Thursday, May 12, 2011

Uncharted Territory

I had my long run this morning. I was supposed to go out for 9 miles but since I did that already last week, I thought I'd step it up and go out for 10. I haven't run 10 since the Cleveland Hermes 10-Mile race back in April but I was feeling ready. My knees were/are still whining a bit, but it's something I've almost become accustomed to. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing! Anyway, when I got up this morning, I wasn't feeling particularly ready to head out for 10, but with one baby step at a time, I got myself out there. I'm so glad I did. Once I got going, I hit 2 and 3 miles before I even knew it. While the path was familiar, I had never gone 5 miles out, so I was curious as to what was out there. I felt my pace was pretty quick, but my breathing still felt good, so I went with it. I had a good Podrunner tune pumping out some techno/house beats which was cool too. I did a few air drum solos while nobody was looking. :-) I was totally feeling in the zone -- like I could go on forever! The weather was great too. It was warm but there was a nice breeze. There were a lot of people out too which was nice which is in stark contrast to the first few runs I took on the bike path back in February. I actually thought, "Well this is good. At least now if something happens to me, there'll be people around to hear my screams." LOL! Actually, everyone out was really nice. I think I said "good morning" to every person I passed by or at least gave the nod. I swear, there's like this secret understanding between people who are out on the paths, courses, and trails across America. We are all part of an unspoken community of people who truly appreciate the awesomeness of becoming one with the nature around us... I digress!

Anyhow, before I knew it, I had passed the 4 mile point where I usually turn around. ***Entering uncharted territory! Dun, dun, DUUUUUN!*** The funny thing was, shortly after passing into the foreign zone, I realized, it wasn't so foreign after all. After about another 3/4 mile, I swear I recognized the place. Finally, as I came close to reaching the 5 mile turn around, I came up to a cross road and immediately saw a sign for a park I used to go to all the time! I remember riding my bike on those very paths when I used to live in my old apartment! I couldn't believe I had really run that far! That truly just baffled me for awhile. I mean, I remember running 3 miles and thinking I could never do 5. It just seemed SO FAR! Now here I was knocking out 10, running clear across town and into the next one, and I was barely feeling tired! I swear, I think once I got used to doing those higher miles, I forget how far it really is! 5 miles is not too shabby! Anyhow, I was psyched to see my old trail and even more psyched to know that I had basically run across the entire town to get to it. The only thing next was, I had to run back across it!

I was so pumped after seeing how far I had gone out though, the 5 miles back was great! I even think I sped up the last 2 miles. I had to keep telling myself to slow down! My knees tried to tell me too. My right knee was really yelling at me during the last half mile. Anyhow, I ended up having an awesome 10-miler -- I had a fast pace that felt good, the weather was warm but breezy, everyone out was really nice...awesome! Afterwards, I got back home and mapped out my run on and actually found out that I did 10.5 miles. Cool! I did a little Namaste Yoga, and iced the knees. I just wish they all felt that good!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A New Look

No, your eyes are not deceiving blog looks totally different...again! With the weather finally breaking and spring clearly upon us, I got tired of my dark black background so I decided to just go with a basic, Blogger layout. I think the lighter colors are more uplifting and the Blogger layouts are more user friendly. So anyhow...I hope you like the new look!

Speaking of other things that have a new look, the weather here in NE Ohio has been AWESOME lately. The past week or so has been in the 60s and 70s and has been just gorgeous! All the flowers and trees are blooming, and all of my plants are coming up wonderfully. People in the neighborhood have started mowing their lawns, and I don't know about you, but that first smell of fresh cut grass in the spring is one of my favorite smells! I generally don't like spring because of all the rain, but this past week has been just perfect! All winter long the windows have been shut tight, but all this week, I've finally been able to throw them open. Even now, a nice cool breeze is coming in, carrying with it the scent of hyacinths. Mmmmm! And the pic above is of the view I have right outside that window. This is a look I've been waiting all winter for!

Well, on a personal note...all this running has given me a bit of a new look! Nothing dramatic, but I have lost 5 pounds. A couple people have noticed, which is always nice, but the fact that some of my clothes now fit again -- beautiful! Apparently though, it seems that some people aren't ready for my new look...

