Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Homemade pizza - crust took forever to rise but was still yummy

Fw: IMG00209.jpg

Plated version

This message has been sent using the picture and Video service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit

Note: To play video messages sent to email, Quicktime@ 6.5 or higher is required.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Without further adieu, here is the race report for the Patrick Joyce Scholarship 5K:

This was my race. I could feel it. I don't know why, but I had a good feeling about this one. I've been doing a few 5Ks recently, and I had the complaint of not being able to break 30 minutes, which has been really frustrating, because it makes me feel like the slowest runner in the world. But there have always been obstacles in the way (heat, cold/snow, excessive crowding, hills, etc.). I had no idea what to expect from the course yesterday, except that it started and ended at Lakewood Park (corner of Lake and Belle streets in Lakewood, OH).

I had my new Fastwitch sneakers, which, if nothing else, made me feel fast.

And Derek even decided (with much deliberation) to run it with me.

My plan was to give it my all. In the past I had played it conservative, holding back a bunch in the first mile, and then being subsequently unable to make it up in the last stretch. (Another thing I have done before is going out too fast in the first mile, shocking myself with the time, and then panicking/tiring out in the middle. I had recently read in a Runner's World article that if you go out 6 percent faster than normal race pace in your next 5K, it might be your fastest. Was it right?????? ;)

Well, here we go. Started out with Derek, but (sorry honey) lost him after about a quarter of a mile...didn't want to be mean, but there was a slight downhill and I just had to take advantage of it! First mile was fairly easy, watched my breathing, and passed a few people. Clocked in at 9:25 - a bit faster than "normal," but very good for what I wanted to accomplish today. Now, if I can just hold it...

A great quote by Bob Glover: "The middle miles of a race are the Rodney Dangerfields of running. They get no respect." How true. Mile 2 was ok, with a slight incline, but was mostly shaded through the sidestreets of the Lakewood neighborhood. Felt strong, and able to hang on. I was a little bit nervous to see my time for this mile, because in a 5K, this is where I usually run into trouble. But I was thrilled and surprised to hear the race volunteer call out "18:40" when I passed him...and sure enough on my watch, that split was 9:13! Whew!

At this point, I was doing fuzzy calculations in my head. Even if I run the last mile at a 10:00 pace, I can still break 30 because I need less than a minute for the last .12. But that's the kind of talk that got me in trouble at the Frosty 5K in Madison last year - around 18 minutes at mile 2, but that last mile was a trip...with snowy hills and what seemed like an endless last tenth of a mile. Okay, just push it...don't stop. Slowed for water (thank God, and I poured most of it over my head) and was grateful this race wasn't any longer because a good portion of that went into my right shoe! The last mile was hot hot, sun beaming down. At least it was flat. But it was endless. I just kept thinking, "This is what you've been waiting for, you can do this," although in my head I was nervous - I had never done three consecutive miles at this heart was racing and I didn't know what my "breaking point" would be. But I FINALLY saw the entrance to the park, and as I passed by the race volunteer at mile 3, I heard "28 minutes!" Holy crap! Mile 3 was 9:18. I've got this. I pushed as hard as I could, and to be honest, didn't have any "close competitors" to outrun, so my kick wasn't as strong as it could be (but then of course I was outwitted by a woman that I passed a quarter of a mile back who then FLEW past me at the last second - I guess I was HER close competitor! ;) Last .12 was 45 seconds, for a new Personal Record of 28:43!!!!! (According to my watch - the race results still haven't been posted online yet.)

Ran into a woman who asked me if I ran the triathalon in NYC (she saw my TNT NYC shirt) - we struck up a conversation. She's originally from Cleveland, but now lives in Manhattan and will be there watching the marathon! Also, she let me in on the cause behind this 5K...Patrick Joyce was a student who went to school with her who passed away their graduating year, and they do events each year to raise money for a scholarship in his name for a kid in need. Pretty noble cause!

After that, made some blueberry-walnut pancakes, then went to Best Buy to do research on TVs...more on that later - we made a purchase today!! Review to follow when it is delivered. :)

Also saw the Hurt Locker (was so hot that a movie was a must) and then hung out with Rob and Claire for Rob's 30's birthday at the Tremont Tap House. Today, did 11 in Rocky River (um, was SUPPOSED to do the "Perfect 10" Miler this morning...but overslept. D'oh! Was a good day anyway.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Here is the T-shirt from the Patrick Joyce Scholarship Run 5K...where I got a brand-new PR! More to follow.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hello Lover

Banana walnut chocolate chunk muffins...for Rob's birthday.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

17 Again...Again?

So, few of you know this about me...but I love Zac Efron. This really started when I saw 17 Again in the theater a few months ago, but of course has reemerged today when I saw the commercial for the DVD. Aaaah, he is cute. So I hate to admit this, but I may have to buy it, or at least watch it again. I justify this by saying that the movie also has Matthew Perry (semi-funny) and Leslie Mann, who I really like even though she is a bit screechy.

