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Monday, April 28, 2008

Bodily Rebellion

Let me clear something up real quickly with regards to my last post. I have an excuse for still being in my PJs with messy, yucky ponytail hair . . . I had been working from home for most of the day (with the exception of a quick mid-morning cleaning frenzy) and just “hadn’t gotten around to” taking care of that whole getting dressed/personal hygiene thing. So yeah . . . I’m not quite as lazy as you might think. I just work a lot, is all ☺

And I actually had planned on running that evening, considering I only got ONE run in during the preceding work-week . . . but Guitar Hero just seemed like a much better use of my time (I am sleep-deprived, what can I say?) As sorta/kinda disappointed as I was in myself for choosing a silly video game over running, I learned yesterday that perhaps it was for the best.

Yesterday, I attempted a long run of seven miles. It should have been a piece of cake by now. But sadly, that simply wasn’t the case. Wilson and I set off for the park at the rather late hour of 5:00 p.m. Even, as we were just starting out, I was feeling pretty ragged and run-down—but I figured it was only natural, considering my crappy 70+ hour stress-a-thon of a work week. Wilson and I kept trucking along, and I kept hoping maybe my tiredness was just a “phase” I would snap out of once I got into a decent rhythm. Well, unfortunately, I never quite got into that rhythm. We stopped at a water fountain somewhere around mile-4 to get a quick drink, and it was nearly impossible for me to get going again. I used every trick in the book to attempt to delay the inevitable . . . took 5 separate drinks from the fountain, stretched out every part of my body, pulled my ipod out of my pocket and searched for a song to get me motivated . . . EVERYTHING. Finally, Wilson convinced me to get moving again.

We took off, and I immediately could tell that my body was just not going to make it to seven miles. About a half mile later, I was literally dragging my legs behind me . . . I was so far beyond a shuffle, it wasn't even funny. I was just way too exhausted to continue on, and felt like I might collapse at any second . . . So I abruptly stopped. Wilson was all, “wtf?!” and stopped too. I explained my issue to him, and he suggested that a) I should quit my job (so helpful!), and b) maybe I should just walk a short loop (2 miles), whereas he would finish running the big loop (3.35 miles), and we could meet back at our little entrance to the park.

I was not a happy camper--I was practically in tears about the whole thing. I tried to convince him to let me run the rest of the run with him, but I knew deep down inside that it was probably one of those super pesky times when it was best to listen to my body. So I reluctantly told Wilson to continue on his way, and I took the turn off for the smaller loop. Only apparently I momentarily forgot about the whole “listening to my body” thing . . . because I immediately started running again. I decided I would try to at least finish the small loop, which would put me at a little over 6 miles for the day. Unfortunately, my body was SERIOUSLY pissed at me for not listening to it, and it decided to make it so that I couldn’t NOT listen to it. I covered another half-mile before I realized my body just wasn't willing to make it the rest of the way. I grumpily slowed to a walk, and finished the last mile up at a pace so slow, I could have most likely walked on my hands faster. I finished up with 5 measly miles of running. My (running) splits were as follows:

Mile 1: 10:04
Mile 2: 10:07
Mile 3: 9:35
Mile 4: 9:36
Mile 5: 10:03

Hmfph. I had no idea we sped up so much during miles 3 and 4 . . . but um yeah. That probably didn't help matters any. Anyway, the plan for now is to get a LOT of rest this week, with some easy runs and cross-training mixed in there. I'm also going to go to the doctor and get a physical (gasp!) But not yet . . . ha, I have to work my way up to that one ;) It's quite a BIG step for me . . .

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Happy PR to ME!!

Oh my gosh, you guys. I totally set a PR today! I know! How awesome is that? Oh, but it wasn't THAT kind of PR . . . rather, it was a Guitar Hero PR. Check it out:

You're confused, no? Well, let me explain. It all started back about a month ago . . . Wilson brought home Guitar Hero III for me for my birthday. Now please stop thinking I actually asked for Guitar Hero for my birthday . . . because that's not quite how it went down. Rather, our conversation went something like this:

Irish: It's too bad we didn't make it to your dad's this weekend . . . I kind of want to play guitar hero.

Wilson: What? Did you just say you want to play guitar hero?

Irish: Um, no . . . I said I KIND OF want to play.

Wilson: We should get guitar hero!

Irish: Sure, okay . . . why not.

Wilson: I can get it for you for your birthday!!

Irish (trying to think of a way to stop Wilson from getting her Guitar Hero for her birthday): Um, no. That's not at all a good idea. What if we break up? Then you'll take the Playstation and I'll just have Guitar Hero with no way to play it. See? Not. Good.

And somehow we got interrupted and the conversation ended there.

Well, imagine my shock when I came home from work the VERY NEXT DAY (this was over a week prior to my actual birthday, mind you), and there was a huge box with a bow on it. I opened it up and it was . . . you guessed it . . . Guitar Hero. Ha, as with most things in life, this incident provided me with a great lesson: Sometimes what men end up hearing is a little different from what women are actually saying!

At any rate, I figured we might as well break the guitar hero out, since it obviously was not going anywhere . . . so we started playing. Here are some photos of us rocking out to Guitar Hero:




Look at that focus!


"Um, how do you even hold this thing?"



Truth be told, I didn't quite know what the appropriate rockstar hand sign was . . . I had been holding up "hook 'em horns" for like 25 minutes before Wilson finally let me in on the secret that I wasn't quite as cool, nor as funny, as I thought I was . . . ah well. At least I got it right in the end!



Irish gets bored and her gangsta side starts emerging . . .



The novelty of Guitar Hero has apparently worn off and Irish is ready to take a nap.

Let's be honest . . . I wasn't quite as into the Guitar Hero as Wilson was. I mean, I couldn't even do that whole "star power" thing without completely screwing up and getting booed off stage. Yeah. There must be something anatomically incorrect about my arms and/or brain that prevents me from being able to tilt the little stupid plastic guitar up towards the imaginary crowd on the tv . . . so SUE ME! Anyway, but like everything in life, I still gave 110% day in and day out. And I came up with a goal for my sorry Guitar Hero playing self. My big dream goal was to get every single note correct on the Killer's song "When You Were Young" while on the MEDIUM level. It seemed like it might be a little out of my league, as I'm just not a natural, but I thought, "why not shoot for the stars, right?"

Well, I'd been trying for weeks, folks. I can't tell you how many times I made it to within a few notes of the end of the song, and just totally lost it. My arms would start to shake, my eyes would water and I would succumb to the overwhelming pressure of having to get EVERY single note right. I also can't tell you how many times Wilson threatened to take out a restraining order on me if I didn't "STOP PLAYING THAT DAMN SONG!" But that's another story. Well, today must have been my day, y'all . . . because I NAILED it! What's up, 100%?Here are some post-celebratory photos:


Rockin' out. My future's so bright I got to wear shaaaaaades (and apparently Ugg boots)

Look what I did! (And guess what my band's name is? Yep, Irish Cream . . . I'm a creative one!)

I know what you're thinking, "Irish . . . you've taken this whole 'Guitar Hero Celebration' thing a little far." To that I say, "Who are you to knock my incredible achievements, mister/miss nay-sayer?"

I bet you think I ran today, judging by my outfit and my crazy, messed up hair . . . nope! I'm actually just still in my PJs and haven't done my hair yet! (this photo may or may not have been taken at approximately 8:42 p.m.) (P.S. Why am I compelled to admit these things?)

How does Irish Cream celebrate her day of uber productivity? With the ringer, of course! Now that's what I call CLASS!

Tomorrow, I shall run. Until then? I'm celebrating in style . . . by going to bed at 11:30! I know, you all must be seriously impressed with my rockstar lifestyle . . .

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Pfitzinger and Work-talk

First of all, thank you a million for all your input regarding my little work crisis. I followed Chris's advice on Tuesday evening and left "early" (aka 11:00 p.m.). As it turned out, I'm really glad I did because No. 1 A-hole decided he wouldn't actually be ready for the project until today. So yeah, I would have stayed all night for nothing (he does this constantly, by the way). And at this point, no, they would not fire me. Ha, they COULDN'T fire me . . . because then there'd only be two paralegals in the Litigation Department. Plus, there are just so many people here that have my back that it wouldn't ever happen. After reading all of your wonderful advice, I've decided I really want to try to stick it out here until October. Like Jen mentioned, regarding her man, I too find it IMPOSSIBLE to not give 110% at all times with everything I do. It's a blessing and a curse at the same time. But it's who I am, and I'm thinking it might be bad to let this job force me into changing that part of me. It's six months (less than six months, really) . . . I can make it. And like y'all said, it will feel that much better when I finally get to say sayonara!

