Friday, September 30, 2005


I was just reading Jeff's blog and he said it was 101 degrees yesterday during his run. During my run yesterday it was probably mid-60s. And I LOVED IT!!! I felt like I could run forever! It was the best run I've had in a long time. I'm so glad it's autumn.

I ran into the cross country coaches yesterday. They asked me to pace a group of girls next week during a practice. Should be fun.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A question to all y'alls

Seriously, runners, we're busy folk. I personally work full-time, coach part-time, train, and still find time to have a husband and have a few other interests. But one thing that really stresses me out is coming home to a filthy house. I don't know why, but when I was single and lived in an apartment by myself, everything was always clean and tidy. Since I got married, though, I can't keep anything clean. I thought I would actually gain time when I got married because Dave would just be here instead of me having to make time to see him and travel to see him. I just don't feel anymore I have the time or the energy to keep the house clean. But not having a clean house makes me angry!

I've been contemplating hiring a cleaning service. We hire a service to make our lawn look great in the summer, why wouldn't I want the same for the inside of my home? Do any of have a cleaning service? I just think it would eleviate some of my stress if I didn't have to come home to a dirty house and could concentrate my time on other activities.

Running's been going pretty well this week. I did a nice 6 mile run on Tuesday and yesterday I did somewhere between 3-1/2 to 4 miles in my neighborhood and then through a park. I tried to map in out on Google but when you live in a still-developing area not everything shows on the map.

Talk to y'all later.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

2005 Goals Revisited

A meeting I had this morning resulted in some homework for me. My task was to create a list of priorites and goals for my life (no I didn't meet with a shrink, I met with my HR director). So I decided to look at my list of running goals for 2005 and see how far I've come. Here's the list, in no particular order (and you can find it buried in my blog too).

1. Run a marathon in 3:30
2. Run more races
3. Improve speed and PRs
4. Run Boston
5. Requalify for Boston
6. Do another triathlon
7. Improve on triathlon time
8. Consider a half Ironman
9. Cross train through the marathon season

With nine months of the year nearly completed, here's how I'm fairing.

1. I have yet to run a 3:30 marathon but there's always next weekend.
2. I've definitely run more races this year than any other year. I've done 10 road races, one relay, 3 triathlons, and one duathlon.
3. I've PRed in the half marathon, 10 miler, 5 miler, and 5K in 2005.
4. I ran Boston in April.
5. I have yet to requalify for Boston, but I should be able to do it next weekend in Cleveland.
6. Not only did I do another triathlon, I did 3 of them and a duathlon this past summer.
7. Improving on my triathlon times is subjective because none of the triathlons I've done to date have been the same distance, but I definitely feel I became a better triathlete.
8. Consider a half Ironman? Been there, done that in July 2005.
9. I've cross trained throughout most of the year. I've fallen short in September but mostly because the month slipped away from me and I had too much running to do.

So now I ask, what's next?

Coin Flip

It's going to be a coin flip for this marathon in a week and a half. The miles are in but they weren't consistent. Something always came up. I don't think I had one week where everything went the way it was planned.

Last week was a prime example. I started off the week well running stong 5 milers on Monday and Tuesday, a rough 4-1/2 miles on Wednesday, and then a pretty good 5K race on Thursday. Friday we went camping with the family and I ran out of time to run. The camping was pretty much roughing-it for me with lots of mud and bathrooms a good walk away and no sinks at all. Plus it rained and it was just a mess. So I didn't run on Saturday either. Sunday I was supposed to do 20 miles with Doug and Andrea, but it was like 100% humidity and I could barely make it 13 miles. I have asthma (have I ever said that?) and when it gets humid, my asthma really bothers me.

So I'm going into this marathon having done one 20 miler, two 16 milers, one 17 miler, and several in the range of 13 miles. Now I just have to hope that my fitness carries me through.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Another Pleasant Surprise

As I opened the dryer this morning to pull out my jeans a $10 bill came flying out at me. Bonus! Now I can get lunch. Unfortunately, that's about the only thing going right today. Our systems are not working here at work and I'm not able to get my reports done. Oh I get to work on balancing my checkbook.

