Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve, Runners!

Oh my gosh, y'all! Where does the time go around the holidays? Hot damn have I been busy! I have tons and tons of updates coming soon to a google reader near you . . . but for now, I just wanted to say Happy New Year before it gets too late (a la Christmas)! Be safe tonight, kiddies! May 2009 bring you all kinds of running goodness (and may it also somehow bring me more hours in the day!) :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tricky, Tricky

Last night I had a speed session on the schedule that almost didn't happen . . . in more ways than one. You see, this week has been busy, busy, busy at work. Throughout the work-day yesterday, I debated back and forth about whether I really had time to squeeze the session in or not. Ultimately, though, I decided I was getting that speed session in . . . even if it meant having to stay at work until 3 a.m. (which it practically did).

Around 9 p.m., I finally got to a good stopping point in the project I was working on and headed over to the gym. I quickly changed and then took a look at my trusty schedule as I approached the 'mill . . . 10-minute warm-up + 1600m + 1600m + 800m + 800m + 10-minute cool-down (with 400m rest intervals). I took the first 1600 at an 8:00/mile pace. I finished it (barely) and suddenly became very cognizant of the fact that I was BEYOND exhausted. I slowed to a walk and silently wondered how the hell I was going to get through the rest of the workout without dying. A huge mental battle ensued.

As the 400m rest interval sped by, I tried bargaining with myself. These bargains, of course, all involved cutting the workout short, considering I'd definitively made up my mind that it would be "impossible" to finish. 400m of rest turned into 800m before I knew it--oops!--and at that point, I knew I had a decision to make. I could call it quits and get back to work, or I could crank the speed up on the 'mill and attempt another interval of some sort. I ultimately decided that if I did one more 1600 at a slightly more relaxed 8:13 pace, I could be done for the day. I pushed myself through that 1600 and smiled triumphantly. I was done!

But can you believe it? I soon found out that my tricky ass had actually fooled me! It was going to make me do one of the 800m intervals before I could quit. Luckily, I was promised that that would be it. The 400m rest interval came and went, and it was time to tackle that first (and last, I assumed) 800m. I finished it in 3:57 and was again happy to be DONE! But was I? Nope. My super mean inner coach was all like, "Um, that was pretty easy, no? After this 400m of rest, you are doing another one . . . only this time, you're going to finish it in 3:54." How could I argue with that? As the rest period drew to a close, my attitude about that last 800m suddenly changed . . . I was--gasp!--actually excited about it! That's when I knew I had finally lost my mind. But nonetheless, I pumped that treadmill up to 7.7 and kicked that 800's bootay. 'Cuz that? That is how I roll!

Before I knew it, the 800m interval had ended and it was time to cool down. I dropped my pace back down and thought for a moment about how impossible finishing the workout had seemed not so very long ago . . . and how I ended up finishing it feeling really strong. Interesting. So perhaps all these times I've been telling myself "I can't", I really could have, eh? It was a very big moment for me, I think. I am SO glad I finished that workout. Here's to a small but significant increase in mental toughness! Go me :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Last Week . . . In Review

First off, I have to congratulate my college buddy, Jon, on a recent accomplishment. He is on a quest to eventually BQ, and he just ran a 1:32:32 half-marathon out in L.A. this past weekend. Not only is that a ridiculously speedy time, BUT it's a 23-MINUTE PR for him!!! Think about that for a second . . . a 23-minute PR for the half-marathon--how amazing is that? I am REALLY proud of him, and I think it's safe to say he is well on his way to getting that BQ. You're a rock star, Jonny Boy!! Keep up the good work :)

Next, I'm going to recap my running/training over the past week. It went something like this:

Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: 8 x 400 at 7:19 pace with 1:30 rest intervals, core work
Wednesday: 2-miles easy (10:09) + 30 minutes elliptical
Thursday: 40 minutes elliptical
Friday: 1-mile easy (10:09 pace) + 1-mile mid-tempo (8:34 pace) + 1-mile easy + 1-mile MT + 1-mile easy
Saturday: 3.5 hours of pick-up soccer in Prospect Park
Sunday: Too sore to move = no long run

Let me tell you, I was SERIOUSLY hurting on Sunday after all that cold-weather soccer on Saturday. But? It was worth it. I'd forgotten how fun soccer is. And how good it makes me feel about myself. For whatever reason, I've just always felt really confident in my soccer-playing abilities. Despite the fact that I was one of just two girls playing in our pick-up games on Saturday, I was not at all intimidated. I love that I can feel like I'm just one of the guys when I'm playing, and I really hope that one day I can get to that same place with my running. Since suffering through the Los Angeles Marathon, I feel like I almost expect to fail when I tackle a race. Not this time. There are no excuses. The Austin Half-Marathon is mine. I can feel it. This will be the race that turns everything around for me. 2 months, 6 days and counting . . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

11/30 Long Run Report and 12/2 Speed training

The short version? Mission: Fail. But considering I've left some loose ends untied, I suppose I should back-track and explain a little more about my shoulder/elbow/arm situation. Well, I never made it back to the doctor . . . I know, I know . . . Bad Irish! But I was just too busy in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and since then, it's actually been feeling better enough that I think it might just be healing. I'm still in pain, but mostly just after strenuous physical activity (including running--awesome). . . but even that is much more tolerable these days. So, being the genius I am, I've decided to throw myself into half-marathon training mode. Wilson seems dead set on running the Austin Marathon in February despite my "oops, I fell down the stairs" set-back, and while I'm realistic enough to realize I'll never get into good enough shape to do the same, I figured it might just be the perfect opportunity to improve upon my lousy half-marathon PR.

Because we were lazy bums throughout most of the Thanksgiving weekend, Wilson and I didn't get around to tackling our respective long runs until Sunday . . . when, of course, it was raining some sort of freezing rain/wintery mix crap. Awesome. Wilson had 12-miles on the schedule, and I figured I would try to tackle 10 of those miles with him. I started the run as that annoying hyper-active running partner--I was dancing and singing along to my ipod--just generally being obnoxious. I swear, Wilson must have wanted to kill me! We continued on, and all was going well until about mile-6, when all of a sudden, it felt like a) a wave of exhaustion had just overcome me, and b) my lungs were under siege. I ended up capping my run at 7 miles and walking part of that last mile. Boo hiss. But oh well, at least I got a long-ish run in, I suppose . . . I still have ten weeks to go until race day, so I figure I should be fine by then if I keep increasing my long runs.

In related news, yesterday was a speed-training session full of lessons. Lesson 1: Do not stuff your gut with swedish fish (curse you, you delicious little beasts!) shortly before attempting speed training. Lesson 2: Do not try to be lazy when doing speed-work . . . it will likely come back to bite you. Case in point . . . I brought my dorky little McMillan calculator print-out to the gym with me yesterday so I could be sure to time my 400s just right. I attempted to run 8 x 400m at the slower end of my time range as prescribed by McMillan . . . hehe, I felt lazy, whatever! Thinking I was taking it easy, I was shocked to discover that finishing my intervals was a HUGE challenge! I kept thinking to myself as I gasped for air, "Why on earth does this seem so difficult?" I decided to gut it out, figuring that my extended absence from speed work was to blame. As I ran my last 400, I started to think my legs might give out and shoot me off the back of the treadmill for all the ellipticallers behind me to witness. I thought about cutting the interval short, but instead decided to fight through to the end.

When it was finally over, I slowed to a walk, and tried my hardest to a) keep my swedish fish down, b) keep my footing despite my all-but-dead legs and c) settle my breathing and heart-rate down. I finished out a mile long cool-down and then stepped off of the treadmill triumphantly. I picked up my McMillan timetable and, upon taking a quick glance at it, realized that I had just run the "middle-distance runner" time instead of the "long-distance runner" time. Now, I don't expect everyone to have studied that thing as diligently as I have, so what that means is that I actually took each of my intervals 5 seconds faster than I was supposed to! 5 seconds may not seem like much of a difference, but if you do the math, it's actually 20 seconds per mile faster--quite an increase in pace!! Oops! As dumb as I felt, I was excited to know that I had completed an extra difficult work-out . . . 8 x 400 at a 7:18 pace. Hooray! To celebrate, I grabbed an exercise ball and attempted to kill my abs. It was fantastic!

