Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ah, blessed silence...

...the kind that comes with a husband at work and two dogs napping upstairs in the living room. And control of the remote of course :) Hooray HGTV!

Anything new this week? Let's see. I finally got around to picking up a new pair of running shoes. One of the running stores in town (which also happens to be the one I get my training group discount at) is about 10 mins from where I work Monday/Friday so thanks to the obscene amount of cancellations I had last Friday, I made it over there for shoes before Saturday's long run. They didn't have Adrenaline 10s in my size, but had the 11's so yay! And not shockingly, I've barely heard a peep out of my knee since. Thank goodness, for me and my husband-I'm a whiny injured runner and I don't know how he put up with me last winter when I was actually injured :P

In other running related news, I made it to my first training group Weds speed workout last night. See, these things start at 6pm and I don't get done at work (20 mins from where the workout is) until 5:45pm at the earliest...unless either 1. my last kid cancels or 2. my second to last kid cancels and I call my last kid's mom to see if they want to come early (which they always do). Luckily, the latter was the case last night. Or not luckily, considering the speed workout (for me, with a time goal of 1:45-1:49:59 for my next half) consisted of:

1 mile warmup
4x1200m at 6:45 pace (did I mention that the 600m out and back route was downhill going out and therefore uphill coming back? No? Yeah. That sucked.)
3 min rest in between sets (meaning standing with my hands on my knees desperately trying to catch my breath)
1 mile cooldown

Total workout mileage: approx 4.8 miles, according to my Garmin.

All I have to say is...omfg. Thankfully, a former and soon to be current coworker (she's coming to work where I work) was there to keep me company, and we made friends with a few girls who were in our group. There is NO way I would have made it through a workout like that by myself. No way in hell. I do far better in groups. Misery loves company, perhaps?

My legs were exhausted last night, and have been pretty much all day today. I did get out for a 4 mile run at what felt like long run pace (so 9:30ish) to get my blood moving and clear the junk out of my muscles. So I rewarded myself by convincing J to take me to get sushi for lunch :) My legs weren't particularly happy with me throughout the three grocery stops I had to make after that (regular grocery, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods) but whatev.

Yes, you saw that right. I'm one of those multiple grocery store people. As we've (okay, mostly me dragging J kicking and screaming) been making the move towards more organic, less processed foods, I've found that there are more options for better prices at other stores. Like Trader Joe's. And there are stores with a better selection of organic produce and locally grown/made items. Like Whole Foods. So to give you a visual, here's roughly how today's shopping trip went:

Giant Eagle (aka regular grocery)-fat free half and half (aka J's crack. Dude gets angry when there's no half and half, b/c he won't drink his coffee without it. And you don't want to deal with him when he hasn't had coffee). Diet pop (aka one of my not so guilty pleasures. Recognize.) Organic skim milk (a local farm makes this stuff, and J's super hippie crunchy sister swears by it so it must be good. Plus, it was cheaper than the GE brand organic milk). Canned pumpkin (for the dog's Kong). Frozen waffles and OJ for J. And deoderant.

Trader Joe's-J's Kashi strawberry cereal, avocado salsa verde, guacamoles (yes I meant "guacamoles", you can thank Supertroopers for that one), frozen fries, chicken and cilantro wontons, center cut nitrate free bacon, coffee, pretzel chips, and popcorn

Whole Paycheck...I mean, Whole Foods-organic red peppers, fair trade bananas, local honey, buffalo burger patties, and stew beef from an Ohio farm.

As I've become more aware of where my food comes from, I've found my grocery bills increasing. Because stuff like organic produce, fair trade bananas, and locally farmed and/or grass fed beef costs more. Sucks, but its true. And while Columbus is chock full of farmers markets in the summer, there ain't diddly squat in the winter. So for now, off to Whole Foods I go.

I recently picked up two books from the library-The Abs Diet and the Omnivore's Dilemma. Hopefully by the next time I update this thing, I'll be able to report back on at least one of them...but we'll see. Right now, though, it's time to make sure the Terrible Twosome aren't getting into shenanigans upstairs!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's baaaaack...

The White Death has returned! It started snowing around 830am today, and hasn't stopped yet. I've heard predictions of 2-4 inches, 3-5 inches, and "whoTF knows how much snow we'll get" so I guess only time will tell. I'm just glad I had the sense to get up and get my major errands (gym, grocery x 3-yes I'm one of those multiple grocery store people, and oil change) out of the way before things got really crappy. Plus, J got out of working tonight so now we're looking forward to cooking out buffalo burgers and making oven fries. Yes, we're those crazy people that cookout in snow storms. We've done it forever and have the pictures to prove it :D

One of the items on today's "to do" list that could, and did, get postponed 'til tomorrow was picking up a new pair of running shoes. The discomfort in my knee is telling me that its time, I just havent had the chance...and going to the running store on increasingly crappier roads was not a risk I was willing to take just to pick up new shoes. Especially since I go by the running store on my way home from work. Hopefully this does the trick for my knee issue..I guess we'll see how Saturday's long run goes! I haven't run all week in an effort to let it rest, so that should work in my favor.

