September 30, 2011


This is what my 12-miler looks like tomorrow. I've been spoiled by mid-70's temperatures, and am not sure I remember how to dress for this. Training has been sporadic enough though, I can't skip it.
Sunday doesn't look much better. I have 8 miles on tap then.

Welcome to Autumn in Northeast Ohio.

September 29, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

My Dad is much, much better, and hoping to come home from the hospital tomorrow. I too am hopeful, but realize he will not be 100% even if they do release him. This means he will likely not be helping me primer ceilings Tuesday, much as he'd like to believe he will.
Yesterday's 6 miler turned into a fast 8 miler, thanks to Superman. I'm supposed to be entering taper mode, with the Towpath Half Marathon in 2 weeks. Superman wanted to get a long run in, as his work has interfered with his running quite a bit lately. I agreed to try the 10-miler he'd palnned, with no guarantees I wouldn't walk. This past weekend I'd done a hard 8, followed the next day with a hard 11+. I'd done my pushups, situps, and squats before going to his house, but did not think that would affect my run. Boy was I wrong! I did well with the rolling hills and even eked out a few 11:++ miles in the beginning. By the time we hit 8 though, I was done. Everywhere I'd worked earlier got fatigued, and it was affecting my form with pains I haven't felt in a long time. I basically hobbled home the remaining 2 miles. I expected to have trouble walking today, the way I felt when I went to bed, but it seems I've built up some resilience. While I feel my legs today, they are not in any way pained.

September 28, 2011

Here we go again

So one of my friends coerced me into joining him in a 100 pushup challenge.

(By coerce of course I mean he posted he was doing it and asked if anyone wanted to join him.) I already had an app downloaded called Drop and Give Me Twenty (DGMT) from the last time I tried this back in April. I didn't talk too much about it, which is good because I also didn't stick too much with it.

They apparently upgraded the app. Before it was all about the pushups. Now it looks like this:
Lo and behold, the 100 Pushups site also has additional challenges:
My core is woefully weak, so with only a little nudge from Ninja, who is also participating, I added the situp challenge. 
Also, since my hips need work, and because I can use the app by counting situps, then during the "rest period" do the squats, I added them.
I am not crazy enough to try the pullups, though I might do the dips after I get some arm strength from the pushups. That would require a bit more than just opening an app though. I'd actually have to figure things out daily (like I do on my marathon training plan? Oh, guess it's not as hard as I'm making it out to be...)

The Facebook group started their program Monday, but I didn't learn about it until Monday, and didn't get that they started it Monday until yesterday. I did my test to discover how many pushups and situps I could do. At this point I'm doing the pushups on my knees, and my form is just plain horrible. Shortly after doing the test, I completed my first day. I planned to do another set last night, to bring me up to speed with everyone else, but that did not happen. This morning, with the way my arms and abs feel, I'm thinking that's a good thing. I did not expect to feel it this soon! It's a good thing, mind. I was just surprised.

So anyway, feel free to join the group. I'm hoping they will help keep me accountable, if only through posting which shows up on my feed. I'm taking the muscle soreness as a reminder that I have to do them again today. I have tons of room for improvement, so if I can get into the habit of doing these I plan to repeat at least the pushups with a real, full length pushup position.

September 26, 2011


My Dad is getting better. There were some issues with his OCPD, but the antibiotics are working. Hopefully he'll be home from the hospital by the end of the week.

The New York trip has been cancelled.

My house is still a mess.

My last class starts in one week.

Sorry if I'm not posting quite as often through this. Things are, as usual, hectic.

September 23, 2011

Stuff and nonsense

  • My Dad is getting better. He's apparently been sick for several weeks, but didn't know it was pneumonia. We are still hoping he'll be released in a week or so.