In fact, this work-out was so amazing, I woke up at 5:30 this morning to find Wilson getting ready to head out for some speed training of his own, and I became seriously envious! I was still high on endorphins from the night before, so I asked him if I could run with him to the track and then just run easy laps while he did his speed training. Sadly, he wasn't headed to the track, but was doing a run that had him running timed intervals--I never would have been able to keep up with him. Boo. I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I was actually really disappointed! Oh well, I'll get my easy run in tonight after work. It feels so good to be back in training, I can't even tell you . . . my shoulder hurt a bit last night after my work-out, but it was a lot better by this morning. I'll take a little pain if it means I get to train :)

Now, if only I could get someone to take these horrible, awful, sweet, delicious swedish fish away from me! Hope you are all having happy hump days!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Turkey Day Report!!

Did everyone have as delicious and blissful a Thanksgiving as I did? Mmm . . . I am drooling all over myself just thinking about it! Wilson and I decided to pass on the stress of travelling to see either of our families this year and instead stayed home in Brooklyn for Thanksgiving. I think it was a very wise decision (although our families probably wouldn't agree--sorry, guys!).

Wednesday night I carried on the three-year tradition of being the absolute last person at my firm to leave the office. It wasn't too late--around 7:00 p.m.--but when everyone else had left at 2, it sure as hell seemed late!! I rushed home to find Wilson working on the brine for the turkey with a pot of mulled cider warming up in the crock pot. YUMMY. We mixed in a little
applejack and our holiday was underway.

Like Laura, I had a detailed chart dictating my every cullinary move (hooray for being nerdy!). Wednesday night called for baking sour cream biscuits and pumpkin pie, making homemade cranberry sauce and preparing the corn casserole so that I could simply pop it in the oven the next day. I gleefully got to work and continued to do so until every last item on that list had been checked off. It was after 10:00 p.m. before Wilson and I realized that with all the excitement surrounding prepping/cooking/baking our first Thanksgiving meal, we'd failed to grab anything to make for dinner! What were we to do? Luckily, we are runners . . . meaning, we always have pasta on stand-by. We cooked up some gnocchi, did the dishes and called it a night.

Thanksgiving itself actually turned out nearly perfect, if I do say so myself. As a result of getting shut-out of our local 5-mile Turkey Trot (geez, Brooklyn! Didn't you hear that the entire point of Thanksgiving is laziness and gluttony?), we got to sleep in until 9 AM, which was a nice treat for sure. We got up and Wilson started with the turkey, while I went to town making my homemade egg noodles from scratch. I don't get why more people don't do this . . . it's so easy! Oh wait . . . maybe it's the fact that it takes like three centuries to make the damn things! Riiiight. But the deliciousness more than makes up for it, I promise! I got those suckers made up and hung them out to dry, all while taking in a bit of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on the boob-tube and drinking coffee with a splash of eggnog. Pure bliss!

With my first task accomplished, I relaxed and watched some shitty football for a while (seriously, Lions . . . just forfeit the rest of the season and save yourselves the embarrassment!) and ate a delicious but light lunch of cabbage soup, leftover from earlier in the week. I also squeezed in a little online shopping and a nice, long shower. Then around 3:00, it was time to get serious! I got the gravy/sauce/soup concoction that I cook my noodles in ready and cranked up the crock-pot . . . then I peeled and cooked some potatoes. While the potatoes were boiling, I started making my delicious cranberry-apple-sausage stuffing . . . toasted the bread and cooked up some sausage and onions. I then took a well-deserved Budweiser tall-boy break while I forced Wilson to chop up the remaining ingredients for the stuffing.

I threw the collard greens on the stove--ham-hocks and all--just in the nick of time (or so I thought!) . . . then mashed my potatoes up with butter, sour cream and cream cheese (SO good!!). I mixed all of the ingredients for my stuffing together, looked at the clock and realized I was RIGHT ON SCHEDULE! You know what they say . . . there's a first for everything! And my hard work and dedication were rewarded with . . . a delinquent a-hole of a turkey. That stubborn bird just didn't seem to want to cook (or perhaps conversely our $30 smoker didn't want to smoke)! So I waited . . . and I waited . . . and I waited. Everything besides the turkey was ready to go; I just had to wait for the go-ahead from Wilson. He promised he'd give me 45 minutes warning so I could throw the potatoes, stuffing and corn casserole in the oven.

Wouldn't you know, we ended up watching the entire first season of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" before that bird heated up enough for us to safely devour him (hilarious show, by the way! I highly recommend it!)! Finally, around 9:00 p.m., we had our Thanksgiving feast laid out on the table. Doesn't it look heavenly?

And because I'm super proud of my masterpiece side-dishes/pie (and Wilson's yummy smoked turkey too!) . . . I am going to force you to look at close-ups of all of our trimmings!

Collard Greens (pre-ham-hock removal--it looks cooler that way!)

Corn casserole.

Baked mashed potatoes.

Cran-apple-sausage stuffing.

Sour cream biscuits.

Cranberry sauce.

Smoked turkey.

Pumpkin pie!

And finally, a photo of my loaded plate . . . please note the big fluffy homemeade noodles on top of the mashed potatoes . . . apparently I forgot to take a picture of them to post above. They are SO good.

After seeing our delicious spread, the cat was not so happy about her own Thanksgiving dinner. I gloated all night about how the tables had turned and my cat was finally jealous of ME (but we were nice and gave her a little turkey anyway). Here she is, trying to figure out why her meal sucks so much:

I can't believe I'm about to post this, but I took the following self-portrait after Thanksgiving dinner in an attempt to express just how stuffed I was . . . sadly, Wilson and I were unable to bounce back from our glutton-fest before passing out, and thus, the pumpkin pie went untouched . . . (until Friday, that is)! Here is my "I'm stuffed and possibly about to vomit" face:

And this next photo is my "I am the Thanksgiving champion!" pose (can I just mention how damned hot it is in our apartment now that the heat has come on? HOT. I've never heard of anyone having that problem in a NYC apartment, but whatever. On a related note, please don't think that I ALWAYS wear crap like that . . . I had on a very cute dressy outfit before our apartment spontaneously turned into a broiler, I promise!)

Here is poor Wilson, taking care of dish duty for the umpteenth time that day:

And finally, the cat (Nico) was seriously tuckered out by Thanksgiving (damn tryptophan!) . . . and, I think, possibly affected by some sort of heat illness. This was the result:

Hope you all had wonderful Turkey Days! I'll be back soon with a long run report for this weekend.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Saga Continues . . .

So I went to the ortho today. Sadly, my favorite ortho ever is no longer going to be a part of my insurance network as of January 1st (boo), so I figured it couldn't hurt to try to find a new in-network ortho. Let me tell you . . . BIG MISTAKE.

I was a bit nervous when I got to the office, as it just looked a bit outdated and grimy. As I sat and waited, I told myself not to judge a book by its cover, and tried to remain positive. But then, when I was finally seen, the visit lasted approximately two minutes (and at least 1 1/2 of those minutes were me telling the doc what had happened in as much detail as possible). He asked me if I work out and if I've been working out . . . and I told him that I run, cross-train and used to lift weights before my fall; and that I've been trying to run since my accident, but that it's been very painful to do so. So then he grabbed my arms and moved them a couple different ways (which really hurt, by the way) and reported to me that I should "resume my normal activities," as he turned to walk out of the room. I stopped him and said, "but the last time I ran, I was in so much pain that I was in tears later that night." His response? "Like I said, I'd just try to resume your normal activities."

No x-rays; no "does it hurt when I do this"; no diagnosis; no nothing. I'm just so discouraged. I mean, I HAVE RESUMED my normal activities--as someone who lives pretty much paycheck to paycheck, it's not like I have a choice but to do so! But that's the problem . . . that the normal everyday activities are extremely freaking painful . . . and that, by the end of the day, I am in so much pain, I am tempted to saw my own arm off! Call me crazy, but it seems like there might be something wrong with that. Of course, this dude didn't stick around long enough for me to tell him that, and I'm sure it wouldn't have made a difference if he had. I don't know if it was the fact that it's a worker's comp. injury--and he thought I was just trying to get some time off from work or what (little does he know that I missed NOT A SINGLE MINUTE of work as a result of my injuries). But seriously . . . so frustrating. And it didn't help that I rushed back to work to make a team meeting, in which we were told that our firm will NOT be replacing the litigation paralegal who just quit, despite the fact that we're busier than ever. It's a never-ending battle . . . I wonder if the remaining 3 of us left if they'd even bother to replace us?

