Monday, December 27, 2010

So in Love...

Todays Workout: 3.5 miles @ 10:39 pace. My first run with the garmin. The second half of my run was faster probably because I eventually focused on running and not checking my wrist every 5 seconds to check my pace and distance. This thing rocks. I am in love.

Good news: the Garmin is already helping me run faster by making me more aware of my pace. I also think my paces will be more accurate now I am not basing it off google maps. I've run more in the last week than I did in all of November!

Bad news: I am slow, lazy, and out of shape. I finally got on a scale and discovered I have packed on 10 pounds since I started teaching. Pretty sure most of it was done in the last 2 months since the marathon. Yikes. I am way slower and my stamina is way down. Better take these lemons and make some new years resolutions out of them (or limoncello, whatever works). And stop eating cookies and gravy with every meal. Sad news, I know.

Although I was tasked with thinking of a name for the Garmin during today's run, I was too busy messing around with the settings, adjusting the wrist so it wasn't so annoy (still annoyed, btw), or thinking about those 10 lbs. I knew I was packing them on, estimated it was around 10, but I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised by only seeing a difference of 8 on the scale this morning. I have passed the point I swore I would stay under unless I was pregnant or something (I am NOT pregnant, btw), so I am very disappointed with myself today. This makes for a lot of work before Tahiti. Sigh.

Weight gain is a slippery slope. A pound here, a few pounds there, and before you know it your doctor is telling you that you are medically overweight and pre-obesity. People tell you it isn't a big deal and that you look fine. Many people won't say anything to someone when they are starting to put weight on because they do not want to impose society's bias about what is a healthy body type. We combat the pressure to be ultra-thin by looking away when someone is starting to stray away from a healthy body type. I am not about to tell anyone they look like they are gaining weight. I am afraid to hurt their feelings, send them into a spiral of depression, etc. I will try my best not to enable poor choices and try to make it easier for them to make healthy choices when they are around me, but let's face it, these are the same people that are enabling me to indulge in my guilty pleasures, so most of the time I am of no help to them or to myself. Long story short, you are the only person who can be on top of this, you can't blame others for your unhealthy habits, and you can't depend on anyone but yourself to make change happen.

I originally wanted to write a post about why boyfriends make you fat. But then I realized he could just change "boyfriends" to "girlfriends" to make it about what I do to him. I can't blame the BF for the past 6 months of weight gain (although, I had never had a double stack from Wendy's until I met him). As I ran today and thought about those 10 little devils jiggling all over, I thought about sitting on that exam table, hearing the words "pre-obesity" and promised myself to make better choices. Not in 2011, but now. I know my blood sugar counts are wacky and put me at risk for diabetes, and I really need to stay on top of my fitness. So, off to sushi I go with my mama to get the most out of the 414 calories garmin told me I burned today. That goes a long way on a sashimi platter!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I was on the good list

Guess who is officially part of the Garmin cult!!!!!!!! Training just got a little more intense. I'll need that to balance all the baked goodies I am going to be making with my new kitchen gadgets (omg, they are so amazing....I can't believe what my mother bought me!). Looks like last summer cooking for the family is going is getting me a fully stocked gourmet chef's kitchen in no time. Summer is going to be dangerous folks!

I can't wait to post my first run with the Garmin (pet name for this little sucker coming soon) and inundate you with over-analysis of every step I take outside the house. You know you are excited (or about to stop following me, it can go either way).

Here's hoping that santa brought you lovely goodies and that your day with blessed with the love of family and friends. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

4th quarter comeback

Workouts: Wednesday 30 minutes hill climb on the elliptical (my favorite inside workout) that really made me sweat, today a mile and a half with a nice hill. Keeping the runs short to help condition the foot and using lots of low impact alternatives, like weights and elliptical. Yay for not screwing my foot up! I'll be really proud if I can get 2.5 miles in Christmas Day. If Santa brings a Garmin, I am totally hitting the pavement. If not, I am hitting the tray of cookies.

Being with old friends reminds of how much I have changed since my adolescence. At one time of my life, I was the alpha personality in my social circle. Now, I am so far from that and my social circle has shrunk considerably. Is this just part of getting older?  It felt good to feel confident and laugh and have a good time. 2011 is going to focus more on feeling confident about being me and less about worrying about pleasing other people. It's time to reestablish some solid roots. Having a good talk with my marathon training buddy reminded me of the riches good friends bring to life. The past few years have been about establishing a career for myself. 2011 is going to be about building strong relationships.

On an exciting note, I bought my first dress for the Tahiti trip on clearance at Nordstrom's rack. I am so excited for everything this next year is going to bring!

I remember thinking midyear that 2010 was not the year I hoped it was going to be. I should have never given up at halftime. I have so many things to be thankful for and so fortunate for everything this past year has brought, especially the very special people in my life. Good people and new beginnings. Oh, what a wonderful year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Workout: 5 miles OUTSIDE. UNDER 1 HOUR. WOOT!!!!! Last time I ran this route I decided it was time to go to the doctor because it felt like I had a metatarsal stress fracture. Luckily, I just have jacked up hooves and nothing was broken. Five pain free miles today, I am so stinkin' excited!

Last night I was soooo excited about my blog award I did an extra 20 on the elliptical after my 30 on the dreadmill. Thats minutes, not miles in case you are confused. Forgot my headphones, so I had to make up the dialog for the TV in my head, which actually made the time fly by. And, it led me to start my top 5 ways to make dreadmill less dreadful:
Source (Check Mark Parisi out, he has some funny stuff!)

* Watch TV without the sound on and make up the dialog as you go along. I imagine this works really well if you have a gym buddy and you can roll play. Especially if your gym gets Univision. I am sure the people on the dreadmills around you will not be annoyed or offended by this in any way shape or form.

* Pick a ridiculously hard workout what is broken into intervals. That way, as you are cursing the dreadmill's existence, you know you have only 30 more seconds of 8 mph pace and 7.0 incline. People will be really impressed with your 4 letter vocabulary, as well as with how fast your legs can move on an impossible incline (note: don't try this with wet shoes... you will fall off the dreadmill).

* Run when there are super macho guys on the weight machines right next to the dreadmills. I use the gym at my apartment complex, and it is pretty small, so this is not difficult. The harder you run, the harder they have to grunt and increase their weights/rep so they can keep up with you. If you can get past how gross it is to hear guttural grunting and moaning from someone you don't know, it is extremely entertaining to mess around with these types. There is this guy who every time I increase my pace or incline, he grunts a little louder. It sounds like he is trying to pinch one off. One time there was another woman in the gym with me and we could barely contain out laughter as this was happening.

* Run like you are rocky. And get really into it. Shadow box like you are in the fight of your life. Maybe say the names of co-workers, ex boyfriends, or neighbors who you would love to sock it to them. If you are alone, it will entertain you until your arms get tired. If there are people around, they will be entertained/frighten of you, which is awesome. They will probably wish they were your friend. And, you will be working your upper body and core. Sweet.

* Run when there are other people around. They you can eavesdrop on their conversations. I used to feel bad at first for doing this, but when I realized that most the time these people are gossiping about other people at the gym, I felt entitled to listen. For instance, these neighbors (and older couple) hired a physical trainer to come in and do session in the common gym. Thats cool. But the trainer was super loud and the people were super awkward, it took everything not to stare (and not join in, she had an awesome routine). Once they left, the other two ladies on the dreadmills next to me went off about how annoying it was to have that super perky lady in there. They didn't realize she was the personal trainer, just a super perky red head, so they pretty much came across like idiots. So entertaining.

Ok, I am a shallow, insecure person who gets joy from making others uncomfortable and laughing at the idiocy of those around me. But I assure you, I am not the type to pass gas in an elevator or intentionally trip a stranger for a good laugh. I think people are amusing enough to make me laugh without being provoked. The grunting guy was something I just accidently stumbled upon and has been a gem ever since. And to be honest, I haven't done the rocky in front of people because I am a pansy, but I will do it when I am alone. Tomorrow I am probably just going to work on form on the dreadmill. The way my feet were just flopping around on the pavement this morning was pitiful. I probably looked like Pinnochio.

