Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey Free Turkey Day

The Pilot is a vegetarian. I am not. I will say that the longer The Pilot and I are together, the closer I get to becoming a full time vegetarian. Some would call me a flexitarian, which I blogged about previously. I was eating as a veggisauraus about 4-5 days a week and I think that is getting closer to 5-6 days a week. I honestly haven't changed much and I don't miss it at all. As I try to make smarter food choices for weight loss/fitness goals, I naturally gravitate to more veggie-centric options.

That brings me to Thanksgiving. In the weeks leading up to a day known for gluttony, I was seriously considering a vegetarian Thanksgiving. I mulled it over with The Pilot, who was obviously supportive but ultimately, the choice was mine. In talking it out with him, I realized that I don't really have a strong love of turkey. It's ok, but if I'm going to start humming over my food, it's not going to be for turkey (but please bring on the deviled eggs and all pumpkin products). If I don't really love it, then why am I eating it? That's what it took and I went turkey free this year. I didn't go vegan for the holiday but for two days, it was completely vegetarian.

First we celebrated Thanksgiving with some of The Pilot's family. I skipped the animal products and did my best to not go overboard on the other items. It was hard when deviled eggs and a pumpkin roll were on the table. Oh, and a sweet potato casserole. I was humming for sure.

Next up was the day after Thanksgiving with my family. My mom was a sweetheart and went to the effort to try vegetable broth based gravy and stuffing as well as gelatin-free cranberry salad. She still had her traditional gravy, stuffing and cranberry salad, but I stuck with The Pilot-friendly options and skipped the turkey. And did I miss it? Not at all. Again, I was too busy humming over the sweet potatoes and the pumpkin pie.

I'm going to back up with the gelatin-free cranberry salad. This brought up some questions at both households as to why the cranberry salad wasn't vegetarian. My mom's recipe uses Jell-O, which contains gelatin. Gelatin is most definitely NOT vegetarian: a substance derived from the collagen inside animal skin and bones. If you never want to eat Jell-O or marshmallows again, just read more about how gelatin is produced. My parents were on a mission to see if the cranberry salad could be made using something other than Jell-O. A very helpful employee at Whole Foods led them to agar, a seaweed based product that can be gelatinous. Score! Having tried both recipes, I couldn't really tell the difference. The Pilot and I enjoyed our vegetarian Thanksgiving, our families learned a little more than they may have wanted about gelatin and we somewhat navigated explaining to a 7-year old why Uncle Pilot had special bowls of food.

Anyways, I think this successful couple of days means I will be going vegetarian for future Thanksgivings. As for other holidays and going full-time vegetarian? I'm not sure. I'm still open to it but I'm not there yet. I just know that I'm very thankful for my veggiesauraus husband for opening my eyes to new ideas and food! :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

White Friday/Buy Nothing Day

Instead of falling into the trap of marketing and consumerism, The Pilot and I are celebrating White Friday and Buy Nothing Day. Instead of a day of consumption, we are at home:
  1. Clearing the clutter: The Pilot and I are de-cluttering the house to not only simplify our lives but to also take pictures. We are going to attempt to sell my condo so we can move on to a home of our own.
  2. Clearing the dirt: See above...in fact, I need to go mop the kitchen floor now.
  3. Clearing the schedule: Instead of waiting in line outside of Wally World in the middle of the night, we went to bed relatively early and slept in a little later. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with my family later today but we aren't rushing around like mad people to try to save a few bucks on some thing we don't need.
  4. Clearing the debt: This was taken care of last week.
  5. Clearing the mind: I think I'm having the most trouble with this today as I have a heavy topic on my mind but that may be a post of another day
  6. Clearing the soul: See clearing the mind....but I am trying. I think a day spent at home with The Pilot is a good start to clearing the mind and soul.
I have participated in Black Friday twice in my adult memory. I hated it both times and while I did score one great deal on an item that I did need (and still get a lot of use out of), I have no desire to fight crowds on a day that could be spent chilling out or spent on the items listed above.

I'm not saying that I don't enjoy shopping or getting a good deal. I do purchase Christmas gifts and while I have significantly scaled back in the last 2 years (see clearing the debt!), I still enjoy picking out gifts for others. Instead of placing a higher dollar value on the gifts that I give, I try to put a lot of thought into those few gifts. This requires some creativity as opposed to rushing around, fighting crowds to find that top dollar electronic that the media is telling everyone that they need. I don't want to come across as a hypocrite, because I do shop and I do purchase things. I am just pointing out that I am trying to scale back and put less importance on things and more importance on spending time with loved ones and spending time improving my life, my home, my body and mind.

