it. That treadmill didn't know what hit it, and neither did the guy next to me who seemed really bewildered that every 2 minutes I'd slow down and walk on 3.8 and then kick it back up to 7.5 again.

AND I went to yoga class. It was a little tougher this week because my hamstrings are totally taking a beating with all the running. All the more reason to get to yoga.

Tomorrow morning calls for a 16-miler. The weather should be around 61-64 the whole time with only 10% humidity. This excites me! It's only 1.5 miles longer than the longest run I've done, so I think it's going to be a good one. I also got my new Mikado tank in the mail today, so I'm looking forward to hitting the pavement in it (and shorts.. can't forget the shorts).

I hope everyone has a happy weekend, and to my fellow runners I wish you well in whatever milegage your training has you cover this weekend. We can all do it!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

TIART: Bring Your Favorite Blogs

***This post is part of the Runner's Lounge Take It and Run Thursday.

When I started my blog, I had run two marathons. I started writing as a way to keep some of my friends updated on my life, but I quickly became absorbed in the world of blogging and Google Readers and the lives of perfect strangers.

I have to admit that it's only been in the past year that I started to discover blogs of other runners. Once I did, I couldn't add them to my Reader fast enough! I love spending time every day catching up both on how the life and the marathon training is going for these "blog friends" that I've found along the way. It's amazing to read what other people are accomplishing, and it inspires me to get out there and keep going at my training with all the strength I've got. I appreciate all of the comments fellow runners leave for me, and I find their advice so helpful.

Here's the thing... we all share in this thing called life. For us runners? We have an even more special bond. It takes a little something extra to go after marathons and other long distances. It's certainly something to be able to connect with other runners.

For any newbies landing on my page (especially if you click over today from Runner's Lounge), I of course use my blog to write about running (I'm training for marathon #4 and #5 right now!), but I also like to write about other happenings in my life. It all kind of comes together anyways, thus the title "Life is a Marathon."

This list is not all encompassing, but here are a few blogs by other runners that I read every day:

Absolut(ly) Fit - I love reading about Laura's adventures to balance her crazy work schedule, a boy, and going after her goal to run a marathon in all 50 states.

It's Either Love or Hate, Not Both - I'm super excited that this running chick will be running in the Memphis half-marathon (so hopefully we'll get to meet up at some point), and it's always fun to read about how her training is going. She's got some great ideas on how to keep herself motivated.

Morning Runner - I just always enjoy reading about this girl's activities whether she's running, swimming or pretty much anything else. She encourages me to stay on top of cross training.

Runner's Rambles - This gal is by far my favorite new blog discovery. I found her just a short while ago and had to go back and read her archives about her training for her first marathon ever. She's an optimist like me, and I always find her posts encouraging me to keep kicking my long run's butt. She's also fun to email back and forth about random running things!

The Happy Runner - She's alwasy cheerful, but she's not afraid to be honest and realistic about her runs. I like that. I always have fun when I land on her blog.

Was It For This - I love this blog! Sarah does tri's, but she's also venturing into marathon running. I always really enjoy her posts and feel so inspired to not only keep moving forward with my traiing, but also to consider buying a bike. One day I just might do it and try for my first tri!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Photos from the Wrecking Crew weekend in Toronto

Being silly at Tim Horton's


Hanging out in a big truck

They stack the fridges really high

Me and Amanda

Rogers Centre and the CN Tower

Casa Loma in Toronto

Hanging out on the double decker bus tour of Toronto

Going to IKEA for the first time ever

Ready to hit the town!

We mean business

The CN Tower lit in red, white and blue in honor of 9/11

All the girls ready to go out

The Wrecking Crew

Canada's Wonderland



Behemoth - Tallest Rollercoaster in North America

Ready to go out the second night

Niagra Falls

Best friends!

The Wrecking Crew Hits Toronto

I'm finally recovered from the weekend. Something about running 10 miles yesterday really seemed to help. I think it got me back into my schedule of my normal life that doesn't involve running all over a city in another country with my two best girlfriends. So, as promised, details about my awesome weekend with my Wrecking Crew ladies in Toronto.

