Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekend wrap up

Weekends really need to be longer. Or work weeks just need to be shorter.

I mean to get the long run in on Saturday, but I woke up a bit late and had a bowling date to attend. I can't remember the last time I went bowling, but it's probably been over three years. I'm not a great bowler. Heck, a good day for me at the lanes is when I break 80. And given that, I guess it was a good day since I bowled a 109 and a 91. Not bad. I can feel it in my shoulder today though.

Since it was getting late and was pretty windy when I got done, I pushed the long run back to today. But I was a on a strict time scheduled - had a date with my TV to watch the USA v. Canada gold medal hockey game.

I had 6 miles on the schedule today and when I took off it was cloudy, but not snowing. As is my habit, I always seem to start off too fast, but it doesn't seem fast. The first two miles were fine, mile 3 was tougher since I was running straight into a semi-strong wind. Miles 4 and 5 were OK and by then it had started to snow lightly, but hard enough that the flakes were sticking to my clothing. I got home and Garmin Gus told me I was just a tad short of my 6 miles (even though this same route from a few weeks ago was measured as 6.25 miles by So I tacked on an extra block and finished up my 6.2 miles in 1 hour, 6 minutes. Other than my fast first mile, the rest of my splits were pretty consistent - between 10:45 and 11 minutes per mile (remember, I'm not a speed demon!).

So I finished up the run and had just enough time to shower before watching the puck drop on the gold-medal hockey game. Such a good game. He may have been a Fighting Sioux at U of North Dakota, but kudos to Zach Parise on that game-tying goal with 24 seconds left in regulation to send the game to OT! Hats off to Canada on the victory, but congrats to Team USA for the nice comeback.

Now it's off to finish watching the closing ceremonies. I've loved every minute of these Olympic games and am sad to see them end. So many great stories. And great competitions. Can't wait until the summer games in London roll around in 2012 and the winter games come back in 2014 in Sochi.

For now, I've just got to figure out how to occupy myself until March Madness starts in a few weeks!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. It was an emotionally draining day at work. A long day spent writing about difficult subjects. I don't want to get into anymore details though. Just trust me. It was hard.

2. Because I was at work so late, I had to skip the planned 4-mile run after work tonight. I'd like to fit it in Friday, but I don't know if I should just skip it in order to have fresh legs for Saturday's 6-miler.

3. I've written about The Monster and the nasty medicine that left me 30 pounds heavier. Well last night I got some exciting news. While I still have about 6 pounds to lose, last night I tried on a pair of work pants that I haven't worn since March 2008 since they got too small. Well last night? They fit! Not even tight! So exciting.

And that's all I've got. Time to go watch some figure skating.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Forgive me for going one second over my time limit

I don't like people who hover. You know, that person at the gym who signs up for the time slot immediately after yours and then when you've still got a minute or two left in your 30-minute slot, they come over and just stand there.

Right. Next. To. You. And they stare.

I've dealt with people who hover the last two days I was at the YMCA this week. The woman on Monday has done this to me before. I barely finish my run, don't get a chance to do a quick cool down and I see her impatient looks while I wipe down the machine. Sorry, would you like me to leave it all sweaty?

Today the hoverer at least stood off in the distance. But she's also the girl who monopolizes the treadmills - signing up for four time slots in a row. I understand some people need to get that 2-hour run in on the treadmill. But do it at a less busy time, because at 5:30 p.m.? Everybody's fighting for a chance to run to nowhere.

Let's just say I'll be so glad when I can just run outdoors after work and not have to worry about becoming road kill because it's dark out, there are sidewalks in my neighborhood and the people drive down my street like it's a NASCAR track.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Date No. 1 with Gus

So Gus and I had our first date on Saturday.

The plan was to meet up at my apartment around 11ish and head out for a 4-mile run. I admit, I was being a bit of a girl, and I was running late. But he understood. It was a little awkward attaching him to my wrist though - over the jacket sleeve? Under? We ended up agreeing on over.

We were set. Headed out the door and had to just stand there at the end of the driveway for a few minutes while Gus located the satellites. Finally he had them and we were set.

