Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I try very hard not to be competitive about my running.  Neither with my running friends, with my husband, with people whose blogs I read, or even with myself.  I heard long ago (possibly from "the Penguin") that if you want to run for a lifetime, you can't even see it as a competition with yourself b/c eventually younger you will beat older you.

As I'm still hoping to achieve some PRs, I'm not at that point yet, but I definitely am aware of the need to mentally check myself from focusing too much on that.

I suppose I feel fairly competitive with Adam, but who knows about that.  It's mostly probably joking, but we're fairly serious about comparing race times.  He has the 5k title by 2-3 seconds.  He has the 8k title by probably 7 minutes (I don't have the chart open right now).  He has the 10k title by less than 15 seconds.  He has the half marathon title by less than 15 seconds.  I have the marathon title by about 5-10 minutes. 

With those narrow gaps, it's hard for me not to be competitive with him.  But part of that is pushing myself to my full capacity.

But with all that said, I must admit that I'm happy about some competitive feelings I had when hearing about results Sunday afternoon from the RNR Half Marathon.

I was excited to say I beat this guy by 5 minutes and change:

Yep, Troy Aikman. 

I think it would be hard to run if you were famous.  I remember for my first few marathons thinking that I just needed to beat Oprah.  Anyway, I beat Troy.  And my friends and I were all somewhat surprised to see him rocking the Spi-Belt.  To each his own.  He could probably kick my butt in 99% of other events, but thus far, the half marathon is all me...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

No PR, but close!

I'll do a full post later, but the race today was awesome!

Couldn't have asked for better weather.  Low 50s, not windy, completely overcast.

Ran the plan, which was 7 marathon pace, 6 moving fast.  And a couple easy before and after the race.

All my marathon pace was within a 10 second window, which is great.  The bad part is that it was all slightly too fast.  I need to settle it down.  I was starting to get into a rhythm and was getting close, but then I hit mile 7 and it was time to pick it up.

The next 6 miles were all faster, but not as steady.  I think I had about a 20 second spread over those mile times, and I was starting to struggle, but it was over before I knew it.

I wish I'd known how close I was to a PR, but I was watching pace instead of total time.  I missed my PR by about 30 seconds. 

Happy!  A bunch of my running buds PRed, which makes me feel kind of bad since I didn't, but I'm trying to remind myself that I followed the plan, and I have a very solid (and recent) half PR, so it's not like I can just go out and beat it. 

Hubby did not PR, but had a good run, which was awesome.  His time comes out right in the middle of his now 5 half-marathons.  He says he's retiring tomorrow though.  He's hurting.

It was cool b/c I doubled back after I finished and went to the car for some warmer gear, and happened to find hubby on the course right near the car, so I hurried up and ran up to him, and we ran the last mile or so together, and went through his finish line hand in hand.

Then we stayed for the Bret Michaels concert.  Every Rose Has its Thorn was one of my fave songs when I was younger.  Nothin' but a Good Time was fun.  And I'd completely forgotten Unskinny Bop.

After the concert,, we went to pick up the other car from the start line, and then went straight to his favorite pizza place for lunch, then to my fave fro-yo place, where I created a monster!

Came home, cleaned up finally, and have been chilling all day.  If I die in my sleep tonight, I think I'd die happy.  Life is good. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

All Quiet on the Southern Front

Not much to report, which is a very good thing when you're at T-3 weeks and 2 days to the marathon!

Also not much time to post lately.  I had so much fun with my mom here, and now I'm attempting to buckle down at work.  I told a few people that I thought the set-up at my new job wasn't really fair.  I report to a VP and he had my email address at work before I started, so he started sending me emails before I started.  So when I had a password to log in, I already had a bunch to do!  I've been trying to dig out ever since, but I'm still completely loving it. 

On Tuesday, I went to the track with my group, so that means I felt confident enough that my left calf injury (well, more of a red flag than an injury) wasn't going to prohibit me from being miles away from my car.  We had three mile repeats since this week is like a mini-taper for the half-marathon tomorrow.  I ran the first one with my group and was happy with my time.  A little faster than it was supposed to be, but within an acceptable range.  We had a lap of cool-down and I decided I wanted to run the next two repeats on my own, rather than relying on anyone else to pace me.  So I set off for repeat no. 2 and was 2 seconds faster than the first.  Did my lap cool-down and set off on the third repeat solo, and it was dead even with the second repeat.  Woot!  So three mile repeats all within 2 seconds of each other.  I love how steady I get when I run a lot.

Tuesday night, we went to see a new movie, Win Win, which is best known for having Paul Giamatti in it.  I liked it, hubby loved it.  He guessed it was one of his favorites in recent history.  We also saw The Lincoln Lawyer last wknd with my mom, he also really liked that one.  He should not get a job as a movie critic.  Right now on Netflix, we're watching Hanoi Hilton (my choice!), and he also really likes that, but he's seen it before.

Wed. I went to camp and ran home.  Because I seem to be a slow learner (and because I took last Wed off from running when I was worried I was seriously hurt), I completely forgot about my miserable run two weeks ago, where I was starving on the whole run home.  It happened again.  Fortunately, it will either happen again and again for only 3 more weeks, or I'll remember some of those weeks.  But when I'm going to work out for an hour and then run afterward, I need to eat an extra granola bar or something in between.  Knowing me, I'll finally remember on the last week before Boston!

