Friday, March 29, 2013

NRR: how a dog-lover became a meow mom

This is NRR and sad, but I feel the need to memorialize the kitty that stole my heart.  So bear with me if you are a faithful reader of all my ridiculousness--running or otherwise.

See, I've never been a cat person.  Dogs? Yes. Cats? Well, they just never warmed my heart in the same way that dogs did.  Part of it was because my mom always disliked them so I think some of it was nurture.  But I never felt that they could love in the same way dogs do.

Duncan proved me wrong.  He was the coolest cat for a non-cat person.  Adam, the love of my life for 9 years, started dating me when Duncan was about 8 years old.  Eventually, through marriage, I was a kitty-mom.  Over time, I came to appreciate the nuzzles, the lap warming, and what we affectionately dubbed "kitty high time".  Kitty high time=the random sprints through the house and/or incessant attention getting antics.  Cat people understand.

He was never very vocal and was the type of cat that was both around, yet not crazy-affectionate.  He snuggled when we invited it, but never demanded it.  Full of sweetness and non of the stealthy weirdness that many other cats that I've 'met' have had.

In his younger years, he was quite a butterball.

I brought Luxy, the Boston Terrier, into the marriage and she was like, "what is this thing?"

Fat kitty

Later, she was all like, "okay mom, I suppose he can put his fatness to good use by keeping me warm."

Duncan sleeping on Luxy

I knew both our hearts had been won over when she fully subjected herself to things like kitty mustaches.

Kitty mustaches

The best days were when all the fur-kids were in the room.  Adam also brought Josie, the lab mix, into the marriage.  We eventually adopted Torrance, the other Boston Terrier, during a humane society event at local PetSmart (such suckers....).

All the kids

The icing on the cake was when all the fur-kids and their adorable human-dad got together.

All the kids plus dad

I'm going to miss this regal beast as he crossed over the rainbow bridge yesterday after 17 good, long years.  He wasn't sick for long and I'm happy that his suffering was minimal.  As Adam's first 'adult' pet, I can only hope that we memorialize his great impact on our lives and save a little place of our hearts for him.


Rest in peace little dude.  It just won't be quite the same without a feline in the house.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This one time, I was a lurker...

There was a time that I lurked around the Loop reading inspirational bloops and enjoyed being a spectator.  After awhile, I decided it was high time that I started cross-posting my blog onto the Loop since all I was doing was writing about running anyway.  (I've been blogging since 2001 on livejournal.) When I started posting, I started commenting, and slowly I became a part of this strange little community on the internet. 

I solicited advice about running in 2010, addresses for writing letters in 2011, and then I kind of dropped off the commenting train in 2012.  I was still reading bloops, but I wasn't keeping up with things the way I had been and I felt like a lurker again.  Sure, I was still posting my own random stuff because frankly, after 12 years of public blogging, it feels like brushing my teeth and running.  And I'm narcissistic like that.

But in the advent of Loopville on FB, some fresh mojo, and a boatload more free time with my new job, I felt connected again. 

Basically, what I'm trying to say is, thank you for letting me jump in and out when it works for me. 

My BFF and I have a similar sort of relationship.  We can go for months without communicating and then pick right back up where we left off and everything is seamless.  On the Loop, it's like I have a whole pack of BFFs that are there when I need them and are cool when I choose to lay low. 


So about this whole running business.  I have not pressed 'enter' on these Rehoboth shenanigans, but my Google search history would call me a big fat liar if I told you I was just thinking about it.  Perhaps I'm weighing my options, perhaps I'm procrastinating, and perhaps I'm a wee bit afraid that I'm going to have so much fun that I'm never going to want to vacation anywhere else except Loopfests.

I ran today. I know, right, big whoop! So did, like, 90% of all the other people that are reading this.  But considering that the flu knocked me flat on my back for 4 days last week and I ran a marathon PR 9 days ago, I was pretty happy that I felt this run was status quo.

I almost ran sans Garmin, but then the nerd/type A in me wanted to know if I was running good/better/best (or bad/worse/ugly).  So I decided that I was just not going to look at my Garmin during my run and reflect on the data when I was finished.  I actually stuck to it!  Mainly because my body parts were chilled to the bone and I keep my sleeve over my watch the whole time.  Dude, I actually saw snow flurries during my run today.  I know, I know, you peeps anywhere North of me are like, "giiiiiiiirl, you have no idea!!!"  But this was super weird for Hotlanta in late March.  This run was particularly windy too with gusts of up to 25mph.  I keep thinking of that dumb adage, in like a lion, out like a lamb.  Out like a lamb, my a$#*%@.

