Sunday, December 27, 2009

Nothing but blue skies...

Today was the perfect ending to a nice long weekend. We don't have big family gatherings for Christmas. Our Christmas Eve is usually our family get together and then Christmas Day is mostly lounging around the house watching TV and eating a variety of leftovers. While working for a bank can have its advantages throughout the year in terms of every banking holiday off, at Christmas, I am always jealous of those who work for businesses who take the last two weeks of the year or even just Christmas Eve off. Either way, I made the most of my three day weekend and enjoyed the perfect mix of family, lounging and getting things done around the house.

Over the past week or so, I have started to get back into the momentum of a regular workout. My schedule at the tennis club is Monday and Friday nights and then all day Saturday. For the first couple of weeks after taking on this second job I was struggling trying to figure out how to fit a workout into my day. I call it "struggling" others may call it "sleeping in instead of working out". Tomato, tomahto.

What I have learned is that this schedule will require much more determination than before. In the past, I would get up early knowing I could go to bed early to make up for it most nights. Now, I can't always go to bed early if I am tired but still need to get up and get a workout in so bribing myself with extra sleep is gone. (Yes, I have to bribe myself. Sometimes I fall for it, sometimes I don't.) I considered maybe working out after work but at that point I am mostly just interested in going home. For now, I think I am just going to tough it out and try to stick to the same schedule I was on before job number two. I haven't been 100% successful at getting up at the exact time I wanted each day but HAVE been successful in making it to the gym which is half the battle for now. I have gotten in several short runs this week topped off by two runs at Stone Mountain yesterday and today so am feeling very much back on track which is a good feeling. Tomorrow the plan is to do a short run followed by a swim workout.

I am still a little sad to miss the Disney Marathon this year but am excited about doing the Goofy Challenge in 2011. I also am thinking of working in the Iron Girl this summer along with a few other local races. I am feeling good about 2010. I think going into the New Year, my goal will be to incorporate swimming back into my workouts at least once a week as well as strength training. Swimming will be a piece of cake since I love it so much but the strength training will require me to get over myself and go use the machines or weights at the gym. I still have that weird high school feeling at the gym that I am out of place in the weight area. I know... stupid. I have tried the P90X and know people who LOVE it beyond belief but I am on the fence about it. I think I need something that involves leaving the house as opposed to taped instruction. I haven't given up on the concept but am not sure it is my thing. For now, I will give the machines at the gym another try.

I also am going to try for more of this in 2010

Clementines. Seriously, as much as I love tangerines and navel oranges, how did I go 40 years without trying one of these? All I can say, is thank you Spain for sending us these little jewels in the cute wooden box!

and less of this...

I believe I have eaten my weight in peppermint ice cream since I discovered it a few weeks ago. (OK, maybe not that much but we have had more than a carton or two...) Add that to the red velvet cupcakes and 8 million varieties of Christmas cookies. Just so we are clear, I am not giving up these delicious treats just consuming them with a little more moderation. Let's not get crazy. :)

Side note, I may be a little too good at hiding the sweets in my house from Rick. In my cleaning on Saturday, I came across a box of cookies I had stashed on top of the refigerator in October. Amazingly enough, they still looked quite fresh although I had no interest in trying them. At what age does senility start setting in? I am pretty sure it might be 40!

Have a good week!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I guess the changes in life are what make it interesting...

As always, the year seems to be drawing to an end before it ever even really gets started. Around the corner is 2010. Amazing. This year has definitely been one of change and of unexpected happenings in my life. It started off with a bang with my being able to finish the Disney Marathon for my 40th birthday and then just became a whirlwind of challenges in a variety of ways from that point on. (Not to sidetrack but this is starting to sound like a New Year's resolution type post, isn't it?). So many things have happened that I normally would blog about since my last post on November 11 but the whirlwind continues to swirl and just haven't had the time or energy to give this the attention I would like.

As far as races go, the last big race was the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving. I had a blast at the race but not because of the running. I volunteered at 2 shifts during race weekend and had a great time giving back a little to the running community. My first shift was at packet pickup on Wednesday. I was part of the crew handing out the race numbers. The Atlanta Marathon (and half) have about 11,000 runners so the packet pick up is stretched out over a couple of days. I really enjoyed seeing the excited runners coming to set the their number. Some of them were running a half for the first time and were nervous chatting about their expectations and whether they felt ready, not sure what to expect, that sort of thing.

Shift two was a little more of a challenge as I had to be at the race start at 5 AM for bag check. The volunteer site said that you could volunteer at bag check if you were racing but in all honesty I didn't feel like I did all that much to help. Race morning was particularly cold and runners were holding on to their bags until about 6:45 (the race started at 7:00). By that time, I was leaving myself to get in my corral. Side note, all those races throughout the year paid off. Last year I was in the last corral. This year I was up in corral three. Progress. :)

My race time was 2:01. Not my best, not my worst. I wasn't expecting a stellar time as I had not been able to train like I had leading upo to previous races. As long as I hover around the 2:00 hour mark, I am good to go. OK, if I was being completely honest, I would prefer to hover on the inside of the 2 hour mark but whatever...

