Friday, July 31, 2009

Foto Friday--60 Mile Walk Edition

Last night Dave and I traveled up to Cleveland to attend the 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer. The walk kicked off Friday at Cleveland Brown Stadium (although we didn't get up early enough to see opening ceremony). The first day of the walk, 60 miles in total over three days, traveled approximately 22 miles from downtown Cleveland to West Lake, a suburb. Why were we there? My sister and her friend Jennifer were participating.

The first spectator spot was approximately 8 miles from the start at a local park. Amy and Jennifer looked great at that point although they asked us if we could get them some better Gatorade than they were serving on the course. Doesn't my sister look like me?

The next spot we saw them was at mile 14 right around lunchtime. Spectating this walk was not like spectating a race. There was a lot of downtime and boredom. I like to sing when I'm bored. :)

We used our best Reach the Beach skills and followed the arrows to the finish line even though the finish line was not open to spectators. The crew would not let us capture pictures of anything or go on the grounds at all, but we occupied our time the best way we knew possible: dancing and taking pictures of ourselves. Yeah, we're awesome.

Finally, an hour after we expected them, Amy and Jennifer crossed the finish line of the first day looking utterly exhausted and complaining of back pain.

I'm so proud of my sister for taking on this challenge and seeing it through. Good job, Amy and Jennifer.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday thoughts

I'm fighting off my millionth cold of the year. I was really sick for most of the year but after getting on an allergy prescription I've been really healthy from March until now. And even now, this is a low-grade cold.

So what's your home remedies for colds?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

TTV How it Works

Michelle commented yesterday saying that she didn't quite understand the whole "through the viewfinder" thing and I realized, I didn't really explain it really well. Since there's like a million tutorials online, I'm not telling any secrets here. So, here's how I did it.

I started with my Kodak Duaflex IV. You can find these on eBay or at a vintage store or thrift store. I think my sister paid like $5 for this.

You will notice that there is glass on the top of the camera which is the viewfinder you look through to shoot the picture. I removed the cover from the viewfinder.

Then I took a cardboard box and cut it into strips and put it into another box held together by duct tape. I also put a shoelace through it and used a shoelace tie to secure the box to the camera.

Then I use my DSLR with a 13mm macro ring and a 50mm lens to actually shoot the picture.

And this is what the final product looks like:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm still smart

I worried when I quit my job last year that my brain was just going to rot and that I would forget everything I learned in 5 years as an engineering student and 7 years working as an engineer. Tonight, I put those skills to the test.

A few years ago my sister got me some old, non-working cameras that I just loved. I had been wanting to use them to create "through the viewfinder" (TtV) pictures, but had trouble figuring it all out. Tonight using a little cardboard, some duct tape, a tripod, and a little ingenuity, I figured it all out. I think I still have some more prototypes to come up with before I'm happy with my final result. But, for a first picture, I'm in love.

FYI, if you're ever super-in-love with any of my pictures and HAVE to have them, I'd be more than happy to sell you a print. Click here to see some of my fine art photography for sale.

Coming tomorrow: the awesomeness that will be my track workout. He he he!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Sufferfest 2009

I had a 10 mile run on the schedule. It made me nervous just looking at it. Four of the miles at half marathon pace with the fifth mile (mile 9 in sequence) faster than half marathon pace. Yikes!! And now that half marathon pace falls below 7:30s, workouts like these scare me. I had intended to do this workout on Saturday when it was assigned but pop-up, violent storms all day kept me from getting it done. Sundays are out of the question the day after a wedding. So this morning I suited up and headed out.

The progression warm-up went well, starting just over a 9:00 pace and heading down to low-8:00s by the end of 4 miles. Then it was time to move. My goal was to hold between 7:00 and 7:30 for 4 miles. I was easily able to get the pace down that low and for a while it felt comfortable but things went south quickly. I felt like I couldn't get a full breath. My stomach got three different stitches in three different areas. My chest appeared to be on fire like I had heartburn or something. My legs wanted to move but my head was telling my body NO WAY! During the next 4-5 miles I stopped 20 times. Yep, 20 times. The farthest I made it in any one stretch during that 5 miles was a half mile. I probably made it harder on myself because every time I had to start faster to be able to hold the pace below 7:30. I don't know if I've ever been happier to make it to the final mile and shuffle my way home.

