Dogs Hate Me

The good news is, my hip is back to normal! It’s so nice to run again (slowly) and get into and out of a car without pain. The bad news is, that leaves me with five weeks to train for my half instead of eight. Not ideal when I was hoping for a PR. I have a backup race in mind a few weeks after Best Damn Race just in case. Although, I’ll probably register for the backup even if I do PR because I feel like this race season has been devoid of races and I need some more in my life.

Speaking of running, you may know that we have an interesting relationship. Besides the random injuries and faceplants into the sidewalk, I’ve also run by someone holding another person an gunpoint and been bitten by a dog. Basically, all signs point to me quitting running for life. Now I’m so paranoid when I run that I carry pepper spray in my hand because surely it will come in handy some day when someone wants to jam me into their trunk.

That brings me to Saturday. I was not jammed into a trunk, don’t get too excited. I went for an eight mile run in the afternoon (don’t ever go away 68 degree, breezy afternoons). I brought my pepper spray with me but since I was already carrying a water bottle, I kept it in my SPIbelt. On my way back to the house, I  noticed a dog ahead of me on the sidewalk off its leash. It was a smaller dog but because of my dog history, I crossed to the other side so I wouldn’t be near him (her?). For those visual learners…

Untitled

I was completely alone on the street and didn’t see his owner anywhere. At one point, I lost sight of him so I figured he had gone home. But no. No, no. Once I turned left (still avoiding the dog side of the street), the dog started barking and running after me, literally at my heels. Another dog (also off its leash) came out of nowhere and joined him. So now I have two little pissed off dogs running after me. I tried to ignore them and kept running but after about 1/10th of a mile when they didn’t back off, I stopped, faced them, and shouted “No!” to see if that would have any effect.

Nope

I started running again and so did they. At this point, I’m thinking, “I can’t believe I’m going to get bitten by a dog…AGAIN.” I was freaking out a little so I did the only thing that came to mind: I stopped, turned around, and threw the rest of my water in their faces. The water actually stopped the joined-out-of-nowhere dog. He ran off into the street and was almost hit by a car that slammed on the breaks in time. But the other one, he wasn’t so happy.

Bird

Hey! It was spring water. Not like I threw tap water in his face. Anyway, I start running again but after about a five second delay, he started barking and running at my heels again. At this point, I’m contemplating my next move. I thought, “holy shit, I’m going to have to kick this dog.” Before you animal lovers get all crazy, this dog was a threat and I will straight-up kick a dog before I let one bite me again. I literally do everything I can to avoid dogs when I’m out in public. Unless it’s a friend’s dog that I know, I keep maximum safe distance. Since being bitten, they scare the shit out of me. So I decided this was going to happen. I’m going to kick a dog and I’m going to feel like shit afterwards but I won’t walk home bleeding with rabies. I stopped, turned around again, shouted something to the effect of “What the fuck dog??”, waited for him to get closer to make my move, and then…he just stopped. It was almost like he knew because he backed off. I’m not sure where he went because I was outta there, but it was probably to do something dangerous and cool to impress his dog friends.

dolphin dog

This isn’t the only time I’ve been chased by a dog but it’s the only time when I really thought I was in danger. I’ve had dogs off leashes chase me with their owners standing there doing nothing. I just hate asshole dog owners with no respect. When I got home, I realized I had pepper spray with me, which I probably would have used if it was in my hand. And of course now, I will never keep it in my SPIbelt again. When I told hubs that I was almost bitten by a dog he said, “again?”

So yeah. Dogs hate me.

All the reading and none of the running

Well, my hip still hurts.

debbie downer

I ran three miles on Sunday. The first mile was ok but I felt a little pain during the second two. After the run was over, my hip was hurting the rest of the night. I’m worried I won’t be able to run my race (Best Damn Race Orlando) at the end of February. I don’t care so much about a DNS than I do that it’s the end of February and just about the end of race season. So if I can’t run it, then I’m most likely waiting until October when race season starts again (and the temperature is lower than the pits of hell). Right now, I should be speed training and that’s not happening.

Anyway, I’ve been spending an obscene amount of time reading to soak up all that used-to-be-running time. Now that school just started again, I’m sure that will slow down, but here’s what I’ve read in the past six weeks.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

still alice

Here’s a Goodreads link to the summary.

