Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Freakin' New Year!

Last New Year's I spent the day hugging the porcelain god, praying to die, and getting a shot in my butt at the urgent care. I had norovirus. I did not even see midnight because the anti-nausea medicine caused me to pass out, FOR THREE DAYS!

And it seems this New Year isn't going to be much different. Last week when we were at Dave's parents I started getting a sore throat. I thought it was just allergies as I'm allergic to pine trees and we were sleeping in the same room as the live Christmas tree. But after we came home I just kept getting sicker and I pushed through it by continuing to work out. The last two days, though, I barely made it out of my pajamas and today I wound up in the doctor's office: a sinus infection and bronchitis. For the first time that I can remember, the doctor told me not to run for a while.

So Happy Freakin' New Year, internet. I hope yours is better than mine!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Running Goals: 2009

It's that time of year. Time to make resolutions and goals. Personally, I don't like making resolutions, but I love making goals that are difficult but obtainable and give me something to work towards. I love a challenge!
After the Columbus Marathon I've struggled to determine "what's next?" For three years I worked for that 3:30 and didn't realize there would be goals on the other side. But, after a few e-mail exchanges with coach I guess there is more achievements left.

So without further ado, my short list of 2009 running goals.

  • Do all scheduled workouts (unless sick or injured)
  • Run 1200+ miles
  • Sub-1:40 half marathon
  • Sub-3:25 marathon
  • Qualify for NYC Marathon
  • Run outside unless it's raining or below 15 degrees
One thing coach likes us to do is schedule our races. I'm sure this is important for a triathlete because races fill up really quickly and they're super-expensive, but I struggle with this one because running races aren't that expensive and are pretty easy to register for. Generally, though, I pick two marathons a year and build other races around them. Right now I only have two 'A' races on the list:

  • Last Chance for Boston 1/2 Marathon - February 15th
  • Boston Marathon - April 20th
Based on the outcome of either of those races, I have a list of fall marathons I'm considering:
  • NYC Marathon
  • Nike Women's Marathon
  • St. George
  • Maui Marathon
  • California International Marathon
  • Towpath (Cleveland)
If I don't make it into New York (I will only do it if I qualify) then I'm leaning towards Towpath.

I'm sure there will be more goals to come based on training and races. I'm sure there will be other races too. This year is Dave's year, so I'm not really looking beyond Boston.

What's on your goal list?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday's Merchandise

Today's merchandise is a very important one: RoadID.

A few years ago I bought one for everyone in my family. And I'm so glad I did. Earlier this year while running we came upon a woman who was passed out laying on the side of the trail. She did not have any form of identification on her. We didn't know her name, if she had medical problems, how to contact a loved one, etc. We called 911 and she came to shortly after they arrived. I sure hope she now carries identification with her. That was scary.

So, if you don't have a RoadID, it's time to get one. It's like a $20 investment that could save your life.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Year in Review

2008 was a pretty good year. There were ups and downs, twists and turns, but overall I'd say the year has made me pretty happy.

Running and triathlon certainly provided highs and lows in 2008. I started the racing season with the Last Chance for Boston Marathon which Dave, Dad, and I did as a relay. We finished in 3:35:06. Then in April I ran the Athens Half Marathon.I was on pace to set a new PR but my stomach had other plans. After having to make the only port-o-john stop of my running career, I still finished with a respectable 1:45:28 and finished first in my age group and was awarded with a mug. Later in April I ran the Boston Marathon. Only 6 miles into the race I knew was in trouble. My friends I started with were slipping away and I had to do a considerable amount of walking between miles 16-26. I finished with a disappointing 4:01:42 and decided to was time to give triathlon another tri. :)