I ran the A&F Challenge last night. It's a 5K that's held at the world headquarters for Abercrombie, which also happens to be only a few miles from our house. This race had about 1400 runners and it also includes an inline race, a bike tour, BBQ, and concert. All for a $20 entry fee. The race raised $1.1 million for hurricane relief.

I started the race pretty conservatively with my first mile being a 7:36. Then I sped up to a 7:08 second mile, and finished the last 1.1 in 8:01. My overall time was a 22:46. That's about an average time for me. I'm not very good at the 5K. I'm much better at 10 miles and above. Scary, huh? I get faster the longer the distance.

This weekend ends the hard training. I'm planning on doing a 20+ mile run on Sunday, 16 miles of it with Andrea. The taper starts immediately. My marathon is October 9th.

Have a great weekend and be careful. Go Buckeyes!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Pleasant Surprise

Yesterday was our third wedding anniversary. Due to some scheduling this year, Dave and I are not going to be able to celebrate our anniversary with dinner or a date. I ordered a gift for Dave over a week ago and I have yet to receive it. Sorry, can't tell you. Dave reads this site. Dave gave me a present yesterday, though. He bought me a beautiful necklace that has a pink tourmaline jewel in it. It's very pretty and appropriate. I wear a lot of pink. I'll try to take a picture tonight and show y'all.

We've got a 5K race tonight. This one we have run since the race was introduced 5 years ago. It's not one you run hard, but it is one that you want to run because there's a BBQ afterward and Collective Soul is performing after the race. And it's 5 minutes from home. How can you beat that?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New Running Routes

Note: I've added some pictures from the relay this weekend. Check them out in the post below.

The town I grew up in and now where I currently live has seen a lot of change in the last 20 years. When I was younger the town was very rural and mostly there were farms. Now the town is very developed and has million dollar homes every 100 feet. With all this development there are new roads, new housing developments, and lots of golf courses. This week I've been exploring some of the new roads. For this training season I decided to not concentrate so much on the miles and run by the watch. So anything between 40 and 45 minutes I count as a 5 mile run. Get it?

Monday I parked at the high school and ran out Fodor Road to New Albany Road East, through the industrial park, down to Schleppi Road where it ended into Walnut Steet and returned. It took me 42 minutes. I'm calling that 5 miles.

Tuesday I decided to go in the opposite direction. I started at my parents' house which is off of Walnut Street. I ran Walnut Street to Schleppi and then turned left on New Albany Road East. This took me through the old Souder Farm which will soon be a housing development. The road is there but nothing else is there in the field. I really liked this part of the run. This road connected me into The Links housing development and golf course. I turned around just after Bevelhymer Road (not like you guys have any idea where these roads are, but I usually write in my journal and then type it into here).

I wonder where the road will take me today?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Reach the Beach 2005

After last year's experience it's hard to believe I would ever return to this race. But I did, and I'm glad I did.

The weekend started early Thursday with us all meeting at the airport for our flight to Manchester, NH. Once in Manchester we rented vans and headed over to the Olive Garden for dinner. Then it was on to the grocery and then the long drive up to Brenton Woods. We hung out that evening at the bar across the street from our motel, The Profile Deluxe, shooting pool and throwing darts. I turned in pretty early. I like my sleep and knew I wouldn't be getting very much of it this weekend.

Friday started with a hearty breakfast and then a relaxing lounge by the pool with my iPod. At about 12:30 we loaded up the vans and headed to the Brenton Woods Lodge for the start of our wave. Our wave started at 1:30pm and there were only 18 teams that would start after us.

Bridget and I at the Brenton Woods Lodge. That's me on the right with my eyes all squinty. Posted by Picasa

And we're off! Andy started as by bravely running up the ski slope at Brenton Woods. He quickly came back down and then case was on toward Hampton Beach. Our runners in order were Andy, Steve, Mandy, Jim, Brian Y, Terry (all in Van 1) and then Van 2: Bridget, Brian G, me, Nathan, Jen, and my dad.

