Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Is 2008 over already?

Happy New Year! It seems like they go so fast anymore! Does that make me sound old? When you are a kid, Christmas takes FOREVER to arrive and here it has come and gone along with the rest of the year. It seems like ages ago when in a brief moment of insanity I decided to sign up for the Disney half marathon and then decided I could do the full and registered for it too. Tick Tock. I am leaving a week from today for Mickey's house. 11 days from today I will be 40. 11 days from today I will have completed my first marathon. WOW.

A friend asked me if I was nervous about the race or just excited. Honestly, I can say I am not nervous at all just over-the-top excited. I have put in the miles, come back from the stress fracture, played catch up with the training schedule and am ready to run 26.2 around the World. I can do this. Really.

In looking back at my numbers from the year, I really can't believe that either. I ran 649 miles this year (that is equal to the distance from Atlanta to Miami!). In 2007 I ran ZERO. Three half-marathons, three triathlons and a handful of 5 and 10k races in 2008. Funny how much my life changed with the simple decision to start running. AND... without sounding like a Lifetime Fitness commercial, it all started there. If I had not signed up for the TEAM fitness class, I would have never run that 5k race last February and kicked this whole thing off. In retrospect, it is pretty amazing how that decision molded my whole year and hopefully years to come.

I used to be amazed by all the "TRI people" on my masters swim team. They would head out after a swim to go run or some even ran from their homes to the pool and then ran back home after the workout. I would think "who does that?". Now it doesn't seem so odd (not that I have really done that yet but it is no longer out of the realm of possibility). I am looking forward to becoming more involved in triathlons and can't wait to get in some workouts with the Peachtree Tri Club this year. Ironman 70.3 Augusta is looming and I can't wait! Now to just come up with a training schedule....

Have a great start to your 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A bloggy funk ...

I have so many things I could go on and on about but am just not feeling it today I suppose. Don't you worry campers, I will delight you with stories before you know it. I know you miss my incessant ramblings about how my knees hurt, how I am losing a toenail or perhaps how I burned 2 million calories whilst running around the mountain like Oh Susannah! Oh don't you cry for me, for I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee. My bad, I got carried away there. Feel free to stop and sing along. Or just try to get the song out of your head now.

Last night, RW and I went to my first birthday dinner of the birthday season. For those who don;t know me, I LOVE to celebrate my birthday. Well, not only my birthday but my half birthday as well. My real (full, not to be confused with half) is on January 11th. Yes, I will be 40. There, I said it. Actually, I am totally fine with it. I believe that 40 is the new 30 after all. Forty and fine in 2009. It is the official slogan for the year. It will catch on. Watch, I am pretty sure Dick Clark and/or Ryan Seacrest will utter those very words on New's Year Rockin Eve. I'm just sayin.

Anyhow... My first birthday dinner was last night. I have a couple others sprinkled across the next two weeks. Last night, RW and I went to Roy's Hawaiian Fusion. We are chain restaurant people. I know, shocking. Not adventurous eaters. Well, I can be but RW, not so much. Roy's is Hawaiian/Japanese. It is a chain but not a chain like Outback that is on every corner so an adventurous, yet safe, choice. We plug in the address into the GPS (I swear I really didn't know what I was missing until I got that thing...). The restauarant is 20 miles from the house. Normally, I wouldn't notice the distance but the runner side of me is constantly thinking in terms of how far it would take to run there. It also helps put it into perspective for non-runners in the car who you want to impress. You know, like "20 miles, yeah I could run there but we have reservations at 6:30 so this would be quicker". Seriously, it is amazing to me too. We were in the car for what seemed like forever so 20 miles is a looooong way. Let's not even talk about 26.2!

Back to Roy's. I figured nice restaurant, we must need reservations, right? We walk in, there is one other group of people there. Quick flashback to Thanksgiving where we couldn't be seated before 8:00 and we arrived to find NO ONE in the restaurant. Seriously, you couldn't have squeezed us in earlier than 8:00? It was actually nice, we got lots of attention, great service. I had a Hawaiian Martini and we shared an appetizer "canoe" with lots of yummy things (shrimp, sushi, calamari, spring rolls). We had butterfish for our entree and then a pineapple upside down cake with toasted coconut gelato for dessert (on the house for my birthday but no singing - they did write happy birthday in hawaiian on the plate). Nice place, had a great time. Adventerous but not too "out of the box". :)

And now you are thinking, "for someone who was feeling bloggy, you sure do have a lot to say". You can see why the facebook thing isn't my favorite. They only let you write one line.

Some other things rambling about in my head that we can discuss on another day.

- GOALS! Yes, I need some. Yes, I have some.

- Boot camp, Swim Atlanta Masters, tennis and a conundrum (I just like that word)

- Training Schedules. What is a girl to do when she reaches the end of Hal Higdon's plan?

- 2008 in review or "is it possible to train for a marathon and not lose a pound?" The answer is yes.

Gotta run, blogfriends and lurkers. I need to pack my gym bag for tomorrow :)

P.S Dear Women's Health Magazine, I have entered your daily giveaway faithfully each and every day for the past month. (OK, except that day you were giving away that weird stuff that I didn't want but every other day). Maybe you are upset because I also entered Rachel Ray's giveaway too. Can't we just all get along? Seriously, I do like Women's Health better than Rachel Ray ;) At some point, you could actually select my name as a winner. Really. Just between us, I was hoping you would see your way to choose me that day you gave away the Dooney and Burke Giraffe bag but really any of the other things would be fine too. Just pick my name, once so all those entries don't go to waste. PLEASE? It is almost my birthday! :)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

a little bit of "spirit"

I finally cracked open my DVD "Spirit of the Marathon" this afternoon. Loved it. Here is a little taste that just might inspire you too... I was *planning* to study for my upcoming re-certification test today but to no avail. Let's just say I am easily distracted from the task at hand.

and here would be how I DO NOT want to finish my race at Disney! (of course if I were first and fell on my butt maybe it wouldn't be all that bad...)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

one last long run before Disney

According to most official plans, the last long run should have been last week with the 20 miler. Since I felt like I had been playing catch up after the stress fracture, I wanted to try and get one more long run in before I taper the next 2 weeks. Really, after the half marathons in November, I think I have only run three distances longer than a half leading up to today. (maybe two, not sure...). Anyhow, I set out for 20 miles today at Stone Mountain. I know a lot of people like to build in some variety to their training but I have really enjoyed running every week at the mountain. I have built in water stops at the car every 5 miles (and more if I wanted to stop at the water fountains along the way), restrooms, people to see along the loop, and lots of hilly goodness. Agreed, the hilly goodness might not always be a good thing but the reality is I am a stronger runner for it.

Today, I set off for the four loops around the mountain. I felt pretty good during the first two loops. I saw my buddies from Tri Your Best on their weekly ride. As I roll up to my 10 mile water stop my left hip (IT Band maybe?) starts to feel odd. Tightening or possibly tearing apart in an attempt to stop the running madness, just a theory. Either way, not exactly sure of the issue. I kept going for loop three. The wheels fell off around mile 13. I tried to stretch it out and kept going. Type A, overachieving Karen was trying to convince my more logical side that "we" could keep going to 20 in run/walk fashion. Around mile 14.5, I settled into just walking back to the car. There was no running to be done and I told Type A Karen she would just have to get over it. :)

I am a little disappointed that I didn't get 20 done today BUT most people training for Disney are in taper mode this week anyhow so today was just extra to appease my overachieving side AND I did have a great run last week and felt that if it were flat (as Disney will be), I could have kept going. Based on all of that analysis I feel like I am ready for Disney. I am just going to take it easy and have fun and try not to become so focused on getting a fast time that I don't enjoy all the festivities going on around me.

