Monday, November 30, 2009


I promise I haven't disappeared.

But I know it's been a while since I posted. And I'm way behind on my Google Reader. I will catch up in time.

Where have I been?

Well, my grandpa passed away last weekend. I made a post on Twitter and Facebook, and I thank you all for your kind words and prayers. It made last week pretty rough, but we got through it and managed to say our goodbyes.

We had a nice Thanksgiving. I started my day by running the Boulevard Bolt 5-mile race that I've been running the past few years on Thanksgiving. I felt pretty good and finished it in 41:44, a new PR by about 16 seconds. It's nothing to brag about, but I was still pleased.

I enjoyed a super lovely nap before having a HUGE meal with the family.

I did some Black Friday shopping with my mom and sister. We always go later in the day so that we don't get swamped with all of the early morning crazies. I managed to find a few more gifts, and I also bought a few things for myself. :)

I'm less than 2 weeks away from running the Huntsville marathon. My 20-miler went well, and I'm really enjoying being in taper mode again.

The holidays are always a little crazy, but I'll be back soon with better updates than these little tidbits. I've finally finishing decorating for Christmas, so I'll have to share some photos soon!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Tidbits

I have a few odds and ends about various things to share today.

First, I found something in Self magazine that I wanted to share.  The last article in the November issue is about Jessica Capshaw, the gal who plays Dr. Arizona Robbins on Grey's Anatomy.  She's quoted as saying, "My mom told me a person builds a life and then goes off and does a job.  
Hopefully, you enjoy that job... but it can't become your life, which is about family, friends and things that are permanent."

I think these words are SO true, and it's definitely how I feel about working and specifically my job search right now.  I want my life to be fulfilling.  I believe that work can indeed be part of that, and I certainly want to find a job where I feel fulfilled by what I do since I'll be spending 40 hours a week doing it.  But work isn't where I think most of my fulfillment comes from.  It definitely comes from the relationships I have and the other things I spend my time doing outside of work!

A few other tidbits:
  • Yesterday I wore sweats all day.
  • I actually never even put on a bra.
  • In fact, I never even left my house.
  • It was awesome
  • I have recently watched two old movies that I remembered from my youth.  Courtney mentioned watching Follow That Bird, so I had to dig it out and see it.  I hadn't watched it in years, but it brought back memories of which scenes I liked best as a kid.  Does anyone else remember it?
  • I also watched Three Men and a Baby.  I forgot to watch for the scene where the guy is standing in the background that isn't supposed to be there.  That part always creeped me out when I was younger.
  • My grandpa is being moved to hospice as soon as a bed is available.  We're not sure how much longer he has, but it's probably not much.  I'm doing ok, but it's definitely a sad time for our family.
  • I got a great four miles in today and am gearing up for a 20-miler this weekend.
  • I'm also going to see Imogen Heap in concert this weekend, and I CAN'T WAIT!
  • Oh, and I have a second date with a guy. :)
  • I have also managed to almost finish my Christmas shopping.  I love to get it done early so that I can focus on decorating and baking and being with friends and families throughout the holidays.  I still have a few more people to shop for, but I pretty much know what I'm getting them.
  • I will not be seeing New Moon in the theater.  Sorry vampire lovers, but I just wasn't that impressed with the first film.  And honestly, even though I read all the books, I'm just not diehard enough to pay $10 to see the movie.  I'll rent it from the RedBox in a few months.
  • I will more than likely go see The Blind Side with my family on Thanksgiving.  We've started a new tradition of seeing movies together on holidays since it's pretty much the only thing open.
I've got a busy couple of days coming up, so I may be rather quiet in blogland until next week. Good luck to all the people running races this weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Making a Track Clinic Part of My Training

I can't believe I haven't said much about it on my blog yet, but I've been trying something new since I got back from Chicago.

I joined a distance track clinic at MTSU (also my alma mater).  For $75, we get a weekly clinic and workout with the distance coach for nine weeks, a long-sleeve tech shirt and the freedom to get advice from the coach at any time.  I also got an awesome discount on some running shoes through the coach's connections.

It's been really fun the past 5 sessions.  I try to do some speedwork as part of my marathon training anyways, and it's super awesome to get to go do it with other people and a coach!  It's also been bringing back high school memories since I haven't done much running on a track since those days!

I can't say that the information has been new.  I have been into distance running for a while and read a ton about it on my own, but it's always nice to hear what a distance coach thinks about all of the information that's out there.  Last night, he shared a ton of great info on core exercises, and I left feeling inspired to try to do a better job of working on my core.

The biggest advantage I've found so far is that I push myself harder when I'm out there on the track running with other people... and with someone watching.  Last week we did 6x800, and I ran all of them with a 8:00 pace.  That's kind of fast for me.  Last night, he had us do 20 minutes at tempo, so I ran about a 9:00 pace.  Then he wanted us to run a hard mile, and I ran mine in 7:20.  DANG!