My first run was very difficult. I had a 400+ foot climb in about a mile. My calves were on fire going up that climb. I admit, I had to do a little walking. I also walked as I passed this house that had huge barking dogs. Really scary!

In the van before my first run. That my dad, me, and Nathan (L to R). Posted by Picasa

It started to rain on my dad's first run and continued for the next couple of hours as we tried to get some sleep.

Our van's next round of legs started around 2:00am with Bridget. This is when things got really scary. In the past, our team has started to catch other teams during the night runs so you weren't out there alone, but that was not the case this year. When our van caught up to Bridget and asked her how she was doing she said, "Some fucker chased me." We were like, "what the...?" It turns out some guy got out of his car and started chasing Bridget, but Bridget was too fast for this guy. So the guy got back in his car and drove ahead of Bridget, got out of his car and started waving and saying things to her. Bridget stopped running and just stood there. A woman in a passing car came up and asked Bridget if she knew the guy. Bridget said no and then the woman followed her for the next 2-1/2 miles. Once the guy got frustrated and left the woman in the car called the police. The police were there immediately and questioned Bridget, questioned us, and patrolled the road the rest of the time. Poor Bridget. She has the worst luck. She's had her car stolen, her bike stolen, was beaten unconscious by an intruder in her apartment, and now a guy chased her in the middle of the night. Brian ran with Bridget the rest of her run and we followed close behind in the van.

During my 2nd run I was completely alone but my van followed closely and Bridget even ran the last mile and a half with me. My middle leg was a good run--7.4 miles in 57:09.

At the next double transition area I pulled out my sleeping bag and slept on the grass. It was nice to stretch out and get some sleep.

At around 11:45am our van was off again with only 6 legs left until the finish. My run was 4.1 miles and my official time was 31:24, but I had it at 29:56 because I got stopped at a red light where we were required to wait until it tuned green again. Our vans got stopped by that same light twice and I thought I was going to beat them to the transition. Luckily Nathan hopped in the first van which barely made it to the transition before I did.

Our finish time was 26:02:24 which is a 7:22 pace ofr 212 miles. We finished 20th out of 275 finishing teams.

Hampton Beach at the end of the race. Notice how bundled up the girls are and how crazy the boys are. Posted by Picasa

The rest of the weekend was a blur of food, margaritas, sleep, and plane rides. It's good to be home and I'm totally exhausted. Barring any changes, I'm planning to run this relay again if my team will let me.

The day after at the Sea Spirals Motel. Dad, Brian G., and me. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Pretty Smart, Pretty Stupid

I consider myself a pretty smart chick. I have a degree in engineering. That's got to put me on the high end of smart, right? Well yesterday I did something pretty stupid. Yesterday I ran with the high school cross country team. This was smart because I got in good miles and I didn't have to run by myself. In my four plus years of running yesterday was the first day I've ever forgotten socks. Pretty stupid! So I decided to run without socks because I was putting on a brand new pair of shoes and I thought that a new pair of shoes wouldn't rip up my feet. Again, pretty stupid. I ran the 6-1/2 miles with the high schoolers and it was a good run, but when I took my shoes off at the end of practice my brand new shoes had blood stains in the heels of them. I made sure to pack my socks today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Lecture

In the last 12 years I have spent (and my parents have spent) thousands of dollars trying to rid my face of its acne. Only in the last six months has it cleared up and I think it changed because I got older and my hormones changed. With my acne clearing up, I discovered I have a whole lot of sun damage on my face. Yesterday I met with a plastic surgeon to discuss some option to get rid of the sun damage. Boy did I ever get a lecture! It came down to this...I have to wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen everyday on my face. Period! So for all you sun babies out there, wear your sunscreen!

I am going to New Hampshire this weekend to compete in the Reach the Beach Relay. It's a 200+ mile relay and we have a team of 12 people doing it. Unfortunately yesterday we found out that one of our people cannot go. We're two days away from leaving and we're scrambling to find somebody. I'm hoping we do because some people would have to run really long distances to make up for it. I might volunteer to take an extra leg since I'm the only one in the group training for a marathon.

