Thursday, February 28, 2013

Accounting buddy progress

I mentioned that I was walking once a week with my friend in accounting.  This was our fourth week in a row, and she went 2.27 miles in 42 minutes.  It included 3 minutes of running at the end -- the first 2 minutes were at 4.5 mph, and then the last minute was at 4.8 mph. 

I think next week we're going to do running at the end again, but not the very end.  I don't think it was good for her to run and then come to a dead stop.  So next week, we'll run, and then slow back down to a walk for the final few minutes. 

She was literally shaking when we were stretching and leaving the gym, but she was smiling ear to ear, saying she couldn't believe she was still alive and that she'd done it. 

So excited for her! 

Think we're going to make sure she gets registered for the race next week! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wind gusts over 40 mph and I'm getting out there

Have you ever heard of a major city airport canceling 150 flights because of WIND?  Well, that was the case Monday night into Tuesday morning in Dallas.

Coincidentally, it was when a huge cold front blew in AND I had my first morning working with my speed coach. 

Ugh.  Talk about not wanting to get out of bed!  I could hear the wind going over our roof and pounding our windows and porch. 

But my lactate threshold test on Sunday reminded me that I have A LOT of work to do before Sept. 29 if I really want to achieve my dream marathon PR in Berlin.  A LOT.  As in my current 30 minute mile pace at an all-out effort isn't significantly faster than what I want/need to be my marathon pace.  I mentioned to a friend after the LT test that I'm worried my goal is a bit unrealistic, and he wisely said, give it 6 weeks of speed training and then reevaluate. 

So I need to be giving it my all right now. 

I got out of bed and went to meet my coach to run hills in weather that was 40 degrees, but sustained wind speeds of 25-35 mph, gusting over 40. 

Dear god, why? 

I did it though.  Ran my hills, felt like death, finished the scheduled workout.  Our coach sent an email later in the day -- "I haven’t received any thank you emails for this morning’s workout and weather combination."  Hahahaha!

Got home, ate breakfast and had to head back out in it to go to work. 

I was so tempted to drive instead of running to work.  There have been a few mornings I've wanted to drive lately, but my car had been at the office, so it wasn't an option.  But yesterday my car was right there, sitting in our garage, keys on the hook.  So tempting!  But that's not going to help me reach my goal, so I sucked it up and ran to work. 

It was one of my slowest commutes ever, but that's per coach's orders -- trying to keep my heart rate in the bottom zone the whole time, not worrying about pacing. 

Fortunately, when I set back out in the great outdoors to go to work, it was a few degrees warmer and the wind advisory had expired, but it was still windy and cold.

One of the things I like about being an outdoor runner is that I feel so much more connected with the seasons, the outdoors, and the weather, but this commuting thing is taking that to a whole new level.  I'm spending a lot of time obsessing about the weather. 

Trying to make sure I make the right clothing decisions for a 5:15 group run, an 8:00 solo commute, a 6:00 pm indoor treadmill walk, and a 6:45 solo commute home.  That was my Tuesday. 

Let the record reflect that in the last week of February 2013, "Carina" appears to have finally mastered how to dress for winter running in Dallas. 

Of course, I master this lesson every single year at some point, only to apparently have to relearn it every single year. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Anatomy lesson

So I spent most of my free time researching a muscle previously unknown to me -- the posterior tibialis! 

You know that's a bad sign.  There's pretty much only one reason runners look up muscles on the internet... it hurts.

My most searched post ever on this blog is the one about your soleus muscle

Anyway, here's a fun picture of the posterior tibialis:

File:Tibialis posterior.png

(copied from Wikipedia.)

If you look closely at that picture (the posterior tibialis is in red), you'll see that in the upper part of your calf, it's under some other muscles (including my good friend, the soleus), but you can see that eventually it stretches down and toward the inside of your arch, where it becomes the posterior tibialis tendon, and is pretty much the key muscle in supporting your arch, and in plantar flexing and inverting your foot in general. 

I seem to be prone to calf problems and I know it.  Every time something in my calf hurts, I swear that I'm going to work on doing little strengthening exercises (like calf raises) year round.  In fact, I think I even promised myself several years ago that I'd add them to my routine permanently.  And then the pain goes away, I keep up the calf raises for a couple weeks, then they fall by the way side again.  Until the next time my calf hurts. 

So my calf injury history:

In Sept. 2007, about two weeks before the Chicago marathon, I had an injury in my gastrocnemius.

In the summer 2010, it was plantar fasciitis (starting with sore feet for my very first post on this blog, deciding to go to the doc, and then recovering, and really recovering (including what I did to get over it) a few months later).

In the fall 2010, it was general calf pain, thought to be my gastroc again.

In winter 2010-2011, it was biceps femoris pain.

In early 2011, it was hamstrings, and then undiagnosed upper left calf pain, both times the pains went away on their own with no real treatment. 

In August 2011, as you can see, it was my soleus.

Last year, I had some brief pain in my peroneus lungus tendon. 

So yeah, quite the history of calf and leg pains.  Why do I run again?  Oh, that's right, I eat like a 14 year old boy, as my husband puts it. 

The soleus pain has repeated intermittently ever since it started, but it's never been serious.  In fact, I don't think I've ever been in a position where I thought it was better to stop running for even a couple days. 

The good news is, the calf pains move around.  It's not always my left leg or something (though the current posterior tibialis pain is in my left leg). 

Sunday, as I mentioned, we had to do a lactate threshold test.  What that meant in practice was warming up for a couple miles, then running a total of 30 minutes as hard as possible.  The critical point was that the auto-mile timer on your watch had to be off, and you mark a lap split after the first 10 minutes. 

It leaves you with two laps for the 30 minutes -- the first 10 minutes, and then the remaining 20 minutes.  Our coach looks at your average heartrate for the last 20 minutes as being your lactate threshold.  And the mile pace for the entire 30 minutes as being your approximate lactate threshold pace. 

During the 30 minutes, you're basically running solo.  Occasionally being passed or passing, and hearing and saying words of encouragement, but basically all to yourself.

And pretty much everything hurt at some point doing those 30 minutes.  First it was my feet.  I was worried I'd pulled something in one of my feet, then in the other foot, then it didn't hurt anymore and it was my shoulders.  Then the pain was in my lower back, then in my quads, then in my calves, then I was worried about peeing myself, then there was pain in my neck, then in my quads again.  It was pretty much a constant stream of misery for 30 minutes.  And you just have to tell yourself to keep going because the only thing worse than all that hurting would be to have to repeat the exercise.  Even easing up isn't an option because then your numbers will be disappointing low/slow. 

Anyway, at no point during the 30 minutes do I remember any sharp pain in my posterior tibialis. 

We finally finished the 30 minutes and basically all stood around gasping for breath and stretching a bit.  Then we did a cool-down jog of 2 miles at an easy pace.  And about one mile into that jog, I definitely felt it. 

