Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year everyone! We ended the year in the best possible way - with the last run of the year. I did a 21 mile training run today and it was AWESOME. Everything about it was great, I honestly could have done 26.2 today without a doubt. Every minute of the run flew by and it was a beautiful day. Today is the 9th anniversary of when Brent proposed to me. As we were running (Brent joined me for about 14 miles) I thought to myself "Hmmm...if he had known 9 years ago that I would be dragging him out for these long, long runs would he really have asked me to marry him?" Over lunch I told him about it and he laughed and said "No way, especially after you waited until I had food poisoning (thanks to a chili dog at the Chicago airport) to wear me down and get a dog!" Ha! He loves Pippin (now). AND, tomorrow is our 7th wedding anniversary! We got married January 1st, 1999 at 2 pm in Memphis. The past 7 years have FLOWN by and I can't wait for the next 70!

Happy New Year to everyone! Best wishes for a safe, prosperous and healthy new year filled with lots of running!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Ha! I bet when you saw that title you thought 'Did she run 29 miles??' NO, not at all!! Sometimes I spend forever trying to come up with the best possible title. Today there were a few going through my head but I settled on 29. Why? Because today is the 29th. The next time my calendar says it's the 29th I'll be in Miami. And by this time on that 29th I will have (hopefully) finished my very first marathon. CRAZINESS! I can't wait!!

So, to answer a lot of your questions: No, I did not throw a stapler at the aspiring country music wanna-be the other day. However, we are now up to 3 bags of popcorn in 3 days this week. Usually things seem to go to pot around 3 in the afternoon. One of them must be having a rough day because the normal 3 pm matinee feast was moved to about 11 this morning. Gross. Yesterday the popcorn was popped and enjoyed rather loudly by the same woman I wanted to throw my stapler at on Tuesday. I was trying to get the last of my CPE finished up (through a self-study book) so I was REALLY not in the mood for crunching and loud talking. Not wanting to spend my New Year's in prison I put my headphones on and rocked out to the Killers until the smell of extra butter and salt was no longer in the air. As far as stripper fights go, yesterday was a quiet day. (And she's off the rest of this week.) However, she was wearing her Playboy T-shirt and baby blue sweatpants that her stripper husband gave her for Christmas. Some days I just want to take her by the shoulders, shake her and say "Seriously, he's a STRIPPER!! A 40-yr old stripper! It is TIME to get a real job!" With this year's bonus she is going to get a boob job. Seriously.

I've gotten back on track with running and my a.m. walks with Pippin this week. It's warmed up quite a bit so it's not too cold to truck him around the block in the morning. But it is SO deserted! There's hardly a light on in any of the houses and no one else is out walking. It's a bit creepy to feel like I'm the ONLY person up in the subdivision! We saw two cars this morning which is two more than we've seen all week.

Tuesday was a really nice day around here. The temps were in the 60's so when we left work we put on our running gear for an easy 8-miler. We actually wore shorts!! No jackets, gloves or head gear. I wore a long sleeve, thin tech shirt to held with the somewhat gusty wind. (But most of the breezes weren't all that strong.) We started out slowly and then increased the speed of each mile. It felt great, and I felt SO much lighter without 5 extra pounds of gear on. I can't wait for spring!! We finished in 1 hr 18 minutes, which was great considering we started out warming up in the mid/high 10's, and finished the run in the low 9's. I came across my old training log from my first half marathon earlier this year and my first ever 8 mile run was in 1 hr 33 minutes (in Feb 05). Talk about some improvement! If my legs weren't so tired to begin with our time would have been even quicker.

Yesterday wasn't nearly as warm but I was hoping to run 5 miles outdoors. When I walked out the door here I was immediately met by a LOT of wind. It was still 50 degrees, but some area storms left us with 26 mph wind gusts which made it feel much cooler than that. I love running in the rain/wind after a nice storm in the summer, but something about similar circumstances in the winter is a major turn-off. I decided to run on our treadmill instead, and pounded out 5 miles while I watched an old Blowout I hadn't seen on Bravo. (Personally I think all of Jonathon's stylists are a lot more talented than he is!)

Today is even colder (30's) & Brent wants to go to the company gym so for now that's the plan for today. For some retarded reason they're closing at 6 this week instead of 8 which is a total pain! My foot that's been bugging me is feeling a lot better. I need to be more diligent about icing, though. I've been staying off it as much as possible and leaving my shoes off at my desk. It's really my non-running shoes that aggrevate it. It rarely hurts when I'm running, it just seems that my left foot is a bit swollen and my usual heels/chunky shoes REALLY aggrevate it. Tennis shoes feel best, I guess because they're a size larger than my normal shoes. Yesterday I had two comments about "Whew, your feet stink." One of them was made by someone I like so I told him all the running was making my feet swell a bit and he was nice about it and interested in my training. The other comment was made by someone I do not like so I told her the following: "Hey, how about next month you run 150 miles and maybe then you can suggest some shoes that won't make my feet feel like they're about to explode. Deal?" Trust me, she deserves every snippy comment EVER invented and I'm pretty good about consistently delivering them!

Well, back to work!! Happy running everyone!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Are we really that cute?

Christmas is over so it's back to work. Ugh! I wish I was one of the lucky people like most of you who have this week off, but since most of the place is deserted this isn't TOO bad of a place to be. My boss is off for the next two weeks and I really couldn't ask for more than that!!

With all of the holiday activities my running plan has gotten totally off since last Friday's long run. I know I haven't mentioned much about it, but there's really not a lot to mention. I ran over at our local Smyrna Greenway, which really has the best trails of Nashville. When I started out (around 9 am) there was only one other car in the parking lot, which stunk because I really need to see people to stay motivated. The temp was 38, which isn't bad at all. I did 5 one-mile laps around the main park and ditched my running gloves at the car as I passed and headed out on the Greenway. I'm trying to stay slightly warmer than comfortable on these training runs aince I know Miami will be warmer than here. That's really the best way I've thought of to even remotely mimic race conditions, if anyone has any tips I'd love to hear them! From the Greenway I headed out past the Rehab Center and immediately noticed my new fave porta potty from the week before was gone. Total Blasphemy!! So far everything was feeling pretty good, with some slight twinges in my left foot that had appeared earlier in the week. (I've been trying to wear comfy shoes as much as possible, but it seems that even moderate chunky heel boots are aggravating the foot - making dressing for work pretty difficult. I've been wearing some worn out loafer type shoes that are easy to slip off under my desk to help the foot issue. I could care less about all the stupid smelly feet comments I've been getting. A) That joke is SO worn out and B)Hey assholes, how about you get off your a$$ and train for a marathon? Got anything else to say? I didn't think so). More than anything I was suffering for run boredom. When the trails are empty and I'm by myself escaping boredom is pretty tough. I like having people to 'chase' and things to attempt to catch up to. An empty trail is my enemy. I guess I'm part of the Generation that needs constant entertainment, huh? I'm perfectly content listening to my thoughts for an hour or so, but when I know it's just my brain for four hours, I start to get a bit antsy.

(Side note: If my cubicle neighbor does NOT stop humming country music I'm going to toss my stapler over the wall. I swear I'll do it.)

So, I was pretty excited when I got to the place where you either cross a fairly busy road for an additional Greenway or turn around to head back to the park and saw new trail! Yeah! The weekend before it was still loose gravel but now it was paved! Not totally paved - just that first coat that looks like it might still be wet, but good enough for me. So, I ignored the plethora of "Greenway Closed for Construction" signs and kept trucking. No Habla Ingleis??? The new Greenway goes all the way down to another park that's really just a boat dock for the lake. I followed the path around the lake which abruptly ends before you even get to the lake. Then I went around the other way that also abruptly ends at the boat ramps. It was nice to run on a new path, and it added several miles (including some hills, ugh!!) to my normal route. When I turned around to head back I was right around Mile 11. The path back was hilly, and the stupid wind was blowing right at me, socking me in the gut. Mile 11 was so incredibly tough. I hate hills and more than hills I hate wind working against me on hills. Around Mile 15 I was back at the car and Brent pulled in right as I was changing out my empty bottles for new ones! Yeah!! He was super happy and upbeat and ready to run the rest of the way with me. We did a couple of 1-mile laps around the main park and I stopped to use the park potties at Mile 16. (The porta potty last week was much cleaner!!)

