Friday, December 21, 2007

Clash of the Choirs--Recap

Thank goodness I did not spend all my nights this week watching "Clash of the Choirs." I got all I needed in one night in between watching "100 Best Songs of the 90s" on VH1. Such a better show!

Here's the premise of the show. Five choirs competed for a quarter of a million dollars to give to a charity in their hometown. The five choirs were led by famous people. Team Rowland (Houston) was led by Kelly Rowland formally of Destiny's Child and now from the college football commercials (he he!). Team Bolton (LA?) was led by Michael Bolton. I love that he gave a shout out to Nicollete Sheridan last night. LOL! Team Shelton (OK City) was led by Blake Shelton. He's a country music star for those of you who don't know. Team LaBelle (Philly) was led by Patti LaBelle. And finally was Team Lachey (Cincinnati) led by Nick Lachey who should be famous from 98 Degrees but probably more famous by being the ex-husband of Jessica Simpson. The choirs were selected by audition in their hometowns and were brought to NYC to compete and be judged by audience call-ins, ala American Idol-esqe. Team Rowland was the first team eliminated and then team Bolton. Last night was two hours of recapping, finding out about the teams, hearing all the sappy stories, and actual choir performances. That's why I didn't need to watch the other three nights!

Anyway, "Clash of the Choirs", I believe, was sponsored by "First Sunday", the new movie with Tracey Morgan. Throughout the night snippets of the movie were shown along with Morgan talking about the movie on stage. After an mid-episode elimination of Team Shelton, the remaining teams were finally brought on the stage with about two minutes left in the show. Tracey Morgan was brought up on stage to rip open the envelope and deliver the winners. He was all butterfingers as it took him forever to open the envelope. Then he points toward his left and says "This team over here." Then you had to listen really closely. And thank goodness the TiVo allowed us to rewind it and laugh and laugh and laugh. Morgan says, "Team Lay-He". Tracey Morgan had been in attendance the whole night and still could not pronounce Nick Lachey's last night. Couldn't the producers have told him who would be winning and how to pronounce his name? Was he drunk or simply not paying attention?

Besides the very first act of the night forgetting the words to the solo (of a popular Christmas song, mind you), Tracey Morgan screwing up Nick Lachey's name made the show absolutely awful and spectacular. God bless reality TV.

Monday, December 17, 2007

2007: Year in Review

2007 has been an amazing year. Dave and I did and experienced things we only dreamed we would get to do.

Let’s start with running. In March I received a surprise and found out I had been selected to be a part of the Goody StayPut endurance team. I received massive hair care products in return for representing the team at local and national races. My first race as a team member would be the Boston Marathon. After training for 12 hard weeks, we showed up in Boston this year greeted by a Nor’easter. Weather bulletins looked grim and after shuffling down to Boston Commons to catch the bus, I decided not to do the race. In hindsight it was a poor decision as the weather improved, but I had no desire to sit in the pouring rain and wind for hours waiting to start the race. Three weeks later, though, I ran the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati and ran a great time of 3:38. I had the privilege during the summer to run with five of my track girls in a half marathon. It was an honor to be a part of their tremendous goal. Dave and I, along with several of our friends, decided to run the Columbus Marathon this year. I chose to do it to help my friend Mary qualify for Boston. Leading up to the race, Dave and I ran several smaller races, including one half marathon in which we both did great. Dave achieved one of his Life List goals by running under two hours. He smashed his personal best by 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the weather tripped us up again this fall and we were not able to run the Columbus Marathon the way we had anticipated. I ran a 3:44 and failed to help Mary qualify for Boston, and Dave ran a 4:38. He says he is never running Columbus again! :) I am looking forward to running Boston again this spring (Nor’easter or not). This will be my 10th marathon and I plan to do it up in style.

Dave and I took our dream trip this summer. Years ago we wrote our Life Lists and in 2007 decided not to wait to accomplish our dreams. Early in 2007 we decided to just go for it and booked our airline tickets to Italy. After months of planning and much studying by Dave, on June 3rd we boarded our flight. We flew, we traveled by train, we utilized the subways, and made friends with the water taxi all in an effort to experience Italy. For 2-1/2 weeks we toured Milan, Florence, Montalcino, Lucca, Rome, Venice, and Zermatt, Switzerland. There are so many stories that it’s hard to condense into few words. Dave loved Florence; I loved Venice; and we both want to return to Zermatt. We ate great food, drank lots of wine, and soaked in the Italian goodness. I am so glad we decided to take that trip.

Continuing along the theme of accomplishing our Life Lists, there were many other things we got to check off. For our fifth wedding anniversary this September, Dave surprised me with a hot air balloon ride. Although I was a little bit scared, it was amazing. We got to watch the sunrise and surprisingly the ride was very smooth (although not the landing). During the summer I was contacted by a publishing house in Cleveland that wanted to use one of my pictures, a self-portrait nonetheless, in a book about Ohio State fans. My picture was credited and I received two complimentary copies of the book. “For Buckeye Fans Only” will be available on December 28th, 2007.

And finally I took a leap of faith this fall and started my own business. For years I have wanted to go into business for myself and on October 31st that dream became a reality. Meredith Gordon Photography was launched on Halloween and we have been busy ever since. People have been saying such kind things about my art and I look forward to further growth in the years to come.

I never imaged at the start of 2007 my year would go the way it did. What will 2008 hold? I hope to continue pursuing my photography business and hopefully it will develop into something full time. I plan on running the Boston Marathon again this spring and will be pursuing new personal running goals. And mostly, I want to search for new life goals and dreams and begin checking more off my list.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

This is the Christmas edition of Thursday Thoughts. My aunt sent this to me the other day. Instead of answering it in an e-mail, I'm going to answer it in this post. Feel free to respond to the same questions in the comments or post them in your own blog.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

Wrapping paper, but I'm terrible at wrapping (but totally awesome at rapping). I love to watch people open their presents.

2. Real tree or Artificial?

Artificial; I'm allergic to the real kind. We have GIANT tree. It's about 9 feet tall and about 4 feet wide at the base.

3. When do you put up the tree?

Usually around my mom's birthday on the 13th.

4. When do you take the tree down?

Soon after Christmas.

5. Do you like egg nog?

Nope. I'm not much of a milk fan, so why would I like the egg nog?!

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

My parents are very thoughtful gift givers (they never asked for a list--and still don't). Most gifts I got were fantastic.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?

Yes. Dave's aunt buys us a piece to our nativity scene every year.

8. Hardest person to buy for?

My brother-in-law, Rob.

9. Easiest person to buy for?

Myself, duh! And I do a lot of that at Christmas and even wrap them and put them under the tree or in the stocking.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Mail. I've designed my own this year from a photograph I took. Hopefully they'll be printed in time to mail them.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

I hope my mom's not offended. Just a few years ago my mother bought me a towel wrap, kinda like a robe. It was hot pink and it had straps on it. I'm severely short waisted--the straps hung so low that the robe didn't cover my boobs, but instead hung below them. Mom obviously doesn't know I don't leave the bathroom after showering without getting dressed. Needless to say I returned it and bought a new bra instead.

12. Favorite Christmas movie?

White Christmas

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

Usually December and then buy all the way until Christmas. This year I'm on the ball, though, and about half way done.

14 . Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Maybe, but I can't remember exactly.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Anything. A runner loves her food.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?


17. Favorite Christmas song?

White Christmas--Bring Crosby
Snow--Rosemary Clooney

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

Being that we're the ones without kids we travel both to my parents' house and Dave's parents' house. I have only been away from home once for Christmas, though.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?

Yes. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, Comet, Cupid, Doner, Blitzon, Rudolph (misspellings don't matter, right?)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

Nothing. He he! Our Christmas tree touches the ceiling so we don't put anything on the top.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

Christmas morning, preferably. But I have trouble controlling my excitement and sometimes we open them early.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

Shopping and parking at the mall. Plan a little better, people!

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?

My family has a tradition of buying an ornament every year and my mom usually themes it to interact with whatever is going on with my life at the time. Nothing matches, but it means more to me than matchy-matchy.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner?