I took my ice bath, put on my compression socks, and tried my best to recover. But hours later, I feel horrible. My back is killing me, my hip is feeling a little tweaked, and my knee is a bit bruised from a handstand accident earlier today (don't ask). Thank goodness there is only a swim on the schedule tomorrow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Ending

This week has been one of the hardest in recent memory. Between online arguements, business taxes being due, feeling like a monster from my new birth control, and another tough week of training, most days I loved crawling into bed and sleeping knowing that bad things couldn't happen when I slept. But this weekend has been good. I watched the Ironman world championships twice along with the live converage (I'm still watching it) of Ironman Lake Placid. I know I'm not an Ironman and may never be but I find it inspiring and being around and surrounded by such greatness brightens my spirits. Running makes me happy. Watching people succeed makes me happy. I really needed this. I will start next week with new fervor and excitement.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Boogie Down!

I know you've seen this because it's all over the internet. Owning the photo booth, I go to a wedding every weekend and most of them blend together. It takes something really awesome to make it stand out. I absolutely loved this video. If Dave and I were getting married again I would change EVERYTHING we did. And, we might throw in something like this.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Foto Friday

Seriously, I am a narcissist. If you haven't figured that out about me yet, you obviously haven't be around very long on this blog. One thing I like to do as a photographer to work on posing, lighting, composition, etc. is to take self-portraits. I also find it is a good way to express my emotions without saying a word. This week I took this (below). I think it pretty well describes the week that I've had.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Dave and I were out to dinner tonight and saw a little girl, probably around 2 years old, who was wearing glasses. We wondered how does the doctor get the correct prescription if she cannot answer he questions an eye doctor would normally ask?

So today if you know, go ahead and answer this question. Or ask another burning, pondering question you've always wondered about.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Feel the Burn

I had a friend come over the other day and she said I looked really fit. Well, no duh! I'm working my buns off! While I may be working my buns off, I'm feeling kinda squishy in the middle. Today I decided to attend a core class at the gym. I didn't know what to expect but I knew it was going to hurt. And hurt it did. We started right away with crunches on the ball, which turned to back crunches, sideways crunches, crunches with a medicine ball, planks every which way, bicycles, Russians. By the end of it I couldn't hold my legs up in any crunches. Was it my abs? Was it my hip flexors? Was it a half hour of total burnout? Pain, pain, pain!!!

Yeah, I'm going back next week. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hang Up!!!

Manoj, this post is for you.

I realize that everyone has a cell phone. For me, it has revolutionized my work and has allowed me to own a business and have a life. But, come one people. Hang up! We live in an affluent part of town where everyone owns a big giant Range Rover and even if they don't try to, they flaunt their wealth. Today while riding my bike there were many big ol' cars that would creep through stop signs and not look at all for other traffic or for bikers. And every person I saw in these cars were talking on their cell phones. Here's what I don't understand...who are you talking to all the time and why are you ALWAYS on the phone in the car?! Ohio is not a place where you have to be hands-free, but I think it should be. Hang up your damn phone!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Funny, because I need some funny

Because I needed some cheering up, I found a really good YouTube video. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I Need a Vacation

It's been a long few days. I'm not very good at car rides and this weekend was no exception. And unfortunately every time I was behind the wheel I got in a traffic jam. One of them being THREE. HOURS. LONG!!! Add to that a very private matter that was discussed very publicly on Facebook that unfortunately I've know for a long time very privately. Throw a dash of being called bad names publicly on Facebook which all lead to being de-friended by a relative of mine. All of this while being stuck in a car and hotel room with my parents. I was emotionally drained when I got home. I cried for a long time as soon as I hit the door. It's funny, you go on vacation to unwind, to unplug, but with us being wired all the time I found myself answering phone calls and emails and ending up in disagreements on Facebook. I learned a lot about myself this week and I have finally concluded that I like the adult I've become. I've struggled with that a long time. I'm ready to tackle the week ahead with new vision and looking forward to the road ahead.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Working (out) Vacation

I might have been on vacation for the last week, but I didn't take time off from my workouts. I didn't bring my bike and although we had a pool, it didn't lend itself well to swimming laps. But, I did bring my running clothes and have done my running workouts including my track workout.