On a final note, the Bachelor starts January 3rd. So stoked for the new season and the snarky recaps at Daydream Believer. JF said he would watch with me as long as it isn't The Bachelorette. Something about not wanting to watch a bunch of guys go after one girl. If I didn't get to just make fun of the girls on the Bachelor, I am pretty sure I wouldn't want to watch it either. without the humor, that show makes me feel super insecure. Little does JF know, I am pretty much basing our Tahiti trip on the season finale of The Bachelorette (well, he probably knows now because I am pretty sure he reads this). If I don't swim with sting rays, I might throw a huge fit. Maybe I am going to have to school him on the Ali season. Is that on Netflix yet? Is this too much pressure on a guy? Lol. I mean, I missed the season finale because he came over with a bottle wine to hang out, and I couldn't say no. I was going to apply to be on the Bachelor before I got my job in Napa. I totally thought I could be the next Ali. I'm just saying..... Tahiti better be all I am building it up to be. I know, I am totally unreasonable and delusion :)

Monday, December 20, 2010


The past few days have been good progress getting back into the swing of things. I still need to get gel inserts, but since mileage is low still I don't feel any rush to visit Dr. Schols.  2 miles on the dreadmill Thursday, 30 minutes on the elliptical Friday and today, and hopefully 3 miles tonight once I get done with this post. I can't wait for it to stop raining so I can start building miles again...I just can't do more than 30 minutes on the dreadmill... it is sooooo boring! Maybe my next post will devoted to researching the top 10 things to make the dreadmill less boring, lol.

So, guess who wasn't going to run tonight because she is cold, it is raining, and the dreadmill sucks? Me. But then I got a Blogger Award from Jes at Self Motivation , so I have to go back into the cold so I can keep up my good progress ;) Thanks Jes for kicking my butt and helping me keep my eyes on the prize!

Now, there is little about me that is stylish. I wear jeans, t-shirts, and Chuck Taylors. My boyfriend's furniture matches better than mine. To give myself some credit, I am getting my hair done tomorrow, which makes me look more stylish than I really am for a couple weeks. I am just style challenged. But I admire people with style, so that must count towards something as well.

I have been told I do write with style. In fact, I have been told my writing is identical to the way I talk. And sometimes I do have a way with words. So when my blog is whiny, can you imagine how whiny I must be in real life. Be thankful you don't live with me. But enough of me justifying an award I have already won. The deets of the award:

The Award’s Rules:
Thank the person who gave you the award.
Tell 7 facts about yourself.
Give the award to 7 bloggers you just love.
Leave the 7 bloggers a comment telling them they won.

So, it is kinda like a blog version of a chain letter. Except it doesn't make you mad because it is an award and it doesn't threaten to ruin your life if you don't pass it on. I am not sure if 7 people even allow me to stalk  follow their blogs, so hopefully my first child won't be cursed if I can only pass it on to 6.

7 Things About Me:

I have really weird and awkward anxieties. Like, I hate to say positive things about myself without following them up with something negative. How annoying is that! I think they call it low self-esteem....I call it breaking yourself down so people feel too awkward to say mean things to you. Lol.

I love to read. Nothing is more relaxing than a good book. My love overflows into book hoarding. I feel like if I get rid of a book I am also getting rid of the story. Physical possession of the book means I still have the knowledge. Not sure where I picked up this delusion. No one else in my family does this. Or reads as much I do. Maybe one day i'll have to bee one of those tragic ladies on TLC where they have to save her from here own self-destructive book hoarding behavior.

I sincerely believe that there is nothing I can't learn or do, besides learning a foreign language. I have a cocky confidence that I could learn any job and probably do it better than anyone else. I think that is how I ended up being a high school Math teacher, even though I studied to be an elementary school teacher and have a Religious Studies degree. That's also how I ended up a runner... someone once told me I would probably never be able to run a marathon because I was not an athlete. WHO IS THE REAL ATHLETE NOW MY FRIEND?!?!?!?!?!  BOOYAH!!!!!! As for the foreign language thing, I think I lost that part of my brain when I got that concussion in college. Just slammed it right out of the ol' noggin.

I've always been fascinated by religion but in the last 10 years have really struggled to find a faith/faith community that speaks to me. Our spare bedroom is full of books on nearly every religion. I love bits and pieces of them all. Recently I have been feeling the tug to re-explore spirituality but have been too stressed to deal with it. I think it is important to raise children with some religious guidance. Faith communities can do a lot to help families raise morally sound children, and I really want to provide the sanctuary and structure of religion to my family. Not that I am in the family way, married, or even engaged...

I love to cook and I love to eat. Someday I want to sell my ice cream and food at a farmer's market or something just for fun. Not to make money, but just to see people enjoy the food I can make. I love watching people eat what I have made. Nothing is more satisfying that preparing an excellent meal for people that you love. Favorite recipes: Crab Rangoon and Lemon Sorbet (not together, of course). I can send them to you if you want em!

I have crazy vivid dreams. They can ruin my day if I wake up and I have trouble separating dream from reality. They often make me mad, sad, or make me scared, and sometimes I get really upset with people for things they do in my dreams, even though they didn't really happen. I dream often and usually multiple times a night. I typically can remember them in a ridiculous amount of detail and remember them for many years after they happen.

I hate to be alone, yet I am not a very social person. I was so bored today on my first day of winter vacation because I didn't have anyone to talk with until JF came home from work. Really hard coming down from seeing some of my favorite people thins weekend an being super social. It will help to be home and be around family. I am already making a list of things to talk about with my new hairdresser tomorrow so I can fulfill my social cravings. And, JF is taking me to Mustards tomorrow, which is supposed to be way yummy, so I have that to look forward to as well. I think teaching is good for me because I get to interact with so many different people through the course of the day while regulating how social I want to be.

So, enough about me. Time to pass this sweet award on to some deserving bloggers. Here are some ladies who's writing style and sense of humor I just adore. I highly recommend you check them out!

Beth at Shut Up And Run: She has like a million of these things, so this is probably just another drop in her bucket of awesomeness. She is inspiring as an athlete, offensive in the funniest of ways, and just a good hearted person. Her blog always raises my spirits (but sometimes turns my stomach) and has inspired the shirts for a friend's Bachelorette Party in Vegas this year (Pussy Posse 2011). Yay Beth!

Devon at Love Notes: Devon just started blogging (maybe this week?) but I know her blog is going to be fabulous. She has a beautiful family, a great sense of humor, and tells it like it is. She might just be the cutest military mom you'll ever read. I hope this encourages her to keep blogging!

Skinny Runner: This is, by definition, what a stylish running blog is. I pretty much want to be her and plan on race stalking her if I ever move back to Southern California. I am pretty sure she has a ton of blogging awards as well because she is fabulous.

Raquel at Nelepovitz Family: Raquel (aka bestie) is the most stylish person I know, and she can do it on a dime. I can't wait till that little bun pops out of the oven because she is going to post some awesome DIY baby stuff. And, she pretty much is the one that got me into blogging.

Joanna at Joanna Runs: Another one of the people who found me randomly and still follows my blog, even through the darkest times. She is funny. I am not. She is such a great follower because she leaves the best messages and is so encouraging. I stole the term "dreadmill" from her, which I plan to overuse as much as possible until spring.

Jamie at Daydream Believer: I love her new(ish) custom blog and think she is at her best when doing the weekly review of The Bachelorette, which is my guilty pleasure and why I started following her in the first place. Super cute, super funny.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Getting back into the swing of things

Now that the semester is winding down, I am finally regaining control of my life, albeit a temporary return of control. Today I did a short run on my favorite treadmill (NOT!!!) but was proud of myself for getting my fitness on. 20 minutes at 5.5 mph (I know, underwhelming right?). It was more about getting out than how many miles I got in. I am hoping to get some miles in this weekend and next week as well.

Work has destroyed my training over the last 3 months. The obscene amount of stress I am going through is sucking the life and humor out of me. I remember being a light hearted, playful person. Now I feel like I am turning into a tired, whiny, back down the chubby road person. I realized today this is on of those moments where I need to regain control now or I will slip into a nasty spiral and won't come back until I hit rock bottom. Like 2005-2008.

