Saturday, July 30, 2011

Xander's 1!

I slept in and never made it out to run today. Oh well. But, I got to spend the day outside for a very special birthday party ...

Happy 1st Birthday to the cutest little boy I know!

Come on, mom! I want my cake!

Yea, we're chilling in the pool. You got a problem with that? lol

She may not be my actual aunt, but I still love my Aunt Jessie!
She makes funny noises and lets me do things mom and grandma won't.
[and I love you, little man!]

Aunt Katie loves messing with my hair!

Ah, the life of a birthday boy!
Happy Birthday Alexander Joseph! 
We love you, buddy!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Running gives me a LOT of time to think

First of all, I need to apologize to the few people who do read my blog regularly. I had a serious epiphany last night while I was running (more on that in a bit). I have been seriously whiney lately! Not exactly sure what exactly to blame it on since there are a couple different stressors working on me right now, but I don't like it. I'm always the kind of person who looks ahead for future problems and tries to prevent them from happening, but rarely do I get so caught up in bemoaning the current problems that I didn't forsee (or did and just ignored). Usually I'm just gung-ho in getting $#!@ fixed and moving on.

Epiphany #2 ... yea, I did a LOT of thinking yesterday. My brain kinda hurts now. lol ... I was complaining the other day about how I haven't seen any progress. Good grief I can be blind when I want to be. Every day is progress for me! A year ago on my 24th birthday, I made a promise to myself to get in better shape and just start taking care of myself better. Yes, I could walk from my apartment up to Wildwood and back, but I couldn't run more than 2-3 minutes at a time and I always felt like complete crap afterward. I was so intent on losing weight, but I never really looked at my over-all fitness. Yes, I was a rower in high school, and I was pretty durn strong, but I was never in that great of shape. The idea of me ENJOYING running was something I would have laughed at in the past. My current "sport" WAS my previous sport's punishment! Now, I'm run/walking more than I ever have in my life. The scale may not be reflecting it, but I can feel the difference in my body AND my mind. Running has become an escape for me. It's therapy. I started running, specifically, to get myself in shape to rock a bridesmaid's dress this October, but it's become more for myself and my sanity. I feel twitchy and mentally burnt if I don't run for a couple days. I used to not be able to walk more than 10 minutes without my iPod blaring, and that still holds true when I'm on the treadmill (which is rarely anymore), but now I purposely leave the iPod at home and just go out and enjoy the trails. The sound of my footfalls and water sloshing in my bottle have become their own soundtrack. While I still love my music, I'm enjoying nature's music just as much.

Like I said, I did get in a run yesterday, and it was great. My legs felt fresh since I didn't run the day before, so I parked at Roche de Bout (Farnsworth Metropark) and ran towards the Bend View Metropark overlook. It's almost exactly 3 miles, 1-way, so it's a great run along a gorgeous well-kept trail (I seriously LOVE our Metroparks!). As I run longer distances, I can just run past the overlook further down the trail. Maybe someday I'll be able to run the whole distance down to Providence Dam and back. *big grin*. Anyway, my run towards the overlook started out like pretty much every run I do, a 1/2 mile warmup and then AT LEAST a mile continuous run. After that, I broke down and alternated 1/4 mile walking with 1/2 mile running. It was such a great interval that I did it all the way back from the overlook too (just without the warmup walk and 1-mile run). I kinda of wish I had put on my HRM strap because it would have been interesting to see the fluctuation, but oh well. It was an easy enough run that I was able to do the 6 miles without wanting to die afterwards, but it certainly pushed me. I didn't think it would be that difficult to do that short of an interval. Hahaha. The run TO the overlook took 40:11.29 and the return run took 39:36.98. It surprised me, really. I thought the first run would have been faster because of that continuous 1 mile. *shrugs shoulders* I had a nice cool-down walk up to my favorite little bridge and back. I don't know if the humidity was lower than the weather guys were saying or if I've just started growing accustomed to running in it, but the heat didn't really bother me. I guess the shade and being right along the river helped a bit, but I was comfortable. I kind of smiled when N texted me about how you could "almost chew the air it's so humid". Poor baby. lol.

JB defended his thesis this morning. As happy as I am for him, it bothered me that he defended before me and that he didn't have ANY of the problems I've been having. I've been here 3 years (if you don't count undergrad). I'm ready to finish this sucker and move on. I'm tired of this department, this university, and the glances and whispers (that they think I don't hear). Also, no heart-to-heart with advisor-man, either. I went to scavenge sustenance around the time the committee was debating and by the time I got back, I couldn't find him. That man needs a radio collar. *sigh*

Now, I'm just sitting here working, waiting for lil bro to tell me he's ready to head home. Today is check-in day for the first Freshman Camp (UY ... U Know!) and he wanted to go visit since he wasn't going to be able to be up at Storer with them this weekend. Mom brought him onto campus after his dr's appointment and I said I'd take him home when he's ready since my afternoon schedule is much more flexible than mom's. If I didn't mind stepping on a bunch of toes, I'd be over there too, though most of my mentees are either seniors or they just graduated. It makes me smile knowing that MY campers were my brother's COUNSELORS. All the current upperclassmen UY leadership were trained while I was exec and/or coordinator. It sounds kind of hokey, but I feel like a proud momma!

I guess I should go hunt down some more possible articles for my paper. I still have plenty of printable pages left in the computer lab for this semester and it's cheaper and quicker to print the non-color photo papers here. My ink cartridges at home are low anyway. lol.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! Sending good thoughts and extra rest your way!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where to run?

Yep, I'm procrastinating working on my paper again. I have my lunch in front of me (still hot from the microwave), so I suppose that's acceptable. If not, too dang bad. My mood is such that nobody really wants to deal with me (even if they gave a crap), and I'm ok with that. I need to make a decision to either start working 110% 24/7 on my paper and try to pull it out in the next couple days or just take the stress off and pay the f*#!@ing tuition for 1 fall credit hour. The first option seriously puts my sanity in jeopardy, but the second does serious damage to what's left of my savings, self esteem, and my relationship with my advisor. When you can't really afford, in whatever way, either option, what do you do?

