Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Money in the Bank

Such a gross day in Chicago today! It's been raining on and off ever since this morning. I was drizzle-free until halfway through my run, so I got a little wet out there. Normally I don't mind running in the rain, but cold + rain = super not fun. At least it wasn't pouring! I once did an 18 mile run where it POURED from the end of the first mile to the end of the second mile, leaving me totally drenched. The next sixteen miles were dry as can be, except for my socks! Oh well.

Tuesday, March 31
5.07 miles in 39:53, avg pace of 7:52

My legs were dragging a little to start, but felt fine after two miles. Once I got home and removed all my super wet winter running clothes, I stretched and attempted to do some ab work. My high school track coach used to make us do 1,000 crunches and 200 pushups per day, so I used to be in super good shape in those regards. Not so much anymore! Therefore, I'm starting small. I stole some ab exercises from The Beholder, and they were tough!! If you're looking for some moves, go check them out.

My afternoon activity involved this little guy:

My grandparents gave my (twin) sister and I these banks when were probably seven or eight years old. I got a piggy bank (!!), and she got a bunny bank. I put all my change from serving in there, and this is the second time I've filled it in the year and a half that I've been serving. The little guy is so stuffed that I couldn't fit all my change in there! I believe that means it's time to count, which I think is lots of fun! First, I had to sort them all.

I like when the quarter pile is the biggest! Next, time to count!

Empty piggy in the corner! When all was said and done, I ended up with $98.44!! People always laugh at me when I try to take nickels or quarters or any other loose change, but it really adds up over time. Now...what should buy and pay for in quarters??
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Monday, March 30, 2009

The closest I will ever get to food blogging

My high hopes for a snow-free day were shattered when I looked outside and saw snow on the ground this morning. It's been slowing melting all day, but it's still here! I'm totally ready for shorts weather, but instead I suited up for another run in tights. At least I'm getting good use out of them?

Monday, March 30
6.06 miles in 49:29, avg pace of 8:10

My legs were definitely tired this morning, so I took it easy. This is a recovery week of 34 miles before going back up to 50 miles next week, so I'm going to listen to my legs and not push too hard this week. Just because the miles are down doesn't mean that I should do them all super fast...recipe for injury! My boyfriend told me that one of his shins really hurt yesterday on his 20 miler, and it still hurts today. He's hoping it's not a shin splint, but he's going to have his athletic-trainer-to-be brother take a look at it tonight. Crossing my fingers it's just a little pang that goes away with a day off!

In other news, I wanted to share an excellent find this weekend! Take a look:

I *love* animal crackers and Teddy Grahams!! Especially the chocolatey chip flavor, which is really hard to find around me! I have to go to Walmart to get the animal crackers, and they usually carry the Teddy Grahams as well, but they didn't have any on my recent trip! Since I'm all about the small things in life, I was a little sad about this! I told one of my friends, who happened to be visiting her grandparents in Wisconsin at the time. She stopped by the grocery store and found me three boxes!! My dad also found two more boxes at a grocery store around here that carries them sometimes, so now I'm all stocked up!

Okay, now you all know my inner five year old...

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring in Chicago = Snow

It may be spring in some places, but in Chicago, it still seems like winter. Which is why I woke up to snow on the ground...excellent. The weather reports were estimating three to six inches of snow, and I'm happy to say that the weathermen were wrong, as we got more along the lines of an inch or two of snow. But still, snow is snow, and I almost cried when I woke up this morning. However, due to the glory that is Chicago weather, the snow is supposed to melt by tomorrow, leaving everything a wet, soggy mess.

People keep saying how this should be our last snow of the year, and I want to yell at them for jinxing us, as last year it snowed in May. No joke. I don't kid about these things. Why I haven't moved to Florida yet is totally beyond me.


No running yesterday, although I counted serving as "cross training." Running up and down stairs, running around the restaurant, and carrying heavy plates somehow fits the bill, so I think it works. It's actually quite amazing to me how often running comes up at work. There are usually two scenarios in which running pops into conversation.

Scenario 1

Sometimes I strike up a conversation, usually when someone is wearing a jacket/shirt from some running event I know about. Once a woman came in wearing a Western States Endurance Run fleece. She and her guest actually seemed kind of cold to start with, but I asked if she had ran the Western States, and she immediately warmed up to me. It turned out that she was going to do it in 2008, but that was the year it was canceled due to the fires. We then had an extended conversation and talked about which marathons we recommended. She also turned out to be a nurse practitioner who graduated from Rush (my nursing school!), so we had a lot to talk about.

Scenario 2

This scenario usually begins with the customer making some comment about how skinny I am, which then leads into a conversation about how I am skinny despite working at a restaurant with amazing food. I usually make some joke about how I don't really eat the food much (which is true), and then I go on to say that I actually run a lot so that helps as well. This generally evolves into a conversation about marathons, how long a pair of shoes lasts, the 5k they ran a few weeks ago, or how hot the 2007 Chicago Marathon was (and how someone they knew ran it). I usually end the conversation by telling them I'll run a few miles for them after we close so they can have a few more bites of pancake...

I kept my promise to my customers and got out after work to do my five miles in the melting snow. It was actually quite warm (low 40's) because the sun was shining bright! Quick run because my legs were all warmed up from running around the restaurant all day.

Sunday, March 29
5.07 miles in 39:04, avg pace of 7:42

I am definitely feeling more tired lately, so I'm definitely going to get more sleep tonight, as well as trying to eat properly...it can be difficult to fit in all the nutrition I need while working through the lunch hour.

I hope everyone had a great, snow-free weekend!
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Friday, March 27, 2009

One down, two to go!

