Monday, September 26, 2011

Slow success

I would call Sunday's 18 mile run a success, though it was slow -- as it turns out, not as slow as I thought, but my group is speedy, so I was far behind. 

I ran out 9 with my group and felt good, but my calf was a little tight -- but not painful yet.  So at the u-turn, I slowed down a bit.  My group slipped ahead, but not so far they were ever out of sight.  I'd catch up to them at each water stop (every 2 miles), grab a quick drink, and head out with them and again have them slip away.  But I was looking at my paces, and I was only about 15 secs/mile slower than we're supposed to be running.  But they're running about 15 secs/mile faster than we're supposed to be running, so that widens the gap. 

But I'll take it.  I feel like I'd have no hope of doing the race if I didn't run an 18 miler.  Ideally, I'll have at least one 20 (next week) and one 22 (later), but if things get worse with my calf and I have to take time off or something, at least with an 18 I feel like I could do the race -- though obviously it wouldn't be pretty.  At this point, I kind of doubt it will be pretty anyway.  I'm still at the point where speed is painful. 

I jogged a bit at boot camp this morning -- nothing fast, and less than half a mile total, but it's a start.  I think now that I'm completely pain-free when running at my easy pace, I can probably start adding some more miles. 

I'll slowly build that up, and hopefully in a couple weeks the soleus will be patched up enough that I can start picking up the pace.

Anyway, I'm calling a completed 18 a success.  Add in the fact that I finally got my brake fluid level checked, went to the Greek Festival, wrote some belated thank-you notes, and did some party planning for next weekend, plus laundry!, I would have to say the whole weekend was a success! 

Feels like things are so busy lately, and I have the feeling it's not going to ease up as the holidays start getting closer and closer.  I need to start shopping!  The next 2 weekends hopefully I can make some progress on nieces and nephew and maybe even a sibling or two and take those home in a few weeks when we go for my brother's wedding. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Family Growing Again!

Crazy!  Well, not too crazy, but exciting.  One of my remaining single older brothers just got engaged!  My family is growing by leaps and bounds these days.  I got a new sister-in-law when my baby brother got married in July.  I'm getting another new sister-in-law when another younger brother gets married in a few weeks.  And now there will be another wedding to anticipate!  That only leaves one unmarried sibling -- my next oldest brother.  As far as I can tell, he's not even close to settling down and pulling the trigger.  I could see him being a one-woman-man at some point, but not sure he'd feel a need to make it legal, and not sure when he'll find that one woman -- he may be having too much fun looking.

Anyway, this brother was planning to get engaged months ago on a trip overseas to see her family in Germany.  But then his job got in the way, and he wasn't able to make the trip with her, so her sister went along instead.  But he already had the ring and was just waiting for the right time and place. 

They are on vacation right now in Sanibel Island, and that was the right time and place it turns out!  Woo-hoo! 

An interesting/odd thing is that my bro is older than me and she is younger than me -- they have a gap of over 10 years, just like my husband and I do.  And my next youngest brother married someone older than me -- their age gap is more like 4 or 5 years, but it's still funny that they overlapped like that.  On paper, someone would guess the older sister-in-law would be married to one of my older siblings, and the younger to a younger. 

Of all the recent family additions, this one I know least of all but seems absolutely wonderful. 

Let's see if I can paste a few photos of them:

So I was just pulling those off facebook, and in looking for a few pics to grab to share, what strikes me in looking at them is how happy my bro looks.  Who could want anything more for her family?  I love seeing my brothers happy and choosing wonderful women with which to spend their lives. 

In my family, it's tradition for the guys to do a big grouse hunt in November, and the last several years all the women have met somewhere for a spa/shopping weekend.  Hubby and I haven't ever joined in, mostly b/c we haven't had the spare vacation time, but also since so much travel would be involved for us (and we fly up there in Dec anyway), and hubby doesn't hunt (though he does love shooting, just wouldn't kill an animal).  But one of these years we'll both join them.  If the grouse hunt this year wasn't the same weekend as the San Antonio marathon, maybe this would have been the year.  But by the time the dates were set, my marathon was already on the books, so maybe next year.  But seeing a picture like this one from last year's girls non-hunt weekend makes me want to go.  I don't know the person whose face is partially obstructed, but the two full faces on the left side are my sisters-in-law now, the third one will be next month, and the one on the end will be as soon as they set a date! 

Love my family and happy to see that it will grow again.  I started this year with 2 sisters-in-law and by the time all this year's weddings and engagements are done, I'll have 5! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One Item on the Breakfast Menu...

Hills!  First day of hill repeats on our marathon schedule.  We had a day of rolling hills a couple weeks ago, but I was out of town for bachelorette party fun (still need to post about that!), so I'd missed the hills.  This morning our schedule was 7 miles including 6 repeats.  We ended up a little short on the distance, around 6.5 miles, but it was great.

We ran the 2 mile warm-up, which included running down our big repeat hill.  Then we took a water break and started our repeats. 