Second, I'm an idiot . . . and I probably should have explained the Pfitzinger plan a little better! While it's called his 55-mile plan, it's not actually 55 miles every week. Rather, the plan peaks at 55-miles. I'm thinking of jumping into the 24-week plan next week (holy crap, we're already 24-weeks out from the marathon?!) and seeing how it goes. I really should be able to handle it. The plan starts at 30-miles (I'm currently hovering somewhere around 25-28), and it does stick to the 10-20% increase rule. Here's a link if you're interested.

And I have to brag about myself for a minute, because I made it to the gym to get my speed training in last night, even though I had to work until after midnight. I decided to head to the gym for a while around 8:30 p.m., and then just headed back to work afterward. I used to do this a lot, and I'm thinking I'm going to have to take it up again when I have to work late. I did 8 x 400 repeats at an 8:00/mile pace, and although I was pretty tired, I managed to get it all in. Then, because I just wasn't ready to head back to work yet, I did some core training with the medicine ball, and finished up with a few sets of leg presses. Tonight, I think I'm going to attempt a 45 minute tempo run.

Well, we're almost to Friday, you guys! Hang in there :) I know I, for one, will be elated to have this week over and done with!

Take It And Run Thursday: 13-Words or Less

This week, for Take it and Run Thursday, we have been asked to share the best lesson we've learned about running in THIRTEEN words or less. Since this imposed limit is obviously kind of overwhelming for a girl who happens to suffer from blogorrhea (have I cheated already?), I've gone ahead and stolen my lesson. It's something I once saw on the window of the Michigan Avenue Niketown store in Chicago (I was not running at the time, but I was doing some pretty intense shopping; shopping counts as "training," right?) I try to remind myself of it on a daily basis, when the going gets tough and the tough (me) is forced to work until at least 11:00 p.m. for three weeks straight:

"Somewhere, someone busier than you is training right now." (or something like that)

Haha, look! Still Thirteen words . . . even with the added parentheses (and yes, I did, in fact, have to count the words out like 54 times just to make sure I don't look dumb!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Help

Okay, so I think that by now it's quite clear that I hate my job. I've missed countless runs because of its late nights; that much, you know. But what you don't know is the extent of its horrific-ness. Let me put it this way . . . If I were to describe my job in two or less words, I would probably choose "soul crushing." I will explain in a little bit more detail, but just know that it's actually REALLY, REALLY bad. So you may be wondering why I am still at said job if it's, in fact, so awful. Well, I'm planning on starting grad school in January, and while this job is totally crushing my soul, it also pays me a decent amount of money (mostly in tons and tons of OT). I figured that if I could just stick it out until October or so, I could quit a week or two before Chicago, run Chicago and then relax/move/get ready for school over the subsequent months. Sounds like a decent plan, right?

Well, let me give you some more background info before you make any decisions about the quality of my "plan". First of all, as humiliated as I am to admit it, I am a paralegal. I once asked my father (a patent attorney) what it is that a paralegal does. His response was, "You don't want to know. Do not ever take a job as a paralegal." I really should have listened to my father's sage advice. Sadly I did not. I decided I might want to go to law school (ha), and figured that working as a paralegal for a while might help me make my final decision (um, this part worked--I've since decided that I would rather poke both of my eyes out with letter openers than go to law school). You see, unlike the rest of the country (where paralegals usually don't have college degrees--they attend certificate programs), NYC has a tendancy to hire people who are fresh out of college, and totally undecided on what it is they want to do with their lives. Most of the time the people who apply for NYC para jobs are like me--testing out their desire to go to law school. So yeah. That's how I got myself into this precarious situation.

Now, as I mentioned in my autobiography, I transferred over to my current firm about a year and a half ago. This was a big mistake. Let me explain. There are currently something like 50 attorneys in the Litigation Department . . . for those 50 attorneys, we have THREE paralegals. THREE. To put this in perspective, the CASE I worked on over at my old firm had around the same number of attorneys (it was a MUCH bigger firm--with MUCH bigger cases), and something like 13 paralegals. So yeah. We are understaffed to the tenth power. My two compadres and I have seriously worked our butts off, trying to get our firm to hire another paralegal for the Litigation Department (or ten). But, for some reason, they absolutely REFUSE to do it. Not only do we work ridiculous hours, but in that time, we juggle a ridiculous caseload (I think we're all assigned to an average of like 16 different cases). We are constantly giving like 180%, and constantly stressed out . . . and nobody seems to care, because we keep getting things done.

The unfortunate part of this is that I get even more work than I otherwise would because the attorneys I work with have figured out that I'm smart and hard-working. They know that they can push off most of their work onto me, and that I will do a good job with it. Thus, I end up doing a hell of a lot of "attorney work". The other problem is that our secretaries here do absolutely nothing whatsoever. They are honestly the laziest pieces of ass ever. Oh, and did I mention that the technology here is a bit outdated? Like, say, ten years outdated? One more thing! Our office services/copy center can't be trusted to do anything without screwing it up. And I almost forgot! Our IT department is completely and totally worthless. This means that I have to do about 32 different jobs on a daily basis, because I have to do EVERYTHING myself. It sucks. I'm seriously tired, and I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to give up and just type up my notice. So yeah.

All things considered, I'd been doing pretty well with handling my desire to Q-U-I-T lately (mostly because I pushed my anticipated exit date up from December to October). But then today happened. It was a bad day, to say the least. We were filing a document (for which the deadline was known for approximately three months, mind you) . . . and it turned into a huge mess. We BARELY got the document to the courthouse on time, and the entire day was just one big shitstorm. Well, there is this partner I work with who is seriously the biggest asshole on the face of the planet. He's the type of guy who is too busy and important to, say, hold the door for anyone (including very pregnant women and handicapped people), and he's just generally the rudest and most obnoxious person you can imagine. I mean, I can honestly say that he is the most disgusting human being I've ever met. Well, he was in rare form today. Generally, he is WAY too good to talk to me--he has to talk to his secretary, who then talks to one of the other attorneys on our team, who then relays the message to me--but today, he actually picked up the phone and called me just to scream his ass of at me. I didn't do anything wrong, but he needed to take his frustration with the situation out on someone--and that someone happened to be me.

I am sitting at my desk right now pretty much unable to stop myself from crying. I know better than to let him get to me, but I've been unable to stop thinking about how terribly I am treated here. I mean, the only reason we even have this case and this (HUGE) client's business is because I stayed at the office until 3 a.m. on the eve of the 4th of July (also known as the day everyone else in the office left at like 2 p.m.), and found some kind of crazy work-around on our network to make some discs of documents viewable (yes, it's even complicated to slip a simple DVD/CD in a drive and look at its contents here--that's how messed up the system is). I have single-handedly kept this case together on countless occasions. And that A-hole has absolutely no respect whatsoever for all that I've done. Seriously. I'm an educated, bright, ambitious person. I don't have to put up with that!

And to top it all off, this same guy decided he wants this HUGE project I've been working on for the past couple of weeks done by tomorrow. There's no reason it needs to be done tomorrow; it won't be relevant for WEEKS, maybe MONTHS. But this jerk has decided he "will be ready" to look at it tomorrow. And so now, after busting my ass all day long, I will most likely have to be here until 5 a.m., at which point, what sense does it even make to go home? I'll just have to be back in like 3 hours anyway!

Okay, so this is where you all come in. What do I do? Does it make sense to quit this job and get another job for 6 freaking months?! No, it doesn't . . . I already know the answer to that one. One of my co-workers suggested I just quit and take the time off until I start school. While that idea is great in theory (especially because it would give me more time to train!), it's just not practical, given the high cost of living in NYC, and how much additional money I'd be losing out on by not working. Plus there's the health insurance issue . . . I kind of need the insurance if I'm going to keep running marathons. I don't know what to do at this point . . . I know it makes sense to just stick it out, but I just don't know if I can. I know that this job makes me a terrible, grumpy person . . . and that's not who I am by nature. I really, REALLY want to be happy again. So I'm asking for help. Does anyone have any advice for little ol' me? I sure could use it!

Okay, break over. Back to working my ass for the next 12 hours . . .