Now, onto more important things...time to find out what time we'll start dinner!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My word for 2011...

(which I am shamelessly stealing from Colleen at Irondiva because it's very fitting)...Balance.



WTF does THAT mean, you ask?

In my case, it means a lot of things. It means work-life balance (something which we discuss ad nauseam at work, so I'll only touch on it a bit later). It means home life-social life balance. And sometimes, it means home life-workout/running balance.

Work-life balance: This a popular topic for discussion in our department at work. Management is big on it, but sometimes the requirements placed upon us for productivity and other things make this a little difficult. Overall, though, they stress making sure to schedule your allotted paperwork time (and not see kids all the time instead), actually eating lunch at lunchtime instead of working through lunch, and not getting to work super early, staying super late, or coming in on your day off to get things done. The new electronic medical record system we switched over to in June has made this a lot easier, as we are no longer required to do 6 month progress reports (yay!) and paperwork is overall easier to do and is finished more quickly. Personally, I feel like I have a lot more of a balance in this area now than I did at my old job, where I was constantly getting to work early/staying late to get things done and still doing boatloads of paperwork at home. So this is something I'm constantly keeping an eye on, but for once feel is actually staying fairly balanced.

Home life-social life balance: This one can get a little tricky sometimes. As I've gotten older, I've found myself becoming more and more of a homebody who ::gasp:: likes to sleep more than I do go out drinking. The result is that if I don't watch myself, I turn into a hermit and it can be weeks before my friends see me in public. I'm trying to be better about this...even if it does mean taking a nap during the day so I can "embrace fun" at night.

On the other side of this is the fact that some weeks, J and I work pretty much opposite work schedules. I work 4 10 hour days, Mon/Tues/Weds/Fri, and his schedule varies weekly. Sometimes, he works more days than nights, and we actually get to hang out. And sometimes, he works nights, and we never see each other. Throw in the latter with the odd social event planned way in advance and you get a husband who gripes b/c he "hasn't seen me all week" and a wife who "only hangs out with her friends and not with her husband". There has been much discussion about this in my household, for two reasons: 1. J and I don't know what his work schedule is going to be like until the Friday/Saturday before the posted schedule; and 2. Based on my friends' and I's crazy schedules, we often plan things in advance. Like, 3-4 weeks in advance. And I can only say "Well, I MIGHT be able to hang out then but it depends on J's work schedule" so many times before I get the side eye.

So I'm having to learn how to balance cancelling the occasional long planned night out with friends b/c I have barely seen my husband all week against reminding J that I can't always plan things and then bail b/c of his ever changing work schedule.

Speaking of J, this brings us to balance area #3-Home life-workout/running balance. This could get long, as this is something that J and I had a heated discussion/fight via text message about last weekend.

I run, or work out at the gym regularly. J does not run, and is sporadic in his gymgoing. Running is my hobby. Playing video games is his (right now, Black Ops is his game of choice). I try to get my running done before he wakes up or while he's at work, and he tries to keep his Black Ops playing to while I'm at work or asleep. Unfortunately, due to the fact that it's dark until close to 7:30am and is dark by 6pm right now, me running while he's still in bed isn't always an option, while playing Black Ops is done indoors and therefore can be done anytime. This means that sometimes, I'm leaving to go run as he's getting up (and if he has to work that morning, won't see me before he leaves). This is sometimes an issue on Saturdays, which is when my training group meets...when he has to work in the morning on a Saturday, this means we don't see one another. This also means that if he feels he hasn't gotten enough "attention" (if you catch my drift, sorry if you're scandalized) that week, he gets pissy. And feels like I'm choosing running and running group over him, yada yada yada. Hence the long text discussion/fight last Saturday.

As a result of said discussion/fight, I think we came up with some agreements. I will do what I can do run later in the day, after he has left for work or is otherwise occupied. And he understands that going to running group 1x/week is my opportunity to geek out with other running minded people. He had his video game loving friends, I have my running friends. The fact that sometimes his work schedule gets screwy and he has to work Saturday AM does not mean that I should automatically have to give up going to running group, because I wouldn't expect him to not have video game time with his friends if I happened to be home. We also agreed that while Black Ops is his time to blow off steam, running is mine. It's my therapy, and sometimes the only thing keeping me out of the looney bin (or more likely, the Betty Ford Clinic). And expecting the other to blow that off on a whim isn't fair.

So I guess you could say we're both working on balance in that area. Balance is a good thing. And something that I continually need to work on. I guess that's a New Year's Resolution for me-work on maintaining balance ALL the time, not just when shit hits the fan.