Anyway, I know I know . . . I can always get a second opinion or whatever. The point is, I'm just sick and tired of everything being such a huge struggle. Honestly. I wasted a precious hour of my work-day--between getting there and back, and waiting for like 30 minutes in the waiting room. That just means an extra hour I'm going to have to be at work tonight. And if I have to go see ANOTHER doctor, the same thing will happen that day.

Blah. I really need to go running . . . perhaps I will suffer through the pain tonight. After all, the doctor told me to do it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I must have been on crack when I said I was going to attempt a long run "because it was such a beautiful day" on Sunday. Riiiiight. I mean, it LOOKED beautiful from the comfort of my couch . . . but 'twas not so. Wilson and I ran out to get lunch and, holy falafel, it windy and cold out! Thus, we opted to spend the rest of the day inside on the couch, where it truly was a beautiful day. I know, I know . . . but the cold makes my entire-left-arm-injury hurt so much more!! (haha, not sure what Wilson's excuse was!)

Well, watch out entire-left-arm. Wilson and I have decided to brave the cold tonight and head to our local track for a 3 x 1200 speed workout. It is ass-cold out (again), so luckily I've come up with some motivational tactics to get my hind end out the door . . . 1) I'm seeing my ortho on Thursday, so I'd better run all I can now just in case running is taken away from me (again); 2) For the first time this season, it's actually cold enough to wear my running tights (see how I spun a horrible thing into a good one using my love for clothing? Now THAT'S tricky!); and finally, the kicker . . . 3) I can have some EGGNOG if I run! I'm so good at drinking eggnog, I've already made it through 1 carton of it, despite the fact it's so early in the "holiday season". I better keep practicing . . . :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Over it . . .

Hey y'all! Thanks for your wonderful words of wisdom regarding my last post . . . I really, really appreciate them. I think you all are totally right about everything you said. As I thought about it more, I realized that for the first time--oh, ever--I don't really have any one particular thing that defines me . . . I don't really have an identity, so to speak. I've gotten so used to always working towards big accomplishments that now that I don't have any huge goals, it's making me feel a bit lost. I'm starting to realize, though, that maybe it's a good thing to be more or less goal-free for a while. Maybe I should really allow myself to just blend into the crowd and relax for a while. After all, it is creeping closer to the holiday season!

Okay, fine . . . I admit it. There's no "creeping" going on in our household! Poor Wilson has had to endure hours upon hours of Christmas music already . . . not to mention, hours of talk about Christmas decorations, holiday party planning and Christmas shopping! BUT. In my defense, I've come up with a theory that allows me to start celebrating Christmas right after Halloween ends. It goes like this: As adults, life seems to move FAR MORE QUICKLY than it ever did as children. Thus, to get an appropriate amount of holiday celebration in each year, we must start with our preparations extra early!! See? That's my story and I'm sticking too it!!

Speaking of which, I haven't gotten around to sharing the story of my horrible fall down the stairs yet. So here it is. Okay, it was a crazy, crazy day at work. We'd just gotten a new matter in that I ended up being assigned to, mostly because I'm the only competent person at my firm. Now, because I have approximately 20 other matters on my plate, I was juggling a LOT that particular day. Meanwhile, #1 A-hole (who I also mentioned
here) was in prime form even for him. He called me up complaining that our copy center was taking too long to make the eight copies of about 2000 pages worth of documents for the team. I apologized and explained that they were super busy up there, and were doing the best they could . . . and he FREAKED and started bitching me out and attempting to insult my intelligence, just to make himself feel better. He then insisted that I call the copy center and cancel the job . . . and DO IT MYSELF. Hilarious. So there I was . . . pushing the rest of my work aside to make a shitload of copies.

I hurriedly printed and copied the crap #1 A-hole wanted, because--let's be honest--I'm terrified of him. So as I was finally headed upstairs to deliver it all, I realized I forgot something down at my desk. I turned and headed back down the stairs, practically running, carrying the ENORMOUS stack of documents . . . and graceful as I am, I managed to catch my heel in the hem of my pants. I stumbled and tried SO hard to catch myself, but I just knew I was going down! I tumbled, somersaulting all the way down the stupid flight of marble stairs. It must have looked/sounded really badly because I saw people SPRINTING at me from every direction--I realized later that I honestly don't think I've ever seen ANYONE run as fast as some of these people were running. There were papers and broken binder clips EVERYWHERE. My shoes had flown off in opposite directions. Although I was totally stunned, I immediately tried to get up and get to my office, apparently muttering that I needed to get the documents to #1 A-hole. My co-workers convinced me to stay down for a minute (probably convinced I'd broken my neck or something) . . . but after taking inventory of my entire body, I realized that the only thing in serious pain was my left arm. Thus, I insisted I needed to get back to my office.

One of my co-workers picked up the scattered documents, which miraculously were somehow mostly in tact, and we headed back to my office. As I got there, I realized I was actually in a LOT of pain . . . my entire arm--from shoulder to knuckles--was becoming very painful. I took a look at my elbow and realized it was swollen about three times its normal size. Realizing I still had to get the documents to #1 A-hole, I enlisted the help of my co-worker, Ariana. Ha, she had no clue what had happened, and when I showed her my arm, she freaked out. Luckily, she wasn't too busy, so she put the documents back together and delivered a copy to #1 A-hole while I iced my arm and bawled in my office. Now comes my favorite part:

When Ariana delivered the set of documents to #1 A-hole, he immediately asked her if everyone else on the team had a set as well. Her response to him was, "Well, no. Bailey fell down the stairs." He briefly asked if I was okay, to which Ariana responded, "No, she hurt her arm pretty badly." After not even the slightest bit of hesitation he goes, "Well, how long is it going to take you to get copies to everyone else?!" Lovely. I could have broken my neck and been paralyzed for the rest of my life . . . but this jerk's concern is over when the rest of our team members are going to get their documents. Thanks, buddy.

So after we got everything out to the rest of the team, we figured it might be a good idea to go to the ER and get my arm checked out. I had debated about whether to go or not (I avoid the ER at ALL costs) . . . but I finally allowed myself to be convinced to go . . . mostly because I just COULDN'T stop crying. It was so weird. I'm still not sure whether it was the pain or whether I was a little bit in shock from how scary the whole thing was. But I ultimately figured it was better to be safe than sorry, especially since it was a work accident and would be paid for by the firm.

Of course, being a NYC hospital, I was at the ER FOREVER. Then, for some reason, despite the fact that I told the doctor that my entire arm was hurting super badly, she only chose to x-ray my elbow. The initial x-ray didn't seem to show a fracture, but she said I should get it x-rayed again in a couple weeks if it was still hurting. Well, being the bad patient I am, I'm still in a great deal of pain--from my shoulder down to my wrist--and I still haven't gone back for another x-ray, despite the fact that it's now been more than 3 weeks. Oops. I guess the problem is that I keep assuming that since I can move it and sort of use it, it will probably get better on its own. But thus far? Not so much. I suppose I should probably set up an appointment sometime in the coming week. After all, worker's comp has to pay for it . . . I might as well make sure everything okay, no?

In other news, I attempted an almost long run last weekend . . . got 7 miles in at a 9:58 pace. Not too bad. Although my arm was pretty painful, and my asthmatic lungs were NOT happy with the cool air, it just felt SO good to be running. I'll probably attempt another longer run this evening. It's just too beautiful out to not do so!

Alright, this post is already way too long . . . so if you made it through the whole thing--congrats! I best wrap it up before I lose more of you! Hope everyone is having a great weekend :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Perpetually Bummed . . .

Do you ever have a bad day . . . and then it transitions into a bad week . . . which slowly turns into a bad month . . . and before you know it, it's been a bad year or two? And all of a sudden, you start to question every aspect of your pathetic, unaccomplished life? Well, that's where I am right now. I'm in *that* place.