After some driving around and some research we found a track. Yesterday morning my mom, dad, and I headed to the track. They agreed to walk as long as I was doing my workout. The workout was brutal. I'm starting to wonder as Coach has gone to running as her sport of choice this summer if I'm going to be doing all her workouts the week after she does them? I started out at 8:30am and it was 85 degrees with 100% humidity. Any minute the skies could open up (and they did with one of my sets to go). The plan was for 800s and 400s at descending paces. As hard as I tried I just couldn't live up to what I was supposed to be hitting. Only one of the sprints was actually below a 6:00 pace. I know the weather has a lot to do with pace and overall feeling (I just read about it in Runner's World), but I wish my head would have said, "No Meredith, you can overcome this." I did the workout, but it wasn't the way I wanted it to be.

Tomorrow it's me and the hotel treadmill.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Foto Fridays

I only took a few pictures while on this trip. Here they are:

I once caught a fish THIS big! I have no idea who these guys are, but they caught a really big fish!

Me, before I got rolls tossed at my head at dinner.

Me, on the beach standing in front of the condo we stayed in. Among all the condo complexes on the beach, this is probably the most modest.

I wish this was my office.

My best Corona commercial.

And here I am getting rocked by a wave.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

When my parents said they were going to the beach in Alabama, you betcha, I made fun of them. A beach in Alabama? But now that I'm down here, this is a BEAUTIFUL beach. White sand. Not overcrowded. Clear water. I'm really impressed.

What is the best beach you've ever been to?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lobster Girl

Melissa asked me yesterday what my next race is. I'm doing a half marathon in the middle of August.

Today was my first full day at the beach. I put on my SPF70 and headed out with my book, a chair, and a blow-up inner-tube. After spending 6 hours in the beating-down sun, I am fried!!! I look like a lobster. I am particularly burnt where I have short tan lines from running.

Tonight for dinner we went to Lambert's Cafe. They're famous for throwing rolls at you. In addition they had designated side dishes that they would just carry around and offer you. It was terrific Southern cooking. Yet, I didn't get a roll. We waited an hour and a half to get in, but it was good food. Dave, you would have loved it.

That's about it folks. When my family vacations, it is relaxing. Tomorrow should be much of the same.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vacation Day #1

Last night around 11:00pm I booked my trip to Alabama. Around 1:00am I finally went to bed. And at 5:45am I got up and finished packing. My flight itinerary was a mess: Columbus to Cleveland, Cleveland to Philly, Philly to Charlotte, Charlotte to Pensacola. My first flight left at 9:55am. Because Dave had to get to work, he dropped me at the airport around 7:45am. I used the kiosk to try to check myself in but only got to pay for my bag and then it said I needed assistance. Two women came over to help me. One was putting on my tag while the other one said, "ugh, yuck. Your itinerary is awful." No crap! She said they needed my seat to Cleveland so she rerouted me from Columbus to Houston, Houston to Pensacola, and I would get in two hours earlier. And it didn't cost me anymore. Sold! She gave me a fake boarding pass and told me I needed to go because the flight left at 8:30 and it was now 8:00. I got through security, which kinda surprised me since I had a one-way ticket that I had purchased less than 12 hours ago, and made it down to the gate while trying to call Dave and my mom. As I arrived at the gate they were calling my name. I was given a real boarding pass and I was on the plane.

The rest of the trip was pretty adventure-less. It's HOT down here with a huge side-scoop of humidity. I had to go over two big bridges which my dad laughed the whole way and made fun of me. The teasing doesn't end no matter how old you get. Tomorrow will be a full helping of beach and hopefully I'll have some pictures to share.

And Coach, I found a track. :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm Leaving!!!

Originally, I was supposed to be in Chicago this week but that fell through. My parents are vacationing on a beach in Alabama and after talking to mom today she wondered why I didn't come with them (we have NO photo booth events this week). Well, I hit the internet and tomorrow I leave on a jet plane and will land in Alabama (actually Florida) later in the day. That's right, I'm going on vacation!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Seven Traits

The Unathletic Runner tagged me to reveal 7 traits about myself. Let's see how this goes...