As I've said before, I work for a shoe company and I shopped our store yesterday. When I was out in Portland a couple years ago I bought a pair of Columbia shoes that were great. They were waterproof and could be worn in the rain, in the snowy winters, and as work boots. But those shoes have finally worn out. Yesterday I tried on a pair of Merrells that were made with Gore Tex. They were the most comfortable shoes I've ever tired on. I bought them to replace my Columbias. And with my discount, it was quite a bargain.

See ya later kiddies!!

Monday, September 12, 2005


Yep, the Buckeyes lost and we fell in the polls, but except for our quarterbacks losing their heads in the last two plays, I thought it was a really good game. Really miss Nugent, though.

I've trained for 7 marathons (including the current one I'm training for) but I have only been able to run 4 marathons. The first three marathons I did, I trained with an organized group. The last three marathons I trained with a group that my dad runs with. It's a group of people who mostly work together and it didn't cost me anything so it was great. But participation has started to dwindle during the last couple of marathons. Training for Boston last spring, there were only 4 of us doing the race. Then this summer there were four of us again who trained for the half Ironman. It sounded like there would be a big group of us training for a fall marathon and it also sounded like we were all going to do Towpath up in Cleveland. Things fell apart, however, and now it seems I'm the only one of the group doing Towpath and one of maybe 3 or 4 even doing a marathon this fall. And, it seems, I'm the only one doing our usual training plan.

So this Saturday I showed up to Antrim to run and I was one of four...Brian, my dad, Andy, and me. Brian said he was running 8. Dad said he was running 15 but I knew that wasn't going to happen. Andy said he was running 20+, but he stopped at 15 and ran ahead of me the whole way. So I did 20, by myself. Surprisingly it went well, but I was really peeved that I had to do it by myself. I'm not doing this again. If no one is going to run another marathon then I'm moving on to a group that is going to be doing marathons. Twenty miles is a long way to run by yourself.

And I just found out in the recent weeks that even if I qualify I may not get to run Boston this year anyway. My sister is pregnant (again) and due that weekend.

As you can probably tell, I'm not in the best mood this morning.

Friday, September 09, 2005

What I've Been Doing This Week

Sorry I haven't posted much this week. I've had lots of presentations here at work I've had to sit in on and we've had a house guest all week and all the tennis that I just haven't had time to collect my thoughts.

I did some intense running on Wednesday. It was the stadium run and my friend "J" joined my dad and I. "J" is a much better runner than me so I did my best to stick with her. Each mile that we did around the track got faster and faster. Our first mile was a 7:19 and I think that was just a warm-up for her. My second mile was a 6:59 and my third mile was a 6:58. In between each of those miles was two flights of stairs so I'm pretty impressed with myself. Last night I was pretty worn out, though, so I only did two miles of recovery and I'll probably do three more this afternoon on the treadmill just to work out the kinks before my 22 planned for Saturday.

Did y'all see I got featured on the Carnival of Runner's this week? How cool was that?

In the last week I've had hits on this blog from all over the world, including Germany, Australia, India, Japan, the Netherlands, England, and Portugal. How cool is that too?

So people all around the world....I'm searching for a friend of mine who is in the military and stationed in Iraq. His name is Eric Petterson. If you know him, please have him check out this sight and get in contact with me. Thanks.

I know, I know. I still need to post the pictures from our vacation. I'm getting there!!!!

Have a great weekend if I don't hear from y'all before then. Oh yeah...GO BUCKS!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Damn right, I'm a Buckeye

107,000 screaming fans

The team making its way out of the tunnel

Script Ohio

Block O

Carmen Ohio

Damn right, I'm a Buckeye!

Friday, September 02, 2005

This will make you shake your head

Is it wrong to admit that I'm a closet Hillary Duff fan? He he!

Running has been good this week. I did 4 miles of stadium workout on Wednesday and 5 miles around the country club yesterday.