  • My niece came home from the hospital last night. Turns out she has allergies, which are affecting her asthma. A new treatment plan is in place.  
I have to talk to the official family photographer
to see if he has a more recent pic
  • I am planning a trip to New York in mid-October. Superman is going for work, and I'm tagging along for the ride. So excited for the road trip with him, and to see my bestie!
Another old pic, but one of my favorites
  • My house is in desperate need of cleaning. You know I'm not myself when I leave dishes in the sink, and I've been fighting a sink full of dishes since my party the beginning of the month. It doesn't help my dishwasher is not working properly, but still. I'm behind on everything, and am not quite sure where my time is going.
  • I finish school in 2 months. I'm not sure I'll know how to act, having been on this path for 2 years now. I know my "freak flag" (as Big Bro puts it) is flying high. He suggested a few positions I should apply for where he works. I've been fighting big anxiety and have not quite completed the application process. That's on the agenda for today, but so is a 45 minute swim, the hill workout I missed yesterday, visiting my Dad, and a butt-ton of homework. Meanwhile, I'm writing a blog and chatting with Monkey Boy in Germany.

September 22, 2011

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program

My Dad is in the hospital. It's not serious, but it is worrisome. He has been feeling progressively worse for the past several days, and decided on my mother's suggestion last night that it might be pneumonia. He is prone to pneumonia, since he had a bad case of it several years ago.

Turns out my mother was right (aren't they always?).

So anyway, that's the biggest thing on my mind right now. That and my niece, who is also in the hospital for asthma related issues. She should be home tomorrow. Hopefully my Dad will be home within the week.

September 20, 2011

Busy busy busy bee

I've been a busy little bee since I posted this Thursday last. Friday, instead of swimming or playing with the site, I continued helping with the insulation, then made fresh tomato soup with tomatoes from the monster plant in my garden.
Yes, that's one plant.
The tomatos are cherry-sized and pear shaped

Who knew the thing that made tomato soup taste like tomato soup was cloves? The recipe I didn't follow was from I say didn't follow because a) I am incapable of following a recipe, and b) I only went to look it up when my soup didn't taste right. That's when I realized the cloves made all the difference. I didn't follow the rest because I didn't want sugar and flour in my soup. I did add fat in the way of bacon grease, since I'd just fried up a pound of bacon for BLTs. Gotta use these tomatos some way! I spent the rest of the day doing homework.

Saturday I was supposed to run 7 miles, but spent 10 hours completing the insulation job, then did homework, then went out singing. I was rather amazed I managed to stay up until 4am, considering. No photos of karoake. I was too busy having fun.

Sunday I recovered from karoake, which included waking up at 7:15 to drive 45 minutes home from Goddess's house, only to find I'd left my phone, shoes and jacket back at her place. Yeah, 3 hours of sleep will do that. And no, it's not unusual for me to forget my shoes. I'm barefoot as often as possible anyway. So the time I'd planned to run the 10 miles on my calendar (or the 7 miles I was supposed to run Saturday), I spent driving to Kent and back. Again. When I got home again I rewrote our team submission.

Monday I hoped to run either the 7 or the 10 miles, either in addition to or in lieu of the swim on my schedule. That didn't exactly happen either. I was dressed to run when someone knocked on my back door. I'd forgotten I scheduled Kirby to come out and clean my carpet. I'd "won" this from the booth at the Geauga County Fair. I realized it would be a sales session, but not that it would take literally hours. The Kirby vacuume can apparently do just about everything. I felt sorry for the guy when he finally got around to vacuuming my carpet with little circles of filter, to show me how much it picked up. I'd not vacuumed in a while, so he was going through quite a few filters. This was also about the time his manager showed up to help strongarm me into a deal. I like the vacuume a lot, but am not real thrilled with this type of sales tactic. Considering my economic situation, I could not afford to purchase a $2k vacuume anyway, even with the types of deals they tried to offer. I never did get my carpet cleaned. I wasn't going to make him shampoo after definatively declining the sale. I don't think the shampoo is very good anyway, as it's a dry cleaning sort of thing that sits on top of the carpet. 

After the Kirby guys finally left, it was time to write my weekly paper. I had a hard time with it this week. I kept walking away, and ultimately stayed up until 3am finishing.

Today I was back at my parents, touching up the front bedroom ceiling and mudding all the cracks and holes left by the electrician. We are back on track to finish renovating the 2nd floor, with a bit of every room on the first floor thrown in.

