Sunday, August 23, 2009

Man Imposes His Own Limitations, Don't Set Any - Anthony Bailey

Well, two weeks without my team was tough. Add in traveling, long nights, early mornings, and food on the road - and, well, getting back into the groove during the week isn’t the easiest. My body hasn’t been sure which direction I have wanted to take lately. “Are we marathon training or just on summer vacation?!” The 8 miler in Florida wasn’t too terrible, but the 14 miler on my own this week sucked. Since last weekend allotted absolutely no time to fit in a 30 minute jog, let alone my 14 mile training run, I had to opt to do it on Monday evening after work. So, trying to pysch myself up, I planned out my route on, picking some new roads to travel so the run wasn’t too mundane, and listened to some upbeat music while getting changed into my running gear. I chose my Team In Training shirt to also remind myself why I was out there, and hopefully give me a mental push when I hit exhaustion, but my shirt did me one better. When I got almost completely around the Haines Point portion of my run, one of the bikers, who had ridden by me a little earlier, slowed down to chat with me for a bit. Turns out she ran the Nike Women’s Marathon back in 2006, and she offered two bits of helpful advice: first one was – “Save your energy for the second half of the run – trust me,” (I think they have changed the course since 2006, but I will still heed her advice. Plus, who guns it at the beginning of a marathon anyway? It’s all about pacing yourself.); second was – “Slow down at the finish line or you will miss the firemen like I did.” (Very helpful! One of the most exciting parts of the marathon will not only be completing it – but completing it while getting a Tiffany’s necklace from a fireman in a tux! I mean…come on!) We didn’t talk long, and I didn’t even get her name, but it was a nice little break from my route that day. Thank you shirt!

After Haines Point, I had my run take me down the National Mall and up around the Capitol Building where I had a fortunate run in with my old running group, the Capital Striders (though, I didn’t recognize anyone anymore since it’s been so long since I’ve been a “regular”). I stopped and chatted with my old friend and supervisor of C.S., Rick, for a minute or two – and promised him that I would catch up with them on Thursday evening. I didn’t want to stop too long since 14 miles typically takes me over two hours to complete (140 minutes – if I’m keeping a half decent pace), and I knew I was running on the slow side that day. My knee began to hurt on mile 4, and was progressively feeling worse, it was approximately 90 degrees out (at 7:30 p.m.), and I was really starting to feel the exhaustion hit. When I took off again, I knew I wasn’t going to complete 14 miles that day. My body and my mind weren’t into it. So, I recalculated the run in my head, and shortened it a few miles to get back sooner. All would have been fine…but, my darn knee had other plans, and they apparently did not include me running any farther. I got half way around the Capitol Building, and tried for the down hill descent (which is usually the fun part) and I, just, couldn’t. So, not having brought my Metro Card or any money with me, I walked the remaining 3 miles back to my gym so that I could finally head home. I was on autopilot at that point, utterly spent, only 9 miles into my run. I would have been frustrated, if I had any energy to be so.

When I got back to the gym, I noticed a fine dust covering all over my body. “Hm, that’s interesting, I don’t remember it being all that dusty on the trail today.” I realized in the next second that it was just all the salt residue from my dried sweat. So, so gross. A shower was first on my list of things to do upon getting home, followed immediately by the consumption of food and lots and lots of water (although, I had most likely had 3 gallons or more that day already).

On a related note, I have decided to actually start using the gym I pay 38 bucks a month for again. Although the gym at my new work is one of the nicest I’ve seen (and trust me, I’ve worked in almost every office building DC has to offer now), it doesn’t have any classes - and I’m thinking that is what I need for a little added push at the end of my training. Since I no longer have Lisa to be my slave driver instructor (tear), this week I signed up and did my very first Spinning class. I have to say - I felt a little violated by the bike seat. I do not need to ever be that friendly with a piece of gym equipment, ever, especially when others have been just as familiar with it before me. No one else seemed bothered by the rather uncomfortable contours of the seat, but I found it hard to ignore. That's not to say that walking in to this particular exercise I was naive to the fact that the bike seat wasn’t going to be the most cushy thing (years of having a bike being the means of transportation as a youngster taught me this), however, what did catch me off-guard was what I saw when I actually walked in to the class.