My first twenty miler of this marathon training is OVER! Woohoo! I ended up sleeping an hour later than I planned (our power went out last night? weird), but that's fine since I don't really have anywhere to be today. I ate my traditional peanut butter on toast with a banana, drank some water, and drove out to drop off my fuel/water. I went to buy water at the store yesterday, and I found these little eight ounce bottles, which are perfect! I don't think the full sixteen ounces when I stop for water, so I ended up wasting half the bottle...and the little bottles are much easier to carry. I usually carry them until I find someone's unsuspecting recycle bin to throw them in, and sometimes it can be a pain running with them.

The weather was pretty blah this morning...low 30's, gray as can be, and a little breezy! I had high hopes of wearing shorts, but it was too chilly for that. I geared up and headed out...Two hours and forty-two minutes later, here's what I ended up with:

Friday, March 27
20.02 miles in 2:41:59, avg pace of 8:05

Splits galore: 8:24, 8:26, 8:11, 8:05, 8:14, 8:00, 8:15, 8:11, 7:59, 8:05, 7:56, 7:59, 8:08, 7:58, 7:54, 8:02, 8:00, 7:55, 7:56, 7:51, 0:19 (7:32)

Fantastic! I actually felt pretty good during the entire run. It's wasn't until about a mile and a half to go that I started thinking that I REALLY didn't want to be running anymore. I pushed through and finished strong, so I was really happy about that. My main accomplishment during the run was that the only times I stopped were for when I drank/ate, so only three times total. I used to take random walk breaks during my runs, but I haven't done that in a long time! I'll take that to mean my endurance and fitness are much, much better!

My little water bottles worked out quite well. I stashed them with little baggies of Honey Stinger Energy Chews, which are definitely my new favorite! They're not too chewy, don't stick to my teeth, and actually taste good! The store where I bought them only had the Cherry Blossom flavor, but I'm going to have to hunt down the Fruit Smoothie flavor. I recommend these to anyone looking for energy food, especially those people who don't do gels!

I just finished my first FIFTY mile week...and I feel great! I'm feeling confident about this marathon...knock on wood!

On the Job Front

I got a call from the nurse recruiter today, and we talked about potential start dates. When I interviewed, they told me I would start the end of April if offered the position, but today they said I would start the end of May. This would be if I was offered the position, of course. They're still approving April candidates, so they're not even thinking about May yet. I'm assuming "approval" means that someone has to say, "Yes, we have the money to hire new people." The unit manager sounds like she wants to hire, but no one can tell me when I would know by. I told them I'm still interested in starting in May if that's the case...but the job hunt is still in full force until anything more is known.

Anyone need a nurse??
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Highs and Lows

I failed to mention yesterday that I did yoga for the first time...ever! I downloaded a 20 minute running yoga program from yogadownload.com. I missed the memo that said that it was classified as "intermediate," which for the record, I am most definitely not. Flexibility is definitely lacking, and sometimes I couldn't get my legs to go half as far as the pictures showed! I'm not sure I'm sold on the whole yoga idea, but I definitely felt like I got a good stretch in after my run.

As noted in the title of this post, here were my highs for the day!

Today was a busy day at work! We've been slow all week so I was really excited to have lots of customers, especially since I opened this morning. The highlight of my day was when I asked an older gentleman who was eating by himself if I could get him anything else for the today, and he responded with, "No, I'm good to go, but definitely keep that smile going all day! It's really wonderful!" I told him that I thank my orthodontist (and my parents for funding the orthodontist) for my smile, but it really made me feel good to hear him say that. The restaurant I work for is HUGE on customer service, and we say the most important part of our uniform is our personality/SMILE. No one wants a grumpy server, so I try my hardest to always be smiling, joking, and fun when I'm interacting with customers. It makes their experience more enjoyable and my job more fun!

But obviously you don't read this to hear all about my days as a server...I ran today too!

Thursday, March 26
10.17 miles in 1:17:35, avg pace of 7:38

I guess I wasn't tired after work! It took a lot of motivation to get out the door, but once I started running I was good to go. I love the feeling that I get after the first couple miles are over, when running feels effortless and I'm really enjoying myself. That's when I remember why I like running so much. I've got twenty miles planned for tomorrow, which will cap my week at 50 miles! Yikes!

And now, for the low of the day!

I got a call from the nurse recruiter who I interviewed with last week, and she said they were finished checking my references and are just waiting to hear what the unit manager wants to do. Hopefully I'll find out soon, but in the meantime, I go from being super excited to being really, really upset. Sometimes I think that it will be fun to move and start living in the "real world," but on the other hand, I like where I am. I like being comfortable and knowing what to expect...and I love love love my parents. I moved back home after college and have lived here all through nursing school, and I know that leaving my parents will be soooo difficult. I feel like a four year old when I say that, but it's so true. My boyfriend is going to have to fly out here to drive me to wherever I end up because I know I won't be able to leave otherwise. I know I'll be fine once I get wherever I am, but I just hate the uncertainty of it all.

Time for some ER! Second to last episode tonight, which is DEFINITELY a low!
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shopping Day!

Definitely had a fun day today! I woke up and headed out for my run, then I had a shopping day with my mom! First, my run:

Wednesday, March 25
5.04 miles in 40:00, avg pace of 7:57

It was a little chilly and a bit windy, but the run was good overall. My legs feel alright, and even though I tried to slow down, my pace tends to hover around 7:45-8:00. Hopefully that will stick through the marathon! I have a 10 mile run and a 20 mile run left this week, and I'm still trying to figure out where to fit them in. I'm opening at work tomorrow and am usually drained when I get home, and then I work both Saturday and Sunday...ruling out 20 miles on either of those days! I'll see how I feel when I get home tomorrow and then I'll decide if I want to do the 10 miles tomorrow. I'm definitely going to do the 20 miles on Friday since I have it off, but not doing 10 miles tomorrow means that I would be doing them probably on Saturday after the 20 miles on Friday...that could be painful, especially after working! I guess I'll figure it out tomorrow. I have three 20 milers planned, so hopefully they will give me the strength and confidence to run this marathon strong to the finish.

