Monday, July 30, 2012

A Letter to The Pilot: Year 1

Dear Pilot,

One year ago today I posted this letter to you.  It was our wedding day.  A year ago I couldn’t believe that it was already wedding day after such a whirlwind engagement.  A year ago I couldn’t believe that I had found someone who was both the best friend and best partner in crime that I could have ever dreamed of.  A year ago I was head over heels in love with you and was so excited to become your wife.

And now, a year later, I can still hardly believe I found you.  I can hardly believe that I am your wife.  It seems so surreal!   A year later I am even more in love with you now than I was on our wedding day.  I feel like I’m still getting to know you and it’s always exciting.  I might not always show it but I strive to be the best person, the best wife I can possibly be because of you.  You always inspire me, make me laugh and help me to slow down and enjoy the moments that happen while life is speeding by.  And I’m so glad because we have had so many moments together over the last year.  We spend a lot of time apart but those moments we do spend together are the most precious to me.  Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

I might not be wearing the fancy dress this year but I’m still the one with the biggest smile.

Happy 1st Anniversary.  I love you.

The Wife

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Heart Carrots

I was coaching on Saturday morning but again the teacher became the student.  Of the walkers (all alumni!) who came to training, I was the slowest.  It didn't really phase me though as I took the opportunity to get my own training in.  And gave me the opportunity to use those walkers as my carrot.  I did my best to keep them within eye sight as we made our way through 7 miles.  Anytime there was a curve in the trail and I'd lose sight of them, I would pick up the pace to try to make up some time.  I never caught up to them but I finished within a minute or two of them.

Aren't they cute carrots?  They are also cancer-fighting super heroes but that's another story.

So I didn't catch up to them but I did have probably the fastest 7 miles (walking) I've ever had.  Ever.  I was shocked when I glanced down and saw 13 as the first number in my pace.  Normally the only time I see a 13 minute mile is when I'm running and I feel like I'm about to die.  Even more shocking is that once I got warmed up and the shin splints went away, I was cruising.  Negative splits up until mile 6 and then I had an exact repeat.  I don't think I could have two miles at the exact same pace again if I tried.

It was a great start to my Saturday morning. I won't lie though, my legs were pretty sore the rest of the weekend.  It was nice to have amazing weather.  It was in the 70s for our entire walk!!  Mother nature finally cut me some slack on Saturday and send the 100 degrees and 100% humidity somewhere else.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Best Race Photo EVER

Remember the Dash for Donation 5k?   Remember when I told Jessica to give everything she had and then she nearly dropped me when she started to sprint?  Well, we were coming up on a dude pushing a jog stroller. Realizing he was about to get chicked, he started to sprint.  Jessica exclaimed "oh, come on!"  And then I laughed (or gasped for air??).  And that resulted in the best race photo EVER!

Splits Don't Lie

Want to get faster?  Walk, run, cycle, etc with people who are faster than you.  The teacher has become the student.  Last night I tried desperately to keep up with two of TNT's amazing alumni.  They are so fast.  I like to think that I taught them everything I know but they are just natural race walkers.  I faded away pretty quickly but they came back for me and paced me through 4+ miles.  I think they have jumped onto my race walk PR mission.

The splits don't lie.  I started too fast, ended up with shin splints for mile two but then finally found a groove.  I was pushing with all I had considering the 100% humidity.  I thought my face was melting off.  It was so hot again.  But once again, popsicles awaited our finish and all was right in the world.

 Seriously, this heat has got to let up.  Probably not going to happen since August seems to always be the hottest month around here but a marathoner can dream.  I cannot wait for fall/winter training.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Adventures in Moving: Part 5

There are many many reasons why I am thankful for this new house.  Here are a few standouts...

So thankful for:

1.  Wildlife!  While the condo was only 1/2 mile from the house, it was still like an urban jungle.  The only wildlife around the condo were the neighbors' unsupervised children.  I've never been so excited to see squirrels, bunnies and birds.  The cats love it to.  We are nerds and are looking forward to feeding the birds in the winter.

What is that little creature out on the back patio eating The Pilot's stale tortilla chips??  Kitty cat, I know you've never seen one but that is a BIRD!
2.  A garage.  I think I've mentioned it before but a garage is the greatest thing since sliced bread to someone who has NEVER parked in a garage.  Unloading groceries in the rain?  No problem...oh wait, we are in the middle of a drought around here and this scenario hasn't happened yet.

3.  Trash pick up.  We have curbside trash pick up.  And curbside recycling pick up.  And curbside yard waste pickup.  Genius.  Its so much more convenient that having to change out of your pajamas and put on shoes just to run the smelly trash out to the dumpster.  We can just toss it out into the garbage can in the GARAGE (see #2) and then wait for trash day. No more hoarding our recycling in the basement and then driving it to the public dumpsters.