My gym keeps their spinning classes below ground, completely separate from every other thing in the gym: aerobics, weights, cardio machine, locker rooms - which means, I can safely deducted that people who do spinning should be hidden away, and, probably, mocked. So, being my first Spinning class and all, it was my first trip as a gym base dweller. It all seemed very “street level” normal, until I walked into, what could only have been, my classroom: a Rave Discotheque, complete with black lights and Tide Splattered Walls. I felt I should have brought some glow sticks along with my bottle of water.

The light blue outfit I had chosen for the workout glowed back at me from the wall mirror, contrasting nicely with my black light darkened skin. (Truthfully, I haven’t looked so tan in awhile - will keep in mind next time I’m feeling pasty.) The teacher was something akin to a crazy bike messenger, who feels it’s not only comfortable, but completely normal, to sit erect on the bike seat and do a variety of stretches. Let me reiterate my earlier statement of…OUCH! Can’t we STAND and do this, lady? Apparently, if you’re in the bike room, you are on the bike. Fan-tastic.

Although it was hard to focus elsewhere, I was thankful for three things: One, I was not the only first timer in the class, Two, I did not “spin out” and whack myself on the back of the leg with the bike pedal (which the other new girl did), and Three, the instructor picked very good, very distracting music to go along with her routine. I was, of course, wearing my heart rate monitor throughout, and checked my wrist every so often to see how I was doing. I got to a respectable heart rate of 166 on some of the tougher parts of class. To be fair, I kept my resistance lower then I could have handled for my first stationary ride out. I wanted to feel out what a Spinning class would actually be like. I still built up a pretty decent sweat, which I’m sure all of the metro riders adored me for a second time this week (Angelic "Sorry!")

I made good on my promise of meeting up with the Capital Striders on Thursday. Just like Monday night, I knew no one but Rick. For the first few minutes, Rick and I kept smirking at each other as all the other Strider regulars introduced themselves to me and tried to convince me what a great group I was about to join. We then let them all in on the “big secret” that I had actually been a member since 2006 when Rick introduced me to the crowd as a Strider original. Everyone was super nice, and, as predicted, still 10x faster then me. Although I could feel that I was keeping a good pace for myself during the 5 miler (a 9 – 9:30 minute mile), I had a 65 year old guy on Rock Creek Parkway that refused to let me pass him, and I came in dead last for the Strider group. Tough luck! The upside was that my knee felt great. I mean, really good. A complete 180 from Monday. I think it was from the accelerated pace I was able to keep since I was running with other folks. My assumption made only more solid after my 10 miler this weekend back with the Team. I started slow, and my knee was bothering me slightly, and when I picked the pace up about half way through, I didn’t have any knee pain at all. So, this means, I’ll just have to run the marathon fast…rrrrriiiiight.

Best of luck to me on that one.

As you know, training is only part of the battle, and the other part is fundraising. Let me take this opportunity to thank those who have so generously donated:
- John and Aileen: You guys are such a wonderful couple! Thanks for you support and I hope you guys will be able to make it out to my next fundraiser!!!
- Gideon: Just in case you have forgotten, I’m completely jealous of your year o’ fun away from fluorescent lights and polished shoes. Keep me updated as you and Emily make your way across the country. I am looking forward to catching up with you guys over on the West Coast!
- Donna: My dear friend. Thank you so much for being such a great support through everything (including marathon training!!). Best of luck on your upcoming run. (Check out
HER progress – and make a donation to, yet, another great cause if you can!!!)
- Monique: You inspire me with your Triathlon training. Every time I think I am tired, I think of you doing three times as much as me. GOOD LUCK! I know you’ll do great!
- Teresa: Thank you thank you thank you! Keep up the AMAZING job you’ve been doing with all of the many runs you have completed this year. I can’t wait to hear about your next one!
- Rachel: You’ll be doing one of these before you know. There’s too many of us not to convince you ;) – can’t wait to see the new digs!!!
- Dirk: Your donation was so generous. I am so grateful to be surrounded by so many caring people. I’m just too lucky.