Ham and deviled eggs.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

EVERYTHING! Really, I'm buying a lot of photography equipment so I've asked for small things like gift certificates.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It was an honor just being nominated

Well, I didn't make the final ten endurance blogs of the year, but it was an honor just being nominated. Maybe next year I'll campaign a little harder.

I guess that means the blog will continue for another year and I'll have to find interesting things to write about pertaining to running. Sometimes I'm so bored by me!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tough Decisions

As much as I hate to admit it and try to deny it, I am a small town girl. How can I not be when I have returned to my roots? After graduating from college and getting married, I settled in that small town and returned to my school and began coaching track. Last year was my sixth year coaching. I have watched boys and girls become young men and women. This past fall at a football game I saw one of my former students with her husband. Wow!

Yesterday I made a bold decision. I resigned my coaching position. I cried A LOT. I love that school. I love the other coaches I can now call my friends. I love the kids. But, things have changed rapidly at the school and I felt like my role had become obsolete. Until last year it was just me coaching the distance runners. This past season I had a staff. Midway through the season I saw things from the outside and realized I wasn't doing anything. The new cross country coaches don't even know who I am. Doesn't that seem problematic? Track meetings have been held without me. Shouldn't I be part of the decision making?

Truth be told, I wanted to quit a year ago. I had coached a girl all the way to state and she was my first who would be running competitively in college. I had achieved what I set out to do. But, there were other people I had been coaching for a few years that I wanted to see through to their final season. Really, though, won't there always be somebody to see through?

Resigning this position is bittersweet. It's the first and only job I have loved. There are new adventures to have, though, and it's time to look forward without regret.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Flying Feather Four Miler

It's tradition in my family that you run a race on Thanksgiving Day. We ALWAYS run the Turkey Trot, but competition has brought new races to Columbus and this year we decided to give another one a try. We ran the Flying Feather Four Miler. This race is only in it's second year but has become hugely popular because for the price you get a long sleeve technical shirt, discounts to the spa it's held at, cookies and lots of other goodies, and most importantly--a bottle of wine for finishing.

It was raining/sleeting on Thanksgiving morn so the walk to the race kinda sucked. We got there too late and had to line up way in the back. It took over a mile for the crowd to thin out and I swear I probably passed 1000 people during the race. I started my watch when I crossed the start line. My splits were 9:00, 8:30, 8:00, and 7:30 for an overall time of 33:06 (although not my official time).

I thought the race was overcrowded and needed a little better organization to handle the numbers it brought in. Being that it's only in its second year I'm sure they'll smooth out the wrinkles. And the bottle of wine was pretty good.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Check it Out!

Looks like I am this month's featured athlete.

Friday, November 16, 2007

You Gotta Read This

You gotta read this. And I was there, in person, to witness it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

Dave and I are really trying to trim the fat. And I'm not talking about on our bodies. We're trying to reduce our expenditures.

What are some cost savings ideas you have?

Monday, November 12, 2007


A few months ago I was contacted by a publishing company asking permission to use one of my self portraits in a book. I agreed and it has finally been published. The book is called "For Buckeye Fans Only: Wonderful Stories Celebrating the Incredible Ohio State Fans" by Rich Wolfe. It will be available beginning December 28th and currently can be pre-ordered from Barnes and Noble.

Life List--Sell one of my photographs

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm Lucky, Again

I have slowly been making my way back to running. It has been hard to get motivated to get out there and run knowing it's colder and grey and in between training sessions. Friday I decided to go to the gym to run. I got in a good 4 miles on the treadmill. As I was leaving the locker room a girl came up to me asking if I was done with my workout and leaving the gym. I said yes and she asked if I wanted a complimentary shampoo and blowdry. (There's a spa on site.) Um, hell yeah!

So I looked all great after my workout and Dave took me out to dinner.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

You like me, you really like me!

I've been nominated, people! I've been nominated for best endurance blog of the year. Check it out! I haven't checked out all the blogs on there, but the ones I know are triathlete blogs, so I may be one of the only running specific blogs. I'm quite the underdog. The voting will be in December, so please go out and vote, vote, vote!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

At Work Warrior

I work for a gigantic company. Working for such a large company has its perks, but those perks don't always trickle out to the 12 different buildings the company occupies. I work in one of the only buildings that the company doesn't solely own. Which means, we are the only building without a cafeteria and until recently, the only building that did not have free workout facilities.

I applied and received my free lockerroom pass so that I could run with friends at work during lunchtime. I got my pass about a month ago. Yesterday was the first day I used it. I met my dad (who also works for the big company), Rich (retired from said big company), and Darryl (also works for big company) and ran 5 miles. It was a rough 5 miles as it was super windy and we had to run fast to get in 5 miles during our lunch break. This was my first run back since the marathon and 8:00/miles is not what I was expecting. I felt great, though, and I'm not even sore today.

I don't know that this will become an everyday thing, but I enjoyed the break from work and getting to run with people on a weekday.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

It's been a while since I've done a Thursday Thoughts, but I thought of a question this morning.

What was your favorite costume you wore as a kid for Halloween?

My favorite: one year my sister and I went dressed as a Dominos pizza box (my sister) and the Noid (me). I might have time find a picture of that and post it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Grand Opening

It's time.

Meredith Gordon Photography has opened for business. Check it out!

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Winter Plans

Now that the racing season has wound down and the next training cycle doesn't start until January, I need something on which to focus. Last year I worked really hard at my running and dieting and had great results. I got down to my lowest weight in a long time (107) and had two fantastic marathons--Boston (3:40) and Chicago (3:35). This year I kinda let myself go and gained back a lot of weight and didn't concentrate too much on my running.

But this few week offseason and all the way leading up to Boston, I am going to try to get back to where I was a year ago and I'm shooting for a really big goal in Boston--3:33. Yep, I'm gonna go ahead and publically announce it!

Here's the plan now that a week has passed since the marathon. I'm going to cut back on the gluttony. Seriously, I love food and high caloric food, but I need to slow it down and eat a few more fruits and vegetables. Next, I'm going to do a little more cross training. I love to swim, but I rarely make time for it. I'm also going to put more emphasis on my speed training, something I didn't do any of for Columbus. And lastly, I am going to weigh in and take weekly measurements to see how I'm tracking. This is more about getting fit than losing weight and I think that should be tracked more through total numbers than just what the scale says.

So, I weighed in and took the measurements last Tuesday and will continue every Tuesday. Here are the baselines:

Weight: 119.3 pounds
Chest: Do you really think I'm going to tell you that?!
Bust: Seriously?!
Waist: 28-1/2 inches
Hips: 35 inches
Butt: 36 inches
L Bicep: 10 inches
R Bicep: 10-1/4 inches
L Quad: 18-1/2 inches
R Qual: 19 inches
L Calf: 14 inches
R Calf: 14 inches

The best calves are only 1/2 inches smaller than Dave's!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Columbus Marathon 2007

Back in the spring after making super-fast friends with Mary, we decided to run the Columbus Marathon together in hopes of qualifying Mary for Boston. We began running together and building up our miles and then shared a training plan when the fun began in July. Finally, Sunday, the day arrived and we were anxious to find out if our planning was successful.

Mary and I met up with Patty and Andrea to run together. We started slow and began building our speed finally falling into a comfortable pace~8:15 per mile. We talked; we laughed; we generally had fun. As we made our way up the long 5 mile stretch of High Street, things began to get quiet. Around mile 16 I noticed Patty had dropped off pace. Andrea informed us that Patty was going to do her own thing. Mile 17 is one of the hardest on the course and it didn’t help that the temperature was quickly rising and the sun was brutal. At mile 17, Mary let out a sigh that I knew meant trouble. At the next water stop, Andrea and I looked back and Mary was gone. I slowed down a bit, but didn’t want to lose my pace as we were only eight seconds ahead of qualifying pace and Andrea held back to see what was going on. We turned onto Dodridge and Andrea came flying up to me. She said Mary was tired and that she was going to fall back. I knew there that Mary’s Boston dreams were not going to happen.