Monday, April 21, 2008

I have no witty title today (or ever, really)

Just a couple of quick things . . .

First of all, congrats to all those who finished Boston today :) I hate all of you, but in the nicest way possible ;) That is, to say, I'm J-E-A-L-O-U-S (times like 8,945)! I promise you that someday I will be there with you (even if I have to wait until I'm like 80 to be able to do it--which is probably the case. I hope they have some really sweet joint-replacement technology going on in 2062!)

Next, I have to brag about my West Coast bud, Jonny! He ran a 5K yesterday in 19:18! WHAT A STUD! He finished 4th in his age group--so he got a medal and got to stand on the podium and everything! AMAZING. He should totally have a blog (hint, hint!)

Finally, this is what's currently occupying my mind . . . is it bad that I am finding it hard to concentrate on half-marathon training because I am so damn excited about C-H-I-C-A-G-O? All I can get myself to do with my free-time lately is research Pfitzinger . . . I'm thinking about tackling his 55-mile 18-week plan. What do y'all think? Do any of you use Pfitz? Is the plan really hard to stick to if you, say, work 45 hours a day? Hmm, I still have a lot of thinking to do about this, but for right now, I'm really leaning towards Pfitz (sorry, Hal!)

Oh well, I'm going to go think it over with a bit of strength training.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Adidas Run For the Parks: Race Report

It sucked. I wanted to cry (or die). The end.

Yep. That, my friends, just about sums up my experience today in the Adidas Run For the Parks 4-mile race in Central Park (warning: what follows is nothing more than a huge pile of grumpiness).

First of all, you would be right were you to point out that I never actually mentioned I was running this race today. Let me explain . . . my name is Irish Cream and I am a huge coward. When I signed up on Monday, I had a feeling it wasn't going to go well. Thus, I kind of decided to "forget" to mention the race. I did so with the hopes that I could just pretend like it never happened if I sucked. Well, the guilt is eating me, so I must now make my confession (after all, the pope is in town . . . I'd hate to miss the chance for a little soul-cleansing).

Let me tell you, I was right on with that prediction of super suckage. Here are my excuses for why I didn't achieve my ultra-conservative goal of finishing in under 35 mins.
1) I worked until at least 10:00 every night this past week (except Monday--I was lucky enough to escape at like 8:30 p.m. on Monday). Yeah, I'm exhausted.
2) I spent much of yesterday working as well--Not exactly my idea of a fun and relaxing way to spend a Saturday, but whatever. At least we got the walk in the park in, right?
3) I got approximately two hours of sleep last night. How awesome is that? Now, it's not that I stayed out all night partying or anything like that . . . I was actually tucked into bed by 11:00 last night. Unfortunately, I am deathly afraid of being home alone in our huge, old brownstone. And I was SO alone last night (our landlady and her girls were out of town, and Wilson was out partying until the wee hours of the morning). Even after Wilson got home, I was just far too wired to sleep, thanks to having spent the previous 8 hours TERRIFIED out of my freaking mind. Every time Nell barked, I was convinced someone was breaking in! UGH.com.
4) I asked Wilson to stick with me during the race since I wasn't feeling so hot and figured he'd be able to push me to meet my goal time . . . but he totally deserted me. I don't blame him, and it was probably ridiculously selfish of me to even ask him to hold back and run with me in the first place, but still . . . I was seriously bummed about this, and I almost let it ruin the race for me.
5) The shorts I was wearing decided to ride up to somewhere around eyebrow-level (apologies to all those who had to run behind me! Maybe THAT'S why so many people were passing me . . . oh wait, no. That would be because I was S-L-O-W). Yeah, I'm not wearing those ever again (or at least not until the next time I go over a month without doing laundry--yeah, maybe I should get on that!)

So there you have it. That's why I sucked today, people. At least I have good excuses, right? Ha. Anyway, here are my splits (according to my Garmin):

Mile 1: 8:32
Mile 2: 8:36
Mile 3: 9:44 (um, hills. I also temporarily decided I just didn't give a sh*t anymore--obviously this is what killed my goal time)
Mile 4: 8:35

My chip time was 35:34 (KILL ME), for an overall pace of 8:53/mile. Yep. I know I should have been able to nail that goal, and it kills me. But, looking on the bright side, I didn't quit . . . and I REALLY wanted to quit. During Mile-3, I actually thought about WALKING. In a 4-MILE RACE. Yeah. But I didn't. So that's good news. While I didn't walk, I did slow down significantly and totally just lost my head. So that sucks. But I know that there will be many other races, and I'm trying not to take this race too seriously (considering I signed up for it on a whim less than a week ago). Seeing as how an official recap would pretty much read, "I hated this run, I wanted to stop, I didn't quite stop, but I did manage to freak out and kill my goal time," I will spare you any other details. You can thank me later.

Wilson was able to meet his goal time (his goal was to finish in under 32 minutes, and he finished in 31:17), which is great, but I temporarily hate him right now because of it. At least I had a higher AG% than he did . . . so I'm going to have to go ahead and claim that as a small victory in my day full of defeat (because I'm not competitive or anything).

At any rate, I'm going to "punish" myself this evening for not meeting my goal time with lots and lots of core work. I'm pretty excited about it (mostly just because it will be a "break" from yet MORE work--woohoo! Love my job!)

Peace out! I leave you today with some post-race photos. If you're sick of looking at nature after yesterday, go ahead and look at just the first few . . . where Wilson and I illustrate how the race went for each of us, and then I start a bordering-on-abusive relationship with a cinnamon-raisin bagel that lasts WAY too long.


Wilson met his goal time.

Me? Not so much.

Forcing a smile. Notice the gross, gross bags under my puffy, sleep-deprived eyes.

Eating this bagel took me approximately 53 minutes. I really didn't want it, but for some reason I just kept on eating it (at a rate of one bite every nine minutes).

The New York Roadrunners are WAY more adept at renting/arranging porta-potties than the LA Marathon. This was the highlight of my day. I'm thinking NYRR race organizers should travel around to various national races and put on clinics that cover this oh-so-important topic.


NATURE!!


MORE NATURE!!!


OMIGOD, NO WAY! MORE NATURE!!!!



Watch out! The mist is coming to get us! (Has anyone else seen the movie, "The Mist?" Oh lordy, I'm having a "day-mare" just thinking about it! See it now. It's like crazy-awesome-disturbing.)


I don't know . . . probably thinking about dog-napping someone's pooch. Note that I'm still working on that bagel.


This Hansel and Gretel-esque structure is the "Dairy Visitor Center and Gift Shop." Yeah, who knows. I've never actually stepped foot inside the place.


"I need a nap." Yeah. That's what you get for staying out all night, foooooool! Now I'm going to torture you by taking your picture over and over and over again. Payback's a b*tch, no?

This might actually be cute if I was wearing a fun cocktail dress and stilettos. Or if I wasn't choking on my regularly-scheduled bite of cinnamon-raisin bagel. But seriously, the baggy sweats do nothing for my ass. On second thought, neither does that ever-lasting bagel.

I know it's shocking, but . . . EVEN MORE NATURE!

Tulips!! (AKA NATURE!!!)

The End

(and yes, I did ultimately triumph over that pesky bagel

(with the help of some squirrels and freaky birds, that is)).

Good luck to all those super-talented, fabulous folks running Boston tomorrow! I only pray that I can find it in me to join you one day . . . (although if today is any indication, the odds are totally slim (YAY, NEGATIVITY! Grumpy needs a nap!)). But seriously, good luck, runners! You are all heroes, and I am grateful for every chance I get to run beside you (or rather, behind you)--I LOVE THIS SPORT! ;) (on a related note, have I mentioned how much I love signs that call marathoners heroes? LOVE THEM!) Okay, for real now . . . it's NAP TIME!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rent-a-Dog

Have I mentioned lately that I love dogs? 'Cuz I so do. Sadly, the fact that I currently work 45 hours a day keeps me from being able to own a dog (and yes, I do know there are only 24 hours in a day--but at my job, I am expected to accomplish approximately 45 hours worth of work per day). Thus, I have a cat. While amusing at times (see photo below--where Nico decided she would attempt to scale our closet of drawers (and yes, the strange, old brownstone we live in has a custom-made "closet of drawers")), cats simply aren't dogs. I don't know why I didn't, say, think about this fact prior to adopting a cat off of the streets of Harlem . . . but yeah, I'm me. So I apparently didn't. Oh, Nico . . .