I started to run.

It was a little weird running with Gus. For one thing, this was the first time I'd ever run and had the ability to glance down and see what kind of pace I was running. So I was a little distracted - as in I ran through a fairly deep, ice cold puddle right around mile 2. Wet feet. Fun.

And I'm pretty sure Gus didn't plan it, but I got to run through snowflakes. Kind of fun. It was just a few flakes when we left, but by the last mile it was actually coming down pretty hard - not sticking to the ground though.

Overall, the run with Gus was good. The only concern I had is either Gus was having such a good time with me that he didn't want our date to end so he fudged the distance, or has been lying to me for the last two plus years. Because what I thought was a 4-mile route, Gus told me it was more like 3.7 miles. Hmmm.

I'll give Gus the benefit of the doubt and go with the thought that he just really liked spending time with me yesterday.

There will definitely be more more dates with Gus. And next time? I'll even have mile splits - didn't read the instruction manual that came with him very well. Oops.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. Looking forward to my first date with Gus on Saturday. The plan calls for a 4-mile run and since it's supposed to be nice, I'm heading outside with Gus. Even though I could probably have my first meeting with tomorrow since I don't go into work until late. But during my run tonight on the treadmill, my left ankle and left knee area were a little tender. Hmmm. Not good. Hopefully a rest day will cure it.

2. Of course replacing my running shoes will probably also help. It's long overdue. Just waiting to get my tax return. Shoes and Green Bay Half Marathon registration. That's what I'll be doing when Uncle Sam gives me some cash.

3. Sunshine. Not only was it sunny out today but Badgergirl's blog got some sunshine sent her way from Suzy and MCM Mama. I'm supposed to pass the sunshine along to 12 other blogging buddies, but it's been passed around quite a bit this week. So if you haven't been tagged, consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Meet Gus

Remember last week when I placed an order at that I was super excited about?

Well 10 days after I first placed the order I got an e-mail from the United States Postal Service around lunchtime, telling me a package had been delivered to my apartment. And since I've been stalking my package since it showed up at the Amazon warehouse facility on Friday, I knew what was waiting for me when I got home.

Let me tell you. The afternoon of work? Seemed like it took forever. But I also had a date with the treadmill after work. Finally at 7 p.m. I made it home. There was my package.

So excited.

I got inside, threw down my gym bag and started a pot of water for some pasta. Then I tore into that package.

Meet Gus. Gus the Garmin, he has a very coach-like look to him I think.

I've been wanting a Garmin for a few months now. I even had it on my Christmas wish list, but my Mom told me she preferred to get me a bunch of smaller presents so I had more to open. But I got some Christmas and birthday cash and after shopping around a bit, I found Amazon had the best deal.

So I ordered it. Then I waited. And now Gus is here. Ready to bark orders at me and be brutal when we go out for a run.

I think our first date will be on Saturday for my long run. Can't wait. Of course, I've got to figure out how to use him before then.

Which is why I'm settling in for a night of watching the Olympics and reading the manual that came with Gus.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's about more than just winning

Since the Opening Ceremonies took place on Friday night, my TV has pretty much been tuned into the Olympics non-stop. All Olympics. All day. All night. What can I say, I'm an Olympic junkie. I love the sports. The competition. The stories. The inspiration.

So far there have been so many stories that have come out of these games. The tragic ending to Nodar Kumaritashvili's story during that fatal luge training run Friday before the opening ceremonies. A young man who dreamed of competing in the Olympic games.

And did anyone catch the Nordic combined Sunday? I missed the ski jumping portion (seriously, anyone who willing hurls themselves off a tall ski jump gets major props from me), but tuned in to see the cross country skiing portion. And I honestly never thought I'd be sitting at the edge my seat, but during that final straight away that's where I was. Hoping Johnny Spillane could pull ahead of the Frenchman for the gold, and even though Spillane finished with silver, it's the first time an American has walked away with a medal in the event since the beginning of the Winter Olympics.

