Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good News!

So, first things first . . . I have to thank all of you for your thoughts, prayers and kind words regarding my father. Just to update you, we got word on Monday that my father's bone scan came back negative. This is very good news as it means the cancer is confined to his prostate and has not spread elsewhere in his body. After meeting with the doc, my pops was given options of either surgery or radiation. At this point in time, he is leaning towards the surgery; but that won't take place until six weeks or so down the road (I guess he has to take some time to recover from the biopsy). Know what's awesome about that? It means we'll get to go ahead with the family Thanksgiving as planned! I am so excited, I can't even tell you. In addition to it being Thanksgiving, my adorable niece turns 4 on Thanksgiving Day . . . so it will be one big party at the Irish Cream household! Can't wait :)

In other news, I am tired. Like, really tired. I've suffered on and off from bouts of insomnia . . . and guess what? It's back. Blech. I'm trying to do everything in my power to make myself sleep at night, but for the past week or so, it's been a losing battle. Luckily, I've still managed to get my workouts in and stick to the schedule like white on rice. My first run of the week was a 6-miler on Monday after class. I started out running pretty easy, but then felt like picking up the pace about 1.5-miles in. My splits were kind of all over the place--not sure what that's all about--but I felt good the entire time, so I'll take it.

Mile-1: 9:25
Mile-2: 9:13
Mile-3: 8:54
Mile-4: 9:11
Mile-5: 8:48
Mile-6: 8:19

Not bad. Not bad at all. Yesterday was my evening circuit training session at school, and let me tell you, it was ROUGH. I think the lack of sleep finally caught up with me or something because I was SO not feeling it. I still gave my all, but I just didn't have my usual "stuff." Sigh.

Today, I got home from school and was equally exhausted. I was SO tempted to blow my scheduled run off. After all, with our big midterm coming up on Tuesday, I had a decent excuse. But in the end, I knew I would feel better if I got out there and ran. I put my clothes on and headed out, telling myself that I could run 4-miles and call it a day. Of course, once I got started, I was very happy to be running and, once again, felt like picking up the pace and getting a little speedy. Somehow, I managed to turn the run into a progressive run, with each mile clocking in faster than the previous mile. Isn't it funny how the runs you dread the most can sometimes turn into your best runs ever? My splits for today's run were as follows:

Mile-1: 9:10
Mile-2: 8:50
Mile-3: 8:34
Mile-4: 8:27

Now, it's back to studying because this midterm is NOT going to be easy. So . . . much . . . information! Happy Hump Day, folks! We've got a short week next week, so hang in there ;)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Great Weekend

Another weekend is coming to an end, leaving me with nothing but smiles . . . which is actually somewhat shocking when you take into account the fact that I had my first ever experience with back-to-back long runs (a la Goofy) this weekend.

I ran the first one on Friday morning before class. Getting up at 5:45 a.m. was a total b*tch due to the fact that I have been suffering from some insomnia lately. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with adding the evening circuit training workouts into my routine. I'm hoping once my body gets used to them, I'll get back to sleeping better. Somehow, despite my lack of sleep, I managed to drag my practically lifeless body out of bed, get dressed and head out the door by 6:30 on Friday morning. It was nothing short of a miracle, folks. Once I got going, I was fine, of course (always am--it's just the waking up that's hard) . . . completing 6.01 miles in 56:24 (9:23 pace). The best thing about the run was the weather--in the high-fifties--just about perfect running weather, if you ask me! The funny thing is that 3 out of the 5 people I passed while running looked at my scantily clad self (just shorts and a short-sleeved shirt) and asked me incredulously, "Aren't you freezing?!" Ah, Floridians. I resisted the urge to point out that it would actually have to be about 25 degrees cooler to be considered "freezing".

