Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

I got an email last night from Toni of Running Loving Living letting me know I had won a pair dBLogic earphones from her birthday/blogiversary virtual run! Yay! Here's what she had to say about the earphones. I can't wait to get these and try them out. These earphones were one of the things I've been eyeing online lately and collecting product reviews to see if it was worth buying them.
Right there. Entry #156. Me. (:
I've been looking at this stuff lately because my current sony earbuds have been with me for much longer than I expected and it's just about time to retire them (or leave them in my laptop case for the days the construction crews on the floor above me are more than I can take). Honestly, it made me a little sad to realize the wire was starting to pull out of the right earbud because I've had these earbuds longer than any other pair of headphones or earbuds in my 25.5 years. No joke, I had these babies back in high school (little less than a decade ago) but I never really used them REGULARLY until I started running about a year and a half ago. Before I got these, I was a TERROR when it came to headphones. My normal headphones never lasted more than a couple weeks (though that could be because my parents thought the cheapest ones possible worked just fine) and I had a hard time finding earbuds that were COMFORTABLE. Yea, those earbuds that come with all your Apple gear? HATE them. I seriously have 4 or 5 pairs of them in a drawer at my house, only 1 pair unwrapped (the first pair I ever got).

Anyway ... can't wait to get these and check them out! :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

I almost caused an accident today. I think.

... and I'm really not as upset about saying that as I probably should be. But, I'll get to that in a minute.

It was a GORGEOUS 35* when I got home today. I STILL can't get over the fact that it's the end of January and the weather is doing this. And it's supposed to be almost 50* tomorrow! Sheesh. I debated about wearing my windbreaker on my run, but I decided against it since the temperature was border-line and I'd be pretty well protected if I just stayed on Whitehouse-Spencer Road for my 4 miles. It was surprisingly easy for me to hold my pace on the slow side for the first mile and I made a conscious effort to not constantly look at my Garmin. Every time I heard my Garmin beep, I made tiny adjustments to the length of my stride and how I pushed off with each step to speed up. Looking at my mile times, I think it worked! *big smile* Is it weird if I say that I could FEEL the strength in my legs. I spent a LOT of my run thinking about how much running these longer distances will help me get faster in the 5k. I'm keeping that DailyMile goal of running a sub-30 minute 5k in my sights. Every day I have a run like today's, my "resolution" of ENJOYING my run seems a little more real.

As for the almost-accident ... About a mile and a half into my run, I was watching a car coming towards me and, of course, I got as far off the side of the road as I could safely. There was another car going the same direction as me (which I later noticed was a Township Cop!). I don't know if the car coming towards me was focused on me and didn't notice the cop or the other way around, but he noticed "the 2nd part of the equation" at the last second, slammed on his breaks and swerved towards the center line RIGHT by me ... which also happened to put him RIGHT IN FRONT of the cop too. Luckily, they didn't collide and neither car was ever near enough to me to make me nervous (just plenty of expletives that were NOT safe for little ears). I don't know if the guy got a ticket or what, but just the cop was sitting there on the side of the road when I turned around and headed back past that spot. The cop recognized me right away (the road is pretty straight through there, so he probably watched me all the way to where I turned around and came back) and flagged me down to ask if I was ok. I told him I was, and I kept on my way.

Are you going to participate in the Virtual Run for Sherry Arnold on February 11? You can find it {HERE} on Facebook, too. You should. It's simple:
  • Mark your calendars
  • Print out a running bib {found on SUAR's post or on the facebook profile, both links above} and pin it to your shirt
  • Gather your friends, your running club members, your families
  • If it’s wet where you are, “laminate” your bib with postage tape and punch holes in it
  • If that time doesn’t work, go when you can
  • GO. Run as far and as long as you want. Walk, hike, cycle, rollerblade if you don’t want to or can’t run.
  • Please share this on your blogs, Facebooks and Twitters
  • Keep it simple. Just run with Sherry on your minds and hearts. 

I'm racing the Winterfest 5k in Whitehouse that day (along with running an extra 3 miles to get in my 6 for the day). I'll be wearing my number bib on my front, but I'll be PROUDLY wearing Sherry's bib on my back.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Freeze Your Thorns Off Virtual 5k ... and then some

I had heard the weather forecast before I went to bed last night, but it was still a bit of a shock when I woke up to SNOW SHOWERS at 9am! I guess the snow hit us around 2am, and normally I would have noticed, but I was out cold by 1. The weather guys had said it would be over by 9am-ish, but they were off by a little more than an hour ... which isn't too bad in the scheme of things.

My training plan called for 5 miles and I knew (probably the last) 3.1 miles of it were going towards The Boring Runner's Freeze Your Thorns Off 5k. Just like the Twitter Road Race last weekend, I wasn't planning on being competitive, it just fit into my training plan and I enjoy dedicating miles of my run to certain things. It keeps my head on straight and gives me a reason to NOT stop early, no matter the conditions. My biggest decision ended up being what to wear. The snow showers ended right around the time I decided I REALLY needed to get out of bed and get moving, but I could tell there was still a decent breeze outside (the pine trees were shaking). I asked dad how windy it was outside since he went out to the back garage for something and he said it wasn't bad. *Snort*. Ok, dad. I ignored him and threw on my light windbreaker just in case. So I didn't get too warm, I wore my vented long-sleeve shirt under. I knew it was going to start warming up as soon as the storm passed, and I was right.

BOY am I glad I wore that windbreaker. As soon as I got out of the protection of the trees in downtown, I got SLAMMED. Almost the entire second mile of my run, I was getting blasted by gusts that were almost making me come to a stand-still. I heard later today we were getting gusts around 40mph in my neck of the woods, which I can TOTALLY believe. I hadn't PLANNED on resistance training today, but I guess Mother Nature decided it couldn't hurt.

I was trying to pace myself, even with the wind, without looking at my Garmin. It was a little more difficult this time around and I think I would have had a negative-split run if it weren't for the insane gusts of headwind during the second mile. Taking the times for the last 3.1 miles, my submitted time for the FYTO5k is 0:34:38. Sounds reasonable for my not actually RACING. lol. It was fun, though. I appreciate any day where I can get out on the trail, the sun is shining (at the end), blast my music, and enjoy running.
I guess we're ALL #1?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Real Quick ... Yesterday's Run.

