Tuesday, July 30, 2013

(Mostly) NRR: my sister is getting married!

I don't know that anyone has been reading my blog for the 12 years I've been writing one, but safe to say life has changed a bit since I first started writing.  It has mostly transitioned into more about running and less about life.  However, sometimes those life things are way more interesting than my running.... like my sister is engaged!

For any weirdo that just likes to read about running, feel free to skip to the end where I have diligently included my running stats.

When you grow up with a sister relatively close in age (she's 3 years younger than me), it's like having a built in best friend all the time.


Even though we were lucky that there were other girls in our neighborhood to play with, we spent many, many, many hours playing Barbies, Cabbage Patch Dolls, "flower shop" (sorry mom), riding bikes, playing in the pool, etc.


The teen years separated us a bit, but by college, we started to appreciate each other a bit more.  She studied abroad for a semester in France and my now-husband Adam and I met her for a 10 day tour of France, England, Belgium, and the Netherlands.  We lucked out and got some fabulous snowy pictures of pictures in Paris:


The summer after she graduated, I started to get really worried that she was going to find a job somewhere far away from Atlanta.  I had big dreams that our kids would grown up knowing their cousins and we'd have a fun little lake house to bring our families to on weekends and holidays.  We took a trip with mom across America that summer of 2007, stopping in New Orleans:


And eventually making our way to the Grand Canyon:


It was (one of) many fantastic adventures we've been lucky to share and I couldn't imagine seeing her for only a few brief periods each year.

Fortunately, she found a job in Atlanta! Yippee!

That fall, I got engaged and over the course of the next year, she performed all the maid of honor duties without any bellyaching.  She diligently kept notes of all the gifts at all the showers:


And was the person I spent the night with at a hotel room on the eve of my wedding day.  We giggled like we were kids again and if I had any nerves, they were long forgotten by the all the fun we were having.


We have continued to share our love of travel together and even continued our brother in the fun too!  The 3 of us took mom to Alaska for her 60th birthday a few years ago.

Taking a pit stop at Safeco Field in Seattle before the boarding the cruise ship:


The past 2 years, we've taken Caribbean cruises together along with a small group of friends.  We share a love of mojitos and striking up conversation with strangers:


But the best part about a sister is that hanging out means that we can just be ourselves.  There is no pretense, no obligations, and I know that we are there for each other no matter what.  I'm not sure we've grown up too much over the years:


But I do know that we always have a good time!

And oh yeah, that guy she's engaged to? He's pretty awesome as well.  I've truly never been happier for her--I think this is the flood of emotion my parents felt when I told them I was getting married??  He definitely makes her happy and is sweet without being sappy.


We will be going wedding dress shopping in the couple of weeks and I just cannot wait to see what my favorite shopping partner happens to choose as 'the dress'.  Because I'm sure there will be some pretty terrible duds in the mix which I'm already laughing about now....


Congrats Tasha and Tim!!!

And if you just care about the running, I'll throw you a bone::

After 6 miles last Monday and 10 on Wednesday, I just did 4 milers on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.  It had been awhile since I'd had a 5-a-day week, but it was very manageable.  The 4 milers take just over 30 minutes so it's easy to squeeze that in after work and not feel too beat down when I get home.

Thursday was short and sweet with all my splits under 8:00mm.  I was exhausted from an extra long and sweaty day at work, but somehow I pulled out a good run.  7:59, 7:56, 7:56, 7:17

Saturday went okay.  I had a significant amount of foot pain all day and eased into my run.  Running made the pain go away briefly, but I knew something wasn't quite right.  8:06, 8:15, 8:15, 7:52

Sunday was strange.  I had a princess shift at work (4.5 hours, yippee!) and went running at 4pm.  In July. In Georgia.  It actually wasn't too bad with the shade cover from the Greenway, but it was still hot.  I tend to have Garmin issues when I'm sweating all over the place and I ran 4.2-4.3 miles, but Garmin logged me at exactly 4.  So I am pretty sure that the average and splits are a little off.... but my splits were 8:19, 8:58, 7:49, 7:46

Today I started out feeling as though I had cement blocks taped to my legs.  For about 2 miles, I was doing the short-step shuffle and telling myself to just not look at my Garmin because it wasn't about speed in the 91* real feel.  Once I got to the turnaround point at 3.85 miles, I looked and was shocked that I was close to 8:00mm! I took water at 4.65 miles and peeked and stayed away from looking at my pace until the last 2 miles.  I pushed it at the end, but somehow, I was feeling really, really good and strong. 8:10, 8:03, 7:55, 7:57, 7:55, 7:44, 7:43, 7:30.