I had quite a lovely run.  There were about 10 other people I saw the entire time on the Greenway during my 8 miles.  Just the way I like it! I can blow snot rockets, run in the center of the lane, and sing LMFAO lyrics under my breath without garnering the attention of those trying to enjoy a little nature.  My shin still is iffy, but everything else seemed to cooperate.  I was happy with my splits overall when I finished as I felt my effort was medium. 8:21, 8:21, 7:52, 8:10, 8:02, 8:16, 7:59, 7:54.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Y'all are my mental fuel

Usually it takes me about 3-4 days after a full marathon to get back to running again.  Once I stop hobbling around like a peg-legged pirate and am able to use the bathroom sans handicap bar, I figure I am good to go with running.  Sometimes it is easy and I feel great to get going again.  Other times I wonder why I am jumping back into it so soon again.

This go 'round I had no choice but to wait until a week after the race.  The flu took me out like a bulldozer about 36 hours after I raced.  For 4 miserable days, I laid in bed accomplishing nothing except commenting on each and every bloop.  I went to work yesterday and was about 2 hours in before I was like, wow, I still feel like someone knocked the wind out of my sails.  Fortunately, by the end of the night, I felt much better and was happy that I was starting to feel normal again.

This morning I was determined to run.  Any distance.  Just as long as I didn't have a goose egg on the week, I'd feel better.  It was rainy and cold so I played it smart and ran on the TM.  1 mile turned into 2 and I ended with 5 easy miles.  It felt fantastic while I was running!  When I finished and started walking around the house, I noticed my ankle was feeling wonky.  I won't run again until Tuesday, so I'm hoping this is just a casualty of a marathon-followed-by-a-week-off. 

Now, I get to enjoy a little reprieve and run for fun until I decide when my next will be.  I don't know if I will ever be the type of runner that just constantly has a race on the docket.  I like the idea of it and wish that I had the weekend time and money to do it, but I also just enjoy the freedom of running just to run.  It's great to have the goal and camaraderie of racing (I mean, duh, the camaraderie is an added bonus of blogging), but not having a training schedule to adhere to is nice as well.  Besides, I can live vicariously through other runners and then go frolic around in the woods using their inspirational stories as mental fuel.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I found a dragon at the end of the internet

It's really quite sad.  In my less than 72 hours of being sick, I have accomplished pretty much nothing except read and comment on every bloop and stay up-to-date on every post in Loopville.

I've been contemplating 2 main things when I've been awake.

1) How did I outperform my expectations in my race on Sunday?

2) Where/how am I going to make Trilogy and Rehoboth happen?

With #1, I am going over all the things I did right and all the things I did wrong leading up to race day.  The fact is, I trained very smartly over the first 5 weeks and then I just completed the running workouts in the second 5 weeks.  I added hills, strength training, and adhered to my don't-run-the-training-runs too fast advice.  But then something went wonky one day with an intense strength training and hills workout and I ran a 20 miler 2 days later.

Then I was busted.  My left shin was twingy and I started to feel aches in my right calf when I ran.  So I scaled back on the hills and strength training and just focused on hitting my running workouts. The thing is, I'm not sure how much better or worse I would have run if I continued the hills and ST.  On race day, I ran every single hill and had no issues.  In fact, I felt considerably better on the uphills than I did on the flats.  The downhills were what trashed my quads.

As for the ST, I will return to that now that I'm not worried about breaking myself again.  I was noticing a small transformation in my arms and abs which has to translate to something good running-wise.  On a related note, I know that a small amount of weight loss can have an effect on speed, so if I were to get serious, I would want to just eat smarter.  Like 86 the Doritos Locos Tacos and baked goods for awhile.  I have a tough time with being restrictive with my food because I've been down that path before and don't want to get all psycho-anorexic about it again.  Went to the looney bin, got the t-shirt, been healthy for 15 years.

Anyway, I tried really hard to do the runs as they were on my schedule.  I *might* have run some of the LSD a little too fast, but no where near the crazy stuff I was trying to pull with my last training cycle.  In the end, I felt appropriately rested and relaxed on race day.  Duuuuuuuuuuuuhhhh, stick the to the training schedule?? Who woulda thought....