My training plan called for a 4 mile run with 2 at 5k tempo. For tempo runs I normally sandwich the tempo miles between my slower miles, but it just didn't happen that way. I'm not sure if it was a mental block or this just felt more comfortable, but I turned out a pretty darn respectable negative-split run. Instead of worrying about a route, I just ran straight down Whitehouse-Spencer for 2 miles and then turned around. I actually passed my mom on her way home from work. She decided I wasn't paying enough attention (I was, I just wasn't waving at her like a nut job) so she honked her horn and almost made me trip in the gravel.

Alright, back into the whirlwind that is this week. I should be able to come up for air sometime tomorrow evening (*crosses fingers*). Hope everyone else is having a good week.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

First of all, a HUGE thank you to Christy! I won her giveaway for a pair of Pearl Izumi Thermal Arm Warmers and they got here last week (in pretty packaging and everything!). I've been wanting to try these for a while (seriously, I stare at things on Amazon for MONTHS before buying them) but I was never able to justify spending the money. I'm excited to try them out!

See? I'm EXCITED to go run in the rain!
My training plan had me running an "easy" 4 miles today. I put quotation marks there because Running World's plan wanted me to keep a 12:37/mile pace. Not. Gonna. Happen. I left campus and headed home at lunch, debating the whole way if I was going to run outside in the wind and rain that was coming or if I was going to wimp out and jump on the treadmill in the basement. Well, the first wave of the rain hit just as I got home. I was leaning towards the treadmill since I JUST washed the stink out of my orange rain coat ... and then I realized I still had my old high school rowing boat coat in my closet. I LOVE this thing! I miss wearing it almost as much as I miss rowing. It was 48* and breezy so I just threw on my capris and short-sleeve Under Armor shirt. I wore my trusty ball cap to keep the rain out of my eyes and my new sauconys (just how long am I going to keep calling these my "new shoes"?) got their first introduction to running in the rain. I took a snack bag and cut a slit in either end of it for the wristband of my Garmin so I could wear it on my wrist like always without worrying about it getting too wet.

Since I was already going to run in the rain, I decided to make the run even more interesting: 1) No iPod. I was super nervous about this (how the heck do people run whole marathons without music blasting away in their ears?!), but I REALLY didn't want to take the chance of it getting water-logged or damaged. 2) I took a route I haven't taken before. I've been eyeing this route for a while since I drive it pretty regularly, and it's really convenient when I'm home, but 2 of the roads I would run down can be pretty busy. I would NEVER run this route after dark or any time other than the middle of the day when traffic is light.

The run itself was pretty great, actually. The no-iPod thing would have REALLY bothered me if I hadn't needed to pay such close attention to the cars and trucks whizzing by me. Cars going the same direction as me (but on the other side of the road ... I know enough to run INTO traffic) always seemed to cross the center line just as they were passing me, like a moth to the flame or something. Weird. You'd think cars on the other side of the road would be nearly oblivious. Cars coming at me either barely gave me room (which is just fine because the shoulder of the road is wide enough for breathing room even if they sit right on the painted line) or they got all the way over onto the side of the road (completely unnecessary, but whatever floats your boat). I didn't even get splashed by any cars until I was back in my own neighborhood (It was our next-door neighbor and she called me afterwards and apologized). I really enjoyed running in the light rain, though I can't say I'd still enjoy it if it was pouring. My legs felt strong most of the way except for when I had to avoid a break in the pavement and I stepped funky. My ankle twinged a bit there but it felt fine again after a couple normal steps. When I saw my time for my first mile, I freaked out a bit and expected to feel the pain in my side but it never really happened. I had to focus on my breathing a bit as I was running back up the other side of the Swan Creek basin on SR 295, but I never had to take a break and catch my breath.

Oh, and I got back on the wagon and make friends with Jillian Michaels this evening. Back to 30 Day Shred, Level 1.

Finally for tonight ... Rest In Peace, Joe Paterno. I didn't like Penn State and I'm still disgusted with how the sex abuse scandal was handled (hit a little too close to home), but he was an amazing man who will be greatly missed. No matter how much we made fun of him for his voice and his age, he was a legend in college football and the State College community. JoePa will never be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Running In The Snow ... Sort Of.

We got 3" of snow between 4pm last night and 2am this morning. Despite the little bit of slipping and sliding I did on my way home from seminar last night, I'm doing a happy dance. It's January in Ohio. We should have snow. Period.

Anyway, I was actually excited to get outside and run when I woke up this morning. My parents (well, mom) didn't get it:
Mom: Why don't you just wait until tomorrow? It's supposed to get up to 40* and the snow will melt off some.
Me: Because TODAY is my long run day. Tomorrow is a rest day.
Mom: *blank stare*

Yep. That was pretty much how the morning went. I had an almost identical conversation with dad, too, though he ran cross-country in high school (eons ago. lol.) so he SORT OF gets it. Anyway, I blew it off because the temperature was hovering right around 25*, it was SUNNY, and the roads looked mostly scraped off by noon when I was awake and ready to run. I had no idea what the W-C Trail would look like so I wore my trail shoes (I haven't bought myself a pair of YakTrax yet ... soon) instead of my sauconys.

I used the walk from my house through town to the trail as my warm up. I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the trail. There was still some packed snow in the shade, but it was mostly clear. Actually, there was less snow on the trail than there was on the sidewalks in downtown Whitehouse. Weird. There was hardly any breeze at all and the sun was WARM. I'm so glad I just wore my vest and not my jacket. I would have had serious over-heating issues with the lack of breeze. I wore my gloves as always, and ended up having the mitten-part peeled back the whole time I was running (though they DID get pulled back down during my warm up and cool down). I wore my longer [US Rowing] beanie too, which was appreciated since I HATE cold ears. My sunglasses were a must too. The reflection off the snow was just as painful to my eyes as the sun itself was. The run itself was great. My legs felt strong the whole way and even with my iPod on, I found myself paying more attention to my form and not really trying to loose myself in the music. I felt a little sluggish during the first couple miles, but I knew I had to watch my pace if I wanted to run the entire 5+ miles without a walk break. I was really proud of myself for how I was able to pace myself by feeling instead of constantly watching my Garmin. Plus, I think this may have been my longest continuous run. So, over all, pretty freaking awesome.