I mistakenly thought it was pain in my Achilles tendon.  That's a relatively new one for me.  But it hurt.  I was able to finish the jog and didn't feel like I had to change my gait or anything, but I knew it was the start of something.

Better belief I was on a chiro's table that same morning (not an easy feat on a Sunday) (haha, feat/feet, oh, too funny).  He did a lot of foot and ankle rolling and moving and pressing, and lots of poking and rubbing on my calf, and then all of a sudden, he found it.

For me, it's apparently a very mild case of inflammation at this point.  The pain is on the bottom third of my calf, on the inside between my calf and my shin. 

So he suggested I take it easy for a day or two and watch it, icing as needed. 

There seems to be very little pain today, 24+ hours later.  I went to boot camp this morning, but opted out of the running just to avoid aggravating it. 

We shall see where this goes, but wanted to share my new muscle knowledge with everyone.  Hopefully this is just the first pain of the year, and it will go away as quickly as it came on. 

I have a running friend who went to nursing school and said she felt like she had a huge leg up (haha, leg up, oh, I'm killing myself with these jokes!) when it came to studying the leg muscles since she'd either injured (and learned) most of them herself, or had heard about injuries from friends. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


My weekend was remarkably uneventful.  Waaaaay too much time playing sudoku.  But I managed to make a lovely "winter vegetable risotto" for dinner one night (recipe from a cookbook that I've had for years but am rediscovering, 1,0001 Low Fat Vegetarian Recipes).  And I did run as hard as I could for a lactate threshold test on Sunday morning -- that was horrible, and I wanted to die, but I did it -- ran hard for all 30 minutes.  Let's just say that I have a lot of work to do before Berlin. 

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: 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!

Questions and Answers

1. Did you watch the Oscars? If so, who did you enjoy seeing most?  No, I watched a little of the red carpet coverage while I was making that risotto, but we had people come over at 6:30 for dinner, so we turned off the TV when the doorbell rang. 

2. Do you drink meal replacement shakes, smoothies, etc? If so, what’s your favorite kind? I don't think of them as meal replacements, but I guess they are.  I drink a smoothie for breakfast at least Monday-Thursday, frequently about 5-7 days per week.  I put in it:  spinach, chia seeds, frozen fruit, soy milk, and Vega protein powder (usually berry flavored, sometimes vanilla or plain). 

3. Share one thing you have done to help someone in the last week?  I got my coworker to run for 2 minutes on a treadmill, the first time she said she'd ever run (I insisted that could not be true, everyone runs, if nothing else, as children; she conceded it was the first time she'd run in more years than she could count). 

4. What is the tastiest thing you ate last week? Tough call -- I made a delicious risotto last night, but hubby brought me a Freebirds burrito for dinner on Thursday night (somewhat like Chipotle but a Texas chain, and I prefer it), and we had leftovers from last Sunday night's dinner -- an eggplant orzo dish and a cauliflower soup (both great), AND I have been hooked on eating tacos lately with refried beans, cheese, olives and salsa -- not high quality but tasty.  The question is the tasties thing.  I think I'm voting for the risotto.  And we have leftovers, so that will be good. 

5. Think of one fun thing that you could do this week without spending any money to do it.  Very tough question!  Walking with my co-worker or running with my friends.  I think I'll do both!  But I guess I spent money on running shoes... 

6. Share one place that you’ve been to and would like to visit again. Chiang Mai, Thailand.  I counted it as one of my favorite places ever, and I'd love to go there with my husband and see if he loves it as much as I did. 

7. Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter? Neither.  I've never been on twitter, and I've been basically off Facebook since Jan. 1 (I occasionally will get on to check emails, or to pull up contact info for someone, and once to check race results for a bunch of friends, but pretty much logging in less than twice a month now). 

8. What is your favorite vegetable?  Easy peasy.  Peas!  They have been my favorite vegetable as long as I can remember.  From age 5 until sometime in law school (whenever the last time is that I was home with my folks for my bday), I chose for my birthday dinner steak and peas (originally with macaroni and cheese too, then that was replaced by baked potatoes).  And of course now I'd drop the steak and probably have mac and cheese AND baked potatoes.  But the peas have been a constant.  I can eat an entire huge bag of frozen peas in a single sitting.  It's scary.  I either eat them plain, with pepper, or with butter.  And pretty much love all three ways equally. 

9. Share a goal that you have for the month of March.  No sweets -- I gave up sweets for Lent and then promptly forgot twice in the first week.  A cookie on Ash Wednesday and a chocolate croissant (or three) at a race that Saturday.  But I am planning to eat sweets once or maybe twice in March (I'm counting them as my Sundays).  First at a dinner party on March 1 that we are hosting, and then maybe when my bro and his wife are visiting.  I also want to work very hard on my running -- possibly the hardest I've worked in years. 

10. Share a quote that inspires you.  "It never gets easier, you just get better." 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Another weekend, already?

Score!  I love short work weeks!  And we have basically nothing planned from the time I finish work tonight until Sunday night when we go to bed.

Well, I do have one thing planned and it has a 50/50 chance of involving vomit -- Sunday morning at 7:00, I have to do a lactate threshold test for the first day of working with my new running coach for this two-month speed session (he's been my coach before, but never just for speed work).  That basically means warming up for a while, running as hard as I possibly can for 30 minutes, and then cooling down.  Fun stuff. 

And I should send a birthday email to a friend's husband on Sunday.

Other than that, nada.  I am adding one thing to my to-do list from last weekend, and it is at the top.

** Listen to voicemail messages and arrange set-up between running buddy who moved to MN and cousin who lives there (whether it's a romantic set-up or just a new running buddy pairing, I hope it works)
Work on wedding scrapbook (another New Year's resolution)
Choose a recipe for the following week and make a grocery list
Study Italian
Photo book of China pictures for a friend we spent several days visiting in Shanghai
Online shopping on amazon using a gift card I got
Putting together some posts for the blog with photos from our trip to China
Hang our race bibs in garage like wallpaper (if I want to do this, it should be in the next couple months, since our garage will be too warm to do it in the summer)
Plan next dinner party, guests and menu (2 outstanding invitations extended at present, at most we'll be 8 people total) (menu will be a big challenge -- one person who accepted can't do dairy, so this will be my first vegan dinner party I guess!)

So, here's to hoping I can get even just a few of those things done.  Please let all the lifetime movies suck, and please don't have any Law & Order marathons on TV.  Please.  And then there is a chance...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Time to Play the Lottery

I think I need to buy a lottery ticket today. 

Yesterday was rainy and a bit stormy in Dallas, but I managed to time my run to work perfectly and I stayed dry.

This morning I got up to meet my running buddies for some hills.  It was dry, but they were saying rain was on the way. 

By the time I met my friends and we got underway, it was raining, but not hard.  And by the time we got to the hills (about 10 minutes into the run), it had stopped and we stayed dry for the rest of the morning.

I got home and had breakfast (a smoothie again, I'm a creature of habit).  I noticed my husband had unloaded the dishwasher sometime during my run before he left for work, and we had a sink full of dirty dishes waiting to be loaded.  I started doing that, then I saw the local weather come up on TV.