After working at my parents for several hours, I hit the Y. I couldn't decide if I should run the 7 or 10 miles I missed this weekend, or the fast 5 on my calendar for today. I opted to attempt both the fast 5 and then slow down for either an additional 2 or 5, depending on how I felt.
I ran the first two at 11-minute-mile pace, but could not sustain it. So I walked for a quarter mile, then ran another at the same speed. I ultimately ran 4.25 miles this way, with 3/4 mile walked, before the treadmill shut itself off. I forgot these did that after an hour.
When the treadmill automatically shut itself down, it started by slowing a full mile per hour. This made me kind of lurch, as I wasn't expecting it and I had the display covered. So when I started the treadmill up again, planning to finish my 5 and maybe run another 5, my hips and knee complained. I set the speed at 5mph and ran another mile, then walked a bit before deciding I really was done. I am fully prepared to push myself beyond my comfort zone, but not to hurt myself in the process. Luckily, the pain seems to have been transitory, as I feel only slightly stiff at the moment.

My training schedule over the past month has an awful lot of red in it. I'm not surprised, as I've always found it difficult to keep on track. Hopefully what I have done is good enough for the Towpath in just a few weeks.

September 14, 2011

A very full Thursday

Today I took 6.5 of these:
Put them one by one into this:
Handyman drilled holes:
And blew the insulation in. I was up and down ladders. I lifted the insulation packages to put them into the bin. I carried half the the stacks you see into the garage. I swept up the mess, afterward. We took a bit of time figuring out the quirks of the machine, so only got one side done today. Hopefully tomorrow will go quicker, and we will be done some time Friday.

After cleaning up the mess from the insulation job, I went home and put on my running clothes. I had 4 800s on the calendar yesterday, which didn't get done. Today was supposed to be a rest day, so I just switched them on the calendar and ran the 800s today.

I started with a mile warmup. Not sure why, but when I'm doing speedwork, my mile warmup also tends to be fast. According to my Nike GPS, today's warmup mile was 9:39. I've never seen a sub-10-minute-mile before. I waited until my heart rate dropped back to resting, then ran the first 800 at a 9:25 pace. The next two 800s were in the 10:xx pace range, and the last one was at about 9:52. If these were Yasso 800s, today's exercise would indicate I'm capable of about a 5 hour marathon. Of course, that would mean I'd be ready for a marathon in the first place, which I am not. Yet.

September 13, 2011

Should I or shouldn't I?

I keep looking over at my "Challenges" section, which is very sparse lately. My current training plan is geared toward a marathon at the end of next year. I'll run one of two possible races.
The Really Big Free Marathon in Vegas
 OR if I can't afford that (or can't get in)
Towpath Marathon
I know most marathon training plans are not 60+ weeks long. I also know what happened when I tried to increase my mileage too quickly last year. I'm comfortable with my current plan.

What I'm not so comfortable with is the clean slate that is my normal race season, next year. So what I'm trying to determine is, should I run the same races I've been running so far? There are financial considerations at the moment, but those will likely be moot by the time the 2012 race season begins. I can always add mileage to races, either before or after, to fit in with my long run schedules. I'm not certain how RACING will affect those runs. I'm sure I'll be curious how my training has affected my times.

I guess it's just another one of those "I'll have to wait and see." I'll have to wait and see what I can afford, what I have time for, and what will fit in with the larger goal.  

September 12, 2011

Whew! What a week!

I know I promised late last week that I would update you on what has been going on, but my hectic life continued on through the weekend. Get your coffee ready and settle in. Here's a breakdown of what I've been doing:

Sunday - This was my birthday. I tell you that not for congratulations (or condolences) but because it coincides with Labor Day. Because it coincides with Labor Day, and because I am the party planner for Memorial Day and Labor Day in my family, I generally throw a Labor Day/birthday party. The birthdays also include my sister (who's birthday is the day before mine), my Father (who's birthday is 4 days after mine), and Superman (who's birthday is the same day as my Father's).

So Sunday we had a party. Friends and family came, everyone bearing food. I have only one rule about my parties. They are pot luck, but don't ask me what to bring. Just bring something. If we have 15 types of potato salad, I'm happy. I love potato salad! If all we have is desert, oh well. We all get stuffed on desert. I provide meat and soda. Somehow it always works out.

I would post pictures, but I didn't take any because I was too busy having fun. Superman didn't take any, because he manned the grill. He cooked up burgers, chicken, and his specialty salmon. YUM! We set up outside with the understanding that it might rain, and sure enough about 4pm the clouds opened. After determining the rain really was going to come down, we all moved into my tiny little house. I like to say it's the size of a postage stamp. 5 people makes it feel crowded. We probably had 15.

