Saturday, January 24, 2009

Never a dull moment

So last we heard, it was interview time. YIKES. What an eventful day that was! It started out just fine, as I was able to drive to the hopsital and find it without a hitch, arriving ten minutes early and all that jazz. The interview...well...I didn't get the best vibe. I don't really present myself as a confident person because I'm rather quiet, which doesn't translate well in interviews. That was a really vague description, but I'm not going to relive the horrors. I still have to do a phone interviews, so we'll keep our hopes up for that. I also applied to two other awesome jobs that I would love to have, so all is not lost.

Now onto the exciting part, which is when I tried to make it back to Princeton. You would think that the hard part of the day would be over since I was leaving Philly, but oh no no no. You see, I have a really back track record (har har) when it comes to cars. Car 1 died on the way to Philly for an RA interview in college. Car 2 died while visiting a friend in Louisville one summer. And now, Car 3 died on my way home from Philly. Of course, this was boyfriend's car which added to the excitement. I managed to pull over right before a huge intersection, and a cop and tow truck were actually right behind me, which was rather convenient. However, getting a real AAA tow truck to show up was obscenely complicated, as they first were coming, but then they weren't coming because the owner of the car wasn't there, then boyfriend was going to drive down so he would be there, then AAA decided they wouldn't cover it anyway because they already had a note that he wasn't there, then I was going to use my insurance to call a tow truck because I was covered even though it wasn't my car, and then AAA changed their mind and sent a tow truck. What a mess, my goodness.

However, everyone (including the car) survived, and we were on our way. However, Thursday was not a good day in general. Friday was much better, as I sleep away the pain that was the whole interview/car incident, and a long run was on the docket. Unlike the Prairie State where I reside, Princeton has hills, which reminded of why I hate them so much, but I had boyfriend-the-running-buddy to keep me company, so it wasn't too miserable. And, of course, it was 40 degrees (!!!) which is always a bonus in my book.

Friday, January 23
11.56 miles in 1:32:23, avg pace of 8:00
Splits: 8:12, 7:49, 7:51, 8:19, 8:09, 8:03, 8:17, 8:01, 7:51, 8:01, 7:47, 4:02 (7:17)

Saturday, January 24
5.29 miles in 41:35, avg pace of 7:52

Flew back to Chicago around noon this morning, which I was greeted with single digit temperatures and my new cell phone!! The last time I got a new phone was summer 2005, so this is quite exciting for me. I then proceeded to pack then repack, since tomorrow I'm leaving for our cruise to the amazingly warm Caribbean. I may or may not have overpacked as a result of my desire to wear all my tank tops in one week. Next time I report, I will be relaxed and hopefully tan!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Live from Princeton

I am now reporting from Princeton, NJ, home to my glorious boyfriend James, the rocket scientist to be. I flew into Philly this morning and we checked out some of the apartments that I was looking at online, and we're going to see them from the inside tomorrow night. We just wanted to get a better idea of the neighborhoods, so that was a good way to spend the morning.

Just to add to my stress level, when we were driving out to Princeton, I got a phone call from the place where I am interviewing tomorrow, and they asked if I could reschedule for next week...yikes! I called them back and told that I was in from out of town, so after a couple hours of waiting to hear back from them, I'm still on for tomorrow. I'm thinking it was a test to see how I handle deviations in plans (after all, that's what nursing is all about!)...but I don't think that was the case. Anyway, continue to think positive, confident thoughts for me tomorrow!

Boyfriend and I are planning on running a spring marathon together, but being apart we don't really get the chance to run together much. We ran together a fair amount in college, but it's been awhile. Today three miles was the plan, which went well. If you read my previous post, you would know that I despise three miles runs! But it was still quick and now it's over with, so that works for me. However, let it be known that it is currently warmer in Chicago than it is here...only a few degrees, but I'll take whatever I can get. Summer can't come soon enough!

Alright, run recap:

Wednesday, January 21
3.1 miles in 24:40, avg pace of 7:58

Alright, time to relax and mentally prepare for tomorrow because I WILL be confident and positive and have awesome answers so I can let them know what an amazing nurse I will be and how I will be an asset to the unit. Fingers crossed!!
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Today was a day for the history books with the 44th President Barack Obama taking office. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch the entire inauguration because I had to be at work, but I managed to watch the announcement of President Elect Barack H Obama (...I'm thinking they said "H" instead of Hussein for a reason...but I could be wrong) before scurrying off to work. I still have to youtube the speech and everything, but I heard it was good. I'm excited to see what is in store for the United States, and I have always been and will always be proud to be an American. We'll see what change Obama brings and what that means for us as a country.