But by far I think the most inspiring story of the games so far has been Canada's Alexandre Bilodeau, who took home gold during the men's moguls freestyle. Yes, his skiing and jumping were impressive (just watching mogul skiing makes my knees hurt), but it was the storyline with his brother, who has cerebral palsy, that stuck with me. How he talked about how his brother inspired him on those days when he didn't really feel like going out to train.


And in non-Olympic news, I returned indoors to the YMCA and the treadmill after work tonight (one of these days it won't be dark when I get done at the office). Did a 4-mile run on the treadmill - a nice easy first mile then some intervals. Felt pretty good, but not as good as that outdoor run from Saturday.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This proves I'd rather run outdoors

It's been almost a month since my last outdoor run. That means a lot of miles have been logged on the treadmill.

First there were brutally cold temperatures. Then some kind of gremlin was living in my chest. And on the days when I did feel good enough to run, there was darkness to contend with.

But today? It was the weekend. And sunny. And no wind. And temperatures hovering near 30. Everything was perfect to head outdoors for my 6-mile run today.

I waited until about noon to head out. I wore a long sleeve tech shirt with a second long sleeve shirt layered over it and then threw on my jacket. An ear band and my running gloves and I was set. Looking back, I probably could have done with a short sleeve and long sleeve tech shirt combo instead of two long sleeved shirts, but I was still very comfortable. I took my gloves off somewhere around mile 2.5 and shoved them in my pocket and my hands were super comfortable the rest of the run.

It felt really nice to be out there, just running in the sunshine and not freezing. My last 6-mile run was back in 2007, and while I've done a handful of 5-milers recently, that last mile was a whole new territory for me. I wasn't sure how it was going to go. But I still felt really strong that last mile, with a nice pace and could have probably kept running a bit when I finally finished - maybe all of the work I'm doing on the treadmill is helping. In fact, the last two miles? They were the fastest of the day - fast being around a 10:12 minute mile. I'll take it though.

In the end I finished 6.25 miles in 1 hour, 5 minutes. Not too bad. Looking forward to a bit of a rest day tomorrow, although I may head over to the YMCA and do some easy biking. We'll see though.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Olympic spirit dominates the rest day

What better way to spend a rest day than sitting in front of the TV watching the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics?

Sounds like a pretty good way to spend a Friday night to me. Just watching the intro NBC had on gave me chills. So excited for the next 17 days.

And yet even with all the excitement, there's a layer of tragedy hanging over the ceremonies. Thoughts of the Georgian luger who lost his life today during a training run. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the Georgian athletes and the Republic of Georgia.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. The Olympics start tomorrow. Yes, I'm an Olympics junkie. Only the Olympics will be shown on my TV until the end of the month. I'm just a bit excited.

2. Hit the YMCA after work tonight and logged a 4-mile run on the treadmill. Took it easy the first mile (10:45 min/mile) and then pushed it the second mile (9:40). For the last two miles I alternated between a half mile at a 10:30 min/mile pace and a 9:40 min/mile pace. The run felt really really good. Guess it goes back to the uncomfortable is good feeling. While running the indoor triathlon race director was trying to get me to get more of my co-workers involved in the March event. Told me if I could come up with four people or two teams I'd get a free entry into the March tri. Hmmm, how do I get my co-workers to do a tri?

3. I think my workout play list needs a makeover. I've been using the same one since August and while I like it, it needs something new. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nothing much to report

I decided to give my legs a rest from running today.

Even though I wasn't going to run, I still headed over to the YMCA after work and spent some time on the bike. Pedaled 13 miles in 45 minutes and finished up with some strength and ab work. Overall a decent Wednesday night at the gym.

But perhaps the best part of the night?

Coming home and checking my e-mail. I got one from telling me my order had shipped. So excited! I can't wait for that brown box to arrive! And now I'm sure I'm going to be compulsively tracking the package so I know exactly where it is.

That's all I've got for today.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hurts so good

If I had to go back and choose a different career, I might seriously consider becoming a meteorologist. Think about it. in what other profession can you be wrong almost every day and yet you don't really get in trouble for it? Because you just blame Mother Nature and weather systems.