My first instinct, as it has been a LOT lately, is to just go run and let myself calm down. Besides the fact that going for a run isn't going to even remotely help my problem, I don't know where I should run. I acknowledge the fact that I need to stop "worrying" about finding the Metroparks code words, so I'm not going to go way out of my way to run. I had thought about running on campus and the University/Parks Trail, but I just don't feel comfortable running here lately with all the crime going on. I lived on or near campus for 6 years and only felt the slightest bit uneasy a couple times (usually involving walking the neighborhood "behind engineering" late at night), but things have changed. I don't know if it's my perception of the area or things really are the way I see them. Yes, crime has risen a bit, but maybe my discomfort stems from the fact that I don't know the POPULATION around campus like I used to. During undergrad and early grad school, I knew people who lived EVERYWHERE around campus and I knew that if there ever WAS something wrong, I had someplace safe to go. I don't have that feeling of safety anymore. Yes, I could carry pepper spray (and I do have a canister with a clip that I run with occasionally, but that doesn't even seem to help my apprehension. I don't know. I love when campus is quiet during summer semester, but I guess the quiet can be just as (possibly) dangerous as the crowds. I can run trails in the darkest parts of the metroparks and not think twice, but running around campus and the city spooks me. Ugh.

Our advisor and JB are upstairs working on JB's thesis defense for tomorrow morning and I don't know how long that'll take. I really need to talk to advisor-man about what's going on, but just the thought of it makes my stomach twist and my heart rate skyrocket. I've never been nervous to talk to him before, even when the $#!% hit the fans on my data, so I don't know why this is so hard for me. I hate that I'm disappointing him ... and myself.

Rain or no rain ... I'm thinking this afternoon is going to be spent pushing myself through a long run on the towpath trail along the river ... with my iPod to distract me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

LOVE Evergreen Lake!

I pulled my usual "my paper is driving me nuts. I need to get out of the house. I'll go hunt Metroparks code words" stunt again yesterday. Even though I worked from home, and I slept in, staring at my computer screen for a couple hours made me want to scream.

Oak Openings' code word locations always interest me. This week's clue had you parking along the side of the road up at the Girdham/Sager Rd intersection and hauling in along a horse trail until you found where the Hiking/Scout Trail intersected it. Now, it was almost exactly a quarter of a mile in off the road, and it's a straight shot, but I can once again see someone with kids objecting to finding this week's word purely because of the amount on manure on the trail. The manure wouldn't have bothered me a bit had I been in my hiking boots or old tennis shoes, but I was already in my runners. So, my urge to sprint from the code word location back to my car was thwarted. I had to pick my way along the side of the trail and pray I wouldn't find any fresh piles. lol. I wonder how many people specifically parked further south along Girdham and followed the longer stretch of the Hiking Trail just to avoid the horse trail? This is the kind of thing that interests me. lol.

I can't believe I don't spend more time over at Evergreen Lake (Oak Openings)! I can't remember having spent any time there since we used the lake for canoeing for the Girl Scout Day Camp YEARS ago, which is a sad thing. If you can ignore the sight of the algae bloom overtaking the lake and the (sometimes) smell, it really has a nice little trail that runs around the perimeter. It's only 1.4 miles, but it really is a TRAIL trail. The contours of the lake provide a nice back-and-forth and you're always having to pay attention because of tree roots, low branch, or a quick turn in the trail. There is an area on the west side of the lake where you have to pay attention to the trail markers (and maybe guess) because you criss-cross the horse trail/rest area and the beginning of the all-purpose trail, but it's great fun. There are even a couple areas that are semi-clear that you can push your speed a bit more without worry of hurting yourself on a root. My "official" time for 1.29 miles was 16:28.62, but it should have been faster. I got flustered when I got to the horse rest area (which isn't on the map) and stopped for a second to get my bearings. Also, I had planned on walking once around the trail and then trying to run another lap. Not so surprisingly, As soon as I got out on the trail, I wanted to GO. So, I just made the 1 lap. Short run, yes, but I ran 3 miles the day before and my ankle was already a bit iffy. Plus, I wanted to head over to Farnsworth and find its code too. It was an almost-fun run, though. I haven't quite gotten to the point of calling running "fun" yet. lol

The code word at Farnsworth was super-easy to find. lol. It was in one of my favorite spots, actually. There's an old bridge that crosses the river at the very north east end of the park (the overlook is actually the start of the trail system and tow path), and around it is a GREAT area to scramble down the embankment and play in the river. The water is shallow and warm (usually) and there are plenty of things to explore around the bridge.
See?! Isn't it just the cutest little area?! It was actually just upriver from here where I was splashing around on my birthday last week. I have some better pictures of the bridge itself on my camera. I promised N I'd dig them out the other day and I haven't gotten around to it yet.

I don't know if I'll get a run in today or not. I've already run 2 days in a row (which is usually when my legs start arguing), though shorter distances. The major factor is my sinuses. Apparently, my sinuses aren't happy ... again. It started out as just in the evenings they'd go crazy (I still say it's the air conditioning ... happens every time we turn it on), but I woke up this morning miserable and I haven't stopped sneezing and blowing my nose since. Yes, I've already taken my Claratin-D. It isn't doing much, unfortunately. If it IS the a/c, it probably doesn't help that I'm sitting in a basement lab that is currently about 60*. The temperature in this lab is just another one of those goofy things we've been dealing with. This past winter, it was in the 80s down here, and now that they've turned off the steam for the construction outside our building, it's freezing down here. We keep long-sleeve shirts in the lab for during the day. It's crazy.

Alright, I guess I should get back to work. I said I would take a break from writing my paper to blog and listen to a podcast and the podcast just ended. Back to the grind. lol

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stressful Day

Every day I look at the calender, then how much work I have done, the stack of papers I haven't even started working into MY paper yet, and just duck my head back to the computer screen and get back to work. This morning, I nearly had a panic attack. Joel's announced his thesis defense. This Friday. And I just heard Brad is going to defend next Friday, the LAST DAY OF THE SEMESTER.

