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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

All packed ...

...ready to go!
See you after Freedom's Run Marathon, if I'm still alive!
Still pondering...
- Should I run in capris or shorts?
- A cotton T-shirt or smarter, but un-tried wicking T?
- What should I eat the morning of: oatmeal, rice, or cereal?
- Ipod or sporadic ipod?
- Ball cap or bare head?
- Try to hold a camera or realize that juggling water and a camera is a recipe for really bad pictures at best and a sodden camera at worst?
- Run the day before the race or rest up?
- Walk all over and sight-see or languish in a sitting position to avoid blisters?
- Bring the light cardigan or the heavy sweater?
And most importantly,
- Join the blue or the gray???

Monday, September 27, 2010

So Blessed

This morning I was thinking about how blessed I am, how blessed David and I are as a couple. A heavy rain last night brought a cold front, and the cool weather was an invitation to walk the hubby to work. As we strolled, coffee in hand, we admired the quaint New Orleans shot gun houses, each one adorably different and exquisite, like charms on a bracelet. It's such a blessing to have so much beauty around us and to be able to enjoy it!
It almost made up for the Saints' loss!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

URGENT! Cheap Date Saturday!

I'm so sorry I just discovered this and am posting late, but this deal is good for today only.
It's Museum Day today and you can go here to snag free tickets to a museum in your area! We're going to the National World War II Museum.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Did you miss long run Thursday?

No post about my long run this week. That's because I didn't do one. I'm transitioning to a kind-of-long run this weekend because the weekend after this is the Freedom's Run marathon!
Instead yesterday I did a hills program on the treadmill, which turned my knees into jelly. I do not handle treadmills well and I'm achy today.
This race is close. Really close. How close?
- The extended forecast is available! High of 69, low of 49, 60% chance of showers. This tells me not to wear cotton, which will be sticky and uncomfortable wet if it rains. I may go hypothermic in these frigid conditions.
- My close childhood friend Gabrielle emailed me to make final plans for our visit. We were besties when I was 6 and she was 5, and enjoyed each others' company until we moved away when I was 9. We kept in touch for years and recently reconnected on facebook. I probably mentioned that I used to live right near the Freedom's Run course, and Gabrielle still lives in the area, so we're definitely going to see each other. We're having a bonfire at her parents' house, like we did when I was a little kid!
- The race director sent us an email with the chilling final paragraph (and I quote):
"Ohhh…. and the most important message. Mile 16 is a bear leaving the Canal going up Millers Sawmill Rd. So no matter how much you are suffering, remember at the top you will be in Antietam National Battlefield where real suffering occurred. Check out our history page for lessons along the course."
Really? It's so bad you have to remind me that people died there? Yikes.
- It's close enough for me to be watching what I eat and drink. Well...ok, I did go to a dinner hosted by a drug rep at Zea's on St Charles at which I had a tad too much to drink (and about a pound of their creamy grits. SO GOOD). I ran into some pharmacists I know and we regaled each other with tales from our pharmacies. Had a little too much fun, but I'm backing off now. Carbs, low fat, lots of fluids, no alcohol.
- I'm thinking about a packing list. We're not checking a bag so I have to be really creative. I'm so afraid I'll forget something!
Have you ever traveled for a race? If so, so you have any packing tips for me? Suggestions about what to bring? Thank you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Taper

When we were kids we had this book called "The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday" which we would read aloud in absolute mockery of the bratty bears. We could not believe how spoiled these little cubs were, crying and throwing fits over an extravagant party when they ought to be immensely grateful! We'd put ultra-obnoxious voices on as we read and pretty much make the bears into candidates for juvy. We were horrid, mean little children.

Right now I have too much taper. My schedule has managed to suddenly be a wreck and I haven't been following my training schedule since we got back from Atlanta. I'm being lazy and I am well aware that this will hurt me later! When I am walking at the finish of the marathon, you can all remind me that I deserve it for being a bad taper-er.

