Friday, October 31, 2008

what is up with my tennis game...

I think I am getting old. As I am losing my tennis match last night, my inclination was to blame my inability to see at night. I think that most people have that problem so that can't be my excuse. Ok, maybe I am getting old. sigh... I do think that with all the running, et al. my tennis game is suffering. I have not put in nearly the amount of time that I would have in the past and it is starting to show. Don't get me wrong, there are no plans to suddnely add a barrage of tennis lessons or matches to my calendar, just an observation, and something that I will just have to learn to accept. I can't have 18 hobbies at once and expect to excel at all of them. Shocking, I know. Sometimes a girl just needs a cold dose of reality :)

I have decided to do the Atlanta Track Club run at Stone Mountain tomorrow. It will definitely help get me back into double digit mileage to have some folks for distraction. My Dad tells me that he is a timer so I expect to see him standing on the side of the road shouting out times. or something like that. I am looking forward to getting back on track. I have gotten into a habit of hitting the snooze 18 times in the morning and have talked my self out of morning runs the last 2 days. During my last outside morning run, I managed to spook myself and haven't run outside since even though I think everyone will agree that running on a treadmill for more than a mile is BOOOOOORRRRRRING. When I run it is particularly dark and honestly is somewhat deserted in sections. I happened to be listening to a radio segment on ghost hunters so the combination of that and knowing that running in a deserted area is not particularly wise freaked me out. I am hoping when the time changes it won't be as dark at my normal running time so I can resume the outdoor thing.

Off to work...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

a few things you might not know...

10 years ago I was....
Desperately trying to finish my undergrad degree after 10 years of trying. I was a non-traditional student, working full time, taking a few classes here and there until I finally made it to the end. I had 1 month to go so truth be told was coasting to a much anticipated finish. Thank God I had to presence of mind to jump right into graduate school or I might still be trying to finish that today! (The graduate degree only took 2 years much to my relief!)

5 things on my to-do list today...
Sigh, what isn't on my to-do list?
1. Clean the house! Seriously, do you think I have time to clean with all the running and tennis? ha.
2. Start studying for my PHR exam. (It is a human resources certification - I passed the test once and then failed to keep up with the continuing ed credits to avoid another test due to a change in my job responsibilities. The test is in January.)
3. Make a cake to take to work on Friday for Halloween "treat day". (Basically, an excuse for everyone to eat alllllll daaaaaaay loooooonnnnnng at work. I am making red velvet cake - yummers!).
4. Get my workout bag ready for in the morning, my tennis bag ready for tomorrow night and food for breakfast and dinner packed and ready to go tomorrow AM - a nightly ritual.
5. Catch up on Tivo (My favorite device of all time!)

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire...
1. Pay off my student loans (yes, 10 years later...)
2. Invest some cash for a rainy day (booooring, but necessary!)
3. Buy Rick a red, ZR1 corvette
4. Go to France with my friend Theresa and drag her over to England with me for a side trip.
5. Learn how to be a massage therapist. Just cuz.

5 places I have lived... (prepare to be dazzled by my ability to stay in one place - ha! Even the spots in Georgia where I have lived are all within about 10 miles of each other)
1. Georgia
2. Mississippi (for all of 3-4 months as a child)
3. Georgia
4. Georgia
5. Georgia

5 jobs I have had...
1. Burger King (I ran the hamburger side because the cheeseburger side was for more advanced employees. I do not miss smelling like a french fry when I leave work - or at least I don't think I smelled like a fry when I left work today...)
2. Target (formerly Richway - I still love that store...)
3. Chuck E. Cheese / Showbiz Pizza (occasionally, I dressed up like Billy Bob the Bear for kid's parties)
4. Mitchell Formalwear (I spent 1 day there steam pressing bar codes on their entire inventory of tuxedo jackets - the temp agency forgot to tell me to "dress down" so I was in a dress and heels. You can imagine.)
5. and then I moved into the upscale world of banking where I reside today :)

So... on tap for tomorrow, a 6 mile run in the AM and a tennis match tomorrow night. I *think* I might do the 10 mile run put on by the Atlanta Track Club on Saturday which will help force me to get my long run in for the weekend. It is 5 minutes from my house as opposed to the 10K I was thinking about which is more than an hour away. I do have fond feelings about Callaway Gardens though, it is where I was when Elvis died. Why I remember that, I DO NOT know. I was 8, we had spent the day at circus camp flying on the trapeze. My sister face planted on the sidewalk as we were running back to the cabin my aunt and uncle had rented. Ouch! I remember my aunt gasping when they announced it on the news. It obviously made some sort of impression on me. Anyhoo.... I might not make the pilgrimage this Saturday after all but I have not 100% decided yet. It does sound like a cool run through the Christmas lights.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Where did the time go....