Fourteen days to Disney - I can't wait!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas blog world :) Somehow I managed to get all the Christmas parties and gatherings done by the 23rd so today is just a much needed day of rest. I plan on chillaxing and watching some Tivo, reading some magazines and doing nothing but transforming myself into a couch potato. Hope your day is everything you wanted too!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And after a nice long run, there should always be baking..

Today was all about baked goods. I really don't know why, it just worked out that way. I got up this morning planning to make this egg casserole thing only to find out that you had to soak it overnight. I guess I should have read the recipe. For some reason from there I dove into making cookies, red velvet cupcakes for my family's Christmas before Christmas gathering on Tuesday and a coconut cake just cuz. After all that and a few loads of laundry, I had about an hour's rest and headed out to pick up my sister to go to Publix Cooking School for "Fancy Cookies to go". Basically a hands-on cooking class where we made 5 or 6 different kinds of cookies in a whirlwind 2 hours. All in all a good time but I am TIRED! (I know, what is new? Can I have one post where I don't talk about how tired I am? seriously.) Here are pics of me and my sister proudly displaying one of our containers of treats.

OH! and for some reason, Friday morning in the intersection by my work is a big bottle of Absolut Vodka. What is up with that? I guess instead of tossing it out the window as they finished it off going down the road, they decided to place it gently on the curb so as not to create a mess on the road. You have to love a considerate drunk.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Today's run is brought to you by the number 20

Whew, I am glad that is over! Except that I have to do it again next week and then some... In all honesty, and I am not high on crack, it was not that bad. I ran it at Stone Mountain and stopped every 5 miles at the car for a quick GU gel and splash of water/gatorade. I really felt if I had been on a flat course I could have gone further and been comfortable.

The weather today was 65 degrees and 92% humidity which is probably a good thing since it will be humid in Florida. Normally, I like my Decembers to be cold but for today's purposes the temp and humidity worked out great as a trial run before the marathon. I was completely drenched when I got done which if I am like that in Florida should make for a LOVELY finishing shot. UGH. I wonder if they will let me cross the finish line and take a victory shot before I start? HA.

I saw my biking group from Tri Your Best looping around the mountain so that amused me for the first 10 miles. After that I was on my own. At one point, after someone on a bike had passed me more times than they thought was reasonable, they shouted out "how many miles are you running anyhow?". Yes, I was that psycho woman running for 3.5 hours which is funny because I usually see one or two out there that continue to run as I am driving back home and I wonder to myself how many miles they are running or I simply say "freak" as I drive by. Kidding... sort of. Today I was the freak.

The only odd thing about the run to speak of was I burned about 300 more calories than normal. I usually burn right at 100 calories per mile. Today, I burned 2300 for the 20 miles. Not sure what was different. Perhaps my body thought I was commiting suicide by running and just started to cannibalize from the inside out to help speed up the process of death by running. Just a theory.

Seriously, I am ecstatic that the run went well and was not torture. I feel like I am prepared for Disney. One more long run next week and then I start tapering. Can't wait until the 11th!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Boot camp can hurt you!

Me: I have a rug burn on my tailbone. (seeking sympathy of course)
Rick: From situps?
Me: Yes! How did you know?
Rick: I had one too one time. Also from boot camp but mine was 30 years ago. Only the sergeant was in my face yelling at me and calling me names. Real boot camp, air force style.
Me: Oh. Well my guy doesn't like to yell so much as he likes to share recipes.
Rick: Yeah just a little different.

Last week in boot camp, I came away with bloody knuckles from boxing. Today, well.... I have a rug burn on my tailbone from all the sit ups. I only did 100 sit ups but it left a mark! OUCH! I got in the shower at LFT, the minute the water hit my backside... what the ?!? I am missing skin. So wrong! Still loving boot camp though :)

Shall I impress you with what I had for dinner tonight? cookies. Seriously. Who does that? Ok, maybe buddy the elf. I am pretty sure sugar is not at the top of any healthy person's food pyramid! ESPECIALLY since I vowed to cutback on sugar last night after watching The Biggest Loser (while eating doritos, of course).

I am working on my mental attitude about running distance on Saturday. Yep, I am going for 20 miles. In a row. If you don't hear from me, I might be passed out on the side of the road somewhere. I'm just saying....

I gave in to the masses and updated my facebook page. I am not sure I "get it" as I much prefer to drone on and on about my daily doings on this site but I can see where it could be good to connect with friends, share photos (assumig I actually take some from time to time ...) and scheduling events. It is pretty addictive, I just pryed my fingers away from it after a couple of hours. ARGH... Darn you facebook creators! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not much to tell

I skipped boot camp Monday to give my legs a day to rest. Today I did a short run - about 4 miles. It felt better towards the end although was hard to get started. It was raining so I opted for a treadmill run. I feel myself falling off the wagon and am resisting the urge to fall off completely. I am only 3 weeks away and can't bail on the schedule now! I reaaaaalllllly want to run the whole distance at Disney so am going to have to get back on track. I think the plan this week will be to rest on Friday and go for the big mileage on Saturday. I *know* if I can get the 18 miler behind me I will be more confident for the next two weeks of the running schedule.

I purchased a wetsuit with a little bit of my bonus cash this year. It was on sale for 50% off at xterra which I thought was a steal! It came in the mail today like a little Christmas gift from the UPS guy. (I love that man in the brown suit - I want to drive the truck!) I haven't opened it yet but am very excited to have my own. I had considered renting one but it seemed like a hassle and something that you would rather have of your own. I might not use it all that much but it will be nice to have if I need it for a triathlon.

No tennis tonight due to the rain. I am making ham bone soup (kind of a yummy 15 bean type soup with a leftover ham bone) and some snowball cookies (you have probably had them before they are called everything from Mexican Wedding cakes to sand crescents to, well, snowball cookies). I love them. So easy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekend Update

The original plan for Saturday involved a fun 5k (the Jingle Jog - what is not fun about a race that gives you jingle bells to attach to your shoes and where people dress in costume?). After getting an invite from a local group (Peachtree Tri Club) for a ride, I thought it might be divine intervention and through it would be stupid to pass it up. I had picked up a flyer from this group at the ING expo and had been thinking about joining up for a while. Besides getting a chance to meet the group, they were riding from a store about 2 miles from my house which meant I did not have to get up so early (in my world on a weekend, that is HUGE).

Rick put together my trainer Friday night and I gave it a quick test run. It had been several months since I rode on anything other than a stationary bike so it was a good chance to remind myself how to shift. (I'll say it for you, DUH!) I spent a few minutes testing out the trainer and tossed it all in the car for the morning ride.

Without taking you through every mile in painstaking detail, suffice it to say it was a great ride. I believe the official temperature was 28 degrees. It was cold. I must have dressed appropriately because the only place I felt the chill was my face. We went about 16 miles from the store and back. It was pretty hilly but a great chance to prove to myself that I can do this. I really had no problems at all shifting (in previous runs, I had a hard time figuring out what gear I needed to be in for the hills). I got some advice from one of the ride leaders on the downhill which was a HUGE help. There was some fear going in that I would be the last person in the group but the reality is I was in the middle most of the way and even close to the front at the end so at least I know I am not as pathetic as I might think at this biking thing! I came away from the ride with a lot of confidence and had a great time. I also ran into Sarah there. It was kind of ironic because someone said something about Mr. Cupcake (her husband) and I thought to myself, I know her! (well I read her blog...not to sound stalkerish) :)

The store, Tri Your Best, has been there for several months which is sad because I live around the corner and had no idea! (I live so close that we rode by my street on the last leg of the group ride). They have rides every Wednesday morning and Saturday morning. I will definitely go back :)

Post-ride, I had to bail out quickly as I had two tennis matches scheduled to round out the day. Won one, lost one. The one we won was a playoff so we move on in the bracket!

