Monday, November 30, 2009

oh, sales.

I have a secret.

I like to shop.
As in, I may have squealed said, upon seeing the massive shopping complex next to one of our hotels this season, "ooooh they might be having a sale!". (This may or may not have resulted in gales of laughter from my traveling companions).

I kind of enjoy Black Friday, and "Cyber Monday", even though I hardly buy any holiday gifts. This year I did get a sweet dress for upcoming weddings, and Princess Charming got some new work shirts.
I tried on some amazing shoes, but I just can't justify the cost when they're not really (ok, not at all) work appropriate).

So today, I've been browsing...kind of a lot. I did get us a bag for our boards for our upcoming snowboarding trip (which we have a legit need for!), but mostly just daydreaming...some of these things I don't even have a USE for...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Philly Half - Race Review

So, as you might know, I wasn't exactly properly trained for this half. But, since I had paid (and I paid as missed the PDR in September) I decided to do it anyway. I picked up my packet on Friday (along with packets for three friends - I looked a bit like a nut on the subway with four race bags!) and was a little saddened. I love the atmosphere of expos for big races - so many people, so much fun gear. And it is hard to go into a race knowing I won't be trying for my best.

But what happened this fall happened, and onto Sunday I went. After twenty minutes of circling for parking with my two NJ friends, we found a spot between two food trucks at the community college and walked to the start. 15 semi-stressful minutes later, we found the gear trucks and I was able to hand off bag #4 to another NJ friend! I got in the port-a-potty line, but then the start announcements began and I abandoned it.

It took about 15 minutes to move all the way up to the start. But off we went. Pretty thick crowd, lots of excitement. But, I still needed to pee! (Wasn't just on line for fun!) Three port-a-pottie stops later, I found one with only 3 people in I only lost 3 or 4 minutes for the stop. And off I went again.

I hit a grove at about a 10 min pace, about a minute slower than most of my halfs and over 90 seconds off my PR pace. I felt pretty good until about mile 4, when my hamstrings started getting tight. We were running all over Center City, so it was relatively entertaining, though I imagine I would have been more amused and remember more details if I wasn't a (more or less) local.

Around then, I started planning when I'd change to a walk-run plan. I was thinking 5 min run/1 min walk intervals. I decided I'd start after the half way point, which is roughly around the bridge crossing into West Philly. But then I decided I didn't want to run through Drexel with walk intervals on the off change one of my college kids saw me (I get a little irrational in races). They were all headed to their championships at this point, but I did pass their Club Sports Coordinator!

Somewhere in this region, my hip started hurting. I was considering starting the intervals when I hit an aid station, and the water and short walk to drink it motivated me along. I told myself that around mile 10, the 3/4 point, I'd start the run walk intervals. Then we hit the park, and this big hill. I assume it has a name, but I don't recall. It was long, but not as steep as I remembered from last year, so I somehow powered through it.

By this point, I was hungry. One of the side effects from poor training is a lack of fueling knowledge. Lucky me, the race volunteers were handing out Gu at the top! Too bad it was espresso. I did force down half a packet, and it helped.

Around this point, I starting thinking, 5k left, 5k left. Not exactly true, and when I hit the bottom of the downhill, my hip pain migrated to my back, and I pretty much hit a wall (who knew such existed in a half?). The downhill leading up to the mile 10 marker was a bit rejuvenating though, so I made it to mile 11 before actually beginning the 5 min/1 min intervals! Not bad for someone who's last real long run was 8 miles 4 weeks ago. The last couple of miles was tough with burning legs, but I made it. I even had a decent kick at the end.

According to my watch, I snuck in under 2:15, which is by far my worst half (of those I've run - Princess Charming and I run/walked a couple over the last year amid injuries). But, given the circumstances, a 10:16 pace is ok. And, I am telling myself it is a training run for my Jan. half - I PRd at the 3M in 2008, at 1:52. I'd love to beat that...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

10 years

I was a freshman in 1999. I was over 1500 miles from home, at a school that had a lot of spirit and a lot of school-spirited traditions.

One of these was the Aggie Bonfire, built over the course of the fall semester each year for what was essentially a 70,000 person pep rally prior to the annual Texas A&M/UT football game.
I never saw it burn, as the 1999 Bonfire collapsed a week prior to Burn while being built, killing 12 students and injuring at least 27 more. I can't succinctly explain what happened on campus in the weeks and months that followed, how the climate changed over the next few years (hello, Risk Management), how the on-campus culture was completely different from my freshman year to my last year as an RA several years later. I wish I could; I am sure it would make a fabulous case study.

What I can tell you is I can't believe it has been ten years. I am glad that there is a student led Bonfire now (from what I gathered on my FB news feed), and that the tradition has continued, modified as it is. At a school where tradition dictates which patches of grass you can and cannot walk on, losing Bonfire all together would be another tragedy. I am kind of sad that the website that used to have a camera watching Build now has links to the annual ceremonies - I wonder how long these will happen, and if it makes sense - and to posters of the (ugly) memorial and remembrance teeshirts (what?).

