Friday, December 22, 2006

Yuletide Cheer

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Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like it's not really Christmas? It just feels different for some reason this year.

This past week I have been so busy with working, baking, shopping, wrapping, stressing and getting sick that I have only had a chance to run once, on Thursday morning. It was a nice 3.2 mile loop (30:40) that came just in time when I felt I was about to crack under the holiday stress.

My long run Saturday actually went great. A nice 10 mile run. Ran it slow again but I felt so strong at the end I didn't even care. Tomorrow morning we have another 10 miler with the option of making it a 13 at the end. I am really hoping to feel good enough to make it a 13 and get that barrier out of the way. But since I am getting a nasty cold, I don't know how great I will feel after a 10 mile run. Stupid germs.

The Nike Run Hit Remix was a lot of fun last Thursday.

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Jer, Kevin, Marrissa and I all went to South Beach together and ran the 5 mile run which featured entertainment every mile from 90's phenoms, Young MC, Vanilla Ice, Digital Underground, Coolio, and De La Soul. The run was great, a little dark at first, but overall put together well. We ran it strictly for fun, so we weren't overly concerned with our time and started at the back of the pack with the 11-12 minute groups (even though the guys run a 8-9 minute mile pace).

At about mile 2 there was a 40 second Florida DOWNPOUR that soaked everyone for a minute. It ended quickly enough so no one thought much about it. We wound around and ran down Ocean Drive then ran the last mile and a half on the hard sand of Miami Beach. It was sprinkling a little and of course we thought it would end soon enough. We finished the race slow (54 minutes) but felt great. We somehow lost Kevin and Marissa and while we were waiting at the end, a hurricane of biblical proportions decided to come through and soak everything in it's sight. I hadn't seen rain like that in months. It was a complete downpour with 25-30mph winds, out of nowhere. It must have lasted 30 minutes (unusual for a Florida December rain). There was no place to go for cover and everyone was exposed on the beach, so needless to say everyone was drenched. I was standing in water up to my ankles as we waited at the bag check to get our stuff (nightmare). They had to shut off power to the main stage and cancel De La Soul because the wind and rain where tearing the stage apart. I would have been more dry if I had jumped in the ocean and swam for an hour. Of course by the time we made it back to the car, the wind and rain had stopped and it was a lovely evening. How I love Miami.

At least I got a medal :)

Tomorrow after our run, I'm off the Sarasota for Christmas with the family. Maybe then the Christmas spirit will finally creep in.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tired and Unmotivated

I'm not sure why some things make you want to run forever and others make you stop in your tracks. I have felt so tired and unwilling to make an effort to run since Thanksgiving and I'm not sure why. Well, I kind of know why, I just have a lot going on. But it's nothing that should keep me from running, the one thing that actually makes me feel better.

The funny thing is the last few times I've run have been great. My Turkey Trot was fun. We had perfect, cold fall weather and I actually got a PR for a 5k course (28:31).

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Here are more pictures from The Turkey Trot and Thanksgiving weekend.

Anyway, I have been running, just not as much as I was a few weeks back. The weekend of Thanksgiving I was home at my parents and decided to take a few days off to let my legs heal. It seems as though I was having the beginnings of an IT band problem in my right leg. Pain in my hip flexor was ultimately making my knee feel weak and numb during my runs and causing extreme pain towards the end. I learned some new stretches which seem to have helped a bit and it hasn't been as bad as it was the week before Thanksgiving.

After Turkey Day I had two good runs during the week.
Tuesday - 3.22 miles / 31:08
Thursday - 4.58 miles / 47:32

Then my long run on Saturday was great. It was a 10 mile run and really humid, but for some reason it seemed really easy. Probably because I had taken it easy that week. Then Sunday I spent 2 hours sweating and lifting in the gym.

Last week I only ran once.
Monday - 3.22 / 30:40
It was a great run, and my best time for that loop. But then I took the rest of the week off before my big 12 mile run on Saturday which was a total mistake.

It started out ok. The weather was great and I had Tracy there to talk to me the whole time which was nice, but around mile 10 my hip and knee started acting up. I had a much harder time starting up the run again after walk breaks and it was way harder than I expected. Luckily, Tracy just kept talking and kept me distracted until I made it back safe and sound. It wasn't that I felt like I couldn't do it, it was just really hard at the end. I guess it was about time I had a crappy long run. Hopefully this week will be better.

So this week I have been trying to run and stretch more. So far,
Monday - 3.22 / 30:23
Wednesday - 3.22 30:29
Both great runs. Monday is my best time so far. I think today I would have beat it by a long shot but I had to stop for traffic for like 10-15 seconds towards the end. Oh well.

Tomorrow I am going to South Beach to run the Nike Run Hit Remix. A 5-mile run that has stages set up throughout the course with crazy-ass bands from the 90's playing. Young MC, Vanilla Ice, Coolio, Digital Underground and De La Soul are all performing! How awesome is it going to be to run my as Young MC is singing "Bust a Move"??!?! Oh, and the best part, Gerardo is the MC! That's right, RICO SUAVE BITCHES!!! I really can not contain my joy at the absurdity of it all.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Double Digits!