I don't know how much running I'm going to get in this weekend as we have a pretty busy schedule. This weekend kicks off Ohio State football and we're going to be neck-deep in it. It's alumni weekend (which we are) and Dave will be marching in the alumni band at the game. Tonight he's got a rehearsal and then a full morning of marching, skull session, and game. I have a ticket to the game so I also will be going. Sunday we'll be going to Cleveland for a bridal shower and because we have tickets to the orchestra. We're going to see the Cincinnati Pops in Cleveland. How weird is that? Monday has no plans as of yet, so there will probably be good running that day.

Have a good holiday weekend!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

August Totals

I'm still working on the vacation recap. Keep checking back. It's almost complete.

Training is fully focused on fall marathon and very little time is being devoted for swimming and biking.

Swim: 1800 meters
Bike: 135 minutes = 2-1/4 hours
Run: 115.6 miles

My Summer Vacation

We're back and pretty exhausted. But no time to rest, it's back to work today. I will begin posting my summer vacation and will continue to post as I get time. This post is going to be very long and I will try to put pictures in when I get a chance.

For the record, on the last post, no I did not throw up on my shorts. Sometimes my hands type faster than my brain thinks.

Vacation Day 1:

Today we traveled to NYC. The plane ride was good and a lot shorter than expected. the van ride from the airport to our hotel was a different story. The driver had a short fuse and constantly laid on his horn and shouted at other drivers. One of his statements was, "wake up sleepy." He!

I must admit that when we first got here I was feeling quite overwhelmed. It is a big, big city and where we are staying is more in a residential area than a touristy area. But after a stroll through Central Park I began to calm down.

This evening we went to Lincoln Center for "Out of Doors." It's a series of free cultural events. This evening had different ethinic dances and all the dance troops were from Brooklyn. There was a step group, an African group, a Swedish group, a Panmanian group, and a few others. My favorite was the African group.

For dinner we went to a place called Vynll which was quite a hole in the wall, but we're discovering everything is here. The menus were inside of record albums. It was good food, good service, and not too expensive.

We walked down to Times Square to end the evening. Boy it was crowded with people. I'm glad we're staying off the beaten path aways.

Vacation Day 2:

Today we got up around 6:45 and went for a run in Central Park. We got totally lost as we followed these little paths that intersected. We came out around the Natural History Museum or whatever it's called (it's got dinosaurs). At this point a woman asked us how to find the running paths in Central Park and we pointed her in a different direction that we came from because we didn't want her to get lost. We rested for a minute and then went the same path we had shown her. We soon realized, however, that we had pointed her to a road that actually went under the park. Woops! We chased her down, turned us all around, and we all ran together to the south side of the park. It was fun; it was slow; and I'm calling it about 4-1/2 miles.

Much of the rest of the day was spent on a double-decker bus tour. The first part of the tour was downtown. We saw sites such as the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Wall Street, The Village, Chinatown, etc. It was an okay tour. Our tour guide didn't speak much English so she basically just pointed out things we could have gotten from a map. The second half of the tour went uptown where we saw the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Harlem, and Central Park. Our tour guides were excellent and gave us a lot more information than just what the sites were. They told us all the juicy celebrity gossip, which I like.

This evening we went to dinner at Lindy's where we encountered our first bad service. Our waitress came by only three times--once to take our order, once to bring the check, and once to bring the check back. The food was alright but overpriced. We wanted the cheesecake, but didn't have time.

After dinner we hopped the subway (our first time of many times) out to Brooklyn to meet Monique and Pete for an off-off Broadway play. The play was called "World Gone Wrong" and Pete's brother was in it. The play was unusual because all the dialog was previously recorded and all the lines had come from different noir movies. It was good, but different, and I'm not realy sure I got it.

Vacation Day 3:

We started our Friday really early and were at the Today Show by 6:30 am. We got really good spots right along the railing where Matt Lauer and Ann Curry would be announcing the concert--Joss Stone. Let me say this, Ann Curry is my new best friend. She came over and said hello, shook my hand, and Dave got a picture of me and Ann Curry. It was awesome! The concert was awesome too. Unfortunately, being as short as I am, I wasn't able to actually see the performance, but I did watch it on the monitors.