At this point, it is looking like Disney is not going to happen for me this year. I have taken a 2nd job to help make ends meet. It is making it tough to get in long runs on the weekend not to mention the expense of just going down to Disney in general is not adding up for me. The good news is that job #2 is at a tennis and fitness facility so at least it is somewhat interesting despite the fact that it is cutting into my training. Unless something changes, I think my current plan will be to scrap any out of town races in 2010 and just save up to do the Goofy Challenge in 2011. Pray that the financial picture in my household changes in 2010!

Have a great week! I do have other things to blog on and on and on about of course but will spare your eyes until next time :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Make mine a double...

Happy Veterans Day! Thanks to all the veterans for your sacrifice, past and future!

My double header was quite the adventure. The adventure being more in terms of logistics than anything else. Race number one was about 45 minutes from home, race number two was a two hour drive. All in all it was a great day. The weather could not have been more perfect and I had a couple of fun races.

My day started out incredibly early as I headed to Lake Spivey for the 15k. For whatever reason I had it in my head that the race course was flat. Luckily, I noticed in a pre-race email from the director that the course was "challenging" so was mentally prepared for something other than a pancake flat race. I wasn't sure what exactly but they don't throw out words like "challenging" in an advertisement unless they mean it.

The race was very low-key. You could park right next to the number distribution and start line. One of the requirements of a perfect race allows you to park within 50 feet of the start/finish, don't you agree? About 10 minutes before the start, everyone starts making their way to the start. I am guessing *maybe* 250 runners are braving the 40-degree weather this Saturday morning with me.

The start is a long sloping uphill, at the time I thought that was kind of cruel but quickly came to realize that was the least of the hills on this course. I can honestly say it was the hilliest race I have ever run. It was constant rollers as we made our way through the neighborhoods and around the lake. I loved the scenery and actually loved the course as well. The director was correct, it was challenging. I ran every hill and loved every minute of it. The participation was so minimal that there were stretches were I could not see another runner. It was like being on a training run.

At the end, they had Chik-fil-a biscuits for the post-race offering. I believe it was the best biscuit I ever had. Isn't it funny how they can give you stale toast at the end of a race and you would still think it was the best food ever? (not that the biscuit was the equivalent of stale toast...) One of my friends told me once they were given some kind of lukewarm ramen noodles at race end and they could not enough of them. At any other time, I am certain anyone would think that they were disgusting. (Not that ramen noodles don't have a warm place in my heart - how can you not love food that is 6 packs for $1?). The results have not been posted yet. I believe my time was somewhere around 1:29. I didn't set the course on fire but kept a steady pace throughout. Do I get points for consistency?

Upon arriving back home, I grabbed a quick nap, shower and then fueled up for the second race. As I mentioned, Callaway Gardens is close to two hours from home so I had to hit the road in order to get there for the "twilight" start of 4:00. (I had wondered why they started at 4:00 since you might not be able to see the Christmas lights all that well. As it turned out, they have to be wrapped up by 6:00. Now we know.). I got to Callaway Gardens around 3:15. Another drive up to the registration kind of race. Cha-ching. Two in a row!

I had not been to Callaway Gardens since August of 1977. I remember the date because while we there, Elvis died. No, he did not die there but I remember my aunt gasping as she heard the news on the TV that night. I have a weird memory for random things. It may not make me rich but I can come in handy in a trivia game. Surprisingly, the beach area where the registration was being held had not changed at all since 1977.

I picked up my number, tossed my t-shirt and goody bag in the car and grabbed a last minute granola bar before the race. The start was a 1/3 mile walk from the parking area. I thought that a little odd at the time but in retrospect it is probably the only way they could mark off 6.2 miles and end up somewhere near a large building for the pre and post race gatherings.

A view from the right of the start

and the left of the start

Did I mention it was pet friendly? His legs don't seem long enough to go 6.2...

I enjoyed this race as well. I just kind of went on cruise control and enjoyed the run. Despite the 4:00 start, the lights were visible throughout so there were plenty of photo ops. My only regret was around mile 4 I felt like I hit a wall for a second. Just incredibly hungry. I am not sure I fueled up enough for the race and had not brought any jelly beans or gel with me thinking it was a 6 miler and I should not need them. Luckily, there were water stops every 1.5 miles and they were heavy handed with the gatorade mix so I grabbed 2 cups at each of the last two water stops and no longer had an issue. When I got to the end, there was not a lot in the way of food so I grabbed an apple and a banana for the ride home. Yes, that apple was the best I had ever tasted. Ironically, it happened to be my new favorite variety that I just discovered a couple weeks back, Jazz. Yum.