OK, first of all...

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How awesome was that game?!?! I missed Columbus so badly yesterday. I really wished I could have been there walking home drunk and happy from the Varsity Club.

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However, something even more amazing happened to me 9 mile run. Actually, it WAS a 9 mile run, that turned into a 10.7 mile run!!!! That's right people, I am officially in the double digits!

We had a 9 mile backwards run scheduled for 6am. The weather was in the LOW SIXTIES with low humidity and really windy. Mercy met me at my house and we drove out to Hobie Beach on Key Biscayne instead of our usual start in South Miami. It was a beautiful and much needed change of pace that got the group remotivated for training.

We started our run by going over the Rickenbacker Causeway and back.

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It was still nice and dark out while we ran it and the view of downtown Miami was beautiful. The bridge was a decent climb, but nothing we couldn't handle, especially since we were all adrenalized from the cool morning air. Having Mercy with me really helped the run fly by since we talked the whole entire way. We ran into Coconut Grove and back and felt so great when we hit the nine mile mark that we decided to run the bridge again. This sounded like a fantastic idea, until we were running back. It seemed a hell of a lot steeper after another 8 miles. Our time was slow as hell but I've decided not to even think about my times on Saturdays and just focus on the accomplishment of building my mileage. We ran it in 2:06:05 but that includes 4 water breaks and minute walk breaks every five minutes, so it really wasn't too bad. And to top it off, I wasn't even sore today.

So, other than that, just planning for Turkey week. We have lots of family coming into town and lots of running planned. I've got some training runs Monday and Tuesday, the 5k Trot on Thursday, and Jer and I are planning a 10 mile run Saturday at my parent's house. We'll see how easy it is with my 8mile/minute running marathon husband.

Friday, November 17, 2006

In the Mood for a Race

I found two upcoming running events to sign up for this week which makes me happy since my routine is getting a bit stale. Nothing gets me more motivated to kick it up a notch than signing up for an event.

First, I signed up for a 5k Turkey Trot on Thursday.

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I was going to sign up for my first 10K, but I figured I could just run a so-so 10k or try to improve on my disappointing Race For The Cure time. I think I need just a bit more training to run a 10k the way I would want to for a race.

Then there is the Nike Run Hit Remix on Miami Beach December 14th.

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It's a 5 mile run that starts at 8pm on the beach and has performances throughout the course from Digital Underground, Coolio, Vanilla Ice, Young MC, and De La Soul! Helllooo?!??! How freaking crazy is this? And, you get a free Dri Fit. It's all around awesomeness.

Anyway, my runs this week were a little slower since I have been feeling pretty tired and my legs feel like sand bags. However, unlike in August, at least the weather is cooperating so the runs and workouts are never all that bad.

Saturday - 7miles/1:23:53 group run with 11minute/5:1 pace
Sunday - Gym -Lift, 30 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes stepmill - (Really hard day)
Monday - Slept
Tuesday - 4.6 miles/47:52
Wednesday - 3.2 miles/31:52
Thursday - Gym -45 minutes elliptical
Friday -Slept (woo-hoo!)

So, tomorrow is a big day. I have my first 9 mile run, which is pretty exciting. We are also starting from a new location out by Key Biscayne and running over the huge bridge twice. It's someone's sneaky way to work hills into our flat Miami training. But it should be pretty nice. The sunrise over the water and downtown Miami as well as mild weather in low 60's should make the 9 miles a bit less intimidating.

I hope.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I Run Like a Girl

I really want this shirt bad. Maybe Santa is reading this.
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It seems as though my seven mile run was no fluke and I really am a runner. Ever since that run, my confidence has been sky high and I am finally figuring out what style of running works best for me. I'm learning how I should pace, if and when I need walk breaks, that I NEED to use body glide, that dry fit socks and underwear really DO make a difference, that I need to keep hydrated the day before a long run and I need to eat a bar an hour before I run to keep up my energy. All the things I thought were a bunch of bullshit before seem to really be true. Imagine that.

My eight mile run was great. actually, it was even better than the seven. It was another humid, overcast day. But we kept a great pace and I felt really strong at the end. I also finally started talking to other people in the group since Mercy has had so many things going on and hasn't really been able to make it out anymore. It really was a great day. Another rockstar moment in running.