For those that do enjoy the chaos of Black Friday, have at it. I used to not judge because really, I don't care how others spend their day. But, when I see people on the news rushing the doors of a store and knocking over employees or fighting over the last TV that is on sale, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Are we really that absorbed in consumerism that we are willing to risk safety over a thing?

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you all take the day to really think about what you are thankful for this year. And if you are thankful for the people in your lives, make sure you tell them!

I am thankful for:

My family. They are crazy but so am I and that is why we love each other. They are also always my biggest fans. End of story.

My old school friends. They are crazy but so am I and that is why we love each other. They also understand me better than anyone. End of story.

My Team in Training family. They are all crazy but so am I and that is why we love each other. They also push me to do better every single day. End of story.

My husband. He's a nut job also but he is also all of the above. He's my biggest fan. He understands me and he pushes me to do better every single day. I still can't believe we found each other and that I'm lucky enough to be his wife.

I'm thankful for cell phones, text messages, email, Skype, Facebook , blogging and snail mail (I love mail!) that helps keep me in touch with all of the people above, even when we are far away from each other.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Now THAT'S What I Needed!

Saturday was my long run. All week I thought I had 8 miles on my schedule. That's a logical thought process considered that I ran 7 miles last weekend. What I had forgotten what that in order to work in two 12-milers before the race, I would need to bump up the mileage a little more quickly. So when I glanced at my calendar on Friday, I saw 9 miles scheduled for Saturday. Well crap. That threw me off a little for some reason. Nine miles seemed sooooo far. And then I reminded myself that I completed all 39.3 miles of the Goofy Challenge just 10 months ago. Oh yeah, that little race.

So with that in mind, I headed out on Saturday morning. I arrived early for my usual 2-mile, suffer in silence warm up. I ended up doing the first 1/2 mile with Lisa and her friend. He's new to running so she's helping him break into the sport. The shins didn't seem to be screaming quite as bad so other than the 5 minute warm up walk and then a minute walk just after the one mile mark when I had difficulties with my Fuel Belt, I ran the two warm up miles.

After a quick trip to the car to ditch one of my shirts (I overdressed and was HOT), I met up with the TNT alumni and some of our new participants. Until the beginning of January, our weekend group trainings are very informal (no set mileage, no sign in sheets, no assigned coaches). This is the only reason I'm able to run at these trainings because normally I'd be coaching (which means race walking).

I headed out with a group and was having major Garmin malfunctions for the first mile or two. I highly doubt I was running a 22 minute mile. I have a hard time even walking that slow. It slowly started to catch up but then it never was in synch with the others who were wearing Garmins. I was running with a TNT alum, Kelly and her Garmin was reading 11:00 from time to time while mine was showing 12:30. We decided to call it 11:45. Which is a minute faster than my goal race pace. It was HARD. I was breathing HARD and I was dying for the 2.5 mile marker (and drinking fountain) because this is where some people were turning around and others were going out another mile. It's a good place to get a drink and to say goodbye to those turning back.

After I got going again, I had a hard time hanging onto the back of the pack. That's ok though, I was using Lisa, Mary, her hubby, George, Elizabeth and Meg (another TNT alum) as a carrot. I just wanted to keep them in my sights. I was able to do that but then I got a horrible stitch in my side. I lucked out that Mary turned back at that moment to check on me. The arms went over the head to alleviate the stitch and I took a short walk break. The others had made their turnaround and walked with us for a little while. The pain in my side went away and it was time to run again. Again, I stuck within eye sight for about a mile before I started to fade. But because I'm surrounded by the most selfless people in the world, Elizabeth hung back with me. I told her that I was fine (I really was!) and that she should run ahead to catch up with the others but she didn't. Elizabeth and I don't know each other as well so we were chattering back and forth, which was difficult because my chest was really tight and my breathing was really labored but at the same time, it made the miles tick away quicker.

With less than a mile to go, Lisa and Mary circled back for us (again with the awesomeness!). I really wanted to walk that last little bit but I was also keeping an eye on my watch. I had watched the pace wobble around 12:45 and 12 and then 13 and then 12:30. I knew that I really needed to push through and keep up the pace. And so I did. I had a short coughing fit when we made it back to our starting point but I made it.

So how do you run faster? Run with people who are faster than you. The Garmin clocked 9.28 miles in 1:56. Which is a 12:30 average pace....which is faster than 12:45. :) I'm a mathematical genius. I need to average 12:45 to PR at the Disney 1/2. I was certainly feeling the faster pace in both my legs and my chest when I finished but I was so excited!