I think it's been helping me to improve a bit on my speed, and I can't complain about that.  I hope that I can continue to stay on top of doing these kinds of workouts even after the clinic is over.

I share all this to say that if something like this is ever offered in your area, I would definitely suggest taking advantage of it!  I think everyone gets different things out of such a clinic, but I know that I'm finding it to be a really great part of my marathon training.  I guess a big part of it is that it helps me to make sure I don't blow off my speed work - I paid for the clinic, so you better believe I'm not going to skip it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

All Sorts of Productive Up in Here

Ok, so I'm totally bragging, but sometimes that's just what you need to do.  

I have been super productive lately.  This has mostly been spurred by the impending holidays.  I'm going to be pulling out my Christmas decorations and tree sometime in the next two weeks, and I figure I might as well have a super clean house before I put it all out.

Today I:
  • Vacuumed my entire house
  • Dusted everything that could be dusted
  • Cleaned both bathrooms
  • Cleaned the kitchen
  • Did laundry
  • Ironed everything that had piled up that needed to be ironed
  • Put all clothes away
  • Sweated a TON at a spin class
  • Had dinner with my dad
  • Watched How I Met Your Mother and Accidentally on Purpose
  • Caught up on emails
  • Made my Christmas shopping list (and I actually already crossed a lot of people off because I bought several gifts last week!)
I am pooped.  I'm planning on showering and then settling down on my couch to watch Jimmy Fallon.

Speaking of Jimmy Fallon, I totally had a dream last night where I got to go to a taping of his show and I got all excited I won a prize.  However, the prize turned out to be a free pass to a class at the gym.  I was like, "Um, I run freaking marathons.  This little class is nothing" and I was all disappointed.

Then I woke up.  I also had a few other crazy dreams (it's funny how some nights are like that), but I'll be keeping them to myself.

Oh, last night I also got some more work done on my scrapbook.  I am determined to finish scrapbooking my college years sometime in the near future.  One of these days I'll get caught up and scrap all the awesome trips I've been on lately.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Race Report: Team Nashville 10-Miler

On Saturday, I ran the Team Nashville 10-Miler!  I hadn't run this race since 2006, and back then it was actually a half marathon.  In fact, it was the first half marathon I had ever run!

Fall is beautiful in Tennessee, so I had been looking forward to running this race and enjoying all of the fall colors all week.  I also needed to get a solid 16-17 miles in for my Huntsville training, and I find it's really helpful when part of such a long run is a race.  Plus, it helps me to get a sense of how I'm doing in terms of my racing fitness.

I managed to talk the Bob into running this week as a way of going out of his 40s in style (since he'd be turning 50 the next day!)  We got to the race, picked up our race hoodies (who can complain about a $23 race where you get a hoodie?!) and then sat in the truck to stay warm until start time.

At the start line, I easily found Amy since there were only about 130 runners.  The three of us set out together chit chatting and settling into a groove.  When I saw our first mile was done in 8:15, I felt a little nervous.  I knew that this was a bit too fast for me, but I also wondered deep down if I could actually hold it.

We did slow down a tiny bit over the next mile or two, but I felt confident we were still clocking 8:30 or so.  I think maybe we had a 9:00 around mile 3 or so.

Shortly before mile 5, I was feeling pretty good and decided to pull ahead of Amy and Bob.  Part of me always feels a little bit bad about this because I hate leaving people behind, but at the same time it wasn't a training run (where I'm usually not as concerned about time) and I was curious to see how well I could do.

After running up a HUGE hill at mile 5, I used the downhill to coast a bit and catch my breath. I found myself running with this other man for about 2 miles.  We didn't talk, but I could tell that we were silently pushing each other.  Around mile 7, I realized that if I could keep up the pace, I could have a PR.

At mile 8, I decided that I needed to start picking people off.  I knew that I'd never keep running this fast if I didn't make these tiny goals.  So first it was the man wearing the CamelBak, mostly because I felt like that was a little excessive for a 10-miler.  Then another man.  Then I spotted a woman in a Flying Monkey shirt.  It turned out to be the volunteer coordinator so I said a few words before pulling on ahead.  Then a teenage boy.  Then another woman.  

Then I hit the big hill.  I knew it was coming, and I hoped I had built up the extra time I would need to run up it and still get a PR.  I kept checking my watch, but I'm terrible at math even when I'm not running... so I could never quite figure out how close I would be cutting it.

Once I reached the top, I knew I wasn't far from the finish.  I started picking it up a little bit more and passed about 3 more men before crossing the finish line in 1:25:03.  It was a new PR by 3:30!!!!!  I was a little surprised at myself for being able to average an 8:30 pace!