Okay August, I'm ready for you!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Boobies and beer and big ideas

Monday, I packed my running gear up just like usual before I headed to work.  As I started to change in the bathroom after work, I realized that I had forgotten my sports bra. Doh!  I had 2 options at this point: Run in my regular bra or go home and run on the treadmill (since I'd have to spend another 30 minutes in the car if I wanted to go back to the Greenway).

I really wanted to run outside so I took a short jog around the parking lot to ensure that I wasn't being entirely ridiculous.  It seemed okay so away I went.  Fortunately, my boobage is minimal so I barely noticed a difference.  Not that I would ever purposefully do it again, but it wasn't too terrible.  I focused my efforts on getting the run done and had a nice little tempo effort.  Splits: 8:00, 7:54, 7:54, 7:53, 7:47, 7:42.

Today, I enjoyed a day off of work and decided to do a 10-miler.  I should have got going right at 8:00am, but I had to have my coffee, linger over the newspaper, eat some cereal....all of a sudden, it was 10:00am.  It was not too terrible today, but I am definitely ready for capri weather. Temps were actually in the low 80s and the humidity was around 70%.  I got lucky with cloud cover.

I did the 10 in 1:20:56, an 8:05 average.  Splits were: 8:13, 8:03, 8:15, 8:05, 8:15, 8:08, 8:04, 8:20, 7:42, 7:48

In somewhat running related news, I became intrigued by Whole9/Whole30 after Jenster posted her successes on Loopville.  I did some research and am still on the fence about the whole thing.  Having an eating-disordered past and a super picky husband makes me think that I should perhaps be a little more lenient than the instructions allow.  I know that they stress you shouldn't cheat in any way, but I think a restrictive diet could potentially be a slippery slope.

I mean, I do eat pretty healthy, contrary to many of my postings.  Ridiculous food usually makes for better pictures just for the wow factor, but healthy food can be pretty too:


The other downside to the plan is that I'd have to give up beer:


Which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, I know.  Heck, if/when I ever get preggo, I'm going to have to stall my beer list for 9 months.  What is this beer list, you ask?

My local watering hole chain (Taco Mac for the Atlanta peeps) has a beer program that keeps track of all the beers you drink at their establishment.  My list happens to be pretty long because I've been regularly going for quite some time and I really like trying new beers.


That's my 30-in kitchen island and my current list.  Here's the close-up:


Geez, maybe I should give up beer for a month....

I wouldn't have to lie absolutely flat to take bikini Instagram photos of myself:


Oh, who am I kidding? I still would....

Anyway, I planned a week's worth of meals to see if I could think of 21 different options.

BreakfastOmelet with tomatoes, peppers, and onionsSausage, bananas, sweet potatoesBreakfast burrito with lettuce, eggsEggs over easy, berriesSausage omelet, berriesBacon, grapefruit, nutsScrambled eggs with mushrooms, melon 
LunchTurkey lettuce wrap, carrots+celery, seasonal fruitLeftover steak fajita saladMock chicken salad with avocado, seasonal fruitTurkey over greens, almonds, sweet potatoLeftover pot roastTurkey wrapped peppers and cucumbers, fruitTomatoes stuffed with tuna and celery, olives, dates 
DinnerSteak fajita salad with greens, tomatoes, peppers, avocadoGrilled chicken, zucchini +onion skewers, tomatoes with balsamicPork tenderloin, broccoli, sweet potatoesPot roast with carrots, onions, celery, beef brothGrilled lamb steaks, grilled root vegetablesDATE NIGHTMeatballs with tomato sauce, green salad, riced cauliflower 

Yah, I feel hungry when I look over it...  So I'm going to mull on it for awhile.  I feel this way about ultras.  I get all gung-ho about it because it sounds so awesome and everyone loves it and I could do it too!! But then I remember that I really like 3 rest days a week and I really like Oreos and maybe I'll do it when I grow up.