Triathlon started for Dave and I when we went down to Wheelie Fun in Mason to check out their big bike sale in February. We came home with two brand new swanky bikes: mine a Kuota K-Factor and Dave's a Cervelo P2-SL. Our first triathlon was in May at the OSU Triathlon. The swim was inside and the bike and run outside. After freaking out in the swim (man that water is deep) and really sucking on the bike, I turned in a great run. I was still on-board the triathlon train. The first part of June we did the Deer Creek Olympic Triathlon. As it was last time I did this race, the weather took it's toll and the whole race sucked. Half way through the swim I decided that triathlon sucked and that I was always going to be a runner. Never the less, I lined up a week later at the Wendy's Triathlon. This race went much better and so I stuck around for the main event: Muncie Endurathon. Just like 3 years ago when I did this race, the weather was horrible. Never-the-less, I turned in a PR showing, if only 59 seconds better. :)

It was time to hang up my bike and get serious about my running. I hired a coach and decided three years of hoping to run a 3:30 marathon was too long to hope and it was time to work for it. She challenged me in ways I have never been challenged.I was now running by heart rate instead of pace; I was doing weight lifting; there was cross training; and there was lots and lots of speed work. When I toed the line at the Columbus Marathon in October I was confident but scared to death. I pushed aside my demons and ran the way I knew how--on pace and within myself. I held it together even as I fell behind the pace group at mile 23. And in the end I got that 3:30, even if it was a few seconds over: 3:30:20. So what's next? Well, you'll have to stay tuned in the next couple of days for that. :)

Personally I had a pretty good year too. I switched jobs again, but by July I had had enough of working for someone else. I had already been in business for a while with Meredith Gordon Photography and VIP Photo Booths and business was booming. I quit being an engineer after 7 years and went full-time with my own businesses. And just this month, I incorporated VIP Photo Booths. We will be at the Columbus Bride Show next weekend and expect our 2009 schedule to fill quickly.

Dave and I didn't take a formal vacation this year but had fun on our running trips like Boston and Reach the Beach. Had we known this might be our last RTB, I think we would have savored it even more (our fearless team leader has decided to call it quits).

2009 is just around the corner and I think it's going to be a fantastic year. There are more races to run and we have a HUGE vacation planned. Plus we expect our business to continue to grow and be competitive in its market. We will welcome a new niece in a few weeks and for ourselves, a few fish. Keep reading in the next couple of days. I will be posting about both my running goals and personal goals for 2009. I hope everyone had a great 2008 and is looking forward to another year of possibilities.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Page Turners

In 2007, I set a New Year's resolution for myself to read 12 books that year, which I did. In 2008, I decided to do it again (secretly hoping to do 14 books). Right now I'm reading my 14th book and it's due at the library on January 2nd. So, I might get in all 14 books. Here's the list:

1. "A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah

2. "Love is the Killer App" by Tim Sanders

3. "An Idiot Girl's Christmas" by Laurie Notaro--Her books are always funny. Start with the "Idiot Girl's Action Adventure Club."

4. "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer--Loved the book, loved the movie.

5. "Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch--Seriously DO NOT read without a box of tissues.

6. "Marley and Me" by John Grogan--I'm hoping to go see the movie soon. Cute book, even if you're not a dog lover (like myself).

7. "Dispatches from the Edge" by Anderson Cooper

8. "My Life on the Run" by Bart Yasso--My favorite book I read this year.

9. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

10. "Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares

11. "There's a Slight Chance I Might Be Going to Hell" by Laurie Notaro--I only have one of her books left to read. Come on, Laurie! Publish another book!

12. "Twlight" by Stephenie Meyer--My second favorite book I read this year. Loved the book, loved the movie. Dave got me the sequel for Christmas. I can't wait to read it.

13. "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris

And what I'm reading right now:

14. "No Limits: The Will to Succeed" by Michael Phelps

So, what did you read this year that you would recommend?

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Loot

Did you get good stuff for Christmas? I sure did.

I got my running stuff, like a couple pair of running tights. Dave got all kinds of running/triathlon stuff. He got like 3 winter caps, and 3 pairs of running pants. He got a pair of goggles that immediately broke. And he got a really nice pair of gloves. This is especially good for him since his hands turn ice cold in the winter.