This week I kept up the same schedule as the week before, but changed my morning runs to 4.6 instead of the 3.22. I needed to break up the rut and start adding more mileage during the week. All my runs this week have been really good and I even broke through my ipod barrier after my shuffle broke this week (stupid ipods). I had this thing where I couldn't run by myself without music. But since I had no choice this week, I sucked it up and did it and it was great. It was actually quite relaxing first thing in the morning with just the birds chirping and my feet pounding. A good way to start the day. Anyway, my schedule was:

Sunday - Gym, Abs, stretch, Lift, 30 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes stepmill, level 7
Monday - Run, 4.58 - 46.49 minutes
Tuesday - Slept :)
Wednesday - Run, 4.58 - 47.09 minutes
Thursday - Gym, 30 minutes elliptical, 15 minutes stepmill, stretch
Friday - off

So, today we had another 7 mile run to give us a bit of a break. The weather was beautiful and other than my legs feeling a little heavy, I did great. Once I stretched, they were back to normal. I also invested in a knee strap.

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I look like a total dork, but whatever. This thing works! I felt my knee swelling after 2.5 miles, but it never got painful and I have been walking pain free all day today. It was totally worth me having to step to the side and adjust it every walk break because it was sliding down. That's what I get for having chickenlegs I guess.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Run

Finally, I know what it is like to truly feel like a runner.

Last Saturday I had my very first 7 mile run, the farthest I have ever attempted. And while I was a bit nervous at overcoming the mental block of my new distance I knew my legs could do it. My ankles have been much better in the past two weeks (not perfect but better) and my knee has been cooperating as well.

I don't know exactly what it was that made the run so much better than I had expected. The fact that Mercy couldn't come that morning bummed me out a bit, but may have ultimately helped me stay focused instead of talking the whole time. The weather stayed nice and dark for a long time and although it was extremely humid that morning, it was nice and breezy and rained a few Florida showers throughout the run (downpours that last 2-5 minutes then stop), which helped to cool us down. I also ate a Powerbar that morning which is something I never do, but for some reason thought I might need it. Now I know the importance of a little food to keep you energized before you run. Whether it was the Powerbar, the walkbreaks, the group dynamic or whatever, I finally experienced the kind of run that we all dream about. The kind of run where you can stop thinking about running and just enjoy the surroundings. The kind of run where you wonder what you were bitching about all those other times. The kind of run where you wonder how many more half-marathons you will have time to train for this year.

I have often had dreams in the past that I was running at night, in the dark and felt like I could run forever; this run was the closest I have ever come to experiencing that feeling. It started out dark and breezy and after about mile 2 I finally felt tired, but it passed after about one minute. I stuck myself behind one of the guys in our group and just stayed there until I got my pace under control. The walk breaks, water stops and slower pace than I run alone really made a huge difference and three miles into the run, I lead the pack of runners with two other girls the entire way back. When I was done I knew I could have easily run at least two more miles. I felt like a rockstar. I felt like a runner.

Tomorrow morning is my next long run, 8 miles. Ha! Let's hope last week wasn't a fluke.

Anyway, I got a few other decent workouts in this week:
Sunday - Gym- Weight Training, 45 minutes Elliptical, 15 minutes Stepmill
Monday - Run - 3.22 miles - 33.25
Tuesday - Slept :)
Wednesday - Run - 3.22 miles - 31.31
Thursday - Gym - 30 minutes Elliptical, 15 minutes Stepmill
Friday - Slept :)

But the cooler weather really needs to come back. It's November for the love of God.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thank You Autumn

Cooler weather made it's way to South Florida this week and along with it came some fantastic runs. Well, maybe not fantastic, but definitely a lot better than any I had encountered in the past few weeks.

The saga of the ankles continue but nothing too dramatic has happened with that. The pain has been way down and there has been only a slight bit of swelling, usually in the evening. I went to the doctor again today for an ultrasound on my legs to check for blood clots, but he said they looked pretty good and I would get the results back next week. Let's hope the results end up 0-3.

So I was really good about getting up early all week to run before work. With longer hours at work and the time change coming, it was getting impossible to run in the evening anymore. So I made the decision to kick it into high gear and start getting up at 6am instead of 7:45am (which has always been one of the best things about my job). Surprisingly, it wasn't that difficult and I am amazed at the amount of energy I have after a morning run. I am so much less sleepy in the afternoon and it's easier (obviously) to fall asleep at night.

Anyway, Monday was bloody hot and miserable. My legs felt like lead and I stopped a couple of times, but at least I ran. Then we had a cold front come through Monday night and by 6am on Tuesday it was in the low 60's and windy outside. It wasn't the best run, but it felt a hundred times better than the day before. Then Wednesday, it was still cool and windy and I ended up having the best run in weeks, no stopping and at a decent pace. What a difference 15 degrees and lower humidity can make.

Mon - 3.22 miles 34 minutes
Tues - 3.22 miles 32.58 minutes
Wed - 3.22 miles 31.20 minutes
Thurs - 45 minutes elliptical
Fri -off

So tomorrow is the long group run and at 7 miles, it will be my longest run to date. Even though it's supposed to be hot and stormy and Mercy will probably not be there, I am still pretty excited. I guess it will be a true test of my will.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I'm back baby.