I took off early (again) and went for a run at Swan Creek just to blow off some steam. I didn't want to snap at anyone, especially JB or the advisor (and they're the ones I would most likely run into). I DID get to catch up with Dr Camp when I went upstairs for lunch. He was hinting that I should go on the "out west" trip again this year. There are only 5 going, besides him, and none of them are certified to drive the vans, which means more work for him. They're going to New Mexico this year ... *sigh* If I knew I'd be done, or if I knew for sure I'd be paying for that extra credit hour and mom would loan me the money for the trip ... I would love to go and I know Angie would love for me to go as well.

I don't know if I'll have a paper I can be proud of in the next week and a half, but I REALLY don't have the money to pay for another credit hour. I need to have a very serious sit-down with the advisor, but I don't know when would be best to approach him since JB is getting his defense ready. I've kinda put both of us in a serious pickle by putting this off for so long.

It was a nice run, though. Only 86* today, and humidity was significantly lower. I just keep hoping that some day I'll see some improvement. Until then, I guess I just keep chugging along along until I end up wherever I'm going.

Oh, and the occasional texts from N certainly didn't suck either. Just knowing that he thought about me enough to shoot over a text, even if that's as far as all of this goes, puts a smile on my face. :) This week should be interesting in messages from him. His parents are gone camping for the week with the grandkids (his brother's kids, if I remember correctly). :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Happy Birthday to me and more ...

Happy birthday to me (a couple days late) ... wait, that means I'm 25 now. WHAT?! How the heck did that happen and how do I make it stop? I don't know if I like this growing-up thing! I LIKE being a Toys-R-Us kid. lol. I actually woke up with that jingle stuck in my head on my birthday. I had a nice little giggle before rolling over and re-setting my alarm for an hour later.

I was in a strange mood Wednesday. I wasn't exactly HAPPY, but I could call it almost-content (except for my paper stress, of course). It was one of those days where I was always waiting for the next "thing", but when it came, I just shook it off and smiled. I took off from campus right after lunch (I seriously don't know how I used to sit locked up in my tiny office all day) and went over to Farnsworth Metropark for my run, silently cursing myself the entire drive for not running that morning when it was a BIT cooler. Holy frijoles, Batman, was it hot ... and I made the mistake of not realizing how much of that trail is exposed. Yes, a large chunk of it is well-shaded (Jessie likey), but there were a couple large areas that didn't have a drop of shade and those KILLED my average pace. Anyway ... I knew it was about 3 miles from the Roche de Bout shelterhouse to the river overlook at Bend View. Silly me, I decided I was going to push myself (IN THAT HEAT?!) and go all the way down and back, all 6 miles of it. My average paced sucked a big one, but I did it. At least I had some eye candy on the first 2 miles of my run back to Roche de Bout. :) I challenged myself on the way back by re-setting my Garmin and saying I was going to beat my time from my run/walk out to Bend View. Maybe someday I'll be able to run all the way down to Providence and back, but it isn't going to be any time soon, and I'll just enjoy where I am for now. Oh, and I'm REALLY appreciating that metroparks has drinking fountains and bathrooms installed as often as they do along that towpath. lol. My water bottle was DRY by the time I got to Bend View.

After my run (and sitting in the air-conditioned car and guzzling water and gatorade until I cooled off a bit), had to book it home to shower and eat something. My friend Sarah was having a Pure Romance party last night (look it up if you don't already know). It was an entertaining evening. lol

After the "shenanigans" (and if ANYONE mentions the rest of the quote associated with that word, I'l pistol-whip them myself. lol), I stopped at the store to pick up some of my favorites ... Barefoot Moscato, Lonz Pink Catawba Wine (they don't have Heineman's and Anderson's was already closed, damnit ... at least they still use Bass Islands grapes :) ), a TINY carrot cake, dark chocolate with raspberry filling ... and my Brite Crawlers! I, of course, cracked open the moscato right away and took it straight up to my room with my carrot cake and enjoyed curling up in bed watching Pride & Prejudice. That, along with talking to Kyle online, made it a pretty good evening. As usual, Kyle was the first one to wish me happy birthday ON my birthday. It's a strange friendship we have, but I'm ok with that. I'm glad we've been able to stay friends. There are times when we're the only ones who understand each other's twisted-ness. lol.

My actual birthday was pretty quiet. I woke up early and went into campus. I worked until around 2pm and didn't see ANYONE. Around 2, I decided I'd had enough for the day and stopped to pick up Chipotle for lunch and took it out to Providence Dam to eat. I ended up spending a couple hours out there, just wandering, watching the individual waves roll over the dam, and reading bits and pieces of my book. I'm reading Emma now since I never finished it the first time I picked it up. I was surprised how many people were coming and going at the dam since it was so hot out. We were supposed to break a record, but I never heard if we actually did or not. I finally got tired of the crowd of people and wandered down-river to Farnsworth and the Roche de Bout shelter house again. I hung out there until it was time to head to the mall for my movie, mostly stomping around out in the river. You would think being out in the river on a super-hot day would be refreshing but that sure wasn't the case. The river was like bathwater all through the rapids.

I took myself to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Since I missed the showing that I had originally planned on, I saw it in "Real 3D". It was worth the couple extra dollars. It was too early to head home after the movie so I just wandered around the mall, enjoying the evening, texting and laughing with N. I'm a sucker for feeding ducks and fish, so I spent a little while over at the steps. There was a little girl I found hilarious. She was trying to get the ducks to eat out of her hand and would get furious when the fish got to a scrap of bread before the ducks did.

Since my brother gave me his Borders gift card as a part of my birthday present, that was the first place I went to yesterday (Friday) morning. Man, that place was a zoo. For all their crap about going out of business and needing to sell everything, the deals really weren't all that great. I ended up buying myself another book about running I've been hearing about I Run, Therefore I Am - Nuts. I'll add it to my pile. lol. I also picked up a new romance book, which of course I ended up starting the second I got home (that's 3 books in progress now ... yikes), and some more molskine notebooks. I seriously love those things. They are seriously the most perfect little notebooks.

