Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My First Day of School

Well.  Today was not my very first day of school, but the first day of the first semester of my senior year.  Now, don't get too excited, it will still be many semesters before I graduate.  I'm on the long-term plan.

And, since it is customary to take a picture on your first day of school......

Have I taken a picture of myself on the first day before?  No.  Why now? Why not?

Now...moving on.

Crazy schedule this semester, work, school, homework, and now marathon training.  Cross your fingers that I can pull it off!  I've only had class at night, but night classes are becoming hard to come by; with the decrease in faculty and I've pretty much exhausted all the general ed courses that they teach at night.  So, this is the first semester I've taken classes during the day.

I've been going to college part-time for about five years now, and today was the first day I actually felt like a student. Weird, huh?  I mean, I know I've put in the hours, spent the money on text books, written my share of papers!  But today I was among it all.  All the hustle and bustle, busting my arse to get across campus in 10 minutes for my next class, eating a quick PB&J sandwich under a tree....

Today was a good day.

Now, just remind me of that in a few weeks when I'm stressed out of my gourd...

Photo Diary - Sunday Swim

Jyl:  Look at you, with your back pack, swim gear in hand, swim cap on...and a cup of coffee. (laughing, shaking her head)

Me:  But I'm just not ready to give up my coffee yet...

Me:  I do look like a sight, don't I?

Me:  Quick, take a picture, this would be a great post.

Graham:  Awesome!

Jyl:  You're not going to post that (laughing)

Me:  (big grin)  is that a dare?....

This is me getting ready for our Sunday Swim...
with coffee in hand.

Why?  because that's how I roll.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I have two words for you....

Therapeutic Massage

Sounds all roses and daffodils, doesn't it?

Let me enlighten you.  It's more like blood, sweat and tears with lotion that smells good.

And they fool you.  They fool you into thinking it's going to be all zen and stuff.  Your sweet little therapist introduces herself.  You tell her that your calves are a bit tight from running, and maybe your quads could use a quick once over as well.  She angelically nods her head with wisdom and experience.  She leads you into a nice dim room with relaxing music playing and a comfy looking table.  She takes a short leave of absence while you hop on the table under the fresh linens.  You think to yourself, "Self? This is going to be so relaxing and nice.  Don't drool on yourself while you doze off into Sandman Land."  She re-enters this haven of serenity with her jar of lotion at the ready.  And then it begins....the pain.

Oh my heavens above did it hurt like hell!  I had knots and bumps deep in my muscles from my toes to my butt.  And let me tell you what, you do NOT want this little angel to hop up on the table to get a better angle to work one of those suckers out.  My. Gosh.  I thought I was going to die!  I didn't know there were so many dang muscles and ligaments and things I can't even pronounce.  And it seemed that each one of mine had a twist here or a bump there.

It was torture.  Absolute torture.

....and I've already made my appointment to go back in month.

Oh dear J.B, you are an angel indeed.  You are our guardian angel helping us prevent the bad things from happening to our bodies after the hell we put them through.  And we thank you :)

And I PROMISE to roll like a champ!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Swimming Update....

It's been awhile since I've shared any thoughts about my adventure known to most folks as swimming.  I know you all are on pins and needles wondering if I've drowned yet.  Well, unless I have a ghost writer, that has not yet happened.  But let us not tempt fate...

So.  It's going.  Kick by kick, stroke by stroke and length by length.  Sometimes with paddles and sometimes with a buoy, sometimes with both and sometimes with neither.  I go and go, back and forth, to and fro, one breath here, one breath there.  Swallow water here, blow snot bubbles there.  I try to channel my inner Dory and "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim, swim."

I'd like to think that there is progress, but it is slow.  Slower than I would like. But I also recognize that I have come a long way since the first time I donned on my sexy cap and goggles.

Awhile back, I did a Top 10 list of why swimming sucks.  Well, in that same spirit I will offer some updates, thoughts and opinions.  In no particular order in my charming random fashion.