I was a few chapters into this book and convinced myself that I wouldn’t like it but I ended up really liking it. It’s a super fast read and the movie comes out next week. (Julianne Moore just won a Golden Globe for her performance.) I’m a little apprehensive about seeing the movie because I’m a crier and the book was so sad but it also makes you really appreciate what you have. Alzheimers is a scary thing.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

BIG LITTLE LIES jacket

Here’s a Goodreads link to the summary.

I liked this one too. It took me awhile to get into it. For many chapters, I had no idea what was going on and I hated all the characters but that turned around just as I was about to made the decision to not finish it. In the book, you know someone was murdered but you don’t know who did it or who was murdered. You find out through a police report/storytelling of a close group of wives and husbands. There’s also a good message about domestic violence and it’s interesting to see inside the head of someone who is abused but can’t leave the relationship.

City of Thieves by David Benioff

city of thieves

Here’s a Goodreads link to the summary.

First Cely loved this book. Then Lindsay loved it. So fine, fine, I’m a sheep. I was a little worried going into this one because I know very little about history and this takes place during the Nazis’ siege of Leningrad. It’s the story of two boys that have a chance at saving their life by finding a dozen (very rare) eggs for a Soviet colonel. I didn’t understand a lot of the historical/art references but that didn’t detract from how much I liked the book. It’s a coming-of-age story with a little bit of everything – it’s gut-wrenching and funny. The guy that wrote this is a co-creator of Game of Thrones and is married to Amanda Peet. You are welcome for that knowledge that may help you win a bar tab some day.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

girl with all the gifts

Here’s a Goodreads link to the summary.

I LOVED this book. It’s a different take on a zombie story and it’s just so good. Basically, the children that become zombies can still think, learn, talk, and have feelings even though they will eat your face off. So, it’s about scientists trying to find out why children (and in particular one girl) are partially immune so they can find a cure.

The Arcana Chronicles 1-3 by Kresley Cole (Poison Princess, Endless Knight, and Dead of Winter)

ArcanaChronicles-New

Here’s a Goodreads link to the summary.

I am obsessed with this series. My friend, Cheyanne, recommended it but I didn’t want to read a book called Poison Princess because that sounded lame. A month passed and I decided to finally give it a shot and I got hooked in hard. I read all three of them in a week. It’s a young adult series, which I’ve been trying to stay away from recently. The third book just came out this month so now I must wait a torturous year for the next one. If you like love stories and teens/twenty-somethings with powers of the Tarot cards fighting each other to the death in a world that’s become a wasteland, then you’ll want to read this. And then tell me when you do so we can talk about it.

P.S. There’s a free 150 page preview of Poison Princess on Goodreads, so you have just run out of excuses.

The Martian by Andy Weir (I just accidentally typed “Weird” – I bet he got that a lot as a kid.)

the martian

Here’s a Goodreads link to the summary.

I just started this one and so far I love the writing. It’s not unputdownable, but maybe that will change. So far it’s interesting. Also, the movie is coming out in November with Matt Damon, so I’ll be looking forward to that because he rarely screws movies up.

Next on my list: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August; Veronica Mars (Book 2); and Golden Son (Red Rising #2). By the way, if you haven’t read Red Rising, you should probably do that too. Smile

What have you read lately?

I’m Falling Apart

Happy New Year!

I survived. I hope you all did too. I’m not sad to see the money-suck that was 2014 go. The year began with me owing a shit-ton of money in taxes and ended with a $750 water bill for one of the month’s our rental property was vacant. Plus, all the crap in-between. I’ve never had a whole crap year before so I guess I’m doing ok if it’s just happening now. I know it can always be worse and I’m glad the new year is here.

My holidays were nice and low key. I did a lot of movie watching and spending time with friends. Plus, New Year’s Day is my absolute favorite holiday. Everything feels so fresh and I get to sit on the couch and watch the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy all day.

20150101_115209

I look forward to that marathon all year long and it is part of why I love the holiday so much. And to the next person that tells me I can watch Twilight Zone whenever I want on Netflix, it’s not the same!

Anyway, I didn’t run at all in December. I can’t say I missed it. I would tell myself, “I’m going to run tomorrow” and when tomorrow came, I lost any interest. There is something to be said for sitting on the couch for extended periods of time. Now I know why 60% of America doesn’t do any type of fitness. Lazy is awesome. However, hubs and I did discuss our fitness goals and watch the Crossfit Games while eating an ice cream cake which was basically working out.

20150104_141435

On Sunday I ran for the first time in over a month. I’m finally over that flu for the most part, even though my cough likes to come back at 4:30 in the morning and keep me company for an hour. I have a race in less than two months so it’s time to get my butt in gear. I didn’t want to get too crazy for my first run so I ran three miles at the gym. My inner thighs and quads were sore for two days. That was a new one.