I grabbed some Gatorade and trotted back out a bit so that I could cheer Bob and Amy on in.  I made my way back over to them once they finished.  Amy asked how I did.  I told her.  "Shit!!!" she said.  Yep.  That was kind of exactly how I felt.

It ended up that I got second in my age group (technically third, but I got bumped up since one of the top 3 women was in my group).  I beat like 5 other people in my group.  I was the 16th female, which I think is kind of cool.

The only disappointment of the day?  I got an orange cooler for an award.  I don't mean to sound all selfish, but I so rarely get an age group award that it was kind of a bummer to not get a medal or something.  This cooler will more than likely end up in a yard sale.

Nonetheless, it was a super fun race.  I was really excited with how well I did, to say the very least.

Then I came home and ran 6 more miles at the park in a little over an hour so that I could hit 16 miles for the day.  It's not the same as running it all together, but I still feel like it was a pretty damn productive day in terms of both my racing and marathon training.

Here are a couple of photos...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

CMAs in Nashville

First off, thank you all for your comments on yesterday's post.  It was really fun to read what others think about how Facebook affects dating.

Did anyone else watch the CMAs last night?

Being in Nashville, I'm pretty familiar with a lot of country music.  I can't say I'm a die hard country fan, but there is a lot of it out there that I do like.  Brad Paisley.  Carrie Underwood. (Ironically, both the show's hosts.)  Lady Antebellum.  Keith Urban.  Tim McGraw.  Rascal Flatts.

I love watching the CMAs more than any other awards show, and I think it's for the same reason that Patricia Heaton seemed so tickled to be presenting an award.  She made a comment about how it's one of the most fun awards shows she's attended.  Brad and Carrie made comments about how country music artists are kind of one big happy family, and I think that's true.  

Most of those artists live here in Nashville.  There are frequent Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman spottings (not that I've seen them yet.)  We don't have paparazzi chasing them around.

I love seeing the performances.  I love hearing the acceptance speeches.  I love seeing who wins the awards.

I shared a few thoughts about the show on Twitter last night, and I'll share them here along with a few more as well:
  • I love that Brad Paisley thanked his wife (actress Kimberly Williams Paisley) first in his acceptance speech.  I always love seeing evidence of southern gentlemen who know how to respect their women.
  • I agreed with a friend of mine that Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland is captivating
  • I said that I never thought I'd see Dave Matthews perform on the CMAs.  He's SO my favorite, and while I'm not a big Kenny Chesney fan I think it's pretty cool they have a song together.
  • I'd like to know how many dresses Carrie Underwood ended up wearing.
  • I also commented that while I know Taylor Swift is talented (mostly as a songwriter), she doesn't measure up to Brad, Carrie and Keith in my opinion.  I always feel a little disappointed when I hear her live because it never sounds as good as her recorded stuff.  I suppose she's worthy of the awards she won, but other artists would have gotten my vote.
  • I love that Lady Antebellum won a few awards, particularly the one for their single "I Run to You."  It's one of my favorite songs right now to run to, sing along to, listen to, etc.
I won't lie.  I never watch the Oscars.  But music awards shows? I heart them.

I would have loved to have actually attended the show (talk about some crazy expensive tickets!), but it's still pretty fun to watch them on tv.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No Internet Footprints

I very rarely talk about dating on this here blog, mostly because I tend to keep stuff like that pretty private and also because I don't ever know if someone I'm dating is reading what I write.

However, I have come across something that I'd like to share.

I was recently asked for my phone number.  Then, I was recently called and asked out to dinner and a movie.  (BTW, how awesome is it that a man actually called after asking for my number? This seems like such a novelty since it so rarely happens.  What is it with guys not calling?! But that's a whole 'nuther blog post.)

I'm not really going to share any details just yet because you all know that I don't ever say much unless someone has ventured into boyfriend territory, but suffice it to say that I'm kind of looking forward to the evening.

Anyways, what I do want to share is that this guy doesn't have Facebook.  Or Twitter.  And if he has email (surely he has email!),  I don't know it yet.  Goodness, I don't even know if he has a computer.  But he definitely doesn't exist on the internet.

Facebook has kind of become the new first date, don't you think? You meet someone you think you're kind of into, and one of you makes the move of making a friend request.  Then, you scour the profile and the pics... Do you like the same music?  Can you handle his favorite movies?  Do his pictures indicate he's a player, an alcoholic, a druggie, etc.?  Come on... we know that we ALL do it.  I'm willing to bet the guys do it to a certain extent, too.

Honestly, many of my dates have been initiated in the past through Facebook.  I've talked on Facebook chat to a guy I was dating while we were both at work.  It's just become part of our lives, and it affects everything - even dating.  I think there's one guy I dated who only ever asked me out on Facebook or through email.  I think we spoke on the phone only a handful of times.