Wed I ate like crap all day.  I'm not used to having so many sweets available at work, and I'm a sucker for free food, esp when it's cake.  So I ate enough cake during the day to feel sick.  Then I went and just had cheese for dinner.  I hadn't planned on that, but we had our homeowner's association meeting.  I knew there would only be snacks that would have to be my dinner, but "snacks" meant just some cheese plates.  Oh, it was so good though! 

I need to get down a better routine for eating at work.  I was trying to follow Bella's model of prepping my lunches for the week on Sunday, but of course with my mom here, it didn't happen.  I have access to a microwave, but no freezer, and I don't like using this microwave.  So I need to make a lot of lunches that I can eat cold or at room temp.  This coming week I have some store-bought prepared foods to take, a bean salad for a snack each day, and a pasta dish I can eat cold for lunch.  But stocking up on all that meant my lunches were significantly more expensive than usual.  Not a big deal for sure for now, but if I do this permanently, it will have an impact that's not good.  I'd rather find some good recipes and start making this kind of stuff myself, though it requires more work.  I'm definitely going to go back to making the chickpea smash that I heard about from NewlyWedNewlyVeg, but I need to find more recipes and get on it.

Thurs was a short easy group run (mini-taper).  And then our Italian conversation group.

And then it was already Friday!  This weekend I have so much to do to feel like my life is back under control.  But I really only have one day -- today!  I need to run a few miles, get the house in order and run a bunch of errands.  Tomorrow, hubby, a bunch of friends, and a bunch of strangers, and I are running the RNR half-marathon!  I'm not going to PR.  Instead the plan is a 2-3 mile warm-up before the race (parking at the finish line and running to the start), then 7 miles marathon pace, 6 miles half pace or faster, then after the finish line, doubling back for a couple miles of cool-down. 

That should only take the morning, but it's turning into a whole-day event.  After the race, we're going to stay and hang out for the Bret Michaels concert.  My godson and family are coming, and almost all my current running buds will be there too.  After that, I think we'll come home and get cleaned up, then we're going out for a pizza celebration dinner.  My husband's fave meal is pizza but his rule is that we only eat it once a month -- well, his fifth half-marathon ever (and his last, he claims), justifies the March pizza celebration.  Should be a fun day, but won't be productive in terms of making me feel ready for the week!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vacation Locked In!

We've known for some time that we're going on vacation for the second half of April and very beginning of May.  We usually take one really big trip every year.  One year we did Italy and Bosnia.  One year we did Italy and Malta.  One year we did Sweden and Russia.  One year we did Italy, Greece and Turkey (wedding and honeymoon).  Next year I think we're going to China.  But yeah, kind of evident that we love Italy! 

This spring initially we were thinking Italy and Egypt.  But there's been some chaos there.  Then we were thinking Italy and Paris.  But then we found out that our neighbors, some of my favorite people in the world, will be in Italy at the same time as us.  So then we were thinking maybe just Italy (well, plus Boston and Pittsburgh).  I think the last time I talked about vacation plans, the theme was "invece Lecce" (which is fun and rhyming in Italian), which means "Lecce instead."  Our neighbors will be in Lecce, so we were thinking we'd go visit them there.

But now plans are locked in and it sounds awesome!

First, Pittsburgh.  Gotta see the in-laws.  Hubby will fly out in advance of me to spend some extra time with his 'rentals.  This should be relaxing.  My big fear is my lack of control over what I'll be eating there.  I'm a leeeettle bit neurotic about what I eat the week or so before a marathon.  And I also drink more water in my normal routine than I do at their house.  So I think the solution is going to be to just do my own thing.  I will have hubby do some grocery shopping before I get there, and I'll just try to kind of do my own meals and just try to avoid going out to eat with them.  I know they'll understand, it'll just be tough.  I like eating out, and I like his mom's cooking, but it's better for me to do my own thing.

Next, Boston.  There will be of course what I've heard is the best marathon expo ever.  And the marathon.  And our second wedding anniversary dinner that night after the race.  And then hopefully some tourist stuff, hitting the Freedom Trail, Fanneuil Hall, and other sites. 

Next, Italy! 

First stop will be Pizzo, the town where we got married.  As horrible as it is to deal with the reactions of my husband's family when they find out we have gone somewhere else in the region before coming to their house, it is so much better for our sanity.  Instead of going straight into family time, we love having a day or so on our own.  We'll stay at a "new" (under construction/renovation for at least 5 years and only recently opened) little hotel in the town's piazza.  And we'll hopefully have a room overlooking the piazza where we got engaged and the castle where we got married.  It'll be great to get our internal clocks changed to Italy time, to get showered and relaxed, and to have some time immersing into the language before we dive into dialect and insane amounts of food with his family.

Second stop will be Lamezia Terme.  This is where my husband's family lives.  It is one of our favorite places in the world.  We stay in this awesome little guest room that has a balcony looking out on the one of the quarters of town and the castle ruins there.  I love standing on that balcony at night and seeing the lights, hearing the dogs.  And smelling the smells from the kitchen downstairs where his family is constantly cooking.  We eat like crazy while we're there.  That is definitely how they show their hospitality.  There are some amazing cooks in my husband's family.  Even though they don't understand or accept that I'm a vegetarian, it's wonderful.  We have some friends that we visit in town, but most of the time is spent exploring on our own, or hanging out with his family.  There are always communication difficulties because they speak primarily dialect, which we don't know for the most part, but it all works out.  Our Italian is good enough, though I need to work a lot more on the subjunctive in the next few weeks. 