So, my solution is to restart my training calendar and put it in a place where I will see it every day. I am going to eat more salads and vegetables. I need to figure out a way to curb emotional eating (which I am doing way too much of now). I am planning ahead for next semester (I am nearly done planning my units for January!) so maybe I can wake up early/get home from work earlier to go to the gym and get my mileage back up. It is a vicious cycle: Life gets busy so you have less time to run, then you have less energy because you are not running, which makes it even harder to get out and run. If I could only figure out how to balance everything so the stress never gets the chance to take over. I'd feel better about myself, manage stress better, and be an overall happier person. If I put on all the weight I have lost over the past 2 years, I am NEVER going to forgive myself. That might be the biggest disappointment ever.

As the year winds down, I am practicing the new habit I am going to make in the new year. Let's hope for more blogging, more funny stories, and hard bod for Tahiti. I've done it before and now it's time to convince myself I can do it again!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pain Free is the Way to Be!

2 miles this morning, no pain. First run since the doctor's visit 2 weeks ago. I will say, I am very pleased. Now to get some cushy inserts for my new shoes. I am so relieved that the stress of injury is gone. Now I just have to find the patience to build mileage gradually and not mess up the ol' hoof again.

Today I went to register for the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon... and at the check out, it ended up costing over $130. For a half marathon. Thats more than it cost to run the Nike Women's Marathon in SF, and that included a Tiffany's necklace, tech shirt, backpack, and reusable bag. Needless to say, we are scratching that overpriced half marathon off the list. I am thinking about replacing it with the Moonlight half Marathon in Davis...It might be run to run at night with a bunch of other glowstick-clad runners.

Running is supposed to be a cheap sport. But racing is a whole other beast. Between the money I spend on shoes so I don't have foot problems, gels and chews to fuel myself on long runs, and registration fees, This is turning out to be just as expensive as any other sport. I say cut the frills and make races cheaper.... and start by cutting the shirts to cut costs. I have never gotten a race shirt that I actually liked. Even a tech one.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gravy Pooch

Guys make it so hard to get in shape/stay in shape. I need no encouragement when it comes to putting down a Chipotle burrito or a superstar with cheese. At the holidays, my idea of helping clear the table is to sit after everyone has left and keep eating until every serving dish is empty. After holidays with the fam, I usually need to do a gravy detox to wean myself off of the 3 gravy meals a day habit I pick up courtesy of my loving family. It nearly killed me yesterday to order the boring BBQ chicken sandwich at Carls (380 calories, 7 grams of fat) when the BF (not to be confused with the bestie...I don't think she would torture me like this) orders a double bacon western cheeseburger (962 calories, 52 grams of fat). How is it that men just don't store fat like women do? I had burger envy like whoa. At least he shared some of his fries. Way to be a pal....

So, per doctor's orders, I am on low impact cross training until next Monday, when I am allowed to run a whopping 2 miles. This. Is. Killing. Me. I have no idea how runners do even crazier things like water running. So boring. This morning I did 30 on the elliptical and 15 doing arm/back weights. I will say, I am very happy that I don't have to use the Superfeet insoles. They just felt weird.

Also, no more Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks. They really need to stop putting crack in them. And no more impulse buys at the supermarket. How the hell do I come home with Bolani and Afghani spread, crab and brie mac and cheese, and a dark porter stout. No one runs enough to justify that dinner.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Doctor's Orders

It is almost worth it to have my first first running injury because I love it when the doctor refers to me as a marathoner. I had to hold back my giddiness every time he said it, especially since he is a big marathon director and all. So, now that I am an official Marathoner (tee hee), I have to deal with my first real injuries. After a few x-rays, poking, and prodding I got the good news: No stress fractures!!!!!!  After researching my injuries on the internets, of course I self diagnosed my painfully swollen foot and decided my course of treatment before I even set foot in his office. The problem may likely be a combination of my super high arches and my Superfeet inserts, as well as the fact I have a nasty bunion that is putting the joint of my first metatarsal all out of alignment. Thank goodness my doctor and the podiatrist he consulted are both runners. They understand that foot surgery is going to take me out of the race for possibly a year, crushing all my dreams to set new PR's in 2011.

So, the plan is to rest, do low impact training for 2 weeks (he suggested biking), and try a SHORT run to see if I am pain-free. He really emphasized that the key to recovery is patience and not logging log runs before I am all healed. So 2-3 mile runs 3 times a week after my first pain-free run on a rubberized track, minimize running on hard surfaces (i.e. cambered asphalt roads), and then gradual build up a few weeks after that. He says february is going to be too soon to run a half (boo), and that I need to run less races next year unless I want to be on the injured list forever.

So, after much consideration of the doctor's advice, here is the first draft of the 2011-2012 race calendar:

Davis Stampede 10k February 6, 2011

Loop the Lagoon (Vacaville) 5k April 30, 2011

Windsor Half Marathon May 22, 2011

Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon July 17, 2011

American Canyon 10k August 8, 2011

Nike Women's Marathon (SF) October 16, 2011

Walnut Creek Half Marathon December 10, 2011

Bidwell Classic Half Marathon (Chico, CA)  February 4, 2012

Napa Valley Marathon March 4, 2012

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cool Running

Although it technically isn't winter, it is officially "California Winter" because I had to get out the fleece lined leggings for this morning little run through the vineyards. No, California winter is nothing like winter in other parts of the country. And that is one of the many reason I had to move back. Seriously, who likes running in the snow? I sure as heck didn't!

"California winter" just means cool weather running, which isn't that bad besides the added bulk of fleece lined leggings and windbreakers. I hate running in layers. In fact, I hate running with clothes on. If I was a dude, I would run naked, or maybe just with a tiny sling on to hold the little guys in place. As soon as I get my Tahiti body, I plan on running as close to naked as possible. Keep your children at home, folks, Pull the shades, cover their eyes.

Another debut today is the Tahiti diet. Thats right folks, I am going to French Polynesia in June to celebrate my survival as a first year teacher and live my dream of being Ali from the Bachelorette, swimming with the manta rays. Because I want my photos to look like a bangin' Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition photo shoot (see photo right), I have a lot to do in the next 6 months. Luckily, my other goal of setting new PRs for 5k/10k/half/full marathon coincides with my goal to look like a swimsuit model, so I am just goign to run my little heart out in 2011! Except, lets be realistic, I will never look like this chick because I love to eat. I am probably going to buy a bag of cheetos puffs after this blog to reward myself for my run and not buying them last night after drinking a couple beers (the other reason I will never look like her...although at that size, you probably only need one beer to do the trick...hmmmm)

My goal this week is to get a race schedule planned for 2011. I think I want to run 1-2 marathons (if they are close and I can get the dates to work out), 2-3 half marathons, 3-4 10k races and a 5k or two. Ambitious, I know! Is anyone running any races in California? Have any recommendations? I'd like to do some smaller races this year and I am going to try to do most in Northern California but might venture to southern california for a spring break/summer run. So far it looks like SF NWM in October again (this year I am going to run the whole thing... no knee problems!) and the SF Kaiser Half Marathon February 6th. It is time to start whittling away at my times so I can qualify for Boston some time before I die! Give your races, your dates, and maybe we can run together!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Shoes!!!!

Today I picked up my fabulous, beautiful new shoes from overpriced running shoe store. These babies better feel like I am running on clouds, because they set a new bar for money spent on a pair of shoes. Justification: money spent on good shoes is money saved in injury prevention. The man I marry some day better believe that, or I am totally going to be screwed when it comes to buying new shoes! If I ever have to choose between new purse or shoes, I am going to be torn. I still can't believe my coach purse cost less than my Brooks. Yikes.