The downside to all this Saturday activity is that my scheduled 18 mile run suffered because of it. I KNOW I made the right decision going on the ride but my legs were feeling it this morning (did I mention the ride was hilly?). I will say most of the issue was mental, I have so many things I want to get done today - wrap presents, clean house, laundry, make divinity (it was a co-worker request) and other assorted baking. As I am running, I keep thinking of all the things I need to do and how much my legs aren't into this run and I finally just decided to stop. I got 8 of the scheduled 18 in. Part of the problem is that, prior to this weekend, I was using Saturday as a "rest" day. I had tennis but that isn't all that exerting (sorry tennis ladies... it is the truth) so I felt good to run on Sunday. After the ride and 2 matches, my legs were super tight. When I left the house I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to make the full distance. There was a lot of stopping on the hills today. At mile 7ish I was trying to convince myself to at least do one more 5 mile loop around the mountain. My legs and mind were having none of that trickery today. At 8 miles I was toast.

As the schedule oriented over-achiever, I am not certain how to get back on track. I think I may try to do a couple of longer than normal runs during the week and get back to 20 next Sunday. Not sure. I am trying not to freak out too much. I kind of felt behind already because of the stress fracture. The reality is I probably could make 26.1 now it just wouldn't be pretty. I really don't want to die on my 40th bday :) Rick offered to follow me around in the dark if I wanted to try and get a long run in during the week. Sweet but... I think I will come up with another plan.

OK - enough whining - off to make divinity! OH! did I mention that in looking over the race booklet, one of the food stops at the Disney marathon is candy. You gotta love Disney! The stops are something like water, gels, bananas, gatorade, etc. and then around mile 22ish there is candy. Funny. I like it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I no longer despise biking.

I read that on someone's blog one time and thought, I wish I knew what that was like. Well today was the day. I crossed over to the "no longer despising side" YAY! Tell you more later.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I want to ride my bicycle ...

I want to ride my bike....

OK... I am bailing on the Jingle Jog previously planned for tomorrow. As it turns out earlier this week I got an invite for sort of meet and greet at a local tri club tomorrow morning. It is a tri club I was interested in joining so it worked out pretty darn well that the event is about 3 miles from the house. Kind of hard to turn it down. The event includes a 15ish mile bike ride which I am kind of nervous about. I know, what kind of toddler is nervous about riding a bike. Seriously. I think the face plant into the motorcycle at that tri still gives me flashbacks. I know. Get over it. Aside from that I am very excited as at the past couple of races I thought that having a group of friends would be great at some of these things.

On a related note, I got an early Christmas present which I dropped a big hint for so I love it when a plan comes together... I got a bike trainer! YAY! Super sweet!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I forgot my pants!

Seriously. It was bound to happen. Frenzied bag packing the night before going to the gym at 5:20ish am. Packing a bag of work clothes, another bag of tennis clothes, breakfast, lunch, snack before tennis. I was bound to forget something. I was hoping it would not be my pants! Somehow, I realized it as I was walking into the gym. Just a feeling. I confirmed that feeling in the locker room when I looked in my bag and there were no pants to be found. DOH! hmmmm.... what to do....

Two options. 1. Go home and change and incur the wrath of crazy time keeping boss by being an hour or more late. Downside - unpredictably tempered boss could lead to mental pain for the entire day or longer. 2. Wear the black yoga pants I have in my tennis bag and hope the top dresses it all up enough to pull it off. Downside - wearing form fitting yoga pants all day is a little unprofessional and I might get sent home to change by the dress code gestapo...

I opted for the yoga pants and stayed in my office most of the day only getting up when necessary so as to go unnoticed by the dress code police. sigh..... It worked like a charm but I did feel oddly uncomfortable all day thinking that people were wondering what was up with the tight pants and just not saying anything to me. Paranoid and proud, that is me. For the record, they were not compression tights - I am not an idiot :) If that were the case, I would have definitely gone home!

On the bright side - there is a meet and greet for a triathlon club literally 3 miles from my house on Satruday so I am very excited... will fill you in later.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Its baaaack!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

the day the reality of long runs set in...

You know, I thought what I had done before seemed like long runs. Not so. Today was a long run. (or long in my book). The reality of how long 17 miles is and how long that might actually take to run hit me like a brick wall today. My last long run post-stress fracture was 13 miles last week so 17 was probably stretching it but I have about 4 weeks to Disney and really wanted to get the miles up there in the next 3 weeks so I could do a shorter distance run the last weekend before Disney. I have been playing catch up ever since the doctor released me to start running again so I think this weekend should put me back on schedule. Seventeen miles is probably a stretch going from a distance of 13 so I hope I don't regret this later this week (or later tonight, or in a few minutes when I try to get up from this chair...).

In all honesty, the hardest part - as usual - is getting out of the house to do it. Not doing it was not an option as a three plus hour run can only be done on the weekend and today is Sunday. I knew it might be mentally difficult to keep running for 17 miles without a group for distraction. (I couldn't meet with the group yesterday as the timing didn't work out my tennis match so I was on my own today). Given it was all about self motivation today, I had 4 different options for routes in my head. I finally settled on Stone Mountain thinking that I could at least stop at the car every 5 miles and get a drink, GU Gel, whatever. Even as I rolled in to the parking lot at Stone Mountain at about 9:15 I was debating which routes within the park I would run. I finally opted for 3 loops around the mountain with an extra couple of miles tacked on the end and then walk back to the car to cool down.

Miles 1 through 5 were OK, mostly just trying to warm up. It was 40ish and windy this morning which normally I think is perfect running weather but is chilly once you get started. I stopped at mile 5, quick drink of Gatorade and gel and kept going. (Oh, quick stop at the bathroom, made the mistake of looking in the mirror - you know I really should run a brush through my hair before I run!) I felt really good on miles 6 through 10. I have no idea why. Maybe all the conditioning is paying off and that leg is no longer torture. Stopped again at mile 10 for another drink and a gel. Miles 11 - 14 still felt good. I think I had that "i am on the last loop" high. At around mile 14.5 I was really feeling it (and probably this is why all the plans only increase mileage by 1-2 miles a week...). My knees were starting to hurt, my crazy big toe joint (I am pretty sure that is the medical name for it) was hurting. The wheels weren't really falling off the cart but the run went from comfort mode to "let's just finish this thing" mode. I FINALLY made it to 17 and started the 1.5ish mile walk back to the car. In retrospect, a dumb idea. It is still 40ish and windy. I don't run in a jacket just a long sleeve tech shirt and knee tights. I cooled down pretty quick and could not convince my legs to run to the car to warm up (darn legs have a mind of their own...) so it was a pretty darn cold walk back to the car. BRRRRRR... The run today was right around 3 hours by the time I got back to my car including the walk.

The run wasn't all torture, don't get me wrong, it was really just that last little bit. I was happy that I felt good right up to the end and honestly, that was my own fault for trying to tack on too much mileage. On the up side, I have gotten really good at attacking the hills from running at Stone Mountain (trust, me there are plenty of them - if you run one direction it is slightly less uphill but for some reason I decided to run the extra hilly way today). I think what works best is to just look down and keep your normal pace and not even look up until you think you are almost there. I know some people have little mantras they repeat when going up a hill. For me, I just put my head down and keep going like it is flat pavement.

I was also working on taking it easy and pacing. I really don't want to start out fast at Disney and expend all my energy in the first half. I would like to run the whole way without long walking breaks if possible. I have been reading a lot of race reports that talk about how surprised runners are that most people are walking at mile 22ish. I want to still feel good to run at that point so I think pacing will be important. I want to enjoy it and not kill myself. It will be my birthday after all!