I have 4.95 more miles until my goal distance for my birthday week. And it is looking like I may be doing it on the treadmill. The heat and the sudden, crazy thunderstorms are enough of an incentive to risk some shin soreness tomorrow. The storm this morning woke me up several times this morning, not an easy task when I was up so late battling my sinus attack (ugh).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

License, passport, and more hours in the day, please!

Yesterday wasn't the amazing continuance of my birthday week like I had wanted, but it wasn't bad either. I let myself sleep in an extra hour (I was supposed to get up an run but realized it wasn't going to happen the second my alarm went off) and then play around on my laptop until I knew government offices would be open. Since I'm turning 25, I need a new driver's license (grr) and FINALLY getting my passport seemed like a pretty smart idea too (I got my original juvenile one for the  Europe trip in 2001 ... it expired in 2006. oops). Normally I cringe at the idea of the BMV office on Heatherdowns, but it was the closest to home and in a perfect location for me to swing back through Maumee and just take care of my passport at the Maumee Post Office. I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the BMV. I was able to walk right up to the counter and I was walking out with my new license in less than 15 minutes. I hate to say it, because the woman who helped me was so nice, but 3/4 of the women in that office fit the horrible cliche of overweight and facial hair. The woman who helped me SERIOUSLY had a grey mustache! *shakes head* 

Anyway, like I said, I stopped back at the Maumee Post Office to take care of my passport. It's one of the few processing places in the area where you can also get your picture done. I could have gone up the AAA and gotten my pictures done for half price, but I didn't want to go out of my way. I was pleasantly surprised at the post office, too. Even though there was only one woman working, I was done and out of there in less than 15 minutes too. I guess it helps when you already have all the paperwork filled out and you just need the pictures and the final signatures. The fact that there was no other customers when I got there probably made it quicker too. lol.

Happy, but slightly poorer (holy crap passports are expensive), I headed home to pack up my stuff and head into campus for the day. Taking all that stuff WITH me would have been the smart thing to do, but I had planned to eat lunch at home so I wouldn't be tempted to pick up fast-food on my way into town. Luckily mom and Sean were getting home from their morning errands right around the time I was. I could tell mom was already driving Sean crazy and he wanted a break so when she mentioned wanting to go into campus to do something she couldn't do from home, I all but pushed her out the door and said I would work from home the rest of the day.

After a couple hours of working on my computer, I started getting antsy. This happens no matter WHERE I work, but it's been getting worse as my stress over upcoming deadlines goes up. Since I was already at home, and I still hadn't done my miles yet (love sleeping in but hate the consequences of NOT doing my miles before the sun comes up), I headed over to Oak Openings. I didn't want to run, but I still enjoy walking the trails. After hitting the Horseshoe Lake Loop to find this week's code word, I did most of the Sand Dune trail, minus the dune ridge itself, and headed up the W-C trail connector to find an access point to the ridge (silver) trail. I now know that the north side of the ridge trail is clear (even where it was re-routed to avoid a knocked-down bridge), and I recognized where that side of the loop met back up with the lead-in trail, so I must have been on the back (south-west) side when I got goofed up a couple weeks ago. There is another access point further south on the W-C connector so maybe I'll have to try there next. Since my ranger buddy couldn't tell me anything more than I already knew, maybe I'll digitize one of the park maps and impose my gps routes over it. There's always a chance (though a slim one) that I somehow missed a connector and ended up on a different trail. If not, I can take it directly to someone at Metroparks and ask more specific questions. I understand they can't keep reproducing maps every time they work in a different area of storm damage, but that was a pretty big difference. Super confusing. Whatever. Guess I'll check it out next time we have a cloudy day because there is NO WAY I'm knowingly taking a trail that skirts the big prairie area and storm damage when it's sunny and hot. I felt like I was roasting while I was on the north edge of the ridge loop yesterday.

I'm torn. I don't know if I should continue just running as I have been, trying to build up my distance and time on my own, listening to my body and to my surroundings, or if I should try the 'Bridge to 10k' program. I'm a little annoyed that the only program podcasts I could find were for the iPhone/iPod touch and you have to pay for them. Grr. But, I did hunt down a written version of the training schedule. I GUESS I could do that now that I have my Garmin and have figured out how to program workouts. Maybe I should just get myself to the point where I can run an entire 5k without stopping first, eh? Some more cross-training wouldn't kill me, either. I have a bike (2, in fact ... once i fix my road bike), a cyclocomputer, and access to a great trail system (not to mention I just get 1 mile out of my town and it's all country roads).

As soon as I get this page of revisions done (after I post this blog), I think I'm off to Waterville to run the tow path. I KNOW it's going to be a miserable run with the heat and humidity, but I need to get it done. And I can't just do it on the treadmill tonight. I'm headed to Sarah's for some 'Pure Romance' shenanigans. It should be interesting. Haha.

Still no plans for tomorrow, though mom did ask me last night what I wanted for my birthday. I didn't know how to answer since most of the things I want right now are either expensive or something you just can't buy. I hate asking for something expensive (even something like making a payment on my car loan) because I'm already living at home and the parents are paying for my car insurance, gas, and the interest on my student loans. Anyway, I'm ok with not having plans. I like being able to do whatever I fancy. It's not that I won't do ANYTHING, it's that I refuse to only have the choices of plan a party or something for myself or stay home with my family. Plus, I really DO have work to do. The world doesn't stop spinning just because it's my birthday. lol

Monday, July 18, 2011

A great start to my birthday week :)

What a day. Wow. I had planned on today being a complete crap shoot, but it came out pretty darn decent. Since I knew it was going to get hot, humid, and disgusting today, I planned to wake up at 5:15am and head out in the neighborhoods to get my run in. Well, 5:15 came and I decided it was still too dark for me to run (I REALLY need to get "dark gear" because the days are only getting shorter at this point). Repeat process again at 5:30 with one exception ... I decided I should at least get up and get ready to go so as soon as it was light enough that drivers would see my white shirt, I could go. The street lights were still on and I still had a little trouble reading my Garmin, but I went out around 5:45 (when I usually go out for road runs anyway).