Speaking of being (and acting) 17, I need to introduce you to a not-so-recent obsession of mine, the Gilmore Girls. These ladies got me through a lot of weird, lonely summer days and nights last year after I first moved to Madison and Derek was working at his internship in Minneapolis. Yup, as in "I don't have a couch yet so I'm sitting on the floor on pillows watching Luke and Lorelai flirt and argue over coffee and pie." Or, "I'm organizing the front closet and need Paris's bitchiness to distract me so I won't be annoyed I'm doing chores." Or, "Man, what I wouldn't give to just fall into a hot cheeseburger and steaming cup of coffee at the end of a really horrible day."

Not to mention that I love Carole King, who sings the theme song "Where You Lead." One of my old music students (well let's face it, she's more of a friend/"Lil' Sis" to me), who I'll just call K for privacy's sake, was also obsessed with the show and we would always talk about it. We even sang "Where You Lead" as a duet at the Spring Recital. Yeah, we're dorks.

Anyway, the show is on TV as I write this, and it's the one where Jess comes to town for the first time. (Would it be gross to mention that I also have a crush on him? But in actuality, Milo Ventimiglia does not qualify as a "baby," even though he did play a highschooler in the show -- he's like 33. So there. I'm not too gross.) Well, Lorelai has this great line in this episode, when she's out on the porch with Jess reprimanding him for mouthing off to her, that goes something like this:

Wow, there have only been a few times in my life when I have wished I had one of those cream pies to smash in someone's face, but this is definitely one of them.

Ha ha. This is what makes Gilmore Girls so amazing. Instead of saying something uber-pretentious and unrealistic back (a la Dawson's Creek) or getting all dumb and violent (a la Real World) or sarcastic and catty (a la Gossip Girl), it's goofy and classic, and just gets the point across. I love the writing on this show.

(So does Derek, by the way...all the DVDs are his, not mine. OUTED! And also...because Amy Sherman-Palladino did not continue on with the show in its seventh season, that is the one season Derek does not own -- a sort of strike of sorts. Personally, I liked the season and even thought it was one of my favorites, but the writing did seem a bit different with David Rosenthal.)

Well, on another note: I love the Fastwtich sneakers! They are great, with a snug but comfortable fit, and enough support for my overpronation/low arches. After this trial run (an abbreviated speedwork session: 4 miles with only 1 x a mile @ 5k-fast pace), I will definitely wear them for the Patrick Joyce Scholarship 5K this weekend! Maybe I'll break 30...well, anything can happen. I will definitely wear the new, inspirational necklace my mom sent me in the mail. It is a silver plate with "Fearlessness" etched in Sanskrit. Awesome!


Ready to take my new Saucony Fastwitches out for a drive! Will report later.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So much for taking it easy

Hey! Well, a couple of exciting things to report.

First of all, I did my 14-miler on Sunday. Now, the great thing was that Claire agreed to run with me (she is training for the River Run half and had to do 8 miles that day- and ended up doing 10!), and that we went to the Rocky River Reservation (my favorite place to run now! So wonderful and serene, with an all-purpose trail that winds through the park for about 13 miles. At times, you feel like you're in an actual forest, and you even spot deer while running. Amazing, and so different from my other running experiences!). Another point of good news was that on Saturday I went to Target and got a Nalgene hydration backpack, which worked really well and had a big enough zippered pocket to hold ALL my essentials - phone, ipod, keys, ID, cash, gels - without needing extra pockets in my shorts or whatnot.

The bad news? The weather. It was already warm and muggy when Claire and I headed out at 8 am. By the time I finished, three hours later? It was brutally hot and humid and I can't believe I continued on like I did. If I were watching myself, I would have been like, "girl, STOP! It's not worth it!!" But at the end, as usual, it was. :) Then Derek, Rob, Claire and I went to Lucky's for brunch - YUMMMMMMMMY!

Monday was a rest day - thank god, because I could barely walk down the stairs. (In fact, I've heard that on a really hot and humid day, when your perceived exertion is so much greater than normal, it's the equivalent of more miles than you had actually run. So...maybe 16? Ha ha.) I returned that Amphipod fuel belt for a full refund, which was excellent. Then Monday night, had a great long chat with Kim, who I miss a lot! But right as I was winding down for the night I started to get a weird "twang" in my right lower calf (Soleus? Achilles? I dunno). It just came on all of a sudden. It wasn't just twitching, it was painful, almost like spasms of pain, even when I just lightly brushed my hand against my leg. Yuck.