Not much else to report. I got some major cleaning done downstairs yesterday - FINALLY moved some items upstairs that needed to be moved oh - I don't know - maybe three years ago. ahhhh... DONE! I am doing some cookie baking this afternoon in what time is left after my all morning running adventure. Tomorrow is boot camp in the AM, tennis in the PM. Oh! I made the mistake of looking at my 401k account Friday. For the love of God, don't do it! I am not naive, I know the market is waaaaay down. I just had chosen not to calculate what that might mean to me personally. All I can say is WOW. I will not look at it again. Maybe until I retire.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Time for new shoes...

I had to break down and buy a new pair of running shoes today. My best guess is I probably have between 400-450 miles on them and the tread was starting to show wear so it was time. I had good luck with this last pair so went with the same kind only new :)

Not much else to report.... Although, subconsciously I must have some worry going on about Disney. I had a dream last night that I was at Disney and they were pressuring me to buy all these things like running shoes and clothes. It was stressing me out - so much so that I woke up in one of those panics where it takes forever to get back to sleep. I may be the only person in the world to have a nightmare about the "happiest place on earth".

I ran 3 miles today. It was supposed to be 5 according to plan. Oh well... I was tired. Boot camp tomorrow! I am excited to go back. I skipped Wednesday because I literally had worked my triceps so hard on Monday that I could not bend my arms. OUCH!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Nothing like tennis in the winter!

I headed out tonight for yet another match. With this rain this weekend, I have tennis for the next four nights which, combined with boot camp and my running plan in the mornings makes for a long day. Tonight's match was particularly brutal as it was in the low 40s. Yes, we play outdoors. No, we don't have indoor courts. Tennis is a year round event in Atlanta. It does get cold here but not cold enough to hae an abundance of indoor courts around town. I can think of maybe 2 or 3 in the entire metro area. So you play in the cold or you take the season off and sit inside. I chose playing in the cold.

Tonight was one of those matches where you wonder if you are burning the candles a little too far on both ends to be effective. I just didn't play that well AT ALL. I felt tired (and I guess who wouldn't after getting up at 4:44 and starting the day with a boot camp workout). It was just frustrating because you see your friends getting better and moving on but I stay in the same level, hovering near the top of my division but never quite finishing it off. It is just the reality of having too many things I am trying to accomplish at one time so I can't give enough attention to one or the other to really excel. I feel like I have whined about this to the blogworld before... So. boo hoo me. I am over it now. Just the reality of needing to let one of the tennis leagues go so I have some time to actually rest and not drag my lifeless body from one activity to another. Maybe one day I will take my own advice and take a break. Maybe... someday.

Oh! Boot camp instructor. I really like him. Today he recounted all the foods he made for Thanksgiving dinner. A trainer that eats real food on occasion - nice! The only downside is I have this craving for sausage balls that is not going away... I am not sure what region(s) of the country know the delicious goodness of a sausage ball but I have met several midwesterners who have never had this little bite of heaven. Basically, it is sausage, bisquick and cheese formed into bite size balls and baked. YUMMMMMY!

Double oh! On another front, I realized tonight that my Get Fit Club meets through April so I might be able to get some long runs in with them before Disney which is sweet because who really wants to run for 3 to 4 hours by themselves? That might take a little more focus than I might have. The downside is they run on Saturday mornings across town which kind of conflicts with ... tennis. Yes, the conflict again. I may have to sit myself out of the lineup a week or two to get a run in. We'll see. I'm excited to find out this nugget of information as I thought I had fallen too far behind when I had my stress fracture to keep running with them.

Tomorrow. 6 miles according to Hal Higdon, tennis practice at night.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

and the weekend of gluttony is over...

I had to work on Friday so I truly only had a normal two day weekend but it seemed like four days. Perhaps the lack of outside activity. For some reason, we ended up with an inordinate amount of food in the house this weekend. Not unusual if, for example, I had actually cooked a Thanksgiving meal. Unusual, however, because I did not cook a Thanksgiving meal yet we have so much food in the house I feel that I need an intervention.

It has rained here pretty much all weekend long. It is amazing but I actually got a tennis match in today. If you lived here you might find that amazing as well seeing as there was barely an hour in which it did not rain this weekend or at least was completely soaked on the courts. My partner and our opponents were determined to get the match in. Normally, I am that determined as well but was in no mood for it today. We had already clinched the division earlier in the week and this match would only help our playoff seeding so spending 90 minutes rolling the courts dry and then play the match in 45 degree drizzly weather did not seem all that appealing. At any rate, I put on my happy face and commenced to squeegeeing the courts. We won the match, 6-2, 6-3 so should have home court advantage for the playoffs next week. YAY :) I was supposed to play a second match at 3:00 but that one was cancelled due to the rain.

Besides that only bit of movement today, I was pretty much a slug the rest of the day. Thank God no one shook any salt on me or I would have shriveled up and died right there on the couch!

I have a new outlook for next week, I am shaking off the pudge and the gluttony and am ... get this... bringing my breakfast and lunch to work! I know! What a genious plan! normally I end up buying both meals out since I leave the house so early and don't have time to throw anything together. This week, my new healthy self, packed up some granola, raisins/craisins, yogurt and oatmeal to last the week along with a lunch for tomorrow. I am quite proud. Can't you tell?

Tomorrow: I am excited about boot camp - can't wait to tell boot camp guy that I broke 2 hours on Thurusday! I also have a singles tennis match tomorrow night. It is supposed to be cold, cold, cold tomorrow - some chance of a "snowy mix" which doesn't happen here much so I might break out the hand warmers :)

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thank God for Rainy Days!

Today was a washout. I believe the official forecast was 100% chance of rain - and it did. Normally, I would be upset on some level that my tennis match for the day was cancelled or that it was too rainy to get in a good run outside (yes, I know you can run in the rain - I mostly choose not to - or at least today anyhow). Today was not one of those days. I honestly had some sense of relief that I was forced to stay home.

I got so many of those little crazy things done that make you feel better. I actually cleaned out 2 pantries and my freezer and decided that I have enough food in there to live off of for the next month. I am going to see how long I can go without going to the grocery store! I put all my supplies of GU gels, LARAbars and shotblocks in one location. Again, from all the free samples, I should have no need to purchase any of these items for quite some time!

I started planning my races for 2009. I currently have a crazy thought of doing back to back marathons the 2 weekends following Disney. That is a big WE'LL SEE. Keep in mind I haven't run one marathon yet... I got the idea from reading a blog about this woman who is running marathons in all the 50 states. It was the same kind of "if she can do it, why can't I" sort of thought that caused me to sign up for the 70.3 in Augusta. Not that I am running in all 50 states, it was more the multiple marathon thing that caught my attention. The two post-Disney are in Georgia so it really isn't much of a stretch logistically. Whether my legs can do it is another story...

On the triathlon front, I am trying to decide which races I want to work in. Most likely I will do the Acworth Women's Tri and Callaway. I want to do the Emory Aquathlon if they have it again as well an Olympic distance. I am not sure if I will do the Iron Girl again. Part of me wants to volunteer to help out instead but am not certain. I may end up signing up for it.

I also watched Made of Honor today. Completely predictable but cute. A chick-flick to be sure but I enjoyed it. It is very My Best Friend's Weddingish. Guys - not the movie for you... just saying...

and to round out my day as well as get rid of that leftover turkey... (Did I mention I cooked a turkey after the half marathon on Thursday?) I made turkey and dumplings and a few sides (Cranberry Waldorf Salad and Cream Cheese Coconut Pound Cake). OK, all that realllly doesn't go together but it was more of things I was craving. You can see why I have gained that 5 pounds....

