Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Conflicting Plans

Tis the season to want to do more than there is time to do I suppose.

But this year is a little weird for me.  Specifically, there are 3 nights with multiple events and I wish I could clone myself and do it all.

Tonight my baby brother is going to be in town.  I want so much to go out to dinner with him and my hubby and just get some quality time together.  I saw him in October at my other brother's wedding (and of course lots of time in July at his wedding), and I'll see him next month at Christmas, but a night with just the three of us would be awesome.

But tonight is one of the very few work dinners I need to attend all year.  I was hoping, hoping, hoping it would be set for any night other than the night my brother is in town, but of course that's not how it worked.  I know the work dinner will be tasty food, fun company, and a good time, but it won't hold a candle to some time with my brother.

My usual rule for conflicting plans is to do whatever was on my calendar first, but this work dinner was planned late in the day on the day that my brother bought his plane ticket (after clearing the date with me that morning), and it's an exception to the rule.  Brother dinner was planned first, but trumped by work sadly...

So my solution tonight is work dinner eaten quickly (but I'm staying for dessert for sure, this restaurant has my absolute favorite restaurant cheesecake in the world), and then I'll go meet hubby and bro for a drink.  He's staying with us, so maybe I'll just stay up late catching up, and depending on his work and mine, maybe we can do a workout, breakfast and/or lunch together on Wednesday.

But oddly enough, I have two more nights like this in the next week or so. 

Wednesday, Dec. 7 is my work Christmas party, which we're attending (spouses are invited) and I'm looking forward to (I've heard some crazy fun stories!).  But that night is also my law school alumni happy hour -- I really like that group of people and I make a big effort to go to all their happy hours that I can since we're a smallish group.  AND my running buddies are having a post-marathon happy hour celebration that night.  Because of the time of the work party, it's not possible to do more than 1 event, so the work holiday party is where I'll be, but again, I wish those happy hours were say Monday and Tuesday of that week instead.

And then Friday, Dec. 9, we are going out for an awesome dinner with one of my law school friends and his new-ish wife (I think they're 9 mos married now).  And by awesome dinner, I mean AWESOME as in we are trying to use up the balance on his work expense account for the year.  That means we'll be attempting to blow $2,000 on dinner for the 4 of us at one of the best restaurants in town.  That's some good wine and food!  I am happy that's on our calendar, but it would be nice if the other things for that night could have fallen on other nights.  One of our friends is having a holiday costume party -- not normally up our alley, but the "costumes" are to dress as Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.  Too funny!  If only his party were Saturday night instead of Friday...  And of course that same night is also a dance performance (followed by dinner) done by my husband's best friend's youngest son (his godson's younger brother).  It would be so much fun to attend that, if only it were on Thursday...

So lots of fun plans, unfortunately I only get to do 3 fun events instead of all 8 -- just because all 8 are scheduled over the same 3 days.  If only people would consult my personal calendar before planning their lives and fun events!  Hahaha!  Sigh...

We're also skipping hubby's work party this year, which is on Sunday afternoon (odd), because it's the day of the big local marathon and we're going to have an open house/brunch for all my running friends.  That will be awesome -- lots of baking to do!  

Monday, November 28, 2011

FMM: Holiday Shopping

Going back to work today for the start of a very busy week -- major evaluation of case files, and the one colleague who shares my case load is out while her mother is very ill.  Yikes!  But the days off were nice, though I did do some emailing and stuff to help take a bit of the load off today.

I figured it was a good idea to choose a ready-made topic since it's Monday!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: http://www.alltheweigh.com/2011/11/friend-makin-mondays-dating/www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Holiday Shopping

  1. Do you like to shop? Not really.  My clothing is fairly old b/c I really hate buying new stuff.  I'll even have stuff altered when needed to avoid having to shop again.  It just takes so long to buy clothes and I hate it.  And I've delegated grocery shopping to my husband, so I don't have to shop much at all, except around the holidays. 
  2. Have you started shopping for Christmas gifts yet? Yes, I enjoy the holidays A LOT more when I've started shopping well before Thanksgiving. If I have time today, I'll do some cyber Monday shopping! 
  3. Did you shop on Black Friday?  If so, what did you buy?  Nope.  I went to yoga in the morning and we spent most of the day doing some major cleaning around the house.  Like pulling everything out of our walk-in pantry to reorganize and scrub the floor, etc.  Then Saturday we did our holiday decorating, and Sunday we went to see friends.  We had dinner out on Fri and Sat, and lunch out on Sunday, but no shopping all weekend.  
  4. List a few of your favorite stores.  Container Store!  I have too much stuff and I always like putting it in smaller boxes for some reason.  Also like Crate & Barrel, Nordstroms and Nieman's I suppose.  I like Coach and Sephora too.  And of course my fave local running store.  But I'm really not a big shopper. 
  5. What is the last thing you purchased for yourself (food and drinks excluded?)  I went ahead and paid for another month of heated yoga on Saturday!  I can't even remember before that.  Probably gas for my car?  I bought a weighted vest for working out about a week ago.  And I did shop for myself in Sept or Oct and I got a red skirt (which I popped a button off of the first day I wore it, and is now in line to either get the button sewn on by me or taken somewhere else to get it sewn on, and this is unlikely to happen anytime soon) and a green short-sleeved top.  I will purchase more holiday cards soon. 
  6. Do you prefer to shop in-store or online?  Online for gifts, in-store for clothing for myself.  It's too hard to find clothes that look good on me and fit well online. Plus I like to feel the fabrics...
  7. If you could purchase one thing that you don’t need at all for yourself today, what would it be?  Well, my purchase of choice is almost always airline tickets -- next trip will be Mardi Gras, then for the marathon at the end of March, then China in the fall.  That's probably why I don't like to shop much -- I'd rather save the money for travel.  But in terms of buying something for immediate consumption, today I'd buy some awesome dress for work and some yoga shorts for tonight (I've been wearing running shorts).  
  8. Does your significant other shop with you?  Do they love it/hate it? Since I don't really shop much, no he doesn't really go with me I don't think, though he has before and he hasn't complained.  I think if I were a frequent shopper, he might not enjoy it, but since it's rare, he's a good sport when I ask. 
  9. Do you shop at thrift stores?  I did in grad school, but I think I feel too guilty to do it now.  If 15% of Americans are relying on food stamps to feed themselves and their families, I feel like I need to be donating to thrift stores and not shopping there.  I'm in a very fortunate place in my life and of course I don't want to waste money, but I've thought of thrift stores as being designed to help those in need, and I can't say I'm in need. 
  10. When you’re holiday shopping, do you make lists?  Kind of.  I'll write down ideas as they come to me (usually well before the holidays), and I'll write down what I've already purchased, but basically I just keep lists in my head or have the lists people give me. 
If you want to participate, answer the questions above and post a link to your answers on alltheweigh.com. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Consubstantial Changes!

Wow, new mass! 

We don't go to Catholic mass together very often.  First, I'm Episcopalian (hubby is Catholic).  Second, hubby works most Sundays.  Third, my running group does long runs on Sunday mornings.  Fourth, hubby is more like a recovering Catholic -- not very into it. 

That all means I go to Episcopalian services occasionally and Catholic services rarely.  Hubby goes with me to occasional Episcopalian services (like Christmas Eve with my family). 

Well, in the U.S. 

When we're in Italy, we go to Catholic services pretty much every day if we can't find a way out of it!  Haha.  I think we even went twice in one day when we were there this past spring. 

But this weekend was special.  First, I don't mind going to Catholic services even though I'm Episcopalian, I'd just never do it alone.  Second, hubby was off today.  Third, we only had a 9 mile run on the schedule this morning, and then I went straight to 90 minutes of yoga and I was home before 10 and mass wasn't until 12.  And fourth, hubby said yesterday that he was willing to go to mass in the morning as long as we went to the English (Catholic) service at the cathedral. 

It was quite amusing therefore to be at my first English language Catholic service in quite some time and to hear most people be almost as "close but not quite" as I am.  Lots of the words are the same in an Episcopal church, but with the new mass today, they changed just enough that I was still off, but so was everyone else. 


And also with your Spirit.

I am not worthy for you to come under my roof. 

Hahaha.  They were all lost with me and hubby was floored -- he still remembers when they did it in Latin (he was young at the change, but you know, that stuff sticks sometimes). 

