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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Harrisburg Marathon: Race Review

I already posted the recap of this race, but for those of you who might be considering running it, here's the review:
The Harrisburg Marathon takes place in mid-November each year in Pennsylvania's Capital.
I ran it this year and I have to give it 5 stars!
The race: It's a small marathon, about 1000 runners, with a relay option. Next year will be its 39th year, so the organizers have pretty much worked out all the kinks.
Registration and cost: Cheap! $55 with early registration, but registration is available on day of the race for $60. You can pick up your packet the night before or the morning of the race, which is nice (and the process, which I observed, is completely hassle-free).
Swag: Long-sleeved tech T (with a zippered pocket, cool) which I discovered runs pretty small as race T's go. Basically order the size you'd order if you were buying a fitted blouse. I was so impressed with the swag bag - for a tiny marathon with no expo, I got Gu samples, fruit and yogurt bites, a magazine, a gift card, granola bars, chips, a handful of candy,and a cytomax sample. There's a finisher's medal, too, if you collect those.
Course: It's the course that makes the race. The website advertises the race as mostly flat with a 2 or 3-mile hilly section. This is pretty true, except the flat part is not completely flat. There are enough hills for a New Orleanian to notice anyway! But the happy part is that the course is varied enough that you can't get bored. It goes through a college campus, the city of Harrisburg, an industrial park, several bridges, a wooded area, a gravel trail, along the river, and in a neighborhood. It is mostly a beautiful course and it keeps you interested. I was worried about the course being confusing - there are lots of turns -  but it was very well marked and volunteers called out directions.
Harrisburg PA
Support: The volunteers were pretty great and the race went off very smoothly: started exactly on time, plenty of aid at all the stations, well-organized. Aid stations had water and most had Cytomax, too. Cytomax makes my stomach cramp, but I dealt with it. There were two Gu stations, although the website only mentioned one, plus volunteers who I don't think were associated with the race were giving out pre-opened packets at mile 15. As far as fan support goes, I was surprised by how many spectators were out on a Sunday morning. In fact the only empty sections were in the woods and in the industrial area.
Funny story: I saw a few kids trying to get high-fives on the course and all of the runners were passing them by. I decided to give them their desired slap and I knocked the kid over. He was like, twelve. I guess I was running really fast, haha!
Post race: Dunkin' Donuts coffee and donuts, chicken broth, sandwiches, yogurt, fruit, more granola bars and chips,cytomax and soda. No beer, shocker. This is the first non-alcoholic race I've ever run.
Etc - There is a pasta dinner the night before, a gear check, a walking option, and a relay option. There isn't a half option or a 5 or 10 k. There are plenty of porta-potties at the start. Runners can use their number to get into the YMCA and shower after the race. Race is chip-timed (disposable) and there is time on the course. Parking is easy and plentiful. If you're traveling, there are several sponsor hotels with great deals. There is a heated, sheltered area at the start so you don't freeze before the race. Of interest, the marathon starts at 8:30 - I thought that was late, but it would be ideal for those of us who aren't morning people!
So overall? I highly recommend this race if you're even slightly nearby. It's obvious that all the kinks have been worked out over the years and these guys know how to run a small successful race. I was so impressed that I might consider doing it again, especially since we have friends nearby.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Is it worth it to buy a City Pass?

City pass review
Before our vacation to New York, my hubby bought two City Passes to save us some money. You have to try to save money in New York because everything except the street food is overpriced. Basically, City Passes are tickets to the main attractions in a particular city and they save you 40-45% off the regular price of admission. We decided it was worth it to buy the pass for New York for two reasons: One, New York's attractions are mostly expensive and the only free ones are Central Park and Times Square. If you want to do the tourist circuit, you have to pay. Two, we were planning very last minute, and it's hard to find deals last minute. You kind of have to make this call yourself, and check out the options for your destination city, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Your NPR/AARP/AAA/NRA/Y2K membership might provide discounts to some locations, and most discount student and veteran/military tickets.
- Were you actually planning to go to the places listed? NYC's list is pretty well-rounded, but others - like Houston - feature lesser-known attractions that may not have been part of your plans.
- The coupons expire in 9 days, so don't buy a book intending to use it throughout your two-week winter break or something.
- You have to leave the coupons in the book - don't tear them out before using them.
- Having a City Pass often entitles you to skip lines and offers discounts, too. It was very convenient to skip lines at the Metropolitan Museum of art and the Empire State Building, where lines were long.
- If you're going to a city with a lot of history like Boston or Phillie I wouldn't bother. Most of the historical attractions are free. And who wants to go to the Boston museum of fine arts anyway?
- Want to relax on your vacation? Then don't buy one. It gives you an agenda!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gulf Coast Marathon Race Recap