Lastly, what's a Quadracool post without some cute Boston Terrier pictures?

Like Torrance showing me her frog-legs:


And Torrance telling Luxy a secret:


Sunday, July 21, 2013

I was chased by a poop

You know if you Google "runner poop", there are 1.4 million hits.  Go ahead, try, my bloop will be waiting right here while you open up a new window, Google it, and then return.

If you're a lucky bastard, you deal with this issue rarely and think little of plotting your runs in a place where there are A) appropriate places to poop like public restrooms, port-a-potties, or B) lots and lots of trees to hid amongst.  I'm usually one of those lucky bastards.  Save for one of my first long runs when I was teenager and marathon #3, I don't give the tummy troubles much thought. 

So when I went canvassing through the woods last night after work, I was caught off guard by the impending feeling that I was going to have an emergency situation on my hands.  I was deep into mile 2 when the trouble started, conveniently smack dab in the middle of a port-a-potty and a public restroom.  I could circle back to mile 2 or keep going until I hit mile 3.5 and be safe.

I felt like a cotton-shirt-wearing, going-out-too-fast, what's-a-Garmin rookie.

I had to have known somewhere in the back of my head that chugging 16 ounces of water on my drive from work to the Greenway was not brilliant. Lost in that same memory lobe were the 2 beers and excessive barbecue dinner from the night before and the massive amount fruit consumed at lunch 6 hours prior. 

I felt like a can of Coke that just took a trip on a Tilt-a-Whirl.

I immediately took note of my options.  I was stuck on a boardwalked area surrounded by water when the feeling first struck--eek!  In 3/10ths of a mile, I'd be close enough to a creek bank entrance that I could tuck away into safely.  In 7/10th of a mile, I'd be at the public restroom. 

No better time to throw down some speed into a run when you are running with a purpose.  I wasn't running quite as fast as I could have been if a bear or an axe murderer had been chasing me (a 10 on the sprint-like-hell scale), but I was definitely chomping down the trail faster than if there was another runner ahead of me (a mere 8 on the competitive-who-me? scale).

I wavered for 7/10ths of a mile, nearly peeling off with every footstep.  Fortunately I saw exactly 4 people out during my 8-miler so I could have ducked into the woods without embarrassing myself or any passersby.   Once I got close enough where I could actually see the restroom, I exited panic mode.  

I wasn't going to poop myself!!

I could get back to my run and enjoy the rest of my 4.5 miles as the trail darkened and the fireflies came out in abundance.  Had it not been for the poop attack, it could have been quite the majestic run.

Look, if you are still reading, you are either a runner, a sadist, or have a fantastic love of pooping stories.


When I wasn't running from poop this week, I was doing a couple of 4 mile recovery runs after my 14 miler on Monday.  I took the opportunity of the slow pace to throw in a little speedwork right in the middle.

Wednesday, I threw in a 3:20 800 just to get over the boredom of the slow recovery pace.

Thursday, I rode the fence for 2 miles about doing a mile time trial, and finally decided to throw it down.  6:35 is not too shabby all things considered.  I think with some real speed training and proper racing atmosphere, I could get closer to 6:00.  I had some gas left in the tank when I was done so that's always a good sign. 

Lastly, I guess I have to get serious about this marathon training business again.  I think I will be doing a Smart Coach program again starting in 2 weeks, with the speedwork modified a bit.  SC has only mile repeats and tempos, but I think I'd like to replace a few of those with 400s and 800s.  I'm not really sure how realistic my shot at a BQ is, but you never know until you try right??

Monday, July 15, 2013

As promised, back to the good life

After spilling my guts in my last post, I promised I'd get back to the food and fun with my next post.  No shortage of that last week!

But first, the running:

Monday: 8 miles after work.  My tummy was angry due to the heat and effort, but I chose to come home and gorge on pizza afterwards.  Ouch. So, so dumb...

Wednesday: 8 more miles after work. It was humid and uneventful.

Saturday: 6 miles before work.  I did a pyramid run with speedier miles in the middle with an easy warm-up and cool down.

