Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Planning, planning...

I'm ahead of schedule with thinking of my 2012 running resolutions.  Don't worry - to balance it out, I am behind on my Christmas shopping.

I'm trying to work out what goals are both optimistic and realistic.  And like most folks, I like round numbers.

I'll start with my goals for the two shorter distances, which can be unified with one word - break.

For the 5K I want to break 30.  That's coming off of a PR of 31:03.

For the 10K I want to break 60.  That's coming off of a PR of 1:07:26.

Both of these goals are stretches, but might not be as much as they appear on their face.  The 5K might be slightly harder.  My PR there came from a race that I ran with my cousin, where she was urging me along the whole way.  On the other hand, that PR also came with mile splits of 9:30, 10, 10:30.   I'd like to see what happens when I give myself an easy mile warmup before the actual race, and then aim to speed up from the first mile.    I think that with my current distance training I will be able to break 30 in the 5K.

The 10K PR I have is from a race where I did some large amounts of walking.  And included a  lot of hills, a hot day, and some urgency with bathroom issues.  I've had some mental problems handling the 10K distance, but I think I am past that with my current training as well as my success with the 6.66 mile run at Halloween.  Breaking 60 is more difficult with the 10K of course because of the race duration.  But I feel right now that I am used to 6 mile runs being a normal mid-week run.  With that I feel more confident racing them.

So - part 1 of my goals.  Look forward to part 2+!  I have a lot of thinking going on!

Today I am thankful Dad.  Yeah, saved one of the best for last.

My dad is awesome because:

* He always makes me laugh.  I definitely inherited his sense of humor.

* He understands the work I do.  When I talk tech (or as tech as I get from my job), he understands it and asks questions that help me understand more!

* He takes pride in my accomplishments. He especially encourages my running and has seen me race twice.  He actually might even spectate my marathon.  Since my big goal there, that's something I'll share later, let's just say it's a long time...he might get bored, but he'll be there anyway!

* He's my dad.  And that's enough.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Early night

Tomorrow morning is my regular personal training session.  It's usually at 9, but tomorrow it's for 8.  I have to get up at 6 to be fueled and ready to get to the gym.  That's early for me.  I'm very lucky that I get to go to work late in the day.  I work mostly with folks in CA, so I get to be lazy!

Today was not the best run. I pushed myself too hard early and ran out of energy.  I have to remember - slow it down.  Once a week for tempo runs (which this was not) is when I push it.  And I even have to work on how hard to work on those runs!  I was semi-proud today that even though I walked up a couple hills (with Garmin off, so distance didn't count), I did not stop at 3 miles but pushed myself another 3.  I had planned on 7 today, but 6 works.

My hips and hamstrings have been tight recently.  I plan on warming up for PT tomorrow with the elliptical - probably 15 to 20 minutes.  Then if I have time then some foam rolling.  If not - after PT.  I am so bad at stretching - once a workout is done, I'm done!

Tonight I am thankful for special Christmas treats.  I came home tonight and opened a box of chocolate peppermint soy milk.  A sweet treat to end the day!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I really did have a good time over the Thanksgiving holidays.  I got to spend time with my family and we had a lot of laughter in my sister's house. This post is pretty much pictures.

Younger brother and blur, tentatively identified as niece

There definitely was some teasing in the house.  If you look closely at my brother, you will notice that under his long sleeved shirt he is wearing two more shirts.  When we had dinner he added a sweater, for a total of four layers!  Dude - it was not that cold inside.

All of my nieces + my brother

The kids spent a lot of time hanging out in the family room reading, but since my sister's house literally backs up onto a park, there definitely was some energy burned off outside!

Nephew #1

Nephew #2

And a random mention - the blanket in the background?  I made that 11 years ago for nephew #1 when he was a baby.  They grow up too fast!

Me and my godson

Not my best look, but it will do.

Older sister and nephew

My sister always does a great meal.  My mom and I definitely help (my mom more than I), but my sister really has things organized.  And she made amazing mashed potatoes this year!  Helped along by cream and butter, but as long as they taste good, who cares?

Kids, sister, and most of my mom


My brother always brings pie - and always the classic pumpkin and apple.  He really does good pies.

Pie and fresh whipped cream, modeled by niece #2

Niece #3 models chocolates (my contribution/hostess gift)

The kids are always a good time, even though Aunt Sue can be a little reserved at times.   I'm just not used to having that many people around.  Or at least that many noisy people.

Yeah, my youngest niece isn't impressed with my photo skills either

Add in a dog, and yeah - things could get crazy.   Especially at night, when we played Werewolf.  It's a game where people are werewolves or townspeople (some with special skills), and basically the townspeople try to kill the werewolves before the werewolves kill them.  Included in the game are rounds of accusations, which is always a good time.

Brother's dog, with cameo by my leg

In the end, a lot of pictures were taken, we all had a good time, and I am sooo looking forward to Christmas!

Today I am thankful for warmth in November.  It was in the 60s when I left work!  Let's keep that up!  Well, maybe 50s when I am running, but otherwise - think warm!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

So much better

Nothing to do with the content of this post, but this song has been going through my head since finishing today's run.

Yes, I am feeling so much better than yesterday.  To be honest it would be hard not to.  That's right - I'm over being carelessly insulted by a 7 year old.  It's that kind of moral strength that makes me the person I am.  (And yes - that is sarcasm).

I didn't expect much from today's run.  I got home from the airport last night after midnight and didn't get to bed until 1.  I had decided to sleep with no alarm, so I woke up around 9:30.  After fueling with my beloved bagel I got myself out and running.