There are too many races to recap these days! The recap is - I ran a 3:36:11 and was second female overall! The marathon only awards first overall and each age group, so I got a first in my age group award - and so did lil' brother Abe. That was kind of neat. I started the race way too fast - at 6 miles I was under 42 minutes - and a little after that a fast looking chick passed me. I decided to slow down once I saw her - she looked way faster than I and if I had been leading her I must be going too fast! I slowed down and slogged through many boring miles (see race review to come...after I put up the Harrisburg review...I know, I'm so far behind!). I kept waiting for the Hammergel they promised at the start, but it never materialized. So I ran hungry, which made me grumpy. What made me grumpier was getting lost at mile 17 because some non-bright volunteer was sitting on the arrow cone. Since I couldn't see the arrow I asked the volunteer, who directed me forwards. I should have turned. I quickly realized the mistake, but it cost me about 0.4 miles. BOO. Until then I was on pace for a 3:33 but, eh, oh well. I was slowing down anyway. I plodded on and as I neared the end - 23 or 24 miles? - a volunteer told me I was the second female. Wrong thing to say to a tired marathoner. I looked behind me and there were no women for miles, so I slowed it way down. I felt pretty bad - majorly underfueled - and I walked a little after the last water stop. I teased the volunteers not to tell anyone I walked! I didn't plan on sprinting to the finish but it felt good to hear my name over the loudspeaker and "Here comes the second place female!" so I kind of did. Abe met me at the finish with a sweater and water, which was nice. He had a bad race - he didn't bring any gels or fuel at all but expected to get one on the course. He didn't. He also didn't train at all and is getting over strep, but he didn't love his 2:51 time. I'm still impressed. Fourth overall and first in his age group. We celebrated our victories with a walk on the beach and a trip to the outlets (Abe's jeans were starting to look like Goodwill rejects).
First place age group finishers! Yeah, I ran in my pajamas BTW.

So overall? Nice time, not so nice race.
Lately I am a gazillion times faster than I used to be. Today I thought, "Guess I'll run a 3:36" and, well, I did. I have no idea what's come over me, but since last February I've taken 32 minutes off my marathon time. My husband is accusing me of over caffeinating...but I'm not complaining. I'm baffled but enjoying it!
I PROMISE you'll get the race reviews and a guest post from Abe coming up. Have a great Sunday!

Friday, November 26, 2010

What do you do when you have a day off, your husband has to work, and it's pouring rain?
You stand in line for five hours at Best Buy to purchase some this-will-be-outdated-by-2011 electronic for $10 off! Nah. I don't. Black Friday is for people who like close proximity to other people and that's not for me.
Instead, this is what I did. Still in my pj's, hair a mess, face not washed, coffee getting cold.

Now I'm going to go pick dried paint out of my eyelashes and reposition the centerpiece to cover the suspicious light blue smear on the dining room table.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Quick, name one thing you're NOT thankful for but you SHOULD be!
Me? I never think about how amazingly blessed we are to have such good health, but I should. I can't believe I complain about acne and fat thighs when I have only had to take an antibiotic twice in my life.*  My husband's ancient, like antique, and he's in brand-spanking-new condition. I need to be more thankful for our consistently good health!
In an effort to keep that good health, we ran the local 5-mile Thanksgiving race this morning. When we arrived I realized we'd never registered for this race. I can't believe I forgot! But we've run so many races this fall I thought I had. All those check to the New Orleans Track Club are blurring together in my mind.We registered with the no-Tshirt option.
It was hot and humid today, upper 70's at the start and moist. It was 80's at the finish and the wet weather brought a brisk head wind. Not very good running weather, and I wore my Karhus, which have zero tread and would make great ice skates. I wanted to go slow today since I have a marathon on Saturday, but I started too fast - first mile under 7 minutes - so I had to slow down (not that I could have kept that pace up anyway). I finished in 37:40 but here's the big news - David ran 41:55! Super fast for him!
The Saints game almost gave me a heart attack and made me quite hoarse. Hartley is returning slowly to my good graces.
I want to buy these jeans but I'm afraid that, like all GAP denim, they'll bag out after a few hours of wearing. I don't like saggy-butt. Has anyone had any experience with this style? If I spend this much on jeans they better be awesome (my other jeans are $12 Forever21 and $9 Ross styles...).
I talked little bro' Abe into running the half marathon this weekend while I run the full, but today he told me he might run the full. I love how he can just casually decide to run a marathon two days in advance.
I hope you all had a stupendous Thanksgiving!!! I'm going to go roll onto the couch and vegetate now!