Upcoming FUNdraisers Scheduled:

August 27, 2009 (THIS Thursday): Happy Hour at
McFadden’s (Foggy Bottom Metro) starting at 6:00 pm. A 5 dollar cover will get you $2 domestics and $3 rail drinks until 9:00 pm – just tell them you are here for my HH. (Reserved tables down stairs by the bathroom)

September 22, 2009 (Tuesday): Have Lunch and/or Dinner at
The Green Turtle (Gallery Place/ Chinatown Metro) and 10% of the days profits will go towards my fundraising goal. The more you eat and drink, the more money goes toward Cancer Research!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Grace Is Ever Present

I can trip on a flat surface, slice my finger with a dull knife, or make a fool of myself in front of room full of people without even trying. It’s a gift really, I mean, slapstick comedians have to work hard at their craft, me, all I have to do is just walk down the street on any given day. It may not be immediately apparent, but stick around long enough and sure enough you’ll shake your head to yourself thinking why friends haven’t swaddled me in bubble wrap on a daily basis. Case in point, one early morning as I am sitting on the exam table at my physical therapist office finishing up one of my exercises, I lift my head slightly to let my PT know that I am done and to see what is next on the list of torturous movements they need me to complete. As my chin gets to about 90 degrees, the ball that was placed between my knees slips out, landing with a loud thud on the ground, then bounces onto the loosely attached wooden shelf under the exam table next to me, scaring the poor woman who was belly down, concentrating on HER exercises to the point where she uses her forearms to rear up on the table and quickly look back and forth to see what just happened. The ball then rolls the rest of the way across the room, bouncing off the floor to ceiling mirror, and finally coming to stop a few inches from treadmill. The ball is retrieved by, well, not me since my ankles were still constricted by the tight elastic band required for the exercise I was completing. So through out the whole scene (that happened in slow-mo through my eyes, but probably clocked around 8 seconds) I sat there, with a wide-eyed and apologetic look on my guilty face. Not 5 minutes later, I was finishing up my next task, when *zip-lop* the same elastic band that had caused me to sit motionless throughout the last debacle, snaps in half with a surprisingly loud crack, flinging itself again across the room, and landing with a loud *thud* on the Berber carpet 5 feet away. I stand, unharmed, frozen to the spot for a second, my trance breaking when Matt looks at me and says with his flat tone, “Well, you’re having a hell of a morning, aren’t you?” True story, Matt, true story. That was apparently their only band of that strength and my little legs destroyed it. Oops. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there weren't other witnesses, but, alas, everyone else stopped what they were doing to stare at my awkwardness. Awesome.

The run I mentioned I had to do in Florida this past weekend turned out not to be too bad. My brother and I mapped out a few possibilities the night before, and I decided to go with the one that did the most of the mileage on a trail. So, Saturday morning I rolled out of bed, quietly dressed and headed out the door before my brother (or the heat) rose. The trail didn’t have mile markers like I had hoped, but there were enough people out on the trail that I never felt lonely. Everyone was smiling and waving as they ran or rode by me, all happy to get up early to get a workout in. (Freaks.) The run went by without much excitement, though I did have one passing thought when I initially hit the trail, “Wait a sec…Florida has alligators and snakes, big ones, and I’m running on a wooded trail? What was I thinking! Hm, did that map show any water around here??? Oh, crap.” Luckily I did not see one gator, or snake or even many flies for that matter. Perfectly serene surroundings. Whew!

Although the majority of the Floridians just smiled and/or waved that morning, one older gentleman, who was out for a walk - picking up some of the trash on the trail as he went, approached me while I was doing a little mid-run stretch. There was no hello, or a My Name Is, starter sentence - he dove right in with, “You lift, as well as run, don’t you?” I had run by him a little ways back, so he didn’t take me completely off guard, but I still wasn’t sure what my answer, or this question, meant to him. Why he felt compelled to ask it. It wasn’t hurting anyone, so answered him, “Yes, I try to lift at least once a week.”
“Yeah (pausing and thinking to himself for a second) yeah, yeah. I thought so. You can tell by your shoulders. You look good, you look good.” Thanks old guy.