4.  A walk-in pantry and a full sized linen closet.  Beans on sale at the grocery?  Yes, let's go ahead and stock up.  We can do that now.  We couldn't before because we just didn't have the space.   Toilet paper on sale?  Yes, let's go ahead and stock up.  We have a true linen closet to store the goods.  Before we had a closet that was literally 6 inches wide and you couldn't even store bath towels in it.  We are loving the storage space.

 Pantry....and this is only HALF of the pantry!   
Yes, that is a fire extinguisher.  I'm not so great in the kitchen so this is a necessity.

And because I'm sure you have all been dying to hear an update on the status of my social awkwardness in meeting the neighbors....riiiight.  I had a meeting cancel so at the last minute I was available to go to a meeting for our neighborhood's civic association (sort of the same as a homeowner's association).  I figured I could sit in the back, maybe meet a few people and sneak out.  Not so much.  There were only about 10 people there (there are 400+ houses in the neighborhood).  They tried to get me to run for a Board position.  Oh heck no.  I was an officer on the condo association Board and it was a looooong year.  I'm ok with helping out from time to time but I don't need my neighbors emailing me to complain about the weeds at the entrance to the neighborhood.  I held my ground though and said I couldn't commit to the Board but told them I'd try to help when possible.  The plus side to going to the meeting is I met someone who lives on the same street as us.  I have at least one more person to wave at when I drive by.  It's a start.  At least Pottery Barn sent me a catalog to "welcome me to the neighborhood."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Surface of the Sun

So much for the weather easing up.  There was another heat advisory today which is usually the clue for this asthmatic to stay inside.  But I had made plans to run with a friend at a TNT alumni training.  That and I'm going a little stir crazy from being cooped up inside so much lately.  Seriously though, this heat has GOT to GO!  I am a winter girl at heart.  If only I could have the long days (daylight after work!!) during the winter season when it's cold out!

I showed up though and slogged my way through a 4 mile run/walk.  Really the only reason I needed the walk breaks was to cool down.  My legs held up fine considering I had the race on Saturday and did an 8 mile walk with my current TNT participants on Sunday.  While the legs were feeling fine, it felt like my face was laying on the surface of the sun.  I seriously thought my head my spontaneously combust.  I asked Laine, my run buddy, to grab my emergency tag on my shoe and call my mom if that happened (no, The Pilot isn't my emergency contact.  Not much he can do when he's 1000 miles away from where my head is on fire.).

Holy fast first mile!  Fast as in faster than my 1/2 marathon PR pace fast.  Maybe too can see right where that walk break took place!  :)  Overall though it was a good average pace for me plus it was wonderful to have a buddy!

With less than a mile to go, as we were slogging up a hill, Laine reminded me that there were popsicles at the end.  YES!  One of our rock star alumni brings popsicles on Tusday nights.  That was EXACTLY what I needed.  If it wouldn't have been so disgusting to do in public, I probably would have shoved the ice pack down my shirt.  But I like these people and I don't want to scare them.

These are some tough women.  They don't let heat advisories keep them from their workout!  Just don't mess with their popsicles!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dash for Donation 5K

I mentioned last week that I'm trying to get back on the workout wagon after mother nature so rudely pushed me off.  I did a 5k on Saturday with a co-worker.  As with most races, this wasn't just a race.  It was called Dash for Donation which is for Lifeline of Ohio.  It is Ohio's organ donation program.  I'm a registered organ donor so if anything were to ever happen to me, my organs are up for grabs.  Yeay for races with friends!  Yeay for races that raise awareness for awesome causes!

My co-worker Jessica asked if I'd run this race with her awhile ago but in the midst of moving, I just couldn't commit.  Well last week I realized I didn't have any set plans (other than house work) for that Saturday so I signed up and told her I'd run it with her.  I feel her running is "my fault" anyways.  I may have put the bug in her ear that racing is fun.  She started running in the fall and did her first race ever in November.  She had been plugging away at it (running is hard, yo!) until a major life event interrupted her "running career."

Someone she knew was in need of a kidney transplant.  Jessica wasn't a match but her willingness to voluneer started a chain reaction.  The next thing she knew, she was giving a kidney to a complete stranger via a transplant chain, all Grey's Anatomy style.  Someone was a match for her friend and Jessica was a match for someone else.  At the end of a very busy day in February, four people got new kidneys.  Craziness!  Four healthy people were able to save four peoples' lives.  And now Jessica is rocking some serious bling...