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Wow, a lot has happened and not happened since I last updated. It's been a crazy few weeks with work and doctors but hopefully things may be starting to look up.

The week after my first run with the training group my ankles swelled up like balloons. The right one was so bad I couldn't wear normal shoes for a week and just lived in my flip-flops (which is not that different than normal, but whatever). I went to the doctor and he said it looked like either Rheumatoid Arthritis or Gout. He was suspecting Gout because of a certain diuretic I had been taking for the last 9 months for another medical condition (love getting old, I think I have mentioned that before). One of the side-effects from this medication is Gout. The symptoms sounded about right so I went on with life as a gimp waiting for the results of all the blood they stole from me and the xray they took of my knee.

The day after I went to the doctor, my ankle swelled up so bad it looked like my foot was trying to swallow my toes. It was crazy. My lovely friends at work, one in particular, coined my newest nickname - "Bigfoot", which made me want to laugh hysterically and cry like a big baby all at the same time. It still felt like strained muscles in both feet, mostly just uncomfortable but not unbearable. The massive swelling lasted for about a week and caused me to miss the second training day of the half-marathon. I was not overly thrilled about already missing out because of injury, but since I literally couldn't put on a shoe, I figured I should probably take it easy for a bit.

The next week the swelling started to subside but didn't go away completely and they were still sore. I could only manage one 45 minute session of cardio on the elliptical machine (mainly because of my husband's protests to me running). However, I was bound and determined to not miss week three of training. It was a six mile run which I was concerned with since I hadn't run at all in two weeks, but it went really well. Between the darkness of the early morning, Mercy talking to me and keeping my mind occupied, the slower pace set by the group, the walk breaks, the water stations and the running-pack vibe, I felt great and even though my ankles were still swollen a bit, once I started running they didn't bother me at all. Actually, the swelling went down considerably after I was done. It's a Christmas miracle!

This week Tuesday I did a 3.22 mile run in 32.24 which felt horrible. I had to stop about 2 or 3 times. My pace was faster than I run with the group which probably explains the dead feeling while I was running. I went to the gym on Thursday and tried to run but the treadmill felt very claustrophobic and I couldn't get into it, so I just went and lifted after about 8 minutes.

Then today I did the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race For the Cure.

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Which is always a helpful reminder that no matter how big my ankles and feet get, things could be a lot worse. And even though it was really hot and I felt miserable when I was running it, I did it in a respectable time (31.11) and was surrounded by an amazing group of strong and fearless women, always inspiring.

So yesterday I got the results back from the doctor and am now extremely frustrated. He said they all came back normal (including my xray) and the only thing that was off was my level of cortisone, which was high. This seems about right since I have been getting shot up with cortisone and taking prednisone off and on since January for the other medical problems (the same one I was on the diuretic for). Now I have to go in for an ultrasound on my ankles and see a rheumatologist since even now, three weeks later, I still have swelling, redness and pain in my ankles and it gets better and worse depending on which way the wind is blowing. Whatever. I'm running again, my ankles don't effect it and even my knee has been treating me well, so I will just milk it for a long as I can. Although I feel like I am starting all over again with my training from what I was doing in August at least I am getting back out there and it feels great, even if I am slow.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

First Day of Training

I haven't updated in forever since I hadn't been running at all in hopes that my knee would magically heal itself. Unfortunately, I'm no magician, and my knee is just one in a long line of many of my current ailments.

So I took a week off after my last entry which was fine since I was in and out of town for three weeks straight for various functions and I really didn't have a lot of time to dedicate to running anyway. I did manage one run on a Wednesday evening that was amazing. My knee was feeling better so I decided to give it a shot. With the humidity levels a bit lower and after a week of rest, I ran great. I ran a 3.22 mile loop in 31:07 with no stops and felt like a rock star. Until immediately afterwards when my knee started hurting again.

So I rested one more week and tried it again, but after about three minutes I could feel the pain in my knee coming back so I stopped and decided to just take the next week and a half off from running so that I would be ready for training when it started. The only problem is, things are getting worse.

I have always had problems with the joints in my wrists and knees, but this week things just went crazy. My elbows hurt, my knees are stiff, and my right foot is swollen on the Achilles tendon and my left foot is swollen on the front of the ankle and top of the foot. Both feet are in extreme pain like the muscles around them that feels like I may have injured them while exercising. Except, I HADN'T been exercising. When I wake up in the morning, my ankles are so stiff I can barely walk. And for the past two days, I have had a slight fever. It's insane. Anyway, I am definitely making a doctor's appointment next week, something is just not right, obviously.

Anyway, the first day of the half-marathon training began this morning and I wasn't going to let a little bit of swelling, pain and fever, get me down! I know it sounds bad, but actually after I dragged myself out of bed at 5:15am and got on my running clothes and shoes, I actually did feel a lot better. And my knee didn't hurt at all.