I was planning to run yesterday before work, but a few things crept up and I just decided to bag my run in lieu of going on today.  I had sharp back/shoulder pain that woke me up in the middle of the night, my dog had to go back to the vet due to an abscessed anal gland (gross!) Sunday morning, I had to work, and then I had a housewarming to go to.  So whatever...I just decided to run today.  I'd best rested, less sore, and less crunched for time.

I did 14 miles in 1:55 which worked out to an 8:12ish pace.  My Garmin decided to go all cray cray in the last couple of miles, but at least I can trust the time and my own knowledge of the mile markers on the trail.  It was super humid and I even saw steam coming up off the creek at one point.  It wasn't a terrible run, but it wasn't great either.  I'm pretty okay with that considering it's July 15th and I started around 10:30am.  Definitely getting myself ready for the joy of fall running.

Speaking of joys, here is what happened last week when I wasn't running.  Most of my FB friends have seen the pics already, sorry!

I decided to redo a kitchen chair:


I enjoyed my flowering garden, from hydrangeas:


To lantana:


To the apple tree that finally has apples on it this year:


I drank beer on date night (big surprise...):


And learned to plank while drinking wine:


Pop-up thunder showers in the evening make for beautiful sunsets:


And of course, I had to do a little drool-worthy baking.  I made chocolate cupcakes and frosted half with Nutella frosting and half with peanut butter frosting.  Have you ever had a food-gasm?


My little pookies get all hot and bothered at the vet while they have to wait.  Torrance:


And little Miss Luxy:


They were so exhausted when they got home from panting for an hour that they snuggled up and napped on the sofa together all afternoon:


See? I have plenty of things to be a happy girl about!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Letting go...(an oddly serious NRR)

Letting go....

It's easier said than done.

I've spent much of my 31 years being tightly wound on the inside.

Do better, do better, do better.

I didn't need a parent, teacher, financial adviser, career counselor, nutritionist, or preacher to tell me to do better.

The toughest critic and most demanding coach has always been myself.

Why are you spending money?
Why aren't you running faster?
Why are you acting selfish?
Why are you not eating more vegetables?
Why are you defying authority?

I held tight to the bounds of OCD and subsequently depression when I was 11 years old.  8 was my magic number and for one long summer and fall, it obscured any and everything in my life.  When I began sorting my feelings out for my parent's divorce and regained a healthy chemical balance in my brain, I could let it go.  There was no better feeling than the day I didn't have to brush my top teeth 8 times.  I could brush them 13 times or 0 and I still went on living, world still intact.

I held tight to the bounds of anorexia when I was 15 years old.  I was never overweight, but the vanity of pubescent life struck a too-far chord with me and the couple of extra pounds I lost snowballed into an eating disorder.  From 130 pounds to a low of 83, I demanded that I eat less and burn more calories.  One day, on the idea that I deserved to live, I let it go. And finally, years later, when I stopped taking mental notes of calories in my head, I was truly able to live my life.

I held tight to the bounds of financial anxiety.  To the point that I would suffered panic attacks in the months leading up to my wedding.  How could I be so excited about starting my life with my best friend and be physically distressed about money? The smallest nuance could set off the feeling that I literally wanted to crawl out of my own body.  When I turned over the daily financials to my spouse, knowing that I would still have food on the table and shelter over my head, I learned to let it go.

I held tight to the bounds of career expectations.  I had failed my dream of becoming an obstetrician. I held a bachelor's degree in biology from Emory University at 20 years old and struggled in my early 20's to find a footing in life.  I was too proud to attempt a second shot in a "lesser" position and dismayed the notion of becoming a PA or a nurse.  Ironic, because now I'm too lazy to pursue a graduate education-I enjoy my free time too much.  I ended up at Williams-Sonoma and worked so hard to be perfect in every aspect of my job that I became downright miserable.  I was too invested in work to enjoy my life and let it go last September by switching to another retailer.  My skin cleared up, my demeanor changed, and I actually had time to pursue projects outside of work.

Most of us live with the angel and the devil in a constant battle on our shoulders.  Outwardly, I force myself to project more of the devil because my angel is annoyingly, haughtily in pursuit of perfection.  And there is no such thing. 

I think of all the time I've wasted suffering the what ifs? both of the past and the future instead of just allowing myself to let it go. 