In other news, yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr Day, and as a special at work we had "I Have a Dream French Toast," which was quite fitting for the day until I read the description and realized that it was prepared with white bread french toast...ironic, anyone?

Moving on. I shifted my runs around this week and instead of cross training yesterday, I jumped right into the running for the week because of my upcoming travels. I want to do my long run on Friday because this weekend will be spent traveling to and fro. Therefore...

Monday, January 19th
3.05 miles in 24:42, avg pace of 8:06

Tuesday, January 20th - Inauguration Day!
5.08 miles in 40:13, avg pace of 7:55

I have a flight to Philly at 6:30am tomorrow morning, which means we're leaving for the airport at 5am...yikes, early wake up call! My interview(!!!) is Thursday morning, and I'm planning on checking out some apartments around the city while I'm out there. I have a couple leads so hopefully I can find something or at least get a better idea of the city and what areas are good to live in (read: where I won't get shot).

Saturday morning it's back to Chicago, followed by mad packing because Sunday morning I leave for MIAMI!!! I'll be cruising for a week and soaking in the sun which I've so desperately missed.

Wish me luck and start crossing your fingers for Thursday morning...I'm SUPER nervous when it comes to interviewing, so I'll take all the help I can get.
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

I am a *terrible* bowler

Last night was our work holiday party, which we had at a bowling alley! Our other option was a nice dinner at a restaurant, but since we work at a restaurant, we thought it would be more fun to go bowling, which allows you the option of walking around and talking to different people, rather than just those sitting around you.

I ended up bowling six games!! Talk about an arm workout! I started off slow with a score of 42, but I worked my way up to 88, then 101, then 109, my high score for the night! I think I dropped back down the 72 and finished off the night with 103. Not too shabby since the last time I bowled was probably in high school. Apparently I really need to work on my form, since I was told I look like I'm flailing when I go to release the ball...probably not a good look, but it made people laugh, so it turned out alright.

All of the activity yesterday (work + run + bowling) had me worried that I would be tired for my long run today, but I made it! I don't actually want to say this out loud, but perhaps I'm adjusting to the cold temperatures. It was 10 degrees this morning when I started my run, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I definitely stalled for a long time this morning, but after two miles, I was actually quite comfortable. I used to think that Under Armour was highly overrated and definitely overpriced, but I've been converted ever since I received some Under Armour tights and long sleeve shirt for Christmas. I wish I'd realized this sooner!

Sunday, January 18
10.12 miles in 1:21:32, avg pace of 8:04

Splits: 8:10, 8:16, 8:07, 8:14, 8:03, 8:03, 7:57, 8:00, 7:53, 7:53

I admittedly have no sense of pace, and I wanted to work on making long runs slower (more around 8:20-8:30-ish), but I didn't accomplish that today. It will definitely be more important when the mileage increases, so I'm going to continue to work on this.

The rest of the day was spent watching football. Both teams that I wanted to win lost...
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

There must be something in the water...

...because another woman at work is pregnant! The restaurant that I work at doesn't have an overly large staff, especially when it comes to the female population, but three women are pregnant. One is due in about seven weeks, one is seven weeks along, and one is fourteen weeks along. Our kitchen is very small, we don't have room for three pregnant women! All kidding aside, it's still pretty exciting.

Outside of the exciting news that someone is expecting, we had a rather slow day at work...not too many people coming for breakfast, I suppose. However, my station was our upstairs seating area, which means running up and down the stairs eight million times (okay, not quite eight million, but one of these days I'm actually going to count...I bet it's a lot of stairs). Naturally I still had to run when I got home, so my legs were a little tired from the "exercise" known as my job. Following Hal Higdon's Intermediate II plan, the goal was five miles at marathon pace. Of course, I haven't really decided what that is yet, but it's probably somewhere between 3:20-3:30...hopefully. Therefore, this is what I came up with today:

Saturday, January 17
5.11 miles in 39:25, avg pace of 7:43

Maybe I'll shoot for 3:25...still to be determined. Long run tomorrow of ten miles, we'll see how that turns out since the day after running the stairs is usually worse than the day of. Now, time for my work holiday party!!

Does anyone out there have a job that is demanding physically? How does this affect your running in terms of workouts or rest days? This is of interest to me because I'm going to be a nurse, and I have yet to figure out how running and possible twelve hour shifts work together.
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's warmer in Antarctica

Current temperature in Chicago: -10F (without wind chill...-29 with wind chill)
Current temperature in Antarctica: 37F (24 with wind chill)

I understand that Antarctica is currently in its "warm season," but really...this is a bit absurd. Schools were canceled today because of the cold! However, let me assure you that I was at work at 5:30am, getting ready to serve you pancakes. People must eat...and we have really good pancakes.