And now for your pleasure feel free to go back and read this post in a whiny, bratty, spoiled child voice. It's more fun than you think.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


On my recent day off I decided to treat myself to a good book and a good coffee. I walked to the library, selected a few books, then headed to Starbucks. I sat down to read while my coffee brewed, and left my books on my chair as a placeholder.
I came back and some guy with a broken leg and crutches was reading one. It was the one I was reading.
"Hi, can I have my book back?" I asked sweetly. "Oh!" He replied. "I didn't know they were yours, sorry. I have 15 minutes to kill so I picked it up." I said it was ok, blah blah, would he like to read my other book? He said sure, we swapped tomes, and I read in peace. In a few minutes he thanked, me, handed me the book, and hobbled out.
Last night I started the book he'd been reading and five dollars fell out of the first chapter.
Who is the man on crutches with $5 to burn?

Monday, September 20, 2010

If it ain't broke....

This was the summer of broken things.
1. My microwave broke, and I replaced with a microwave that only had a high power setting. Every time I use it for more than 5 minutes it blows a fuse. We're going through several fuses a month. I finally learned to cook in 4-minute increments.
2. Our kitchen window unit had only blown warm air since I've lived here, greatly limiting my summer cooking options. Basically if it involved the oven or boiling water I couldn't cook it unless I was resigned to sweat the rest of the night. When the unit finally died (it was almost 30 years old) I was excited to have a shiny new replacement, our only unit with a thermostat! However, the new unit is so powerful that it blows food, newspaper, dust bunnies, even plastic utensils off our kitchen table. It cools plates of food in seconds. It's hurricane-force. If I'm slicing onions and it kicks on, onion bits scatter all over my floor. I've never seen anything like it. The strength of its gust (on low!) is destroying our morning newspaper and coffee tradition because I haven't got the strength to hold a paper open against its powerful blast.
But we're cooler.
3. We spent far too much time replacing a broken pedal on one of our Craig's List bikes. We had two, both $25 purchases that needed some TLC. After exhausting our supply of TLC and a tad too much money, the fixed bike was promptly stolen out of our very own back yard. Having this stolen from your yard is a New Orleans quality of life tax.
If I keep abreast of Craig's List ads I'm sure I can buy it back for another $25 sometime soon.
4. My car got hit in the parking lot at work (this is the third time it has been hit parked - probably because it is so small that large vehicles can't see it) and has to have the bumper removed and bent back into shape. As it turns out, when it was removed the mechanics saw that the last repair had been done incorrectly, leaving a crack when the entire bumper should have been replaced. Of course this repair was over a year ago and using a different insurer, so I'm pretty much stuck paying for it.
Good thing I paid off those loans, right?

In other news...
Work is insanely busy and I am perpetually exhausted.
My next marathon is in 11 days. !!!
The hubby ran TWELVE MILES Sunday and I am so proud of him! He went from the occasional 2-mile jog to long double digit runs in the course of this summer.
McIntosh apples finally showed up in my grocery store (they are what I miss the most about New England) and I've been eating four or five a day. It's an addiction.
I'm doing a flu shot clinic at a university tomorrow. Can't wait to stick needles in some of my old professors :)
What's going on for you this week? How's your Monday looking?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bullet Points = I need glucose

1. Last long run before the upcoming marathon was a stinker. It was humid and I ate right before I left. Plus I just couldn't seem to speed up. I remember in my last marathon I was huffing and puffing away, but when I checked my pace I could not get under 9 minutes! My effort seemed like 8 minutes at most! That's how I felt today. I hope I didn't peak too early. I had some kind of fast 20's back there. :(
2. The old ipod is fine. The earphones are broken...and so were the other pair of earphones we used to test if it was the ipod or the earphones! The test pair of earphones were extras, and I accidentally plugged them into David's ipod instead of his own earphones. What do you know, he couldn't hear a thing. Hm. So, new Nano goes back. Actually I think my hubby secretly wants it for himself.
3. I'm sure this is completely illegal and is loading my computer with Trojan horses, but I discovered this website that lets you turn Youtube videos into MP3s. I downloaded these guys. Then I downloaded all kinds of Michael Jackson. Can I confess something to you? When MJ died I had to ask the hubby what songs he sang. David practically stroked out.
4. Old Navy is having an extra 30% off clearance sale, so get thee to Old Navy to purchase the most randomly sized clothing on the planet. I got two work shirts for under $4 each. One is a large and one is an extra small, and the extra small is bigger than the large. Strange. I also found winter running tights in hot pink, which is my all-time worst color, but for $3 what do you expect? They're also too big but hey, that's why I sew.
5.I decided to run the Jazz Half Marathon in costume again (of course) and I'm looking for suggestions. It has to be mildly ok for running. As in, I can do an eyepatch but I can't do scuba flippers.
Costume suggestions please?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Nano