Not sure when we'll go back -- we're having a party next weekend after the marathon at our house (or if he's working, I'm having the party alone for my running buddies).  And then after that, he'll probably be back at work on Sunday mornings, but at least we were there for the first one! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Overly Tired

I'm dragging today but for good reason.  Happily, I had an insanely busy and interesting day at work yesterday (I got over the morning brain fade).  We've got a big case review next week Monday through Wednesday (inconveniently, right while my baby brother will be visiting for work, and I'd like to have free evenings to finish up my month of yoga).  With that on the horizon, I've been working hard to make sure all my files are in ship-shape.  That means I feel like I start working the second I walk in the door and I barely even look up until about 2 or 3 when I am absolutely starving and I finally drag myself away to heat up lunch.  I've started bringing double water to my office so I don't have to get up to refill quite so often!  Crazy, but I absolutely love it.  My boss said I didn't need to actually go through each and every one of my cases but by that point, I was about 75% done and I thought it's probably good to go through them all in depth at least once a year.  I've got several that are inactive -- like a lawsuit that was never served, or one where we've been dismissed but are monitoring the ongoing litigation against co-defendants, etc. 

Anyway, despite the chaos, I managed to make it to yoga last night, arriving just as the class was starting (yoga post coming in the next few days).  Went through my 90 minute class and headed home at about 8:15.  Starving, soaking wet with sweat, tired, thirsty.  And I saw a missed call from my next-door neighbors.  Called them back and found out -- we have neighbors! 

They live in Dallas part-time (I've posted about them before, among my fave people in the world; last year, we visited them in the other two places where they divide their year -- outside of Detroit, and in Puglia, Italy).  They were supposed to get back to Dallas on Monday (and they're staying here through early March, when they'll head to Italy through early May, then Michigan for most of the summer I think).  But our weather was terrible on Monday, major rainstorms, and their lights weren't on when I got home from yoga. 

So since they were home, I called hubby (already getting ready for bed at 8:15, yes, our life is lame) and told him to get dressed so we could go visit.  They were fairly disgusted that I arrived in wet yoga clothes, and after we talked for about half an hour, I decided to run home to microwave some leftover quiche and grab my favorite blanket and bring it all over to their place to eat dinner under my blanket while we talked some more.

Hubby and I both adore them, and life seems so much more fun when they're here.  They came back to Dallas in July with us (after we went to see them in Michigan when we were there for my baby brother's wedding), and then back to Michigan in August, so it's been months. 

I already have a million things I want to ask her to do with me -- helping me bake for a post-marathon party after White Rock, helping me bake cookies for my co-workers, going to an art exhibit in Fort Worth with me (Caravaggio, one of my all-time faves), walking with me as I attempt to get used to wearing my 35-pound weighted vest to be ready for the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon in March, and just generally hanging out.  Tons of nights sitting in each others' living rooms, having several conversations going at once, etc. 

I'm very thankful that they happened to move in right next door, that I happened to meet them, and best of all, that she still has her Italian accent -- which prompted me to ask where she was from instead of just getting her name and waving hello for years!  Very fortuitous indeed! 

But now that they're back, I have to avoid getting carried away.  As much fun as it might be to sit there talking until 10 at night, when I have to come home, shower and fall asleep after that, it means 5:00 a.m. comes way too early.  Discipline.  Isn't that supposed to be improving with yoga???!!!  Well, we'll have months to soak up their company now.  Woo-hoo! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Early Morning Brain Fade

I actually have two concrete examples today of what I think of as early morning brain fade.  I'm happy to say that only one of the two examples is me, proving that this happens to many people. 

I've mentioned before that I run with a group of friends a few mornings a week.  Well, this morning the schedules were a little weird so I knew there wouldn't be many people -- sure enough, just me and this guy Bryan.  We haven't run together for very long, but he's a lot of fun to run with.  Insanely sweet and funny.  I suppose if I had been bad when I started high school, he's technically young enough to be my son.  And that's almost the best way to describe him.  He's training for his first marathon, so he has lots of questions, some things I wouldn't have even guessed he didn't know.  He's fast and a very strong runner.  He's also at the point where he just got out of school and hasn't yet made any career decisions.  Working retail, living in an apartment with his older brother, single and enjoy going out (very cute I think, though in a kid way, like he could be 16 or something).  In so many ways, it's like his life is just beginning. 

Well, today, we're running and talking about random stuff.  We hadn't run together much since my marathon so I told him about that, and we were just talking about his upcoming trip with his brother, etc.

I have noticed it before while running, but sometimes when it's so early, not only do I have the weirdest conversations with my running friends, sometimes, it's like we have a collective brain fade.  And today I managed to remember both of them to share.

First, we were running, Bryan on my left and a car was approaching, so we moved further to the left and somehow he got in front of me.  With most of the guys I run with, no big deal, but like I said, in some ways it's like he could be my kid.  Maybe it's since he's more like a baby runner, so I just figured it was smarter for me to be in front of him.  Plus I was wearing a new jacket this morning.  So I sped up, passed him, and ran in front of him until the car passed us.  Afterward, we were side-by-side again, and I said something like, "I thought it was a good idea to be up front because my new jacket is ... reflecty."  Yep, reflecty, my word of the day. 

So then several miles later, we were talking about his upcoming marathon (White Rock next weekend!).  I asked if he knew what he was going to wear, he said yes.  I asked if he had his fueling plan worked out and he said he was planning to carry two gu packets and then he'd take the one offered on the course.  He said something like that was all he could really carry anyway.  You know, unless he stapled them to his shorts or something.  So I was like, "well, or pin them, you could pin them to your shorts.  You know, with safety pins?  That's what I do."  He said something like, "hmm, I don't know how that would work, the wooden ones?"  After many more minutes of telling him that yes, I think it works well to safety pin the very top of a gu packet to my shorts and then peel it off as needed, and eventually we figured out that when I said safety pin, he was picturing those big wooden clothes pins.  Despite the fact I'd said safety pins about 5 times in the course of the conversation.

So there you have it, my examples of the morning haze that seems to hang over me until about 7 a.m.  I would like to say that I'm just sleep-deprived because of my month of yoga experiment, but no, I feel like that pretty much on any run that starts before about 5:30 or 6 a.m.  Oh well, fortunately it seems to happen to most of my friends too and we all know what we mean -- or when we don't, eventually we figure it out...

Monday, November 21, 2011

FMM: Thanksgiving

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: http://www.alltheweigh.com/ so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Thanksgiving Plans

What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year? Does your family have traditions? If so, share them…(I know that some of you live outside of the US so feel free to fill us in on other holiday traditions!)

Usually the favorite part of my Thanksgiving day is our local race in the morning.  We have a huge 8 mile Turkey Trot.  The last couple years I've actually been able to go really fast (well, fast for me), and there's no better way to start the day than with a PR!  It's a weird highlight to the day, but I feel like it sets me up so well for the day ahead -- I eat and drink whatever I want; and after a morning with my running friends, I feel warm, happy, loved and usually proud of myself. 

We usually get there early and hang out with a bunch of my running friends for a while, do an annual group picture, run the race, then hang out some more in the parking lot, drinking beer and usually someone brings some kind of holiday bread (last year I think it was cranberry bread, which was different and so good). 

The race goes through downtown and can kind of be a mess.  Since it's so big (35-40k people!), there are tons of walkers, strollers and dogs, which makes it tough if you want to run hard, but even with that frustration and possible slow-down, it's an amazingly fun race.  The first year I ran it, I was near some guy for a mile or two who was encouraging everyone to shout out some of the best things they were going to be eating that day.  And there are always people in Santa and turkey costumes, which is fun.  For me, it feels like the official start to the holiday season. 

Anyway, after the race, we usually we go home and most years we have friends over for the meal.  Last year, my cousin and his family joined us since they'd just come to Dallas to have a baby who needed surgery shortly after he was born, but this year their baby is doing well and they're all staying in Oklahoma, and we've just avoided making plans this year for some reason. 

So yeah, we'll just be making dinner this year for our little family of two.  Maybe the first year ever it will be just the two of us?  Can't quite remember each year off the top of my head, but it wouldn't surprise me if this is a first. 

Menu planning is still in progress (hubby is thinking it would be fun to go out, but I love having all the leftovers...).  I want my usual faves -- stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash with peas, green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, and maybe some kind of corn casserole or just corn.  I also like it when we have olives on the side.  For dessert I might try making apple dumplings this year, not sure... 

The day after, we put up and decorate our tree, and I might start working on cards and wrapping.  We are either going out with one of hubby's fave co-workers and his wife, or we're having them over here for dinner. 