Starting elevation, 466 feet, ending elevation after about.25 miles, 535 feet.  So if this hill stayed steady and went for a mile, it would be like climbing 280 feet in a single mile.  That would be a solid hill, but of course we don't have that here, we have to run down after ever 70 feet. 

We went up that 6 times, and down it 6 times.  Then surprise, we had to run our 2 mile cool-down, which meant back up that hill again! 

I was way behind my group on the repeats b/c I tried to keep my pace very easy and didn't worry about whether or not I crested the hill, but no calf pain again.

So in the last week, the only pain I've had was when I attempted to step up to marathon pace.  Hopefully a couple more weeks of staying at a pretty easy effort will get rid of the remaining inflammation in my soleus and I'll be back to kick some butt in October, and then take names in November! 

Hills for breakfast, followed by a double veggie sausage patty with cheese English muffin and a spinach-peach-cherry smoothie!  Yum!  Good start to the day! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

FMM: Creating Change

Instead of the usual questions, this week's Friend-Making Monday is about helping others.

Here's the blurb: 
To my wonderful friends and lovely FMM regulars, I’m asking that you write a quick post today about your plans to donate food to a local food bank or church or charitable organization in your area during the month of September. (You can even copy this paragraph for your own post if you want to.) Maybe you plan to donate 10 cans of beans or 5 packs of spaghetti or one jar of peanut butter. Or maybe you’ll make a cash donation or volunteer. You don’t have to get fancy or expensive. Just give as much as you can, and be proud of yourself for making a difference. Then, like usual, post a link here about your plans to donate for change. And if someone leaves a comment on your blog about their plans to donate food or money to the hungry, leave another comment here at letting me know. And when you’ve gathered your donation, you can e-mail a photo of yourself and your goods so you can be featured on my blog.
My Plan:  The idea behind this is donating as many pounds as you have lost in the year in food.  Well, that won't work for me as I haven't dropped any pounds this year (and have actually gained a few), though I'd really like that to change before year-end.  Anyway, my usual donations are money to church and various charities, and then I usually try to donate clothing at least 1-2 times per year.  I rarely donate food because we use the "dual-pot" finance system in our marriage -- we each have our own accounts and split up bills.  I have very little fear that we'll ever get divorced, but I feel like I've seen so many friends go through it, I both like the idea of removing money from a potential source of disagreement as much as possible, and to know it would be one thing we wouldn't have to worry about too much if we ever split up.  And the way it works right now is that I pay the mortgage, he buys the groceries.  And interestingly, we try to also split up household tasks (did I say we?  I meant I).  Anyway, he gets household labor credit hours (though I'd never call them that) for his hours of grocery shopping.  So donating food either means he pays for it so it's really him donating -- or I need to drag my butt to a grocery store, one of my least favorite places now (sooo crowded last time I went). 

My goal will be to send money to North Texas Food Bank or donate groceries by next week Monday -- that will give me the weekend to work up to the chaos of the grocery store.  Or take the easier way out in my mind of giving money, though I'm sure food banks are quite happy with either. 

Such a cool idea, and I especially like that we're thinking about food donation now in September, instead of November and December when I think it's more common.  Fun plan! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Solid Weekend!

I might have found the secret as to what ails my soleus! 

Saturday morning I got up after a poor night's sleep and headed out to the 10k race.  I saw a bunch of friends at the beginning, most of whom were running the 20k, which started half an hour before my race.  There's one woman, Joyce, whose husband runs as well.  As we chatted before the race, I asked her husband what pace he was going to run -- and he said nice and easy, he had a long run the next day.  As his planned pace was about 3-4 minutes per mile slower than my 10k race pace, a seed was planted in my mind...

The 20kers took off, and I hung around chatting with other friends waiting for the 10k.  Then it was time to line up.  A couple friends took off for the very front of the race, hoping to win cash-money awards based on gun time.  Other friends lined up around my race pace.  And I realized that was a bad idea for me.

I'd accepted that a 10k PR was unlikely.  While I should be able to go a few minutes faster on my overall 10k time than my current PR, it was a warm and humid morning.  While that alone wouldn't usually be enough to stop me from trying, the pain in my leg was enough to make me realize that trying to run fast would mean more pain in my leg and rule out a 10k PR.

So I thought, if I'm not going to PR, what do I have to gain from running the race at anything other than a leisurely pace?  And better yet, what would be more fun -- running as fast as felt comfortable, or running at an easy pace with a friend?

So I headed back, back, back and found my friend's husband where he'd lined up and I jumped into the start corral by him.  He pulled out his earphones and we started chatting, and then the race was underway. 

I was watching our pace and we were going much faster than he'd said he wanted to go, but it was still a pace that felt good to me.  The race went on, and it still felt good.  I think he was getting a bit tired.  We'd separate a bit at water stops since I generally keep running while drinking now.  But after each stop, I'd move out very slowly until we were together again.  After the second and final water stop, he said something like I hadn't needed to wait for him, and I told him that he was keeping me on track and making the race a lot more fun than it would have been solo. 

The miles just ticked by fairly effortlessly.  It was definitely warm, and my heart rate was high on the two hills on the course, but it was nice.  We didn't talk the whole time, but we chatted enough.