The other big factor was the 3:45 pace group.  Even though the splits were a little off kilter, I realized that it helps that I'm a follower.  Just put some runners around me and tell me to keep up.  They did all the thinking about the time and splits, I just poured water down my throat and looked for random strangers to high five.

I guess I just never thought 3:43 was in me.  Which of course led me to obsess about getting down to 3:35--the BQ time for my age.  I'm thinking, if there wasn't 3000 feet of elevation change (1534 worth of climb) and I shaved off a few tacos and cookies, could I hit it?? I know I can put in the training, it just comes down to having a great race day.  I'm not going to obsess over it--I don't like the idea of putting it all out there only to fail, but I also think that since it is in the realm of possibility, I would be silly to not say that I wasn't thinking about it.

Okkkkkkkkkkkkkay, now onto #2.

Oh yeah, #2 was supposed to be that I found new smileys to insert into my posts with html.  Yup, I reached the end of the internet....

Onwards to the (new) #3:

I told Adam this morning that I had been researching 2 races for the fall that were Loopfests.  He didn't seemed fazed by this which I will take as a good sign.  However, I have been talking about them for years now and never actually had the opportunity to make it happen.  So I could just be the boy who cried wolf.  But I think I can make at least one of the two.  So now I just have to figure out the logistics if I am going to make it happen.  The funny thing is that the running part is the least of my concern. The money part isn't even a big deal. It's that silly time off work thing which now has been dramatically reduced because of this stupid flu.  Rawr!

Enough ramblings while drugged up on a cocktail of antibiotics and OTC pills.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Where to drink the Kool-Aid?

I posted my race pics on FB, but I pulled out my top 3 for my bloop.

Here's Adam and I before our races:


I like this pic because I actually look like I'm running fast:


And last, but not least, my ultimate Loop photo.  Double BP, my hair flying high, and the biggest smile 'cause I know I am about to PR:


In the 2 days since the race, I've managed to sign up for next year's race (hey, it was only $40 if you were one of the first 100!) and gotten the flu.

Yesterday afternoon, I felt a little tickle in my throat.  I was thinking it was just allergies.  Then before I went to sleep I started to feel even achier than the normal post-marathon aches.  Like my shoulders hurt, my arms hurt, I had a headache, etc.  I slept terribly and keep waking up writhing in pain.  I went to work feeling like death and left as soon as another manager came in.  Then I went straight to the doctor to get checked out.  The culture for the flu actually came back negative, but she said that she was pretty certain given my symptoms and sudden onset that I should play it safe, take Tamiflu, and rest/stay home until next week.  Ugggghhhh!!!!! We'll see.  I don't want to get anyone else sick, but if I feel better, I will go stir crazy if I have to stay home.

After I napped and drugged myself up, I finally felt good enough to catch up on some more bloops.  Then I got started researching which race(s) I want to commit to.  I have never been a part of an official Loop meetup so that is my main goal.  Running, schmunning!  That crap I can do in my sleep....  I have the tentative idea of attending West Virginia Trilogy and racing one of the days and be support crew/cheer squad for the others.  But that all depends on our anniversary plans so I cannot nail that down one way or the other until later.

Of course the other race I am considering is Rehoboth.  I usually would never consider asking for a weekend off in December with my retail job to go race, but this is something that is so appealing to me.  The only caveat at this point is that my brother-in-law has been in talks about considering getting married over Thanksgiving Day weekend so again, I will just have to wait until a little later on to decide if I'm going to green light this decision.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A PR RR: Tattoos, tears, and fabulous Loopsters

I don't know how to write a bloop about massively (in my not-at-all-humble opinion) striking down my PR as I am so wrought with emotion still.  I think I am prouder of myself for this achievement than I was the first marathon I finished.  When I was walking to meet up with Adam after I had my medal, I had tears welling in my eyes.  I ended my race feeling so good and so strong. My old PR was 3:50:xx and I took it down to 3:43:18 today.

Here's the story:

Last night I prepped my outfit and applied my temporary tattoos:

Adam and I got up at 4:00am-ish.  We got ready and were out the door at 5:00am.  Our friend Jeff was supposed to meet us at our house to walk the 5K with Adam, but he had a late night and bailed.  So it was just the 2 of us.  Getting there a little earlier meant that traffic wasn't bad at all and the best news--I didn't have to wait in a line to use the Porta-Potty before the start.