So I went on a 4.5 mile run today and since it was so nice, I decided to wear one of my new running skirts. It was cute, but shorter than what I am used to wearing. No biggie I thought. So as I am running out of my school parking lot to go running, I see a huge pack of boys running towards me. I'm thinking, "Oh no...please don't let ANY of my former students be in that pack!" I was already self conscious about running in my new skirt, I certainly didn't need a bunch of 13-14 year olds boys running at me making goofy faces or comments, much less ones I knew! Well, sure enough, I hear a couple of kids say, "Hey, that's my old teacher!" Oh we go. I try to say hi and be all nonchalant about it, but I was surprised to see that they were totally embarrassed and uncomfortable! I said hi but they all ducked away and avoided eye contact at all costs! I thought it was actually pretty funny! I mean hello?! Yeah, your teachers do have lives outside of school and they do wear things other than heels and dress clothes! The funny thing was, later during my run, I ran into a pack of girls running and sure enough, a few of my students were in that pack too. Their reaction was totally different! They were screaming my name before I even saw them. They were smiling as they came up to me and we gave high fives as we passed each other. They were totally cool while the boys were just totally awkward! I guess seeing their former teacher in a little running skirt and sleeveless shirt was a little too much for them! What a riot! ( be honest, it was a little much for me too. I need to start running at home, where the chances of me running into students (literally) is minimized! Just too weird in some circumstances! Still, pretty funny!)

So anyhow, I did finish my 4.4 mile run but was pretty tired by the end. I sure hope I can pull this 10 mile run out on Saturday. Now I'm especially worried though because I looked at the weather forecast, and not only are they calling for possible thunderstorms, but the wind gusts are forecasted to be up to 24 mph! Holy guacamole! Much of the course will be right along Lake Erie though too which means the winds will really be whipping! OMG! Maybe instead of running shoes, I should just wear those Heelies (you know, those shoes with wheels in them) and let the wind propel me forward. That could actually be pretty fun! :-)

Vacay Report: Luau!

After a day of shopping yesterday, DH and I did a little bit more snorkeling this morning, and then went to a luau tonight. The luau was awesome! First, we got to see how they cooked the pork in an underground pit called an Imu.

Then we piled our plates with tons of food. DH got two plates just for himself! Here's his plate of sides...

After eating, the dancing performances started. They performed traditional Hawaiian dances but also did a few dances from other Indonesian islands. It was very cool!

One of the performances was actually kind of funny -- one of the dancers had to do these crazy poses and faces and as soon as he turned to one side of the stage, a little kid started screaming in terror! The dancer actually started to laugh a little!

They finished off the evening with a totally awesome performance from a fire dancer!

This was one of the coolest, most fun experiences I've had on our vacation so far! Oh, and this (down below) wasn't too bad of way to end the evening either...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My New Invention

So the past three days, I have been icing my knees almost constantly. As soon as I take the ice off, my knees feel great -- I feel invincible! I even decided to work out on my elliptical last night for 30 minutes and even did a few squats to the test the knees out. Felt great! I put more ice on after the workout and then later went to bed. Unfortunately though, when I got up this morning, there was still a twinge of pain in my left knee. GRRRR! I've decided that if icing is the answer, then I must ice 24/7. I must ice not just after my run, but DURING my run! I need to invent an ice pack sleeve to go over my knee. That'll keep it nice and cool the whole time! And while I'm at it, I might as well make it fashionable! I can make it in all different colors -- I can get one to match my shoes, one to match my running pants, one to match whatever mood I'm in that day! WAIT -- Just got an idea -- I can even make character ones! I can make a Hello Kitty one! OMG -- love it! I can add sparkley bling to it in a million different designs! And after exploring my fashion options, I can then work on making it more functional too. I can make a little pouch to hold my awesome magical Sports Beans, I can build a Garmin into it so that it can track my miles, I can even program a little voice inside that says, "You go girl!" every mile! What do you think?! I think this could be my solution! :-)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pre-Birthday Gift

So tomorrow is my birthday -- the big 3-0! Now while this birthday is one of those "biggies," it really doesn't matter how old I am turning, I always like to celebrate my birthday in some special way. Well this year, I told my DH that I didn't want any thing. Instead, I wanted to go on a vacation! It didn't matter how big or small, as long as we did something out of the ordinary, I'd be happy. I dropped not-so-subtle hints to him all year about it, but he just kept saying, "No, we have to save $$ for the basement... We have to save $$ for a sprinkler system... I am too busy at work..." and on and on. For the longest time I thought he was just fooling with me... and then I started to wonder... and then I started to get worried. I would be so sad if we couldn't get away for even a long 3 or 4 day weekend! Well, just a few days ago, my DH put my worries aside. He told that I will definitely have a big surprise on my birthday and that I would need a few things for the surprise: a few swimsuits, a pair of hiking shoes, and plenty of shorts/t-shirts. He revealed that yes, we ARE going on a vacay... for 11 days! WHOA! This is way bigger than I had even hoped for! He won't tell me where we are going until tomorrow (my actual b-day,) but he at least wanted to give me time to prepare. We leave for our surprise destination Sunday morning. Woo hoo! I am so excited.