Tomorrow, I have 6 miles according the Hal Higdon Plan. I also have 2 tennis matches if the rain clears up. I am hoping to get them in this time as the whole re-scheduling is a nightmare!

Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A great way to start the day!

Well, I have another half in the books! After all the errands were run and chores as done as they were going to get post-work yesterday, I went to bed. At 8:30. This is one of those weeks where the 4:44 AM alarm was getting to me already. Normally, the "I'm so tired I can't stand myself" doesn't kick in until Friday night. I think the addition of boot camp caused it to rear its ugly head early this week. Not that I have any problem at all going to be bed before most 2nd graders. I truly don't. I love sleep. I am one of those people that needs 8 hours a night. I just do. Rick told me once about this show he saw on how the more sleep you get the less chance you have of getting a heart attack. To quote him, "I guess you won't be dying of a heart attack". True.

So... back to the story.... in bed at 8:30, three alarm clocks set. I have this habit of turning them off in my sleep which can be a problem. Up at 4:44 to meet my Dad at 5:30 for a ride to the MARTA station. He dropped me at the starting point which happened to be close to Chamblee. Loads of people there trying to find a place to park, etc. Having someone drop me was the way to do it. My Dad had run the race before and suggested it. Normally, I would not ask ANYONE to take me ANYWHERE that early (unless I was having the aforementioned heart attack) but he is one of those people that gets up crazy early anyhow and it was his idea so there you have it.

I got there around 6:20ish, dropped my bag off at bag check. This was the third half marathon I have done this year and my second race that had 8,000+ runners so the only comparison I had in my head was the ING I had done in March. The main thing I remember from that race was being absolutely freezing from the time I finished until I got home so this time I packed a jacket and sweatpants in my bag for bag check. After bag check, I made stop number one to the port-o-lets and walked to the race start. My corral was at the end so it was easy to find - right in front of the police car and ambulance ready to scoop up the stragglers. Nothing like a little pressure to keep the chase vehicles off your butt.

I located my corral and pretty much just stood and waited. I had about 20 minutes to kill. It was freezing so my main goal was to stay warm. I had brought some gloves with me that I got for free at the expo and a pack of hand warmers which helped. I shoved the hand warmers inside the gloves and actually ran that way for the first 5 miles. Pretty crafty if I do say so myself. The last few minutes pre-race were brutal as I pretty much was in full on shiver mode where you just can't stop shaking from the cold.

At 7:08 we start inching forward! The first several corrals started at 7:00 and then the last sections got their start at 7:08. I am not sure what the thought process is with the 8 minute lag but I am sure there is a method to it. I took off pretty fast to get out of the crowd. I was a little worried because my legs were feeling pretty tight pre-race from my boot camp workouts but my legs actually felt good. The first 4 miles just flew by which was kind of odd, I have never really had that sensation before of not being aware of what mile I was on. I kind of liked it! Somewhere around mile 6 or 7 I did start to feel tired. I think we were getting into the hilly section of the run at that point. This race was about as hilly as ZOOMA was a couple weeks back. ZOOMA probably had more steep hills; today's race had longer gradual hills. The race was billed as a "flat start, uphill middle and downhill finish" which was pretty accurate except the finish, while technically was downhill, had quite a few uphills leading up to it. Mile 10-11 I kept wondering where the downhill section was, we have to be getting to it soon I kept telling myself. HA. There were probably two quick downhills followed by more steady uphills and then the finish.

I made it through the finish, got my medal, my mylar blanket and head over to get my bag I left in gear check. I am anticipating the wait of a lifetime to pick up my bag. Again, comparing this to ING in which I had waited at least 30 minutes to get my bag. The track club has this gear check thing down! The bags were arranged by race number and it was self serve. Find your number, get your bag. I walked right up and had my bag in 2 seconds. I found Heaven in the Turner Field parking lot! I got a picture taken for memory's sake - hopefully when I am in the home for the memory challenged old ladies down the street these photos will make me happy :) I also grabbed a free pair of running gloves courtesy of The Weather Channel. (They were free, I did not mean that to sound like I grabbed them off the table when no one was looking).

Dad was to pick me up at the MARTA station at 10:15 so I headed from Turner Field to the nearest train station which was about a mile out. There were lots of runners still finishing the race - I even got a shout out from the Metcalfs! I must be easily recognizable. I swear I always look for my friends I know that are in my various races and never see anyone. I always hear later that so and so saw me as I was at the trunaround or getting to the race in my car or, or... The Metcalfs are running Disney as well so maybe I will make an effort to find them there!

As you will recall at the ING, I had that weird fainting issue on the train going home. I am proud to say, I DID NOT do a repeat performance this time. I really think I have gotten the race nutrition thing under control. (or at least for a half marathon - a full might be different). I pretty much make sure I hydrate extremely well the day before (which accounts for multiple trips to the port-o-lets pre-race), don't drink any caffeine the night before or morning of and take a GU gel about halfway into the race. That ritual seems to have solved my issues which is a big relief because that ING post-race was enough to make you think you might not want to do a long race again.

Back at the train station... I had the foresight to get a train pass at the expo which turned out to be brilliant! There was quite the line for the machines to get a train token. The cruel twist here was the UP escalator to the train was broken so I had to walk up to what amounted to about 4 flights of stairs. Post-race, that is Just cruel. I won't lie. It hurt. Once I got done dragging my lifeless legs up the stairs, I had a 10 second wait for the train and was on my way home. As I got off the train, I exit to the right expecting to wait a few minutes for my Dad to show up. As I was walking to the parking lot, Dad had just arrived and was walking up the sidewalk to find me. PERFECT TIMING!

On the way home, I made the mistake of stopping for my daily trip to the grocery. It is not like there is no food at home, I just always get something in my head that I can't live without and I stop. Do yourself a favor and DO NOT got to the grocery store after you have run 13 miles. No good can come of it. Trust me on this one.

All in all the race was a good one, I would definitely do it again. It was overall a much better experience than ING (Not that the ING race itself wasn't fantastic - it was - just personally I had my issues that day - it being my first race and all). So.... guess what people............. my chip time was...... 1:59:51! BUH-BYE 2-hour mark. YAY YAY YAY.

Off to take a nap!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tomorrow is the Atlanta Half Marathon. I will be getting up bright and early to head to the start line! Yesterday, I braved the mass of people at the expo picking up their race numbers and SWAG. I must have forgotten to submit an estimated finish time because I am in the last corral. Or... maybe I did submit that finish time and I am in the last corral.... Either way. In the back of the pack for the start. I believe there are about 9,000 runner total. There is a full marathon being run at the same time but most of the runners are doing the half. There were TONS of people at the expo and I went during the day. I can't imagine what the crowd was like after work.

I got in another boot camp workout this morning. It was great even the second time around although my arms and legs are feeling it now. In looking back at my workout calendar, I had really only been running and not much else for a couple of months so working in some other workout types for arms, shoulders, et al was much needed. I was actually surprised at how hard it was getting back into it. I have that "ouch, it hurts to cough" feeling in my abs right now. The sign of a good workout I suppose...

Have a good Thanksgiving! I am folding some clothes, doing some dishes and going to bed for my 5 AM wake up call!

Monday, November 24, 2008


As you might recall, I signed up for bootcamp last Wednesday. Since it is a M-W-F class, i could have gone Friday. I did not. I was tired. (I am starting to notice a trend here - yawn!). Today was my first day and IT WAS AWESOME! Absolutely worth it!