My race time was right around 59 minutes. I am pretty sure I am destined to be a pace leader as my comfort pace is 9:30 to 9:45 and I could run it consistently mile after mile without the aid of a watch to keep me on pace. I should just start bringing my own pace sign to the races and see how many people I can get to run with me.

The race was lovely. Perfect fall weather and the temperature of 70 degrees was quite a contrast from the morning's race of 40 degrees. Enjoy the pics and have a great week!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Saturday Double Header...

I have big plans for tomorrow all of which start with going to bed crazy early tonight. I know, living large on a Friday night. Don't hate. For a reason that remains to be seen, I though the idea of running two races in one day seemed like a fun challenge a month or so ago. Tick tock. The races are tomorrow.

In the morning, I have the Lake Spivey 15k. It is supposed to be lovely and scenic and the race director's reminder e-mail described it as challenging. Hmmm.... I think I always go into these things hopig they will be flat. Challenging as an adjective for the race does not inspire. Is that lazy? I will say it for you, YES that is lazy. :)

In the afternoon, I have the Callaway Gardens Twilight 10k. The draw for this run is that Callaway Gardens has a hugely popular light display for Christmas and this run is the week before it opens. The course runs through the same paths the cars take to view the lights. As a girl who dearly loves all things Christmas, I had to sign up.

In the evening, I plan to catch some more zzz's as I will be completely wasted from race-a-palooza of the day. Can't wait!!!! Have a great Friday :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tough Girls Wear Skirts...

About a week ago, I received an email forwarded to me about a sale at skirt sports. I think it is a holdover from my tennis love affair but I am a skirt runner. I have shorts too but I love running skirts. In the winter, however, the running skirt is not all that practical. I have spandex type knee pants that I generally wear but didn't really have any full length pants that I felt comfortable in for running. They all made my legs resemble that a sausage link and that really isn't the look I am trying to achieve. Not that the sweaty body, head band, no make up look that I go with when running is either but...

Back to the sale... Buy $75 at Skirt Sports get a tough girl skirt free. I checked out their site and the skirt is normally $90 so a pretty good deal! CHA-CHING. I opted to buy a tough girl and then get a spare for free. Lord knows I can't be washing the skirt every day so I at least need 2, right? I placed my order. I had my doubts. Were they going to be too short, too long, too shiny? These are the things that bother me...

Y'all, I got my package today. LOVE THEM with a capital LOVE. The skirt has boot cut clingy type pants. Not real spandex but clingy enough to provide warmth. I cannot wait to wear them. The material is soft like buttah and extremely comfortable with an ipod pocket under the skirt. It comes in 3 colors, pink, navy and black. I am all about the black so both of mine are in that color. Mine is a small and seemed very true to size. I generally can wear a small off the rack without any issues and this was no exception. If you are in the market for some running pants with a cute little skirt for extra booty coverage, give these a look. I might have to give them a go tomorrow night for tennis :) Too bad they don't have a ball pocket.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My feet are still a little prunelike...

and I am quite proud of it :) The Silver Comet Half Marathon this AM was, in a word, wet. Not drizzly but more of steady rain for most of 13 miles. The kind of rain that would keep you in bed if you were prone to bailing at the last minute for these sorts of things (which I am). I probably would have bailed if it were a 5 or 10k. I was looking forward to the race and no rain shower was going to keep me fron getting out of bed at 4:45 to do it. OK, it wasn't exactly that easy to get out of bed but ...

I was actually there pretty early. I checked the website yesterday and it said the race started at 7:30. It turned out it was closer to 8:00. Luckily, the rain didn't start until about the time the race was ready to start so there weren't 2,000 people huddled under any available shelter. As I arrived an picked up my number, it was still dark out. I get my number, pins and timing chip and make my way to a crub to assemble everything. As I am doing so I opt to walk behind the lady giving announcements in the middle of the parking lot. I guess I felt it would be rude to walk right in front of her. As I did so I stumbled on her microphone cord and there was a brief moment of silence. She was dressed as a witch and gave me a little witchy look. I apologized profusely and scampered away quickly to avoid a curse being placed on my person. So much for not calling attention to myself. In my defense, it was dark. The defense rests.

The race was a fairly small event (or smaller than what I have been used to for longer distance races - this was not ING or Disney) so there weren't corrals. The organizers did do a good job of getting people to line up by their pace. It seemed to work pretty well. Even though the trail is pretty narrow I never felt like I was constantly darting in and around people who might be walking or running at a slower pace.