And note the time on that photo -- 7:26.  My goal is to leave for work at about 7:45.  That has happened maybe once in the 3+ months I have been commuting.  I am usually out the door around 8, by 8:05 at the latest. 
But at 7:26, they were saying that the storms would be reaching Dallas in less than an hour.  Thunder, lightning, lots of rain, and reports of hail. 
Remember, my commute is 3.75 miles. 
Even loosey goosey with the numbers, a 7:30 pace, a 10:30 pace, either way, that meant it was time to get my butt in gear.  Maybe even past time to get my butt in gear. 
I gave up on loading the dishwasher and hurried to brush my teeth, get my heart rate monitor and watch back on, get my phone into my running belt, get my running belt on, get my shoes on, set the alarm and get out the door. 
Within half a mile of my house, I saw a guy walking two big dogs I'd never seen before.  He was taking up the entire sidewalk (I run the first .4 or so miles of my commute on the sidewalk before switching to road for most of the remainder).  As I approached, he reined in his dogs and I kept moving. 
I was wearing a running baseball-type hat to keep the inevitable storms off my face, so I didn't get a good look at the guy as I passed, but he said "storms moving in within half an hour."  I waved and picked up the pace.
I tried to book it most of the way to work, despite the fact that my legs were not happy with this plan, given that we'd just run several miles of hills a couple hours earlier.  I was lucky in that I hit all three of the traffic lights just right and didn't have to stop, but by the time I was in the final mile of the commute, it was getting very dark out and I could see ugly sky ahead.
So I picked it up to marathon pace for the final burst uphill and downhill and through the parking lot. 
I made it to the office dry and out of breath.  I took the elevators up to my office (9th floor), walked to my office, started up the computer, and took a picture of my watch to text hubby (a daily habit so he knows I made it), and then I heard the rain hitting the window in my office.
If I'd finished loading that dishwasher, I think I would have been caught in the thick of it.  I don't remember if it was in Runner's World or on the web somewhere, but I saw two graphic pictures once of a topless male runner after he had been caught in the hail and I've never forgotten what that looked like.  Thankfully, I don't have my own experience to add to that memory.  Whew. 
Feeling very lucky to have made it dry and hail-free.  Seriously thinking this might be the day for my twice-a-decade lottery habit!  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Commuting Luck

Today was another rainy morning.  Thunder and lightning while we were at boot camp,  some rain on the drive there and home.  But the radar on the news made it look like it would be a mess all morning.  As usual, they overhyped it.  I think the local NBC station is based in Fort Worth.  I probably should switch to watching ABC for weather since it's based a couple miles from my house and about a million times more accurate than Fort Worth's weather. 

Anyway, I had breakfast and watched the news, trying to figure out what to do.  Today, I was lucky to have options. 

I have plans for the social run tonight.  Since we had a holiday on Monday, I drove to work yesterday and brought all my stuff for the week, as usual (clothes and lunches). 

Then last night I walked (and ran!) with my co-worker.  We did 35 minutes on the treadmill and she went 1.84 miles -- including two minutes of running/jogging at the very end!  She said it was the first time she'd run in more years than she could count.  I was so proud of her!  Now just to figure out how to get her to do something similar on her own a couple days a week.  Because once a week is better than nothing, but not even close to what her doctor wants her to do. 

After our walk, I took a leisurely jog home and left my car at the office so it would be there to drive to the social run tonight.  Most weeks, I am going to aim to run to the social run, and then have my husband meet me there afterward for dinner and to give me a ride home.  But since this is my first week of doing the social run in a while, I thought it would be best to drive.

So anyway, that left me at home this morning with no car, and a radar screen full of rain.  But luckily, I had options -- my husband was still home and said he'd drive me to work if I wanted.  And my neighbors were around and they said they could give me a lift.  But in reality, a little rain isn't going to kill me.  It looked like there was a break in the green on the radar over Dallas, so I did it.  And I was dry almost the entire run.

Not bad.  I like these small victories.  Days when I don't have to run to work, and I don't particularly want to run to work, but I do anyway.  Hopefully these miles are going to add up and lead me to a stronger training season in May. 

Right now, my commuting miles are mostly "junk miles."  Not particularly fast or hilly, no real worries about pace or heartrate.  Just running to get the miles in.  Getting my body used to more miles.  Next week, speed training with my coach officially begins, so that will be focused on getting my body used to picking up the pace more.  Then in May, I'll combine the two.  I'll pump up the distance, but at a faster pace.  And then I'm going to get that elusive 11 minute PR in Berlin.  It just has to work! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy days...

Whew!  I love long weekends!  And for once, this one actually felt long.  There was plenty of time being social, being lazy and being productive.  Makes me wish we always had three day weekends.  While I'm closer than some people since I work from home on Fridays, it's still usually a very full work day for me on Fridays.  But regardless, the point is that I haven't been in the office since Thursday night.  Nice! 

We went to dinner with our neighbors Friday night, then swung by the art museum to spend a bit of time looking around.  That was fun despite being really tired.  I think we should make more of an effort to take advantage of the many things in downtown Dallas since we live so close.  The art museum's late night was a perfect idea.  We saw two very unusual pieces of art that seemed to be composed primarily of cellophane (though the rest of the museum isn't focused on modern art). 

Saturday morning was a 5k race.  I didn't run the plan (the plan was accellerating 30 seconds per mile, ending with a very strong and difficult pace), but I went out too fast and then slowed down about 6 seconds in mile two -- and then I ran that same pace for mile three.  So my mile splits had a total spread of 6 seconds.  Not bad!  I'll take a steady run, even if it wasn't the goal.  But still about two minutes slower total than the 5k should have been.  Ugh.  Lots of work to do when speed training starts next week.

After the race, we came home and straightened up the house.  We were joking that we should have houseguests every month because it's just so nice to get everything in order in preparation for their arrival.  For once the entire kitchen is clean, all the bathrooms are clean, all the laundry is put away, all three floors are vacuumed, and there is no clutter sitting out.  My law school roommate and her husband landed in the morning and we met up with them for a great lunch with another law school friend and his family.  Then we spent some time hanging out and catching up around the house.  Then the four of us set out for a 5 mile walk with a stop at a fun bar for a few drinks right near the u-turn point.  We ended the night at a tapas restaurant, and we all went to bed fairly early.  I've been just oppressively tired lately.  But it was so awesome to have the day to catch up with her.  She's always been one of my dearest friends.  We went to college together and then lived together all three years of law school.  She and her husband are a lot like us (only much cooler).  They're also kid-free by choice and loving every minute of life.  Their Christmas card picture this year was of them at Everest Base Camp.  Insane!  We could talk about travels and other shared aspects of life forever -- except politics!  She and I decided long ago we were better off not discussing.  Since we're both lawyers, it's too easy to argue points too vehemently.  The funny thing is that as we get older, we seem to be also moving closer together politically.  It was just so much fun to get the time with her.  And my husband thinks her husband is awesome, so it was fun for all. 