I've had numerous events come and go over the past year that I had hoped would turn everything around . . . running my first marathon, moving into a fab new apartment in a fab neighborhood, travelling to a myriad of new places, the presidential election . . . and while each of these events were positive forces, none of them were powerful enough to get me over the hump. I just can't seem to shake this stupid funk. I think the main problem is that my life is completely and totally lacking any direction whatsoever. I was so overwhelmed by such feelings last night that I actually began considering applying to law school (again)--JUST so I could have something that almost sorta kinda gave me some semblance of direction. Now, in case you're new to this blog, I decided a while back that I ABSOLUTELY positively do not want to go to law school. But, at this point, things are so unclear that law school is actually becoming a reasonable option again. God help me . . .

Have any of you had periods like this in your life? If so, how did you break through them and get to a place of tranquility? I know this is a running blog . . . not psychotherapy . . . but it's been on my mind and I'm curious to hear any thoughts y'all have to offer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oops . . . I did it again!

That is . . . neglecting my blog! Sorry, folks. Crapz been crazy lately! Here's the short version--I promise to elaborate more later on (with pictures . . . oooooh yeah):

Worked like a dog; sprinted all over NYC in search of a new dress; went to Italy for a wedding/vacay; climbed up and down billions of steps without the slightest bit of knee pain; wore 4-inch heels for an entire night without knee pain (hot damn!); traveled for 24 hours straight to get back to NYC from Italy; returned to work 10 hours later; started an interior architecture/design class through Parsons; fell all the way down a flight of marble stair at work and busted my elbow/wrist/hand/fingers and bruised/skinned my entire body; was imediately thereafter attacked by the vultures that are my firm's HR department; spent far too long at the ER waiting for an x-ray after being given the wrong medication (um, oops!); returned to work the very next day (today) with my left arm in a sling. Okay, whew! We are officially caught up!

This weekend, the boyf and I are headed upstate to hit up some haunted hayride/house deal . . . and to do some serious hiking. THEN, I owe you all some comments and an explanation as to how on earth I managed to fall down a flight of marble stairs. Oh how I wish we had a video of this . . . because it was GRACEFUL. Let me tell you, being known as "the girl who fell down the stairs"? Sure beats my last work nickname! I kid, I kid!

Congrats to all of you who have rocked it in the race world recently . . . I'm slowly but surely getting caught up on your blogs. Oh, and best of luck to all those with marathons coming up as well! Ah, it's good to be back!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chicago Marathon

Hey y'all. Just looked myself up on the runner tracker for the Chicago Marathon. Apparently I would have worn bib number 43540 were I actually running. Ha, if you'd like to, you can track me . . . but just to warn you, that start point is going to remain at 0:00:00. That is, unless . . . I hopped on a plane RIGHT NOW! What do you think? Would they still let me start?

On a more serious note, let's pray the weather is kind to the many runners out on that magnificent course right now. I feel like the race organizers HAVE to be more prepared for the heat this year than last . . . it certainly seemed that way based on the sheer number of race-week emails I received. I'm hoping for the best . . .

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Throw-back post

As a result of the fact that I have nothing interesting to say . . . um . . . ever, I've decided to post an email I sent to my little sis shortly after completing my first 18-mile training run ever. Yes, friends, this was back in the sad days when I didn't have a blog . . . also known as "the days when everyone I knew set up email rules to automatically filter all mail from me to a folder entitled "more boring running drivel." Ha, it's actually really funny to stumble upon this stuff now. Hope you enjoy my tale of conquering 18 miles and learning a little something on the way.

So I'm not sure how this happened, but I made another "friend" during my long run on Saturday. As will happen in 20-something degree temps with 500 mph arctic winds, my fully-charged ipod died REALLY quickly (we're talking under an hour here). Although this saddened me a bit, I ultimately decided to pull off my headphones and throw the ipod in my pocket, thinking I'd get in touch with my inner naturalist and take in some of the glorious sounds of mother nature (I don't know--for some reason this made sense to me at the time).

So there I was, running along, and all of a sudden this chipper-looking runner man approached from the opposite direction and yelled out to me, "there's a red-tailed hawk up the way, if you'd like." I had no idea what to say to this, so I just responded (way too excitedly) with, "OH really?!" And he was like, "Yep, once you pass the second light-post, take a look up at the top of the tree on the left there." "Oh, AWESOME. THANKS SO MUCH!" (I tend to get really giddy and over-the-top enthusiastic in awkward situations . . . think this is bad? you should have seen my reaction when my (now ex-) boss came to tell me that she was "leaving" the firm--aka, her ass had been fired because we gave her such a scathing "upward review"). But anyway, since I WAS trying to get in touch with nature (and mostly because I was scared the guy would look back and be pissed that I didn't stop to look at the dumb bird), I paused in front of the tree and stared up into it for a bit. The bird just sat there, not really doing anything. I tried really hard to get excited, but to be honest, I had no idea what the heck was supposed to be so exciting about the bird in the first place (was it the fact that it had a red tail? did it have magical Harry Potter-esque powers? was it supposed to be one of my--or the dude's--ancestors?). So after maybe 15-20 seconds, I got scared it might poop on my head and decided to continue on my way (I figured that was long enough to make it look like I was interested anyway).

Later that night, I started to feel badly about not being interested in the bird, figuring it was probably some kind of endangered species or something . . . so I actually got on the computer and googled it. I clicked on a promising-looking entry on Cornell's website and, on the edge of my seat, excitedly read the description of the red-tailed hawk: " . . . the most common and widespread hawk in North America." WHAT?! I was totally pissed. You mean to tell me that I added an extra 15-20 seconds onto my time to look at the most common and widespread hawk on the continent?! DAMN YOU, RED-TAILED HAWK GUY. Anyway, just thought I'd share that experience with you because, frankly, I'm still kind of laughing about it.

Also, please promise me you'll never train for a marathon. Running 18 miles hurts REALLY BADLY, as I learned on Saturday. I can only imagine what running 26.2 will feel like . . . God help me!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Bit Slow . . . In More Ways Than One!

Hey y'all! As you can see, this post is about the many ways in which I am "slow" . . . or rather, it's about two ways in which I'm slow (I'm too tired/hungry/lazy to come up with more than that--lay off me!). First of all, can you believe I missed my 100th post?! Yeah, well I did. I'm a little--you guessed it--slow. But hey, it only took me until my 101st post to catch on to that one, so I suppose I'm not *that* slow. But yay, happy 100 (and 1) posts to me! :)

The other way in which I'm slow is a tad bit exciting for me to report. Yesterday--exactly nine weeks after suffering the knee catastrophe--I hopped on the treadmill, anxious to see what would happen. Now, I should confess that my physical therapist didn't exactly give me the go ahead to do this . . . but I just couldn't stand it any longer. Plus, all the bikes and ellipticals were somehow taken when I got to the gym (okay, that's a lie--but there were like twelve lonely treadmills in a row, begging me to hop on!). At first, I thought about just walking at a brisk pace at a bit of an incline. But being on that machine was too tempting--I HAD to try running a bit! With a promise to myself that I'd stop if I felt even the slightest twinge of pain, I kicked the treadmill up to a blistering 12:00/mile pace--practically Kenyan, I know. I can't believe I'm about to write this, but I, Irish Cream, managed to cover a mile without any knee pain! :) Oh treadmill, how I love thee (please disregard this rant--I was SO out of line!)

Then? Guess what I did today? I ran TWO MILES, once again at a SLOOOOOW 12:00/mile pace. And? Next to no knee pain! But, of course, being the good little girl I am, I can't help but feel guilty about my secret meet-ups with the treadmill. Thus, I think I'm going to have to tell my PT about them at my appointment on Friday. Or maybe I can get all tricky and get her to say it's okay to run without actually telling her I cheated. Hmm . . . yes. I have some scheming to do! At any rate, it's great to be back!

In closing, YAY RUNNING! :) (someone's feeling the effects of endorphins!)

