Friday, December 28, 2012

Multiple Personality Playlist

I've been whining about my playlists this entire training season.  As in I basically listen to the same playlist each week because I don't have much new music and it seems like the thousands of songs I already own aren't suitable for running or race walking.  Here is a random sample of what I've been listening during my long workouts (whenever I'm not with someone):

U2 - Where the Streets Have No Name (This was a new addition last weekend after I heard it during a movie and remembered I love the song and it has a steady rhythm which is great for running (once you get past the first few seconds.)
Pearl Jam - Given to Fly (While this isn't my favorite PJ song, this is in my top 10 for sure)
Calvin Harris - Let's Go (Thank you Fitnessista for this suggestion!)
David Guetta & Usher - Without You (I've had a soft spot for Usher ever since I was 16)
Nero - Promises (Thank you random fitness web site for the suggestion)
Ellie Goulding - Lights (Catchy)
30 Seconds to Mars-The Kill (Somewhere inside is still an angst-y teenage girl with a crush on Jordan Catalano.  Who's with me?!)
Matt & Kim- Don't Slow Down (Even if I'm scheduled for a walk break, I must.keep.running. Plus, these two are AMAZING!)
Usher - OMG (Oh that Usher....)
Lady Antebellum - I Run to You (I'm RUNNING!!)
Ray LaMontagne - You Are the Best Thing (This seems to always come on smack in the middle of my mileage-no matter the distance.  And I smile like a fool because it reminds me of me and The Pilot's wedding day.  He really is the best thing.)
Mumford & Sons - Babel  (Love them!)
Guster - Fall In Two  (I went to a liberal arts college. I have some hippie tendencies.)
Alicia Keys - Doesn't Mean Anything (You go girl!)
Muse - Starlight (Reminds me of when The Pilot and I were dating.  That is all.)

So if you can't tell, I am a white girl with a slight ghetto streak, with a bit of folk hippie thrown in the mix.  But sometimes a girl's gotta rock out.  And ultimately it comes down to the fact that Pearl Jam is the greatest band on earth and whatever keeps me moving forward has a pretty good chance of ending up on my eclectic playlist.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

12 wheels fell off....or did they?

Last weekend was my longest long run for the Disney 1/2 marathon.  Mary and Lisa had a zillion miles again so I tagged along so I could get my 12 miles in.  We did 2 miles before circling back by the cars to shed clothes.  We were melting.  It had been unseasonably warm (until yesterday when it snowed all day) around here and last Sunday was steamy.  I probably could have shed another layer but luckily I kept it as I was running into the wind on my way back.

I stayed with them for another mile and then dropped off to do my thing.  We met up again further down the trail when we made a pit stop.  We ran a little further together when I dropped off again.  I cruised along pretty well until the last couple of miles and it really started to feel like my wheels were falling off.  I was surprised to see that my pace didn't suffer because I was feeling pretty miserable and just wanted to be done. 

Again, I was pretty shocked at my average pace.  I was back in the 13:00 pace despite my walk breaks.  For me to never drop below 14:39 even when walking is a pretty big accomplishment for me.
Part of me wonders if I simply put too much pressure on myself last year when I was trying to PR.  Maybe I could have gone faster.  Or maybe I was training too much and zapped my energy.  I'm really not cut out to run more than 2 days in a row.  I can walk more days in a row but that much running leaves me with achey knees and it's just not worth it.

I went into this training season with no goals.  I knew I wanted to just go to Disney to have fun and support my friends during their Goofy Challenge.  I was also knew that realistically, I wasn't ready to devote the time to serious training.  I had planned to do the bare minimum to get me through the race.  That's just where I was in terms of my time commitment and my emotional commitment.  So I've been working out only about 2 days a week.  I'm not exactly proud of that but that's the truth.  As a coach, I certainly wouldn't recommend only training 2 days a week for a 1/2 marathon but right now, it seems to be working for me. 

I am officially tapering now with 10 miles scheduled for this weekend and I think 9 next weekend.  After that, I'll have to come up with another game plan.  :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Pilot Family Christmas

I came across this article the other day and it struck a cord with me.  It's a total crap shoot if The Pilot will be home on holidays.  I almost just assume he WON'T be around on holidays and then if he is going to be around, its a bonus.  Somehow we hit the jackpot this year and he was home on Thanksgiving AND will be here for Christmas. 

But for those times when he isn't home, we just celebrate a little early or a little late.  I would say that of all the holidays, Christmas is the only one that I have a hard time with if he's not home.  Especially since I'm off work and being home alone on Christmas stinks.  I think the last time that happened though I hung out with my parents.  And that's probably what I will do in the future when The Pilot is off flying other families to and from their holiday gatherings.  While I'm sure The Pilot would rather be home on holidays, the extra money is kind of nice.  It's also nice to see that The Pilot does still have a passion for flying, despite the cons of the job like working on the holidays.

