Friday, December 30, 2011

Mom returns home and I rolling pin myself

My mom left yesterday to go back to Montana. She jets in twice a year for Christmas and summer time. She lives just outside of Glacier Park and if you're concocting a mental image in your head of a place that's spectacular and beautiful in every single way then you're right in doing so. Each time I visit her we head over to the park and as we round the bend of the HWY that heads to the entrance you curve around a line of forest trees and are welcomed by a view that leaves you wondering how on earth you could ever begin to describe such a anyone.

I'll miss her being around.

Did I mention she did ALL my laundry for an entire week? The grown up version of being spoiled.

Lake McDonald, the first stop on the Glacier Park tour.

I took yesterday off from running and I'm taking off today and tomorrow. After the 9 miler, the HILLY 9 miler I did on Wednesday, I'm ready for a break before the 10 I'll be racing on Sunday. I won't lie, I'm actually kinda sore and haven't been this bad since the tail end of my marathon training. Typical for me. A sore muscle just waiting to happen. I'm beginning to believe that whoever came up with the "Run Less, Run Faster" concept had me in mind.

Anyway, I've been foam rolling but it just isn't giving me any relief. I examined the pink cylinder from all angles, studied it like a plant that you're trying to salvage from death. The foam roller. It's dented in and caving on all sides. I realized that there was little to do but head to the kitchen and get out the actual rolling pin. In fact I rolled through two overtimes of the Florida - Rutgers game. Rolled the hamstrings, the calves, both IT Bands. By the time I headed for bed I felt like I had a much better set of legs under me. Tough love says the rolling pin.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just a little quicker

Do you ever think it's odd that we all thrive in this sport of running, yet there's so little of it made public? I wish it was easier to find flipping through the channels. Although the ING NY Marathon coverage left a little to be desired this year, I think there's tons of room to attract not only new runners but new viewers. I have my favorites that I love to watch and I wonder...

Who is your favorite runner??

Unlike NFL football or college basketball, you and I are left to sit on the edge of our sofa's on NYC Marathon day, trying not to blink, cheering on our favorites IF they're running and savoring the view of how these front runners can cover the ground so easily. We make internal jokes about the fact that we couldn't match that pace if given $100 and a once-around-the-track. Why can't their be more marathons on TV??

Anyway, I thought I would share first. Maybe you can keep it going on your blog. We'll do just like in grade school. "My favorite runner is..."

Without further ado. Meet Meb.

I like him because he's always improving and seems like such an everyday guy. Even though he's won the NYC Marathon in the past, he still finished off the podium this year with a PR. I love his signature move of tossing off his stocking cap deep into the race.

I keep hoping that he'll end up at a marathon expo so I can meet him. I'll be nervous so I'm a shoe-in to end up saying something supremely stupid. I'm famous for that.

Race Day this Sunday! Hangover Classic 10 Miler.

I'm racing with my friend Tami and so excited for her. It'll be her first ever 10 mile race and she's ready. Last night we went out for a 9 mile and we clocked in at a 9:20 pace and that was with serious hills inserted. I'm going to be doing nothing for the next couple of days. I have this great feeling that we're gonna do well. Our last 6 miler was all sub 9 minute miles so if that's any indicator??? Stay tuned...

My It Band is starting to tighten back up. This happened last year to me at the exact same time. I'm rolling but I'll hop back on again a few times a day and after this race I'll go back to 5-6 mile runs. It's frustrating. It's sucks taking so many steps forward and then just as many back.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Never a dull moment..

Another Christmas has come and gone. A few days before the 25th my daughter kept reminding me that it didn't "feel like Christmas" to her. Maybe it was because it was constantly 55 and rainy outside. It wasn't cold, never a chance of snow, just half yuck all the time. This time last year we had snow on the ground Christmas morning for the kids to try out their new sled on. Our front yard has a seriously long .15 part of a mile downhill slope to it. Makes me wonder why I haven't invested in a snowboard yet?? Oh, cause I need my legs for running and not for reconstructive surgery.

I love time at home with the kids. They talk non stop, go through about three changes of clothes every day, eat massive amounts of yogurt and enlighten me into what's rolling around in those little heads of theirs. Never a dull moment. It starts out like this..

I ask Jonah to feed the dog. He feels that a trail of dog food from the dog to the actual dish is in order.