Moving on! After lunch, my mom and I went shopping! I haven't been in the mood to shop for a long time, and my mom is really the only person I like going shopping with. She knows what I like and will tell me what she actually thinks about something I try on, so she's good to have as a shopping buddy. I ended up getting a shirt and TWO pairs of jeans. That's a huge deal because, like for most girls, jeans that fit me somewhat well are IMPOSSIBLE to find. I found two different pairs that fit well in the store, so I'll have to try them at home for the real test! The funny part is that the jeans are two different sizes. When it comes to pants, I can wear anything from 0-7, depending on the brand! The jeans I bought today were a 1 short and a 3/4 regular. Companies really need to develop some consistency in sizing, it would make life much, much easier.

Time to head off to bed for my 4:45 wake up call for work tomorrow...
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A little running, LOTS of giveaways!

Back in the swing of things! It's always weird readjusting to a home schedule after you've been gone, even if it's only for a few days. This is most likely because I put off things such as unpacking! Work has been slow the past two days, but I'm hoping it will pick up for my shift on Thursday. Arriving at work at 5:30am and then not having making customers really doesn't help fight the fatigue!

Good runs the past two days...Here's what I did!

Monday, March 23
5.03 miles in 38:33, avg pace of 7:40

Tuesday, March 24
10.08 miles in 1:17:07, avg pace of 7:39

My route on Monday was one of my favorite routes that I haven't done in awhile because I haven't had many five milers on the schedule. I add two little extensions to a four mile route in order to make it five miles, but my mind still thinks I'm only going four, so it doesn't seem very far! It's kind of crazy that five miles is my "easy" day...not because I think five miles is far, but because all the other days are much longer! 50 miles this week, which is a high for me...hopefully I end this week strong!

This morning was a good run...woke up, ate peanut butter and banana toast, and hit the road. If I get the job I interviewed for last week (trying not to jinx myself!), this could be more of my routine. The job is for a 3-11pm shift, so I could wake up and get my run in right away. Of course, I'd have to resist the urge to sleep in since I don't have to be anywhere til the afternoon, but once I got a schedule going I think it would work out well. I didn't realize how fast I was running until I looked at my watch and saw 7:30 miles! These longer mid-week runs are kind of like impromptu speed workouts for me, which I think is good since there's no actual speed work built into my schedule. I'm definitely going to add it in for my next marathon, but this time I wanted to concentrate more on just running higher mileage. (Higher for me...it's all relative!)

I'm excited to catch the Biggest Loser tonight! I've never tried to lose weight (...or I've never had any weight to lose), but it's so inspiring watching them do it the healthy way!

Giveaways Galore!

Visit Angela at Oh She Glows for a Pom Wonderful Giveaway!

Visit Julie at Julie GoLean for Julie's Favorite Things Giveaway!

Head over the Danica's Daily for a giveaway of Annie's Products!

Want to try Barney Butter? Head over to The Hungry Yogini!

Mix My Granola over at Foods That Fit if you want to create your own mix!

I think that covers my giveaway links for the day...crossing my fingers for my chance to win something!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

Back in Chicago! Actually, I got back last night, but I didn't feel like updating then. So much to talk about!

My flight was on Wednesday night, and unlike all my other flights to Philly, we landed EARLY. Fantastic! I was planning to do some interview prep on the plane, going over my answers, reminding myself of what I actually did in nursing school, etc, but the guy next to me was super chatty. He started talking the moment I sat down, and then we talked for half the flight until we watched 30 Rock together. He was probably around 35-40 and told me about his wife and kids. It's so funny how some people can be super rude on airplanes and others will talk to you like you've been friends forever. Certainly made my flight go much faster! My boyfriend met me at the airport with some red tulips and two bags of M&M's (milk chocolate and peanut)...he definitely knows the way to my heart!

My interview was on Thursday, and I got to that without a hitch. The hospital is about an hour and twenty minutes from Princeton, and it's a pretty easy drive. It started to drizzle when I was walking in, which I hoped wasn't some form of sympathetic nature (woo eighth grade literary terms!). I had a peer interview with two nurses, then met with the unit manager, and then finally went back to HR to talk to the nurse recruiter. This hospital is TOTALLY different than anything I've been in before. It's a community hospital with no university affiliations (hence no teaching...hence no residents to bug with all my questions), still uses only paper charting, and is about 20% the size of Rush. Yikes! Definitely not where I pictured myself. On the plus side, it does seem like a good place to learn to be a nurse. Since there aren't docs around 24/7 (you can call them, but they're not physically sitting around the corner), the nurses do everything and are really accountable for monitoring the patients. This is both exciting and frightening because I'd be the one responsible (frightening), but I didn't become a nurse simply to follow doctors' orders, so that would be exciting.

Anyway, I'll discuss that more if a job offer comes around. I called back later in the afternoon after my interview, and the nurse recruiter said that the unit manager told her to check my references, meaning that she is interested in pursuing me further. Yay, they didn't hate me. :)

The rest of the weekend was fairly uneventful, but filled with running and BASKETBALL. March Madness GALORE. I don't know how many of you are into college basketball, but I still have 13/16 of my Sweet 16 teams, so I'm in pretty good shape. Illinois, Florida State, and Utah were my downfalls, although I'm not sure why I picked Utah...oops! My TERPS fell to Memphis as I predicted, so that was good while it lasted. We should have made a blog pool! I'll have to remember for next year.