Anyway, Mercy showed up and we met up with everyone else at the hospital. There are about 300 people signed up for this half group. I couldn't believe how many people were there. Mercy and I joined the 11 minute/mile group with a 5:1 walk ratio. We were kind of bummed that there wasn't a 10:1 group but once we got running, we felt like it was a perfect fit. We ran a nice easy three mile run which felt great. I wasn't even tired when we were done and it seemed to fly on by. And best of all, my swollen ankles weren't hurting at all. My knee however, is a different story. It hurts again so it's definitely something I need to get checked out. I'm just hoping it doesn't end up being something crazy like rheumatoid arthritis, but it really sounds like it could be. Whatever, I'm not diagnosing myself till I see a doctor. I'm just kind of bummed that I finally begin something I was so excited about doing trying to improve my health and I'm already injured. And worst yet, what if they tell me not to run? Damn.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's Always Something - Part II

Now it's my knee.

It hurts. And bad at that. My knees have always bothered me. After 10 years of bartending and overextending my knees over the speed rails to grab heavy glass racks, my knees have never been the same. Sitting with them bent for over an hour at work causes them to fill with pain and forget about riding on a plane, it's torture. After a six mile run on Saturday my left knee hurt so bad I could barely walk, then after 2 days off it felt better. Then tonight after another 6 miler the pain is back. It hurts when I touch my foot to the ground, it hurts when I apply any pressure, it hurts when I bend it out and in again.

I read up about it and it sounds exactly like runner's knee except for the 40 miles per week of running that people usually do before experiencing it. Ha. That's kind of a joke. How about 12-17 miles?!!? But I have recently doubled my mileage and it's gotten way worse so who knows. My husband says I have more aches and pains than anyone he has ever met.

Did I mention that I also turned 31 yesterday?
Oh how I love getting old(er).

Here's some birthday pics.

Work lunch on Friday with my birthday pineapple.
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Driving to Sarasota, another Florida sunset.
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Birthday dinner with J.
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Good times.

Anyway, had a good run with Jeremy on Saturday, We left on a 6 mile loop around 9am on a bright and sunny day (hot). It was actually a pretty nice run and it was fun to run with him. He ran at my pace without making me feel like he was being held back and in return, he inadvertently made me run faster. We finished the 6.02 mile run in under an hour (59:24) and that was with one minute walk breaks every 10 minutes. YAY! Of course, the last mile was brutal as we ran home around 10am facing the afternoon sun and 90 degree temperatures. But I did it and it was kind of nice to get in the sun for a change.

I took Sunday and Monday off and ran tonight in my favorite running conditions. Soggy and humid. The humidity doesn't bother me as long as there is a light rain involved and after a morning shower turned into an all-day event (an unusual circumstance for Miami) I knew I had to take advantage.

I ran two loops around campus with an extra street to make a nice 6.11 mile run. I also did it all by myself, which is the longest run I have done to date alone. I felt great. I did minute walk breaks at every mile, but still ran a decent speed. I finished in 1:03:14 and felt like I had only run my usual 3. I was on cloud nine until I started walking and felt my knee. Now Jeremy says I need to rest it and not run for a few weeks so it doesn't get injured before I start my real training in October. Sigh. Just when I was starting to get warmed up.

Favorite running song of the day: "Days Go By" Dirty Vegas

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thanks Ernie!

Finally, something good to come out of a hurricane.
Less humidity and a slight breeze.

Ernesto came and went Tuesday night without much to write home about. Actually, it was the least amount of rain we have had in a single night all summer. Don't get me wrong, it was great to not lose power, trees, roofs and lives, but by the media reports you would have thought Katrina's pissed-off twin brother was coming to finish the job she left from last year. Needless to say, the media in South Florida loves hurricane season and it's painful to watch in more ways than one. I mean, did we really have to suspend our regularly scheduled programming for two days to report on something that may or may not even be a Tropical Storm? Meanwhile, local Miamians are acting like it's Armageddon. What a mess. Of course this is all totally besides the point and hopefully this storm will not turn back into a hurricane in the northern part of the country or I will feel like a huge ass.

Anyway, one good thing came out of old Ernesto and that was favorable running conditions on Wednesday. I had the best run I have had in weeks in Miami. It was noticeably less humid, slightly breezy and overcast. Perfect.

Then there was tonight. I came home from work with a blazing headache and my ear starting to feel full. I knew I needed to go for a run since this is the only thing that ever helps to alleviate these symptoms. It was HOT, reeeally humid and sunny, all of my favorite things. I set out knowing that I was going to have a tough time, but sucked it up knowing that I would only have a chance for possibly one run this weekend. I started out slow, but kept a good pace. I had a great run considering how hot it was. I didn't stop once and even sprinted all the way down my street to finish.

Wedesday night:
3.22 miles
no stops

Thursday night:
31.58 (same exact time)
no stops
I finally got my exact mile markers down to record my splits.
Mile 1 - 10.29
Mile 2 - 9.57
Mile 3 - 9.28
.217 - 2.02

Now it's off to Sarasota to meet up with friends and family for the Labor Day/birthday weekend!