I had planned on 10 miles, making it a shorter mileage run as a cut back from building weeks.  I was amazed today, though.  I got to 10 miles and felt so awesome that I decided to add in another 3.  Why three?  Well...

That's right - 13 got me to my 100 mile November goal.  I made it - with days to spare!  Yes!

I feel so good.  I really do.  I feel strong and confident, and I am extra excited now.  1 year (a little less) to the marathon - and today I know that I can build myself to be ready.

Today I am thankful for strong bodies and progress.  And the joy that a good run can bring.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tired and emotional

As I write this I sit in the gate area of Dulles airport, which I am familiar with as a traveler that once lived in the area.  I just polished off a bag of red Twizzlers as a dinner/snack, and with it am fighting not to give in to a sense of guilt.

I grew up fat.  It started when I was around 10 as far as I know, and it lasted until I was 26 and went on Weight Watchers.  I've maintained a healthy weight for 10 years and know that I never will go back to the way I was.  I like to think I've developed an almost healthy relationship with food, given my background.  There are days when I finish the food just to finish (the licorice is an example), but most of the time I am sensible.  I eat the foods I like.  Luckily I have trained my taste buds to like healthy foods.  But not always healthy foods.

The reason I bring this up is that something happened today that I handled badly.  It was the last day at my sister's house and to be honest I think we all needed a break from each other.  The kids had been overexcited since we got there and it took a lot out of us to keep up.  Anyway, my niece was looking at a set of pictures that my sister had on their family room wall.  Included in this set was a picture of my sister and I and our cousins as bridesmaids from a wedding a few years ago.  My niece said - "Aunt Sue looks F.A.T. in this picture".  I heard that, and I couldn't handle it.  It was ridiculous - I'm 37 years old, but when I heard that I had to get out of the room and cry.

I was upset; I told my niece in a cold voice to "Never say that about anyone, ever".  I went in the kitchen and told my sister and my mother what had happened and I started to cry.

My mom and I had decided earlier to go to lunch, so we left right after that.  My sister had talked to my niece, and when we left she was curled up in a ball on the sofa.  I tried to tell her that it was okay, but she wasn't listening.  I felt awful - I had upset myself and a 7 year old!   Good job.

I'm still somewhat upset about it and also feel guilty.  I shouldn't have overreacted like that.  And to be honest, it's nothing worse than what I say about myself when I see my pictures.  It's weird that years later it can still hurt. I guess it's because I believe it is the truth.

I am at a healthy weight.  I am strong and getting stronger.  I could lose a couple pounds, but honestly, they are vanity pounds.  Right now, though, I hate my body.

I hate that I am "rounded".  I hate that my cheeks look like a chipmunk when I smile.  I hate so much.

Tonight it is hard, but I will be thankful for my body.  I will be extra thankful when I can wake up tomorrow and believe again that I am beautiful.

Right now, I will try and stop crying again in the middle of the airport.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Still pictures

Another semi-late night means another semi-lazy Susan.  At least in terms of picture posting.  I didn't even get to take more pictures today, as my camera battery is dying.  The fates are against me!  At least the really lazy ones.

Since I've mentioned being lazy so often in this post I will highlight where I was not lazy today.  I'll back up a bit and mention that I went out to lunch with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law.  Here's where there would be an awesome picture of us, if I wasn't so lame with the camera.  Anyway, we had a lovely semi-light lunch; I did a hummus w/pita appetizer and a salad w/walnuts, bleu cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette.  I will admit half the pitas were fried, so of course they were the half I ate.  I didn't clear my plate on either dish which meant I got to eat a good portion of the carrot cake and pecan pie that we ordered to share.  The frosting on that carrot cake was honestly just about the best frosting I've ever had.

Anyway, after a fun lunch and shopping (book store, where I mightily fought temptation and only bought a holiday cooking magazine), we walked back to my sister's house.  It was a gorgeous day and I needed to run, but I was trying to find any excuse to get out of it.  "I'll do it tomorrow...", forgetting that tomorrow will be raining all day.

We got back to the house, I looked outside, and I decided that was it - time to get my run on.  I've been a total  pain in the butt about my not-so-subtle running pride, time to get out there and put my money where my mouth is.  So - I did 5 miles.  I had planned on 7 or 8, but the area that I am running in is really hilly.  That may sound like an excuse, but this is also the area where I pulled a groin muscle on a run last year, so I didn't want to take too many chances.

I got my butt out the door, focused on my form on the hills, and refused to stop.  It was a gorgeous day for a run and I was so glad I got out there and did it.

After I got back it was turkey leftovers for dinner, followed by some raucous games.  I will be flying home tomorrow.  I definitely will miss the kids.  Thankfully Christmas is coming soon!

November is still thankful month even if the day has passed, so today I am thankful for...the joy and love that the kids give me.  I always feel right when I have one of my nieces or nephews give me the fiercest hug that they can.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cutting it short

So I did take a lot of pictures today.  But they will wait for a longer entry.  Tonight I am stuffed full of turkey and pie and am too tired to rehash the day.   To put it simply, it was good.

Today I am thankful that our family is healthy, happy, and growing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Such Joy

I took all of today off from work, so I could leave early and fly to my sister's for T-day.  Luckily the weather channel's predictions of doom were severely off.  I should have known - it's pretty much their job to cause panic.  