There is something about new gear that makes you want to get out there and run. If I didn't need an inhaler right now to do any slight physical activity, I would be logging 13 miles instead of whining about bronchitis in my blog. Heck, I can't even get excited or it hurts to breathe. No fun at all. Still, I can't wait to try out my new kicks, and I can't wait to start training for something. I feel so gross since the marathon and feel myself quickly going out of shape. I need to figure out how to get back to a 4 day a week training schedule. Sundays are good for long runs, but running during the week has turned out to be impossible with the time change. Looks like I am going to have to log miles on the treadmill and elliptical. I also tried to get started on P90X but looks like that is going to take a back seat to Reactive Airways Disease (which is apparently what I have in addition to bronchitis). Boo. Oh, how I am looking forward to the holiday breaks so I can resume my morning runs.

Looking forward to the holidays, I am investigating GPS running watch thingies. I want something to track my run and help me log my times and splits, as well as maybe support interval training. I still can't believe how expensive these little suckers are, but I am totally lusting over GPS run devices. Anyone have any input/advice? Right now I am looking into the Garmin Forerunner series, trying to keep the price under $200.

The one good thing about bronchitis? You don't need an excuse to take naps throughout the day. Doing laundry isn't so bad when you take naps between dryer cycles!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Verdict: New Shoes ASAP

When I bought my Saucony's to motivate my marathon training, the saleslady predicted that I would need a new pair shortly after the marathon. Boy, was she right! I think the shows were probably shot going into the marathon, which might be why I was having so many knee/foot problems during the race. Today on my first post-marathon run, I got a blister in the same stinkin' place (arch of the foot) and had this crazy pain in my foot, which turned into a shin splint, which turned into an achy breaky knee.

Needless to say, it was enough to motivate me to hustle over to the overpriced running shoe store for a new pair of kicks. I think my next pair is going to be Brooks Glycerin 8, which pretty much felt like running on clouds. I am pretty stoked for them to come in next week!

It felt really good to get out there and run, even though everything was so freakin tight and I had to stop 3 times to stretch out. I proudly logged 7.25 miles and I am super motivated to get back on a training schedule and start setting some new PR's. I think 2011 I am going to set new PR's for EVERYTHING!!!! That will mean running a 5k, 10k, half, and full. Very very excited. 

It was a beautiful morning. It has been raining for the past few days and the sun finally came out this morning right before my run. Running past the vineyards was amazing. The vines were still covered in raindrops, which reflected the sun like crystals. It was one of those moments that is so pretty, your brain makes a mental snapshot and you know you will remember that moment forever. Everything was so clean and crisp, and I even got a little sun. Although I was little achy breaky, it was a fantastic run.

I am still struggling with whether or not I should register for the Napa Valley Marathon. I know I will be able to set a new marathon PR because the course is easier and I am familiar with it. I really really want to sign up for a race so I can motivate myself to get on a training schedule. I need to make a decision by the end of November so I can have 3 solid months of training. But the month of the marathon is going to be insanely busy, I am afraid I am going to slack on my training and have some of the same mistakes as the Nike Women's Marathon. I am also kinda sad that I haven't been able to convince anyone to run with me. I can't imagine running without someone to talk to. Fellow marathoners, how do you do it? Maybe I can make a marathon friend between now and then...

I am already craving another marathon like whoa. Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we have created a running monster.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dying to Run

So, I have been reading that post marathon, you need to take 4 weeks to get back into training shape, the first week being little to no running at all, and then gradually building up to long runs on the fourth week. Last week was supposed to be lots of rest and some very light weight/cross training. This week I can start with some very short jogs... like 10 minutes on the treadmill.

After the marathon, when I could barely use the toilet my legs were so far from proper function, I didn't think I would want to be back hitting the pavement. But boy how I want to get out there an log some miles. It is going to take EVERYTHING to keep myself from taking a nice 7 mile run tomorrow. And unless I have unforeseen long term damage to my knee as a result of the marathon, I think I am really going to set some new personal bests in the future. I can't wait to run my next race!

So fellow marathoners... how do you recover after a marathon?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bucket Lists

The other night I started compiling my bucket list. Back in 2008, I told myself I would run a marathon some time before I die. Only 2 and a half years later, I made that dream a reality, and this has me thinking about other things I could put my mind to and experience sooner than later. Although I have some things down, I know I am forgetting a ton of stuff I swore I would do sometime in my life. Opening up my backpacker magazine reminded me that I wanted to hike the Narrows in Zion National Park, so I added it to my list. So, I ask you, what is on your bucket list? What do you feel you need to do before you die so you can leave this world satisfied, knowing you lived life well? So far my themes have been travel, athletic accomplishments, family/personal goals, property/things, and events. Do you have different themes on your list? What things on your lists have you already accomplished?

In the next couple weeks, I am thinking about posting my list. I want to get it up to 101 or some other fun number so I can give it a kitchy title like "101 things to before I am dead". So far I can only think of 20 things, and I can't decide if that means I am a blank slate/free spirit or if I just don't expect more out of life. Help inspire me!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm back!

It has been 6 weeks since my last blog post. Yikes! I went back to read some old blog posts, and I can't believe I went MIA for so long. Once training went down the toilet due to the new job, grad school, and travel, I was too ashamed to show my face around these parts. But now I have something I am super stoked to brag blog about...MY FIRST MARATHON FINISH!!!!!!!!

Yesterday was the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. After 5 hours 51 minutes and 46 seconds of joy that faded into excruciating pain, I managed to drag my sad sad body over the finish line. And I am so excited to do it again!!!!

Despite the rain and my poor month of training leading up to the marathon, I was pretty impressed with myself. It took me a lot longer to finish than I expected (I was shooting for 5:15-5:30), and I wasn't anticipating having to power walk 4 miles between miles 18 and 22 (although I did jog small amounts during that stretch) due to shooting pains in my knees. The hills were no problem. Training on Atlas Peak was a smart move in September and I am really glad I logged a thousand foot elevation gain. I know that if I can be better motivated to stick to a training schedule, I can drastically reduce my finish time.

I couldn't have done it without my support people. Seeing people who care about you along the route is so energizing and motivating, I don't think they truly realize how much a difference it makes. My mom was an angel for replenishing my gatorade so I could avoid the crowds at the refreshment stations, stowing rain gear, fueling me before and after the race, and enduring a flawed shuttle system and cold rain. Mike and Raquel put themselves at the perfect place in the race, the part where I was starting to really struggle to enjoy myself (miles 18-21), and found me after to make sure I didn't die. And Jeff really impressed the heck out of me by being by my side for the second half of the race, on bike and 6 miles on foot. He ran and power-walked beside me up hills and around the lake to make sure that I didn't get down and angry. What an amazing man. He was there when I started to feel pain unlike anything I have ever experienced while running and helped me get through it so I could get over the finish line.

What Went Well:

* Power-glide is amazing, and NOT optional. I had absolutely no chafing and only 1 real blister, despite running 13 miles in soaking wet shoes.
* I managed my fuel/water consumption beautifully. I never felt out of energy (in fact, I was so pumped during so parts I thought I would explode.
* Margarita shot blocks are a must have. 3x sodium cramp busters worked to get rid of cramps immediately, I was really really impressed.
* I didn't use my ipod once. Good company is so much better than good music (Thanks Jeff and Denise!)
* Lucky jacket came in handy and did a great job of keeping me warm when the rain really started coming down. I can't wait until I actually get to run Boston one day!
* Hill training is critical. Do bigger hills than your race requires. Then it just feels like a walk in the park.

Things To Learn From:

* Don't stop training. Log at least 21 training miles. Adrenaline only really carried me the last 4 miles.
* Put Power-glide EVERYWHERE. Cover your entire foot. Just in case.

New Training Goals:

* Short Term: Run another marathon. I am so excited to reduce my time. I am thinking about running the Napa Valley Marathon in March. I could get some good training in over the holidays, and it would be an excellent way to celebrate completing my Master's Degree the day before! Yay! Best part is, the marathon ends at my school, so I can just keep stuff in my classroom for after the race. I have until December to make up my mind :)
* Longer Term: Improve my half marathon time. I really want to get it down to 2:00:00, but I don't think I am going to met my goal of getting down that low before the end of the year. Maybe if it was on a really flat course. Hmmm.
* Really Long Term: Qualify for the Boston Marathon. Volunteering for the Boston Marathon is what inspired me to complete a marathon. I never thought I would complete that goal so soon in my life. I want to take it back to where it all started. I know I can make it up heartbreak hill. I know I can finish that race. And someday, I WILL. All it takes is a 3:40 qualifying time :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The countdown begins...