The run went great. Once I hit my 0.5 miles of warm-up, I turned my Garmin away on my wrist so I couldn't focus on it and decided to pay attention to my body. I marked each walk/run transition with a "lap", so I could analyze it later ... and WOW was I surprised ...
Lap 1 (warm up) - 0.5mi @ 16:45/mi avg
Lap 2 - 2.2mi @ 11:41/mi avg
Lap 3 (water break) - 0.16mi @ 17:17/mi avg
Lap 4 - 0.72mi @ 11:20/mi avg
Lap 5 (cool down) - 0.25mi @ 16:57/mi avg
TOTAL = 3.83mi in 49:20.59 (avg of 12:52/mi)

My jaw literally dropped when I saw that my first "run" was 2.2 miles, non-stop. It was almost 26 minutes! That's a personal best for running on the road! Yes, I did the whole Couch to 5k program, but I did that on the treadmill and just never seemed able to do as well once I got out on the road. I've read before that running on trails, even with more walking breaks, trains your body much harder to the point that road running, at any distance, seems much easier. Apparently that little nugget of wisdom is true. If that's the case, I think I need to keep up this trend of running at the metroparks whenever possible. Running trails keeps my head straight too. Even though I can't remember one song I listened to on my iPod this morning when I was running, I know I would have been micro-analyzing how my body felt if I hadn't had my music to distract me a bit.

I have a goal of running/walking/hiking 25 miles this week for my 25th birthday ... I think that run was a pretty darn good start, if I do say so myself. lol

Working in the lab was just like it always is ... sitting there, typing on my laptop, highlighting things in papers I want to remember, scribbling notes on my already-scribbled-on pages, strange noises from the hall. Yep, typical day. Don't want to talk about how high my stress level is right now. I don't know how I'm going to pull this off.

I stopped at Wildwood to find this week's code word. I figured I would stop over at TBG and get that one too, but the rain started coming down just as I pulled in. I braved it with my tiny umbrella, but couldn't find it. I guess I'll have to check back over there later this week. I made a stop in at Secor too, since I knew I could drive all the way up to the cemetery and get the code without getting wet.

I left my phone in my bag for a while when I got home and ended up missing a call. I just started giggling when I finally got around to listening to it. It was someone from Metroparks, letting me know I was Week 6's winner! I won a $150 giftcard to the Anderson's and a $15 giftcard from PNC. Yippee.

And now ... as I'm typing this ... there is an entertaining conversation about planning a bachelorette party going on in facebook land.

I guess I'm getting my passport tomorrow while I'm out getting my new driver's license (boo on them for being pink now and not using an old picture! I LOVE my picture form when I turned 21!).

If the rest of this birthday week is anything like today, I'm going to be a very happy girl. And my fingers are still crossed for a certain someone to pick a side of the fence. And have the guts to do something about it. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Taking the weekend off.

So, I took the weekend off from running. I had/have a TON to get done around the house, I wasn't sleeping well all week so catching up on that sounded like a good idea, and it turned disgustingly hot and humid ... again.

I've been trying to work on my paper as much as I can, but my attention span is seriously limited and knowing that the deadline is looming so close is stressing me out even more. The more stressed I am, the less efficient I become. It's a vicious cycle of trying to destress, realizing I'm wasting time, and stressing out all over again.

When it gets bad, I force myself to walk away from the computer and go work on other things. After washing all my bedding, I decided I needed to do something about my feather bed. It literally throws up a quarter of its feathers every time I pull the sheets off my bed. I even have a comforter that sits OVER the feather bed and under my fitted sheet to help with containing the feathers. *Sigh* I had been tossing around the idea of a duvet-cover type thing for a while but it kicked into high gear the other night when mom suggested that I just go buy 2 flat sheets and sew them together around it! Of course, as soon as the thought was in my head, I was out the door to the nearest Wal*Mart (Target's selection sucked monkey balls ... which is unusual) and then with a quick stop at my storage unit to pick up my sewing machine (mom's doesn't work ... and yet it sits in the laundry room collecting dust), I was ready to get to work. I ended up using a blue and a sage (green) sheet. I had wanted 2 white or 2 creme sheets, but Wal*Mart's selection was only marginally better than Target's. Plus, I LOVE the shades of those 2 colors and I decided I liked the idea of having a different color on each side. It could make it just a little bit easier to remind myself to flip and rotate it more often. I'm really happy with how it turned out and now I just need to re-make my bed. I didn't get the hand-stitching done early enough last night to reinforce that edge with the sewing machine before I crashed for the night, so I just curled up in my blanket and slept on top of my mattress pad. I was moody over the whole N-didn't-text-me-back-thing anyway, so it worked.

I don't know why I let little things like that bother me. I'm trying so hard to NOT expect anything to happen. I've been hurt enough and I usually try to protect myself, so I don't know why I feel that this time is any different. The only time he's ever given me any indication of the possibility was the night he was being best friends with the bottle. If there isn't anything there, I need to accept it, and get over it.

I haven't made any plans for my birthday. I'll just play it by ear, I guess. I'll probably spend most of the day alone, but that's nothing new. I've learned to accept and enjoy the time on my own. I really should get flowers and stop over at the cemetery, though. I won't ever forget that Kate should have been here celebrating too. I don't visit every year like I did at the beginning, but this is a big one. We are/would be turning 25.

Sean decided he'd had enough of mom and being stuck at home. Since he has to move out of his apartment soon, his friends came to pick him up and they were headed up to Toledo to pack up some of his stuff (and get rid of things Sean wouldn't want mom seeing). They just left about 10 minutes ago. We'll see how much is left to be done (and how big of idiots his roommates were while he wasn't there) when we drive the trailer up later this week to pick up the boxes and furniture. He's moving into a townhouse with another friend of his (and another of my former UY mentees), but they can't move in there for another couple of weeks.

Dad should be home from West Virginia sometime today. I'm hoping sooner rather than later. As soon as Sean and his friends left, mom went into super-cleaning-lady mode and it's already driving me bonkers, hence the reason I'm sitting in my bedroom with my laptop and the door closed. lol. Mom won't change her behavior just because dad is home, but it's nice to know that I'm not the only one who thinks she goes a bit over the top sometimes. There are times when he can read her mood much better than I can.