Well, an amazing thing happened today, runners . . . Wilson and I got to "borrow" a real, live, barking dog! Meet Nell, the rockstar of a puppy-dog we borrowed. Isn't she super-fluffy-cuddly-cute?



Now you may be wondering how exactly we happened to "borrow" a dog. Contrary to popular belief, the owner of Nell does, in fact, know we borrowed her (well, kinda anyway . . .). Our landlady and her kids went out of town for the weekend, and her nanny/live-in babysitter/pet-sitter girl simultaneously decided to go to Philly. Thus, the only pet care option remaining for sweet, sweet Nell was Wilson and I (god help her). We were asked to let the dog out every so often into our tiny backyard, but instead decided we'd "borrow" her and take her to the park for a walk. We had lots of fun on our hour-long walk. Here are some photos to prove it (and just as many of my failed attempts at being "artsy"):


And my favorite photo of the day . . . As if it's not weird enough that the person who put this post up is looking for a yorky to mate with his/her own female yorky, if you look really closely, you'll notice the contact name is none other than "Stud." Is this for real?!


Needless to say, we had a blast (especially Nell, who doesn't get taken out for walks nearly often enough--it's actually kind of sad) . . . Nell attempted to pee on everything in sight, and also managed to scare quite a number of obnoxiously rambunctious children into screeching at the top of their lungs (yeah, she's quite ferocious, let me tell you--look at that mean, mean face of hers). We also encountered a lemonade stand in the neighborhood on our way to the park. A couple of entrepreneurial little kids were selling cups of their lemonade for just a quarter a pop--what a deal! Wilson and I were going to purchase cups of said lemonade on our way home from the park, but sadly, the stand had closed down by the time we got back (child labor laws, maybe?). It's probably for the best--that lemonade was probably PACKED with sugar. And think of everything we can do with our extra 50 cents now . . . or something like that.

Well, that's about all I have for now. Hope you're all having a fabulous weekend! May it never ever end :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Oh, and P.S.

Look what I did earlier this week:


GO ME!






Take It And Run Thursday: The Little Things

It’s funny. It generally doesn’t take much to get me psyched up and motivated to run. Why, then, am I now finding it so difficult to describe what it is that inspires me? Most of the runners I know have definitive sources of inspiration they turn to when they start to falter . . . perhaps a loved one who has passed, a friend who has fought injury or illness, or a past obstacle they themselves have overcome. When I try to think of one, however, I always seem to draw a blank. Sure I have loved ones who have suffered . . . I’ve also overcome plenty of adversity in my own life. For some reason, though, I just don’t seem to associate any of those people/events with inspiration for my running.

So what exactly is it that motivates me? When I really think about it, I realize that it’s the little things that truly inspire me. They generally come up spontaneously, and luckily, right when I need them the most: An impromptu children’s soccer scrimmage going on in the park; a friendly runner smiling and waving hello as I pass; an adorable puppy, thrilled to be out for a walk; a fallen biker getting right back on his or her bike.

While these simple happenings may seem insignificant to those people who have “real” sources of inspiration, they’re very real to me (and I appreciate them very much!). You see, in my crazy-busy everyday life, I often forget to enjoy the fact that I’m alive. This seems to be a common disease amongst us New Yorkers—we’re always scurrying around, constantly in a rush. Since I’ve begun running again, I’ve come to realize that I’m far more likely to have mini-“aha moments” when out on a run (thanks for the phrase, Oprah!). You know what I’m talking about . . . the moments where you can’t help but recognize that life is good. I think part of my inspiration for running is nothing more than the desire to experience these moments. After all, the more I run, the more likely I am to be rewarded with another one! And who doesn’t love being reminded that, yes, they are indeed alive . . . and yes, life is also pretty damn good!

Well, and hey—if all else fails—there will always be “Rudy.” How could you not be inspired by that movie? I saw it approximately 5,342 times during undergrad, and it still gets me every time!






Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Grab Bag (AKA Irish Cream's ADHD is off the hook!)

Howdy folks! Guess what? Something miraculous has happened! Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with the fact that my homegirl, Ali, won the Biggest Loser last night (can I just send her a virtual high five, though?! I was ecstatic!) Ladies and gents . . . against all odds, I have accomplished something that many thought to be impossible. That's right. For the first time this Spring, I actually got my ass out of bed and ran before work!



I'll tell you what. Considering I got home from work at 11:00 last night (and then, of course, immediately watched my tivo'd 2-hour Biggest Loser Finale), it's truly nothing short of a miracle that I got up when the alarm went off this morning . . . or rather, that I got up after hitting snooze just twice. I had 3-miles on the schedule, and I finished with 3.01 miles at a 9:37/mile pace. Not too bad.


Of course, by 4:00 p.m., I was ready to take a nap . . . luckily, I realized that the Mister Softee truck was parked right outside my building. Co-worker and I ran downstairs and got ourselves each one of these delicious mother-effers:


Yummy. I also should mention that I had one of the most delicious pieces of fish ever tonight for dinner. Praise the baby Jesus that my firm lets us order off of Seamless Web if we have to work until 8:00 p.m. or later (this has sadly been a given ALL WEEK LONG). Anyway, I ordered from a place called Urban Lobster, and had this cod that was crusted with potato and chives. It was out of this world. As I was eating it, I began wondering what a cod even looks like? So I looked it up . . . this is what the dish I ate used to look like before it got all mashed up in my tummy:




Ha, that reminds me of a funny quote I saw today. "If God didn't want me to eat animals, He would not have made them out of meat." Hehe. Clever. I don't know who that quote should be attributed to (other than fellow carnivores who also swear by it), but I'm pretty sure we would be homies if we ever met.

Well, crap. I think I had more to say . . . but I'm getting too tired to type. So perhaps my ADHD won't be quite as out of control tonight as I'd originally thought ;) More updates to come tomorrow! Get excited, people!

Monday, April 14, 2008

New 'Do


And on a more superficial note . . . check out my new look. I have bangs! I'm sure that won't get old anytime soon. . .

Why I Run (and You Should Too)

After some really thoughtful “Runners Lounge” member posts as of late, I wanted to take some time to remind myself (and hopefully others) of the many reasons to run. Here are some of mine:

1. I run because I am able.

Okay, so I know this has been quoted in various forms about 14 trillion times throughout the history of time . . . but really, I do. I run not only because there are people out there who would love to run, and sadly are unable to . . . but also because at a low point in my life—about a year and a half ago—I was unable to run myself. I was out of shape and overweight, and running even half a mile was virtually impossible. I never want to revert to my old ways; to the person I was at that time. Running just so happens to remind me of the fact that I really am a new person these days—a marathoner—a person I can’t help but respect and admire.

2. I run because I'm ever so slightly addicted.

It doesn’t take much for me to miss running. Even on rest days—my alleged reward for the days and days of hard work I’ve put in—I can’t help but long for just a quick jaunt through the park. I so hate the resulting ache of unfulfilled desire I experience when I inevitably have to tell myself “no.” I even tend to suffer from this "withdrawal" on days when I’ve run in the early morning. Without fail, come late afternoon, I get this strange feeling; it’s similar to a toned down version of the let-down one gets after a big event or holiday has passed . . . only on these occasions, there’s simultaneously an overwhelming feeling of pride and joy; knowing that I got my so-not-a-morning-person a$$ up and completed a run while the rest of the world was still sleeping. All I know is that I never again want to get to the point where I no longer miss running on the days I have off. That would be a sure sign it's been way too long since my last run.

3. I run because it's therapeutic and dependable.

In a world so full of stress and hardship, running is the one thing I can always count on that instantly heals me. I could have had the worst day in the history of bad days . . . but if I managed to at least get a good run in, that day is not a complete wash. Running is the best friend that will never betray you . . . it’s free therapy. It’s “me” time. Most importantly, it’s a constant in this crazy and sometimes misdirected life I lead. Running is the one aspect of my life that I never seem to doubt or question.

4. I run because, simply put, I am intrigued by the sport.

It holds this mystique of being unconquerable and yet also very accessible at the same time. For a sport that’s supposed to be simple (“just lace your shoes up and run!”), I sure do have a lot of unanswered questions keeping me awake at night! I tirelessly read blogs, magazines and books . . . hoping I will find at least some of the answers to questions such as:

‧How can an 18-mile run feel easy one day, and a 3-mile run feel like torture the next?

‧Is it possible to get into good enough shape that my runs all seem easy?

‧How fast can I possibly get?