Five months later, Jessica was ready to race again.  After getting the go-ahead from her doctor 4-weeks post-op, she was back at it.  Walking, running, shuffling, dealing with heat issues, she was back at it!  She really wanted to run the entire 5k but with the heat and humidity rolling back into Columbus, her new goal was to run as much as was safely possible.  And I was there to help her make it happen.

Pre-race.  Only slightly warm and sweaty. And standing in traffic.

The festivities kicked off with a mascot chase.  If you've never watched one of these, you must find one in your area and go.  If you have kids, enter them into the chase.  It's hysterical.  All of the local mascots were there.  Some A-list (the Columbus Blue Jackets' Stinger) and some B and C listers (a Subway sandwich....wearing jeans.).  My favorites were the Cheryl's Cookies.  There were two cookies....though this one looked like a giant piece of toast if you ask me.

Anyways...the little kids get a chance to "race" with the mascots down a city block.  Lots of costumed people who have limited visibility and lots of little kids that only come up to the knees of said mascots.  Good times!

Jessica's mom was there also and was doing the 1k fun walk so we joined her for a quick warm up before lining up at the start of the 5k.  Jessica was a little nervous since this was only her second race ever and it was large compared to the small race she did back in November.  Don't worry, I went into coach mode and passed along some helpful tips.

"Now Jessica, first you stand in the middle of this crowd and mess with your watch like you know what you are doing.  Stare at it while it searches for a satellite.  Look like a doofus while doing this.  People will think you know what you are doing and just might get out of your way once the race starts  Or not."

"Next step, don't be a sheep and wear the designated t-shirt.  Wear whatever the heck you want.  In my case, wear a bright purple shirt in a sea of green race shirts.  This is because I'm slightly superstitious and I have NEVER in eight years done a race wearing anything other than a purple TNT jersey."
Sea of green, Lifeline of Ohio t-shirts.

It was a pretty good sized race and I was surprised by the number of people walking.  Which I think is completely awesome.  Unfortunately this is not so awesome when you are intending to run the race.  It took a little while to get around the pack and find an opening but once we did, it was smooth sailing.  Jessica was concerned we were starting too fast and that she wouldn't be able to maintain the pace for the entire race so we dialed it back several times in the first mile until she found a comfortable pace.

The humidity wasn't doing either of us any favors and being that I haven't run any distance since early June, I was absolutely fine with walking through the water stops.  As we progressed through the course, Jessica was doing amazing.  And around mile 1 she got a burst of energy.  There was a drum line from a local school on the side of the road and as a self-proclaimed band nerd, Jessica was loving it.  I have to admit, I have no rhythm whatsoever but even I could hear the steady beat and it was perfect to run to!  Bonus was that the course looped back so we go to pass the drum line twice.

With less than 1/2 a mile to go, I shared a secret with Jessica.  If we maintained pace from that point on, I was pretty sure I was going to get a PR.  While I have a lot of race experience, I don't like 5Ks so I don't do many.  And I've never actually run one.  All of the 5Ks I've done in the past have been walking.  I think this amused her.

Red faces=going pedal to the medal when it's hot and humid.

With that last tenth of a mile to go, I gave her one last suggestion.  I told her that she should try to  leave everything out on a race course.  Don't have any gas left in the tank when you cross that finish line.  You don't ever want to finish a race and think to yourself that you could have done more.  At least that's how I try to race.  And holy smokes did she listen.  She busted out into a sprint.  Ummm....ok.  I had no choice but to kick it into high gear.  That girl has some serious kick!  I came across the finish line seeing stars and breathing hard!  She outkicked me in the 2 seconds!  :)  But I did come across with a new PR:  44:04.  The Garmin's don't lie when I say we were hauling at the end.  We went from a 14:48 pace to a 11:47.  Nothing left out on the course for her!

Post-race.  Hot and very sweaty. 

Of course this got my race juices flowing.  There is something so exhillerating about crossing a finish line.  It doesn't matter what pace you cross at, it's such a high.  Even when you feel like death.  Those are the races that seem like a greater accomplishment because you survived and didn't quit.  This race got me pondering what time I could get running at my own pace.  Jessica's pace isn't far from my own but now I'm curious.  Maybe I'll randomly sign up for another local 5k and see what I can do.

