Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hey runners! Remember when I said that things would settle down after school let out for the holidays? Yeah? Well smack me upside the head next time I mention things "settling down" during the holidays. I mean, really!

In an attempt to (again) catch this blog up with my life, I will post some of the stuff that's happened during the past couple weeks in bullet point format . . . because I'd kind of like to finish this before 2011 arrives! :)

  • Finished Christmas shopping AND a huge assignment at school (designing a ridiculously detailed template for my future personal training clients), while still managing to fit two short runs in during the week
  • Ran 30 miles the weekend before Christmas (PEAK WEEK!!) . . . it was one crazy-ass weekend. I somehow ran an effortless 10 miles in 1:29:38 (8:58 pace!) on Saturday a.m., went to school all day for my Sports Performance Clinic, went home, ate pasta, went to sleep, got up on Sunday and felt really sick (sinus crap), ran 20 miles anyway, checked my garmin like 40 times afterwards to make sure I had REALLY run 20 miles,* ate fast food (Sonic) for the first time in a year, felt REALLY sick (sinuses and tummy, both) and went to bed
  • Studied for and aced another test at school despite the constantly-building sinus pressure in my head
  • Survived my car making a WEIRD ASS sound** on the way to Target, checked and added oil to my car (that wasn't the problem; that was more a "just in case" kind of thing); renamed said car "The Little Suzuki That Could" with the hopes that I would make it to my older sister's house in Beaufort, SC without my life turning into one of those Fa-La-La-La-Lifetime movies I'd been watching recently
  • "Baked"*** until the wee hours of the morning before heading to one last (entertaining) class and hitting the road for Beaufort
  • Drove for 5 hours with my blood pressure through the roof as a result of my fear that my car would breakdown somewhere in rural Georgia with no cell reception
  • Made it to SC without incident, ate some homemade gumbo and spent the next day-and-a-half wrapping presents, eating cookies and hanging out with the fam
  • Had a wonderful Christmas**** in which I received many running-themed presents (will post photos soon!), new headphones and a telephoto lens for my "big girl" SLR camera
  • Spent the next few days hanging out with the fam, attempting to get over my sinus infection that had morphed itself into bronchitis, and being lazy. I wasn't TOTALLY lazy, though . . . my younger sis, Mo, and I did rock the Dance Dance Revolution pretty hard! That game will get you sweating, let me tell ya! I also managed to work in a day of lifting, a metabolic conditioning workout and a bunch of walks around my sister's beautiful neighborhood . . . not much, but I'll take it considering I felt like absolute crap and was getting about 2 hours of sleep a night as a result of my inability to breathe and the fact that I was hacking up a lung every 4 seconds
  • Researched rental cars and flights for like 45 hours straight in an attempt to figure out how the heck I'm going to get home to NYC in THREE WEEKS! Yes, you read that right . . . THREE WEEKS!
  • Spent one extra day (Monday) at Mallory's house so that I could attempt to deflect some of my niece's CRAZY energy off of her. That child was WIRED!
  • Drove back to Orlando, still slightly terrified that my car was going to break down. Made it without incident (whew!)
  • Since I got back to Orlando on Tuesday night, I've spent my time polishing my resume, job-hunting, house-hunting in various parts of the country*****, researching a presentation I'll have to do in class in a week or so and prepping for Wilson's visit.
Have I mentioned that Wilson gets here tomorrow?****** 'CUZ HE DOES! That being said (and with everything going on at school right now--ugh, SO MUCH), I may or may not have much time to post over the next 10 days . . . or hell, over the next 3 weeks until I'm done with school. I will, at a minimum, let you all know how Goofy goes, though! Um . . . yeah, because that shizz is in just over a week. YIKES! Here's hoping the bronchitis is completely gone by that time!

Alright, I better get my booty to bed for now . . . I'd hate to be late picking my man up from the airport tomorrow a.m.! Happy New Year, y'all! Here's hoping 2010 brings us all lots of hugs, runs and happiness :)

*It seemed WAY too easy . . . that's never happened to me before on a 20-miler!