Lots of running this weekend, including a nine mile run and a big nineteen mile run! Here's how I fared:

Friday, March 20
9.08 miles in 1:10:28:, avg pace of 7:46

Saturday, March 21
19.01 miles in 2:32:59, avg pace of 8:03

Friday was a pretty good run, except for lots of stopping and starting. First we hit every single red light, and then later in the run my boyfriend-the-running-buddy had some GI issues so we stopped quite often until we found a bathroom. I, however, felt awesome. Friday night is designated as Happy Hour night in Princeton (as well as in other places of the world), so we had half price chicken quesadillas and a Miller Lite. That's long run fuel, right? I sure think so. Also, one of my friends from Maryland is from Jersey and was home on break, so he met us for dinner and subsequent basketball watching. I hadn't seen him since the summer, so that was exciting!

Saturday morning was the day of the long run! Four of us are planning on doing the same marathon, and this was my first time running with the entire crew. As noted in previous posts, I was nervous about this because I never do runs with others, and I'm the "slow poke" of the group (it's a relative term!). My boyfriend assured me that we would start slow and I would be fine...Not that he would ever tell me otherwise!

All my worry ended up being for nothing because the run went just fine, with a few minor blips. There were some hills later in the run that were tough, but I made it up and over them! No small feat for the girl from the Prairie State. The saddest part about the run was that my garmin ran out of battery after 11.71 miles! I've been quite dependent on the little guy ever since I got him for Christmas in 2006, so I panicked slightly when I realized I wouldn't know my pace or how far we had gone or how much we had left or the time or ANYTHING. My garmin is definitely like a security blanket and I really like having it with me at all times while running! The time and distance reported above are from my boyfriend's watch and his mapping of our route on mapmyrun.com, so it's probably fairly close to what the garmin would tell me. I like to think I did quite well without my garmin, but I did ask multiple times how long we'd been running and about how much we had left. I like to think that stemmed more from the fact that I had no clue where we were and less from my neurotic tendencies to know everything about my run.

Here are the splits that garmin did save: 8:31, 8:22, 8:29, 8:22, 8:08, 8:21, 8:08, 7:51, 7:38, 7:59, 8:23, 6:04 (8:35)

We started off slow, and then we picked it up a bit...I was playing "follow the leader" so I just went with the pace of the people in front of me. The 7:38 was definitely on a downhill, and I think our last 6-7 miles were around 8:00/mile if not a smidge under. I believe the one guy we were running with is shooting for 3:10 (BQ), so he would pick it up sometimes, but overall I felt good during the run. I tried Luna Moons and Honey Stinger Energy Chews, and I might be sold on the Honey Stingers. They weren't terribly sticky (Shot Bloks make me feel like my fillings are going to come out!), and they actually tasted good! Further experimentation will be required, but definitely the best so far. I think the nutrition during the run helped, as I never felt exhausted during the run. I was getting tired near the end, which is when I realized that it's good to have other people to run with because I might have slowed down if I wasn't with other people. However, I didn't feel awful at the end or afterwards, so I think that's a good sign for the future!

I will stop this novel for now...hopefully some of you got through it! I hope everyone had awesome weekends and long runs! I've been trying to catch up on blogs, but I keep finding new ones and the list just gets longer and longer!
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To Princeton!

Quick post here! I have to finish packing and then it's off to Princeton for my interview (not in Princeton, but in Pennsylvania). I had a short run this morning before work. Took it easy to let my legs rest a little for the upcoming weekend!

Wednesday, March 18
4.06 miles in 33:16, avg pace of 8:12

Time to put my last minute touches on my packing, then it's off to the airport! I hope my flight is on time...I've landed in Philly at 2 am one too many times. Cross your fingers for me tomorrow at 11 am (Eastern Standard Time!).

I hope everyone has awesome runs this weekend, and I hope you'll all ready for some March Madness!
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day!

I had a weird weird weird dream last night. I was at my wedding, all dressed up and everything, and I was sitting at the head table with whoever I assumed to be my new husband. I didn't recognize him at all! We had just finished dinner when I realized that I had made a huge mistake and married the wrong person. I reallllly wanted to go find my mom and talk to her about it, but my "husband" noticed that something was wrong and kept offering me cake. At least the "husband" in my dream didn't look like my boyfriend at all!

I think the dream messed up my big plan to get up early and run before work (had to be there at 11 today). I set my alarm, but then I did one of the "five more minutes" type things where I end up falling back asleep. I woke up at 8:45, realized I could still squeeze a run in if I hurried, shoved some peanut butter toast in my mouth, and was out the door and running by about 9:02. Woo! It was in the 50's with the morning chill, which is AMAZING running weather, and it got up into the 70's today. Too bad it's supposed to be colder and rainy tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 17 - St. Patty's Day!
9.09 miles in 1:10:35, avg pace of 7:46

I thought my legs would be tiredddd today, but they actually felt pretty good. Overall I was pretty relaxed and the pace felt good, so two thumbs up for that. We'll see what this weekend brings with the higher mileage...9 at marathon pace followed by a long run of 19 miles. I'm hoping I learn what it feels like to run with tired legs!

Time for some BBQ outside and then packing for Princeton/my interview...flying out tomorrow night!
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed...

What a morning! I definitely had a really odd start to the day. I woke up and went to wash my face...when I looked up in the mirror, I saw that I had a bloody nose! Not sure where that came from, but I spent a few minutes squeezing my nose and catching blood with a tissue. Got the nose bleed under control, and it was time to head to work. Soooo I put my work shirt on, but I still had the hanger in it! Really...who forgets to take the hanger out? Take the hanger out, head to work for a 9:00 shift. I clock in at work and go to check what side work I have to do, so I look at the schedule and see that I was scheduled for 11:30 today. Oops! I mixed up Monday and Wednesday. Fantastic. I laughed about my stupidity with a few servers and told them I'd see them in two and a half hours.