Thank you everyone for birthday congrats and comments on my loan payments. I hope I inspired some of you to pay off early??? Or take out less???
By the way, in case you can't tell, I am righteously terrified of poverty. Growing up poor does that to you. I refuse to owe any man anything, so I carry no debt. However, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. We do use credit cards - religiously, in fact. That's because my Amex gets 5% back on drugstore and grocery purchases and 3% on everything else. Since I work for, and get a discount at, a drugstore, most of our purchases fall into the 5% category. Free money, dude. We just don't go overboard. I treat my credit card like it's a debit - coming straight out of my paycheck - because really, it is. We pay off all our cards every month, of course, but by using credit cards for cash we earn major cash back. Plus our credit score likes it when we use the cards!
And we do still owe on the hubby's student loans. He is ancient and old, so when he went to school the rates were just 1.88%. We're less aggrieved about a rate that beats inflation!
We also still owe a little on the hubby's car, which he bought in April. My car buying philosophy is to either pay cash or put down as much cash as you can as a down payment and pay off in under 3 years. It's WAY too easy to get upside-down on a car note.
And I forgot to mention that we rent. Yep, we rent! Despite great mortgage rates and the tax shelter a home would provide, it is smarter for us to rent right now. I love my beautiful apartment, and our rent is less than half what we'd pay in JUST INSURANCE AND PROPERTY TAXES to live in this area. This is a unique situation, and for many couples buying is smarter (not everyone, though. Lots of people buy when they should rent). Our lack of mortgage helped us pay off the loans faster.
Also if I feel like we are spending too much money I force the hubby to sit on the street corner and beg for change. Just kidding. But if someone gave him any change I would keep it.

So, after discussing frugality, allow me to make myself a liar and tell you that the hubby got me a new Nano for my birthday.
I'm considering returning it, of course.
I have an ipod that I use just for running, but in the past month the earphone plug has gone bad. First it was crackly and spotty, then I lost the left ear entirely. Then I had to only plug it in facing one direction. Then I had to pull it halfway out. This week I lost all sound. But then a couple of miles in a few notes did reach my ear. Hubby claims this cannot be repaired and I will be really sorry if I try to run a marathon without an ipod. My question for this repairable? Will Apple fix ipods, and if so, will it be ready in time for October 2nd? Is four years "old" for an ipod? Should I suck it up and keep the new one, despite nightmares about how much it cost?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Twenty-Eight and Debt Free

Thank you all very much for your sweet comments and congrats on baby Luc's birth, and your birthday wishes for me! Tomorrow is actually my birthday. I'll be 28 and debt free. That is, I'll be student loan free!
Tonight I'm writing the last check to Sallie Mae to totally pay off my student loans. I graduated in May of 2009 and licensed as a pharmacist at the end of June. I started work in the middle of July and got my first paycheck in early August. It went straight towards my student loans. Now, less than a year since my first payment was due, I'm totally paid off!
How'd we do it? Trial and error and mistakes and clever tricks and smart saving!
What was working against us:
- I took the long route through school, changing my major from art to pharmacy and losing oodles of credit hours that I paid good money for.
- I went to private colleges for most of my school, only spending four semesters at state schools out of 8 years of school.
- My family has a million kids and could not afford to give me a dime towards school, living expenses, etc, so I was literally on my own. Yet I still had to apply for grants using their financial info, so I was ineligible for any Pell grants or even work-study aid or "need based" scholarships.
- Because I was homeschooled, I missed out on a state program called TOPS that awards students free money for going to college in-state. Only homeschoolers who are part of a certain program are considered eligible. It is also tough for homeschoolers to get certain scholarships.
- I took out loans at the historically high rate of 6.8%
What was working for us:
- We're lucky enough to have two salaries. However, do not think all lawyers are rich! They're not!
- I am very cheap.
- I've always been very cheap.
- I was able to win scholarships every semester of school, some bigger than others, but all helpful.
- I didn't take classes I didn't have to. If I could test out, I did. I CLEPed 8 hours of trig and calculus and took departmental exams for English, history, and sciences. I saved over $5000 by testing out of 17 hours of classes.
- I am a workaholic and I require little sleep. Plus I am one of those "deferred gratification" types. I did not mind being miserable and working my tail off in school so I could live easy later ;-)

