Friday, June 29, 2007

That map? It looks kind of scary

Oh my.

I just finished mapping out the 5-mile run I'm supposed to do tomorrow morning. And I'll be the first to admit looks very very scary.

I didn't want to run in a straight line, so I incorporated some loops that I like to do, but still. It goes quite a ways away from my house. I'm not sure why I was thinking it wouldn't go so far. I mean, it's not like 5 miles is a hop, skip and a jump.

And this isn't just any 5 mile run. It's my first 5 mile run. Ever. As in, I've never run farther than 4.5 miles at this point. And if I remember right, that 4.5 mile run was before the Great Neck Slicing of 2007.

But I feel pretty confident that I'll be able to finish. Granted, I won't be fast. It will probably take me almost an hour, but as long as I put one foot in front of the other, I'll make it back home. And if I have to walk a block or two, well, I'm sure Hal won't mind.

Besides, I have a bit of motivation. As long as I put one foot in front of the other for 5 miles, I'll be rewarded with a girls night out at Summerfest tomorrow night for Krista's bachelorette party :)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's not an itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikini, but I better find it

I have a bad habit. I'm the type of person who tends to wait until the last possible minute to do stuff.

Going on a trip? I'm the girl who waits until 1 a.m. the morning of her 6 a.m. flight to pack. Paper due in college? There were many times I waited until the day before to start writing. I always rationalized in my head that this would help me in my chosen career path. I needed to learn to write on deadline.

This time, my last minute task involves a swimming suit.

See I'm heading out for a bachelorette party this weekend. A party that will involve friends, Summerfest, a sleep over and lounging by the pool. My problem? It's less than two days away and I still haven't pulled my swimming suit out of my dresser drawer. For all I know, it could have a substantial hole in the behind or it may not even fit and I could be left sans swimming suit.

I could have easily pulled the suit out a few weeks ago, tried it on and made sure it fit and there were no holes to worry about. But did I? Nah. I kept telling myself I have plenty of time. So here I am. Hours away from needing the suit, which is still packed away in my dresser.

Of course that's an entirely different worry. What if the suit isn't in my dresser? After all, it was just a few weeks ago that I discovered all of my summer shorts were neatly folded and tucked in my my parents' house.

I guess I better go home tonight and make sure this swimming suit exists. Otherwise there could be a shopping trip in my near future.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hopefully I'm back on track

I haven't been very good about this whole running thing this week.

After skipping Sunday's 4-miler, Monday was supposed to be one of those stretching/strength days that I haven't bothered to do. And yesterday? Yes, I was intending to roll out of bed at 6 a.m. to log my 3.5 mile run before the heat and humidity set in, but my knee is was feeling a bit funky. So I decided to sleep. And considering it was 93 and super super humid by the time I got home from work, I decided that 3.5 mile run just wasn't going to happen.

But I got back on track today.

Hal was telling me I only had to do 2 miles today, well assuming I had done the other runs so far this week, which I didn't. So instead I headed out and returned to my apartment 4 miles later. Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in another run or two before this weekend. And it looks like my long run, which is supposed to be 5 miles this weekend, might take place on Saturday, before I head out for a friend's bachelorette party.

At least that's the plan.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

One minute it was blowing hot air, the next, POOF!

I never realized how hard it is to get ready in the morning in a bathroom that lacks an electrical outlet.

No. I don't have the misfortune to have an apartment equipped with a bathroom that doesn't believe in electricity. It's more like I have a bathroom that HAD electric capabilities before my blow dryer decided to blow up and leave the outlet useless.

That's right. My blow dryer blew up this morning.

I plugged it in, turned it on and blew hot air for all of 2.2 seconds before it went POOF! There was a flash of bright light and then a really nasty smell. And then instead of blowing out hot air, it decided to give off this foul smelling smoke.

This was not good. Here I was with a head of wet hair, which would have never dried on its own today since it super humid today, standing in front of my mirror, holding a smoking, non-functioning hair dryer.

Turns out I had a spare, but it was kind of useless without an electrical outlet that worked. Yes, I tried hitting that RESET or TEST button that was on the outlet, but nothing. The outlet was dead. As a friend of mine in Indiana would say, it was as dead as Dale Earnhardt.

So I had to resort to blow drying my hair and trying to curl it in my bedroom, without a mirror. Not so fun.

After work I made a Target run to replace my now blown up hair dryer, but it's not going to do me a whole lot of good tomorrow since I forgot to tell my landlord about the electrical outlet that's now dead. Looks like it's back to the bedroom outlet tomorrow.