Low key Sat and Sun too.  I'll do my training group's final taper run (10 miles) on Sunday before White Rock, and I'm hoping to go to yoga on Fri, Sat and Sun. 

I'm excited about all of it!  And I'm thrilled that we're not going to have to travel at all (beyond driving 2-3 miles downtown for the Turkey Trot and back home).  Hopefully it will be a cozy and quiet day together!  We've tried going home before, but the chaos of the travel makes it less fun for us than staying home.  And we've gone to friends' houses before, but I prefer hosting -- love control of the menu -- and am looking forward to it being low-key this year.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yoga Week 2

So November is my month of yoga.  I had no way of knowing it would be good practice to spend hours in a room heated to 105 to be prepared for San Antonio's marathon day weather conditions!  Anyway, I tried to take notes after class most days over the last week or so. 

Tuesday, 11-8-11.  Binny.  The little female instructor from Australia is named Binny.  This is now my third class with her as the instructor.  She tends to say the same things in each class, but I think most instructors do.  Definitely the most crowded class I've been to.  About 70 people?  The room was packed.  But oddly, it didn't seem as hot -- I wonder if they lowered the temp figuring that all the people in there would drive the temperature up?  First time going into the bridge position. 

Wed., 11-9-11.  Domenick again.  Now my third class with him.  I had a first-timer directly behind me, so that made me nervous.  Both because I knew he was watching me to see how to do things, and because when I was trying to focus in the mirror on myself to stay steady and hold my balance, I'd see him bouncing around behind me.  He was very inflexible -- reminded me of how I imagine my husband would be.  I think I mentioned that Monday night for the first time I got into this bridge position once (on the second try).  Well, Wed. night I did it again on both tries.  We started off putting our hands on our ankles while we were kneeling, then we lower down onto our elbows and then evetually put our heads on the floor and elbows over our heads.  Wed night I went right into it as he was still trying to figure out if he could reach his ankles.  Then the instructor said to lower down, the new guy saw me, and he just laughed.  If only he knew that I almost laugh at myself -- that it was only my second time ever to make it all the way down.  Another good class.  Didn't seem as hot, but I had to take one extra water break.  But still did the whole class, just had trouble balancing a lot of the time, possibly because I kept noticing that guy in the mirror and his struggles. 

Thurs., 11-10-11, day off.

Fri., 11-11-11, first morning class ever, class 9.  Since I skipped boot camp to give myself a pre-marathon break, I decided to do morning yoga.  I missed it on Thursday.  My spine felt all tight and weird.  Much better post-yoga.  The class was definitely the smallest I've been to, and started at 5:30.  I counted people -- 32.  And way less than most classes, so I'd guess the average evening class size is about 50.  Smaller class meant way more personal attention.  I had kind of thought I was improving, but on even the second posture this morning, I was personally corrected twice by name.  Oops!  I love that -- lots I can do to improve, so it really helps me to hear what I'm doing wrong or what I can do better.  I feel like I'm getting a lot more familiar with the routine.  Especially in the second half of class, I pretty much know the order of all the postures and how close I am to the end.  It felt great, though there weren't any posture breakthroughs for me.  Followed my head and an instructor's directions to take it easy right before the race. Got some unsolicited advice from someone in the class afterward on how I can do better.  I wonder if she might own the studio?  If so, maybe she invented or opened it just so she'd have an excuse to wear itty bitty shorts and show off how flexible she is.  Anyway, kind of irritated me partially because I didn't know what pose she was trying to tell me I was doing wrong, and mostly b/c she was talking to me in the room after class, and I just wanted some quiet time and she seemed kind of loud (and louder still in the locker room after I left the room and she was asking me how long I'd been coming, which classes I usually went to, why mornings were so much better, etc.).  I just wanted quiet.  And I didn't really want to talk.  Just some peace. 

Sat., Sun., off and in San Antonio, going through my 26.2 mile "fun run".

Mon., 11-14-11.  The goal they give you at the beginning is 10 classes in 10 days, and if you can't do that, 10 classes in 14 days.  Well, this was class number 10 and day number 14.  Mission accomplished.  Domenic was the instructor again.  I told him before class that I wasn't sure it was a good idea to be there as I was only about 30 hours post-marathon (and having trouble walking).  He said it was a good idea and it would help a lot.  During the class, he actually asked who all had run the half or full over the weekend and I was the only person (in a class of probably 60) to raise my hand.  He said they'd had several earlier in the day, and even a couple the night before who had already flown back.  Well, in terms of movement, maybe my worst class ever, or maybe just even with my second class.  My legs ached.  I tried very hard to take it easy, but there are so many poses it seems where you keep your back upright and kind of squat down, like into a seated position.  Here I'm in agony trying to sit down on my bed.  My process of sitting is actually more like knowing whatever (bed, chair, toilet) is under me and then just falling.  No chance I could sit in an invisible chair in yoga because my falling technique would have landed me on the floor.  I wasn't close to the bridge or tons of other postures where I thought I'd made the tiniest bit of progress.  But it did feel good and my legs were maybe a bit looser.  But then class ended and I had to get to my car.  Yoga studio on the second floor of a strip mall, no elevator in sight.  I made it down the first half of the stairs to the landing, with very slow progress, asking people who came behind me to just pass me.  I got to the landing and wondered if maybe I could just camp there for a couple days until my legs felt better, then go down the rest of the stairs on Thursday or something.  A guy walked past me and asked if I'd run the marathon, and I said yes.  He offered me his shoulders to help down the stairs.  Faced with the prospect of spending 48 hours on the landing waiting for my legs to loosen up, I accepted.  He grabbed my mat, bag and water bottle and got in front of me.  I grabbed his shoulders, practically put all of my weight on him and followed him down.  I couldn't help the cursing that happened -- my legs hurt, but I think he counts now as maybe the kindest soul I've ever met.  My husband will take me down the stairs like that all the time after a race (we live in a 3 story, and I have overly sensitive quads), but you know, he's stuck with me forever and will have to wait 3 hours for me to go down the stairs alone, have to worry about my falling, and listen to my endless b!tching, so it's kind of smart for him to offer me his shoulders (nice, appreciated, I get it, but still kind of like a duty in some ways).  This guy, however, had truly no reason to help me but he did anyway.  Maybe yoga is becoming one of my favorite things in the world.

Tues., 11-15, day off.  Walked in the morning, as I already posted, and went to a running friend's party at night.  Part of me wished I'd been able to go to yoga.

Wed., 11-16, class 11. 

Funny thing is, Bella left a comment on my last yoga report about how one of the benefits of doing posts recapping classes is that I'd be able to identify instructors I liked or didn't like.  In my mind, I thought, hmm, all the instructors kind of seem the same, I mean, I like all of them just fine, I'll probably just keep going whenever it fits in my schedule and whoever teaches, teaches.

Again, back to Wed.  New-to-me instructor.  5:30 a.m. class (still not quite ready to go back to boot camp, quads feeling better, but another day away is probably good).  Surprise, instructor is Ms. Unsolicited Advice from last week's morning class!  Way too loud, too much talking, esp. for a morning class.  And since I don't completely know what I'm doing, I still listen to instructions pretty closely, and she mixed up her right and left and some other words a few times.  Very confusing.  Smallish class, again about 30-35 people.  She wanted everyone to move forward the way she liked us.  She said to be patient and know that all her corrections came from love.  This was also the first time I ate right before a class (not much dinner at the party last night, starving in the morning, and also just generally used to making myself eat something before working out).  So was it the granola bar or the "loving" corrections that kind of made me want to puke?  Hmm...  She did say I did well in one, and she gave me some very good corrections several other times (not as irritating as I feared), but definitely not an instructor I'd be seeking out to have again.  Fortunately, planning to start back to my full morning routine on Thurs -- running and boot camp!  Anyway, some of my flexibility is getting back to where it was before the race.  I made it back into the bridge (woo!), managed to do lots of the "seated on invisible chair" poses, etc.  Legs are definitely getting back to normal. 

Today, Thurs., 11-17-11.  Day off.  Yoga does not fit into my Thursday schedule.  Instead I ran easy at the track today.  Legs felt fine, but I am smarter than to attempt any actual speed so soon after 26.2.  So I jogged in lane 7 at the track and waited until my weekday buds were done with their mile repeats, then we all cooled down together.  Yoga blitz starts tomorrow, and I will hopefully go every day Fri - Wed, off on Thanksgiving (race!), then another blitz through the end of the month -- but the last few days might be derailed by some evening work obligations and a visit from my baby brother. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Road to Recovery

This morning I elected to sleep in a bit and go for a walk instead of attempting to meet my buddies to run.  My legs just weren't up for it. 