It’s a question I get almost every time I meet someone, though it has variations.
Variation 1: Did you do gymnastics? (Answer: no)
Variation 2: Were you a swimmer? (Answer: yes, but a very bad one)
Variation 3: Do you lift/ How much do you lift? (Answer: yes/ depends)

I do have a broad back for someone my size (most likely from swimming as a young teen), which, coupled with my teeny, tiny hips, can make me look like I’m a pretty serious lifter. I used to hate this about my body, but since completing my last marathon, I have really come to terms with the way I look. I am not, though, as strong as I may seem when taking a quick once over on me. Case in point, my workout with Lisa yesterday.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - I love my friends. When I heard (or, rather, was reminded that) Lisa was headed back to her homeland of Sweden, I e-mailed her immediately to see if she wanted to catch a drink. After throwing a few ideas back and forth, she finally said, “Why don’t you come and do my kick boxing class, and then we’ll do some lifting afterwards and catch up.” Perfect. I had been wanting to do a kick boxing class for awhile, and since she was getting me into Georgetown Law’s super sweet gym for free, I was all but sprinting for the door. Oh, just to clarify, when she said “my kick boxing class” she was not referring to a class that she takes every week, or just a class at the gym she goes to, no, no, no - this was HER kickboxing class. The one she teaches every week, in addition to all of the other classes she teaches and clients she trains. Still, I thought, “no sweat. I can totally handle a kickboxing class.” Well, maybe I could have…if it was strictly a kickboxing class. After my 50th push-up (yes, more then half were “girl” push-ups), 9th minute jumping rope, and second stairwell run (with intertwining kick boxing moves - round houses, side punches, Criss-crosses, etc.) I was chalking this class up to more of a boot camp then anything else. Billy Blanks has nothing on Lisa. She kicked the ever-loving snot out of me, and - I’d do it again in a heart beat. It was exactly what my body needs on my days off from running - doing movements that in no way shape or form could be done while running, helping to develop the other muscles in my body to aid those that are used more frequently during the marathon. I was spent after the class, but Lisa was still ready to put some lifting time in. I conceded so that we would have an opportunity to catch up. Seeing as how she does this for a living, she was able to help me modify some of my movements so that my knee wasn’t bothered. Needless to say, after an hour long butt whipping with a half an hour of lifting on top of that, I’m gratifyingly sore today. The kind of sore that let’s you know you worked hard with out overdoing it.

On another note, I finally stopped hemming and hawing, and bought myself a running watch. No more guessing how long I have been out running for, or trying to speculate/ monitor my pace on solo runs. I wanted to get something with a heart rate monitor (feeling it will be especially helpful when I hit those elevations in San Fran, and want to keep my heart rate semi-normal. This will require me to know what my normal heart rate is before hand. Ah, planning ahead. Hopefully it’ll pay off). I bought the Polar F6. I am able to track time, heart rate, calories burned and I’m hoping many more things that I will learn about as soon as I crack the manual! Of course, not having read about it does not mean that I didn’t take it for a test dri
ve. This past Tuesday I put all the settings needed into the watch (height, weight, age, and gender) so that it could calibrate the range where my heart rate SHOULD be, so that it can then yell at me, in high pitched beeps, when I get too low or too high and headed out for my run. I had been most nervous about the chest strap before actually buying the watch. I felt like I was already “strapped in” enough - what with my knee brace and water belt, and here I was, going to tack on yet another thing!? Ugh, really? But, what I found was that the heart rate belt fit neatly underneath my sports bra strap, and with a few minor adjustments, it fit like a glove. I didn’t even realize I was wearing it. As you can tell from the picture, the watch face is comfortably large so that you don’t have to spend too much time trying to focus on keeping your arm from jostling so that you can read the screen. I was able to take a quick peek down at my wrist and see how long I had been out there for. I didn’t figure out how to see my heart rate until I was stopped at a red light about a mile from my ending point, but as soon as it clicked on…“beep!beep!beep!beep!beep!beep!” My heart rate was 177 - which is apparently, waaaaay too high for my range. I knew my heart was going fairly fast that day - it was hot and I had done quite a bit of uphill in the previous two miles, but 177 - sheesh. I worked on keeping my pace even and a touch slower during the last mile, to cool down and give my poor heart a second to catch itself. I am now obsessed with find out what my heart rate is. Here are some readings I have taken so far:

Running =
Lisa’s Insane “Kick-Boxing” Class = around 160
Metro Ride Home = 79-80
Walking up Metro’s Escalator = 110

Online I read that the best time of day to take your resting heart rate is right when you wake up and before you get out of bed. This means I would have to go to sleep with the chest strap and watch on, so that before I got out of bed I could take the reading. And, you know I’ll do it. I’m sure the novelty of my little gadget will wear off evidentially, but for right now - it’s just a matter of time before I start wearing it 24/7.