Andrea and I continued on until mile 20 or 21 when I just couldn’t hold pace anymore. I told her to go on and she did. The next several miles were lonely and difficult. I had previously run three other marathons in the 70 degree temperature range, but this felt much hotter. I was so thirsty I felt like I had come to run the marathon after a night of drinking. I would lick my lips and it would provide no relief. Even though I was still on pace to run a 3:40, at mile 22 I decided to do a little walking. Now my walking is not like most people in the marathon. I generally walk for a maximum of a few seconds and then get running again. It’s more for a brain relief than a body relief. As I worked my way into the campus area, I was alone. Dr. Gordon Gee, president of OSU, congratulated me and I personally thanked him. That was the highlight of my race. I slowed down; I walked; I shuffled. Finally at mile 25 I saw Mary’s sister and I had to inform her that I didn’t know where Mary was. I made my way into the last stretch, saw my family, shook my head and smiled. Even though it didn’t go the way I had planned, it had been a good race. I turned onto Nationwide Blvd. heading down to the finish line and I heard people yell out, “Go Mary.” I turned back and she was right there. We grabbed each other’s hands and finished together—3:44:25. Although exhausted, we hugged and congratulated each other. It wasn’t the race we wanted, but it turned out the way it was supposed to. Any other day, I am sure we would have done it.

Next up? Although we didn’t qualify together, I will be going to Boston this spring for my 10th marathon. And Mary has said she and her sister are planning the Country Music ½ Marathon in April.

Oh, I forgot to mention my second highlight of the day. Mary and I coach together at the high school and some of our girls came out to watch the race. They had made great signs that said “Coach Bauman and Coach Gordon Boston Bound.” Luckily I found one of the signs on the street and I took it home to keep it. They were awesome!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bring it On!

The marathon is this Sunday and I'm feeling pretty good. I have been fighting some shin splints, but it looks like I'm going to win. The water drinking/carbo-loading is probably going to start today. I'm pacing two people to qualify for Boston. Here's hoping I don't screw it up for them. :)

Can I just say how awesomely fun it is right now to be an Ohioan? How 'bout those Indians? Dave and I went up and saw game 1 of the ALDS when we romped the Yankees 12-3. Now we sit eagerly in front of the TV and cheer every run, pitch, and hit.


And how 'bout those Buckeyes? Who would have thought we'd be #1 this year?

With all the excitement going on, how am I supposed to get any sleep before the marathon?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Homestretch 20 Miler

This past Sunday I ran the Homestretch 20 miler which was my last long run before the marathon in a few weeks. The gameplan was the run easily and get in the miles. Dave and I met up with my dad and Patty. Dave had decided he was going to run slower today, and I didn't see him again until the end. Dad was going to walk all the waterstops, so I didn't see him from the third waterstop on. (He got really bad blisters and walked the last five miles.) Patty and I ran the whole thing together--comfortably.

We started out in the 9:30s and finished in the low 8:00s. Exactly how I like to run. We didn't walk any waterstops and had fun passing A LOT of people. My time was seven minutes slower than last year, but that's okay. I finished in 7th place of my age group with a 2:56:38.

Less than three weeks until the marathon and I'm feeling good.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Real World

In baseball there are magic numbers which indicate the number of wins needed by a team to win a division. I know that's not a full explanation, but Dave can help me out in the comments.

My magic number for the past two weeks has been 3. That's the number of miles I have run since September 15th. Last week I was sicker than a dog (and still am) and in addition, I have returned to college which interferes with two days of running per week. Yesterday I worked 10 hours which kept me from running because I had too much homework to do for class today. My marathon is in 3-1/2 weeks and this is supposed to be my highest mileage week. I don't think 3 miles is going to cut it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Do you remember the 21st night of September?

I do, because 5 years ago today we got married.

All week long I have been hounded by people to write me recap of Reach the Beach. And I have been able to use the excuse of being sick not to write a recap (because good God have I been sick this week), but this will be my first full day of working this week and I probably should write a recap. You can see my pictures here.

If you read Dave’s post you’ll know that we got seeded too high and had too late of a start time and spent the majority of the race closing the transition areas. It was a very lonely race. We because team number 333, the last team on the course. They didn’t know our team name, Profile Deluxe, but people would say, “Ah team 333. We heard about you.”

During Dave’s second leg which was around 3:30 in the morning, in total darkness with heavy rain, and completely alone, he missed a turn that would have taken him to his transition area. We waited and waited at the transition for him to show up. Brian took the van and started looking for him, came back about 10 minutes later and said he couldn’t find him. I have never felt so sick. We all climbed back into the van, except for Bob who was to run next and went looking for Dave. We went backwards on the course until the last time we had seen Dave and couldn’t find him. It was nerve-wracking to be sitting next to Jim and watching him look out the windows into the ditches and fields. We turned around and went forward on the course and finally found him two miles in the wrong direction but coming back towards us. Luckily Dave had run into another team’s support vehicle who pointed him in the right direction. We picked him up and took him to the correct transition and luckily we didn’t get a penalty since we were already the last team.

The whole situation was very scary. I like to think of myself as completely independent and could do just fine by myself. Most of the time I put myself above others, especially Dave. I am very selfish and I know that. But losing Dave even for the span of 45 minutes scared the living daylights out of me. Maybe I do need him. Maybe I’m not as selfish as I think. Maybe somewhere deep down in this shallow dark hole called a heart, I actually love him more than I can express.

Happy anniversary Dave.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

You are never going to believe this, Part 2

Remember a few weeks ago when I told about my incredible luck (and skill) at the Master's Tennis Tournament? My luck continues.

Yesterday I was driving to my doctor's appointment and I noticed something flopping on the road. I took a closer look and noticed it was money. I immediately parked my car and ran over to the money and started picking it up. Low and behold, it was $100 bills! I'm not sure I had ever seen a $100 bill. Along with the money, which totalled $442, I found a wallet. As I sat in the waiting room at the doctor's office I called 411 and got the phone number for the gentleman's wallet I found.

He called me back later in the day and came over and picked up his wallet. I told him I picked up all the money I could find and hoped it was all of it because it seemed like a lot. He said he wasn't even concerned about the cash, but was concerned about the credit cards because he just had his identity stolen on the internet and the credit cards were brand new. He said he didn't even know his wallet was missing, that he must have had it on top of his car and it fell off when he was driving. He was so grateful for my honesty that he gave me $100 and then made a donation in my name to World Vision where Dave and I sponsor a child.

Isn't that a great story?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wednesday Night Supper Club

Thursday Thoughts is going to take a little hiatus. My questions have become lame-o and I haven't gotten the response in a while that once was.

Welcome to my new segment called Wednesday Night Supper Club. Every Wednesday night my mom and dad, Dave and I, and sometimes special guests go to dinner. Each week a different person chooses a restaurant. Since we started this new tradition this summer we have had dinner at Mi Mexico (I'm not much into the authentic Mexican--next time I'll pass), Smokey Bones (always order the dessert donuts), BJ's (fantastic deep dish pizzas), Abuelo's (the best margaritas), Old Bag of Nails (great fish and chips--or so I hear), and Gibby's (fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches).

Last night was Dad's choice and we went to Rotelli's. Roltelli's is an Italian restaurant with great pasta dishes and good pizza. Because of my hard, hard run yesterday I was more thirsty than hungry and had pizza instead of the usual manicotti. My dad had lasagna, my mom pizza, and Dave and gnocchi bologne. The dinner was really good. Rotelli's is a chain restaurant, so if you have one in your town, check it out.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Mt. Carmel Fitness Challenge-1/2 Marathon

Yesterday Dave and I ran the Mt. Carmel Fitness Challenge 1/2 Marathon. We each had our own goals for this race. For me, I wanted to be able to run a 1:45 or better but be comfortable and not push the pace. Dave wanted to run a sub-2:00 race as he had yet to clear that hurdle. The race was in residential Reynoldsburg starting at the high school and winding around and around and around a neighborhood (seriously) and finally came back to the school via a bike path.