We walked up to the start line to try to figure out where he was to start.  The marathon/half-marathon started at 7am, the 5K started a 7:30.  Once we realized it was the same spot, we started to walk to where I said I would meet up with Stewart (Running Stew) and Scott (Flying Tomato).   We stood talking nervously and I kept asking for hugs because I was freezing.    As we were standing, I knocked my sunglasses off my head and re-broke them in a spot that I had superglued previously.  Thankfully, being married to an optician has its' advantages and we walked quickly back to the car to retrieve another pair of sunglasses.

When we got back to our meeting spot, it wasn't long before Stewart and I spotted each other.  We chatted for a few minutes and while they were playing the National Anthem, I spotted Scott.  It was nice to say good luck to Loopsters in person and know that there were a few of us out on the course!

I went to Corral E after that and lined up in the vicinity of the 3:45 pace group with my snazzy little 3:45 number on.  And then, just like that, we were bunched up walking towards the start mat.  I punched the start button on the Garmin and headed off into the morning.

The first miles are always a challenge with so many people clogging the course.  You spend more time concerned about getting an elbow in the face than finding a pace.  The pace leader had a stuffed leprechaun attached to his pole so I just kept that silly little guy in my sight.  My shin was feeling twingy and I told myself that I would try to hold on as long as I could.  I was so concentrated on the way that I felt physically that I missed the spot where my former co-worker has spotted me in years past.  Oops.  Splits: 8:51, 8:38, 8:41, 8:42.

By mile 5, I started to feel a little better and then I realized it was because we were running faster!  The crowd had thinned out a little and we were trying to make up a little bit of time with a slower start.  I was so relieved that I started to feel better that I almost forgot to take my first Gu past mile 5.  I got some high fives from spectators and that really brought my spirits up.  We narrowed just past the 6 mile mark and climbed a hill at the same time.  I really run better on the uphills (weird, I know), but I stuck with the pace group and enjoyed a relaxed climb.  At just past mile 7, we split off from the half-marathoners and suddenly our little pack seemed pretty small.  8:09, 8:23, 8:37.

The next few miles we picked up the pace in order to net some time in the bank for the hillier portion of the course.  I was surprised that I felt better when we were running faster, but then again, I realized that maybe it was because I was finally warmed up!  Our little group was mostly quiet save for the banter of the pace group team leaders.  I listened to them to keep entertained--running a marathon is as much a mental game as it is a physical one.  I took my second Gu at mile 10 and noticed very quickly that I felt re-energized.  It probably was placebo, but hey, I'll take what I can get.  8:11, 8:09, 8:24, 8:22.

I had to pee since we started the race, but I held off thinking that the feeling would pass.  Ha! It didn't so I thought I would take advantage of the Porta-Potties at just past mile 12.  However, 2 of the 3 pace leaders started talking about going right before we got to them and there were only 3 available. Not wanting to wait, I decided that I would just hold off until the next set.  It gave me a little confidence to run ahead of them for awhile and wait for them to catch up to me.  At just past the half-marathon mark, they had Cuties (mandarins) at an aid station and so I took one--the juice and calories would be okay.  As soon as I started peeling it, I realized that I was a few feet away from the next Porta-Potties.  I ducked in with the Cutie in my mouth and came out hoping that I hadn't tainted my snack.    8:13, 8:21.

The next miles brought us to my old stomping grounds near and through Emory University.  I took my 3rd Gu at mile 15.  I was feeling good and hoping that the feeling would last.  The course changed from previous years and we wound through a different portion of the campus--arguably a prettier and safer route.  I started chatting with the pace leaders and surprised myself that talking wasn't a struggle.  The crazy long hill that I feared in the North Druid Hills area was actually not as terrible as I remembered.  I used small steps that made me feel like I was practically speed walking rather than running.  8:41, 8:21, 8:42, 8:39

Somewhere in the rolling hills of miles 18 and 19, I got ahead of the pace group and they never were on my heels again.  I was trying to do math--dangerous business after running for 18 miles--and trying to figure out the slowest pace I needed to maintain to PR.  That occupied me for quite some time, so much that I kind of zoned out.  I started passing people on uphills that never passed me back.  My confidence continued to build.  8:23, 8:33.