Which, I realize, gives me plenty of time to get my little four mile run in before work, since I really didn't feel like doing it after work. Perfect.

Monday, March 16
4.04 miles in 33:53, avg pace of 8:23

It is gorgeous outside (sunny, in the 60's!), so my run was fantastic minus the fact that I. am. so. TIRED. This weekend definitely took a lot out of me, and I'm looking forward to this coming weekend for multiple reasons. Job interview, boyfriend, and only running with no serving! The combination is exhausting, so only running without serving for four to nine hours per day will be super.

I'm a little nervous about this upcoming week not only because of the interview, but because I'm probably going to be doing my 19 mile run with a group. Four of us (me, boyfriend, boyfriend's grad school friend, and boyfriend's grad school friend's boyfriend...confused yet?) are planning on running the Delaware Marathon together (various paces...I think I'm the slowest!), but since I don't even live in the same time zone as them, clearly I never train with them. Their goal paces are definitely faster than mine (3:10 and 3:20, I believe, while I'm shooting for somewhere around 3:30...yet to be determined), so I'm a little nervous about running with them, even if it's just a long run. Running in a group is sooo different than running by yourself. Yes, there's the social factor, and time may go by quicker with people to talk to. On the other hand, I can't dictate the pace, which is easy to do when you're by yourself...slow down when you want, speed up when you want, etc. This will be interesting, if nothing else. I just hope they're not too speedy!
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Sunday, March 15, 2009


Oh my goodness, such a BUSY day...I'm am tired beyond belief. I was up at 4:50 this morning in order to be at work at 5:30, woohoo! I'm always paranoid about not waking up on time for anything important/extra early, so I woke up multiple times in the middle of the night to check to make sure I didn't over sleep. (I used to have nightmares in college that I slept through my organic chemistry exams...since I would study for the entire week beforehand, it would have been devastating if I missed them!) I'm surprisingly awake when I have to be at work at 5:30, but that's probably because you actually do stuff when you show up...brewing coffee, restocking stuff, getting everything ready, so you don't think about how early it is!

We were slow to begin with (not many people show up at 6:45 on a Sunday morning), but then around 8-ish, the flood gates opened! I was literally running back and forth from the kitchen to my tables ALL day. I looked up at the clock and it was suddenly 11 am! Time was FLYING. Business hasn't been this great in a long time, and every Sunday used to be like this so it's awesome to have a day like today. However, running around for nine hours without any time to eat or drink will definitely get the best of you. However, the busier you are, the more $$$ you makes, and let's just say that I did QUITE well today. :)

Naturally when I came home, I decided to eat and then try to get my long run in...It's a cut-back week, so the long run is only 12 miles. (Only? haha.) Anywayyy, I figured I'd go out and then if I was truly tired, I could cut it short. However, I pretty much never cut a run short, especially once I'm out there, sooooo 12 miles it was! It was pretty uneventful until about four miles to go when I suddenly really, really, REALLY had to go to the bathroom. Many runners can relate to that one run where you just HAVE to find a bathroom. Sadly during the winter the random port-a-potties disappear, so I spent the next two miles hoping that someone was outside so I could run up and ask them if I could use their bathroom. Although I had run by tons of people, I guess it was getting closer to dinner time so I didn't see anyone! I finally gave up and headed up to a random house and rang the doorbell. I had to do this once before (in high school), and people are actually quite willing to let you into their house, and for that I am super grateful. There aren't many wooded areas around where I live (too suburban...but I like it), so I couldn't just hide behind a tree.

Soooo now that you've enjoyed that story, let's just say that the run was definitely good overall, except for that little hitch.

Sunday, March 15
12.11 miles in 1:38:45, avg pace of 8:09

I definitely do not recommend serving for nine hours and then running twelve miles, but it's out of the way and hopefully I'll be ready for the coming week...45 miles, which I believe will be a weekly mileage high for me!

My brother headed back to Michigan tonight, and now I'm all set to crawl in bed and pass out. It will be glorious.
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Awesome run, Awesome-r Brother

Work today was alright...the restaurant was busy, but I had soooo many tables that sat FOREVER. We usually turn our tables pretty quick because not too many people stick around after breakfast, but my tables were extra chatty today. Which is fine...but when you're two people sitting at my table for six and then only leave me a three dollar tip...I get a bit annoyed. Note to readers: tip your servers well, they will really appreciate it! :)

Busy busy day today! The MARYLAND game was on right when I got home from work, so I watched them have a pretty good battle against Duke. (We flipped back and forth between that game and the Illinois game...although we gave up on the Illinois game once they were officially getting bombed my Purdue...my dad wasn't too happy.) Right when the game was over, I quickly changed and headed out for my run, as my brother is in town and we were headed to dinner right after...it was getting late already! My run was INSANE, however. Check it out:

Saturday, March 14 (Pi Day!!)
9.08 miles in 1:05:42, avg pace of 7:14

Ummmmm I don't know where that came from!! I kept thinking that I felt good but that I should slow down, and I felt like I was slowing down, but then my garmin would beep and my pace was still super fast. Gives me better hope for a good marathon, although it will DEFINITELY be at a slower pace than today...I'm not sure how much longer I could have held it for, although I kept saying that during the run and the miles kept clicking off. I'm probably going to pay for that tomorrow, but it was so nice out (in the 50's!!) and I had lots of energy. I must have ran past at least six cops...I didn't know the downtown area of my city (suburbia!) was going to get crazy for St. Patrick's Day, but I guess the cops weren't going to take any chances.

