Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The '00s in review

Happy End of the '00s!  I guess I'm joining the ranks of those of you who are "reviewing" either this past year, or the decade.  Even though these last twelve months have brought about a number of changes, it's amazing to think what a different person I have become in the past ten years.  Here goes!


  • Rang in the New Year (and new decade) in London, where I spent two weeks visiting my old friends from sleepaway camp.  
  • Got mono that spring - ugh!  
  • That summer was also the last summer I worked at Camp Monroe.  
  • Became a Student Fellow at Vassar that fall and helped a group of incoming freshmen adjust.
  • Got my first car, a used red Toyota Corolla. 
  • Got really involved in writing poetry with a year-long class at Vassar called Verse Writing.
  • Started working at a music school in Ossining, NY teaching piano and voice part-time.
  • Turned 21 -woohoo!- and spent my birthday at the Dutch Tavern in Poughkeepsie listening to one of my favorite Vassar bands, The Oddities.
  • Performed a lot with our college a cappella group, Matthew's Minstrels.
  • Worked that summer on a book project about BargeMusic, Ltd., a floating barge holding chamber music concerts under the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Also started working for Young Communications part-time helping edit educational texts.

  • Visited the Outer Banks, NC.
  • Graduated college!  Heard Tony Kushner speak at commencement.
  • On a whim, applied to the NYC Teaching Fellows program, and got in.  Moved to NYC (Inwood).  Started a crazy summer of student teaching, back-to-back classes, and basically a crash course on how to teach "at risk" youth having never majored in Education.  Got the sh*t kicked out of me, mentally and emotionally.
  • Started teaching at an elementary school in the Bronx, where I again felt like every day was a struggle.  Was I really cut out for this?
  • Got my first cell phone.
  • Moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn in November.
  • Sold the Toyota. :(
  • Finished my first year teaching!  Can't believe I made it.
  • Attended some really great summer classes at City College, and met tons of great people.
  • Started back at work and felt rejuvenated.  Met even more amazing coworkers who turned out to be great friends.

  • Visited Lake Placid and the Bahamas.
  • Almost took a different job at a charter school specializing in math and science.
  • Was asked to take over a gifted/performing arts program at my school and decided to stay.
  • Got my Masters Degree in June!  Heard Bill Clinton speak at graduation.
  • Got my first ipod.
  • Spent some time on Long Beach Island, NJ that summer with my mom and stepdad. 
  • Moved back to Manhattan (Washington Heights) with Kristin.
  • Had a great summer visit (as well as two following summers thereafter) visiting my cousin Steve and his girlfriend Amy in San Diego, CA.
  • Co-created a music/dance performance at school with my performing arts students.  Also became musical director of 5th grade graduation.
  • Auditioned for an a cappella group in NYC.  Got called back!  And then...rejected!
  • Started my very own a cappella group in NYC.  We rehearsed for a while....let's just say the friendships lasted longer than the group.
  • After struggling with indecision, finally ended a 4-year relationship in October.
  • I decided to finally do something about my inactive lifestyle and joined the gym in November.
  • Joined Weight Watchers in December and began to see my life completely change.
  • Started running...mostly on the treadmill...
  • ..and doing yoga.  Started frequenting my favorite yoga studio, Life in Motion.
  • Visited Atlanta, GA in February and the Dominican Republic in April.
  • Had a lot (a LOT) of bad dates, and some good ones, and some weird ones.
  • My roommate got plagued with bedbugs (recurring) that entire year!
  • Watched more Sex & The City than anyone I knew and ended up being able to quote the entire show.
  • Spent New Year's Eve on the subway with Kristin.  We were coming home from Bella Luna, our favorite UWS Italian restaurant, and the clock just so happened to strike midnight as we rode the 1 train.  It was pretty memorable!
  • (Re)-met Derek on January 20 at a party for mutual VC friends.  We went out on a couple of dates and we both knew we were going to fall in love.
  • Ran my first 5k in March in Washington Heights.  Derek was there with the camera!
  • Spent part of July in wonderful Walloon Lake, Michigan with Derek's family and also attended his cousin Kate's wedding that month.  Was introduced to Wisconsin, its sports, its beer, and its cheese!
  • Ran my first half-marathon (NYC Half) in August. My stepbrother also became engaged that month.
  • Joined Team in Training in September.
  • Derek moved to Madison, WI for business school at UW that fall.
  • During an October visit, Derek proposed to me in my classroom in front of all my students!
  • Put in my notice that I was leaving work.  :(
  • Ran my first marathon in Phoenix, AZ in January!  Made sure to do my 9+1 (volunteering) for NYRR to secure a spot in the NYC Marathon 2009!
  • Moved that summer to Madison, WI.  Bye bye, NY!!!! 
  • Got a new (used) Ford Focus, my first car after six years of taking public transportation.
  • Spent the summer searching for a job and visiting Derek at his internship in Minneapolis, MN.  Spent a lot of time with Kim attending concerts on the square and other fun Madison events.
  • Started working at a music school part-time, and then finally found a classroom position in Madison.  Spent the year being in over my head!  Everything was different and I barely had a minute to myself.  Good thing the wedding plans were done!
  • Went to my Jack and Nicole's wedding in September.
  • Got married in October at Harvest-on-Hudson in Hastings, NY.  Best day of my life!
  • Started my blog but hardly wrote in it.