Though nowhere near my "good" 5k time, I used the last 3.1 miles (35 minutes 33 seconds) as my entry for the Twitter Road Race. I knew I wasn't going to be very competitive with the world-wide attention this virtual race has gotten, but it was fun to do anyway.

I've been thinking about races and goals a lot lately. I have a couple smaller local 5ks I'm looking at, but I'd LOVE to be able to do a half marathon for my 26th birthday in July. Well, the Chicago half marathon is the day after my birthday. But ... Chicago in July? Yea, right. Plus, I don't have the money for that and I don't know if I'll have a job on the other side of the country by then. Grrr. I hate being in limbo.

On another note, I'm thinking about re-starting Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred. Or I might just jump in head-first and use my nifty month-long unlimited BCOR Bootcamp membership. I haven't decided yet.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Total Randomness

First of all ... IT'S SNOWING! It's only supposed to be a couple inches, max, over the next couple days but it still makes me happy. I'm glad I had an appointment this morning and I decided to just come back home instead of going to campus. So I get to enjoy it. I have to be on campus ALL DAY tomorrow anyway because the department seminar is at 4pm (Who has a mandatory departmental seminar at 4pm on a Friday?! Ugh.).
Out the front door.

The back yard through my bedroom window. lol.
#2, I'm still on some kind of giddy "high" from finding grandma's ring. It was even in a dream I had last night. A certain someone who I haven't thought about in months was asking me if I would want to have it resized and have it be MY engagement ring (which I totally would, I love this ring). Weird. Oh, and this is a pretty decent shot of the awesome scar left behind after surgery #2 on this finger (the reason this ring actually FITS it). I had a spiral fracture from one end of the bone to the other. 2 surgeries, physical therapy, and a procedure to break up some of the scar tissue on my knuckle so I can bend my finger more easily and this is what is left behind. You can't see in this picture, but I also have "dots" on either side of my finger where the pins stuck out after both surgeries (3 pins from each surgery, all in different places = 6 dots, 2 on the left side, 4 on the right). All from playing intramural flag football and getting my finger caught in the other guy's jersey. Yes, guy. It was a co-ed league. And I enjoyed every second of it.
My precious.
#3, One of my pairs of Active by Old Navy compression running tights had a blow out in the nether region and I've been putting off fixing it, which is the other reason I let cold water laundry go so long. Since I HAD to do laundry last night, I HAD to fix the darn thing. It isn't a problem, I'm actually pretty handy with a needle and thread, but first you have to FIND THREAD that matches ...

That is the combination of my great-grandmother's, both grandmother's, and my sewing boxes. Actually, 2 more tins of thread and one of buttons aren't even in this picture. I have more thread in more random colors than I will EVER need. And needles. If you're ever in NW Ohio and want to check out the collection, let me know. lol. I DO have a plan for some of the buttons, though. My grandfather was a postal carrier for several decades and grandma's button box has a TON of his old uniform buttons. I want to find a frame where I can glue one of his army medals somewhere and then cover the rest with the buttons. I have the perfect picture of him and I at the circus when I was 4 to put in it.

Ooo! Ooo! The snow is picking up even more! Yippee! As soon as I'm done writing this, I'm going downstairs to pull up mom's rocking chair to the family room window with a hot cup of raspberry tea and a book. :D

#4, To celebrate the new year, the Rafflecopter team is giving away a 16GB Apple iPad2 and several Kindle Fires. The giveaway started Monday, January 9 and lasts for a month. To enter, simply tell Rafflecopter who referred you to this giveaway [um, that'd be ME! ;)]. You can receive additional entires by tweeting about the giveaway, following Rafflecopter on twitter, and giving feedback. Just use the widget below:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What A Day.

Settle in, folks. This could be a long one. *Sorry* But I can promise you some cuteness, running stuff, and awesomeness!

For the cuteness ... Dan and Annie (Knitted Home ... Week 3 of her headband giveaway! Go check it out) were out of town this weekend so I agreed to kitten-sit their little ball of fluff, Neko. It was a win-win for me since I got a LOT of work done on my computer and made a serious dent on catching up on my Hulu. Oh, and I got to hang out with one of the silliest, most adorable kittens ever.

Check my youtube for the 2nd video if you're interested. No joke, this went on for over an hour. Oh and, yea, she's adorable (and mischievous). And I finally gave her a piece of paper to play with after having her steal several pages of my notes off the couch the night before. lol. I even got in a nice early morning jaunt with my friend Mike (his wife didn't want to get out of bed "that early") at our favorite metropark while he was in town. No info on that one since apparently my Garmin turned itself on in my bag again and the battery died. Grr. Oh well. It was about 4 miles and we were just wandering and chatting. It was great.
Neko: "You can't see me sneaking up to pounce on your feet."

I'm going to fess up and put it out there that I COMPLETELY flaked on my run Monday. I don't remember what my "deal" was that day (especially since it was MLK day and I wasn't on campus). To make it even worse, I flaked on making it up yesterday. Even though I worked late (if you aren't watching a clock, it's easy to lose track of time in a basement lab with no windows), I had planned on getting in my 3 miles on the treadmill when I got home. Then, I got home and crashed. Oh well. Time to move on.

I woke up this morning with a crazy sinus headache and ended up working from home because the meds were taking FOR-EV-ER to kick in. A headache is bad enough but when you have a headache and there's construction going on directly over your head for 8 hours straight? Hell to the no. Around lunch, WELL after the meds had kicked in and I was feeling better, I decided to head outside for my run. It was 26* and (sometimes) sunny. Perfect. I had to suck it up a little bit since almost all my workout clothes were either dirty or stinky. I can deal with stinky pants, but shirts HAVE to be clean. Thank goodness my race shirt from Midnight Special is polyester and was clean. I decided to try out the "new" route I ran last monday since it was a perfect distance for my 4 miles plus a decent warm up. My training plan called for a 4-mile "tempo run" with the first and last miles around 11:50/mile and the middle 2 miles around 10:50/mile. I'd say I did pretty well.
I was a little concerned at the beginning since I hadn't run in a couple days and my diet has REALLY been off the past 2 days, but I felt pretty good. My side started to hurt a bit towards the end of the 3rd mile, but I realized really quick that I just needed to focus on keeping my breathing deep and it was all good. My legs felt strong and the "cold" felt good on my face.