Next we headed down to Ground Zero to check it out further than the bus tour. right now it's a construction site and there are posters of the new building going up there, but just the enormity of the space is enough to get the feeling of how big the building were. (I had been to the World Trade Center eleven years ago, but Dave had never seen them.) We went to the church next to Ground Zero which had housed many of the volunteers. It had a memorial and a museum.

Our next adventure tested my nature. I have a deep, dark fear of bridges and really flip out when I have to go across them. When I crossed the Cheasapeake Bay when I was a child, I sat on the floor of the car crying. Got the idea? So I conquered my fear today and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. We stopped halfway and took some pictures.

Me, from the Brooklyn Bridge Posted by Picasa

We had been told that right at the end of the bridge was this great pizza place called Grimaldi's. Well, we got to the end of the bridge and we couldn't find any of the roads supposedly by the pizza place. We walked around and around and then asked a traffic officer who had no idea what we were talking about. We then found a subway station and looked at the map to find the streets. After a lot more walking we finally found Grimaldi's which was right under the Brooklyn Bridge. We had lunch there and got some dessert at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

After Brooklyn we headed back to the hotel for some naps and cleaned up for dinner. We went to La Bonne Soupe which had decent service, good food, and pretty good prices.

After dinner we met Pete and Monique at Union Square to go on a walking tour of The Village to see some art displays. We did a lot of walking but didn't really see any art. We think we did see some movie stars, though. We think Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal walked right past us. Pete pointed them out but only after they had walked past. Our final destination for the evening was B's Bar and Grill where we had a little liquid dessert and then headed home around 1:00am.

Vacation Day 4:

We woke up kinda late for us today, which made me irritable that I had wasted the morning. It was a pretty nice day so we decided our first activity would be the Empire State Building. We went probably around 10:00am and the lines weren't bad, but just being around that many people started to make me antsy. I'm pretty closterphobic so it was a bit too much. We didn't spend much time at the Empire State Building but we did get to see the view of the city from each side.

For lunch we went to Grand Central Station and just ate at the food court. What a neat place. We don't have trains or subways in Columbus so being in a busy transportation hub was cool and the architecture was also cool.

After lunch we hopped the subway down to Chinatown and SoHo to do some shopping. I really wasn't planning on doing any shopping in NY since we have most of the stores here in Columbus. I really like vintage/thrift clothes so I was hoping to find some good deals. Again, what a mistake. First of all, the sidewalks were wall to wall people and being that I was already on edge I thought I was going to die. We had this list of different vintage shops that came from our 2005 Frommer's guide and none of the stores were there. I guess they had already gone out of business. I did find the Kate Spade store which was exciting because she's one of my favorite designers. We also saw a drug transaction go down just one street off of Broadway. Good times!

For dinner we met Monique and Pete and went to an authentic Italian restaurant in the West Village. I have no idea what I ordered but it was good. It was shell pasta with creamy sauce and Italian sausage. Yummy!

After dinner we went to a sketch comedy show that Pete's brother was in. It was extremely funny. We turned in pretty early in preparation for our race on Sunday.

Vacation Day 5:

We woke up at 5:30 this morning in preparation for our race at 7:00. I woke up not feeling 100%--I was super dizzy. So dizzy, in fact, that I fell into the wall in the bathroom as I was getting dressed. We hopped the subway up to the east side of Central Park. There were lots of runners on the trains and we barely got to the starting line in time. As we were waiting for the gun to go off the announcer said there were 8000 runners registered for the race. 8000!? That's twice as many as the Columbus Marathon. The race itself was pretty difficult. First it was really, really humid and already in the 80s at 7:00am. Secondly, it was a lot hillier than anything we run around here. It wasn't steep hills, just really long hils. And lastly because it was two loops of the park, mentally it was tough because you knew you could drop out and always make it back. I finished in 1:52 and Dave finished in 2:11. That's way off our personal bests.

After the race we cleaned up, rested a little, and then decided to go down to Times Square for lunch at a chain restaurant because we wanted to be able to get free refills and be in air conditioning. (If you've never been to NYC, most of the local places serve you sodas in cans or bottles and a lot of places don't have AC.) We had a super nice, super friendly waitress at Bubba Gumps. She talked to us for a long time about culture and tourists and how NYC differs from the midwest. It was an enjoyable lunch.