Exactly 6 weeks from today, I am supposedly running 26.2 miles. Last weekend I could only muster 7 because I felt like I was getting sick, and this weekend I am definitely sick, sleeping all day and feeling too lethargic to do anything productive. Obviously, this is the point in my training where I start freaking out.

How I am going to gain 10 more miles in training is beyond me. I am at least thankful I've gotten some good hill training in. I know I am built for hills. But am I built to go the distance? I don't think we will know until race day. The new teaching job has me working 12-14 hour days, running on barely enough sleep to function, and infinitely exhausted. This was the first week I did NOTHING for training... not even weights or elliptical.

Some people might say to just skip this race and play in safe. But $120 registration fee, a sexy firefighter wearing a tuxedo waiting for me at the finish line with a Tiffany's necklace, and free chocolate and socks along the way, well, I am not going to give all that up. I've told too many people. The expectations to finish are so high. I want to prove to myself that I can do this. That I can be an athlete. But seriously, I am starting to get a little scared about what the outcomes might be!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Monumental Turning Points

When you build a fortress to protect yourself from the heartache others have caused you, you tend to block EVERYBODY out. Once again Mom, you were right. I thought I was being independent, doing right by myself in efforts to make sure I would never have to depend on a man for anything. Men can't be depended on anyway, right? I couldn't see that I was setting up my life to have to do things alone.

Historically, I have never been one for teamwork. I hold true to the mantra "if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself." So if I really want to transition into the next phase of life, to find someone to spend the rest of my days with and start a family with, I suppose today is the day I am going to have to learn to be a team player. Folks, this is not going to be easy.

Aren't relationships about sharing and doing this as partners, together? Not just watching someone achieve their dreams and hoping that they mesh well with your own achievements? I am quite positive there is no good man who wants to sit back and watch as I buy my own house and plan my own trips while he just tags along. A good man will want to buy a house with me, plan trips with me. My problem? I haven't been properly schooled in what a man who is good for me looks like.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oh Yeah!

Today was a critical milestone in my marathon training. I felt like I was in an epic training story, it was A-MAZ-ING! So, I get up this morning and I am totally pumped for my run, deciding to log 13 miles today with significant hill work, including the small mountain I scouted out last week. The hill starts a little before mile 4, and I am climbing up my merry little way. Now, this is no hill. This is a mountain appropriately named Atlas Peak. 15 minutes into the climb as I run around a turn, I just stop. I sit on the guard rail on the side of the mountain staring up at The Wall. If you are a runner, you know what I mean by The Wall, and it probably made you shudder just thinking about it. If you aren't a runner, The Wall is that thing you hit at the gym after panting on the treadmill for 10 minutes. The Wall knows no mercy and takes many victims.

So, staring up the hill at the wall, I start thinking maybe I set myself up for too much today. Then, the corniest thing happens. A song from Braveheart comes on the iPod and my Coach Stephanie appears out of no where. I look up the road, which climbs FOREVER, and I tell myself that part of training is making really hard choices. No one is going to push me up this hill, and if I quit here, I am going to cement that wall in place and never be able to conquer this peak. People DO NOT complete marathons by building walls. So what did I do? I channeled the Kool Aid man and busted through that wall (oh yeaahh!). One step at a time, watching my tempo, I climbed up the peak, and actually ended up running past my turn around point because I was loving the climb. And because there was this crazy looking goat at the top that I wanted to laugh at.

So, the final recap? I ran farther and longer today than I ever have in my life. 2 hours, 45 minutes. 14.1 miles. 1000 feet of ascent. I have never felt so confident about my ability as a runner. BOOYAH!

The last 24 hours have felt like everything in life was designed specifically for me. I don't feel like I am part of someone else's dream. This is my dream, everything has fallen into place into ways I never dreamed could be true, and I hope this amazing high lasts forever.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good Things...

This Friday blog is so easy when things are fast, fun, and exciting. But when things are fast and frightening, these Friday blogs become that bag of saline hooked into your arm when you are in the ER. Or a road map when you are lost. I'll let you pick how dramatic you want to be today :)

Good things are that my classroom is pretty much good to go for the first day of school and all my policies, procedures, syllabi and nearing completion. By the end of the weekend the second week of school will be planned, and I should have a website up and going. If you are not a teacher, you have no idea what a seriously good thing is when you are a neophyte like me.

The good thing that will carry me through today is waking up to Bob Marley singing to ME "Don't worry about a thing every little things gonna be alright". Ok, not in person, in my head, but someone sent three little birds to my mind's doorstep telling me the chill out. Much appreciated Bob, much appreciated.

Lastly, having good friends who will help me talk stuff through without judging me too harshly is what is going to make it beyond the next week. There are so many path right now, and silly me, I have chosen the hardest one with IEDs and snipers all along the way. But if I can properly navigate things, everything might just turn out happily every after.

Happy Friday everyone! I'm off to find my belly laugh for the day so I don't turn into psycho first year teacher. Big run this weekend, with a new hill (or dare I say MOUNTAIN!) so there should be much to complain share with you soon!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

More Chortles!

Thought for the morning: life needs more laughter. Laughing feels so good. Therefore my new goal is to try to have a hearty laugh at least once a day. I'm going to laugh more, and hopefully the people around me will as well. No more woe is me!

I mean, life is just too short to live any other way :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Good Things!

I have kinda been slacking on posting good things every Friday, but this week I will not let you down.

This morning I had the best run I have had in a long time. A new route and I felt AMAZING the entire run.  Usually I have to fight through the three mile funk before I warm up the exhilaration of running, but not today! I might have even been SMILING while running. Imagine that! I didn't get the hills in as much as I was craving, but I found a spur off this new route that is going to promise some very sweet climbs. This is the second wind I really needed to get for the last 2 months of marathon training. Three runs already this week and I am going to try to squeeze in one more. Hooray!

More good news? The Bestie is starting a book club. I am stoked. I swear, she knows exactly what I need and delivers just when I need it! I doubt she did it because of me, but I am going to give her credit for it anyways. She is amazing. I never been in a book club before. Another first to add to the list in this new chapter of my life!

The cat has finally calmed down and stop mauling me and all the people near and dear to me. Dare I say she is happy?  (Dare!Dare!). I haven't had one problem with her since we got to Napa, and I am relieved. If she didn't shape up, we were going to have to explore other options, which wasn't looking so good for her. Guess she just doesn't work well under stress. Or perhaps it is the fact that now I have my classroom keys and curriculum, I am finally settled into my place, and I am starting to meet new people, I am no longer wallowing in my own stress, bringing her down with me. I hope she is not a barometer of myself, because she was really terrible the last 2 months. I'd like to think I was not that bad.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Run for the Hills!

Ever get that feeling that you need to run up hills? I got that today. Another sign my training is not hopeless. I am addicted to the incline!

Tomorrow morning I am just going to run out towards the hills until I find a good one that makes me feel like I am going to collapse. And then I am going to run home. And this REALLY excites me.

Am I sick or what!

Photo Credit

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

...and not so much

So, I thought I was going to have tons of trash talk about The Bachelorette season finale, but instead I just wept throughout the entire 2 hour episode. Right.

Instead we will discuss less pitiful things, like my new classroom and getting my fitness back on. Yes, I started working on my fitness and I am loving my new fitness room. I love love LOVE watching trashy TV while I am running, even though I read some health report that said watching TV when running makes you work less hard and burn less calories. But I know my abs are getting a work out when I am laughing out loud. It also helps to drown out the animalistic grunting of men using the weight machines. I am a single lady, I can't handle hearing men grunt or seeing them all sexy sweaty when they are working out. It is like I am 13 and boy crazy all over again. Help!!!!!!!

Tomorrow AM, when that cozy foggy marine layer is hanging in the trees, I am going to hit the pavement and log some miles. I want to log a decent double digit long run this weekend, so I need to build up right. No injuries!