Christmas Eve, Jonah threw his suit and flippers in a bag and decided to head to the pool with me. I LOVED swimming with him. He would get right up against my side at times, our arms brushing against each others in the water. For fun I would say hello to him when I would reach under my arm for air. Made him laugh each time.

Sydney, our oldest, also better known as "Cake Boss" around the house, fixed a Christmas penguin cake. She's 12 and has better cooking skills than I do. Sad. I'm better at making origami if that counts??

So what did I get for Christmas? Money for races and a gift card that I used to add this new purse to my collection. I love it! I scored Coldplay concert tickets for this summer and my friend Michael and I both got each other cows. Not real cows because that would be weird for the neighbors and hard on groceries but mantle cows to remember our first race together in Missouri. I couldn't have asked for any more.

Yes, you're welcome to borrow it in a couple months.

I officially put on 2 lbs during the holidays. The best part is that I really don't care. Just looking at my new 20 week 70.3 schedule qualifies me to burn those 2 off just by being close to the paper. I decided to take OFF the KY Derby Marathon in April and just do the half. I'll do a full in the fall but I don't really see any reason to run a full marathon on a 20 week 70.3 schedule. I would love to get to race day with all my senses intact...and injury free.

And speaking of fall marathons....LESS THAN A WEEK FROM ING NYC 2012 ENTRY! Here we go again.....

So tell me, what's the main event on your plate for 2012??

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What would you do?

One of my New Years Resolutions is to give up Facebook. The only thing holding me back is the fact that all my photos are lodged in there like my own little online scrapbook, plus I like being able to go back to them and reminisce. Well, there's that and I'm able to keep up with my running group.

Why do I want to give it up? I asked myself that question a couple times. Then I realized, it was the plethora of information and feelings that I was inhaling upon logging in. Someone was sad, someone was happy, someone was shopping for rare garden gnome's, etc. Sooooo much information. Then I remembered a scene from Bruce Almighty. Remember when he would log onto his email and it was full of prayer requests?? Soon thereafter he was covered in post-it notes? It was emotional overload. I feel much the same way. My head is full of enough junk and when I log on, I feel everyone elses thoughts pouring into my already overflowing brain. For heaven's sake, I'm still Christmas shopping.

Other than those items, I have no reason to hang on.... till recently. I normally log on about once a week, do the quick mouse scroll down the screen and log off. But about a month ago something caught my eye.

Someone posted this question:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail??

It has to be one of the best questions I've heard all year. It goes right to the core of every human beings innate desire to live life to the fullest. No sooner than I read it, I had already dreamed up about three things that I wanted to do. Humor me.

I, would open a children's bookstore. Just like the Shop Around the Corner from You've Got Mail. I love children's books. My business would thrive, kids would trolley in and out my shop doors with books under their arms, smiles on their faces. I even have a store picked out in town where I would put it! Yes, I'm a dreamer.

Second, I would try out to be the kicker for an NFL team. Then I would make the team because A. I'm athletic and B. In this scenario, "I can't fail". Unlike the guy in the picture I don't want to play for the Colts, as much as they could use my help right now.

So, I pass the question along to you.

What would you attempt to do, if you knew you could not fail??

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm running late....

Guys, I'm still not done shopping. The list is long and distinguished, those I shop for each year, nieces, nephews, aunts, cousins, plus, not to mention my kids, husband, mom, grandmother. This year though I've failed to meet expectations. If shopping were my job, I would have been pink slipped at this point. And the pure irony of it all is that shopping is the one areas of my life that I can reflect upon with great memories. Although, like most of you, I've had to trade shopping in for race and travel expenses. I've passed up more than my fair share of winter snow boots and handbags for the chance to swipe my card on Tonight is my big night though! I have my list in hand and high ambitions of returning home ready to wrap. Just like mile 24, I have to finish this. I will not be defeated by Christmas.

Are you done yet? That was a stupid question. Even if you are done, tell me you're not and that you'll come shopping with me tonight. There's a yogurt kiosk in the middle of the mall.

Last night I did another brick. Rode for an hour while watching Judge Judy with my mom. I had the Ipod on but the courtroom visual is always interesting. She loves court tv. Then hopped off for an incredibly quick 2.5 mile run. For some reason I'm able to come off that bike flying. I've never considered myself incredibly fast but I'm starting to think that there's hope for me yet.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Party animal ways...or partying with animals, either way...