**Like gravel was jumping around under the hood, in case you're interested

***I don't have an oven in my hotel room; thus, I was stuck with "no bake" recipes only

****Minus a minor/major argument--ah, family!!

*****Yes, I realize this is a complete waste of time until I figure out where we're going to be . . . but I like it, so sue me!

******Actually today, seeing as how it is now past midnight. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Two Weekends For the Price of One

I swear, I am *THIS* close to hiring somebody to write for my blog. Oy. This time of year is always an especially tough one for me, it seems . . . I just don't understand where the time goes! First and foremost, I'm going to have to blame Falalala Lifetime's insistence on playing Christmas movies 24/7. Why do I continue to watch these horribly awesome movies with what little free time I have? WHY?! That, and I've been spending a HUGE amount of time scouring the interwebs, trying to find thrifty but fabulous presents for my loved ones. Being a student without any income sucks, yo . . .

Anyway, life has been good. Not much excitement happening during the week . . . school, workout, run, study; repeat. Boring, right? The weekends, however, have been great. Thus, I will now tell you about them in an attempt to make my life sound more interesting than it actually is.

Two weekends ago, I got to head home to NYC to spend some quality time with Wilson and my beloved Brooklyn Heights apartment (okay, fine--and the cat too). Wouldn't you know, NYC was kind enough to greet me upon my arrival with some kind of freezing sleet/rain crap that felt absolutely LOVELY on my sissy Floridian skin. Yowsers. After that cleared up, though, it was a fabulous weekend indeed. I decorated the apartment for Christmas and helped Wilson bake gingerbread cookies. We also managed to squeeze in a 14-ish mile run along my favorite NYC route (over the Brooklyn Bridge and up the Hudson River--gorgeous). Most importantly, though, I got to eat at all of my favorite NYC establishments that I miss so dearly . . . brunch at Stone Park Cafe; Vietnamese sandwiches and bubble tea from Nicky's Vietnamese Sandwiches; pizza from Lucali; and Falafel from Waterfalls. Ah, how I've missed those places . . . and Brooklyn. Sigh. Only six weeks to go, though, until I get to return back home (and back to the real world--yikes!). How crazy is that?

This past weekend, on the other hand, I stayed in Orlando and had the distinct pleasure of meeting up with the the Redhead for 12 miles on Saturday morning. Those of you who have read her recap already know it wasn't exactly smooth sailing for the two of us. First things first, I was scared silly by a strange man laying on a bench right outside my hotel as I left at the early (and dark) hour of 6 a.m. He screamed, "GOOD MORNING!" at me at the top of his lungs as I scurried out the front door into the pitch blackness. I prayed he wouldn't follow me, and rushed to my car. Luckily, he did not . . . so I hopped in and immediately locked my doors. I was on my way!

The drive was uneventful (read: I managed to not get lost) and I arrived at our meeting point right on time. The only issue was that the lot we usually park in was all blocked off. FRICK. I pulled into a nearby McDonalds and pulled out my phone to text the Redhead and let her know where I was. As I waited for her to arrive, I could see flashing lights coming from the other side of the McD's, reflecting off of a nearby parked car. "OH SNAP," I thought. "Somebody got busted." I kid you not, 5 seconds later, I got a text from the Redhead saying that she had just been pulled over by a cop in the same McDonald's parking lot I was waiting in. Ha. Luckily, the cop just gave her a warning (whew!). With our usual parking spaces unavailable (we speculated there must be a race of some kind going on), we decided to head over to the Publix to park. Only, when we got there and climbed out of our cars, we realized we were like 10 yards from a big finish line area. Oops! Guess there WAS a race going on, and we'd basically driven right up to it.