  • Re-joined Weight Watchers in March.
  • Took a birthday trip to NYC in April, and attended Nick and Kristie's wedding in Folly Beach, South Carolina that same month.
  • Derek struggled with finding a job in the economy, but finally lands a position in Cleveland, OH.  Bye bye, Madison!
  • Ran another half-marathon and a bunch of other races, but was REALLY waiting for...the NYC Marathon on November 1st!
  • Spent the summer training for the marathon and looking....looking....LOOKING for a job!
  • To pass the time while looking for a job, I started baking, cooking more, writing in this blog more often and writing reviews on Yelp!
  • Spent another lovely week in Walloon with family.
  • Finally found a job in my field in October and I am happy there. :)  It's not a classroom position, but I am still very satisfied with what I am doing.
  • Cooked dinner with Derek for our entire family for Christmas!  That was exciting and nervewracking.
  • Derek and I just celebrated our one-year anniversary and plan to ring in the new year at one of our favorite restaurants, Fahrenheit!
Whew...if you are still reading this, congratulations! :)

And Happy New Year!

Running Quote of the Day

Great article by John "The Penguin" Bingham in January's Runner's World.

The article discusses how runners sometimes become as obsessed with running as they had been with some old addictions they conquered when discovering the sport (such as smoking, overeating, etc.). He says that throughout his running lifetime, he has often had to "start again" because he didn't listen to his body and pushed himself to injury. Here he talks about how he has adjusted his view of what it means to not give up:

The great lesson that I learned from running--because I wanted to run for the rest of my life--was that I had to accept the limits of my body.  I had to adjust my goals to match the reality of my abilities. I had to understand that if I wanted to run forever, I might have to not run today. Taking a day, or a week, or a month off, if necessary, might be hard, but it wouldn't mean giving up.

For someone who has quit jobs, left relationships, and often quit when the going got tough, running has been the exception. I haven't quit. I'm not going to quit, even if I take a break. And in that I take enormous pride.

I think this speaks to me, and to a lot of us who are either easily injured, are too hard on ourselves for taking time off, or both.

Just something to ponder. As I always say when I am injured, "Do I want to run for this next month, or for the rest of my life?" We put a lot of pressure on ourselves as runners--some of which is necessary to keep moving--but much of which is just another excuse to punish ourselves for not doing enough. I know I do this, and it's counterproductive. Don't we already have so much to worry about? Let's remember that running is suppose to be a release from all that madness, not another cause for worry.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

A look back at the runner, not the run

Hey all!  This is one of those "all about me" running surveys I've seen every now and then.  I saw one on a couple of running blogs lately, so I thought I'd share my own info!  Feel free to cut and paste this into your blog afterward and share all your stuff too!