After the run, we headed immediately out to dinner to celebrate my brother officially getting out of the Army. (California Pizza Kitchen! I tried the buffalo chicken pizza...yum!) He went to West Point for four years, then served in the Army for five and a half years (including two tours in Iraq), and then spent 15 months in the Reserves. He's been ruled 40% disabled as a result of his service, as he has trouble breathing with exercise (he was a runner!) and he said something about a head injury. He also received a Purple Heart while in Iraq, as a rocket-propelled grenade hit a building he was in, but he said he was up and running before he realized he had shrapnel in his leg and that his pants were all bloody. I always looked up to him when I was younger, as most of my interests are a result of me liking them because he liked them. Examples: Running, playing the trombone, baking. Although I definitely never had any plans to join the military.
The funny part is that on his old myspace profile, under "Heroes" he wrote, "My sister. She does everything I do, but better." Awww. My family is very happy that he is done with his service...I'm not sure my mom (or brother!) could handle another deployment.

Off to bed, working at 5:30 tomorrow morning! Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Rest day? Just kidding!

I was sooooo looking forward to today all week! I was on call at work, and I had plans to sit and watch lots of Gilmore Girls today...no running, no serving, just sitting on my butt...I'm tired, what can I say? "On call" usually means you wake up at 7:30am, call to see if anyone is sick/whatever for the day, find out everyone is coming in, hang up, roll over, and go back to bed. The scene played out a little differently, as I was given the "all clear" at 7:30, but then the phone rang again at 8:00 saying that one of the servers' mom had a stroke so she might leave, she might not leave, I'll know by 10:30. Sooo 10:30 rolls around, and I get called to go into work. I mean, I am totally okay with the fact that she needed to leave to be with her mom, but I have very few days where I'm not on my feet for hours at a time, so I was looking forward to it.

I hope her mom is okay...strokes can be so devastating.

Good run yesterday...I opened at the restaurant in the morning, which means being there at 5:30 in the morning (did I ever mention that I'm not a morning person?), so I was tired when I got home. It took alllllll my motivation to get out the door, but once I did, my legs were go-go-go. I think they just wanted to get the run over with, so this is what I ended up with:

Thursday, March 12
4.1 miles in 30:52, avg pace of 7:32

Told you it was speedy! I'm currently gearing up to watch my TERPS!!! in the ACC tournament. My boyfriend actually headed to Atlanta to watch the games, so I'm really jealous! I was in the marching band and pep band in college, so I used to get to go to the bowl games and tournament games with the teams...I really miss college sometimes!!

Hope everyone has a great weekend planned, and GO TERPS!!!
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

100% Over Winter...

Last night it was 60 degrees, and I went out to dinner without even throwing on a jacket. I figured it would be great weather for my run this morning, but oh no no no, mother nature had a different plan up her sleeve. I woke up to a windy 17 degrees ("feels like 2")...what?? I'm totally over this winter thing. We were teased with the 60 degrees, and then the carpet got pulled out from under us. 17 degrees probably would have been okay, but the wind was awful...I had tears in my eyes! But alas, nine miles are over and done with, so life goes on...not that I ever thought it wouldn't.

Wednesday, March 11
9.08 miles in 1:12:14, avg pace of 7:58

My legs are actually kind of sore...I'm assuming leftover from the 17 miles on Monday. They feel pretty good, although a little tired, while running, but when I'm walking around in general they feel kind of tight. I'll throw some stretching in tonight to see if that helps at all.

In other news, I received a random flyer in the mail today, advertising exercise physiology/athletic training/coaching textbooks. I have no clue why it was mailed to me, but the odd part is that I've been thinking about finding some books on exercise physiology or some sort of personal training. I've always been interested in health (I wanted to be a doctor before I decided to go the nursing route), but I think that the key to health is prevention (hence my nutrition interest and therefore degree in dietetics). That is, instead of how we currently deal with disease in America, which is mainly trying to fix the problem after it's too late. I have no clue quite how to combine all my interests or what I actually want to do with them...Public health? Developing wellness programs? Yet to be determined...especially since I secretly want to open an ice cream/cupcake shop. Although I suppose that's not a secret anymore...
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Susie Homemaker...maybe not for long??

I had a late night last night! I decided I wanted to try to make some homemade bread, so I went and got all the ingredients for a whole wheat honey bread. It was pretty simple to make, but I really had no clue what I was doing! I never knew if the bread rose enough or not, so I just kept waiting a little bit longer. I was tired from my long run, but I watched some Gilmore Girls while I was waiting, even though it was 11pm! I finally popped the bread into the oven just before midnight, so I wasn't up to snacking when the bread finished...but I had something to look forward to this morning! This is what I ended up with:

Like I said, I'm not sure it really rose that well, so it's pretty dense, but it tastes quite good! You can see that I had a little snack from the slice I cut off, and I also had a slice for breakfast. (With some peanut butter and banana, of course!)
I think that it was good for my first attempt!

Other exciting news...

I woke up to my phone ringing, which was confusing because I thought it was my alarm (makes the same sound!). I saw that the number was a Philadelphia area code, so I got really excited because I figured it was a hospital calling me! My "just woke up" voice is pretty terrible, so I tried my hardest to sound like I'd been awake for hours (...even though it was 8:45 in the morning), and I think it worked! I have an interview set up for late next week!

Definitely excited about a job prospect...for those nurses out there, it's on a medical/surgical floor, and it's for the evening shift. Does anyone work the evening shift? The nurses I talked to during clinicals said they loved their job and the people they work with, but really don't like the evening shift because they don't have a social life at all (the floor I was on hired a lot of young nurses in their 20's). The plus side to evening shift is that you get to sleep like a normal person...and I could get my runs in before work! But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Run today! My legs were a little stiff this morning, but I was excited about my early morning (it's a relative term!) job excitement.