A final note to say a Thank You! to City Sports (where my watch was purchased) for giving your customers with a gym membership 10% off on all of their purchases. That small discount saved me around $20.00! And THANK YOU Lisa - I’m sorry we didn’t get to hang out more. I’m going to miss you. Keep in touch - and good luck with school!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Having Fun With Raising Some Funds

Time Management. Some of us are better at it then others. Books, seminars, DVDs, etc. have all focused on improving this exact topic because it is so integral to our productivity and ability to fit in the good/ fun stuff into our daily lives. Truthfully, there could never be enough hours in the day (as proof by my frequent 1:00 am bedtime), and although I like to think of myself as a multitasker (right now I am listening to music, while updating my blog, charging my iPod and defrosting chicken for tomorrow night’s dinner) my primary focus shifts from day to day, or week to week. I try to keep a main focus long enough to ensure that it has been completed before moving onto the next – however, I’m human and things slip or need to take immediate priority over other subsequent (soon-to-be) main focuses.

I mentioned before that I was not as avid with following up and asking for donations as I should have been this summer, or setting up much needed fund raisers. But, class took my primary focus four-six nights a week (depending on whether an exam was scheduled or not), and I didn’t feel like doing much that required planning past that. However, the shackles that were Chemistry lifted on the 20th of July, and I went into immediate fund raising mode.

My first fund raiser of the season took place at the Giant on Wisconsin Avenue Sunday, August 2nd. The fund raiser did not look promising from the moment I started to plan it, but I pushed forward (and I am very glad I did). The issue was not with the location, Giant was MORE then hospitable, letting me stand outside of their store for 3 hours and ask their patrons (nicely) if they would like to donate to LLS. Mr. Rodney Richardson, the store manager, (pictured with me below) just needed the basic letter from Team In Training head quarters showing him that I was legit and not going to pocket the money for the Lauren-Would-Like-A- New-Pair-Of-Shoes fund, and showed me where to set up. No, no, no – the issues came when I tried to get everything else ready for the big day. First it was trying to get a table to use. Another teammate had done the same thing I was about to, and walked away with a table after our July 11th training run on the Mall from one of the coaches (I thought). “The team’s coaches must have extra,” I rationalized, “obviously everyone would be asking them for tables – so they must have a few handy for participants.” So, not asking my teammate but going directly to the source, I e-mailed the coaches that Monday before, and asked if they wouldn’t mind me claiming a table on Saturday, August 1st to use for my fundraiser the next day.
“Oh no, of course that’s not a problem! You’re more then welcome to one.” Great. One item to cross off of my check list (or so I thought).

Now, to go back to my original point in this entry regarding time management, I not only try to be very cognizant of how I use my time (i.e. not spending an entire Saturday indoors baking), but I also have this thing called a budget. When you start with TNT, they do not hand you a wad of cash to help you buy gift certificates to raffle off, or baked goods in order to help you fundraise. All of the “extras” are on us. So, trying to be smart about it, I gave a few local businesses a call to see if they would be interested in donating some of their baked goods for my fundraiser, to help entice people to come over to my little table and throw a few bucks toward my $3,800.00 minimum. Every stinking place I called was unable to help, although
Hello Cupcake and Sticky Fingers said they would love to help another time when they were less busy. My biggest disappointment is with the Tenleytown Whole Foods. I was never able to get in direct contact with their marketing manager, although multiple messages were left for her, and the woman I kept speaking with sounded shocked I hadn’t heard back. Apparently, whoever the marketing manager is, is continually on a lunch break and out of her office – be it 10 am or 3 pm, the woman constantly feeds. I guess it’s a good thing she works in a grocery store then, huh? (Okay, okay, I’ll stop – but seriously, I was annoyed by how ineffectual she was as a manager.) I ended up buying packs of chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies (at Giant, no less), and making two batches of brownies (which were so good, I was glad to be getting them out of the house so that I didn’t eat them all myself. Not exactly what you would call “good training food.”) then dividing them all up into individual bags.