Around the time we hit mile marker 6, he started to kick and I did too.  He really picked up the pace -- we were going around my 10k race pace for the last .2.  I didn't feel the twinge in my calf, but I'm sure a few more minutes of that would have resulted in pain.  It felt tough, running at that pace in that weather, but it felt good.  We finished so strong and he was thrilled with his performance, and I was thrilled to have gotten to have a pain-free run with someone I now know much better! 

The rest of the day Saturday was kind of a wash.  When I got home from the race, I didn't feel great.  There was too much fun food to eat after the race.  Beer, cheese pizza, a mini-cupcake, 4 cookies, and a cookie-ice-cream sandwich was not a good combo.  I felt woozy and spent a few hours lounging around the house.

But by 3:00, I was showered and gearing up for Oktoberfest that night.  One of my favorite nights of the year!  I went to my neighbor's house to have her braid my hair, and then went home and put on my costume -- a dirndl that looked kind of slutty when I was wearing it sadly.  I had hoped that since I'm not very tall, the skirt would have come down longer, and I was practicually busting the seams of the top.  But the costume made for a fun atmosphere, and hubby and I headed out. 

We had such a great night.  I didn't really drink a ton -- maybe 2 or 3 beers.  And I didn't eat much -- Oktoberfest is not good for vegetarians! -- I had a couple pretzels and an order of potato pancakes.  One of my running friends had ordered a dirndl with me, so I had costumed company and it was so much fun.  Lots of random people asked to take their pictures with me.  Too funny! 

We didn't stay late (hubby is not a huge Oktoberfest fan, though this year might have changed all that).  But were there long enough to see a lot of our friends, I got to dance the Chicken Dance, we drank and hung out, and I would call it a completely wonderful night! 

Sunday morning wasn't too painful since we hadn't stayed out until all hours, but the pain-free 10k was fresh in my mind as I headed out to meet up with my running buddies.

I run with one of the really big running programs in Dallas, so there are about 10 different pace groups all going the same distance as me each week (plus about 10 different groups going the set distance for an earlier race, and about 10 different groups going the set distance for half-marathons).  That meant that if I wanted to do my long run around the 10k pace I'd run on Saturday, I could do it and have company.

I talked to my group and found out there were was someone else to lead the group, so I dropped back TWO full groups.  Normally if you want to slow down for a long run, you move back one group (30 seconds slower per mile).  But my 10k pace that was more than 2 mins/mile slower than my 10k pace, and 1 min/mile slower than my long run pace had felt sooooo good, I wanted to do it again.

My decision met with success!  The group 2 groups back was bigger than my group and so much fun.  We ended up at almost the exact right pace, I talked to tons of new people (lots of rookies, so tons of fun hearing their running stories), and best of all, not even a twinge of calf pain.

So this morning at boot camp, the group was sent out for a long-ish run (long for boot camp, close to 2 miles).  I was so tempted to go with them.  I knew I could run about a min/mile slower than my long run pace and I'd feel okay.  But the smarter part of me decided not to push the envelope.  2 days of pain-free slow running does not mean I should go back to 6-7 days a week of running at any pace. 

The plan is to stick to my reduced miles schedule this week (Sun, Tue, Thurs) and see how it goes with yesterday's run being slow, and trying to run at my normal long run pace Tue and Thurs.  If all goes well, I will try to run at my normal pace this weekend, and may add another day of running or two next week. 

Oh, I hope this is the light at the end of the tunnel!  This weekend marked 22 slow but pain-free miles!  Can't remember the last time that happened! 

Planning to do the Friend-Making Monday post tomorrow -- had to share the soleus news instead!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gym Clothes

I think I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but on the Friday before Labor Day, I've started working from home on Fridays.  Last week was a little chaotic b/c I was out of town for my future sister-in-law's bachelorette party, but since they were out of the room all day Friday, I managed to get a full day in anyway.  Today I've been at home, it's now 3:22 and I'll keep checking my email for a couple hours, as well as watching my phone log, but I'm already done for the day.

The cool thing is -- I started working basically less than 45 minutes after I got home from boot camp this morning.  No shower, no getting dressed, no packing lunch, no eating breakfast while watching the news and reading blogs.  Instead I came home, made breakfast and turned on the computer to get to work. 

Hubby is off on Fridays, so he sat in the other part of the living room doing some Italian lessons, and I sat here quietly working.  I got a few bonus kisses on my head and occasionally we'd say something to each other, but for the most part, it was a quiet and productive day.  I made lunch but worked as I ate, and I already have everything done!  I love it! 

At my two law firm jobs, I would bring work home frequently with no success.  It was usually stuff I wanted to get done at night or on the weekend, and sometimes my briefcase wouldn't even make it from the car into the house.  It just never worked.  I think in 10 years of practice, I maybe billed 10 non-phone call hours from home.  I would just get distracted or was too burnt out to try. 