I'm curious though, how do other pilot families or families who have a member who works on the holiday handle the absence?  Do you celebrate early or late?  What did you do when little ones came into the picture?  Does your pilot mid working holidays?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Over a year ago I wrote a post about successes and failures.  Back then I was celebrating the fact that I paid off my credit card debt.  I've been credit card debt free since then also.  My new goal was to pay off my car at least 18 months before the end of the loan. 

Well every last extra cent (after retirement and the emergency fund savings) went towards that car.  And yesterday, I made the final payment on my little blue roller skate!  I was also able to pay it off 2.5 years early!   It is such a relief to have that off my shoulders.  It was very tempting, especially in the last 6 months to not make the extra payments.  It would have been easy to take that money to finish up the remaining projects around the new house but I kept plugging away at that loan instead and I'm so glad I did. 

Like I mentioned in the past last year, I contemplated not sharing this "publicly" especially since I was ashamed at the time that I had gotten myself into some debt.  It's not really anyone's business but at the same time, it happens to even those who try to plan well.  I knew I wasn't the only one in a similar situation.  I also am aware that it could have been a lot worse.  I've been lucky enough to be employed through this whole economic crapper.    I also didn't want this post to come across as "look how great I'm doing, I paid off my car and I had all this extra money to do so!"  I wanted to share because it was hard.  It's not like we have buckets of extra money.  I thought through every single purchase I made over the last year.  I asked myself, do I NEED this?  While I still made some questionable purchases from time to time (yes, Pilot, I NEED to put Christmas lights around our  light post out front) but for the most part, I stuck to my plan.

You know, my master plan to "live the dream".  My dream to retire by the time I'm 32.  Oh wait....that's only 3 weeks away.  Crap.  Oh well. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

10 .36 because I suck at math

I'm only running about a week behind on my blog posts....sigh.

On December 9 I tackled my 10 miler.  During the workout I realized that I wasn't sure if I ever even said what I'm training for here on the blog.  Oops.  I'll be heading back to Disney World in a couple weeks for my 9th year involved with Disney's Marathon weekend.  I'll be doing the 1/2 marathon this time around.  It's pretty amazing to me that this Gym Class Dropout has been involved with racing that long already.  How did that happen??

Anyways.  I met up with my fellow Disney fans, Lisa and Mary.  Those crazy girls are doing the Goofy Challenge, despite my warnings.  :)  While they are faster than me and typically going longer distances, we meet up together and I run a couple miles with them and then drop off.  When they circle back by me, I'll run a little more and then drop off again.  Rinse and repeat.  It's nice to have something to look forward to.  And an added bonus of running with people who are faster than me....I'm running faster.  I've been doing a run/walk combo and my run "breaks" are at a faster pace than I was a year ago at this time.  Unexpected but awesome!

It's doing wonders for my average pace.  My 1/2 marathon PR pace (running, not race walking) is about 12:45.  My average for this workout was 13:07.  Considering I was doing walking in there too, I'm pretty pleased.

I felt really great through the entire workout.  I never really hit a wall and could have easily kept going.  That's always reassuring to know that, especially with a 13.1 mile race fast approaching.

I ended up with that little extra .36 onto my 10 miler mostly because I cannot do math mid-run.    Hell, I can't do math when sitting with a pen and paper.  That's another story though.   I considered going onto 11 miles just to make it even but decided against it. Besides, The Pilot was home work the weekend and was waiting on me.

Last year I was on Mission: Epic PR Attempt at the Disney 1/2 marathon.  This year, I'm going into it without a real plan other than to just enjoy myself and have a fun, safe race.  No real time goals or anything.  Of course the faster I go, the quicker I can get onto having a magical visit at Disney World but also, the faster I race, the more likely I am to be waddling around later.  So maybe my goal is more along the lines of, go just fast enough to maximize the weekend getaway but not so fast that I'm sore and miserable.  I'll let you know how that works out.  Ah the life of a slow moving endurance athlete.  I know my priorities.  :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jingle Bell Run +5

On December 1, I participated in the Jingle Bell Run 5k benefiting the Arthritis Foundation.  Never underestimate the power of e-mail and social media.  A former TNT teammate put together a team for the Jingle Bell run as her husband has a form of arthritis.  I saw it on Facebook and got an email about it and before I knew it, I was one of 111 people on the team, "Jon's Jinglers."  This is the only time it is even remotely appropriate to have anything to do with a friend's husband's jinglers.  Anyways, we ended up being the largest and top fundraising non-corporate team.  Pretty awesome!

I talked my co-worker into doing it with me.  You remember her, the co-star of the Best Race Photo EVER.
I'm amused that it looks like she's wearing a Santa hat when in reality it was the person standing behind her.

The race was a blast!  We were both doing it for fun and didn't really have any plans other than to finish.  So we ran some and we walked some and laughed a lot.  We entered the non-timed division so we weren't wearing timing chips.  I did wear my Garmin though because the 5k was part of my warm up for my ultimate 8-mile workout.

When a former TNT teammate asks us to help her out, we show up in full force....
in Santa hats and crazy socks.  LOVE these people!