But I am perhaps most overwhelmed with perspective. At 18, I didn't grasp the outcry for why the University didn't oversee the project more, why wasn't the structure certified by PEs, why, why, why? At 18, I agreed with the arguement it was built by smart students who learned how to safely build from their predecessors. That they would do anything to keep the tradition alive. After all, they were outside at 2:43 am building it. That's dedication, right?

But at 28, I have perspective, perhaps parental perspective without the overwhelming love of parents. As a university administrator and a sports team administator, those questions of Why are really clear. Why WASN'T the University more involved? Alumni politics? A preferance for a blind eye? I am not sure. But when I think about the 12 kids - kids, really - that died, it is heart breaking. Most of them, 8 I think, were freshman. 3 lived in the dorm where I was an RA for the following 3 years. Without even being among their friends, I can tell you with the utmost confidence what an impact on their friends and roommates and others those three, and their deaths, had. There is still a memorial at that dorm. I hope it stands long after the building (already a bit old and crumbly 10 years ago, thanks to shoddy 1960s we-need-space construction).

It occured to me in class yesterday, when the topic came up in passing, that if it were to happen here, today, it could be my kids. Not my literal kids, as I certainly don't have college aged children, but the kids at work or the kids I coach or the kids on the all star teams I work with. And that breaks my heart. I cannot imagine what it was like for the parents of those who died, how any parent survives losing a child. The thought something happenning to my college kids, the thought of the mortality of my little 18 and 20 year olds, who are so innocent, so full of life and promise, literally brings me to tears.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

finger crossed

So today I did a 10 miler.
Sort of.
I did 2 miles with the pup in the morning, 3.75 miles midday while refereeing, and 4.25 when I got home. I feel ok. My legs are a little tired. I am entertaining doing all my taper week mileage together (11 miles) on Tuesday then doing cross training wed/thurs as final prep for my half on Sunday.

Last year I'd registered for this race a week before breaking my foot, so Princess Charming and I run/walked it in about 2:30. I REALLY wanted to make this my race "back," to break 2 hours...but all these issues...sigh. I'm thinking 2:15ish. Really though, I'll be happy with doing it unhurt, just as a training run for my Jan half that I WILL BE well trained for.

On the upside, the game today was pretty fun to ref. Two newly minted all-stars teams, the MARFU U20s who are headed to Florida for U20 NASCs, and the EPRU U23s who will head to the MARFU Round Robin next weekend. Nothing like young kids who don't know each other playing together...quite the study in melding teams and cultures and egos.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Sometimes I hate that I am a part time student.
I like my classes SO much more than my job.
I enjoy, in a masochistic way, writing multiple 20 page papers every semester.
I am infinitely jealous of my classmates who go to conferences in fun places like Vancouver on our advisor's (school funded) dime to do cool things like present and things I hate but should do like mingle and smooze network with folks in the field.

But on some level I know I am not meant to be an academic and the professional doctorate is the right choice. And I know that if I were a full time student we couldn't have our house, couldn't do the little bit of traveling we do, and I'd be even further behind on my retirement...

But. Le Sigh. Today, I would much rather be a full time student.

Monday, November 9, 2009

maybe it'll be ok?

I ran 8 miles today - 3 this morning and 5 tonight. And I feel good. It is unfortunate I had a couple of lazy weeks, and then the weird back/hip thing... my hip is still tight, but I feel good.

My plan this week is to get my other 3 in (this week is supposed to be 3, 5, 3, 12), do 10 miles on Wed (probably 5 & 5 - AM and midday or AM/PM), take Thurs/Fri off and do 10-12 on Saturday morning. I know its a LOT considering my record this last month or so, but I really just need to do 2 10 milers to feel ok about this race (splitting it up isn't ideal...but at least it will be done, right?)

I really want to hit 2 hours, but it is SO unlikely seeing as my runs have been around 9:40s, and that is a 9:09 pace! Oh well. Maybe if I get on the ball with training I can still aim for my PR in Austin in Jan (which would be a 1:52)...

any encouragement? has anyone done a successful (in your eyes) race with screwy training?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

weekend in pictures

Fabulous Friday Night Dinner (Indian!)

Old Friend's Bridal Shower
Collegiate Playoffs!

EPRU Division IV Champs!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Our pup was a rescue, and his litter had a bad case of pavo before we adopted him (2 of the 7 didn't make it). Bailey is quite a robust dog, but this summer developed a wart which the vet said was related to the pavo, and had a bad enough bout of diarrhea to warrant a trip to the vet (which is, actually, where the ugly wart was finally diagnosed...since it wasn't bothering him - for a month - we'd let it go).

Some chicken and rice, powdered food sprinkles and some sort of pill later, he was fine. But two months later, the diarrhea is back. It could be anything - eating a weird mushroom in the yard perhaps - but it has been a day and is starting to concern me. Back to chicken and rice tomorrow, and powered sprinkles on the food (we did the last pill already)....lets hope we don't need another ($$) vet trip. He's lapping down the water, so I'm hoping he stays hydrated.

But I am worried a bit. Ok, perhaps I spent 30 min on the floor petting him in front of the heat vent where he likes to hang out. But I want him to be ok, even if he is a little annoying at full energy. How will I function with a sick kid??