I started out pretty conservatively just under a 9:00 pace. It is so tough mentally to watch people run past you, but in every race I run I remind myself that I will see those people again. And I did. With each mile I picked up speed and began to pick people off. For several miles in the middle I had my eyes on a girl in front of me thinking she was probably in my age group. I caught her around mile 8 and ran with her until mile 10. She was really trying to break me and vice versa. At one point I didn't know if I could keep up and I asked her what age group she was in. Of course, she was wearing her headset and couldn't hear me. People! Take off your headsets! Finally at mile 10 I pulled ahead of her and I started to feel really great. I tailed about 3 guys for the next mile and a half until I pulled in front of them. At mile 11 on the bike path there was a curve and I was able to look back and see that the girl was still there. I turned on the jets and pushed as hard as I could until the finish. I ran a 1:43:17, which is my third fastest 1/2 marathon time. I finished 7th female overall and 2nd in my age group. The girl behind me was actually in the next age group up and she thanked me afterwards for pushing her. The girl who finished one ahead of me in my age group was in my eyesight and was only 30 seconds ahead.

Here's the best part. Dave's PR for the 1/2 marathon was 2:02 and change. He's been training really well for the Columbus marathon and he has his sights set on running a 4:00 marathon. And we totally think it's possible. He's been running with us every week and has been following his plan to a T. His goal for this 1/2 marathon was to run a sub-2:00 so he had some realization about running a 4:00 marathon. After I had finished my race, I stuck around and was talking to a friend. I thought I would have time to run back to the car and grab my camera before Dave finished. But out of nowhere Dave appeared way earlier than I expected him. He ran a 1:52:30; 10 minutes better than his previous PR. I've asked him to update his blog with it. Please send him a congratulations. He deserves it!

The Stars Aligned

Saturday was the best day. I got to spend the day with Mary and go to the Ohio State game where we trampled Youngstown State. Then I spent the next 1/2 hour after the game underneath the stadium watching Michigan lose to Applachian State. Those were some of the loudest cheers I heard all day. Finally I got to go home and watch Notre Dame lose. The stars all aligned.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

I learned a great piece of information this week that I didn't know. While watching "Living with Ed" on HGTV, I learned that when recycling plastic bottles, lids need to be removed because the lids are usually not recyclable. When the lids are not removed, usually the bottles are thrown away instead of taking the lids off at the recycling center. So remove your lids, people!

So, what's one important thing you've learned this week?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Columbus 5K and Corporate Challenge

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of representing my company by participating in the Corporate Challenge. At first I was tapped to represent the 25-29 age group as part of the Columbus 5K. People! I hate the 5K. The first mile marker was way off and I passed in 5:30. I knew it was off, but I began to worry how fast I was actually going. The second mile marker I hit at 9:50. Yeah, obviously something was not right. I hit the 3 mile marker at 7:10. That one was probably correct. In the last 150 yards or so, I passed a girl who I thought was in my age group. I was really struggling though, and was on the verge of tossing my cookies so I had to slow up a little and she passed me back. Turns out she was in my age group. I finished 2nd in my age group with a 23:33. A friend of mine who was wearing a GPS said the course as 3.2 miles. Makes me feel a little better about my time.

There were also other events as part of the Corporate Challenge yesterday that I got "roped" into doing. Other events included push-ups, sit-ups, jump roping, standing long jump, and a shuttle run. I also participated in the jump rope competition and the standing long jump. I totally kicked a$$ in the jump rope by doing 290 jumps in 2 minutes. Our team won the jump rope competition. I was shown no mercy by being the smallest person in the standing long jump, but I held my own by at least jumping my height.

I don't think we won the competition yesterday, but I'm pretty sure we won the President's Cup which is the overall year-long competition.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Q&A with Meredith

Liz posted a question in the Thursday Thoughts and I wanted to answer it as a whole other entry.

She asked, "I would LOVE to run this 18 mile race on October 7, and I have been running about 25-30 miles a week. I recently ran 9 miles and I felt very strong. Do you think if I kept building my long runs, I'll be able to run the 18-miler by then?"

This was an excellent question and I am so happy to answer it. Here is my response:

I think you have plenty of time to train for an 18 mile race on October 7th. I think your weekly mileage is far better than most people would be running that same race. In fact, that is the same weekly mileage I used to run my first three marathons. Since your longest single run to date is 9 miles, I would recommend increasing your long run each week by 1-2 miles. You can choose to actually run 18 miles as a training run before the race, or you might want to only run 16-17 miles as your longest training run before the race. I would also recommend keeping your weekly mileage roughly the same or even a little bit higher, like 30-35 miles.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind to keep from getting injured.

-Do not increase your weekly miles too quickly. I would only increase that long run mileage.
Your long runs should be long, SLOW runs. We’re talking 1-2 minutes slower per mile than your race pace. For example, I run my marathons between an 8:00 and 8:30 pace per mile. I do my long runs between a 9:00 and a 9:30. The runs should be comfortable and you should be able to hold a conversation. If you feel yourself picking it up, slow it down.

-Your other daily runs should also be at a comfortable pace. Only once or twice per week should you be doing any speed workouts.

-And finally, if it hurts, STOP! Take some time off, rest and ice, and return to your running slowly. Usually it’s just soreness and a day or two off will really help.

If anyone else has running questions, or any questions you'd like to ask me, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts, the back to school edition. My niece heads to her first day of kindergarten tomorrow and I head back to college in 4 weeks.

If you were heading back to school now or if your child is heading back to school, what's the one school supply that you desperately have to have?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wait a Second

Yep that’s right. I have started a second blog.

For several years now I have been toying with the idea of starting my own photography business. And now I am going to take the leap of faith and actually go for it. Right now, I’m only going to have a blog, but my goal is to have my business up and running and selling by mid-April (my 30th birthday).

So check it out; leave me a comment; and send me some business!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

You are never going to believe this....

Dave and I went to the Western and Southern Financial Group Master's tennis tournament in Cincinnati yesterday. We had tickets to the semi-finals. The first match was Federer vs. Hewitt. It was an absolutely fabulous match that went to a third set tie breaker and for a minute I actually couldn't believe I was going to be at a match where Roger Federer lost. But, Federer won in the tie breaker. The second match was Blake vs. Davydenko and I couldn't believe how handily James Blake won. Quite impressive.

Here's the real story.

After dinner Dave and I were exploring the grounds: checking out Nadal practicing, noticing the ESPN center where the broadcast was going to take place, and finally looking at the boards with the ATP standings. While there I was approached by a woman who asked me if I wanted to participate in a contest. I asked her, "What kind of contest?" She said I would be one of three participants to be on court between the Blake match and the Bryan brothers match. I would have thirty seconds to hit tennis balls at a target to win prizes. She said everyone would win a prize. Although I haven't picked up my tennis racquet in probably four years, I said yes. So, with two games left in the Blake match, I headed down to the meeting point. I, along with two other guys, was led down into the player's tunnel and waited until the match was over. Then we were led out onto the court while Blake was being interviewed.

The announced explained the contest. Each contestant would be fed balls and have 30 seconds to hit towards the Coke display and knock over as many bottles as possible. The person knocking over the most bottles won.

The prizes were as follows. First place would win a Cincinnati prize pack including 10 tickets to King's Island, four tickets to a Red's game, and four ticket's to a Bengal's game. In total, first price was worth $1500. Second prize was a Richard Petty driving experience at the Kentucky speedway. Third prize was two cases of Coke per month for a year. Even if nobody knocked over any of the targets we would each get to draw for one of the prizes. It was a win-win situation.

The first guy up had never hit a tennis ball before and it showed. He either hit the balls into the net or way up into the stands. Needless to say he didn't hit the target. I was up second. The tennis pro feeding me the balls fed them so fast I didn't have time to line up my shots or see what I was doing. I heard the crowd cheer and I figured I was doing well.

When it was over I had knocked over three Coke bottles.

The final participant's first ball hit the target squarely and I thought for sure he'd be knocking over all of them. To my surprise however, none of the bottles fell and the rest of his shots were just off target.

Unbelievably, I won! I won this huge prize pack to Cincinnati. And I was interviewed on court.

The announcer asked me what I was most excited about and I said the Kings Island tickets. He then asked me about getting to see the Bengals and I said I was a Browns fan. I got booed by the crowd. :) None the less, as I left the court and found my way back to my seat, I received several congratulations.

Not only did I get to see great tennis yesterday, I got extremely lucky and walked away a winner myself.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

Oh Andy. I picked up semi-final tickets because I thought it was my best chance to watch you play. And then you go and lose before even getting to the quarters. Who will I be seeing in the semi-finals? Right now it's looking like Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, and James Blake. Maybe?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Come on Guys!