After the race, I quickly headed home, shed a few layers (I was way'd think I had never raced in the winter before!) and grabbed The Pilot.  I drug him around our neighborhood for about 3.5 miles.  His knees don't take kindly to much running so I ditched him at the house (love you, Pilot) and headed back out on my own in order to finish up my 8 miles for the day.

It was such a fun morning and a great way to break up what could have been a pretty boring 8 miles.  No land speed records but that certainly wasn't the goal.  My ultimate goal for the day was to support a friend while not bailing on my intended 8 miles.  Success!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tale of the Traveling Treadmill

Once upon a time I decided my parents needed a treadmill.  I was in college at the time and suggested they buy one so they could use it to get healthier and I could also use it when I came home on the weekends (keep in mind this was before my marathon days).  My sales tactic must have worked because they bought one!  I think I used it a handful of times, as did my parents before it was doomed for a life of solitude in their basement.

I'm not exactly sure of the details but I'm sure it had something to do with my parents' getting sick of looking at it, gathering dust.  They were about to get rid of it when my brother offered to take it.  It relocated to his basement where I know both he and his wife used it occasionally.  Heck, I even used it once at their house when I was training for some race and was babysitting my niece.  I think I knocked out a few miles after I put her to bed for the night.

When The Pilot and I bought the new house and had a basement large enough to accommodate some workout equipment, I started thinking about where we could find a treadmill on the cheap so I could avoid paying for a gym membership for the winter months (when it's too dark for me to workout outside before or after work).  I remembered the last time I was in my brother's basement, the treadmill had some kids' toys sitting on it.  Ah....  Hey big brother?!  How about you let me take that off your hands.  Think about how much extra space you would have in your man cave toy room basement.

And so the treadmill, all million pounds of it, made the trek back to this side of town.  I think at this point it has more miles on it from riding around in the car than it does from actual use.  Hopefully I can change that.  Despite its age, it still seems to work.  It's pretty noisy and I think the backlight on the display is burnt out because it's really hard to see the pace/distance, etc. but that's ok.  I usually cover up the display with a towel anyways.  If I don't, I stare at it and it's like watching paint dry.  Sloooooow.

So it's been in the basement for several weeks now but up until recently, I was still getting most of my workouts in outside.  But now its dark by the time I get home from work so it's time to get into a routine of hitting the dreadmill.  I don't typically mind cold weather but I have a strong dislike of rain so the treadmill will also come in handy when it's just too darn wet to be outside.

That is what I realized that running/walking on a treadmill in a basement is a lot like being locked in a cell.  Not that I've ever been in a cell but check out my view from the treadmill:
Remind you of a jail cell?  

Wow.  This is 100 times more boring than the treadmills at the gym.  At least at the gym you can eavesdrop on your neighbors.  To make it worse, we don't have a TV hooked up in the basement yet.  There was ONE outlet in the basement (other than for the washer and dryer) and it was being used for the treadmill.  And it is on the opposite wall from where we have a TV and DVD player set up.  Hopefully in the next couple of weeks my dad will be able to come over and run more outlets throughout the basement to solve this problem.  At least then I could watch some TV instead of staring at the sky out that tiny window or at the concrete wall.

In the meantime I'm stuck with listening to my iPod and being constantly reminded that my playlists suck in terms of motivating me to move more.  I'm now soliciting song suggestions!  Anything to keep me on that treadmill for 30+ minutes at a time and moving faster than a 16 minute mile.  And go.....

And in unrelated but crazy cat lady news, I have started an all out war of keeping one of the cats from removing the Christmas tree skirt to build forts with.  She's the devil in a furry package.  And if you happen to be at my house, please don't judge us by the amount of cat fur on the tree skirt (or any surface really).  I am losing this war.

Monday, November 26, 2012

I think they are trying to kill me

Why hello there blog!  Sorry to have neglected you over the last few weeks...months.  I keep telling myself that its a sign that I'm too busy living my life.  Or something like that.  But the blog is also an outlet to put it all out there.  If not, I tend to over analyze life.  In the middle of the night.  Not cool.

My blog tagline is "random thoughts from a slow moving endurance athlete."  So let's talk about that.  Despite the lack of blogging, I have in fact been getting my sweat on lately.  And The Pilot has been getting in on the fun.  Now before your mind goes in the gutter., I'm talking about working out together.  The Pilot has joined me for a couple walks/runs/shuffles and it's been fun to spend time together that doesn't involve multiple trips to the hardware store (the "adventures in moving" continue.).

We did a 4 mile walk a couple weeks ago, then last weekend he joined me for a 5 mile run/walk.  We got some fresh air and saw some bison on that one!  On Thanksgiving morning we headed out the front door and enjoyed 3 miles together before stuffing our faces (as much as a vegetarian can on that carnivorous holiday).  We even managed to lock ourselves out of the house in the process.  Let's just say that The Pilot was very thankful to live just 3 miles from his in-laws, who happen to have a copy of our house key.  :)

Over the weekend I was scheduled for 7 miles which was a little bit too much for The Pilot.  Plus, I wanted to try to run more and The Pilot's knees don't take to running so much.  He stayed home to study (you want your pilots to know their stuff don't ya?) while I hit the trails.  I was planning to stay close to home but after some Facebook stalking, I realized some buddies would be out getting in some miles.  And so I invited myself to join them (It will be no surprise if they STOP posting their training plans in advance).