I woke up about an hour later than I usually would on a Tuesday (getting up at 5:45 instead of 4:45).  Threw on some shorts, a regular bra, a cotton t-shirt, socks and shoes.  I added my heart rate monitor and watch, and I used a new "sweaty band" in my hair to keep it out of my face.  Didn't even bother to put my hair in a ponytail.  And I set off for a walk. 

I'm actually a big believer in recovery plans.  A coach I had years ago convinced me of the importance of following a plan.  It's easy to just feel like you're done, and plant your butt on the couch for a week (or 5).  Since I'm usually sore, I feel like I'd have a really good excuse to do that.

But most recovery plans help you feel better sooner than just sitting around.  And since I have 2 more fairly big races (an 8-miler on Thanksgiving, and a 5-mile relay leg during our local marathon), sitting on the couch isn't a good plan for me. 

So my plan today had 3 miles on it -- walking or running.  Most recovery plans seem to be similar in that regard.  They don't care at all about pace, they don't care at all whether you're running or walking, it's just that you're out there moving.

I set off for my 3 mile walk.  And wouldn't you know it, within a mile, I wanted to run. 

So yes, I was that woman who looks like an idiot out there on the trail -- running with my hair down, my chest fairly unsupported, my cotton t-shirt getting soaked.  Oops! 

Since it was actually fairly uncomfortable to run b/c of my hair, my chest and my shirt dampness, I didn't run much, but it wasn't my legs holding me back, which was nice.

By running, I actually mean jogging slowly, but it felt so much better than I expected.  Particularly since my quads are still really sore.  I can feel it whenever I try to stand up or lower myself down (particularly to a toilet, which is way lower than my bed or my desk chair), and when I go down stairs. 

It's good to know my legs will be coming back.

There was one other major comfort factor -- I looked at the marathon results online today for my division.  Out of hundreds of women in my age group, exactly TWO qualified for Boston.  YIKES!  I didn't need to qualify since I can use my Boston time from April (but I'm actually not running Boston in 2012 or 2013), but it was shocking to see how few people (and by that I mean two) qualified.  Usually at a race, there are at least dozens, even in an age group with only a few hundred people.

The weather was clearly bad enough to bring everyone down. 

But that doesn't mean I'm not still pissed at the San Antonio weather gods!! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not Fun "Fun Run" (aka RNR San Antonio marathon race review)

The year I ran the Chicago marathon and they cancelled it midway through the race, the police helicopters were flying over the course making the announcement, and what they said is: "the marathon has been cancelled; participants are instructed to walk toward the finish; buses are being dispersed; again the marathon is cancelled, it is a fun run."

And I remember how not fun that "fun run" was (of course, I was already past mile 20, so I didn't have far to go to the finish).

Well, the Rock and Roll San Antonio Marathon 2011 was a similar not fun "fun run" for me. It was just over 80 degrees when I finished, one person died right after finishing, overall, the race reminded me a lot of that Chicago 2007 disaster, but at least it wasn't cancelled midway through.

It was low to mid 60s at the start and foggy because it was so humid. Ugh. But with the cloud cover, I decided to start off on pace and hold it as long as I could. As always, the RNR races have lots of corrals, and at least among the front ones, most of them are pretty good -- it means when you start running, almost everyone around you is going the same pace, so there's minimal weaving. Except there were a few women in my corral who clearly were planning to finish the half in what was the marathon goal time for the rest of us -- as soon as our corral was released, they started off at a very slow shuffle and I heard several people say not so nice things to them -- they really were completely in the wrong corral and should not have done that.

I made it about 5k before I started to slow down. The first few miles were fairly ugly -- running under some highway and stuff before getting to the Alamo, which was really cool.

This course has the full and the half run together through about mile 10.5, then the halfers turn to finish, and the full goes on.

As always, completely disheartening. I saw the numbers in the paper today -- almost 24,000 runners, just over 19,000 of them doing the half. So along the course at mile 6, spectators are shouting things like "almost halfway."

Count that as reason # 4,831 why I prefer races like Boston, Marine Corps, NY, St. George, etc. (heck, even Chicago) where it is just the full marathon running the course.

I get that the half is a popular distance and RNR is all about making money, but it makes for a less fun marathon experience.

By mile 8, I was doing the math in my head to figure out what my finish time would be if I just walked the rest of the race.

And I was seriously considering turning off with the half marathon people. When we got to the split, it seemed like everyone around me (even some people with full marathon bibs), turned to do the half, and very few of us continued on.

Have I mentioned this course kind of sucks? The first few miles are ugly, then there are some pretty good miles basically from the Alamo to the halfway mark (though you're basically just running down "main street usa" filled with chain businesses and some fairly sketchy tire stores, etc.). A couple neighborhood miles that are good, but after about halfway, it's pretty ugly. At one point we were running past a refinery for about half a mile it seemed. Are you kidding me? Just hideous. There was a good section of the full that was near the missions and it was a bit like running in a park (albeit a park with little shade).

But overall, very blah course (and keep in mind, this was my third year running the full in SA, so I was prepared for it).

I took a bathroom break just after the halfway mark, and it pretty much went downhill from there. The sun was out in full force, and it was getting so hot.

There were more hills than I remembered in the second half, including one awful section where you run about half a mile down this 5-6 lane road (Military Road), and then u-turn and run back up it -- of course no shade anywhere to be found. One more example of the poor course choice.

I basically kept running the entire time. I walked a couple water stops, and I think I took an old-school walk break during mile 22.

I had worn my brand new shoes, and fortunately that worked out well.

But I was barely moving it seemed from about mile 20 on. Very, very slow, surrounded by people moving at similar paces.

We linked back up with the half course just before mile 24, and that was also disheartening. At that point, there is a stream of walkers to your left, and it just looks so much easier.

If I'm honest with myself, given the weather particularly, I probably deserved my crappy finish time. My training this season was pretty lackluster. When I pulled my soleus, I cut my mileage and cross-training down a lot. When my soleus healed, I never picked it back up the way I should have. I was carrying a few extra pounds on race day.

But wow, given the weather, I'm so glad I hadn't worked my @ss off in training, just to see it all go down in flames...

Tons of people missed their goal times by a long shot. I was pretty bummed for most of the day on Sunday, but feeling better about it today.

My quads are still pretty stiff, but nothing really hurts as in injured-hurt. The good news is that I will probably be ready to run in the next day or two (unlike after a marathon where I actually run race pace for more than 3 miles, when I'm sore for about a week).

I'll add a picture of the medal in a second. As with most RNR races, it was pretty good.

The shirts are okay -- pretty much just like the RNR Dallas shirts. So for everyone who didn't do both races, I'd say either shirt is good. For people who did both, lucky you, you know have two almost identical shirts. It was nice that the shirts weren't unisex. The shirt is black, technical material, with grey, aqua and pink on the design (yes, just like RNR Dallas).

I don't understand why RNR tries to get people to run multiple events they produce in different cities, but would still have the shirts so similar for 2 races close to each other in the same year. Duh people...

We got dropped off at the start, so I don't know if the major shuttle problems they experienced in the past happened again.

Port-a-potties and start line logistics were pretty good. They needed more TP in each porta-potty, and the corral numbers weren't enforced at all, but most people (except the 3 half women in our corral) were able to follow the basic directions and were able to put themselves where they belonged.

The course was ugly, though the elevation profile isn't really too bad.

The finish line was fairly poor. No protein available for finishers. You were given water, a bottle of cytomax, fruit (apples, bananas), corn chips (off-brand Fritos), and bagels.

The finish line concert was also disappointing. Vince Neil, and the music was good, but he didn't play anywhere near as long as promised. The show was supposed to go 11:30-12:30 (which already meant anyone finishing the marathon in over 4:45 would miss the entire thing), but he was done playing before 12:10 and really only seemed to do a few songs.

And of course the walk back to downtown from the finish line was long and painful. At least at the Dallas race, they have parking at the finish.

I heard they ran out of Cytomax at the water stops for everyone in corrals 19-35, which is inexcusable in my mind. This was an expensive race, run by a for-profit company that manages probably 15-20 half marathons and fulls in a year, and the weather forecast for Sunday was already very clear last weekend -- it was already predicted to be in the 80s, they can't blame any last second weather change for this failure.