Miles this past week: 20

Describe your most recent run: It was on the Towpath Trail where I live (Cleveland, OH) and it was snowing the entire time!  I felt like such a trooper because there were only a couple of other people walking around outside.

Your first Race: Coogan's Salsa, Blues, & Shamrock, New York, NY, March 2007

Your last Race:10th Annual Reindeer Run, Lakewood, OH, December 2009

When/Why did you start running: At first (Spring 2006), it was part of a fitness/weight-loss regimen I had been working on.  Then, when I started racing (Winter 2007), it became less of a means to an end and more of an end in and of itself.  You can read my original post on this topic here.

Favorite Race: ING NYC Marathon!!

Favorite Distance: This is tough.  I think that, because of all the Central Park 4-milers I've done, that distance is very familiar and dear to me.  But most races outside of NY are not 4-milers.  The 5k is a bit too intense for me.  I'd say either 10k or half-marathon.

Mistake you always make while racing:
 Not warming up enough.

Your mantra is: "Be a warrior."

Favorite food before a race or long run: Night before - pizza.  Morning of - peanut butter and banana slices on an english muffin, toast, or bagel.

Favorite Gadget: Just my regular Timex sports watch.  I have a Garmin, but it gets too "high maintenance" sometimes and takes forever to load the satellites.

Something *strange* you always need on a run? My locket with a picture of Dad.

Amount of races you’ve done in your life? 43

Amount of races you’ve done this year? 14

When I can’t run, I: whine!  A lot!

Music or no Music? Both.  I will never use music during a race or during a run with a friend.  When I'm alone, I could go either way.  But I love music, so...it helps!

Favorite running book? The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik.  I call it my running bible.  It's got training tips as well as inspirational stories from women.  It's awesome.  I go back to it time and again when I feel I need motivation.

Favorite running Movie? Spirit of the Marathon.  Although my husband wasn't as excited to watch it as I was :)

Favorite Runner? Kara Goucher and Brian Sell. I like how they seem like everyday, "normal" people.

Favorite brand of apparel? Brooks and Under Armour

Favorite brand of shoes? 
Asics 2130...discontinued!  Have tried a bunch of other brands too.  Think I might try the 2150s for my next pair - they just came out.

How many pairs of running shoes do you have? 3...one for everyday training, one lightweight racing shoe, and one trail shoe that needs to be replaced....NOW.

How many pairs do you actually use?
 Just the first 2, and I'll use the trail shoe for walking around or when it's gross out.

Next Challenge ahead:
 Getting through the winter while still maintaining some running fitness!  Perhaps a spring marathon, but definitely a half-marathon.

A Goal further ahead you’d like to get to someday: Break 5 hours for the marathon.

PR you’re most proud of:
 Breaking 30 minutes for the 5k, which I did this summer.  For the first time in 3 years I felt that I was getting a little bit faster!

Fuel of choice on long run or races: PowerBar Gel!  That turns out to be the only gel I can tolerate after many trails (and errors).  My favorites are rasperry & cream, strawberry banana, and (when I need a boost) double latte.

Last/current injury: Ugh! My right foot.  I think I overtrained for the NYC Marathon and something definitely went wrong there.  It's doing much better now.

Most inspirational running moment: For my first marathon in Phoenix, I ran with Team in Training and raised money for cancer research.  Around the halfway point, I saw a woman with a big sign in her hands that read, "Because of You I am Alive." I think of that moment every time I think I can't run another step.

Why do you run? My question is why DON'T people run?  :)  That's how ingrained it is within me now.

Anyway, I'm not gonna tag anybody because I don't want to force you to fill this out...But I'd love to know this stuff about you all!  Anyway, have a great Sunday!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Alright, alright....

I'll post something!  But to tell you the truth, I haven't really had much to say.  Either that, or I've been too busy with everything else to write it down!