The big excitement this time is that we will be in Lamezia for Easter.  I've spent Easter in Italy before, but I was in Rome and was with Americans.  I loved spending Good Friday near il Colosseo, being there while the last Pope did Stations of the Cross.  One of the most amazing experiences.  And I've done la Pasquetta (Easter Monday) with Italian friends before, usually a big drive with a picnic.  But I'm so excited about Easter with my husband's family.  I will try very hard to take lots of pictures of everything, especially the amazing meal that is sure to come!

Third stop in Italy will be Lecce.  This is over in the heel of the boot-shape of Italy.  We're going to drive here, which will be interesting.  About 6 hours crossing through the poorest region of Italy, generally void of tourists.  I've been to Lecce before (I actually dated a guy from there about 15 (yikes!!) years ago).  It will be awesome to see where our neighbor is from.  Her husband has all these fun day trips planned for us while we're there, including this amazing restaurant he wants to take us to. 

Final stop in Italy will be Rome.  Very briefly.  Not even sure what we'll do.  I was thinking maybe we'll go to Trastevere and just eat there and check out some churches. 
Fourth stop on the trip will be PARIS!  Hubby does our travel planning and he found a way for us to go to both Lecce and to Paris.  I'd previously thought it was one or the other.  And I was happy with either option, probably choosing Lecce over Paris.  But it works out for us to go to both places.

Not sure what all we'll do in Paris.  For certain the Eiffel Tower and Sacre Coeur.  And the Arc de Triomphe.  Hubby's not keen on going to the Louvre or other museums, and since I've been to the Louvre a bunch of times and many other museums there, some many times.  So if he doesn't want to go on this trip, we won't.  I can't wait to eat there.  So much fun food that I like in Paris.  And definitely a highlight will be crepes.  We seem to eat crepes on pretty much every vacation.  We ate about two a day in Greece.  We found them in the US on trips to random places like Charlottesville and Breckenridge.  To us, eating crepes means we're on vacation.

A very small part of me has thought it might be fun to take the Chunnel over to London for the wedding.  But it will be chaos, we probably wouldn't be able to see anything, and I'm not sure my heart can stand actually seeing him and Kate together...

So after Paris, we'll be homeward-bound.  With an overnight stop in Pittsburgh.  We have a direct flight from Paris to Pittsburgh, so that will be nice.  But we bought the tics in and out of Dallas before we nailed down our exact European itinerary, so we'll have a stop there.  It will be good, though part of me would prefer to go straight home.

Very exciting!  The last thing I need to do on the planning end is to choose a Paris hotel.  I'm going to work on that right now! 

A month from today, the Boston marathon will be in my memories and we'll be in Italia.  Oh, I'm so excited.  The odd thing is, at my old job, I felt like I was living for this vacation.  Not so much now, I'll actually miss work I think, but I'm still so ready to be in Italy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I'm too tired to write much, but this morning's run was solid!  So happy to report that.  Whatever was wrong with my calf may have just been a temporary strain from some high mileage. 

We had 8 miles easy, 7 miles race pace, and then 2 miles easy.  Felt good the whole time, though I was definitely getting tired toward the end.

I tried a new recovery drink and drank 2 of them.  G3 Pro.  Then I looked at the calories.  I'd guess that I burned about 1700 calories on the run today, and drinking two of those meant I just consumed over 800!  Wow.  Good thing I'm not meeting hubby today to gorge on Mex food. 

I'm home now and too tired to even go shower.  I feel like I've been hit by a truck.  Can barely keep my eyes open.  So glad there's time in the schedule for a nap today!!  It's going to happen in about 2 minutes...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

All good!

So I've been afraid of jinxing myself, but I think whatever awful stuff was happening in my left calf may be getting worked out.  I've been trying to RICE. 

R = rest.  Pain started late in the run Sunday, took scheduled rest Monday, severe pain Tues so I cut that run very short (did about 3-4 instead of 9-10).  No running on Wed (missed 8 on the schedule) but did some core and weights work.  Decided to drive to the track Thurs so did a partial workout (ran 5.5 of 9-10 on the schedule).  Cross-trained on Friday with about a mile of running (an optional 5 on the schedule).  And did the full 8 that were on today's schedule this morning.  And it seems to be okay.  Random twinges of pain at random times (including while sitting perfectly still). 

I = ice.  Iced like crazy morning and evening Sun, Mon, Tues and Wed. 

C = compression.  I bought the compression sleeves that start with a Z, can't remember the brand name.  I have worn them almost constantly except while sleeping since Sunday.  I forgot to wear them to work on Fri, but I met my mom for lunch and she brought them.

E = elevate.  Not so good about this.  Odd, since in earlier years when I had to RICE, I'd tend to mess up on the C.  This year, it's the E.  I've elevated most nights before going to bed, but have stopped the last couple.

Either way, the real test will be tomorrow.  If I can get through a solid 17 miles, I'll be so happy.

Mom is here and we've been having fun.  We played an awesome board game last night.  For anyone who likes board games, I will highly recommend Settlers of Catan.  I'd played it before, but hubby and mamma hadn't, and they thought it was great. 

Tonight we're going to a soccer game that's way out in BFE suburbs.  Not sure why, I guess just because it's something we've never done before.  Should be fun.  Wish I could kidnap her so she wouldn't fly home tomorrow.... 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


So apparently every running doctor in Dallas is on spring break this week.  Lovely.  But I have my own plan.  I'm RICEing religiously (though I'm lacking a bit in the E department).  And I took today off from running.  No pain.