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sesame Street

I loved this show as a kid. And I hope my kids love it. It is one of the few kids shows tolerable for adults thanks to clever writing with parodies and a lack of super annoying songs on repeat.

Happy Birthday! I hope you can stick around for another 40 years, even if you are no longer focusing on urban kids and are a little bit PC. Your recent gem (GNN v Pox News... which was good enough to make NPR, and hence make me look for it online) is amazing.

Also, love:


My hip is still having problems. My back is pretty much ok now, but my hip is so tight I stopped my run tonight at the 1.5 mile mark and rode the bike for 30. I really hope I can fix this by starting to stretch (I never stretch. It is a problem). Not only do I want to run Philly in two weeks - and need at least two long runs between now and then since I missed two! - I want to be WELL trained for Austin in Jan... :(

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Bailey has been really good the last year about only chewing on his toys. Except for the occasional pair of underwear plucked from the laundry, but otherwise, really good.

The last 8 weeks or so we've even stopped crating him most days. And he's been good! Sure, the couch cushions get shoved around (how else can he get to the window to watch me drive away and abandon him for 10 hours?). Sure, his treat bag gets plucked off the 4 ft high hook (hey, I want a midday snack too. Though I don't jump 2.5 feet for it...). But he has a bladder of steel and is beyond happy to see me when I get home, so things have been good.

Then about two weeks ago, he learned to open the front closet. (It slides, he doesn't have thumbs for turning door knobs).
Over the next two weeks, one at a time, he ate two pairs of my running shoes (thankfully, both nearing the end of their lives). These were cool shoes (see stock photo below. I somehow didn't have the heart neglected to record their demise). Why else would I buy two identical pairs within a month of each other?
I am 100% sure I will never find perfectly fitting python print running shoes again.

He's also pulled out Princess Charming's shoes, but hasn't as much as nibbled on them. So, I assumed I just have tasty foot sweat. My new running shoes are safely upstairs, so I let it be.

Then I got home Monday.
The new fall mail/key/remote control basket was on the floor. Up the stairs. Down the stairs. All over. You get the picture.

Also all over, in lots of bitty rain boots! ARGH!

Then Tuesday. Happy Halloween for the pup, who pulled the bowl of leftover candy off of (the middle of) the dining room table and proceeded to pick out all of the mini Reeses. And unwrap them for a midday snack. He was really neat about it - every foil wrapper had the paper wrapper neatly inside of them. I really wish I had a photo of this, but I cleaned it up in a mild fury (and I also searched for signed of doggie chocolate rejection, of which there were, thankfully, none).

And then today.

Today Bailey apparently got bored. The stuffed kong and two PB dipped nylabones were not enough. Today, we moved on to the couch.

Specifically, the lower right corner of each of the three cushions that make up the back of the couch. Example (all three look oddly alike):

While he is looking adorable sleeping on the couch next to me right now, exhausted from a long day of a walk, sleeping, chewing on furniture for the first time, visiting his friends at the PetSmart hotel, and playing with new balls, you can BET he will not be left uncrated again for at least a few days. Sad!


WTF Maine? And also you Washington?

I still do not see why matters of equality should be put to the vote.

If we did that historically, we would have a much different society right now.

Can anyone explain to me how this is ok for sexual orientation and not ok for race and gender?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I have a problem

I am obsessed with the blondies sold by the coffee shop in my building.

Obsessed to the point the cashier tells me on occasion, "You really love those." Or, doesn't tell me the total and just waits for my money. Thank goodness I don't have cash more than a couple of days a week...

Fabulous, but not great for the fitting into the pants project (since its not like I don't eat cookies at home if I have a blondie at work!).

Monday, November 2, 2009

every day?

I am thinking about doing the NaBloPoMo challenge. (That is a horrible nickname for National Blog Posting Month and not easy to say.). Do I have enough things to talk about?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

getting nervous

My half marathon is in three weeks. This was supposed to be my race "back," my uninjured half marathon I could actually train for and actually "race"(for whatever racing means when your half PR is about an 8:20 mile and the only person you're really trying to beat is the 50 year old overweight guy who looks like he might keel over with every step).

I have run once in 2 weeks. For 27 minutes. 9x400 intervals.
My hip/what I imagine to be sciatica has had some issues for the last few weeks, and last weekend during a disastrous 20 minutes playing loose head prop, I tweaked something in my back. It was feeling better till my run Thursday...I popped a couple Advil and reffing a college game went ok on Saturday. I was technically supposed to run 8-10 miles today, but didn't get to that.

On the upside, I am seeing the doctor about this tomorrow. And I know I can still finish the half. And I think if I get all my mileage in the next 2.5 weeks, I can still come in around 2 hours. But probably not UNDER 2 hours like I wanted.

But it is time, now that rugby is (half, coaching isn't) over, to get back on track! I have 13 weeks to the Austin half and WILL PR there!
Do all three midweek runs!
Run 9-11 miles on Sunday no matter how long it takes or if I have to do run/walk intervals!