One thing my DH also told me to bring is a formal dress... "just in case". Well, I have a perfect little brown and white dress I've been waiting to wear. This is the perfect occasion! One problem though... I didn't have nice shoes to wear with it. Must go shopping! So today, I hit a few stores in search of the swimsuits and such and just happened to wander through the shoe department as well. Just as I was perusing the sandals, my eyes fell upon the most beauteous pair of shoes I have seen in a long time. "Oh, those MUST be uncomfortable," I said, trying to give myself a reason not to buy them. I put them on and must to my surprise, they WERE super comfy! Uh oh... harder to resist! Just as I was modeling the shoes in a mirror, a lady came over and said, "Oh my, those shoes are so cute! You could wear them with just about anything..." She went on and on. That was all I needed! Those babies went right into my cart. Now I don't normally get all giddy over shoes and I certainly don't usually spend a lot of $$ on shoes either, but these I could not resist. So without further ado, here is a gift to me, from me!
Now tell me those aren't super cute! I say that these are totally worth the $$ since (a) they are super cute, (b) I need them for our vacation since they will likely go well with my dress AND (c) I can definitely wear them for work! See, case closed! Even my DH liked them... now that says something!

So my birthday hasn't even arrived yet and I am already showered with gifts! So far, 30 is looking good!

Monday, May 2, 2011

What's It Like to Run Pain Free?

It seems like my knees have been bothering me for so long now (7 weeks!) that I can't even remember what it's like to run withOUT them hurting. My right knee is pretty much good to go, but I feel like I am back to square one with my left. I was just starting to run 5 miles with little/no pain in either knee, then I had my 10 mile race. Now my left knee is right back to where it was. It hurts to run, walk, go down stairs...even sit sometimes! GRRRR. I went to my chiro yesterday and he was equally frustrated. He is now thinking I may need some additional work. He now believes the muscle in the front of my lower leg (the same one responsible for shin splints) may be too tight and consequently contributing to the problem. So, to loosen it up, he did some deep tissue torture AKA "massage". OMG, the pressure was so intense, I was like, "Ummm, excuse this supposed to feel excrutiating?" He chuckled and said, "Just one level below that." Yeah, I don't know that he went down that one level! Anyhow, he still did the adjustments and then told me to ice the rest of the evening. I felt much better walking out of the office than I did walking in, so I guess that's a good thing. Still though, I am so over this knee thing. I just want to run and stop thinking about my knees for a change! Oh well. At least I don't have any big races to train for coming up soon. I guess I can keep the mileage low for awhile and do some of my other workouts for awhile.

Speaking of my next races, I am undecided as to what to do next. I had originally planned on doing a Memorial Day 5K. It's on that Monday and they're serving a pancake breakfast afterwards. Sounds fun! But then a coworker was telling me about a race that same weekend that she is doing. It's on that Sunday and is a 5.25 mile race -- The Motorcars Blossom Time run. (Weird distance huh?! I tried to find out if there was any significance to it...nadda!) She really likes the course and has great things to say about the race. So, now I have to decide. After running both a 5K and a 10 miler, I can honestly say that I like the longer distances better. A 5K is too short to make up for any pacing mistakes, and I feel like I have to run hard the whole time. The longer distance is nice, because you can make pacing adjustments throughout and I don't feel like I'm sprinting the whole the race. Endurance is my thing -- not speed! So anyhow, what do you think? (A) The 5K is at a distance I don't like, but they have better food or (B) 5.25 mile run is a good distance, but I don't think there's many yummies afterwards. Hmmmmm..... My DH says I should just do both! I don't know about that though! Well, whichever run I choose, my goal at this point is simply to get to the starting line healthy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

You've Got {Super Cute} Mail!

Okay, so last year on the Two Peas MBs and Gallery, tons of people were posting these tin mailboxes that they bought in the Target $1 spot and altered. (HERE is a link!) They were SO cute. I kept checking our Target, but I never had any luck! Well, after stalking a couple of Targets for a week or so, I finally found some of the $1 mailboxes! Woo hoo! I got six of them! One is for me and the rest I will make for friends and family. Ohhhhh, I have a feeling I may have to buy more! :-)