Sunday was a semi-long run (not much over 10 miles), and (thinking of my to-do list for the weekend), during the run, I extended a dinner party invitation.  After the run, I went home and made waffles for breakfast for my law school roomie and her husband before they left town to go to Austin for a couple days.  Wonderfully, the day on Sunday seemed to go pretty slowly.  I managed to donate 65 items of clothing, and I took photos of all of it (you know, awaiting an audit), I updated my 2013 calendar to list days when I need to go shopping for birthday gifts and when I need to mail cards, etc., I sent a long email to some friends we made in China, AND I cooked a lovely Sunday night dinner -- a soup and a pasta dish.  We had a relaxing night clearing some stuff off the DVR. 

Monday was insanely lazy, but I did make progress on one task from the to-do list:  I chose years worth of photos (and ordered prints) to hang in our stairwell.  Unfortunately, we have to drive to Ikea to get frames, and it's about 45 minutes away, way out in the suburbs, so that project will have to await another day.  We wanted to stay near the house on Monday.  We managed four loads of laundry, including the sheets off the guest bed so they'll be ready for our houseguests next month.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

FMM: Blogger to Blogger

I'll have to write about the weekend tomorrow (it's ongoing for me since we're off today), but I will say I am trying hard to be productive.  But since it's Monday, time to make friends! 

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: 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!

Blogger to Blogger

1. Does your blog have one overwhelming theme?

Not really.  It started to be about running as I was dreaming of qualifying for Boston, but now it's more daily life (including running) and travel. 

2. How did you come up with the theme(s) for your blog? Was it intentional?

Not really.  One of my favorite blogs to read ( suggested I start my own as it had been something she'd enjoyed, and then I just did.  Now I love having the chronicle and the place to sort out and share my thoughts.  Still, at my core, I consider myself more of a blog reader than a blog writer. 

3. Share something cool that has happened in your life as a result of blogging.

Someone ( laughed at my "yoh mama" joke?  I haven't met anyone in person through blogging.  I think in some ways though it's made me more focused on where I want my life to go. 

4. How much time to do spend reading blogs everyday?

Half an hour?  Depends on the day.  I usually read most of the ones in my reader over the weekend or on Monday mornings before I go to work.  As for reading during the week, it usually depends how early I get to work and whether or not I'm so busy that I have to work through lunch. 

5. Do you blog on the weekends?

Not usually.  I have a goal of doing a series of posts about our trip to China, and that's not something I could do on my lunch break at work (since I'd want to add pictures), but usually on the weekends, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of my laptop screen. 

6. Do you keep track of your stats? Do they matter to you?

Not really for tracking, not at all for whether they matter.  It's interesting to me to see what the most frequent searches leading to my blog are (soleus (part of your calf muscles) and bachelorette parties). 

7. How do you decide how much to share about your personal life?

I think about what would happen if everyone knew the blog was mine, so generally I try not to write something that would hurt the feelings of someone I know.  But I definitely bitch occasionally about family or people at work (particularly my secretary), but I rarely complain about friends (generally because they don't irritate me much!). 

8. Do you aspire to be a writer, or did blogging happen for some other reason?

Some other reason.  I like writing, but non-fiction about my life isn't my thing (non-fiction about other topics is though). 

9. As a blogger, do you think it’s more important to write for yourself, or for your readers?

For myself.  But I'm glad some blogs I read seem to write for their readers.  Just not me though. 

10. What kind of plans do you have for the future of your blog?

Hmm, maybe better posts about travel?  More running adventures for sure. 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions. Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments. Happy Monday!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Long Weekend Breather

I had awesome success a few weeks ago when I made (and posted) a weekend "to do" list that included my scheduled plans and a few "whenever" tasks.  I tried again the following weekend and had less success.  And last weekend I made no such list since we were at Mardi Gras and I knew nothing would get done. 

But this coming weekend, I have a three-day weekend (President's Day), and I have high hopes.  I thought (actually, hoped) that we'd have company all three days, but my law school roommate gets into town Saturday morning and flies back home on Tuesday morning, but it turns out that she and her husband are heading down to Austin on Sunday late morning, and not coming back until Monday night.  So it will just be about 24 hours with them, then I'll have 2 full days without work (well, I almost always work some on weekends, but not a full day, so it doesn't count).

As an added bonus, just found out that my husband is going to work on Sunday, but he's going to be off on Monday too, so we'll be able to spend the day together.  That has greatly impacted the odds of my being unproductive as to my list, yet again, but oh well.  I'm going to give it a shot.  Maybe I can get him on board and we could do a project together. 

Here's the plan:

Tonight:  dinner out with our next door neighbors, maybe checking out "late nights" at the art museum afterward, depending on levels of fatigue. 

5k race in the morning
Law school roommate lands and comes over. 
Lunch near the house with law school roommate, her husband, my husband, and another friend from our law school section and his family
Afternoon of chilling and catching up at the house with law school roomie, maybe we will play some kind of board game (she loves them as much as I do); we also talked about maybe going for a 5 mile walk with a stop at a fun bar in the middle
Dinner in the neighborhood with law school roomie and our husbands, going out for tapas
Maybe maybe a bar afterward, again, in the neighborhood. 

Long run in the morning
Make breakfast at home (waffles?) for law school roomie and her husband before they leave
Free time but I'm hoping to make a soup and a pasta dish for dinner from recipes

Nada (besides boot camp in the morning, but I may take a rest day, given that I won't have had a day off from exercise in a week or more)

So, to fill that free time between noon on Sunday and 6 p.m. Monday night, here are some goals:

Choose and frame photos to hang in the stairway between 1 and 2 (this was a New Year's resolution)
Work on wedding scrapbook (another New Year's resolution)
Go through all the stuff stacked in the garage to donate (and then photograph it for the records and take it to a donation site)
Choose a recipe for the following week and make a grocery list
Study Italian
Respond to an email from someone we met in China
Photo book of China pictures for a friend we spent several days visiting in Shanghai
Online shopping on amazon using a gift card I got
Putting together some posts for the blog with photos from our trip to China
Hang race bibs in garage -- just an idea, almost like wallpaper, but race bibs for me and my husband (if I want to do this, it should be in the next couple months, since our garage will be too warm to do it in the summer)
Plan next dinner party, guests and menu
Add birthdays to weekly calendar (right now, they're on month at a glance, but I need them on my daily list when I need to send an email or make a phone call)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Long Day

Today is the first day I've felt even somewhat back to normal after a high mileage day on Tuesday.  And the crazy thing is, my mileage on Tuesday was actually not as high as it should have been!  It's definitely going to take me a while to get used to this new routine. 

Tuesday morning, I met up with my running buddies at 5:15, and we planned to run 7 miles.  But it was evident by 5:10 that it was going to be 7 miles in the rain.  At times it was coming down hard.  But we run in the rain, we just don't run in the lightning. 