Sunday, September 28, 2008


. . . and that's really about all that's been going on in this little ol' boring life of mine . . . ha, wish I had something more exciting to share. But I'm figuring you probably don't want to read more whining about how I dislike my job and miss running ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You Know You're a Dedicated Fan When . . .

I meant to write this post earlier in the week just to rub it in Wilson's face that we beat his team . . . but sadly, work is getting more than a little hectic again. Boo. I should have enjoyed those summer months while they lasted!

Anyway, Friday was a bit of a whirlwind . . . I got into work early in the a.m., and worked continually without taking a breath until 12:15 p.m., when I promptly packed up my stuff and headed out the door; but not before purchasing an individually-wrapped grilled chicken wrap in our workplace cafeteria (this will prove to be relevant, I promise). Wilson and I met up at Penn Station and took the train over to Newark to catch our flight to Chicago. On the way, I ravenously attempted to devour my chicken wrap. I had not eaten anything all day, so I was totally starving, and very excited about my sandwich. Well . . . that excitement didn't last long. As with so many items out of our crappy workplace cafeteria, it just didn't taste good. I ate about 2/3 of it, and tossed the rest, bummed but still really excited about the fact that I would get to eat Jimmy John's for dinner. Yum!

We got to Newark with plenty of time to spare, grabbed a coffee and proceeded to wait at the gate for something to go wrong. Well, it certainly didn't take long. They announced that we would be boarding our flight a few minutes early because another plane needed our gate . . . and just as we all foolishly got excited that we might actually leave on time, they announced that there was also a 120-minute delay and that we'd have to sit on the runway for that time. Kill. Me. Of course, Wilson and I ended up next to the mess of a woman who felt the need to loudly converse for 120-minutes straight with every person in the state of Texas about Hurricane Ike. I mean, I wish her nothing but the best, and I know it must be stressful to be away from home when that kind of stuff is going on, but it was SERIOUSLY over the top. And she SERIOUSLY could not have spoken any louder if she tried. Ugh. I had a headache before we even left the ground.

We eventually took off after the 120-minute delay (thank goodness--I was seriously worried we wouldn't get out of Newark at all). The flight itself was rather uneventful once we got going--I napped a bit, stared out the window a bit; the usual. We landed two hours later and found my mother, who was kind enough to pick us up and drive us 90-minutes back to Beverly Shores, IN. On the way, I started to notice I was feeling a little icky. Figuring it was probably just a little car-sickness mixed with some malaise from traveling, I ignored it. We got to my parents' house, collected ourselves for a few minutes, and then Wilson and I took off to go stay with a friend of mine in South Bend for the night. On the way to South Bend, I started feeling more and more uncomfortable. I couldn't really figure out what the problem was, but I just felt . . . gross. Like, I felt all weird and burpy and my stomach just felt kind of funny. I told Wilson I wasn't feeling so hot, and he mentioned that maybe I just needed some food, considering it was quickly approaching 10:00 p.m. and all I'd eaten that day was 2/3 of a chicken wrap.

We stopped at Jimmy Johns and grabbed ourselves a couple subs, then headed to my friend's apartment. I was so disappointed to discover that my Jimmy Johns just didn't taste good to me AT ALL. I hardly ate any of it, and stashed the rest in my friend's fridge, figuring it would make a delicious late-night drunken snack. My group of friends packed into a couple of cars shortly after we'd arrived, and immediately headed out for the bars. In particular, we headed to one of my favorite bars ever, a dueling piano bar called Rumrunners. I had been SO excited about hitting the joint up, but once I got there, I realized I just wanted to take my jeans off and lay down. Yes, I know that sounds ridiculous, but I had on a rather tight pair of jeans, and the pressure of them on my ailing stomach was almost more than I could bear. I hardly made it through the night, imbibing just 3/4 of a bottle of beer. I just had no desire whatsoever to consume ANYTHING. FINALLY, after what seemed like forever, we all headed back to the apartment to sleep.

I curled up in the fetal position on my friend's futon, and was happy to find that I felt pretty sleepy. I passed right out . . . but only for an hour or two, after which I was WIDE AWAKE and feeling absolutely HORRIBLE. I thought about making myself throw-up, thinking it would help, but opted to wait it out. Well, it didn't take long before I realized I was going to get sick anyway. I was violently ill for the rest of the night, vomiting and dealing with some seriously violent stomach cramps. It SUCKED. I finally managed to fall back asleep, but of course, was awoken by the alarm about a half hour later. My friends generally head over to tailgate in two groups--the early group (who leaves for the parking lot by 7 a.m.), and the "sleep-in" group. I have ALWAYS, always, always been a member of the early group . . . but I knew it wasn't such a good idea, considering how sick I was. I allowed myself to fall back asleep and rest for a few more hours, while the early group headed out without me.

We finally headed over to the parking lot with the rest of the "sleep-in" group around 11 a.m., and I immediately found my parents' tailgate and lay down in their backseat. I just couldn't deal with the ridiculous stomach cramps I was experiencing and the crazy food all over the place. I "slept" (aka napped between violent stomach cramps) for the entire tailgating period, and never even made it over to the "kids'" tailgate to see my friends. I felt really badly, but I was sick as a dog . . . and I just didn't have much of a choice. As it crept closer to game time (3:30 p.m.), I started to question whether or not I'd be able to make it through the game. I felt a little bit better, and knew I was past the vomiting phase, but I was also going on 48 hours or so without any calories at all. I finally decided I had to give it a shot--I'd come all that way for the game; I sure as hell wasn't going to miss it!

I headed into the stadium with my parents and Wilson, and somehow I managed to make it through the entire game without dying. I forgot how exhausting a football game can be even if you're not suffering the after-effects of food-poisoning--goodness, am I out of college football shape! There were times when I literally didn't think I could hold my head up any longer . . . and did I mention it poured rain for the entire 2nd half? Still, I tried to cheer here and there when I'd get a little burst of energy. All in all, it was pretty pathetic, though . . . no trash-talking with Wilson, no Irish jigs, no screaming my head off while we were on D, nothing. In the end, we won pretty easily, which I was very happy about. I don't think I would have made it if we wouldn't have been kicking Michigan's hind end . . . but wow, did I ever have to suffer to earn that victory!

I'm finally feeling okay now . . . but I'm still kind of pissed about the fact that my job somehow found a way to ruin my fun football weekend with my friends. I'd just been looking forward to it for SO long, and I'm still crying over all the delicious tailgating food I missed out on! Of course, my solution for this is that I have to go back for ANOTHER game this fall to make up for it! Now I just have to convince everyone else to go back too! Oh well, we'll see :)

One thing that's still really not making me happy is that fact that I sent an email to our chick who's in charge of the catering/cafeteria stuff and let her know that I got food poisoning, and she sent me back an email saying, "We checked our production logs and all temperatures were recorded properly . . . We did not receive any other reports of illness. Sorry you had a bad experience with the food." Maybe I'm wrong, but I kind of feel like they should look into this a little further than just checking their "production logs" and seeing what the temp was in the refrigerator thing that the sandwiches were in! Yuck. I've always been a little cautious about eating stuff from there, but it's safe to say I will NOT be eating anything from our cafeteria EVER AGAIN. Blech.

Alright, well I hope you're all doing well! I have a LOT of posts to catch up on, so I guess I'll find out soon enough. Hurry up, weekend! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Patience, Please?

Do you ever get that feeling? You know . . . the one that's like, "holy sh*t! If I have to ride this damn stationary bike for .00001 of a second longer, I am going to gnaw my own legs off out of boredom." No? Well I'm not gonna lie--I've been getting that feeling quite often lately. Ugh, I know, I know. I should appreciate the fact that I'm able to ride that stationary bike at all--especially considering I wasn't allowed to do ANYTHING just a few weeks ago. But yeah, I guess I'm just an unappreciative little b*tch! Because I am SO not excited about the fact that I *get* to go ride the stationary bike right now.

Oh well, I'm going to go ahead and estimate that I have two weeks to go until I can run again. Now, keep in mind that this is coming out of MY mouth and not out of my ortho's mouth or my physical therapist's mouth--but I secretly tried running for like half a block the other night, and it only hurt a little bit. That's gotta mean something, right?