Thanks Jessica for kicking my butt into gear.  Thank you fore being an inspiration.  You are an unlikely runner like myself but you also just ran a race after giving up one of your internal organs.  That's pretty awesome if you ask me.  :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back on the Wagon

You may have noticed a lack of workout related posts lately.  I haven't exactly fallen off the wagon.  I like to think that I have been shoved off the wagon by that B-, mother nature.  What is up with 100+ degrees in Central Ohio?  That just doesn't happen here.  Hell, even 90 degree days don't usually come until August.  There have been heat advisories more days than not.  They were telling people with breathing troubles (me) to stay inside.  So I did that.  TNT has cancelled multiple group trainings lately as well.  I don't keep a gym membership during the summer months so I haven't even had access to a treadmill (anyone wanting to let me borrow one, I'll take it.  I probably won't return it though.  Ever.).

We have had a *slight* break in the weather with some cooler temperatures sneaking back into the forecast.  And by cooler I mean it's now down to 90 during the day.   I finally dragged my lazy self to a TNT practice last night and I'm so glad I went.  Earlier this week two little birds (Kim and Marcia!!!!) reminded me that I declared a 1/2 marathon "A" race on the blog.  And they reminded me that it's only 2 months away.  Crap.  I don't even know what kind of pace I'm working with right now so I used last night as my baseline. (Remember I'm chasing a race walk PR, not a running PR).) It was in deed 90 degrees but I pushed hard anyways.

I did just over 4 miles but you can see from the splits that my Garmin died at 3.37 miles.  I think Garmin needs to invent a car charger for their watches.  That sucker could have be charging while I sat in traffic for 40 minutes on the way to training.  But back to the workout.  Check out the negative splits!  I'm fairly certain mile 4 ended up being faster than 14:16 so I was on fire.  Literally, I was on fire.  I was SOOOO hot.  Give me 30 degrees and a light snow fall and I'm a happy marathoner.  Other than the heat, the 4+ miles felt pretty good.  My legs are definitely feeling the pace today but it all feels good to be back in action.

Back to that A race.  I'm wanting to PR.  I need under 3:14 which is somewhere around a 14:45 mile.  Yowzas.  That's faster than last night's workout for sure.  And then there is Marcia and Kim in my ear telling me I can break 3 hours if I just stick with Marcia (she's agreed to be my "pacer.").  Ummm....that's somewhere around a 13:35 mile.  Crazy town.  If mother nature will start cooperating, I will just have to see what I can do.

Until then though, I'm doing a 5K (that evil short distance) with a co-worker tomorrow.  Her goal is to run the entire thing and I told her I'd do it with her.  I haven't necessarily told her though that the last time I ran was during the triathlon and I'm not even sure that counts as running.  Fun times!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Crafty in the Kitchen

I don't really enjoy cooking.  I'm capable, I just don't enjoy it. I get it from my mom . . . who got it from her mom.  It's just not our thing.  Luckily The Pilot seems to enjoy cooking so most of the time when he's around, he will make dinner.  Sometimes it's fancy, sometimes not.  We try not to eat out more than once a week.  Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we don't.

With the chaos of the move, I'm surprised to tell you we still managed to eat at home more often than not.  There were certainly several pizza runs during the moving process but we are back on track.  Now that we have a huge (to us anyways) kitchen and brand new appliances, it certainly makes cooking a lot easier than when we were in the condo.  I've even stepped up a little and have cooked some recently....and nearly burned the kitchen down.

A fellow pilot wife and blogger shared her love of a grill pan quite a while ago and all of her dishes looked so pretty and colorful.  This led me to make one kitchen-related request when it came to choosing items for our wedding registry last year, a grill pan.  Unfortunately after the wedding, the grill pan had to go into storage because there wasn't anywhere to put it in our tiny kitchen.  But that thing is out of the box and in a kitchen cabinet finally!

Recently I cut up some vegetables (onion, red bell pepper, zucchini and squash) and made a seasoning mix to rub the veggies with prior to putting them on the grill pan.  I found a recipe online but didn't have all of the ingredients so I kind of made it up as I went.  There was some soy sauce, garlic, olive oil, some other random things I found.  I should have my own show on the Food Network.

Look how pretty they looked prior to grilling!

I was doing really well until the last few veggies were grilling.  The Pilot came into the kitchen and immediately went "woah!"  In a matter of seconds, the kitchen filled with smoke.  Oops.  I think I ran out of oil in my pan and it started to smoke really bad.  It's a good thing we are planning to refinish the kitchen cabinets because I was well on my way to having a smoked kitchen.  Once the fan was on and a few windows were opened, we were back in business.


I'm not so great when it comes to meal planning.  I can barely get one item prepared let alone multiple pieces so my grilled veggies were served with a side of.....garlic bread.  Again, Food Network, here I come!  I thought was good.  The Pilot enjoyed it as well but said I probably shouldn't make it again because he had to clean up my grease mess.  (Typically when one cooks the meal, the other cleans up.)