My body was so tired - doing a 20+ mile run 6 days after a 23 mile run during the holidays is torture. I was so tired that I thought about just staying on the park potty for a long, long time. But, I was ready to get the run over with and move on with my day!! So, back out we headed and back towards the new path. We turned around where the new path began because I was pretty certain I was going to stop around 20 miles. Right when we turned around it was the stupid wind and the stupid hill again. This was right at 21 miles so I decided I was DONE. I wasn't having a bit of fun at that point and what I really wanted to do was slow down, do some walking and hold hands with my hubby. So that's what we did for a couple of miles. (I ended up at 23 miles for the day.) The temps had climbed to 58 by now and I was totally overdressed (there was no way I could take off my tights!!) Here's a newsflash: I am NOT going to win the Miami Marathon, come close to qualifying for Boston, or set any course records. So, training should be fun, right? I take this stuff way too seriously, and this run was a reminder to have fun with it and not try to kill myself or mess with any injuries by pushing the mileage more than it should be. I know I'm going to finish, and it may not be pretty, but I want to enjoy the experience. If that means I walk the last few miles then so be it. There's nothing in the world wrong with that. I've only got a couple of long runs left (yeah!!) so I'm going to try to take them a little more lightly and just enjoy the experience.

Yesterday we did some shopping at the mall/Target. It was unbearably crowded. We had lunch at the mall and split up. I wanted Si Senor Burrito and Brent wanted Chinese. The guy in line in front of me was asking a lot of questions about the tortillas (actually, he really only had one question but had to phrase it about 15 different ways since the burrito maker spoke little/no English.) Then he mentioned to me he couldn't have wheat/gluten products. THAT would be a tough problem to have! We had a long time to talk since the line was uber slow. It turns out he had moved here 2 days ago from Chicago. I told him Nashville was OK, but not nearly as much fun as Chicago. He said he liked the nice, quiet environment and our "cute" accents. I laughed and said the sad thing was I really didn't think I had one. He laughed out loud and raised his eyebrows at me and said "Are you serious?" So I had to clarify my statement and say that I know I have a mega Southern accent but to me (in my head) I sound like anyone else. Maybe in 2006 I should work on toning down the accent and trying to acquire a Northern accent.

Why does it always smell like a movie theater in here? I don't work in a theater, restaurant or place that has a theater or restaurant in it yet it CONSTANTLY smells like food. Also in 2006 I am going to count how many bags of popcorn my obese, lazy, trollish coworkers pop each day. It will shock you. Maybe I'll add a running counter on the side or something. I should also count how many fights my coworker gets into with her stripper husband. (Seriously, he is a stripper.) Don't ya just love the South? It doesn't get much cuter than this.....

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah!

Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah everyone!! We've had a great one and hopefully you have, too. We did the "family" celebration yesterday on Christmas Eve. We never got our act together on the 23rd (it was about 10 pm before we had everything wrapped and groceries picked up from Publix.) So, we decided to go to Brent's family on Christmas Eve instead. It's about a 2 hour drive southwest from our house. We got up early on the 24th and loaded up the car with gifts. It started raining about halfway there, ugh! My parents were already there and so were Brent's brother, S-I-L and their 2 kids. His grandparents and great aunt showed up pretty soon after we did. We had a yummy lunch of grilled chicken, ham, dressing, and a lot of other starchy stuff. I paced myself and stayed far, far away from the things my stomach would like digest as lead. (I did not want a repeat of Thanksgiving!!) Luckily my methods worked and there were no ill stomach effects! YEAH!! Right as we sat down to eat my parent's cell phone went off. It was my grandma's home health person (B) saying she was unresponsive and they may want to get there a little sooner than they had planned. (They were headed there after our holiday festivities so the home health ppl would have Christmas Eve/Christmas off.) We went ahead and ate and were going to exchange gifts when their phone rang again and B said she was taking her to the emergency room because she was pretty much out of it. My grandma is 92 or so, and her health has been declining over the past year and she had a mini-stroke not too long ago. So, my parents gathered up their gifts and quickly headed out for the 3 hr drive to my grandma's. They called a few hours later and said it was just a severe bladder infection, so we were all relieved. Over the past few years we've scaled back on the gifts since everyone is fortunate enough to have much more than they need, so mostly we do small stocking stuffers and funny little gifts. I got a strange fur wrap/scarf from Brent's aunt and he got old stamps from her for his stamp collection. There is no stamp collection. Pips loaded up on new treats and toys from everyone and Brent's nephew seemed to really enjoy the accordian we bought him. (In the pic above my mom is directly behind me and my dad is directly behind her. Since everyone else is related to Brent it shouldn't be too hard to figure out who his mom, dad, g-parents, bro, SIL, and their fam are!)

We headed home loaded with leftovers. Pippin was exhausted. In a normal day he probably sleeps about 18 hours. Yesterday he was up all day doing laps to make sure no piece of dropped food was forgotten about and helping in the kitchen. He's smart and stays closest to the person most likely to drop something, in this case: the 2.5 yr old nephew. He got some crackers held below waste level and a piece of cornbread.

We drove around and enjoyed some holiday lights last night and will do the same tonight. It's rained most of today as well and has been a bit of an icky Christmas weather-wise. We exchanged gifts this morning and cooked a very yummy Christmas dinner for two this afternoon. It was great! Such a perfect, relaxing Christmas. We had THE best turkey - it was a Jenni-O turkey. I highly recommend them, it was the best turkey I've ever had and such a breeze to make. For sides we steamed some veggies, made a sweet potatoe praline casserole and some cornbread. For dessert (a few hours later!) we had key lime pie. All made from scratch by us! (Except the turkey). Martha Stewart would be so proud! Since lunch we've been relaxing and enjoying the day, we even had a nice nap on the couch and watched some International House Hunters. So far we've visited 36 of the 50 states together, so hopefully it won't be too long before we tackle the rest of the world!

Here are some pics of our house decorated for Christmas. This house comes alive at Christmas! It always looks so bare afterwards!!

Anyway, I hope you have all had a VERY merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

23 more miles

Hey guys! Because of the holidays I did my long run today. I knew I would be FAR from fresh since I just did 23 last Saturday, but I knew I needed to have some sort of long run. I had thought about doing 26, but I shortened to 23 instead. My left foot has been hurting me some on that curvy part just below your big toe, on the side. (yeah, I've obviously had a lot of science/biology training). I've been icing it all week and wearing as comfortable a shoe as possible (it's been somewhat swollen). I had it pretty under control and back to normal, but last night I was on my feet more than I needed to be and it was aching some before I went to bed. (Brent was sick so I was up cooking and cleaning and taking care of him.) Anyway, during today's run it would ache periodically and around the 20 mile mark I was starting to hurt so I shortened the run. I knew my body hadn't had enough recovery time, so I really wasn't that surprised at today's toughness. I'll post more pics and a longer description of it later. Brent showed up right around mile 15 and I was SO glad to see him! He was a very supportive cheerleader! I couldn't believe he was up and moving, esp after the bad night he had had the night before, but that's just the kind of hubby he is! AND, he gave me my first Christmas gift today: this website. Too cool!!

Afterwards I rested a little while and then we wrapped/organized gifts for about 3-4 hours, went to the grocery store and attempted to make some banana pudding. It looks more like banana soup so it may make the trash can and not be carried to the relatives tomorrow. We watched the Martha Stewart Apprentice finale while we wrapped. That show really ended up to be so dull, none of the candidates were spectacular AT ALL.

Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Santa's Little Helper

Since I don't have much time to post with all my holiday 'duties' right now I thought I'd just share some pics.

Here we are taking a short nap after Saturday morning's 23-miler. I'm not exactly sure why Pippin was so sleepy but he is an excellent little heater!!