And my carrot group humored me and got in a picture with me. Mary's hubby, took the picture for us:
L-R: Meg, me, Lisa, Mary and Elizabeth

I wobbled back to my car and sent The Pilot a text to let him know that I more than just survived my 9 miler.

I also ended up needing my inhaler when I got back to the car. Bo. I mentioned my breathing was all out of whack during Thursday's speed workout. I have felt "off" for a couple of days and now I know why...I officially have a cold. It wasn't until last night that I had the full snot face. Just in time for The Pilot to come home fore a few hours. That call for another BOO. He wants nothing to do with the snot face. I wonder why! :P

Right now it just feels like a head cold and nothing more so hopefully it stays that way. I'm listening to my body and getting some extra rest. I opted for a really early bedtime last night instead of a workout and I plan to do the same tonight. My colds tend to take a life of their own and turn into bronchitis so I hope that taking the time off instead of pushing through it will make the cold go away faster and not mutate into something worse than the snot face. At least that's my theory and I'm sticking with that for now.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Suburban Speed Work

I had "speed work" on the training calendar for last night. It was about 35 degrees and the wind was howling. Swell. I really didn't want to do it but Lisa had agreed to help me and I knew she was waiting on me!

I got to her house and she was full of sunshine! That helped me get out of my funk and get prepared to head out into the cold. The sun was setting quickly so we walked through her neighborhood to "warm up." That was a little difficult given the temperature but the goal was to avoid my shin splints.

Once we got out to the main road, it was time to start. The road has a really wide sidewalk but more importantly, it has evenly spaced streetlights. We used the streetlights as the markers for the speed work. We started out slow (slower than my goal race pace) and then picked up the pace. She insists that I was the one pushing the pace but I just didn't want to let her down....that, and I wanted to finished so I could get home, put my sweatpants on and eat the yummy dinner The Pilot made for me. :)

Anyways, we would pick up the pace and run from one streetlight, run past one streetlight and continue until we got to a second streetlight and then would slow down to recover for two streetlights and then would repeat. We repeated this for close to 4 miles. I progressively got slower, with my recovery runs eventually slowing down to a walk but there were a couple 10 min/mile readings from Lisa's Garmin throughout the run. Remember, I need to maintain 12:45/mile in order to PR in January.

Overall, the workout went really well. I felt pretty good but the cold air and a touch of "the crud," made my lungs extremely tight. Ultimately, this is why some of the cool downs slowed to a walk. My asthmatic lungs were trying to tell me I couldn't do it but my brain was saying "NO! This body needs to PR in 49 days, so keep running! You can breathe when you are done." And so that's how it went. I was still breathing a little weird by the time I got home and was sitting down for dinner so that was a little annoying. It cleared up once I was sitting down and relaxing but I really hope that wasn't a sign of some sickness coming on! Who remembers the World's Longest Cold in the History of Modern Medicine? I certainly don't need a repeat of that!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Successes and Failures

On any given day, I think everyone has successes and failures. Some days feel like nothing but failures but if you really think about it, you woke up and got out of bed, didn't you? That's a success. It beats not waking up doesn't it?

Yesterday, I experienced a noteworthy success and a failure. I'll start with the failure.

The Pilot has been doing P90X. I have joined him for a couple of the workouts. I've kept up for the most part and can do most of the exercises, even though some have to be modified for my current abilities. That is until last night. I call it a fail because I couldn't make it through the entire workout (90 minutes). The funny thing is that it was the yoga workout! I did much better at the other, more cardio intensive workouts. I knew it wouldn't be easy because I've only done yoga a handful of times in the last 10 years. I also knew it wouldn't be "true" yoga, it was the P90X version of yoga. Anyways, I really struggled through the moves. I'm not completely inflexible so that wasn't the challenge. It was the repetition of downward dog and cobra poses were killing my elbows. My elbows naturally hyper-extend and I don't have the muscle tone in my arms to keep my elbows from hyper-extending when going those moves over and over. I know it will get easier the more I do it, but after 45 minutes, I waved the flag and quit. Another thing I struggle with is my attention span. I started to get kind of bored. I'm used to cardio-heavy work outs and this just wasn't doing it for me. I may try it again or just keep searching for something else that floats my boat.

Downward Dog
Something else working against me during this workout was it was after work and I hadn't had dinner yet. I was starving. I need to find some smart snack options that I can munch on in the late afternoon at work so I make it through my workouts without bonking. I guess a 45 minute workout isn't a complete failure. It's better than sitting on my a$$ doing nothing but I didn't finish the intended workout that I'm calling it a partial fail.