‧How good can I ultimately be?

‧What else can I do to improve my running?

After over a year’s worth of research, I’ve found just one universal truth: Only the individual runner can answer these questions with respect to himself/herself. Others can provide information on what in particular has worked for them—and the advice may well prove useful—but in the end, the only way to answer these questions is to get out there and run. I have learned so much in the past year about my body and mind; and while I love reading about running, the best way to grow as a runner is through trial and error; learning what works best for you. The quest to answer these questions keeps me going on the days when I just don’t feel like running (and yes, I definitely do have those days—I’m only human after all). In order to work towards answering these and many other questions, I just have to get out there and “do it.” (even if it is 10:00 p.m. and I just finished up a 14-hour work day!)

5. I run because it’s challenging.

I do not have a runner’s physique and running certainly doesn’t come “naturally” to me. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I had to go to track camp when I was a kid just to learn proper running form. But I actually love the fact that the sport poses such a challenge for me. I’d probably be bored of running by now if I was a natural. While I know I’ll never run at an elite level; I do know that—at least on a personal level—my running accomplishments are just a huge as those of the elites. They may not win me any cash prizes or trophies, but they are just as satisfying in the long run (pun alert!). The obstacles I face in my running career make the challenges I face in everyday life seem that much more conquerable; and for this reason, I am far more courageous a person than I would otherwise be. This courage has enabled me to take risks I never thought I’d be ballsy enough to take . . . and in turn, has led me to a new love for adventure I never even knew I had in me. It’s cheesy, I know . . . but yet very true.

6. I run because I love to set a good example for those around me.

I know quite a few people who have recently taken up running. And honestly, I can’t help but think that my constant rambling might've had a little something to do with the newbies' plunges into the world of running. After all, when I think back to what originally got me interested in running . . . it was my own disbelief that running could actually be fun. I’m thinking a similar curiosity might just be what got these friends and colleagues of mine out onto the road! When it comes right down to it, if I have helped even one person to be healthier and happier than he/she otherwise would be, I believe that I have done something great. I get the feeling I will continue “spreading the word” until the day I die.

7. I run because I’m competitive.

I’ll be the first to admit it. I am by nature a competitive person. If I didn’t have running—a sport in which I get to healthily compete against MYSELF day in and day out—I’d have to compete against others in some kind of (most likely unhealthy) way. In all honesty, there really just aren’t that many healthy outlets for competitiveness as an adult. I suppose I could compete against my neighbors and co-workers in silly contests revolving around who has the most money, best car, biggest house, etc. But like I said . . . it’s unhealthy. Thank goodness for running, a sport which boasts a supportive and friendly community, and still allows me to abate my uncontrollable urge to compete.

8. I run because I really like meat and beer.

Let’s be honest, these items can take quite a toll on your waistline if you’re not careful . . . but there’s something about running 20 miles that makes you feel pretty darn justified in consuming a big, juicy burger and a cold, draft beer (and yes, that may have just been a reference to Jimmy Buffett).

9. I run because some days were just made for running.

You get outside and the weather is perfect, the air is crisp and clean, and everything just clicks. You get that feeling . . . you just KNOW that running is exactly what you are supposed to be doing at that particular moment in time. You feel like you could run forever. You know that all of the days of running in sleet, wind and pouring rain were worth it . . . just to have this one PERFECT day as your eventual reward.

10. I run because nothing makes me prouder than admitting to being a part of the “running community.”

As I mentioned earlier, I have never encountered anything but support and friendliness from other runners. The fact that there is such a huge community of running bloggers out there just goes to show that runners are totally not haters. I mean, would we really do this blogging thing if it weren’t for the tremendous support we receive from other bloggers? Sure, it's a great way to keep track of my mileage and progress--but I could do the same thing with an online running log--there's more to it than that. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is to write a post asking for advice, and to have strangers whom I’ve never met or spoken to take the time to chime in and give me guidance . . . or congratulate me on accomplishing my personal goal. In a sport that’s so unpredictable and mysterious, it feels great to know there will always be people out there willing to give of themselves and shower you with the support you need to achieve your dream goals . . . I mean, could anyone really ever ask for more than that?

So, to all of you out there who’ve commented at one time or another on my blog . . . and to those of you out there who’ve been silent but attentive . . . thank you. Thank you for constantly motivating me. Thank you for constantly reminding me why it is I do what I do. Thank your for supporting me with your advice and friendship. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this blog. But I can honestly say that I have been positively overwhelmed with the response I’ve gotten to it. I can only hope that I can give back to others as much as I have gained in joining this community.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Catching Up

Whew! What a weekend. Can you even believe it's practically Monday again? Where does the time go? At any rate, it is again time for some catch up in the land of Irish Cream.

Friday was overall a pretty swell day. Work was relatively slow (for once), and I called my hair place and was delighted to learn that I could snag an appointment for a haircut that same evening. Knowing I owed a bit of speed training (working until after 9:30 p.m. two nights in a row will apparently do that to ya), I decided I'd take an actual lunch break like a real, live girl! GASP!! I headed to the gym and managed to get in my 7 x 400 repeats, shower and return to the office in almost exactly one hour. YES! I had forgotten how awesome it feels to use my ever-elusive "lunch break" for running (instead of working and more working). It was seriously refreshing. And FYI, if you too hate 99.5% of your co-workers, repeats are an awesome way to burn off some of your aggression towards them. Moving on . . .

I left work at the beautiful hour of 6:45 p.m. and retreated to my hair place (plug for them: Define Yourself Salons are just fantastic--I know, I know--it sounds cheesy as all get out. But seriously, they are awesome, and they know how to MULTI-TASK! As in, you can get a mani-pedi done while your hair color is setting. And they offer you WINE!! Brilliant!). Anyway, I got bangs, you guys! BANGS! Yeah, I don't really know what possessed me, but I went in and asked for bangs. Mind you, I have never had bangs before in my entire life. But yeah. Bangs. My fab hairdresser did a great job, and I was really happy with the way my hair looked . . . that is, until I stepped outside and the weather was absolute crap, thus turning my new 'do into a big, fat frizzy 'fro. Sweet. Oh well. I'll try to post a photo soon, once I actually have the energy to do my hair.

Saturday. Saturday was THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DAY EVER. Well, that is . . . until I went outside to run, and realized . . . IT WAS EFFING HOT! Ha. Yes. The same girl who complained all winter long about how cold it was (when honestly, it wasn't that bad), is now complaining about the weather being too "hot." Or at least too "hot" to run. Anyway, it was a great day nonetheless. I got in a 3-mile run, which was completed in about 30:30 for a 10:10/mile pace. Yeah, I don't know what happened either. I'm pretty sure if I would have stopped flapping my lips and complaining about it being "hot," I could have run a lot faster. Oh well. I'm just happy I managed to get the run in, in between setting up various festivities for Wilson's birthday.

Okay, so "various festivities" might be a little much. I actually just wrapped up his presents and then gave them to him. Oh, and I did the dishes, ran to the supermarket and cooked (at Wilson's request) my awesome "Savannah Gumbo" (stolen from the lovely Paula Deen) and biscuits . . . and made mini-cheesecakes for dessert. I know this doesn't sound like much . . . but considering I got up at noon (hehe--oops), I think I actually accomplished quite a lot with my day! The highlight of Saturday evening was definitely the fact that I got to OPEN THE WINDOWS, thanks to the "hot" weather. I was happy as a clam. My cat, Nico, was thrilled as well. I swear, she was all but spinning cartwheels. This is what our gumbo looked like:


Wilson and I finished Saturday night off with the movie, "Cloverfield," which I assumed would scare me shitless, as it takes place in Manhattan--you know, one of those "too close for comfort" deals. Instead, I was really disappointed. Once I got over how cool it was that the entire thing was handheld, as though filmed on one of the character's own cam-corders, it was kind of not awesome. Oh well, it's probably for the best. After I saw "The Mist," I couldn't stop thinking about it, and couldn't sleep for like a week because I was convinced it was going to come true someday soon. Please see this movie, if you haven't. It starts out geeky as hell and you're all like, "hello, low-budg sci-fi monster movie!" But if you stick it out, it turns all "Children of Men" psycho-thriller on you and is really quite disturbing, if you like that kind of thing (which I do).