Saturday morning held another 5:45 a.m. wake-up call, as I was scheduled to meet Morgan from the blog Caution: Redhead Running for my 12-mile long run. As I mentioned in my last post, we were originally going to run long together; but it turned out that she had a 10K to rock the next day (word on the street is that there was a PR involved--keep an eye out on her blog for the race report). Rather than cancel on me, though, she offered to ride her bike alongside me and keep me company. How infinitely cool is that?! Being my usually car-less New Yorker self, I got lost on my way to our meet-up spot (shocking, I know). I've said this before, and I will say it again . . . I should NOT be trusted to drive anywhere, people! Once Morgan figured out where I was and helped me to find my way, though, we finally got to meet. Shortly thereafter we embarked on what was to become my favorite long run EVER. First of all, not only did Morgan ride her bike alongside me and distract me with all kinds of fun topics of conversation, but she also wore a backpack and insisted on carrying ALL of my sh*t for me! Oh, and she also brought me an ice cold bottle of water and carried that on her bike for me too. Talk about being spoiled! Everyone we passed was seriously jealous of my personal support crew!

Now--let's be honest--I was slightly nervous about this run going into it. I just wasn't sure how the school workouts plus all the running I've been doing plus the back-to-back long runs were going to affect me. I was secretly convinced that my legs were going to give up 2 miles in and I was going to look really stupid and lame in front of this awesome runner girl who could have just slept in was it not for me! But seriously, the miles FLEW by. We chatted about everything under the sun . . . lots of it running-related, but lots of it not. At one point, we got a good laugh in when some dude biking ahead of us stopped and picked up this HUGE palm branch. He then proceeded to ride his bike while carrying this thing. WTF? Sadly, by the time we realized what he was doing, he was too far in front of us for Morgan to snap a photo. Still, it was definitely good for a laugh or two! Honestly, every moment from start to finish was just so much fun. Isn't it so funny how you can meet another running blogger for the first time and the conversation just flows as though you've known each other for years?

In the end, we finished 12.01 miles in 2:01:25; or a 10:07 pace. Things that are awesome about this: 1) I FINALLY managed to keep my pace down. I think chatting with Morgan really helped with this. Ah, conversation pace! Who knew all you had to do to find it was . . . to have a conversation with someone; 2) I felt REALLY good throughout the run. During maybe the last 1.5 miles, my legs started to fatigue a little and it started to heat up a bit; but it wasn't a big deal; 3) I am now feeling much more confident in my ability to do the training for Goofy. Although, seriously? I might just have to pay Morgan to accompany me on all of my long runs from here on out! We have tentative plans to run long together at some point in December, and I can't wait!

After we finished, we chatted for a bit longer until we both realized how hungry we were getting and went our separate ways. I headed back to my hotel, ate, showered, got in some phone time with both Wilson and my mother, napped, and then spent the entire evening watching college football and hiding from my classmates who were trying to insist that I go out and get drunk with them. I almost feel badly . . . but not really. I think it's just REALLY hard for them to understand that I'm just not that into "partying" these days. Poor souls. They too will get old and boring someday . . .

Today was finally a rest day; so I've made the most of it . . . sitting on my bum and perusing my new favorite website: Care2 Make a Difference ( For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it has all kinds of healthy and green living articles; as well as like a trillion amazing and healthy recipes. There is just so much to peruse, I have wasted hours upon hours today doing so. That being said, I was also semi-productive--getting some grocery shopping done, tidying up my room and doing some dishes; not to mention, doing some cooking. That is honestly my favorite thing about not working a job I hate that demands my attention 24 hours a day . . . I FINALLY have time to cook and clean up after every meal. What a blessing! :)

Alrighty, well I'm off to hit the books . . . but I hope you all had as super-fabulous a weekend as I did!! Can't wait to see what y'all did :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some things . . .

Wow, so much to talk about! I guess that's what happens when you let a week and a half go by without posting, eh?