Woke up early, got out to the airport with no issues.  My first flight took off on time.  Turbulence pretty much immediately.  Flight was pretty smooth but extreme turbulence at the end.  I really felt like I was going to be sick.  The nice part is that I was on the aisle seat and no one was in the center.  Surprising on the heaviest travel day of the year!

Immediately got off the flight and hurried to catch my connection.  Interestingly enough I was connecting through Dulles, which used to be my home airport when I lived in Virginia and worked at AOL.  I was surprised to see that they had new ways to get between the terminals.  No more silly trams!  I made it with a bit of time to spare.  The second flight was in one of those smaller planes - two seats on the right, one seat on the left.  I was on the aisle on the right.  I slept for most of the flight.  As I said, I was up early - even before my alarm.  Stupid thinking too much!

I landed and met up with my mom who had landed five minutes before me.  We had lunch at an Italian restaurant that we've eaten at before.  My mom loves it but I am totally not impressed.   I was so hungry after those flights, though, that I ate my entire meatball sub!  I have to stretch my stomach out for tomorrow!

From the airport we headed to the hotel and then over to my sister's.  We would stay at my sister's but they have a full house!  It was so nice to see the kids.  They're growing up so fast.  I did get a lot of hugs and love, and got to talk about assorted topics that the kids were fascinated with (including lengthy treatises on snakes, including a viewing of a shedded snake skin. Ewww.  

My brother and his wife and their little girl and their dog came in a couple hours after we did.  Plenty of excitement there as well, but we soon settled in for Domino's for dinner.  After that it was some time with the kids and then they were off to bed!  Mom and I decided to leave a bit early because we were tired, and because we are a bit off in terms of time (there's a one hour time difference).  

I expect to have another exciting day tomorrow.  The post about it will be more exciting as well, as I promise to include many pictures.  The kids are totally adorable, and I love to share them!

Today I am thankful for getting time to spend with family. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Catching up

Wow - so I finally had enough to say that I'm behind.  Amazing.  Don't worry - this post will catch up to current.

After a fun Friday/Saturday with cousins, Sunday was quiet.  Relatively.  I did another 14 miles, and lo and behold...

3/4 of the way there! Plus I love the fact that the little pink arrow is over this month.  That arrow represents longest run.  I expect that to change when I hit December...

Of course that image was taken on Sunday, and it's changed by now.  The rest of Sunday was not exciting, and neither was Monday.  At least on the running front.  On the job front there were some changes that undid the positive changes from last week a little bit.  Made me very uneasy, and I actually felt sick all yesterday.

But - today is a new day!  I was a little lazy in the morning and didn't do my run.  When I finally did get out there I was a little demotivated and only did 4 of a planned 7 miles.  Boo!  But - I am excited for the rest of the week.  Thanksgiving!  Time off!  Time to rest and try not to let things get me down!

I am a little nervous for tomorrow as the weather is not looking good for travel.  My mom is already threatening not to fly; last year at Thanksgiving the weather was so bad that she doesn't want to go through it again.  I really hope things turn out alright and it's just the weather channel overreacting for ratings.  I want to see my family!

Tonight I am thankful for clementines.  I'm a little sore throat-y, and they are soothing me down.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekend Part Deux

Not as many pictures in this post.  Actually, probably only one, and much later.

So when I left off last it was Saturday night, and me, Pam, and Sky were off to sleep.  Saturday morning we slept in as late as we wanted - which turned out to be until around 8.  Wow - we are old.  We all got up and Sky cooked scrambled eggs for us while I toasted English muffins and Pam peeled us some clementines.  I know - total disappointment that I didn't take pictures.

After breakfast Sky had to go home to take care of her baby, while Pam and I hung out.  We did a quick trip to Staples to pick up a flash drive, and then we used my scanner.  The apartment building that Pam lived in three years ago burned down, and she lost just about everything.  Miraculously no one was hurt, and even more miraculously it turned out that they found some of Pam's journals had survived.  Survived barely, that is.  They were very burned and even now they still smell smokey.  Pam didn't know what to do with them; I suggested scanning them in when I was over her house last.  So - we scanned away!  We didn't keep everything, just the parts that wrote about important times during the year, mostly holidays and our August vacation.  It was fascinating - she had journals from 20 years ago, and even older!  She really enjoyed looking at the journals - so many memories.

After breakfast had a chance to settle Pam and I went for a run.  I was sneaky and didn't tell Pam that it was supposed to be a tempo run for me.  I knew that she would make me work hard if she knew.  Even without her knowing we both worked hard, but it felt better to have someone to talk to while running.  We did 5 miles along part of my normal route.  The best part is that we wore our matching shirts from the Devil's Chase race.  She told me later that she was glad nobody asked her how she did, because she didn't get to run it (she had to coach a field hockey game that day).

Back home to potato chips and leftover Mulan food and more scanning, then we went out to see Tower Heist. I can be very fussy about movies, and this was no exception.  It was vaguely entertaining, but nothing to write home about.  Pam enjoyed it more than I did.

After dinner we went over to Sky's house because her husband was out at a party.  No point in letting her be alone!  We had pizza and baby carrots and then played more games.  And, of course, more laughter.

Wow - it's Monday and I'm still talking about the weekend. Guess that tells you what a success it was!  And sorry that the promised picture isn't here.  It'll be here tomorrow night!

Today I am thankful for free snacks at work.  I was really, really hungry today.  I mean sick to my stomach hungry.  I've had issues recently with not eating well after my long run, and I think it caught up with me.  It was a really lousy feeling.  I think I have to be especially careful now.  I don't want to screw up my training!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Now that's a Fun Weekend

Friday night my cousins came over.  The two of them stayed over the night, but we started with dinner out.  We went to Mulan, which is a Tawainese restaurant that I've had food from at work (free lunch Thursdays!) but had never eaten at this location.  I definitely will be back.  