Tomorrow we have our first track workout.  The schedule has us park at our usual spot and warm-up for a couple miles, which dumps us out at the track.  Then the speed workout, then running the cool-down back to our cars.

Definitely not a good idea for me. 

So I'm going to sleep in until 5 and then drive to the track.  I can warm up there and do some, all or none of the workout, depending how my leg feels.  And if it hurts, I'm less than .2 miles from my car at all times!  Plus my coach will see that I'm still trying but being smart at the same time. 

It's the best plan I can think of. 

In other news, my momma comes to visit tomorrow!  Her flight gets in tomorrow night around 7:30, and I'm so excited.  I haven't seen her since Xmas.  Woo-hoo!! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No hills

I headed out to run this morning and had some calf pain after about a mile but it subsided.  But it was serious enough at about mile 3 that I stopped.  No hills for me this morning.  Icing now.  Ugh...

Might try calling a new doc today. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Jury's Still Out

Can't tell if this calf pain is a real injury or not.  I woke up today and it felt fine as I walked around getting ready for work.  And it was fine all day.  But now that I'm home from work, seems like there's some pain there again as I'm walking around.  Ugh.

I'm icing and I've worn compression sleeves today.  And I rested this morning and I'll elevate tonight. 

Fortunately tomorrow is the hill loop.  Last week we were on a 10 mile loop and at about the absolute furthest point from our cars, I passed a guy and asked him if he was okay.  He said he was hurting and that he was going to take a shortcut back.  Little did he know, there was no shortcut from there.  It was basically a choice of finishing the route or trying to find a ride -- from a cab (non-existent in this area at that time), from a stranger (also tough), or waiting for someone else to finish running and then come back to get you.  So he just finished it out.

But tomorrow we'll run a circuitous few miles to warm up, then we have a 1-mile loop we do five times, then a cool down.  If I need to call it quits at any point on the loop, I'm really close to my car. 

So I'm going to cross my fingers! 

Work is blah this week -- because I'm not working.  Instead, I'm in off-site training and it's so horribly inefficient.  Like a serious waste of time.  It's frustrating.  I'd be better off if I could just read the materials on my own.  Argh.  But I should be back in the office Thurs afternoon or Friday.  And my mom's coming into town Thurs night. 

We're going out for an awesome dinner that night.  Then Fri I think we'll bring her to camp.  Then she and the AC are going to the mall for the day on Friday so she can shop for a dress for my baby brother's wedding and then they're going to see a movie.  They might come meet me for lunch.  Not sure where we'll go Fri night.  Sat I think we're running.  Definitely going out for brunch to one of our fave places.  Maybe more shopping during the day.  Still have to figure out the rest of that day...  Sunday she leaves unfortunately.  But it will be a fun little visit and I'll see her again (with the rest of my family) in July for my baby bro's wedding. 

Tonight's agenda:  The Bachelor and researching vacation hotels! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


This has been a wonderful, completely awesome weekend except I'm a little worried I'm hurt.

I posted last week about having one of the best days ever.  It's like it's just kept going (with one exception, detailed below).  Work is awesome.  I mentioned winning the running class prize at dinner on Wed.  About two days after that, I came home to a really large check waiting for me -- the results of a re-balance of my escrow account on our house (we don't escrow ourselves, it's in with the mortgage), so technically I'm just getting my own money back, but score!  Since we owed an insane amount (let's just say just shy of 5 figures) on our taxes, it's basically going to that, but still a nice little treat.

Yesterday was the big St. Pat's run.  I pushed my sweet godson in a stroller.  Here he is after the race.

Unfortunately, I may have scarred him for life.  This was the scene in front of us for way too many minutes.  And don't forget at what level my godson is seeing this race. 

As you can see, this was an uphill stretch so I had to stay behind him until the top when I finally hit the gas just so this sweet kid didn't have to look at that guy's butt anymore.

The race was tough.  It was hard to run with a stroller.  I started a little further back than I should have.  I wanted to run and push, but I started behind a lot of people who were walking.  So there was tons of time spent trying to weave around others, both walkers and slower runners. 
We ended up with an okay finish time, considering the people dodging, the stroller, and the easy pace I tried to maintain. 

The rest of the day was fab.  Went with the kids and their mom to meet a whole bunch of friends to watch the parade.  Got too much sun unfortunately.  Then went to a friend's house party for the rest of the afternoon.  Sat around snacking and eating and chatting.  Not drinking.  I drank a bit at the tailgate party, a couple beers and a single jello shot.  But I was nervous about today.

Came home and cooked our usual Sat night meal for a long run.

This morning was 22 miles -- set up with 12 easy, 8 marathon pace, 2 easy.  I felt really good for the 12, and then the first 6 at race pace, but then I started fading a bit.  Unfortunately, my garmin died after mile 19!  It gave me a low battery message, then crapped out to blank screen (despite having 100% charge at the start of the run).  And then it randomly came back on with 1.3 miles to go!  VERY FRUSTRATING. 

I think for the race I might wear my old trusty sports watch in addition to my garmin.  My old watch has never failed me, the garmin seems too picky. 

Anyway, after the 6 solid race pace miles, I felt like I started slowing down a bit.  My heart rate was good, but I was struggling.  It was in the low 60s and 80-90% humidity, so that was tough.  But I still held a pretty strong pace through mile 20, when we went back to easy pace. 

The guy who'd been right in front of me was stopped at the 20 mile water stop when I got there, and he was going to wait for a woman who was right behind me, but I wanted the run over, so I headed out solo.