My Dad e-mailed me the other day to tell me that he was on his way to Hawaii (don't hate) and that I had not updated my blog in a while. I knew it had been a while but in looking today it has been over 2 weeks. WOW! Where did the time go??? Well, here is the update...

Denver was great. For a conference. If you like those sorts of things. or traveling with your boss. Lets just say my turn at the speaking engagement went well which was all I really wanted to get out of the trip. I only ran about 2 miles on a treadmill one morning but did catch up on lots of sleep which was even better!

Immediately following vacation, I had taken a week off to volunteer at a women's professional tennis tournament here in Atlanta. They aren't the top tier players but generally anywhere from number 75 on down in the world. Great players in anyone's book. These ladies go from town to town trying to win enough to crack into the top rankings and thus the bigger tournaments like the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon among others. It is really interesting to hear their stories. They literally are trying to scrape together gas money as they make almost nothing at this level and still have to pay for lodging, transportation and coaches. It is truly following a dream.

My job at the tournament the past few years has been coordinating volunteers which basically entails recruiting people to help, scheduling them and then making sure they show up to do the job. There are long days involved at the tournaments. I worked from Sunday the 12th to Sunday the 19th from 8:00 to 7:00 most days. I even got wrangled into assisting with the player's party one night as well as coordinating the pro-am another night.

The hard part is always recruiting volunteers but once they show up they love it and want to do it year after year. This year, in addition to those duties I was responsible for coming up with some of the lunches and snacks as donations were down quite a bit due to the economy. I spent almost 12 hours the Saturday after I got back from Denver making untold dozens of cookies, cakes, etc. for the USTA officials and volunteers. (Another reason why my blog was suffering).

All in all the tournament went well. We only had rain on one day and it was later in the week so it was easy to catch up on the matches the following day. We got rave reviews from the USTA director that was there and all the players moved on teh Augusta or Canada for their next chance at winning big.

With all the activity, I surprised myself with getting any running in at all but when there is a will there is a way, I guess. I am up to 8 miles on my long runs, I may pop out later today and try to do 10 miles at Stone Mountain. I have a 10k Peachtree Qualifier planned for next weekend at Callaway. I am not 100% certain I will do it since it is a bit of a drive but it is in the afternoon and they will have their Christmas Displays up (people travel quite a distance to see them so it is kind of cool to be seeing them on foot before the car crowds come into the park). We'll see...

My foot is feeling good now. I am not sure whether to credit the orthotics or just normal healing of the stress fractures but I am not noticing much pain in that foot at all now. There is an occasional achiness but not really anything to worry about.

Not that my doctor would probably approve but somehow, once the orthotics came in, I managed to jump back in full force to everything, tennis included. (I do have an issue with taking on too much). Last week, I managed to play every night. Not my ideal situation but somehow the matches just ended up that way. Luckily this week I only play twice. The ALTA team that I captain won our division last Sunday! This is big in our area as you get the ever-important BAG TAG. (it is just a piece of plastic that you hang on your tennis bag with the date and "division winner" on it - in these parts it is like an Olympic Gold medal - people generally want as many as they can so you can't help but notice them clanking together when you walk on the court - I guess it is supposed to intimidate somehow). Anyhow... so we have the bag tag - it is our first for ALTA. We made the playoffs and then lost in the first round. We are pretty proud (of making the playoffs not necessarily losing in the first round). No one thought we had a chance this season at all. The team was a combination of two different teams and at one point one of our teammates had commented that we were so bad that she would be embarrassed to watch (Yeah, she says a lot of things that we aren't proud of...).

Anything else
As if this post wasn't long enough....