I left Nashville on Thursday, breezing through security in less than 3 minutes and taking off only 5 minutes late. I was stuck in the very back row of the plane. This is not fun. I had a window seat, but there was not a window. So I cranked up the ipod and settled in with Runner's World to pass the time. Once in Detroit, I spent $10 to eat a sandwich and waited for Steph to arrive. Shortly after, we were on the plane to Buffalo and sitting together because she so wisely pointed out that her aisle was much closer to the front than the one the man sitting next to me would be sitting in. Score.

Amanda picked us up in Buffalo, and we proceeded to engage in lots of girl talk as we made the drive to her home in Canada. The border is fun... they asked a LOT of questions about what we were doing and how we know each other and where we live and what we do for work. (The guy raised an eyebrow when I mentioned my job... that tends to happen. Cabinet hardware distribution isn't something you hear about regularly. I was glad to give him something new.)

Friday we got up and headed to Tim Horton's for coffee and muffins. They say that we have a Starbucks on every corner, but this is definitely an exaggeration. I see a lot of Starbucks-free corners. However, they literally have a Tim Horton's on every corner. It's crazy. But by the end of the weekend, I wished we had Tim Horton's. Everything there is excellent.

Amanda works for Whirlpool, so she was able to get permission to show us around one of her warehouses. It was really fun for me and Steph to put on a safety vest and ride around with her in a golf cart. When you don't live anywhere close to your best friends, it's awesome to have a chance to see where they work and what they do for a living.

Next, we headed to downtown Toronto to find a tour. We wandered around for a bit, and I ate street meat for the first time ever. I settled on buying a chicken hot dog, which was surprisingly delicious. Or maybe I was just really hungry. We hopped on a double decker bus to take a tour of the city and check out a lot of the really cool buildings, including the old hockey stadium, new hockey stadium, hockey hall of fame, teeny tiny football field for Toronto University, a castle, a part of town remniscent of Times Square, the CN Tower and the baseball stadium. It was definitely neat to see a new city and learn some interesting facts. For example, the CN Tower has the world record for dropping an egg from the top and catching it at the bottom unbroken. WOW.

We stopped by IKEA on the way back to Amanda's because I had never seen one. We don't have one terribly close to Nashville, so I never have had a chance to duck in one. It was pretyt neat to see what everyone has been talking about all this time.

Once home, we cleaned up and ordered some Chinese before getting all dolled up for a night on the town. Amanda's friend Tracey joined us, and we took the train downtown to meet up with a few of their other friends. We went to this really cool bar/nightclub that I thought was kind of classy. They had excellent music, so we spent a lot of time dancing and just being girls. we met a few guys from FL and GA and started talking football to them, but they totally blew us off after a bit so they could go outside and smoke. We agreed that you know you're addicted when you abandon girls for your cigarettes.

It was a late night (as in it was 3am before we went to bed), but we were up around 9 to head to Canada's Wonderland. I LOVE amusement parks, and we made sure we rode all 10 of the big rollercoasters as well as a few of the smaller rides. Wonderland just opened a new ride called Behemoth that is the tallest coaster in North America at 230 feet. It was AWESOME! I was shaking when we got off because of the adrenaline rush that it gives. Check out the video of the ride by clicking the link on Behemoth earlier in this paragraph to see what I mean. We definitely had a blast at the park all day.

After getting home, we took naps and had some yummy pasta for dinner. Some of Amanda's friends joined us to head over to a local pub to have some Canadian beer as well as Polar Bears. A Polar Bear has Creme de Cacao and Peppermint Schnapps, and it may be the best shot ever. Seriously. Try one sometime. We had a great time hanging out, talking and listening to a great cover band (we heard mostly American music the entire time we were in town).

After another 3am bedtime, we were up the next morning to head to the airport. We stopped at Niagra Falls on our way to take some photos and check it out. I'd love to go back sometime and take the tour that goes under the falls. Then it was time to cross the border (where we had far less questions as we were welcomed back into our fine country) and head back to the Buffalo airport.

Steph and I were exhausted, so we settled down to have a sandwich and watch a little football. I had her french braid my hair into two braids like she used to back in our high school days. I wish I knew how to do it to myself. I didn't take it down until last night. I'd love to be able to wear my hair braided for several days at a time more often. I also found it was still just as awesome as ever to run with it braided.

Once we landed in Detroit, I had planned to hang out with Steph at her gate since her flight left before mine, but I saw that there was an earlier flight to Nashville so I took off to try to get on it. I got lucky and managed to get a seat, so I got home 2 hours earlier than planned. I was ecstatic about this because I was SO tired and not interested in hanging around Detroit for 2 extra hours.