The bullet points:
  • Work is crazy.  I feel like I am constantly making mistakes.  But I guess that's what learning is about.  Oh well.
  • Running is GOOD.  I ran Sunday, Tuesday, and today - all around 5 miles. I feel good about that especially since I have done mostly all my winter running outside so far!

  • I haven't felt as tired this week.  I actually think that getting up early helps with this, if that makes any sense at all.

  • I'm going bowling tomorrow!  I am excited for that.

  • Oh, and I think I have (almost) conquered my fear of the dentist.  I went last week for a procedure on one side of my mouth (don't even ask) and have to go back tomorrow for the other side.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The worst part was the novocaine shot, actually (in the front up near the nose?  OUCH!!!) But I am glad to get this done, because I think I'll be happier as a result.
Well, that's all from me right now.  I look forward to reading all about your adventures now that I've gotten a couple minutes to do so.   Take care!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Feelin' Sluggish

And I don't know why...

Well, December is mostly why!  I hate winter!!  The last couple of days were pretty sunny, but today is rainy and gross.  At least it's not snowing today, though it was a bit earlier in the week.

This week was not a great one in terms of being active, but I didn't really beat myself up about it.  I had two good runs at the beginning of the week, and then I had a dental procedure done on Wednesday which left me unable to exercise that day.  I also took Thursday and Friday off because work was insane and I was just mentally and physically exhausted (I know, not really an excuse).  Saturday I went to hot yoga which was great, and today I'm either going to go back to yoga at 5 or go running (probably running).  I just want to wake myself up, and I know nothing does that like a good run.

I have also been eating like crap.  I need to sort of stop that, or at least strike a better balance between treats and healthy options.  I usually do try to eat healthily but when the weather gets bad like this it is really hard.

Yesterday my husband and I got our new La-Z-Boy chair (see below) - it is so great! I highly recommend this chair (the Lancer).  The only annoying part was that the store that we had ordered it from almost gave us the wrong one when we went back to pick it up, and we had to go to another location to get it!  But that's ok, because we stumbled upon a great taproom/smokehouse for dinner and drinks, called The Brew Kettle.  It was awesome, because I just happened to be in the mood for beer AND barbecue!  What's not to love?

Hopefully this week will be a more active one for me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

This run was brought to you by the number 5 and the letter S

Don'tcha just love it when the run you are dreading turns out to be a great one?!?

This is what happened today.  Man, I almost didn't do it.  But then I realized (this is not the first time I've had this very same realization) that I'll feel worse about not doing it then actually doing it.

So.  I tried something different today; it was great and I highly recommend you do it for your next musically-enhanced run!  I went to the "Songs" list on the menu of my ipod, and picked a letter.  I chose "S," because I had been looking for a song whose name I could remember but the artist of which had slipped my mind.*

Anyway, then I just started at a random "S" song, and then it went on, in alphabetical order, for my 5-mile run.  The results?  Totally awesome!  I wasn't expecting half of them; I had never considered some of them running songs but they worked!  Also, I was able to listen to good ones that I had almost forgotten were on there.  So many of us, myself included, tend to listen to the same songs/albums/playlists over and over.  So this was a nice dose of variety for a change.  For all of you, this provides a sort of cross-section of my (varying) musical tastes.

Here's my list:

Somewhat Untitled - The Hysterics
Somewhere Along the Line - Billy Joel
Song #3 - Reel Big Fish
Song for the Dumped - Ben Folds Five
Song of Freedom - Sweet Honey in the Rock
The Song that Jane Likes - Dave Matthews Band
Songbird - Fleetwood Mac
Sons & Daughters - The Decemberists
Soon Forget - Pearl Jam
Sorry - Madonna
S.O.S. - Rihanna
Soul Surfing - Fatboy Slim
Sour Times - Portishead
Southern California Wants to be Western New York - Dar Williams
Souvenir - Billy Joel
Sowing the Seeds of Love - Tears for Fears

You guys definitely try this to shake up your run a bit.  Any letter!  It'll keep leaving you guessing what's next!  Then you can share your lists on your blogs!