Alright, I'm off to make my bed and hopefully re-focus for a couple of hours on my paper ... if I don't curl up on my bed and pass out for a little while. I woke up around 9:30 this morning and I'm already exhausted. Ugh.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2 Lovely Runs

I wanted to write yesterday ... but life interfered. Nothing dramatic, I was just super tired. It happens. Anyway, I basically did my own Tour de Metroparks to find code words on Monday. I left the lab early to put in my run at Wildwood (more on that later). 2.77 miles in 36:32 isn't very impressive (a 13: average), but I got in a 1.17 mile straight run at a 11:00/mile pace. The rest didn't go as well, and the boardwalk was closed so I didn't get to do any sprints, but it was still a nice run. Then, I made stops at the Botanical Gardens, Secor Metropark, and Oak Openings. I think that may be a personal record for an entire week's worth of codes, let alone 1 afternoon. The Oak Openings code had me a little annoyed, but that's a rant I really don't have the energy to relive right now. Let's just say the directions were a little goofy and it wasn't a clean trail. It was pretty amazing to walk back through the tornado damage. It's been over a year since that storm and the amount of damage still untouched in the park is just remarkable.

I took yesterday off. Like I said, I was exhausted.

I took off early again today, but this time to get coffee with Annie and catch up. I wanted to use my birthday free grande beverage and it was the perfect opportunity. I figured since I left early and I wasn't ready to head home yet (after 2.5 hours at Biggby's. lol), I would go hit another park and get in my run. I hadn't been to Providence at all yet, so that was the park of choice. I parked down at the Providence Dam end and ran up the towpath, past the Ludwig Mill and canal ride, and around the River Bluff Trail. 4.65 mile in 1 hour. Not too shabby considering I ran a 1.54 mile stretch at a 11:14/mile pace. That was my longest run of the workout. There always seemed to be something to slow me down: stitch in the side, the mules pulling the canal boat along the tow path (didn't want to spook them by running past from  their blind side). It was still a good run. I spent my "cool down" walking along the exposed rock downriver of the dam and taking pictures of the goofy geese.

Since mom was going out to dinner with friends and dad is in West Virginia, I made little brother and I dinner. Kid's my witness that I DO cook ... just not when mom and dad are home. Maybe I'll post the picture I took of my plate. My chicken parmesan turned out really well. I was happy.

And now ... an oreo klondike bar and curling up in bed with a movie. N is supposed to be heading home form his vacation tomorrow. Maybe it's time to be blunt with him. Maybe. That would take courage.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Bobbi!

Happy 25th birthday to a very good friend, Bobbi. Meeting her in 6th grade was one of the best things to happen to me that year (that isn't saying much, but oh well). We haven't talked much since high school ended, but I'll NEVER forget her birthday! :)

And no jokes about the picture. Its from our high school graduation back in 2004. We both look different now. Lol

Taking today off from running. My mind needs the break as much as my body does ... now to decide where I'm going to run tomorrow *thinking face*

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, July 10, 2011

SideCut Metro and NEW BOOKS!

My Barnes & Noble discount thingy expired today (and being in the house was driving me nuts) so I decided it'd be a good time to go check out the "new" B&N @ the Fallen Timbers Mall. I'm still not sold on the need for us to have a mall out here (especially one like this) since Westfield Franklin Park is about a half hour away and Levis Commons is just up the road in P-Burg. But, it is nice to have some of my favorite stores that much closer, I guess. And having the mall there means it did't get turned into more subdivisions and over-crowd AW schools that much faster. *grumbles*sellout*grumble*

Anyway, I had something of a list of books I was considering buying when I went in (most having to do with my latest obsession, running). I ended up buying "Runner's Word Complete Book of Women's Running" by Dagny Scott Barrios and "The NonRunner's Marathon Guide For Women: Get Off Your Butt And On With Your Training" by Dawn Dais. I've heard rave reviews of both, so I'm optimistic. I figure if I just learn a bit more about how to run effectively or get a couple laughs, it'll be worth the money I spent. Maybe I should add another widget to my sidebar on here of books in my "read" pile. *deep thoughts*

I bought myself my calender for next year too. I'm so picky about my calenders because I carry it everywhere and it has to be laid out in a way that it's easy for me to use (or I won't use it). This one is small enough I have tuck it in my purse ... and it's freaking adorable! This picture (below) is of this year's, but it's the same cover design. Normally I don't like designs like this, but this one just made me smile. :)

I decided since I was out this way, I'd stop at SideCut Metropark and scope out the trails over there. I've lived this close for almost 20 years and I can't remember ever going there! The short Canal Locks Trail is just too stinking cute. It's only a half mile long, but the overlooks around the canals and all the stone steps would be absolutely perfect for senior or engagement/wedding pictures. I'll have to keep that in mind if I'm still living in the area if/when I find some guy brave enough to marry me. lol. Since I had my running clothes with me, I decided to suit up and head out on the Fallen Timbers trail for a recon run. All I can say is thank God I didn't have any expectations. It isn't a BAD trail, it just isn't very good for a hot sunny day like today. It's mostly grass/brushlands and the trail itself is almost completely grass. I wore my "pavement" shoes so I was a bit miffed at first. I tried to run for the first mile or so, then I just gave up. It was too stinkin' warm, I was over-heating and going through my water far too fast. I don't know how people can run without carrying water, honestly. I suck down a ridiculous amount and still occasionally get dehydration headaches. Even with walking as much as I did, I ran out about a mile from the end and was seriously dragging a$$ by the time I got back to the car.

Just another learning experience, I guess. At least now I know better ... and I got this week's code word for that park. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

OO Run ... eh.

I was supposed to wake up early this morning and make the drive over to one of the metroparks on the river, preferably Providence, but that just didn't happen. I was up late again last night and my cell phone alarm this morning was received with a glare and knocking it off my nightstand. Probably shouldn't do that, stupid Blackberry was expensive and already pretty beat up, but oh well.