Dave and I have tickets to the semi-finals this weekend for the ATP Master's Tournament in Cincinnati. I am really excited about this, since I am one of the biggest tennis fans. I thought by going to the semi-finals we would have a chance to see Nadal and Federer and Roddick and Djokovic or any of the other big names in tennis.

But no. Nadal retired yesterday in his match and Djokovic was upset. I've seen Nadal play at the US Open before so that's okay. I am really crossing my fingers to get to see Roddick play. He's one of my favorites.

So, what are you doing this weekend?

PS--Look for something new and exciting very soon!

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Two years ago Dave and I were out running and we saw a perfectly good pair of Nike sunglasses on the side of the road. They fit me wonderfully and looked cute on me, so I kept them. A couple weeks ago after spending the weekend in Cleveland, I lost the sunglasses.

A week ago I was in a bathroom at work and beside the sink was a bag with a pair of shoes and a pair of sunglasses. As much as I was tempted, I didn’t take them. Later in the day, about six hours later, I frequented that bathroom again and the shoes and sunglasses were still there. This time I couldn’t resist, after all, I had given the person six hours to retrieve them.

Two days ago I was talking to a friend at work and one of the leads for our department was talking to another person about having her shoes and sunglasses stolen. My eyes got really big. I pulled my friend into the hallway and told her I was the one who stole the sunglasses.

After simmering and stewing with a guilty conscious for a full 24 hours, I returned the sunglasses yesterday. Luckily, the woman thought the story was very funny. And, funny enough, the shoes were also returned to her by someone else.

That Karma…She’s a beyotch!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

My Heart Was Beeping

I can barely type that title without laughing. The whole family went to see Hairspray this weekend and when it was done, Nephew #1 was quite wound up. My sister sent him outside to run around our house. It was way hot outside and he had just eaten and he stopped after only running one lap. He said his heart was beeping. J

Nike Minus—In Columbus there is a trail that runs along the Olentangy River that is marked every mile and runs approximate 13-15 miles one way. This is the course we do our long runs on and usually where I do my lactate threshold runs since it is marked. Since June there have been three attempted female abductions at one of the major parking lot areas and I decided and promised my mom I would no longer run on that course alone. This weekend I bought a Nike+ to use with my iPod and help me measure courses so I can do my LT runs. I used it yesterday on a course I’ve measured with my car and it was off by about 4 tenths. Not a huge deal, but there were other problems. The Nike+ uses stride length to measure distance instead of GPS. It assumes an “average” stride length so it can be used out of the box, although you can calibrate it too. My run yesterday was six miles with three at half marathon pace. My half marathon pace is around 7:50 per mile. I ran the first 1-1/2 slow and then picked it up. Here’s the problem…when I run slow I have a really small stride length. It’s almost shuffle-like. When I run fast, I take pretty sizable steps. Yesterday’s run was pretty hard (more on that in a minute) so I doubt I ever made it down to 7:50 miles, but I certainly wasn’t at the 9:27 pace my iPod was telling me. When I slowed down for the last mile and a half of the run my pace “quickened” to 9:09 even though I was running slower and easier. Guess I will need to calibrate it using an “average” pace.

It’s Getting Hot in Here—Unless you don’t ever leave your house or don’t watch the news you know there is a huge heat wave going on in the Midwest. Last week after running our nine miles on Wednesday afternoon/evening Dad and I swore to Mary that it would not get any hotter this summer. Ha! Yesterday’s run was miserable. said it was 88 but felt like 96 and being out in that heat, it felt like the surface of the sun. The places I usually run have great trails, but no protection from the sun. I have been drinking gallons of water (no kidding, I had 10-8 oz glasses of water yesterday), which in turn has made me sweat like a faucet being turned on. I was dizzy, I thought I was going to throw up, I got chills, and I was still sweating so I know I was okay. I took more breaks in that run that should have been allowed. I should not even be allowed to call it a run. Tomorrow I am scheduled to run 11 miles and I’ve already had two of my regulars back out. Now it’s down to Dad and I (and maybe Dave), but I’m really thinking of doing the run at 5:30am. It may be the only time it can be done safely.

Celebrate Good Times, Come On—Maybe I haven’t mentioned this, but this is my 30th year. Next year at the Boston Marathon I will turn 30. Actually what’s funny is that I will have been able to run the same race in two separate years at the same age. Bet that doesn’t happen very often. I always thought 30 was old and I still think it’s old. But I don’t feel 30 and I certainly don’t feel old. I have 9 months left in this 30th year and I want it to be a grand year full of adventure. Mostly I am going to try to check things off my Life List this year, but certainly there will be things I’ll do that aren’t on that list. What would you do if this was your big year? How can you help me check things off my List? What is the next great adventure?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lifeline of Ohio Half Marathon

Last Saturday I did something I have never done. I ran a race without competing.

A few months ago during track season one of my students approached me saying she wanted to do a half marathon for her senior project and she was including all the other girls on the team. She put together a training, nutrition, and stretching plan and then executed it with her teammates. I would meet them early on Saturday mornings and do the longs runs with them.

Saturday we met downtown for the Lifeline of Ohio Half Marathon. I promised the girls I would run with them and make sure they were going to make it the distance. The goal was to run about two hours and one of the girls was wearing a GPS to let us know what our pace was. On a side note—I am not a fan of GPSs. This girl looked at her watch the entire time and never ran by how she felt. At one point I told her to stop being a slave to her watch and just run. The girls are so competitive with each other, too. If one stepped ahead of another they would yell at her and tell her not to speed up. Since this was their first distance race, I’m okay with that, but I’d love to see what they could really do if they were not doing this together.

In the end we finished how we started—in a straight line and as teammates. Our time was 2:02:40. We held hands as we crossed the finish line and congratulated each other. I’m so proud of the girls. I think this will give them wonderful skills and confidence for the upcoming cross country season.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Finally, Some Good News

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a publishing company asking permission to use one of my photographs in a book about Ohio State fans. The picture will be the front picture for a chapter about OSU's female fans. In exchange, I will receive two copies of the book when it is published in September. I have even been sent the chapter along with my photograph in it.

Of course, I agreed. For a long time I have been wanting to get serious about my photography. Hopefully this is the kick in the pants I need. I'm provide more information once the book is published. I should also note, Dave did a ton of work on this picture to make it look the way it did. I simply took four self portraits.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Italy, Switzerland, and How We Wound Up in Brooklyn

June 9

Find the pictures here.

The only television channel we could get in English while in Italy was CNN. And we watched it like it was going out of style….because it was in English. From watching CNN we learned that President Bush was going to be in Rome while we were in Rome. At the train station we began to learn what exactly that meant. We became concerned when we saw that two trains were already delayed for Rome, one of them over 2 hours. But our train was connecting through Rome and was only delayed 10 minutes. The fun really began in Rome.

The train station is attached to a mall and attached to the mall are the subway portals. We went into one subway entry and it was closed. Then we found another one and it too was closed. We started to put two and two together. We went outside and there were hundreds of police officers all in full riot gear. Our hotel was a mile and thought it really wasn’t that far (stupid marathons), so we decided to walk. This walk would have been very nice if we weren’t carrying 30 pounds on our backs, a ripped back full of souvenirs, and it wasn’t 85 degrees outside. We walked passed the Coliseum and the other ruins, but we were not happy campers. After what seemed like forever and countless outbursts and arguments, we found our hotel. And what a beautiful hotel it was.

Once checked in we HAD to take showers after our baths in our own sweat and rested a little. Then we walked around a little and before found a restaurant for dinner. We saw a beautiful park which had views all the way to the Vatican, and a rose garden. Both areas were being used and were excellent places for wedding pictures. For dinner I had lasagna and a steak and Dave had spicy pasta and a bean/ham concoction. We split a bottle of Pinot Grigio. As I have said before, the pace of dinner is quite slow in Italy, more like a feast than a meal. We saw two American families get up and leave because they were not patient enough for the service. Their loss. The dinner was fantastic.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Take a Deep Breath

People start blogs for a variety of reasons, mostly to express their lives through writing. There’s a certain anonymity to keeping a blog, yet people seem to know you and “real” people—friends and family—tend to use your blog to keep up with what’s happening in your life.