The Chicago Tribune posed the question Why do we live here? and got some interesting answers. I personally liked the answer about calling home to say it's "cold" and about having to "put on a windbreaker." My kind of weather! I think that the summers/springs/falls are so nice that we forget how awful winter is, even if it manages to last for six months out of the it did last year, I promise.

Anyway, I may be crazy on occasion, but I'm not insane, so no, I didn't even bother trying to run today. Three miles was the plan for today, but I like my toes too much to lose them over a little three mile run.

Or I'm just a wimp.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009


When I went to bed last night, I thought that my excitement for today would be limited to my trip to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned...thrilling, I know. However, I awoke to the sounds of the answering machine picking up a call, and it was a nurse recruiter from a hospital that I had applied to! I didn't rush to pick up the phone seeing as the "I sound like I just woke up" voice is not the best foot to put forward, so I waited ten minutes and called back. They're opening up a new unit and wanted to know if I was interested...of course!! They're working on the details with the nurse managers of the unit, but they said they'd get back to me.

Now, this is the part where you're like, "Wait...I thought the title of this post was 'Interview!!!' and it doesn't sound like you have an interview." Just wait, my friends.

Excited about real human contact with a human resources department, I headed out on my run and went about my day. Just as I was about to leave for the dentist, my phone rings again! Noticing the Philadelphia area code, I pick up the phone, and it's another nurse recruiter from a different hospital who is interested in interviewing me! It's for a job I applied to last night, and I have an interview set up for late next week!! WOO!!

Of course, I still have the phone call from this morning lingering in my mind, so I debate calling them back to let them know of my new-found availability in Philly next week (seeing as I'm in Chicago, it's not exactly a routine hang out spot for me). Hospital nurse recruiter #1 said that would be great and that they were looking to interview next week anyway, so they'll get back to me in the next couple days about setting something up.

YESSSSSS. I've been worrying lately because I've sent out 15-20 applications and had yet to hear back from anyone. No replies. No contact. If crickets could chirp from my computer, they would have been. Now, two in one day! I am SO excited!!

So excited, in fact, that the 10 degree weather with -1 wind chill didn't hold me back from getting my run in today! I pondered scratching the run since, well, -1 is COLD!! However, it didn't seem windy so I figured I might as well go for...tricked myself using the old "You can always turn around and come back if it's really that bad" line. I've never actually turned around once I get started...starting is the hard part!

So anyway, I bundled up and here's what we came up with:

Wednesday, January 14
5.04 miles in 42:48, avg pace of 8:30

The roads are covered in a new layer of powdered snow, compliments of last night and this morning, so it was impossible to have any sort of good footing or push off. Hence, the slower pace (complete with a 9:05 mile in the middle!), but I should be doing some of my runs lower anyway, so not a problem! Also, I enjoyed the funny looks drivers gave me when I was running...gotta love it.

As a final thought...I survived the dentist, and no cavities in this mouth!
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chicago Deep Freeze

Today began what I like to call the "Annual Chicago Deep Freeze," when temperatures soar to high in the single digits! Wind chills below zero! This happens every year for about two weeks in January (and for only two weeks, if we're lucky), and it is my absolute least favorite part of the year. The most miserable time of my life last year involved waiting for the train in the subzero temperatures, gripping my coffee in hopes that my fingers wouldn't fall off, all while anticipating the extra-cold "woosh" as the train went by on its way to stop. Glad I don't have to do that anymore, let me tell you.

Seeing as today's high of 12 is going to beat Thursday's high of 6, I figured I'd move my runs around a little. It also helps that I work on Thursday and I don't work today...either way, running today seemed like a good option. Only three miles, so the time spent in the cold would be minimal.

Tuesday, January 13
3.02 miles in 23:57, avg pace of 7:56

It took a little while to get going because I was trying to figure out my footing the snow. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but the snow on the streets made this run much harder than the cold. We had a "blizzard warning" last night, which is a term I've never heard before despite living in Chicago for the past 17 (almost 18! yikes!) years. Apparently the term "blizzard" was in relation the wind that would be blowing the snow around, not that actual snow itself. Lo and behold, I think the wind was fine and we only got about two-three more inches of snow.