Favorite running song of the day: "Brouhaha" Beastie Boys

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oh Canada!

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I'm back from my weekend excursion to Canada, aye!?!

While I wasn't really looking forward to going simply because I was busy and didn't want the hassle of flying right now, I'm so glad I did. I got to spend time with family that I hadn't seen since my wedding three and a half years ago, got filled in on old-school family gossip (lets just say it's weird when you find out your grandparents were normal people with normal marital problems just like everyone else) and got to spend time in Windsor again, the city I used to spend so many summers in as a child.

Oh, and then there was the food.

See, my Great-Aunt Ann is one of those little old ladies that tries stuffing food down your throat as soon as you walk in the door. Everytime I entered the room she was trying to feed me. Oh, and she's Slovak. Since no one else I know cooks Slovak food anymore, I just couldn't pass it up. I mean, how often do you get homemade cabbage rolls that are actually delicious? Not often. Here are a couple of meals I had.

Dinner #1
homemade Slovak pastries and pecan tarts
sausage, cheese and crackers
cabbage rolls
fried chicken breasts
perogies (yum!)
bread (white of course)

Dinner #2
pizza with sausage and ham
cabbage rolls

Dinner #3
mashed potatoes
sweet potatoes
corn on the cob
roasted vegetables
marinated tomatoes and cucumbers
cranberry sauce
creme brulee
pita bread with hummus (don't ask where that came from, but I'm also Lebanese, so it seemed normal)

No, it was not Thanksgiving or any other crazy Canadian holiday, this is just how my family eats up there. Of course there are six people that live in that house, but still, I remember there always being that much food around even when it was just my Aunt Ann living alone.

The best food however was...

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Ahhhh, Coffee Crisp, possibly the best damn candy bar in all the world. Is it really as good as it seems, or is it just because I can only get it in Canada, therefore only eat it once every 5 years? Who knows, I brought a bag home with me just to make sure.

Needless to say, I feel like a cow. I did manage to fit one nice run in on Saturday morning. There is a great bike path right up the street from my cousin's house that runs along Riverside Drive. I had a comfortable run in a mildly humid, overcast day with a great view of the water and some beautiful homes. When I later tracked the run on Runstoppable, I realized I ran 5.94 miles in 59:32. Here's my path.

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Not too shabby. I stopped after about 3 miles at a bathroom in the marina to get a drink of water and stopped my watch, so I got a few minutes of rest in there before I headed back. But it was definitely a much better run which leads me to believe that I'm not as bad at running as I thought and it just may be the humidity causing me troubles. What a relief.

Anyway, the trip was great and flying was completely hassle-free. Here is a view from the flight home.

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Then I came home to this.

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Fun. And on the one-year anniversary of Katrina too. People were freaking out. The media was on a hurricane scare-frenzy since there have been no storms during what was suppoed to be, "the busiest year for hurricanes" so far. Cars were lined up down the streets an a feeble attempt to get gas before the storm and folks were just getting mean. Thankfully tonight though the storm broke up and has passed over us and we will have power for one more week. At least until another one rolls through.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Pops!

My dad is 65 today. Love you daddio!

Having yesterday off from exercise was bliss. I was exhausted and actually went to bed at a reasonable hour (10:30pm). I got almost 9 1/2 hours of sleep. Wow! I felt great today which probably explains why my run tonight was so much better.

Not great, but better.

I ran one lap and to the end of my street for a total of 3.24 miles.

Total time: 32:55

Not too bad. It was still humid, but I was rested, so I didn't almost die, which was a nice change of pace. On a good note, it had been insane all day with thunderstorms and cleared up while I was running so the sunset was crazy-beautiful. When I got home I ran inside and grabbed a camera. Here is a shot from my yard.

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I guess Miami weather isn't all bad.

Favorite running song of the day: "Work It" Missy Elliot (before my crap suffle died)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Blame it on the Humidity... couldn't possibly be because I suck.

Ran the six with Mercy tonight - 5.79 miles to be exact.

Whatever. It sucked, but I did it. Seriously, running was so much easier 3 weeks ago. It has to be this humidity, I just can't take it anymore. The only good part about it, is when I start my real training in 5 weeks, it may seem a bit easier in the cooler weather. The sad thing is, it's not even that humid today.

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Anyway, we ran the first loop ( 2.9) then walked for four minutes. Then ran to mile 5, walked 1:30 minutes then ran the rest of the way home. We finished at 1:04:24, not great, but who cares? Tonight was all about finishing without passing out/throwing up an anyone. If I had been alone, I probably would have stopped at mile 1. That's the good thing about running with someone else, you really feel the need to not let them down. I highly recommend it for anyone who is struggling, like myself.