1. I'm highly competitive. Well, duh! Our house consisted of how fast you could do things like putting your napkin on your lap. Seriously. Being competitive has helped me on a lot of things but it's also hurt me as I've lost a lot of friends because I don't know how to NOT be competitive with them and has also made me highly suspicious of people.

2. I'm opinionated. That's an understatement. You might say I have an opinion about everything. My mom thinks I'm too opinionated which is funny because she also has an opinion about everything. She's just learned to keep her mouth shut but still shows it all over her face. Me too.

3. I am very self-critical. Nothing I do is ever good enough for myself. Believe it or not, I do not have a single photograph I have taken displayed in my house.

4. I have a counting obsession. This is probably a ritual from obsessive-compulsive disorder. :) I count when I run. I count when I wash my face. I count when I brush my teeth. I count different items. This probably isn't a good trait.

5. Surprisingly, I would consider myself an introvert. I DREAD social situations, even with people I've known for years. I've steadily gotten better since my teenage years, but it's more about getting comfortable with my shyness than actually coming out of my shell.

6. You might say I have an anger management problem. :) When I'm angry, it's full-out rage. Poor Dave.

7. I'm self-conscious. This probably all goes back to gymnastics and always having to be perfect. Damn childhood! My grandmother told me about a year ago that I had a big forehead. I immediately cut my bangs. I've been dealing with acne since I was a young teenager. I have probably spent tens of thousands of dollars on acne solutions even going so far as Accutane. Twice. I do not like to wear a two-piece swimsuit. I will NEVER walk around the house without clothes on. I always change in the closet or the bathroom.

Basically this list is all the reasons why I need psychological help. He he! No, seriously.

I'm not going to tag anyone else, but if you want to participate, please do.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Solid Run

Most of my workouts, including the long runs, have very specific instructions. Run X about of miles at X:XX pace. Run for this amount of time. Run in these zones. But today the instructions read, run 13 miles comfortably. I met the group this morning, which unfortunately, wasn't very big and I wound up running all by myself for almost the entire run. Thank goodness I brought my iPod. I have to pat myself on the back...I am really good at pacing! I started with my first mile at 9:20 and continued to descend until my last mile which was an 8:21. Overall my average pace was 8:44 and my heart rate was steady in zone 3. A solid run and a great conclusion to my three week training cycle.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Foto Friday

My sister has like a million kids (okay, only 4) and she has me photograph them ALL THE TIME! The fourth and final child was born in February and this was the first time I got to photograph her.

Welcome, baby Ashtyn! (And, my sister.)

And all the kiddos: Shelby, Jared, Carter, Ashtyn.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

I almost forgot to blog today! So I was watching tv today and saw there was a new Dairy Queen blizzard that involves Girl Scout Tagalong cookies--my favorite type of Girl Scout cookies. I HAVE to try this blizzard.

What is your favorite DQ Blizzard?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Car Accident and a Dog with an Erection

I knew at the start of the summer that since I would not be working I was going to need to find things to keep me occupied. My thoughts were to going on photo safaris every week to get outside the house and to work on my photography. Sure, I'm more than a month into my summer hiatus, but this week was my first photo safari.

I left the house with my polaroid camera with 9 pictures left in it and went down to the Short North/Campus area. I should have known right from the start of my walk that things were going to go badly. I parked at Goodale and the first person I see happens to be someone I kinda know. But, this person has always rubbed me the wrong way and I didn't really want him to see me. So I walked three blocks out of my way to get to the North Market. Once at the North Market I couldn't figure out what I wanted and the stench of an open-air market made me a little nauseous so I left without eating. Then I started walking down High Street into the Short North looking for interesting things. You know what I saw? NOTHING! The only things I saw that were interesting was a car accident and a dog with an erection. After walking from the North Market to 12th Avenue in the campus area I took only FOUR pictures. And they weren't even that good. So bad, in fact, I'm not even going to post them. I walked for two hours, had awful pizza for lunch, sweated my ass off in my jeans, and took four freakin' pictures. FAIL!