And somewhere around maybe mile 21, I started getting some sharp pains in my upper left calf.  If I'd had anything more than about 2 miles to go, I think I would have stopped.  But I figured I'd tough it out. 

Unfortunately, it actually hurts right now.  I did my ice bath when I got home and went out for Mexican food with hubby and ran a few errands.  Now I've iced again and I am about to put on my compression leg sleeves.  And I've had a ben gay patch on since after my shower.  Fortunately the tortilla smell was stronger than the ben gay smell! 

I'm afraid.  Actually very afraid.  It's my first real possible injury this season.  And it hurts when I walk, which is a very bad sign.  And it's definitely just the one leg.  When both legs I hurt, I figure it's just soreness.  This is possibly injury. 

I'm taking tomorrow off.  This is our last really big week, so I'm hoping it was just the stress of the long run, and I'll be fine on Tues morning. 

Fingers crossed!  About to start doing some major cooking for dinner tonight and lunches this week!

Friday, March 11, 2011

St. Pat's Prep

My fave race of the year is tomorrow.  A 5k called the St. Paddy's Day Dash Down Greenville.  Tons of people run, about 6k this year.  Lots of people wearing green.  Afterward a great party with beer (and I have connections to get lots of beer tickets).  And then you layer on more clothese and move across the street to watch the St. Pat's parade.

In the past, specifically in 2009, I would count this as one of the best days of my life.  I'd raced and PRed in the morning with a crazy good time.  I was invited to join the running team I'm on.  I had family and friends in town.  It was the day of my bridal shower and then my bachelorette party.  It was awesome.

But even last year was great -- I raced and bonked.  But I met random people in a parking lot and played hackey sack with them for hours because I realized I was probably too intoxicated to drive home.  I'm meeting up with some of them this year too!

So tomorrow I'm going early and running about 5 miles solo.  Then I'm going to meet a good friend and help her set up strollers.  Her hubby is out of town, so we'll each push one of her kids in a stroller.  So that should be fun.  My first race with my godson!  And of course if I'm pushing 50 pounds, no worry about trying to go for a PR. 

My original goal 1/1/11 was to PR at this race, but my coach vetoed that.  We have 22 miles with some marathon pace on Sunday, and I won't be able to do that if I race a 5k on the day before.  So this will be a fun way to do the race without screwing up my Boston training.

Tomorrow after the race, we'll hang out and watch the parade with a bunch of friends, then I think she'll go home and I'm going to make my way down to the home of another running friend for her parade watching party, though the parade will be over by then, but they're going to grill out and stuff. 

Should be yet another awesome day! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Best Day in Ages

Yesterday, after I recovered from whatever blood sugar or exhaustion issue I had on my short run, turned into one of the best days I've had in ages.

My list of activities isn't particularly entertaining.  As usual for a Wednesday this time of year, I got up and went to boot camp for an hour with hubby.  After that, I ran home with Joy (she kept me company for the first half of the run).  Then I went to work.  Instead of going out to lunch or eating at my desk and working through, I went to a doctor's appointment for moral support.  Worked the rest of the day.  Went straight from work to the social run.  Then stayed after the social run for dinner with friends.

Notably, this is the first year I haven't gone to church on Ash Wednesday in at least a decade, probably longer.  It's something I need to figure out.  My church has had some issues over the last year with some social policy stuff, and they're losing me.  The Dallas diocese is parting from the national church, whether formally or informally, and unfortunately for me, I live in Dallas.  Another subject for another day.

But yesterday was one of the best days ever for several things that happened during the course of an uneventful sounding day.

First, I was happy to go to work knowing I'd knocked out nearly 6 miles already that morning and I only had 8 on the schedule for the day.  Wednesdays are always tough for me.  On Tues or Thurs, it's no prob to run 10 or so miles, but Wed I cross-train in the a.m., so adding miles on top of that is hard logistically and physically.

Then, perhaps one of the biggest reasons for yesterday being awesome, at the doctor's appointment, it was very good news.  I don't want to go into detail, but it's been an ongoing issue.  I posted about it in the fall.  Someone very important to me in my family had surgery right before I started this blog.  Good.  But then in the fall, it was bad news.  ICD needed, more surgery, maybe unemployment and all kinds of other not good consequences.  Patient decided to hold off on any decisions for 6 months and then to get another reading and then possibly a second opinion.  The big appointment was yesterday and the news was good.  Major recovery and progress.  No new device needed, no imminent surgery (or unemployment).  MAJOR source of relief.

At work, there were two good things.  First, I got a message from the office manager at my old job.  Good news.  The motion for summary judgment I'd worked really hard to develop had been granted.  They were all celebrating the win, and part of me kind of wished I was still there to celebrate with them but I am really so much happier at the new job, though this was a momentary pang.  And then, good news at my new job -- I found a material mistake in a document that was fairly widely used (not our doc, but our client's), and brought that to the attention of our VP, who brought it to the attention of the client, who was very grateful, and I was credited for my "eagle eyes." 

Then, I went to the social run.  Hubby met me there with the final touch for my special pre-St. Pat's outfit and he had some very good news.  All our vacation details are finalized.  We'd held off on making some flight reservations within Italy because we had some unresolved details.  Everything is all booked, even the rental car.  Awesome!  That will have to be a detailed post soon.  In short, the trip is Pittsburgh, Boston, Lamezia Terme, Lecce, Brindisi, Paris, Pittsburgh, home.  Woot!  And as a bonus, lots of direct flights!!!