And here we are getting ready to take my new Blogger holiday pic. He was obviously very excited to wear his elf ears (purchased in Atlantic City, NJ!) Anytime clothing comes out that means TREATS!!

Well, it's time to get ready for work!! There's nothing exciting to report in the running area. I ran on the treadmill for an hour last night after work and that's about it!! Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Brent D is THE best training partner

Hey guys!! Is it Christmas YET? Even though I haven't wrapped a single thing yet I'm am ready for Christmas to come just so it's not hanging out there anymore! We've done everything just as it needed to be done, ya know. We both had our department Christmas "bashes" today, so we spent all of last night cooking and getting cards/gifts ready for work today. Tonight we have a holiday get together with some of my former coworkers and on the car ride over I'm going to be working on gifts to take to work tomorrow!! I always give out little rawhide candy canes to Pippin's dog friends and ppl at work with dogs, so I need to assemble those tonight. We (Brent) created little To/From tags with Pippin's picture on it.

So, Brent D is THE best training partner. I didn't mean to come off as unappreciative or anything of his support in previous post, and I know you guys know that. I was just writing what was in my head during a miserable long run. Back last winter when I was training alone for my first half marathon he would periodically drive up and down the path I used (often with Pippin) just to honk and wave for me. And sometimes (even though I always have water) he'd park up ahead and run to catch me with a bottle of water and trot along with me for a little bit. AND, sometimes he would tape a sign to himself that said he was part of Team Rachel. How many guys would do that??? I'm very thankful we can run together, it makes the hobby invade so much less invasive on our personal time and racing wouldn't be a lot of fun if he wasn't into it to. (Although he does like taking pictures of the races when he doesn't participate - especially if he can get a good puke shot). So, he is THE best training partner. The hard part for me comes when he drops out - sometimes in a dramatic fashion. We've been together 10 years this past October (New Year's Day will be our SEVENTH wedding anniversary!). So, I like him a little. When he's struggling, I struggle. Sort of like how I imagine twins must feel. I can read his pace, his breathing, the sounds of his footsteps, and a lot of times I can tell before he can that he's struggling. When he stops all of a sudden and grabs his knee, ankle, leg, stomach, etc and tells me to "GO ON, GO ON" it's a little hard to continue and NOT worry about him and whether or not he'll be able to make it to the car, etc. If it was just a close friend I might worry a little, but it wouldn't be THAT hard to get my focus back. So, we've talked about it this week and he's going to start doing the second half of these ultra ultra long runs with me. (And thank goodness it's about to be taper time!! I can't wait to have a 12 mile long run!!) With him doing the second half I'll have something to look forward to, and he'll be fresh and able to help motivate me more during the second half of the run. Problem solved!!

My department went out to lunch for our holiday lunch today. We went at TWO this afternoon, with the premise that we could leave 'early' after we ate. I work 7.30-4.30, so by the time we ate lunch and stared at each other it was 3.30. Then, some of the headed over to the bar for drinks and I said 'See ya!' Instead of more staring I came home and took Pips for a walk. (It was in the teens this morning so we skipped our am walk). He was VERY excited so I know I made the right decision. I really don't consider it leaving early if you're sitting around staring at your coworkers at 3 in the afternoon with a drink. I'd much rather have some time AWAY from them!!

Well, it's time for me to get dolled up for our holiday dinner tonight! See ya!

Mon - 1 mile am walk with Pips, 5 mile treadmill run
Tues - 2 mile pm walk with Pips

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The best porta potty ever!

Hey guys! I can't believe it's already Sunday night, AGAIN, and tomorrow it's back to work. Ugh! At least it's a short week (I'm taking Friday off.)

So, yesterday I ran 23 miles. Yeah, you read that right, little ol' me ran 23 miles, in a row, in less than 23 hours. It's a bit shocking, I know. I really, really, really had no desire to run yesterday. No, I take that back. I had a desire to run something like 10 miles. 10 is a great number for a weekend long run. A good hour and a half, just something to get you a little nasty and then start your day knowing you've burned some good cals and can have a few treats. 23 miles is a half day adventure that requires carbs the night before and a cooler of running essentials. I can't wait until my carbs can be nice creamy alfredo covered carbs, and not healthy, run enhancing tomato based carbs. So, Sat morning the alarm went off at 7:30 and I was instantly angry. It seemed Angry runner Rachel would be coming out MUCH earlier than the normal last 10% of a race. On Saturday I wanted to a)sleep in b) shop!! c)bake lots of yummy holiday goodies d)curl up on the couch with my boys (Brent and Pips) and watch some tv/read a book. Things I did NOT want to do on Sat: a)run 23 miles. OK, so you get the picture - I did not want to run and I had PMS. Enough said.

So, we got up, ate some oatmeal and a banana and I did my traditional pre-long run dance to Pretty Vegas. It just so happens we're always watching the top video countdown on VH1 before we head out, and I LOVE this song. It's really the only one on the INXS album I like. I dare any of you NOT to dance to it! Ok, so Brent and Pippin don't dance to it and both seem a little frightened of MY dancing, but that's OK. It pumps me up! And off we headed. We ran at our local Smyrna Greenway. It's just a couple of miles from our house, and even though most of the paths are out and back you can still add up to some decent mileage. Several miles of it are near some main roads, so you have traffic to watch and that helps some of the boredom.

From the beginning I could tell Brent didn't really want to run, either. I knew this one would be a BIG struggle. The temps were OK - upper 30's to start low 40's by the end. It was much nicer than last weekend!! I still was angry at Mother Nature for having to wear gloves, the ear thing, my light jacket, and so on. Off we headed, one main loop around the main park for one mile, and then we did a second lap. From there we headed down to the path over towards the soccer park. We've gone that way before but never made it to the soccer park, and last time we ran through there it was in the middle of the summer and the water treatment plant smelled like poop and nearly made me sick. Not so today, which is a good thing considering the trouble our area has had lately with its water (ugh!! I drank AT LEAST 5 glasses of this water at work that day last week - we work in LaVergne). The path ends up on a sidewalk next to a busy street and we were having to cross some roads and it was becoming a pain so we headed back. From there we headed out to the loop towards the Sharp Springs Park. As we passed our local Army Reserve post we noticed quite a few runners. It seems they were having some sort of run, and some of those guys were booking it!! I really would have enjoyed racing them to their finish area just for fun, but I had to stay focused on my pace. We did our loop around the park (4 miles RT) and it was such a bore. Sharp Springs is pretty, but this time of year it is deserted and I need activity to stay focused. We were scared by two huge birds in the woods near the lake. They were enormous!! Other than that, we were the only people passing through. On our way back at around mile 11 Brent asked me how far we had gone. This is usually one of my first signals he's about to drop back. He has a distance/pace watch, so when he asks he's trying to see if his has somehow gone crazy and missed a bunch of mileage or something. Then, at mile 12.5 he told me to go on without him. This was pretty crushing to me, because I already just did not want to run. I thought a LOT about quitting, but I knew I'd end up being embarrassed of myself and angry for bailing, so I just kept going. At that point at least I could tell myself I was over halfway and headed on the downward slope.