What started as a 7 miler turned into 8.14 miles because it was just so nice out and my body seemed to be cooperating.   Here is what went down.

My friends Kim and Sam really pushed me yesterday while my so-called friends, Lisa and Mary tried to kill me.  End of story.

Not really.  You can see in the splits below that I was hanging with Kim and Sam for my first two miles.  They are crazy fast walkers and sometimes walk the same pace I usually run. I was huffing and puffing to keep up with them but held on for nearly 2 miles.  I then turned back to meet with more friends who are training for Goofy (I tried to warn them) and who were on day 2 of their long miles.  They had 18 on their schedule and I decided to try to join them for at least a mile (I have to be honest.  It was mostly for social reasons, not really because I wanted to try to run faster.).

Look what happened at mile 4.  10:38?  You betcha I was sucking wind and seeing stars.  I stayed with them for a mile when I cried uncle and dropped off.  Lucky for me though, they stopped just ahead of me when they ran into Kim and Sam and I was able to catch back up.  They took off again and by then my heart rate had calmed down from "you might need medical assistance" to "slightly jacked up" so I decided to try to run a little longer with them.  I made it about a half of a mile before I was dying again and dropped off to walk.  Then it happened again.  They ran into some other purple people on the trail and had stopped to say hello (see what I mean about wanting to run for social reasons??) so I once again caught up to them.  The heart rate cooperated enough to let me run with then for one final time before it was time for me to turn around (or else I would have gotten sucked into an 18 miler than than 8).

After I turned back around to finish up my workout, I went with a run .75 mi, walk .5 mi.  It seemed to work and it turned out that I was able to keep my average pace pretty decent considering the crazy heart rate and stops and starts.  In all, it was a great workout and I'm glad I made the trek to turn it into a social workout rather than heading out on my own.  I know for a fact that I couldn't have fun a 10:38 mile if I was by myself.  I'm not even sure that I would have wanted to....running is for crazy people. ;)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Time Suck

I know I'm pretty late to the bandwagon but I finally got on Pinterest.  And it has proven to be an even greater time suck than Facebook.  I could probably lose HOURS of my life looking at random things.  I even have myself convinced I NEED a sewing machine for Christmas (are you reading this PILOT??).

After two failed Pinterest recipes, I finally had a success.  Ironically, the success wasn't an edible recipe.  I made floor cleaner! 

The new house has dark wood laminate floors on the first floor.  They show every single cat hair, leaf and speck of dust as well as every spot and streak from the Swiffer Wet Jet.  I found a DIY "miracle" cleaner on Pinterest that seemed to work wonders specifically on wood laminate.  I figured it was worth a shot.

I also purchased the Rubbermaid Reveal which is like the Wet Jet but with a reusable pad and a bottle to use your own cleaner. 

 It was easy and I only ended up needed to purchase the essential oils since we had everything else.  Here is the slightly modified recipe I used (I eliminated the orange essential oil):
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup alcohol
  • 2-3 drops dish soap (I used Seventh Generations dish soap)
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
I poured everything directly into the bottle that came with the Reveal, shook it up and started mopping.  Finally, after 5 months in the new house, the first floor floors actually look clean!   No more streaks!

And so the Pinterest addiction continues. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

You Come Here Often?

Hey baby, you come here often?

I was a little late leaving my office the other day and The Pilot was going to be landing a few minutes later.  My office is right across the street from the airport so I decided to surprise him.

Usually when he lands, I get a text stating something along the lines of "Cbus" (meaning he's on the ground and I should see him in about an hour), "on the bus" (meaning he's on his way to his car and I will see him in about 50 minutes) or "leaving the lot" (meaning he's in the car and about to head home and I have 30-45 minutes before I see him).

So this time I sent a text to tell him to text me when he was leaving the plane.  I figured he would assume I was trying to gauge what time he'd be home so I could start dinner.  He was deadheading (riding in the back of the plane) and I got a text that the plane had parked.  Due to the delay though, he got my request after his text so he called to tell me he was walking up the jetway.  I debated on whether to answer or not because I was standing just outside of the terminal and it was noisy.  I thought for sure that would give me away.  I answered anyways and told him I'd see him soon.  I hung up as I bust into giggles. Of course I would see him soon.  Very soon. I am HORRIBLE at surprises.

So there I stood with the other families and friends waiting to pick up loved ones.  Has anyone seen Love Actually?  The opening and closing scenes of that movie make me cry every.time.  The first time I saw the movie, I was living in Florida, 1,200 miles from everyone I loved.  I had just returned to FL after spending some time in Ohio with family.  When my mom dropped me off at the airport, we caused a scene.  Both of us were crying.  I didn't want to leave and she didn't want me to go.  Then I went and saw Love Actually with my roommate in FL and cried at those scenes.  There is something about watching people say hello and goodbye to people at airports that is very emotional.