I did see the musical, Wicked, last Friday. It was soooo good. Definitely a chick thing. I wasn't expecting it to be funny but it was and just really great! It is the story of the witches of Oz before the whole house/tornado/Dorothy thing. Loved it. We were kind of up in the rafters but there really aren't any bad seats at the Fox. When I purchased the tickets we could not tell where they were on the seating chart so were a little concerned. When we arrived, we were told to go up a flight of stairs through the portal and we would be directed from there. We were a little concerned as it sounded very Harry Potterish but turned out to be fine :) I would definitely go see it again.

OK - off to run, maybe... or just do laundry.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Off to Denver...

I am headed to Denver for the next few days. I will be back late Friday. UGH.... My vacation starts the minute the wheels hit the ground. YAY!!!!! I am there to attend a banking conference. I am one of the scheduled speakers. This is not something I usually do and don't particularly enjoy speaking to hoards of bankers but sometimes you do what is asked of you to keep th epeace at your job and with your customers so that is where I am headed today. Three days of small talk, handshaking and smiling. Whew. I feel the need for a nap already! :)

My workout did not go as planned yesterday, I got up too late for my regularly scheduled Yoga class and then miscalculated what time I actually needed to be at the gym to get to work on time which resulted in a 20 minute workout instead of an hour. (I guess it was too early to try and do math problems in my head that morning). Basically, the workout amounted to 10 minutes on the bike (about 5 miles) and 10 minutes on the stair climber. I am bringing my running gear to Denver. Normally, I wake up entirely too early since my body is set to east coast time so I am hoping this while hold true for this trip so I can get a run in while I am out of town.

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bison Stampede...

I think I have said before but it is funny how once you get into running longer distances a 5k seems like a warmup. Nine months ago I would have never thought I would feel that way about any distance so it seems so odd for it to be a non-event now. Even after being off for 6 + weeks, I was not nervous at all and just completely relaxed at race time.

I woke up this morning at 6:30 to give myself some time to eat a little something, shower and head downtown for the race (about a 30-40 minute drive). I wasn't sure what the parking would be like so I allowed myself plenty o' time. There was a fun run kicking off at 8:30 so I figured I could watch that to make the time pass. Again, I am not nervous at all, I am all about just finishing without any issues. No biggie. Cool as a cucumber.

As it turned out, parking was a breeze. The last few races I have done were uber popular so I had forgotten what a low-key race scenario was like. This was a "1st annual" race so the word had not really gotten out and was somewhat small. I am going to guess around 300 runners, maybe more. This was definitely not the Peachtree Road Race and there were no corrals or time chips involved which made it even more perfect for someone who has not run to speak of in quite a while. I picked up my number and milled about the sponsor tents. For such a small race, there were a lot of sponsors. The race was put on by Ted's Montana Grill. A chain restaurant here in Atlanta co-owned by Ted Turner so I am sure that had some influence in pulling in some vendors.

After affixing my number (and noticing how many gadgets I have for a 5k race - between the foot pod, heart rate monitor and I-pod I looked like wired for running!), I parked myself on the sidewalk to watch the kids run their mile. A few announcements from local celebrities (including a frightening looking Captain America and weird looking 4 foot tall purple penguin), they were off. Would you believe a little over 4 minutes later they started trickling back in? Ah youth, they must have just went all out the whole way. You gotta love youth. (I know, that makes me sound old.)

At 8:45 they lined everyone up for the 5k. The same celebrities, more announcements. Bang. We are off. I take off like a bat out of hell. What??? My cool as a cucumber game plan out the window. I don't know what changed. Mostly just not thinking - I am a lemming, following the running mob off the cliff. At about 3/4 of a mile I stopped the mad dash and fell into more of a normal pace. I really felt good and ran the whole 5k. I had initially planned a short walking break somewhere around 1.5 miles but didn't feel the need which was a good sign. It was a good route, a gradual uphill in the beginning but not as hilly as it could have been. I crossed the line at 27:00 which was a decent time for me. As it turned out I came in 3rd in my age group (which in all honesty there could have only been 3 of us since it was a small crowd). Either way, I medaled and I had a decent time :)

The race finish was nice, great goody bags, free beer, free bison burgers (which were AWESOME!), free key lime pie and larabar samples. All my favorite things :) I would highly recommend it for next year to anyone looking for a low key 5k.