Here's a step by step of exactly how we pulled this stunt, money figures included. TACKINESS ALERT!

1. While in school, as mentioned, I entered every scholarship application I was eligible for and tested out of every credit hour that offered a test option. Most of my scholarships were small (from $500 to $5000) but added up, it made a big difference. Never hesitate to apply for a scholarship or take a CLEP test!
2. Also while in school, I worked full time. That includes pharmacy school. Yes, it can be done! I actually had two jobs; one was a night job with an hour commute. I earned over $20,000 a year every year of school, breaking $30,000 twice. I picked up every extra shift I could and saved every dime for school.
3. I pinched pennies. I ate cheaply (lots of canned beans), drove an old car, and shopped at thrift stores. I never spent a frivolous cent. During finals, I'd allow myself a one-time treat of Starbucks coffee. Plain coffee. If I did the math and I was running short on cash for my next tuition payment, I'd skip meals. I was poor but focused!
4. I invested. Much of the year I had extra money that I was saving for my next tuition payment. I put all my money in CDs or money market funds to earn interest.
5. I did not take out any private loans.
6. I did not take out many federal loans, either! Since I worked so much, I was 6 years into school before I had to take out my very first loan. Even then, I didn't HAVE to take the loan out; I took it out because I was scared from Katrina and wanted a financial cushion. Plus since your last year of pharmacy school is clinicals, you can't work as much and I knew I'd have to decrease my earnings. I took out under $60,000 total - and I was at a school that is $27,000 a year just for tuition. We actually took out more than we needed and used the extra to pay off a higher-rate private loan of the hubby's. Clever!
7. Once I graduated the hubby and I tightened our belts and lived off his salary only. This whole time I'd payed all my expenses myself. We got married with 2 years left to school, but I wanted to be responsible for this burden myself. So every dime of my salary - except my car insurance payments - went straight to my loans.
8. We didn't buy any of the awesome stuff people buy when they graduate: house, fancy car. So not worth it right now.

So now, we're debt free! By paying off my loans early, we saved $20,000. I am beyond thrilled and can't wait to treat myself to the big extravagance that I've been promising myself throughout all those hard years of school...
Laser hair removal! Ha! Yes, I am sick of shaving my legs!!!

:) Sorry this post is long but I wanted to share my good news and hopefully some tips for students out there - or loan-payers! You can do it!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

World's busiest weekend

I already shared my Saturday with you: A long day of track meets, running, and house cleaning (did we fix our leaky fridge? Only time and the bottom of our veggie drawer will tell!).
We got to bed late on Saturday after treating Abe to dinner and Italian ices. It was a consolation prize for getting yelled at by his coach for his "slow" 17:58 5k. If only I were so slow.
Sunday was insane. I got up at the crack and stumbled over to Audubon Park at 6 am to coordinate my volunteer team (180 people) and my walking team (75 people) for the NO/AIDS walk. Everything went surprisingly well, despite my constant running back and forth. All my volunteers showed up where they needed to be, and only a few of my walkers got lost or threw a mini-tantrum because we ran out of size small shirts (so not my fault).
I told my walkers that I was going to join my volunteers, told my volunteers that I was going to go join my walkers, and skipped out at 10 am to rush to church. I threw clothes at myself (resulting in a mixed-blue palette that was not the intended effect) and made it to church on time! After church, we headed straight to the in-laws for my birthday party, for which I refused to pose nicely. I'm so sick of hubby's camera.