So my third RNR San Antonio marathon, and possibly my last. I think realistically, they should drop the marathon option here and just make it a big half. And someone else should have a San Antonio marathon, and just the marathon.

It will definitely be the last RNR SA that I try to race. May just do it as a fun run to see my SA friend, etc. but not a good marathon choice. The weather is just too unpredictable. Decent in 08, hot in 09, decent in 10 (or so I heard) and hot in 11. When we got to the car (after the short concert and the very long walk), it was 86 and there were tons of people still running. What could be more miserable? Ugh.

But that's marathon number 14 in the books for me. At least it's over...

Friday, November 11, 2011

No Mileage Report

I feel like the day or so before a marathon, I usually do a post recapping my weekly mileage over the training season.  It's to remind myself how hard I've worked and to give myself a bit of confidence.  I did a post like this last year before I got my first Boston-qualifying (BQ) race time at Twin Cities.  And I did that post earlier this year before I ran Boston and got my "re-Q".  I would go back and count how many weeks I had mileage in the low 30s, in the upper 30s, in the low 40s, in the upper 40s, and even into the 50s when I trained for Boston. 

But there doesn't seem to be much point this year.  When I hurt my calf, I reduced me running to 3 days a week.  That kept my mileage frequently in the 30s, but even when my calf healed, I didn't pick it back up to my usual 4-6 days of running per week.  My mileage never really increased as it should have.  Why not?  Who knows?  I was a little afraid of reinjuring it, but I was also just lazy.  It was fun to sleep in on Saturdays, and just do boot camp on the other days.  The other big issue is that when my calf was hurt, I gave myself permission to slack at boot camp.  I did very little cardio and I think lost a lot of fitness over those few weeks. 

Likely I will pay on Sunday.  The predicted high is 85, and I think it's going to be ugly.  I suppose the upside is that even if I'd worked my @ss off and done tons of high mileage weeks and lots of speedwork, it still would have been ugly weather and the race likely would have been even more disappointing for me.  At least my expectations aren't high!

There are a few people I've been running with almost every day I've run this season.  One is this guy who's training for his first marathon.  He trained once before but got injured after his first 16 miler, but he's doing great this year and I'm super excited for him.  He's ALMOST young enough to be my kid -- I guess if I'd had him when I was about 13, but he's younger than my baby brother and really seems like a kid to me.  Just out of school, figuring out the job thing, etc.  The other morning, he asked me what my goal time was for San Antonio.  I told him that was a very personal question.  Why not just ask me what I weigh or how many guys I've hooked up with!  He laughed and said he didn't know it was so personal.  So we made a deal (this was before I knew the forecast) that if I accurately predicted my finish time w/in 2 minutes either way, he'd pace me in a 5k (he's fast!).  We didn't figure out what happened if I don't finish w/in 2 minutes, but I think it will involve my doing some baking for him. 

I went ahead and predicted my finish time at a very slight PR (about 2 minutes). 

Now that I've seen the weather, I think all bets are off.  I don't even know if it would be smart to start at that pace, maybe I'm better off running the whole thing at an easy pace. 

Oh well, we'll see how it goes I guess, how I feel, how hot it actually is at the start, etc.

I'm considering making what also could be a potentially huge mistake.  I might wear brand new shoes.  I wear the same brand and style always (Brooks Glycerine).  I bought a new pair not that long ago to wear during the race and I realized they've moved into the next year of the shoes.  They should structurally be the same as what I'm used to wearing, but every once in a while, there will be a change -- 50/50 on whether that change will be for the better or for the worse for me. 

I bought those shoes and planned to do a couple test runs in them, but somehow never seemed to have time.  The shoes were up in their box in my closet, and when I was getting ready to run, I was on the first floor and usually in a hurry.  So I haven't tried them out yet.  Hmm...  I really wish I had b/c the last couple runs in my current shoes I really started to get the "time for new shoes" feeling.  These shoes (the pair that I've been wearing) were my brand new shoes for Boston, and they carried me through the bulk of this training season (all my long runs, and maybe about 1/3 of my weekday runs).  So they're due to be retired.  But when?  Retired now or retired after 26 more miles on Sunday? 

Risk it and wear brand new shoes?  Or risk it by wearing safe but worn out shoes?  Aye, I just don't know...

This weekend is going to be interesting...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Track Coach

Since I'm deep into my pre-marathon taper, which means sharply reduced mileage, I didn't want to run with my group this morning.  My schedule said 0 miles, theirs was 2 miles easy, 5 repeats of 1000 meters w/ 200 meters recovery, and then 2 more miles easy. 

So I decided to just head to the track and be a track coach. 

I learned that I have NO idea how to dress to be outside and not moving when it's 45 degrees.  When I'm running in that weather, I usually would choose shorts and a lighter long sleeve top.  Maybe gloves, maybe an ear-warmer band.  It would be cold for the few minutes of standing around before I started, but I'd warm up right away.  But if you're not running, it's a lot different.

I guess maybe if I were a sports fan and tailgated or watched games in that weather, I would have been better prepared.  I went with a pair of stretchy pants, thick socks, old gym shoes, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a fleece, and a light jacket, and a ball cap and gloves.  I almost went with a stocking cap, but I thought a ball cap looked more like a real coach. 

I had an amazing track coach a few years ago (think NCAA 5k champ, female with a 5k time in the low 16-minute range!).  She's definitely one of my all-time favorite running coaches (she would actually win the title if I had to pick one favorite, but I usually count my fave marathon coach separately).  She would log all our times, shout tips at us, encourage us to push harder, pace us in races.  She's amazing and still one of my fave people.  She ran professionally for a while, coached, and now works for a shoe company but she doesn't race often anymore. 

I loaded up a bag of gatorade and water, grabbed a clipboard and a stopwatch, and kicked myself again for not asking my husband to bring a whistle home for me to use.  He's out of town right now and actually has a whistle, but it's at work. 

So I drove to the track and called times for them.  And recorded their times so they'll be able to look back on their training some day and think how fast/slow they were back on 11-10-11. 

Not a bad morning actually! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cooking Weekend

Maybe it was the lower mileage this weekend, maybe it's the fact that they say fall is coming (it's been crazy warm the last few days, but we did have a few cold mornings, and I know more cold ones are ahead), maybe it's just boredom with what I've been eating.  Or most likely, it was the desire to have something tasty, nutritious and quick to reheat after weeknight yoga, which ends at 8, and gets me home by 8:20ish -- and I still need to shower before I can go to bed.  And since I wake up at or before 5 every day, I want to get to bed asap when I get home, which means a strong need for something quick to eat.

So this past weekend, I made a quiche one night (broccoli mushroom, only my second quiche ever, and quite delicious), and then the next night I made a curried lentil dish (tried and true recipe we both enjoy). 

Can't remember where I got the recipes, but if you enlarge the photos, they may be legible.  You know it's a sign of a good recipe when it has a major wine stain all over the page...

Anyway, a "last remaining quiche slice" pic, the lentil dish cooking, the recipes, and a fridge pic for some reason -- but of course I didn't have the lentil leftovers in the fridge yet, so it doesn't look as well-stocked for the week as it is. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Yoga Update, 6 classes in 7 days

So before I forget, I need to record some of my yoga observations based on the last week -- a total of 6 classes in 7 days. 

Tues., 11-1-11:  First class.  Instructor was this tiny Asian woman named Bitty or Bitsy or something like that.  The class felt warm and seemed to last a long time, but it wasn't too bad.  No one left the class but it seemed a few people sat down at various points. 

Wed., 11-2-11:  Second class.  No recollection of who was the instructor, maybe a middle-aged guy?  Class was awful.  Seemed about twice as long as the day before and I had less than half the flexibility I had the day before.  Smallest class I've been in.  Maybe 20-25 of us?  I didn't count. 

Thurs., off day.  Holy cow, I was so sore.  Particularly my back, but also my sides and my shoulders.  But lots and lots of tightness in my back.

Fri., 11-4-11:  Third class.  Not sure who the instructor was, possibly a younger guy (Domenick).  Best class yet.  I feel like I'm getting a little better and it's not quite so hot.  I notice the triangle pose that I can already do better than I did in my other 2 classes.  First class where a neighbor irritates me.  She's wearing lots of jewelry, she's about 2 steps behind everyone else all the time, and she can't just be still -- even when she lays still, she's drumming her fingers or something. 