The Silver Comet Trail is a paved rail trail. Very scenic, quiet and lovely. There were no bands, no cheerleaders, no screaming fans, no Disney characters. None of the things I have been spoiled with in my past races. It was me, nature and about 2,000 runners. Quite the test for someone who appreciates a lot of disctraction as she runs. Luckily, there were plenty of runners who did dress for the occasion. Wonder woman, batman and robin (both male and female versions of the duo - which made me wonder who drew the short stick and had to be robin - how do they decide), supergirl, a pumpkin and some bunnies. The costumes were few and far between. I am guessing because of the rain or possibly the distance. Running a 5k dressed up like a go go dancer or an elf is one thing but to run a half marathon in the rain, well...

All in all a good race, not a PR but wasn't really expecting one. I am kind of in a "finish with a decent pace" mode. The race might have been a little too peaceful for my taste. It was a long out and back on a single road. At the end, I could have used a church choir or local HS cheerleading squad to keep my mind off of the long, not so winding road. I will give props for the nice race shirts and buffalo sliders (YUM). At the end on the water table instead of giving out paper cups with water or bottled water, they had large sports bottles with the race logo filled with water to take. They were nice bottles and a pretty cool idea. When I got done, I was soaked to the bone. My clothes were as wet as a bathing suit even after the hour drive home. My feet, still shriveled up like someone who sat a little too long in the bath. Off to take a nap!

Friday, October 30, 2009

It is all in your perspective...

Last week was all about perspective. Is my glass half empty or half full? It might get deep. For about a second.

Where to begin... Let's go with the deep and then get to the squirrel. Yeah, I have you now, don't I?

So remember the whole saga about my thyroid? Well, I went back for the 6 month check up and my doctor this time was a little less vague about the direction I should take. She said (or I heard) that the nodule was 3 cm and really that was the size at which they consider removal. I know I am not crazy, I am pretty clear on the conversation. As any good patient, I have googled enough to be fairly well educated on the subject. Well, as educated you can be taking everything you read with a grain of salt. I was resigned to the fact that I would have someone cut into my throat, there would be a scar, time off work. Basically, convinced myself it was no big deal. So off to the surgeon we go. I get there and he is is of the opinion that it doesn't need to come out. According to his chart, the nodule is 1.3 cm and not large enough to worry about considering I have zero symptoms. Of course he left the door open if I insisted but we came to the conclusion that it really was not necessary. Hmmm... Back to square one. Initially, I was kind of put off by it. I had kind of resigned myself to the idea of the surgery and being done with the whole nodule thing. I had to catch myself for a second. Ummm, hello Mcfly? This is a good thing. No interruption in the training schedule, no scarves and turtlenecks to choke you all winter and cover the healing scar. This is good news! The side note is, I am scheduled for the "next available" ultrasound which is in December. I might put it off until next year, it has waited this long...

Perspective lesson 2. One of my eighteen or so tennis teams that I am on got an invitation to the state finals. The catch is you have to have at least 6 players to commit to going. We found out last week and the finals are November 14th. WOO HOO. For about a second. It turns out mid-November is a busy weekend for half the team and we couldn't scrape together 6 people off the roster. BUMMER. On the bright side, I can still get my marathon (marathong... there we go again) training in wihtout having to sit at the courts for 3 matches a day that weekend AND I can hang out with my new favorite running group. Downside, I miss going to state. Upside, I have PLENTY of other things to do.

Perspective lesson 3. I ran 10 miles at Stone Mountain on Saturday. I had not strung together 10 miles in several weeks (or maybe longer) so it was quite the feat for me on this particular day. It actually felt pretty decent all things considered. For those who are not familiar with Stone Mountain, the map doesn't really do it justice. Basically, it is a 5 mile loop around the base of the mountain. Think hilly. Very hilly.

ADHD moment. Check this out, I googled to try and find an elevation map for the run and came up with a picture of my shoes I took a couple months back when I made those sofsole inserts in the oven. LOVE THAT. LOL.

Back to the story. So I am on my hilly run at Stone Mountain, somewhere between mile 8 and 9. My legs are starting to hurt a little bit. Not enough to stop but the first time I had noticed them starting to tire in this run. I pass this guy in a wheelchair. Not a racing, running type wheelchair, this was a regular hospital issue type chair. He was by himself. He was missing a leg. It appeared to have been recently amputated only because he still had bandages on it. He was wheeling himself around the mountain. Insanely impressive. I wish you all could picture the hills to know how impressive that it is to be able to wheel yourself around it. He gave me a high five as we passed. My legs didn't feel so bad anymore.