I am on the introverted side when you first get to know me so today was a little like first day of school, where do I go, what if they cancelled and forgot to tell me, all that neurotic stuff. As I was filling my water bottle, I hear, "KAREN!". I turned around and it was my instructor. We had never met before but he had looked up my file at LFT (the file includes a photo - not the best one either but apparently enough to recognize me at 6:00 am with bags under my eyes). All the freakish shy-girl worries instantly gone! Ahhhh.

The group makes their way over to the elliptical machine. I'm thinking, I got this. I have been running for months. I have been running long distances. Is this the best you got? Well, apparently I have not been pushing myself and it showed a little. They cranked that elliptical up to level 10 and had to maintain 105 strides per minute. Pant, pant. Every 3 minutes, we hop off the elliptical and do a variety of squat thrusts, push ups, etc. That was the first 15 minutes. Then we headed over for ab work, shoulder work, lunges, running up and down flights of stairs with 20 pound medicine balls above our heads. OMG. Exactly what I needed. Variety and someone to push me a little harder than I would push myself. I can't wait until Wednesday!

Tennis for tonight was cancelled due to rain. On the bright side, one less bag to pack for tomorrow since I didn't use it tonight :)

As it turns out, I did not get to stay home from work today but did manage to get an extra hour tomorrow at lunch free of charge so I can go pick up my race number downtown for Thursday's half marathon. I love it when bossman is in a good mood!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dear Bossman...

Dear Bossman,

As you might have noticed I burned through almost all of my 23 days of vacation this year. I have, I don't know, four hours left to last me until December 31st. Yes, I know I get Thanksgiving and Christmas off but I am tired. I am just not feeling like making the trip to work tomorrow. Before you call HR to decide how to handle this situation which might involve paperwork and my permanent file, let me just run down how my weekend went. I am thinking maybe another day off would put me back in tip top performance shape which would not only help the company but help you as well so you don't have to be around me when I am not at my best. Let's just say being crabby is not normally part of my charm. Or maybe you didn't know that. It can become endearing once you get used to it I suppose. :)

So, just to run it down for you... I woke up on Saturday morning and had to get started on catching up on my TIVO. Lord knows, all hell breaks lose if I run out of space on the recorder. Even though Grey's Anatomy has admittedly been a little odd lately, I still have to watch it. Yes, I am not sure if I can buy the fact that Izzy is having a relationship with her dead boyfriend or that the other interns performed an appendectomy on one of their own just to gain some skills but these are current events, water cooler talk, if you will and I must keep informed if I am to manage my team effectively, don't you agree?

Between episodes of Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty and Top Chef I had to attend to my mental well being which meant picking up the clutter in the lower level of my house before I go insane and have to call the Employee Assistance Program for some sort of mental referral. Nothing says "this girl is a pig" like a house with junk strewn about. I think of it as saving the company money since I didn't ahve to use my EAP benefit. Just a thought.

At 11:00, I had to start getting ready for my tennis match. As the captain of the team, these ladies need me to be there to offer the appropriate cheering and ear to bend when things just aren't going their way. I also had to track down a player or two who were late for the match. Oddly, much like my job at work only without tennis balls. Or cute clothes. Or fun. (just kidding there...). Again, sort of training for my job. Work related, I'm thinking.

After the match, I had to stop by Target to get some running tights. Seriously, how I am to keep from using a sick day if I am freezing my arse off every morning when I run? Yes, you can view this something I am doing for the company. Not like feverish Fiona who comes in to work sick as a dog to avoid using a sick day. No, not me, I am planning ahead by buying running tights. Oh - and those magic gloves!

Once I got home, I had to further stimulate the economy by eating out. Longhorn, yumm-o! I am just oing my part to keep the financial machine running so none of us bankers lose our jobs. After dinner, I caught up on my reading - the paper, Southern Living, People, In Style. All the classics. Great fodder for those awkward moments spent on conference calls when not everyone has joined yet.

I tried to go to bed around 11:00 to catch up on my sleep and avoid having to ask for another day off but woke to the heat blasting at 75 degrees at 2:00 in the morning. Choking. Finally back to sleep at 3:30ish (or the last time I checked).

Today, I was really tired but woke up anyhow at 8:00 am so I get a run in before my tennis match this afternoon. Again, thinking of the company by staying healthy. Even though my insurance premiums are increasing by $90 a month in January, I am doing my part not to add to the financial burden. A quick 5 miles around my mountain, dash into the grocery for a few items for dinner and home. Just enough time to make breakfast, do the dishes, get a load of laundry going and head to my match which was 20 miles away.

Finished the match at 3:00 and head home. Stop by the grocery AGAIN. (Seriously, how is it I cannot get everything in one trip?). More laundry. Dinner. Made vegetable soup to last the week, a pumpkin pie/cake thingy, pineapple casserole and a ham. Did the dishes again, took out the trash. More laundry. (side note, the laundry would be much easier if I felt confident to toss everything in the drier - I probably have more clothes that line dry than machine dry at this point - crazy). The laundry would take less time if we went back to the casual dress code. Jeans can be tossed in the dryer. Less time spent doing laundry, more time relaxing, less whiny employees. The circle of life. What else this evening... Oh, yes - I did the nightly ritual of packing my gym bag for in the morning and tennis bag for tomorrow night. Later, I have to watch Dexter. I just do. One of those family togetherness things.

As you can see, I was quite busy all weekend. I need a nap. I will be getting up at 4:44 for boot camp tomorrow morning and will be there until 7:00 so feel free to call me on my cell phone. Maybe if I can't get the day off, I could just shut my office door and pretend I am on a conference call? I'll bring an alarm clock just in case.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.

Your employee of 13 years (but who is counting),

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I love a good deal...

I stopped into Target to find some running tights. They had two pair in the store. Both in my size. They were marked down from $29 to $12.48. Sweet! :)

From across the aisle while I was perusing the racks, I overheard a little kid with great excitement in his voice: "Grandma, Grandma, I found some in your size, extra, extra, extra large!" Poor grandma! It did make me laugh out loud.

I didn't get a run in today. I opted to stay home this morning and clean the house a bit before tennis. It was waaaay out of control. Still is out of control but slightly more bearable. It made me feel better anyhow! Oh and don't picture me down on my hands and knees scrubbing anything, this was more like picking up things here and there in between commercials while I caught up on Ugly Betty and Top Chef. No matter how it gone done, it got done. Enuf said.

So... tomorrow more tennis and hopefully (definitely) a run at Stone Mountain in the morning before tennis.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Isn't it ironic...

Don't you think? A little too ironic... Why is it you can run a gazillion miles and still not be able to eat what you want? It just really is not fair! I woke up this morning to go on my run, stepped on the scale (even though I knew I would not like what I saw) and was horrified to find that I have gained 5 pounds over the last 2 weeks. I fell into the trap of thinking (OK, wishful thinking) that running gave me freedom to eat anything that struck my fancy. It does not... So, after my run this morning I trotted upstairs at Lifetime and signed up for Boot Camp. I needed a little something to give me a kick and keep me from getting bored with running so back to the M-W-F group class. I feel better already. I am in that "need a kick in
the arse" phase of my workouts again. I also think I am tired of working out
alone - it will be nice to have to be accountable again. Oh and the food thing
- my evil archenemy... I am just going to have to be more conscious about it.
Darn my gene pool! As Nancy Kerrigan would say, "WHHHHHHHY MEEEEEE...."

Another random observation.... I don't know why but I assume that no one I know would ever 1. see me or 2. recognize me out there on the road as I am running. Three different people said they saw me at various stages of my run this morning. Pretty funny - and there I thought I had the invisible cloak on!

Seven miles in the books for today and one tennis match (a win - cha-ching!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

and just like that I am out of the playoffs...