I ran with this guy whose company I always enjoy.  Easy conversation, awesome pace.  Perhaps a little faster than I should have gone, but it felt good, and since I'd done so many miles that morning, I didn't have too many p.m. miles on the schedule, so it was okay to be a little fast becuse I didn't go long enough for my heart rate to get too high.

We were among the first people to finish the run.  My coach was waiting and the end and he got everyone to scold me for coming in too fast, but it was all good-natured fun when I was able to prove that my heart rate was okay.

Then they had some give-aways for social run attendees.  I won the best possible prize for me!  A gift certificate to my favorite running store for a running class!  So I guess I'm definitely going to do another marathon after Boston, likely this fall, and my training will be free! 

What a wonderful, wonderful day.  My soul was singing, my heart was light, and my smile felt permanent -- wrinkles be damned!  Seriously, the medical news was a big relief, the vacation is exciting on the horizon, work feels perfect, etc.  Woo HOO!!! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Running Hungry

This almost never happens to me, but I was starving this morning while running.  It was crazy.  I got home and was glad my husband was home because I was concerned I was going to actually pass out.

I'm so used to eating the same thing when I wake up, and I'm lucky that my stomach tolerates it well enough that I can eat on my way out the door or on my short drive and the fuel is there for me right away and I'm ready to run or work out.

Last night I worked kind of late, got home around 8 and ate a quick dinner consisting of two veggie burger patties on a bun (plus of course cheese, pickles and ketchup, my burger toppings of choice).  Then for dessert we were out of honey so I couldn't eat my usual greek yogurt, so instead I just had a bowl of cereal with fruit.  Probably a little light on my usual calories, but I was in a hurry to watch the Bachelor with our neighbor who was coming over.

Lately I haven't been running home on Wed mornings after camp because Joy is in school and it's just not as much fun without her.  Plus, it's been easy to get in evening miles on Wednesdays now at the social run. 

But this week is spring break, so we planned to run. 

I got up and had my usual granola bar on my way to boot camp.  Class was fine.  A little more running than usual, about 2.7 miles or so.  And then we started running on the trail.  We usually run about 1.5 together, then she u-turns and I continue on my way home.

Right after she u-turned, it hit me hard.  I was starving.  I was seriously considering asking random strangers on the trail if they had anything to eat or if they could call my husband to come pick me up. 

I slowed down (though part of me thought the smart move would be to hurry up and get home), and eventually made it home and upstairs where I decided to drink some water and lay on the floor.  Everything around me was spinning.  It was so bizarre.  Hubby gave me a gu and another bottle of water, which I got in me and started feeling better withing maybe 10 minutes.

I've certainly been hungry sometimes on runs before, but it's usually only on a Sunday and it's never really a big deal.  I've never experienced anything quite like this before.  And hopefully I won't again! 

I'll probably start doing my Wed. runs home from camp again pretty regularly now.  It's warmer and the social runs are about to move to 6:00, which is just too early for me to leave work.  And maybe now I'll eat a gu before I run or another granola bar or something. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hills are your Friend

I have always hated running hills.  This morning was our first day of hill training.  I was a little surprised we didn't start hills earlier.  Boston is 6 weeks from yesterday.

I did surprisingly well this morning.  We had a 3 mile easy warm-up, then a one-mile hill loop five times, then two miles cool down.  At the outset, I set my expectations low. 

Especially after Sunday's train wreck on a long run.  But when I filled out my running log at work yesterday morning, another explanation for the bad run became painfully obvious -- I'd just gone 2 straight weeks without a rest day.  Admittedly, one day each week was kind of a semi-rest day, it was just going to boot camp but barely doing anything, taking it very easy.  But still, that's more than two weeks without a single day completely off working out.  I was due.  So I took a rest day yesterday, but still wasn't sure how much I could ask of my body this morning. 

I figured I'd be happy if I could push hard for two loops.  But then I said 3.  Then 4.  And I was completely willing to dial it back on the final one, but even that one was pretty good. 

And as a side bonus, my garmin seems to have recovered (and thanks to Seattle Runner Girl for reminding me that it could have crashed at innumerable worse times; at least I was able to see my total run time and distance, and even my average per-mile paces and heart rates; not bad really). 

My legs are TIGHT right now, but hopefully they'll loosen up, though I'm fully prepared for a stiff and painful day.  Either way, happy to have pushed so hard and run so strong on my least fave workout.

I just have to keep my nose to the grindstone.  This week and next week are going to be tough.  Busy at work, highest mileage of my life, and TOUGH miles.  Plus my mom's coming to visit, so hopefully lots of cleaning will also happen! 

But I can make it for two more weeks.  So many people around me seem to be battling injuries or burning out.  I am hoping I can make it.  A couple more weeks, then we dial it back for a week, then one more up week.

Just keep going, keep going, keep going.  I need to make some time for stretching somewhere.  That might help too.  Can't believe how close it's getting! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sucky Run

I suppose I was due for a sucky run, and at least it wasn't during a race.  I can point to any number of causes.  We had 18 miles this morning, including 8 at race pace. 

I think I went out a bit too fast.  The weather was ideal, so that kept my heart rate low.  But then my number one enemy made an appearance -- the bright sun.  Ugh.  It sucked my energy.  We were supposed to start race pace at mile 8, and then move back to easy at 16.  I only had a few miles at race pace.  But my heart rate wasn't even close to where it should have been.  Nonetheless, I felt wholly incapable of going any faster.  Besides going out too fast, and it being sunny, I'm guessing other contributing factors were being at the wedding last night -- which meant drinking, heels, and late bedtime -- all probably doomed me this morning. 