So it's kind of different to not be able to check out this guy's profile.  It feels a little nostalgic in some ways.  It reminds me of how when I was in high school, the only interaction I had with my first boyfriend aside from our actual dates was on the phone.  He called.  He asked me out.  He picked me up. He made it happen. And I had no interaction with him whatsoever outside of that.

I love social media, but it can almost be just as much of a hindrance as a help when it comes to dating.  There are so many ways to communicate these days, and like Drew Barrymore's character says in He's Just Not That Into You, "it's exhausting!"

I've been there.  He emailed me, so I email back.  But then I might want to comment on something on his Facebook.  Do I, or do I wait and let him make the first move?  Since I'm interacting on Facebook, is it ok if I make the move to suggest hanging out? It IS 2009 after all and women are empowered, blah blah blah.  Wait, he popped up on FB chat, so that means he's thinking about me and wants to say hi.  We went out last night... do I send a message saying thanks for a great time, or do I wait to hear from him again?

I tend to be an old-fashioned girl at heart.  I want the guy to make the moves.  I want to be pursued.  I don't want to have to do anything at first but communicate that his advances are welcome.

It's not that I'm not willing to do my part.  I am.

I just kind of like it when the guy does the legwork in the beginning.  I don't have to question his intentions if he's making most of the moves.  And if there's one thing I know for sure, it's that we girls don't like to have to question a guy's intentions.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's kind of refreshing that I'll only be able to get to know this guy on the phone and in person.  As to whether or not there will be more than one first date? That remains to be seen.  But for now, it's kind of intriguing to be in this place.

I'm curious what everyone else thinks.  Is social media affecting the way that we date?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back in Action

I'm not going to lie.  I haven't exactly been as focused on working out since Chicago as I would have liked.  Honestly? I think my body really needed me to take it easy.

But I think I found my mojo again.

I met up with Amy on Saturday to run the 11.2 miles of brutal hills in Percy Warner.  We took it pretty easy, and honestly I was glad we were because I had been a bit nervous about the run.  I haven't run more than 9 miles at a time since Chicago, and I certainly haven't done hills since before I started tapering for that race.  All in all, I got the mileage in and I felt pretty good.  I want to get a solid run of 15-17 miles in next week and then a 20-miler the next before I taper again for the Huntsville marathon.  Sure, it would have been better to get a few more long runs in... but I'm just wanting to finish this marathon, not pull off some amazing time.  I'm feeling pretty fit, and I doubt that I'm losing much endurance from taking it so conservatively right now.

Yesterday I had coffee with a new friend through the Nashville Striders (hi Misty!).  Here's one of the things I really love about running: we runners LOVE to talk about running.  It's always so nice to connect with other people who are interested in discussing training and fuel strategies and local races over a cup of joe.

After I got home, I changed clothes and headed to the gym for a spin class.  This was significant for two reasons. 1) I haven't bee going to the gym as much the past couple of months.  I feel a little guilty because I usually like to make sure I use the things I pay for, but I honestly have just been running more outside and taking it easy on the other days.  2) I haven't been doing as much cross training as I should be, and it's time to get back to it.  Plus, all of Chic Runner's talk about spin classes have been inspiring me.

This class kicked my freaking @$$!  I was dripping sweat and out of breath within the first five minutes.  I forgot how great of a workout I always get in these classes, and I'm making it a point to get to a couple a week now to get my cross training work done.  

But something more significant than a good workout happened.  I think I've written before about how there's a woman at my gym who has run Boston like multiple times and is totally in awesome shape and was out running half-marathons while pregnant back in the spring. I hadn't seen her and her husband at the gym in a while, mostly because when I actually have gone it's been at a different time than when I used to go and see them.  But today? They were both in this spin class.

I was totally feeling kind of intimidated riding the spin bike next to her.  I always want to strike up a conversation with her about running, but for some silly reason I never do.  At the end of the class, the teacher was talking to her husband and I caught that he had just recently finished a freaking IRONMAN! Geez!  Talk about an endurance power couple!

This made me think two things: 1) I need to start talking to them and see if I can join them for some training. 2) Even though I said I don't expect to find a man that is into running or endurance sports, I kind of deep down think it'd be pretty cool.  How awesome would it be to find a man who wants to run marathons and compete in triathlons and stuff?!

Anyways, I'm feeling pretty good about getting back into the thick of things.  I've only got a little over a month until the next marathon, so I know I need to make the next two weeks pretty solid in terms of training before I have to taper again.  I have no doubt that I'll run well in Huntsville.  It won't be a PR day, but it will be fun... especially since so many of my Nashville friends are running!

I say all this I think because I'm trying to make sure I'm being realistic with my goals for the Huntsville marathon.  I'm trying to be conservative with training on purpose.. I don't want to push myself too hard too quickly.  But I'm getting excited as I start thinking about what I'll go after in the new year!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Quick Funny

Sometimes I have kind of a silly sense of humor, so when I find other people that either laugh at me or have a silly humor of their own, I am kind of delighted.