Speaking of injuries, I look like Nancy Kerrigan. I fell on the stairs AGAIN and my knees look battered. Didn't hurt on the treadmill, which is good to know. My body is trying to sabotage me, but it will not win!

This week I will sanitize my classroom (even though it will be filthy by the end of second period on the first day of school) and hopefully get some stuff up on the walls. Maybe even start some curriculum planning. I am trying to come up with clever ways to make my classroom inviting and lighthearted for high school students. I teach Algebra this year. I hate corny stuff (like that poster with that kitten about to fall out of a tree that says hang in there) but love dry humor. What do you remember in your high school math classes and what would you have liked to look at?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The big 5-0!

50 blog posts... I never would have thought I could stick with this for so long. So now I have given myself a pat on the back and polished my gold star, you can also send me your warm love-filled congratulations for not giving up like I did on my photoblog.

Summer is that time of year when everyone moves. I try to move once a year because I get bored with my housing, enjoying bruising my legs and arms so I look like a black and blue giraffe, and like the magic of searching for everyday items hidden away in a sea of boxes. I bet you are asking yourself if you still have time to take advantage of the finer points of moving, and the answer is yes. Moving season is open until Labor Day. Score for you! (No, I will not help you move!)

For a single girl like me, moving means time spent with the parents, the only people who can't make excuses for not helping you move, even if they live 8 hours away. I am very VERY fortunate my parents made the drive this weekend to help. It is also fun to observe other twenty somethings moving with the help of their parents. The gusher of pride that comes with knowing your child is becoming financially independent is radiant and overflowing. Parents will go out of their way to make their kids uncomfortable, introducing them to any neighbor who walks by. Mine are guilty. So are my neighbors. Like children, parent scramble around through boxes and piles to find artifacts to present to new neighbors that showcase something you might have in common with their child. My neighbor's dad dug through his clothes to find his Chico State shirt, much to my neighbor's dismay. It was that funny/cute/awkward thing you still deal with, no matter if you are 10 or 30. You gotta love parents.

Blogging on stolen wi-fi, I will be very happy to have TV and internet tomorrow. After all, The Bachelorette season finale is tomorrow night.  Plan A is to watch it on while running on the treadmill for 2 hours for my weekly "long run". Plan B is to sit on my butt and watch it in my box dungeon. Both sound fabulous, am I right? Expect a snarky reflection on ABC's biggest contribution to society later this week. Good thing it is coming to an end so I am not distracted planning for the new school year. That makes me wonder... when is Glee starting back up? :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Running bits of Wisdom

I recently subscribed to Runner's World quote of the day email service so I could have a daily kick in the butt to get my feet pounding the pavement. While I haven't been running as much I should be, some real gems have shown up in my email. Thought I would share today's quote with you:

It's not like somebody else can run a marathon for you. It's all you out there. Finishing means you can say, "There's not a lot I can't do." 

It really captured why I set out for a Marathon. When I volunteered to work the Boston Marathon, I did it for the sweet free jacket and to experience a slice of local culture. I walked away knowing I would some day run a marathon. I never knew it would be so soon! I chose to run after this goal because I wanted to have an accomplishment that was personal, that was all me. I wanted to prove to myself how capable I am. I have been letting myself down in training, but it isn't too late to step back up to the plate and give it my best so I can claim 26.2 in October. For those of you who struggle to understand why people run such great lengths, this quote captures it all.

Another blogger left me a message saying, "I think runners tend to be over-achievers in general. " She is SO RIGHT!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sangria and Cupcakes :)

Tonight I made the farewell feast: Seared Ahi, seaweed salad, squid salad, edamame, crab rangoon, Miso soup, and Lemon sorbet. This is the last night I am able to cook before the the great transition. Eating out from here on out (hello unnecessary weight gain!). I had to finish the sangria as well, or it would go down the drain. Who knew sangria paired so well with Ahi? Score!

Two thoughts for today. Had a great run this morning. Took random country roads and stumbled across some ridiculously huge houses. It is so refreshing to mix up the running routes, as well as imagine myself living in these unnecessarily large wine country chateaus. The standards for future relationships might be based on the square footage of the homes I ran by today, just saying. But honestly, the hills, the adventure of not knowing where I was going, the cool overcast morning, it all just came together. I really hope I can keep this up throughout the week so I can back on my training schedule. I was little worried about having enough gusto for the run, since I hadn't had breakfast, so I ate a chocolate cupcake before my run. I don't know if that is good practice, but it sure made for a heck of a run. I freakin' love chocolate cupcakes! They taste so much better than gels, and frosting really helps you go the extra mile!

Second thought: I didn't watch the Bachelorette Guys Tell All episode. Yes, I am totally addicted to the Bachelorette. I completed an application to be on the next bachelor, but never could bring myself to hit the submit button (not sure if I could hoe myself out quite like Ali did). But I didn't want to hear the guys talk trash on each other. Sadly, I watch the show because I have recently become obsessed with this idea of true love and marriage. But I would never last more than an episode on those crazy reality dating shows. Cameras have never been part of my vision on finding love, nor has been getting fresh so mom and grandma can watch on prime time. GROSS!!!!!! Anyways, I doubt I even know what love really is. Even if it slapped me in the face, I probably wouldn't know what hit me.

It all feed into something bigger. Watched Valentines Day the other night and didn't care for it. Even my stepdad (the Marine) said it was alright, but me, I would have rather drank a bottle gin myself and passed out (metaphorically, or course?). Even How I Met Your Mother is getting on my nerves. After the season finally on the Bachelorette (read: obsessive addiction, thanks Melissa), I think I might give up on all things related to love for a while. I just can't take it, it makes me irritable. And ask anyone who knows me, irritable is NOT GOOD. So, next Monday, after I move into my new apartment and don't have cable yet, I'll have to go to the gym for two hours to run on the treadmill so I can watch the Bachelorette season finale. Oh, the lengths I will go for the Bachelorette. It will be my final indulgence in love, but I won't feel guilty because I am going to burn about 1200 calories. Booyah!

Here is a final thought to leave you with. Going to dinner with a boyfriend from the past tomorrow. He picked the place, and it is spot on. Is this a good idea or bad? Hmmm.....

(wonder if he reads this, lol)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hot Bliggity Blog!

So, time to refresh the blog with a new background. Whaddya think? I am looking for something that is fresh but not too feminine, clean looking so people won't know how amateur I am, and free. I am kinda feeling the new look but wanna know how everyone else feels about it as well. Yes, I value your opinion. Isn't that touching? :)

I have been really chewing over this idea of "blasting" my blog on Facebook to let people know I have a blog. Actually, I have been thinking more about why the thought of having friends/family/frienemies reading my blog regularly seriously freaks me out and how that might change how I write and what I write. There is a lot of safety in anonymity. Am I just over thinking this? Is it bad that I don't want my mom to know I have a blog? (I am pretty sure she would freak out).

As I try to shape my blog and decide what personality I want it to take, I really have to evaluate why I started it, as well as what I want it to be become. Is this my personal training log for marathoning, where people can cheer me on and keep me accountable? Is this a place for random thoughts/ramblings and celebrating the good things in life? Can it be both? I follow some pretty funny blogs, and I love what they offer readers and their writers. Could I ever be one of those?

I need to kick my butt into gear and get back into training mode. No one wants to read a running blog written by someone who doesn't run. I especially don't want to write a blog where I am constantly making excuses about what I am NOT doing. But I feel even a stronger need to create a vision for my blogging. A big drive to blog was to become a better writer. I feel that creating some structure might help.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good Things are coming this way!

Did I mention that life is overflowing with good things? Is it becoming annoying that I brag about them nearly every week? No? GOOD :)

So, kinda a big thing, and I am pretty sure it is a good thing. 2 people, complete strangers, stumbled upon my blog and were compelled enough to leave a comment, one even bold enough to FOLLOW me. Must be a runner, only a runner could appreciate most of my boring posts about how far I ran, what nasty gels I slurped down, and how my knee still hurts. Most people would just say, "Thats what you get for running XX miles. Stop racing around like a crazy person and your knee will be just fine." I'm sure that's what the bestie thinks every time she reads a marathon training update, lol. How loyal she is. Now I can stop following my own blog because I have more than one person following it. YAY! Some people, I won't name names (Matt) think I should give the blog a good ol' Facebook blast. SCARY!!!!!!! Strangers are cool, but people I know talking about how my blog tries to be witty but falls desperately short? TERRIFYING!!!!! More on this in a later post...