After the race, I dashed home to take a quick shower and head to a volunteer meeting for a tennis tournament and a hitting session with my Tennis Pro friend. (TPF had to make up for cancelling on me yesterday.) I got in about an hour of practice and feel much better now that I have worked out the cobwebs from my non-activity. Thanks, TPF. :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Breaking in the orthotics...

I have been on vacation for the past two days. No particular plans, just wanted to take some time off. I really need to get some things done at home but I always manage to put that off so we'll see if that happens this weekend. Yesterday I got up at 4:44 am. (Funny, that seems to be a popular time, I read a post on My Dog Party yesterday about getting up at 4:44). It is something I have done for a while now. Initially I had a masters swim session to get to in the morning, now I still get up and go work out but it has really become a habit. I much prefer working out in the morning to working out at night. Why 4:44 instead of say, 4;45? No idea... It may be part of my self diagnosed OCD that I like everything in even numbers. Who knows. I could use this time to share with you about I sort all the M&Ms I eat by color before I eat them but then you would think I was crazy. So pretend you didn't hear that... Anyhow...

Up at 4:44 to go to my second-ever Yoga class. This one was MUCH better. Less of an intro to Yoga, more of an actual class. There were other people there too which helps tremendously. I do not generally like to the focus of attention so it was good to have other people with me this time. After my second class, I will say there is something to this Yoga thing. I don't know that I am getting the "inner focus" that you hear about but you do keep your core muscles engaged most of the time so it is a good workout even though you don't sweat. (which actually is a plus). I am glad I gave it a try and might try to work at least one class into my schedule once a week going forward.

After Yoga, I had an appointment with Dr. Dude to pick up my orthotics. Basically, they look like Dr. Scholl's footpads with a thin layer of hard molded plastic attached. You can feel the extra support when you walk so it will take some adjustment. Not uncomfortable really; just different.

The idea is to break them in gradually. I am to wear them 1 to 2 hours the first day then gradually get up to 8 hours. Running-wise, wear them for a mile then gradually build up there as well. I also was given some advice by Dr. Dude on how I should slow done on the number of races I do or at least not do every other one as an attempt for a personal best but maybe just do some for fun. We also discussed taking in some gatorade within an hour of the race and other nutrition tips. He really is a helpful doctor.

This morning, I took the orthotics on their first run (why I chose to refer to them just now as if they were people, I am not sure...). Anyhow. I got a mile in today at Mountain Park. It really felt good. I was kind of scared that I would have lost any endurance that I had worked so hard to build up in the previous months. There were loads of people walking/running/biking this morning at the park. We have just started to get some nice fall-like weather so it was a great morning to be outside. Even the ducks were up when I got there. Last time, I was there so early I was surprised to hear them all snoring. (literally.). The orthotics felt fine, in fact I did not notice them once I started running. I have a 5K tomorrow and am really started to get excited. I just really want to run with a crowd, be around some running types and get my excitement back. I can't wait!

The second plan for today was to try and get my tennis form back in shape with one of my Tennis Pro friends. I volunteer more than is normal and help TPF with a few tennis tournaments throughout the year. In exchange, I get free lessons which works out well most of the time. The maddening part is that because I don't pay TPF cancels on me. A.LOT. Today was no different. I was all dressed, had just pressed the unlock button on my car keys and the phone rings to cancel. GRRRR! So... Plan B. That housework I mentioned. or might make some carrot cake cupcakes. or sit in front of the TV and veg out. I will work on the tennis form tomorrow after my 5k. Good enough :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I did some running today...

That's right my peeps - I did some running today :)

Why is it the first mile is always the most painful? Once I get past that mile marker, I could go forever (so to speak... or at least 2.5 miles). I signed up for Ted's Bison Stampede 5k this weekend. Really, I just love the name...and the fact that the finish line food are bison sliders. Yummo! I am ultra excited about the successful run, I go tomorrow to pick up my orthotics (that just sounds like an old lady thing but whatever). Doctor Dude prescribed some custom ones for me since I apparently like to run on the side of my left foot. The whole foot scanning process was very cool. They map your gait on a PC to see exact pressure points and how you roll your foot, over or under pronate or whatever. It was really interesting. I hope it will help keep the stress fractures from happening again. With the run today, I guess I am officially back on the training plan now. YAY YAY YAY! On to Yoga tomorrow to perfect my mountain pose :)