And there you have it. A novel. So in a short recap of the last week: Snow on Tuesday. Blech. Managed to maintain planned workouts regardless, though I'm currently sporting a lovely pain in my left knee. Methinks it's "time for a new pair of shoes" pain, so hopefully picking up a new pair of Adrenaline 10's (if I can get them) or 11's (if I can't get 10's) should do the trick. Hopefully no more snow this coming week-I've had enough. And I just downloaded an obscene amount of 90's and more recent pop onto my Shuffle...I'm a dork, and that's okay :D

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The White Death

aka what I am staring at from my office window right now. I've heard reports saying we're supposed to get 2-4", I've heard 3-5", I've heard 2-6", who knows? All I know is it's snowing now and it"s snowing hard. Ew. Something tells me my planned Thursday run is going to be inside. At least I got up at an ungodly hour to rock out a 5 mile tempo run (1 mile warm up, 3 miles 5k pace aka hauling ass, 1 mile cool down) before work, b/c there's no way I'd be driving to the gym after work in this crap.

In other random news:

-I got to enjoy a lovely snowycold run with my training group last Saturday. I haven't been in the mood to follow the prescribed program for my next half yet so I did 8 miles b/c I felt like it...and it was nice. Cold, but nice. I realized about halfway to where our training runs start that I had forgotten my jacket at home but thankfully remembered I had a lightweight North Face fleece in my trunk that, while covered with dog hair, suited the purpose just fine. Plus, since I signed up for a full year of training group, I got me a lovely day glo yellow jacket to wear when its cold...or dark...or both. Because this thing is bring enough to generate heat. Maybe if you're lucky I'll post pics of it. And because I can't go into the running store without buying SOMETHING, I picked up a lovely teal fleece lined running hoodie. It's sweet, and was 20% off thanks to my group discount. So yay!

-Eddie (aka wee doggy, and el Presidente of the Itty Bitty Pittie Committee) has an ear infection. This means I've become quite good at wrestling slippery black dogs and putting them in headlocks, seeing as I have to do this twice a day to get his drops in his right ear. Thankfully, he's started putting up less of a fight...once I catch him after chasing him around the house that is. More importantly, he's stopped shaking his head all the time and there's no more brown yucky crap in his ear. Because there was A LOT of it in there on Thursday (when we took him to the vet) and it made me feel horrible for him. Poor wee doggy :(

-My left knee has decided to be sore today. I'm hoping this just means I need a new pair of shoes, and not that I'm actually injured. We'll see.

-What else? Not much. I had all these great post ideas, and now the snow has sucked them all out of my head. Damn you, White Death!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A year in review...and the year ahead

(Holy hell, its been over six weeks since I updated this thing...whoops! One of my plans for 2011 is to get better about that, but more on that in a bit.)

So. 2010 is no more. There were certainly some ups and downs, both running related and not. I had quite possibly my worst race ever, the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon (aka half marathon) at the end of April. It was muggy, warm, rainy, and way more hilly that I had been able to discern from the elevation maps. My time was over six minutes slower than my previous slowest time, and that pissed me off big time. I also dealt with a nasty running slump, punctuated by a nagging soreness in my right quad. Luckily, some rest, stretching, a new pair of running shoes, and some new routes helped get me back on the right track. It was also the hottest summer I remember having in quite some time, and definitely the hottest since I started running. This was the kind of weather that makes me question whyTF I run, and it was not fun. Neither was all the laundry I was doing b/c of the sweaty running clothes.

On a nonrunning note, we adopted a second dog who put us through the wringer emotionally. There will be more on him in the "good part" section, but suffice it to say the first month was hell. I also experienced crushing sadness for two good friends and coworkers who lost children this year-one at five months gestation, and one at five months of age. That kind of stuff just isn't supposed to happen and really made me question a lot.

Now, onto the better stuff...maybe partially thanks to all the hot weather running I did this summer, I had a PR in my fall half (the Columbus Half Marathon in October) by running a 1:52:something. I also joined a local training group, which turned out to be awesome and now I'm signed up for the full 2011 racing season (meaning spring and fall races). Plus, I've managed to get my weight back under control and have lost most of the 10 lbs I put on last winter and have thus far managed to keep it off :)

Things have also settled down quite nicely with the new dog. He still has his issues, which we are working through, but he has wormed his way into our hearts nonetheless and we would do anything for him.

My friends have amazed me with their strength and grace as they've dealt with their sadness. The one who lost her little girl 5 months into her pregnancy is now pregnant again with a perfect, healthy baby girl and due in May...we could NOT be more excited for her, it's been a long road for her and she and her husband are so ready for their happy ending. My friend who lost her little girl suddenly at five months of age is adjusting to the way things are now, and she and her husband have been able to draw so much strength from each other. Their little girl has sent them some signs to show them that they're going to be okay, and I know that's been a comfort.

And now...hello, 2011! I can't wait to see what you have in store. For me, I'm hoping to train for another couple of half marathons and emerge injury free and with a sub 1:50 half. I'm also planning on buying a road bike from my friend Colleen, to add another choice to my outdoor fitness options and maybe even spur me to train for a sprint triathlon. I'd like to get more consistent with my strength training (which is currently nonexistent), and be better about getting up and going to the gym before work.

My other evil plans for this year include getting some debt paid off, putting the Terrible Twosome in some training classes, and maybe even (eep!) considering trying to have a baby (eep!).

And yes, I plan on blogging more :)

What are YOUR plans for 2011?