Mid party we received the call we were waiting for: David's brother's wife was in labor! In just a few hours - my sister in law has the world's shortest labors, she's amazing - little Luc entered the world!
Then we waited for about 4 hours for them to wash him up and stick him in the stupid little window. FYI try not to have a baby or an emergency on the weekend, people. The hospital was short staffed and they had 8 births that afternoon. They were lining babies up and leaving them under the warmers until they "got to them" for measuring, weighing, etc. Many of them had estimated weights because it took so long that they'd already fed or dirtied their diapers by the time it was their turn. We didn't even get a peep at Luc until he was about 5 hours old! And by then he was starving, poor little thing! He'd nursed at birth but was concentratedly eating his hand by the time we saw him.
Baby Jacob met his new little brother:

Finally he made it to his mom's room (which was still the birthing room, because the hospital was too short-staffed to move his mom; the aid who helps the mom's get up and move called in that night and the day shift lady already left!). We all passed him around:

He was very alert! And clearly more calm than his brother had been. It's so cute how you can already identify personalities, don't you think?

Finally we left mom, dad, and baby to themselves and grabbed Chinese on the way home. I lay in front of the end of the football game ans stuffed MSG into my gullet before my body totally shut down. I was so tired I skipped washing my face and just crashed into bed!
What a weekend. I need to go to work to relax!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Abe's first meet

Since today was lil' bro Abe's ONLY local cross country meet, and his first ever, we decided we should attend. For interested parties, he finished 6th in a field of 324, 5th if you exclude the non-collegiate third place finisher who was a sponsored runner and like, 35 years old. I think Abe, myself, and Abe's coach are a tad nonplussed about his time. It was a 5k, and he finished in 17:59. That's amazing, but I know his coach expects better placement. However, Abe is a long distance runner through and through. In illustration, his best (and only) half-marathon time is 1:17ish, about 5:55 splits. His splits today were 5:48. I definitely expect to see better times as distances increase as the season progresses.
Not that I'm not proud of him, of course! I just know he'd prefer to place.
By the way, you know what's nerve-wracking? Watching your baby brother race. Gosh, I got so anxious!

Our plan was to run in the park where the meet was held after it was over. David was supposed to do ten, but it was incredibly hot and sunny and he was beginning to feel dehydrated. We packed up after 6 miles. I'm worried because hubster hasn't gotten any double digit runs in yet, and his half is in three weeks! I don't want a "failed" long run to taint his training, either. Do you have any tips for him to get over the hump? After a freezing cold 18 miler last winter I was SO averse to tackling another long run that I waited 3 weeks before my next attempt. How can I motivate him to give it a go again tomorrow morning? He's really not feeling it!

PS Sometime this week I'll be an aunt again! Just a little over a year ago we welcomed baby Jacob. Soon we'll be saying hi to baby Luc!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Highs and Lows (STOLEN!)

I stole this idea from Becky because her blog has all the cute ideas.
Why don't you share this week's highs and lows...
1. At work?
2. In life?
3. In fitness, since it seems that everyone I know is running a marathon this fall?

Me first.
1. High: A simple (but, ahem, pushy) phone call landed our company a gigantic contract. I'm absolutely putting this on my resume! Plus I signed a flu shot clinic contract with a large university in my area. This would not be a big deal except that another pharmacist, who is notoriously competitive and a little annoying, sent out a district-wide email that basically said that I would never get this contract signed because I was foolish and inexperienced and that the university turned HER down so why would they sign for ME? So...I'm quietly whispering told ya so.
Low: After being closed for Labor Day we are SWAMPED at work and yesterday one of the techs mouthed off to me but I was too busy to handle it at the moment. I hate having to address issues at a later time, although perhaps it is good to allow her to cool off?
2. High: Hagan Daaz ice cream is 2/$5 this week. Swoon. The Saints won. Awesome. My little brother has his first cross country meet this Saturday. Hurray.
Low: I had to work for the Saints game and only caught the last 5 minutes. Boo. And I have been slaving away coordinating 180 volunteers for an event this weekend and it's been exhausting! I can't wait for it to just be over!
3. High: Only one more long run (20+) and then I start to taper!
Low: I have started to have slight nagging knee pain. It is probably a combination of increased mileage and my shoes beginning to wear (I have been so spoiled with three brand new pairs at once!). I don't want to decrease miles right now but I think I have to; after being almost lame all last winter I am pretty skittish. The good thing is that this is clearly runner's knee and nothing more serious. It's also bilateral which points to more mundane knee pain. I think I can handle it!