Tomorrow I have a day off from exercise, my knees need a rest.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Weekend Roundup

Definitely worth seeing.
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It wont change your life or anything, but it was a very entertaining 2 hours and for once I wasn't annoyed that we wasted $18 at the movies.

So the weekend was pretty good. I went for another run on Thursday after my disappointing Wednesday night debacle and while it wasn't great, it wasn't as bad either. I did the 3 mile loop in 29:19 and only stopped once during the last mile for a one minute walk break. I'm still trying to figure out my watch so I can get back and see my splits. I was just using it as a stop watch but Jeremy finally showed me the proper way to record my splits. Now I just have to read the 20 page instruction booklet so I can go back and look at them. Who in the world has time for that? Especially when there is a brand new US Weekly sitting on my dining room table.

Friday I worked and took a day off from running. After work Jeremy and I went to the Martini Bar for Janet's going away party.

Here I am with the guest of honor.
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It's always interesting seeing people from work with a few shots of Tequila and Jack Daniels in them. Let's just say this is one of the only photos I should be posting online. At least on this website.

Saturday was a gym day. I did 1 hour of weight training and ran for an hour on the the air conditioning. Somehow, it was still incredibly humid. Anway, I did 5.84 miles and averaged a 10:24/mile pace. Not too bad. I felt pretty good and only took one minute long walk break at 45 minutes in.

Today, back to the gym. I did and hour of weight training and an hour on the elliptical. I've been pushing myself a lot harder on the elliptical lately so it's been a pretty good workout. The guy next to me kept glancing over like he was worried I was going to go flying off. I felt great when I was done. It was nice to not run for a day but still get in a good workout.

So even though I had a couple of crappy runs this week, I am actually quite proud of myself. I ran a grand total of 17.43 miles this week (plus an hour on the elliptical), which I think is the most I have ever done in one week. I used to run about 4-5 days a week back when I first started running 5 years ago but never for more than 2.5-3 miles at a time. So this is actually a pretty exciting week for me. Go me!

Oh, and I lost 4lbs since coming back from San Francisco 3 weeks ago. Awesome.

Favorite workout song of the day: "A Whole Lot of Rosie" Live 1978 - AC/DC

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I hate running.

How is it possible to do so well on one run, then feel like total crap on the next?

I'm talking night and day here. My last run rocked and had me so pumped up I was ready to run around the world. Tonight however, was another story.

It was hotter than I thought, humid as hell and for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to run without my shuffle since I had such a great run without it on Tuesday. Of course, Mercy was with me then so we either talked or pushed each other by running faster the whole time. Tonight I had nothing but the sound of rush hour traffic whizzing by me at ungodly speeds. Oh yeah, that's why I wear the headphones. So I don't hear it when the car comes crashing into me...

Anyway, I had full intentions of running 4 miles. But after 1.5 I felt like I was going to die. My head felt full and I was getting dizzy. I had to stop 3 times and I only ran a little over 3 miles. Towards the end I was seeing black spots and getting chills and it was freaking me out a bit. Maybe I was dehydrated, but I drank four 16oz bottles of water and two big cups of green tea. I thought I had drank enough but who knows. My body has been so messed up with medication and other things lately that I never know how I'm going to feel.

I finished the 3 miles in 31 minutes with 4 minutes of walking in there. I guess it wasn't too bad of a run for having walked 4 minutes of it. I was kind of bummed when I got home, but Jeremy quickly reminded me that at least I ran and that was better than sitting on the couch watching tv.

I hate it when he's right.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Go me!

Last night I ran my very first 6 mile run outside! I'm so proud of myself I can't even stand it. This is one of the highlights of my running-life so far. I've been bragging about it all day to my non-running friends at work, and they look at me like I'm an idiot. Then, after a half-hearted "super job", they quickly change the subject to something a bit more fascinating, like Britney Spears.

Forget them.


The farthest I've done outside is about 4 and it was in the winter time. On a treadmill I've done 6 a few times, but it's not the same. I guess I've just had this mental block about going further because physically when I was done, I felt great.

I wouldn't have done it without Mercy. She came over to run with me and we set off around 7:15pm. It was gray and drizzling the whole time and there was a lot of lightning that day so we almost didn't go at all. Oh yeah and the humidity was, I kid you not, 95%. Fun, looove Miami. Anyway, we did my 3 mile loop which was great. I felt really good and we paced ourselves together well. I thought it would be hard to run with her since she runs 6 everyday and I usually run by myself and with my ipod. But it was so easy and we talked the whole time (until the last mile of the loops) which made the run fly by. Anyway, I thought we were done at 3 miles then she asked if I wanted to go around again, and after a bit of hesitation I agreed to do 10 minute runs, with one minute walks until we finished. So we started around again. We stopped at 10, started again and when the next 10 were up, I felt great, so we kept going. We finished really strong, my ankle didn't hurt and the drizzling felt great. We averaged 10 minute miles which isn't too shabby and I still can't believe how great I felt, (until I ate a bowl of gazpacho later and got really nauseous. I think that was just from lack of sleep though).