Any ideas for better photo safaris?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Speed is my Drug of Choice

After my performances the first half of the year and my goals for the remainder of the year, I knew there was going to be a lot of speed work for the summer. Surprisingly, I haven't been on the track much (or maybe I should say, not yet) but there has been quite a lot of speed work within daily workouts and including my long runs.

My 11 miler was no exception. There was 20 minutes between a 7:45 and an 8:00. Then I had to do intervals between 7:00 and 7:30. And, I hit them all. Booyah!!!

Tomorrow there is another speed workout: long intervals at a 7:15. These are within a 1 hour 5 minute workout.

I'm hoping these will bring great results in my upcoming races.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Guest Post - Movie Adaptations!

Hi everyone! This is trusty guest blogger Dave, Meredith's husband. I've been nominated to guest blog tonight because Meredith is currently finishing off the last 20 pages of The Da Vinci Code. We just went out to Blockbuster and rented it, so she's got to finish up before we start the movie!

We've both read the book now, but have not seen the movie. You never really know what you'll get in that situation - the movie can either bring everything to life that you imagined, or can really put a damper on what you had envisioned. So, the question is:

1. What is the best movie adaptation you've seen of a book you had already read?
2. What movie completely ruined a book that you really liked?

For me, the first has to be Lord of the Rings. Loved the books, have read them many times, and went into the movie nervous. Couldn't have been more pleased with the result.

The second...hmm... One would have to be Jurassic Park. Not that it was a bad movie, but something about rewriting endings gets to me! I also remember reading 2001 when I was younger, then renting the movie and being completely confused by it. I'm not sure if it was just because I was too young, or because Stanley Kubrick is kind of a strange guy.

What are yours?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

My True Love

A few months ago Dave's computer died. Our only PC; our other two computers are Macs. (Thank goodness.) But my true love and my world record :) were on Dave's computer. Yes, I'm talking about Mine Sweeper. This weekend, though, Dave fixed his computer and my beloved is back along with my record. To celebrate here's a really awesome video about my favorite game.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

I need a nap

This week has been a big week of training. I sometimes think Coach has forgotten that my next scheduled race a a half marathon. I've done two days of biking, a swim, an hour of yoga, a track workout, two other days of running, and tomorrow will be an 11 miler at some crazy fast paces. Needless to say I'm exhausted. Today I fell asleep while watching TV.

Next week doesn't let up either. Coach is calling half marathon pace 7:15. Holy crap! I also have a 90 minute bike ride and a 12 mile run.

I wonder how much harder Ironman training is going to be?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Foto Friday

A view from the top....these pictures were taken from the airplane on the way home from Idaho.

The first one is Mt. Rainier up above the clouds on our way from Spokane to Seattle.

The second is the sun rising over Chicago.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

My favorite holiday is not Christmas or my birthday or Halloween. My favorite holiday is the Fourth of July. But this year, we will be working a wedding and we won't get to see the fireworks or have a cookout. I'm not upset, I'd rather be working.

What are your plans for this holiday? Or if you're Canadian, what's your big holiday and what do you do?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Thinking Ahead

Well this is post 203 in a row. After talking with Dave I was thinking of quitting after half a year, but some of my other friends think I should keep going. Ah, crap!

This morning I was at the pool doing a set of 4 X 400s: swims, drills, pulls, kicks, etc. There was a gentleman swimming beside me who looked like Dave when he first started swimming--not a bad stroke, but certainly over-swimming. Halfway through my set he stopped me and asked me what I was training for. I kind of tripped up on my words...uh, nothing. He he he! How awkward it was for me to tell him I was training for a marathon. Yes a marathon, and I'm swimming. He mentioned he just did his first triathlon last week; I mentioned I did a triathlon last week. He said he would never consider a marathon; I said I had done 12 marathons. Our whole conversation was a conversation of contradictions.

As the day went on I got a little sad that I wasn't doing another triathlon this year. Last year and for the last several years, I really hated the triathlon. I wasn't good at it and couldn't figure it out. But this year I've had some success and that's certainly bred confidence. I'm fully committed to my upcoming running races, but a part of me wants to give triathlon chance next year. Yes, you read that right, Liz.

Yep, that's right...2010 is in the planning stages.