Thursday, March 29, 2012

Too Long Thursday

Long day ... Long post. Very few pictures. Sorry.

I was shown EXACTLY how out of shape I really was Tuesday night and yesterday. I was SO SORE from my first boot camp. Of course, dad thought it was HILARIOUS that I was basically holding my breath and gritting my teeth every time I had to stand up or lift my arms. And you know how you tense your abs when you sneeze? Yea, it's allergy season too. And my meds haven't built up in my system enough yet to do much good. Let's just say I was glad when the days were over and I could crawl in bed and pass out.

I was a little better prepared for this morning's early wake-up call for boot camp. Besides getting around 5 hours of sleep (which is normal for a week night for me), I "packed" and filled up all my water bottles last night, along with picking out my food, assuming it would make my morning a little bit easier. It did. And I was packing probably even MORE stuff than Tuesday because I have group run tonight and I knew I needed food for dinner and post-run too. I'm sure I looked ridiculous walking into the building this morning carrying all these bags and a cooler. Oh well. 

It was the same group this morning as we had Tuesday, which was nice. We already knew each other and could talk. My soreness had faded enough that I could joke about it and appreciate finally working those muscles which have gotten weak. We had a different circuit today (I'll post details about the circuits this weekend that way I'll have 3 days worth and I'll be able to get the names and details right ... maybe even some pics [from the web, NOT of me]). This morning's class would have been GREAT if I hadn't made one small mistake. One of the stations, we were doing kettle ball swings THROUGH the legs to make a figure 8. Apparently I didn't take a wide enough stance to start and when I tried to grab the kettle ball to change hands, it slammed into my thumb and tore up the nail. It basically bent in half, the painful way. And it bled like crazy. Oops. I just grabbed the spare bandaid out of my sweatshirt (I'm dealing with a problematic blister on the back of my ankle as well), wrapped up the finger (after pushing the nail back down), and kept going.

Even though I knew I was going to be getting sweaty again tonight, I went over to the student rec center on campus to get in a little extra cardio and a shower. Luckily, one of the working ellipticals was open and nobody was really close to it. I actually really enjoyed my 45 minutes. I kept the strides per minute around 165-170, which was where it felt comfortable with an incline of 5 and resistance of 3. I got to put a dent in my backlog of podcast listening. I always fall behind on the talk ones because I don't like hearing talking when I'm driving OR running. And I can't concentrate on writing and the podcast at the same time. It's usually music or nothing for me. About 20 minutes in, a relatively cute guy decided to get on the elliptical RIGHT next to me (even though others were free). He was OBVIOUSLY trying to show off, which was funny. But, I appreciated the eye candy because I was too far away to read the closed captioning on the tv (Sports Center was on) and I needed to keep my eyes entertained while I listened to Jillian Michaels.

It got even better when I went back to the locker room to shower and the handicap shower (the only actual shower stall) was open. And all the swimmers were almost done. *happy dance* It isn't so much about my body image (even though there are some scars I'd be happy to keep hidden from people who don't know me and the stories behind them) as it is the SPACE. I can hang up my towel (or clothes, if I don't want to walk out in a towel) in a place where it isn't going to get soaked. And there's a little shelf to sit my shampoo and soap on. And you don't have to worry about any awkward eye-contact. AND the water gets hotter in that stall. I'm a creature of comfort (sometimes), so sue me. HOT water makes Jessie happy. And I like being happy. lol. BTW - I got told I was a bad-ass for walking across campus to the rec in my shorts ... by a football player (former student of mine). He had on 2 or 3 shirts under his sweatshirt and heavy sweatpants. Haha.

I felt like I hit a wall around 2pm. One minute I was fine and then the next I couldn't keep my eyes open for anything. Ugh. I had to pull out my icky sweatshirt from this morning and use it as a pillow on my desk for about 20 minutes until the feeling passed. I'm sure I would have been better if I let myself take a nap (I've dozed off in my car in the middle of the day before), but I was TRYING to be productive.

I took it easy at group run tonight since I'm still a little stiff/ sore. I got there early and went out on a short walk/run interval run just to feel out my legs. On the run itself, I held myself to paces of 11:04, 11:00, and 10:50. I was pleased with how consistent I was, even if my GOOD knee was twitching and my glutes are cranky. It was nice to just run.

Mom gets home from Vegas late tonight. Their plane lands in Detroit at 12:30am (if it's on time), which means they won't be getting to our house until around 2am. As long as mom doesn't come into the house screaming or drop her suitcase and let it bounce down the steps multiple times (don't laugh, it's happened before), I shouldn't hear any of it. I'm completely exhausted. Today was just too long of a day.

At least I have something to look forward to tomorrow night. I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but mom bought me tickets to see Beauty & the Beast for Christmas! The Disney kid in me is so obnoxiously excited I could run around having a Disney sing-along all day. Mom texted me yesterday to remind me and I sent her back, "DO you REALLY think I would forget? I've caught myself singing all the major songs at least once since you left. I see the tix every time I walk in or out of my room! :D" Pretty sure she laughed at that. To make it even better, Sarah is going with me. Sarah is one of the girls I've known and been friends with our ENTIRE lives. I'm smack dab in the middle between her and her sister, Steph (mom of that crazy 19-month old, Xander). Our parents have been friends since college and we've basically been raised together. There are pictures of the 3 of us as toddlers, in coordinating sweatsuits, lined up next to each other on a picnic table on a camping trip [OH MAN did we get into some shenanigans on those camping trips as we got older]. My parents are even Sarah and Steph's godparents. So, needless to say she's as big a Disney nut as I am. This is going to be FUN! *bouncing up and down in excitement* :D Now to decide what to wear!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Larabar Yumminess and Boot Camp!

So, I won Stefanie @ Run On!'s Larabar giveaway a while back and I had a present waiting for me in the mail yesterday (I told you, I love our mail lady. She brings me fun stuff) ...