Oh well. My opponent was good. Darn her. 6-4, 2-6, 4-6. It was a 2 hour match. Lots of good points. I am tired. At some point I twisted my back. I am getting old! A 45 minute drive to Cumming, GA to get beat. The last time I went to Cumming was for another playoff match and I lost that one too. I believe the motto painted on their water tower is "Cumming - where playoff dreams come to die". HA. I will say there is nothing worse than the looooong 35 mile drive home after losing a match. On the bright side, that gives me plenty of time for other activities! OH! and another bright side - I finally got my tax return today - WOO HOO! Now I am anxiously awaiting my economic stimulus check. Yeah, I filed late - who has time for taxes with all of this running, tennis and triathlon business going on?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Zooma Race Report...

The tag line for the Zooma race is "women running rapidly". Well, OK... It might not have been all that rapid but they still gave me the cute necklace at the finish!

Karen W
age: 39
gender: F
overall place: 192 out of 769
division place: 27 out of 137
gender place: 165 out of 710
time: 2:01:59
pace: 9:19

As with most races, this one started with an alarm going off at 4:44 am. Why must every race begin at 7:00 am? Seriously. Yes, I understand logistics, blocking off roads so the runners don't get smashed in oncoming traffic. I get it. It sure does make you think twice about whether or not the post-race banana/bagel/t-shirt is worth it. I got up the minute the alarm went off and then proceeded to screw around on the internet for waaaay longer than I needed to. For some reason, whenever I get up early I feel the need to look at tennis scores from my various leagues - why??? I know. You are all thinking it. I could sleep 20 minutes longer and check the scores later in the day. It is my crazy morning ritual.

I pry my fingers away from the mouse and throw on the outfit that I chose the night before. I opted for knee tights and a long sleeve dri-fit shirt. I love these knee tights by the way.

There is a small pocket in the center of the back which is the perfect size for your car key and a GU gel. This was the first time I wore them and thought they were AWESOME. The official temp when I walked out the door this morning was 34 degrees so shorts/running skirts were not an option. I did not choose to bare my navel as the model did in the pic. I am not Brandi Chastain after all :)

After a short drive downtown I arrived around 6:15 to the race. For this race, that worked out perfectly. They wanted everyone at the start at 6:45 so that gave me plenty o' time. As I thought when I got my race number, the race was fairly small. There were about 700 participants in all which is schweet when it comes to parking. I was able to park steps away from the finish line. I made a quick visit to the port o let (in the pitch dark I might add which is not cool - not that I look in the hole if you know what I mean... but I do like to be able to see when I am in that green closet! Flashbacks to girl scout camp at Stone Mountain trying to find my way to the latrine in the middle of the night via the light of a tiny flashight.).

After I escaping the darkness of the port o let, I got in line for gear check which for some reason took forever even though there was only a handful of people in line. It was a blessing in disguise that it did take forever because as I am standing there a lightening bolt struck my stupid brain and made me question why in the world I would check my gear if my car is 50 feet away. So, brilliantly, I stepped out of line and took my bag back to my car. I was spoiled today by this luxury, this will NOT be the situation at the Atlanta Half Marathon next week!

By the time I unload my gear in the car and visit the port o let another time (again, still pretty dark in that closet), it is time to head to the start. No corrals based on time, no trying to wedge past people, no drama, plenty of personal space. I line up near the start and wait. I turn on my foot pod, get the tunes going and am ready to take off. As I am waiting, I am kind of shifting back and forth trying to not think about how I am freezing my arse off (I don't run in a jacket because I know the minute I take off I will be too hot so I wait, and freeze.) Unbeknownst to me at the time, my shifting is ticking off mileage on my foot pod so as I get into the race the mileage on my watch which is normally dead on doesn't agree with the mileage markers I am passing. When I pass mile marker 6 for example, my watch is showing 6.6 miles. I was convinced the race was marked wrong the whole way until later when I realized what had happened. DOH!

The race starts and I can get some heat going. Unlike the big races where you gradually shuffle your way to the start, once the gun goes off I am across the timing mat within 30 seconds. Love it! My initial plan was to just get moving enough to warm up as I was literally jaw-clenched, teeth chattering waiting for the start. I am not joking, it took about a mile to get all that worked out.

I was really relaxed. My plan was just finish and not try to break any records. As I have said before, that is always the plan and then my competitive spirit comes out....

For your entertainment, several shots of Atlanta...

Crossing the 17th street bridge. I think this was mile 1ish.

The "W" hotel. I like to think it was named after me...

Headed into a bridge. You can see the lack of runners... It was right after this point that the main pack was separating from me and I began to feel like I was running on my own. Funny how you think you are the last person in the race until you get to the turn around and get some perspective.

The touristy Atlanta landmarks... World of Coke and CNN Center. (Someone once compared me to Ted Turner - the man who started CNN - not because I am brilliant but because he is bi-polar. Ummm. Thanks. Not.)

As I turned the corner at mile 6, I was blinded by the sun. This picture doesn't really capture it but I felt like I was in a scene from Poltergeist. "Go to the light Carol Ann..."

and at mile 7.5ish. This was at the turn around. My own Olympic rings :) At this point, I got excited because I saw runners coming back so I thought I wasn't that far back after all. As it turned out, the turn around was a loop around Turner Field (where the Atlanta Braves play), you can imagine the size of the loop. All the way around the outside of Turner Field and the parking lots. sigh.

For the first 9 miles I really was just running my pace, not passing anyone, several people passing me and I am fine with it. You go on girls, I will catch up with you at the finish party. For some reason shortly after the turnaround, I got a second wind and picked up the pace. Either that or everyone else was getting tired. I passed a decent number of people in the last 4 miles which was good for me as I was a little concerned that my foot might start hurting or I might not be ready for the extra mileage yet. At mile 11.5 or so I remember thinking "lets go girls". (I talk to myself that way...). At that point I really kicked it into gear. The last half mile was building to a sprint with a full on sprint for the last quarter mile. I was actually surprised I had that much left in the tank at the end. I think it was the fact that I knew I was close to my PR of 2:05 and wanted to break it. 2:01! YAY YAY YAY.

At the post-race, I picked up my finishers necklace - which was pretty cute by the way.

and few other trinkets. I have been dying for a "stick" to work out my muscles so was uber excited when I saw they had a booth. I also picked up a couple more Bondi bands and a long sleeve shirt. any excuse to shop...

and this is me on the way home... at this point my heated seats are on high and heat on 80. Freezing... My brain must still be frozen for me to post this pic but who needs pride? (Note to self, Lancome sells eye cream - get thee some unless you like the look of those bags!)

I feel really good about the race. I had no pain in my foot, no pain in my knee (like I did in the ING) and felt strong running. Of course, there were times I was tired but didn't feel the overwhelming need to stop and walk. I might have walked about 10 seconds total and both times were on crazy hills. (the course was very hilly - not rolling lovely country hills but HILLS - there were more than a few stretches where I looked up and thought the race director was a sadist.) Even with the hills, I felt strong - I guess all those miles at Stone Mountain paid off. I felt great about the time, a real confidence booster! I am not sure I can imagine doing those miles after swimming a mile and biking 56 more but we will worry about that after the marathon when I start training for the IronMan.

I had several friends that were supposed to run the race but didn't see any of them which was kind of a bummer as it would have been a good "hang out with the girlfriends" race. I think a couple might have been scared off by the cold.

Since I spent 1400 calories in the morning, the only appropriate thing to do the rest of the day was dance it out...

or not :) really, I ate pizza and caught up on my guilty pleasure - The Biggest Loser. Is it wrong to eat like a pig while watching people try their hardest to lose weight? Yeah, maybe. I always feel guilty eating while I watch that show but can't get enough (of the show that is). There is no way I would get on TV in a sports bra and tights and step on a scale for the world to see. God bless them. I couldn't do it. For those of you who watch, thank gawd Brady got voted off! That Vicky girl is really hateful. I hope that is just the way she is being portrayed. I would hate to think she is really like that in life. Anyhoo... eating, watching tv, napping. That was my day!

