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 :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Send a thank you note to the troops...

A local radio station has a project they are doing this Thanksgiving which involves sending Thank You messages to our troops. If you would like to send a message of support or thanks or both, it only takes about 5 seconds... Go to THE BIG THANK YOU.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

so another 7 miles in the books...

Yay! I am officially caught up with the marathon training program after having to take off for the stress fracture. I got up crazy early this morning and got 7 miles in before work. Not all that easy as 1. you have to get up crazy early and 2. there is entirely too much temptation for me to stop and turn around before I finished my full distance. I don't remember having that problem pre-fracture as I really haven't even gotten to the super-long runs yet. Yikes!

So, I went to the dentist this week. You ever wonder what is written in your chart about you? me too. I am pretty sure mine has a note so the dentist will tell me I have "pretty teeth". My dentist has never been much for conversation, he pretty much comes in, looks at the x-rays, checks a few things and is on his way without much chit chat. One time I told him that he never says anything nice about my teeth (for years he always told my sister she had nice teeth or healthy teeth or something...). Ok, maybe I was jealous... whatever - I take any compliment I can get... Ever since that day, on every visit, my dentist has told me i had "pretty teeth". I so want to ask if it is in my chart. I am sure it must say something like "Suck it up, tell the compliment starved girl she has pretty teeth". I kind of wanted to look while the hygienist was putting in my x-rays. oh well... I may never know. It is a little too ironic to be chance...

And with that I have nothing else to say so I will leave you with this.. I dare you to try and stop singing the catchy tune!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I just realized something...

As I logged in my 3 miles for today, I realized I just hit a pretty big milestone. Check it out blogworld - as I of today, I officially logged 500 running miles since January 1. WOW oh WOW. I guess I can be proud of that, right? Yes, you marathoners probably have waaaaaay more than that in 11 months but let me have my moment. After all, I only started running in February. Funny to think, not long ago I thought a mile might be the death of me. Since then I have run a half marathon, a couple of triathlons and have a marathon just 2 months away. When I set my mind to something, watch out. Type A, overachiever, it is all true. I admit it. I embrace it in fact.

Tuesday has become tennis day for me. I had practice from 5:30 until 7:30. It was our first practice for the new season. Tennis never ends in Atlanta, we play all year round. We had a pretty small turnout for practice due to the other big events of the day but it was good to get out and play tennis. Our coach gave me a Wilson K-factor racquet and a couple of tennis bags for helping with the pro tournament a few weeks back. It was a nice gesture since I had put in so many hours. I am kind of excited to try out the new racquet. I had it strung today so I could use it soon. I had 2 matche slined up for this week and both cancelled so it might be next week before I can give the racquet a try.

Today, I pretty much did my usual routine. Got up crazy early, went to LFT and ran my 3 miles. It was supposed to be 4 but I was feeling tired. Oh and that darn sandwich was calling my name again! Maybe I should eat a little something before I work out, you think? I made it to Panera and slid into my parking spot at 8:00. Priceless. :)

Tomorrow, the plan is to get up earlier than 4:44 (I know!) so I can get 7 miles in before work. I'm going to do an outdoor run which is much better for my distance runs as I am less inclined to stop once I start feeling a little tired. The thing about that kind of running is once you are 3 miles away from your destination you pretty much have no choice but to keep going.

I am so tired right now, I might have to lay my head down on my keyboard.... Have a great night!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I shaved my knuckle...

That's right. Just one of them. "Karen, why would you do that? I can't imagine you needing to shave", you ask. Well pull up a chair and let me tell you a story about being in a rush and the kindness of strangers...

I got up at my usual dark-thirty (also known as 4:44 am) for a morning swim. My legs were a bit tired so I talked myself into half a workout or 1500 meters. I don't know why but that swim was painful. My only thought was that it had probably been a month since I swam at all so I lost some of my conditioning. It wasn't excrutiating but just tougher than I thought it should have been. I did a 500 warm-up, 500 pulling, 500 kick and called it a day.

I might have mentioned this before but I have food issues. My current addiction is a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich from Panera. Heaven on ciabatta bread! So... yes, put two and two together... short workout equals time to get to Panera before work! Must rush as boss is a lunatic for timeliness... I would love to delight you with stories of my office but you never know who is watching. Yes, I am paranoid. Suffice it to say, the show The Office has nothing on us. Fleece was banned last year by my boss. He wore fleece a week or so after he banned it. He was called out on his apparel choice to which he said "this is not fleece, it is polyester". He immediately held an impromptu company wide vote (30 people) on whether or not what he had was fleece. It was determined that it was indeed fleece. I could go on all day but you get the idea... so... I need to be or time or face the chopping block. Not worth it for a sandwich but today I would have time. or so I thought...