All in all, it was another fabulous weekend. We laughed, we talked about the men in our lives, we introduced Amanda to Flight of the Conchords... something was so funny one morning that I had to spit out a sip of Gatorade I'd just had because I was laughing and couldn't get it down. That's what it's like to be with these girls.

I'm super excited that I'll be seeing both of them again very soon. Steph and her husband will be in town next weekend for a wedding, so that means grabbing a meal at some point. Amanda is coming to town next month on vacation and staying with me a few nights before we head to Knoxville for a UT game. I don't usually get to see her twice in one year, so this was really exciting news.

It's a blessing to have so many friends in my life, but these two girls are really special to me. I laugh with them, cry with them, share silly stories with them, ask dumb questions and never feel dumb... we never judge each other for anything. We are always there to help each other out any way that we can. I try really hard to not take that for granted, and I'm always praying I'm able to be as good of a friend to each of them as each is to me. There's really something to be said for having amazing best friends. I'm always reminded of that in a new way when we get together.

I'll post some pictures in the next post. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Another 10-Miler

So I decided today that since I hadn't ran since my 10-miler on Wednesday, it might be appropriate to run another 10-miler.  I didn't want to overwhelm my body on Saturday when I go for a 16-miler.  It's only 1.5 miles longer than the longest run I've done in my training, but that was a couple of weeks ago.

It went well.  I even ran a negative split!  This was nice since last week's 10-miler was so tough.  It was still about 77 degrees today and slightly humid, but there was a really pleasant breeze that helped make it feel entirely different.  I ran the first 5 miles in about 48:30, and then I ran the second 5 miles in about 45:30.  Overall, I finished in 1:32:53, and I still felt pretty good.

I also tried out the new fuel belt that I bought a few weeks ago.  I didn't want to try it for the first time on a REALLY long run.  It was a good test run.  It definitely took me the first mile to decide if I wanted to tuck my shirt under the belt or leave it out... I went with keep it under the belt so that the belt had no chance to rub my skin.  I was concerned that might be a problem.

It's still going to take some getting used to... It of course doesn't sit as low as I'd like what with me having a little bit of hips and a butt.  I'm also small enough around that I have to push the bottles to one particular spot on each side in order for them to be comfortable.  Every now and then my arms would hit a bottle, so that was a little annoying.  But I think I'll get used to it.  I don't know that I'll wear it in races since they provide water and stuff.  I also can't carry enough in the two bottles for a full 26 miles.  I might just wear the belt without the water bottles to carry my gel packs.  We'll have to see.

It felt good to get the run in at a 9:15 pace.  I'm really pleased with that time.  I guess you really are a runner when you can turn a 10-mile run into a tempo run.

(Toronto stories and pictures coming in the next few days, promise!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tina Fey (and Michael Phelps) on SNL



I just watched the tape of Saturday's SNL premier.  I thought Michael Phelps did a pretty decent job, even if he did seem a little nervous.  I LOVED the one about the "Michael Phelps Diet."  Find it online if you didn't see it.  I did think that the writing seems to be a little less than desirable... is it just me or is SNL not nearly as funny as it used to be?  I was a little surprised to see the locker room skit, which was almost exactly the same as the one they had Peyton Manning do last year.

If you don't see anything else from the episode (that overall I give a 4 out of 5), watch the above clip of the cold open.  Tina Fey came back to do an amazing impersonation of Sarah Palin.  I think it's worth noting that the ONLY time Obama's name is mentioned in the entire episode (that I caught anyways) is in this skit.

Enjoy.  

Back in the U.S.A.

Oy. I'm exhausted. And VERY dehydrated, despite the dozens of water bottles I've been consuming lately.

I promise that you'll get a good post about my weekend with my Wrecking Crew ladies in Toronto. I even promise to make it happen this week - and I'll post pictures!

But I'm too tired right now. I'm totally going home after work and curling up with SNL from this weekend and crashing early.