Monday, June 25, 2007

And hopefully this will be the only time I have to apologize

Forgive me Hal, for I have slacked.

Yes, I skipped the 4-mile training run you told me I was supposed to do yesterday. I can't even blame it on the heat, because honestly, it wasn't that hot. I just felt very blah. And tired. And didn't feel like running.

Blame it on the fun I had with the chickens at Chickenfest Saturday. There was much chicken dancing and drinking and laughing. And too much sun.

So Hal, that's why I slacked. Although I did manage to squeeze in a 3.6 mile run Saturday before the Chickenfest festivities began. So it wasn't an entirely wasted weekend.

Friday, June 22, 2007

In case the cowboys capture me, these were my plans

I'm going into work late today. Meaning I should have probably laced up my shoes and went running this morning when I got up. But I didn't.

I have an excuse though.

I'm going to be spending my Friday night shift, walking around a 175-acre field full of sunburned, tired, and most likely drunk cowboys and cowgirls who just want to see Dierks Bentley take the stage. Yes. Welcome to my inaugural shift at County USA. From what I've heard from co-workers, it shouldn't be too bad though. Unless the cowboys and girls can't behave. Then we might have problems.

But after my night with the cowboys, I'm running with Krista in the morning before spending the rest of my day with the chickens at Chickenfest, the summer festival where my parents live, tomorrow and I have plans to wrap up my weekend with a 4-mile run Sunday.

Aren't you jealous? Cowboys, chickens and running shoes? I thought so.

I shot a 65!

I've never had the urge to learn how to play golf. I had an ex-boyfriend who tried to teach me once, but I would swing the club and the ball would move all of two inches.

It's so much more enjoyable to climb in the golf cart and drive it around the golf course. Watching other people golf. Yes, watching. And later writing about it. Because I've done that many times. And enjoyed it. I'm not the one chasing after a little white ball that I've somehow managed to hit, more than two inches, into the woods.

But miniature golf? That's more my style.

Word Nerd and I decided to go miniature golfing last night after work. It's been a few years since I last tested my putting skills, so I was expecting to be a little rusty.

Yeah, I was rusty all right. Luckily, there weren't any other groups of people waiting behind us, because instead of the 18 holes we paid for, I think we ended up playing 22 or something. Hole number 1? Yeah, we tried that one twice because we both hit the maximum six strokes before even getting remotely close to the hole! And those holes, yes there were multiple, where you had to hit the ball uphill to even get close to the hole? Not so fun.

The little signs at the beginning of each hole told us par was usually 2 or 3. Yeah, we were lucky if we'd get our ball into the hole in 4 or 5 strokes. Most of the night we were quite even, it was just one bad putt into the raging river and a few of those uphill shots for Word Nerd that left our scorecard reading Word Nerd 69, Badgergirl 65.

It was fun though.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Too bad it didn't blow me home

Yippee for temperatures in the mid-70s and no humidity!

Tonight's 3.3-mile run was actually pleasant and enjoyable. Well, except for the gusty wind, that decided to do this swirling thing, so it seemed like I was always running into the wind no matter what direction I was going.

Week 2 isn't off to a bad start.

Monday, June 18, 2007

From the court to the dating pool

I remember watching him on the tennis court.

Granted, I was infatuated with his Aussie countryman Patrick Rafter, but still, it a match with Mark Philippoussis was not painful to watch. Tall, dark hair and he had a monster of a serve.

But Mark, what's the problem? Why have you resorted to an American reality dating show? If you really wanted to go the dating show route, why couldn't you have at least chosen The Bachelor? Because that one is more entertaining to watch. This "Age of Love" thing? Kind of cheesy. Cause you know you're totally going to end up with one of the 20-somethings.


Could you at least see if Patrick Rafter could come on the show and help you make some decision, like if you should can the 48-year-old executive assistant to the Lakers owner or 21-year-old college kid who's jealous because all of her friends are getting married.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

One week's over

If this past week is any indication of what the rest of the summer's going to be like, I think I might have chosen a bad summer to train for a half marathon.

A recap of the week's weather: mid-80s, sunny, humid. Repeat for seven days.

But even though it was hot and nasty outside, I stuck with what Hal was telling me to do, well mostly. Two three-mile runs, a two-mile run and today's 4-miler. I got all the runs in that Hal was telling me I needed to, I just mixed up some of the days, since I wasn't able to lace up the sneakers on Thursday due to my gallivanting at Waterfest. But I made up for it this weekend.