I got stuff for my iPhone like a new USB cord and cradle so now I can have a cord attached to my computer and put the cradle beside my bed. My mom wants me to keep the phone next to my bed when I sleep. You know, just in case. :)

And probably my favorite present was a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye. My sister started my collection last year and Dave continued it this year. What he didn't realize, with his $10 purchase, was the camera had a working shutter and a film spool in it. I immediately put in some 120 film and I'm looking forward to seeing if it really works. If it does, I'm hoping to create a really awesome album of my cross-country trip next summer.

Hope you had a good Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

To all my real and virtual friends out there, Dave and I would like to wish everyone a very happy holidays.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thursday Thoughts (on a Wednesday)

Today's question is a pretty easy one. What is your favorite holiday movie?

I have three favorites...

(1) Scrooged--because seriously, Bill Murray is a comedy genius.

(2) White Christmas--classic

(3) When Harry Met Sally--I watch it every New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I Had a Dream

Sunday night I had a very interesting dream. It went something like this...

I was running in a marathon and I was pretty far along--over 20 miles. I was running very comfortably and running with friends. The course went through an ice cream parlor and my friends decided to stop and talked me into stopping also. When we stopped my friends said it was okay to stop my watch. I was skeptical but stopped anyway. Then I had doubts. So, I got back in the marathon. But, I realized I was the only one running. I was close to the end of the race, but I didn't know which way to go. I asked volunteers and they just kept saying the finish was around the corner. I looked at my watch and it said 3:15. Yet, I couldn't find the finish. And then I woke up.

What's it supposed to mean? Is it a sign? Isn't it too early to be having nightmares about the marathon?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday's Merchandise

Today's merchandise I'm going to rave about is my heart rate monitor. I do, I would say, about 95% of my workouts using a HRM and not using pace. Yes, I own a Garmin, but I only use it if Coach gives me a workout that indicates I have to do a certain pace and if that certain pace couldn't be done on a track. Otherwise, I estimate the mileage and do everything in heart rate zones.

The heart rate monitor I use is this Timex. The reason I like this one is it allows me to set intervals within certain zones. The watch will beep at me if I go out of the zone and when I need to move on to another interval in the workout. The thing I can't figure out on the watch or maybe it's not possible is that I can't set all 5 zones using the zones Coach has established for me. The watch has five zones that somehow are set using your max HR and then you can customize 3 other zones, which are the ones I use as zones 1-3 as established by Coach. But, with the interval settings you can manually input your zones and that's usually how I do it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm not sure how heart rate training works, but it is highly effective and I am going to keep training with my HRM.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Seriously?! And this is without the wind chill....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best. Christmas. Ever.

My family celebrated Christmas today. And it was AWESOME!

My sister and I have been working hard the last couple of weeks to put together the ultimate gift for my parents. And today we got to see their reactions.

We modeled our gift giving after this commercial:

We had three gifts that we spread out throughout the festivities. The first was a box of tissues. Immediately dad asked where his new car was. Then they waited and waited. Next was a brown paper bag. They waited and waited some more. Then they opened a box that had a picture of a bunch of trampolines. Now they were really thrown off. Finally, after everyone had opened every gift we gave them their real gift.

Together they opened a folder. They both squealed and started crying hysterically. My dad kept saying "throw it away." My sister Amy and I were shell-shocked. We couldn't tell if they were happy or upset. I was crying. Amy was crying. What the hell was going on?

My sister and I bought them a cruise. This cruise leaves in two weeks. We arranged their work schedules and volunteer schedules and all they had to do was find a way to get to Miami. They were overjoyed. My dad cried through dinner.

It was the best Christmas present EVER!

Friday, December 19, 2008

One of my favorite pictures

Flatman asked to see some more of my pictures. And I'm sure Jason would appreciate this too.

The summer of 2007 Dave and I took a trip to Italy for two weeks. We took like 500 pictures and had tons of stories. My intent was to fully review it here on the blog, but it was just overwhelming and I never did it.

One of my favorite places we visited was Venice. I loved the water and the food and how much quieter it was than Rome. This was perhaps my favorite pictures I took. This is the firehouse.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

I once heard you shouldn't start a diet on an important New Year's day or your birthday. It's not like you need a special day to make a commitment. You should start when you're ready.