For now, let me just say that the weekend was FABULOUS. There was much laughter and girl talk (yes, a lot of which revolved around some of the gentlemen in our lives.) There was dancing at a downtown Toronto bar. There were cute outfits galore including sparkly tops and red shoes. There were polar bears. There was Canadian beer in an Irish pub. There were rollercoasters, including the tallest one in all of North America. There were new friends. There were a few jerks at the bar and a few guys who prefer their cigarettes to pretty girls. There was Niagra Falls. There were Canadian accents. There was a guy who thought buying me a cranberry and vodka would be enough to convince me to move to Toronto. There were drunk dials to guys we actually care about in our own respective parts of the world. There were a LOT of pictures. There were light-hearted chats and serious conversations. There were plans to see one another again. There were daydreams about future vacations together. There was very little sleep.

All in all, The Wrecking Crew had another successful weekend. You know it's been a good one when you are so worn out at the end of it.

Stay tuned this week for a post or two containing more about the weekend. For now, I've got some sleep to catch up on!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mid-Week Long Run: DONE

I did it! (And I hope that line makes all my fellow DMB fans burst into song.)

I ran 10 miles yesterday... in the heat and humidity... after working all day... and after several nights of staying up a bit too late on the phone with a boy.

It took me longer than usual - 1:42:00 - but I finished. I'll take it. It's about getting the miles in right now. Honestly, it was about a 10:12 m/m pace, and that's not half bad when you consider the weather. I am NOT cut out for heat running. I never have been, even back in my high school cross country days. Running in the heat is hard on anyone, but some people can manage it better. I am not one of those people.

When I first started, my legs felt like bricks. This was a littl surprising since they felt great during Monday's run, but after the first mile they loosened up.

However, at the 1.75 mile marker, I had an urge to go to the bathroom. I thought it might pass like it often does, but by 2 miles I knew that wasn't happening. I stopped and stood there for a second trying to figure out what to do. I could run the 2 miles back to my car and use the bathroom at the town center, but I knew I'd have a hard time getting myself to go back out for 6 more miles. I could keep going for 3 miles to the end where I knew there'd be a porta-potty. By the time I thought through this, I had started feeling like there was NO way I could make it in either direction.

Then, a ray of sunshine came down from the clouds and spotlighted a porta-potty 50 yards away in the field. I run on the greenway all the time and it has NEVER been there before. It was an answered prayer. I have never been so happy to see a porta-potty.

Once I took care of business, I felt pretty good as I made my way to the 5 mile turnaround point. Once I started making my way back, the run started getting progressively more difficult. My water was hot. I was hot. I was sweaty. And it was all I could do to keep moving.

But I did. I made it back to my car. I only walked a little here and there to drink some of my hot water in an attempt to stay hydrated. I finished in a somewhat decent time. And now I can go to Canada and not worry that I missed a run because I already got it in!

I'm SOOO excited about leaving today. Plans call for some Toronto sightseeing, a trip to Canada's Wonderland (where they have like 10 huge rollercoasters!), and a trip to Niagra Falls before heading back home. Best of all? Time spent with two of my favorite girls in the world.

This will be my last big trip for a little while. It looks like I'll be making some road trips to Memphis in the near future (something to do with the fact that Andrew lives there, ha), but no more trips requiring a plane for a while. I suppose it's time to wrap up my crazy summer of traveling all over the place. My bank account will appreciate it, too!

Have a great weekend and come back Monday to hear about the weekend and see pictures!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

27 Hours Til I Leave for Toronto!

Last night I volunteered at a special dessert function put on by Mercy Ministries for the players in their upcoming golf tournament. Basically, it was a time for Mercy to show their appreciation for the players who are working hard to raise money for the organization as well as encourage them in their final weeks of fundraising. I always enjoy myself when I work these kinds of events.

Last night's was especially cool because it was held at the home of one Tennessee Titan football player Kevin Mawae. He and his wife are totally awesome for letting everyone come into their home for the event. They're big supporters of Mercy. They seemed like perfectly normal people. His wife even left in the middle of the event to go pick up their two kids from soccer practice. I always think it's neat to see people who are wealthy but are still trying to live normal lives and do their part to make the world a better place. (Of course, their house is way nicer than mine, but it wasn't too crazy or anything.)

I need to run 10 miles today. I'm planning on running 10 miles today. I'd really like to skip it, but that'd be totally unwise. It's just always hard for me to get myself out on long runs in the middle of the week. But I need to. I switched this weekend's run and next weekend's, putting 10 on this weekend's agenda and 16 next weekend. Easy as pie. Except I'll never run while I'm in Canada. So it's better to do it a few days early than not at all.