I had coffee last week with a friend at this charming little place in Hillsboro Village called Fido (actually, I ended up having coffee with a friend there on two different nights last week).  I couldn't help but crack up when I read the coffee cup sleeve.

You should be able to click the photo and make it bigger, but if not it says: "Practice safe coffee. Always use a bongo coffee condom."  Then at the bottom: "We appreciate your addiction."

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Outside of the Box

Have you ever done something different that was a bit outside of the box compared to how you usually do things?

As I get older, the more willing I am to try things a bit differently. Sometimes I find it goes well, and other times I find I like to stick to things that I feel are more comfortable.

Last night, a friend and I did something that was a little different for both of us.

Let me share the back story. Last weekend on Halloween night I went to a bonfire at a friend's house. After everyone else had gone home, she and I popped in another party and then went to this chill little place to hang out and people watch. When we headed to the car to head home, there were a couple of guys who were getting into their car next to our's. They started talking to us, and we ended up standing in the parking lot chatting with them for about 10 minutes even though it was like 30 something degrees and we were freezing our crunchberries off since our costumes weren't exactly warm (MAJOR bonus points to anyone who recognize the "freezing our crunchberries off" reference).

The guy suggested we all hang out sometime, and one of them got my friend's number in order to set it up. We went home saying that they seemed nice, but we had little expectations regarding the whole situation because - well, let's face it - most guys that you meet out like that never call.

On Thursday night, my friend and I sat out in a field with another friend watching a meteor shower. Yes, it was after midnight. Yes, it was freezing cold. Yes, I wore layers and had two blankets. Yes, we saw some of the meteors, and yes, it was awesome. Sometimes it's being able to go do things like this that really make me appreciate being young and single. Anyways, where I'm going with this is that I asked her if she'd heard from the one guy, and she hadn't.

On Friday night, we found out that their ears must have been burning because she'd heard from the one guy and they wanted to make plans with us for Saturday. We both thought it was kind of funny since we'd just been talking about the whole thing the night before, and we both figured they seemed nice enough to meet up with and have a cocktail.  Honestly, it's the kind of thing that neither of us are really accustomed to doing.  I know it probably doesn't sound all that unusual, but I know that I don't normally go out with people I've spent all of 10 minutes talking to in a parking lot.  I usually at least know the person's last names or have a mutual friend.  So this was indeed different to do.

Last night after I got done attending a wedding, she and I headed out to meet them.

Interesting point #1: I don't think either of us felt nervous. It's funny, because I know there was a time in the past where this kind of thing would have made me sooo nervous... and that's if I had even had the nerve to actually go. Sure, these guys had seemed nice and all, but when it comes down to it they were total strangers to us. What if it didn't go well? What if it was awkward? I honestly didn't think too much on any of that. At the same time, I just felt really laid back about it because I had zero expecations. Maybe we'd have fun, maybe we wouldn't. It was all about being in the moment.

Interesting point #2: My friend and I have never done something like this at all, much less together with one another. It was pretty fun feeling like we were wingwomen... think Barney and Ted, only we're both kind of more Ted-like. We briefly debated whether or not forming an escape plan was appropriate considering we had NO idea how things might go, but ultimately we decided to literally just wing it.

As we drove up to the place where we were meeting them, about 5 cop cars also pulled up and swarmed the place. We debated for a minute on if we should try to go in, but when we saw the drama appeared to be in the parking lot we opted to head on in. I remembered briefly wondering if we'd all remember what each other looked like, but one of them spotted us as soon as we walked in.

The wait was ridiculous so we started figuring out a plan B and chatting a bit. We ultimately settled on moving to a nearby location and all headed to our cars to drive that way. I remember joking with my friend that this would probably be the best time to bail had we felt like we needed to, but that my general impression from the first 10 minutes with them was good. She agreed, but it was kind of funny to think about... we both wondered if people in our shoes would ever be lame and just ditch them or something. We're SO not those kinds of girls.

After a quick debate in the car in the new parking lot we'd moved to (we were unsure about if we needed to sit on the same side of the table as one another or if it'd be more appropriate to split up (yes, girls think and talk about this sort of thing) and ultimately decided the conversation would be easier if she and I were on the same side of the table across from them), we headed in.

We had a drink. We had some dessert. We laughed and talked a LOT. The next thing we knew, it was almost 1am and the place was closing.

Once we were alone in the car again, we both agreed that the evening was a ton of fun and that it went way better than either of us had expected. It's not that we thought it'd go poorly; we just didn't really have a high expecation because we're not really used to meeting up with people we barely know and felt unsure of whether we'd all click or not.

Do we know if anything more will come of it? No. And that's ok. What we DO know is that we had a great time. And we felt pretty proud of ourselves for getting outside of the box when it comes to meeting new people.