Around mile 15 I made it back to the car and traded out my empty bottles for full ones. I also took off my gloves and headwrap. At some points I had been burning up, so I thought I'd throw them in the car. I caught sight of myself in the mirror and MAN, did I look rough! I headed back out the way I had come and in short order a van of guys honked at me. I was NOT in the mood. I KNEW how rough I looked and I was not a happy runner. I gave them the 'die pigs' look and kept on trucking. About a mile later I passed Brent who gave me a big wave on his way back to the car. I said some very unfriendly things about him after we passed...I was slightly amused at the guy running with his German shepherd who was coming up behind him. No, I didn't want a repeat of his run last weekend but I was pretty bummed at being out there by myself in such a foul mood. I had planned to turn around by the Rehab Center but I had sort of gotten into a groove and knew I would have to do less of the 1 mile repeats around the main park if I kept going. I ran past the guard again and up Weakly Lane where ANOTHER car of guys honked at me. I was SO not in the mood. I gave them another string of unfriendly comments and just kept going. Who in their right mind would honk at me in the condition I was in?? UGH! I kept going to the point where I would have had to cross the road to go over to Sharp Springs, instead I turned around and headed back towards the main park. Get this - ANOTHER car honked at me. I didn't even look up at them. So I apologize if it was someone I actually know, but I just wasn't interested in looking at any additional redneck teenagers. I ran back past the Rehab Center and then I really realized how badly I had to pee. I was at 19.50 miles now, and I was actually starting to feel like I was going to finish this thing, and I was starting to feel proud of myself. I had my pepper spray with me, and it was bouncing just a little and banging my bladder with each step. It was starting to be more than I could take so I turned back around and braved the porta potti outside the Rehab Center. Compared to the other ones I've been forced to use this one was golden. Seriously, it was probably cleaner than our bathrooms here!! I felt SO much better but it was REALLY hard to get back in the groove. I knew I was getting close though, and I really wanted to be done. At this point I was starting to watch my Garmin quite a bit. I KNEW I would cross over 4 hours, and I wanted to see the change! I ran back past the new Canoe launch sign, up the painfully steep hill and did a repeat of the flat section across from the airport. Then I headed towards the most god awful hill there could be. It sucks going up AND coming down. It's SUPER steep, and on a slant so it's painful from any angle. I really hate that hill, on ANY run and especially at mile 22! But I imagine it's good training. I was right at 22 miles and I knew all I had left was one lap around the park. I was REALLY hoping Brent would see me coming, leap out of the car, and run that last mile with me. Instead, I saw our car but really couldn't tell if he was in it. I did a 1 with my hands to signal that's all I had left AND TO SIGNAL THAT HEY, IT'S JUST ONE MILE, HOW ABOUT YOU RUN IT WITH ME!! But I never could tell if he was even in the car. So that sent me into a string of very unfriendly thoughts as I did that last loop. At each curve I was telling myself I just had to pass the ballparks, pass the houses with the yappy dogs, pass the water plant and then it's OVER! Right around the water plant there was a woman walking her German Shephard. The dog tried to pull over towards me and I swear I was about to break out the pepper spray and spray them both and TELL THEM how far I had just run and exactly how postal I was. But, she kept him under control so it wasn't necessary. And finally - there it was - like a mirage in the desert - our car. Brent saw me coming and jumped out to greet me! I melted against the car and started doing some stretching. An older guy that I had lapped at the end was walking up the path and stopped to talk to us. He told us he could tell we were runners by our shoes. I love older running guys, so I wasn't thinking mean thoughts but I DID think "yeah - and by our tech clothes, fuel belts, I-pods, massive watches and enormous cooler!!" He asked us about our running and plugged our local state park races (which are a LOT of fun - next year I plan to do a lot more of them). He was really cool - he's 70 and has done 4 marathons and he's still out there trucking 14 minute miles. It was nice to meet him. From there we headed home and Brent told me how proud he was of me for finishing. That made me forget how mad I was at him because I could tell he meant it, so I didn't yell about not finishing the last mile with me. I think I was a little incoherent, so I don't remember a lot after that but we had some lunch, kicked it on the couch and watched the Incredible Dog Challenge on Bravo. Pips was asleep in my lap making some CRAZY snoring/barking sounds in his sleep and we were laughing about how he would walk up to the weave poles and pee on them before he's ever complete one of these challenges!

Anyway, it wasn't a fun run, or a pretty run, but I DID it! I'm actually less sore today than last week, but I think a lot of that had to do with my cold. Here are the splits:

Overall: 23.03 miles, 3hrs 59 mins 22 sec
10.24 avg pace (this is faster than last week which was 10.29 avg pace)
Mile 1: 11.01
2: 10.41
3: 10.10
4: 10.47
5: 10.08
6: 10.04
7: 10.14
8: 10.21
9: 10.19
10: 9.55
11: 10.19
12: 10.33 (this includes some extra time required crossing the road - it was a PAIN)
13: 10.08
14: 10.11
15: 10.54 (this includes some time stopping at the car)
16: 9.24
17: 10.37
18: 10.46
19: 10.22
19.5: 10.35 pace for half mile (then I stopped my watch for the bathroom break)
20.5: 10.53 (it was SO hard to start running again.....)
21.5: 10.09
22.5: 10.50 (this one includes the really sucky final hill)
23: 9:50 pace for the last .5 mile

I'm very happy with my splits, for the most part they are fairly consistent so that's reassuring. My overall average is exactly where I wanted it to be, too!

That's it for tonight, have a great Monday!


Sat - 23 mile run
Sun - 2 mile walk with Brent and Pips

Saturday, December 17, 2005

23 down!!

Hey guys!! Another long run bites the dust, today it was 23 miles. We've moved our long runs from Sunday afternoons to Saturday mornings as the distance has gotten longer and the days shorter. Also, it's nice knowing the run is behind me, and we can enjoy the rest of the weekend without it 'looming' overhead. It was tough, I just did not want to run long today, but Miami is drawing ever closer and it just needs to be done. I finished in 3:59:22, just a hair under 4 hours! I was convinced today would be the day I ended up over 4 hours, but I guess not!

Last night we did some holiday shopping and picked up a few more small gifts. I just need a couple more things for my grandmas and we'll be done. What do you buy a 92 and 97 year old person???

A complete rundown of the run to come later! Have a great rest of the weekend!


P.S. What did you think of the Apprentice finale?? I was really shocked by Randall's response. It just doesn't seem like his nature, but then again, if I had battled for the title of Apprentice for 13 weeks I guess I wouldn't want to share the limelight either. I dunno, it's tough to say what I would have done.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Big Finale

Hey guys! Tonight was another night on the treadmill. Ugh. Actually it's starting to not be such a bad thing. This is the 4th day in a row that I've run indoors (3 treadmill runs and then last night's bizarre indoor .1/mile track!) Pretty much the only shows we watch on TV are reality shows - Survivor, Amazing Race, Biggest Loser, & the Apprentice. Sadly, they've all had their finales over the past week or so. On the up side, since I've decided to stay indoors and help my cold move on to someone else I've had interesting things to watch on TV! Right now Trump is about to make his decision between Randall and Rebecca. I think this has been the best season of Apprentice, and no matter who he chooses they've both be great. (But I am cheering for Randall a little more than Rebecca.)

I have gotten a lot accomplished this week. We finally got the last of our Christmas decorations up Monday night and I sent my first batch of Christmas cards out today and I'll be mailing batch two tomorrow. We send out between 60-75 cards each year, and usually I have them rolling out the first week of December. I love Christmas cards, but what I enjoy most about them is hearing what people have been doing over the past year and seeing a picture of them. What I don't enjoy is getting a card from someone I haven't seen in about 5 years with no personal note except to say they enjoy getting OUR Christmas newsletter and to please be sure to keep them on the list. Huh? We write a Christmas newsletter each year (correction: I write a Christmas newsletter every year) & include our Christmas photo (which Brent poses, takes, prints, and chops). Next year a lot of people may get chopped, I don't know. Sometimes my parents friends send us a Christmas card JUST so they can get one back from us with our newsletter. (I guess when you're old and retired you have nothing better to do.) I'm even getting emails from my mother telling me to be sure I send one to so and so, and so and so, and it's really all getting to be a bit much for me!!

But, on the upside I did make some Buckeyes Tuesday night. I've been starving for some ever since Elizabeth posted pictures of the huge candy day she and her family have each year. And they are YUMMY! We've actually dubbed them BuckeyeRunners. Ha! We also had a visit from Santa Clause tonight. Around 7.30 someone banged on our door. It freaked me out a bit (mostly because Pippin went insane), by the time I got to the door no one was there and there was a gift on our front porch! It was a nice little set of kitchen towels. We think we know who it was, but for now we'll say it's Santa!

Have a great weekend everyone! Good luck to everyone racing and safe travels for all of you going to visit your families!!


Exercise - Thurs - 60 minutes treadmill run, 10 mins walk on treadmill

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Tag, I'm It!