I was excited about it this morning. It was cloudy! It was cool! There was a breeze! Now it's 88 degrees and 58% humidity. Booooo.

I have to remember that every time I feel like I might not be able to do a run that most of the time I get out there and feel great. I wonder why I was doubting myself in the first place. And it's not that I REALLY doubt myself. I've run plenty of marathons and half-marathons, so I always know I can get out there and do whatever mileage I need to do. But I totally have a tendency to let the heat get to me. I know I don't run well in the heat. So it makes me want to bail out...

But I can't do that. I'm not going to do that. I will change my clothes. I will grab my water bottle and my ipod of awesome music. And I will hit the road with full intentions of running 10 miles.

Then I'll feel really great. Tired, possibly. Overheated, possibly. Great, definitely.

And I should feel great. I'm not skipping a run. And I'll probably be walking a lot this weekend in Toronto, so it's not like I'll be lazy before I run again on Monday. And I'll do 16 next weekend and be back on my training plan as scheduled.

I'm really excited about my trip. I'm pretty much packed other than I need to toss in an extra long sleeve shirt since it's supposedly going to be cool and rainy some. I was also reminded to bring a swimsuit, which is good since I hadn't thought of it.

So here's to getting my long run in today, heat and everything. And here's to a totally awesome weekend with my best girls. I can hardly wait for my flight tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Charlie

My family has always been "cat people." My grandparents had a siamese cat named Titus who died of old age a few years back, so we got them a new one. They named him Charlie.

In November, Charlie would have been three years old. Unfortunately, they had to put him to sleep yesterday. He had some sort of urinary blockage problem that they did surgery on but realized they couldn't fix. He'd have died naturally from it, but they didn't want him to sit around in pain for the last day or two of his life.

I was REALLY sad when my mom told me the news. My grandparents are pretty old, and my grandpa has been in pretty bad health the past few years. They loved Charlie, and it makes me really sad for them to lose him. Why is it that purebred cats seem to have so much more trouble with their health than regular old cats?

Charlie was a good cat. When we got him from a breeder a few hours away, he rode in my lap the whole way home. He slept with me the first few nights we had him because we were keeping him to give to my grandpa as a surprise on his birthday. He was sweet and loved to play with his cat toys. In particular, he had a tiny white teddy bear that he'd carry all over the house in his mouth.

Charlie will be missed. It still makes me sad that he was so young and my grandparents hadn't really had him that long in the scheme of things.

When I got home, I gave Tucker a big hug and he purred. I know I'd be devastated if something like this happened to him. Pets become part of your family, and it's always hard to see them pass on.

My parents are going over there tonight to bury Charlie in my grandparent's yard. I'm doing some volunteer stuff so I won't be going with them, but I know it's going to be hard on my grandparents.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer today, but it just really bummed me out last night to find this out. On the lighter side, here are a few pictures of Charlie when he was a kitten. He'll certainly be missed!






Monday, September 8, 2008

Getting Things Done

Don't you love it when you have really productive days?

Yesterday was like that for me.

I joined my mom and my sister for lunch, listening to my sister gush about her boyfriend. It's kind of funny. She's four years younger than me, and I so remember being like that about my boyfriend when I was her age, but it's interesting how the WAY in which we gush over guys changes as we get a little older. Don't get me wrong... I'm good at the gushing. But it's still different now than it was when I was 21. She and her boyfriend are almost sickeningly sweet, but I'm totally happy for her that she's got a guy in her life that treats her really well and puts her on cloud 9. I like the guy, which is lucky for him. I certainly don't want to have to have words with boys my sister dates. Believe me - I'd do it if the situation called for it.

Anywho, I did ALL of my laundry yesterday. Before a big trip, I like to make sure everything is done for 2 reasons. 1: I have everything I own to choose from before I pack. 2: I don't have near as much laundry waiting on me when I get home. I would have loved to have done a little cleaning, too, but scrubbing the toilets was about the only thing that merited importance yesterday.

I also had hoped to go on and start cleaning out my closet. I have WAY too many clothes, a byproduct of the fact that I have been the same size for years. I know a lot of women might scoff at me and remind me that I'm lucky. I get it. But when you realize you've got pictures of yourself in some of the same outfits over the course of five years, you kind of want to change things up a bit. So I've bought new clothes, but haven't gotten rid of some of the older stuff. I always justify keeping them by the fact that they still fit and look good, but when it comes down to it there's a lot I don't wear because I'm sick of it. So I'm going to clean a lot out and take it to Plato's Closet and hopefully get some cash for it. Anything they don't want will go to Goodwill.