Not too bad. This week I should really figure out what I'm going to do for my cross-training. It'll probably be time on my bike. And of course, I should try to make it back to the YMCA just to do some weights once a week. Maybe tomorrow, since that's what Hal's telling me I should do.

There weren't many things I liked about the 'burg, but this was one

I admit, those three years I lived in the 'burg? Not the most memorable time in my life.

I had a job I disliked more often than I liked, I didn't have a ton of friends there and there wasn't much to do, because remember, it was the 'burg.

But believe it or not, there were a few bright moments from those three years. There was the community orchestra I played in, where I met some great people. And the summer I spent my days and evenings in the pit orchestra for a community production of "Oklahoma!" They were long days and longer nights, but the shows were fun and the afterglows were a blast.

And then there was Amanda. The closest friend I had in the 'burg.

We met at work, discovered a mutual love for the Dave Matthews Band and hit it off. One summer concert at Alpine Valley lead to another and the rest is history.

There were weekly runs to Jimmy John's for lunch. It got to the point where the girl working the counter didn't even have to ask us our order (a Slim 4 with cheese for me and some concoction with cherry peppers for her), having our sandwiches ready before we even told the guy what we wanted.

When the Wisconsin winters finally went away, it was nights spent walking loops around the cemetery next to her house. This was our gossip time and the topics ranged from work gripes, to boy troubles, to our hopes and dreams.

Eventually, those dreams lead me away from the 'burg last summer. But my friendship with Amanda is one I've kept. Granted, those walks in the cemetery aren't as often and the gossip sessions usually take place via e-mail these days, but it's a friendship I'm glad to have.

Friday night I got the chance to do it all in person again, as I headed down to the 'burg to spend the evening with Amanda. Our plans were kind of low key, dinner and some good gossip time, but it was nice to catch up with an old friend.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mental note to self

You should probably stick to that 11 p.m. bedtime during the week. Otherwise you'll find yourself in the same situation you're in today: Tired, struggling to keep your eyes open and no opportunity for a nap since you have a ton of work that needs to be done by 5 p.m. and evening plans.

So the next time you decide to head out for a few drinks after Waterfest, remember today. Cause you're ass is dragging.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I've made a decision

I've finally talked myself into it.

I'm going to run the U.S. Cellular Half Marathon in September, it's the half marathon run in conjunction with the Fox Cities Marathon.

Yes, that would mean running 13.1 miles.

13.1 miles as in the distance that would take me on a route through three different cities. Heck, a route that would take me across a county line. I've been toying with the idea since late April, and I had a setback or two, the whole Great Neck Slicing of 2007, but I've thought about it a lot the last two weeks and I've determined it's a 13.1 mile challenge that I want to tackle.

I know I won't be fast. That's not what matters to me. What matters to me is that I can finish it. And I think I can.

I've decided to follow the training program put together by Hal Higdon, I used his program while getting ready for the 5K and was totally ready for it. The program started yesterday, I was supposed to do some strength stuff and stretching, but I didn't. I'll catch up on that, the important thing is that I started out the running part well...with a 3.25 mile run tonight. Which went pretty good.

I admit, the fact that the 12-week program never actually has me running 13 miles freaks me out a bit, but I also have a couple of weeks after the 12 weeks ends before the race, so hopefully I'll be OK.

I know it's going to be hard and there will probably be days when I have absolutely no desire to lace up my running shoes and head out for a run because it's 98 degrees and humid. But I'm going to do it.

So bear with me the next four months or so while I pass along stories about my training. I'm sure I'll have stories about short runs and long runs in addition to runs in the rain and runs where it's so humid it's not even funny. Like I said, it'll be hard, but I think it'll be worth it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Your input is needed

Question for my readers:

If you glance at my sidebar, you'll notice that the next book I'm planning on reading is a big old "To Be Determined." Now, I have two choices, but I'm not sure which one I should choose. Which is where you're help comes in.

I just started Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix this weekend, meaning I still have to read Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince before the final installment is released in July. Now if it takes me longer than I'm expecting to read Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, my book choice is solved for me, I'll just dive right into Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince.

But let's say I finish Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix quicker than I expect, I have The Memory Keeper's Daughter checked out from the library. Anyone heard anything good about this book? Recommendations? Should I read it as soon as possible, don't even bother reading it or read it when I finish up with Harry's adventures at Hogwarts?

Let me know what you think, and keep an eye on my sidebar to find out what I decide to do.