I don't know if you've noticed or not, but I have blogged 8 days in a row. Holy cow! And my goal is to blog at least a month, every day. Problem is, what in the world am I going to talk about every day for a month?

So the Thursday Thought for today is, what do you want to see on this blog? What should be my topics? Please, blogosphere, I need your help!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Major Milestone

I'm sure most of you know, but if you don't, I am a business owner. In July I quit my full-time job as an engineer and went forward with my two businesses: Meredith Gordon Photography and VIP Photo Booths. For the past year I have been running these two businesses under the same entity, but the photo booth business has really taken off and we were ready to go forward promoting it separately. So, officially today, VIP Photo Booths is now VIP Photo Booths, Inc.

For those who are interested, VIP Photo Booths will be exhibiting at the Columbus Bride Show January 3rd and 4th at Veteran's Memorial. I have discount tickets if you're interested.

And for those Facebook junkies out there, because I know you are, please become our fans! Meredith Gordon Photography can be found here and VIP Photo Booths can be found here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pardon My Mess

Sorry about the blog mess going on the last few days. I'm trying to work on new templates. I figure, after 4 years, maybe it's time for a face lift. So, bear with me. It's going to be a little messy for a while.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday's Merchandise

I'm starting a new series here on the blog. I'm calling it "Monday's Merchandise" but it could also be called "These are a few of my favorite things."

Personally, I think my body is disproportionate. I have a REALLY short torso and super long arms and legs. The gentleman who fit me on my bike says that makes me a woman. He he! At 5'1", though, this is quite a dilemma. Being that short, I am a petite. With monkey arms and Olive Oyl legs, that makes me regular. Needless to say, I keep my tailor in business.

Where am I going with this? It's cold in the winter. Sometimes so cold I need to wear two pairs of tights when I go out running. Problem is, my tights don't always go down to my ankles, well, because my legs are too long for a petite person. I have to keep my ankles warm. (I do have a point!!!) So, I have created the homemade leg warmer.

This one is so easy and cheap. Go to your local store (Meijer, Walmart, Target) and pick up a packet of knee-high socks (think basketball socks). Get a sharp pair of scissors and cut the toes off of them. And ta-da, leg warms. I wear them any time the temperature is below 20.

Don't laugh. I totally know you're going to try this.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

With Every Beat of my Heart

Heart rate training is a mystery to me. I know it works. I just don't understand it.

Today Dave and I set out to do a run together. My run was 75 minutes with the first 15 minutes in zone 1, holding steady in zone 2 for 45 minutes, and then the last 15 minutes in zone 1. Dave's run was 90 minutes with a mix of zone 1 and 2. I followed the heart rate zones to a T and finished up close to 8 miles. While running comfortably in zone 2, Dave was only in zone 1 and it was pretty low in zone 1.

So this is what dumbfounds me. I was running close to 10 minute miles and I am an 8 minute mile marathoner. Dave has yet to run a marathon under 4 hours. How does it work? Has Dave not lived up to his potential? Have I maxed out my potential? Are our heart zones completely out of whack?

Coach keeps reassuring me that everything is fine with the zones. She said men should can run in a lower zone because they have a slower heart beat to start with, but that I can go longer at a lower heart rate. And I can understand that. As we were running today my heart rate stayed the same while his kept rising a little.

I've been with Coach now for 5 months and I've learned this stuff works. And I've done some reading about it. But, it is still a complete enigma to me.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Love is a Battlefield

Most couples argue about money. Dave and I argue about housework/chores. Let me rephrase. I argue with Dave about housework/chores. And this week's chore of choice is the grocery.

I HATE going to the grocery. I come from a hyper-organized mother, so grocery shopping involves making a list of meals, checking ingredients, clipping coupons, putting the grocery list in order of products and aisles, and then finally going to the grocery. I would rather go to the gynecologist than have to do all this. With Dave training for Ironman it seems he is eating me out of house and home. And yet, he will not help me with the grocery list.