The squirrel! I know you have been dying for it. It is actually pretty funny. We had a squirrel try to make his home in our fireplace one night last week. Had he not pulled down insulation, we probably wouldn't have seen him. I walked in the den and notice white stuffing in the fireplace and the door slightly askew. I immediately slammed the door shut and peered inside to see the furry tail of a squirrel. Much discussion ensued from Rick about he could get the squirrel out. My end of the discussion basically consisted of "that sounds like a bad idea, let's call critter getters". In the end, we barricade the squirrel in the fireplace so he couldn't poke the glass door open again and called critter getters. Crazy squirrel. It took them 30 minutes to get him out of the fireplace. Apparently, the squirrel enjoyed his new home and was as strong as Samson. He kept grabbing onto the grate and could not be pulled off. I think he eventually got tired and came around to our way of thinking. They toted him to another neighborhood. Hopefully they are a little more welcoming of squirrels as roommates. Me, not so much.

Have a great weekend! I will be up bright and early for the Silver Comet Half Marathon. They are encouraging costumes. It is supposed to be rainy so I am not sure how much fun a wet costumed run would be in those conditions. I may have to leave the tutu at home this time. I will let you know.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Running in groups...

I found a group of runners not too far from me and was able to hook up with them for the first time this morning. For those of you paying attention (not to assume... maybe my Dad was...), that meant I scratched the 15k and opted for the group run instead. There were two reasons. One, the group run was sooooo much closer to home and two, I was anxious to hook up with the group and meet everyone.

The run started at 7:30 - not too painfully early which I LOVE. It was unusually cold this morning (around 45 degrees - I am in Atlanta people - that is crazzzzy). I couldn't even remember where I had stashed my long sleeve shirts this morning. We aren't supposed to have this until MAYBE November. The cold temps meant their normal pre-run parking lot chat was a bit painful as I normally dress for the run as opposed to the standing around in the parking lot. Luckily, the chat was brief. I am sure had it been warmer we would have all been much more interested in hearing what the chosen one had to say about negative splits and predicting race times but I guess it was not meant to be today.

We broke off into groups based on our pace and took off for the Suwanee greenway. The greenway is basically a trail that was built for runners, walkers, bikers along the Suwanee Creek. It is a really nice trail in that pieces of it are shaded. I haven't run on it in a while as Stone Mountain is more convenient but it is a nice choice for a run. Since it was so chilly, attendance was a bit down and there were only 3 other people at my pace. I ended up running with a guy who is training for his first half marathon. It turns out he is doing the half at Disney. I wasn't up for a long distance today so his suggestion of 5 miles was perfect. All in all, a great run. A little muddy in spots from all the rain lately but not bad. The trail was in surprisingly good condition considering all the flooding in the area.

After the run, we hung out at a coffee shop on the square. The group is making plans to run the rock n roll in New Orleans in February as well as some other local outings. I am so glad I went today. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed running with other people. Over the past year I had kind of gotten into my own regimen which is great for keeping to a schedule but sometimes you just need the company of others for motivation. I guess I had forgotten what I was missing!

In addition to the Saturday runs, they do a Tuesday/Thursday run at (GULP) FIVE AM. It is tempo runs and speedwork which would be nice. They swear that you get used to the time once you get into the routine. I definitely could make the logisitics of getting ready for work post run and all that work out but WHEW that is early. I am thinking that might call for a lunchtime nap. I am going to give it a try this week and report back :)

Does anyone out there have a Garmin? I know, that is like asking if anyone has shoes... If so, which one do you have and what is your experience with it? I love my polar heart rate monitor but think on days where I am not really doing zone training and just trying to get in a long run, it would be nice to see distances and pace.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Too Much Cardio?

Here is the link to the article about scaling abck on the cardio for weight loss....

Step away from the treadmill

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where does the time go?

I am pretty sure I could start EVERY SINGLE BLOG post with that line! The "first day of the rest of my life" was over three weeks ago. Me oh my... Halfway thorugh October and it seems like just yesterday I purchased my Paula Deen desk calendar with much anticipation of making the recipes printed on the side pages each month. I have yet to make a single recipe and here it is almost time to buy another calendar. Maybe next time I will go with one from the Sierra Club as it will mean less guilt at the end of the year since those don't have recipes only lovely pictures.

As I perused my calendar today, I realized I have a marathon in 90 days not to mention a 15k next weekend followed by a variety of 5, 10 and half marathons that I signed up for in a fit of boredom one rainy weekend. WOO HOO! Racing season and cooler weather is in full force. Bring it on :) I still love remembering how stressed out I was over training for the first half marathon alomost 2 years ago. Now, I hardly give a second thought to building up the mileage for a half. Not that I am arrogant about it. It is still quite the feat in my book. It is just nice that I have been able to maintain a certain level of endurance that training for a half is not the monumental task it was for the first race. Love that.

The Big Sizzler was a fun race. It gave me the kick start I needed and for that I am grateful. It was a familiar route that I have run in various races. It was not a PR but I wasn't really expecting one this time around. It was more about finishing. In the days post-race, I kicked off quite the regimen of daily running right up until I had to go to Dallas for work last week. Tomorrow, the running will resume! I had forgotten how much I love running in the fall. We are starting to dip into the weather that makes a mid-afternoon run truly comfortable.