Back to things that are good. Luau this weekend!!!!!! I am painting giant cardboard tiki statues, butchering everything about the Hawaiian culture in order to have a fun and festive three way birthday party (sorry Bestie!). Not bad for a mainlander, and if they turn out respectable (in my eyes), I might post brag pictures. They stand 3 feet tall. We bought all sorts of kitschy deco to create ambiance. It is going to be fantastic. I am VERY excited!

Last good thing to point out? I got to spend quality time with my nephew. Little dude loves to swim, and loves teething on the side of the spa even more (it's flagstone, btw). I'm sure I gave him back to his mom with chipped teeth, but they are only baby teeth, and he barely has two, so I am sure they will grow back. I still can't get over the goofy smile that comes across his face after he breaks wind. Just like his daddy. Equally as smelly and gross. How does such a small creature make so toxic a scent? Dogs do it just as bad. What the heck?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Here are some highlights from the winery, for your amusement. More running updates later this week as I get back on the bandwagon :) 

Older lady comes in to buy a glass of wine on live music night. Asks for the cheapest glass, I list the bottom 3. She goes for the pinot. Keep in mind she has a wine list with tasting notes in front of her. I pour the glass of Pinot Grigio (the only pinot we serve), slide it across the bar. She slides it back, and with 100% attitude, says "Sweetheart. Pinot is a red wine". She also thought the music was too loud.

Guys at bar: Come to Vegas with us. We'll comp everything: room, drinks, shows.
Me: Vegas huh? I've always wanted to go. My bestie goes all the time.
Guys at bar: Then come. We are going to invite 10 of our guy friends. It is going to be great.
Me: Am I going to have a sign a video release for this? I'm not sure I am that kinda girl.

Old man at table: Your shirt is sparkly. Reminds me of a go go dancer I picked up off the side of the road in the 60's. I think you are doing a little better than she was. You are working inside, after all.
Me: (Laughing nervously) Oh, I had a feeling you were going to say something like that.
Old Man: I'm 74. Stop bending over, my wife is here and I can't handle the excitement. 

This will be my last week behind the bar before I pack up and move out. Hopefully my students will give me clever but less sexual things to post in my blog. I am sure this week there will be more love from the patrons to share here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Drunk Dials?

Is it luck or misfortune that after an all night barrel tasting (AKA like 7 glasses of wine and a case of wine I can't afford later) that no one is answering my calls? I guess we will have to let fate decide. BOO.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tending the Bar

This summer I am pouring in the tasting room of a Temecula winery. I make wage plus tips and commission. The money is FREAKING AMAZING. I only work 3 days a week. Which leads me to wonder if I am really the right line of work. I mean, wine makes the world a better place, am I right? Especially with how education is being funded in California.....

I can see why people get into this industry and stay. The people are fun, the money is good, etc. You can make the starting salary of a teacher in some districts just working behind the bar. You make way more than subbing. How are people supposed to be motivated to pursue an education (or work in education) when it is so tempting to just stay put?

Good thing I love teaching. The work is rewarding and I know I am helping to make a positive impact on my community. But, I would also love to pour wine as a summer job anywhere they will take me. I love meeting new people, talking about wine, and being able to just be a fun twenty something. And the extra spending money is nice to.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Love, Love, Love

As I made the epic drive from Northern California to Southern California yet again, I couldn't help but think about how lucky I am. Lucky to have friends that I love so much, I feel like they are family. That alone makes life rich.

Even if I die a single cat lady (which I WONT), I will have had a great life because of the wonderful people I consider my family.

Love Love Love :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Week 14 Training update

first of all, 14 weeks! This might be the longest amount of time I have ever stuck with an activity outside of schooling (polishes gold star). The new training schedule has not lost it's promise, although I am mighty sore from my 9 mile long run. I hope my hip/knee is only normal sore and not problematic sore. The hills out here are amazing for training. I hope Napa has great hills as well so I am prepare for San Francisco. My short runs are getting faster, and my long runs are maintaing, which is great considering the inclines I have been tackling.

New totals: 222 total training miles, with 18 miles added this week. I am not a huge fan of speed training on the track, but I am a fan of consistent 9 minute miles on flats. This next week will be the last week on the 2 bottle hydration belt; hotter mornings and increased mileage means the ultra geeky big bertha hydration station is now in charge.

Lessons learned this week: sunburns make running miserable. Especially when you have a hydration belt bouncing all over your red hot mess of a back. Big hills don't get smaller, but your ability to tackle them does get bigger over time. But it still sucks those last 100 feet of incline before you reach the top.

I might miss my short run this week, but I should be right on track for a tempo run at a quicker speed and adding a mile to the long run (double digits!)

Friday, July 9, 2010

So Many Good Things

Oh, July, you have been so good to me. Teaching jobs, fun part time summer jobs, tons of time to cook. There is so much to be thankful this week:

Pouring wine on weekends is going to be a blast. I am very excited to get out of the house, get to know more about the wine industry ( hopefully I can remember everything I learned at Chico 5 years ago) and meet lots of fun, slightly intoxicated people. Who knows? Maybe this experience will pave the path to a part time pouring gig at a winery in Napa, where I will be swept away by the handsome, charming, successful man of my dreams :)

My recent culinary quests have been fantastic! Double chocolate ice cream and lemon sorbet have been my favorite endeavors with my brand new ice cream maker. I have refined my bruschetta recipe, adding roasted red peppers and a balsamic drizzle to make each tasty bite to die for. The salmon burgers were pretty tasty too! Mom and I had a dinner party with fresh flowers on the patio. It was a perfect night!

I also have a great lead on a Napa condo. Great price, good location, with all the upgrades. Let's hope it is big enough for all my stuff and not too good to be true! Making the trek north Monday and Tuesday, hoping that I will come back with a signed lease and the perfect place to live.

Here's looking forward to another amazing week full of lots of wonderful things. I never want this good luck spree to end!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hill Training Commences!

As I am running along, I can see the crest of the hill, and I get excited. Over that crest is the half way point of the run, the four mile turn around where I usually tell myself 
"just stick with it, it's all down hill from here". As I summit this hill, which had a long, gradual incline, I really, REALLY, start to hate marathon training. This is not a hill, but a mountainous peak, and before me a very steep long road enfolds down into a valley where my half way stop sign lies. The run so far, not so bad, the run down, not bad either. But running back up this beast of an incline on my way back? PURE HELL.

Hill training is intense, but rewarding. Come marathon day, I am going to be glad I didn't settle for a hilly route and instead choose the road of extreme vertical inclines. It is good I run with an ipod, as it blocks the hateful dialog going through my mind when the hill is so steep you practically need a ladder or rope to scale it. My long run time was on target for training, but slower than last week: 1:37:00 for 8 miles, averaging 12:07/mi. 37 seconds slower per mile, but 1000% more hills. I think that is a good start. 

So this is what week 13 of training brings. Only 2 days of running due to moving and interviewing, but I only missed one cross training and one day of tempo training. My total mileage is 204 miles (11 miles added this week), reaching another important milestone in training! Thats the distance from Richmond to Reno. And, still no knee pain! Wowza! I am looking forward to starting speedwork this Thursday. I wonder if I will have a new personal best for the mile :) Mileage increases, and so do the hills. Yikes!

Training is about to get intense, but I am so ready for this! This week's mantra: just one step at a time. No more of this "it's all down hill from here" crap. Out here, there is always another hill.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Good Things? No, GREAT THINGS!!!!

Out of chaos comes the best week ever. 2 job offers from two amazing schools. Good move out from the apartment. And coming home to see my nephew, who has the best laugh and smile I have ever seen. I can't imagine how life gets better than this!