This would not normally be a problem because that is fairly minimal snowfall, but it was very fine powdered snow, which blows back onto the road after the snow plows have gone through. Therefore, the road was still covered, and thus not conducive to the excellent footing that I generally like to have while running. Another reason why I like summer so much better!

Anyway, the run went well, and I lifted and did some crunches when I got home. "Lifting" refers to what I used to do while on the high school cross country/track team, and even then I'm not sure I was doing it right. Some day I'll actually have someone who knows better teach me what exercises would be beneficial.

On a much warmer note, I just bought my plane ticket to MIAMI for a cruise that I'm going on with my boyfriend in a couple weeks. Highs in the 80's, woo!
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Long Run Monday!

Today was my designated "long run" day since marathon training should be occurring right about now. Still undecided about which marathon, as I'm probably going to run with at least my boyfriend and maybe a couple of his friends. I think the two in the running (haha!) are the Delaware Marathon or the Pocono Marathon, both of which are on May 17th. I'm worried that it might be kind of warm, and the last thing I want to do is run a hot marathon, especially after my experience at the Chicago Marathon in 2007! We shall see, I suppose.

Run for the day:

Monday, January 12th
9.1 miles in 1:11:03, avg pace of 7:48

I was only going to run eight miles today, but it wasn't nearly as cold as I expected it to be, so I added on an extra mile. One aspect of training that I really need to buy into is the idea of doing long runs SLOW. I'm not even sure my marathon pace will be 7:48, so I obviously shouldn't be doing long runs at that pace! I always start off with good intentions, but then I feel good and one mile just gets faster than the one before. Here are my splits, case in point: 8:04, 8:06, 7:57, 7:55, 7:42, 7:46, 7:35, 7:38, 7:30. At least I can say I felt good at the end.

I'm really excited to watch The Bachelor tonight! I admittedly am a HUGE fan of some reality television, and I really like The Bachelor even though the engagements inevitably don't work out. We used to have "bach parties" in college where some of my friends and I would get together and watch every week...and we could each pick out our favorite girls, of course. I think I secretly want to go on all the amazing dates that people on the show get to go on...helicopter rides, ITALY, dinner on a battleship, etc. You have to admit, that'd be pretty awesome.

Stayed tuned for updates on Chicago's possible "blizzard warning," whatever that may mean...
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Susan, BSN

This was an exciting weekend for me! My graduation was from nursing school was on Friday, so my boyfriend came in for the weekend, landing on Thursday. I was also being inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honor society, and that ceremony was Friday morning. Of course, Chicago was hit with a huge snow storm beginning on Friday morning and lasting into Saturday, so it took over two hours to get from my house in the suburbs into Chicago! I missed the "orientation" part of the honor society induction, but many other people were late so it ended up being fine.

Here's a picture after my induction into the honor society:

Sigma Theta Tau provided us with a lunch for us and our families afterward the induction, which was catered from a place called Pompeii. Hence, we had pasta, salads, and cannolis! Yum. We had some time to kill before the graduation ceremony in the afternoon, so I gave my parents and James a tour of the school. The school is rather small and is pretty much only on two floors of the building, so it was a rather short tour.

We headed over to where graduation was to be held, and it's a good thing we got there when we did because the seats were a hot commodity! My class only had about 64-65 people in it, so it was a small ceremony. I had applied for an award/scholarship, and I won it, so I had to stand in the front of the room where they read part of my application essay! I do not like being the center of attention, so it was nerve-wracking for me even though I didn't have to say anything! However, the award came with a nice check, so I was able to grin and bear it. We selected one of our fellow classmates to give a speech, during which she captured what we learned throughout the year, as well as highlighted several funny moments which had the room all laughing...excellent speech! It was then time to get our diplomas and nursing pins!!

Here's me with my diploma, pin, and honor cords post-ceremony:

This diploma is a bit smaller than my one from Maryland, but that's not an issue! I ended up graduating summa cum laude, which means I was pretty much at the top of my class! I studied so hard for the past year...I definitely earned it!

We went out to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate, and I'm going on a Carribean cruise at the end of the month with my boyfriend, during which I will be in full relaxation mode! I can't wait to get out of the cold and into the 80 degree weather! In the meantime, the job hunt is in full force!

Okay, that was plenty of life updates...yay! I didn't run on Friday because I was so busy, and no run on Saturday either because it snowed most of the day and the roads weren't clear at all! We probably have about 8-10 inches of snow on the ground, and we supposed to get 1-3 inches more tomorrow...

I did get a run in today after I took James to the airport.