As soon as I got home, it was laundry time. To give you an idea of the rarity of this (and the ridiculousness of my friends), here's a small bit of a conversation that was happening online at the time:

Me: BRB. Need to go sort the wash and move stuff over to the dryer. Might take a second to pull out the non-dryer stuff and hang it up.
Friend #1: Oh, laundry day? Sounds like cold water. Which means you're either out of underwear or sports bras.
Friend #2: Probably sports bras. She can seriously go 2 months without washing underwear. Or tee shirts. It's ridiculous.
Friend #1: Seriously? So that's why her underwear has its own drawer.
Me: If you MUST know. It WAS cold water and I was out of both sports bras and long-sleeve tech shirts. And all my cold-weather running bottoms had a definite stank to them. Hey, it happens. As for the underwear thing, :p [Friend #2], I can easily bring up how many bras and/or polos.
Friend #2: No need for that, thanks.

Yea. I love my friends. I don't know if it's funny or creepy that they know me this well. Although, I did live with one of them for about a year but that was before I "started amassing ridiculous amounts of underwear" (according to Friend #2 later in the conversation).

Another awesome thing happened when I was doing laundry, but I need to set up that story. When my great-grandmother got married, she didn't get an engagement ring, just a wedding band. On an important anniversary (I don't know which), my grandmother (the youngest of a boatload of kids), took my great-grandmother to the jewelry store and let her pick out a pretty diamond ring ... her engagement ring. When my great-grandmother passed, the ring was given back to my grandmother since great-grandma only wanted to be buried with her wedding band. Not long before my grandmother went downhill, she started dividing up her jewelry between my cousin, Kayla, and I. This was the first time I had heard the story. Since grandma passed, I've worn this ring pretty much every day. It's only 1 of 2 rings I have that fit my right ring finger (broke the finger playing flag football in 2007 and now it's the same size as my thumbs). A couple weeks ago, it vanished. I remember sitting it down on top of my jewelry box on my dresser to go wash my hands and the next time I went to grab it, it was gone. I spent 2 weeks looking for it and about a week ago, I started REALLY freaking out. I felt INSANELY guilty for losing this ring when it meant so much. I was seriously avoiding looking at the pictures of my grandparents in my room I felt so bad. I've ripped apart my bedroom, car, every pocket in every pair of jeans, and every purse I own just looking for the darn thing. Tonight, as I was pulling clothes out of my hamper and putting them in the washer, something fell out of the clothes and landed at my feet. It was grandma's ring and my other rosette ring I was missing! I literally shrieked (scaring the crap out of my parents)! It must have slipped off the dresser top and landed in my hamper, which has been sitting in the laundry room waiting for a full load for the last 2 weeks. My hamper only sat next to my dresser for less than an hour one day when I was vacuuming. Agh! I'm just glad to have them back. My hands felt SO weird without my rings!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Beautiful Day.

What a day. I didn't fall asleep until almost 4am so I let myself sleep in until around 11. I finally got up when one of the neighbor girls came around with her Girl Scout cookie sheet. As a former girl scout (technically I'm a lifetime member), I'm somewhat addicted to the Samoas (Caramel Delights). Yum. No joke, I can eat an entire box in 1 sitting and not think twice about it. I've actually hid a box of cookies from myself once so I wouldn't be tempted to eat them and then couldn't find them again until I moved out of the apartment 7 months later. Like I said, addicted. They're just SO GOOD.

Anyway, I knew I had to get outside for a run so I scarfed down a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and got dressed. Thank goodness I looked outside at the thermometer before I headed out the door ... 20 degrees and SNOWING (with a heck of a breeze in any open areas)! My training plan had me running 4 miles @ 12:40 today so I headed for the W-C trail. Even though I was in an orange coat, I didn't trust any drivers to be paying attention to what was on the side of the road over the condition of the road itself. The thought occurred to me that I really need to go buy myself a pair of YakTrax (I've tried out a friend's pair and LOVED them).

Today's run was AWESOME! I decided ahead of time that I wasn't going to look at my Garmin unless I needed to check my distance (sometimes its hard to see the half-mile markers [who decided to paint those things brown?!]) so I just set off at a pace that was comfortable and let myself run. Yes, I had my iPod on, but I can't remember a thing I listened to other than Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville". And I only remember that because it started playing just as I was passing a couple young kids sledding down the hill into the ditch on the side of the trail and I joked that I didn't realize we had enough snow for THAT. My legs felt strong and I never felt any twinges in my knees or shins (yay compression socks). 

I tried running with my bargain-bin neck gaiter/face mask up over my mouth and nose but I pulled it down around my neck after about 5 seconds. I'm ok with my face being a little cold, but my neck CANNOT feel any wind or I will get cold. I always worried about what I would wear once it got this cold (this is the coldest I've ever run outside), but I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable I was in just a thin long-sleeve and my flimsy nylon windbreaker. I was wearing my glove/mitten things (I'll have to get a pic of these things, they're AMAZING) and they were SOAKED in sweat my the end of the run, but my hands were never cold or uncomfortable. I also decided I need to start running with my longer beanie or exclusively with my headband because THIS ONE kept sliding up on my head and exposing my ears (and letting my ear buds slip out). I didn't even have my hair tucked up under the hat or anything to keep forcing it up. Hrm. Whatever. I'm just happy I know what to wear now and that I had a nice run. It was the first time in over a week that I really ENJOYED my run.

A very happy Jess back home after 4+ miles.

I'm also counting the last 3.5 miles of today's run (39:37.9) as my entry for Toni's 34th Birthday and 1st Blogiversary Virtual Run. I hadn't planned on doing this until later in the time allowed (it is open Jan 12- Jan 27), but I felt today really embodied the spirit of the Virtual Run. I enjoyed myself and I really felt today was a bit of a celebration. So, Happy Birthday and Blogiversary, Toni! Here's to many more birthdays AND blogiversaries! :)
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't spent part of my run thinking about Sherry, but I chose to focus on the amazing woman that she was and not the tragic way that her life ended. I chose to celebrate her life, not mourn her death. As always, my thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and community.