First let's start with some bad news I received about a week ago. I always like to get that stuff out of the way first so that I can move onto happier things :) Sooooooo . . . my pops was diagnosed with prostate cancer last Friday. Bummer, right? Who wants to actually be forced to think/talk/etc. about their father's prostate? Yikes--no thanks! But in all seriousness, if he has to have cancer, prostate cancer isn't the worst thing ever. It still sucks obviously, but there are far worse cancers out there. At this point in time, we're waiting on results of a bone scan to see whether the cancer has spread to his bones at all. Luckily, my father is a pretty fit, healthy dude (he's a runner too) . . . so we're pretty optimistic that no matter what the prognosis, he'll be just fine. Still, we could definitely use all the prayers, happy thoughts, finger-crossing, etc. you can spare!

Okay, now moving on to happier items: I am in love with school. I mean, seriously in love. Like, I would probably consider cheating on Wilson if school was a person. Luckily, school is not a person. But I digress . . . it is honestly going just INCREDIBLY. I feel like I have learned such a crazy amount of stuff in such a short time (only 7 weeks so far!). That's the reason I haven't been posting much about what I'm learning . . . it's kind of just like, "Where the hell do I even start?!" The one thing I WILL say is that resistance training can SERIOUSLY improve your running--and yes, it is important to do some resistance training for those legs of yours, homies. Trust me on this one--you WILL see improvements in your running if you train your legs. And we're not talking crappy leg press, leg curl, leg extension machines here . . . we're talking body-weight squats, lunges, step-ups, box jumps, hip extensions, calf-raises, etc. And guess what's awesome about all of that stuff I just mentioned? YOU DON'T EVEN NEED A GYM TO DO IT! Sorry, y'all . . . no excuses. Anyway, I'll talk about this stuff more at some point, but if you don't do these exercises now, think about adding some in.

My new favorite thing at school is the "make-up sessions" we can attend on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Basically, we can only have 2 unexcused absences during the program if we want to graduate--and if you happen to have more than 2, you are forced to attend evening "make-up sessions" to cancel out the extra absences. I went to the first of these sessions not really sure what to expect. I'd only missed 2 days (one from my Chicago trip and one because I was sick) . . . but I figured it would be smart to earn my free days back just in case I happen to need them later on. For the first part of the session, our instructor had us clean the gym. BO-RING (and also, EW). But then, he put us through some crazy-difficult circuit training. It was HARD. Two dudes puked--not even kidding--because the point of these sessions is to be so difficult that they prevent people from missing too many classes. But, I am such a crazy masochist that I have decided to just go to all of these sessions I can make (which, lets be honest, is all of them--I have no life!) because I REALLY love having my butt kicked. I figure I might as well get my money's worth and do everything I can at school, no?

The only issue with this is trying to figure out when to fit my training runs in. Ha. Between the daily workouts we do--which are pretty hard core (all kinds of super-setting, compound-setting, etc.)--and then these extra sessions, it's hard to figure out when to run. But I think I finally figured out my schedule. It will involve "two-a-days" 5 days a week . . . so hopefully it won't kill me. But if it becomes too difficult, I can always drop the extra sessions at school (or at least one a week):

-Resistance train upper body/interval training (at school)
-Evening run of 4-8 miles

-Resistance train lower body/core/interval training (at school)
-Circuit training (evening session at school)

-Resistance train upper body/interval training (at school)
-Evening run of 4-8 miles

-Resistance train lower body/core/interval training (at school)
-Circuit training (evening session at school)

-1st of back-to-back long runs in the a.m. (7-10 miles)
-Resistance train upper body/interval training (at school)

-Long run (12-20 miles); core (optional)


So um, yeah. Ha, I guess that's a lot. But I'm feeling stronger than ever . . . and my body composition has already changed SIGNIFICANTLY. As in, none of my effing clothes fit me anymore. I know I shouldn't complain about this, but I AM kind of bummed that I'm going to have to basically buy an entire new wardrobe when this whole thing is over! Talk about unexpected expenses . . .