I was reading somewhere on line yesterday about how too much cardio can actually make you gain weight or at least inhibit your ability to lose weight. I had heard that before but for whatever reason it caught my eye this time. Maybe because I had recently dropped boot camp and am pretty much solely doing cardio at this point. Not by choice necessarily, mostly because it is easy and it has just worked out that way. I may insert some P90x in the evenings or every couple of days. I'll keep you posted.

Over the weekend, I went to my niece's 7th birthday party at the Build-a-Bear workshop. I am only sad that the whole "build a bear" concept was not my brilliant idea. You could spend a fortune in there... Hunter, her brother was the only male in attendance and was truly bored. I can't remember if he said it was better or worse than the american girl party the previous year. LOL.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Today is the first day of the rest of my life...

OK. Maybe not as dramatic as that but be afraid everyone... I am kicking back into gear tomorrow morning. After taking a hiatus around about Rick's surgery date, I am ready to get out there again. Maybe it is in anticipation of the Fall weather. I do know that the rain was a dangerous thing over the past week as I signed up for more races than I can probably fit into my schedule. The one thing I have learned about myself since I ventured into running last year is that I need goals and I view races as goals. Even the 5ks. They all serve their purpose.

Tomorrow morning I am running the Big Peach 10k Sizzler. I am hoping it is dubbed the "sizzler" because the course is blazing fast. :) It is a point to point race which I like so it should be a great morning. My goal for tomorrow is to just enjoy it.

Next weekend, I have a 5k on Saturday AM followed by a half marathon on Sunday. I am looking forward to running races on back to back days. My own mini-goofy race.

The BIG news today was that after several days of enduring flood related road closures in my area, the main road between me and the rest of my world (work, gym, tennis/my favorite grocery store) is now open! No more driving 8 miles out of the way to get to work/gym/tennis/store. WOO HOO!

Tonight, I have dishes and laundry and Tivo. Another exciting Friday. Have a great weekend :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Let the sun shine...

Let the sun shine, let the sun shine in, the su-unnshine in-nnnn.... And after what seemed like 40 days and nights, the ark came to rest in Lilburn. Noah opened the door to the ark and let the inhabitants out to run and play tennis!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Good thing I was feeling lazy today...

I don't know if you have seen reports of weather in GA (or fellow bloggers complaining about it) but it has been raining here non-stop since last Tuesday. Yesterday was no exception. I heard the lightening and thunder all night long and woke up at around 3:30 when the electricity came back one to reset my alarm clock. Don't ask me how I knew the electricity was back on, it just was a coincidence, really. Divine intervention perhaps. At any rate, I set my alarm for my usual 4:44A with the full intention of getting up and doing an interval run on the treadmill. At that hour, I am not listening to the radio or watching TV, I am just putting on clothes as fast as I can to head out the door.

This morning, I was lazy. I had been awakened several times through the night with the storm that had rolled through. When 4:44 came around, I re-set the alarm for later. Later as in just in time to get up to go to work.

I get ready in a rush. I haven't checked the weather as I pretty much know the forecast is rain for the next 7 days. I think I saw a ZERO percent chance of rain on Monday the 28th! Every day prior to that is a minimum of a 40% chance. As I am walking out the door, I notice a big pool of water in the garage. Ruh roh. My mind immediately goes to the water heater. Checked. Not leaking. Thank goodness as we just had that replaced earlier this year. I grab towels and start trying to figure out the source dreading what one would think must be some sort of plumbing disaster.

In most cases, a flooded garage would be no big deal. In our case, we don't actually park the cars in the garage, it is more of a workshop for Rick so it is lined with tools, cabinets, you name it. Think storage space as opposed to garage. Not crammed to the gills but still quite the project to drag everything out and dry it off. Thankfully, I was lazy this morning or might not have even noticed the water as I left for the gym shortly after 5a.

As it turns out there were floods all over the city, particularly in the area I travel through to get to the gym and to work. Several roads caved in due to the water underneath the surface. One lady got swept away in her minivan and died down a street I pass right by to go to the gym. I am also thinking at 5a, some of the areas with damage might not have been noticed and I could have plowed right into a flooded street or road that had collapsed. There were a couple of each along my route. For the record, I don't live on the banks of the Mississippi. I live in metro Atlanta. This flooding is highly unusual. I can't recall anything like it in my years here. Maybe the alarm clock was divine intervention, maybe not. I am pretty sure the decision not to go to the gym was an intervention and boy am I glad.

Buses toppled and pushed about by the water which was reportedly 7 feet high this AM as it rushed through. This is about a mile down the street from me.