Tomorrow... Playoffs for one of my singles tennis leagues. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

no rain today!...

We managed to get all the matches in today without any rain - YAY! I lost my match but the team won overall so I'll take it.

I am starting to get a tiny bit nervous about tomorrow. Not too over the top, mostly the getting up early making sure I have everything I need (GU gels, check-in bag, chip, etc.) just the kind of things you don't worry about when you run on your own but can't leave the house without tomorrow. Oh yeah, and of course figure out what to wear! Not necessarily in a girlie - "whatever shall I wear to look cute while I am sweating" sort of way (although that does factor into it, I will not lie) but more of a it is going to be cold do I dare wear shorts, long sleeves or short sleeves, don't forget to bring a jacket for the check in bag, do I need gloves, sort of way. My most vivid memory of the last half marathon I did was freezing to death on public transit on the way home (of course the near passing out from low blood sugar is there too but mostly am worried about the freezing/miserable part).

Notice I didn't mention anything about being nervous about the run itself. Funny how your perspective changes. In March for the ING, the half marathon was an event, an achievement of a lifetime. Now it is just a means to getting the required long run in on my path to the Disney marathon in January. It probably helps mentally that I don't see this as a big deal. My biggest worry is not forgetting my jacket. If that is my biggest problem, then that ain't too bad! Pace-wise, I'm guessing I'll be somewhere in the high 9/low 10 minute neighborhood so am planning on a 2:15ish finish.

On tap for tonight, gathering up my things so I can get up and out the door early, early, early tomorrow and then off to bed :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

what is in your drawers...

One of my friends from work was fired a couple of weeks ago. The man is always trying to keep her down! No, seriously, a loooong story but we both kind of saw it coming. In our office when someone is fired, let go, terminated, given the boot, however you like to say it, they are generally called into a meeting held via conference call with HR. While they are in this meeting, their items are frantically packed by some poor manager into one of those boxes that the packs of paper come in. So everyone around the office has this unnatural fear of managers walking around with empty paper boxes (even if they are headed to the trash). It would be funny if it weren't sad. Like I said before, I might as well work on the set of The Office.

Leading up to the firing, my friend had been cleaning out her office and even went so far as to create a last will and testament so that all her belongings that she wanted would get put in the paper box and not the trash. Today as I am sitting in my office, I got to thinking - what would someone think if they had to clean out the life I have accumulated there over the past 13 years... you tell me...

First off, this is my food stash. Can anyone say eating disorder? Seriously, you would think I had at one point lived in Ethiopia and wasn't sure if I was going to get another meal. Peanut butter, oatmeal, clif bars, assorted candy... Granted, the gi-normous candy bag is for keeping my candy dish stocked (I read an article that this gets you better raises - I find that this only makes you popular with certain people and doesn't necessarily help the raises but it does not keep me from buying my boss his favorite candy each year around review time). Anyhoo... there is enough food in here to keep me alive or in a diabetic coma for days.

The over-organized and extensive collection of writing pads and stikcy notes. This really shows my OCD side, don't you agree?

On the other side, my assorted toys. I am not sure why I have these but, seriously, who doesn't have a need for a fake wireless microphone?? It has come in handy more times than you might believe. It makes it so much easier to write someone up if you pretend you are on a talk show. Ok, maybe not in that scenario but I have used the microphone plenty... My flying monkey that has rubber bands for arms so you can shoot it across the room while it squeals. Perfect.

Yeah, I might be embarrassed to have someone rifling through my things :)

So back to my running. I really didn't run much at all today. A pitiful 1.85 miles. Almost not even worth getting out of the car for in my estimation. Whatever. I did it. I am thinking about signing back up for boot camp. I am keeping up with my running OK but am not feeling motivated AT ALL. This must change! Sunday is my Zooma women's half-marathon for which I am quite excited. My last (and only other) half was somewhere in the 2:05 range. I think I might be slower this time around with the stress fracture factored in and all so am hoping for somewhere in the 2:15 neighborhood.

I am a little concerned that there might not be all that many runners at this thing. Note my race number... 164. Wow.

Maybe I was just an early entry. Either way, as long as I get the "cute, custom designed necklace" as promised at the finish and luna chews along the race course what do I care? Seriously, that is the main reason I signed up - for the necklace. It called me like a gift with purchase does at the makeup counter. I don't need or even use a single thing in the gift bag but whatever it is, I can't resist it. Clever, those marketing people...

Tomorrow, tennis. I am hoping the rain will stop in time. Nothing is more painful than trying to re-schedule a match for 16 people. Ciao!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

what a great day...

Yesterday was pretty much tennis. As the captain of my team, I stick around from the time the matches start until they end which in the case of yesterday was The other team wanted to play one match 2 hours early which happened to be mine which meant I played my match at 11:00 and then had to stick around until the other matches started at 1:00. All five lines were finally over around 5:00. The team won 4 out of 5 lines ... it was our first match of the USTA season so it was good to start with a win.

On to today... Since tennis ate up all of yesterday, that meant I had to get my long run in today. I got up at 8:00ish and headed for Stone Mountain. I wasn't really "feeling it" but knew I had to get the run in so thought it best to go for the long route which is around the mountain and the golf course. It is basically an 8 mile loop to which I added another three miles to make my required 11 miles (I say that as if I am being graded on my mileage or am accountable to someone for the miles... truly no one cares but me...that is my type A personality coming out - if I didn't do the 11 I am sure there would be a self flogging later). so... today was all about 11. Queue the video for my sesame street generation. All you gen x'ers feel free to sing along. I pretty much sang this as I was running. or not.

and another for good measure.

So here is my run in pics...

Mile 1. The Christmas in November tree.

Mile 2 was an "Indian pow-wow" in back of the Antebellum plantation. There wasn't much picture worthy happening. Perhaps they were all sleeping.

Mile 3 ish

Mile 4 just past the golf clubhouse. This is the back of Stone Mountain.

Mile 5 trying to distract myself by taking pictures of my feet while hoofing it up a hill. It worked.

More mile 5ish

Shortly after those last pics I came up on a guy who was walking in the same direction I was running. The back stretch I was on is the road less traveled so you see very few people back there (I know - danger Will Robinson!) so because of that, as I was approaching this guy from about 50 feet behind I notice something shiny and red in the back pocket. I thought maybe it was a wrench. How odd for a walker to carry a wrench. I immediately try to develop a plan in case he hits me with the wrench and drags me into the woods. The best thing my tired mind could come up with was to take his picture so if they found my camera later he could be indentified. Clearly, I don't do my best thinking one hour into a run. At any rate, as I got closer it turned out it was a coke bottle in his back bottle. A plastic one. Crisis averted, I will not be on CSI Stone Mountain.

Shortly after I passed the coke cola walker, it was up another hill or two.

Quick drink of water at mile 7ish

My chariot awaits at mile 11 :)

We had our season ending tennis party for ALTA this afternoon so once I got home from the run it was a quick shower, quick eat, quick glance in the supermodel mirror and on my way. (I could sell this mirror for a million dollars. I got it from Tar-jay some time ago and the reflection makes you look tall and thin - like a supermodel. So if you are ever feeling not so cute you just need to look in the mirror and you instantly become America's Next Top Model.)

One of my teammates put on the party and did an excellent job with the food, margaritas and decorations.

Goody bags for all...

and of course, my gifts for being captain - like race day goody bags but better :)

So, all in all, a very eventful day. Tomorrow, not so much although I am looking forward to Tuesday as that means another day off :)