In other words...

The weathermen who were predicting 9 inches of snow? They were wrong. Yes, we got snow, but no where near 9 inches. Maybe 5 inches. It's hard to tell though because there was a ton of blowing and drifting. I'm OK with the snow we got though. It looks pretty and I don't have to shovel (that's what my landlord's for...wait, he doesn't plow it either, just lets it sit).

So it snowed. And while the roads were kind of cruddy (apparently my city snow plow crews don't believe in plowing either), I still headed over to the YMCA after work since it's a block from my office.

I snagged a treadmill, tuned the TV to the Wisconsin v. Illinois game and started to run, finished 4.25 miles. I did a little bit of speed work tonight. Pushed myself. Actually got to the point where I felt like I was working hard and it was a bit uncomfortable. But a good uncomfortable. And that made me realize that that's something I don't do enough of. Instead of running at a comfortable pace, I need to push myself and make it hurt. Because that's the only way I'm going to get better.

No, I didn't come to that conclusion tonight. It's been rattling around in my head for a few weeks. Years actually. In fact it's always been something I've known - whether it's running or tennis or triathlon or playing the piano, I know getting better means I have to put in the work. Tonight I just came to that realization that it applies to running to. And I shouldn't be scared to push myself or increase the speed into the 6.7mph (about a 9 minute mile) range on the treadmill.

And on those days when it does hurt? I just have to remember those words that are plastered to the top of my blog:

"Me and running don't always see eye to eye. Some days it hurts more than others. But it doesn't mean I don't do it. I deal with it and I keep running because not everything that is good for you always feels good for you."
~Lance Armstrong

Monday, February 8, 2010

The good, the bad and the unclassified

The good news: I cranked out a quick 3 mile run on the YMCA treadmill tonight after work and got home just in time to tune into "The Bachelor." Seriously Ali, why'd you walk away? He almost begged you to stay?

The bad news: I was trying something new for dinner. A baked potato with a side of corn. Sounds simple. The corn turned out great (how could I mess up frozen corn). The baked potato? Let's just call that an epic failure. Yeah. It was in the oven for an hour! And it still tasted and looked like it was a raw potato! And yes, the oven was on. So my dinner turned into corn and some cinnamon toast. The dinner of champions. I might try a second attempt at a potato tomorrow.

The unclassified news: We're supposed to get 9 inches of snow tomorrow. I know that's nothing compared to what you folks in the DC area are dealing with. And honestly, we haven't gotten much snow lately, so I'm kind of excited. But even though I'm going to try my hardest not to leave my office tomorrow once I get there, I'm still packing my gym bag and planning on hitting up the YMCA after work. I've gotta catch a glimpse of the Badgers somehow :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Football, running - I'd say that's a super Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday has come and gone. Sigh. Football's done until late summer when training camp kicks off.

I went to a Super Bowl party at my brother's house tonight. I think of the 12 adults, I was on the only one in the room cheering for the Colts. I honestly didn't care who won as long as it was a good game (which it was), but I guess my tendencies lean towards the Colts. What can I say, I was a sportswriter and wrote about them during that awful year I lived in Indiana. And three of my starters on my fantasy football team (which won the league championship this year) suit up in the blue and white (Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai and Dallas Clark).

We had two pools going - which team would score first with how much time remaining and the final score. My final score guess was the Colts would walk away with the victory 31-21 (so close, wrong team) and I picked the Colts to score first with 7:34 remaining in the first quarter.

I was off by 5 seconds and I walked away with the door prize - a Green Bay Packers sweatshirt to pull out next season. Sounds good to me!

And while a good chunk of the day was spent watching football, I did manage to head over to the YMCA earlier to sneak in a run (gotta make up for some of those Super Bowl goodies I'd be consuming later). Since I spent a good chunk of last week dealing with the brick on my chest and the gremlin living inside my chest, this was my first run in nearly a week.