Scrub brushes or bike rides, it's not a tough choice

I really should have spent some time cleaning my bathroom today. It needs it, but I hate cleaning the bathroom.

But instead of heading into the bathroom armed with a scrubbing brush, Windex and bathroom cleaner, I filled up my water bottle and headed out on my bike.

In my defense, it was sunny and in the mid-80s, weather that was much more appropriate for biking riding than bathroom cleaning.

I took a nice 11 mile ride from my apartment to Menominee Park, through some of the park trails and back home. It was a little windy on the way back, but nothing too bad. I'm pretty good at slathering my face with sunscreen before I head out, but I tend to forget other body parts on a regular basis. Today, it was my shoulders, so I have two patches of pink on my shoulder blades. Oh well.

After I got home, I decided to head up to Mom and Dad's house for dinner, because they were pulling out the grill. Even though I have a little grill, it's useless to me since it doesn't work. So I have to take advantage of the grill at my parents' house.

Now I just have to see if I can stay awake another hour or so until my laundry is done. Normally it wouldn't be a difficult task, but considering I went to bed last night, actually this morning, when the birds were waking up at daybreak, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep. Oh well, at least I know I'll sleep good tonight.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A dayoff report

Since I'm pulling the weekend reporter duty, I had today off to do whatever I pleased.

After sleeping a little later than usual, I crawled out of bed, laced up my sneakers and headed out for a run. With weather forecasts calling for highs in the mid to upper 80s and lots of humidity, I wanted to run while it was still somewhat tolerable out. When I headed out at 9 a.m., the mercury in the thermometers was already passing 76 degrees, you could feel the wetness in the air and it was quite gusty. But it was OK and I'm happy to report that the 3 miles I ran today were easier than the 3 miles I ran last weekend at the Lake Fly 5K. Looks like I'm getting back on track post Great Neck Slicing.

The only problem with today's run, I had to do battle with the construction crew that's decided to repave the road I begin and end my run on. Looks like I'll be heading out to the park or the Wiouwash Trail again in the near future.

Afterwards, I pointed my car north and headed towards my parents' house. My little blue Focus was in need of a 30,000 mile maintenance appointment, otherwise known as the ridiculously expensive maintenance package. But four hours and way too much money later, my car is set and I should only have to worry about oil changes and tire rotations for the next 2 or 3 years. At least that's the plan.

Originally I had planned to head back to The City on the Water after my car was done, but the weathermen were predicting some pretty nasty weather. It was supposed to hit during the late afternoon hours. I admit, I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to storms. Maybe it was that whole 3 month period when I lived in Indiana and all it seemed to do was storm so bad with constant lightning that it felt like it was mid-afternoon when it was really 2 a.m. So I get a little nervous when nasty weather approaches, but I can usually handle it without hyperventilating.

Today, when they started cancelling things left and right because of the potential nasty weather, I decided if it was in the cards that I was going to die in a severe storm or tornado, I was at least going to do it along with my parents, in their basement.

Well it turns out it was all for nothing, since we didn't get a drop of rain and just a few clouds. Oh well, at least my Dad bought me dinner.

And that's all I have to report for today.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I hope I'll be able to hear you now

Remember that new cellphone I got? Well I returned it today.

Turns out I really like having a phone where I can carry on a conversation without repeating, "Can you hear me now?" or "I can't hear you, you're breaking up." Not hearing scratchy background noise is nice as is the ability to complete an entire phone call without you call being lost.

With that so-called great phone that I purchased with my new contract, I got all the bells and whistles on the phone, an MP3 player, a camera and video camera. But I also got a bunch of lost calls, static sounds and lost words.

Not such a good deal when the cellphone is your primary phone and you also use it for work occasionally.

I tried taking it back over the weekend. Instead of helping me out, the friendly folks at Verizon punched a few buttons and made it worse. So after work tonight, I headed back to Verizon intent on walking out of the store with a different phone in hand. Luckily, I got a salesman who was willing to help me out and listen to my problems. So after about 45 minutes, I did get to walk out of the store with a different phone.

It hasn't rung yet and I haven't had to make a phone call yet, but I'm crossing my fingers that I'll no longer have to deal with missing words, static or lost calls.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

You want how much?

Did The Great Neck Slicing of 2007 sound like so much fun that you found yourself rushing out to find a doctor who would be willing to remove a golf ball from your neck?

Before you make the appointment to get sliced open, wait a minute.

I'm going to offer you a word of warning, something that I'm coming to realize very quickly as the bills start rolling in...slicing open your neck is quite costly.