* This excludes the antibiotics prescribed for dental work that I never take. Don't tell my dentist.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New York Vacation

On our New York trip we did all the tourist things. This is because my husband has done all the NON-tourist things many times when a close friend lived in NYC and he used to visit all the time. This was before I entered the picture and began making all his choices for him.
We kicked the trip off with a Circle Line ferry tour, which was beautiful. I recommend a 4 pm tour if you go, so you can see the city in daylight, sunset, and night - three for the price of one!

After our brief Philly detour, we returned to NYC for several more days. We had purchased City Passes, so we were on a tight museum-seeing schedule. We were across the block from the Museum of Modern Art. One-sentence review: I hope you like Picasso. Our trip also took us to the Guggenheim (One-sentence review: If you don't want your walls and floors to crack, consider more angles in your building construction) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (One-sentence review: Go ahead and buy a year's membership and just sleep in the lobby if you want to have time to adequately appreciate the art).
The Metroplitan Museum of Art - at night
We went to the American Museum of Natural History briefly. One sentence review: I've been to small-town science fairs with better exhibits and fewer grammatical errors in the informative placards. I honestly could not believe the lack of quality and interesting displays, and I think I was actually less-informed when I left. Don't waste your money here. You'd do better to buy a train ticket to DC and go to the Smithsonian for free.

Of course we did the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I realized while I was there that I always associate Lady Liberty with immigrants embarking on a new life, but that perception does not accurately reflect the meaning behind the statue. It was originally meant to celebrate the liberty we have in this country (really more in a military sense), but thanks to its location it became a symbol to the thousands who entered the USA by Ellis Island.
Central Park was lovely and we got a run in and a few walks.
And we braved frigid temperatures at the top of the Empire State Building one night.
I indulged my addiction to libraries and visited the famous lions. What a beautiful library this is!
Best of all I got to see autumn again! I've missed having four seasons!
Later, I'll review the City Passes we bought for our trip.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What am I making for Thanksgiving?

The scenario: I fight the crowds of hemp-wearing, hatch-back-driving, green tea-drinking, bjorn-toting mommas in Whole Foods to snag this pile of ingredients:

Pomegranates, feta, creamed goat's cheese, walnuts, and spinach
The plan was a nice Thanksgiving potluck salad (with a white balsamic vinaigrette including THE SECRET INGREDIENT). But then the FIL called and told me that two others had already volunteered to bring salads.
The challenge: Turn these ingredients into another potluckable dish....and you can use any other ingredient already in my well-stocked kitchen (basically everything).
My first thought: Pomegranate-walnut mini pizza appetizers.
Start with a soft pizza dough. Form small circles, about 1.5" across, and top with several spinach leaves. Bake at 400 F for about 8 minutes or until nearly cooked. Spread with goat cheese (pre-mixed with a little balsamic and black pepper), then sprinkle with feta, pomegranate arils, and roasted walnuts. Broil for a minute or two to slightly melt cheese.
Or leave off the spinach and top with raw sugar crystals and vinegar before broiling to make a slightly caramelized top.
If you have a better idea...I will love you forever.
What are you making this Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas cards for charities

Sometimes I buy Christmas cards. Sometimes I make my own. Sometimes I don't send any, then spend the holidays in spasms of guilt each time a card arrives to me (I imagine the sender quietly pining away, waiting for my reciprocal card which never arrives).
This year I think I'll send Christmas cards that benefit a charity. Many charities and institutes design Christmas cards as a fundraiser, and you can find a large list here.
There are a few of my favorites:
Angel Covers, benefiting a school for deaf children in Narobi.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. How could you resist a triptych card?
Ten Thousand Villages supports third-world artisans - look at these beautifully crafted cards! This one is painted on papyrus.
MD Anderson features many cards, but I like this fun ornaments design by an aspiring graphic artist!

