Saturday, April 27, 2013

Let's just hope Ebola is not on the docket for May

When I'm not running, I'm not feeling inclined to post.  In fact, I wasn't even inclined to read many bloops last week.  I ran an impromptu half-marathon last Sunday on the Greenway before work and had a full-blown case of strep throat by midday Monday.  I writhed and whined and complained for 2 days with a fever hovering around 103*.  By Thursday evening, I was able to get some food down without it being super painful and Friday I was starting to feel back to normal.

Today, I knew I wanted to get back to running.  I am not one to be overly cautious about my health, but since I came down with the flu 24 hours after my March marathon and this strep business happened right after this random half, methinks I need to play it safe.  We all know that I'm not a crazy health food nut, but I do try to eat right 75% of the time--my kale smoothies, tons of fruits/veggies throughout the day, and mostly home-cooked meals have to contribute to something.  I get plenty of sleep.  I get plenty of exercise (more running, less other stuff, but whatevs). I'm in a happy relationship. I'm financially stable. My work is generally not terribly stressful.  So I'm not sure what is going on with all this illness.  In the past 10 years, I normally just get a cold for a couple of days once a year.  Hopefully it's just flukey and I won't have Ebola next month.

I ran tonight though.  It was a strange run, but overall pretty good coming off 5 days of illness.  I told myself to start out slow and just figure out how far I wanted to go based on how I felt.  But as I hit the 2 mile mark, I knew I was going to do my standard 7 miler and was hovering around 7:50 mm.  Way too fast to be comfortable, but I was so happy that I was running again.  I used the facilities at the turnaround point and then headed back.  Somewhere near the 5 mile mark, my Garmin completely died.  In a way, I was kind of glad because I would have no idea how fast I was going.  I could just run the last 2 miles at whatever pace I deemed to be comfortable.  It was getting to be twilight so I kept it closer to a tempo pace.  No one was on the Greenway so I just ran right in the middle like I owned the joint!  It felt good to know that 5 days off and I was no worse for the wear.

I dipped below 100 in my monthly mileage in March; I likely will in April as well.  Nearly a week without running will do that.  I am not currently training for anything, but I hope to enjoy at least a few cool mornings in May by doing some long runs.  And, of course, I hope to get back over the 100 mile mark.  I'm not obsessed with my numbers in the sense that I need to hit the mark all the time, I just use it as a good gauge of my own fitness. So, I am saying 'ta-ta' to these sub-100 months and 'hello' to May!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I have a crush

I just wrote a long post about how much I love the Loop and Loopsters and Loopville.  And then, like I was channeling Pluck in some alter universe, I deleted the entire post.

There was a lot of ramblings about how I'm an average runner, an average girl, but somehow I feel superhuman because I'm part of this awesome community.  The past week has shown some of the biggest hearts in the world live in Loopville and I continue to be inspired and humbled by all the awesome.

I like to channel Loopsters when I run.  There are certain 'characters' that pop into my mind when I'm on the treadmill, on a hill, doing speedwork, exhausted, elated, enraged, delighted, pushing my body to the limits, skipping along the path, jamming out to my tunes, watching the wildlife through the trees, giving aggressive the bird, waving to the nice drivers, blowing snot rockets, fighting the wind, dodging raindrops, sprinting for a , checking my stride, chicking dudes, wrestling with my Garmin, and enjoying a run.

Thanks for making me run faster, further, and with more smiles than I ever thought possible.

Monday, April 15, 2013

NRR: a most riduculous vacay (pics galore)