Friday, January 13, 2012

2nd Chance @ BCOR Bootcamp and a Blip in my Training

If you didn't take advantage the the livingsocial deal for BCOR Boot Camp, don't worry, Groupon has you covered! Groupon's BCOR Deal. Again, the deal is nation-wide. It's $35 for 6 weeks of unlimited Boot Camp classes! I know I got the other deal from livingsocial, but I may just get this one too. To get more info on BCOR and kind a location near you, http://www.bcor.net/

Now, I shared my workout plan for this week earlier, but things got a little off track. Oops. Just as I was getting ready to roll out on my run Wednesday, the mail truck pulled up into our driveway. She only does this when she has a HUGE package or if we have certified mail, and normally she just drops the package on the porch, honks the horn, and takes off again. This time, she actually got out of the mail truck, came up to the door, and rang the doorbell. Uh Oh. That means certified mail. As soon as I opened the door, she joked that I probably wasn't going to like what she had for me and please not to kill the messenger. She was right. I didn't like what she had for me. She hadn't even pulled out of the driveway yet and I was already shaking I was so mad. I can't go into details, but I CAN say I've spent some time playing phone tag with the insurance company and a lawyer. THEY're just as tired of this crap as I am. At least it's out of my hands now and they'll keep me updated on what happens.

Anyway, that little surprise COMPLETELY put me off working out the rest of the day (except for about 5 minutes of beating the crap out of a punching bag). I pretty much crawled in bed and watched Ghost Hunters the rest of the day and night (<3 Steve and Tango, and Jay and Grant, and Amy and Adam, and Britt ... and MADDIE! hehe).

Yesterday (Thursday) was just as bad. Except for my #plankaday and pushups, I sat at my computer and worked on my paper (and a couple old writing prompts that I found sparked my imagination so I spent an hour or 2 working on those. Maybe they'll lead to my next published short story. Who knows). I wasn't even really MAD anymore, just exhausted from the mental aspect of dealing with it all.

Today, with full intention of getting outside, I woke up to this:
I have no problem with running in the snow, but it was super-gusty and the 20-degree temperature drop in 12 hours is REALLY playing games with my sinuses. For those of you who don't know me in person, I have a pinched sinus cavity and anytime a major front sweeps in too quick, my sinuses can't keep up with the pressure changing and they go BONKERS! Congestion, sinus pressure, the works. I'm pretty much guaranteed 3 or 4 good sinus infections every winter (usually towards the beginning as it's getting colder and the end as it's getting warmer). I was told a long time ago that the only solution would be to drill out my sinuses. Yea, that isn't happening until I have freaking amazing health insurance.

Anyway, I decided I didn't want to just SKIP the run. So, it was time to acquaint my new(er) shoes with the treadmill (now that the basement is cleaned up again and I can ACTUALLY use it!) ...
Treadmill, meet Sauconys, Sauconys, meet treadmill.
Play nice. I mean it.
I warmed up with 15 minutes of walking (0.874 miles) and then started my run. I KNOW treadmill running is so much harder for me than outside running and I can't (for some weird reason) run the same pace I normally would, so I started the speed at 4.5mph and cranked it up every 10 minutes. Since I forgot my iPod upstairs, I was glad to find Spike with a show on the Mongol motorcycle gang. Yea, I know. The weirdest things entertain me when I'm on the treadmill. The whole 3 miles took 00:38:46, which ends up being a pace of 12:55 or something, not too far off the 12:40 that was in my plan for Wednesday's run.

I had totally planned on posting the picture of how I felt after that treadmill run, but it's just horrific. Running a 13-minute mile on the treadmill takes more out of me than running a 11-minute mile outside. Ugh. I also somehow didn't realize until after I was done running that the heating vent was blowing DIRECTLY on me the entire time and since it's the closest vent to the furnace, it was pretty darn toasty. *rolls eyes* Oh well. The miles are done and I'm looking forward to *hopefully* getting in my 4 miles outside tomorrow.

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P.S - I'm playing around with some different layouts and backgrounds right now, so don't freak out on me. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

BCOR Bootcamp, Here I Come!

Ok, I had to take my lunch break a little early to blog about this because I'm SO STINKING EXCITED! I knew I wanted to focus on my cross training this spring, but it was like some kind of divine sign when I opened up my livingsocial email the other day and I saw this:

The deal itself is for one month of UNLIMITED boot camp classes ($20) and/or one month of online boot camp diet ($6). Oh yea! BCOR recently opened a location in Toledo (Sylvania, really) and is in the process of opening up 2 more in the area, but they are country-wide and getting bigger all the time (and this deal applies to ALL their locations).

Once you BUY the deal, you can START your month any time. I haven't decided if I'm going to jump into this right away or if I'll wait until March or April when the resolution-ists have used their deal. No offense to them, but I hate huge groups. If I'm doing something wrong, I want to be corrected quickly and without a huge scene.

If you're interested in the deal, you'd better move quick as there is only 1 day left on this deal. If you want to be a REAL pal and help me get a FREE deal, click through from HERE. If 3 people buy the deal through my link, I get a free one. Another thing, if you actually sign up for an account with livingsocial (which I hadn't before today), you get $5 off your deal. So, technically, if nobody buys through my link, I'm still only paying $15 for this killer deal!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday? Ewww.

I detest mondays on principal alone (waking up early after 2 days of going to bed and waking up late is a pain in the backside), but I was absolutely DREADING today. Start of spring semester. I'm not teaching, I'm not taking any classes, I knew my master's advisor would be tied up all day and unable to spend any real time talking to me, and pretty much nobody comes down to the basement of the lab to talk to me. So WHY did I bother getting up early (on only 2.5 hours of sleep) to go into campus? Even though I got there early, the parking garage by my building was already a mess. After a couple hours of TRYING to be productive, I threw in the towel and headed home again. I figured I'd be able to settle down to work again once I got in a run in the sunshine and warmth (another 50* day in January? Really?).

