Saturday, January 01, 2011


HAPPY NEW YEAR! I'll spare you the long-winded recap. After all, I blog so infrequently that every post I do seems like a recap! 2010 was a very good year for me. Even when things didn't go 100% the way I'd hoped, I did my best to find the bright side and be grateful for the good things. Being married to an optimistic psychologist/Reiki-person really has changed my perspective for the better!

This morning I ran 18 miles. Although it wasn't a bowl of cherries, it was a break-through. After several weeks in a row of crappy runs and self-defeating thoughts, I was able to push through and remember the joy that comes from completing a very daunting distance.

Over the past week, I've had some helpful conversations. Of course, the Huz has been great. He offers great insight into thought patterns and how we might be able to change them (again, bonus of being married to a shrink!) I also reached out to some of my running friends - both real and online - who have all gone through the same mental struggles. I have to remind myself every now and then that there is a world of resources out there, one just has to be open to ask.

I did a few things differently today. First off, I ran with my iPod. I was trying out a whole Zen approach to running the past few months, and for a while it really worked! I was able to just enjoy being outside and alone with my thoughts. Once I got passed 10 miles, however, my thoughts would begin to turn against me.

"Wow, this is hard. Let's stop and walk. You're slow. This sucks."

After a while, my body started believing all it was hearing. I decided that music would help keep my mind occupied so it would lay off my body a little bit. Good move! I loaded up my playlist with some great tunes - lots of inspirational ones - and this one even brought me to tears today:

Another thing I did was change up my route. Instead of the same roads I always take, I decided to head back into my hometown and run some roads from the past. Excellent idea!

Finally - and most effective - I enlisted a "support crew!" My Mom was only too happy to meet me a few spots along the course with water, a towel and encouraging words. Knowing that she was just 3 miles down the road really helped keep me going. Thank you, Mom.

So now I am feeling better about things. I think I can do this and do it right. Even if I don't break any records, I will finish this race, and it will be a stronger finish than my last one.

New Years resolutions? Nah, not me. Instead, I will leave you with some inspiration that I jacked from today's Dear Abby column:

JUST FOR TODAY: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. If I am overweight, I will eat healthfully -- if only just for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.

Monday, November 29, 2010


I'm about 3/4 through the school day, and I still feel like crawling back into bed. It's painful trying to get back to the grind after such an awesome Thanksgiving weekend.

We had a half-day Wednesday, so I had plenty of time for a long workout at the gym, and was able to get all my laundry done. Thursday started off with a nice 5-miler with some strides tossed in for good measure.

The Huz and I headed up to my brother's house for dinner. Of the three of us, my brother, John, is truly the family guy. He's got the big house, two kids, dog... the whole package. And he's awesome at it. I feel like he is everything that our Dad wasn't and I am so proud of everything he has become. Despite the fact that he deep-fried a turkey in his front yard.

There were eleven of us in total for dinner, and we had a great time. My nephews are now 7 and 4, and they are a hoot! Even though I don't want any kids of my own, they certainly do make the holidays so much more fun!

Lots of wine and good food was consumed. The Huz and I brought our traditional holiday stump. My sister-in-law made her now famous pumpkin-gingerbread trifle, to which the other pies and stuff couldn't hold a candle...

Friday was a lazy morning - I blame the wine. I had a lot of trouble ungluing my ass from the couch and the awesome movie marathon on Lifetime. Eventually I showered and then we headed south to my in-laws for round 2. It was a really nice visit, and good to spend the evening with his parents and brother.

Saturday morning was my long run and I managed to pull this out of somewhere:


And yesterday after an easy 3-miler, I hopped on my bike. The weather was gorgeous, but I was freezing and had to cut it short after about an hour and a half. Today my legs are genuinely tired and will enjoy a rest day.

Not sure what caused it, but I woke up around 12:30 last night with tremendous gas pressure in my stomach. It was literally pressing on something and I felt like I was having a heart attack or something. I know it was gas because it kind of... worked its way out. But I had trouble falling back to sleep, and I still don't feel 100%. Hope it's just a passing thing [pun intended].