Sat., 11-5-11:  Fourth class.  First repeat with an instructor (Bitty/Bitsy again).  I'm starting to feel better and thinking I can do some things I can't.  For example, there's one pose where we stand on one leg and grab our other foot underneath, using all 10 fingers.  The standing leg is supposed to be locked, then you kick your bent leg forward.  When you're done kicking, your legs are at a 90-degree angle from each other and both straight out.  Then, when both legs are straight, you pull your elbows and head down over the raised straight leg.  Well, I'm not even close to that stage, but on Sunday, I thought maybe I could at least try to kick forward.  Nope.  Bitty said I wasn't there yet, and it was better to stay with my knee bent hanging than to kick before I was able to lock my standing leg.  I appreciated the feedback a lot.  It's really hard sometimes to know what you're doing right or wrong.  There are 20-40 people in each class.  Oh, and I'm irritated by another person -- this is a loud guy near me breathing heavily out of his mouth (you're supposed to breathe through your nose calmly). 

Sun., 11-6-11:  Fifth class.  New-to-me instructor, a woman whose name I don't remember. Middle-aged and gave lots of tips for beginners. First class that might have ended a tiny bit earlier than I expected.  Bitty was actually attending the class, so that was awesome because there was someone I knew I could watch as an example. An older bigger guy was in the back of the class and the instructor was teasing him a little about having asked if there were paramedics on sight.  But everyone in the class seemed to do a really good job. 

 Mon., 11-7-11:  Sixth class and wrapping up my first week.  Domenick again (I hadn't caught his name the first time).  First class where someone got so dizzy she fell down.  But the instructor was so calm.  He had her lay there for a while and kept class going at the same time.  He brought her a drink and next thing I knew, she was participating again.  Instructor gave me specific instructions about the triangle pose, and that helped.  There were two big landmarks in the class.  First, at some point after we'd moved to the floor portion, I realized I was able to basically count how many and which postures we had left.  Second, I actually got very briefly into the bridge position on our second attempt.  That was exciting! 

And after last night's class, it was raining (not frequent here) and I was overwhelmed by the desire to just be in the rain.  I feel like I never just stand in the rain and enjoy it -- either I'm hurrying out of it, or I'm stuck running in it.  This time I just wanted to stand and walk in it.  But since the yoga place is a few miles from my house, and it was late and time to eat, shower and get to bed, I settled for soaking up a couple minutes of glorious rain in the parking lot of a large grocery store (next to the yoga place).  Not exactly a zen moment, but probably the closest I've gotten since I started.
So after a week, I think I lost some weight but our scale battery died in the last few days (probably because I was jumping on about 6 times per day). 
I feel like I can actually see a change in my body, specifically in my abs.  You do lots of stuff while sucking your stomach in, which isn't something I'd spent much time doing, now it feels more comfortable. 
I think my posture is actually improving.  I notice lots of times when I'm sitting and I don't feel like my spine is straight.

I think I'm spending a bit more time reflecting and more quiet time.  I can't quiet my mind in class yet.  I definitely focus when we're doing the postures, but when we're supposed to lay still and absorb the benefits, my mind wanders in non-yoga ways -- thinking about things to do, work, people around me, whatever. 
The heat isn't quite as tough, but it's still hot and does not feel easy.  I just don't feel like I'm suffocating anymore. 
I feel like I have a decent grasp of the postures, what's coming next, what I can do at my peak (and I try to get to that point earlier and start from there), what good form is. 
My plan is to go again today and tomorrow, take Thursday off and see how I feel, then MAYBE go on Friday.  It will just depend.  If I go, I'll try to take it very easy since I don't want anything to hurt before the marathon. 
I'm definitely enjoying it, just very time-consuming.  I forgot to add in the laundy time and the packing bags time.  Definitely eating over 2 hours per day.

Monday, November 7, 2011

FMM: Dating

I had a good but not overly exciting weekend.  Feels like all I really did was yoga, but there was other stuff -- worked a water stop for a half marathon, did some cooking, did my last long run.  Shall post later since all that will take some thought.  Instead today I thought it would be fun to have my topic chosen for me.  Cue FMM.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: http://www.alltheweigh.com/ so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
FMM: Dating

What is your current relationship status? (Be as specific as you’d like to be!) 
Married just over 2.5 years, living in sin for several years before that, total time together from first date is almost 6.5 years.  Broke up once while dating for just under 24 hours (but don't even ask how miserable I was during that time). 

List a few qualities that you look for in a significant other. 
When I felt like I was in a dead-end relationship, I actually made a checklist.  I was in my late 20s, I somehow felt like everyone else around me was in a happy relationship (totally untrue, but it was my perception).  The checklist ranged from serious things like an interest in travel, trustworthy, caring, active, and affectionate, to things that I called "bonus points" like being either a vegetarian or veg-friendly (but also being a bug killer (or better yet, a bug catch-and-releaser)), having a strong connection to his family, and sharing a similar political view.  Oddly enough, on my "must" list was the item "dances at weddings."  Sure, it was a flexible requirement (if I my husband hadn't been able-bodied when I met him, it wouldn't have been a deal-breaker), but it embodies something I love so much about my husband's personality -- he wants to get out there, to have fun, to enjoy life.  I love that we dance at weddings, though I wish I had even the slightest sense of rhythm or that my dancing skill level even kind of approached his (don't suggest dance lessons, I've tried, he did them with his ex, which is why he's such a great dancer, but he has no interest in doing them again). 

If you could choose to date one character in TV or film, who would you choose? And which characteristics are most appealing? 
That's really tough.  The husband in Life is Beautiful maybe.  I love how he treasured his wife and valued his family so much. 

How long should you date before becoming exclusive?
For us, I think we dated about 3.5 months before becoming exclusive.  It obviously depends on the couple, but for both of us, I think it was good that we both had dating histories.  I actually in some ways noticed early in our relationship that the fact that my husband had been married and divorced before probably benefitted our relationship.  The first tough time (conflict) we had, my inclination was much more to walk away and not deal with it -- because in a casual relationship, you can do that.  My husband had the sense to say, we're in this for the long haul, it's not just going to go away, how best can we work through this... Wow...

What are your thoughts on public displays of affection?
Haha.  This is where the few (2?) (Carrie?  Kathleen?) who know me in real life would laugh.  Actually, Carrie only knows me and not my husband.  I'd say we're fairly affectionate in public but never mushy.  I'm happy to just hold hands or do a quick peck and hug.  But I know for a fact that many of our friends do not see us that way and think we're completely mushy.  Oops.  Lots of people say things like, oh, you're still in the newlywed phase, or oh, you guys are just so cute and cuddly.  Can't help it.  We did one of those pre-marital classes and one of the things they talked about was identifying your "love language."  Mine was 100% gifts of service.  If he wants to show he loves me, he can clean the kitchen.  That stuff really gets straight to my heart.  For him, it's verbal and physical -- he loves being told he's loved, and loves physical touches, even just sitting with our legs touching, or putting my arm around him, or my hand on his arm, I notice that he notices and I want to make him know how loved he is. 

Do you kiss on the first date?
We did!  And I'm sure he did with other people before me, and I did too. 

Biggest turn-off?
I hate the cocky, argumentative, know-it-all personality, especially when it comes to abstract topics.  Makes me want to run in the other direction.

What’s the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
I always hate this question.  Obviously, unless you're blind, I think the first thing you notice about the opposite sex is the fact that they ARE the opposite sex.  You get a sense of build, age and race.  Those are the first things I notice, and I don't know how someone can claim to notice a smile before noticing if the guy is 100 pounds or 500 pounds, or if the guy is 12 or 80.  When I was single, if he was age-appropriate and even somewhat attractive, I also used to notice pretty quickly if they were wearing a wedding ring! 

How long do you/did you wait before becoming intimate?
TMI for the blog... but I'm okay with saying that we didn't wait until we were married.  Definitely works for some people, but not so much so for us. 

Describe your dream date.
Tough call. I love picnics with outdoor movies, I love sometimes getting dressed up and going to nice restaurants. I love active dates like running, yoga, kayaking, etc. I love fireworks. I love going out in our neighborhood. It's really tough to think of a single dream date. Since we don't have kids, we don't have to worry about doing "date nights" or something else that people who don't have time to be together often do, so we get to do lots of different "dates" all the time. My favorite this year was probably the night in Paris where we found a restaurant in Montmartre and then after dinner listened to street performers and walked up to Sacre Couer and just sat together up there talking for forever it seemed.