Today was a busy-busy day as well. Wilson and I rose around 7:30 this morning, and set out for a quick "long run" of 6 miles at about 8:00 a.m. We got to the park and realized there was a "biathlon" being put on in Prospect Park by the New York Triathlon Club. It was really cool to see all of the racers doing their thang . . . definitely made for a nice distraction during our run. I completed the run at a 10:03/mile pace (this includes a couple of traffic light stops). I have to say, I felt pretty good after about mile 2 of the run. I even managed to put in a pretty good kick near the end. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am back for real this time!

After our run, it was back to the apartment to shower up and head over to Wilson's father's house in Jersey . . . there we ate copious amounts of food. We seriously eat like pigs every time we go over there--it's just a given. We had huge, juicy burgers, potato chips and fruit salad for lunch . . . then they fed us steak, potatoes and sauteed mushrooms for dinner. All delicious. Other than eating, we also took their golden retriever, Spike, for a long, hilly hike at "the reservoir," a beautiful forest preserve area close to their home. It was gorgeous out there . . . and I was kicking myself for not having my camera. Ah well. Next time, I suppose.

Now we're back at home, trying to relax and enjoy the rest of our Sunday night. Anyone else think the weekends should really be at least three days long? Oy. I might have to start a petition . . .

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Advice Needed . . .

Okay, I've gotten myself into a bit of a pickle here. I think I've already decided on what the solution will be, thanks to my inability to think in any kind of logical and/or rational way . . . but I wanted to get some advice from y'all anyway. I obviously don't trust myself--and if you guys comment and happen to back up what I'm trying to do here--then, you see, I might not be so crazy. So here goes . . .

I really wanted to try to run NYC this year. BUT. We all know about the lottery system and we all know that, despite my nickname, I don't exactly happen to have any of that "luck of the Irish" stuff everyone claims exists (perhaps it would help if I were actually Irish). So, originally, I was thinking I would just go the charity route should I be rejected from the NYC lottery system. Now, this means that it would then be my responsibility to raise money for whichever charity I ran for. AND since I pretty much refuse to ask people for money (even for charity), it means that I myself would have to donate the minimum donation amount minus whatever I could guilt my parents, sisters and boyfriend out of. Yeah. Seeing as how I am POOR . . . not good. But still, I've been wanting to run NYC, and considering this might be my last year living in NYC . . . I figured I should probably just make it happen through whatever means necessary.

Well, all of a sudden my calm little world of fall marathons got a nice, big shake this morning when I received an email from AP. You may remember AP from such classics as Irish Cream's Super Detailed 2008 L.A. Marathon Race Report. In short, AP is one of my bestest girlfriends from college, who also happens to run marathons. I don't want to brag, but she's pretty much a rockstar. So anyway, we were supposed to run L.A. together, but she ended up not being able to . . . so NOW she has just registered for the Chicago Marathon, and she asked if I'd be interested in doing the same. I wrote her back and told her I'd have to think about it since I've already registered myself for the NYC lottery (and both NYC and Chicago's registration fees are expensive to the forty-fifth power).

So I sat at my desk, trying to figure it out. I really do want to run Chicago someday . . . I mean, it's my hometown! It was the first marathon I ever witnessed in person (my cross country team volunteered for it one year in high school). Thus, it's also the race that first sparked my interest in marathoning. Plus, I'm figuring this year would probably be a great year to run it, since the organizers will be extra cautious and overly prepared, considering last year's drama. And--oh yeah--I really am excited to get to run one with AP! Anyway . . . according to AP, it's looking like the race will fill up within the next couple weeks. And I won't find out if I got into NYC until June-ish. Yikes. So after probably 5 minutes of "seriously thinking things through," I wrote AP back and reported, "Okay, I thought about it . . . I think I'm going to register for Chicago."

Ha, good one, Irish! So now I apparently have indeed decided to go ahead and register for Chicago (please note I haven't actually done it yet, thanks to commitophobia--so it's not exactly a done deal). That way, I have a backup plan in place, should I get rejected from NYC (and it won't involved paying thousands of dollars out of my pocket to charity--not that there's anything wrong with that, but yeah . . .). BUT, here's the question. What if I DO get accepted to NYC? Do we really think I could pull off 2 marathons in less than a month? Chicago is October 12, 2008. NYC is on November 2, 2008. I should probably also mention that I would have to fly to Italy for my best friend's wedding on October 15. I'll be there for like a week. Ha. I know people do this whole two marathons in a short period of time thing, but can I? Have I completely lost it? Advice and wisdom please!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Biggest Loser(s)

YES! V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! VICTORY!! VICTORY!! THAT'S OUR CRY!

Guess what everyone? Ali and Kelly both made it to the Biggest Loser finals! Where are the Spice Girls when you need them . . . "GIRL POWER!!!" (Okay, honestly. I just threw up a little bit in my mouth). I can't believe I am SO EXCITED about the impending outcome of a reality tv show! But for serious now. Ali is my hero . . . that girl has made such a drastic change; she is a new person--both inside and out--and I think she's fantastic! She's just so confident and sure of herself these days. I love it. Go Ali! :)

Okay, so enough about my ridiculous addiction to reality television. Let's talk about running! Since, um, that's what this blog is apparently supposed to be about (could've fooled me). So yeah, I was the biggest loser myself yesterday . . . but unlike Ali and Kelly, not the good kind of biggest loser. I was a loser because I couldn't finish my run :( I set out to do 4 miles on the treadmill (I read the schedule wrong--thus 4, rather than the 3.5 I mentioned Sunday). My lungs were dying. DYING. It sucked. But at the same time, if felt SOOO good to be running again. My legs were totally stoked. But yeah . . . my chest and my lungs . . . not so much.

Enter the constant psychological battle I seem to have with myself. A little game I like to call, "Am I a complete and total masochist or what?" This is the same game I played throughout the L.A. Marathon, as my body was taken over with chills due to severe heat exhaustion.

Realist in me: "Um, I'm pretty sure I'm starting to have some heat exhaustion symptoms. And we're only at mile-4! Is it smart to continue running?"

Masochist in me: "Shutup. Quit being such a wimp. I mean, are you even kidding me? You trained for 4 months to do this. Not to mention, you've waited your entire life to be able to say you're a marathoner! JUST RUN, damn it!"

Realist: "Okay, but there will be other marathons. If you're already struggling this early on, think about how badly you'll be struggling come mile-12 . . . or mile-19 . . . or mile-25!! And it's only going to get hotter out here. You know, people do die from heat stroke!"

Masochist: "Yeah, right. You won't die. You're just hot and gross and out-of-shape. You seriously should have trained harder. You suck."

Realist: "Actually, you trained your butt off for this marathon. It's not your fault the weather is H-O-T, and you body is used to C-O-L-D. Those are circumstances beyond your control."

Masochist: "LOSER! I can't even believe you are thinking about quitting!! LOSER!!!"

Realist: "Um, try this one on for size. If you die . . . you won't be able to run anymore marathons, and you CERTAINLY won't ever complete an Ironman" (who said anything about triathlons? what?)

Masochist: "What would Lance say? 'Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.'”

We obviously know which side won out during L.A. Last night, however. I let myself fall victim to the realist in me. Knowing I'm just coming back from being pretty darn sick (and in all honesty, I still AM pretty sick), I knew it was no time to push my limits. So I--gasp!--made a compromise. I told myself that if I could just make it to 3 miles, I could walk the last mile and call it a day. I'm telling you, the nano-second that treadmill read 3.0 miles, I slowed it down to a walking pace (and my lungs rejoiced!). And while I do feel a bit like a "loser" for not being able to finish a 4 mile run, I also feel pretty smart. Because for once, I actually listened to my body. I think I may actually be learning . . . miraculous as that may seem.

I've got me some speed training on the schedule for tonight. 7 x 400s to be exact. Here's hoping that my body feels like doing speed training tonight! Have a happy Hump Day everyone!

Monday, April 7, 2008

These Songs Be Ringin' In My Ears

Alright yo . . . Jen left me a comment asking for good marathoning music. I figured others of you out there might be looking for some new tunes as well (although, let's be honest . . . most of the tunes on my marathon playlist are hardly "new"). So without further adieu, I present to you . . . in no particular order, the contents of the IRISH CREAM MARATHON MIX (warning: there is plenty of country music on this mix--because cool people aren't afraid to admit they love a little country music)! Enjoy!