Good call on cancelling the Beach Bash.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

a whole lotta rain...

More like a torrential downpour really. The picture doesn't do it justice. One of those rains where you can't step foot out of your car or house without a complete soaking. It has been raining like that here since Wednesday or so and is projected for more of the same for the next week. CRAZY! Who is building an ark? I need to reserve a spot on it!

I am not opposed to running in the rain. If the rain is more of a drizzle and not a soaker to the point where I would have to wear a jacket, I am all about it. Today was not a light rain drizzle running kind of day. Too bad. I had planned to get in at least 10 miles today at Stone Mountain. I had. I am not lying. :)

After screwing around on facebook for way too long, I motivated myself to the gym to get in a treadmill run. I actually have run 15 miles on a treadmill before when I was on a marathon schedule and needed the mileage. Today was not that day. I was thankful for two things today (there are others but these are the two that came to mind first). One, I am thankful I have access to a treadmill to get a run in at all and, two, I am thankful I am not trying to build mileage for a marathon or I would be testing my mental endurance on that treadmill as we speak. (unrealted. EVERY time I type the word 'marathon', I accidentally type it as 'marathong' first. what is up with that?)

Going to the gym worked out great as I got to do a 5-mile interval workout varying between 2 minutes in HR zone 2 and 1 minute in HR zone 3. It is next to impossible for me to do that on the road so it was a good excuse to get a good HR based workout in the books.

While I was there I saw three different people that I have not seen in months. I really need to try and work in a Saturday trip to the gym more often. One of my friends just started taking swimming lessons 4 weeks ago. She previously did not know how to swim and cranked out a 400 this morning before I ran into her in the locker room. Very impressive! Her long term goal is an ironman. If anyone can do it, I do believe she could.

The only downside to the gym was I realized I forgot to bring a shirt to put on post-shower. I hate to brag but I sweat A LOT. Putting on a sweaty shirt after a nice shower is not one of my favorite things to do. Again, not bragging but the stinkiness of it was offending me, I can only imaginge th pain of those around me :) The stench did not keep me from the grocery store but I did choose to go to a store other than my "regular" place. I have an image to maintain and all. Or maybe not...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

These things I know to be true...

Over the past two weeks whilst my legs were dragging the ground and perilously close to falling off the healthy living wagon, I had plenty of time to contemplate my situation. I discovered several things about myself. Maybe not discovered so much as just a big "DUH" moment or things that make you go hmmm. For your review:

1. I can't just "work out" for the sake of exercise. There must be some sort of goal attached. I have to be working towards something. Something bigger than the grandious idea of just looking and feeling better. A marathon, a 12 week challenge with prizes attached, you get the idea.

2. I wonder if people who eat healthy food as a general rule ever ate junk food at any point in their life? I read blogs raving about green monsters and various healthy grains and it just makes me wonder considering I can't seem to shake my love of sugar and fatty foods. Did these people grow up with parents who fed them carob instead of chocolate? How can I break my addiction to cake and ice cream?

3. How do people work out at night? I think I may be a morning person in that respect. Over the past 2 weeks I have had every intention of working out when I got home from work but always found some excuse to not do it. If I don't get up and do it in the morning it ain't gonna happen.

I had to drop out of bootcamp due to the economic situation in my home. Not to worry, that same week I received an email about a 12-week challenge at my gym. Basically, they tell you what to do for 12 weeks in terms of exercise and there is some sort of prize at the end. There are probably 80 people doing this challenge which is quite impressive considering there were maybe 9 in the last one I did.

My interest in the challenge was the accountability (see bullet 1) but also I wanted someone to help me plan out strength and resisitance training. I figure I have the cardio down, I got the nutrition component from the last challenge I did and now I need the 3rd piece of the puzzle. More details on it all later but am pretty excited about it. It was the kick start I needed.

Lots of rain on tap for this weekend but hopefully can still get a run in and a tennis match on Sunday. Have a great Friday!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Hunter!

I spent a couple hours Saturday at my nephew Hunter's birthday party reacquainting myself with the world of 9 year olds. It was quite entertaining to watch 15 or so 9 year old girls and boys chase each other around the park. No organized games, just ice to occasionally put down an unsuspecting kid's shirt and a big field to keep you entertained for two hours. Ah, the carefree life of a 3rd grader!

Hunter is the one testing out the fire on the candle.

My niece, Hollie.

My sister, Amy and Yoda.

Bro-in-law, Chris and Hollie kickboxing...or something.

Hollie never left Hunter's side during the gift opening excitement.

the medals!

How could I forget to show you??? The one that is all gold was for the half. The other was the coast to coast for running at Disneyland and Disney World.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Disney, Disney, Disney....

This week has been insane, I intended to post an update on Disney waaaay before now. For a short week, it felt like the longest week in the world at work. Enough about my time issues, on to Disney...