Hey guys! Well, I've been tagged by Plods and Just 1 2 finish with the 5 things about yourself, so here goes! This one is a tough one because it's just so wide open, ya know. So here goes:

1) Oregon is my favorite state. We visited there in 2002 and it was so beautiful. It's got mountains, ocean, cool, artsy cities and tons of other beautiful sights. What's not to love?

2) My very first CD was the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. How embarrassing is that? I WORE that CD out, too. I can only imagine my parents cracking up in the other room as I belted it out with Whitney in my room a million times.

3) I would give anything to be on the Amazing Race. That's my show. Traveling, competing, and very rarely do they have to eat nasty bugs. I think my one downfall would be stopping to take pics of everything. I'm a total reality show buff, but this is the only one I'd really want to be on. (Except for the Biggest Loser but I think my chances are slim to none of getting on there.)

4) I think Ben Affleck is the spawn of Satan. Seriously, he's just gross. And look how he's messed up Jennifer Garner. I used to want to be her when I grew up (about a year ago). Now Alias has gone to pot and she's all fat. I think he can bring any successful career to its knees. Beware!!

5) I can speak German, sort of. I took 4 years of German in high school, and still remember a few things. I'm much better at reading it than speaking it. We even had a German exchange student live with us for a while. I wish I remembered more of it, though.

So, I tag my hubby Brent, Angie, Boiled Pnut, CJ, and Danny. Hopefully you haven't already been tagged!

I completely forgot to mention my feet in my earlier post! I had mentioned my TERRIBLE blisters, well, they're all better! The thicker synthetic socks and orthotics really helped. On my 21 mile run I didn't even notice my feet until mile 19, which is awesome for me. In the prior weekend's half I was noticing them around mile 8! The largest blister (that required draining) is nearly gone now, my feet will also be calloused and gross but I'm really happy with the progress they've made in such a short time.

I'm still fighting this cold. I'm staying out of the cold weather and I've been using the treadmill instead this week. Tonight we went over to the high school gym near us to use their 'indoor track'. In last week's paper they mentioned the gym is open fairly late on Wed nights, so we thought we'd give it a whirl. Yeah, the 'indoor track' is 1/10 of a mile around. We had to dodge rows of desks as we lapped and lapped and lapped. There were several people playing basketball, so at least we had something interesting to watch. It was a change from the treadmill, but definitely a little awkward.

Oh well, gotta run. I'm working on Christmas cards, we're just now getting the first batch out. I FINALLY got around to updating some of my recommend reads on the side, so check them out!


Exercise -
Mon - 30 min jog treadmill, 10 mins walk
Tues - 50 min jog treadmill, 10 mins walk, 20 mins yoga, 20 mins toning/stretching
Wed - 30 mins jog

Monday, December 12, 2005

Same old tights, 21 miles, and that's about it....

Hey guys! My post about Saturday's run won't be nearly as exciting as Brent's account. (BTW, what do you think of our new headers? His is actually from a photo he took at a race I ran in while he was injured earlier this summer. He couldn't find me crossing the starting line so he was taking a lot of pics of everyone and ended up getting this guy wearing rollerblades! And he was wearing a race number, too! Crazy!)

Anyway, we started our run around 10 am at Shelby Park, downtown. This is where I did my 18 mile training run a couple of weeks ago. It's a fairly boring course, but has one of the longest trails around here so you have fewer repeats, which helps mentally. We got started around 10 am (yeah, we're not early birds!) and the temp was 32 F with a 'feels like' of 25. Ugh! I had a long sleeve tech shirt, medium running jacket, tights, shorts, and my gloves & headwrap on. It was going to be a loooonng run. I also did something that I would never recommend to anyone - I decided to run with my brand new orthotics. When I started thinking about it, my longest run to date with the Pearls had been the Memphis half the weekend before. Although I'd put about 70 miles on them, most of the runs had been 6 miles or less. I had still been wearing the Mizunos as I broke the Pearls in. I was pretty certain the wider toe box was causing the blisters, and I felt like having terrible blisters would be worse than sore arches, etc. Plus, I brought along the normal inserts and could trade them out if I needed to. A visit to the porta-potti (I hate the park gods who have closed the regular park bathrooms for the winter!! I do not wish that porta potti on anyone!!), and we were off.

We were surprised at how many cars were at the main trailhead. Right as we were headed out a group of TNT-ers were heading back in. A lot of the groups have already started training for the late April County Music Half & Full. There was a high level of camaraderie between the runners Sat morning, because it was hella cold. You were either out there because you were training for something or you're just a downright crazy runner. The TNT-ers had marked off in chalk mileage along the path, and that actually became a little fun. We'd yell at 1 mile, 1.5 mile, and so on. They must have stopped at 3 because there was no chalk markings after that. Pansies. (Just kidding.) For the first mile Brent and I chatted, but with my headwrap & headphones plugged in my ears (I still can't figure out how to get them under the headwrap with it on and my gloves on so I just stick the earbuds in before I start.....) I kept saying 'What?' so he got tired of that and we listened to our ipods instead. I had also started feeling the onset of a cold Friday night, so my ears were even more stopped up. We ticked the miles off, one after another. I'm not a fan of Gu so we diluted some Gatorade to bring. I was really pleasantly surprised at how awesome it tasted. Much easier to stomach than Gu.

Around Mile 8 we had finished our first loop. From there we did two long laps around the lake and broke out the Clif Shot Blocks. In previous weeks we'd snacked on gummis, but I thought these might also be a good alternative to Gu. Although I can't imagine eating them like candy or a snack they really weren't bad. They're pretty big so I ate them in about 3 bites because it grossed me out to put the whole thing in my mouth. It's kinda squishy, so it is easier to chew than Gummis. We tried the Strawberry. I also bought Lemon Lime & JB Sports Beans, but I didn't break them out Saturday. Between Gatorade, Clif Shots and I had exchanged my pb + bagel for oatmeal + banana I figured I was bordering on trying out TOO many new things on a given long run.

The lake was really pretty. Parts of it were frozen and the geese & ducks were just sitting on the ice. Things like that make me want to run out there and ice skate, even though I KNOW I weigh more than a duck and that the ice isn't frozen solid yet (and probably never will be). There are always a lot of people fishing there, but I've never seen anyone catch anything. It must be good, and there were a ton of people out there Sat AM. After looping the lake twice we ran past our car to exchange out our empty Fuel Belt bottles for some fulls, and we headed back to the trail. I calculated we'd finish the trail around 19 miles and then 2 more laps around the lake should do it. It really wasn't getting any warmer, even though mid-day was approaching. On our way back out on the trail the General Jackson lunch cruise went floating down the river. That was pretty cool to see through the trees! Even though the leaves are gone you still can't see much of the river on most of the course. The shrubs and various brush are still pretty tall. At one point you can see across the river to the Opry Mills mall, and man, it was PACKED! At Mile 14 the wind picked up. It really sucked, it knocked us in the face, in the gut, it was tough. Around that time the temp was 38, it felt like 30, and the winds had gone from 8 to 13 mph. Around mile 15 and some change Brent told me to go ahead, he was having leg cramps. If I had known how much excitement he was going to have I would have never taken him up on the deal!

Miles 15-17 sucked because of the cold wind, I really don't remember much about them. I did pass the guy with the dog, but he saw me and pulled the dog completely off the trail and held onto him TIGHT. It was pretty obvious to me from the way he held him that the dog was bad with people. Around Mile 18.75 I headed out of the trail and back to the lake! I was almost done! I felt great, tired, but ready to finish strong. I looped the lake once and was at 20.25. I decided to go ahead and do the smaller lake loop and then just walk back to the car as part of a cool down. I ended up about .25 mile from the car when I hit 21. My legs felt like JELLY. I think the ultrarunners keep running for days just because it's easier to keep going until you black out than it is to stop. I stumbled back to the car and Brent had just gotten back as well. He showed me his torn shorts and promised me an exciting story on the way back! No kidding! If I had known I would have left the Dazer with him!