I am very excited to be the newest Math teacher at Vintage High School in Napa, CA. The people working in Napa Valley Unified School District are great and I am very excited to move to Napa and become part of the community. I feel like so many things have come together to get me here. Hard work really does pay off. I AM SO FREAKIN HAPPY!!!!!!!

So, I will celebrate tonight by going to the wineries for music, picnic, and lots of the good red stuff. I think this is going to be the best summer ever!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Burning Out!

"Hello, my name is Stephanie. Here is a some stuff I have put together to prove to you I can be a hard working teacher slave even in the summer months. I eat, sleep, and breathe education. HIRE ME."

Today I spent 12 hours putting together an inter-thematic unit map (ITU), a detailed unit plan for the math unit that integrates into the ITU, and a summary of the lesson plans that would be included in the ITU, resulting in a 8 page document. I hope this is the golden ticket to employment. I haven't work this hard since my content area tasks for my credential performance assessment. If I get the job, do you think I'll get retro pay for this? With the sweltering heat, I feel like I have been trapped in a lesson planning sweatshop today.

Coming up with neat ways to bring different curriculum strands together is very engaging for me. I like doing it, and thats how I know I am going to the right career field. Just not when it is 103 degrees in the apartment, I have a whole other interview to prepare for (HS Math in Napa, YAY!), and an apartment to move out of in less than 48 hours. I feel like a crazy person! I don't know if I would make it through this without teacher friends calling to check in on my sanity and best friends pitching in to help move me and house me through the transition.

Mom's words of wisdom on the situation: When it rains, it pours. I wish it was raining cool refreshing water from the sky along with all the opportunities and obligations that are stacking on top of each other. Let's hope I get the job and can use all this planning next year with my students.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

12 Weeks=Second Wind!

Did I mention how great my new training program is? Today was the first long run on the new training program. I am shocked what I didn't hear sad sobbing noises coming from the knee area or feel like carpenter ants were chomping away at my ITB. Victory at last!

Now although I have long much more impressive mileage, keep in mind that now I am logging calculated, well planned mileage. I added 16 miles this week for a grand total of 193 training miles since I started training 12 weeks ago. Next week we are definitely going to hit the 200 mile milestone!

The new program is working well for obvious reasons: it is balanced. Each run is different and has a purpose. I am excited that even in my long run I came in under the training time, without trying purposefully to break it. My long run pace is about 11:30/mile, which is a full minute under the training time and only 6 seconds slower than my planned pace time for the marathon! Dedicating some runs to maintaining tempo, others to building speed, and then long runs for endurance is really helping me physically and mentally. I wish I wasn't so stubborn. Then maybe I would have taken this advice when I read all the training stuff 3 months ago, before I was having ITB troubles.I have also been cross training by hiking (5-8 miles a week) and doing lotsa crunches in the AM and PM (I am up to 100 a day!). Using a stability is helping build up my core, and I can feel the benefits when I run. 

I felt like I was in a training rut, and I now I have broken free of it. Next week will be a repeat of this week, except hills will be introduced. Lets see how hot my times are when I have to haul myself over the rolling hills of wine country. Maybe then I will think twice about the Root Beer float special when I am at the grocery store.

I'm looking to do a race in August. I can't decide if I want to do a 5k and see if I can do a new personal best for the mile, a half marathon to test my gusto for the marathon, or a comfy 10k in between. Anyone in Northern California interested? (Bestie, this is directed at you. Let's be real... you are my only reader so even though I make it sound like it is an open invitation to the thousands of locals who faithfully follow my blog, it is really about asking if you want to do another race. I bet you'll set a new personal best for yourself, with your new workout schedule and all!)...are you sold? :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

More Good Things :)

This week has been great now that I have started on my new training schedule and my ITB troubles seemed to have faded away . It is really going to improve my running; today I did my first tempo run and it really pushed me to push myself to run at my best, and I did! Today I ran a new personal best for the mile (8:24.4) and ran my usual 5 mile loop in under 50 minutes, averaging 9:57 per mile. Tempo runs are not easy for me, I have trouble regulating my speed when I am paying attention to it. My first mile, I completely missed my target time by nearly a minute. So as I pushed myself, I ended us cutting nearly 3 minutes off my time (surprise!  A new personal best!) and then finally I was able to drop down and run my last 3 miles at a steady pace of 9:24. I was huffing and puffing like a crazy person out there, especially when I had to run down a narrow path past probation workers doing landscaping stuff (scary!). One just kept doing his thing as I ran past, launching little pebble missiles at my legs with his lawnmower on the gravel path. I felt like I was being shot by a bb gun! Maybe his probation has to do with a domestic violence charge...

More good things: two intermediate jobs were posted in Davis today, and my master teacher tells me he is going to put a good word in for me. So far they are both 4th grade, which would be so much fun! I am also hopeful that a 5th grade job in the district will open up. I would love to be able to stay in Davis for a while, It is such a safe place to run. And next week I have interview #2 in Loomis for a dream job combining upper elementary and math, my two favorite things. I am pumped!

I am also very thankful to have been able to take some great hikes with some of my favorite teacher friends.  This week we hiked at Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve at Lake Berryessa, so beautiful, but definitely tough! This whole week has been full of fun and good times. I am excited to go home and see my family, but I will most certainly be looking forward to seeing all my good people again in August.

{So thanks for sticking with me on my blogging journey. Now I am reading more blogs (read: too much time on my hands), I am starting to play with mine a little more. Is the large text annoying? I am trying to highlight significant or humorous parts. Give me your feedback!}

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thoughts on The Blind Side

I finally watched The Blind Side to see what all the Oscar hype was about. It leaves me with a few thoughts and questions to ponder as I lie in bed trying to fall asleep.

I am not a fan of movies and stories where the kind white people swoop in and save the poor black people from their own despair and misery. Too much of history is distorted to portray the kind charity of dominate society in helping the down and out minorities. It sends the message that people of color are not strong enough to help themselves, they need the hand of the white man to give them a boost. Don't get me wrong, this story of Michael Oher is extremely powerful. I think the Toohey family did an honorable thing in helping take care of a young person in need. I wonder, why does America love this movie? I fear it is because the dominate culture enjoys a good white hero story. And that is where I find this movie frustrating.

America needs more people like Leigh Ann Toohey. Not only is she a strong woman who knows how to do the right thing, but she combats her own stereotypes and prejudices so she can authentically love the young person she has brought into her life. That is why this story works for me. My favorite scene is when she is at lunch with her girlfriends and stands her ground against prejudice jokes made about people of color. This is the real heroism in the movie. Self reflecting, I have not done enough to stand up against racism, classism, and all the other -isms that are routinely exploited by dominate culture. How many times I have been sitting around with friends, heard an off-color comment, and not had the courage to tell that person that they should have been ashamed of themselves? Being passive perpetuates the problems that tear apart society.

I feel that had this movie been a poor white kid instead of a poor black kid, there would have been more emphasis on how hard the white kid worked, instead of how hard the white family worked for the black kid. Perhaps I am reading into this too much? I just don't think we (read: dominate culture) value the initiate and hard work of minority cultures beyond the holiday heros we celebrate as bank holidays. Dominate culture most definitely does not celebrate this as much as it does celebrates the hard work and perseverance of white culture. Children, all children, need to have role models in popular culture that demonstrate leadership and ability of people in their own culture. Yes, white children need to see people of their own culture breaking through the stereotypes and doing what is right, much like the Toohey family does in this film, but I think it is much more important to celebrate films where people from minority cultures can see a hero that looks like them finding success without the help of dominate culture. These children need to see this, because let's be honest, there are not enough Toohey families to make this story more common place.

Overall, I liked the film. It is always nice when a good person has good things come to them. I just wish we could move away from making movies that celebrate the white hero helping colored man out and make more box office Oscar winning hits that celebrate all the amazing things people from minority cultures have overcome without the white hero. Don't misunderstand me: I am not advocating that majority culture leave minority culture to their own means. There has so much injustice and inequity throughout history, there is much that needs to be done by dominate culture to bridge the gap that the dominate white culture has created between the haves and have nots. I am advocating that more attention be given to people who have overcome enormous obstacles without the help of the dominate white culture, because let's be honest, the man has been keeping them down.