So moving on to yesterday's success. It's not fitness related...well, it was beneficial to my financial fitness so I guess that counts. As of yesterday afternoon, I am officially credit card debt free! A huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It took a lot of discipline and time but I finally got there (getting a new roomie to help pay my mortgage didn't hurt either). A medical emergency, some not-so-smart spending and an epic fail of an experience with a health savings account (all several YEARS ago) put me into the mess and it was hard to get out. But I made the last payment and it feels great. Even while paying off the debt, I knew the only way to avoid getting into the same situation was to really work hard to create an emergency fund so I wouldn't have to resort to the credit card again. So even while still paying off the credit card, I also started socking away a lot more money into an emergency fund and in my retirement account. Now that the credit card debt is gone, I'm hunting down my car loan. The goal: pay off the loan at least 18 months early.
Normally I wouldn't share something like this publicly because part of me thinks it's really not anyone's business but I know I'm not the only one who has struggled with debt. I was ashamed of it to be honest. It was embarrassing that some of my poor decisions and not being prepared for an emergency got the better of me. But, just like with working out, I stuck with it and kept chipping away at it and I made it. I really believe that blogging holds me accountable for my training. I really don't want to blog about how I completely failed at reaching my goals so I just keep trying. So I'm going to approach my goal of paying off my car loan at least 18 months early the same as training for a race. I just made it public so now I HAVE to reach my goal. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bonus: We Had Fun Working Out Together

The local pool I joined derailed my training calendar a bit when I discovered they didn't have any open lanes in the evenings during the week. Wha??? My current work schedule doesn't allow me to swim before work so I was planning to swim once a week after work as my cross training day.

Ok, Amber, roll with it (despite writing SWIM in red ink on Wednesdays in my old school calendar). Even though Sunday is supposed to be my rest day, I swapped it out for a swim day. It's low impact, so that's ok to do after a long run, right??

I met my buddy Lisa at the pool. She's new to swimming and asked if I could give her some pointers. I made it very clear that while I can swim and survived an Olympic triathlon (with a 1 mile swim), I'm extremely slow and there are probably better choices when it comes to a swim coach. She was ok with that I guess, so we took the plunge. We spent about 45 minutes in the pool and I showed her everything that I had been shown when I was a beginner. Like me, Lisa can swim, she had just never really needed to swim freestyle laps. She did much better than I did the first time swimming laps! And bonus, we had fun while working out.

The treadmill and I had another showdown last night. Remember last week when I wanted to quit and chew my arm off? Well, I was worried that my 4 miler last night would be miserable like it was last week. The Pilot tagged along and was trucking along on the treadmill next to me while I suffered through my first 25 minutes. I did a quarter mile warm up again and then busted out the run. I did take a random walk break when I started to get a little shaky (hungry!) but was able to run to the finish. Guess what happens when you run faster (and take fewer walk breaks)....you finish faster. I knocked out 4 miles in 54 minutes. That's 4 minutes faster than last week. And it wasn't anymore painful than last week either. While the average wasn't PR pace, when I was running, I was running faster than PR pace so that was encouraging. And bonus, we had fun working out together. At least I did. Having The Pilot on the treadmill next to me was sure better than a stranger. Strangers think it's creepy when you turn to them and make faces. The Pilot just smiles and makes faces right back at me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Getting There

I had my long run on Saturday....7 miles was on the calendar. The informal TNT alumni run wasn't scheduled to start until 9 so I headed out a little early so I could suffer run my first two miles in silence. I've tried running right from the start, a walk warm up, stretching once warm, stretching while still cool and I just can't seem to avoid the shin splints I get for the first 2-3 miles. If I was new to marathoning or training for a shorter race like a 5K, I'd have quit a long time ago. I hate the first 2-3 miles with a passion. Yes, I realize I'm a coach and I should probably say that it gets easier. No, it doesn't get any easier until I get past the 3 mile mark. At least that's how it is for me. I know I'm not alone in this feeling but it is sure frustrating! I just keep trying to tell myself that I am designed for long distances....you know, just like the Kenyans. Or something like that.