We got home, had our traditional post long run pizza, and headed out for massages. It was heavenly! We try to go every other month but it had been longer than that this time and we both greatly needed it! I didn't fall asleep but I was pretty close. My nose was running for part of it, but I didn't care. Afterwards we did some shopping and came home to relax. Sunday was more relaxing, some house cleaning, afternoon naps, and some errands. My cold had worsened and I felt pretty crummy. Today I still feel crummy, but better. I've been fighting this cold off and on for a couple of weeks now and I'm over it. It just needs to do its thing and move on.

Here are the splits from Sat and then it's time for me to get some SLEEP!

Mile 1 - 10.34/mi
Mile 2 - 10.13
Mile 3 - 10.06
Mile 4 - 9.58
Mile 5 - 10.19
Mile 6 - 10.19
Mile 7 - 10.38
Mile 8 - 10.14
Mile 9 - 10.56
Mile 10 - 10.34
Mile 11 - 10.16
Mile 12 - 10.49
Mile 13 - 10.31
Mile 14 - 10.25
Mile 15 - 10.46
Mile 16 - 10.33
Mile 17 - 10.42
Mile 18 - 10.56
Mile 19 - 10.41
Mile 20 - 10.24
Mile 21 - 10.07
remaining .02 - 9.41 pace

I'm really happy with my splits, they're fairly consistent and right where I expect to be for the full. It's hard holding myself to that pace in the first half, I'd much rather be going around 9.30, but I don't want to bonk at the end.

Have a great night!


Saturday, December 10, 2005

21 miles in the Bank. Ka-ching.

Hey guys! This past week was boring, boring, boring as far as work was concerned. Blah. But, I got a lot of mileage in, even in the crappy cold weather. I think 25-27 was my coldest run one night this week. You know it's hella cold when your water bottles start freezing up! Yikes....

Wed at work we had our bizarre office holiday luncheon thing. We were all forced to wear these hideous red shirts with the company's name on them. We were asked our sizes the week Brent and I were on vacation, and for some reason a Medium was ordered for me and a Large for Brent. WTH? I'm 5.2 and 114 pounds? I am NOT a medium! I run over 100 frickin' miles a month? How is that Medium?? And how is Brent large?? Anyway, they gave me hell about trying to swap it for a small, and I'm not even sure how many people asked me why I ordered a medium. I DIDN'T YOU FREAKS, give me a small! And as a red head I do NOT wear red so I wasn't happy about this whole retarded event anyway. After some goofy speeches it was grub time. Turkey, dressing, mac & cheese, mashed potatoes and rolls LITERALLY dripping in butter. Yuk. Starch, carbs & fat. Not even a salad for a healthy option. I mostly picked at some turkey, which was good. To top it off the food was catered by the sister of a woman I literally can not stand, if there was an award for world championship fakest person ever she'd win. So I made sure she heard us say the food wasn't that good at least a couple of times. Why don't they give us some healthy options?? Do they want us all to have heart attacks?

Thursday night was gym night. I'm thinking about trying out a mini/sprint triathlon this summer so I rode the stationary bike 25 minutes and then ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes. After riding the bike (and esp Fri morning) I felt like I'd been to RunnerSusan's butt camp! I don't know if it was the totally uncomfortable seat or the workout, but I like to think I somehow slimmed my butt/thighs!

Friday night called for an emergency visit to the local running store we prefer, Fleet Feet. We've checked all 3 local running stores out and I think FF is the best. The staff is awesome and the selection is great. It's a very comfortable & homey shopping experience. We've spent enough money there that the staff is starting to know us, which is always nice. So, it seems I have about 12 toes now. I've always had a tendency to blister, but with the increased mileage lately and the change to the Pearls it's gotten worse. I never really rested after last week's half, so my feet never got a chance to deflate. My left big toe had such a large blister on the side that we had to go and see what options they might suggest. Needless to say my feet grossed them out. They said I wasn't the worst that they had seen, but I was top 5. Woohoo!! I'm a mid-heel overpronator, and I tend to do so more with my left foot which is leading to some sliding in my shoe. The Pearls have a wider toe box, which is making it worse. They hooked me up with some orthotics & thicker synthetic socks. We also bought some Clif Shot Blocks and JB sports beans, and Brent got some new clothes. And they told me to pop the blister or I'd never survive today's 21 mile run. Ugh. After we carb loaded we came back and I popped it. It wasn't really that bad. I did take some pics but I probably won't post them.

So, today we did 21 miles. I finished in 3.40, averaging just a hair over 10.30 which is exactly where I want to be. I'll post more about it tomorrow, I'm beat and it's time to sleep!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The rest of the story

Hey guys! First up, the latest rundown is over at Danny's site so head over there and check it out if you haven't already. I LOVE reading the rundown each week! I usually hear of at least a couple of new blogs, and it helps me keep up with the blogs I may be a bit behind on.

Secondly, if you think it's too cold in your 'hood to run check out Dawn's latest race post. THAT is cold winter weather! Yikes!

Ok, so Saturday after the race we walked (literally!) across the street to our hotel room. We took a few more pics (shocking), watched more finishers pouring out of the ballpark, and showered up. Then we just kicked it in the AMAZINGLY comfortable bed at the Doubletree (I swear I never wanted to leave). A little while later we looked at the window again and there were still some finishers coming out. At this point it was about 4.5 hours from the start of the race, and Brent said 'Geez, those people are slow'. To which I pointed out that in January my best case finish time is 4.5 hours and that will most likely be me! By then we were pretty hungry so we headed out to find some food. I was in the mood for something crunchy so we decided on Mexican. We had no clue where a Mexican restaurant might be so we asked a janitor sweeping the streets outside the Peabody. He looked at us like we were speaking French and said 'A Mexican restaurant!?!? No, I don't know where that might be'. Uh, thanks. We kept walking and exactly ONE block from the Peabody there were TWO Mexican restaurants. We ate at Pancho's. YUM! They have awesome cheese dip, we used to be able to buy it at Kroger here but since Publix opened nearly a year ago we don't shop there anymore. Anyway, the food was great and pretty much everyone there was wearing their race medals and race T-shirts. There were also a lot of people hobbling around which was pretty funny.

For some strange reason the sun had come out and it was HOT! I was wearing a big sweater and my coat and burning up. We dropped our coats off at the hotel and headed down to walk by the Mississippi River. It was a really warm afternoon and the sunset was gorgeous. We window shopped downtown and headed over to the roof of the Peabody to watch the rest of the sunset. Sat night was a Rolling Stones concert, and between the runners and the rockers downtown was PACKED! The Peabody was insane, the elevators were jammed and people were grouchy. We later heard the Stones were leaving right as we were in the hotel, and Brent actually captured the crowd and their van in one of our pics, completely by accident! We enjoyed the roof view, and I did my "I am standing exactly where Tom Cruise stood during the filming of The Firm" for the millionth time. It was a lot more fun when I was in high school and he wasn't completely off his rocker. It was only about 6 by then, and since we had had a huge late lunch we decided to go back to our room for a little while and wait until the crowds thinned for dinner. We ended up eating ribs at Rendezvous. It's a Memphis institution, one of those places you really have to eat. The waiters are pretty rude, but I think that's just part of the 'atmosphere'. It's OK, I do think I like wet ribs better than dry ribs, though. Then it was the part of the evening I'd been waiting for - DESSERT! In high school there was a little cafe in the Peabody called Cafe Espresso. They had THE best desserts. Fantastic peanut butter pie, cakes that were a foot tall, an absolute sweet lovers best friend. So, ever since we'd talked about doing this race we've planned to go back and have some dessert there! In college I'd even taken Brent down there so he had a love for it too! It was also a place where you might run into a celebrity - once in high school we saw Mr Big there! Ok, who knows what they're doing now but it was huge then! So, in we go to the Peabody, and it takes us a little while until we find it. Except it's now been chopped in half (the other half turned into a dark bar), renamed the Peabody deli, and is closed. At 9 pm. This was a major late night hangout spot back in the day! SUCKS!! So, we ended up having a mediocre dessert in a loud TGIFridays. No famous people present.