The things I write are so superficial. It’s almost as if I’ve been asked about my day and I’m giving the Cliff Notes answer. There are things going on in my personal life that I just can’t talk about on my blog. It’s frustrating. I need to get things off my chest. I need advise. I need a change of pace. I need out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Italy, Switzerland, and How We Wound Up in Brooklyn

June 8

See the pictures here. (I'm still uploading pictures. Give me a break! There's 550 of them!)

Today we boarded a train and journeyed to Lucca. Lucca is a fortified city with a giant wall still surrounding the town. The wall used to be used for protection, but now it is a park. Mostly we went to the town to eat and do some shopping. Lunch was at Bica di Sant’Antonio, where I had meat ravioli and pork chop with potatoes. Dave had cheese ravioli with zucchini and guinea fowl. We split a vanilla frozen yogurt with berries for dessert. In Lucca I bought two beautiful pashminas—one for my sister and one for myself. They were 100% cashmere and only 10 euros a piece. We did some more shopping once we got back to Florence. I bought myself a beautiful leather purse and Dave bought his grandmother some leather gloves. In the evening we bought some gelato and made our way up to the park to watch the sun set over Florence--a beautiful last night in Florence. Tomorrow we leave for Rome.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Welcome Home

Welcome home Gordon Gee. We're so glad you've decided to return.

Gordon Gee was the sole reason I decided to go to Ohio State. I had signed my papers to go to the University of Kentucky and was about to drop them in the mail, when my mom asked me to take one more look at Ohio State. I went and while I was there I heard Gordon Gee give a speech. By the end I was in tears and knew I HAD to go to OSU. The next day I sent my acceptance to Ohio State. It was the best decision I ever made.

Oh yeah, it's Thursday. Who or what influenced you to make the schooling choices you did?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What's Been Going On?

Is anyone else having problems with Blogger that you can't put a title on your posts? Is it just me?

Well, you ask...Mer, what's up with the running? You haven't talked about the running?

That's because there really hasn't been much running. I didn't run at all while we were on vacation and for the past two weeks I've been sick. Scary sick. It started two weeks ago with intense, sharp chest pains that had no rhyme or reason. Then I started getting some shortness of breathe. At times I thought about going to the hospital, but I didn't want to go to the hospital and everyday I just hoped the pain would go away. Finally I called the doctor last week. And they gave me a fright. They took my blood pressure, my pulse, they did an EKG, a chest X-ray, and took my pulse/ox. The doctors (3 doctors) told me it could be a pulmonary embolism--a blood clot in my lungs. A CT scan was scheduled.

Yesterday was my CT scan. It was scary. I had had one before when I had all kinds of headaches, but this one was more intense. I was hooked up to the IV, took the first scan, and then the radiation came. I had never felt so hot. I was sweating. And the whole time I had to hold my breath for the scans. Because of the potential severity of a PE, I was required to wait for my results pending admittance into the hospital. And the IV had to stay in place. For 45 minutes I waited for an answer and finally my doctor called me. It was not a blood clot. My lungs/chest we inflamed, probably because of the air quality and my asthma. I've been instructed to take Motrin.

I went back to running yesterday. I did 3 miles on the treadmill and took a weight lifting class. I took breaks when I needed it and drank lots of water. And, I am trying to stay diligent on my asthma medicine. I'm glad to be well.

Monday, July 09, 2007

June 7

This was one of my favorite days of our trip. It was the day of our wine tour.

We started the day early meeting up with Rebecca Christopherson, our guide, and Rebecca and Kyle from San Francisco, California at the National Library in Florence. Rebecca drove us to Siena where we picked up Stephan and Lydia from Mississippi. From there we drop to Montalcino; a little town in Tuscany, two hours south of Florence.

Our tasting was done at the San Polino vineyards and winery. This particular vineyard is organic and is currently working with the University of Florence to find new ways to control pests. Katia Fabro along with her husband Luigi own the vineyard and winery. Katia taught us all about organic farming and biodynamics, which is like organic but with more astrology. San Polino vineyards are only about 6 acres and they bottle about 10,000 bottles per year.

We tasted two wines, both D.O.C.G. reds. I enjoyed both. We also ate bread with olive oil. San Polino also has its own olive oil and it was exceptional; the best I have ever had. We were so impressed by the wine and olive oil that we bought two bottles of wine and a small container of olive oil to take home. And at the time, we had no idea how we would get them home.

Our next stop was lunch and it was at someone’s house. This gentleman made olive oil by cold press and also offered cooking lessons in his home. We were told we were to be having a light lunch. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. Our lunch turned out to be four courses. The first course was bread, bruchetta, zucchini, eggplant, and garlic. Then it was pasta and a meat with spinach. Finally for dessert we had cherries that had been soaked in wine for a year. Then we got a lesson about cold press olive oil. Did you know that not all extra virgin olive oils are extra virgin? In fact, most are not. But, all cold press olive oils are extra virgin. So the next time you go to the grocery store make sure you are buying cold press olive oil.

After lunch we went into the town of Montalcino to tour around for a half an hour. Dave and I took lots of pictures there. We thought about ice cream; we thought about more wine, but in the end decided to just take pictures. Finally it was two hours back to Florence.

We were still stuffed from lunch so we had some gelato for dinner and shopped around the Ponte de Vecchio. Finally we made our way up to a park and watched the sun set over Florence.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Transformer at the Transformers

A little side story....Sorry about the postings about vacation. I've been really busy with home and work and life. I promise I will get the entire vacation documented.

The other night I went out with my friends for dinner. I thought it was only going to be 4-6 of us and that they were going to see Transformers, while I was planning on only having dinner with them. Transformers didn't interest me. As it turns out it was a party of 11 and all of them had babysitters, and I was the only one not going to see the movie. They convinced me and I joined them at the movie theatre.

We were 45 minutes into the movie when it cut off and the house lights immediately came up. That was weird?! Why would the house lights come up immediately. Then it got hot and we realized the lights were emergency lights and not actually being run by electricity. Funny enough a transformer blew in the parking lot and the electricity was out in the entire mall area. Our tickets were refunded with a free movie pass.

Was it the Autobots or the Decepticons?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Italy, Switzerland, and How We Wound Up in Brooklyn

June 6

(I'm working on the pictures!)

We got up early today, showered in our open bathroom getting everything soaking wet, and ate our granola bars. We did not discover until later this week that our breakfast was included with our room. We then walked to an ATM, which we thought ate our card (thank goodness it did not) and then headed to the Galleria di Academia.

Luckily we already had reservations and were able to get into a much shorter line to get inside. Inside were many paintings and sculptures. Dave and I are not much into art and did not know that sculptures were first done in plaster and then finished in another medium like marble. Then we saw The David, which was our whole reason for going to Academia. It was amazing! Pictures don’t do it justice. It must have been 15 feet tall and every inch was fully detailed. This museum was well worth the trip just to see The David.

In the afternoon we had reservations at the Uffizi Museum but between reservations we had a little time so we went to the cathedral and climbed the stairs to the top of the bell tower. The staircase up the tower was very narrow. Whenever someone needed to pass, both parties needed to hug the wall to get by. The bell tower was so tall there were three levels to look out of before getting to the top. It made for good resting points. The view from the top was amazing. Check out the pictures.

Around noon we went to the Uffizi. Lucky again, we had reservations. There was a huge line for those who didn’t and those people who were waiting were waiting for reservations for the next day. The Uffizi was huge and took us almost three hours to get through. Most of the paintings were renaissance paintings, many from such painters as Michelangelo, Raphael, Da Vinci, etc. My favorite was the “Birth of Venus”.