So against my will, I took Tuesday off too, which made me feel like a lazy ass all day, BUT was all for the better. I iced it, spent a lot of time on the couch, and then went to Pilates with Claire for a good core workout. :) During the afternoon, spoke to Trish, which was also great because I miss her a lot too!!!! We talked about lack of jobs (me) and apartment hunting (her).

Today, I went back to Rocky River in the early morning (like 7:30) to run there again, and had such a great run. I just had a lot of energy. Maybe it's 'cause I had a crazy Powerbar this morning. I dunno. Also saw another family of deer! I feel like a deprived city girl breaking free. So, um, yeah, I should have maybe taken it easy today, being as my leg had JUST started to feel better and was not 100%...but then what's that? A huge hill? What? Well, just do it. Oh wait, what? I'm going much faster than I should be, but I can't help it because I'm loving it? Oh well. Everything was fine in the end, I stretched well and will keep a close watch of my leg to make sure it's not going to start spazzing out again.

Then I also found out how to sync my phone to my that's what the "Test" post below was about. Methinks I will be sending mobile photos and comments more often now!

Oh yeah, and Derek and I are SUCKAS when it comes to food this week. Even though I made a huge pot of ribollita and a huge bowl of potato salad yesterday...We went out to eat. Our new favorite restaurant (or at least mine) is Farenheit! So good. I had the Black Cherry salad (with black pepper balsamic dressing, roquefort cheese, and toasted pecans) and the Truffle pizza with pepperoni, olive oil and basil. Derek had a chilled soup and a smoked sushi-grade tuna with this amazing rice and micro greens. Of course we had to share two pitchers of Sangria too. Oh, and banana cheescake. (Are you kidding me?) So good.


I am really hoping this works!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We (don't) want the Funk

Wow, woke up this morning after having many weird dreams and long!!! I went to bed semi-early (10 pm) and set my alarm for 6:15...promptly shut it off and went back to sleep for an hour and a half. Finally got out of bed, did normal pre-long-run stuff (PB & J, hydrate, a bit of coffee) and then signed on to to update my profile a bit and make my resume public. I don't know, maybe it was all the stress about the job search and maybe I shouldn't have done that work stuff right before my run. I just wasn't in the mood. But I got ready anyway and Derek even said he'd run the first mile with me, then turn around at Steelyard Commons and run home.

Got my ipod ready, got my gels and phone and keys and ID and cash (I'm beginning to feel like a crazy bag lady with pockets and pouches and fanny packs instead of bags, it's really annoying) and strapped on my new Amphipod double-bottle doohickey...and almost IMMEDIATELY the pouch started bouncing and then when I went to adjust it, one of the bottles fell out. Then, I tried tightening it and putting it up higher, but then my elbows kept banging into the bottles because they stick out to each side. WOW. I got TOTALLY frustrated, and even (I'm not proud to say this) threw down my visor, pouch, and ipod and pretty much had a hissy fit. (Derek is the most patient husband ever, and didn't freak out at me for freaking out, he just tried to calm me down. Thank you, honey. :))

This is not the first time I've had a major freakout at nothing while training. But, when you try so hard during the week, and on the weekend, to prepare and do everything right (get to sleep early, not drink alcohol, etc.), the last thing you want to have happen is some minor inconvenience that COMPLETELY affects your run. I was really upset about my Camelbak getting stolen, and I thought this Amphipod would be an ok substitute, but it's just not. And I'm annoyed at myself for listening to the guy at the store who said that the hydration backpacks are really only for cycling. I don't know, but I'd rather have the weight distributed among my shoulders and back than only on my lower back, with these bottles getting in the way and not even staying in place. Then of course I remembered that women's bodies (uh, hips/butt!) are not built like mens', and of course this dude at the store wouldn't have realized that while he could wear this thing anywhere he wanted, I have certain curvature that wouldn't allow for that. And I know I could have just carried the bottles, but that's annoying too, and I am the type of person who just needs a lot of water during these runs, especially in the summer.