I made mix cds to take to my girls when the Wrecking Crew reunites in Canada this weekend. This also got me really excited that it's only 4 days away! I'm so going to pack tonight, which will so be a 2-hour process since I need to make sure I pick some really awesome outfits. When the 3 of us get together, we like to get all dolled up and paint the town red. I need to be prepared and hopefully fit it all in a carry-on bag.

I got a bunch of stuff organized on my computer, so my transition to the iMac is pretty much complete. I also tried to hook up my printer, but it doesn't come with the USB cable to connect it to the printer. What. the. heck. Who makes computer printers and then doesn't include a cable to hook it to the computer? I think this is ridiculous. But since the printer was free, I'm going to suck it up and buy a cord. But still.. ridiculous.

I halfway watched the Colts getting beaten up by the Bears. It was sad. Poor Peyton. But it's only the first game, so it hardly counts, right?

A good conversation with a guy named Andrew who you are likely to find referenced from time to time in coming posts (and yes, that was me introducing a guy here in my blog... you all know I tend to keep a lot private so don't get too excited just yet or start expecting a lot of details, but he's possibly going to be a bit more relevant and therefore mentioned from time to time) led to me thinking about things I'm looking forward to this week... and also past this week.

I'm looking forward to seeing my girls in Toronto this weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing Toronto and Niagra Falls. I'm looking forward to good training runs and terrific races in the coming months (I've got 4 before the end of the year!). I'm looking forward to visiting the above-mentioned guy sometime soon. I'm looking forward to Christmas (and yes, I know it's like 4 months away, but I LOVE that time of year and it'll be here before we know it!). I'm looking forward to more time with good friends. Things are pretty good right now... it feels good to have a lot to look forward to as we wind down 2008 (can you believe that?!)

Hope everyone else had a delightful weekend! It's back to the grind of work today, but I'm looking forward to my speed workout and packing tonight. It should be good times, ha!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

13 Weeks From Race Day

I can't believe I'll be running a marathon in 13 weeks.  I can't believe I'll be running a marathon to train for that marathon in 9 weeks.

This weekend I joined the Bob to run our favorite 6 miles of hills out at Percy Warner.  I stumbled across a site that has some awesome pictures of where we run. Go check it out here. I'm very unlikely to ever run the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon, but I love getting out there about once a month to get a good hill workout on my legs.  I can't imagine running 26.2 miles out there.  The 6 I do just about gets me every time. There is one hill that goes up for well over half a mile.  By the time I get to the top, I feel amazing that I made it all the way up, but I also feel out of breath and have to stop to drink some water.

On the way home, we had to take a detour.  I realized once we came out of the neighborhood that we had to cut through that we were on the same road as the Krispy Kreme.  So I asked Bob, "If the hot sign is on, we're stopping, right?"  He looked at me.  We crested the hill.  We saw that bright red sign.  He turned on the blinker.

I have to say - getting a free, hot donut after a run is AWESOME.  I was tempted to get a few more, but since I only ran 6 miles I resisted.

But let me just say... it's a good thing that Krispy Kreme isn't close enough to home to stop by more often. I'd have to start running ultras!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Keep Running, Running

The lovely Aron over at Runner's Rambles sent me a link to this article. Did anyone else know that VP candidate Sarah Palin is a 3:59 marathoner?! I'm certainly not trying to get political by sharing this article, but I have to say that I can always respect someone who participates in my sport. Us marathoners have a tendency to stick together because we all kind of understand what it takes to be marathoners... and those qualities kind of stick with us off the road, too. I just thought it was interesting.

I got my 6-mile run in yesterday. Despite it being 88 degrees and ridiculously humid, I ran it in about 53 minutes. I definitely felt pleased with that since it's a little under a 9 minute/mile pace. I certainly couldn't have kept at it much longer at that pace, but that's part of why I'm running a December marathon. :)

I also hit up the yoga class, which ended up being like an answered prayer. Seriously - I had hoped we'd cover a few moves to get my hips stretched out, but we spent the ENTIRE hour doing hip work. I'm definitely feeling it today, but in a good way. It was also really great to get a refresher on some of the moves so I can do them when my hips feel tight in between classes. It was great to get back to yoga, and I certainly intend to try to hit it up once a week.