For dinner we went to Acqua Al 2, which, funny enough, also has a location in San Diego. I had a cheese and mushroom cannelloni and Dave had farfalline which is bowtie pasta with zucchini. Dinner is an all evening event in Italy. Most restaurants do not even open until 7:30 and if you do not go at that time, mostly likely you will need a reservation. The dinner starts with a bottle of wine, which is always presented and tasted before poured for everyone. Then it’s bread and/or appetizers. The primo dish is a pasta dish. The secando dish is usually a meat. And finally there is dessert. The serving staff will allow you to sit all night long and enjoy the atmosphere if you so choose. Otherwise you need to ask for your bill if you wish to leave. Tipping is sometimes included in your bill so make sure to check. There is also a service fee included which covers bread, etc. We saw many Americans frustrated with the speed of service or shall I say, lack there of. It’s important to remember to be patient and enjoy the experience. There’s nowhere else to go really. Everything else closes for dinner.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Italy, Switzerland, and How We Wound Up in Brooklyn

June 5

When we woke up from our comas in the morning, we discovered we had no electricity. If only I knew this was going to be the start of my electricity woes. We ate some granola bars we had packed and headed to the subway station. This was our first, and surprisingly only, run-in we had with gypsies or people trying to dupe us. A gypsy bought our subway tickets for us and did a little slide of hand and took some of our money too. Dave saw her do it and just figured it would go better as a tip than arguing over the money. She did ask us for a tip and Dave said he had tipped her already. We’ll just call her our travel agent.

We grabbed the subway and headed to the Duomo, or cathedral. It was outstanding! So ornate. We walked completely around the outside, through the inside, and then got tickets and climbed to the top of it. Check out the pictures.

We took the subway back after being harassed by some street vendors, got our complimentary breakfast, and checked out of our hotel. We had booked this hotel through AAA and our travel agent had done it incorrectly. She had booked us for only one person instead of two and we had to pay an additional 25 Euro for me. After checking out we went to the train station and took the train to Florence.

We arrived in Florence around 5:00pm and walked about a mile to our hotel. The streets were crowded with vendors and tourists. We stayed at the Hotel Balestri which was on the river closed to the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

The hotel room was unique, to say the least. The bed was only a mattress and it was as hard as a rock. The bathroom had a bathtub but it did not have a showerhead. Instead the showerhead was on one of the bathroom walls between the toilet and the bidet. So when we took our showers during the day, the entire bathroom got wet.

Our first afternoon/evening we watched a parade of Ferrari’s from our hotel room. I guess there was some swanky party going on that evening sponsored by Ferrari. Dinner was across the river at I Tarocchi, which was pizza and wine. There were some obnoxious college girls sitting behind us at dinner and were loudly talking about looking for a party, getting drunk, and making out with Italian guys. I thought they were pretty rude, but I’m sure that happens all the time in touristy European cities. We turned in around 11:00pm.

(More pictures to come!!)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Italy, Switzerland, and how we wound up in Brooklyn

June 3rd and 4th

We started our European adventure at the Columbus airport, our first airport of four for the day. The first flight was approximately two hours from Columbus to New York’s JFK airport.

Once at JFK we had to ride the AirTran from terminal 3 to terminal 7 and recheck in at Iberia Airlines. Iberia is the national airlines of Spain and our next stop would be Madrid. The weather in New York was not favorable as it was pouring down rain, which of course, caused long delays. We sat on the runway for two hours until we took off. Having already taken a Benadryl pre-flight, I was out.

Because of the delays in New York we had barely enough time to run through the terminals in Madrid, go through security for the third time, and get on our flight bound for Geneva, Switzerland.

Finally, we had made it to Switzerland. Next we got our Eurail passes validated and off we were to our train. I had never ridden a train before, but the experience (all the experiences) was favorable. First we had a cabin all to ourselves and I took the opportunity to take a nap. Before we exited from Switzerland to Italy we were joined by three French-speaking consultants who worked, and drank, and talked the remainder of the trip.

Arriving in Milan was a bit of a culture shock—much like we felt the first time we went to New York City. We clutched our bags like our lives depended on it. We walked with our heads down. We didn’t look anyone in the eyes. We looked at our map and headed straight for the hotel, which was only a block away from the train station. We checked into the Hotel Berna, took showers, and then asked for a restaurant recommendation, which was Pane e Tulipani. Dinner was exceptional. It started with a glass of champagne, and then moved onto water, bread, wine, and then pasta. I had a lasagna that was fantastic. After dinner we were given lemon liquor. Finally we turned in for the evening.

(See all pictures here, although it's not all there yet.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

And....we're back!

We're back from Europe with lots of stories to tell. I'm hoping to write an entry a day to match the days we were there. And there will be lots and lots of pictures.

But first, let's mourn the pink iPod which died on the trip.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

I don't think I've mentioned that Dave and I are headed to Italy (and Switzerland) in a week. We will be visiting Milan (only one day), Venice, Rome, Florence, and Zermatt.

If you were going to these places what would you want to see? Or if you have been to any of these places, what was the things you enjoyed seeing?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Little More Lighthearted

On my Life List I have a task to visit all major league ballparks. Currently I am at five--Angel's Stadium, Wrigley Field, Great American Ballpark, Jacob's Field, and Fenway. Each of these visits has filled me with special memories. I saw a double-header sitting in the outfield at Wrigley behind Sammy Sosa and I got to hear Harry Carey sing the Seventh Inning Stretch. The first time I went to Fenway I saw Nomar Garciaparra hit a homerun in the 9th inning to win the game. He's still one of my favorite players. And the first time I went to Jacob's Field I saw Jim Thome hit a huge homerun. To this day, I still totally in love with Jim Thome.

In Columbus we don't have major league baseball, but we do have a AAA minor league team. For the last several years it has been the farm team for the Yankees (boo!), but this year we are the farm team for the Nationals. Two nights ago we went to the Clipper vs. Charlotte game where Jim Thome was rehabbing with Charlotte. And Dave totally got my picture with Jim Thome.

In addition, he hit a three run double.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

I think this is the question on everyone's minds.

With gas prices sky high, what are you doing to pinch pennies/reduce your dependency on your car?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Seriously, it's only fiction

What is my problem?!

I get so wrapped up in TV shows sometimes I have to remind myself it's only fiction. Last week I watched Luka and Abby get married on ER. I have watched every ER for 13 years. The wedding was an emotional moment for me. They've been together for 7 seasons. Yes, I cried.

Then there was last night. I had a total emotion breakdown. Next week is the Series Finale of Gilmore Girls. And that to me is very sad. What a terrific, wholesome show and now it will be no more. How am I ever going to go on?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Flying Pig Splits

Here are the splits from the marathon. I am a slow starter and the hills were mostly at the beginning.

Mile 1 - 9:34
Mile 2 - 8:44
Mile 3 - 8:27
Mile 4/5 - 16:13
Mile 6 - 8:23
Mile 7 - 8:32
Mile 8 - 8:28
Mile 9 - 8:02
Mile 10 - 7:54
Mile 11 - 7:53
Mile 12 - 7:58
Mile 13 - 7:59
Mile 14 - 8:05
Mile 15 - 8:05
Mile 16 - 7:54
Mile 17 - 8:06
Mile 18 - 7:55
Mile 19 - 7:59
Mile 20 - 8:14
Mile 21 - 8:10
Mile 22 - 8:35
Mile 23 - 8:48
Mile 24 - 9:00
Mile 25 - 9:20
Mile 26.2 - 10:07

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon 2007

I ran the Flying Pig Marathon this year because I wussed out and didn’t run Boston because of the weather. I was quite nervous about the Pig since I hadn’t done a long run since before Boston—a good 5-6 weeks ago. In addition, we had a very noisy room in our hotel which included noisy neighbors (not only were they talking loud, I heard them having sex!), loud talking housekeeping staff (their maintenance closet was right across from our room) and people who desperately needed ice at all hours of the night (the ice machine was also across from our room). In total, I got about four hours of sleep. Because of the sleeplessness and the nerves, I had a hard time eating before the race. I ate about a quarter of a bagel. My stomach was just not feeling well. And I didn’t have time at the race start to hit the port-o-johns one last time.

I have run the Pig before, in 2002, but the course was a lot different this time. All the hills were at the beginning and I thought they were just as tough as anything in Boston. The hills were shorter, but a lot steeper. And there were several tough climbs all before mile 8. I did not feel good in the race until mile 9 when things leveled out and I felt like I could get into my race pace.

Unfortunately I might have pushed the pace a little too much. By mile 20 I was feeling dead and needed to start walking. It was disheartening too because I was on a 3:35 pace and I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I walked through all but one of the water stops from 20 to the finish. My official time was 3:38:37. It’s my second fastest time and I’m okay with that.