So I decided if he's not going to help me with the list, I'm not going to make the list.

Here's some pictures of Dave's personal items...

Dave swears there is still toothpaste in there. I have been using a sample I got from the dentist.

Dave ran out of razor blades so he's been shaving with a disposable razor we got when we were laid over in New Jersey.

Um, dude, you smell. :)

Of course, while I napped today, he created a grocery list. Now only if I could get him to clip the 6 weeks worth of coupons I've collected.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Welcome Back

November was maintenance mode, but December started the real work towards my 2009 goals. And Coach has not been messing around. Let's look at a few of my workouts during the last two weeks....

On paper this one looked easy, but by the end of this, I thought there might be puking:

5 minute easy warm-up
2 minutes at a faster pace
20-30 push-ups
10 squat jumps
30 ab crunches
20 slow lateral squats
2 minutes at a faster pace
10 walking lunges
30 ab crunches
30 skips
20-30 push-ups

I had to do that whole routine twice. If you're adding that up, that's more than 80 push-ups people!!! And have you ever done 30 skips in a row? That's so not easy!

Then this week I got this workout, to be done on the treadmill:

15 minute warm-up
10 X 90 seconds at 1.5-3% grade in zone 2 NO HIGHER
2:30 0.5% grade recovery
5 minute cool-down

It was hard. To control the heart rate, I have to run slower. It's all about muscle building for the upcoming hill training.

But I keep this in mind, if I want to qualify for New York things are not going to be easy. I keep a post-it note on my computer to remind me of this.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Attack of the Blob!

My family is awesome. I have always believed my family was a model family and I compared all other families to them. My family was perfect. Then I started dating Dave and I realized there were some weird things about my family. For example, I learned that I didn't sing "I'm a little tea pot" correctly. Turns out, my mom taught me the wrong words and that's how I always sang it. And I also believed all these old wife's tales and urban legends because that's what my parents had taught me to believe.

But recently things have gotten even weirder. I don't know if it's because we're all getting older and a little loopier or if it's because my sister and her family have been living with my parents for the last year and they are literally driving each other insane.

Here's some good ones just from last night....

1. My dad has worked in computers pretty much my whole life. He is a software architect and helps design insurance platforms for the internet. Pretty high tech stuff, huh? Well, last night he called my blog a blob. And he wholeheartedly believed that's what it is called. Welcome to my blob, folks!

2. My sister has a recent addiction to E-bay. At dinner on Tuesday we had to bring along our phones so she could bid while we were eating. Then last night after we left my parents' house she called to tell me she finally won. Oh, Amy.

3. Both my parents have been fighting colds. And to combat their colds they've been putting Vicks VapoRub on their feet at night. Seriously. Their feet. ...I'm at a lost for words.

So, maybe my family is not the Cleavers, but they are entertaining and I love them bunches.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

So Proud

Let's face it, I may never have kids of my own, but I absolutely love being an aunt. My niece and nephews are the light of my life. My nephew, Jared, participated in his first wrestling tournament today. He's 5 and was in the 40-50 pound weight class. And he went undefeated and won his division. Here's a video of his final match when he pinned his own teammate.

Yeah, that's me yelling really loud. :)

And here's a few pictures of Jared with his medal.

I'm so proud.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Flying Feather Picture

My streak of bad running pictures continues...

But seriously, who looks good in the winter. Winter sucks!

Monday, December 01, 2008

November Wrap-Up

Swim = 7800m
Bike = 5.6 miles (yay, baby!)
Run = 40 miles

--Got back to running 3-4 days a week
--New PR in a 4 mile race
--Created new HR zones by an increased lactate threshold
--Overall feeling strong

--The plantar fasciitis continues to nag even though I'm having ART done to it
--The cold weather is here and motivation has dropped

Upcoming in December:
--Training starts of the 1/2 marathon in February and the marathon in April
--Hopefully finding ways to get my foot to stop hurting
--No work and all play (that's right y'all; I have the whole month off from work)