It's very different to be home on a weekday and not going into the office.  I'm surprised at how well it's working.  I was worried I'd be doing laundry, or like the Friday before Labor Day, get consumed with a million things at home that needed to be done (that week, we were having a dinner party on Friday night -- chaos).  Today I basically got up from my work station once to brush my teeth after I finally said it was my last cup of espresso, a couple times related to food -- one snack, making lunch, putting dishes in sink, once to unload the dishwasher with hubby, and then a few trips for water or the restroom.  Insanely efficient! 

Today I would consider a complete success!  There was one thing I probably would have gone to the VP's office to discuss if I'd been in the office, but it's not urgent and could have been done by phone, but instead, I'll just wait until Monday to do it.  And I have a small email folder of things that have to be printed for the files on Monday, but that will just take a few minutes.  Score! 

I love that we can sit down and watch a movie now.  Ah, 3:30 Fridays, I was worried you were a thing of the past! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why I Can Run 16 Miles but I Can’t Race a 5k

So I’ve opted the run the 10k race this weekend, instead of the 5k (or the 20k). I’d posted before about how there are two awesome races in Dallas on Saturday – a 5k associated with an Oktoberfest celebration, and a 10 or 20k associated with the Arboretum. And I was completely torn as to which to do.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to set a new 5k PR this year. Last year I set a PR at this very same Oktoberfest 5k. I was thrilled. And then I was a bit devastated to realized I’d missed by only one second the tie for a PR with one of my younger brothers. And if I’d gone 2 seconds faster over the 3.1 miles, I could have beaten him. So this year, I really wanted to do it.

But I’ve come to accept that it won’t be this weekend at that same Oktoberfest 5k. I just can’t do it right now. Even though I easily ran 7 miles this morning and plan to run 16 on Sunday. I just can’t race 3.1 miles.

For me to PR in a 5k, I have to run 100% effort for all 3.1 miles. I’ve done a few weeks of reduced mileage lately in hopes of easing this pain that I’ve had in my soleus. It’s working. My soleus is no longer tender to the touch. It hurts a bit while I run and afterward, but it usually feels fine within 6 hours of running. Major progress from a month ago when it still hurt 48 hours after running. But because my doc recommended cutting back and not doing hills or speed, I’ve been taking it easy and following orders. Not exactly a recipe for a 5k PR. My legs aren’t in shape to run 100% for 5k.

And to make matters worse, my @ss (and the rest of my body) isn’t in shape either. Trying to heal more quickly, I’ve been taking it easy at boot camp lately, doing more weights than cardio. Now I love weights, but I know cardio is key for speed – and for me, for attempting to maintain my weight (for me, weight loss can come from diet changes, weight maintenance can be achieved generally by maintaining my cardio levels).

Well, without any cardio, and with all kinds of bad eats and drinks lately (bachelorette party this past weekend with wayyyyy too much alcohol, a large bag of Garrett’s caramel corn that made it back from Chicago with me and has since disappeared, etc.), the pounds are really creeping on. To the point where my clothes are uncomfortably tight. I’m trying not to sweat that too much. When my calf is healed, I expect to step things back up and hopefully at least get back to where I was in January.

But the bottom line is that there is ZERO chance of a roly poly Carina beating last year’s race-ready rock-solid Carina. Not even by a mere 1-2 seconds.

All that stuff you hear about not being able to build speed and distance at the same time is true. It was just a freak that I hit the 5k PR last year only a few weeks before my marathon. My speed work was peaking at the right time, and my old 5k standard had at least some wiggle-room.

So I’m doing the 10k on Saturday, and I’m either running it at marathon goal pace or at an easy pace. My 10k PR has lots of room for improvement, but I don’t think my body or my legs are ready to step it up right now, and I don’t want to jeopardize my calf healing. So instead I’ll hopefully run the race for fun and know that I’ll get the 10k PR eventually. And that hopefully the 5k PR will come in another month or so. I bet I could find a good one in October or December.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A New Record!

Finally!  We broke an all-time heat record yesterday!  Most number of 100 degree days in a year!  We finally beat 1980 yesterday when we had our 70th day at 100 or higher in 2011.  And maybe we'll hit day number 71 today.  But then it's supposed to cool down. 

I'm happy to have the all-time record to prove that this summer really has been warm.  And incidentally, yesterday was an all-time high for the day.  Now all those long-time Dallas residents who talk about how bad the summer of 1980 was can just suck it.  This summer is worse.  Or hopefully WAS worse.  Hopefully now that we have the record, things will get back to normal. 

Maybe this is why my heart-rate has been so high lately while I've been running.  That sounds like a better explanation than the fact that I've been completely slacking off at boot camp, trying to let my calf heal, and I think the bachelorette party food and drink has added some extra pounds, again, making my heart have to work harder to pump the blood.  It's just all-around brutal for me lately.  Feeling out of shape, and the heat the doesn't help at all. 

Two months to race day now, so hopefully plenty of time to get healed up and then kick some butt.

BTW, I'm doing the 10k big race this weekend instead of the smaller 5k.  I realized there was no chance for a 5k PR, so I might as well do a longer easy run.  Because there's also no shot at a 10k PR, though for me, my 10k time has a lot more room for improvement than my 5k time does. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Boston 2012 or Not?