I started feeling better Saturday and went to the YMCA with thoughts of wanting to run, but not really knowing how far I'd make it. Best case scenario? I'd be able to sneak in the weekend's long run - 5 miles - worst case? I'd barely make it a mile before dying. Guess it was my lucky day. I kept the pace nice and slow, but I pounded out 5.1 miles on the treadmill and the run actually felt pretty good. Now it's just time to get back on track.

And the last thing I did today? I made a purchase on that is going to make Badgergirl very very happy when the postman brings it to her door. Stay tuned to find out what it is!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I'm sick. Again. This time it feels like there's a brick sitting on my chest and some gremlin living in my body. Skipped the YMCA last night. Tried to go to work today. Lasted 2 hours. Came home and slept for 3 hours.

2. My landlord apparently doesn't believe in plowing my parking lot. It snowed on Tuesday and the lot still hasn't been plowed. Granted, it was only 2 inches, but still. That's 2 inches I've got to walk through to get to my car every morning. And let's not talk about the layer of ice that's formed as a result of the mid-day thaw and overnight freezing.

3. I've got nothing else. Time to watch TV and fall asleep.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I left my frustration on the treadmill

I had an utterly craptastic day yesterday. And trust me, it had nothing to do with having to go back to work after a week-long furlough.

I don't even want to get into it. Let's just say I was upset. And if looks could kill? Well, there might be fewer people on earth. Just sayin'.

So when quitting time rolled around I knew I had to go to YMCA. I needed a treadmill. I needed to run. Take all of the frustration I had out on that unsuspecting piece of gym equipment. But mostly I just needed to run so I could zone out, not have to think.

And of all days, this was the day I walked into the YMCA and every. single. treadmill. was. taken. Grrr. Not helping my day. I looked at the board, found one that was going to be opened up in 10 minutes. I scrawled my name across the board and went to stretch and pedal on the bike for 5 minutes (got a whole mile done).

So I'm sitting there, pedaling. Keeping my eye on this teenage chick who's walking on the treadmill that's got my name on it. I glance up at the clock. Two minutes left. Guy two treadmills down gets off. She keeps walking. One minute left. Still walking. Time's up.

She keeps walking.

Huh? Don't you understand time limits? Does she not realize this is not the day to mess with Badgergirl? That I'm a wee bit cranky?

Meanwhile there's the empty treadmill, calling my name. I hop off the bike, go over to the board.

Score. No one has claimed it yet. I erase my initials from treadmill that's still occupied by the oblivious teenage girl and scrawl them next to the one that's lonely.

I jump on. Start to run. And start to not think. I zone out. Can't even concentrate on whatever college basketball game is being shown on the TV in front of me. I just run - for 3.15 miles - and it feels good. Almost didn't want to stop, but I knew I had an errand to run before settling in front of the TV for The Bachelor. So I stopped running.

Oh and the oblivious teenage walker? She stopped walking TWO MINUTES before I stopped running. That's 28 minutes over the allotted 30-minute time limit. And I admit, I push the limits myself, but not on days when every single treadmill is occupied.

So two people almost suffered as a result of my lethal glares yesterday. Good thing I ran.


Today I opted to actually follow my training plan and take a rest day. Probably needed it after running 7 of the last 8 days.


And head over to Running Off at the Mouth for a great handheld water bottle giveaway!

Monday, February 1, 2010

January Reading Recap

Remember when I started off the year last year with a big fat zero for the number of books I finished reading in January?

Yeah, I was hoping I wouldn't repeat that accomplishment this year. And luckily I didn't. In fact, I finished three books in January for a total of 1,226 pages. Not a bad improvement over last year's zero books and zero pages. Of course I'm neglecting to mention that I was midway through Gone With the Wind and it only took men a month and a half to finish it.

What'd I read this month? Have a look:

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Comeback 2.0: Up Close and Personal by Lance Armstrong
Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

There was a lot of hype surrounding Dan Brown's latest book. I liked the first two (Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code) so I thought I'd give The Lost Symbol a read. It was good, don't get me wrong, but it pretty much followed the formula of the first two - secret cult-like organization with a mystery to solve and putting the pieces together while some group/person is after Robert Langdon and his female sidekick. But it was an entertaining read.