I have resigned to Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays being EARLY mornings for the next month ... no matter how little sleep I get the night before (maybe 3 fitful hours, broken up, last night) ... and how much hassle getting through those days are. First of all, I felt like I was packing my car for a weekend away, not just a random Tuesday. I had to have warm workout clothes, cold workout clothes (and my running shoes), normal day clothes, shower stuff, my laptop gear, my school gear, and about 3 meals worth of food since I'm going to be on campus late too. Somehow, I ended up needing all 3 of my research binders and 2 notebooks at school today too. Dad was leaving for work as I was loading my car and he joked it looked like I was going to start living out of my car like I did during rowing season in high school. I just glared and turned up the heater while I waited for the windows to defrost (it was 35 degrees this morning!).

There were only 3 of us in Boot Camp this morning, which was great since 2 of us were new (and it was only 6:15am, so I wasn't exactly a friendly ray of sunshine). The instructor seems nice (in a distant sort of way) and was able to quickly and easily correct any form flaws I had. Apparently I'm in much better shape than the other 2 women so he made a couple things even harder, just for me. Yippee. (Can't you just SMELL the sarcasm? lol.) Everything was set up in a circuit and we rotated "stations" every 45 seconds. I really liked the mix of cardio, strength, and drills. I even got reacquainted with a foe I thought I had left behind in high school ... burpies. Ewwww. Actually, the whole class reminded me a LOT of my old rowing days ... on the days our coach actually paid attention to our off-season cross-training (Sorry, Dave, you know I appreciate how much you did during racing season, but you were nearly worthless during winter conditioning). My arms were a little achey and my legs were a little shaky by the end of class. And I wore a grin all the way to campus to get in some extra cardio and a hot shower at the student rec center. I may change my mind later, but I kinda wish this trainer was cheaper so I could continue with him after my month is up. I have a feeling this month is going to be VERY good for me. I need to take some time after every class to write down (and describe) every exercise we do so I have a chance of replicating the workouts after my time there is up.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Thursday's Group Run and the Boot Camp Class that wasn't ...

I knew this morning was going to be an early wake up call, but I didn't think it would be before 5:30am. Ugh. Normally I would sleep through mom and her coworkers meeting up to head to the airport (they all met at our house and one of the husbands was going to shuttle them), but I think I never really got to a deep sleep state last night so I was already almost awake. The lucky dogs, they're heading to Las Vegas for a financial aid conference. Mom insists they won't have any time for fun, but she said that last time and still managed to bring home stuff from Coyote Ugly and Chippendale's. All work, no play, my boney behind! lol

Anyway, I got up as soon as they left for the airport since I *KNEW* I'd never be able to fall back into restful sleep. I've tried in the past and ended up just rolling back and forth trying to get comfortable, like I do at night, never really drifting off because I know the alarm will be going off soon. Oh well. I may as well get used to crazy early mornings again if I plan on attending the 6:15am classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'll readjust soon enough.

My comment last time about gorgeous weather for the group run was obviously wishful thinking. I could hear rumbles off in the distance as I was driving over to Levis, but I figured it would hold off until JUST after we were done. Again, wishful thinking. We weren't even a quarter mile from the store during the run and the sky opened up. And I'm not talking sprinkles, I'm talking downpour so hard you have a hard time seeing and are soaked instantly ... for about a mile. I've run in the rain before (I enjoy it), but I don't think my shoes have ever gotten that ... sloshy. Sure, we'll go with sloshy. Luckily I was wearing a tank top and shorts, both tech material, so those dried out relatively quick. The only thing that REALLY bothered me about the run was that my iPod died within 5 minutes. Oops. This totally blew my concentration for the rest of the 3 miles. I still averaged a very respectable 10:07/mile, but I know I could have done better. Oh, and the running club photographer was there that night too. It figures he's never gotten a picture of me at a race and then he comes to group and gets shots like these ...

Believe me when I tell you these 3 are the best of the pictures of me. Ugh.

And if you haven't guessed by the title of this post ... Boot camp didn't happen this morning. I drove in and sat there with 2 other people for 20 minutes before the one woman called her husband to check her email. Class was canceled on Thursday, she never checked her email. And the instructor never emailed me. *Sigh* Fine then. I guess the woman at the front desk shot off an email to him because I got a message from him a couple hours later apologizing and saying he thought I had been included in the email. Obviously not. So, I wasted an hour and a half, and some expensive gas, driving to Sylvania and back.

Since I was already dressed, I just changed shoes when I got home and headed out for a run right away before I could sit down and get lazy. Running in the fog was pretty cool, don't think I've run in that low of visibility before. Just to be safe, I jumped on the W-C Trail (south fork) and ran an out-and-back. The run itself was a serious mental battle. I'd slow down, knowing I need to conserve energy for more miles, but then I'd get bored and speed up again to the point my side would ache. Bah. I ended up running 6.2 miles in 1:08:17, which is an average pace of 11:01/mile. Not too shabby. I know I didn't wear my race bib, but I'm thinking about using this run for Spatula Runner's Virtual 10k. I'll think about it tonight. I know I won't be competitive, time-wise, with the other people running this, but it was a semi-solid run for me and I don't know if I'll be able to pull out another 6.2 miler before the end of the virtual run.

I want to write more, but I'm just mentally exhausted right now. I've already warned dad he needs to go buy the paper in the morning because I'm sleeping in. No alarm clock. I just need tonight and tomorrow morning to decompress and mentally work through some crap before I go back to being a drone on Monday. 

Hope everyone has a good weekend! Good luck to everyone racing! :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Mail Lady Brings Me Fun Stuff

So, remember that Schwaggle deal not too long ago that sold out ridiculously fast ... the FuelBelts? Well, it finally came today ... *jumps up and down excited like a little kid*

After spending a couple minutes with the R20, I can understand why some people aren't happy with the zip pouch on this belt. It really is just big enough for your keys and a gel or 2. Even if I didn't try to carry my blackberry (which is kinda compact compared to most smart phones out there. And it's still too big for this pouch), my car key and remote will fill it up pretty well. I already planned on purchasing an extra bottle, caps, and slide-on holster, but maybe I'll have to consider a larger pouch as well. I know I've seen them on Amazon and I SHOULD have some credits from survey-taking to be redeemed soon.

Oh ... and it brought along a friend ...