I am really glad I did it. Overall, I would have to give the edge to the Disney World races over the one at Disneyland. Having never been to Disneyland, I was surprised by how close together the parks are on the property. If you have ever been to Disney World, you drive for what seems like miles once you take the exit to get itno the park area so there is a lot of land for running within the park. At Disneyland, it is more like driving up to a mall. It is right off the road and if you blinked you could miss the entrance. Just not what I expected based on what I knew Disney World was like. The folks in CA are quite proud to have the original!

I left my house around 6A for an 8:30 flight to LAX. I arrived in LAX and by the time I got to a car it was around 12:00. The packet pick up was the quickest I have ever experienced at any race. I don't know if it had to do with the time of day or what but I was in and out of there in less than 5 minutes with no waiting. The EXPO was the usual stuff. I think the only thing I remember that was something I had not seen before was ABC studios were there pimping the fall lineup and giving away prizes advertising some of the shows. There were also screenings of some of the new shows at various times throughout the day. I didn't stick around for the screenings but thought that was kind of cool if you didn't have other plans.

After picking up the race swag, I checked into my hotel and got to see the end of the Melanie Oudin/Maria Sharapova match. Very exciting! I met Melanie a couple of times at a tournament here in GA where I was a volunteer. She is truly a genuinely sweet girl. It is so exciting to see her hard work paying off.

After the match, I decided I at least wanted to see California Adventure while I was there since they don't have that one in Disney World. When you first walk in, there are a lot of similarities to Disney's Hollywood Studios but they do have a pier area with traditional type carnival rides that makes it unique. I ended up making a whirlwind tour of it as I was afraid to walk myself out on Saturday night and have nothing left for the race.

California Adventure.

and when you turn 100 yards in the other direction, the entrance to Disneyland.

You think you have seen palm trees. These are gi-normous.

As with the other Disney races, they start EARLY. They want you to be in the corral at 5A for a 6A start. The upside to the California race is that you can walk from your hotel to the race start so you can leave much later than you would be able to in Florida since walking to the start there is impossible. In Cincinnati, I was able to walk to the start too and really love not having to worry about parking or transportation or adding extra time in for that aspect. Love that.

I was lucky to get in the 1st corral so within a few seconds of the race start I was rolling past the start line and the crowds were breaking free. The California race also gets points for their placement of people based on time in the corrals. For whatever reason in the March half at Disney, there were A LOT of walkers in corral A which made for a difficult start. Lots of running around peopl in limited space.

The route of the race went through the parks, out into Anaheim to Angels stadium and back to California Adventure for the finish. My favorite part is running through the parks. We went through both parks within the first 3 miles which left a pretty big 5 or 6 mile gap of running along the road with not a lot of distraction. (Here is where I start to sound spoiled but it is Disney and I am used to a certain level of distraction from them when I run). They did have high school bands and local entertainment here and there. For whatever reason it just seemed a little bit less than the Florida races. Florida did have A LOT more of the characters out for pictures and maybe that is what seemed to be missing. Not sure...

I ran with Tinkerbell for several miles. She even ran a bit like I might imagine Tink would run, up on her toes. Her heel never hit the ground. I couldn't help but wonder how that might feel at the end of 13 miles.

WOW, those reflective strips on my shorts sure are reflective. who knew?

Can't escape HSM3

The backside of Disney.... I think you have to pay extra for this tour :) They had hundreds of old bicycles back there that the employees must use to get around the park. They all looked like something Walt Disney would have ridden back in the day.

Hey... this race was supposed to be flat...

Mary Poppins and Bert out for a ride

Sleeping Beauty's castle. Cinderella might have one upped her but I do like the pink.

The Toy Story crew were oddly excited that someone noticed they were standing there. I think that is the main difference between the CA race and one in FL. Most of the characters were not where you could get a picture with them.

Headed towards Angels stadium

California Adventure

Me and Lilo.

My running partner for the last 8 miles, Vicki.

Mickey and Pluto welcoming me back.

Peter Pan picking up his Coast to Coast medal. Not sure if he took Delta or used pixie dust to fly to California.

As for the run itself, it actually felt pretty good. I had not trained like I wanted to going into it so the last 3 miles were a test in mental fortitude. I hooked up with another lady who had run the race before and we ran together for at least 8 miles. If it had not been for her, I probably would have slowed down or hit a run-walk pace those last three miles. I ended up running the whole way with the exception of a few quick picture stops which is great considering I was off my training plan by quite a bit. My ended up being 2:09ish. Not a PR but I wasn't expecting one at this race. Overall, a much better result than expected :)

In Nike news, I had to scratch it from the schedule. The economic forecast in my household is starting to look a little sketchy so we will have to do it another time. I have PLENTY of other races in the area to fill my time over the fall .