Anyways, I did my 2 miles slightly faster than last week and then met up with the team. I was stopped a little longer than is ideal but it is always fun to catch up with alumni. Especially when they have just set a crazy PR....HELLO LISA!! I mentioned she was running the Savannah Marathon and let me tell you, she killed it! She came flying in at 4:25...beating her previous PR by 30 minutes!!! Holy smokes! I am so proud of her and I was jumping up and down when I get a text from her after the race. :)

The team headed out for varying distances and I ended up running alongside one of our TNT staff, Nick. He's a much faster runner but he completely humored me by sticking with me for 2.5 miles!! I'm not even sure if he realized how awesome that was. Know what happens when you run with someone who you know is slowing down to run with you? You run faster and longer. I kept glancing at my watch and it was a good 30-60 seconds faster than my normal pace. I also really wanted to take a walk break after 2 miles but because he was there, I just kept going. Plus, I really enjoyed the company so the 2.5 miles went by really quickly.

When Nick split off to get in a couple more miles, I ended up catching another group of our team. This alone was pretty amazing...I NEVER catch anyone else. :) They were stopped at a drinking fountain and I could finally take the walk break I needed wanted. When they started running again, I let them know that I was going to use them as my carrot to help me make it all the way back.

Now because two of them aren't currently training for anything and they are just thoughtful and selfless people, Mary and Elizabeth (Parker's aunts!) hung back with me and encouraged me the entire 2.5 miles back. I told them when I really wanted a walk break and we set a goal for when to walk and for how long and they held me to it. I really wanted to walk it in the last quarter mile (I was losing steam quick!) but Elizabeth wouldn't "let me." :)

And so I finished 7 miles in 1:31! Still not quite PR pace but it was an average of about 30 seconds faster per mile than last week! That was a huge relief and I was really excited to see that. I know that if Nick, Mary and Elizabeth wouldn't have stuck by my side, I would have walked more and run slower. THANK YOU!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Minimoon: Part II

After doing the zip line tour we headed to our hotel. Originally we wanted to stay in a cabin but we were only staying for one night and during peak season in the Hocking Hills, the cabins all had a 2 night minimum stay...boo. So we stayed at a glamorous Holiday Inn Express. We decided to pretend it was a cabin though and never turned the TV on and we brought a picnic dinner with us.

Wine, cheese, apples, pears, oranges, french bread and olive oil. YUM!
The next morning we went to the nearby state park, Old Man's Cave. I used to come a lot with my family when I was growing up but I don't think I had been to the park since college (I went to school in the Hocking Hills area....the OTHER Ohio school, Ohio University). The Pilot had never been so we were both looking forward to enjoying a beautiful fall day in the cave.

The Pilot took most of the photos but I got the chance to play around with his fancy schmancy camera also.

The best part of the minimoon? Hanging out with this guy of course!! :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Minimoon: Part I

The Pilot and I still haven't taken a real honeymoon. Other pilot wives will completely understand but getting a full week off for the wedding was a miracle. Getting more time off for a honeymoon was a long shot and I didn't have much vacation time left for the year anyways so we agreed to wait until 2012 to take a big trip.

We were extremely busy right after the wedding and didn't get to spend much time together. We wanted to take a short getaway though and when we realized we had 48 hours together last month, we quickly booked our "minimoon."

We headed to the Hocking Hills region of Ohio and cashed in on a wedding gift, a trip to the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours for a ride on the Super Zip and a canopy tour. We arrived early for our scheduled canopy tour and asked if there was enough time to do the Super Zip first. They offered to rush us through so we'd make it back in time for our tour.

Not exactly knowing what that meant, we said we'd go for it. Turns out it meant rushing us out to the Super Zip platform, putting on harnesses and running up the stairs of a 75 foot tall tower, passing by others waiting in line. We both felt really guilty but the employees at the top tower were yelling down for us. I'd like to point out that I was really sick with a head cold (and later found out I had an ear infection and perforated ear drum) and I do have asthma so running up all those steps was a bit of a chore. I was definitely huffing and puffing when we got to the top but there was no delay. They led us right to the edge of the platform and the next thing I knew, I was laying on my stomach, hanging from a wire, 75 feet off the ground. Now, I'm not afraid of heights but it was a little un-nerving! The Pilot is not a fan of heights (yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either, given his career choice) and I could only imagine what was going through his head. The Super Zip is actually two lines, side by side so they let us go at the same time. It was pretty insane to look over at The Pilot as we flew down the quarter mile long line. Once we got to the end, my knees were shaking and my eyes were watering. It was great! They had a Gator waiting to transport us back to the start of the tours so we rushed out of our harnesses and headed back so we didn't get a chance to take any pictures from the Super Zip so I borrowed a few from their web site for illustration purposes.
While we wish we could have slowed down to really enjoy the experience, we agreed that by rushing through, neither of us had time to be scared until it was too late! :)

That's me in the pink, looking at The Pilot, wondering what he's taking a picture of....
oh, it's us in the Gator's rear view mirror. :)

Next up was our canopy tour. Our group had another family and another couple and two tour guides. They drove us all out to a cliff and pushed us off....really, there was a zip line set up so that it followed the natural landscape of the area and we headed off the hillside and zip lined to another platform. Then it was a series of zip lines of varying lengths, heights and speeds, as well as some rope bridges. It was about a 3 hour tour and we had an absolute blast!