This is the big week for people who are planning to run the Boston Marathon in 2012. And I have 99% decided I’m not one of them.

Crazy things have happened with Boston’s registration over the years. I posted about my chaotic experience registering last year – thankfully I stuck with it, clicking “submit payment” to the tune of $139 about 30 times before I finally got a confirmation – I had no idea the marathon would fill up in 8 hours.

So we all knew changes were coming. Too many people were qualifying and registering to run Boston, and the streets and organizers can only accommodate so many people. The changes were announced earlier this year and it was big news among my running friends.

Bottom line, yesterday was the first day to “apply” to register if you’ve qualified by 20 minutes or more. Then there will be later waves for those who met their time with a margin of 10 or more minutes, then 5 or more minutes, then all who qualified by less than 5 minutes. No one can say for sure when it will fill up, but most are betting that some people who have qualified by less than 10 minutes but more than 5 will make it in.

By way of background, when you’re trying to qualify, you talk about getting your BQ (Boston qualifying time), then after that you want to get your Re-Q (requalifying time, used to be the same as your prior time unless you aged into an older bracket), but for 2013, the times are being moved to 5 minutes faster, so to get a re-Q, you’ll have to meet your new time.

I got my “re-Q” but I didn't qualify by enough to apply to register with those who have the 20 minute cushion, but I can still apply eventually. But I don’t think I’m going to. I loved the Boston Marathon, I’d probably put it as one of my favorites of all time. Why not run in 2012?

(1) I don’t love travelling for races that I’ve already run.

(2) I feel like I shouldn’t take a second turn at the race, knowing others were shut-out and haven’t gotten their first chance yet.

(3) I think I want to run the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon next spring, and if I run that weighted, it wouldn’t help me PR in Boston.

(4) Boston is always right by our wedding anniversary, and I was fine with (should I say hubby was fine with?) travelling for it once, and I’m sure I’ll do it again, but I don’t want that race to become an anniversary tradition; I’d rather host our traditional rehearsal dinner recreated menu dinner party, and then celebrate our anniversary together.

(5) As is the case with all my trips lately, just not enough vacation time – we want to go to China next fall for a long vacation instead of Europe (we’re trying to just hit Italy every other year), and if I added some days (at least 2 probably since the race is Monday and I’d travel home Tuesday), it would take away from the time we could spend in China.

(6) One of my best friends has been trying to qualify and she hasn’t quite made it yet, so I’d rather wait to repeat Boston until I can go with her.

But on the other hand, it IS one of my favorite marathons ever, the jackets last year were crappy so it would be nice to get a good one in 2012 (assuming they’ve fixed them), even if my good friend isn’t running it, I’ll have lots of friends who do and it would be fun to run with them, and my Bataan training would hopefully leave me able to run Boston, if not PR.

But no, I’m really thinking no. I need to put all those pro-Boston arguments out of my head. Or let them in my head and apply to register when it’s my turn, because if I don’t decide, it will be decided for me, since the race will certainly sell out again.

So I’m not registering. Not registering. Not registering. Right? Right….

Monday, September 12, 2011

FMM: All About Me

Back in Dallas after a crazy but fun-filled bachelorette party weekend, followed by some time with my family.  No energy to recap yet, but thought I'd do FMM again instead! 

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!

FMM: All About Me

1. What are your talents? Our boot camp instructor one time made the mistake of posing this question to us (what's your superpower) -- and cracked up at my response.  I said proofreading (though I'm sure this blog is not a good example of that).  I'm a talented proofreader. 

2. What is your best habit? I'm very reliable.  When I make plans, I don't ever flake out (if I were in the mood, I'd link to my post about New Year's Eve from this past year, when I'd agreed to run 9 miles that morning with a group of friends and I had a horrible cold, but I didn't want to flake, so I went anyway). 

3. If you had to be stuck with someone in an elevator for 8 hours, who would you want it to be?  I'm assuming family isn't an option on this, b/c I'd be happy with any of them over the age of 10 for 8 hours.  Especially my new sister-in-law and sister-in-law-to-be, because it would be fun to get to know them better.  So assuming the question is looking for a celebrity, I'd go with any Supreme Court Justice.  Or elite runner, especially a marathoner.  Or Will Ferrell, because he'd make me laugh I bet, unless he's an uptight tool in real life and just funny in movies.  But I'd guess he's frequently funny in real life too. 

4. Share one odd fact about you that we’d never know to ask.  When I learned a bit too much about dust mites, I used to wash my sheets every day so there wouldn't be as many dead skin cells for them to feed on and hopefully the population would die off. 

5. What’s your latest project (work, home, whatever you care to share)?  2.5 years after getting married, I'm working on completing a wedding scrapbook that we got as a gift.  It's a lot of work!  I'm not a big scrapbooker, but I love photo albums and journals, so this will be a neat combination of the two when it's done I hope. 

6. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?  Where to begin?  There are a lot of things I'd like to change about my physical shape, especially my mid-section.  That would be my top option.  Behind that, probably my behind.  In terms of face, I think there's too much skin around my eyelids, so it would be nice to get rid of that.  I have a very good friend a bit older than me who hasn't ever gotten married (though now I'm wondering if that may change) and she always used to say that she was going to do a plastic surgery registry when she turned 50. 

7. What do you do in your spare time?  What's spare time?  I guess I can't say running, since that's not really spare time, it's more like something on my schedule.  Evenings or weekend days with no plans, I like to do projects (like the scrapbook), cooking and baking, watching tv, reading, napping!, reading blogs, planning the next vacation, calling friends who don't live nearby.  Nothing too crazy or interesting...

8. What is your biggest pet peeve? Possibly peoople who flake out on plans, which is probably why I try to be so reliable, see above.  We don't like to have plans every night, but there are a certain number of nights when I want to do something.  Especially on one of the Friday nights when we both are able to sleep in the next morning.  We sometimes plan on doing something just the two of us, but if we want to go out w/ other people, we make plans with them, and then if they flake (when we have rejected other options in the interim), it irritates the crap out of me.  A friend of my husband's invited us over for Thanksgiving a few years ago, a very big deal since we don't have family here, so we need to make our own plan.  I love eating my fave foods, and hosting people at our house for Thanskgiving, but he wanted to see his friend so I agreed.  Then THE DAY BEFORE, they told us they'd changed their plans and were going to spend the day with some other friends so that their kids would have kids to play with.  Leaving us with no groceries or meal plan yet to make our own meal, no reservations, and no plans.  I try hard not to hold grudges, especially since my husband loves this guy and I know things happen, but it's something I still think about (though actually it wasn't in my head until I'd already written this was my biggest pet peeve and I decided to try to think of an example). 

9. Why do you blog?  I like having the chronicle, sharing a bit of my life with others, and especially getting insight and comments from others. 

10. Are you tidy or messy?  Probably somewhere in between.  I like things put away, but I don't worry too much if the furniture is dusted.  I'm probably messy by nature (my mom would swear this is true), but I try hard to fight it.  I like things put away. 

11. What’s the last song that played on your iPod?  Livin' on a Prayer.  My niece knew all about iphones and wanted to play with mine a lot while I was visiting.  She's only about 5 years old but she was asking me if she could download some songs and when I said no, was just playing selections off the music that's on there. 

12. Do you cook? If so, what’s for dinner tonight?  I love to cook but since my flight landed around 11 last night, and it took me another hour plus to find my car, drive home, and get to sleep, there won't be any cooking tonight.  Our default choices -- ready-made Indian food and brown rice we just heat up, monster salads, veggie burgers, pasta and jarred sauce, or Chipotle (right across the street).  Given all the indulgences this past weekend and the extra pounds showing up on the scale, assuming the fridge is fairly well stocked, my choice will be monster salad tonight. 

13. Do you like sports? If so, list your teams. No, I pretty much hate professional sports.  I think it's my husband's view rubbing off on me.  He hates so much that people get so worked up -- and often get into fights -- over some pro teams that have nothing to do w/ real life.  My bro played professional baseball for a while, and I would absolutely love a sports team if I had a family member on it, but I just can't see wasting that many hours of my life watching others "do" as I sit on the couch.  I'd rather "do."  I like watching running -- Olympics, televised meets, etc., but it's rare that I do that. 

14. How often do you read and/or watch the news?  Today Show most mornings, and that's about it.  I've posted before about how poorly at least some of their facts are checked before it's reported, so this is probably a big disservice to me.  Occasionally at night we'll watch RAI 24 (which is all news, in Italian, very different, and sometimes notably VERY gory), or BBC News.  But I don't usually pay full attention. 

15. Did you stick to your new Year’s resolution this year? If so, elaborate. I just posted about this in the last few weeks (I think the tag "resolutions" should pull it up).  I haven't stuck to most of them, but I've accomplished a couple and a few others are in progress. 

16. What are you looking forward to most in the remainder of 2011? I'd say my brother's wedding in October in Milwaukee.  But this coming weekend will be awesome, marathon weekend will be a lot of fun, Thanksgiving is always great, and of course I love Christmas! 

17. Shoes, sunglasses or handbags?  Hmm, I guess handbags.  Definitely not sunglasses.  I'm a cheap sunglasses person b/c I have a long and storied past including dozens of lost pairs. 

18. How do you feel about sleeping on satin sheets?  I think of satin sheets as very 90s and pretty tacky.  I remember sleeping on them, but I don't think I ever especially liked them.  I'll stick with plain cotton.  But as I posted above, I used to be kind of a freak about my bedding, so for the most part, we only have really good sheets.  Worth the money, but very expensive...

19. Do you sing in the shower?  Nope.  Not very musical. 

20. Describe yourself in one word. Right now the word might be Tired, but overall I'd go with Content or Happy. 

Okay, going to hit post and share my link.  Hopefully I'll have time at lunch today to read some others' posts on the same subject.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


We've had a really hot summer in Dallas.  We ended up 1-2 days short of the all-time record for most consecutive days at 100 or higher, and we ended up 1 day short of the all-time record for most days at 100 or higher (non-consecutive).  Either way, it's been hot.