The good parts about the run, however, also existed.  It felt like the miles passed pretty quickly.  I'd look at my watch and wait what felt like a minute or so and then look again -- up until about mile 17, I was usually pleasantly surprised to see that actually I'd run another half mile or more (and no, I wasn't running any 4 minute miles!).  I ran solo much of the time.  But even if I didn't hit the right paces, at least I got another 18 miler out of the way. 

I cannot believe how close the race is.  22 miles (with some race pace) this coming weekend.  Then probably another 18 or so the weekend my mom is going to be visiting.  Then I think it's another 18 but it includes the Dallas RNR half marathon!  We'll run a couple miles easy to warm-up, then 7 or so at race pace, then we can let it rip for the last 6 -- technically it's supposed to be at half marathon race pace, but I think if we want to go faster, our coach won't care.  Then a few miles cool-down.

I'm kind of pissed we're not racing the whole thing.  It just feels like a waste of a race.  I mean, why should I pay $100 to run a half when I'm going to have to run marathon pace for half of it, and hence no PR probably.  I guess it'll be good practice for me to lock in on race pace when surrounded by others -- good practice at not going out too fast.  But still feels like a waste -- a waste of money and a waste of a lackluster race posting on my racing results spreadsheet. 

Anyway, I bet we start tapering after that.  Probably 15 or so that first weekend in April, then 10, then Boston!! 

My garmin locked up after the run today.  I stopped the timer and went inside to stretch.  I changed shirts so I wouldn't get too cold and I know I bumped it a couple times (and I heard it beep for losing the satellite signal).  I got home and realized it was locked on the last screen -- showing my final time and miles and my last registered heart rate.  I tried unlocking the bezel, nothing would work.  The buttons did nothing.  I plugged it in to charge and it wouldn't register that it was charging.  So I spent some recovery time searching for help online, and registered a complaint with garmin customer service, which is of course closed on the weekends.  Anyway, eventually the battery died and it beeped.  I plugged it back in to charge and now it seems to be working fine.

The rest of the day was great -- I got to do a bunch of blog reading and book reading.  Watched some tv (finally saw last week's Bachelor).  I organized my closet somewhat -- mostly just moving dry cleaning and laundry to where it belonged, but I also chose my outfits for the week and hung them in the order I want to wear them where I normally keep the dry cleaning.  And I cooked something (saffron black bean orzo) that I can eat for lunch a few days this week.  I feel so prepared for this week to get underway.  It's awesome! 

It'll be great to be ready for another busy week.  But hopefully after this next week, things at the new job will settle into a sustainable routine. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crazy Good

I ran an easy 7 this morning and probably started off too fast.  But I couldn't help it, I feel like I'm the happiest I've been in a long time. 

I worked really late last night, on a Friday night, and I loved it.  I feel like my career mojo is back.  I've come on at my new job at one of the two busiest times of the year.  And I like being a team player, being challenged, having a lot of work and enjoying it!  I walked out with the VP who is my boss.  I tried to explain to him the rules that I was taught at a big firm about who leaves when.  Basically, the most junior attorney has to stay the latest.  When there's something big going on, you get to go home at night in order of seniority.  Not so at my new job!  He insisted I not stay any later. 

I have tons of work to do, and I'd love to work all weekend in some ways and get a bunch done.  But he said he's not going to have me burning out after my first week. 

It was such a busy week.  Not only was there all kinds of learning new stuff at work, but there was also meeting a bunch of new people, plus trying to do actual work, plus a 55+ mile week of training, plus plans every night last week, plus a sick husband at home (just another upper respiratory infection, ugh). 

But as I was running this morning, I couldn't get over how great and happy I felt.  If only hubby felt better, it would all be perfect right now.  To top it all off, my mom's coming to visit in a couple weeks, my fave race ever is coming up next weekend, we have a dear friend's wedding to go to tonight, it's all good.  Or it's all gouda as the AC would say! 

I'm just ignoring the fact that now, as we're FINALLY watching the Lifetime Amanda Knox movie we've had on the DVR for weeks, I happened to see that they're making a movie about Wills and Kate.  Something like "the royal love story."  Between this and their wedding website, ah, I just have to keep reminding myself that it's okay not to have a back-up plan.  I'm happily married, and the man I always thought I'd marry deserves the same.  Kate should get to marry him, it's not fair to her for him to be just waiting to see if I'm ever single again. 

One other interesting thing is brewing in the back of my mind.  On Wed night, I went to the social run and did about 5 easy miles.  Afterward, usually hubby joins me and running friends for dinner, but since he was sick, I was on my own.  There was a huge group that stayed afterward to eat and drink, and I got to have dinner with my most favoritest bestest running coach ever.  I was telling her about the job and all, and how one cool thing I'd noticed was that, as I was being introduced around my floor, I discovered several other runners.  Most of them aren't marathoners, but some have done one, some used to run, some run a bit now. 

Anyway, my coach said, hmmm, White Rock Relay?  That's our local marathon.  I've never actually run anything other than the marathon there (which I've done about four times), but they have a half marathon and a 5-person relay, where each person runs about 4-6 miles.  Hmm...