I don’t want to up my mileage too fast since I’ve been doing a lot of nothing on the exercise front. So on Tuesday, I decided to run two slow miles on my treadmill at home. When I had half a mile to go, my right hip started hurting a bit. By the time I got off the treadmill, I was limping. So now I have an old lady hip and running hates me. Perhaps this t-shirt that my mom got me for Christmas is a little foreshadowing.

20150102_175006

Not the best return to running. I’m hoping the hip pain will be gone by this weekend since I need to keep up that running thing if I want to PR that half marathon coming up.

Things I’m Loving

Today, I’m a lover not a hater.

1. Remember that marathon that I was going to run but then couldn’t? Well, I was going to run dependent solely on if the weather was cold. Then I couldn’t run it because of the flu (which I am still getting over). So I am loving the hot, humid weather for marathon day.

Suck it, marathon! I can now rest happy that I’m not missing anything.  It’s nice to know, even if I didn’t get sick, I wouldn’t have run it anyway.

2. This stapler that I got from my friend, Cheyanne.

It is now my goal to have all bunny office supplies.

3. Speaking of Cheyanne, she came into work the other day with this horrific new picture for her desk that she happens to think is awesome.

Can you tell what that is? Because I thought it was a Godzilla claw reaching for a crown.

4.  Horror movies. I can’t get enough of them lately.

I found this article of the 19 Best Horror Movies of 2014 and I am making it my job to watch them. Well, not all of them because hubs and I are over the “found footage” horror movies and there’s a lot of those on the list.  We spent all of our long weekend, including Christmas Eve and Christmas, watching ALL THE HORROR MOVIES. I had previously only seen one on the list – Oculus – which I thought was going to be awful and it was surprisingly great. (If you like horror movies, watch it. It’s on Netflix now.) We’ve since seen four more on the list (Tusk, Housebound, The Taking of Deborah Logan, and The Babadook) and a few that weren’t (Big Ass Spiders, Grabbers, Jessabelle). The best so far: Housebound. It’s not really an all-out horror movie. It’s more like a comedy/mystery with some awesome characters. We also liked Tusk which was funny but mostly just disturbing and not just because Justin Long had a ridiculous mustache that I couldn’t stop staring at. In there somewhere, we also watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Not sure how that got in there.

5. Christmas with friends.

We had lunch with the in-laws on Christmas and then headed over to our friend’s Ken and Jamie’s house for Christmas Two. It was a nice day filled with family, friends, good food (Jamie makes some killer stuffing), and an éclair cake which was lovingly referred to as the Calorie Wreath.

6. Reading.

Now that school is out and I haven’t been running at all (once this month which might be an all-time low), I have an insane amount of free time. I’ve read four books so far this month which is usually how many books I read in a year. I started a fifth book last night, so I’ll be done with that soon. I’ll probably do a book post soon because my fans requested it. (Ok, it was just my friend Melissa.)

7. I was deleting some old posts from my blog when I ran across this picture of my medal rack from one of my first posts.

Here’s my medal rack now.

It kinda gave me warm fuzzies to see all I’ve accomplished since starting this blog. It also makes me worry that that rack will rip a giant whole in the wall with the weight of those medals.

Anyway, that is what’s happening in these parts. I hope you all had a good whatever holiday you celebrate or don’t celebrate and spent time with family or avoided them, whichever one of those makes you happy.

Who out there is a horror movie fan? (I love them. I prefer comedies and horror movies because they are the only movies that don’t make me cry. I have a very low cry tolerance.)

The 5 Stages of Marathon Grief

I’m pretty sure I’ve been going through the five stages of marathon grief for the past three weeks. Yes, I’m still thinking about that stupid race. The good news for you is, I don’t have another race until the end of February and it’s just a half. So this will likely be the end of my bitching.

Denial

After the race, I wasn’t happy with my finish time but I was done running. Nothing temporarily clouds the the memory of your terrible race better than chatting about running with your friends afterwards and drinking that unlimited beer and eating that day old bagel you get at the finish line. All that matters is that you’re not running anymore and you’re not dead.

Anger

I like to stew on my bad race performances, especially when I think I might not get a chance to redeem myself. I did this with Savannah RnR until I decided to run Jacksonville Bank six weeks later and now I’m doing it with Space Coast. The thing that annoys me the most is that I walked at least three miles of Space Coast to come in only six minutes short of my Chicago time.