Maybe we got lucky. We could have tried this and found the guys to be terrifically boring or something. But still.. it went well, and we were glad to do something a little different.

I suppose I share all this to say that sometimes you have to change things up a bit.  We could have just as easily said that it wasn't smart to go hang out with guys we didn't know... but in the end I'm glad we decided we would go.  They intrigued us the first time, and this continued to be true the second time. I guess we'll see what happens now. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

My Spinning Brain

One of my favorite things about visiting England is having tea.  I realize I could have tea anytime I'd like to here in the states, but there's just something different about sitting down to have tea and cake in the afternoon.  I kind of wish sometimes that we had something like it to break up our afternoons a bit.

Every time I've traveled over there, I've gone into Whittard to pick out a can of instant tea to bring home with me.  This summer's pick was a Cranberry and Raspberry tea.  You can drink it hot or cold, and today is the first day since I bought it that I felt compelled to drink it hot.

It's delicious.  There's something comforting about sitting here in sweats and drinking tea I bought in England out of a mug with Dopey on it that I bought at the Magic Kingdom.

It makes me feel compelled to write.  It's no secret to people who know me well that I'd love to write a book someday.  What most of those people don't know is that it's something I've already been working on... well, loosely anyways.  I haven't made a lot of progress on paper, but the idea has been developing quite nicely in my head.  I've typed a few things, and for the first time in a long time I'm feeling moved to type a whole lot more today.  I'll be doing that as soon as I publish this post.

Meanwhile, my brain has been spinning all over the place lately.  I'm constantly thinking about my grandpa.  I'm constantly thinking about my job search and trying to figure out what I want to do next.  If there's one thing I'm learning while unemployed, it's that I don't just want to be employed.  I want to have a job that I love.  I want to look forward to it at least most of the time.  I'm constantly thinking about some other people in my life who are on my mind for a multitude of different reasons.  I'm constantly thinking about running and fitness and what sort of goals I am going to create next.  I'm constantly thinking about traveling and wondering if I can squeeze in another trip sometime soon.

It's a good kind of spinning.  I'm feeling inspired right now.  I'm feeling driven, even if it appears that I'm not doing much of anything.  I can be impulsive, but much of the time I'm kind of silently calculating my next moves.  I feel like I'm on the cusp of some good things.  I hope so anyways.

For now, I'm going to enjoy this cup of tea as it works together with my sweats to keep me warm in my chilly house (I do have heat; I just hate paying for it).  I'm going to enjoy this sweet cat curled up in my lap.  And I'm going to write until it's time to go to yoga class.  I love days like this.


First of all, THANK YOU all sooooo much for all of your kind, supportive and encouraging comments yesterday.  Seriously, all I was hoping for was that maybe a few extra prayers could be tossed up on behalf of my family, but I am overwhelmed by how kind you've all been.  I can't really put into words just how much that means to me. Thank you.

My grandpa is now in the hospital after yesterday's fall, and he seems to be improving.  He had to get a lot more stitches and staples in his head (in addition to the ones he got the first time they let him fall out of the bed).  He also broke his collarbone and now has to wear a sling (in addition to the neck brace he's in for the vertebrate he broke the first time they let him fall out of bed).  So all of that kind of sucks, but it's good to know he's perking up a bit and doing ok.

He'll be in the hospital for at least several days.  After that, my mom and grandma got everything done so that he can go to a different facility that we are pretty confident will provide better care.  We're all definitely happy about this.

Next, my foot is feeling considerably better today.  I definitely feel good that I've been taking it easy the past day or two.  I'm going to go on and give it at least another day or two before I run again just to be on the safe side.  You can also rest assured that I'll be wearing flats to the wedding I'm attending on Saturday night.  I'm going to be passing on the heels at least until I get this next marathon behind me.

Finally, I realize I haven't said much about Halloween.  Ultimately, I had one of the best Halloween's I've had since college.  I attended a party with friends on Friday, and then I attended a bonfire with friends on Saturday before spending a little time at a fun little bar in Nashville.  Let me tell you... I think it is so super fun to people watch on Halloween in public. It is SO interesting to see what kind of costumes other people wear.

I've posted pictures on Facebook, so if you're my friend you can check them out on there.  But since I know most of you aren't on there, I'll share one photo of me in my costume that I wore on Saturday. (Yes, I had two costumes, because that's the way I roll.)  In case it's not obvious, I went as a saloon girl from the wild, wild west.  I used Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova" video as my inspiration. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Need to Vent

I'm angry right now.

I think most of my regular readers know that I keep a pretty cheerful disposition around this blog.  For the most part, that's because I feel like I'm like that on a regular basis anyways.  But it doesn't mean I don't have some times where I'm not so cheerful.  Today is one of those times.

I need to vent a bit.  I don't want anyone to take offense to what I have to say.  This is a rather personal issue, and I'm being a bit more vulnerable about my emotions than what I usually care to do on the internet.  