I had my last Gu at mile 20.  Halfway between mile 20 and 21, there was a banana station.  Cut up bananas in little cups.  I realized that the nutrition seemed to really be helping me, so I chanced it.  I ended up with smeared banana all over my hands, but I think those extra calories helped in the final miles.  At around the mile 22 mark, I happily realized they changed my least favorite part of the course this year!! Yippee!! I didn't have to watch the faster marathoners run past me but for a few steps this year! 8:39, 8:14

I chatted with a lady just past mile 22 because I was passing her on the uphills and she was passing me on the downhills/flats.  She said she had just completed her 50 states and was doing this for fitness.  She had a PR of 3:12 (!) and was gunning for sub 4:00.  She encouraged me to go on and get my PR and so when we got to the evil hill at mile 23, I tackled that beast.  Weeee!  8:53

I checked my Garmin and realized that with 5K left, I was going to PR.   Suddenly, I got into race mode.  I started picking people off one by one.  For any non-marathoners reading this, about 50% of people look like zombies at this point.  They have blank looks in their eyes, their bodies are stiff and awkward with every movement, and a tremendous amount of grunting occurs.  I have been there and it ain't pretty.  But today was not that day.  I was comfortably strong.  I started imagining the points I run on the Greenway when I got to various mile markers and trying to conjure up the easiness it felt during my training runs.  8:13, 8:27.

At mile 25, I knew that something catastrophic was going to have to happen for me to not PR by that point.  But I was in a good place--I couldn't believe how great I felt at this point.  I kept pushing the pace, but conserved that last 5% for the kick.  I am pretty sure that my gums are showing in all my pictures in the final mile because my smile was so huge. 8:22

When I spotted the 1/4 mile marker sign, my heart leaped out of my chest when I glanced at my Garmin.  This was really happening!!!! I put the afterburners on and started looking for Adam in the crowd.  He was near the finish line and looked surprised as he spotted me.  I pointed at my watch, gave him a huge smile, thumbs up, and plowed down the finish chute.  Last .3 (not too bad on the tangents) was at 7:56.

After I got all emotional by myself, I met up with him.  I was so proud he finished his 5K--something he couldn't do 2 years ago AND I PR'd.  We compared notes and giddily talked as I got my time printout and goody bag.

I really wanted to try to see Scott and Stewart come through the finish chute, so we made our way back to the sidelines and watched.  I was so excited that I got to see (and yell loudly at) both of them!!! They both looked strong in their finish and it made me so proud to be a part of amazing community that has so much support for each other.  A little encouragement really, really goes a long way--all the nice messages left on my bloops and on FB were so appreciated. 

Adam and I made our way to the car and drove over to the Vortex for my ritualistic post-race burger and beer.  My sister, her boyfriend, and my dad met us there to help celebrate.  I had a Fat Elvis burger which consists of a hamburger topped with fried bananas, peanut butter, and bacon.  Ohhhhhh yeah! 

And now, I begin the fun few days of grasping handicap bars in the bathroom and cringing at the sight of stairs.  This time, it is sooooooooooo worth it!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

#5 is not completed and I'm already thinking about #6

The last days of the taper have arrived.  I have now been on weather patrol, eating way too much, and cursing these short little runs.  I ran an easy 3 on Tuesday after doing some serious foam rolling and self-massage on Monday night.  My shin still felt a little twingy, but better overall.

Tonight I did a little speedwork--2x1600 with 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down.  I was supposed to hit 7:30 on my miles and I managed to pull out a 6:50 and a 6:42.  Yay!  I am not going to lie--it wasn't easy.  I was definitely feeling lead-legged today.  I suppose it was a good day to have only 2 repeats on the schedule.

I wore my new obnoxious green shorts that I purchased for race day.  Now that I was sure it was going to be warm, I decided to get new shorts.  I thought I had taken the tag off last night when I was getting all my gear together.  About halfway through the second repeat I felt a weird poking sensation on my left leg.  Somehow I managed to feel around for the tag and not break my stride.  I laughed out loud when I realized my idiot self forgot to take the tag off.  Doh!


I was getting a bit panicky about getting to the expo with Adam.  He works a short day tomorrow, but I was scheduled until 7 and he works Saturday, but I was off.  I worked it out with the other managers that I would just scoot out at 4 tomorrow.  Wahoo!! Now we can go together AND possibly have date night downtown. 