And there you go, a fun blog topic that let me respond instead of starting from scratch. If you want to play, go to alltheweigh.com and link to your answers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yoga Packing List

So I did heated yoga on Tues and Wed nights, and I planned to take off last night anyway, but it was a lucky coincidence because I was SORE. 

I'm planning to get back to it this afternoon (work from home on Fridays meant early start for me today, and I skipped boot camp to get some extra rest and recovery), and I'm hoping to go every single day through Wednesday, then skip next Thurs again.  I'll see how I feel to decide if I go on Friday, then I fly out of town Sat morning for the marathon. 

More for my benefit, after having forgotten a few key items each night, here is what I need to pack:

One empty bag with zippered pocket -- I'm using my new Vera Bradley bag for this that all the bridesmaids got in the wedding a couple weeks ago.  This is for my work clothes and shoes and my jewelry and it goes from my office into my trunk.  Then I never have to mess with it.  You're not supposed to wear jewelry in class, but I leave my wedding ring on.  But no engagement ring, no necklace, and now having thought very recently about nearly losing those items, I know I have to have a secure place to put them while I'm in class.  No sense putting them in the locker room, trunk is a much better bet. 

Yoga mat.  Forgot this the first day.  D'er...

Beach sized towel to put over mat.  Oh, and I need a new one each day.  It reeks afterward.


Water bottle filled to the very brim and icy cold. 

Ideally the towels and water bottle are in another bag.

Bag with yoga clothes -- running shorts, sports bra, shirt to wear over.  But I've learned not to wear the shirt in class.  I'm insanely self-conscious, but I truly can believe no one is looking at me.  Way too warm to wear a shirt. 

Comb, elastic and maybe barrette -- forgot all of this the first day. 

Flip-flops to wear to and from car. 

Sweatshirt to put on afterward for drive home.  Even if it's 75 out when I'm done with class, it feels cold after 105.  And when it was like in the 40s Wed night, it really is cold! 

Bikram swipe card to use before class.

Extra cold water bottle in car to drink afterward.

If I can remember all of that stuff today, I think I'll be setting myself up for success.  For the first couple days, I wasn't doing separate bags, and it was hard to change in the bathroom at work and jam my work clothes back into the bag I was getting clothes out of, and then bringing all that into the studio seemed pointless.  A separate bag that can stay in my trunk is the way to go. 

So far all I can say is that I'm sore and I've lost weight.  Almost back to where I think I was about a week after Boston -- still should go down from there, but at least I'm in the ballpark.  Obviously I don't think it's real weight loss, though I suppose a pound or two could be.  It's got to be just water weight from sweating profusely for 3 hours so far.  But as I mentioned, not so hungry afterward, so less food at night means maybe a little bit of real weight loss.

I was starving in class on Wed night and felt nauseous several times.   I need to make sure I eat before class.  With running less than 10 miles, I can usually eat a granola bar and be fine.  And my stomach's good even if I finish chewing that granola bar about 30 seconds before I start running.  For longer runs, I need more calories, but I still don't need a ton of time to digest it.  But with yoga, I could see how that could be different.  They recommend eating about 2 hours before class.  I think having something like an apple would be perfect, and maybe even an hour before class, but I have to eat something within 2 hours of the start of class.  Lesson learned. 

Anyway, Wed night when I got home though, after being starving in class, I wasn't really hungry, but hubby had texted me that he left my dinner on the counter.  It was a big plate with wild grain rice, steamed baby carrots, and steamed zucchini and green bell peppers.  I looked at it and wasn't enthused.  I kind of wanted a cold salad.  And a small one.  This was way too much food.  But I cleaned my plate and it was insanely delicious. 

I definitely this weekend need to come up with a plan for after yoga eating that will carry me through the next couple weeks.  I can't rely on hubby to make dinner for me since he'll be out of town some of the days next week, and plus it's not really fair to expect that.

If only I could laminate this packing list and attach it to my wrist or something.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NYC double?

Apparently there's talk of running the NYC marathon at some point in the future twice, a race on Saturday and another on Sunday, because the demand is there.  When I ran NY in 2005?  2006?  2004?, it was the biggest marathon ever.  But it was only around 40,000 runners, so it's since been beaten. 

So I hate to post something someone else wrote, but this blurb was short and it really made me laugh -- some opposition to the two day running of NY. 

Here's the link if you want to click over:  http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/11/new_york_city_marathon_two_days.php

Otherwise, if you're as lazy as I am sometimes with clicking, here's the post by Jen Doll:

Marathons! Here's the thing. We do not get them. No, we don't get them at all. First of all, is it really healthy to force your body to move that far, for that long? Isn't "nipple chafing" a sure sign that you're doing too much? But, fine, we respect your right to run for a long time and then wrap yourself in a shiny, robot-esque, heat-sealing blanket afterward. We respect your right to consume strange untasty gels out of miniature packets. We respect your right to wear those horrible shoes that make your feet look like fingers. We respect it! You are better than us, and we know it. But! We must draw the line at making the New York City Marathon a two-day event as opposed to a one-dayer. We simply do not have enough strength in our upper arms to hand out bananas for that long!

The Daily News reports that despite our personal beliefs about marathons, a lot of people really like them, and the largest such race in the world, the New York City Marathon (this Sunday! Buy some bananas!) just keeps getting bigger. The race's organizers are considering making it a two-day event that could allow for 100,000 runners. Oh joy.

"We could run on Saturday and Sunday," said Mary Wittenberg, race director and president of the New York Road Runners. "The demand is there. When I started (in 1998), there was a feeling that the marathon absolutely can't grow anymore. But I don't think growth is capped. People desperately want to run this race."

Hence, there have been "initial discussions" about the idea of a two-dayer, which would require a traffic shutdown of the route for the entire weekend, making it, at this point, a bit of a far off idea, most likely. But, we have to say, making a marathon LONGER is so very marathon. You guys are nothing if not consistent!

47,000 runners will run this Sunday's race, compared to the 45,350 that ran last year. We'll be cheering you on from our couch, where we've collapsed from the effort of thinking about what we should wear to the gym.

By the way, there's a new mobile app for tracking people who run, which we like because, you know, anything that makes our lives easier.

Definitely a funny post worth sharing.  It does suck when there's a race in your hood that you're not running and it screws up your travel plans for the day! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Yoga

Big news in my workout world. 

A couple months ago, a friend and I both bought a one-month Bikram yoga groupon.  We planned to start originally in September when I got back from my now sister-in-law's bachelorette party, but something came up.  Then we were going to start right when I got back from my brother's wedding a couple weeks ago, but in that month in between, my friend started having major knee problems and decided she wasn't going to be able to run the half in San Antonio in 10 days and she actually had surgery a couple weeks ago to repair her miniscus, which was torn.  So she's now planning to start her one month in mid-November, but I didn't want to wait that long, so I started mine last night.

I am hoping that it will help me build some strength and flexibility in the next week and a half before my marathon.  I am hoping it will help me with heat acclimation in case I have a hot marathon day on November 13.  I am hoping it will help me beyond my race with calming my mind and relaxing myself, maybe going to a deeper level.

And honestly, I'm also hoping it will help me to drop a few pounds before the race.  I've written before about how I gained some weight this spring after I ran Boston and we went to Italy for vacation for a couple weeks.  The combo of eating tons and not doing intense training meant I packed on a few.  And then I got back to reality, and the pounds just kind of stayed.  It's been driving me crazy.  I generally eat pretty healthy foods, but even when I'm only at about 30 miles per week, I seem to be fairly ravenous a lot of the time and I justify treat foods by thinking about how many miles I ran or something.  Either way, the pounds have stayed, and there was some cool statistic in Runner's World several years ago about how many seconds per mile in a marathon each pound costs you.  I wish I could find it again...

I've done Bikram Yoga a couple times before, but never very often.  I went with several friends probably 7 or 8 years ago several times.  But then I had a bad experience.  We were all out one night and planned to go to yoga in the morning.  I was drinking and they thought there was no way I'd go.  But I don't break plans that I've made if it's at all humanly possible to keep them, so I showed up for yoga in the morning.  Hung over.  Reeking of alcohol apparently.  And of course, within half an hour, it was all coming back up.  It was awful.  And then I didn't go back for a long time.  Adam was in town visiting me about 4-5 years ago and we went to 3 classes in a row, but that was it.  And I guess I went to a single class last year on Labor Day weekend. 

But I bought the groupon, and here we go. 