My grandpa has been sick for a while.  I honestly can't even keep up with the list anymore of all the things he's been through.  Brain tumors.  Brain cancer.  Throat cancer.  Skin cancer.  Strokes.  Eye infections.  Ear infections.  Urinary tract infections (did you know that when older people get UTIs, they kind of freak out? I do.)

I don't want to sound like I'm being lighthearted when I say this, but my grandpa has lived through things that would have long since killed most people.  He's 86, and each year we've wondered if it'd be the last birthday, the last Thanksgiving, or the last Christmas.  For like the past 5 years.

I believe that our will power is ultimately a very powerful thing.  I think that's why there are people who are told they'll never walk again that finish an Ironman.  Along the same lines, I think that's why my grandpa is still alive.  He hasn't been ready to go yet.

When I was in Chicago, my grandpa had to go back to the hospital. I think he was dehydrated or something, but from there he was sent to a rehab facility in hopes of getting him stronger so that he could continue to stay at home.

He's doing worse now than he was when he got there.

First, someone at the facility didn't put his bed rails up one night.  This was careless, especially since it's on his chart that he's weak and likely to fall out of the bed.  He did.  He had to get stitches and staples in his head, and he broke something in his neck and they had to put him in a neck brace.

Next, the neck brace is way too big.  My grandma and mom have repeatedly requested they get him a smaller one that actually fits to no avail.

On Sunday, we found out he had gone absolutely nuts.  He was yelling, cussing and being incredibly mean and belligerent.  We know for a fact that the only time he has ever behaved in this manner was when he had some sort of UTI or staph infection. So we asked them to consider his previous history and run a few tests to see if maybe it meant he had another infection.

We went down there last night, and they not only hadn't done any tests, they also tried to argue that no one in the family had called and asked for that.

So we ask them to do it while we're there.  They tell us there's no medical reason to order the tests.  We tell them that we know his previous history and know that his symptoms indicate some sort of infection.

I'll spare you all the nitty gritty, but ultimately one of the nurses told my mom she was being ridiculous.  To her face.

Both of my parents were pretty upset by this point, so I stepped in and tried to articulate what they were too upset to say: We know him better than them, we know his previous medical history, and we know that the ONLY time he's ever behaved in this manner was when he'd had infections.  We're asking that a test be done to rule out an infection simply because if we find out he has an infection and they opted to not do anything about it, they'll have bigger problems on their hands than us asking them to do their jobs and run a test. 

I wanted to tell the women that SHE was being ridiculous because I didn't realize it was such an inconvenience to her to do her freaking job, but I kept that one to myself.  I didn't want to play her game and be disrespectful to her.

Ultimately they ran the tests, I think mostly because they realized my mom wasn't going to leave until they did. I'm still not positive what they found out there...

Today, they left him UNATTENDED in a chair.  Once again, they have it on his chart that he is weak and likely to fall.  He can't keep himself up in a chair.  Period.  They know this.  And if they don't, it's because they aren't doing their jobs and reading his info.

He fell out of the chair and busted his head open.  My mom and dad were heading to the hospital to find out how serious it is... so I'm just waiting right now to hear what's going on.

Now listen... I'm not knocking the medial field in general.  I'm not knocking nurses and doctors and other medical staff in general.  I have good friends who I know are excellent nurses.

But the specific people who have been involved with caring for my grandpa at this specific facility? I am APPALLED.

Like, I didn't know it was so hard to do your job.  What the hell are you getting paid for anyways?  To be disrespectful to your patient's families?  To walk away and leave your patients unattended when they're not in a secure position?  To argue with us about someone whom we know way better than you do?

I mean, I wish I could have video-taped what happened when I was there.  I feel like I'm just going to sound like someone who is upset because her grandpa is nearing the end.  But that's not it.  I'm angry because the people who have been entrusted with his care are straight up neglecting him.

My family has been through a lot with my grandpa.  We know the end is near.  That of course sucks.  But our real issue is that it's one thing to pass away because it's your time to go... that will be sad, but it will be fine.  But if he passes away because they neglected to give him proper care?  Well - that's infuriating.  To say the very least.

If he survives this fall, he's not going back to that facility.  My mom had already called a lawyer this morning to get some help with getting him moved. (Did you know it's like going to war to get someone moved from one facility to another?  Legally, they can't tell us we can't move him, but they can make it so difficult that you have to get a lawyer to step in to get it done.  Now THAT'S ridiculous.)

The whole thing is just incredibly frustrating.  You always kind of have this sense of trust that medical professionals know what they are doing and have your best interests in mind.  I still believe that's true for a TON of them.  But man, when you find the ones who don't seem to giving a flying flip?  It's not a good situation.