Another item that has been holed up in the basement because our kitchen was so small was my beloved crepe maker.

I bought this thing in 1998 (no, I don't remember this off the top of my head.  For some reason, I left the receipt in the box.) when I was still in high school.  I was in the French Club and we had a "crepe making party".  I was so cool.  Anyways, despite lack of use over the years, I just couldn't bear to part with it.  I kept telling myself that once I had a bigger kitchen and could actually keep it IN the kitchen, I would use it.  When The Pilot moved in and we were making space for his things, he asked if we could get rid of it.  Nope.  Not going to happen.  You know, sentimental feelings for an appliance and all.

I brought the poor crepe maker back into the light and made a batch the other night.  I even had the copy of the recipe from my high school French teacher still in the box.  One slight problem is that its been 13+ years since I've made crepes and I forgot that the batter needed to sit for at least an hour before using.  Crap.  Out came my appetizer to tide us over until it was ready....pretzels.  FOOD NETWORK!

Finally, a 1/2 bag of pretzels and one hour later, I was in business.  I started cranking out the crepes while sauteing some spinach on the stove.  One reason for the recent interest in making crepes is because of this food cart.  I encoutered it twice earlier this year and the simple spinach and feta crepe made my mouth water.  Surely I could recreate it, right?  FOOD NETWORK!

I had the crepes (albeit smaller than Leslie's), I had the spinach and I had the feta.  Did I recreate it?  Not at all.  Don't worry, Leslie's, you aren't going to have any competition anytime soon.  While it was certainly edible, it just wasn't the same.  Oh well.  We did however have a large stack of crepes to play with.

A million years ago, I went to France with one of the high school teachers and some of my dear friends.  I have a very fond memory of ordering crepes from a street vendor in Paris.  I ordered just a plain sugar crepe and it was soooo good.  So good in fact that when I accidentally dropped it in the subway station, I picked it up and kept on eating.  I was classy even at 17.  Anyways, I was about to make myself a sugar crepe when I remembered that we had Nutella (generic of course) and bananas.  Score.  The Pilot and I then proceeded to stuff our faces with Nutella and banana crepes.  My new favorite thing.  I didn't even have to drop it on the floor to enjoy it.

And in case you are wondering what The Pilot does when I'm cooking up these gourmet meals?  He likes to train the cats so they can run away with the circus some day.
I'm on top of the world!!
And now for my double layout.

The dismount needs some work.

Monday, July 2, 2012


So we had some crazy weather around these parts over the weekend.  I got caught in one heck of a storm on Friday night.  During my commute home from work on Friday night, I was just a few miles from home when it was as if someone turned the lights off.  It got so dark, so quickly!  I made a left turn and was heading west when all of the sudden the wind came out of nowhere and then there was this giant dust cloud that came right at me and seemed to swallow my car.  It was the strangest, scariest thing I've ever seen.  It was this big ball of dust but then as quickly as it approached, that big cloud was filled with trees.  Giant tree limbs and branches were flying all over the place!  I wasn't in a place that was safe to pull over and with only about 2 miles left to get home, I decided to head for home and hope a tree branch didn't come through the car.

I made it home safely but then The Pilot and I sat in the house and watched our (new to us) trees and crossed out fingers and toes that they would stay upright and out of the inside of our house.  We've been meaning to call someone to give us a quote to trim/take out some of the trees that are hanging over the house.  I think we might be in a little more of a hurry to get that taken care of! 

We came through the storm in pretty good shape.  There were sticks and leaves all over the yard but no damage.  We also seem to be in a very small pocket of town that still has power.  Even several days after the storm, there are over 200,000 people in the area without power.  And naturally it has been unseasonably warm and in the high 90s.  I can't think of much worse than not having AC during heat like this.  I'm a heat weenie but this is BAD!  I've offered up our house in case anyone needs a break from the heat.  I would certainly hope my friends would do the same for me....especially since they all know I'm a heat weenie.

We had a group training on Sunday morning and with no storms in sight and an early morning start, we decided to brave the heat.  It was already in the 70s with obscene humidity at 8 am but we stuck it out.    There was at least one detour as there was a giant tree down across the path (with power lines under the tree!) but I got in about 6.5 miles.  I was soaked after about .25 mi and I won't even begin to describe what I looked and felt like after 6.5 miles.  Ugh. 

I saw this on my way home after training.
That is a giant tree on top of a building.  Seeing so many big, old trees like that makes me sad.  So did seeing all of the food coolers at Target with yellow tape all over them.  They had to throw away all of the food.  It's been an expensive weekend for a lot of people but so far it seems like everyone is and sweaty, but safe.