Quit worrying about eating a second brownie, buying a t-shirt you don't need, leaving work 15 minutes early, drinking a beer before 5pm, doing absolutely nothing on your day off, running 8 miles instead of 4, running 4 miles instead of 8, etc.

I don't want any of this to be a sob story--I own my life choices, good and bad.  My life has been pretty darn exceptionally good.  But as I continue to meander the path of life, I want to constantly be enjoying the right now and only anticipating the future, not fearing it.  

Okay, okay, enough with the heavy s***.  I promise to be back to pictures of food and fun and stories of puppies and unicorns next time!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Yeah, yeah, another bloop of running, food, and fun

The Cold Hard Facts

Monday: 10 miles after working 8 hours (on my feet, slinging furniture, it's okay to be impressed).  Garmin had satellite issues for 2.5 miles!!!! and then decided to cooperate-ish. The splits I got: 26:29 (erm, yeah...), 7:52, 7:50, 7:56, 8:08, 8:00, 7:53, 7:34.  It was 1:18 for 10 miles, so really it was around a 7:50 average pace.

Wednesday: 6 miles of speedwork.  1 mile warm-up at 10:00 pace, then 8x400s with 400 recovery, and a 1 mile cool down.  400s were 95, 95, 95, 95, 95, 94, 93, 90.

Friday: 3+ miles of slogfest. Legs felt like bricks (thanks speedwork/4th of July). Ran at an 8:34 pace.

Saturday: Much, much happier legs. 8.5 hilly, hilly miles in the 95% humidity. First 7 mile splits: 8:25, 8:13, 8:23, 8:16, 8:24, 8:29, 8:17.  Then I ran just over a quarter mile down to the track and did 4X200s with 200 recovery at about a 5:50 pace. I sloooooowly swam ran back to my car and decided I was happily spent.

Pictures are worth a thousand words

Or something like that.  Otherwise this bloop would be even longer.


I started the plank challenge this week. Much like the push-ups, I have a starting base of practically zero.  Somewhere under here are some abs:

abs day 1

Today, post planking, I took another picture (this is why celebs turn to the side, so much more flattering!) and think I found one beer in the six-pack.  Hopefully I can uncover another one this month:

abs day 6

My faithful readers (hah!) know that I'm a crossword nut and my head almost exploded when one of the long clues (#62 across) was related to marathons:

crossword marathon

I remembered that while chocolate ice cream does not cure all problems, it sure is quite the endorphin booster:
chocolate ice cream

Adam and I have hosted a 4th of July party every year since we've been in our home.  My decor has grown over the years both outdoors:

4th of July house

And indoors:

martha stewart 4th

I started party-goers off with a bomb pop (like the popsicle) cocktail:

bomb pop cocktail

They were pretty potent so many of us switched to beer later on:

beer me

I turned my grill into a smoker using hickory wood chips and let the pork shoulder and chicken get nice and tender all day long:

smoking and grilling

Sadly, it was raining most of the day and when it came time to shoot off fireworks, I opted to stay inside while 1 of my dogs went into attack mode.  She isn't scared of fireworks, she wants to kill them.  If we let her outside, she will actually try to bite any lit firework.  So special....

There was an increase in the half-marathon I was considering, so I capped off my evening by registering for a race in October.  They had an option to sign up for the 39.3 challenge which combines your full marathon time in March with the October half.  Last year's female winner won with a combo of 5:11 (3:36, 1:34) which is too fast for me, but the second place female was 5:45 (4:00, 1:45) which is completely beatable. Obviously, it is a pretty narrow field, but it still could be neat to place!


Apparently some people were not done celebrating even on Friday morning, because a drunken idiot did this to a brick wall in front my store at 11am:

drunk driving

He drove off, but a good citizen in the parking lot copied down his license plate and the police tracked him down at his house.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Last night, we did sushi for date night:

date night sushi

I took a few pics of my run today because I had my phone with me.

Some hills:

hills and hills

A stupid statue that scared the crap out of me because I thought it was real at first in my zombie-like running state:

wildlife ahead

And the pretty track that happens to be just about a mile and a half from my house:


This afternoon, it's been a lovefest/nap time with me and the BTs:

sleeping beauties

Another wonderful week in the books!