I'm almost as excited for that second little present as I am for the first. I've been contemplating nutrition a lot lately but have been cautious of buying anything myself. I don't like buying something and then decided I wasted my money on it, so I'm always game when someone sends me free stuff. :) Maybe it's just my ignorance, but are all gels this big?! Oh well. I think I'm going to save this for a longer run. Clif does have some pretty nifty ideas about their shots and the packaging, though (perfect example ... litter leash!). You can read about them HERE.

I haven't decided yet how I'm going to schedule in runs once I start boot camp Saturday morning. I guess it depends on how I feel after classes, if I need the days between as rest days or I'll be good for a couple 2-a-days.

An email newsletter form one of the local running shops gave me a couple ideas for upcoming races. They're both 5ks, but I guess something is better than nothing. I don't like NOT having something to train FOR. Plus, one of the 5ks starts less than a mile from my parents' house and benefits the elementary school parents club. I remember how important that parents club was for the students when I was there, so I have absolutely no qualms about the $30 registration fee. I figure I'll save a couple more bucks and just walk down there and back (or ride my bike and park it at the school).

Alright ... time to get ready and head over to group run. I'm sure this gorgeous weather is going to bring out a bunch of people! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Spring!

I'll be honest ... I totally forgot today was the first day of spring until I heard it on the news last night. Here in the Midwest, we had late winter/ early spring all winter and then just jumped straight to summer sometime last week. It's crazy. Saturday, I had to dig out the box with my (non-workout) shorts in it!

First off, someone asked how long my hair was BEFORE it got chopped ... since it's been in a perpetual bun or ponytail for the past 5ish months ... so here you go ...

Secondly, I found these lovelies over the weekend and decided I needs to make some cookies for St. Patrick's Day:

OF COURSE I'm not eating the cookie dough.
Who do you think I am, my grandmother's granddaughter? Haha
They spread out a little more than I would have liked (and were a little too soft), but they were pretty darn yummy. I bought some mint chocolate chip ice cream and Mint Bailey's at the same time I bought the m&ms. Talk about a mint overload! Between all the mint, the alcohol, and the emotional upheaval, Saturday night was interesting.

I DID get a run in yesterday, but it was a hot, short, miserable slog through the trails at Wildwood Metropark. The dune trail was great (despite the people traffic), but I decided to make a loop of the meadow and found the biggest mud ball in the park. Myself and another girl who was running the same route made use of the hose attached to the wall of the visitor's center to rinse ourselves off from the knees down before going anywhere NEAR our cars. Oh, and to the teenagers we interrupted: your "secret make out place" isn't so secret. You're right along the main trail for runners in the park. It's a gorgeous day, as people are getting off work. Don't be surprised when you get "caught". And don't be a couple pricks and start screaming and cursing at the runners going by who couldn't give 2 $#!@s about you hiding from your parents and making out. End rant. *rolls eyes*

A while back, one of the neighborhood kids I occasionally babysat when they were younger got a "real" mountain bike for her birthday ("It has shocks and everything, Jess!"). If you saw my post from last weekend with the picture of me laying on the deck after my race, same girl who took that picture. Anyway, I promised her back when she got the bike that I would take her over to Oak Openings and ride a trail with her this spring if she stayed up to date with her homework and she stayed out of trouble with her parents (she reminds me of myself at that age, defiant and moody). When she saw me come home from riding last week, she got really excited and reminded me of my promise. I remembered. And I reminded her of her part of the bargain. Today, she showed up with a note from her mom (no joke) and a copy of her weekly homework "report card". Since it was TECHNICALLY spring and she IS doing really well and it was a GORGEOUS day (it reached the low 80s!), I told her to go home and change into old clothes. She just screamed and ran home, excited. I was already changed and ready to go by the time she got back.

It's almost a 2-mile ride up to the park, so I had her ride in front of me and set the pace, mainly so I wouldn't be tempted to push the pace and tire her out too early. It gave me a good chance to watch her ride and get an idea of how her balance was and how well she shifted gears. I was impressed. She held the pace pretty steadily at around 10mph the whole time we were on the road. Once we got on the trail, she handled the mud and "hills" really well. I had to remind her to slow down a little bit through the standing water if she didn't want to end up COMPLETELY soaked, but I was really proud of her. She never complained and really seemed like she enjoyed it. She didn't even complain when I told her we needed to clean off the bikes before we put them away. According to my Garmin, we pulled out a little over 8.5 miles in 50 minutes. I consider that pretty darn amazing for a girl who has never ridden outside her own neighborhood (the girl, not me). I don't know if she'll want to go again or not, but I'm sure her parents didn't have any problems getting her to go to bed tonight :)

Oh yea, and we got a little muddy ...

I guess it MUST be spring ... mom's flowers are officially blooming. :)

Happy Spring! :)

PS- Happy Birthday to my big sister's (well, she might as well be) husband who turned 30! Luckily, he has coworkers and friends who have just as twisted a sense of humor as he does ...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

In Honor of St. Patrick's Day ...

I learned this Old Irish blessing back in high school when we sang it in choir and it's been a favorite of mine ever since. The words have always spoken to me in a way most prayers and blessings never have.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Now I'm off to celebrate the tiny bit of Irish blood flowing through my veins and enjoy this gorgeous day with some of my oldest friends. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finally Friday Five

1. I cut my hair. 7-8" and the last of my old highlights, gone. I scared the crap out of my friend Ted by posting that on facebook. He spazzed, "I said Penny (from Big Bang Theory), not Ellen (DeGeneres)!" I just laughed. Ted hasn't seen me in a couple months so I had to explain to him that there really WAS that much hair there to get cut off and then texted him a picture to prove it. So far, the reaction has been positive. Either way, I like it. My head feels lighter and I swear my shower/ bathroom routine this morning was at least 5 minutes faster. lol.

2. I think I had a breakthrough last night at group run. I ran the 3 miles in 30 minutes and 3 seconds. That's a faster pace than my 5k PR, and only 0.1 miles shorter. The funny thing is, I spent the entire run thinking how hot I was and how hard the pace was after starting a little too quick (9:48 for the first mile). I didn't look at my Garmin until I got back to the store and hit the "stop" button. But when I did, I smiled. Its runs like that which make me think a sub-30 minute 5k before my 26th birthday in July IS possible.