Saturday morning comes, and I finish the 12 miles at Fletchers with the team, and approach one of the coaches about acquiring my table. They look back at me like my head just spouted siblings. “Table? You need a…a table?” Her eyes quickly glance back and forth between the two tables covered with forms, food and sports drinks.
What I responded with was, “Yes, I wrote you this week asking to borrow a table and someone said they had one for me.” What I was thinking, was. Crap! Crap!! Crap!!! Yes, like I said in my e-mail to you, in which I received a response back stating that taking a table wouldn’t be an issue. Then again, when I sent a follow up e-mail yesterday, just checking to make sure the table was still available for my use…remember…kind of relying on this…please nod your head in understanding…

“Oh, that must have been Charlie.” *

Relieved sigh.

“What Charlie probably forgot to mention is that you will have to wait around another hour to take it with you. I’ll try his cell to ask him, since he is out on the trail somewhere right now.”

*Sigh sucked back in. I snuck a glanced over to see the look on my ride, and all of my car-mates’ faces. They tried to hide it (because the people who sign up with TNT are some of the most selfless, giving people I’ve ever encountered), but I could tell they weren’t pleased. Who would be towards a situation that eats away at their Saturday? I had run pretty slow that day, so I thought maybe the estimate was a bit high. With a hesitant, “Would you mind?” we all waited around for another 20 or so minutes until it became crystal clear that my hour of waiting for this table was no where near completion. One of my carmates piped up and let me know that I was more then welcome to use her “roll-up table” (this was my first encounter with a “roll-up table”. They are fricken cool.) as long as I could get it back to her after my fundraiser and before she left for vacation on Tuesday. No problem. Done and done.

The day of reckoning arrived, and I felt prepared. I got up a little early and did a few chores before heading out to grab the Zipcar to load all of my stuff in. I piled it all by the front door, except the food (since I didn’t want the chocolate to melt), so that I would not forget anything. I even threw in some last minute additions to add extra umph to my table. I get the car, I load the car, I drive to Giant, I talk with Rodney, he shows me where to set up, I unload the car, I start setting up…I forgot the food. I reload the car, I drive home (which wasn’t that far away, but when you factor in the coming and going, I lost about a half hour because of my forgetfulness), I grab the food, I drive back to Giant, I set up and start smiling brightly at the Sunday morning customers. Did I mention it was also raining the entire time?... because it was.

I picked Sunday because I figured there would be the most foot traffic. Everyone coming from church, or finishing up weekend chores, would then be headed out to their neighborhood grocery to stock up on that week’s necessities. However, just because there are a lot of people does not mean that any of them will stop, or look you in the face, or acknowledge that you have even spoken to them. I can’t blame them, or be mad. I have done the exact same thing to others, and I always feel bad about it while it happens - so I tried not to hold a grudge. Yet, I held out hope and knew that if others saw one person donating, they would be more willing to throw a few bucks my way - so when one way of approaching them wasn’t working, I switched my tactic. By the end of the 3 (rather, 2.5) hours, I walked away with 214.11 bucks (an average of $1.43 a minute) and met some really wonderful people. Some who knew of someone fighting these diseases, or had lost their battle, some who had gone through it themselves and others who wanted to give, just because. I got two questions more then others that day. They were:

Question 1: Why are you out here doing this?

Answer: I am training for the Nike Women’s Marathonwith Team In Training in honor of my grandmother, Rita Bovino, who died from ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) last year.
When answering this question, I was surprised that I started to get choked up while speaking about my personal story. I had put a picture of my grandmother out on the table, and when I started to speak about it and looked into her and my mother’s faces, I remembered the pain that time inflicted on my family. I remembered other people’s pain and triumph when they got up to speak at both of the honored teammate picnics. I became touched and sad all over again, as if it had all just happened.

Question 2: Which of these sweets are homemade?