I'm talking five figures. Luckily, I have insurance and that will take care of a large portion of it. But still, the chunk I'm responsible for paying will most likely top four figures by the time all is said and done. And that's a lot of George Washingtons (and Abe Lincolns) that I could find so many better ways to spend (or save).

If dollars and cents aren't an issue for you, by all means, find that surgeon who's willing to sharpen his scalpel and make the incision in your neck. Because if pain is what you enjoy, a neck slicing will be right up your alley.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

No lake flies were to be found

The good news is, I wasn't found lying in a crumpled head somewhere around mile 1.9. And I wasn't the last runner to cross the finish line.

I survived the Lake Fly 5K yesterday. That's not to say it was a completely enjoyable run.

The run itself, along the river, wasn't too bad. Even though I had to dodge the piles of goose poop and a few dead fish, I did manage to see a turtle hanging out in the grass along the path. What made the run somewhat miserable was Mother Nature. Even though it was bright and sunny when I left my apartment an hour before the race, by the time the race started, it had conveniently started raining. It wasn't a downpour or anything, but it was a steady rain, that made it feel even more humid than it already was. And it kept raining the entire race, making the metal lift bridge we had to run over a bit treacherous. Of course, it stopped raining as soon as I crossed the finish line.

There wasn't a huge turnout, maybe about 200 people, with a good chunk deciding to walk the course. In terms of the runners, I was near the end. I think there were three girls who finished after me and of course all of the people who chose to walk. Surprisingly, the three miles wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I ended up running the entire course, which I thought was pretty good since I felt like dying earlier this week after 2 miles.

There was no "official" timer thing at the end, and of course my watch didn't work, so I didn't figure out my time until I after I got home and added up the lengths of the songs that shuffled through my MP3 player. And I was surprised. According to the MP3 player, I finished around 30 minutes, 50 seconds, almost a minute and a half faster than my Oshkosh 5K time. That didn't sound right to me, but I did the math a few times and kept coming up with that same answer. So maybe I wasn't running as slow as I thought.

All in all, I got what I wanted out of the Lake Fly 5K. It was a way for me to work my way back into running after the Great Neck Slicing of 2007.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The wheels kept turning

My bike, the one my dad made all spiffy back in April, has been feeling a bit neglected.

It's been sitting there, parked underneath the shelf in my garage. Everyday I go to get in my car to leave for work it just looks at me. If bikes had eyes, this one would have those pleading, puppy dog eyes that just scream, "Take me for a bike ride!"

So today, I did.

Granted, it wasn't the most beautiful day, although it was a bit cooler, it was still pretty humid. By the time I left work it was starting to get cloudy. But my bike still called. So I took it out for a 6-mile spin. I could have gone farther, and wanted to keep pedaling, but by the time I started heading back for my apartment, the wind had picked up and the fluffy white clouds that were in the sky when I left work had turned kind of nasty looking. Since I really didn't want to get stuck in a storm on my bike, I headed home. I made it with just enough to read for about 20 minutes before taking a shower. Then the thunder started rumbling, the lightning started flashing and the downpour began.

The bike ride was good though. Now let's just hope tomorrow's Lake Fly 5K goes OK.

The pages didn't get turned very often last month

I have to admit, not many pages got read during May. Yes I finished four books for a total of 1,327 pages, but you have to put it in perspective. One of those books I started reading back in FEBRUARY. Yes, the second month of the year, when we got hammered with snow. And it would have only been three books, but I cracked down and made myself finish the book I was reading last night, when I would have rather been doing something else.

But the four books I read during May brings my 2007 total to 25 books and 8,465 pages. Not too bad.

So here's what I worked my way through this month:
Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The 25 Greatest Moments in Camp Randall History by Mike Lucas
Off Main Street: Barnstormer's, Prophets & Gatemouth's Gator by Michael Perry
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

And speaking of Jodi Picoult, I've decided to take a hiatus from reading anything she's written. No more Jodi until at least 2008. It's mostly because I was so totally able to predict the twist in Nineteen Minutes a full 200 pages before the twist was revealed! I think that's partly due to the fact that I've read four of her books since Jan. 1. So Jodi, it was nice knowing you, but I'll see you again in 2008.

After a short break, I've decided to return to my task of rereading the Harry Potter books in anticipation of the seventh installment's release in July. I've only got three more, but of course they all check in at more than 700 pages. I've made a very tiny dent, as in maybe 50 pages, in Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire since I started it last night.