We moved our cars away from the finish line and finally made our way to the nearby trail we were planning to run on, hoping and praying that the race wasn't taking place ON the trail. Well, I'm sure you know where this is going . . . but yeah, it was most certainly taking place right on the trail. DAMN. Luckily, it was still early enough that there weren't many people around. I should probably mention that right around this time, I tripped over absolutely nothing and just about bit it. Yep, we hadn't even begun running and all this crap had happened. But still, we were determined to have a good run. So, off we went!

All in all, the first mile went by without a hitch. Well, other than the golf cart of race volunteers who inadvertently blocked our path and then almost ran over us, that is. But hey, we came away from it unscathed, so that's all that matters. We kept running along the trail, and suddenly off in the distance, we saw a displeasing sight . . . the trail was blocked off with a fence up ahead. Oh geeze. Luckily, there was a lovely orange detour sign pointing us towards the right. We set off on our "detour", laughing ourselves silly about our bad luck. On we ran, praying we were following the detour correctly. After a couple of miles of detour, however, we started to get nervous. We realized neither of us had our cell phones and neither of us had any clue where we were. We attempted to recall how we'd gotten to where we were . . . just in case we needed to turn around at some point. Meanwhile, we joked about how we'd probably never be found, and how the cop who had pulled the Redhead over would later be interviewed on the news, weeping and saying he was the last person to see the Redhead. Ha, awesome.

FINALLY, we saw another orange detour sign up ahead, which led us back to our beloved trail. We hopped back onto the trail and tried to figure out how much mileage we had gained/lost as a result of the detour. Um, let's just say we are NOT math geniuses when we run. We got to the end of the trail around the mile-5 point and stopped to gel up. The Redhead had a fabulous idea to add on a loopy thing-a-ma-bob which we thought would make it so that we would hit 12 miles right as we got back to our cars. It made sense to me (which is honestly not saying much) . . . so off we went!

I managed to trip over my own feet like 13 more times as we made our way back to our starting point (soooo graceful!). We also managed to take a sprinkler right in the face, which was pretty awesome. The good news is that we rocked that detour like champs on the way back . . . go us! Unfortunately, though, at some point during the detour, I found myself quickly growing REALLY tired. I realized the past week was probably catching up to me . . . because my legs (and my entire body, really) were just PISSED. I tried my best to remain perky, but I was doing a baaaaad job of trying to hide my exhaustion. You know when you get to the point where you are just too tired to be good at holding a conversation? Yeah, that was me. I felt like such a loser, but told myself to just suck it up. Before long, we made it back to the 5K race course area where we'd started, and tried to figure out how to finish up the run without getting in the way of the participants. Luckily, though, it appeared to be just a handful of the far back of the pack who were still out on the course by the time we got back, so it wasn't much of an issue.

We got back to the area where we'd parked and quickly came to realize that we were only at about 11 miles. CRAPPERS. Looks like we were a little lacking in the math while running skillz department! Or, to use the Redhead's term, we were "run-tarded"! I debated whether or not to finish the 12 miles off or call it quits. I felt bad leaving the Redhead on her own for the last mile, but I was also semi-worried about time since we'd gotten a late start and I had to be at school by 9:30 a.m. for a 7-hour Sports Performance Clinic. Well, that and I was really starting to struggle. Considering I still had a 2-hour workout ahead of me at school, I thought it might be wise to call it quits and head off. The Redhead, being an example of total awesomeness continued on to finish out 12 miles as I made my way back to my car.

I quickly drove over to my school, all the while chugging my gatorade down and stuffing my face with an Amy's Organic black bean burrito. I made it there by 9:10, excited to strip out of my wet clothes and hop in the shower (ah, the perks of going to school at a gym!). Well, this was easier said than done . . . turns out there was NO HOT WATER. Oh dear god. It was painfully cold. I kept expecting to go into shock or something. But somehow, I managed to quickly get cleaned up without dying of hypothermia. I quickly got dressed and made it back into the classroom with a few minutes to spare. Nice! The workshop itself (which will run for the next three weekends minus the Saturdays after both Christmas and New Years) was REALLY interesting. I would love, love, love to work with sports teams some day; so this stuff was right up my alley. Oh, and the workout wasn't bad at all since we were mostly learning about dynamic warm-ups.