Somehow a game of charades broke out, which was hilarious. After that, we hooked up the karaoke machine. Superman is fond of saying "every party devolves into a karaoke party." It is certainly true with my group of friends. We sang for hours. Ninja showed up just as most everyone was leaving. In the end I had Ninja, his Penguin, my Emergency Back-up Son (a best friend of both my boys, who spent a great deal of time at my house throughout high school) and his girlfriend. We played Apples to Apples for a few hours. Well, everyone but the Penguin played Apples to Apples. While we played, she did drew all over Ninja's back with a Sharpie marker.
My Emergency Back-Up Son
Monday - I had a paper to write. I did take some time off to spend a few hours with my sister-in-law. She's going through some stuff, and I was happy to lend an ear and a shoulder. I truly enjoy getting one-on-one time with family members I don't normally have a chance to talk with. My sister-in-law and I have a history of shared milestone events. We went skydiving together. We went to the Spencer Tunic installation together. We went clubbing together. Beyond that, we haven't spent much time together outside of family events, so coffee was good.

Tuesday - I was back at my parents, preparing the living room and back bedroom for cable. My parents have decided to hard wire every room in house, as a selling point and just in case they decide they want a television somewhere they currently do not. I prepared the basement rafters to run the new cable through. Actually running the cable will have to wait for a sunny day (most likely tomorrow).

Wednesday - I refinishing the ceiling in the back bedroom. This, I have pictures of:
Everything had to be moved to one side of the room
and covered with plastic
The mud and broom/brush I used
After completing the back bedroom, I went home and tried out my new Nike GPS. I had 400s on the training schedule, and decided to just dive in where I was supposed to be even though I hadn't run for 2 weeks. The 400s went well enough, considering.

Thursday - The schedule said hillwork, so I spent some of Wednesday evening trying to figure out where I could find a hill. I finally decided on the driveway to the rapid station, which goes below the street above.
This is about a mile and a quarter into the park, which gave me a good warm-up/cooldown distance. I sprinted up the driveway, then jogged back down. Caught my breath, and repeated. I decided to play with the new GPS, which I had set for quarter mile intervals from Tuesday's run. Apparently you can't reset things on the fly, only on the computer. So I ran up, jogged down, and ran around the parking lot until I'd reached a quarter mile. Then next time I ran up, jogged down, ran up, jogged down... Overall it was not a consistent workout, but I knew I'd worked muscles in my thighs and hips.

Afterward, I went to my parents' to texture the front bedroom ceiling.  This ceiling had the most water damage, which is coming back to haunt me now. The old ceiling paint has separated from the plaster where it got wet. It wasn't much of a problem when I just painted over everything, but now I am adding wet plaster, with a motion that pulls at the plaster and paint slightly. It is pulling the paint down. This means I have to go back over everything after it dries, scrape away the loose paint, and re-apply the texture. That is also on the agenda for tomorrow.

Thursday happened to be Superman's (and my Dad's) birthday. I took Superman out to dinner and we spent the evening together. I did homework while he poured over our new Netflix account. Apparently they have the entirety of Futurama available for streaming, which apparently makes Superman very happy. When Superman's happy, I'm happy.

Friday - I spent time Friday with my niece, the oldest of my brother's children. This was good in the same way spending time with my sister-in-law was good. I don't get that one-on-one often. The visit turned into a quest for a Starbucks, which was entertaining. I know they say there are Starbucks in the bathroom of other Starbucks, but there really are very few in my area. We thought there was one at the nearby mall, but it had closed. So we went to the other mall, where she thought she remembered one, but she was mistaken. So we went to a shopping center. She was certain they had a Starbucks, but it took a while to find so I kept accusing her (in complete jest) of lying to me. We did finally find one, and I had the soy chai latte I'd been craving all day. The plan was just to talk, and throughout our adventure, that's what we did.

Saturday - I was supposed to run 8 miles. Superman and I set our alarms to run 8 miles before he had to go to work. When the alarms went off, the sky had opened in what sounded like a torrential downpour. I had not packed the appropriate running gear for that type of weather, so rolled over and went back to sleep. I could always do the 8 miles on Monday.