I am supposed to run 3 miles tomorrow, but I'm not really sure how that's going to happen with work and the expo and date night.  And I could get up early and knock 'em out, but I think I might just let it be.  I don't like to run the day before the marathon--gotta get all the rest I can with my silly retail job.  I definitely do not have a sedentary job, so my biggest issue is getting my legs/feet fully rested before race day.

My goals for race day:

1) Sub 3:50

2) PR 3:50:36

3) Cross the finish line

It is supposed to warm again this year.  Highs are going to be in the 70s.  Plus, with this nagging shin thing, I am not feeling super confident about 1 or 2.  But 3 will happen.  Besides, I think I am going to have to fight this PR with a different course anyway.  One that is less hilly and potentially less warm.  Still taking suggestions for a fall marathon--even though training in the summer sounds horrific.  But I'll entertain ideas.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

T-minus 6 days 'til race day!

Thursday I ran a sweet little tempo run after work.  I ducked out of work a few minutes early (which was okay since I arrived waaaay early) and hit the Greenway.  It was a delightful, lung-burning run in which I felt exhilarated flying over the boardwalks.  7:31, 7:16, 6:59, 7:12, 6:59.  It was supposed to be 1 mile warm-up, 3 at 7:59, and 1 mile cool down.  Uh huh, whatevs.

I posted on FB that I had the pleasure of indulging in Taco Bell's Cool Ranch Doritos Locos tacos on Wednesday evening.  Food elitists can snub my choice, but I have no shame in my food vices.  Especially since I follow these indulgences with things like a kale/pear/grape/mandarin smoothie.  And then have killer workouts.  I know, I know, I won't be 30 and iron-stomached forever....

A little naughty:

A little nice:

On Friday, after my little 2 miler, I went to lunch with my mom which is always fantastic.  She leaves on a 2-week cruise that takes her through the Panama Canal next week and she gets back a day after we take our week-long Caribbean cruise.  So I basically won't see her for a month. :(  But at least we both have awesome reasons!

Adam took Friday afternoon off work and we went to the bowling alley.  I am addicted to the basketball game in the arcade area and have a ridiculously competitive need to get the high score on each unit before leaving.  I actually looked up how much one of those arcade games cost--definitely out of the price range.  Forget the fact that we don't have anywhere to put it.... details, details...

Adam talked me into buying a bowling ball/shoes/bag package and now I am the proud owner of a 12 pound purple bowling ball.  Which is hilarious because I am such a terrible bowler.  But, hey, it's a sport Adam likes and even though I'm terrible, I enjoy trying.  And who doesn't appreciate a sport that you can improve your score by drinking beer??!!

But really it's because it makes this guy smile:

I worked yesterday. I was sandwiched between 2 days off and just itching for time to go faster.  It was a beautiful day and it seems as though all of our customers were out enjoying the pretty weather instead of shopping.  But it wasn't like I had anything awesome planned.  In fact, I talked Adam into going back to Target (where he's the Optical Manager) and buying a steam cleaner for our carpets. 

After dinner, I was raring to fire it up like a crazy suburbanite on a Saturday night.  And that's exactly what I did.  But it was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel like my 14 year old self would be really disappointed that this was what awesome looked like in the future...

This morning, I headed to the Greenway along with the rest of the yuppies in my county.  Contrary to last week, where it was 18* outside, it was nearing 70* today.  The parking lot that was pretty much empty was now overflowing onto the nearby road.  I had 8 easy on the schedule.  I found myself frustrated that it was too warm, I had to dodge too many bicycles, and people in running/workout clothes toting Starbucks.  Seriously? I am pretty sure that you don't need to wear Spandex if you holding an inch of whipped cream in your hands. 

The 8 miles were okay.  I still have a twinge in my left shin and my right ankle started to feel funky when I tried (unsuccessfully) to force myself to run at an easy pace instead of tempo pace.  7:58, 8:00, 7:41, 7:50, 7:56, 7:58, 7:53, 7:51.  Too fast.  But I was kind of glad that I didn't have a glorious run because my superstitious side tells me that it's nearly impossible to have lots of good runs in a row.  And I'd like to 'save' my good run for race day.