First and foremost, I am not insensitive to the tragedy in Boston today.  My heart is heavy and my eyes have brimmed full of tears more than once today as I've watched the coverage unfold.  I will pray for our community to hold each other tight and continue to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  There is not a stronger group of spirits that I know than the ones I have met through running.  Persevere, runners, persevere.
But as I go back to work tomorrow and face a insurmountable pile of fun, I will spend my remaining hours of freedom sharing my super-awesome-ridiculous-over-the-top-fun-silly-exciting-relaxing week with you!
The boring stuff: I ran 5 of the 10 days I was gone.  Just as planned.  2 outside runs. 1 fabulous, 1 terrible.  3 treadmill boat runs. 1 less hungover, 1 more hungover, 1 slightly intoxicated (don't judge...).  They were all 7 miles.  The ones outside were about 7:45-7:55 pace and the ones inside were at 7.2 mph (8:20).  I was happy I ran and it was just enough that I *normal*, but not too much that I couldn't enjoy my vacation.
'Cause good God, I enjoyed it!!!!!!!
Instead of a day-by-day, let's just hit some highlights captured by the camera lens.
First up, my sister and I met some new friends on the deck about 5 minutes after we had mojitos in hand:
Boys on deck
We decided that we couldn't have all the fun, so we let our SO's pose with our new friends:
Boys boys boys
My brother (Chris) and my husband best friend (Jeff) were sharing a balcony room next to Adam and myself and so we were able to make a giant balcony by opening the divider.  It was great to relax (or party) on our own little deck:
Balcony love
Sunday was our first formal night and I got into my first sparkles outfit.
Ridiculous heels
You can't really see the sparkles of the dress in the pic, but I promise they were there.  Besides, the shoes are clearly the more important part of this ridiculousness:
THE shoes
There is a 3 drink minimum to wear these heels.  And a 3 drink minimum to Tebow wearing the heels next to a Tebow jersey (it's kind of a *thing* in our group):
Tebow and tebow
Hubs looked quite dapper as well.  He's in the red shirt:
Boys formal night
The next day, I sobered up to drive an ATV alongside Adam in Cozumel. So. Much. Fun.  I had dirt all over my teeth because I was smiling the whole time we rode:
When you start your breakfasts with 22 drinks for 6 people (caffeine, caffeine, booze, booze, juice, juice with booze, etc), you know the day is bound to be successful:
22 drink minimum
We went snorkeling in Belize:
Adam snorkels
Then relaxed under palm trees on our private island with frosty beverages:
Under palm trees
Some *ahem* people, might be tempted to do Usain Bolt poses while eating cheeseburgers in a bikini:
Swimmy Usain
The boys were on the same silly train and decided it was Hawaiian shirt night for dinner:
Tebow and hawaiian shirts
All good nights are topped off by rousing renditions of the Cupid Shuffle, the Electric Slide, the Wobble, and dancing like a fiend until 4am.  What's the best idea at 4am??? PIZZA!!!! Jeff and I (Adam's a gambler, not a dancer) met some frat boys at the 24-hour pizza place and laughed until our sides hurt.  Unfortunately, Jeff's pizza suffered a severe tragedy:
Pizza party foul
Wednesday (well, from 4am til Thursday breakfast) was sober day.  Adam and I had a date with the dolphins.  I've never been madly in love with dolphins, but this being my 7th cruise, I wanted to do something I'd never done before.  This excursion made me madly in love with dolphins!!!!!!!!!!!! They are like sea dogs.  They fetch, talk, swim around like crazy, and are seemingly loyal creatures.  Adam and I got to 'hold' Bailey:
Dolphin Hug
She also gave kisses too:
Dolphin Kiss
We also got to don snorkel gear and swim around with them.  Seriously, if you cruise, you really should consider doing this.  It was worth every penny.  This was the second excursion we've done with Anthony's Key Resort in Honduras and I have nothing but good things to say.
The following day, we hung out on a sand bar in the Cayman Islands.  I found some more creatures to hold (but they aren't as cute and smart):
Stingray holding
Later in the evening, the crew got dressed up for formal night #2:
The gang
And I practiced more Usain poses:
Dressy Usain
In the morning, I ordered the most ridiculous thing I found on the brunch menu. Fruit Loop Crusted French Toast.  Shut the front door!!!! It was actually pretty good. My inner fat kid was like, yippee!!!!!
Fruit Loop french toast
We hung out on deck all day and watched another gorgeous sunset from the balcony:
Then we got ready for dinner.  A little back story: My in-laws own a trophy/engraving business in Miami.  We got my brother-in-law to make us a trophy in route to the boat:
Trophy time
We kind of were not thinking at the beginning of the cruise that it was going to be pretty obvious that our barman would end up getting it.  But then he started saying things like "I know your Folio number, you don't need to give me your card" and hanging out for about 50% of our meals.  So my sister and I dressed up the trophy to look like our barman:
Decorate trophy
When we presented it to him, he was actually so elated that my heart swelled a little.
Give your bar man a trophy
On the final night, I was so happy I got my favorite towel animal in my room, the elephant:
Elephant Towel Animal
So of course, there are so many things I left out for various reasons (I forgot, I forgot on purpose, I'm not allowed to speak of it outside of international waters, etc).  But clearly, if you need cruise tips, I'm your girl.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bon Voyage: I'll be back in 10 days!!

I should be finishing packing.  Or checking in for my flight.  Or doing something productive to get ready for my trip tomorrow.  But I've been getting ready for 3 days now.  Plus, I'm going to be gone for 10 days, so I don't want people to forget me.

Adam and I, my sister and her boyfriend, my brother, and my husband's best friend (did you get all that??) are leaving to go on a cruise tomorrow.  We fly into Miami (where my in-laws live) and head out for 7 days at sea on Saturday afternoon.  Cozumel, Belize, Honduras, and Grand Cayman are on the docket. When we get back, we'll stay in Miami through Monday to visit with Adam's family for a few days.  My birthday is on the 14th so I'm looking forward to celebrating while on vacation!

I've packed my running clothes and hope to get in a workout at least 5 of the 10 days I'm gone.  I usually have a good track record of running while on vacation so I hope this trip is no different.  Last year I ran 30K for my 30th birthday on the treadmill while on a cruise ship at sea. This year, I'll be shooting more for a 5K (3.1 for 31 years).  For some reason, I ​hate​ running in Miami and I'll be on land on Sunday. I certainly get plenty of practice running in the heat and humidity in Atlanta, but good God, I loathe running in south Florida.  My in-laws live about a mile from the beach, but I never feel those ocean breezes for some reason.  First world problems...

I have had 2 very different runs this week.  One was on the Roswell Greenway and was absolutely terrible and the other was on the treadmill and was pretty great.  Normally my better runs occur outside, but unfortunately that was not the case Tuesday night.  I went to a different Greenway than I normally run as it is less than a mile from my work and would give me a tad more sunlight for a 7 miler after work.  I was excited to enjoy a little bit different scenery, but after I got going, I was quickly reminded why I prefer ​my​ Greenway.

Cement sidewalks are the devil.

Save for a small portion at the beginning which is a gravel path, the rest of the Greenway is cement.  This made my legs cry out for the lovely boardwalks of my usual haunt.  In addition to the pounding of the cement, I just felt awful.  The weather was absolutely perfect, but I felt I was working so hard for my pace which was hovering just about 8:00mm.  It reminded me of how I felt after I got out of the pool after swim practice when I was a kid.  Pure cardio exhaustion. 

On a separate note, this thought reminded me of how terribly slow I was as a swimmer.  Did you know that green is the color of a 6th place ribbon? I collected many a green ribbon on the swim team....

Anyway, I hate runs that the entire time I am thinking 'I HATE YOU BODY'.  I was just so elated when it was over.  It's been awhile since I've had a terrible one like that, but I suppose I was due.  The good news is that I felt mostly back to normal today, so I'm not sweating it.  Hopefully the vacation will give me a chance to give my poor retail legs/feet a little rest.  Bon voyage!!