Some final thoughts…
It was really hot on the course with little shade. Three miles of it—17, 18, 19—were on a freeway where there was no crowd support and no shade. By the end, I was finding any shade I could.

I got chafed in the strangest places. My stomach got chafed from my number as my jersey was riding up. I got chafed on my ankle from my anklet I wear that holds my chip. And I got chafed on my inner right calf from my left shoe’s lace nub. How weird is that one?
The race had great technical shirts (separate girls and guys—mine was pink!) including in the race packet along with a sling backpack.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Did I mention I'm running the Flying Pig Marathon this weekend?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

About a month ago I TiVOed Morgan Spurlock's Supersize Me and absolutely loved it. I love really well done documentaries (not the crap that Michael Moore calls a documentary). I immediately went to the library and checked out the first season of 30 Days and loved it.

I've decided to do my own 30 Days. Starting on Monday I will become a vegetarian for a month. This is going to be really hard for me as I love me some cheeseburgers and steaks and sausage and pretty much just meat!

So, if you could, what would be your 30 Days?

Friday, April 27, 2007

New Edition

No, no! I mean, new addition!

The newest addition to our family was born this morning. Welcome Carter, my sister's third child.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

Sorry y'all! I've been in class all week and haven't been in front of a computer.

I've been taking a class on manager IT projects. Yeah, what a wild and crazy life I live! So, if you were to take any class you could, what class would you take?

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I went out and did a fantastic workout last night as sort of a redemption run. The high schoolers' schedule called for 100s so I decided to join in. It was a one mile warm up followed by 16X100 all out and then a two mile cool down. In total it was five miles. It felt awesome. However, it does not feel awesome today. The back of my legs hurt from my bum down to my heels and my calves feel like they are in balls.

New race plans are brewing....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Boston Marathon 2007

I didn't run.

I had to make a decision based on the information I had available. Unforunately it was the wrong decision. I took a gamble and I lost.

The weather on Sunday was horrible. It poured down rain; the wind would knock you off your feet; and the temperature was mighty cold. When I woke up Sunday morning the weather was exactly the same and when I watched the weather channel and the local news it was looking like the poor weather was going to continue all day for the marathon. I made my decision and stuck with it.

At 10:30am, my start time, the weather was clearing up. The rain was slowing down and the wind was not as gusty. By that time, however, it was too late. Dave and I went out and watched the end of the race for several hours and I felt horrible about the decision I had made. I have previously run two half marathons in the pouring rain. One was in the summer and although it was warm, it was still miserable. The other was in April but the rain was combined with snow and it was frigidly cold. My hands and toes were numb and red at the end of that race. To me, the weather was not worth the gamble. I did not want to risk hypothermia or getting really sick just to finish a marathon--a marathon I've done before and a marathon I'll do again.

To add insult to injury, several people that have times falling in my range totally kicked butt in Boston crushing my PR on a flat course. It's disheartening. I'm disappointed in myself. And although I think it's great what these people achieved, I'm not ready to hear about their races yet.

I think I need to re-evaluate for a while and find out really what I'm made of.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Gear

Have you ever seen this many hair accessories in your life?

And depending on the weather, this is probably what I will be wearing for the marathon. I'm sure with the orange, no one should have a problem spotting me.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


From an e-mail I received today from the Boston Athletic Association:

Wednesday, April 11 - As the Boston Athletic Association continues to make preparations for Monday's Boston Marathon, we are monitoring the upcoming weather conditions forecast for this area. Based on the National Weather Service's most recent report and in cooperation with the Executive Office of Public Safety (Commonwealth of Massachusetts) and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, together with the eight cities and towns along the 26.2-mile marathon route, we are planning for likely heavy rain and windy conditions on race day. However, all race day plans remain the same. The Boston Athletic Association advises participants in Monday's race to plan accordingly for their run, bringing with them gear and apparel to suit the conditions. The B.A.A. will continue to update its web site as necessary.

Tying up the Loose Ends

Looking at the weather forecast, Boston is going to suck. It's supposed to only be a high of 47 degrees with a 70% chance of rain. And you know it's not going to be 49 at the start, either. Rain or shine, I'm still going to run it and I'll try to enjoy it.

The worst part will be that the Red Sox tickets for Sunday, when there is also a 70% chance of rain, will be no good. :( Let's keep our fingers crossed.

So all of you homies out there who want to track my progress my bib number is 13260 and my start time will be 10:30am.

See ya in Boston!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

I've been thinking all morning of questions to ask and I just can't think of one. So we'll switch it up today. What are the burning questions you're dying to ask me?

My answer(s) will be here:

@ Jeff:
That is a good one. I chose engineering because of the boys I had dated. How do I put this politely? They, at the time, were not the sharpest tools in the shed (although some of them have gone on to do great things and be great people--guess maturity changes things). I figured I was going to have to be the breadwinner if I was to ever marry one of them and I liked math so I chose engineering.

I initially started in mechanical engineering to either do biomedical engineering or do rocket science, but I switched to industrial engineering my 3rd year. I was an intern for a distribution company for a year and really liked it. I worked as an industrial engineer for 5 years post college--one year in the service industry (healthcare) and four years in distribution.

I enjoy the challenge of engineering particularly simulation, but I never really enjoyed the work. Now I work in IT.

Good question Jeff.

@ Dave:
For dinner tonight? Maybe pizza? It is Friday after all.

My first time I ran Boston it was for the experience and it was so hot that all you could do was "enjoy" the marathon. Last year at my second Boston, I had done so much training that I felt like I needed to "race" Boston. This year I don't know what I am looking forward to most. In my head, I don't think my training has gone very well, but on paper it doesn't look much different than last year's training. I think my favorite part about the Boston Marathon is the people who come out to watch it. They go crazy for a running race and it just makes it feel like you're part of something really special.

Well, I am quite looking forward to the birthday celebration after the marathon!

@ Jessie:
Thanks for getting in touch with me. I hope your racing season is going well or will be going well. If I didn't send you an e-mail back when you e-mailed me, then I goofed. I thought I replied to everyone who sent me an e-mail. I'll look again through my inbox and make sure to send you a note. Happy Running!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

Yesterday my orchid bloomed. That's a good sign that spring is here.

What's your favorite part of spring?

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Roller Coaster

It was a roller coaster of a weekend. It started on Saturday with a really good track meet. The kids had been practicing hard and I personally thought they had a lot of talent, but seeing it in a meet setting was a pleasant surprise. I think it's going to be a great season and for several seasons to come.

The good times kept rolling as my beloved Buckeyes made their way into the final four. Yay!!

But then things came crashing down. My family's dog, Oreo, who had been deteriorating for several month jumped out of her cage at the vet's office and couldn't walk anymore. The vet x-rayed her and she had a tumor in her stomach and her last two vertebrae were virtual nonexistant. My dad made the tough choice to put her down. I cried my way through dinner. We've had Oreo for 15 years. My dad buried her today.

Sunday had an upswing, though. I finally made it through a 20 mile training run. I ran 4 miles from my house to the school where I met my dad. He ran 12 miles with me and then I ran the 4 miles home. Total run time was around 2:48. I'm so glad to have the last long run (and my only long run) done.

Now it's Monday and there are only 14 working days until the marathon. I'm hoping for smooth sailing for the next several weeks.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

Here we go!

What's the next book you plan on reading?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

March Madness

Countdown: 37 hours until the awesomeness!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Calling All Stayput Sisters!

If you are a member of Team Stayput for the 2007 season, send me a note ( or leave me a comment. We should keep tabs on each other and offer words of encouragement and help motivation and send congratulations. If you have a blog, I'll add you to my blogroll.

Hope to hear from y'all!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday Thoughts

It's finally Thursday (I know you're excited too!), which means it's time for Thursday Thoughts. I've had some new commenters this week who hopefully will be coming back, so I'll explain "the rules" again.

I'll ask a question and you answer it in the comments. Pretty easy! If you would like after you answer the question, you ask another question for the next commenter to answer. It's fun, interactive, and did I mention fun?! Let's shoot for 10 comments today!

What is the most amazing thing that has happened to you this week?