Well, there were a few flashes just before we started, but no audible thunder, so it didn't appear to be nearby.  We set out in the rain. 

It was also cold -- low 40s I'd guess.  Not a fun combination.

We ran about 3.5 miles out and were stopped for a minute to get water, and there was a big flash and pretty loud thunder.  Conveniently, our route was something like a U-shape.  We were supposed to run 3.5 miles basically in the U-pattern, and then U-turn for 3.5 miles back. 

But when we saw the lightning, we opted for a shortcut back to the start. 

So instead of my planned 7 miles, I ended up only with 5.5 (the shortcut saved us about 1.5 miles; it was a really wide U shape). 

I got home and I was freezing.  I put my long sleeved running shirt that I'd been wearing in the dryer and ate breakfast.  But I felt like I couldn't get warm.  I had the heat in the bedroom cranked up to 84, and I was standing right under a vent, but I just didn't warm up. 

But there was a break in the rain, so I checked the radar and decided it was a good time to head to work. 

I put my warm and dry long sleeves back on, but I had to swap out shoes.  The 5.5 mile shoes were still soaking wet.  (Kind of disgusting?  I wear the same clothes for all my runs on Tuesdays...)

So I got back out on the roads and ran the 3.75 miles to work.  It was actually much faster than I expected and it felt somewhat easy (I was also lucky to hit all 3 lights just right).  And somehow I managed to stay pretty dry, which was a nice bonus, considering how wet it had been earlier and how ominous the sky looked during my commute. 

I got to work, showered, got ready, worked all day, and then at about 6:30, headed down to the gym with my accounting walking buddy.  It was only our second week of walking together, but this time, she kept her speed on 3 mph the whole time (last week she bumped it down from 3.0 some for quite some time, though we bumped it up higher for the last few minutes).  And this week we went 5 minutes longer, and bumped the speed and incline up even more over the last 5 minutes.  She did the last minute at 4.1 mph I think.  That was tough for her, partly because she isn't very tall, so she mixed in steps of jogging along with the walk, but she did it!  I was so proud of her.  She ended up with 1.29 miles, which was totally awesome. 

Since the treadmill next to hers was taken, I used an exercise ball and did crunches for a while until the treadmill became vacant, then I walked with her long enough to cover a mile of my own. 

So at that point, my mileage total for the day was 10.25.  Not bad!

And then I did it, I ran myself back home.  I tried to keep the effort pretty easy, but I again had good luck with the lights and was pretty happy with my overall time.

It brought me in at 14 miles for the day.  On a Tuesday.  Score. 

If the weather hadn't been so stormy, I would have ended up at 15.5.  On a Tuesday!  Wow!  Who am I?  I was feeling pretty thrilled with my 14 and I proceeded to eat a huge (and nutritious) dinner. 

But I then paid the price yesterday.  I just felt drained.  In boot camp, I was wimping out, and I actually didn't even do all of the running.  I instead went back to my mat and did some plank attempts, but mostly just whined about being tired.  I didn't give it my full effort. 

After camp, I came home, ate breakfast, and then set out for work again on foot.  One of my slowest commutes ever.  And my most miserable encounter ever too -- a woman in her early 20s was jogging with headphones on the wrong side of the street with her big dog on a very long leash.  I stayed on the correct side of the road, figuring she'd move, and I said something to her about I was taking the curb, but she didn't hear apparently.  And then for some reason, her dog moved one way and she dodged the other and the leash got wrapped around me.  Insanely frustrating, particularly since I'm very uncomfortable around dogs I don't know.  But I untangled in my irritation/terror and got back on my way.  I had a few stops for traffic, but I felt like I needed them.  I was feeling slow, heavy and tired.  My overall time wasn't bad in reality, but it just didn't feel good. 

Needless to say, I opted for a ride home last night.  It worked out well since I was volunteering after work anyway, but I needed the break.

Today I'm finally feeling back to normal, but I got beat down again this morning running hills with friends (thankfully only 6.4 miles), and I'm about to head out for another commute to work that will likely be quite slow. 

I think it's going to take some time for me to get used to the higher mid-week mileage.  And I need to remember that even though walking with my new buddy doesn't feel strenuous, it's still more mileage and my legs know that. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lenten Plan

This year for Lent, as I thought, my sacrifice is going to be giving up sweets.  I haven't done this for Lent in at least a decade, primarily because I don't usually eat much candy, and baked goods aren't around that often.  But somehow this year, particularly with candy, I've been out of control, eating some basically every single day I'm at the office. 

I had made a pan of caramel brownies to take to Mardi Gras, and I somehow ended up bringing about half of them back home.  Ugh.  I shared a few with my neighbor and brought a few to work, but I ate too many of them.

I specifically told my husband, no chocolate for Valentine's Day this year.  And my original idea for a fun VD night was that we would stop for fro-yo after our Italian conversation class.  But that plan was abandoned.  But I did eat fro-yo on Monday night after work before we went to have our taxes done.  Like I said, I've really been out of control in 2013.  I can't remember another year in recent memory where I've eaten as many sweets in the first 40 or so days of the year.

But I've never liked the idea of doing some kind of sacrifice that really benefits me for Lent.  It seems so self-serving.  I have a friend who gave up cheese, and many others who do sweets or alcohol.  But no one seems to give up spinach or brushing their teeth or cooking or warm water in the shower. 

And I don't even particularly like the idea of sharing what you are giving up, yet I do it regularly -- both here on the blog, and in person (telling my husband why I didn't want chocolate for Valentine's Day, telling my neighbor why not to bring over the piece of chocolate cake she had for me).  I would like to be better abou that in the future.

Anyway, since giving up sweets is a sacrifice for me, I figured it was a good option this year.  But I also want to do something that embodies the purpose of Lent more in my mind than giving up sweets. 

My ideas:
Calling, emailing or texting a family member daily, and having the communication be one of love.
Volunteering (and I'm doing 2.5 hours tonight, but I don't feel like a weekly commitment is enough of an affirmative act for Lent, and I just don't see how to work in something daily).
Random acts of kindness to strangers daily.
More time for prayer or "Godly" reading.
Reaching out to meet neighbors I don't know.
Snail mail letters to friends far away. 
Giving away something I don't need daily -- pulling one item from my house (or wallet) (or body, such as a pint of blood) and giving it to someone who needs it more. 
More attendance at church (this has its own issues for me, which is why I didn't choose it).
Paying sincere compliments daily.