And now I leave you with two cute pictures. These pictures were taken by the staff photographer at my hubby's work when we ran the two mile fun run this summer. Look how hilarious - I look serious but barely sweating...and David looks like he's about to give up the ghost! I love him. He hates running so much but he'll do it just for me :)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Atlanta trip

This Labor Day weekend David and I drove to Atlanta to visit my sister, whom I haven't seen in a year and a half!
I was hoping to get some running in since her neighborhood is hilly. It didn't happen. It's hard to run when you're a guest and don't want to hog the bathroom or take multiple showers or hold up plans for the day!
Instead we walked down (yeah, just down, we rode up!) Stone Mountain, saw the Bodies exhibit, played skip-bo and drank wine, and scoured thrift stores. I like to vary whose old clothes I'm wearing.
David got a chance to visit a childhood friend who relocated to Atlanta, and I got a chance to swap hilarious childhood stories with my sister. We both have sharp long term memories, but it's funny to tell the same stories and see our different perspectives - I may remember an incident because I was SO angry at one of my little brothers, but she remembers it as being SO funny or SO embarrassing.
We did a terrible job of taking pictures. Basically we only took a few on top of stone mountain.

And we didn't mean to dress matchy-poo, what can I say? We're obviously sisters!

And this awesome one of me finally finding a personalized mug. It's so hard finding things that say "Bradara" on them (Seriously, is this some kind of Engrish?!).

And now, since my bloggie is carefully hidden from other family members, allowing for maximum family gossip with minimum repercussions, a complaint. My brother in law, I have concluded, doesn't know how to share the sandbox. During our visit naturally my sister and I did a lot of the talking and, well, we monopolized each others' time. We couldn't help it. We're the only girls in a family of nine kids, and we hadn't seen each other in over a year. But this was obviously irking brother in law. He made no effort to hide the fact that he wanted to be the center of attention. I wanted to punch him. Luckily my dear hubby was there to constantly engage him in conversation so the girls could talk! Since my brother in law is a youngest child, I think he is used to being included and cuddled and coddled. Perhaps we ladies were a bit exclusionary in our conversation (example - Me: "Remember the Whittingtons?" Sister: "Ha! Hahahahaha! The Whi...hahaha!" Me: "And that time when...hahaha!" Sister: "And I tried to tell Johnny...haha!" Husbands: "HUH?"). But oh well, we only see each other in a blue moon. I was just kind of hoping that I wouldn't get so many interruptions about how certain people didn't care about our stories or didn't want to talk about the time when one of the brothers biked off a cliff because he was turned around to brag to his sisters about how we couldn't catch him because we were so slow. Hehe.
What do you and your siblings do when you visit? And do you share the talking time?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oh, how sweet, a blog award!

That's so charming that Charbelle thinks this blog has substance, since it's really just a bunch of nonsense. But fun nonsense...
Here's the cute little picture, and here are the rules:
The rules are:
1. Thank the blogger that awarded you.
2. Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five words.
3. Pass it on to 10 other blogs that you feel have real substance.
Well, I think I can do 2 out of 3.

1. Thanks for the shout out,Charbelle! Reading your blog Ramblings is informative and fun and makes me realize that there are people out there who are literally MILES less shallow than I, and you're one of them. Keep it up!
2, Five words: tongue in cheek is better
3. Eh, I can't single people out. If you read my blog, I read yours, too (although I'm a sporadic commenter. I type all day at work and when I get home I sometimes have keyboard fatigue). So if I read your blog, I think you have substance. Therefore if you are reading this, I think you have substance, and you can feel free to accept this award! But you still have to thank me. I just want to hear you say thanks. Just kidding.