The last time I had a nervous breakdown was around the same point in my training for Phoenix. My training had taken me just past the half-marathon distance, but I was not yet comfortable with that 14-16 mile range, and I felt like I just couldn't do it. Derek was there for that episode as well, when he met me in Central Park and ran the last 5 miles with me. I don't know, there's something about breaking through that barrier to the "long" runs and then getting comfortable with running them every week. Now Bob Glover and some other competitive marathoners who have made training guides don't think long runs are actually long unless they are 18-20 miles. Most "commoners" would say anything over 8 is long. For me it starts to get tricky at 10 and up. Last week I was scheduled to do 15 but stopped at 11.5, mostly because my family had plans (we were at Walloon and had to go into town) and I didn't want to hold them up. This week I am saying I want to do 14 (not sure I can jump up to 15). But I just couldn't hang on today. After that whole freakout, Derek gave me another lightweight backpack to use, which was ok, and we started running, but my heart wasn't in it. So we turned around together, and then I did another 2 or so on my own for a total of 4 miles for today. Tomorrow we shall try again. But it's supposed to be 92 tomorrow, which is why I felt extra pressure to do my long run today. Oh well.

I guess I'm just not having a good day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Stuff to eat and stuff to wear

Well, I promised I'd show you pictures of the stuffed cabbage. Here it is!!!

Before I put it into the oven:

After I took it out (almost looks the same...)

And being enjoyed by Derek!!!

The entire reason I made this dish was because we got a head of cabbage in our Fresh Fork package this week (oh, and because sometimes I like to remember that I'm of Polish descent). It tasted awesome, although it took FOREVER to make - lots of prep involved and then an hour in the oven. Nonetheless, it was delicious and kind of fun to make, and now I have lots of leftovers - which reminds me, I should heat some up for lunch. (By the way, you can find the recipe I used here.)

In other news, my friggin' Camelbak hydration backpack was stolen off my steps yesterday, while it was "airing out," (haha) sooo I had to get a new one. Ended up going with an Amphipod Profile Lite 32 with two 16-oz bottles and a pouch to store keys, gels, etc. Will try it out on the long run (14 miles!) tomorrow morn.

What I won't be trying out on my long run are my new Saucony Fastwitch 3s that I picked up today for racing/speedwork. I know it's probably not NECESSARY, but I do love that extra "light, speedy" feeling that a lightweight shoe provides. Maybe it's all in my head, I don't know. For the past year I have been using the Brooks Trance 8 for 5Ks and intervals, which are AWESOME but now they have the 9s out and...well, like with the Asics 2140s, it's just not the same.

Part of the reason I went to Second Sole and got myself this stuff today is because I've been feeling a bit down lately...still jobless! So I'm a bit bummed. Nothing a little running/retail therapy (oh, and did I mention a mani/pedi?) can't fix. ;)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Not Half Bad

Greetings from Slackerville.

Man, I have been sitting at this computer for roughly three hours now...mostly to update stuff on here. It has felt like the longest day EVER, probably because I got up before the sun rose and made Derek an egg-and-cheese sandwich - yum! (Had one myself later). Drove with him to work, then did 6 miles on the Erie & Canal Towpath in Independence. The body didn't feel awesome, but the mind just felt great to do an early morning run, before the heat struck, on a serene trail.

Yesterday's speedwork session was awesome though, and I thought I'd share. Now on Tuesday, I had to do 6 miles and since I didn't have the car, I couldn't drive to a scenic spot, sooo I decided to do what I call the "two bridges run" -- Tremont to Downtown and back, via two different bridges. Let me say, it was HORRIBLE. I've done this run before, and it was fine, but Tuesday's heat and humidity were god awful and I felt as though I would melt within the first mile. But sometimes, ya know, the first mile hurts but then you fall into a rhythm. Nope. The entire. run. suuuuuucked! I even got back to Tremont and it was only 5 miles and I was like, "WTF?" so I had to run more. Ugh.

But I digress. Wednesday's speed session called for 4-6 x a half-mile @ 5K-10K pace, 5 miles total including warmup and cooldown. I was apprehensive about this because I had slept in, AGAIN, and didn't want to face that heat once more. HOWEVER. It was breezy and there was NO humidity so it was great!!! And here's the best part: my splits shocked me! In a good way. I usually consider 5K pace for me around 9:50 - 10 min/mile, and 10K is more like 10:30 min/mile. So I was expecting times of roughly 5:00-5:15, with the hope of not falling on my face by the last repeat (i.e., pacing myself properly to not go out too fast during the first two or three and not have enough energy left for the last ones). I know that, with intervals, you need to keep a consistent pace and make sure that your last repeat has as much "push" as the first. I also had in mind that I should have the feeling that the last one really HAD to be the last one, and not really "store" that much energy at the end. Otherwise, it's not really a workout, right? ;)

So here were my splits:

1 - 4:29 (uh-oh, reign it in!)
2 - 4:33 (hmm...that didn't feel that hard)
3 - 4:32
4 - 4:32 (whoa, that's even!)
5 - 4:25
6 - 4:17 (giving it a bunch more but not ALL-out)