Oh, and by the way . . . 3 DAYS UNTIL I GET TO SEE MY COLLEGE FRIENDS! YAY :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Here Come the Irish (AKA the longest Notre Dame post EVER)!

Is anyone else as excited about college football season being underway as I am? I'm a bit hesitant to boldly profess my love for a certain team, considering our not-so-stellar performance on the field in recent history ('though I get the feeling that after suffering through over a decade of mediocrity, "recent history" is no longer an appropriate phrase). BUT, as I remind myself every football season, it's not just about football . . . it's about supporting and celebrating an exciting albeit popular facet of my Alma mater, the University of Notre Dame.

To borrow my father's carefully chosen words, I am "cautiously optimistic" about the 2008 season. More than anything, though, I am excited to once again be an active part of such a wonderful tradition. In case you're wondering (and to remind myself should my cautious optimism fade to pessimism at some point this autumn), the following are the reasons--some predictable, some more obscure--that I love and support my Alma mater no matter what:

1) The campus is beautiful. And by beautiful, I actually mean . . . breathtaking . . . and stunning . . . no, heavenly. Okay, I give up--words just can't do it justice. See for yourself:

Somehow (yes, even when buried under 4 feet of lake-effect snow), the campus always appears as pristine in person as all of the promotional photos/videos make it out to be. I can still remember one of the first times I stepped foot on the campus (around the age of three). Even at that young age, I knew I was in a very special place. I could sense the immense respect my father had for the campus and I wanted to emulate that respect. At the time, it translated into a refusal to step foot on even a single blade of grass--I would yell at my family if they tried to take a shortcut or dared to step off the sidewalk. I guess that's the thing that's so cool about the campus, though . . . people just seem to treat it with so much respect--cleaning up after themselves, throwing trash away, using sidewalks, recycling, etc. And I have to say, after 20+ years, I'm still awe-struck each time I drive in from Chicago and catch that first glimpse of the golden dome. Simply magical . . .

2) I have met some truly amazing people through the University of Notre Dame. While I was in school, I was constantly humbled by the brilliance, talent, generosity, ambition, and work ethic of those surrounding me. So often, I found myself thinking, "Wow. I am so lucky to know and get to learn from these people." Even today, my Notre Dame friends are the most remarkable human beings I know. Whenever we're together, I am overwhelmed by how incredible and accomplished they all are--not necessarily financially or professionally (although there's definitely some of that too), but as friends . . . and, more importantly, as people. They exhibit qualities that elude me even in a city of 8 million--things like loyalty, compassion, courage, sincerity and even good old-fashioned manners. I find that I myself am indeed a better person when in the presence of these great men and women. Who could possibly ask for more out of their friends?

3) As hokey as it sounds, there really is a "family" feel at Notre Dame. I think what it boils down to is the communal generosity and respect Domers have for one another. I was constantly taken out for off-campus meals as an undergrad as generous parents would visit and treat huge groups of us to "real food." My friends' parents would send in hometown specialties by the dozen (mmm, Cheryl's Cookies!) for everyone in my huge group of friends to enjoy. Heck, I would answer the phone in friends' rooms and chat with their parents even if their daughter happened to be out at the moment! As a result, our families are all intertwined, and I am extremely close to the parents and siblings of many of the people I associated with at Notre Dame.

Many professors at Notre Dame go the extra mile to make their students feel welcome at the school. Many of my professors, for example, would invite their classes into their homes on their own time--for home-cooked meals or even just a quick escape from campus life. I still keep in touch with several of these professors today, and am so grateful for the wonderful examples they set for me.

Beyond the obvious support from friends, their families and professors, though, were the countless acts of selflessness I witnessed during my time on campus. There was the kindness of the upperclassmen in my dorm and the way they acted like protective big sisters to us as freshmen; the way they would offer us rides to the grocery store, or lend us their favorite clothes, or take time out of their busy schedules to help us with our latest nightmare of a gen-chem assignment; there was the generosity of alumni host families in cities throughout the country, taking students into their homes so that we might serve their communities through summer service internships; there was the response in the dorms to tragic news of any type and the way everyone would immediately band together to support whoever was in need; there was the way random passersby always knew when you needed a smile; or the time I forgot my ID and the stranger in line behind me offered to buy my late night caffeine fix with his own "flex points." The beauty of it all is that being around such kind people really does rub off on you and make you want to act in the same way . . . it's kind of like that insurance commercial where all the people witness a good deed and then go do one of their own. Random tangent, I know . . . anyway, moving on!

3) The lakes at Notre Dame were made for running (see--one that relates to running)! There are two beautiful lakes on Notre Dame's campus (St. Mary's Lake and St. Joseph's Lake), and they are both surrounded by cushy soft dirt paths. Let me tell you, I had some of the best runs of my life around those lakes! Oh how I miss them now . . .

4) Notre Dame is set in the middle of crappy South Bend, IN . . . so it's like an oasis in the middle of an urban crap desert! I kind of love that about the school. I'm pretty sure the fact that the school is able to thrive in South Bend, IN is a testament to how special it really is.

5) People take pride in their dormitories. At Notre Dame, we don't have sororities or fraternities, but there is some crazy dorm rivalry going on. When we attend football pep rallies, we all wear our dorm shirts and scream dorm cheers at the top of our lungs. Personally, I was a BP (Breen-Phillips Hall) "babe." ("WHO are we? BP! WHAT are we? BABES!"). Ah, good times. I think the emphasis on dorm pride and the relationships we have with our dorm-mates do tend to keep a much larger percentage of students on campus all 4 years than at other universities. While I did NOT choose to stay on campus all four years, I can certainly understand why people do it . . . dorm life at Notre Dame is actually a lot of fun!

6) The number of t-shirts I ended up with. I swear, I do not even know HOW this happened, but one day I woke up and realized I had somehow accumulated approximately 70 ND t-shirts. I know I didn't pay for all of them, so I'm not quite sure where they came from--it's a mystery to this day--but hey, between ND shirts and race shirts, I'll never need to buy another t-shirt so long as I live!

7) The fact that my ND friends are so into football, they create multiple tailgate spreadsheets during the weeks leading up to the games. I know this one is football-related, but it just goes to show . . . even if the game ends up sucking, at least we enjoy the tailgating!

8) The fact that students come to Notre Dame from all over the country/world--it just makes for such an interesting dynamic. My freshman year roommate (who I'm still really close to) was from the island of Maui. I had SO much fun watching her and another close friend from Savannah, GA play in snow for the first time ever . . . it's just one of those super cool things that not everyone gets to experience.

9) Our band is incredible . . . truly incredible. And at ND, we don't look at the band kids as "band geeks" or whatever. There's again a tremendous amount of respect for the band members and the fact that they are just so . . . talented! Oh, and I should probably mention that our victory march is pretty much amazing.

10) The pasta stir-fry in the North Dining Hall. Okay, seriously . . . this was pretty much the best thing ever. You could pile various types of pasta, veggies, meats, etc. onto your plate, and then give it to the dude and he'd cook it all up for you with one of their yummy sauces. The line was always SO long, but it was SO good. Mmm, chicago pizza sauce!

11) The Grotto. In case you've never seen it, this is the Grotto:

It's one of the most comforting places on earth. Freshman year, my roomie and I would always go to the Grotto on Friday nights before football games and pray for the team. Okay, fine . . . we were specifically praying that our team would win. Maybe it wasn't the most well-guided of prayers, but it was a neat tradition. In addition to these Friday night rituals, I spent many a low moment at the Grotto. Somehow, I always walked away feeling far more balanced and at peace than I had been before.
12) The Hesburgh Library. Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit this, but I used to hang out a lot on the 2nd floor of this magnificent building. I was lucky enough to be placed in a dorm right near the library, so it just happened to be really convenient to spend a lot of time "studying" in there. Okay, fine. So maybe I did have a crush on a football player who frequented the 2nd floor of the library, and maybe I didn't really get all that much "studying" done in there. But still, it's frickin' gorgeous, no?