And then I married a pilot.

I watched as people greeted their loved ones and waited for The Pilot to make his way through the terminal...and tried not to get weepy.  Cheese ball.

I finally saw him, chatting with two of the flight attendants whom he had just spent the past 4 days with.  I know I was grinning like an idiot.  As he got closer, I knew he didn't see me.  Of course he wouldn't.  He spends days in airports, dodging travelers who aren't paying attention.  So just as he was about to pass me, I stepped beside him and matched his pace.  He looked at me all creeped out (he later told me he was wondering why some lady was walking so close to him), looked away and then looked back.  Ah ha!  He recognized me, smiled and introduced me to his crew.  

He later shared with me that the FAs thought he was getting the "princess treatment."  Apparently the airline industry calls it the princess treatment when a crew members gets dropped off/picked up at the airport by a significant other.  They quickly realized it wasn't like that as The Pilot got on the employee bus with them and explained that (my words) his wife is a cheese ball, works across the street from the airport and decided to surprise him.

As we parted ways to go to our respective cars, he was still smiling.  It was a very brief interaction but that smile alone was worth the $3 I paid to park.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Race weekend

This weekend is the Columbus Marathon.  I'm getting really excited.  I'll be coaching the race instead of racing which means I could do anywhere from 13 to 20 miles.  I basically start with my fastest walkers and then start dropping back to pick up some others.  Eventually I end up cutting the course (as a coach, we are allowed and we aren't wearing timing chips), usually through an alley or side street, in order to catch back up with the faster group.  Rinse and repeat over and over until your last participant crosses the finish line.

With race weekend coming up though, its a little bittersweet.  It means it is the end of another training season with Team in Training.  This team has been training since May.  I have a couple participants who had never walked a mile before and this weekend they will complete their first 1/2 marathon.  It's like sending a kid to kindergarten.  You teach them all you can, hope they are ready and send them off into the world with their name taped to their shirt.  :)

Best wishes to everyone racing in Columbus (and anywhere else!).  Also, congrats to everyone who completed the Nike Women's Marathon benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Our chapter had an AMAZING team finish that race in San Francisco last weekend.  So proud of all of them!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Be Nice to Me: Part III (Bonus: I got a good cookie)

I previously blogged Be Nice to Me parts one and two.  And on Wednesday I finally made time to donate blood again.  It's been waaaaay too long.  I'm still struggling to get on a schedule to donate.  The challenge is usually my training schedule.  It's hard to donate while training for a race because I end up feeling run down for a couple days.   But despite having the Columbus Marathon coming up in just over a week (I'm coaching), I had some time to kill before a meeting so I stopped into the local Red Cross.

Normally it's a really quick process.  You answer the questions, they poke you, drain you, feed you a cookie and you are off.  Normally I'm in an out in less than 45 minutes.  Which is why I figured I could easily pop in, donate and get to my meeting with plenty of time to spare.

I warned the nurse that my veins are tricky to find and pointed right to where they were able to find one at my last donation.  She went right for in and then nothing.  It wouldn't bleed.  She called over another person to help.  And then they called the charge nurse over.  I don't know why I don't just ask for the charge nurse from the start but anyways.  She told me it wasn't cooperating and ask if I wanted to try the other arm.  Sure.  I was already there and still had plenty of time.  Besides, it really doesn't hurt that much for those weenies out there who are cringing right now just reading this. ;)

The charge nurse was finally able to find one on the side/top (?) of my elbow on the other arm.  She stuck me quick but then that poor vein didn't want to give it up either.  They re-positioned my arm and got it going but it took forever.  Normally it's a matter of minutes to fill up the bag but I think this was one drip at a time!

While I waited, the charge nurse told me this incredibly bizarre story about how her family rescues possums. For real.  They usually nurse them to health and release them but they actually have one as a pet.  It lives in the house, wanders around.  It's house broken apparently.  I'm an animal lover but I tend to draw the line with rodent-type pets.  She was a really sweet woman.  You can definitely tell she has a big heart for animals...of all kinds.  They have a goat, lots of cats, dogs, a hedge hog and "whatever else the kids drag home."  :)

By the time I gave my pint and they were patching me up, I was running really tight on time to get to my meeting.  Usually I feel fine right after I donate.  I sit in the canteen, have some water and it the road.  Well because they had so much trouble, they wanted me to sit a little longer and ice my arm.  Crap!  I did as I was told though and enjoyed my free cookies.  (It turned out that was my dinner.  Sigh.)


When I absolutely had no time to spare, I thanked the volunteer in the canteen (it was the same old lady who was there the first time I blogged about the donation) and bolted.  But not before collecting my free t-shirt.