Oh, and one more reason this run was brought to you by the letter S...during this run, it started to...snow!

*The artist I had been trying to remember was Built to Spill, with "Strange."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Run, Run, Rudolph

Hey guys!  Here's the race report for the 10th Annual Reindeer Run 5k.

I went to Derek's company party on Friday night, and was a little annoyed that I couldn't really drink a lot because of this race.  Oh well.  I had one drink and then lots of water.  It's probably a good thing I held back anyway, because I was really tired from the week.

Got up Saturday morning at 7, and for a minute there, considered bailing.  It was just so warm in bed!  But then I realized that I'm not only accountable to myself now, but to people reading this! (Thanks for motivating me by doing nothing other than reading this and checking up on me!)

I dragged myself out of bed, made a PB&J sandwich (pre-race meal o'choice), and skipped the coffee actually.  I figured it might just make me have to go to the bathroom and that I'd consider it a treat for when I was done.

I didn't really know what to expect from this race.  It was my first race post-marathon, and I didn't do any speed training leading up to it except for a little bit of a faster interval workout on Wednesday.  I wanted to try my best, but also didn't want to risk further injuring my foot, which had just started to feel sorta normal.  That being said, it's the last race of the year on the Hermes calendar, and I wanted to go out with a bang.  Let's see how it went.

Left the house around 8 and got to Lakewood Park by 8:25.  Got my stuff and thankfully it was warm inside the park's building, because it was FREEZING outside!  29 degrees!  I wore my tights, a hat, and gloves and was still chilly getting there.  I did a good, long warmup (according to Runner's World, you should do 15-30 minutes of warmup for a 5k because you start off pretty fast from the start).  So I did about 20 minutes, then wanted to make sure I had enough time to drop off my heavy sweatshirt at the car and line up.

Felt nice at the beginning, not cold anymore and I could actually feel my fingers.  A lot of people were dressed in goofy costumes, as I had predicted.  Reindeer antlers, red and green outfits, etc.  There were 800 runners there, too!  Wow!  Much bigger than any race at Lakewood Park I've done.

I wanted to go out pretty strong, but was tied up at the start and didn't cross the line for about a minute.  No matter, because these race organizers had finally gotten the memo about the D-Tag chip timing (previous races in this park had just been start whenever, and rip off part of your bib at the end and give it to the guy in the chute).  I had conveniently forgotten my watch today - D'oh!  but I knew there'd be someone yelling out times at the mile markers.

I passed a bunch of people in the first mile, which I felt good about but also made me feel like I was going too fast.  When I approached the first mile marker, I heard "9:56...9:58..." and when I crossed, "10 minutes."  I was a little discouraged, as I thought I was going faster than a 10-minute mile, or at least my effort told me I might not be as ready to race as I had hoped.  Then I thought about the delayed start and I felt ok.

I did my usual self-talk during a 5k....Mile 1: Hold back, Mile 2: Hold pace, Mile 3: Hold on.  It worked to a certain degree, but it was really cold and I wasn't used to running fast in that just yet.  At one point, I overheard an oft-told running joke:

Guy: Hey, How're you doing?
Girl: I can't seem to catch my breath.
Guy: Well, then you'd better keep running after it!

Ha, ha.

I got a little water but it had turned partially to ice - bleck! Forget that idea.  The second mile marker was 19:20 according to the volunteer, which would be 9:20.  That's more like it!

I always dread the last mile of a 5k.  I feel like I'm crawling, yet I'm trying my best.  I start seeing others who have finished, just chatting away.  Arg, this is taking forever!