That was fun :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


This post is from Abbi at Higher Miles, a blog that catalogs her amazing journey from running her very first 5k to a full one year. Her blog also has a club that I am very jealous of. It is called "Distance Dreamers" and it is a group of runners who are doing their first marathon and have banded together to share encouragement, tips, and training tricks. I am not eligible to join. This makes me pout. But if you're up to your first marathon, you better get over to Higher Miles and check these dreamers out.
Abbi and I discovered that we were both running the Freedom's Run marathon in Shepherdstown WV this coming October. Since our training plans are similar, we thought it would be fun to share our first twenty-miler recaps. Mine was way back when, and it sucked. Abbi's was this weekend, and it was...well, read for yourself!

It’s Abbi, from Higher Miles. Grace and I are training for the same marathon, Freedom’s Run at the beginning of October. Several weeks ago, I posted her first 20-miler recap. I was scheduled to run my first 20-miler last week…but it didn’t happen. Since I am new to training for a marathon and somewhat new to running in general, it seemed like the increase of miles was starting to catch up with me. I was starting to get pains that didn’t seem like they were just normal minor aches from being tired. They seemed to be pains that could get potentially worse if I continued to push it. So, I didn’t. I skipped the long run last week and threw a few small fits about it.
This week I had to work out of town but was able to spend the week at my parents house to avoid hotel living. This gave me access to a park, literally in their back yard for my mid-week runs. I worked crazy hours, ate way too many meals at restaurants but still managed to get in some 5-milers throughout the week and the runs felt 100 times better. I started to feel much better about skipping the long run over the weekend and am sure it was the right decision.
On Friday, I made my way back home and caught up on some much needed sleep. On Saturday, I headed out for another short 5-6 mile run and was feeling good about the idea of 20 miles the next day.
After another good night of sleep, I woke up around 6:00 AM Sunday morning and started getting ready to head out for the run. I wasted some time gathering up my G2, GU Chomps, shoes, headband, mp3 player, etc. Soon enough, it was time to head out.
And, the rest of the run? To be perfectly honest, it was completely uneventful. No major aches or pains, no breakdowns, no stomach pains…nothing. Just three and a half hours of solid, slow running. No stops, no breaks. The time went by surprisingly fast. I did get kind of lost once but that just made a couple of miles go by a little quicker. I went a new direction, as I usually do for the long runs, and did not end up where I thought would. In fact, I kept hitting a major road no matter what street I turned down and I really couldn’t believe I could be that close to that road!
There were no angry dog run-ins, just a few that didn’t really like me running past their front yards, but they stayed in their fenced in yards. No wildlife encounters – I usually run into a few deer in some of the quiet areas or see a group of wild turkeys in a field, but not today. No creepy people, just people going out to their mailbox to pick up the morning paper and a few walkers enjoying the beautiful day.
The weather was perfect, a breezy 60 degrees. I felt great the whole way. I only wished I had remembered my sunglasses since it was beautiful, sunny morning. I rarely looked at my watch but started glancing at it more often as I neared the 20-mile mark. Once again, it just made me realize how much is mental and about how I set myself up for the run. For all these long runs, it’s always the last mile when I start wanting to be finished but I know I could have gone further if I had planned for it.
Nothing better than a successful attempt at 20 miles! After an ice bath, some chocolate milk, a big bowl of cereal and a wonderful shower, I spent some time lounging around before I decided I was still starving and in the mood for something ‘soft’. Yeah, that’s sounds weird, but it’s what I wanted. I decided to head Bob Evans of all places and proceeded to order an open-faced hot turkey sandwich, a salad and pumpkin pie. The waitress may have thought things were a little odd as I kept ordering things and ate every single placed in front of me while my husband just had this little salad, but it worked and satisfied my craving.
I’ve been a happy camper the rest of the day and 20 miles was a definite success. Freedom’s Run – I’m getting ready!
WOW - inspirational from a girl who just ran her very first 20-miler, right?! That makes me want to go grab my shoes and run twenty right now!
Read more about Abbi's training at her blog, Higher Miles.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Long run not-really-fail