Next we hopped the subway down to South Ferry and cuaght the boat to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. We had ridden the Staten Island Ferry earlier in the trip so we had already seen the Statue of Liberty but we wanted to see it up close. We took a lot of pictures and even got a stranger to take a picture of the two of us. It was the only picture we got of the two of us together the whole trip. We also went to Ellis Island and explored the immigrant museum there. It had beautiful black and white photographs. I really liked the museum.

For dinner we went to the Upper East Side to a pizza place called John's Pizza. The pizza was delicious, but again, no air conditioning.

We turned in pretty early as the day and the week were starting to wear on us.

Vacation Day 6:

Today was by far my favorite day of our vacation. Today was the day I have been waiting 14 years for. today was the day I got to go to the US Open. My whole reason for coming to NY was to see Andre Agassi play in what is probably his final US Open. Here's the sad part--I didn't get to see him play or practice, but I did get to see a lot of other great players. We first got to see Taylor Dent on one of the practice courts. It's amazing how close you can get to the players! Next we watched a small portion of the Ivan Ljubicic match. Then we went and wtached almost the whole Serena Williams first round match on Arthur Ashe stadium. After the Serena match we went back out to the practice courts and saw Tim Henman and Amelie Mauresmo. We also saw James Black and Xavier Malisse walk by. The next match we saw was Kim Clijsters. She's my favorite female player so this was an especially good treat. You have no idea how good she is until you've seen her play in person. We also got to see a small portion of the Jan-Michael Gambill/Nicolas Massu match before the Clijster's match. After the Clijster's romp we caught the tail end of Rafael Nadal and then watched the whole Venus Williams match. By this time it was late in the afternoon, we were sweaty and stinky and sunburnt and ready to go back to the hotel.

Dave had picked out three different restaurants on the Upper West Side to check out for dinner. One was Mexican, one was Italian, and one was Soul Food (sounds like the start of a joke). One thing that was different about restaurants in NY was that they were really authentic and most of the time the menus were not in English. First we went to the Mexican restaurant and I could not figure out the menu enough to figure out what to order. Then we walked a long way to the Italian restaurant where neither Dave nor I could figure out what the menu said. Finally we went to the Soul Food place where nothing sounded good. As we were walking back to the subway station we passed a coffee shop that was used in the movie "You've Got Mail." Being that this is my favorite movie, I got great joy out of this very long walk. Finally we decided to just go to the Olive Garden to get a familiar meal and headed back to the hotel to watch Agassi play on TV.

Vacation Day 7:

The final day. Today we only had time to be tourists in the morning and then hop our plan in the afternoon. This wasn't a day without adventure, though. We started the morning by going to St. Patrick's Cathedral, then to Rockefeller Plaza, to the NBC store for a little shopping, and finally got some brunch at a restaurant across from our hotel.

We then packed up and checked our travel arrangements. Remember how we had a van transport to and from the hotel? Well we took out the information sheet and it said to call 24 hours in advance. Woops! We called but they couldn't accommodate us so we needed to take a taxi to the airport. We asked the doorman to get us a taxi which we tipped him for but how stupid. The taxi moved from one sport on the curb up about 20 feet which was now in front of us. We could have done that ourselves.

Here's the funny part. On our way to the airport Dave leaned over to me and asked me if I had anything smaller than a $20. I didn't have any money. We got to the airport and our fare was $24.10. Dave handed the guy two $20s and was hoping to get some change back although we didn't actually ask for some change. So our cabbie got a 75% tip. I'm sure it made his day.

With the hurricane and all the rain now in the midwest our flight got delayed by about an hour. But, the airline actually switched airplanes so our flight was not going to leave on time. All the passengers had to board a bus that took us over to the hanger where the airplane was being prepared.

We made it home and it was pouring rain and a heck of a lot cooler than NY. It was an eventful vacation, but it's good to be home.