It's the off season. I've gone from the throws of marathon training to holiday shopping and the occasional 5K. Life is grand isn't it?? I have a 10 mile race with my friend Tami coming up on New Years Day but after 26, well, everything else just seems so easy. Everything! Some people that I know who don't run tend to comment on the fact that I've run 8 or 10 or 15 and my response is always the same "well, after 26...."

Do you ever find yourself doing the comparison??

After the Marine Corp I was in this rut for almost a month. I would get super moody if I went a week without a long run. I realize now that it was just a nasty case of distance withdrawl. I don't need to be running those kinds of miles for the time being and finally seemed to have convinced my body of the same. All's well that end's well. For 2012 my sole concentration is going to be on the 70.3 and fine tuning the half marathon time. I put the KY Derby full marathon on my schedule but I'm starting to question whether that's the best choice. Since I've changed my training up, adding the bike and swim and taken out a mid week run my muscles have felt amazing. Heck, I have felt AMAZING. I feel better now than I have at any point in my training in the last 3 years. It's cool as shit to be honest.

Anyhoo, this weekend I was invited to a wine tasting party. I sorta just wanna call it a wine party because I tasted the exact same kind the entire night. My friend Glenna, who was the hostess, has the most beautiful dogs. They're soft and look like stuffed animals, only, these dogs were eating Cheetos and stuff like that.

Cheesecake Factory and Merlot. I dare you to top it. Ok, maybe Mexican food would be better but it would be a close call.

Chella meet everyone, everyone meet Chella. Wanna pet the folds right??

Christmas shopping still isn't complete. I'm starting to stress just a little bit. I mean, I'm close but still. I went to the mall on Saturday to try and carve another path to Christmas but the more I walked around, the more I realized that I although I might be able to run for 4 hours without stopping that shopping for 4 hours without stopping seemed nearly impossible. Mall endurance, the next frontier. Also, if you have an extra $500 lying around, I've found about 10 things at the Fossil store I want.

Next race is the Hangover Classic. 10 miles on New Years Day in Louisville!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Passion, the glue that holds it all together

Mountain climbing in the living room.

As runners and triathletes it's hard to find that middle ground of moderation. Balance. When is it too much? When it annoyies every warm body around you? Balancing training, work, family life. It's never easy to get it all done just the way you want. 2012 has a 70.3 in store for me and when I look in the mirror I realize that this is who I am. I'm not the person that spends an hour cleaning my hardwood floors anymore because I have nothing better to do.... but I am the girl who spends that very same hour on the bike.

I was reading an article a friend of mine sent me the other day about people who run marathons and more so, people that compete in triathlons. They kept referring to what we do as "excessive exercise". It's like I was just slapped with a medical term for what my brain calls normal. Hmmm. I'm going to be honest, my first reaction was one of shock. I've never thought of it that way. Do you? I run maybe 20 - 30 miles a week. I don't think it felt excessive at any point. Felt just right. Training feels like a glove.

Now, if you want to talk about obcession. Feast your eyes up on this -

One of my friends lent me this CD. I love Cold Play. Love.

I have this song in my head that I'm constantly singing. Wanna sing along?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quick Reference Guide to Flying

As I was boarding the plane from Baltimore to Charlotte, NC I noticed that little red book sitting in the cockpit. The picture might be small but feel free to click on it to blow it up. It reads "Quick Reference Guide". **By the way, never say "blow it up" in an airport. My co-worker accidentally dropped the "b" word close to boarding time. It was only a matter of minutes before someone was gonna show up with plastic ties to take her away.

"Quick Reference Guide" to what I ask??

As I did the half sideways shuffle through first class, making my way back to the rear of the sky bus, watching the gold medallions of the world nestle in to their high back leather chairs and enjoy spacious amounts of leg room, I was left to wonder: If both pilots passed out and I was left to fly this thing, would the Quick Reference Guide be helpful?

You know you're thinking the exact same thing!! If not, please excuse my vivid imagination. Quick Reference Guide writer man, tell me there's a diagram with arrows pointing to switches, airplane steering wheel, wheels up n'down, (no one likes a belly landing with sparks) wing flaps, etc. I hope everyone followed along with the safety demonstration. That nylon strap is gonna get a run for it's money if I'm involved. Pull down on the strap and put your head between your get the idea.

Is there a point where some alarm is going off in their pilot cabin and Captain Jack says to Captain Morgan "what's that noise?" and Captain Morgan says "I dunno, lets get out the Quick Reference Guide."

Meet Achilles.