3. I'm running aimlessly right now without a race to train for. If I'm still in the area, I know I want to run the Metroparks 5k again this year (it was my first race ever last June). There are a couple half marathons I'm looking at this summer, but they're all either too far away, too expensive, too soon, or I can't find any information on them. I guess I'll keep looking. I seriously stalk the stack of race papers at Second Sole every week after the group run ... and the Toledo Roadrunners website (though they aren't very helpful).

4. I finally caved and redeemed my livingsocial deal for BCOR Bootcamp. I start next Saturday morning. The gym owner/ instructor emailed me right away with my release paperwork, a weekly schedule of their classes, and some tips for next week. I'm nervous and excited at the same time.

5. We had a WICKED storm cell move through the area last night. There were confirmed tornados to the north of us, but we just got spurts of crazy-heavy rain and a spectacular thunder and lightning show. Any time I wasn't raining in, I had the back door open and was sitting by it with a book. I know we had a house in the next town over lose its roof to a lightning strike the night before, but I'm absolutely fascinated by nature's fury and I love watching it whenever I can.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Simple and Satisfying.

Oh Em Gee! YOU GUYS! I just HAVE to share this!

I always love when my parents are out of the house for a couple days and I get free reign in the kitchen. I can cook things that they can't/ won't eat and I can be more careful about eating HEALTHY. [And not have to defend myself when I don't eat the amount my dad deems to be "normal".] Knowing they'd be in FL all this week, I've been stalking pinterest recipes for probably a month now. I found this and thought it sounded interesting ...
Turkey Wrap with Cucumber and Cream Cheese from Rachael Ray
It sounded simple enough (another requirement for most things I make when I'm on my own) and I KNEW I had the basic ingredients already.

Basically, cut up some cucumber and mix in into some cream cheese.

I didn't have tortilla wraps, but I figured these would work just as well. Mom and I are both in love with these things.

Spread that cucumber and cream cheese yumminess onto your bread-product of choice and layer on some of this stuff.

 I may have been a bit of a pig and layered it up. *innocent smile*

And then you get this ... or some approximation thereof ...

So simple.      So healthy.      So good.

Not going to lie, I made sure I had room in my stomach for dessert ...
Mom knows the only way to (slightly) slow down my near-inhaling of the Samoas is to store them in the freezer, so that's where they were all stashed before she left town. Plus then they aren't sitting out on the counter, calling to me, begging me to eat them every time I walk past the kitchen. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Welcome Justice!

A HUGE Congrats to my cousin, K, and her husband, D. K FINALLY gave birth to their adorable son this weekend. I've been holding off posting this until they left the hospital and someone took some utterly adorable pictures. I didn't have to wait long ...

Welcome to the world, Justice Alexander!

Both his parents are police/ work in corrections. Is it a surprise his name is Justice and his first outfit it a police onesie? Watching this little man grow up is going to be fun. :)

2 more months until J & A have their little girl and Justice will have another cousin! See, I don't need any kids of my own, I have PLENTY to spoil rotten :D

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Butt Hurts.

I can't believe I just typed that in as the title of this post. Oh well, moving on ...

I took yesterday as a rest day since my normal rest day (Sunday) was spent racing, but when I woke up this morning, I was ITCHING to get out and do something physical (other than drain all the water off the pool cover from that crazy storm last night). My legs were still a little achey, so I turned to my family's collection of bikes.

My Banana Seat Beauty, a 4th birthday present.
First, a little background. Crap, this could get lengthy ... and I promise to attempt to make this sound as not-whiney as possible ... I have had 1 brand new bike in my entire life (not counting my rockin' red tricycle). Every other bike that I have owned has come out of someone's trash. Yep, you read that right. Granted, that's only 3 out of 4 bikes, but that's beside the point. My dad drove the delivery trucks before he moved up to semis and he'd always see bikes sitting out with the trash. Most were still in pretty good condition and just needed a little TLC and elbow grease to be awesome again. My first bike was this great (light) Barbie pink banana-seat stunner. I LOVED that thing. Oh, I could tell you so many stories about my adventures on that baby. When I outgrew that, I got my only brand spankin' new bike ... my gorgeous purple, sparkly "mountain bike". Around the time I outgrew that, dad found a nice road bike on the side of the road that really only needed a good cleaning and some new tires. I worked on that bike for a couple years, but it was just never a comfortable bike. And I felt like I could never get the rust under control no matter how much time I spent on it. So, when dad and I found another road bike in the garbage in excellent condition - and with BRAND NEW tires - I was estatic. We even went up and knocked on the door to make sure the guy was throwing it away since it was in such great shape. I never heard WHY he was getting rid of it, but he gave us his blessing to take it. I was SO excited. It still has it's issues (need to tape up the grips, needs a bottle holder, and some other small things), but I love it. The reason I don't ride it more often is that the tires always seem to go flat. We've put new tubes in multiple times, and it always happens within a couple weeks. I've tried checking the inside of the metal frame to see if it's cutting the tubes, but I've never found anything. My next step is to take it either to Cycle Werks (which is literally less than a mile from my house now that they've opened a shop in Whitehouse) or up to Wersell's in Toledo (literally less than a mile from the University campus). I also want to get some different pedals and quick-change wheels and seat stand (and a different seat, which I'll get to). So, I've been riding other bikes of ours until it's taken care of.
My road bike. I added the rack a couple years ago when I was carrying my backpack AND
laptop case back and forth to campus.
My brother, on the other hand, has always had brand new bikes. I never resented him this, I loved my bikes. He's even ridden my bikes (the ones I've fixed up) on occasion when his mountain bike would just be too clunky and heavy. Oh, and he has multiple bikes right now. So, when I decided to start trail riding again last summer, the only mountain bike we had at the house close to my size was his newer (and nicer) Huffy. He had no problem with me buying a little cyclocomputer and installing it on the bike and using it whenever I wanted to go out (he had his older bike at his apartment for getting around campus).