Sky on left; Pam on right

We ordered way too much food, but trust me - it didn't stop us from eating heartily.

I share the spotlight with no-one!
I look like I am in pain in the above picture.  Not my best look.  But at least I took out my camera at dinner!  Go me!

Shredded Beef with Mixed Vegetables;
Beef with Leek Wrapped in Pancakes

Salted Crispy Chicken
(I think this was my favorite)

Of course I loved the fried food - what did you expect?

We really have to teach Pam to use utensils.
But the Kung Pao Chicken was worth diving head first into.
Not pictured - Eggplant with Basil.  Way too much food - but that was okay, leftovers rock!

After dinner we came back to my place to relax, play games, and of course - eat more.

Cherry pull-and-peel licorice
I have to admit - I have a weakness for sweets. I have self control in how much I eat (luckily), but tend to overbuy.  Let's just say that I spent $20 on half-price post-Halloween candy.  Anyway, I brought out my two(!) plastic shoppin bags of candy and we went to town.

After dessert we played games.  We started with Imaginiff which is a game where you pick a set of people that you all know and answer questions about them based on a question with a limited set of answers.  For example, one of them had to do with "Imaginiff Mike (my brother) was a hat - what kind of hat would he be?". Luckily we all agreed he would be a baseball cap, so we got to move forward.  But if no one matches anyone else (which happened frequently), no one moves.  We didn't want to get stuck playing that game forever, so we modified slightly and moved forward two spaces instead of one.  One thing to note - Pam is a noted cheater.  We always have to keep an eye on her.  She won this game...and we THINK she didn't cheat.  This time.

Next we played Bananagrams, which is pretty much individual scrabble without the board.  I love this game but very rarely win.  It's not a game where you keep score; you just win one round at a time.  For us a lot of the joy is when you manage to put an awesome word down, like you manage to use a Q or J (strangely hard letter to use) in a longer word.  Prior games have also involved our made up variation where you have to have at least one swear word, but this time we stuck with the basics.

After Bananagrams we played Hand and Foot.   Hand and Foot is a game in four rounds, and each round can get very long, so we rarely finish a full game.  This time we actually were playing a continuation of a game we started in 2010!  We played the game (rules are a little too complicated to fit here, will explain in a later blog post), and of course since it had been two hours since we stuffed ourselves silly, we had to break out the chips and dip.   We have a term for when we are together - Constant Eating Mode.  If it's there, you must eat it.

During all of the above we were laughing hysterically, teasing each other, and basically having a great time.  Once hand and foot was done it was late enough that we went to sleep.  Sky took my futon; she always likes having her own space when she sleeps over (she's the only one of us that is married and actually has a sweet little one year old baby!).  Pam and I shared my bed, which confused my cats to no end. 

I'll close this post here, because although there was a lot more that happened the next day (Saturday), my poor fingers are getting tired.

Today I am thankful for - the love that expresses itself through teasing.  It sounds strange but sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.  I told my cousins about my freakout over my contact lens fiasco earlier this week, so they've created a term for it.  "Pulling a Susie" is when you overreact to events.  For example, my dad called Sky a couple times a few weeks ago.  He wanted to talk to her husband about buying a new car.  He didn't leave a message the first couple times he called (and I think he called fairly rapidly in succession), and when he did leave a message he didn't say the buying part - he just said he wanted to talk to Eric about his car.  Sky flipped out, thinking my dad was trapped at the side of the road.  When Eric came home she made him call my dad immediately.  That?  That's Pulling a Susie.  I do it often.  And I have to laugh because really - it's truly ridiculous.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Tonight I am thankful for the exhaustion that comes from a day full of exuberant laughter, time spent with loved ones, and all around joy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Whoot woot - party at my house!

Well, really tiny party.  I have my two cousins coming over tonight.  We're going to eat Chinese food and do other stuff, TBD.  I'm so excited.  We always enjoy time together and a large reason for why I wanted to move to this area was to spend more time with them.

Pictures to be shared in next post, for sure, but for today, I will be thankful sister.  She and I are at different places in our lives (I'm very single, she and her husband have 5 kids!), but we have a good time when we spend time together.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Trigger Has Been Pulled

Before I get to the point of this post, I will say that I ran my six miles this morning.  That made up for the missing time I had on Tuesday, so I am back on track for my 100 mile November goal.  I also did a different route, which gave me an opportunity to do a very gradual uphill climb.  Definitely will add that route to my routines.

The point/trigger referenced in the title is...I have officially registered for my first marathon.  Yay!  I decided to go with the Richmond Marathon because I've seen universal praise for it, as well as many people who have run it multiple times (always a good sign).  It looks like a good time as well as a chance to visit someplace new.

The race is November 2012 which gives me just under a year to be ready.  I know that my official training won't be for a while, but I will continue with my current plans, which are to build up a solid base of running weekly distances, aiming for average of 30 miles per week.

2012 goals are starting to shape up.  Right now they are:
* 1500 miles total for the year
* Marathon (November)
* At least one half marathon sometime during marathon training, maybe one in the spring as well

No decisions yet on total race goal for next year or time goals for 5K/10K/half.  One rollup into my 2012 goals is that I'd prefer to race locally, except for perhaps the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.  That's the only race that I did this year that I really do want to repeat.