3 more runs left.  2 little 3 milers and 1 little 4 miles speedwork session.  One week from day I will hopefully be taking a ferocious nap, enjoying the sweet victory of completing marathon #5!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lollygagging on a Tuesday (pics)

What a difference a year makes.  I feel as though I have been able to really enjoy life again.  In September 2012, I quit my job at Williams-Sonoma after being with the company for 8 years.  That's a long time if you are only 30 years old.  I felt a sense of loyalty and allegiance to not only (most of) the people I worked with, but the company as a whole.  But after years of being underpaid, overworked, and commuting a minimum of an hour and a half each day, I made a change.

It was so scary.

I knew I was fully capable of working for another company, but I was afraid that I wasn't going to be any happier.  But, so far, this story has a happy outcome.  I work 40 hour weeks, I feel as though I make a difference at work, I'm home by 8pm at the latest, I never set my alarm for 4:30am, and my commute is half the distance.  Sure, there are some new challenges that come with a new job.  But the only way I miss my old job is like how I miss ex-boyfriends.  There are good memories, but there is a reason that it now just part of my past.

Why delve into this? Because I forgot what it was like to have free time.  I have time to run without it feeling like an extra burden.  I can bake and cook.  My house gets cleaned.  I get to see Adam with his eyes open and have actual conversations with him every single day.  I can take an hour long lunch and see an old friend (which I did yesterday!).  I can do my work AT WORK and not spend my days off doing it. 

This week I had associate reviews to do which coincidentally I was working on the same exact week last year at my old job.  I went back and read a blog from March 7th of last year and I was doing reviews at home.  After working 13 hour days.  Ugggggh!!!! This year, I completed them all at work and stayed only late an extra hour to get them all done.  Woot!

I woke up and did the crossword:

I ran 2 miles (lame, I know, but it's taper time).

I had time to stop and smell the:

Okay, they are daffodils, not roses, but hey, it's a little early for that just yet.
I cleaned the bejesus out of my house today.  Less exciting, but necessary.
Then I baked:

Then I got around to important tasks.  Like catching up on Loop posts.  Sweet!

I don't want to jinx myself since I do have to work tomorrow and I was just lollygagging around today on my day off.  I could be in for a horrendous day without even knowing it!  But all this happiness that my new job has given my personal life has made me less stressed in general.  Methinks this happy Carissa is pretty freakin' fantastic!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Shhh...I'm a Loopfest virgin

With my last long run out of the way, I guess I am technically in what I affectionately call "TAPER TIME!".  It's screamed loud and proud at the Liebowitz household.  Adam, though a non-runner, knows that this means that the excitement of race time is just around the corner.  We scream it like warriors for 2 weeks.  I would have thought the butterflies might have calmed themselves down after 4 marathons, but I'll admit, I got a little twinge of them a few days ago when I thought about toeing the line.

I ran 3 little miles on Friday morning which were just 'eh'.  I wanted to run fast and get them done, but I forced myself to go nice and slow.  I did them on the treadmill so I was forced to stick to the 9:30 pace that I set it to.  The sore shin is still sore and I don't want to press my luck.  So I'm going to really try to just stick to the taper--no matter how ridiculous running 2 miles is as my run for the day.

I did a 7 mile run today with 5 at tempo pace.  Well, really, it was 6 at tempo pace and a faster-than-it-should've-been cool down.  It was 18* with the wind chill and my warm-up was actually to warm me up.  I didn't feel all that great on the run.  My legs felt tired and tight and I couldn't help but be worried about my stupid shin.  Today's splits: 7:56, 7:47, 7:38, 7:21, 7:22, 7:32, 8:01.

Aside from my shin iffiness, I have had a great training cycle.  So while I think a PR is definitely possible, it will all come down to how I feel on race day.  Hopefully, I'll feel good, but at least I know that not PR-ing is perfectly okay and just finishing will make me feel accomplished.  Plus, I am really going to try to make some sort of Loopfest this year--so I know that it is very possible that I will be racing again this year. 

On the subject of attending a Loopfest, I am not really sure where I'm headed.  Adam and I are celebrating our 5th anniversary on October 18th and we have been in talks about Hawaii.  However, he doesn't have as much time off as me and we are going on a cruise in 5 weeks anyway so the trip may not pan out.  This anniversary trip may make or break my Loopfest plans so I'm kind of letting things linger in limbo right now.  Besides, I'm deathly afraid that my in-person persona is not nearly as awesome as my online presence.  Hah! Just kidding!  Y'all know you wanna hang with me!!!!!!!!