If not for my dad, I probably wouldn't have gotten in a run at all today. But, dad chose to be his normal obnoxious self. He decided to "clean" upstairs (which he NEVER does) even though mom and I had just done it the other night! That wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't started humming. Anyone who knows my dad knows that he hums all the time ... and that he can't carry a tune in a 5-gallon bucket. After about 15 minutes of blasting my stereo to drown him out, I'd had enough. I needed to get out of the house. So ... off to Oak Openings I went.

Since I didn't find the code word for OO yet this week, I made a detour to enter the park from the Jeffers Road entrance so I could stop at the horse rider's center and find the white easel. Luckily, it was right by the windmill and I could read it from the car. Then, I made my way up to Mallard Lake, my usual trailhead of choice.

Frist, I ran the Dune Trail (Red) and that went pretty well. I somehow ended up on the all-purpose trail to start, but I just followed it until it met the Dune Trail. As usual, I had to walk the dune face and ridge. That loose sand just kills me. I wasn't tired at the end of it, though I didn't feel great either, so I decided to take off on another trail. Stupidly, I went for the Ferns and Lakes Trail (Blue) which happens to be one of the longer and rougher trails for that trailhead. I ended up walking most of it with smaller stretches of running. I just could seem to regulate my breath or even attempt to keep a constant pace. Even my walking was slower than normal. At least I got in 4.73 miles.

I guess I just have to shake off today's run (even the encounter with a snake ... *shudder*) and mentally prepare myself for the next one. It was a learning experience in listening to my body.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Other than mom waiting on Sean hand and foot (to the point that both he and I are rolling our eyes), things have been pretty quiet here at home. I didn't sleep well (surprisingly), so I decided to stay home and work today. When I'm just writing, and I'm not getting paid anyway, it doesn't really matter WHERE I work, does it?

I had a fabulous run yesterday afternoon. At the last second, I decided I wanted to run at Wildwood Metropark. It was a favorite place of mine when I lived right around the corner and I realize I haven't gotten a code word for their "big search" from Wildwood in a couple weeks. Oak Openings' code words are normally someplace I run by anyway and just happen to see the word. Every other park, I actually have to make an effort to go find the stupid easel with the code word. I never hope to find all the code words each week; it's just too much driving, but I'm happy if I get 2 or 3. Every time I get Wildwood's, I just stop at the Botanical Gardens (another of my favorite places) and find theirs too.

Like I was saying before that little rant (lol), my run was fabulous. I had thought the heat was going to be a serious issue, but I made sure to wear my nike dry-fit tank, my baseball cap (explanation later), and carry my water bottle. Normally I just wear sunglasses when I run instead of my hat (I have enough problems with acne without a sweaty hat sitting on my forehead for a period of time), but I didn't have my yellowed glasses with me and I don't like wearing anything darker when I'm running in the woods. There is plenty of light even in the darkest areas of Wildwood's "Upland Woods" trail (unlike some of OO's), but I still don't like it. I trip over things really easily and I knew I was going to have to be playing close attention to where I was stepping. While I LOVE the diversity of OO's "woodsy" trails, most of them are pretty narrow and uneven. Wildwood's trails are pretty wide and smooth(ish). I still can't decide if I like having the wooden slats dug into the foreside of the dunes or not. It's nice to not be digging into the sand trying to go up the dune, but DAMN those things are slippery even when they're dry! My run took me across the boardwalk of the Floodplain Trail (blue) too, which was kind of fun actually. After a bout of "roughing it" in the dunes section, it was nice to have a (semi) level area for a comfortable stable pace. Even after a week of not running, I could feel the shift in my body as I decided to run. Of course I wish I could have run MORE, but I was just happy I didn't automatically cringe every time I picked the pace back up. I kind of wish I would have made more use the the boardwalk for some shorter sprints. I should run at Wildwood more often. I can really get some interesting miles out of their combination of trails. Oak Openings will always be my favorite (and go-to when I want REAL woods), but Wildwood is pretty amazing too.

How can anyone stand running longer distances on roads after spending time on trails like these? Ugh. My shins seem to like trail running a helluva lot more too. lol. Since the Metroparks don't open until 7am, I'm still forced to run through the neighborhood and village if I want to escape the heat with an early morning run ... I can't believe how boring that sounds now. *laughs to self* Who knew running ANYWHERE for ANY length of time would make ME happy?! If my high school self could see me now ... Now if only I can work on running further and faster. All in good time, I guess.

If you want to check out my log (and map) for yesterday's run ...

If anyone ever wants to check out ANY of the Toledo Metroparks (even for just a walk), I'm all ears. lol. Really, I can't believe the change in me since I started running. It isn't so much a physical change as a mental one. I see myself differently when I look in the mirror. I don't just see the number on the scale. I see the muscles and the effort I put into going that distance every time I lace up my running shoes. I see the difference in my health and how I carry myself. Hydration is still a bit of trial and error (I have always gotten dehydrated easily), but I'm learning. Mom is trying to be more conscious of what she makes for family meals because she knows I won't eat the same thing every other night and I know what I should be eating to stay healthy and fit. Fitness is a struggle in my family, and I like to think that I'm leading the charge, in a way. Eh, maybe not, but I know my parents look at me a bit differently than they used to, even when I was a rower.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cleaning, Hilarity, Ranting, and Slacking ... Sean comes home today!

Other than my quick congratulations to my cousin on his marriage, I haven't written in a week. There is so much I COULD have written about, but I just always felt like I didn't have time, was too tired, or just didn't know how to articulate what was going on.

Sean (my younger brother) is coming home from inpatient rehab today! Actually, he should be on his way home very soon if he isn't already. Mom was going to be there by 9am (after already putting in 2 hours in the Financial Aid office here on campus because the $#!* hit the fans early this week) and they wanted him completely discharged before noon. I asked mom if she wanted me to go with her since Dad had an eye dr's appt this morning, but she said no, so I'm half-waiting for a frantic text from Sean. I don't know how soon he starts outpatient pt, but it's going to be 3x a week for an hour every session. We were lucky enough to be able to get him into AW Physical Therapy, which uses the little gym in the old village offices building down the road from us. I asked mom to check out membership prices when she goes in with him. I've been looking for a place to use an eliptical and spin bike since I have neither and there are some days my knees just won't stand running, but more on that later.