Plus, I was stuck directly in front of a woman with the louuuudest breathing EVER!  And it was right on rhythm.  I just kept hearing, "HUHHHHN [step step step} HUHHHN [step step step}" over and over.  I had the feeling she was trying to catch up to me, or use me to pull her along because it was right over my left shoulder and I couldn't get rid of her.  I used this to force myself to run a little bit faster just to get out of earshot.  Finally the third mile marker came - 28:45 (same as last time!), or 9:25.  Not bad considering I felt like crap.  At the turn into Lakewood park I frickin' kicked it in like nobody's business and finally lost the loud breather!  I felt like my kick was great yesterday.  I ran in when the clock said 29:30 but I checked the actual results online today and it was actually 29:10! So, not a PR but 30 seconds faster than the last 5k I did.

I felt like I had gotten run over by a bus after that, though, and really had to cool down.  I wasn't exactly thirsty or hungry, but I had a banana and a bottle of water for good measure.  I just kept feeling the cold in my lungs.  Plus, today I am actually sore!  Haven't gotten sore after a race in a while...I guess it shows I wasn't that prepared this time and that the month of recovery actually did bring me a little bit out of the zone.  It's ok though; I have never rested and recovered that well and now I feel fresh and happy about the upcoming months.

Then Derek and I did a little holiday shopping, as well as some furniture shopping for ourselves!  We got a La-z-Boy - finally something else to sit on in the living room!  This is the one we ordered:

The style is called the Lancer.  It is so comfortable!!!! We're going to pick it up on Saturday.

Other than that, not much else to report.  Having a great, relaxing weekend.  By the way, does anybody else feel that it is much easier to get up early on weekends than on weekdays?  What up with that!?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

No Excuses

That's what my Gatorade bottle says, and I've been staring it in the face all day.

Have had an annoying headache since yesterday.  Blah, blah, blah.  No excuses.

Had a long day at work, filled with "normal" as well as "unusual" stress factors.  I worked an hour later than I was supposed to.  Blah, blah, blah.  No exuses.

It's raining tonight, which makes me want to just curl up on the couch with my fleece throw and watch TV. Blah, blah, blah.  No excuses.

Because...I brought my workout clothes with me to work today!  I brought a snack for after work just so I would have one less excuse not to work out.  And Derek's still out of town, so I don't really have a reason to go right home after work.  And I brought that annoying reality check of a Gatorade bottle.

No excuses, then!  I worked out in my "fake gym" (I'll just call it that from now on) and felt amazing.  I know people say this all the time, but once I got started, I really wasn't tired, even though I first got on the treadmill at around 9 pm.  The only problem now (like last night's hot yoga session) was that now I'm bouncing off the walls a little bit.  I know that'll calm down in about an hour, and I'll sleep well tonight...

I'm glad I forced myself to be active tonight.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Doin' it

10th Annual Reindeer Run | Lakewood, Ohio 44107 | Saturday, December 05, 2009 @ 9:00 AM

Just registered!

Just so no one starts to worry

-Great Thanksgiving weekend
-Ate EVERYTHING.  More than once.
-Was able to run every day from Thursday - Sunday.
-Starting to feel ready to end "recovery." Looking at a race this weekend (5k) -- we'll see how it goes...as today, Dec. 1, marks my one-month-after-the-marathon date and I am allowing myself to race again.
-Got offered more hours at work, putting me at pretty much full-time!  It feels good to be working more.

On Tap:
-Starting my new part of my job today with more responsibility.  A little nervous.
-Hot yoga with Claire tonight - LATE - 8:30-9:30 at Inner Bliss.
-Catching up on all my DVR from last week because Derek is out of town until Thursday.

-Happy!  Usually the winter months bring gross feelings, lethargy, overeating, and sadness my way.  But I am trying to stay on top of my working out (and, to some extent, my eating habits although I kind of always need to eat more in the winter for whatever reason) and doing things to relax myself.  I am also trying to just "roll with it;" the cold weather and the tired feelings will eventually pass.  We need rest and recovery too, and winter is a good time to allow ourselves to rebuild in order to be active and strong for the spring.  In fact, this article in December's Runner's World magazine gives some good ideas for how to maintain a certain level of fitness, while also giving ourselves a well-deserved break from hard training.  (And it speaks well to one of your comments from my "No Running" post -- thanks, Jen!)

Have a great rest of the day!