This post is in a rush because I came back from my long run to a text message telling me to get into work an hour and a half early for a follow-up conference call. So I kind of have to eat some lunch and get moving.
This morning's run turned out to be not so bad. The worst part was that I had to cut it short, to just 20 miles - my goal was 22 because I feel like I need to hit the wall and keep going a few times before this race. However, I got up so late this morning (I started my run around 7:45! Sun had been up for an hour!) that I wanted to make it home in time to finish packing for my trip to see my sister before work. As it turns out, that was a smart choice, because otherwise I would be rushing to make that conference call.
So, here's the stats:
Distance: 20 miles
Time: 2:51:53 (I am nothing if not consistent; last 20 miler was 2:51:27!)
Pace: Um, quick math in head, um, 8:35?
Shoes: New Balance lightweights. I wanted to try them out and they were definitely light and fast; I didn't feel any knee pain but the jury is still out until tomorrow (wait until I stand up for 9.5 hours then sit in a car for 8.5).
Fuel: Oatmeal. It rocks. I brought a Gu with me; didn't need it. I also brought some energy chews which I pitched. More on the chews later. I'm trying to get my little brother to write a blog review on them since he eats them for runs over 20 miles.
Hydration: I brought gatorade, but with the sun up the heat was kind of getting to me. I took multiple water breaks, which affected my time. I did stop my watch while in Rite Aid for 2 fill-ups.
Crappy part: So last night, in anticipation of this run, I took a 7.5 mg meloxicam. Meloxicam is an NSAID, like ibuprofen, but it targets musculoskeletal inflammation. My knee has been aching and puffy lately so I thought it was a good idea. The only problem is that the drug doesn't do much for certain other prostaglandins, ie, the ones that cause uterine cramps. I couldn't add in ibuprofen, or I'd overdose and shut my kidneys down (esp during times of near dehydration like long runs!). So that left me with crazy pain. The same thing happened to me during the Mardi Gras marathon and I almost couldn't finish. This time I actually had to stop and beg for drugs from a park worker. He scrounged up a tylenol, thank goodness, but waiting for him to find me something set me back on time. Hence the early finish.
Great part: Before the cramps set in, I was running an 8 to 8:15 pace with no problem; I kept it up until mile 15 when I started feeling like a man was beating me to death with a baseball bat from the inside out. Also great is that there was absolutely no "wall" in site. I felt comfortable stopping at 20 because I knew I wouldn't hit the wall even at 22, 24...hopefully 26! Besides cramps, I felt great in every other way. And my time was good even with the set backs (although I felt it should have been faster than last time since I was in my lightest shoes).
Ok, off to work to save the world, one flu shot at a time. By the way, if you live in Nola, I'll hook ya up. I give the most pain-free shots this side of the Mississippi.
Q for you:
I am sending hubby to pack us lunches for tomorrow's road trip. Ideas?

Long run FAIL prediction

I predict I'm about to go suck it miserably on my long run. Here's why:
1. I changed my work schedule around and dumped an important conference call on a colleague JUST so I could do this long run, so it's certain to fail.
2. The hubby forgot to turn the alarm on so I'm an hour and a half behind schedule.
3. I'll still be running past 10 am....major heat.
4. Pouring rain possible.
5. Cramps. (I don't even warn you when it's TMI anymore!)
6. Despite my injury-free training, my knee and shin are bothering me.
7. I have a bad attitude.
See you later to recap all this whining with tails of the real thing!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rain, rain go away

It has been raining here for a week. Every day. Drizzle, downpour, pattering, fogging, slippery-sidewalk, gray sky, misery. It is wet and hot and everything smells sour and is steamed up.
I want some dry air.
My husband got caught in the rain while running four days in a row, and his shoes are totally waterlogged by now. They stink. I got caught in a a sudden deluge last night, and I really thought I had managed to miss the rain. Nope. During my last mile I got soaked to the skin, and that made me mad because my hair had been behaving so beautifully that I thought I could probably pull off the old just-wash-my-bangs thing. Ha! So much for that!
I used to like running in the rain a little, but it's really no fun when it's also HOT, you are slogging through puddles, the rain is coming down in sheets, and your feet are slipping on pavement. One of my pairs of shoes has zero grip, creating cute funniest-home-video type scenes as a slide through mud into the street.
So. I'm over the rain. I want a nice, dry day for a run, even if the sun is beating down on me. Do you her me, Bob Breck? Thanks.