Answer: Brownies.
An alarming amount of people shied away from the store bought cookies - although they were larger and not made by my hands. Now that’s not to say I can’t bake - I’m pretty good when it comes to cakes, homemade icing, and pudding - but brownies have never been a strong suit of mine. I hadn’t tried them out before heading off to Giant (not wanting to dwindle my supply) so I cringed a little when they walked away with a baggie of my little creations. I tested them later - they were, in fact, delicious. No harm done.
The other surprising part was that most people DIDN’T want the chocolate chip cookies, but instead headed straight for the oatmeal. I had originally gotten the oatmeal for parents who may not want their child to have too much chocolate, but when people actually got a little excited when I mentioned oatmeal, I had to hide my shock. I may not understand it, but to each their own, I guess.

Fun Fact of the Day: Since I was situated next to the cantaloupes and other assorted melons, I decided to find out how to actually buy one (a skill I never really acquired). Apparently, it’s all about the smell. If you can smell it through the skin, then it’s ready to buy. This answer was confirmed by four difference Giant patrons, so it must be true. You're welcome, if you didn't know that either :)

My second fundraiser was actually the very next day at Best Cellars in Clarendon. There were two unfortunate parts to this fundraiser, the first being that I only acquired it because one of my San Fran teammates had to bow out of the marathon, meaning I won’t get to see her every Saturday anymore (sad face). The second was that Team In Training planned a Happy Hour for it’s participates that same night, with the extra bonus of giving two runners a chance to win 5% of whatever the establishment, The Green Turtle, made that day for handing in their recommitment forms when they showed up. So, since their Happy Hour started at 5:00 pm and ours started at 6:00 pm, I hauled butt over to The Green Turtle to turn in my forms and then whip right around to fight the crowd and get back on the metro to head to Virginia. And, wouldn’t you know it – I WON THE RAFFLE!!! Not sure what the amount will be, but whatever it is, it is more then what I had if I didn’t hand in the forms. The fortunate part of the wine tasting was that I had little planning to do since I was co-hosting with my mentor Kristy who, graciously, took the reigns. All I had to do was add my list of people to the invite list and - wa la! - instant fundraiser!

This one was a blast. Best Cellars did an AMAZING job with our tasting. A huge thank you to them for all putting that together for us. They gave us the proper instructions for how to sip our wines, what they should be paired with, how they were prepared and a brief description of what we should expect from the flavor. Kristy set it up so that we would be tasting all California wines (get it…San Francisco…), five in total: 1) Bohemian Highway Chardonnay, 2) Toad Hollow Pinot Noir Rosé, 3) Firestone (yes, that’s right, the same folks who make tires, and the same family whose son was the previous stu
d on “the Bachelor”) Gewurztraminer, 4) Montpellier Syrah, and 5) Four Vines Zinfandel. The only one I absolutely do not recommend is the Rosé. Usually Rosé’s are sweet, this one was not, definitely, definitely not; it was just plum sour. I ended up purchasing the Gewurztraminer and the Syrah. Yum, those will be enjoyed at a later date.

Other then the tremendous staff at BC, I have to say that I have some down right awesome friends. I am so blessed to have you in my life, there supporting me - even if your support is laced with an alcoholic edge. The wine, conversation and good times flowed throughout the tasting, and I walked away with $174.00 towards my goal!!!

I still have more than $2000.00 to raise, and will be hosting a few more fundraising events over the coming weeks. Of course, no donation is too small – so, if you haven’t already – please make your way to my fund raising page (which can be found in the top left corner of my blog) and contribute to this worthy cause. Maybe for the next fundraiser I’ll give my favorite marketing manager a call again. Safe bet, she’ll be out of the office, eating lunch, at 9:00 am.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Mileage Is Increasing, And So Is The Pain!