Today I am thankful for my cousins coming for fun time tomorrow - yay!  I am un-thankful that I have to do some cleanup before they come.  But I am re-thankful that I get the chance to WFH to greet them!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just doooo eeet!

Today was one of those days where I wished I could just stay in bed.  At least that's how I felt when I woke up this morning.  I know how fascinating it is to read about some else's period pains, but I can't help it - I felt like someone was crushing my stomach with a clamp.

I knew that I had to go to work, but I momentarily considered canceling my personal training session.  Luckily sanity prevailed and I went.  I only have these sessions once a week and next week is cancelled, so I didn't want to miss out.

 I dragged my crampy body to the gym and got on the elliptical for warmup.  20 minutes later (well, 21 so I could get to a round number of miles) I was feeling somewhat better.  Up next was training.

Let it be told my trainer is all kinds of awesome.  She has it down pat; she knows me and what I think I can do, and hands me stuff that I would either a.) never consider on my own, b.) do with lighter weights, or c.) do half-assed if someone wasn't watching.  Today was pretty standard that way. I told her that why I wasn't feeling my best (thank god for all women's gyms, in case anyone overheard).  Even with that she got me moving well - I just needed a couple more breaks than usual.

Session was done and I feel great physically and mentally for getting there and doing it.  A bonus is that she told me that I inspired her.  The gym has highlighted success stories of people doing their programs before, but it was mostly centered around weight loss.  She told me that she had been thinking of my progress since we had been working together, and had convinced the gym to do another board focused on other forms of success.  She also asked if I would mind being highlighted.  Mind?  Heck - I'll fly the plane that drops advertising fliers to tell people about it.

So a pretty good start to the day. The rest was pretty good as well, although my brain was already fantasizing about turkey gravy tonight.

I am thankful today younger brother.  Because even though I rag on him, he's pretty much an all around awesome guy.  And I honestly would say that even if he wasn't related to him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bleargh know that promised 6 mile run?  Turned in to a 3 mile run.  And actually it was good that it was, because I barely made it to work on time for a meeting.

Rewind back to last night.  I was tired.  Still am today.  But at least I know the reason today - my own stupidity.

I wear contacts.  I love the contacts I wear, they are so much better than the ones I used to use.  Even with excellent contacts I've had problems getting one out.  It happens very rarely, but it does.  So what do I do?  Keep pawing at my eye.

I have history with this kind of thing.  Back in college I managed to do the same thing, and had to be brought to the doctor's because I scratched at my eye so much.  And I remember the eye drops.  They didn't hurt, I just remember taking them.

Anyway, I pawed and pawed and couldn't get it out.  By that time my eye was starting to go red, so I mentally slapped down my hand and went to bed.

I'm a restless sleeper.  I frequently wake up fully at the end of dreams and have to go back to bed.  Last night I woke up at 4 and could FEEL that contact in my eye.  I fought with myself, but eventually got up and was able to get the contact out.  By that time my eye hurt a fair amount.  So I managed to keep myself up another hour panicking that I caused permanent damage.

Which brings me to this morning.  Exhausted, traumatized, wearing my glasses, lucky that I got myself out of bed much less ran at all.  Add that to the fact that my period started today, and I'll be happy with three miles.  It leaves me with less of a comfort zone to make it to 100 miles this month (plan has me slightly over), so I think I'll probably move those miles to a shorter run I have later this week.

Oh - and my eye is a little dry tonight but otherwise fine.  Will probably do glasses again tomorrow just to give my eye more rest.

I do have a fun thankful today.  I went back to my college tonight to exchange a sweatshirt my brother had bought when he was visiting college friends a few weeks ago.  We will pass by the fact that he didn't even let me know he was in town...Anyway, I got to go to BC (Boston College), and I loved going back because it brought back how fun those college years were.  I wasn't a party animal then or now, but I just enjoyed the experiences I had there.  It was fun to go back, even if it was literally for less than an hour, and I'm thankful for my brother's mistake that got me to go back

Monday, November 14, 2011


Maybe it was doing back to back run days.  Maybe I didn't sleep enough last night.  Maybe I am getting ready for a "special friend" to visit.  Whatever the reason, today I was TIRED.  Blech.  But I did manage to pull myself together and sweat to my favorite dance class.  And I was a vain little wench while doing it - I couldn't believe how skinny my legs looked!

Tomorrow is six miles.  They are going to be slow miles, but they will be done.  Which means I really have to finish up this bowl of cereal and dried fruit and get ready for bed.

Oh - BTW - I have fallen in love with cinnamon raisin English muffins.  And not even the classy special bakery kind - Thomas'.  Why did I never have these before?  I will mention that I ate it with cashew butter which might elevate its highbrowness.

I'm inventing words - it's time to sign off.

But before I do - today I am thankful for all the people who make me laugh.  I'm thinking about this today because I have my cousins coming over Friday night and expect to be prostrate on the floor with laughter.  In recent weeks my co-workers have also made me laugh myself into hysterics as well.  It's such a good feeling.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday=Pain Day

My thankful for today is that Tina put out the thankful challenge.  Because of that I have become consistent with my blogging plus I am getting more into the habit of actually using my camera!

So...from the title of this post you can guess that today is not going to be in the top 5 of my runs.  But - there is something special about it, which I will tell you at the end.

Today started out right - slept in a bit, ate my beloved bagel w/PB, packed up, and got ready to run.  I even remembered to put my camera in my fannypack so I could take the pictures of my running route!

Practical AND stylish.