Now that I have broken the whole "I can't run more than 3.5 miles, boo-hoo, how will I ever finish a half-marathon?" mental- block-thing I've had for 5 years, I can truly see finishing it in my future. I can even see a glint of a full marathon out in the distance somewhere. I guess I just have to keep chasing it, literally.

Don't get me wrong, I talk about poor Britney just as much as the next guy.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Where did the weekend go?

That was fast.

Here is a picture from the San Francisco Marathon, just cause it's cute.

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So the weekend was good. Friday night we had dinner at Andy and Glenna's then Saturday we went to dinner at Juan and Sonia's with the San Francisco runners. Sonia made her authentic arroz con pollo and it was fantastic. I didn't have to cook all weekend, which was kind of nice.

I was good about not running all weekend and my ankle felt fine. It swelled up Friday night but didn't really hurt. That is till today. Now it's not swollen but hurts again. Who knows. I'm supposed to go running with Mercy tomorrow night, so I'll ice it tonight and see how it goes.

Weekend workout summary:
Saturday - 2 hours at the gym
Abs, 45 minutes weight training
1 hour on elliptical (cross training2)
Felt good, pushed myself so I actually felt like I got a workout on the elliptical, which is unusual.

Sunday - 2 hours at gym
Abs, 45 minutes weight training
45 minutes elliptical (cross training1)
15 minutes stair master step mill (devil machine) level 7
Felt good, but the stair master was tough. Legs felt heavy from the weight training. Hadn't done legs in awhile.

Friday, August 11, 2006

It's Always Something

Somehow, while I was in San Francisco I managed to strain some sort of tendon in the front of my ankle that runs up the front of my leg. I don't know how it happened, if I did it running the 5k, walking up all the hills or biking. All I know is that towards the end of my trip I could barely walk on it. Anyway, I didn't run on it for about five days to let it rest and just went to the gym to use the elliptical and the stairmaster. But I really wanted to run last night, what, with being all motivated and everything and it really was starting to feel better.
So I ran the usual 3 mile loop around campus and added a few extra side roads around the hospital and through a neighborhood to make it roughly 3.5. I felt great at first, then after about a mile the ankle started to hurt. I finished the run and was pretty proud of the fact that I only stopped for one quick 10 second walk considering the Miami August humidity was sky-high, even at 7:30pm. Actually, I have gotten use to the humid runs and actually look forward to the detoxifying effects of sweating my ass off while I'm running. Anyway, today the ankle is a little sore but really swollen. I was at dinner with a student of my husband's who is an athletic trainer who looked at it and said I just need to ice it and not run for a few days. Sheesh, I already have excuses not to run. Why can't I have these when I'm not motivated?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Here I Am

So I've decided to be a marathon runner.

This is actually pretty funny if you knew anything about me. I don't exactly have a history of athleticism. When they would make us run the mile in high school, my friends I and I would walk the entire thing, then sneak behind the bleachers and smoke a cigarette. I would make fun of the "jocks" in high school. Who wanted to play sports, be active and stay healthy when you could drink beer, smoke cigarettes, make out with boys, skip school and sleep till 2pm? Not me dude.

But that was then.

Secretly though, I was always kind of fascinated with the idea of running. I used to have dreams that I was running and loving it. It was the one sport I could actually see myself doing and enjoying. Well, except for the whole smoking thing.
Fast forward about 15 years and here I am. 30 years old and getting ready to start training for my first half-marathon. See, I ended up marrying a jock. My husband Jeremy just completed his first marathon in January and watching him train and finish was one of the most inspiring things I have ever witnessed. And let's be honest, when you are standing there, watching all those marathon runners cross the finish line crying, laughing, bleeding, puking, something sick and twisted inside of you wants to sign up on the spot.

So here's the deal. I actually started running about 4 or 5 years ago. I started running pretty much treadmill only runs and finally became an outdoor runner just this year. I have run three 5k raced since then, the latest being the San Francisco Marathon 5k (while my husband was doing the half), which was also my best time (29.43). I've never really run more than 4 miles outside and 6 miles on a treadmill and I freak myself out about adding more miles. I'm starting with a half because I'm realistic, but also because I think it is a good distance for someone who has recently quit smoking. (Yay me!)
So here are my long-term goals that I am putting into writing for the very first time and publishing online so that I have witnesses who will make me stick to this.

1. Run the 2007 ING Miami Half Marathon in January
2. Run the Fort Lauderdale Half Marathon in February
3. Run random races throughout the year to keep me on track (5K's, 10K's and maybe another half)
4. Train for and finish the Miami Marathon in January 2008

For now, though I will focus on the half in January, which for me now, may as well be a marathon. I start my official training with Foot Works in Miami at the end of September, but for now my friend Mercy (who is doing the half for the first time as well) and I are going to keep up with our regular running routine and try to add some miles to me.
Wish me luck!

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