I don't really need to be bribed to donate blood but I can always use an extra t-shirt.  They also do raffles each month.  When you donate, you are entered into the monthly raffle.  I actually won once!  I got a free Kindle last year.  Unfortunately I already have a Nook and didn't really need a Kindle also.  But fortunately I was able to donate it to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to raffle off.  Hopefully that was legal.  One blood related organization donating to another, right??
The sticker says "I Gave Blood Today....and I got a good cookie."  :)

Warning.....generally light-hearted blog post is about to take a serious turn.

Recently a friend from college had a very premature baby (somewhere around the 26 week mark I think) and posted a thank you on FB to those who donate blood because it had saved her little girl several times over already.  There are a lot of situations in life when I feel like I am at a loss of what to say or do.  This was one of those times.  Same as earlier in the week when I was at calling hours for a friend's dad who lost his battle with a blood cancer.  There isn't much I can say or do directly to help my friends through what they are going through.  What I can do though is donate blood.  I can donate time/money to organizations that are making strides towards finding cures for cancer.  And you can too.  Don't just sit there and let it happen.  DO SOMETHING.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The reason

So the blog has taken a hiatus if you haven't noticed.  I've noticed that a lot actually with the other blogs I follow.  Summer is a busy time, plus my blog is never going to be taking priority over my "real life."  I've been busy living life lately....and busy hauling dirt and mulch.  Besides coaching with TNT (our races are this month!!), we've been doing "a little" landscaping at the new house....

Front Yard Before:

 Front Yard Before:

Side Yard Before:

Other Side Yard Before:

Front Yard After:

Front Yard After:

Side Yard After:
Other Side Yard After:

We weren't planning to do all of this at once...or even this year.  But they delivered a lot more dirt than we ordered so we just kept creating flower beds.  Then those beds needed plants...and then mulch.  I'm glad that project is finished.  That was some seriously hard work.  

Two of the major work days occurred after I completed 13+ miles in the morning and then came home to play in the dirt....this is one reason I didn't participate in any of the local Mud Runs.  Why pay to play in the dirt somewhere else when I've already paid to have dirt delivered to my house and I can play at home.   I'm telling myself that all this work/working out gives me the right to overindulge in Halloween candy.  Don't judge.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2012 New Albany Walking Classic 1/2 marathon

I completed 1/2 marathon #8 on September 16.  The New Albany Walking Classic was, as usual, a wonderful race!  I've done the 1/2 marathon before as well as the 10k but my work schedule hasn't allowed me to race the past couple of years.  As soon as I realized there wasn't a conflict this year, I was online with my credit card in hand to register.  It is a walking only event which is genius.  It's great for first timers because as a walker, it can be very intimidating to line up to a race with a bunch of runners.  Some of whom don't think walkers have a place in racing.  Some of whom don't care if a race is walker friendly but get bent out of shape if they find themselves behind a walker.

Not at this race!  There are "spotters" on the course to ensure that everyone is walking.  I love too that pace is all over the board.  There are Olympians (though not this year as the Olympians you know, went to the Olympics) race walking a 7:30 mile.  No joke.  And there are people who are just starting out and embracing a healthy lifestyle and are walking a 20 minute mile.  And everywhere in between.

 I had recruited the help of my dear friend Marcia to help me pace.  She typically walks slightly faster than me and I knew that if I just followed her, I would be able to maintain my pace and beat my previous PR of 3:14.   I really felt confident that the only two things that might put that PR at risk where the weather and bonking.

I've battled with the heat and humidity all summer.  I don't tolerate heat at all.  I'm a winter girl at heart and I had trouble keeping my pace up throughout the summer training.  But luck was on my side last weekend.  The temperature that morning was in the 50s and there was hardly any humidity.  It was going to be warming up into the high 70s but I knew I'd be done with the race once it started to really warm up.
 It was a beautiful morning with a beautiful sunrise!

With the weather worry out of the way, I just needed to avoid bonking.  Or peeing.  You all know I don't hold back on the details of a race so we might as well talk about the port-a-potties.  As usual, once I arrived at the race about an hour early, I went to the bathroom.  Score!  It was a brand new port-a-potty that actually still smelled like the plastic it was made out of.  There also was NO line, I just walked right in.  I made one last pit stop right before the race though and boy what a difference 45 minutes makes.  I had to wait in line this time around but things were still pretty clean.  :)  I was really hoping I could avoid having to go to the bathroom during the race.  I've never stopped during a 1/2 marathon before but I had been dehydrated in the days leading up to the race and was trying to make up for it on Saturday afternoon.  I also had an unfortunate training walk when I had to pee at mile 2 and there wasn't a bathroom for another 2.5 miles.  Fail.  There is a fine balance of hydrating properly and not drinking too much that you have to waste time making a pit stop.  Moving on....

We had several current TNT participants as well as some of our amazing alumni racing, volunteering and "super spectating."  Here is just some of the team.

Meg, Kim and Lisa who are experts in the fine art of super spectating...
as well as experts at chasing people with cow bells.