I had a good start - trying to stay slow which has been a struggle recently.  Sometimes I'm not sure what slow is to me.  I do the talk test under my breath every once in a while but since I run alone it's a little awkward,  Maybe I should try to fake that my headphones are for a phone and have an imaginary conversation?  Will give that more thought.

My first five miles are not that interesting - mostly city blocks.  Then I enter a small park - including a dog run!  I'm lucky that I've never been threatened by any of the dogs I've ever run by.

What a cutie!

I continued on through the park and had a little friend running parallel to me for a bit!


There's definitely some hilliness in Cambridge - biggest one is in this park.  I will admit that later in the run I walked up one hill, but otherwise I stuck to it.

More city, and then - the river.  Lots of pictures there.

Really nice to run along on sunny days as today was.  I usually see kayakers at some point and today I did see one person out, but didn't get the camera out in time to catch him.  But I did catch some other river travelers.

Oh, and another dog.

What a sweetie!
I turned left from the river to complete my loop.  Not much to see there, but I do love these buildings that are right across where I stop for some Gatorade.

I have no idea what they are, I just love their shapes.

Made it back to my gym to pick up my stuff.  But it really was a close one.  My right hip started feeling stiff around mile 5; my left joined in around mile 8.  I was happy when the left kicked in - I was symmetrical now!  I wouldn't be babying one side and running in bad form!  What a loon.

The important part about this run was that I had a new longest distance run.  I did 14 miles.  I wanted to give up at mile 8 and catch the T back.  I wanted to give up at mile 13 and give myself another week to add the mileage.  What kept me going is that knowledge that if I cut this run short I wouldn't make my 100 miles.  I tried to say "oh, I'll make it up later..." but I knew that was a lie.  So - fought through.

In total honesty the last three miles were a liberal application of the walk/run principal.  If I was to publish my splits (which I will not, for pride's sake), it would show a steep decline from mile 1 to mile 12-14.  Not good.  

It might have been from doing a tempo run yesterday or I might not have been stretching post-run enough this week (or ever).  Today was a mental toughness day and I am proud to say that although my body wanted to give up, my spirit didn't.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hey - I actually cooked!

Shocking, I know, but I actually cooked tonight.  

Yup - water boiling, pasta cooked, quick sauce, voila!

Yeah, I know, not the prettiest.  Would have looked better if I hadn't been to cheap to buy parsley. And could take decent pictures.  I will say it tasted really good.  The recipe is Penne with Tuna and Mustard , and I used an interesting mustard that I bought when I went to The National Mustard Museum .  Yes, I actually visited a mustard museum - for my birthday last year.  It was sorta fun.

Guess what else I did today?

That's right - took pictures of my shoes!  Well, after I ran a tempo run.  Not my best - I had some awesome times when I felt like I was flying, but had to slow down to a walk in part of it.  I need to remind my stupid brain - slow down doesn't have to be a walk.  It's better when it's not in fact!  But these shoes - they make me want to go go go!

Can't you hear the angelic choir?
I do love these shoes - for now.  We'll have to see how they break in.  One thing that is bothering me is that I'm having some issues with my running socks.  For my first run in them I wore one of my thicker pairs of socks and felt somewhat constrained in the toes.  Today's run was in thinner socks and was slipping around a little bit when I was walking before the run.  I feel like for problem one the shoes will loosen in time, and for problem two I've had this before with other shoes and it stopped after a bit.

I also spent today taking my camera all over the place, practicing taking pictures.  I really want to have more pictures on this blog - plain text can be boring.   You know that a boiling pot of water is excitement filled!

Sunshine in front, Jody in back

I also took some fun shoe shots.  Have to say, I strongly dislike sneakers.  I like these, though.

But today I wore these.  

And just because I was looking awesome (not!), here I am!

I'm going to keep practicing my photo skills.  Jody - think I can get better?

Today I am thankful for lazy lounges in warm baths.  Do not ask me how many baths I took today.  I think I'm part fish.  What fish lives in warm water?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Work it baby!

Goals are good.  So is ramen and peas on a rainy day.

Mmmm.  Raaameen.

My goal for this month is slightly better for me than ramen.  Slightly.  I want to hit 100 miles this month.  I've never gone that high, but I've come close!

August = 1/2 marathon training
September=sick for entire week

I will run 100 miles this month.  When I started the sentence before this, I almost wrote "I probably...".  None of that.  I will hit my goal.  

It's interesting that even without a large event to train for, I still have this drive to go further and/or faster in my runs.  I was concerned that I would get to be a slacker with nothing huge to look forward to.  Not happening, which is awesome.

My next race is a 5K in December.  My goal is a new PR there.  And it's an important PR; if I improve on my current PR it will mean I will average a sub-10 minute mile.  I know I have it in me.  I will be doing speedwork in between now and then and get myself mentally prepared.  10:00?  You're going DOWN!

Other than that, I will say that I am thankful today that my Ann Taylor Loft credit card bill came.  I know - weird to be happy for a bill.  It's just that it's a new credit card and my first bill from them, and I wanted to be sure that it didn't get lost somehow.  I just have these extremely paranoid visions of my credit being screwed up because of an unpaid lost bill!

And that ends our #whitepeoplesburdens section of November.  

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Plain and Utter Joy

I talked with my new boss today for the first time.  She is pretty awesome; we are so much alike that I asked if she was a clone of me that was created before I moved from Virginia (where she lives).  I then had a highly productive meeting with the manager of one of the teams I am going to be working with, and started my first high level project document.  I know - fascinating.  I can't help myself.  I've wanted to move into this position for years and I finally got here.