So, today when I decided to go out, bro's white Huffy was the choice. It was the first time off the ceiling hooks for this season, so I cleaned it good and checked the tire pressure and everything. Seriously, I take better care of bro's bikes than he does. Anyway, I wanted to get off the pavement. I knew Oak Opening's "multi-purpose" trail would be nice and wet and muddy after last night's storm, so I headed up that direction. Oh, MAN was it fun! I was probably grinning like a crazy person the entire time. The same parts of the trail that I shy away from as a runner (basically any place that floods ... the whole west and north sides of the loop), I blasted through on the bike and enjoyed every second of it. My poor shoes and socks were soaked from one particular area by the dunes where the water across the trail was deep enough to come up over the pedals and I had a lovely mud stripe going up my back. I kind of giggled every time I saw someone heading the other direction because I KNEW they'd turn around and come back the way they came once they saw how deep some of the water was. I was almost sad when the trail changed back to pavement and I got back on the road to head home.
My attempt at photographing my mud-speckle-stripe. Would have been better if I left my
muddy shirt on to ... and hadn't been such a weird angle. lol
After I got home, I texted my brother "Good news. Your bike loves mud and pedal-deep water. Haha." His reaction surprised the crap out of me. He basically spazzed that I had taken the "good" bike out when his older mountain bike (which has no shocks) was hanging from the ceiling of the back garage (more like a small barn). I fired back pretty quick, annoyed at his reaction. First of all, our back garage is somewhere around 2 stories tall and all the bikes we don't ride on a regular basis are hanging from hooks on the support beams. And it usually takes AT LEAST 2 of us and a basic winch system out of rope to move them. How was I, alone, supposed to get out one of dad's big ladders, position it right in the middle of a shelf unit currently storing motorcycle parts (which are actually for bro's harley. Dad is paying to rebuild the darn thing after bro crashed it last summer. And dad paid for it originally too.), set up the rope winch system, lift the bike OFF the hooks, and lower it down safely? Not possible. I sent him a text saying "#1, you know damn well I'd kill myself trying to get your old bike down alone. #2, the Huffy already had my cyclocomputer on it from last year. #3, It's a mountain bike. It's meant for that crap. #4, When was the last time YOU rode it anyway? #5, Kiss my backside. It's already cleaned and put back away, which is more than you ever do for ANY of your bikes." I think I got to him because about 10 minutes later, I got an "ok" text. *rolls eyes*
The Huffy in question ... BEFORE the mud bath.
I hate that my family (myself included) snap at each other so easily, but it's just how we communicate. I seem to be the only one who takes those interactions to heart and over-analyzes them. I can be a completely different person with the rest of the world, but I turn into "that person" when it comes to dealing with my family. We do love each other, we're just loud about it.

And I finally come to the title of this post. As much as I love riding, IT HURTS MY BUTT! I've been told my entire life that even though I have plenty of "padding" in my posterior, I have a seriously boney butt. On every bike I've ridden, I have 1 or 2 of those nice gel or foam cushions, and those help some, but it STILL kills! Dad jokes about buying one of those wide seats you see on the cruiser bikes, but I don't want to believe that is my only option. Can you imagine one of those things on a road or mountain bike?

So, someone help me out here .... any ideas? Seats or cushions you'd recommend? Anything?

- - -
Update: My butt may have been sore yesterday, but I swear it feels bruised today. I actually YELPED when I sat in the car this morning (first time I had sat down today). A cohort has already made a joke about buying a hemorrhoid pillow for my desk chair in the lab. NOT amused. >:-(

Monday, March 12, 2012

Super Sunday: Wearin' of the Green 7k and Wonderful Weather

Yesterday was the day I've been training for since January. Wearin' of the Green 7k at Maumee Bay State Park. I was nervous for several reasons. I posted HERE about the weather warning from the "head leprechaun". Basically, this race is NOTORIOUS among local runners for its crap-tastic weather. Luckily, we dodged that bullet. It was already in the low 50s when the race started and was almost 60 by the time I headed home. The gorgeous weather brought out a significantly larger number of people than expected. According to a conversation I heard the day of, they had at least 30% more people pre-registered. I know there were at least 230 people (mainly because I saw someone with that stick). The more people, the less competitive I can be with other people. I realized this quickly and had to force myself to focus on my own race.

Despite the increase in people, the registration table and shirt pick-up went amazingly smooth. This COULD be because I went up to the lodge almost an hour before the race, but they had a great system that would have easily dealt with a bigger crowd. Once again, we were given numbered bibs that don't really mean anything. We just wear them so Toledo Roadrunners knows there are no bandits running the race. It's a gun start and as you run through the shoot at the end, you're handed a numbered stick and a computer system is clicked. You go back to the registration table and turn in your numbered stick, which is then coordinated to the number in the computer system (after the last person has crossed the finish line). A printout of stick numbers and times is taken up to the registration table and everything is filled in by hand. Inefficient, yes, but it works for our smaller local races. Anyway, the shirts were pretty awesome. Neon green Brooks tech shirt. One thing, though ... it's BIG. I wear medium shirts in just about every brand, but this shirt isn't just big around the middle, the arms are long too. Oh well. It's another tech shirt. If I really want to, it isn't a big deal to make alterations. I'm pretty nifty with a sewing machine.

The race itself wasn't bad. I started out faster than I wanted to, but it worked out. Instead of focusing on my mile times, I just focused on the next person in front of me and picking them off. My first three miles were run at 10:33, 10:39 (when I decided I ran the first mile too fast), and 10:19 (when I decided I wanted to run faster anyway). Mile 4 was a bit of a grind; I ran it at a 9:51, but I thought I was going to throw up for the majority of it. I had to focus on my form, the scenery, ANYTHING but how I was getting THAT feeling. When I saw the marker for "1/4 mile to go" and realized how close I was (remember, I know this park and it's trails pretty darn well from my masters field research), I said screw it and just pushed myself. I figured if I was going to puke, I was going to do it after the finish line. The last 0.37 miles was run at a 9:02/mile pace, according to my garmin. So, by garmin time, I ran 4.37 miles in 44:46, which is a 10:14/mile pace. Not too shabby for my first attempt at racing something longer than a 5k. :) I'm sure the official results will be up within a day or two and then I'll get into the nitty gritty of the stats.