So when I got my plane tickets to Chicago a few weeks ago, I imagined sweet relief from the heat.  And then of course the heat broke this past weekend.  The days here lately have been mid to upper 80s, which is absolutely perfect in my book, and it might get back to the upper 90s they're saying next week. 

Now flying to Chicago doesn't seem like the big break that I thought it would.  I'd been a little worried that I'd feel compelled to run a lot while I'm there just to take advantage of the cooler temps.

With 3 very mild mornings of running here in Dallas now, I'm not as psyched up for that, and I'm considering not running at all and seeing if some time off will help my calf feel better. 

I'm going to work from my brother's place during the day Thurs, and then from the resort on Friday, and there will be more bachelorette fun several nights, followed by some family time with my nieces and nephew on Sunday! 

While I'm not quite as excited about escaping the heat as I thought I'd be, I'm insanely psyched for a fun weekend with the girls, a few meals with my bros, and some time with the kids in the family. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

FMM: More Favorite Things

I was nearly computer-free all weekend.  Nothing particularly exciting to report.  We had a dinner party on Friday -- somehow I managed to get all my work done and have everything ready on time.  Hubby and I both drank too much, so we didn't run on Saturday and essentially laid around all day.  Sunday I had a 16-miler on the schedule, and it was solid until about mile 12, then my calf tightened up a lot and would not loosen, so I told my buds to go on without me and I slowed significantly to finish up the last 4 miles.  Then I really did a whole lot of nothing for the rest of the day and all day Monday.  I guess my big accomplishment is making some progress on a wedding scrapbook I'm trying to finish.  You know, just a couple years after we got married...

Anyway, being offline most of the weekend made me complete forget about the Friend-Making Monday posts until I saw it on Bella's blog this morning (and I thought I'd post while I ice my calf). 

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 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!

FMM: Favorite Things

1) What is your favorite food?  Tough call -- green grapes or green peas.  Or cheesecake or olives.  But I definitely think absolute favorite food is probably good green grapes.  I eat way more than I probably should.  I like that they're so moist that it almost seems like you're drinking when you eat them. 

2) What is your favorite childhood memory?   I have no idea how I'd go about picking one.  It probably involves guys in drag.  Either getting to put barrettes and/or make-up onto my dad and/or my little brothers.  And with my baby brother, I even got to put him in dresses sometimes when he was about 2 or 3 and put him in my doll cradle.  Oddly enough, they all seem unscarred by it.  But I used to love essentially pretending I had a little sister.  Why didn't I mess with my mom's hair instead?  I have no idea....  It was just so funny to see these little mini pigtails I'd put all over my dad's head...

3) What is your favorite way to burn calories?  I guess I'd say running, though I think of that more as training, rather than burning calories, so maybe a better answer is boot camp.  That I do mostly for the calorie-burning.  I'm about to start heated yoga for a month next week -- wonder how that will compare for me.  When I've done it before, I've really enjoyed it, but I don't wear a heart-rate monitor when I've gone, so I don't know how many calories I burn. 

4) What is your favorite mode of technological communication? Phone? Text? E-mail? Tweets?  I guess I'd say email.  I'm not a big texter, and I don't read or write tweets.  I like the phone but I've noticed lately that I like email more in some ways -- especially for work.  Someone can answer my question at his or her convenience, rather than the immediate drop-everything of a phone call.  And I like having things in writing.  In terms of personal communication, I guess I'd say phone. 

5) Who is your favorite actor/actress?  Tough call.  I used to always say Tom Cruise not because I particularly liked him or his acting, but because he chose good movies to make.  Not sure what this says about me, but I'm tempted to now say Will Ferrell.  He seriously cracks me up.  We just watched The Other Guys, and I was seriously laughing so much.  And Elf completely kills me it's so funny. 

6) What is your favorite lip color?  I've been stuck on the same basic color for years.  Mary Kay brand(which seems to be my favorite brand, including when compared to many higher end ones, it just stays better for me), color kind of like a sienna or amber or toffee.

7) Who is your favorite historical figure? Very hard to say!  Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna Romanova of Russia probably.  I've read a lot about her and her impact on the events of the day.  But I love history so much, it's tough to choose one.  I love WWII stuff, but it's too hard to pick a single person. 

8) Who is your favorite athlete?  Haile Gebrselassie probably -- a runner with an amazing story, I think he still holds the official world record for the marathon.  I like American athletes of course, but somehow it's almost more inspiring for me to read about foreign, particularly African, athletes -- the stories are harder to find but incredibly inspirational when you manage to find someone's back story, what they do with their winnings, etc.  I get that every elite runner struggles to be great, it's just that their struggle seems so much bigger. 

9) What is your favorite TV network?  TLC probably...  I like a bunch of random shows there, and even a lot of the ones I don't like just kind of suck me in.  If History or History International had decent real history programming, that would be my fave, but they both show all kinds of weird shows way too often.  I like Lifetime movies a lot, but it seems to show mostly crappy sitcoms... And Travel channel doesn't show much travel.  So many networks I could potentially like more, but they're not as advertised. 