In other happy news, I got to visit my older sister and adorable niece again last weekend. My sis had some girlfriends in town for a "girls' weekend" . . . and I was the designated babysitter/kiddo distracter since my bro-in-law was out of the country on business. First things first, the drive was FAR more successful this time . . . I didn't even run off the road once! Go me! Second of all, Iris and I had A BLAST together coloring, riding bikes, looking at stingrays in the river and doing all kinds of puzzles. The only time we seemed to butt heads a little was when she tried to convince me that Halloween candy and cookies would make a "good lunch." No, no, little one. Sorry, but your Aunt Bailey is learning all about nutrition at school, and she is not going to be fooled into believing that! We settled on grilled cheese, yogurt and a banana. Overall, though, she was VERY well-behaved. I was impressed. Still, I was definitely exhausted come the end of the weekend. Here are a few photos of Iris and I hanging out together that one of Mallory's girlfriends took:

Oh my gosh, and I just remembered that I have even MORE happy stuff to talk about. Guess who I get to meet this weekend? ONLY YOUR FAVORITE REDHEAD EVER!! Aren't you jealous? We had planned to do a long run together on Saturday, but it turns out she has a 10K to rock on Sunday. Most people would simply cancel and try again another week . . . BUT NO! She is officially the coolest person EVER and she offered to ride her bike beside me while I run! How incredible is that?! I'm so excited to finally meet her!

Okay, well I THINK that's all for now. I'll probably think of something else right affter I hit "publish" . . . but I guess I'll have to save whatever it is for the next post ;)

Hope you all are having wonderful weeks . . . we're ALMOST to the weekend! Hang in there ;)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Best Weekend Ever?

Man oh man. Is it just me, or do the weekends just keep getting better and better?! As I had mentioned in my last post, I spent this past weekend in the City of Brotherly Love. And let me tell you, it was THE place to be. There was just SO much going on . . . everything from the World Series, to Pearl Jam playing the last shows EVER in the Spectrum, to Obama visiting, to Halloween, to an Eagles game on Sunday. Holy moly, there was a lot going on!

My flight got into Philly around 9:00 Friday night and I made my way straight to our hotel. Wilson had tickets to the PJ show that night as well, but sadly I couldn't find a flight that would get me there in time, thanks to my school schedule. Thus, he was on his own for the show. I was a little bit bummed, but it was fine. I got to the hotel by around 9:30 p.m., changed into my PJs and sprawled out on the super comfy hotel bed. Considering how crappy I was feeling (thanks to my stupid sinus infection which was, of course, only made worse by the flight--hello severe ear and sinus pain/pressure), this was probably for the best. I fell asleep with the television on, and awoke to Wilson petting my head at around 12:30 a.m. We caught up for a little while and then hit the sack, excited for the big day ahead of us.

The next morning, we took our time getting ready, and eventually headed out to a restaurant I REALLY wanted to get brunch at. As lame as this is, I had seen it mentioned in the American Way magazine found in the seat back pocket of my American Airlines flight to Chi-town a couple weeks earlier! But seriously, I am so glad I trusted that magazine because the place was just AWESOME. It's called Jones, and it is seriously the cutest place ever. I highly recommend you check it out if you are ever in Philly. It's just a really fun, lively place. They serve some seriously awesome comfort food dishes, and I just love the decor. Check out this photo taken from the restaurant's web page:

We were seated very quickly right next to a cozy fireplace, and were served by a friendly waiter dressed up as Lady Gaga (all of the servers were wearing costumes--loved it!). In addition to the monkey bread that Jones is known for, they also had a special pumpkin bread available as a starter. Um, yes please? We couldn't resist, and holy crap, I am glad we didn't! That stuff was DELICIOUS! Wilson went for a yummy looking huevos rancheros entree and I decided on a turkey sausage, spinach and cheddar omelet served with tater tots. The food was seriously awesome. I will definitely go back there whenever I'm next in Philly!