The question now is, which to pick?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harrisburg Marathon: Race Recap #2

I survived my first day back at work and I'm here to finish my race recap!

My hubby - who insisted on accompanying me to the Harrisburg Marathon and went to mass while I ran! - took this picture from above. Aren't you feeling the short shirt?!

I left off eating Gu around mile 14 and had just decided to suck it up and finish the marathon. Around mile 15 two awesome things happened. I had been slowing down, but then we entered a spectator-filed parking lot and this little boy handed me a pre-opened Gu. Pre-opened Gu is the BEST! Who cares if it was a little gravelly? And then I passed this guy in front of me who was running with a Chinese flag in his compression sleeve. Ok, I am not an imperialist, I swear, but can I tell you that felt like winning the Olympics? I swear I felt like I had just single-handedly re-valued the yen. I sped up. I felt pretty good, and I actually glanced at my pace bracelet to see if I had a chance. Unfortunately, I had spilled on it and the ink had run. It was illegible. Brilliant. I tried to do the math in my head but decided to give up and just run at a pace that felt good.
Then I hit the hills. Now the Harrisburg course is advertised as mostly flat, with one hilly patch. Really, it was not bad - and you can read all about it in my detailed race review to come - but miles 17.5 to 20 or thereabouts are a pretty hilly section. I don't do hills at all. I lost oodles of time here and trashed the BQ idea. I considered a new goal of under 9 minute miles, but I was going so slow that I didn't think I could promise myself that, either. I decided to return to my original under 4-hour goal. I was slogged on, made it out of the hills, and headed towards the finish. I was definitely feeling tired again, and even though I had promised myself no walking (and I ran all the hills), I walked the water stops - until I came up to mile 23. As I approached the sign for mile 23 I read 3:17 and some on the clock. Wait, I thought, that's better than I thought! Could I possibly make the 3:40 cut-off? I tried to read my pace band... and couldn't because it was all covered in pink Cytomax. I roughly guessed I'd have to break 8 minute miles for the rest of the race. Was that possible? Was 3:40 even BQ time? It had been so long since I'd printed the pace bracelet that I wasn't even sure this was the time to beat. But what did I have to lose? I hit the gas and tore past mile 23. I was so tired by now but I basically sprinted the last three miles. As I neared the 26 mile sign I realized I was already at 3:40 - no chance now. I was disappointed, but I shrugged it off and finished in 3:40:50. I felt a little weak and crampy - in fact for the first time I actually felt like my legs might buckle at the finish - but David was there to bring me donuts and water! He was telling me how I had finished so much sooner than he expected and that cheered me up. In fact I started to realize that I'd cut 20 minutes off my marathon time, BQ or no, and I remembered that I hadn't planned to qualify and that had never been a goal of mine. So I decided to just enjoy the faster time. But I DID Google BQ times while driving back to our friends' house, and was distressed to realize that I really had missed the cut-off by less than a minute. I was mentally preparing a blog post about how that was ok, I was happy with my time, etc etc, when a Dailymile friend made a BQ comment. Wait...did Boston give a few extra seconds? I checked again, and they do! So I sort of qualified, if by the skin of my teeth. Personally, I think that's cheating. And it sort of robs me of any feeling of accomplishment. I like to set a goal, work towards, and achieve it - not squeak by and obtain a goal that wasn't even mine to begin with. Does that make any sense? I would have rather decided to qualify for Boston and worked hard towards that goal. Then I would be all kinds of gratified when I reached it. It's just more satisfying.
Thank you all very much for the congratulations, by the way. Not many people in my circle run or understand much about running, so it was so nice to read all those blog comments!
The recap summary (REDUNDANT!!!):
What I did right:
- Running tights. So comfy!
- Rested legs. I resisted the urge to walk all over NYC the day before.
- Perseverance. I always feel better several miles in.
- Water stops. I lost a lot of time at water stops in my past marathons. This time I grabbed two cups and drank as I ran, with the exception of two stops I walked towards the end.
- Gu grabbing. Everywhere there was Gu on the course I grabbed it, plus I had some oatmeal. I usually pass on the Gu and then I'm sorry later!
- Fast finish. Why not speed it up? Unless you're walking 15 miles to your car you might as well use up whatever energy you have left.
- Walking later. Following the marathon with lots of NYC walking practically cured the soreness!
Lessons learned for next time:
- Laminate the pace bracelet. Obviously.
- Plan better if traveling - for food, hydration, pre-race run.
- In retrospect flaming chicken wings were not an outstanding choice of food. In the future I'd bring oatmeal bars or something to eat before bed.
- Bring a starting-line garbage bag to avoid freezing to death.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harrisburg Marathon: Race Recap #1