I am thinking that perhaps the park was slightly under a half-mile all the way around...I did not have the Garmin with me but I looked it up on g-map pedometer and it said 0.52. I bet they measure from the curb, though, which accounts for a little shorter time. All in all, though, even if it was a little short, it would be spot-on with where I wanted to be...and if it was accurate, even better! It's amazing how much easier it is to do this workout, by the way, after doing the same thing a few weeks earlier with full miles. Now I kinda like half-miles. ;)

Rest day tomorrow, good thing, because I need to get bloodwork done in the morning, and that needs to be on an empty stomach, so that's not the greatest recipe for a run afterwards. On tap for tonight....STUFFED CABBAGE! My first time, but not my first experience with Jewish (well, Polish) cuisine. Pictures to follow, perhaps.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Two Weeks in Review

Well, I'm back! Not that I've been "away" for THAT long, per se, but the last two weeks have been crazy. Not that I couldn't have blogged, but...I chose not to. For whatever reason. Let's recap:

Saturday, July 18: Weird Ale Fest going on at Lincoln Park; was gonna go, but didn't. Ate at Dish with Claire and Derek for lunch and then at the Bistro on Lincoln Park for dinner.

Sunday, July 19: Taste of Tremont! People were trying to explain what this was to me, and they were like, "All the restaurants come out onto Professor Avenue, and you can buy stuff..." I don't know about you, but to me that sounds like a STREET FAIR! And it was glorious! Tried Edison's Pizza for the first time, which was actually very good. Also, Derek had the loaded chips from Farenheit which he loved.

Week of July 20: Study, train, study, study, train, train, study, cram, pratice test, train, study.

Friday, July 24: Drive over an hour to Ashland, OH to stay at a weird hotel the night before the NTE/Praxis-II exams (yes, I had to take those even though I've been teaching for 7 years. Go figure). Figured out where the exam was to be held (at Ashland University - nice campus!), got some mango sorbet at the supermarket and watched What Not To Wear and Say Yes to the Dress in the hotel room ;)

Saturday, July 25: Exams at 7:30 and 10:30. Busted outta there and came home. Stuffed my face with delicious rolls from Blackbird Baking Company (which we had gotten in this week's large CSA package from Fresh Fork Market), drank some gatorade, and then...ran 2 miles downtown to the Winking Lizard's A Shot in the Dark 4-mile race! I love night races. It started at 5:25, so I left around 4:45 from the apartment to make sure I made it there in time to use the restroom and find the starting line (uh, no problem there; there were burgers grilling and Chumbawumba playing, not to mention that most people were drinking BEFORE the race - not my way to get a PR! ;)

The course was really great, we went through Ohio City and part of downtown. I saw bits of Ohio City that I had never seen before which was awesome. The only part(s) that were a little annoying were 1) there were not one, but TWO bridges involved - but of course I was thinking about the NY marathon and how this is just good practice for that!, and 2) I had to listen to two women talk about ovulation, and trying to get pregnant, for the middle 2 miles or so (that gave me the motivation to run faster to avoid hearing this conversation). I mean, does anyone else feel as though people talk about the most personal things during races that, like, nobody else really wants to hear? I don't know.

Started strong, kept it going through the middle, and finished VERY strong. A great race overall, although I didn't PR. But I am still happy that I rocked those bridges and I ran negative splits!!! That almost never happens. I was definitely reigning it in at the beginning, which is why that probably happened. But I usually have trouble pacing myself at the start because I get so excited and end up running at least one min/mile faster than I intended. Actually, for this race I was very shocked when I saw 10:40 for the first mile because, based on the huge bridge and the fact that I was trying to go slowly, I thought it was going to be around 11:30 for that mile.

Mile 1 - 10:40
Mile 2 - 10:36
Mile 3 - 10:13
Mile 4 - 9:39

Finishing Time: 41:08, 108/144 women 25-29. Hey, maybe I'll place better in these races next year....when I turn 30!!!! Yikes!

And on to last week...

Monday, July 27 - Put together IKEA bookshelves! All by myself! Wow!

Wednesday, July 28 - Sent my Ohio state teacher license application out, finally (although they have to wait to process it until my Praxis scores come in in 3 weeks - D'oh!), and then went to the airport to DETROIT! Becca picked me up and we drove 4+ hrs to Walloon Lake, Michigan. to follow (perhaps - I forgot my camera!! But Amy brought hers).

Now, back to the, looking for jobs (sent out 2 more resumes this week), etc. Roasting beets as we speak, actually! Always better to multitask. ;)