Aunt Gertie rolled into town Friday night, visiting from Florida for the weekend to help celebrate my Dad's birthday. He turned 70 this year, and we children decided he needed a larger than normal celebration. I had a paper to write, so when I woke up (again) Saturday I focused on that.

Once all responsibilities were attended, I headed over to the Energizer Bunny's, where Aunt Gertie was staying. There was a pirate party going on all weekend over there. Aunt Gertie had brought the kids (ages 8, 6, and 4) pirate hats, and developed an ongoing pirate story that involved all three as "dread captains." I became Dread Captain One-Armed Jan, who flew the Jolly Roger on my black ship when I arrived to let them know I was friend and not foe. I still got shot with a "darnit" (foam dart) gun. The 4 year old told me I was supposed to like being shot. 

I spent the rest of the day (and well into the night) hanging with and catching up with my sisters.

Sunday - This was the big party day, but first I had a long run to attend to. I'd missed Saturday's run, but was not going to miss the long run. I'm not sure why I decided the first long run in several weeks should be the one where I start playing with my fuel plan. There is some heated discussion going on about whether runners really need to fuel, and how much. Superman (who doesn't fuel on the run) read an article saying just the fact of taking a sweet liquid into your mouth would convince your body to produce energy, even if you spit that liquid out instead of swallowing. I decided maybe I'd been over-fueling, and prepared my fuel concoction with one less Gu than normal.

The run started out well. Even having to climb our way out from the depression I live in, we were hitting high 11 and low 12-minute miles. I was fine until about mile 6, where I started flagging. By mile 7 I could see the wall. By mile 8 I had my nose up against it, and by mile 10 I was banging my head against the wall. The only time I walked was about 30 feet at mile 11. Then I pulled up my big girl pants and put my stubborn on for the last mile. It was a very difficult run though, that I feel today.

After the run and an ice bath, I was back over at Energizer Bunny's to hang out and get ready for the party. We had reservations at my parents' favorite restaurant, with the understanding we were bringing a cake, decorations, party favors, and at least 20 people. My Aunt and Uncle arrived, as well as a few of my Dad's friends.
the Birthday Boy
This is the only picture I have that came out, though I know Superman and my mother have additional images I will receive later. Suffice it to say we took over the place, and the party was a success.

Afterward, I hung out with Aunt Gertie and Big Bro until well after midnight. I learn so many family stories when we get together like this, and I love it!

So that was my week last week. I did not go swimming this morning as my schedule dictated, because I met up with Aunt Gertie for lunch before she hopped on her motorcycle for the 1,000 mile trip back to Florida. I have not yet run the 8 miles I was supposed to run Saturday, and I may not run them at all. I still have another paper to write today, as well as class participation to accomplish. Those 2 have to happen before I can even think about getting my run on.

And this had to happen as well. Now I'm all caught up, and can move forward.

And no, I did not forget...

September 9, 2011

I'll catch you up, I promise

Busy week. I have pics. I have run stats. Birthdays were celebrated. Ceilings were stippled. I just don't have time to post it all.

Tomorrow. I promise.

September 6, 2011

Back in the saddle...?

I looked at my training schedule yesterday, for the first time in 2 weeks. It was the first time I felt well enough to consider training, as opposed to just getting out there and moving (which I haven't done a lot of, either). I'm not yet sure how I will get myself back on track, but I'm sure I'll figure that out as I go. The first step is to get out there and go. Today I'm going to just dive right into what I originally scheduled, and see what happens. If I'm super lucky I can just slip into training and go from here.

I have a new incentive to help. Superman proved once again that he's a keeper, as he gave me this for my birthday Sunday:
 I'm still trying to figure out how it works.
I've already been to the Nike site and created an avatar to help motivate me and track my runs. Because I need somewhere else to track my runs. I might stop using Daily Mile, if this works out well. I already deleted my training journal here on the blog. It was just too much work to update everything.

I might not stop using Daily Mile, though. It was very difficult to find the software necessary to automatically update my run stats. I went to the site the directions say, but kept getting redirected to a marketing site. I don't want to buy more Nike gear, know how Nike sizes women's clothing, and I don't need another social site on the Nike forums. I just want to known how to upload my data!