Tuesday, March 10
4.05 miles in 33:48, avg pace of 8:20

I did some crunches and a few upper body weights...I remember how they used to help when I did them on a more regular basis, so hopefully I can stick with it. My weight lifting knowledge is a result of watching other runners lift during high school cross country/track, so I kind of make it up as I go...
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Monday, March 9, 2009

17 miler!

Rainy, rainy weekend here in Chicagoland, but today was beautiful! I had an eight mile run on Saturday, which I planned to do after work. It wasn't raining when I left work, nor when I ate lunch when I got home, nor while my lunch was digesting. However, the second I pulled on my running gear to head out the door, it started POURING. Fantastic. I delayed my run for about ten minutes, and the rain slowed down, so I headed out in the cold rain. It wasn't bad at all once I got going, but my mom said I looked like a wet dog when I returned...haha. Ended up being an awesome run, however!

Saturday, March 7
8.05 miles in 1:01:34, avg pace of 7:39

The run had a progression-y feel to it, and the last three miles hovered around 7:20 miles. Maybe I should run in the rain more often?

I moved my long run for the week ahead a day to Monday, as I served on Sunday...no way was I going to do 17 miles after serving for seven hours! Ended up working out great because it was a calm, sunny 33 degrees when I headed out this morning. I actually dragged my butt out of bed at 6:30 this morning (quite a feat if you know my ability to sleep until 10:30 on any given day) and hit the road by 7:30.

One part of running that I've been trying to work on is just taking one mile at a time. I changed my Garmin screen so that I can see my estimated lap pace, lap distance, and lap time ("lap" = mile). This really helps with taking one mile at a time, as I never look at my watch and think, "Oh my goodness I've been running for an hour and a half!" Instead, I just think, "Halfway through this mile!" In my head I know I've run seven, eight, nine, etc miles, but it's easier to get through the runs mentally if I concentrate on the mile I'm running. It's really been working for me!

Today was another experiment in nutrition. I dropped off two PowerBar Gels (vanilla and tangerine) and some Clif Shot Bloks (strawberry) at the 5 mile, 10 mile, and 14.5 mile mark (conveniently the same location...I'm good at planning) so I could try them out. After today's run, it is safe to say that it is not the taste of the gels that bothers me, but the consistency. Just can't do it. I got through about 1/3 of the vanilla gel at the 5 mile mark and called it quits. At the ten mile mark, I decided to go with the Shot Bloks, but they were super solid because they'd been sitting the cold for so long. I sucked on one for awhile until I could chew it a little, but then I gave up on those after one because I didn't want to sit around forever. At 14.5 miles, I just sipped on some water because I felt like I had enough in the tank to get me home. However, I know I'd definitely be hitting empty if I tried another nine miles once I got home...that would be problematic come race day.

I'm pondering going for a gummy bear/gatorade combination. Has anyone tried this? Obviously people ran marathons before all the gels, chews, and energy drinks were invented.

Anyway, back to the run! I felt awesome for pretty much the entire run, except for when my shoulder would randomly cramp, but better my shoulder than my diaphragm or calves! Like I said earlier, I concentrated on the mile I was on, and the miles just flew by. Here's what I ended up with:

Monday, March 9
17.21 miles in 2:18:48, avg pace of 8:04
Splits: 8:20, 8:20, 8:10, 7:53, 8:14, 8:06, 8:12, 8:09, 8:08, 8:05, 8:03, 7:58, 8:01, 7:52, 7:55, 7:53, 7:44, 1:37 (7:36)

Once I got home, I didn't have time to be tired because I had to shower, eat, and get ready for work. I only worked for about 1.5 hours, but the health inspector showed up during lunch, which always makes for an interesting time. (In case you didn't know....restaurants don't always do everything according to health code...oops?). I was tired when I got home, and my legs are little stiff, so I've been drinking plenty of water and stretching randomly.

Currently making my first attempt at home baked bread...it's currently rising, and hopefully I'll have some good bread for toast in the morning!
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Loving the warm weather!!

I am love love LOVING the warm weather!! It's currently in the 60's, so I'm rocking the flip flops and no jacket or anything!! Some people ask why anyone would want to endure a Chicago winter year after year...It's because the cold makes spring absolutely GLORIOUS and the summers pure bliss. Really, Chicago has the best summers ever.

The Fleetwood Mac concert was really fun last night! I wasn't actually sure if I would recognize any songs, but I ended up knowing two or three, so that was pretty exciting. It was really funny to watch all the people my parents' age rocking out and everything. Although I think it's more fun to go see a concert where I know more than a song or two, I enjoy live music so it was definitely a good evening.

Today's run! I actually got my butt out of bed before ten (I know, I know...what a rough life I lead...) and did my four miles. My legs were SOOO tired for the first two miles...I don't know if it was a matter of them just not being "awake" yet, or if I'm still feeling the effects of being sick earlier this week. My stomach doesn't feel funny anymore, so that's a good sign, and I've been making sure to hydrate myself.

Friday, March 6
4.03 miles in 33:11, avg pace of 8:13

I'm watching the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (from earlier in the year) on youtube. It makes me wish my legs were at least a little bit longer! I come in at a completely average 5'4 1/2" (average height of the American woman...so you can't call me short!), and I always wanted to be 5'6". I don't think that's ever going to happen without surgical intervention. I want longer legs not only for aesthetic reasons (although that wouldn't hurt!), but all the pants I ever try on are way too long! I suppose I'll deal, haha.
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Good form!