Sunday, November 21, 2010


God, I love weekends.

I hope I'm not jinxing myself when I say I honestly can't remember a time in my life when I have been happier. 30's really do rock. I guess it helps having an amazing husband and fur-son.

This weekend started like most. The Huz & I went for dinner Friday night after work. We kept it simple: hit the local diner because I had been craving a panini all week. We figured diners must have paninis, and sure enough, there was one on the menu. Sadly, it ended up being a lame excuse for a panini. They threw some grilled veggies and cheese in a pita and warmed it up. Damn it. I guess the quest will have to continue this week.

Saturday morning I got in a great 10-miler in 1:31. I couldn't believe my pace! I actually managed an 8:39 for mile 8 and I told myself out loud, Slow the hell down! I really hope this improvement is the result of good training and not a fluke.

In the afternoon, I met up with a friend and we caught a bus into the city. We had an amazing dinner at a place called Swizz. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that it was a Swiss place (the name might've tipped me off) but I was pretty jazzed when I saw all the different fondues on the menu.

I had a little flashback to my last trip to Switzerland and all the glorious fondue in which we partook. Ahh...

Sorry. I digress...

So last night we shared a standard cheese fondue Provencale with fresh herbs, and also a traditional Swiss Raclette, which was to die for. I may have had two glasses of Pinot Noir. We also ordered entrees, but ended up eating just a little bit and taking the rest with us. After all, we had to save room for the dark chocolate fondue. Well hell, at least I could justify it all after my run!

After dinner, we walked a block over to this little theater to catch a very strange show. My friend knew one of the guys in the cast. The play was held in a tiny theatre on the 12th floor of this building. Here's my foot... right on the "stage."

It was definitely a different experience, but it beat sitting home on the couch. The weather was beautiful, and we took our time heading through Times Square to Port Authority. I got home just before midnight and slept like a rock.

Sunday's been great. Took an easy run, went shopping with The Huz, and just baked a batch of pumpkin granola bars. Now I'm chilling with a Punk'd, the greatest beer ever brewed. Looking forward to a short workweek and the start of the holiday season. Life is good.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Well hey! Sorry if I left you hanging about Friday's long run. The good news is, I did 12 miles in 1:50. That means I could have run my first sub-2:00 half-marathon, and would have, if I wasn't so anal about sticking to my training plan! I'm must say, I'm pretty happy with my pace these days, and hope it's a result of proper training and nutrition, and not just some fluke.

The even better news is that Zico seemed to work very well for me. I brought my sloshy fuel belt (which I hate because it always makes me feel like I'm rockin' the 80s belted-shirt fashion)

But I'll sacrifice style for hydration any day.

Zico's got a very mild taste. It's nothing like the "coconut" flavor you'll find in a Mounds bar or anything. It's cultivated from young coconuts and is clear (hence: coconut water) instead of milky. If you wanna learn all about it's nutritional info, feel free to click on the link.

I'd had coconut water a couple times in India. Street vendors sell fresh coconut for a couple rupees and they look like this:

My friend, Rajiv, sucking a coconut

On my run, I drank about 4 ounces every 3 miles. I guess the downside of training with coconut water is that it's unlikely to be the beverage served at aid stations in Austin. I don't think I wanna be the "80s Marathon Runner", so I'll have to figure this out as the race draws nearer.

Friday, November 05, 2010


I'm sitting here watching three crows tear apart the neighbor's garbage. I guess the neighborly thing to do would be to chase them away and clean it up. But I saw my stupid neighbor walk out her front door, glance at the mess, and just keep walking. So I figure, screw her. How very un-Mr. Rogers of me.

I'm also procrastinating. I'm planning to run 12 miles today instead of tomorrow, and am waiting for breakfast to digest a little bit. The Huz's brother is getting married tomorrow, and I have learned from past experience that putting dressy shoes on after a long run isn't all that pleasant. And anyway, I'm off from school yesterday and today for the teachers' convention, so I figured I'd just get it over with today.