13) I love that I am actually proud to call myself a Notre Dame fan. I've visited many other campuses for away games, and I'm not going to name any names, but opponents aren't always treated with respect on those campuses. I am happy to say that, in my 20+ years of attending football games, I've never seen a Notre Dame fan taunt or try to start trouble with an opposing team's fans (and I've certainly never seen full beer cans chucked at middle-aged women's heads . . . or full buckets of water dumped over innocent students' heads). That's not to say it doesn't happen, but a true fan would never ever risk harming the reputation of the University by acting in such a way. I know the second I use the "c"-word (class), I'm going to get screams of "elitism," but we really do expect it of our fans. People can call us "elitist" if it makes them feel better, but the truth of the matter is we're just extremely proud to be a part of the University of Notre Dame. We don't look down on those who are *not* fans; but we totally get a kick out of those who are. It doesn't matter if you attended the University or not . . . so long as you are a true fan, I think you're awesome (and will talk your ear off, if you're not careful!).

14) Waffles. Weird thing to list, no? But seriously, our dining halls have waffle-irons that create a cute little interlocking ND in the middle of your waffles. How cool is that? I'm so sad that I can't find a photo to illustrate this phenomenon!

15) The student section. Oh, how I miss the student section of the football stadium. Some of my fondest memories in life come from there. Our electrifying chants of "WE ARE . . . ND!" reverberate in my head from time to time, and I'm brought back to those moments of complete and utter unity amongst the student body. Win or lose, we were (and still are) proud to be ND.

16) Each day of my life, I can't help but wish I could go back to Notre Dame and relive my college experience all over again. It was simply . . . perfect. And that's saying a lot. I spent countless hours during my childhood dreaming about what it would be like once I finally got there. I worked my butt off and completely over-extended myself during my junior high and high school years with the hopes that maybe-somehow--I would find my way into that University. I cared so much about the football team, I cried when we lost. Getting into Notre Dame was literally EVERYTHING to me. Thus, it's only natural to think that I might be a little let down upon arriving there. But that simply wasn't the case. My experience at the University of Notre Dame was far more than I ever could have expected--more than I ever could have asked for--more than I could have possibly deserved. The school truly does shape its students and turn them into remarkable people. I am forever grateful to the University of Notre Dame for the person it has helped me to become.

I'll end this on a lighter note. This is what I will be doing one week from Saturday at the Notre Dame vs. Michigan game in South Bend (let's hope I learn how to make a prettier face before then!):


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Introducing . . . Gertie

Everyone . . . meet my first running skirt, Gertie. Not sure why I decided to name her, but it totally just came to me, so roll with it and pretend like it's normal. And no, that's not a "going out" top--it is indeed a running tank (made by Prana, who has some super cute stuff). If only I could run in Gertie and try her out . . . oh well, I'll be sure to write up a review when that day finally comes :)


I JUST GOT MY RUNNING SKIRT IN THE MAIL!! How tempted am I to change into it and wear it around the office for the rest of the day? It's a skirt--it counts as "business casual", right? HA. You better believe that if I don't convince myself of that at some point during the work day, I will be trying it on the second I get home tonight! Pics to follow . . .

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Travel Plans

So . . . I may or may not have picked out my next marathon (eek!!). Now, I say it that way NOT because I'm trying to be sly or sneaky, but rather because I'm just not ready to make a commitment yet. There are several factors that will play into this decision--obviously the recovery of my bum knee is a huge one--but beyond that, one of the most important factors is whether or not the boyf is game to tackle 26.2 miles as well (no pressure, Wilson!). I mean, this could really be a win-win situation for both of us . . . Wilson has been talking about the possibility of adding a marathon to his running resume; and if he were training with me, I wouldn't have the unfair advantage of forcing him do anything and everything for me all winter long--after all, he would be running as far as I was every weekend. Oh, and I've always wanted to try out that whole training partner thing. It seems like people really dig that, no?

I'll put it this way: the last time I trained for a winter/early spring marathon . . . um, well it sucked big time for a variety of reasons. Not only was I lacking a training partner, but I was usually one of just a handful of runners brave enough to be out running at all in the frigid cold (when you run your long runs around a 3.35-mile park loop, it's glaringly obvious when you're the only idiot out there!). One of the other aspects that kind of sucked was the fact that it was virtually impossible to run anything but long runs outside. Frigid weather aside, there just aren't enough daylight hours during the winter to allow me to get outside by myself. Now I know what you're thinking, "Oh man! Irish is afraid of the dark." And yes, that's true. (Ha, just kidding!) But you know, living in NYC and all . . . well, let's just say we have a lot of crazies, and that it's probably not the best idea to be out running in the dark all alone. So yeah.

Oh, wait. What's that? You're sick of my rambling and you just want to know what marathon I picked already? Oh, fine. It's this one:

EEK! Excited! I've heard great things about this race (despite the fact that it's no longer as fast as it used to be--but c'mon, who doesn't love "the challenge" of hills?) and I've always wanted to explore Austin. What's up, race vacation? The only downside is that I've had a secret desire to move to Austin for several years now. If I go through with this, I might never return! It's worth the risk, I suppose. Now I just have to work on healing the knee up and convincing Wilson to train with me. Minor details . . .

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Finally . . . Some Good News!

Well, folks. It finally happened! I got some good news today!! :) Dr. Schneider called as I was leaving my physical therapist's office, and let me know that the report came back from my MRI. The verdict? It appears that just my MCL is affected--nothing else seems to be wrong! HOORAY! Now, she did warn me that she hasn't actually seen the MRI herself; that's just coming from the report she received. But I'm going to go ahead and celebrate anyway! I mean, these people know what they're doing, right? Anyway, she said she should receive the film in a few days and will confirm then that everything looks good. I am so happy I could cry (and nearly did when I received the news from her--it totally cracked her up how excited I was)!

So why did I have to go through all of the stress and trouble of getting an MRI? Well . . . um, it's my own fault. You see, the reason I was still having so much trouble with my knee was that it was uber stiff. Why? Because I waited three weeks to start my physical therapy. Yep, THAT'S why. In my defense, I HAVE been quite busy. But yeah, now that I've been going for a couple weeks, I can really see the difference, and am FINALLY confident that my knee is getting better. That's not to say it doesn't hurt or that I'm even remotely close to running again . . . but hey, I'll take anything I can get at this point, you know?

Perhaps, my mama was right . . . hehehe.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Okay, I just discovered this myself and I HAD to share . . . does anyone out there use the Vanilla-flavored Endurox Accel Gels? If so, you might want to go here and stock up! That's right, folks. A 24-pack of gels for a mere $9.99 (normally the stuff costs at least $30 a case, depending on where you get it). Now that's what I call a deal (assuming it hasn't been secretly recalled or something--hmm). And to Roadrunner Sports and Endurox, if either of you would like to sponsor me and/or give me discounts on your goods, I'd be more than willing to keep talking . . . know what I mean? ;)

P.S. I may or may not have just bought my first running skirt! Talk about commitophobia, it took me nearly two hours to hit "submit"!

The Waiting . . . Is the Hardest Part.

Well, I finally had my MRI this morning . . . now I just have to wait to hear from the doc in the next couple of days with my official diagnosis (which I probably won't understand a word of--maybe I should have paid closer attention during my year and a half of pre-med in college!). EEK! My mother has told me many times that I shouldn't waste my time worrying when there's a) nothing I can do about it, and b) no guarantee that it's even worth worrying about; but I just can't help myself! I want to find out how long I'm going to be out so I can try to figure out when to tentatively plan my next marathon for and go ahead and half sorta/kinda pick one out!! Ha. I know, I know. (imagine a concerned but seriously annoyed motherly voice) "You're only torturing yourself with this running talk, Bailey!" I should probably listen to my mama . . .