Sunday morning we got up to leave and headed down to the valet. I think the whole hotel was checking out, so it was a 20 minute wait for the car. And it was now COLD! Thanks stupid cold front! Our valet come back and our car won't start. Yeah, the car that was wrecked and just got out of the shop, that is 'better than new'. Our valet went back, jiggled the battery cables and got it to start. He was the sweetest valet ever! And rude people were yelling at them all over the place. I think I hugged him. We drove past the house I grew up in, and it was so strange to see it now. I think it's been about 5 or 6 years since I've seen it. Everything looked so different. That part of town has gone downhill, and the house next door to ours looked terrible. It was really sad to me because the older couple that lived there took immaculate care of it. On our way back to Nashville we listened to all of Simba's Mom's podcasts and some we downloaded from Runner's World. It was really fun and made the trip go by super fast. We got home just in time to unpack and head back to pick up Pips from the kennel.

Memphis was GREAT! Even though crowd support is low, the volunteers were top notch and the food afterwards was the best ever. I'd highly recommend it if you're looking for a late year race in the South!

Here are my splits:

Mile 1 - 9.10
Mile 2 - 8.48
Mile 3 - 9.05
Mile 4 - 9.01
Mile 5 - 8.44
Mile 6 - 9.01
Mile 7 - 9.03
Mile 8 - 8.52
Mile 9 - 9.58 (this isn't correct - i had been running .1 ahead of the marked mileage until this mile when suddenly my watch and the course mileage were the same)
Mile 10 - 8.59
Mile 11 - 9.28
Mile 12 -9.12
Mile 13 - 8.58
remaining .1 - 7.36 pace (hence the near puke!)

My watch actually came up with 13.17 miles, total time 1.59.34, 9.05 pace.

Tonight we ran 6.3 miles, starting the first 3 miles at marathon pace (10-10.30) and then the last three a bit more quickly between 9 - 9.30. It was cool - mid-30's, but you really don't notice it with all the nice, warm tech gear. Pips and I haven't been walking this morning. I've decided 30 degrees is our cut-off. He doesn't like walking with his sweaters/jackets and pulling him for a mile at 5.30 am doesn't appeal to me. So, he's getting a slight break and I'm getting a little extra sleep.

Take care!

Tues - 40 min elliptical
Wed - 6.3 mile run, 20 minutes toning (focus:hips/thighs)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Just because I like you

Funny you guys should ask, Brent did break out the camera while we were playing DDR last night. So, for Cassie and Danny, here ya go:

Man, tonight's run was COLD! 26 degrees to be exact!!! Yikes! I thought Sunday night's run was chilly in the mid-30's but this was insane. I ran 5 miles right at a 10 min pace. My slow runs have been around 9.30 lately, so the temp really slowed me down even more. My water bottle even froze a bit, which was a first! No snow though, it totally missed us (as always!) Absolutely no one was out on the sidewalks tonight, wonder why??

No time to post additional Memphis pics, maybe tomorrow! Have a nice (and WARM!) night! And what's up with blogger? I can't pull up anyone's blogs, but it seems like I can post. Weird!

Sat - 13.1 mile run
Sun - 3.1 mile run
Mon - 5 mile run, 20 minutes yoga (focus: abs)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Memphis Half!

Hey guys! We had a GREAT time in Memphis. We both improved our half marathon times dramatically over November's half (me by 8 mins, Brent by 11 mins) and had a lot of fun racing.

The race started at 8 am, a GREAT time because I really don't like getting up super early. We woke up, toasted some bagels in our room, and headed out to the race start. A ton of runners were staying in our hotel and were congregated in the lobby so race excitement was everywhere. The weather ended up being great - an overcast day, mid-40s with slight wind. Start location was just a couple of blocks from our hotel, so we walked over with a throng of other runners around 7:45. There was also a 5K associated with this race that started at 7:45 - we walked up just in time to see them on their way! They had 5 or 6 corrals (which they really needed about 10 because the corrals were CROWDED!) and I had decided to get in the 3rd corral, which had a half time of 2-2.07. Brent got in Corral 4, which was 2.07-?. A little over 3K people did the half and about 1.5K did the whole.) This big guy behind me was turned around talking to a group behind me and kept backing up into me so I gave him a few swift elbows and moved up and talked to a girl who looked about my age from somewhere in Arkansas until the gun went off. They spaced the corrals a minute apart, so I was about 3 minutes behind the clock. I forgot to start my watch when I hit the mat because I was too busy snapping pictures, so I mentally subtracted 3.5 minutes off all the clocks all along the way. (It turns out I was just 11 seconds slow.) The start was great, not overly crowded and everyone in my corral seemed to be in the right place.

I kept my camera out to snap pics the first few miles as we ran through downtown. Everyone once in a while I'd reach my arm up and snap a pic of the stretch of runners ahead of me. Once I heard a guy behind me say 'That one's not going to come out well', and he was right. It didn't. A lot of them did though. For the first 4 miles we swerved throughout downtown. We ended up down on Riverside Drive, running right next to the mighty Mississippi River. It was a beautiful sight, with the Hernando Desoto Bridge and the Pyramid in the distance, with barges floating down the river. I ran past the restaurant we ate at before prom (where there was a stabbing that night) and past Mud Island before we turned and went back up to run Beale Street. On Beale Street there was the 1st "Elvis" singing. He was right in front of an Elvis statue, and at first I thought it was just a DJ so I missed taking his picture. Brent saw another Elvis a few miles up but I missed that. (Every so often there were bands, cheer groups, or DJs. I think all the 'big' races are starting to do this.) Running up Beale was cool, there were a lot of spectators and music blaring from various clubs. We turned and hung a left and ended up running past the Convention Center and started our way out of downtown.

For miles 4-7 we were running from downtown towards midtown. Around mile 5 we ran past St Jude Children's Hospital, the sponsor for this race. St Jude is a wonderul place, they won't turn away any child regardless of whether or not they have insurance or can afford treatment. Several times throughout the race volunteers would cheer out for us to stay strong and remind us we're doing this for the children. I had printed out two pace bands for myself, one for a 2 hour half (dream goal!) and a 2.05 half. At each mile marker I'd check my bands, and to this point I was hanging right with the 2, and feeling really good about it being a possibility. Past the hospital we ran through some boring neighborhoods and started hitting some pretty older houses around mile 6 as we moved towards the zoo and Overton Park. Around Mile 6 one of my new favorite songs came on my playlist - Melissa Etheridge's new song "I run for life". I've only heard it once on the radio and it is so unbelievably moving. In it she talks about her battle with cancer and how she 'runs' now for herself and all the other women she knows. It's great. After just passing St Jude, I was already thinking how fortunate I am to be strong enough to do these events, and the power of this song really overwhelmed me at that moment. It was exactly what I needed to hear to stay strong mentally and think about all the special people I know that I was running to honor. Around Mile 8 we headed into the zoo. The Memphis Zoo has some special pandas, and someone was dressed in a panda suit outside the zoo giving high 5's with a snow machine blowing behind him. Of course I ran over for a 5-er and got a really nice and soothing mist of fake snow in my face. I'm a total race ham. I love to wave, cheer and high 5. I'm sure that's not in the training plan to become an elite but it's a helluva lot of fun. I wave at police officers, I wave at people stuck in traffic, I wave at people who look like they're looking for specific people just so they may think I'm that person. It's just fun. You've trained so hard for the event that sometimes you just need to remember to have fun with it. Right past the zoo we took a back road into Overton Park. This is when I really started to lose some steam. Crowd support was minimal, and I'd been pushing myself to stay at a near 9 pace in the chance at coming in under 2. It was really starting to wear on me, but I didn't want to back off because I'm terribly stubborn and headstrong. Overton Park was pretty, with lots of beautiful leaves and mature trees, but it was empty except for us runners. I started to slow myself down a bit and told myself I still had 5 miles to go, and I needed to finish well. I knew I would hit 2.05, so I decided I'd hit under 2 in either the Tom King in March or the CMM in April.