On the exercise side I ran three miles before personal training today.  The three miles were in my new Brooks sneakers and I was a little nervous because the socks I put on seemed to make the fit seem a little tighter than it was in the store. I have hopes that they will stretch out a bit in time.  I love them from what I was able to see today.  I felt like I was flying.  Of course if you come back in six months and read that I hate my Brooks, know that I am either on drugs now or then. Or both.

From the food side I have been eating free food for the last three days.  And you know that free food most often equals sub-optimally nutritious food.  (Notice how I didn't say bad there?  Reframing FTW!).  Tonight I am happy to be back to a nice salad with chicken and a side of my homemade pumpkin soup.  I would post a picture of it but it is pretty much decimated.  Also boring.

To close out I am thankful for my awesome trainer. I worked hard with her today and might curse her name tomorrow, but for now I am so glad I have her in my life.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


My office had a visitor today.  Our VP of engineering was visiting from the west coast.  It was good to see him but what really was important to me personally was that he confirmed a job change for me that I had only heard about second hand.

I will say that this job change is welcome ; it's one that I've been looking for for a long time.   At the same time I'm as nervous as I was when I started at the company for the first time.

I have my first call with my new manager tomorrow.   I've heard really good things about her so I am excited,  but at the same time nervous.   I am ready to face the challenges!

Today I will be thankful for all the people who supported me to get this far.  My most recent manager is leaving the company,  but one of his last focuses has been on getting me this job.  I've worked for this VP at two different jobs and have always felt that he wants me and my coworkers to succeed.   And I am definitely thinking of some other supportive people I have worked with along the way.  I truly am grateful that I met so many fantastic people in my career so far.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Short and simple

I am thankful for the technology that allows me to blog this from my bed and keeps me in a job.  I am thankful for the technology that will allow me to work from home when the winter comes.  And I am thankful that we can connect to each other across the globe.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Picture Day!

So, I had planned to be semi-relaxed about my LSD (long slow distance) today and was going to take pictures along my route.  It's a nice route that I've done multiple times before.  Start at Porter Square in Cambridge, go left for a loop, right for a loop, run down to Harvard (dodging tourists), down to the Charles and along the river to Kendall Square.  There are definitely some good picture locations along the way, especially at the river.  That was the plan.  Of course the plan did not take into account that I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer, complicated by the fact that I am lazy.  Which translates me to realizing I forgot my camera when I was warming up, but being too lazy to go down a set of stairs and get it.  So - no during run pictures.  How about a compromise  with some post-run pictures?

Stunning, I know, as well as displaying excellent photo technique.

If you look carefully you can see some white patches.  Yes, I sweat like a mother when I run.  I frequently get salt in my eyes when I pause around mile 11 to get some Gatorade.  Also in the picture is my gorgeous couch, which also has the highlight of being torn up from being used as a scratching post.  When I lived in DC it was in the middle of the room so the cats had access to the back.  I tried to get them to stop by putting aluminum foil on the back.  That worked, and gave some awesome highlights to the room.  Be sure to ask me for decorating tips.

Since I wanted more pictures for this post I decided to actually stretch after a run.   This of course lead to an assistant.

Yes, I wore red and purple together.  Style icon!

Well hello gorgeous!

After some stretching and cat cuddling, I decided to reheat my lunch.

Black bean chili with cheese.  Not shown - tortilla chips and browning  guacamole.

After lunch is not as picture worthy, mostly because I just did a lot of laundry and read.  I would take pictures of me in my lovely warm flannel PJs, but since they are in a cheetah print I think I would set the internet on fire.  

Rest of the evening will be Sunday-evening Bridezilla watching mixed in with minor cleaning.  Might fit in doing my nails with one of new colors I bought yesterday.  Yes - my life is full of danger and excitement.

To close out today, I will list a few reason why I am thankful for my mom.  She's a really special person in my life and I am truly blessed to have her.

  • My mom and I have a very close relationship.  She and I talk on the phone most nights of the week.  We spend vacations together.  We shop together, and our taste in clothes is so much alike that sometimes we find ourselves fighting over the last of our size.  Not really fighting, though - my mom is always so nice and lets me try the clothes on first.
  • My mom is retired now, but when she was working she was awesome.  She worked in finance for a lot of top companies and traveled for assignments to Europe.  I remember going to visit her in Paris when she was working there.  Since she's retired she took over the financial dealings with her portfolio and has done beautifully with the money. I always turn to her for financial advice.
  • My mom loves her animals.  When I was growing up we always had cats and/or dogs in the house.  We topped out at 5 cats and a dog!  Right now she has one dog and one cat and dotes on them.  We tease her that she loves the dog more than she loves us.  I can understand that; she has a pretty awesome dog.
  • Since she retired my mom has spent a lot of her time volunteering.  She works for the New Jersey Conservation Association, and also volunteers for the Good Samaritans with her church.  The rest of the time she gets to read and watch movies all day - I envy her!
  • I love my mom so much and always know that she is there to support me.  She's had to talk me down off the ledge sometimes and I know that I take that for granted.  I truly am blessed to have her.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Fall back - FALL BACK~!

It's turning chilly here in the NE.  Well, not as chilly as last weekend's storm, but still getting a bit brisk. I don't know if my running has made me a little tougher, but I don't seem to mind the weather as much.  Maybe I'm finally developing my Mass roots.  I would promise not to start driving like a maniac, but unfortunately, too late.