It turns out the download is not on the website the instructions directed me to. I ended up on a support page that took me to the product support page, which finally had the download. Things like this irritate me to no end. If the Nike experience is going to be one of never-ending marketing, I won't use their site to track things. I don't care if I have to manually enter my stats. I'm a brat that way. I'm not brand specific, and I don't want companies in my face every time I turn around.

I still haven't figured out how to upload data. This doesn't bode well for the Nike site. The GPS, I like. The site, not so much.

September 2, 2011

A Day at the Fair

Superman and I have been looking forward to spending an entire day at the Geauga County Fair. I think I've mentioned in the past that Superman is a big Jean Shepperd fan. He wanted to experience something close to Jean's rendition of his fair experience as a child. I think we accomplished that yesterday.

Of course, some things were bound to be different. We started our adventure in the rain, which prompted discussions of how we would manage to enjoy the fair through cloudbursts and scattered thunderstorms. This turned out to be moot, as the rain passed before we arrived and never did return.

We knew immediately we had been transported to a world different than our norm. Walking through the parking lot to the fair we encountered this:
That's a spotted dog's head, if you can't tell
This is the same vehicle.
Someone certainly has an artist's perspective... on something.
Right as we walked through the gate we found a book store, which was very exciting for both of us. Superman found a machinist's manual from 1924. Price? $1.00. He also found Yoga For Dummies, which I scored for $.50, and a copy of Ian Flemming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. That is one of my favorite movies, but I've never read the original. The cost was another $1.00. Luckily, they had a system where they held your books while you visited the fair, and could pick them up on the way out.
The plan was to arrive early for a full day of fun. We would start out with the Chicken Flying Contest at noon, and end with the Demolition Derby at 8:30. We had no real plan to fill the time in between.

The Chicken Flying Contest was everything anticipated, and more.
The contestants lined up near the podium
Chicken catchers were recruited from the audience
Chickens were placed in the launcher, and summarily launched.
(yes, that is a plunger)
The catchers then retrieved the launched chickens
The chicken's flight distances were measured and recorded.
The launched chickens kept going under the podium and into the dairy barn behind us.
I don't know why.
After the excitement of the chicken flying contest, we wandered the fair and tested the vendors wares. Certain treats are mandatory for events like this.
Candied apples.
This one was promising as the candy shell was super thick, 
but the apple was mealy underneath.
I threw most of it away, which was disappointing, but ultimately for the best
as it left room for other treats.
Funnel cake with strawberries and chocolate
Grilled turkey leg.
I couldn't eat all of this, so wrapped it up and saved it
in the handy dandy cooler I won from spinning a wheel at a radio station booth.
The cooler was the perfect size for this.
There were also fried oreos, which were a disappointment, and cinnamon covered cashews, which were not. Superman and I shared a corn dog, and we both had ice cream, fudge, and corn on the cob. Overall it was a very full day, food-wise. 

It was a very full day period, as we walked for the better part of 8 hours.
We only sat a few times.

We got bored waiting for the miniature horse show, so started comparing the muscles in our legs
He wins, but who knew I had discernible muscle?!?
We got up close and personal with miniature horses
and massive draft animals
We saw miniature donkeys
and miniature goats
Sheep shearing
Pig herding

Exotic chickens
Baby cows
and baby bunnies
We learned about blacksmithing
and horse-shoeing
This guy was a story teller!
We learned about glass blowing.
We watching this show twice
and talked about maybe taking lessons
We viewed the domestic arts
My mother judged the knitting
I drooled over the cakes and cookies
We watched them milk the cows
 Finally, after walking miles and miles and miles, it was time for the finale.
First, the obligatory sky-diver with the American flag
The pit area
The excitement begins
Smash 'em, Crash 'em!
It was like bumper cars, for adults
There was one small fire, under the hood of the car
the kids next to us were rooting for
I had a blast!
The fair, as we walked to our car
Overall a full and wonderful day. I haven't been running for almost 2 weeks now, but I certainly got my exercise yesterday! I feel it in my legs today, as we must have walked at least 10 miles.

I still have a little bit of a cough. I've been itching to run since the weekend, but haven't wanted to push myself as I still didn't feel completely well. Today... maybe. I have to go climb all over my parent's house first, rewiring the cable. Certainly tomorrow I'm going to attempt a long run, with the understanding that there will be walking involved. I have to get moving though, as I only have a few weeks before the Towpath Half.