Bargaining

I came up with all the reasons that I didn’t run as well as I should have and what could have made the race better. If only the weather wasn’t so hot. If only the course wasn’t so crowded. If only the course wasn’t a mind-numbing double out and back. If only pandas didn’t spend 16 hours a day eating.

Disappointment

I ran a bad race. It happens to everyone. The world didn’t end. Still, it took me a bit to stop whining about it and to pull up my big girl pants. The original plan was to not run much (or at all) in December but I was on some post-race endorphin high when I changed my mind and decided to run another marathon at the end of this month. I didn’t get a chance to run long last weekend, so I was going to make it up this past Tuesday. Then I got the flu, which means no long run this weekend either. So now that marathon isn’t happening.

Acceptance

I know I’m not running that marathon at the end of this month but I keep checking race day weather anyway. So maybe I’ve only kinda accepted it. I hope it’s a nice balmy 70 degrees so I know I’m not missing anything. I’m half mopey and half happy about it. Getting the finish time I want sounds awesome but having to get off the couch to get it doesn’t.

So basically, I haven’t been running or doing much of anything for three weeks. I kinda like it and I probably needed the break anyway. I checked the pictures on my cell to see what I’ve been taking pictures of in hopes that maybe I have been useful to society in some way. But no. I just have four different angles of this:

I plan to spend the rest of the month perfecting my uselessness.

 

Space Coast Marathon 2014

I ran the Space Coast Marathon on Sunday.

If you like abridged versions: I didn’t love it and I wouldn’t run it again. For those that like unabridged versions, read on.

The Space Coast Marathon takes place in Cocoa, about 50 minutes from Orlando. Michelle and I registered for this race almost nine months ago, back when we thought we wanted to run it. But the closer we got to the race, the more it sounded like a terrible idea, particularly around the holidays and after another marathon that took every last bit of running energy we had in us. So let’s just say we didn’t go into this race with a positive attitude.

Since there was no packet pick up on race day (lame), Michelle drove out to Cocoa to get our packets on Saturday. On Sunday morning, I woke up at 2:30 (kill me), got ready, and picked up Michelle and Tyler by 3:30. The race didn’t start until 6:30 but according to our pre-race emails, parking fills up early and we wanted to park close to the start to avoid taking the shuttle from the farther parking lots. Our plan worked out because we got rock star parking and the lot we were in filled up about 10 minutes later.

We waited in the car for awhile to keep warm and Michelle and I pumped Tyler up by singing Paula Abdul songs to him. Tyler was begging for us to sing to him more but we told him, no. We have a race to run. So we stood out on the curb for awhile while Tyler put on his shoes and bib and did other things we didn’t understand why he couldn’t do them in the car. Tyler is a secret race diva.

We still had plenty of time to kill, which was fine. I’d rather be early than late. We did the usual before a race – ate breakfast, used the porta potty, walked around aimlessly, and took pictures.

During our aimlessness, I randomly ran into Matt.

This was my first time meeting Matt in person. A couple years ago, we both ran the Disney Tower of Terror 10-miler. He was standing in front of me so of course I photo-bombed his selfie. A couple days later, he found my blog and commented. I checked out his blog in return only to find myself in the background of one of his pictures. Small world for sure. The rest is history as they say.

We watched the half marathoners start and finally it was time for us to line up.

Tyler was super nervous since it was his first marathon. This is him freaking out.

He’s single as a Pringle, ladies. Smile

The National Anthem played and the sound of the shuttle lifting off was our signal to start. The course is two different out-and-backs on a road with houses you could never afford on one side and the Indian River on the other side. It was very scenic and pretty, except for all the rolling hills. Those weren’t pretty.

Usually I don’t mind out-and-backs, but for a marathon it’s not the best motivator. I was feeling pretty good for the first half of the race.The first seven miles were very crowded on a narrow two-lane road. There were a few times times when I was stuck behind slower runners because my lane and the oncoming lane were so crowded that there was no way to pass.

The 4:30 pacer passed me pretty early on but I decided to concentrate on my music and the view more than anything. Around mile 6, I caught up to him, which I didn’t expect. Then I passed him (probably not the best idea) and stayed ahead of him for the next eight miles. Everything started going downhill around mile 14. The shade was few and far between and it was getting hot. The 4:30 pacer passed me at 14.5 and I shouted a big “ah shit” as he passed because I really thought I had a decent PR in me for awhile there.