This weekend's run scales back a bit from last weekend's 14.5 miler... I'm only running 6. However, it's on a ridiculously hilly course. I like to do it once a month to get some killer hill running into the training mix. I think trading the distance for the hills is good on occasion.

The rest of my weekend should be pretty relaxed, and I'm looking forward to it. I might do a little football tailgating action up at my alma mater (though I'm going to pass on the game... they didn't look too hot last week and I'm not really willing to spend money to watch that). I definitely plan to catch up on some sleep. I'd like to also watch a movie or something. I haven't rented any in a while.

Hope everyone else has a good weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Workout Updates

The thing about Thursday? It's not quite Friday.

Yoga didn't happen yesterday. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't get the DVD to play on either of my players. It will however work on my awesome iMac, but I didn't have the energy to figure out how to position it so that I could see it from a spot in my living room where I have room to actually do yoga. I'll save this for another day.

I did make it over to the gym to spin away in spin class. I sweat SO much in there, and I love it.

Earlier today it was cloudy and windy. It pumped me up for my 6-mile run and convinced me to run it outside. Now it's sunny and HOT again, but I think I'm going to suck it up and run outside. I can handle the treadmill and won't do my speed workouts on anything but a treadmill, but tempo runs feel so incredibly long to me... even if they're just 4 miles. I don't mind getting a little hot and sweaty, especially for only 6 miles. I managed to deal with it for 14.5 on Saturday, so what's a measley 6, right?

I've also been a little frantic as I look at the calendar and try to juggle around my long runs. I should be doing a 16-miler next weekend when I'm in Canada. I don't want to skip it all together, so I'm contemplating if I should try to do it next Wednesday before I leave... that's a really long run to do after a full day of work. I could also just go run 10 or so right before I leave, and then the following weekend when I'm supposed to do 10, do the 16 instead to get back on track. I'm leaning toward that option, as long as nothing comes up for that following weekend that doesn't allow me time for a 16-miler. Decisions, decisions.

There's a yoga class at the gym tonight. I don't know that I'll feel up to going once I get my incredibly humid run in after work, but I might. I know it'd feel good. I'm still dealing with some tightness in my left hip, so I really want to start being more proactive in getting that worked out.

I think I'll feel more at ease in a few weeks when I don't have any more trips interrupting my schedule. Plus, I'll be running in a half-marathon in about a month, so that'll give me a good opportunity to measure where I'm at with my fitness. Then it'll only be 4 weeks until my mrathon training run and another 4 until Memphis!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Bit More on the 14.5 Mile Run

I realized I kind of glossed over my 14.5 mile long run that I did on Saturday.

First of all - I'm insane. If you're keeping track then you know that I ran 10 miles for the first time in two months just a few days before I ran 14.5 miles. This is NOT recommended. However, if you know your body and your level of fitness, then you are usually aware of what you are capable of doing. I knew I could handle 14.5 miles, so I did it. Because of that, I'm back on track with my training plan. I also found that aside from a bit of stiffness the next day, I felt pretty good. This definitely raises my confidence about my fitness level.

Next, I LOVE the Sugoi Mikado Tank. I had worn it in the 10-Mile Race back in June, but I didn't really realize how AWESOME it is until I ran in it this past Saturday. With the temperatures in the mid-80s by the time I finished at 8:40am and 90% humidity, I really appreciated how well it wicks away sweat. I also felt really comfortable in it, and I decided I'm going to buy myself another one. They're a bit pricey, but I've decide it's going to be worth it to have two of them. I'm going to get it in blue! I ordered it this morning, so I hope to have it before I have to log a 16-miler next week.


I also decided that I really enjoy running to Linkin Park. I had bought their album Hybrid Theory back in 2002 or so when I was going through a phase of listening to that kind of music. I can't say I flip the ipod to their stuff other times, but on a whim I put it in on my shuffle thinking it'd be good music to pump myself up. Boy was I right. There's just something about that entire album... every time one of the songs from it came up the other day, I found new energy and pep to keep pushing forward.