  • Don't inhale through your nose.  Water will go down your throat and it will burn and cause you make silly little girl noises.
  • I embrace my paddles and my buoy.  Love. Them.
  • I cannot do a dolphin kick.  Though it is entertaining to watch me try.
  • Not entirely swimming related, but water related...how do male divers' trunks not come off when they dive?
  • I'm getting the hang of lane changes.
  • I love the feeling when you first jump in the water and your toes reach the bottom...you breath out...and it's like you're breathing out everything that is wrong or chaotic.  And then you push off the wall and swim. It's just you and the black line keeping you straight; and everything else just ripples away in your wake.
  • Don't swallow air when you gasp to breathe.  It makes you burp and then people look at you funny.
  • I like watching other swimmers.  It's inspiring and can offer ideas of do's and don'ts.
  • Bikini bumps are still a problem, but I'm fighting the good fight.
  • Sometimes I think I just might have a decent stroke.
  • I bought some anti-fogging spray for my goggles a month or so ago.  I have no idea how well it works, it's still in the package.
  • I like how it feels when I cut through the water.

And with that my friends, I bid you ado.

Until next time...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Food for Thought: Pizza for One

I love pizza.  Scratch that.  I love greasy pepperoni pizza, with lots of cheese and onions and sauce and cheese and mushrooms and sausage and, did I say cheese?  And it's so easy!  So easy to throw a frozen one in the oven or pick up the phone to order one from the local pizza joint (or have the hubs call because you have a phobia of ordering pizza over the phone...and drive-thrus....but that's something for another post).  Especially on the crazy nights or the lazy don't-wanna days.

Well, needless to say, I don't partake in the wonders of Dominoes or Pizza Hut any longer.  Once in a while you'll find me at my favorite restaurant (shout out to the Brickhouse...HOLLA!) sharing a thin and crispy Mediterranean with the hubs, or we'll throw in a Kashi at home.  The problem is when he's on the road...I've lost my pizza sharing buddy (insert sad face here).  So then, I'm down a hubs and can't even sulk with a whole pizza.

Thanks to a good friend, problem solved.  She told me about a heavenly concoction that you can make as healthy, or unhealthy, as you want! I've always been wary of making my own pizza at home.  I don't know why.  It's a thing.

And in her honor, we will call it the  

Rainy Day Pizza for One

1 of your favorite pieces of flat bread, or one of those individual sized ready made things
garlic cloves, chopped
chopped chicken, grilled or store-bought in the deli...whatever you have on hand.  (I used this, just because it was what was in the fridge)
marinated artichoke hearts
roasted red peppers
fresh mozzarella
salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Slather on some pesto all over your flat bread, sprinkle the garlic.  Add on the chicken pieces, artichoke hearts and red peppers.  Dot with cheese (I found mozzarella pearls, I have never seen such a thing!) and salt and pepper to taste.

Place in oven directly on the rack for about 10-12 minutes.


Use this as a base, an idea.  Change, add or remove ingredients, Go crazy!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

One year ago today....

I made a decision.

One year ago today, I started to fight a battle that I would face every hour.

One year ago today, I made a choice to put my health first.

One year ago today, I saw what I could be.

One year ago today, I extinguished one flame and ignited another.

Today my friends, is a very special day.  

I'm proud to tell you all that today is my anniversary.

365 Days Smoke Free.

Go Me :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blue 5K - Racing, Reflections and Bagels

Speed work has not been included in my marathon plan, but I have been doing a good amount of cross training instead.  My "coach" wanted me to do a speed trial to see where I was and to see if the cross training is doing its job, so I ran the Blue 5K in Charlotte this past weekend.  I don't run in Charlotte often; only twice actually, once with the Fund Racers and with the Do-Life Crew.  So the third time HAD to be the charm right?

Let me say this.  There is absolutely nothing charming about running up Morehead St.