I opted for the latter.  And I started today with my secretary.  She and I had a rough day yesterday.  I heard from my office walking buddy (second week of walking together!  she made it 1.29 miles!!!) that my secretary called me a bitch yesterday.  And honestly, it was probably justified.  I was so frustrated by my secretary's constant questions and requests for direction when I asked her to track down a FedEx package that had been signed for and addressed to me the day before, but hadn't made it to my desk.  I know I spoke too sharply.  I fully deserved to be called a name.  I need to work on my patience and my manners.  And if something is bothering me, like I think she should have been more professional in her emailed query to the sender of the package, or that I want her to take control of a task rather than having me micro-manage it, I need to say that directly and politely.  Anyway... all that to say yesterday was not a good day for us in our working relationship.  But today, she is wearing a very pretty top that is a mix of bright pinks and royal blues, along with a blue cardigan.  Those colors look beautiful on her.  I made a point of telling her I liked the colors.  I try to avoid a lot of long "pleasantries" conversations with her -- in the interest of efficiency but also because on some level I don't feel like I like her very much and because she tends to overshare (way too much info about her personal health and medical issues, for example, or her personal financial situation) -- and my compliment led to her telling me a few things about new clothes she was thinking of buying, and how according to her colors, she is a "winter."  Exactly the reason I don't usually talk to her much, but something I need to improve.  Those pleasantries create a better foundation.  And are a sincere way of showing that I care.  But I'm starting with compliments.  Not just to her, just to someone, at least once a day. 

In some ways choosing daily sincere compliments is a way of repenting.  Particularly when it comes to complimenting someone I've been not nice to.  Or someone who irritates me.  That's what I need to do.  While I want to compliment my husband more as well, I need to work particularly on complimenting people who aren't my favorites in the world.  But I also want to work more on complimenting character, than something superficial like colors or clothing.  So instead of mentioning the pretty colors she is wearing, maybe ... I should have tried complimenting my secretary for eventually tracking down that package (and not complaining about her unprofessional emails to the sender, using his first name (which struck me as inappropriate), making others in the office do the searching for her, etc.).  I'm not quite there yet.  Sigh.  But I want to work on it for the next 40 days.  Genuine and sincere compliments -- particularly to people I don't compliment enough and particularly about substance rather than appearance. 

As an aside, I must mention that one of my favorite parts of Lent is feeling like the world is on the same vegetarian team as me on Fridays!!!!! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

FMM: Personal Quirks and Habits

We had such an awesome weekend at Mardi Gras in Mobile.  The weather was lovely, alcohol consumption (for us) was under control, food was good, parades were fun, ball was great.  And the flight home yesterday was smooth and easy, and we got back early enough to do a load of laundry and grocery shop.  As always, it seemed there wasn't enough time with my best friend, but it was a great weekend. 

We've got another weird week coming up.  Going to get our taxes done tonight.  Tomorrow night, I'm walking with my co-worker again.  Wednesday night I'm volunteering, and then maybe we're going to an Italian conversation meet-up and getting there late.  Thursday is Valentine's Day, but not sure what we're doing -- maybe just another Italian conversation class.  Friday night, we're going out to dinner with our neighbors.  Saturday morning is a 5k, and then my law school roommate and her husband come into town, so we're having a little reunion lunch with some other people from our class, and then spending the afternoon hanging out, and then going to dinner, and they'll be staying with us.  Can't wait for all of it!  Well, except maybe the taxes tonight... but at least we'll know what the damage is and can plan for it, you know, just in case we have to come up with a lot more money in the next couple months. 

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: 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!
Personal Quirks and Habits

1. Share one unique character trait that sets you apart from your friends.  That's tough.  Most of my good character traits are shared by many of my friends.  And since most of my friends are also lawyers, sadly many of my worst character traits are similarly shared!  I really can't come up with anything -- I'm argumentative, so are many friends; I'm reliable, so are many friends; I'm a planner, so are many friends; I'm analytical, so are many friends; I like doing puzzles, so do some friends.  Not sure what I could say that's really unique from my friends. 

2. List at least two pet peeves that always aggravate you.  Inefficiency and half-heartedness. 

3. Is there a word or phrase that you say so regularly that people expect to hear it from you?  Not really.  I guess it would be saying some foreign word that is very similar to the word in English and saying "that's ___ for ____."  Like saying sensualita, that's Italian for sensuality. 

4. Are you a risk taker, or do you typically play it safe?  Didn't we just have this question?  I guess it depends on the situation, but I guess I generally play it safe. 

5. Describe your life as it was in high school. Are you the same person? Have you changed?  I had a large group of acquaintances and a small group of good friends, mostly from debate.  There was usually some boy on the periphery.  I think I'm the same person in many ways, but of course I've changed too.  I was surprised at my 10 year reunion that some people didn't seem to have changed.  I think I'm much less petty, sensitive, conformist, insecure and confused than I was then.  But at the same time, I'd still be considered studious and smart, "debate" (well, litigation now) is still central in my life, etc. 

6. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done that you’re glad you did?  I backpacked alone in Europe one summer in college after my friend backed out.  One of the best experiences of my life!  I love traveling with my husband and with friends, but few people travel for long periods of time alone, and you get to have so many more interesting experiences that way. 

7. Do you ever talk to yourself? If so, share an example.  Not out loud, but frequently when working out I tell myself to just keep going for a set amount of time or to a landmark ahead.  Somehow it works.  Even though every single time, I pretty much make myself keep going.  Like doing a plank, I'll say 15 more seconds, then I'll do the 15 seconds and say 15 more seconds.  Or while running, I'll say, let's just push to the intersection, I'll get to the intersection, and then I'll aim to push through, and then to the next intersection...

8. Share something you did that unexpectedly helped shape your life.  Studying abroad in college.  I knew it would change my life, but little did I know that more than 5 years later it would change my life again.  It lead me to an Italian group in Dallas, which was where I met my husband. 

9. Do you follow a strict routine, or are you a free spirit? Are you somewhere in between?  I'm  pretty much a routine person for my daily life.  I find myself sticking to a pretty regular schedule.  But on vacation, we hate organized tours and stuff like that, so we much prefer to know about 5 things we want to see somewhere and just do what we want, hopefully integrating those 5 things. 

10. Share something about yourself that you hope will inspire others.  Hmm... since I've shared it before, my first marathon time was over 5 hours, and less than 10 years later, I qualified for Boston. 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Walking to Fitness

For some time now, I've been trying to get my favorite person in accounting at work to go to a 5k and walk it.  She's indicated a desire to do it, and last year even signed up for (and planned to do) my favorite race in Dallas, the 5k on St. Pat's weekend.  But then at the last minute her husband backed out and she didn't want to go alone, so she didn't show up.  I got a sad text from her that morning after the event as I'd left my phone in the car. 

But since it's such a fun race, and she wants to get into better shape anyway, and she wants to do the event in theory, this year, I'm trying again to convince her to sign up for and do the 5k. 

And this year, I've gone a step further.  Last week, I asked her if she'd consider bringing workout clothes to work, and then going down to the gym with me and walking on the treadmill for a little while after work one night (ideally once a week, but I figured we'd start with just once). 

I told her not to overthink it, just to bring her stuff.  What's the worst that could happen?  She hated doing it and wasted 20 minutes of her life?  (She has a heart attack?  I didn't say that since I wouldn't consider it a real risk, plus I do know CPR.)  In reality, she wants to do it, her doctor wants her to do it, she thinks she'd be better about doing it if she had company, her husband and daughter haven't demonstrated that they are reliable walking buddies, and we have a great goal race ahead in 6 weeks. 