Part of the greenway we ran on connects to a local battlefield. When I was in high school, coach would have us run at the battlefield about once a week. We also did a lot of Saturday morning practices and summer practices out there. I hadn't run on the trail in the battlefield in several years, so it was kind of fun to be on it again. Granted, trail running is harder so I definitely had to slow down. My new shows got incredibly muddy in the process, but I found myself saying that "you're not really a runner if you don't get your shoes dirty." I suppose I believe that.

All in all, it was a success. I averaged around a 10:25 minute mile so I can't complain about that considering the heat.

Yesterday I got about 6 800meter repeats done, running each at 8:40 m/m pace. I really want to stay on top of the speedwork so that I can go after that 4:20 marathon. Today calls for trying out a yoga DVD that someone gave to me this weekend.

Things are going well these days. I feel like I'm a better runner when I am feeling good about other things in my life. I'm absolutely in such a place right now. I have a lot to look forward to ... a trip to Toronto for girls' weekend, my Canadian friend coming to town in October, three races over the coming months, and I might possibly have a few other things to be excited about that we'll talk about when I figure them out. (I'm so mysterious sometimes, I know.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sometimes You Gotta Be a Kid

What a fantastic Labor Day weekend I just had! It was really hard to get myself up and to work this morning. I wanted another day of fun instead!

Friday was an exceptionally long day at work, so I was glad to have plans with my gal Aleesha for the evening. We ended up going with her husband, his brother, and her one-year-old to Chuck E. Cheese's. I know that a one-year-old isn't really old enough to enjoy such a place, but we won't lie. We went for us. It was a total blast to eat a LOT of greasy pizza (talk about loading up on the carbs and calories for my long run) and playing skeeball. I totally won enough tickets to get a lot of candy. I remember thinking the prizes were a lot cooler when I was a kid. I guess perspective changes. Regardless, we totally acted like a bunch of kids, and I think there's something to be said for doing that from time to time.

Saturday morning I got up before sunrise and was on the greenway to start my run at 6:20am. This may be the earliest I have ever started a training run. While it ranged between 75-85 degrees the entire run, the humidity was 90%. I didn't have a dry spot on my entire body, and my clothes were soaked through. It was a good 14.5 mile run. I finished in about 2.5 hours, which isn't great... but considering the heat I was pleased with the time. Heck, I was pleased to finish.

A friend came in from out of town, so I didn't even take a nap after the run! After hanging around all day, Aleesha and her husband joined us for dinner (I cooked spagetti, which is always a good choice after a long run). Then, we headed out for a little bowling action. I am not a terrific bowler, but I surprised myself and got a lot of strikes during the first game and beat everyone else with a 133. However, my exhaustion from the day started to sink in on the second game and I lost terribly with a 70, ha!

Sunday was spent doing church and lunch with the family, and then we went roller skating! Seriously - I was such a kid this weekend. I don't think I've ever done quite this many "activities" in a 3-day span of time. Plus, my legs were totally wondering what on earth I was trying to do to them, but I was pleased that I wasn't terribly sore from the run. I have to admit... I jumped from 10 miles to 14.5 miles in one week. This is usually a terrible idea, but my fitness level is still pretty high so I think it didn't have too much of a negative effect. My hip is still a little achy, but I'm working on keeping it stretched out.

Sunday evening we went to this cookout that my aunt and uncle have every year for the holiday weekend. Tons of good food and a whole lot of laughter... then we headed to go see Tropic Thunder. I laughed and thought parts were funny, but I'd recommend renting it later instead of paying to see it in theaters.

I actually took it pretty easy yesterday. I ran a few errands, did some laundry and helped Aleesha work on some stuff in her classroom. I was seriously in bed by 9pm. My body kind of took a beating this weekend, and I also stayed up a lot later than usual for a few nights.

I love it when I have really terrific weekends. Of course, it went by WAY too quickly. But all in all, I'm thankful to have had so much fun with several good friends throughout the weekend as well as with my family. If this really does have to be considered the last official weekend of the summer, then I have to say I managed to go out with a bang.

Of course, I still have Toronto to look forward to next weekend. Then maybe I'll wrap my summer fun up. :)

Hitting the gym again today for speedwork. Despite being insane for jumping to 14.5 miles this weekend, I really feel good about it. I think that I'm on track now for my training. It took me a few weeks to bounce back, but I'm totally in the zone now. Hope everyone else enjoyed their holiday weekend!