After getting the results (didn't place in my age category), I decided to enjoy the gorgeous day. I had purposely packed extra clothes and food, so I changed out of my sweaty clothes and drove over to the beach. There's just something so calming, so centering about sitting on the rock and log break wall and staring out at Maumee Bay and Lake Erie. It was so clear I could see 3 power plants and the water intake for the City of Toledo. Oh, and my favorite little lake island ...
Taken June 2008
I had a bit of an epiphany while I was sitting there too ... I've been trying to figure out how to get in some hill repeats without running along some seriously dangerous roads (narrow, blind corners, distracted drivers), and I may have come up with an answer ...
Known as the "big hill" in the park, it's actually just the material that was dug out to create the inland lake [of course, found out after spending 2 days of trying to get ground-penetrating radar and electrical resistance images of the darn thing for my masters thesis]. There is a trail that goes up and over it, along with a bench and binocular station at the top. Those black dots on the right side, above the tree and bush? Those are people. I realize this isn't the best option, being as steep as it is, but it's something. There's another hill about the same size on the other side of the inland lake and a paved trail along the beach between them. I could easily log a couple miles just going back and forth. Along with the dune trail out at Oak Openings and the smaller hills of the canal towpath, I have something to work on.

When I got home, I didn't really feel like doing anything. One of the neighbor kids was laying out on the driveway reading, so I got the idea to take my old yoga mat out on the back deck and relax. I didn't want to go all the way out into the yard because the ants are already going crazy and I know there are at least 3 or 4 sand burr plants out in the yard that I haven't found yet. Every time I walk out to the pool or the back garage, I end up with a burr or two on my shoe, but I can't figure out where the heck I'm picking them up. Anyway, It was blissful sitting out there in the sunshine, relaxing, listening to the neighborhood kids running around playing tag. One of the older girls saw me out there and came over to talk to me. She's working on a photography project for a class (their current lesson is on perspective) and wanted to ask if she could take some pictures that *might* have me in them. I told her sure, as long as she sent me any that she took of me. :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daily Challenge 3/11

I'll write about today in another post (it's already halfway written anyway), but I wanted to share this quick. I've been on Daily Challenge for a couple months now and every once in a while I get one that really makes me think. Today's challenge (on the Everyday Well-Being Track) was List 5 traits, skills, or talents you're happy you have. I love MeYou Health because they give you extra information about your tasks too.

How to do it

Maybe you like your hair, eyes, or smile. Perhaps you have a mean green thumb, a showstopping jump shot, or the ability to make others laugh. Or maybe you're the type who can effortlessly navigate new cities, solve tough crosswords, and make a delicious meal. Whatever you like about yourself, write it down. Go for at least 5 on your list!

Why it matters

We often don't take the time to consider what's special about ourselves - and for many people, it's far too easy to focus on the negative. But when we acknowledge the things we do well and appreciate the wonderful qualities we have, it strengthens our self-worth and reminds us that we are unique and have a lot to offer.

Fun Fact

"I'm OK, You're OK," the classic self-help book that promoted a deeper understanding of the self as a way to improve personal relationships, was the United States' number-one bestseller in 1969.

I thought about this one as I was sitting on the beach after my race, and a little more once I got home and camped out on a blanket in the back yard to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Here's what I came up with ...

1) My eyes. They're green, but the shade changes, like a mood ring. They've been this way my whole life and several of my friends have gotten really good at reading them.

2) Determination, though my dad would call it being stubborn. If there's something I want, I work hard to get it. If I believe one thing, it takes some pretty strong evidence to make me believe otherwise.

3) My creativity, especially when it comes to my writing. I have a hard time writing technical reports and papers (a problem in my field), but a single thought or picture or experience can leave me writing for hours. Page after page.

4) My ability to be an authoritarian (is that even a word?) without losing the respect of those around me. I really cultivated this skill back when I worked at the girl scout summer camp. I was always known as a fun counselor (as far as I know. I STILL get the occasional email from some of my girls), but just raising my voice a little let the girls know that the time for goofing around was over and they had better fall in line NOW.

5) My scars, physical and emotional. Each one tells a story of an experience or a life lesson learned (probably the hard way). I don't regret any of them.

- - -
If you had to complete this challenge, what would you choose? Why?

Friday, March 9, 2012

They're Gone! And some other stuff.

Did anyone else see today's Schwaggle deal before it completely sold out? 50% off a Fuelbelt Revenge R20 in electric lime, silver, or juicy o'reily (purple with lime green accents). The silver and juicy o'reily were sold out by the time I got on, but I managed to get a electric lime (probably the color I would have gotten anyway. lol). Woo hoo! I've been looking at these for a while now and have just been waiting until I had enough Amazon credits to buy one. Since I only had to pay $20 for the Schwaggle deal and then $7.95 for shipping, I'm not going to complain about spending real money. I probably will eventually buy another bottle or 2 to put on the belt (they're only 7 ounce bottles) and a bigger pocket, but I'm just glad I got what I did for such a greta price. As soon as the wind dies down a bit, I'm taking my bike to get fixed up and ready for the season and it doesn't have a water bottle holder on it, so this will be nice to use for that until I work up to running longer distances where I'll need more water. I can't wait to get my new Fuelbelt and try it out. :)

While I'm thinking about it (and since I never got an answer on twitter from anyone), at what distance/ time do you start carrying something OTHER than water on your runs? GU? Snacks? Hammer gels? My longest runs were my 2 8-milers and even with a good breakfast before-hand, I was STARVING when I got home. Even last night after the 3-mile group run, I INHALED a Subway foot-long like it was nothing. And it was healthy (a BLT with extra lettuce and green peppers), so don't give me that look. I think I've finally pulled myself out of my junk food binge earlier this week. Darn mom for bringing home a bunch of my favorite candy and then leaving all the leftovers from her Tastefully Simple party sitting out.

I DID enjoy mom's Tastefully Simple party, though. I got to see a couple of my favorite people, family friends, and mom's work friends (some who have known me my whole life). My friend Steph even brought her son. Xander is a 19-month old monster, but in a cute way. Some days he's horribly sick and won't let anyone but Steph anywhere near him. But Monday night, we were buddies, playing with (and breaking) one of my gnomes, eating everything we could get our hands on, beating on the garbage can like a drum, tickle monster, playing peek-a-boo around corners. I may not want kids of my own (for now), but I love getting to spend time with my friends' kids. :)
Oops! And ignore how my eyes look like they're crossed.