1. Times Like These - Foo Fighters
2. Brave - Jennifer Lopez
3. Back To Black - Amy Winehouse
4. Lot Of Leavin To Do - Dierks Bentley
5. Leash - Pearl Jam
6. Seven Seas of Rhye - Queen
7. How Do You Like Me Now - Toby Keith
8. Sweet Child O Mine - Guns N' Roses
9. So Fresh, So Clean - Outkast
10. Makes Me Stronger - Kanye West
11. Should I Stay or Should I Go - The Clash
12. Natural Blues - Moby
13. Fiesta - R Kelly
14. Gone - Kanye West
15. Honeybear - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
16. Raspberry Swirl - Tori Amos
17. Mr. Brightside - The Killers
18. Apres Moi - Regina Spektor
19. Ignition (Remix) - R Kelly
20. Family Business - Kanye West
21. Moment of Clarity - Jay-Z
22. Glamorous - Fergie (Feat. Ludacris)
23. Highway to Hell - AC/DC
24. We Will Rock You - Queen
25. Corduroy - Pearl Jam
26. Do It Well - Jennifer Lopez (Feat. Ludacris)
27. That Time - Regina Spektor
28. Cowboy - Kid Rock
29. Treat Me Right - Pat Benatar
30. Battery - Metallica
31. Standing Outside the Fire - Garth Brooks
32. Monkey Man - Amy Winehouse
33. Runnin' Down a Dream - Tom Petty
34. On - Bloc Party
35. Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen
36. Walking To Do - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
37. Can't Stand Still - AC/DC
38. Heard 'Em Say - Kanye West (Feat. Adam Levine)
39. Like Toy Soldiers - Eminem
40. Rock & Roll Pain Train - Kid Rock
41. Roses - Outkast
42. Gotta Get Thru This - Daniel Bedingfield
43. Put It In My Mouth - Akinyele (Hehe, dirty!)
44. Rain King - Counting Crows
45. Fire Starter - Prodigy
46. Don't Do Me Like That - Tom Petty
47. Up Around The Bend - Creedence Clearwater Revival
48. One Beat - Sleater-Kinney
49. Caress Me Down - Sublime
50. Gold Digger - Kanye West
51. Never Change - Jay-Z
52. Here Come The Irish - Cathy Richardson (I'm an ND grad--it's mandatory)
53. Better Way - Ben Harper
54. Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae
55. Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy - Big & Rich
56. Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
57. The Angels Share - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
58. Candyman - Christina Aguilera
59. #1 - Nelly
60. Man In the Mirror - Michael Jackson
61. Where the Blactop Ends - Keith Urban
62. Hold It Don't Drop It - Jennifer Lopez
63. Dirt Off Your Shoulder - Jay-Z
64. Shake Your Tailfeather - Nelly (Feat. P. Diddy & Murphy Lee)
65. Don't Stop - Brazillian Girls
66. When You Were Young - The Killers
67. Killer Queen - Queen
68. Lucifer - Jay-Z
69. Hey Ya! - Outkast
70. School Spirit - Kanye West
71. Hillbilly Stomp - Kid Rock
72. Forgot About Dre - Eminem
73. This Modern Love - Bloc Party
74. Livin' On the Edge - Aerosmith
75. If I Ruled the World - Nas (Feat. Lauren Hill)
76. Wind It Up - Gwen Stefani
77. E.I. - Nelly
78. Fidelity - Regina Spektor
79. Let Forever Be - The Chemical Brothers
80. Ms. Jackson - Outkast
81. Shake Down - Akon
82. Free and Easy - Dierks Bentley
83. Feel Like Making Love - Kid Rock
84. Eye of the Tiger - Rockapella
(I'M TELLING YOU; YOU NEED THIS SONG. EVERY TIME IT COMES ON, I BURST OUT LAUGHING, NO MATTER HOW MUCH PAIN I'M IN! IT WORKED AT MILE 18 OF A 20-MILE RUN)
85. Rearviewmirror - Pearl Jam
86. Danger - Mystikal
87. Down On The Corner - Creedence Clearwater Revival
88. 99 Problems - Jay-Z
89. Never Let Me Down - Kanye West
90. Heaven - Los Lonely Boys
91. Mile In These Shoes - Jennifer Lopez
92. Diamonds From Sierra Leone - Kanye West (Feat. Jay-Z)
93. The New Workout Plan - Kanye West
94. Smack That Ass - Akon (Feat. Eminem)
95. Flathead - The Fratellis
96. I'll Fly Away - Kanye West
97. She Bangs - Ricky Martin
98. I Need a Hero - Bonnie Tyler
99. Una Noche - 98 Degrees
100. Keep Yourself Alive - Queen
101. Eye of The Tiger - Survivor (the REAL version)
102. All For You - Janet Jackson
103. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
104. Umbrella - Rihanna
105. Bring Me Down - Kanye West
106. Blue Light - Bloc Party
107. The Way I Am - Eminem
108. Hollaback Girl - Gwen Stefani
109. He Mele No Lilo - Lilo & Stitch Soundtrack
(THIS IS STILL ON THERE FROM WHEN I THOUGHT I'D BE RUNNING HONOLULU--THIS ALSO MAKES ME LAUGH EVERY TIME IT COMES ON)
110. Get Right - J-Lo
111. Why Go - Pearl Jam
112. Breathe In Breathe Out - Kanye West
113. Superstar - Tegan and Sara
114. List of Demands - Saul Williams
115. Sweet Escape - Gwen Stefani (Feat. Akon)
116. The Prayer - Bloc Party
117. Heaven Beside You - Alice In Chains
118. Brave - Jennifer Lopez
119. Low - Flo-Rida (Feat. T-Pain)
120. Lose Yourself - Eminem
121. Lake Shore Drive - Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah
122. Ramblin' Man - Allman Brothers Band
123. Rehab - Amy Winehouse
124. One Good Love - Rascal Flats
125. Hey Mama - Kanye West
126. Let's Get Retarded - Black Eyed Peas
127. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor - Arctic Monkeys
128. (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone - Aretha Franklin
129. Roam - B52's
130. Alcohol - Barenaked Ladies
131. Brass Monkey - Beastie Boys
132. Accidentally In Love - Counting Crows
133. Ready To Run - Dixie Chicks
134. Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics
135. Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses
136. Two Words - Kanye West
137. Brooklyn Is Burning - Head Automatica
138. Virtual Insanity - Jamiroquai
139. Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jet
140. Carry On (My Wayward Son) - Kansas
141. All These Things That I've Done - The Killers
142. All Falls Down - Kanye West
143. Magic Stick - Lil Kim and 50 Cent
144. Knock 'Em Out - Lily Allen
145. All Over You - Live
146. Rollout (My Business) - Ludacris
147. Ride Wit Me - Nelly
148. Butterflies & Hurricanes - Muse
149. Love Is a Battlefield - Pat Benatar
150. Porch - Pearl Jam
151. American Girl - Tom Petty
152. What Was I Thinkin' - Dierks Bentley
153. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
154. Tie Your Mother Down - Queen
155. Addiction - Kanye West
156. Can I Have It Like That - Pharrell (Feat. Gwen Stefani)
157. Mockingbird - Eminem
158. Sidewinder - Red Hot Chili Peppers
159. Touch The Sky - Kanye West
160. You're Wondering Now - Amy Winehouse
161. Baby Got Back - Sir Mix a Lot
162. Bullet With Butterfly Wings - Smashing Pumpkins
163. What I Got (Reprise) - Sublime
164. What's Your Fantasy? - Ludacris
165. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
166. Me and Mia - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
167. Turn To You - Melanie C
168. The Way You Move - Outkast (Feat. Sleepy Brown)
169. Sexbomb - Tom Jones
170. To Be With You - Mr. Big
171. Notre Dame Victory March - U. of Notre Dame Glee Club (hehe)
172. Bulls On Parade - Rage Against the Machine
173. Don't Look Back - Boston
174. Let's Get Loud - Jennifer Lopez
175. Survivor - Destiny's Child
176. Time Is Running Out - Muse
177. Ants Marching - Dave Matthews Band
178. Float On - Modest Mouse
179. Last Resort - Papa Roach
180. Steady As She Goes - The Raconteurs
181. Ecstasy - Rusted Root
182. Pump It - Black Eyed Peas
183. Fighter - Christina Aguilera
184. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
185. I'm Just a Girl - No Doubt
186. Don't Stop The Music - Rihanna
187. Higher Ground - Red Hot Chili Peppers
188. Where The Streets Have No Name - U2
189. Family Affair - Mary J. Blige
190. Sabotage - Beastie Boys

There you have it. Those are the songs that get Irish Cream moving . . . I now tag anyone who wants to be so cool as to share their playlist o' running songs to do the same (or at least list a few of your current faves--you don't have to go completely overboard like I did).