I'm certain my readers know I'm not one to throw a pity party.  I'm certainly not posting this because I'm looking for anything from you.  I shared it mostly because I needed to vent about all the absurd things that have been going on and also because I just wanted to ask all of you to say a little prayer for my family if you would like and don't mind.  It's already a difficult situation as it is, but all of this mess has kind of made it all even harder.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Running Update

I've been taking it pretty easy since running the Chicago marathon 3 weeks ago.

Easier than I even intended, to be perfectly honest.

So I'm a little annoyed that the top of my right foot is hurting.  Since I dealt with a femoral neck fracture last year, I always get a little anxious when I feel any sort of ache.  I looked at my training log and felt confident that I didn't overdo it leading up to Chicago.  Then, I haven't ran more than 10 miles a week in the 3 weeks since, so it stands to reason there's VERY little chance I've overdone it since.  The first week after I only ran 3 miles!

I intended to run more, but in the end I felt more comfortable going a bit more conservatively.  Sure I'm signed up to run a December marathon, but I have no intentions of trying to push myself too terribly much at that one.  I kind of just want to do it for fun and to get another marathon under my belt this year.  So I don't mind continuing to be conservative in training as I get ready for it.

It hit me though.  I wore high heels three days in a row this past week.  One night I was even in some pretty tall stiletto boots and walked around a good bit in them.  Since I'm unemployed, I haven't exactly been wearing heels like at all lately, so I think that maybe I must have done something one of those three nights.

It still hasn't kept me from googling.  And oh how we runners know that googling injuries is both a blessing and a curse.  The good news is that where the ache is found indicates that there's very little chance it's a fracture.  Plus, it's not a sharp pain like a fracture would be.  It's more likely that I have strained or pulled a muscle in my foot.

I ran 9 miles today, and I would kind of notice a dull ache every now and then.  For the most part, I didn't notice it at all.  It's been more noticeable this evening.  So I imagine that it's a good sign I didn't feel much WHILE running.  Plus, it's not really pain... it's just an ache.  So that's good, too.

Nonetheless, I'm going to take it easy this week.  I'm icing it and trying to stay off my feet and get plenty of rest.  I'll try running again this weekend because the way I see it, it's most important that I get my long runs in.

It's just kind of annoying.  I'm in a really good shape right now and had been loving it that I had been running again for so long without any issues.  Having anything bothering me is such a pain in the butt!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

101 in 1001 Update

I can't believe it's November.  This year is FLYING by, and I'm not sure how I feel about it.  Nonetheless, I got a lot done on my 101 in 1001 list during the month of October.

2. Run at least five marathons - We all know I ran the Chicago marathon this month. :)  One down, four more to go.

6. Run in at least eight races I’ve never run in before - Chicago also counts toward this one since I had never run it before.

8. Get a massage after every completed marathon - I definitely did this when I got back from the Chicago marathon!  It's the perfect post-race reward.

45. Give money to people who are fundraising at least 4 times a year -  I made another donation to a good cause this month, so I've now completed this for this year (but that doesn't mean I won't give to other causes if they present themselves).

47. Complete at least 50 hours of volunteer work - I accomplished this by planning the Run for Mercy 5K that took place last weekend.  I'm not going to update this task for the time being because I've realized that I consistently do a lot of volunteering at Mercy, and I haven't determined yet what to update the goal to on this one.

48. Mail a card/letter to someone four times a year (doesn't have to be the same person) - I love writing cards, so I found that writing thank yous to my friends who came out to the Run for Mercy 5K to be especially fun.  Some I mailed, some I delivered in person.

58. Make at least one new good friend - This didn't happen specifically in October, but I had a profound moment not long ago about how happy I am to have some new friends in my life that I've gotten closer to over the past 6 months or so.

72. Publish something I’ve written - This might sound silly, but I wrote a small piece about having a cat for a pet that was published in Pets Across America 2009.  It totally counts.

73. Get paid for something I’ve written - I also got paid a bit for that small piece in Pets Across America 2009. It hardly counts, but getting paid is getting paid.

77. Host a true dinner party - I realize a "true" dinner party is a bit subjective, but my definition was to have more than 2 people over and fix dinner for them... and eat at the table.  I had friends over the night before the Run for Mercy 5K to thank them for joining my team.  I felt kind of proud for cooking for 10 people, even if it was just spaghetti and breadsticks!

84a. Try 10 new beers in the States - I've never had the Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale or Yazoo's Dos Perros until recently.

95. Watch one new movie per month, minimum - This month I watched Fast and Furious (cheesy, I know, but Paul Walker and fast cars? Guilty pleasure), Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (so funny), Duplicity, and Management (indie flick with Jen Aniston that I really liked).

96. Read one book per month, minimum - I read Steve Harvey's Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man this month.  I didn't really find that I learned anything about men that I didn't already know, but it was nice to be reminded of how simple some things are when it comes to men and dating, etc.  

There are plenty of others still in progress. :)