My parents are officially on their way to Florida. Dad and I worked into the wee hours of the morning on the trailer and getting the motorcycle situated (they're heading down to Daytona Bike Week after stopping at dad's aunt's place and our [Grandpa's] FL house). Being a smart-aleck (dad would say something else, but I'm TRYING to be clean here, lol), I left them a note on the counter to find this morning saying "Have fun, be good, and don't you dare wake me up. I can charge a plane ticket and rental car to your credit card and beat you to the FL house." When I came downstairs around 8am, there was an air horn and a note from mom, "You don't know how close you came to a 5am wake up call. Your father made it up the steps and halfway down the hall before I stole this and yelled at him." Haha. Yep, that's the kind of crap that happens in our family. Anyway, I spent the rest of my morning and early afternoon doing my normal "I'm going to be home alone for more than a couple days" ritual: laundry, run dishwasher, turn down the thermostat, check all the locks on doors and window ... check the gun cabinet and make sure the shotgun is cleaned and loaded. Hey, a girl's got to be prepared. Home alone in an apartment building where you're surrounded by other people and home alone in an un-attached house in a dark, "country" neighborhood (where your neighbors wouldn't know anything's wrong until the cops show up) are completely different. I'm not afraid to be home alone by any means (actually, I kind of like it), but it's better to be prepared. Call me stupid, but I'm more likely to meet an intruder with my shotgun than to call 911 and hide under my bed.

Yesterday was supposed to be my last speed workout before my 7k this weekend. Well, it didn't exactly go as planned. I knew if I wanted to do a real speed workout, I needed to get out earlier in the day and go run on the trail through town where I can count off distances on the electric poles, but that just never happened so I caved and went to Second Sole's group run. I originally decided I was going to take it easy and just focus on my form, but then I started off a bit faster than I would have liked and decided to just push the pace for all 3 miles. A 3-mile tempo run is almost as good as 3 miles including 2x800s, right? Right? *crickets* Oh well. I figured something was better than nothing and running that pace made me PAINFULLY aware of what parts of my body I need to take extra care of before Sunday. My mile times for the 3 miles were 10:35, 10:58, and 10:02. That second mile could have been much faster if not for the little "interruption". 

I was running with a "friend" (I mean, I guess we're friends. We run together at group and chat and get dinner after) and we had a car pull up to us and roll down it's window. We, being good citizens, stopped and let the woman ask us where **** Street was. Neither one of us had never head of it, we don't live in the immediate area of Levis Commons. The woman got annoyed and took off. After another half mile or so, she turns up again driving the other direction and slows down AGAIN. "Are you SURE you don't know where **** Street is? It's right by the high school." I asked WHICH high school since there are SEVERAL in the area and I actually DO know where most of them are. She couldn't tell me which one and we repeated that we were sorry, but we didn't think we could help her. I mentioned that someone at the hotel in the middle of the complex might know or have a map to help her. The lady started calling us several names I won't repeat here, rolled up her window, and SLAMMED on the gas and took off. My friend did her best Stephanie Tanner impression ("How Rude!") and seemed to blow it off. I, on the other hand, spent the rest of the run thinking about those 2 several-second interactions. I don't mind interrupting a run to help someone, but when you're rude and obnoxious and make me STOP my run TWICE to deal with you, it ticks me off. How am I supposed to help you find some obscure neighborhood road in a part of town I admit freely that I don't know well when you can't tell me a major road nearby OR the name of the high school it's supposedly near? And then you're rude and verbally abusive to us after we ATTEMPT to help you, despite our lack of knowledge? Those are the kind of people who really bother me.

Ok, rant over ... I need to get better at not letting that kind of stuff bother me. I hold onto crap for far too long. The dishwasher is finally done, so at least I can mindlessly unload that and then start another load of laundry.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mad Abs March!

For those of you who followed along with Fab Ab February ... even if you're a little late to the train ... look what I just found!

Rock on. Who's with me? I'm thinking 3-4x repeats this time around! Gotta get this gut looking good for the upcoming bathing suit season. :) On that thought ... anyone want to recommend some good booty exercises? I've got some saddle bags I need to unpack too (ha. horseback joke.). ;)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Jelly Beans, GFC, and Happy Birthday Dr Seuss!

A short(ish) one today ...

Jess of Run With Jess fame is at it again! Early registration for The 2nd Annual Jelly Bean Virtual Race is open! One of the VERY cool things about this race is that you can CHOOSE your distance! You can do any or all of the 5k, 10k, half-marathon, and full marathon distances (I'll be doing the 5k and 10k)! Go HERE for more information.

Unless you've been playing ostrich the last couple weeks, you know Google Friend Connect is ending (or already HAS ended, for those of you not using Blogger). I find this a little disappointing since it made following other blogs SO easy. I've been using G Reader for a while now, so it isn't SUCH a big deal for me, but I can see how it would be a royal pain in the backside. To make it a little easier for some of you (I know I don't have very many readers, so I like to take care of the ones I DO have), I've joined Linky and Networked Blogs. Those seemed to be the big 2 (besides G Reader) I've "heard" talked about lately as alternatives for GFC. The widgets for both of these can be found on the right side of my blog.

Also, a HUGE HaPpY BiRtHdAy to one of my favorite authors, Theodor Geisel. If that name doesn't ring a bell, you may know him as DR SEUSS! I have SO MANY Seuss books from my childhood, and I'm always trying to collect the ones I don't already own. A friend even bought me Thing 1 and Thing 2 stuffed animals back in high school (to go along with our costumes for Seuss day during Spirit Week). My dad's confusion over my love of Disney movies was to my Grandmother's confusion over anything Dr Seuss. They just didn't make sense to her (which she was VERY vocal about), which made story time all the more entertaining for us grandkids. One Fish. Two Fish. Red Fish. Blue Fish. :D

Tomorrow's run is my 2nd attempt at a 8-miler. My confidence SHOULD be much higher after last weekend, but I just saw the weather report for tomorrow. Gusting wind. Well, crap. I guess I'd better put together a rocking playlist to help me stay focused. I'll probably run the same route as last weekend just to make it a little easier on myself. I guess this will be good practice for my 7k next weekend. No joke, this is directly off the entry form for the race ...