Coming out of the park we were around Mile 9. From studying the course elevation map it had appeared Miles 10-13 were pretty much downhill. This course was pretty flat - there were some slight hills but nothing like our last half. The whole race I kept telling myself '10-13 are downhill, 10-13 are downhill!'. Also around this mile we passed the Target St Jude House. This is a house where out of town families can stay while their children are going through their radiation and chemo treatments. Several of the kids were outside with their families cheering, and one adorable little boy who had to be 5 or 6 was outside with his hospital mask on giving the runners high 5's. Of course I veered over to him, and he was exactly the strength I needed at that moment not to mentally check out. We headed on to Mile 10, I grabbed some water. I swear it was the best water ever (up to this point I had been drinking out of my Fuel Belt). It was so cold, I dumbly chugged the whole cup down way to fast. I chased it down with 2 gummi bears and immediately had a wretched side stitch. Grrr!!! And we were headed up another blasted hill. WTF?? Miles 10-13 are supposed to be downhill. I AM AT MILE 10, WHERE IS MY DOWNHILL?? To top it off 2 pretty overweight women were walking up the sidewalk with little tiny medals on and I was thinking a) how did THEY finish before me and already end up about 2 miles back and b) why the crap is the medal so tiny????. Near the end of a race I become evil Rachel. It doesn't matter how long the race is - about the last 15% I am not anyone's friend. Brent thinks it's a very good thing I don't train with a group because I start becoming pretty nasty. Around this time I also start asking myself why in God's name I keep doing this to myself and trying to figure out what part of this is even remotely fun. And I vow never to do it again. Ever. Ever ever. Finally, we hit Mile 11 and I tell myself 2 more miles, 2 more miles, less than 20 minutes. At this point my pace was under the 2 hour mark, and I had given up hitting it. I just wanted to finish well, and not push myself too hard. The side stitch was gone but it had left me with a twinge of that nauseated feeling and I did NOT want to vomit!! We also passed the place where my mom had always gotten her allergy shots, so that perked me up for a bit. We finally hung a turn and I could see the large ballpark lights of the Autozone Park - where we would finish. Just knowing it existed and was somewhat within sight helped. We approached mile 12 and before long the marathons split off. I watched them continue on as we veered right and thought 'Better You than me suckers!! HA! I'm almost finished!!!!' (Remember, I'm still evil Rachel.) The last mile was forever long! It was a long, straight run into the ballfield. Almost cruel really, in that you could see it forever, there's absolutely no one out there cheering you in, yet it's still so far away. I had already decided I didn't have much left to kick in, but I did slightly pick up my pace. My stomach was still pretty grouchy though, so I'd pick it up and then hang it back and repeat. Finally, right outside the ballpark I saw the 13 marker, and doing the math I realized I was hella close to finishing at 2. So, I kicked it in, everything left in my weary, angry body. FINALLY - a downhill, steep, straight through the dugout. I knew it was less than a .1 to the finish, so I let my legs fly out of control. I knew I was in danger of falling because of my exhausted state, but I didn't care and I knew it would make for great race photos for the cameramen and stories for everyone else around me. I ran, and ran, and it wasn't that easy because it was suddenly some sort of gravel/sand mix. "Where the hell did that come from" thought Angry Rachel. And I ran, and ran toward the finish clock - and I made it - 1.59.45. 15 seconds under 2 but that works for me!! I gave that race everything I had. Start to finish. I still can't believe I made it in under 2, that's really not a pace I can keep (or thought I could keep) for that long. I can't wait to see my 'official race photos'. I was making some seriously ugly faces as I crossed the finish. I saw the photographers, but I was in a battle of me vs 2.00.00 to get across that line and I wasn't about to slow it down until I hit that mat. So there won't be any cute photos of me with my hands raised or smiling at the camera - it's going to be me with an evil gleam in my eye and some strange gravel/sand flying up behind me.

Then I almost puked. Yup. It was all I could do to keep it down. I think the swift change in pace at the end really shook it all up a bit too much. I kept it under control, got my medal, chip removed, grabbed a water and a mylar blanket and headed back through the stands to watch Brent finish. Just as I got a spot in the stands here he came! He's really catching up too quickly to me, I need time to get a good vantage point!! Once he came out of the finisher's area we headed up to the finisher's refreshment area. They had a TON of good eats! Everything from sodas, water, cocoa, Powerade, through all the fruits to hot soup, pizza, doughnuts, cookies and beer! The food was definately top notch. We grabbed some goodies and a seat and watched the first marathon finishers start coming in. We hung around for about an hour before we headed back to the room for warm showers and a short nap.

All in all, it was a great race! We both overachieved our goals and had a lot of fun. At some points the course is pretty dull - but it would be greatly improved if Memphis supported its race and came out to cheer! Crowd support was minimal at best - but how would they even know about the race! It wasn't covered by the news AT ALL! There was not a single news camera down there, and on the 5 pm news they didn't even mention it until 5.05, about the 6th story in - and of course they had no footage! That's amazing to me, the CMM here is HUGE! It dominates the news for weeks leading up to it and there are reporters everywhere covering the race.

That's it for now! Brent has busted out the Dance Dance Revolution pad so it's time for me to get my groove on! I'll share some more pics and my splits tomorrow!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Woo hoo!! 1.59.45 - Go tell your mama!

I did it!! I busted two hours in a half for the very first time. It was tough as hell and I almost threw up after my mega-sprint at the finish, but I DID IT!! My official time is 1.59.45. My watch time was slightly less but I was too busy taking pictures of the start to start my watch right away! LOL! Yee haw!! It was fun and we've been kicking it in this unbelievably comfortable bed for a while watching TV. Now it's time to go out and party! I'll post a proper race report with pics later. Brent has some pics he sent along the way over on his blog. Have a great Sat! And Happy B-day to 'the other "Brent" '.

Friday, December 02, 2005

All that's left to do is run

Woo hoo! We're in chilly Memphis, TN tonight resting up for tomorrow's St Jude Memphis Half/Full Marathon. We left home around 10.20 this morning (only 20 min behind schedule) after dropping Pips off at the kennel and returning our rental car. It's pretty weird to have the old ride back. It feels HUGE! We've already found 3 things wrong with it (busted driver's seat paneling, major scratch on the driver's side passenger window - not sure HOW their obviously top notch QC missed that one, and the driver's door doesn't really shut right/completely) so it will be going back to its home away from home Monday. Fantastic. About an hour into the 3.5-4 hr trip we realized we forgot the toaster, bagels and PB. We stopped for lunch in Jackson. If you're ever traveling through TN don't waste your time in Jackson. We went to college near there and it's pretty gross. It's totally full of homely people and people in overalls. Seriously. Lots of bad holiday sweaters were spotted at lunch. While we were stopped we went ahead and bought a toaster and some eats at Walmart and made our merry way to Memphis. It's very weird to be back here, my parents lived out in the 'burbs so on all our visits back here after we moved away we never came back downtown, so it's probably been about 8 yrs since I've been down here. I have to admit, they've done some revitalizing! It's much nicer than it used to be, with lots of shopping and even Beale Street has been cleaned up a bit. We went to the expo first, it was VERY small with no guest speakers or anything like that. From there we found our hotel, the Doubletree, and it is NICE! We're right at the finish line and just a couple of blocks from the start. We read through all our race info and goodies. Fun fun!! I love it!!! They even gave us a little bag of brown rice. I was so excited I pulled it out and waved it above my head until I realized MY bag had a little hole in the top so now there's rice on in our bed. LOL! I scooped some up at Brent and wished him a happy wedding day. =) A lot of the restaurants had special pasta dinners so we picked a pasta buffet being hosted at Isaac Hayes. It was really good, and they had a special section for all the people participating in the race to sit in near the buffet. Afterwards we walked around Peabody Place a little and around Beale Street. It was neat, it was crazy to see all the places my friends and I did goofy things in high school. Now we're back kicking our feet up and counting down the minutes until the race! The weather is going to be a crap shoot, there's rain and severe thunderstorms in the forecast tomorrow but noone knows when. It seems like tomorrow am will be lighter rain and tomorrow pm will be the severe stuff. We packed pretty much ALL our running clothes so we're set no matter what!

Well, I'm going to go and hydrate!! I'm rested, relaxed and have all my gear ready to go. Now all we have to do is run the race. Left foot, right foot, repeat.