The very next day she brought her stuff, but it so happened that we both had plans that night.  I told her a Tuesday or Wednesday night would be best and we made a plan for this week Wednesday night. 

I think she was worried that I'm going to try to make her go too fast or something (she actually said that she watches The Biggest Loser and saw the trainers pushing up the speed on the treadmill), or that I'll be bored or something.  I told her I'd be on the treadmill next to her (if they're all full, I'll do weights or something), and that the walking would be a good warm-up for me before I run home.  All she has to do is 15-20 minutes, any pace she wants.  I love the idea of getting her to run for just the last minute, but I wouldn't want to scare her off.  And I really love the idea of directly helping someone else squeeze in a workout.  Very excited for her. 

So last night was the big first night of walking together after work. 

We just did 20 minutes on treadmills right next to each other and talked the whole time.  We pushed the speed and incline up a bit over the last couple minutes, and we both broke a sweat, but we were walking (no jogging or running).  We stretched afterward and then I ran home.  I'm so proud of her for doing it, and we already agreed to walk again next week.  I hope she's not too sore today, I haven't seen her yet. 

My plan for next week:  5 minutes longer, picking up the pace over the last few minutes again, and less eye contact while chatting so we don't have to hold the rails. 

Just so excited about it. 

And it paid off for me last night -- second fastest run home ever.  I missed a personal record by about 15 seconds, and I know I was stopped at the longest light for at least 15 seconds.  Oh well, those are the breaks.  I'll break the record for real one day, though I'm not on a mission to do that or anything, most days I just note what the time is, but occasionally it feels good to push hard and see what I can do.  But I'm attributing the pace primarily to our walking warm-up.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pacing Oddity

When I first started running, I was definitely of the "I only have one pace" school.  It seemed short runs, long runs, all the time, I'd average around the same pace.  It was more effort on the long runs of course, but even in training, my pace varied little. 

After a few years of practice, I finally got to the point where I could run a 5k at a pace that was inconceivable for me to run a marathon.  And while many of my training runs stayed at about the same pace, regardless of distance, that was the plan -- I was generally training for longer races, and frequently a 7 mile run and a 20 mile run would be at the same "easy" pace, about 60 seconds per mile slower than my planned race pace.  And of course there would be some faster runs on the schedule, and my pace would differ there. 

I think maybe the 4-5 months of training wearing a weight vest might have somehow put me right back where I started.

This morning, I finally got around to updating the old school "race results" spreadsheet that I keep.  The actual entries start on line 3 of the spreadsheet, and when I entered my results from the last few races, I ended up listing this past weekend on line 137 of the spreadsheet.  Wow.  Those are all legit races that had entry fees, bibs, timing devices, the works. 

But then I saw the pacing oddity. 

The last 4 races I've run have all had an average pace with 5 seconds of each other.  And those race distances have varied greatly -- 5k, 10k, 8 mile, 10 mile.  There is absolutely no reason why my 5k time should be within 5 seconds of my 10 mile time.  (Well, I'm setting aside that the 5k was based on donuts, and I ate one donut hole at each of the 5 donut stations, and I ran the race with my bestie.)  (But the point is that I didn't feel like I could have gone much faster.)  Disturbing. 

Particularly disturbing since, as I said, my little 5 second pace window is about 30 seconds slower than my goal marathon pace.  If I can't run the goal pace now for 5k or up to 10 miles, how do I have any hope of doing it in September?  I'm definitely getting nervous.

My official speed training with a coach starts in a few weeks, I guess I just need to give it my best and see what happens.  Thankfully I have more than 6 months to wrap my head around my goal, and hopefully by then I will have the numbers on my race results spreadsheet to convince me that goal is completely within reach. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thanks HRG!

I read on yesterday that it was free fro-yo at Yogurtland.  And there just happens to be a Yogurtland within a 60 second walk of my office.  Seriously, down to the first floor, out of the office building, past 4-5 businesses (a couple restaurants, a Barnes & Noble, a couple specialty shops, a Container Store), and there it was.  And even though our office has been in this location for a couple months now, I'd never actually eaten there. 

Yum.  Free small cup with any and all toppings. 

I got there early and did some sampling, so when it was game time to fill my cup, I knew exactly what I wanted.  I went with three flavors -- birthday cake, strawberry, and cookies and cream.  And for toppings, I went with cookie dough balls, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi and a cherry. 

So yeah, I think I'm giving up sweets for Lent. I haven't done that in many years because I don't usually eat a lot of sweets, but this year it's out of control. First it was finishing off what was in my Christmas gift baskets from counsel. Then it was finishing off what was in others' gift baskets from counsel. Then it was those darn flavored tootsie rolls. I can't keep going like this. Even if the caloric intake isn't significant (and it probably is more significant than I realize), it's a bad habit and I'd rather stop it. This is supposed to be my year to buckle down and get that dream PR in Berlin.

Of course I know there's more to Lent than giving up some vice, so I am going to add an affirmative component (current thoughts are something related to spirituality, daily kind deed toward strangers, reading the Bible (which I like never do on my own as an Episcopalian), complimenting someone substantively (not just on clothing or something superficial) daily, or reaching out to a family member daily to express love and value). But that part probably won't be determined until after we get back from Mardi Gras. Very excited for it this year, we fly to Mobile on Friday morning, bright and early! 

Anyway, thank you very much Hungry Runner Girl for the announcement that there was free fro-yo yesterday.  And thank you new parent company for moving our office into a space bordering a Yogurtland.  And thank you Yogurtland for having so many delicious options.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

FMM: Five Things

These weekends seem to go by more quickly every week....

The big good news from my weekend was a PR!  Finally! 


There's always a "but" when I PR lately, isn't there? 

But ... this weekend's PR was at a weird race distance that I've only raced one other time and that time was Dallas in May (about 2 months after I stopped running with the extra weight).  So not exactly a big accomplishment.  I would sincerely hope I'm faster in early February when I've been running without an extra weight vest for almost a year, than I was running on an insanely hot May day two  months after I took off the vest. 

And the race wasn't great due to a rookie clothing mistake.  It was about 37 degrees when I left the house, so I wore capris and a light long sleeve (and a racing tank over that), plus gloves and an ear band.  Waaaay overdressed.  There was no wind and it was sunny, and the race wasn't starting for another hour plus.  Oops.  I have absolutely no idea why I didn't look at an hourly forecast before I left the house. 

So I pulled the earband down after about half a mile.  By mile 3, I was carrying my gloves.  And then, big score.  My bestie had come out to mile 4.5 to cheer (and bring tissues!  major runny nose at 45 degrees).  So I threw her my gloves.  I was running faster than I should have been, but was running with a friend, so it was going pretty well.  About half a mile after we passed my friend, I started thinking that maybe I could ditch my long sleeves on the way back.  I asked the friend who I was running with if she could help me strip while we kept moving and she said sure.  So I gave her my water bottle, peeled off the tank, then peeled the long sleeves and put the tank back on.  Not a bad deal!  I'm sure we slowed some, but the overall mile time was just fine.  And somehow I managed to stay upright during the five seconds that my sight was fully obstructed by one or more shirts going over my head.  Sincere apologies to anyone who was in sight though, I'm sure it wasn't pretty -- the abs, the struggling with the arm holes, the pasty whiteness...  Oh well.  Much more comfortable without the long sleeves, particularly since I was still running too fast and rapidly losing steam. 