BEDTIME! Sweet dreams, runners!

P.S. Congrats to KU on their championship win. And to the Memphis Tigers, who played a great game--free throws, kids . . . free throws!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Immobile No More

Hey Runners (and non-runners alike)! I hope you all had fabulous weekends! Mine was excellent, I must say. I got tons and tons of rest--almost 12 hours of sleep both Friday and Saturday nights As a result, I am feeling almost back to normal today (PRAISE ALL THAT IS HOLY)! I'm still coughing a bit, but I woke up this morning with far more energy than I have had over the past week COMBINED. So that was definitely good news! Perhaps the monster illness will not defeat me, as I once feared . . .

Shockingly, I even felt well enough to head out to the park with Wilson, when he left to do his 5-miler this morning. Granted, I just walked a loop in the park while he ran . . . but still, I was upright for upwards to an hour! I know, you must be highly impressed. This is quite an accomplishment! I have to say, I felt pretty good during the walk . . . a little light-headed at times, but I WAS pushing it pretty hard (ha, as hard as you can be while walking). But the point is . . . IRISH CREAM IS BACK!!!

I'm going for some light cardio and some weight-training tomorrow, and then I'm going to test how much fitness I managed to lose over the past week on Tuesday, when I attempt a 3.5-miler. The good news is that I definitely have my love for running back . . . today, while walking, I was listening to my marathon playlist on my ipod . . . and it was all I could do to keep myself from starting to run at times. A certain song would come on that gets me really jazzed up when running, and I seriously had to hold myself back from taking off into a sprint. I wanted to run THAT badly. It'll be interesting to see where I'm at, come Tuesday. But for now, I'm going to concentrate on enjoying the last hour or two of my weekend :) I promise, the next time you hear from me, it will be re: half marathon training; and not bitching and moaning about feeling like crap! Now, there's something to look forward to . . .

Friday, April 4, 2008

Long time no run . . .


I really wish I could say that everything's back on track, and I'm back to my happy running self . . . but sadly, I am still just not in any condition to be running. I tend to go into coughing fits every 90 seconds or so when I'm just sitting still. I'd hate to see what that would translate into when RUNNING. The last time I actually felt well enough to run (or even to cross-train, for that matter) was Sunday, when I ran my fabulous 7-miler--I'm dying here, people!

As if not being able to run isn't torture enough, I've been having these really vivid dreams about running as of late. In my dreams, I am about to start a race . . . and shortly beforehand, I realize that I am not at all prepared--either I've forgotten some important gear, or overslept, or gotten lost on my way to the race--and I totally panic. I make it to the race, but then, of course, I end up bonking big time because I've totally lost it, mentally. Now, I know these dreams are just my mind's crazy little way of freaking out over the fact that I've missed almost a full week of training (I've never done that before, believe it or not), but still. Torture.

On a related note, this monster illness totally BLOWS. I woke up this morning to discover that I have managed to contract what is likely a double ear infection. WTF? What next?! I then got into the shower, only to realize that I was pretty sure I was either going to pass out or puke (possibly both). I managed to make it out of the shower and into my bathrobe without losing consciousness, but then I was forced to sit my ass down for a good 5 minutes to "recover" from my oh-so-exhausting shower (KILL ME). I debated calling out sick for a THIRD day in a row (I think that would've been a record for me) . . . but decided I was sick of being confined to the apartment (too much daytime tv makes me want to throw things out the window). Plus, co-worker was going to be out today for a SCUBA crash course, so I really needed to go in to cover her cases for her. I managed to get myself ready and out the door (taking just 3 more "rest breaks" in the process), and then it was time to battle my arch nemesis . . . the rush hour Q train.

Okay, now seriously, the Q is not bad at all compared to most subway lines at rush hour . . . but the prospect of having to stand for 45 minutes was a little more than my sick little weakling body could handle. As the train pulled up, I realized THERE WAS AN EMPTY SEAT! Now, generally, I let the neighborhood ghetto b*tches push ahead to get to the open seats, but not today! I pushed onto that train the second the doors opened. I walked straight up to the seat, and was about to plant my ass on it when the woman sitting in the next seat over . . . GRABBED MY ASS! Yes, that's right folks, she grabbed my ass. I stopped, turned around and glared at her, and she pointed down at the seat. I kid you not, there were two microscopic drops of water on the seat; the tiniest leakage of rain water you've ever seen. "I don't care," I grumpily said to the large-ish woman (who probably just wanted more room for her big butt), and planted my ass right down next to her. I then proceeded to pass out for the next 45 minutes until I got to work.

Luckily, it's been a relatively slow day around here. It was full of the typical annoyances, but nothing extraordinary. There was actually a big firm "social event" at the MOMA last night . . . and it's obvious that most people drank a little bit too much. This means nobody felt like doing any work today, which is definitely a good thing for me, aka girl with the death plague monster illness.

So there you have it . . . my first day back on the job. On that note, I am OUTTA HERE! Have a great weekend, everyone! Think of me, and my sad little shrunken lungs, when you are not so much feeling your long runs ;)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Toilet bowl fishing


Okay, so I didn't share this in my "Birthday Report" because I was trying to make it sound all happy-happy-joy-joy (as birthdays SHOULD be) . . . but I, Irish Cream, was certainly not free from the April Fools' gods this year. That's right, friends. Mixed in with various birthday festivities was a very disastrous trip to the WC. I understand if you want to stop reading now . . . what follows is probably a classic example of TMI (too much info)!

So I stopped in to use the facilities on my way to our office cafe. Sitting there, doing my business, I became very annoyed when some chick came in and plopped herself down in the stall next to me (okay, seriously--what is up with these personal space inhibitor people? When there are eight stalls to choose from, why do you have to go and choose the one right next to me? Same goes for treadmills in the gym . . . I PROMISE, I DON'T LIKE YOU. I don't want you on the treadmill/toilet next to me. Go away! End rant). As a result of the discomfort I felt at having to listen to this girl rid herself of bodily waste, I rushed to finish up my own biz with the hopes of getting out of the ladies room ASAP and thus escaping from weird personal space inhibitor girl (I already hate enough people in my office as it is--I'd prefer to not have to add another one to the list, should she turn out to be someone I actually liked). I pulled up the pants, turned to flush and . . . OH SHIT. SHIT! What's that floating in the toilet?!

I soon realized that the mysterious swimming object was . . . my debit card. SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! Why do I put things in my back pocket? WHY? As proof that I never learn a lesson like I should, I have had this *almost* happen on approximately 862 separate occasions. After it would happen, I would bend over and pick my card up off the floor thinking, "Gee, that was close! It would really suck to have to stick my hand in my own pee! Hee Hee Hee!" UGH. My luck had finally run out. I stood there in disbelief, trying to figure out what to do. Should I just stick my hand down in there and go fishing? Should I flush and deal with getting a new one? Should I play the birthday card and beg someone to get it out for me? Definitely not. The only thing I'd like less than sticking my hand into my own pee is watching somebody else stick his/her hand in my pee. Yeah. That's just cruel.

After some deliberation (and angry groans from my hungry tummy), I decided I had to get that card out. There was no denying it. I waited for weird girl to finish up and leave, and then quickly stuck my hand down in there and pulled my card out in one swift motion, thanking god that I'm a runner and my "juice" is mostly water anyway. I then proceeded to flush the toilet and bust out of the stall to the closest sink. I tossed the card into the sink, pumped about 3 gallons of soap on top and scrubbed it as well and as quickly as possible (seriously, how would I explain that one if somebody walked in on me? "Oh, hi Sally! Yep, I'm just sanitizing my debit card here . . . you know, completely normal stuff!"). I finished bathing my card, and then washed my own hands for a good 5 minutes straight. I thanked my lucky stars that nobody walked in on me in the middle of this fiasco, casually slipped my card back into my back pocket (clearly, I'd learned my lesson this time) . . . and headed into the cafe to get some breakfast.

I must admit, I felt semi-guilty when I handed my card to the cashier--but in reality, I bet you that card is clean as it's ever been.

Haha, honestly. I sometimes wonder if these things only happen to me, or whether other people are just smart enough to keep their mouths shut when things like this happen to them. Hmm, who knows.

I'm out for now--but until next time, watch your back pockets ;)