Well, howdy folks, I'm back from a week long vacation to New York and Pennsylvania and I'm brimming with photos, stories, and blisters!
Where I last left you, I had just finished running the Harrisburg Marathon, which I squeezed in to our trip last-minute. It was an hour and a half from our friends' house in PA, so I decided why not? I registered.
Those who read the last post will know that I actually narrowly qualified for the Boston Marathon at this race! But I didn't realize that when I first posted. And that wasn't my goal when I ran this race. Five weeks earlier, I ran a 1:46 half marathon that was my fastest half to date. I plugged that time into an online pace predictor calculator, and it predicted a marathon time around 3:45. The same website listed BQ times by age group and had a link to print a pace bracelet. So I did - for 3:40. Then I forgot about it, fell off the running band-wagon (which I do easily) and flew to Pennsylvania with a goal of running under 4 hours.
My pre-race behavior was typically absurd. We were staying with friends and the night before went to a party at their neighbors'. Instead of carb loading, I had a plate of chicken wings and several glasses of malbec. Then we went to a movie, and they wouldn't let me bring my water in. So I sat and dehydrated while watching Mark Zuckerburg be a rich and brilliant jerk. I went to bed late, slept through my alarm, and rushed out the door.
So Pennsylvania has these things called turnpikes, and they have no bathrooms. I discovered this as I got on the turnpike, and read a sing that said, "Next facilities: 102 miles". And I had just had a gallon of coffee. I was dying by the time we reached Harrisburg! The hubby had insisted on going with me, and he parked while I waited for a port-a-potty. It was cold at the start, and I decided to change into the long sleeved race shirt. It was far too short for me and the whole race my back was bare (Oddly, it is shorter in the back than the front, like a reverse shirt tail)! But it beat shivering in short sleeves. I had my BQ pace bracelet on because I found it with my race stuff I'd packed. What the heck, I thought, and taped it on. Actually I put it on because I thought it made me look cool. The coolness factor was negated by the belly-shirt effect, however.
Thanks to my awkward car ride and poor pre-race diet, I felt bad from the start of the race. Actually I immediately felt bad, but I remembered that I take 5 to 7 miles to warm up, and I promised myself I should get that far then reassess. At 6 miles I unexpectedly saw David, and I almost stopped then and told him it was time to go home. But I kept going and made the half-way point my goal. I wasn't looking at my watch at all; I was just feeling out of breath, queasy, and exhausted.
I hit the half at about 1:48, with a little push towards the end since I figured I'd stop there. Except I didn't stop, because I realized I had no clue how to get back to the start. As I pondered stopping or continuing, I decided I'd better have a Gu or something. I hadn't eaten anything since I planned on dropping out. Once I had a Gu, I perked up and decided to finish the race.
And eventually I will finish this post...but not now, because I'm tired and I have to go back to work in the morning! So see you in the morning for the other 13 miles!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Harrisburg Marathon

This is a mini recap because I'm on my phone which makes posting a chore. We're mid-vacation abd took a break to drive to Harrisburg, PA this morning for the marathon. You'll get a grueling blow by blow later, but I am just quickly posting to say that I shocked myself with a 3:40:50 marathon! Who knew! I've recovered nicely... But am I recovered enough to climb the empire state building stairs? We shall see!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oh, brother.