I think I could find 4 others pretty easily, even if I tried to do attorneys only.  The woman with whom I work most closely just ran 39 minutes yesterday morning.  She's just starting out, and doesn't love running, but I bet she'd be up for it.  One time running came up in a conversation and I said I'd done about 10 miles that morning.  She was like, wow, you could eat almost anything.  She's limiting her calories to 1300 per day, but maybe she adds some for exercise.  I know she's watching what she eats a lot.  She's lost 13 pounds so far.  Last night we shared some candy.  Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared to work late at my new job -- so I lacked my emergency food supplies.  I was starving by about 7:00 and I'd eaten all my food.  So she and I raided a co-worker's candy dish.  I chose a little thing of whoppers, she got milk duds, and we split them.  I've liked working with her a lot.  Very lucky!  It's also great because she really knows what she's doing and is so generous with her time and instruction. 

Anyway, bottom line is that life is very, very good.  Better than ever!  18 miles tomorrow morning, which should be fine -- except it includes 8 fast miles.  That might make it very tough.  Plus the wedding tonight.  Either way, I'm enjoying a completely awesome weekend!

Friday, March 4, 2011

So far, so good

I'm on track for another lifetime high mileage week.  I'm at about 50 right now, and planning to add about 7 tomorrow. 

And unbelievably, I'm feeling great. 

I'm stiff when I first get out of bed.  I'm "sfinita" (Italian for dead tired, new vocab word for me!).  My left hammie is tight, tight, tight like a rubber band.  But otherwise, it's all good.  And all of that stuff is completely bearable. 

I was at camp this morning and I felt less fatigued than usual on some of the exercises.  I wasn't a complete rock star or anything, but it wasn't too bad.  I felt like my shoulders especially were pretty strong when I was doing shoulder presses and stuff like that.

It's good.  And there are only a few more weeks to go.  If I can get through March, April will be a piece of cake -- taper, race, vacation! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Heartbreak Continues

Especially with the chaos of my life this week, it seems like I'm coming to terms with my "safety" guy marrying someone else.  I don't even think about it that often.  But then I get on FB and see that they have set up a wedding website and again, it's like they're throwing this in my face.  And sadly, since I just signed the policy about using company computer's for personal use (don't), I won't have time to stalk the website until this weekend.


Ran 10 this morning, not quite as planned.  Needed 3 easy (heart rate zone 1), 2 hard (zone 3), 1 easy (zone 1), 2 hard (zone 3), 2 easy (zone 1).  Ended up with 3 easy (good!), 2 harder but not hard enough (both zone 2, not zone 3), 1 easy (good), 1 zone 2 and 1 zone 3 (finally), then 2 easy but still heart rate was a bit too high. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Balance Sought

I could have guessed that this week was going to be crazy just from looking at my calendar many weeks ago, but adding the job stuff on top of it means that I feel like I'm dragging.  Ugh!

Work is awesome, which is nice, but I'm still dealing with tons of IT issues (like I don't have the requisite level of permission/authority to use the main system I'll need to use!).  But it's the non-work stuff that's killing me.

Monday night it was a law school alumni happy hour.  But because of a lot of trouble shutting off my computer, I was late arriving.  And then I had so much fun talking to people that I stayed pretty late.  Got home with just beer in my stomach, so I ate cereal and fell asleep.

Last night was dinner with a former travel buddy.  Same trouble turning off my work computer (and I literally mean trouble, I hit shut down and it says "logging off" for like 20 minutes until I finally give up and just hold down the power button).  Got home and then hubby and I walked to the restaurant to meet our friend.  A cool tapas place called Sangria.  We met at 7:30, which is already pushing it for me.  Hubby and I usually try to go to bed at 8:30 or so.  Doesn't happen often, but that's the goal usually.  We didn't even get home until about 10, which makes a 5 a.m. wake-up call tough.

I still got up and went to boot camp.  Ran a mile or so before camp since I was early.  Worked out, came home, eating breakfast now.

Tonight is the social run.  Hopefully about 5 miles.  Then dinner with some running friends at the cafe afterward.  And hubby will probably grocery shop while I run and meet me for dinner.

Tomorrow night is another happy hour, immediately followed by our Italian conversation group.

Fri night is up to us.  Then Saturday night wedding, Sunday night running group happy hour/dinner.  Then it's next week!

I'm going to need a down week very, very soon.  I've got some homebody tendencies, and all these nights with plans are wearing on me. 

But all good.  High mileage this week.  22 that I did Sunday.  9.6 yesterday.  3 or so this morning.  5 or so tonight.  10 tomorrow.  A couple Fri.  And something like 8 or so on Saturday.  Feeling stiff, tired, but okay! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Long days

Yesterday was crazy and I'm going to be dragging today.  I decided to get up and go to boot camp yesterday morning since I wasn't too sore, but I really half-@$$ed it.  Got home and hurried through my morning routine.  And went to work.  Lots of paperwork and stuff.  Finally got to some substantive stuff at about 6 p.m., when I was planning to leave.  Then straight to a law school alumni happy hour where I met up with a friend and met someone new who is at my old firm in my old group and sits on my old floor.  Tons of gossiping and getting scoop and sharing stories with him.  Got home and hubby was already sound asleep and I promptly conked out after a bowl of cereal.  Not a great foundation for today, but we have plans every night this week, it's going to be hectic! 

Today we had 9 miles on the schedule and I ended up around 9.7 -- due to doubling back to run away from a dog that I thought was loose and sounded big (those invisible fences trick me) and getting a little lost. 

Feeling stiff but excited about going to work!  Such a change!!!