Warning from the race director and head leprechaun: Let's be honest about this race for a moment. This race has the absolutely worst weather of any outdoor event not only in the Midwest, but perhaps in the entire US (of course I have not done that Ultra marathon in Death Valley, so I could be wrong). Due to the time of year and the unique positioning of Maumee Bay State Park right on the shore of Lake Erie, the running conditions border on being suicidal! Expect gale-force winds, snow, sleet, rain, freezing temperatures, icy and snow-covered roads, swarms of locusts, and the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse, all in the same 4.34 mile course. This race makes running a marathon look really easy!! If you had a brain in your head, you would run screaming from this entry form, but as I know you will not, don't come complaining to me on race day about the weather. Oh, and by the way, the 4 horsemen don't get scored in the age groups, so that is at least one positive thing. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! Don't even think that I will cancel this race for any of the above conditions, just get your snow shoes and survival gear ready and pay up the insurance before you come! Now, back to the entry form ...

Yea, yikes. This Bay and Park are actually my Masters research site, so I KNOW they aren't kidding. This is going to be "FUN".

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February Wrap Up and then some.

Well, I guess it's time to wrap up February since it's officially March now. I started writing this post last night, but I was just too darn tired after watching Ghost Hunters International and Face Off to finish it and post. Oh well. Here we go ...

Did everyone enjoy Leap Day? Did you do anything special? I was a little nostalgic in the morning because I realized it was the first Leap Day without my grandmother (mom's mom). It would have been her 19th birthday. Yes, she was a leap day baby. All the grandkids LOVED needling her over surpassing her in both age and height (she was also a SHORT woman). The joke in our family was that you were officially allowed to sit at the "big kid table" (none of us act like adults) once you were taller than Grandma. lol. My dad and I were pulling for my cousin's baby to be born yesterday just to spite K, but no luck.

Last night, I got sucked into another race, The Quantum Leap 2.9 Miler. It was put on by the Toledo and Fremont running clubs and the store where I've been going to group runs, Second Sole. I hadn't really trained specifically for it, but I figured yesterday was a speed workout anyway (I'll make up the extra mile tonight at group) and a new distance meant an automatic PR. *grin* There was a threat of thunderstorms, but we got lucky. Actually, we got doubly lucky because the temperature was in the low 50s! Sheesh! If it hadn't been so breezy, I would have worn a tee shirt with my capris. There were actually quite a few people there in shorts and tees! In February! *shakes head* It was a really fun race, though. I got there, signed in (relatively quick for the number of people there), and started my warm up before I realized who was standing less than 10 feet from me. My friend Mike and his wife (yes, Liz, the one I ran with the night I won my Saucony Nomad jacket at group!). He made a big deal out of how surprised he was to see me and I just raised my eyebrow and laughed at him. Another friend, also Mike, from dailymile, was there too, but we didn't get to talk much until after the race since he got there so close to the start. Unoffficially, my finish time was 29:43. That's a 10:10/mi average pace. Not too shabby. I'm sure the official time will be a little different since it was a gun start and I was a little ways back in the pack. I thought I started out a little too quick, but I was able to maintain my pace pretty easily as long as I didn't over-think it. I THINK the photographer got a picture of 2 with me in it, but we'll see when they're posted on facebook. I'll be sure to update here if/when. I'll go crazy pouring over the age groups once the results are posted too, so no worries.

Some of you know I've been experimenting with my nutrition and hydration lately. Some of it has to do with knowing I need to find a better (read - healthier) system as I increase my mileage and part of it is trying to avoid the migraine-like headaches I get from being dehydrated and electrolytes being out of whack. No joke, I used to get them after EVERY run, no matter how much water or gatorade I drank before, during, and after. The only thing I could do was take painkillers and crawl in bed for a couple hours, hopefully to sleep off the prain. It was horrible. Anyway, my latest thing to try out finally came in the mail yesterday ... nuun. A smaller shop that sells through amazon had a pretty great deal on a pack of 4 tubes plus 4 individuals, so I used some of my amazon credits. So far, I like it! I have tubes of tri-berry, citrus fruit, lemon-lime and orange. The individuals are grape and fruit punch (NOT my favorite flavor, but I'll try just about anything once). I tried out the orange before the race last night and lemon-lime later. I like that the flavor isn't overpowering. More to come as I try out the other flavors and work them into my regular life.
Wheeeeee! Fizzies! Yes, I'm mature. lol :D
Since it IS the end of February, I sat down with my weekly mileage tracker (woo, more excel spreadsheets!) and figured out my monthly totals. This month, I had 9.15 miles walked (warm ups and cool downs, mostly) and 62.68 miles run (in 11:55:14). Not bad. My miles walked is down from January (mainly because I've been better at planning and mapping my runs) but my miles run is up (53.64 in January). There hasn't been a whole lot of change in my pace, but my endurance is much better. My longest run in February was my 8-miler last Saturday where my longest in January was 5.1 miles (twice). I can feel the difference in my body, but I'll address that in another post (I swear. I'm writing it bit by bit every day).

The end of February also means the end of Fab Ab February and Amanda @ RunToTheFinish's Appreciation Challenge. These were both eye-opening for me. FAF really showed me that I need to take more time to work on my core. Since I quit #plankaday (I got annoyed at being bitched at over twitter for not getting online and sharing every damn day. You don't like that my first instinct ISN'T to run online and tell you every time I do something? Too damn bad.), I need to come up with a plan of my own and stick to it. I'm working on it. The Appreciation Challenge really opened my eyes to appreciating the little things about myself and those around me. I'm really enjoying going back and re-reading some of the journal entries and thinking about WHY I was appreciating certain things and people each day. I realize how much the "little things" impact the rest of my day and my longer-term mood. I think this is another thing that I need to work on more frequently.

Alright. Lunch break over. With the University being on Spring Break next week, all the professors who do field work trips on the "week off" are in a tizzy over getting all their equipment ready to go. Which means the basement is pretty loud (even after our department chair got the construction crew to shut up during class hours) and I have to concentrate even harder to get anything done here on campus.