It was in the 50's today!! So amazing. People were outside walking their dogs, playing basketball, walking around...fantastic! It's nice to see another human face out there while I'm running. I ran by the high school (I run by it a lot...it's about a quarter of a mile from my house), and some high schoolers were coming back from lunch (open campus for upperclassmen!), and some guys yelled, "Good form!!" out the window at me. I've never had that yelled at me before, and there's a chance they don't actually know anything about good running form, but I'll take any compliment I can get, so yay. Other odd things I've heard while running:

- A little girl at a park once said, "Daddy, why is she running?" Good question, sometimes I wonder myself!
- I run by a Montessori school sometimes, and during an 18-miler, the teachers were taking the kids out for a walk. So when I ran by, the teachers were like, "Look children, do you see what she's doing? She's exercising!! It's one way to help keep you healthy!" I was tempted to say that I just ran 12 miles and had 6 to go, but I refrained.
- Three men (I'd guess 40-50's) were running, and as I ran by, I believe they were talking about how one of their wives had started toning up and now has a firm butt. I think I heard it correctly...haha.

Any good stories about things yelled at you or things overheard while running? I bet there's some good ones out there!

Run for today! My stomach still feels a little off, although I can't put my finger on what it is. Took the run a little easy as a result.

Thursday, March 5
8.06 miles in 1:05:31, avg pace of 8:08

My mom informed me when she got home from work that she got Fleetwood Mac tickets from a coworker, and she wanted to know if I would go with her I don't know anything about Fleetwood Mac, but I guess I'll learn quick since the concert is tonight! My mom's excited, so it should be good!
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


It was in the 40's here today!! It's supposed to continue through the weekend into the 50's, which is AMAZING. Can't wait for spring and especially SUMMER. I wore shorts today, which is fantastic. First run after the vomit attack this weekend...my stomach still feels a little off, but nothing major so I just took it easy. I was more worried about being dehydrated and/or feeling the residual effects of not eating as much the past couple days...but it ended up being just fine.

Wednesday, March 4
4.04 miles in 34:00, avg pace of 8:25

I ran past my high school today, and both the guys' and girls' track teams were out on the track. They were doing plyometrics all over the track and stretching using the fences and everything, and I was reminded of my high school track (and cross country!) days. I really miss running with a team!! We always ran in two lines, side-by-side, and most of the time people had their same position in the pack, which is funny since we all went the same pace except for workouts and such. Also, at least for me, running speed workouts is much easier when you have someone else telling what to do, when to start/stop, how far you're going, and when you have people who are doing them with me. Granted, I don't actually do so-called "speed workouts" myself, but when I've tried to start them in the past, I've lacked motivation.

I also wonder what the high schoolers (or any other runners, actually) think when I run by them. Do I look slow? Fast? Like I shouldn't be wearing tights? haha...kidding! As a side note, I do notice that cars are much more likely to honk during the summer when I tend to run sans shirt. Hmmmmmm.

If anyone wants to prepare for the sh(r)edding of the eight million winter layers you've worn for the past few months, you can head over to Oh She Glows for her giveaway of Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred DVD!
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

24 Hour Sickness of Glory

This weekend was good turned TERRIBLE. I had an awesome run on Saturday...8 miles, it was in the 20's, felt pretty good outside. I ran a little bit of a different route, which is always nice for a change in scenery. I don't have many routes for my long runs, so I actually have a create new ones in order to mix it up a bit. My pace was fantastic, and I never felt tired...even despite the fact that I ran after work! So good.

Saturday, February 28th
8.08 miles in 59:51, avg pace of 7:25

Like I said, fantastic! I think it was a combination of being a good running day and some pent up emotions. I'm extremely frustrated with this whole job situation (or lack thereof), so running was a good outlet.

Sunday I had planned my long run, as I wasn't supposed to work, but on Saturday they asked me if I could be "on call" in case one of the other servers couldn't come in. Of course I said yes since the only way for me to make money is to work! Anyway, I got a call on Sunday morning, and I ended up having to go in. No big deal, I just figured I'd do my run after work...being tired would simulate marathon-type circumstances!

Work was AMAZING on Sunday...I don't remember the last time we were so busy, which means $$$!! The day had a really good flow and I was only overwhelmed once (four of my tables got sat at the same time...hard to be in four places at the same time!). I started feeling kind of funny with about an hour to go, but I figured I was just hungry since I hadn't eaten since before work. However, about fifteen minutes before I left, I felt AWFUL. As in, I needed to get out of there as soon as possible so I wouldn't get sick in the restaurant.

I finished up all my closing stuff and drove home...pulled up to my house and then proceeded to vomit on the front lawn. (TMI?) I couldn't make it inside! I continued to vomit, feel more nauseated than I've ever felt in my entire life, and spike a 103 degree fever for the remainder of the day. Lo and behold, no sixteen mile run for me.

My mom is an art teacher at the elementary school about a half a mile from our house, and she said that kids at school had something just like I was having, and it's one of those 24 hour type things. I don't remember doing this, but I apparently asked to be taken to the hospital at least three times...I like to think I don't complain much when it comes to pain/being sick, but I was really, really miserable. I told my mom that if this is what morning sickness is like, then I'm never having children. (She said it's not nearly that bad...she obviously wants grandkids.)

I spent Monday on the couch watching daytime television (terrible!) and Gilmore Girls, as walking from my bed to the couch made me dizzy. My temperature came back down to normal, and I managed to eat some normal food for dinner. I went into work today for about two hours, and I figured I would see how that went before deciding on running today since I really haven't eaten much in the past two days. I felt a little weak after work, so I decided to play it safe and take one more day off of running, but I should be back at it tomorrow.

It kind of bothers me that I missed the sixteen mile long run this weekend, but in the long run (haha!), I will be just fine for the marathon since I don't plan on making a habit of puking my guts out every weekend! I'll just follow the schedule as usual and put this down as extra rest. Unless anyone has any better ideas that they would be willing to share...
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