When we hit the u-turn, I realized there was no way of picking up the pace as I'd hoped.  In fact, I slowed down.  Ugh.  Miles 6 and 7 were the slowest of the morning (I passed off my nasty long sleeve shirt and earband to my bestie around mile 6, and grabbed more tissue), but the good news was that the last mile was the fastest of the entire race for me, which I guess counts for something.  While I didn't pace well, at least there was something left in the tank.

But the really bad part -- that "fastest mile of the morning" was actually still about 3 seconds slower than my planned marathon pace.  Yikes.  I have a lot of work to do this year, and I'm not entirely sure I'll succeed...

Other weekend highlights -- volunteering with my bestie for a couple hours, spending a bit of time with hubby starting to plan our fall vacation (looked at guidebooks about Germany), a few other errands. 

Now it's the start of an odd week.  Two evening alumni events (one undergrad, one grad).  One work dinner.  And then one trip to Mardi Gras!  Woo-hoo!  But now, time for Friend Making 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: 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!

Five Things

1. Share five things you hope to do before you die.
- Move to Italy (again) with hubby (last time was solo, and it was temporary, just for studying abroad)
- Have traveled to about half the 198ish countries in the world or more
- Attend an Olympic running event
- Run my super-secret goal marathon time
- Learn the "Dirty Dancing" finale dance and do it in front of people not expecting it. 

2. List five things you love about yourself.
- My consistency and reliability, if I've committed, I'm there
- My interest in the world around me
- My willingness to work hard
- My wrists, the slimmest part of my body, which look nice but are not so good for push-ups
- I can usually see two sides to everything (and unfortunately, will sometimes argue one just for the sake of arguing...)

3. Share the five coolest things that you’ve done in 2013.
- Hosted a dinner party with one "new to our home" guest (one of my resolutions)
- Competed in three races already, varying distances
- Went to Pittsburgh to see my in-laws
- Worked out my arms once so hard that I was almost tearfully sore for more than 72 hours afterward
- Went on what would have been described as my "dream date" if I'd been asked in junior high

4. List five things that you always have in your kitchen.
- the square platter all our guests signed in Italy at our wedding reception
- spices and baking staples
- a microwave
- Moka Italian espresso pots of varying sizes
- way too many glasses -- juice, martini, beer (pints and pilsners), wine (red and white), margarita, hurricane, water, highballs, etc., I'm addicted to glasses, and I like full sets (at least 12) of each. 

5. Share five places you would like to go on vacation.
- Egypt, it's been on the radar screen for a couple years, just doesn't seem safe
- India to see the Taj Mahal (2014 I hope)
- South Africa
- Bhutan
- Fiji

6. List five celebrities/public figures you’d like to meet.
- a sitting US President (thus far, just past presidents and candidates)
- a sitting Supreme Court Justice (I've gone to speeches, but never really chatted with one)
- Paul Tergat (marathoner)
- Mo Farah (runner)
- Alberto Salazar (runner, coach)
Yeah, I'm not really into celebrities or movie stars in the typical sense and have pretty much zero desire to meet any of them.  If you'd asked me three months ago, Meb Keflezighi would have been on this list, but I met him! 

7. List five bands or artists you’d like to see perform live.
- Aerosmith singing "Angel" (I've been to dozens of Aerosmith concerts all over the country, but have never heard my favorite song performed live, they rarely do it, I didn't happen to be at the one show in Connecticut where they've done it in the last decade or so)
- Jovanotti
- Shaggy (and hear him sing "Angel"!) 
- Garth Brooks
- Phish (my college roommate followed them on tour for a couple years, I really wish I'd gone out to meet her for at least one show)
(I assumed this question was basically for artists I haven't seen before.)

8. List five TV shows that you don’t want to miss.
- Dallas
- The Office
- The Bachelor
- The Americans (haven't actually watched it yet, but on the DVR, might like it)
- Southland (new season starts soon I've heard)

9. Share five things you wanted to do as a child.
- eat dessert only for dinner
- beat up my brothers
- go to Europe
- drive a hovercar
- have a little person (smaller than the size of my hand) who was my buddy and would walk around on my desk at school

10. Share five things you hope to do in 2013.
- get a marathon PR by 11 minutes and 30 seconds
- go to Oktoberfest with my husband and friends
- go to Italy and spend a few days hanging out with my husband's family there
- visit a new-to-me country (that will be Liechtenstein I hope!)
- visit my brother in San Fran

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to go back to and link up in the comments! Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Weekend Plans

Okay, so last weekend, I think having a written and public list of what I needed to do actually helped me to be more productive.  It's not like I got it all done, but I actually looked at the list a few times and thought I didn't want to report that I hadn't done anything.  That's a major improvement from pretty much all other weekends lately. 

So in the spirit of productivity, I'm going to try it again this weekend.  Again, I have a fair amount of free time, so I really should get some of this stuff done.

CLE (continuing legal education) all day
Dinner with friends

Volunteer from 2-4

10 mile race in morning
Maybe yoga in the afternoon if I feel like it.
Maybe cook dinner from a recipe

Must do at some point:
Choose a hotel or apartment for Berlin in Sept. (since we'll be there for the marathon, things will be filling up fast)
Choose a hotel for Munich in Sept/Oct (Oktoberfest, so limited availability I'm sure)
Choose recipe for next week's night o' cooking (and make grocery list)
Stupid work stuff -- watch the HIPAA video, clear out admin emails
Get organized -- pack lunches for next week, assemble outfits to take in on Monday
Tackle homeowner's board emails and cast any necessary votes
Christmas cards. Yes, we have five left to write and send overseas. We can just claim the Italian post was slow, but I need to double checkup drafts and spelling before writing them out. Ugh. Must finish this.
Donate stuff in garage (was waiting for 2013 as we'd already maxed out our 2012 deductions).

Notice that a few things rolled off the list this week.  I pulled together all our tax stuff, got my office phone speeddials set (turned out it wasn't my stupidity, as the IT guy couldn't do it either, and somehow it had to be programmed at corprorate), I started the wellness questionnaire for work for our health insurance program, and I decided what I'm wearing to Mardi Gras.  Not bad, considering all those things had been on my "to do" list for a while. 

Next week is going to be weird.  I have an alumni happy hour on Monday, and a work dinner on Tuesday (so I might not get to run my commute that day, unless I can talk my boss or a coworker into taking me home after dinner), an (undergrad) alumni event on Thursday night, then on Friday we're flying to Mobile for Mardi Gras, flying home on Sunday.