The first zip line from the hill side
One of the rope/wood bridgesThe Pilot zipping
Some video highlights of the tour:

I mentioned that I'm not afraid of heights and I'm not but.....I am afraid of stepping off from a height. For some reason, the zip line didn't induce this fear because when you step off the zip platforms, you are hanging from the line above you. An example of what makes my stomach jump into my throat? Trying to slide down a fireman's pole. I've never been able to do it, even as a kid. I tried bungee jumping in college and it was damn scary but fun once I got past making that first step. So anyways, I was fine all day until it came time to end the tour. You have to get down out of the trees and it never occurred to me how that would happen. Well, you belay down. Meaning I'd have to step off the platform and be guided straight down to the ground on a rope. For some reason, this freaked me out. My stomach was flip flopping. It's just the first step that freaks me out...and The Pilot was nice enough to record my first step:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can't Complain

I completely agree with the statement that if you don't exercise your right to vote, then you don't have the right to complain. I've always been a very conflicted voter. I always feel like I'm trying to pick between the lesser of two evils, especially when it comes to voting for people as opposed to issues. It's not a secret that there are some super shady characters out there trying to push their own agendas. But there are also people out there who are really are trying to make a difference, it just takes some research to try to figure out which choices to make before casting that vote. So I did that research and I voted today. I hope you did too!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tread hell

Up on the training calendar for today was a 4 mile run. It sucked. There is no way around it, it just sucked. Now that it gets dark when I'm leaving the office, I am chained to the treadmill during the week. I wasn't off to a good start when I got to the gym and realized my ipod was dead. Bleh. Trying to read the closed captioning on the TVs in the gym makes me a little dizzy so I tried to occupy my brain with people watching. Normally I love people watching but not when I'm sweating like a banshee and I want to cry.

I started with a 1/4 mile walk warm up. Then a painful 1 mile run. Damn these shins. I took a 1/4 mile walk (wayyyyyy too slow I'll point out) break because my shins were still on fire. I started to run again and I wanted to quit every single step. Bleh. But I made it another mile before taking another 1/4 mile walk break....then a mile run. The burning from the fronts of my legs started to subside but at this point, I was starting to get hungry. I went from the office, changed clothes at home, had my nightly chat with The Pilot and then went to the gym. I had a fruit strip (the REAL fruit roll up!) before heading to the gym but at mile 3, that was obviously not enough. Bleh.

I wanted another walk break but that's when I noticed my time. If I took another walk break, it would have officially taken me longer to do my run/walk combo than if I would have race walked the entire thing. And I couldn't let that happen. Not when I have a PR to chase down. Instead of walking, I sped up the treadmill. Maybe not the smartest, but I was annoyed and wanted to be done. I slowed back down for the last tenth of a mile to cool off a bit. 4 miles in 56 minutes. Bleh. But, I didn't quit at 2.5 miles like I really wanted. And I didn't chew my own arm off at mile 3 like I really wanted. I finished all 4 miles that were on the schedule and I did it (slightly) faster than a race walk pace.

I am now home and have had dinner and while I still think it was a craptastic workout, I'm glad I didn't give up, because then I would just feel worse.


As part of my "chase down that PR" training plan, I had a 6 miler scheduled for yesterday. I started fueling on Friday evening by carb-loading on this:

I had every intention of preparing this recipe myself. I found it, bought the ingredients and then realized that The Pilot was going to be heading to bed around 7:30 pm on Friday night (a 4:30 am report time means he was up crazy early on Saturday morning). By the time I got home from work and prepared this, he would have been in bed. Fail. But, because he's awesome, he made it instead and I ate it. (I did clean up the mess after so I like to think that makes up for my lack of dinner planning skills!)

Anyways...I headed out on Saturday morning to get 2 miles in before meeting up with some of the TNT alumni. It was pretty cold (30!) and I was having a hard time getting my asthmatic lungs and cantankerous shins warmed up. I ended up walking more than running for those 2 miles. Bleh.