It's been a while since I updated you on several of my bajillion brothers. Wouldn't you love to know how they're fairing?
Johnny is settled in to his new home and school in Kentucky, a-studying away. He's not a-working away because he hasn't found a job. His qualifications ("I can do tai kwon do and have a bachelors in Bible and bench press 450") are hard to match in this troubled economy, but his wife has found work.
Nate is not only a graduate student in PA now, but he is also teaching freshman classes. This is a terrifying thought to me. If I walked in and saw this youngster with lunatic hair at the front of the room I'd march right down to the registrar's with a drop slip. He loves the area and his classes, but I think the teaching is more time-consuming than he thought. to my surprise, hasn't died at his own hand yet, but he has changed cell phone providers twice and locked himself out of the house once. That child is a walking disaster. I forgot how stressful it was having him around until our last phone call - then I was fretting for his safety again. He definitely brings out the mother hen in me.
I don't know how Joey is because his free minutes start at 9 and I often get out of work at 10. I can't coordinate calls. I hope he's still alive.
Abe's last cross country meet was last week, and he has more free time now which he is spending with strep throat. Remarkably, he came over to my house and asked in passing where he should get his prescription filled. Um, Abe? I'm a pharmacist! By the way, he saw the nurse practitioner on campus and she wrote his prescription with, you guessed it, an error. A biggie - she dosed penicillin twice daily, which essentially makes it ineffective (I will not go into detail about which antibiotics depend on TIME the minimum killing concentration is exceeded versus LEVEL by which killing concentration is exceeded, but it matters). I was able to call and correct it, and she was sweet about it and actually thanked me since she had no idea that the dosing interval mattered, but I stand by my opinion of nurse practitioners. In general, they do not have enough training to write prescriptions.
Sam, Izzy, and Matthew are all hanging at the house doing school and other growing-up things, I presume. I asked them to join me for an upcoming race and got snubbed. Stinkers.
I think that's everyone. Sometimes I leave one or two out.
Now I'm off to pack for our trip. I wish all the right clothes would just hop in my suitcase by themselves!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm Gonna Be a Part of It!!!!!!!!!!

Imagine me singing this loudly in the late evening hours in my best attempt to get the neighbors back for throwing up in our mutual alley.

This week we're headed to NYC! Our trip will include a visit to some dear friends in Phillie, a marathon in Pennsylvania (Here is the website. Sweet long sleeved T!), and several days in New York City.
Does anyone have any must-do or must-eat suggestions? I'm a little obsessed with food so restaurant recommendations would be appreciated. We don't have much of a schedule yet, but we have statue of liberty tickets and some Broadway plans.
I'll be doing lots of walking (obviously) and recovering from a marathon, so I
decided that comfortable shoes were in order. I went to Target to buy comfortable, sensible shoes - the kind that feature shapeless toes and some kind of elastic section in the upper. you know the type. Instead I got these boots, which are very comfy. They are also the largest size shoe I have ever owned, running shoes included. I wear an 8.5 shoe and a 9.5 running shoe. These boots are TENS. They must run really small!

Now that I'm all shoe'd up for the trip, your tips and hints would be great so I'm all ears for your NYC stories! Thanks!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fall back!

I lied about my outfit for this weekend. I am actually wearing this:

(From here)
It's freezing up in here! But I can't turn the heat on because I dropped a battery down the furnace last June and I'm pretty sure if I turn on the heat we'll all die in a fiery explosion.
The daylight savings time has distressed and confused my dear father in law, who sent me the following email:

"Dr. Grace:

My wife of almost forty years (not counting six years of too lengthy courtship) and I were having an important conversation this morning. We know that it is "Spring Forward--Fall Back", but we were having a hard time figuring out how we would be feeling when we woke up Sunday morning. Would we feel like we had awakened too early, or would we feel overly sleepy? We processed it for a good while and then we went back to sleep. Please, tell us the answer to how we will feel when we wake up on Sunday morning.


Any answers for the man? It sounds like global amnesia might be setting in again.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What are you wearing this weekend?

Me? For once I'm not wearing spandex and a slightly stinky T. That's right, no race this weekend.
So instead I'm going to wear one of these cute outfits:
Old-fashioned twill house dress, paired with almond-toe pumps (or maryjanes if I feel like going all-out 1940's). This dress begs for pearls, and I might wear one of my regular strings of pearls, or this double coral strand I wore all summer. See those wrinkles? That's straight out of the dryer. If I tumble it for a minute they'll go away. Love it.
The dress was $10 at my local 5 and dime.

I also have this cozy sweater dress with my favorite cowl neckline. Unfortunately you probably can't see the neckline because it looks like I took this photo in a dungeon. It's short enough to need tights, and I'll probably wear these kind of cowboy suede boots. Yes, I'm mixing brown and black. I'm a big fan of mixing the two - it prevents a monochromatic nightmare (for some reason this only afflicts dark-haired people; blonds automatically have color relief. Brunettes? Watch the all-black or all-brown scenario!). I have stacks of gold-tone bangles and some pretty gold earrings. I got this dress at the same store, same price.
Because I'm cheap, people!
What are you wearing this weekend...and for what event? Do you dress up on weekends or schlep around the house in sweats and your oldest T-shirt?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's catching!