Sunday, 1/11
6.08 miles in 46:51, avg pace of 7:42

The neighborhood roads are pretty much clear of the snow, but my running routes are limited because the sidewalks on the major roads are covered in snow. Today's run was good with each mile getting faster than the one before, not on purpose, but I have a tendency to do that...

We're supposed to get our annual January deep-freeze later this week, so we'll see how that unfolds...
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Favorite runs?

I work at an AWESOME breakfast/lunch restaurant as a server (who sometimes hosts!), and it's really quite fantastic. I love the people I work with, I love the's really just a great place. The food is pretty good too! Anyway, everyone there knows that I like to run, so the other day one of the servers asked me what my favorite distance to run is. I responded with my usual, "Well, I ran the mile and two mile in high school..." which I realize isn't relevant at all anymore since I graduated from high school five and a half years ago.

This got me thinking...what really is my favorite distance to run? Not in terms of "racing," which I really haven't done in a long time...probably since high school, but in terms of just heading out for a run. I decided that somewhere around 7-8 miles is perfect.
Why, you might ask? Let's consider the following:

1. Three miles is probably the shortest distance I consider running when I go out for a run. However, by the time I get warmed up, the run is pretty much over, so it really never feels good. Also, since it's such a short distance, I think it should be over before I know, which usually means that it will drag on forever.

2. Four-five/six miles...okay, not too bad. Five is definitely better than four, and it's long enough that I'm warmed up and feel good, but it's over pretty quick.

3. Seven-eight miles...perfect! I feel like this is a great range to get warmed up and then feel good about the run for awhile, but I don't feel tired from the run. I generally run between 7:30-8 minute miles, so these runs take around an hour, which is a good amount of time.

4. I'll just lump nine and above into one category. Around ten miles is where some effort may be necessary, and there's the whole mind game associated with the double digits. I may start to feel the results of the work that I'm putting in, and I'll most likely be tired after the run, especially if it's more than ten miles. Not that I don't like running long (obviously since I do the whole marathon thing!), but it's not quite as fantastic as the 7-8 mile range.

Now, onto my runs for the week thus far:

Tuesday, 1/6
3.05 miles in 24:09, avg pace of 7:55

Wednesday, 1/7
5.09 miles in 39:40, avg pace of 7:47

Thursday, 1/8
3.04 miles in 24:37, avg pace of 8:05

We got some snow yesterday, so the sidewalks are still covered. I run on the street except on the busy roads where I take up the sidewalk. Running on snow not only slows you down, but it is a lot of work! The slowest part of my run was on the snowy sidewalk, but I definitely felt like I was working harder. I really need to move to Florida or something!

That's all for now! My boyfriend is flying in tonight because my GRADUATION from nursing school is tomorrow! I don't think it's nearly as exciting as my graduation from the University of Maryland, since that took four years and this one only took one year, but it will nice to be officially finished with Rush forever.
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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!!

Happy new year!! Let me tell one is more excited than me that 2008 is OVER. I started nursing school in January 2008, and it was full speed until Christmas. It was both the slowest and fastest year I've ever had...if you had asked me in March if I ever thought it would end, I would have said never! However, I made it and graduation is on January 9th, which will be super exciting to see everyone all dressed up and to see their families that I've heard about throughout the year.

Currently on the hunt for a job, which isn't going so well despite the fact that everyone still believes that there is a nursing shortage. Not quite the case with the current economy, so I'm hoping that January will bring more luck for my job search.

Onto running! I'm looking at running a marathon in May, but which one is yet to be determined, so I kind of started "training" just in case I decide to go with a May 3rd marathon. Currently in the running are the New Jersey Marathon, the Poconos Marathon, and the Delaware Marathon. Since my base mileage isn't too high due to the craziness of December, I'm currently going with Hal Higdon's Intermediate I plan. I used his novice plan for both of my previous marathons and they turned out alright, so we'll stick with that for now.

That being said, here are my runs for the week!

Monday, 12/29
4.04 miles in 32:01, average pace of 7:56

Tuesday, 12/30
5.05 miles in 39:36, average pace of 7:50
I had take my parents' car into the mechanic, but no one was around to take I just ran back. Look how convenient running is. :)

Wednesday, 12/31 - NYE!
3.04 miles in 23:51, average pace of 7:50

Thursday, 1/1 - First run of the new year, supposed to be at "marathon pace," and I haven't figured out what that is yet...
5.11 miles in 38:39, average pace of 7:34

Sunday, 1/4 - First long run!
8.06 miles in 1:04:30, average pace of 8:00

Totals for the week!
25.30 miles in 3:18:37, average pace of 7:51...woo!

That's all for now...

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