After a 10 second conversation with a friend about my bike, a name was born. Out of all things that I do in a triathlon, the bike has always been my Achilles heel. Doesn't get much easier than that and although it might seem counter productive to give my bike that name, I think it'll actually work out to be ironic in the end. The bike might end up being my best event, just ask the bike trainer in the living room.

Tonight is swim a mile, spin an hour, have a Dr. Pepper.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Unexplained 5K PR and Words with Friends...

Happy Monday! Almost an oxymoron right? Can "happy" and "Monday" coexist? Yes, if you purchase a winning lottery ticket or have the day off as part of a 4 day weekend that included having Friday off as well. Neither of those happened to me but I'm still happy today. Why? Couple things I suppose but we'll start with Saturday.

My friend Christie, sorry if I botched the link up, drove over from Russell Springs, KY to run this 5K with me. I hadn't planned on doing it earlier in the week but honestly, most of my races end up being unplanned and last minute. The nature of my running beast. After my last PR of 27:17 I stepped up to the starting line with the notion in my head that I wanted to do better but wouldn't be disappointed if I didn't. Running fast for 3 miles just isn't something that I train myself for as a marathoner. I don't warm up till mile 4. I'm not telling you anything you don't live already yourselves.

So, they race was a staggered start with the fastest times being in the front. Christie and I were literally toeing the line. Nerves set in. The only time I toe the line is at the check-out for a sale on shoes. The horn goes off and a quarter mile in my watch reads 7:30 and my legs hurt. It feels like I'm running through mud even though I'm skimming the ground. I knew I wouldn't be able to hold that pace for then entire time and the first mile is always the worst for me so I went back to what I knew best which was using the rest of mile 1 to warm up and then chip away time starting at mile 2. The race was hilly almost to a fault and they slap a really steep one in for good measure at mile 3. I passed tired souls going up it and had nothing but momentum cruising to the finish. The race ended up on my watch being just shy of 3.1 but close enough that my 25:19 was worth smiling about! I finished 4th in my age group out of 40 women and missed 3rd by about 30 seconds. Ahhhh, if only I had known.

So, I might have missed out on an actual prize but getting my picture taken with this guy was well worth waiting for. Hideously awesome. He said he got it from his grandmother who use to teach preschool. I bet zero attention was paid to the chalk board that day.

Me, Christie and Andrea

Are you playing?? More importantly....Are you winning??

Because I'm not.

Words with Friends. My latest endeavor to play a game on my phone. I failed miserably with Angry Birds but figured since words are kinda my thing that this would be a way I could manifest my writing life into game form. The idea is novel until you play against someone who seems to have the genetic make-up of Albert Einstein. I've lost...badly...multiple times. I keep playing but I'm taking a beating. It's obviously in my nature not to give up but I welcome advice from any of you who have happened to win a game. Just one game will do.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The best laid plans...

I've been gone.

I was doing so well do around here. I was finally catching up on everyones lives and getting back to writing myself when work had to come and get in the way. Off to Baltimore for nearly a week. I slaved by day but had big plans by night. None of which ever came to fruition. I only ran 10 miles while I was gone and swam a mile in a funny tasting pool. I didn't lick the walls or anything but the chlorine was a new brand to me. Has no one else complained of the taste I wonder?

Anyway, on a couple of occasions I thought about taking pics of all the food I ate and posting them, because, after all, those of us that run hard appreciate good food. I, for almost five days was treated to some great food. The kind of culinary delights I could never afford on my own. Only problem was, I was enjoying great food but not running, unless you count trips to the bar to grab another Bud Light. I don't normally drink, so a half a beer in and I was smiling like I loved every minute of everything anyone around me was saying. Only, I wasn't paying attention. In - My - Own - World. I'm such a lightweight. Stick the L to the forehead.

Without further ado....

Buckle in. Let's do a highlight reel.

What I wanted to see but didn't get to:

What I didn't plan on seeing but became intimately close with:

Where I wanted to go but not enough clothes packed for :

London, a far sexier destination than Baltimore.

My days were spent with four-legged friends:

And I finished off my glutinous eating extravaganza buy buying an entire box of these at the airport on my way home.

This week - no miles logged. I swam a mile on Tuesday night and rode a little over 10 miles in spin class. Tonight I think I'm gonna brick. I'm trying to think of what I wanna watch while living room cycling?? Any ideas? I welcome suggestions.

Plus, I need a name for my bike. It's on my To-Do list. Far down BUT nevertheless on the list.

Missed you guys!