10) What is your favorite site on the web?  Facebook, followed by Westlaw.  Haha.  Love reading blogs too of course. 

There you have it.  Maybe I'll have new friends on a Tuesday...

Friday, September 2, 2011

To Do Today

Unload dishwasher
Load dishwasher with all the stuff piled in the sink
Pay bills online
Order a costume for Oktoberfest online
Decide what appetizer to make for tonight
Find a recipe for eggplant for tonight
Make a grocery list for hubby
Help hubby unload groceries
Make list of final cleaning projects to be done by 6:00
Ask hubby to do the cleaning projects
Put the leaf in the table
Set the table
Make appetizers
Make dinner
Prep fruit to go with dessert
Hopefully run and unload dishwasher again
Change out of my workout clothes from this morning
Be sitting on the couch with a glass of wine and listening to music with an empty dishwasher and everything ready for dinner when our 4 guests arrive around 6:45 tonight
Work a full day from home

Yeah, see how that last item doesn't really fit with all the rest?  Well, if I were going to the office today, I'd probably still decide on appetizer and eggplant recipes and make a grocery list, and I'd still pay bills and order the costume, but all that other stuff?  Yeah, I don't know how this is going to work.

First day working from home and there is way too much non-work stuff on my to-do list.  Guess writing and reading blogs is not a good start!  Fortunately, I've got a couple great work projects to do and I'll try to be very efficient. 

And this pattern won't continue.  Next week I'll be out of town on Friday when I work from home, but hopefully that won't be too hard to do from the hotel during the bachelorette party.  But 2 weeks from now it will just be a normal Friday working from home with nothing to do other than work.

After my calf-status update yesterday, not much to report.  Still a little sore, still a bit tender to the touch, but maybe back where it was on Tuesday?  Doesn't seem any worse. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Soleus Status

I don't want to jinx anything, but I think fortunately, I was a little quick to panic about the pain in my calf.  I can't say it's all better, but I think it's healing. 

I had initially thought it was pain in my groin or hamstring, and then it felt like it was in my Achilles, and then I thought gastroc.  But by the time I went to the doctor this past Monday, it was pretty clear it was the soleus.  That's part of the quick-fire muscles in your calves.  But there were certain points on my lower calf that hurt like crazy when I put the slightest bit of pressure on the area. 

Here's a picture!  Trying to copy this from 

The pain for me is on the inside part of the back of my calf, but you can see it lays under the Achilles and runs up under the gastroc.  For me, it was in the lower calf, on the inside of the Achilles. 

Here's another pic, which does a better job of showing all that's down there (copied from

That one shows the peroneus longus too, which gave me problems about a year ago?  All you ever wanted to know about your calf! 

I seem to remember deciding I was going to do calf raises in the shower most days to try to build up my calf muscles a bit more, but somehow that has fallen by the wayside.  And now another calf injury!  Guess I should open my eyes and start doing those calf raises again and stick with it for the next couple decades! 

Anyway, on the advice of my ortho's PA, I've cut my mileage down a lot (well, I did that on my own), and I've been pretty good about icing and wearing my compression sleeve too (and actually, I was doing both of those things before I went to the doc too).  And I'm wearing those stupid heel lifts things when I run, even though they kind of hurt the bottoms of both feet in a blister-developing way, but no actual blisters so far.  Those heel lifts or the simple passage of time (and decreased mileage, ice, compression) may be working.  Yesterday afternoon I realized the calf area that was so bad is now not so tender to the touch anymore. 

I'm going to keep being cautious, but I feel like I'm making progress.  But I think there's not a 5k in my future in a couple weeks, which was where I was leaning.  I'd have to be ready to "bring it" in order to get a new PR in a 5k, and I just don't think that's realistic or smart at this point, so maybe I'll do the 10k.  But even that's uncertain, I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed!  At the 10k distance, it wouldn't be such a stretch for me to get a PR, but I still think that's unlikely, but at least I'll get a solid 6 miles in for the day.  My 10k room has a lot of room for improvement, my 5k PR just doesn't -- I can and will improve, but I'm not longer even hoping for full minutes, I'd be happy trimming 30 seconds at this point. 

I'm so glad my calf is feeling better.  My husband has been giving me all kinds of grief about continuing to run on it.  I think he may have been part of the reason I made the doc appointment.  Not that he's a doctor or anything, but he didn't think I should keep running and I didn't do a good job of explaining to him how much I was cutting my mileage.  So he basically said if I was going to keep running, he didn't want to listen to me complaining about how much my calf hurt. 

This is what my miles have looked like the last few weeks: 

BC means Boot Camp, so weights, core work, other random exercises, some cardio.

Not sure if that picture will be legible, but suffice it to say that after several weeks of holding in the 43-47 miles per week range, after a week with some pain in various parts of my left leg, I cut my miles last week to about 30, and this week will probably be about the same.   I will probably try to stay low 30s for next week as well, and if things are even better by the time I get to Chicago, then I'll aim to climb back up into the 40s! 

That's the calf status update for you!