My training plan called for 4 miles at a 12:40 pace today. I groaned when I saw the pace because it's been difficult to SLOW DOWN the last couple runs and it's lead to some SERIOUS exercises in mental focus to keep my breathing deep enough to prevent/ help with the dreaded "stitch in the side". I spent a couple minutes throwing together a new playlist of songs I thought better fit the pace I needed to run at (more country, less hard rock), hoping it would help.
I think it did. When I started out, I tried to keep my steps short without shuffling them. It was a lot easier than usual to find that slower, more comfortable pace and holding it (sort of). It got even easier once I realized I wasn't forcing myself to breathe deeper to keep away the pain in my side which let me focus more of the cars around me. You would think that I've ran every possible combination of the roads around my parents' house, but apparently not. I tried out a new(ish) route today and liked it, even with the increased traffic. Though, the traffic wouldn't have been so heavy if I hadn't chosen to run on Eber just as the High School was letting out. Oh well. It was the perfect distance for today's workout and it took away some of my fear of running on a busier road.

My plan for the rest of the week:

Tuesday: Cross Training

Wednesday: Easy run, 3 miles at 12:40

Thursday: Cross Training

Friday: Cross Training or Rest

Saturday: Easy run, 4 miles at 12:40

Saturday, January 7, 2012

HBBC Week 7 and .... Wait, HBBC is OVER?!

The first week of 2012 is finally over. Wow. I'm still not used to "2012" yet. Or maybe I'm just in a bit of a fog because my parents just let me make dinner and there were no jokes about someone dying from my cooking. I think dad actually LIKED it! *shock face*

Since it's the end of the week, I guess it's time to run through my HBBC points ...
There isn't a lot to say about it. I started off the week (and the year) with 2 awesome 5ks. I almost wish I would have put in a couple more miles on January 1 to take advantage of the double points for mileage that day, but I know my legs would NOT have been happy with me. They were already pooped and SERIOUSLY ready for compression socks and rest. Oh well. I did pretty good on my fruits and veggies this week. Like I said last week, it's so much easier when mom lets me do some of the grocery shopping and I can buy more stuff that I actually like and then CUT THEM UP and get them ready to eat right away. When things are ready to east and sitting on an eye-level shelf, it's much easier to resist the siren song of the candy dish (or, in this week's case, the huge tray of brownies mom baked "for the football games". bah). I bought some V8 this week too, which helps. My extra points from my Resolution Run didn't hurt, either. If it weren't for those points and my (somewhat random) cross-training, my points would have reflected how all-over-the-board my exercise really was this week. It's something I need to address.

And here's how my points totals stacked up for the whole challenge ...

I learned some lessons from this challenge. First of all, I had to constantly remind myself not to compare my points to everyone else's. It was a little difficult when I knew I was in the same category as people who ran double-digit several times a week, but I reminded myself that I was HAPPIER with my performance when I was "competing" against myself, not someone else. Another thing I learned is that I need to be more consistent in my cross-training. I really liked how I had my spreadsheet set up with the different cross-training and strength-training things that I regularly do and the point values (for HBBC) were automatically calculated based on the amount of time (I created a proxy for a number of reps on certain things). I did everything in 30-second increments to keep me from getting burnt out on a certain exercise and could do whatever I wanted on that list as long as I got a certain number of HBBC points for the day (and I hit every major body part at least once). I think I'm going to keep this system for my cross-training. It kept it interesting for me and constantly pushed me to fit in bursts of exercise whenever I could. 20 REAL push ups and a 30-second plank during every commercial break FTW! That's 0.05 HBBC points right there! lol ;) :P

PS, if you haven't already noticed, I have my "My Favorite (Running) Things" page up and running. It's a work in progress, but I'll continue to add and edit it as I get more experiences. Since everything I'm using, I've either bought myself or been given as a gift, I think I prefer this to doing a big review of everything. Now, if there are any companies out there that WANT to send me stuff to review and write on, I'd be MORE than happy to. Maybe someday.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Goal/ Resolution-type Thingies

Yep, "thingies" is a word. Don't bother looking it up. Trust me. ;)

I had planned on digging up my "resolutions" from last year just to see how I've done, but I CAN'T FIND THEM! I checked my old blog and my written journals, but nope. Oh well. I guess I can count that as a blessing in disguise. I had plenty of smaller goals throughout the year and I focused on those more than anything (woo hoo, looking good in that bridesmaid's dress!). (:

If you read my post on my New Years racing extravaganza, you know I HATE "resolutions" and really don't think January 1st is the only time we should be setting goals for ourselves. That being said, I decided I wanted to sit down and figure out what my goals actually ARE.

1. I may as well start with the one I put on my Resolution Run Bib this weekend. Keep running ... and ENJOY it! I don't want to think about running as a replacement to rowing, always working towards medals and records. I want to ENJOY the running as much as the racing. I'm not just running to *hopefully* loose weight, I'm doing it to help deal with stress and to be proud of myself and my accomplishments (even if there isn't recognition for them).

2. Be more mindful of what, when, and how much I eat. I'm tired of diets (and most are a pain in the backside when you're trying to eat enough calories to fuel your body for running). Living at home with my parents makes food choices even more difficult. I just have to do the best I can every day and be AWARE.

3. Along with the whole living-at-home thing, help out more around here. My parents don't make me pay rent and they still help me out with a LOT of my bills (even though I don't ask them to) while I'm trying to finish up my masters and find a job. And I almost feel bad because I KNOW how much money mom spent on my brother and I for Christmas this year (Zensah, a payment on my car loan, AND tix to see Beauty & the Beast live ... yea, not cheap). I'm already taking the recycling over to the bins in town whenever they get full and helping mom get the garbage ready to go out on Monday mornings. I keep an eye on things around the house and fix them on my own when I can. I'm even pretty good about running the sweeper and dusting the 1st floor, though I stay on top of those to relieve my sinus issues as much as anything else. I don't expect recognition for what I do, but I wouldn't mind if dad stopped thinking and telling people that I just sit around all day and "mooch" off him and mom.

4. Be more consistent with my blogging/ journaling. What I'd really like to do is finish off another item on my "101 Things in 1001 Days" list (Sunday will be day 100 already!) and journal every day for 100 days. I've made this task a little easier on myself by allowing the journaling to happen on my blog (here), in my running journal, or in my actual writing journal for those days my mental wanderings aren't about fitness or anything important enough to blog. The whole point is to just write SOMETHING every day. I did this task a couple years ago and it lead to some GREAT ideas that turned into poems and short stories, several of which were actually accepted and PUBLISHED!

5. Work on my organization. Don't let emails sit in my inbox for more than a couple days. Don't let my newsletters and blog reading get too far behind. Work towards a better organization method for my clothes (I hate feeling like I'm sleeping in a closet). If I don't need something any more, get rid of it. Those boxes of tee shirts? Make those quilts I've been talking about for years! It's all about being more efficient with my time.