After meeting up with the alumni, I ended up running alongside Kim, one of the walkers I've been coaching for the past year+. Yes, she was race walking and I was running. I like to think that is because I'm such a fantastic coach and taught her some stellar race walk technique. In reality, her legs are about a foot longer than mine and she's a natural race walker....and I'm a slow runner. Anyways, it was nice to have someone to chat with for 2 miles. Despite my warnings, she is signed up for the Goofy Challenge and we will be traveling to Orlando together in January. She wants that Goofy medal and I want a PR!

I only needed 4 additional miles so after 2 miles with Kim, I turned around to head back. I did take a 30 second walk break for some water and to stretch out my shins. As I was running, something shiny kept catching my eye. It happened during the Air Force 1/2 Marathon as well. One of our TNT alums, Jenny, was selling shoe charms as a fundraiser awhile back. And I have a hard time saying no to a fundraiser, especially one this cute. Well the shoe charms have some bling on them and on a sunny day, my feet are sparkling when I run!

Check out my TNT and Tri shoe charms (as well as my toe emergency tag):
Despite the shiny distractions, I ran the entire way back and finished 6 miles in 1:22. A little slower than my pace from last weekend and definitely not a PR pace. It's still 8 minutes faster than I could have race walked it so I'm still on the right track. I'm hoping I just need to give my body a little time to adapt to running in the colder temperatures again and that increased miles and pace during the week will bring down my weekend times.

This yummyness was waiting on me when I got home! I was refuled and ready to get on with my day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Hat

The end of daylight savings means the end of the summer uniform for pilots. And for my pilot, that means he has to start wearing his hat and a trench coach (yes, the trench coat is as creepy as it sounds). I, like many pilot wives, think the uniforms are kind of hot. Most women have a thing for a man in uniform. I don't understand it at all. And for some unexplainable reason, I dig the hat. Most pilots hate the hat. It's hot, it doesn't breathe, it itches, it slides off, it's one more thing to carry around, etc. But I think it's hot. So we are heading into the darkness of winter but now that daylight savings has ended, The Pilot is wearing his hat again. He wouldn't let me post a picture of him in the hat (he really does hate it) but here is his and the Captain's hats hanging up in the flight deck, which is where I am sure those hats go from the second the door closes until they open it again.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Be Nice to Me: Part II

Remember when I told you to be nice to me back in July? Well you should be nice to me again! I donated blood yesterday. I was trying to get on a more regular schedule (you can donate every 54 days) but 54 days after my last donation ended up being right near a big work event and right in between a 1/4 marathon and a 1/2 marathon....not the ideal time to be giving up my goods. And then I just had all kinds of other excuses but I finally made it last night. Now I'm trying to replenish fluids and iron so I don't drag through my 6 mile run tomorrow morning.

I pledged to donate 3 pints this year but unfortunately I'm not eligible to donate again until the very end of the year...just a couple of days before my race that I hope to PR. I'm not so sure that's a good idea. Crap....oh well, its better than nothin' I guess....or feel free to comment below and tell me what a slacker I am.

Wow, Pilot, that is really close. I have no idea why my nose is all scrunched up.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I just noticed that my post from earlier today was my 200th post! I've been blogging for just over a year and I'm so thankful that I have found a place to share my inner most thoughts with all of you bloggy people. Or at least a place where I can whine about The Pilot's schedule, share my training successes and failures and bore you to tears with my wedding photos. I have finally found a place where I can make up my own rules, ramble on and on about whatever I want and in general, be less productive than I was before I discovered blogging. Yeay for 200 posts and counting. Thanks for reading!

Put that in Your Planner and Smoke It

I know I just made a post about scheduling and my weird obsession with an old school planner but I felt the need to make a follow up post about scheduling. When The Pilot gave me his November schedule, I wanted to rip it up and pretend he didn't give it to me. It's terrible. He works every.single.weekend. Guess who works a normal Monday- Friday job and is home on the weekends? This girl.

We have found that him working on weekends just doesn't work for us right now. Sure, it's great to have him home during the week because that usually means dinner is waiting for me when I got home from work (score!) but I'd rather forage for my own food than only get to spend a couple hours each evening with him. I know that this is what most of the rest of the working world does but keep in mind that those people have their spouses home on the weekends also. Do you know how hard it is to get home improvement projects done when you only have a couple of hours in the evening (after you've just worked a full day)? Sure we could divide and conquer, which we often do, but some things you just need two people to do!