After the swim I head to the locker room to start the daily ritual. I reach into my gym bag and grab the ziploc bag that contains my shampoo, soap, and RAZOR. As I am scooping up the bag, my hand jams into the razor and shaves off quite the hunk of skin on my middle finger. OUCH OUCH OUCH. Moment of shock. Blood gushing. Literally dripping into my bag as I am frantically searching for a bandaid. Success! Found one! So there would be no point in putting on the bandaid before the shower, since it is my only one, it will be useless as soon as it gets wet. Blood still gushing, I have ruined one of the lovely complimentary LFT towels by this point (I'm sorry LFT!). I try to get as clean as one can with their hand gushing blood. Finally dry off and apply the band aid which immediately is beyond usefulness (i really could have used several). So I am finishing my primping meanwhile blotting the bandaid which is desperately needing to be changed. I finally get ready and am heading out the door lugging my 50 pound gym bag, wearing 4 inch heels that the strap doesn't quit keep them from flip flopping, feeling like a wreck with a handful of bloody tissues. Quite the image. So here comes the good part.... some sweet girl I have never seen before tells me "you look pretty today" as I am walking out. AWWWWWWWW Thank you random lady, I needed that! You know you read those motivational stories all the time - you never know how one kind word can change a person's day. Well, that was my kind word. It made my whole day :) So, the moral of this bloody, disgusting story is a kind word can go a long way!

In case you are wondering, I never did get that sandwich but I did get to work 10 minutes early. :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This weekend is brought to you by the number 11...

Some interesting facts about the number 11. Who knew? 11 (eleven) is the natural number following 10 and preceding 12. (OK, we knew that one...) Because eleven is the first number which cannot be represented by a human using his or her ten fingers, it is often considered a mysterious number.

Also, eleven is the smallest positive integer requiring three syllables in English.

Eleven is the 5th smallest prime number. It is the smallest two-digit prime number. 11 is the fourth Sophie Germain prime, the third safe prime, the fourth Lucas prime, and the first repunit prime. Although it is necessary for n to be prime for 2n-1 to be a Mersenne prime, the converse is not true: 211 - 1 = 2047 which is 23 × 89. The next prime is 13, with which it comprises a twin prime. 11 is an Eisenstein prime with no imaginary part and real part of the form 3n − 1. Displayed on a calculator, 11 is a strobogrammatic prime and a dihedral prime because it reads the same whether the calculator is turned upside down or reflected on a mirror, or both. (ummmm, right.... whatever all that means.)

In the film This Is Spinal Tap, guitarist Nigel Tufnel proudly shows off an amplifier with top settings of 11, higher than the traditional 10. The phrase "Up to eleven" in popular culture has come to refer to anything capable of being exploited to its utmost abilities, or to exceed them. Similarly, the expression "turning it up to eleven" may refer to the act of taking something to an extreme.

More than you ever wanted to know about eleven. Why do I care about 11? I don't know... I was born on the 11th day of January so it is my favorite number but today it was my favorite because I FINALLY broke back into the double digits in my running plan! My long run today was 11 miles. So I guess you could say I "turned it up to 11" (Honestly, I had never heard of that until I googled the number 11 today. Maybe I am out of touch...)

My initial plan for Saturday was to join the ATC for their 5mi/10mi/15mi run around Stone Mountain. It is a free race for club members, $5 for non. The event is billed as a low-key, non t-shirt event. My plan was to run the 10 mi race. Friday night, I decided not to run the actual race but to show up about the same time and start from my usual spot on the mountain track. I figured I would eventually bump into the runners (or they would bump into me, more likely) and I would still see my Dad at his timing station. My logic was if I knew the course already why get up early to register for the race and wait around for the official start, why not just get there around 8ish and start when I get there. Brilliant!

It had been so long since I ran any more than a handful of miles, I forgot that I probably needed a GU gel, something to eat after the run, etc. A mad search of the pantry ensues for where I might have put the gels and nutrition bars. Success!

I assemble everything, load up the car and head out the door...

The weather was great, a little chilly to start as my hands got a little numb but not too bad once I realy warmed up. (Nice job, God, keep up the good work with the weather!).

My plan to eventually run into some runners didn't really pan out. It appeared most of the people ran the 5 mile option so they were about 2 miles ahead of me since I started on the backside of the mountain. At mile 3ish, the REALLY fast people started flying by as though I were standing still. Their pace for the 10/15 mile race looked like my sprint. sick.

At mile 4, I spotted this poor soul all bundled up shouting out times to passers by. Yep, that is Dad. I stopped to take a picture and steal a cup of water. (i am a track club member after all - OK I did it to get advance registration for the Peachtree but whatever I paid my dues...)

and again at mile 9 :)

I decided to pass my car at mile 10 and get an extra mile in. I have a half marathon in 2 weeks so wanted to get 11 in this weekend and 12 next. Is there any better sight to see than your car at the end of a long run??

Ahhh.... 1219 calories later, but who is counting... mission accomplished! Off to the grocery store. Yes, a mistake after a run. A mistake when you are starving. I managed to get out of there without too many treats :) I did snag this one to try... It is a protein drink I have seen advertised at the gym. I thought it might be a good recovery type drink. I'll let you know...

Oh, and this one...

Rick said it looked like a pumpkin sandwich. Well, I guess that is true. sort of. I do love all things pumpkin... :) In the post-run high that followed my 11 miles, I managed to clean large portions of my house, do loads of laundry, make a huge batch of vegetable soup and roast a turkey - I was feeling a little protein deficient :) Is there anything better than the post run feeling?

On tap for today, my final singles league match of the season. I managed to tank 2 matches so may or may not make the playoffs. If I win today, I have a decent shot at getting in the playoffs. Luckily there will be plenty of sunshine so any failure on my part will have to be blamed on something other than the darkness. Perhaps my racquet string :) It couldn't possibly be the player! ha....