6. Read more thought-provoking books. I LOVE my trashy romance novels, don't get me wrong, but I want to read more intelligent books too. I have a stack of them just waiting to be read, most concerning global climate change, environmental policy and politics. Heck, I even have a couple running books in there that I haven't found time to dig into. One of my other items on my "101 Things in 1001 Days" list (also known as "Day Zero Project" is to read a book starting with every letter of the alphabet and I'm only done with 4 letters (darn my favorite Christine Feehan series for all starting with "D"). Heck, it wouldn't hurt me to re-read some of my more important enviro/ geology text books either. It's been a while since I used those methods and studied those theories.

7. Work on my financial stability. If I'm not going to be able to finish my degree and defend my paper within the next couple weeks, get a part-time job. As soon as I start making money, save some for (inevitable) future expenses and put the rest towards paying off my car loan, and then my student loan. I'm actually already working on the part-time job thing as I'm looking at environmental internships and other opportunities in my field for this summer.

I'm sure I have more ideas for goals, but these seem to encompass the majority of the things I want to work on this year.

Coming up tomorrow ... maybe ... (I swear I'll run out of things to blog every day) ... today's run (oh, it was *fun*), the end of HBBC and what I've learned from it, and (sooner or later) my favorite things!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Toy

So, I'm addicted to Target. I can't go into that place without spending money. I love most of their clothes and I'm a fan of C9 workout gear (the sports bras and tops, I hate their bottoms). Anyway, I knew the clothing clearance racks were getting stocked last night (thank you, friends who work for Target) and I'd been eyeing a certain something in this week's ad ...

Yep, I caved. They were on sale for $55 and I've been researching adjustable dumbbells for a couple months now. I really just went to Target to dig through the clearance racks and go get a good look at these babies (I hate buying things without seeing them first), but I couldn't resist once I started playing with them. I've read some reviews, some awesome, some horrible, so we'll see what happens. I like them so far (and the fact that now I don't have to worry about buying individual dumbbells).

Oh, and I did get a pair of cargo khakis for half price too. I just need to move the button on the waistband so they're a little more comfortable. For half price, I will GLADLY make that tiny adjustment. :)

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PS - I've seen the EXACT same thing under several brands (just the name on the sticker was different): Reebok, Pro Form, Jillian Michaels

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AGH! As soon as I post about my new toy, the UPS guy shows up with THIS:

Ignore how gross I look and focus on the new(er) toy. Haha

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

First Non-Race Run of 2011

I let myself sit around yesterday and do nothing but watch football and yell at the tv. I figured I needed a rest day after my New Years racing shenanigans and that worked out perfect with all the football that was on tv.

Today, I knew I needed to get my butt up and out the door. My legs and hips were a bit stiff and I figured a short run would be the perfect thing to loosen them up before coming home and getting in some cross training. It didn't hurt that it was a GORGEOUS day. I didn't mind the cold at all. I think I'm actually enjoying running in the cold. I still get just as sweaty as when I ran this summer, but the cold air keeps me comfortable. Anyway, I started off with a short warm up and then took off, planning on letting my legs set their own slow and easy pace. About a half mile into the run, I looked down at my Garmin and started laughing in disbelief. Apparently my body doesn't know how to run "slow" any more. I just continued to let my legs set their own pace for 2 miles and then walked the rest of the way home as a cool down. There was one point where I started to get a little pain in my side, but I realized I wasn't breathing deep enough and as soon as I paid attention to it and fixed my breathing, the pain went away. I shot my friend Mike (he's a runner too) a text as soon as I got home, laughing about my pace, and he called me back with something that really made me think. "Did you stop to think about the fact that maybe you've finally jumped off a plateau? You were doing speed training to get ready for your 5ks. Maybe you finally proved to your body that you CAN run faster and now it WANTS to?" At the time, I was a little dumb-founded, but it makes sense now. I really didn't do any speed week before a month ago. Maybe I WAS holding myself back purely because I hadn't proved to myself yet that I COULD do it. Mike's a smart man. But don't tell HIM I said that. I'd never hear the end of it. Haha.

So, I came home and changed out of my cold-weather gear and into my shorts and older shoes and went down to the basement to get my cross training on ... and then just about smacked myself in the forehead. Dad is still working in the basement. This means I can't get to my weight bench OR my rowing machine. Ok, so I'll just do stuff with my dumbbells. Crap, where are the dumbbells? Can't find them. Ugh. Ok, I guess I'll just do what I can with my own body weight. Here's what I ended up doing ...

Run up and down steps for 30 seconds, 3 times
5x 20 reps of push ups
5x 30 second regular plank
4x 30 seconds bicycle crunches
2x 30 seconds standing leg raises (holy cow my balance is horrible)
1 set of calf raises
1 set of side planks (15 seconds per side)

I'm starting to love planks. No joke. I'm even following Plank-A-Day on twitter! I'm comfortable with 30-second regular planks right now, but I want to keep working on it. I haven't decided HOW I'm going to progress, but I have a couple ideas. I can either add an extra 30-second plank every week or I can make my first plank last as long as I possibly can before starting my reps of 30-second planks.

We shall see what happens. I'm looking at heavier dumbbells right now and as soon as dad gets the basement cleaned up again, I'll be able to get back into my 30-Day Shred too!

Oh, and despite my hate of New Years resolutions, I'm working on a "2012 goals" post for later this week. Stay tuned. ;)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Knitted Home Giveaway!

One of the ear warmers! Cute, aren't they?
My good friend Annie (of Knitted Home fame) is hosting her first giveaway! She'll be giving away one of her fabulous ear warmer headbands each week of January (that's 4 total). You should really go check it out. She's a great person and makes some pretty awesome stuff! To enter, leave her a comment on the post {WEEK 1 FOUND HERE} telling what you would like to see in her etsy shop {RIGHT HERE} and/or which ear warmer you would like if you won! For another entry, check out her facebook page {CLICK ME! CLICK ME!} and leave the same info in a comment (after "liking" her, of course). Week 1's giveaway ends January 7th at midnight and she'll notify the winner on the 8th.