We made the mistake of not lining up for the start early enough.  We got stuck further back than I would have liked.  I knew I had no place being up with the Olympians but we were getting mixed in the the 18-20 minute people (and trust me when I say that I have nothing against that pace, I started out there.  But when you are lining up for a race that you want to RACE, starting line placement is important).  My only critique to this race is to add corrals/pace signs so people can line up more accurately.  Anyways, we spent much of the first mile and a half trying to work our way up in the crowd and find some space (all while not starting out too fast and getting shin splints).  

The first couple miles ticked away really quickly.  There were several bands, cheerleading groups scattered around.  One memorable act was a young girl singing to an acoustic guitar.  From afar, I'd guess her age to be maybe 10 - 12.  And she was singing....Johnny Cash's Man in Black.  I love that this kid found Johnny Cash's music!!  Anyways...

Two of our current Team in Training participants found us so we added to our little party.  For one, it was her first race ever!  It was so much fun to be a part of that experience with her.  Her husband, along with The Pilot were out on the course super spectating and we saw them with cameras in hand just past mile 4.
Despite walking up a hill, The Pilot captured all four of us smiling!

We enjoyed chit chatting and before we knew it, it was time for our first timer to split off to complete the 10k.  We cheered her on as we headed in separate directions.  The Pilot was also at the split and I tossed him my sleeves as it was starting to warm up and I didn't want to carry them for another 6+ miles.
  He says that this picture looks like I'm going so fast around the turn that I had to lean into it.  In reality I'm throwing my sleeves at his feet.  Super Spectator aka my own personal Sherpa.  
I love that man. 

Off we went to finish the second half of the race.  I was wearing my TNT shirt from the past 2 triathlons I did.  Only downside is that my hair is so long that it's blocking Parker's name now!  Hopefully by the end of the year the hair will be lopped off and donated.

And now for my flair for the dramatics...I swear the next 3 miles were all uphill.  Nothing steep, just long and gradual.  And annoying.  :)  I've talked about embracing the hills before but no.  I don't like them.  I apologize to Marcia and Kim because I know I whined my way up them.  Marcia did amazing though.  When she sensed I was slowing down, she would move just in front of me, knowing I would follow.  She was "throwing me a rope" as we say.  I just had to imagine that her rope was pulling me.  And it did.  

We kept plugging along.  I was keeping a close eye on my watch.  I was hovering right at the minimum to reach my goal of staying under 3:14.  Around mile 9, I had to make a pit stop.  I probably could have made it until the end without going to the bathroom but I knew I'd be walking funny.  And I couldn't have that.  Kim and I sped up a little and both hit up a row of port-a-potties.  Thanks to Marcia, she kept us informed when we stepped out of the bathroom.  "You were in there for one minute!"  :)  She timed us so we would know how much time we would need to make up.

As we made our way out on a looooong out and back stretch, we passed a lot of people and got to see some of the really fast people making their way back.  And right at the turnaround was a beautiful sight.  Two of our amazing volunteers were literally standing in the middle of a deserted road ringing their cow bells.  They were also right at the top of one of those long, slow hills.  It was amazing to hear those cow bells and then see their smiling faces.  Thank you ladies!

Seeing them gave me a little extra kick.  I slowly kept picking up the pace.  I knew I was going to beat my PR but now I was on a mission to see how much I could beat it by.  Those last couple miles were tough but they ticked away quickly, especially as the majority of it was now down the hill that I had previously been whining my way up.

In that last stretch, I saw Lisa running and jumping along the sidelines.  I couldn't help but laugh.  She was taking pictures and yelling at us.  It was great to "steal" some of her energy and it helped me to continue to push the pace.

I could finally see the finish line and I could hear all of my teammates screaming for Marcia and I.  Again, it just fuel that last tenth of a mile. 
The Pilot captured these photos as we came into the finish chute.  All I can see is how wonky my arms are.  That is NOT good race walk form.  It's no wonder my lower back hurt after this race (too much twisting in the middle).

And what happened next was probably right up there with the Best Race Photo Ever.  And because my husband hates me, he decided to zoom in on my race face.  I wasn't laughing or sucking wind this time.  I was pushing so hard to get to that finish line, I was exhaling through the pain.  Nice.

But that's ok because that is the face of a Gym Class Dropout who just finished her 8th 1/2 marathon and at a personal best time of 3:10!  I got that PR I was after!  I was also really pleased after the race when I reviewed my split times.  I raced exactly how I wanted to.  Start a little slow to warm up, speed up a little and get comfortable.  And then kick it into gear.  I was blown away with I saw those last three miles (you can see that port-a-potty stop at mile 9!).  I was stunned at that 13:39 and then 12:11.  Normally my Garmin only sees those numbers when I'm running.  I also had my highest age group finish ever.  Normally I don't pay attention to this at all because I usually do large races that also include runners.  I can't really compare myself to runners in my age group when I'm not actually running.  This was a race to compare myself to others who were all walking though.  I came in 23rd out of 53 in my age group....not too shabby.