It's a huge change in my schedule, since I'll still keep working out in the morning.  It's just going to mean not much of a social life at night.  They recommend you go as often as possible for 10 days to 2 weeks.  So I went last night, will plan to go tonight, skipping Thurs, then I'll try to go Fri-Wed each day, skip Thurs again, and then maybe go next Fri, skip Sat and Sun (out of town for the marathon), then just see how I feel when I get back to town after the race. 

But seriously, it's going to be very time-consuming and necessitate a major schedule shift for the month.  Each class is 90 minutes.  That's the class.  There's also getting dressed, getting there early enough to get parked and get a space in the room, and of course getting some clothes on afterward, getting home, and showering.  The room for the class is heated (maybe air conditioned in the summer!) to 105 degrees.  So while occasionally if I take it easy at boot camp, I can get by without a shower, or without washing my hair, I was completely soaked after the class last night and not showering was not an option.  So if I go to class 5-6 times per week as I plan (skipping Thursdays for sure, maybe one other day as needed), that's 7.5-9 hours of exercise in class, plus about at least 5-6 more hours of getting ready and cleaning up, that means that basically I've said for the month of November, I need to find about 12-15 hours of free time per week to do this.  Wow.  It will be a combination of trying to shorten my days at work a little and spending less time at home in the evenings.  I warned hubby this was coming, but I can already tell it will be hard to see him less.  But we can do anything for a month -- and maybe I can convince him to try a class with me at some point! 

This is going to put my actual workout time at about 17 hours per week -- insane!  Well, insane for me, I know lots of people work out more than that, but that's way more than I currently do.  I have 3 hours a week of bootcamp, about 3 hours of weekday running, and about 3 hours of weekend running, and now let's call it 8 hours a week of yoga.  Holy cow!  And that's still keeping my mileage and number of running days reduced, trying to avoid any calf probs before the race.  Imagine if I were following my full running schedule -- I'd be close to 20 hours a week of exercise time! 

I noticed I was hungry after class last night when I got home, but not a lot of stuff sounded good to me.  What I really wanted was a big salad, but I was too tired when I got home to make one.  Instead I heated up some leftover spinach-artichoke dip and spread it on an English muffin.  Once it gets to be the weekend, maybe I'll try to prepare some salad stuff in advance for dinners next week when I get home. 

So between a decreased appetite, being alcohol free for the next couple weeks, and adding about 90 minutes more of activity most days of the week, I'm hoping to lose a few pounds before next week Sunday, meaning less @ss to drag 26.2 miles over San Antonio...  Let's hope this works!  It will be fun, and quite consuming, to try. 

The first class last night was pretty good.  Of the 26 postures, there were a couple where the instructor must have seen enough of a lack of flexibility to ask me afterward if I was a runner.  That's not a compliment in yoga!  It just means I'm insanely inflexible and tight on the bottom half of my body -- so inflexible that it was apparent to the instructor despite there being about 35 other people in the class.  Ooops.  The heat didn't bother me too much though -- I'm always very well-hydrated, and I think I like being warm more than some people do.  I managed to do the whole class (though like I said, sometimes I couldn't do the whole pose -- for example, there's one where you stand on one leg, interlace your fingers under the other foot (knee to chest), and then you kick that foot forward -- uh, no.  I just stood there trying to balance on the one leg while holding the other, but no kicking).  I noticed a couple other first-timers and some who may be veterans who had to sit down at various times during the class and missed some of the poses, but I didn't have to do that at any point.  I didn't see anyone wearing a watch, but I really wish I'd been able to wear my heart rate monitor.  Just so curious to see what kind of numbers I'd be getting. 

So here we go.  Wonder what I'll say about it on December 1! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Halloween Day Miracle!

So I didn't even post about what I realized Sunday night.  It was just too awful to even type out.  Plus there's still a slight concern my husband could read this blog whenever he wants.

Sunday I had a 15 mile run (I was supposed to include 6 miles of race pace, but wasn't feeling it, so I did 15 easy with my group), then went to breakfast with my local bestie (the one whose sister passed away just over a week ago) and another friend (want to make sure my bestie is feeling lots of love these days), and then came home for a very very fast shower and wardrobe change, then went to my godson's third birthday party -- stayed there most of the afternoon, came home, made a cake for work and ended up missing book club in favor of finishing the cake and hitting the hay early.

That was when I realized my problem.  I took off my earrings as I was getting ready for bed, but I wasn't wearing my necklace.

Instant flashback to earlier in the day.  I was done running and stretching at about 8:30, home from breakfast around 9:45, then it was a rush to get ready.  I had to wrap his birthday gift, and I really needed to get laundry started.  I'd showered and then went to wrap the gift with wet hair so it could air dry a little.  Then back to getting ready, and grabbed my earrings and necklace as I left our bedroom.  I was also carrying a laundry basket and I remember very clearly that my necklace slipped in the handle a little.  Anyway, got the laundry into the washer, grabbed the gift, and got in the car.  I remember setting my necklace, earrings, and phone in my lap, and putting his gift in the front seat.  Pulled out of the driveway around 10:55 for an 11:00 party -- no big deal, but I was supposed to help with one of the games, so I was irritated with myself for running late.  Intended to put the jewelry on at red lights along the way.

Got to the party as other friends were pulling up.  It was a huge party in my friends' back yard.  About 20+ kids and 50+ adults!  Big bounce house (no weight limit, so I got in while the kids were eating and it was so much fun, but completely exhausting), lots of games, and I already posted about the pizza (and of course there was cake too!).  Party ended around 1, but I stayed until about 4 with my friends' parents and the godfather while we watched the birthday boy open gifts and we just socialized. 

Then I went back to my car, went home, laundry, cake, started a movie, etc.  Got ready for bed, no necklace.  Mild panic.

This has actually happened to me once before.  With this necklace.  I put it in my lap to put on in the car, and it somehow fell through my legs and I then found it in the driver's seat of my car. 

And of course in January I posted about how I thought I lost my engagement ring in January.  That freaked me out.  And I learned some lessons -- first, insurance!  second, I just wear it all the time now, no more taking it off, even for boot camp.

This necklace is also very special.  The first gift I ever got from my husband, a diamond necklace I got for Christmas the first year we were dating.  (Incidentally, before he knew I'm not really a diamond person and have kind of strong feelings about the subject, but I still completely love it and I wear it about 4-5 days per week.) 

So as to not have to own up to it, I just went to bed Sunday night, then basically did everything I could yesterday morning to search my car, short of pulling the driver's seat all the way out.  Nothing.  On my drive to work, I called my friend's husband and asked if he'd mind having the kids play in the street that day and look for it (he and my friend both just had knee surgery, so they can't really get down and do it).  All day long it was on my mind, and he never called me back, so I was assuming the worst.

After work, I went straight to their house to take the kids trick-or-treating, which is our tradition.  As soon as I walked in the door to their house, the kids were talking to me about the necklace.  They'd clearly spent some time searching and they didn't find it sadly.  I tried to put it aside, but as we were trick-or-treating, I was trying to decide what to do.  I'd basically decided I'd spend Tuesday morning crawling all over their street searching, then I'd possibly look for replacements online instead of telling my husband.  I hated the thought of telling him I'd been so careless with something he gave me that is so special to me. 

We trick-or-treated until the kids were too spooked.  Two scary houses where people jumped out at the kids was too much and after the second house where it happened, the kids just wouldn't go up to the door anymore.  So we went back to the house and we all tore into the candy.  Oops.  Well, after a few pieces, my friend wanted to go back to their neighborhood party (her husband was doing some online file organization or something that he was enjoying way too much).  So I said I'd go with her, and her daughter wanted to do more trick-or-treating.  At the last moment, her son did too, so we headed out and hit her next door neighbor's house first.  We spent several minutes talking to him and as we were walking back out to the street, I somehow saw a glint in the street.  My eyes had already moved away, but I looked back and it was still there.  I ran out, and sure enough, it was my necklace!  The kids said they hadn't looked that far up the street.

My fault.  I told him I was about 2 car lengths past their sidewalk, but it was more like 4 or 5.  And I could see why he wouldn't want the kids searching in the street there -- they live in a culdesac, but I was parked closer to the main street, so there was a certain risk of a car coming up on them fast where I was parked. 

So I got my Halloween Day miracle!  And again, my lesson is learned -- jewelry on before I leave the house. If I'm running so late I need to put it on in the car, I just won't wear any and will leave it at home.  I'm again feeling very, very lucky...