In other news, I had a very vivid marathon dream yesterday morning as I was waking up. I was running a marathon and there were no mile markers anywhere. I was asking everyone in sight, trying to find out how many miles were left. Finally, someone responded that there was less than a mile to go. I was so excited, and I saw these toll booth-looking things up ahead in the distance that I thought HAD to be the finish. Nope, not so much the finish. I kept on running. As this was happening, I think I was, in fact, very aware that the alarm was going off. However, I REALLY wanted to finish that marathon, and I knew I had to be close. I was not going to let myself wake up until I reached that finish line!! Finally, after several minutes of listening to the alarm blare, Wilson (who was already up) came in and shook my foot a bit to try and wake me up. I knew exactly what was happening, despite the fact that I was dreaming, and I fought SO hard to stay asleep and finish my dream. No dice. I eventually woke up, much to my dismay. Upon doing so, I immediately hit snooze and tried desperately to get back to sleep, hoping I could re-enter my marathon where I'd left off. Nope. Sadly, I was just too awake by that point. Bummer! Oh well. I guess the next marathon dream will be even sweeter when I finally get through it :)

Well, I think I'm going to take a lunch-time gym trip and try to pathetically bike a little (I've been told to start at ten minutes or so--weak!) and do some weightlifting with my weakling arms. Hope all is well out there in blogland! :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stupid Piece of Crap Knee Update

First off, I know I said I'd get you an update about my crazy/busy life as of late on Monday evening, but . . . I lied. Haha, I know you're not going to believe this, but I was too consumed with the Olympics to finish it. I promise I will get it to you soon (but I'm going to have to admit that it may not happen until the Olympics are over, and my self-control has returned from Beijing).

Secondly, I'm guessing you can tell from the oh-so-pleasant title of this post that I have a not-so-good update on the knee front. I had my follow up appointment with Dr. Schneider today, and she said she's not pleased with the amount of progress (or lack thereof) I've made since my initial visit. I guess I shouldn't still have the amount of tenderness along the joint line that I do . . . so she's thinking I may have torn my meniscus in addition to the MCL. An MRI will determine if that's the case--assuming I can get the imaging center and my insurance company to play nice with each other (ah, health care!) The kind of good news is that she still doesn't think my ACL is affected, but she admitted that she's not 100% sure about that. Will this never end? I just about burst into tears in her office when she mentioned the S-word (surgery).

I guess I shouldn't really be surprised by all this. I know better than anyone that the knee hasn't improved all that much over the past three weeks. But I guess I had this small glimmer of hope that I was just being a wuss--or overly cautious--and that in a week or two I'd be running again. Boo. It certainly doesn't help that everyone in my new (awesome!) neighborhood runs and bikes all the time; and thus, the fact that I can't do those things is just constantly rubbed in my face. Blah. Oh well, I guess there's nothing to do but wait and find out what the diagnosis is. Pity-party over!

Hope you're all well . . . run a few for me :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympic Fever

Hi again . . . does anyone out there actually remember me? Ha, didn't think so. Sadly, I'm still not able to run (sigh), but I wanted to check in quickly to confess my addiction to the Olympics . . . it's getting bad. I mean, I just moved into a new apartment--I should really want to do things like hang photos, unpack boxes, organize my crap, etc. But every time I turn those damn Olympics on, it's like I've suddenly lost all self-control. On Saturday, Wilson had to literally pry me off the couch and away from the tv to get me to go to Lowe's with him and get a bunch of stuff we desperately needed for the new crib. I don't think I've slept more than a few hours a night since our TV/cable got hooked up on Thursday! Oy. Anyway, my hat goes off to the amazing athletes . . . competing for their countries under such immense pressure. Wow. I'm sure I don't have to convince you all that they're just a teensy bit inspiring!

Oh, and I have to say that one of the funniest lines I've heard in a while came from Wilson as we were watching some men's swimming the other night. Wilson asked me who I was going for . . . and when I responded and asked him the same, he replied matter-of-factly, "I'm going for the green line."** Hilarious. I am still laughing about this now . . .

Anyway, tonight I will attempt to post a more formal update as to where I've been the past 2.5 weeks (other than watching the Olympics) . . . but for now, I should go back to working. Missed you all! I promise to never go away for so long ever again :)

**For those of you not in the know regarding Beijing Olympics swimming, let me explain . . . the "green line" shows world record pace during the races--it's kind of like the CG first down line shown in NFL games, only it moves. This year, about a zillion and a half world records have been set in the swimming events. Thus, Wilson was essentially going for the "underdog" in going for the green line. See? Funny. Okay, now go turn on the Olympics immediately and get yourself some edumacation!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Can't Win . . .

Howdy there! It's been a while again, I know. Sadly, this isn't going to be the happy "comeback post" that I was dreaming it would be. Nope. Instead of having great things to report back about my new training plan, I have had another stroke of bad luck. On Tuesday night during--what else?--a soccer game, I suffered a bit of a knee injury. It was really just a bizarre (and admittedly, kind of embarrassing) incident. A girl on the other team went to take a shot, and I lunged sideways in an attempt to block said shot. As I did this, I (unfortunately) managed to get my foot in front of the ball to block the shot, but I somehow DID NOT manage to lock my ankle before doing so. Her rocket of a shot hit my foot, bending my ankle back awkwardly until, all of a sudden, I felt an excruciatingly sharp pain travel up the inside of my knee. I could kind of tell that something was just "not quite right" with my knee, but after talking to my sister, we decided that I probably just freaked out a tendon attaching my ankle to my knee. I opted out of getting it checked out, and instead hopped on the subway to head home. Well, by the time I got home, I was in so much pain, I was in tears. My knee had also swelled up so big that I could not bend my knee, no matter how hard I tried. I knew something was up.

I lay awake all night long in a ridiculous amount pain. I simply could not find a comfortable position to put my leg in. I would move it into a spot that seemed comfortable, but within about 5 seconds of doing so, would feel a huge wave of pain hit my knee. UGH. I knew I had to get to the doctor the next day . . . as hesitant as I usually am to seek medical attention, this simply could not be ignored. So I called up my sports med doctor yesterday and begged to be seen. She agreed to see me despite the fact that she was double- and triple-booked all day long (thank you, Dr. Schneider!!). The verdict? Some kind of MCL sprain/tear. She said she couldn't quite tell how bad it is since the immediate pain and swelling were making it a little difficult to properly examine. Thus, I am being forced to wear a big ol' hinged DonJoy brace for now, and will follow up with her in a few weeks to check my range of motion/stability/etc. and see how the injury is healing. I've also been prescribed at least six weeks of physical therapy--can't wait to fight with insurance over that one!

So . . . I guess Chicago is up in the air at this point. There's a chance I *might* recover in as little as 2-3 weeks, but for some reason, I just don't feel all that optimistic at this point. I guess I'll just have to take things one day at a time, and focus right now on healing the knee. I'm not sure how much I'll be posting in the near future, as I'll be at weddings and moving to a new apartment and working quite a bit . . . but I'll be sure to keep you updated with regards to what's happening in that old gimpy knee of mine. I already miss running so much--I am desperate for a nice slow long run :(

Best of luck to all you racing this weekend!! I'll be thinking about you!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Updated Marathon Plan

Howdy y'all! So . . . in case you couldn't tell from my lack of posts and comments lately, I've been busy. Super busy. Between my four soccer leagues, nursing some insignificant but nagging injuries, cleaning out/packing up the apartment, preparing for upcoming travel/weddings, and working more hours than I might like to . . . I've become one seriously over-extended chica. Thus, the four-running-days-per-week SmartCoach schedule just hasn't been cutting it. I'm pretty sure with everything I've got going on, it's not actually possible to fit all of my scheduled runs in. And sadly, I think this reality has led me to fall into an "all or nothing" mentality with regards to my training. I started out in the "all" category, doing anything and everything to squeeze in training runs; but over the past couple of weeks, I've been seriously pushing the limits of "nothing"--so much so that I actually skipped my long run last weekend. Now, in all fairness, it WAS a fall-back week, and I was still in quite a bit of pain from my deep thigh bruise . . . but seriously. It's time to get my a$$ in gear if I'm going to run this marathon.

I figured the best bet at this point is to switch to a more cross-training friendly program, considering I AM playing soccer four nights a week. Thus, I think I'm going to (more or less) switch over to the FIRST plan for the next eleven weeks. I just feel like decreasing the number of days per week I run and making it so that every run "counts" would help me to re-focus a bit. I also think that, given my current situation, this plan is much more feasible. It's hotter than Hades out these days, and considering the two week-day runs in FIRST are a) speed workouts and b) tempo runs--which I like to do on the treadmill--I can squeeze these in at lunch or after work on the days that I don't have soccer. So yay!

Okay, I should probably get back to working, but I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still alive and that I have this new magical plan that's going to get me back on track with my training.