I got home around 4 p.m. and spent the remainder of the day laid out on my hotel bed (in my hot pink recovery socks, of course), watching Falalala Lifetime. It was early to bed for me, as I had plans for ANOTHER long run on Sunday morning. Weeeellllll, it turned out my body had other plans for me when I woke up at 6:30 on Sunday a.m. Oy. I was DEAD. I pulled the "I'm just going to lay back down for a second" trick . . . and didn't wake up until 10:30 a.m. Um, oopsies! Around 2:30 p.m., I finally convinced myself to head out, which was awesome considering it was HOT out. Don't get me wrong; it was a BEAUTIFUL day (and I know many of you would KILL for some 80s right about now) . . . it's just that running long was not the awesomest thing ever to be doing mid-afternoon. Around the 6-mile mark, I made a decision to slow to a power walk and shoot for "time on my feet" instead of my originally planned 16-18 miles. I ended up covering a total of 14-miles in just under 3 hours. It wasn't exactly what I set out to do, but given my busy weekend and the crazy-exhausting metabolic circuits we'd done in class during the previous week, I figured it was good enough. Plus, slowing down came with some perks: I saw 3 turtles and a couple of wild turkeys along the trail! I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have noticed any of them had I run the whole time. So yay. I guess there are some benefits to slowing down :)

Well, there you have it, folks. That's what I've been up to. I am STILL trying to catch up on my Google Reader . . . because I am nothing if not stubborn! But I figure if I can just hang on another week, I'll be on a 10-day Christmas break from school and can FINALLY get myself fully caught up. Whew! Almost there! Hope you are all well! I really can't wait to catch up with you guys!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Balance is a Real Bugger

Soooo . . . hi all! I'm still alive and kicking, despite what the silence of this blog would lead you to believe! I guess stuff has just been kinda busy lately.

The good news is that I aced my midterm; not only that, but I pulled the highest grade in the class with a 99%! What's up, bitches?! Hahaha. SO glad to see all of my crazy studying paid off! But the bad news about my crazy studying (combined, of course, with a crazy-fun Thanksgiving holiday with the fam) is that I am so far behind in my google reader, I want to cry just thinking about it! I haven't even opened it over the past couple days because the number of unread entries is so overwhelming. But today is the day I start chipping away at it. I simply don't have the heart to clear the whole thing out. Slowly but surely, I WILL catch up on all 202 postings!

Now for a little bit of bad news. Don't worry, my dad is just fine; no problems there. But it turns out that I'm not doing so well. Apparently working out twice a day 5 times a week and then attempting two back-to-back long runs every weekend is a good way to end up seriously overtrained. Shit. The overtrained-ness may actually be to blame for my insomnia according to this article. So anyway, I'm in a bit of a pickle. We're getting to the point at school where we are really upping the ante, so to speak; we're getting to training methods like metabolic conditioning that can really kick your ass if you're not careful. So basically, I have no choice but to cut back on everything else a little bit; otherwise, my progress will be seriously halted . . . which is obviously completely unacceptable.

So how am I planning to do this? Well, I've decided I should probably cut my evening sessions back to (at most) one a week. While this makes me a little sad, I know it is what my body needs. I've also decided to cut my weekday runs down from two to one, and reduce that one run from 6-8 miles to 4-6 miles, thus cutting my weekly mileage down from the 40-45 range to about the 30-35 range. Hopefully, this will be enough to combat the overtraining issue . . . if not, I guess I'll have to reassess things further. Ugh, what a drag . . .

Anyway, other than that, things are going just swimmingly. We're getting to some really interesting stuff at school . . . and I am loving it! Ooh, and I get to head back home to NYC this weekend to see Wilson (and my kitty), and to do some long runs in NOT hot weather. Not gonna lie, homies. I'm sorta/kinda really excited about that one!

For now, though, it's time to catch back up with what y'all have been doing! Can't wait!