I am not a morning person. Unless, of course, my morning is going to consist of sleeping in and grabbing brunch in the wee hour of noon. So, although my teammates talk of their morning weekdays runs, and how great it is to get it out of the way and have the rest of their day to do stuff – I prefer working out on my lunch break or running after work. I feel that my morning duty is done when I wake myself up at 5:30 am to make sure that I am ready for 6:15 am pick up and our 7:00 am mandatory start time for our Saturday morning long runs. What I really need is a little house elf that will pester me until I get off of my very cozy, pillow top mattress, into my running gear and out the door. Alarms and my motivation have not seemed to work thus far. Seeing as how this mystical creature is only in existence in Harry Potter’s world – I have to compensate for my chosen time of day by making sure to get the proper amount of fluids in my system every day. The heat and the humidity still hang pretty high when I get out there (roughly 6 pm) and hit the pavement. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration. Wanting to eat better during this marathon, I have made a pact with myself that I am not going to drink any soda while I train. Nine weeks down, and I haven’t slipped once. Not that there isn’t an available stock, waiting at my fingertips at work – FOR FREE – everyday, but I’ve been a good girl and gone for the free bottles of water instead. And, quite honestly, I haven’t missed it one bit. My body feels so much better without it in there. On top of that, I have doing a bit of research, and I think I might look more into some vitamins GNC has that are specifically for female runners. The only problem I have had with a vitamin that isn't a Flinstone’s chewable (does anyone remember these? I used to eat them like candy. A friend of mine and I used to save ours until we got to the playground and then pop them in our mouths – seeing who could have Dino, Fred or Barney last the longest without biting down. I always lost. I’m not what you would call…patient.) or your generic multivitamin is that my stomach tends not to like the foreign substance in it. It’s very fussy about what it wants to go in it, and not at all afraid to let me know when I have chosen wrong. So, like I said, I have to look a bit more into it. I don’t want to learn too late – like when I’m on mile 5 of 18 – that I may have a situation on my hands.

Actually, I haven’t had any moments on the trail, yet, that have made me go, “ut oh.” Last season, I had the brilliant idea to try out these tofu chicken buffalo wings the day before a long run. “I’m eating them at least 12 hours before the run,” I thought, “There will be no harm in me trying them now – for sure.” Oh, I was wrong. So very wrong. It matters a great deal what you put in your body the day before you run. I thought I was going to get sick during the entire 12 miles. A teammate of mine looked at me incredulously as we were on the drive home, “WHY, would you? I mean, how did you think that was even a good idea?” I will never make that mistake again. So food choice, important. Will speak more on this in another blog :0)

The mileage has started to increase, and my knee fluctuates between feeling completely fine to getting stiff and making it painful to move it certain ways. I went out for my 40 minute run this week, and, because I haven’t bought myself a running watch yet, had no idea how long I was out there, or how far I had gotten, so I just kept going. Turns out – 7 miles, so I was probably out there a bit over an hour. I can’t gage it accurately, because I decided to run the long hill on Wisconsin, all the way from my house to M street, and I haven’t ever done that before – though, what a great hill workout! I’ll be doing it again, for sure. Anyone crazy enough is welcome to run it with me anytime. Let me know! Although that run was physically challenging, it was the first time I really was able to recognize that my body is getting back into shape. Hello muscles, I have missed you. I have to concentrate a little more on my arms, which were the only things hurting me during that run. I chalk it up to the fact that I was pumping them pretty hard, trying to get me back up that hill.

The next day, since I had gotten the go ahead from my PTs to do Yoga a few sessions prior, I decided to use that as my cross training on Wednesday. I never realized how much I missed standing in a crowded room of half naked strangers, sweating, bending and stretching together. I was having a particularly frustrating start to my week, and by the end of that 90 minute class, all of my troubles had poured out of me and onto the towel underneath my feet. I felt amazing. I didn’t smell or look all that great – but I was emotionally 10 pounds lighter. I decided to take a look at the thermometer on my way out of the class – 103.4 degrees. Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle – I may have just been physically 10 pounds of water weight lighter too. It’s all that hydration ;0)

This week’s 12 mile run is down. I am wondering how the next two weekends will go since I am going to be on travel. 8 miles, in Florida, in August? If I don’t get knocked over by a hurricane, then I may just pass out from heat stroke. I’ll have to have my brother on standby, incase resuscitation is needed. What am I saying? Florida has plenty of year long snowbirds. There should be enough medical personnel around Florida to save my entire team, let alone, little ol’ me. I’ll be fine. I may not have a pacemaker or liver spots, but I’m sure they figure out what to do with me. I’ll just have to drink 2 glasses of water this week, for every 1 I have been downing before.