It was a great race and such a fun day.  It is always fun to hang out with my teammates and watch them reach their goals.  It was also nice to be able to share my own race goals with the participants that I am coaching.  They were all so supportive!  And of course seeing The Pilot rocking out his TNT gear while running along the sidelines taking photos is always heartwarming.  I couldn't have asked for a more supportive partner in crime.

Friday, September 14, 2012

PR weekend

I have a 1/2 marathon this weekend and I have my eye on setting a new personal record.  This is a walking only event which is amazing.  I love that this event is in my backyard because it's truly a world class event.  While the really fast field MIGHT be a little smaller this year due to the Olympics (yes, race walking is in the Olympics), it's still going to be amazing to watch some of these people in action.   The 2011 winner averaged a 8:05 mile.  WALKING!!  Nearly all of the runners I know can't run that pace for a 1/2 marathon.  I looked up some of the age group results as well.   The slowest person in my age group last year was still walking a 13:00 minute mile! 

My goal?  Stay under 14:45.  That's what I need in order to beat my previous best of 3:14.  I'm feeling pretty confident that I can beat it.  Part of me wants to smash it though.  I kind of want to see how close I can get to the 3 hour mark.  I'm much stronger than I was the last time I raced walked and got that PR.  My paces have increased significantly at shorter distances.  Of course I worry if I can maintain that for 13.1 miles and for some reason I have a fear that I'm going to bonk.  That's not something I usually worry about for a 1/2 marathon.  It might happen.  It might not.  I know I'll deal with it but I've been thinking about it.

I had an optimistic last training last night.  I averaged 14:24 per my Garmin.  But based on my friend's Garmin, there were 12 and 13 minute miles in the mix.  I was working my tail off to keep up with my walking buddies but it was a great speed workout for me.  I was able to keep a 15:30 for the first mile which is an improvement.  I've been frustrated over my 16 and even 16:30 first miles.  My goal on race day is to get there early and just start walking to get warmed up so I can avoid that sluggish first couple miles.  I gradually increase my pace over the course of 4-5 miles but in order to really smash that PR, I need to start much faster right at the gun.

Wish me luck.  And for good measure, cross your fingers and your toes! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012 life in cell phone photos

There is no reprieve in my crazy schedule for the next couple weeks.  I have an event starting soon at work, followed by the 1/2 marathon (and my PR attempt!) followed by some bridesmaid duties (one of my BFFs is getting hitched!) and then maybe, just maybe I can take a deep breath.

Here's just a glimpse at what I've been up to lately...

Finally cleaned up the basement and unpacked some of the last lingering boxes.  I obviously had two feline helpers.  Because they are soooo helpful.

Went to Salt Lake City for a work event...
 Those Mormon's sure grow some crazy beautiful impatiens! 

Saw this while finishing up an 8 mile walk.  :)
 Also saw this at the end of an 8 mile walk.  It looks fake but it was real.  We were both startled.

 Ate a boat full of veggie sushi.

Rewarded a 9 mile walk with a banana and some chocolate milk.

Woke up to this note from The Pilot one morning...someone?  I'm assuming it was a rotten cat.

Drew some inspiration from a co-workers to make dinner for The Pilot one night....taco salads with soy crumbles.

Had an annual lunch and a back-to-school shopping extravaganza with my beautiful niece.  Holy third grade!  Where did time go??  *tear*

Co-hosted a bridal shower with my girlfriends for one of my BFFs....she's a fan of Steel Magnolias...
Made a quick trip to Cleveland for work...with a stop at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.  Pearl Jam if the greatest band EVER.  Don't try to argue.

Walked into an office at my work's headquarters only to be seriously disturbed.  I try not to ask questions..

I've spent my week surrounded by patriotic event supplies and I've felt like my office walls are closing in on me.

I took some "I Do" letters leftover from my wedding and painted them in my BFF's wedding color...I swear it's a dark plum and not brown.

The Pilot followed me on his bike while I did a 10-mile walk.
  I walked past a pile of rotting apples that had fallen from a tree and the smell always reminds me of my childhood....we had apple trees in our yard and would have to pick them up before my dad would cut the grass.  Not necessarily a fond memory... :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Still Alive and Walking

As usual, August and September are my busiest months which means blogging takings a back seat to real life.  But I promise I'm still in action.  I'll hopefully have some workout posts coming soon (just over 2 weeks until my PR attempt!).

Despite the crazy schedules we have been keeping, The Pilot and I are still trying to live up the newlywed/new homeowner life.  We finally had a chance (and decent weather) to take a walk through the new neighborhood together.  It was a casual stroll (no Garmin!) but we probably walked somewhere between 2 and 3 miles.  We also took a detour through the neighborhood playground...

I finally got my swing on!  While I felt slightly silly for being the only grown ups playing in the park, it was fun.  I also decided that despite my love of swings, I think they may now make me slightly motion sick.  Boo!
And being The Pilot he is, he couldn't resist attempting to get into the only airplane available.  This did not go well.  But the silliness was worth it.