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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