I have succeeded in persuading not one, but TWO of my coworkers to run an upcoming half marathon with me. One started with a baseline of four miles. The other? Just one! That's as far as she could go comfortably. Her schedule is also complicated because she is in school and working, so time is limited. She can only run three days a week. I started her out with one mile as her long run and walk-run combos for the other two days. By now she's up to seven miles this weekend, but she skipped last week (I have already voiced my anger...). We'll see how she progresses!
My other coworker shouldn't have too much of a problem. She's run before as part of a boot-camp style workout; they incorporate running at least once a week. But this is only her second race and the first one was a slow trail 3 miler that she finished in over 45 minutes. So a half marathon is still a step up.
I made training schedules for both and now I get to harass them about it at work every single day!
We're a running pharmacy now!
Did you start running in order to complete a race? Or did you start racing 'cause you already ran? Or do you not run and wish I'd shut up about it?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Orleans Politics

You know you live in New Orleans when...
- The fact that there are two - count them, TWO - Republicans on the ballot is cause for shock, outrage, protest, and a beer.
- Your husband prompts you to vote early because "This is a really important election because I grew up with that judge and we have to vote for her."
- "Vote early, vote often" is a rule to live by, and nobody is being sarcastic.
- If your name's not French or vaguely Spanish you might as well just hang it up.
- Your dog is a registered voter.
- Your candidate for city council takes his kids to Cooter Brown's to watch the game.
- A woman is voting topless because they took her Obama shirt away.
- There are ten amendments to the state constitution on the ballot. Crazy civil law.
- The ladies at your polling station recognize you and motion you over to their table.
- You're unsure about your voting precinct, but you sure as hell know your ward!!
- There aren't any registered Republicans anywhere because only Democrats and independents can vote in the primaries. Because there are only Democrat primaries. Because there are only Democratic politicians.
- A customer at work fervently presses your hand and tells you to send Bush home. This happened today.
- Someone is "helpfully" showing illiterate adults how to vote using a sample ballot just blocks from the polling sight.
- Your neighbor has a suspicious number of "I voted" stickers on his lapel.
- At least a dozen people wrote Drew Brees in.

Got to love it. Now, like the rest of the city, I'm watching results with a glass of something strong ;)

I hope you voted IF YOU RESEARCHED AND UNDERSTOOD THE ISSUES. And if you didn't, I hope you prudently stayed home.
Did you vote? Were there any particularly important issues for you this year?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Jazz Half recap...and language learning!

Saturday I proved my insanity by running the Jazz Half marathon two days after a 20 miler. Oh, and I ran TO the race. Yeah. That was somewhere around 5.5 miles so I ran about 18.5 on Saturday. In costume. 
Race review: I really like the Jazz Half. It is a pretty course, flat (duh), lots of spectators, and since it is Halloween weekend some runners are in costume. The after party features excellent live music and the race benefits Children's Hospital. My only complaint is that the start is really crowded and slow for such a small race. It took me 2 minutes to get to the start and much of my first mile was walking/dodging. But that's really no big deal.
Race recap: Felt like crap the whole way. Super slow, upset tummy, exhausted. I think my muscles were fine; I was just actually tired! I hadn't gotten a full nights sleep all week and I woke up at 4:15 the morning of the race. I was hoping to go slow and have fun in costume, but I didn't have as much fun as I could have since I was trying not to throw up for 13 miles. Oh well, poor planning. I knew my time wouldn't be good (wasn't running for time), but I don't like running a marathon after a bad race. It'll make me nervous!
*** I take a break from scheduled blogging to report that my neighbors, who got in a street brawl with a passer-by yesterday who called the cops on them, are now in our shared alley barfing their brains out. I love my college neighborhood.***
So anyway (I am now typing as loudly as I can to block out the sounds of retching) I came to a decision on a language to learn: French it is! I picked French because I visited my brothers and stole a "French for Dummies" book they had. I'm using Rosetta Stone because it's free for my husband to use with his work, but I like to have a phrase book as back up. I've have learned exactly nothing yet, but you can expect posts to be in French in a few days. Ha! Not!
Off to work for me. How was everyone's Halloween?