I only recently began eating breakfast before long runs, and cannot believe the difference it has made in my energy and endurance levels! I guess it makes sense to stock up the reserves. I can't run right away, though, as I tend to get stomach cramps, so I wait about 2 hours. But two slices of Ezekiel toast with almond butter and a banana + a cup of coffee = nice results!

Yesterday was a good day. I went over and hung out with my Mom, which is something I don't do nearly enough of anymore. We hit up Target, and then bought some stuff to make soup. We drank some wine while I put together a bitchin' pot of vegetable soup (yes, I did just use the word bitchin') and just kind of caught up on life. It was perfect rainy-day bonding.

I guess I am just about ready to set out on my run. I am experimenting with Zico coconut water today, and will let you know how that goes. Until next time...

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Claire Kowalchik was right: speed training works.

Over the past few months, I have been incorporating speedwork into my weekly runs. During the summer, I started doing track workouts, and I hated them with a passion. I don't know why, but the thought of running 400s, 800s & 1200s around a high school track just made me... angry.

I've been running for over 10 years now, and have been successfully maintaining a plateau for about ... well, 9 of those years. I guess having come into running in my early 20s, I never really expected much of myself. I think that when I initially considered adding speedwork, a battle began in my head that went something like this:

MIND: "Hey, maybe if we work a little harder, we can get faster."
BODY: "Shut up. We're fine."
MIND: "Yeah, but, we spend all this time running and haven't improved much in like, ten years... just sayin'..."
BODY: "Shut UP. Running fast is difficult and makes me uncomfortable."
MIND: "Yeah, I guess. And I probably won't get faster anyway."
BODY: "Exactly. After this tedious shuffle is over, let's get ice cream, okay?"
MIND: "... yeah."

I guess any time we push ourselves outside our comfort zones, we get a little uncomfortable - physically and mentally. I guess it's just about getting over the mental hurdle.

Doing the interval training yielded positive results. I'm not sure if it was more mental than physical (or a little bit of both) but I ran my fastest 5K last month. After 10 years, I broke 26 minutes and finished in 25:21. That made me really happy. And so I have now committed to doing at least one speed session a week as I prepare for the Austin Marathon.

Yesterday I did 4 miles worth of intervals on the treadmill while watching Oprah. After a mile warmup, I did a "ladder" workout of: 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400, 400 - with 400 recoveries in between each push. I did these at 7.3 (8:13 pace) with a 1% incline. I did the last 400 at an 8:00 pace. I was sweating like a beast afterwards. Including the warmup, I'd run 5 miles in under 45 minutes. For me, this is huge.

My long run pace is improving. Last weekend I did 10 miles with an average pace of 9:12. Again, huge for me. I guess the moral of the story - and of this long-winded post - is that every now and then, it's okay to leave the comfort zone. And not just when it comes to running, but life in general. Common sense. Great advice. Sometimes easier said than done.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Blah. I've hit the dreaded "Wall of Boredom" at last. I guess I've finally settled into the school year enough to remember how mundane it becomes. Sadly, we're not even through September yet. Usually it takes me until at least the third week of October to start feeling this way.

It may also have to do with the fact that it's been dreary and rainy the past two days. Our cross country meet was cancelled yesterday, and today's practice doesn't look too promising. It was actually kind of nice having the afternoon free yesterday. I went over to the Y and did some cross-training.

I eked out 30 minutes on the elliptical while watching Oprah, and then spent half an hour swimming laps in the pool. It had been nearly two months since I'd done any kind of swimming, and I was amazed at how much fitness I'd already lost! That half hour kicked my ass, but I slept incredibly well last night.

I used my tofu press for the first time. I'd left the block of tofu in overnight and marinated & baked it in the toaster oven. Not bad, but I would definitely slice it thinner next time before baking it. Served it up with some quinoa and stir-fried veggies. Due to a power outage, The Huz had an unexpected evening off work, so we had some couch+TV time. *sigh* I wish I was on the couch right now instead of chained to my desk here at school.

I haven't seen my Mom in over a week, so I made plans to head over there for dinner tonight. Maybe I'll try and bang out a few miles after school in the rain.

Is it Friday yet?