Or you could be even more awesome and go buy yourself one from her etsy shop! If you would prefer a different color, shoot her a message! If you ask very nicely, she might just work with you to find something you'll absolutely adore. ;)

Annie & I at her wedding in October! :)

I'm not being compensated in anyway for this plug (except by her friendship), 
I just love her that much. :)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New PR!

What a weekend! I raced 2 live 5ks, a virtual 5k, and a Resolution Run! Ok, maybe I just ran the 2 live 5ks and I'm counting one as my virtual 5k and the second as my Resolution Run, but it was still a pretty sa-weet weekend for running. Plus my Pittsburgh Steelers just beat the Cleveland Browns [start up the trash texts with my Cleveland-fan friends who were at the game. Bwahaha]. :)

New Year's Eve (last night) was the Midnight Special 5k right here in Whitehouse. Actually, it started and ended at my old middle school and the course was the trail that I run on several times every week! The tagline for this race makes me giggle: "The race so long it takes 2 years to run it!" Haha! Anyway, I was telling anyone who asked that my only goal was to beat my 5k time from last June (35:52), but I was secretly (ok, once again, not so secretly if you follow me on dailymile) going for a 33 minute finish. I was a little nervous when I got there since my last 2 runs were plagued by shin pain, but I got there early and warmed up and stretched really well. I even wore my new Zensah compression socks instead of my normal socks. When they shot the gun to start the race, I found a comfortable pace (without looking at my Garmin) and just let myself run. I didn't even look down until I heard it beep for the first mile [10:01/mile pace]. The second mile was all about weaving through people who were dropping off and laughing at how many people were keeping my pace purely because I was one of the few people wearing a headlamp [9:51/mile pace]. This part of the trail has NO lights (hence why it's normally closed at dusk) for about 3/4 mile between road crossings and you're basically between a field and a just-started subdivision. It was DARK. I had a little bit of pain just under my ribs during the 3rd mile, but I breathed deeper and focused on my stride. I knew the course and how long it should take me between landmarks, and I was watching my Garmin the last mile, [I even had my playlist set to start Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory" when I hit 30 minutes] but it didn't dawn on me what my finish time would be until I came around the last corner and could see the clock at the finish line in the parking lot. Without really thinking, I stretched my stride out even more and took off in a sprint the last 0.15 miles. I was SO happy when I saw that 0:31:16 on the clock as I crossed the finish line and the woman handed me my finisher's medal. The ushered us inside right away for hot chocolate and bananas. After only a couple minutes, they posted a sheet with times on it (Toledo Roadrunners does an AWESOME job at setting up races and making things run smoothly). It took me a couple minutes to realize that ONLY the top 5 in each age category was on that list ... AND I WAS ON IT!!! I was 214th overall, 86th of 163 women, and 4th of 12 in my age group (awards were 5-deep in each age group so I got a nifty champagne flute)! I barely made it out to my car before I started screaming and dancing around. I'm sure I looked like a fool, BUT I DON'T CARE! I was SO proud of myself!

New Years Virtual 5k picture
I counted my Midnight Special 5k as my New Years Virtual Race (hosted by Kiley @ Daily Vitamin F). I took the picture in the car after I stripped off all my cold-weather gear to give the cars around me time to get out of the parking lot (I was going to have to do a little maneuvering to get out without hitting the guy who parked next to me [NOT A PARKING SPOT FOR A REASON, JERKOFF!]). So, sorry you can't see the whole "bib" or my awesome medal. You'll just have to look at the previous paragraph if you want a semi-close up of the pretties.

As soon as the official race times are up (for both last night and this morning), I'll post the link in my "Races and PRs" tab. Actually, I'm getting all my posts and links set up over there so it's being updated on a regular basis.

Today brought on the Hangover Classic (I know, the name is great, isn't it? I was hoping someone would stumble into the community center this afternoon looking green and barely standing upright, but everyone looked like they were ready to run. Darn.). When I woke up, it was raining with ridiculous gusts of wind, which made me even more nervous than my shins did last night. I pretty much stayed in bed hitting the "snooze" button repeatedly until about an hour before the race was supposed to start. Luckily, the weather cleared up just as we all were getting to the community center and getting ready to go. We were still having some pretty insane gusts of wind (I guess they got up to 45+mph), but the rain was holding off. I wore my rain coat as a windbreaker (and just in case NW Ohio had a change of heart and decided to dump on us during the run). I went into this race just hoping to RUN the whole thing and wanting to ENJOY the run (note the "bib" in my picture for my Resolution Run). I was on Cloud 8 (ALMOST Cloud 9, but not quite) and I didn't know how my body would take running another 5k so close after last night. When the gun went off, I just blasted my playlist and focused on putting one foot in front of another. I was a little tired, but I could feel the strength in my legs. I physically COULDN'T run slower than an 11:30/mile pace. It just wasn't comfortable. Before I knew it, I was at the turn-around. I zoned out into my music again until I could see the 3rd mile marker and then I pushed it through the end. Just like last night, it was like my legs KNEW they needed to step it up at the end and I didn't really need to think about it. It just happened.
Resolution Fun Run 2012 picture

I used the Hangover Classic as my Resolution Fun Run (hosted by Amanda @ Run To The Finish). I think I'm already living my "resolution" (I don't really believe in resolutions and I don't believe New Year is the only time we should be making goals, but that's a whole other story). I really ENJOYED running the races last night and this afternoon. It wasn't just that I was finishing with great times (for me). I actually enjoyed the RUNNING. The feeling of strength in my legs. Knowing I'm physically and mentally capable of doing something I wouldn't have dreamed of a couple years ago. It's a great feeling. Oh yea, and sorry about another car picture. Mother Nature decided she couldn't hold it in any longer JUST as I was walking out the door of the community center and heading for my car. lol.

Oh, and funny story. I was telling my parents about these virtual races and fun runs and they decided to be smarty pants(es?) with the Resolution Run bib. While I was asleep, they took my bib, stuck a post-it note over MY resolution and wrote "sleep more" on it, stuck it next to my head, and took a picture. I didn't know about it until I uploaded the pictures off my camera a couple minutes ago. Yea, hilarious. And, no, I'm not going to post that picture on here. lol.

A huge thanks to Kiley and Amanda for hosting such great races/runs! Hope everyone had a great NYE/NYD and here's to a great 2012! :)