And then there's my training. I usually get home from work around 5:45. Depending on the day, I need to eat dinner and then work out. Sometimes I work out first and then eat. A shower is also required after working out (I'm a sweaty beast). If all of this takes place after work, I'm not available for talking, cuddling (eeeeww....remember, we are newlyweds), paying bills, fixing crap around the house until 8:30 pm at the earliest. We go to bed pretty early most nights...between 9:30 and 10. That only leaves about 30-60 minutes to get that other stuff done. This 9-5 girl has to save that other stuff for the weekend. And so for a month like November, I'm on my own to make that happen. If The Pilot is working one weekend in a month, its not so bad. I can get caught up on stuff and get some free time for myself. But five straight weekends all on my own = sucky.

Something else that is sucky about the November schedule and having him home on weekdays, I sometimes travel for work. I have an overnight trip next week. The Pilot is supposed to land about the same time I am going to leave for my overnight trip. After a 4-day trip, The Pilot will come home and I won't be there. That means 5 days apart just because of the timing of our trips. Yuck.

Yes, I am complaining but don't get me wrong, I am extremely thankful that both The Pilot and I are gainfully employed. No matter the shortcomings of either of our jobs, we have incomes that we can live comfortably on and I know that isn't the case for many people right now. I'm not sure if this is something I will adjust to and if its just extra hard right now because we are newlyweds and (ewww) want to spend as much time together as possible or if I will always hate when he has a crap schedule that takes him away from home when I am at home ( and not at work).

This has been our life for the past 21 months and I still haven't gotten used to it. But looking on the bright side, after an exceptionally long month, it makes us both extremely thankful when he gets a good schedule and we get to spend lots of time together. I get to miss my husband every couple of days. When was the last time a "conventional couple" actually had the opportunity to miss each other? Know that awesome feeling you get when you see someone you've been missing? I get to feel that every couple days. It's pretty cool.

I laugh at you!!

So while I've been dreading the month of November, I'm going to do my best to focus on how incredible it is to actually miss The Pilot and then be reunited with him. I'm going to focus on the fact that with him working every weekend this month, I can go for my long runs and not feel guilty that I'm out on the trail for hours on end when I could be at home spending time with him. I'm going to focus on how thankful I am to have such a wonderful husband and how thankful I am that we have jobs that we have a passion for.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Old School

I'm old school. I don't have a smart phone that thinks for me. I do use my Outlook calendar at work but if there is anything that occurs outside of my normal work hours, it gets HANDWRITTEN in an old-fashioned planner. I use a DayMinder monthly calendar so I can see an entire month at a time. If I know in advance that I will have to work late or over a weekend, I write it down. All of my TNT coaching and/or fundraising commitments, it's written down. Babysitting my brother's rug rats, it's written down. If it's not in the planner, there's a good chance that it's going getting done.

Know what else gets written down? My training plan. In red ink. I schedule my workouts just like any other commitment. If I don't have a solid plan in writing, it's just not going to happen. Just because I write it all down in red ink, doesn't mean I'm uptight about cancelling or rescheduling. If my body isn't up to running/walking/swimming/spinning for some reason, I listen and do something else...or nothing at all. If I'm overwhelmed at work and just plain exhausted, I'll take a day off. The red ink is done on purpose as well. All of my other commitments are written in black or blue ink. The red stands out so I don't forget. A big red 12 MILER will stand out more so I know to allow a couple hours that day to my workout.

By having a plan and writing it on my social and work calendar, I know exactly what needs done for the day and what I need to do to make it happen. I can see if I have to work early/late one day and know right away if an early morning swim just isn't going to work. By looking at the entire week/month, I can swap out workouts. Maybe I can't swim one day but I can get in a 30 minute core workout at home instead. Schedule your workouts like any other appointment but be a little flexible when needed!

What else is in my planner? The Pilot prints out a copy of his schedule for me each month and it gets tucked into my planner. This way I can also try to work my calendar around his. This can be tricky. I have to train but I hate not being able to see him for several days and then have him come home only for me to have to leave for several hours to go to a long walk or run. Sometimes I can make it all work out. Sometimes I can't. Last night it all worked out. I had a late meeting get cancelled so I was going to have time to get in a run before the sun went down but The Pilot was home. Solution? He just tagged along with me. I nearly broke him (I like to think it's because he's a couple years older than me and his knees are falling apart) but we got in 4 miles and spent some time together. :)

Thank you, Pilot, for taking this very artsy photo of my planners of past.

Some may use their fancy smart phones to keep their lives in order but something about writing things down helps me not just remember everything but there is some satisfaction at looking at the last month and seeing all of the things I accomplished. To make me even more neurotic, I keep all of my planners. It comes in handy when I'm behind in my scrapbooking (which I always am) and I can't remember when I did a certain race or some other event. It also helps when all of the other bloggers start doing their year end recaps and include all of their mileage and race times. I have my planner to look back on!