Today was a run around day even though it didn't feel like it.  I woke up late - so nice to hit snooze three times without worry!  Then I had to haul my butt to the gym for a massage.  I've never had a full out massage before. It was nice.  I think once I get more comfortable I'll ask for a little deeper pressure.  My muscles were so tense that even a moderate pressure gave me some ow!  Need to do more massages and/or more yoga.  Of course I still had some vestiges of DOMS too.  But it seems to be going away, thank goodness.

After the massage I went over to my local running store and picked up a new pair of sneakers.  I only have a couple hundred miles on my current shoes (Asics 2160s), but I feel like I want to start swapping pairs in if I'm going to start doing back to back days.  Which I might - we'll see.  I'm not as in love with the 2160s as I was with the prior model, so I went with Brooks this time - the Ravenna 2.  I plan on breaking them in on Wednesday with my personal training warmup, and I am already excited.  They felt awesome on when I was doing some jogging to try them out at the store.  Whee!

I picked up twenty tons of soft-core porn...ahem...romance novels from the library.  From there I came back and tonight cooked up black bean chili for dinner, with a side of tortilla chips and guac.  Maybe I'll post a picture tomorrow of the leftovers when I have them for lunch.  The chips were Tostitos Hint of Jack, and I loved them even without the guac.  The chili was soooo yummy.  Nicely spicy.  The recipe I used is from Cooking Light - Black Bean Salsa Chili .  I didn't follow the recipe exactly; I used beef instead of turkey and skipped the sour cream topping.  I threw some taco cheese on top, and it melted in nicely.  I have a feeling it's also going to be wonderful as leftovers tomorrow.  Perfect for after my long run!

Rest of the evening is going to be quiet.  Going to watch the only one of two shows I watch these days - the Suze Orman show.  I like the Can I Afford It segment.  Otherwise she kind of annoys me.  The other show I watch?  Bridezilla reruns on Sunday afternoon.  What can I say?  I'm a klassy, klassy girl.

And to keep the streak alive - today I am thankful experiences.  New shoes, massage, new recipes - trying new things out are fun!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Thankful challenge day 4

Today is a day where I am feeling physically and mentally tired.  Started out with some DOMS from my personal training session on Wednesday that caused me to cut my 6 mile run into a 3 mile run.  And even with that I had trouble getting out of my chair at work today.  Luckily tomorrow is a massage, so that should help.  Emotionally I had some non-surprising but important news come that will cause some changes at work, so that's always exhausting.

With that, I still decided to stick with what I planned my be thankful for today message would be.  For today, I am thankful for my health.

I haven't talked about it much, but I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was 24.  It had hit me hard - I couldn't walk down the halls at work, I shuffled.  I didn't have the power to shift the gear shaft in my car.  I was so happy when they finally told me what it was.

It's been 13 years since that diagnosis, and I've had my ups and downs.  I've had days where I just couldn't walk well from the pain and stiffness.  And you don't know how strange it feels to have attacks in your toes! I've had a few nights where I woke up in pain.

With all that said my symptoms are very well controlled by medication.  I'm currently on methotrexate but in the past have been on such fun medications as Vioxx (you know, the one that was taken off the market because it caused heart problems?) and Plaquenil, which caused permanent scarring in my retinas.  Fun!

I think my running has made me that much stronger and able to deal with my arthritis.  I haven't had the attacks recently.

I also am very blessed because it could be so much worse.  I am currently reading an incredible book about the history of cancer.

Get it out from the library and read it.  I'm only partially the way through and am already enthralled.  It balances the heartbreak of cancer stories with teaching about how people in history have taken bold risks to fight it. 

In reading it I am reminded that I am truly thankful for my health.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Thankful challenge day 3

I've got a lot of thankful long posts brewing in the back of my head that I don't feel I can give justice to tonight.  It's 8:30, I'm eating ramen (salt lick!) with peas, cuddling in flannels with a cat determined to be on my lap no matter how many times I shack her off.

For today, I guess I'll go with...I'm thankful for being able to cuddle up in warmth and salt. I know how blessed I am to have a roof over my head and the knowledge that if things go wrong I have a strong support group to stand behind me as I get back on my feet.  And I am extra thankful that I have low blood pressure so I can enjoy my salt lick every once in a while without guilt.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Challenges accepted!

So Tina @ Carrots N Cake put this out for November - Be Thankful Challenge .  Every day in November write down something you are thankful for. It's a nice way of reminding yourself of the good things in your life.

My thankful for November 1 was that I live close to family.  Love Boston as a city but the real hold is my awesome cousins.  Last night we got to go see Legally Blonde on stage together - and cracked up.  Hilarious.  Also had some songs I plan on downloading for running to.

For November 2, I'll say...I'm thankful for my job.  Not only that I have one but also that it is one that challenges me sometimes.  Not always - but what job does?  And really - who wants to always be under pressure?  I also am thankful for my job because it pays me such that I can live the spoiled rich princess life that I do.  Peel me a grape, butler!  Nah, not at that level, but at the level that I was able to buy my pretty pretty car when I crashed my old one last year.

It's not really orange, I'm just a really bad photographer.

In addition to the Thankful challenge I also signed up for Pile on the Miles .  I'm always happy to run but having the extra incentive of possible prizes doesn't hurt.  Of course that also adds a fourth place for me to update my mileage; I track on Sparkpeople (calorie tracking), DailyMile (challenges, plus good way to look back over prior months), and in a shared spreadsheet with  a friend for motivation.

November should be a fun month - and challenging!   I also have some other goals, but those go for another day.