Next up, we went on a nice, long walk to a movie theater that was showing Paranormal Activity. It WAS Halloween after all, and we knew we had to do SOMETHING to celebrate the holiday! Okay, fine. The truth is I REALLY wanted to see the movie, but was too afraid to go by myself! Luckily, Wilson agreed to go while we were in Philly so that I could see it! :) Anyway, it was just as freaky as I'd hoped, and definitely set the mood for the holiday (and gave us a lot to talk about to boot)!! When it was over, Wilson and I headed back to a cozy coffee shop we'd passed on the way to the theater and enjoyed a little late afternoon caffeine fix. The best part about this place (other than the delicious coffees) was that the windows were wide open (it was unseasonably warm on Saturday), and we could watch all of the dressed up kiddos walking by with their loot :) Some of the costumes were just ADORABLE!

After our coffee break, we headed towards South Philly, passing oodles and oodles more trick-or-treating kids on the way. It was so much fun to see everyone out and all dressed up that the walk FLEW by. Before we knew it we were at Tony Luke's, anxious to devour some REAL cheese steaks. We knew we'd made the right decision about where to get our cheese steaks* when we saw the long, long line. Luckily we had plenty of time before the concert started to wait it out. When we finally got our grub and took our first bites, it was like heaven on a hoagie. Holy goodness, that was some good stuff! My mouth is watering now, just thinking about it! See for yourselves:

We ate our massive cheese steaks as we walked to the Spectrum for the last show ever before the place would be demolished. We got slightly wet on the way, as the weather turned a bit uncooperative . . . but it didn't dampen our spirits any. We knew we had an epic Pearl Jam concert to look forward to . . . and epic, it was. The boys were in rare form, playing songs they rarely (if ever) play, and just having a blast. They played for 3 1/2 hours straight! It was just an INCREDIBLE night that we were very lucky to be able to experience. The only downside to the show was that I COMPLETELY lost my voice, singing and cheering my lungs off for my favorite band EVER. I just had nothing left by the end of the show. Oh well, it was well worth it!

On Sunday, we lazed around the hotel room all morning until it was finally time to check out at noon. While I was getting ready, Wilson--being the sweet boyfriend he is--ran out and grabbed us breakfast (fresh coffee and blueberry/banana filled Belgian sugar waffles--yum!) from this amazing place called Bonte; then after we checked out, we headed out to explore the Independence Mall area and get a dose of history, since we're geeks like that. We got to see the Liberty Bell and toured Independence Hall and Congress Hall . . . and we spent a LONG time checking out the Dialogues with Darwin exhibit in the Philosophical Hall. I think we were both pretty into that exhibit--yep, total nerds! It was all very cool to see and a GREAT refresher in some of the American History that has slipped my memory since high school. I really do love historical sites like that . . . it's just so cool to be in the same places where historical events took place centuries ago! Fun :)

After we finished up with our history tours, we moved on to our last meal in Philly. We hit up the Reading Terminal Market in search of some grub.** Sadly, when we got to our intended restaurant, DiNic's Roast Beef and Pork, we discovered it was closed. But no worries, there were PLENTY of other yummy places to choose from. After wandering around a bit and checking out the options, we finally went with Hershel's East Side Deli, where we both ordered the most mammoth-sized corned beef sandwiches I have ever seen in my entire life. See Bonnie S.'s photo from yelp:

It was SO good, but there was just no hope of me finishing that thing. I made a valiant effort, and then we headed back to hotel to collect our things and head off in separate directions; I, back to Orlando . . . and Wilson, back to NYC.
Wilson was sweet enough to walk me to the train station to make sure I got off to the airport alright . . . and I tried my hardest not to sob as we said goodbye. It was rough. We'd had such a wonderful weekend together, it was really hard to see it come to an end. But at least we'd made some pretty awesome memories together that weekend. What more can you ask for out of a weekend, really? I'm just so glad I have someone to share the best things in life with . . . travelling, eating and running, of course! I am one lucky girl! :)

*Truth be told, most of our decisions about where to eat when visiting in other cities are made based upon where Man vs. Food filmed while in the city. This is true for Tony Luke's as well.

**Again, this decision was based on what we saw on Man vs. Food. We are so predictable . . .