We spent yesterday evening getting the house ready in between phone calls with the hospital, insurance company, and physical therapy places. Since Sean's bed is too tall for him to crawl into, we "cleaned" the playroom/spare bedroom so he could sleep on the daybed in there. And since we knew it was going to take him a couple days to be able to come upstairs, we moved the trundle bed that's usually stored under the day bed downstairs to the computer/piano room. Yes, we have a LOT of beds in our house. My mom's brother's family is big and they all stay with us when they come in from out of town, so we're used to interesting sleeping arrangements. Anyway, The spare bedroom has been used mainly for storage since I moved home last year (you try to move an entire apartment's worth of stuff back into a house that already has 18 years worth of your life in it!) so it was interesting. I packed up another carload of stuff to take to my storage unit, but some stuff just CAN'T be stored, like open food, my sewing kits, and my art supplies (have you ever seen melted oil crayons? yea. exactly). Let's just say mom and I are the queens of tetris for a reason. lol. We rearranged the games in the closet to get more of my boxes in there and the rest went under the daybed where the trundle normally stores. Dad didn't like it (more on that in a minute), but oh well. Plus, we were cracking up listening to dad. He decided the hand-railing in the stairwell needed to be reinforced since Sean will be putting most of his weight on it as he goes up and down the steps. There used to be 4 support brackets and now there's one in every stud along the length of the railing, 8 in all. The entertaining part was listening to him trying to find the studs and drill the holes for the screws. Instead of just running the stud finder along the railing, he was trying to run it along horizontal and then eyeball up to where the bracket would need to be along the railing. He missed several times. That wall has never been "pretty" (a young cousin stuck a knee into the drywall as he fell down the steps years ago), but now it's just hilarious to look at with the extra screw holes, pencil marks, and 2 different colors of brackets.

Oh, so dad's little rant. Mom and I were standing in the room deciding how to best move stuff around so Sean could get the walker in and out of the room and be able to reach everything he needs when he's laying down without his back-brace and dad just stomps upstairs and stands there in the doorway staring at us. After a minute, he snaps "Just get all this shit out of here." When I ask him where would be a better place to put it for now, "I don't care, just get it out of here." Well, like I explained a little already, there is no place else to put stuff. When I moved out and went to college, I really only took my clothes, computer, and tv with me. 18+ years of CRAP was left at my parents' house. So when I moved home, I had to try to fit everything from my "away life" into what was left at home. All my furniture, kitchen stuff, some clothes, and other random crap went to a storage unit, but a lot of stuff that I use regularly had to come home with me. I've been slowly going through all my old stuff and condensing boxes, but apparently more than a day is far too long for my father, even though him and mom's shit is spread EVERYWHERE, in every corner of the house, basement, back garage, and yard. It's a ridiculous double-standard that I remind them of every so often when they particularly piss me off. Mom isn't innocent either but her snipes usually involve the laundry room. We get yelled at if our laundry sits on the dryer for more than 10 minutes, but she has crap piled chest-high on the sewing machine table and has stuff sitting on the dryer from months ago. Every time they leave, I move her pile from the dryer to the top of the pile on the sewing machine so I have room to fold clothes. And she always flips out over it when she gets home. Neither one of them see the correlation between my actions and theirs. And lord help you if you're caught sitting at the "family computer". Dad swears up, down, and sideways, that Sean and I are getting viruses on the desktop. Uh huh, sure. Neither one of us have touched that computer in years (we each have our own). Oh, and dad gets on youtube, ebay, craigslist, ICHC, and other sites every night and almost never checks emails before he opens them. So, sure Dad, Sean and I are the ones screwing up "your" computer. Just like we HAD TO HAVE learned to curse from our friends at school because you NEVER talk like that at home. *rolls eyes*

Ok, rant over ... until they do something else. I'm sure I'll get set off within an hour of getting home tonight, but it'll be one of the several fights we seem to just keep recycling. It never ends at our house. And should be even more fun now that Sean's going to be home full-time. lol

I really wish I were on my way down to Ft Loramie right now. Country Concert starts tonight and goes through Sunday. We go almost every year as our "family vacation", but Dad didn't like the line-up this year so he refused to buy tickets. And it's just too dang expensive for me to buy a ticket for even one day's shows on my own. I could have really used the long weekend too, preferably drinking with friends on the other side of the venue from my family.

I wish I could say the 5 lbs I've lost in the past 3 weeks was due to good diet and exercise, but I really can't. I've managed to get in a couple great trail runs, but My eating is way off from the stress of dealing with all of Sean's crap and the reality of my masters work timeline sinking in. Where the hell has the summer gone? I wanted to have my paper written and to my advisor by my birthday ... and that's 2 weeks away! And that's another thing. I normally start getting excited about my birthday a month ahead of time and I didn't even think about it until last night when I looked at the calender and realized what the date was!

I need to be myself back in line: a healthy diet, daily exercise (and increasing my CV fitness and run distances), and getting my research paper back on track.

My plan for the rest of the day? Lunch. Another hour or so of organizing this stupid database. Run (location and distance TBD still). Home to shower. Load of laundry. Work on cleaning off my desk and dresser top so I actually have a place to work at home where I don't have the family staring over my shoulder. I would love to find the fitted sheet for my summer sheet set too. I still have the flannel sheets on my bed (even though I only sleep with my throw blanket most nights anyway ... I like sticking my feet out. lol).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cory is married!

I'm so happy for my cousin, Cory. He finally found a girl who really is his better half. He is such a "better" person since he and Lindsey started dating and I have never seen him as happy as I have when he's with her. I wish a lifetime of happiness and blessings for them ... oh, and I'm still rooting for twin girls. Cory SO deserves it. lol

Love it. I took my picture JUST as the photog was taking his.

Yep, that's Cory. Gotta love him. :)