Jyl and I arrived about 45 minutes before the start to get our chips before the lines descended, and to just have enough time to relax and get a little warm up in before hand. Then we found Graham, the third musketeer of this trio and "ran" into a good friend, fellow DARTer and total running guru , The Sockless Runner.  He gave us the run down on his preview of the course, which I very much appreciated.  I normally don't have a race plan, I just go.  So it was very good for me to hear what I would be facing in the miles to come.

Runners began to find their spots for 7:30am start, already humid with still air, temps slowly climbing and a little bit of cloud cover.  Not a bad sized local race, almost 700 runners come to find out.  The Trio (that's us!) lined up towards the backend of the middle. Ready....Set....Run Like Hell!

And we did.

Here is the abbreviated version.  Why?  because that's how I roll sometimes.

  • Mile 1 - fast and fun.  Of course, Mile 1 always is, isn't it?  And then the realization sets in that maybe you set off a little to fast....
  • Mile 2 - less fast and still fun.  You're working hard, and you can feel it, but you're still under the delusion that you can maintain the pace you're on.
  • Mile 3 - if Hell was a hill, this would be it.  A "terraced hill"  with more hill than terrace.  Not much relief and you're thinking, "I can't take another step."  "Omigosh I'm gonna die."  "Is that my lung on the side of the road?"
  • The Last .2 - downhill....  can I kick it in?  If you do, you can be done faster...... Engage Turbo Finish.  The internal voice is saying "almost done, keep going....don't puke, don't puke, don't puke...." 
  • Cross the Finish - STOP THE GARMIN AND GIVE ME GATORADE.  And race volunteer, if you want this timing chip off my sneaker, you best get it because I can't bend over at the moment, or we both might have a problem.....

And then we were done!  YAY!  After checking the boards for chip times, Graham headed out so he could start getting ready for his triathlon the following day and Jyl and I headed straight to Bruegger's Bagels, which is fastly becoming a favorite of ours!

I don't know if I like the actual racing part, but I do love the pre- and the post-!
My results in case you were curious.

chip time: 26:00
age group placement: 7/61
PR: 24 seconds (Corporate Cup, March 2012 - 26:24)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The human spirit knows no bounds....

I LOVE the Olympics!  Winter, Summer, it does NOT MATTER!  I just love the Olympics.  I love the excitement, I love the events, I love the competitions, I love the patriotism and I love the athletes.  What they are able to accomplish, their determination, their drive and heart...it's inspiring!  And some of them?  Some have such stories that make your mouth drop in utter awe.

Every morning thus far, you hear the rumblings around the office, "did you see...." or "did you hear..."
This morning it was "did you hear about the blind archer from South Korea?"  My response?


Turns out South Korean archer, Im Dong-hyun, broke his own record and helped his team set the FIRST world record in these Olympic games.  Not only that, he and his team won gold medals in Athens (2004) and in Beijing (2008).  Im is legally blind.  Im is an archer.  Im is a blind archer.  Wow.

You man have already heard the story of Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner.  He is a runner from South Africa.  A runner that was born without fibulas.  A runner without legs.  He's only ever known prosthetics.  He's competed, very well, in paraplegic events.  Though a proud paraplegic athlete, Oscar wanted to run against "able bodied athletes". The IAAF said no, "he was able to run at the same speed as able bodied athletes while using less energy and that his prosthetic limbs gave him an advantage over able-bodied athletes."  Oscar said yes.  He thought that if his prosthetics gave him such speed, than in theory the other para runners should be just as fast as he...which they are not.

Oscar will be competing in the 4x400 relay.  Amazing.

You may (or may not) remember I once tried to unsuccessfully come up with a inspiring, witty, seriouslyhope-type of mantra.  But now...now I think I've got it.

If a blind man can shoot an arrow....

It may sound snarky, but I assure you it is far from it.

Say it to yourself.  And really listen to it.  It's a reminder that you are not limited by your physical limitations, only your mental ones.  That the human spirit knows no bounds; and if you dream it, if you want it, you really can make it happen.

Next time, when you're up against the wall thinking you can't take another step, pedal another second or swim another stroke....Remember Im.  Remember Oscar.

If a blind man can shoot an arrow...