At mile 18, I stopped at the port-a-potty and from then on, I walked every water station and then some. By mile 20, I was still lined up for a PR but the the last six miles were so miserable, I couldn’t keep running. I walked half of the last six. It was so hot (74*F by the time I finished) and I was wiped out. I used the same running nutrition as I did in Chicago but it wasn’t enough for this race. I kept telling myself over and over, “no more fucking marathons!”

When I had three miles to go, I texted hubs a sad face.

The last part of the race is called the lunar walk, where you run through a brick walkway. Michelle was there waiting and cheering for me which was awesome! The crowd in that whole area was awesome. I kicked up the speed and passed everyone in front of me, which was fun. I even heard someone shout, “That’s right! You lap them!” Passing people at the end is my total fave. I finished in 4:43:19, six minutes slower than Chicago. Super disappointing.

After the race, I found Michelle, Tyler, and Victoria. Or I should say they found me because I was a bit spaced out. (Ha! Get it? Spaced out.)

Tyler and Victoria both ran sub-4:00s like a boss and Michelle ran a 4:20 with a bad foot.

The race had a really great after party with beer and pizza and all sorts of other goodies. We all hung around for a bit and chatted until we were ready to walk back to the car.

Oh and ladies, Tyler will hold all your babies.

#single

I think if I did just one thing differently during this race, I would have stayed behind the 4:30 pacer instead of passing him. In retrospect, that wasn’t a bright idea. (I totally blame the song Bounce from Iggy Azalea. That song makes me run-dance, which is basically just punching the air while lip-syncing.)

While there were some great things about this race (like lots of awesome volunteers), overall I didn’t care for it. I might consider the half but there’s no way I’d run the full again. The course is pretty but the two out-and-backs suck. There were also all sorts of random bikers and cars weaving through the runners. Runners in the oncoming lane were shouting “car back!” to warn us. I was literally running next to a truck for a quarter mile. I don’t even know how they were allowed on the course. Once you pass the finish line, there were so many random non-runners loitering around and making it hard to get through the area. The last thing I want after I just ran 26.2 miles is to be stuck in a non-moving crowd when my heart rate is through the roof because I just sprinted the last quarter mile. That whole area should be blocked off to spectators.

If anything, this race really showed me that I could run a 4:30 marathon. If I was only six minutes off Chicago with a stop at the port-o-potty and a ton of walking (which I didn’t do in Chicago), I know I have it in me. I’m not sure if I’ll have the chance to try again or not. I told myself this would be my last marathon, so we’ll see. I’m already forgetting how miserable this race was and I’m replacing those memories with things I liked about it. Race amnesia is a real thing, ya’ll.

 

Catch Up

I hate catch up posts. They’re the worst and now somehow I’m writing one. I’ll try to make this as painless as possible.

1.  I’m officially in taper (again) now that the Space Coast Marathon is this weekend. Although, I feel like I’ve been tapering since Chicago because there hasn’t been much running happening. My longest run in the past five weeks was 14 miles and my eight miler yesterday turned into a sad three miles that I stopped because I felt like eating instead. So let’s just call this the hope-for-the-best marathon.

someecard

2.  My first semester of school is almost over. I only have to turn in my final paper (which is a group effort) and the final exam. I wish I could say I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been so busy with school, but I have seriously put in minimal effort. I probably could have taken an extra class. I was told by several people that master’s classes are by far easier than bachelor’s classes, but man, I didn’t expect this. So either the teacher is insanely easy or this explains why I’ve met so many people with a master’s degree that aren’t that smart.

3.  This girl came in town for work so Michelle, Jackie, and I scooped her up to go out for tacos and drinks.

me, m, and m

We had a lot of fun and hung out for a few hours yet that is the only picture I got. I’m sure there has to be one with Jackie somewhere but it’s not on my phone. My phone is 90% pictures of Pants.

4. Speaking of.

Pants

She is not interested in having her picture taken but I keep trying. Whenever I get the camera out, she either gives me bitch face (see above) or runs to me and sticks her face in the lens.

5. I caught up on American Horror Story: Freak Show. Is anyone else watching? I hate this season but I keep watching for some reason. I have hope it’s going to get better but I’m not sure I’ve really loved it since the first season. Either way, the conjoined twins from this season are based on a true story. I found this video about the real girls and think it’s facinating.

6. Hubs and I went to Tampa with our friends Ken and Jamie to see Evil Dead The Musical. It was a birthday celebration weekend for Jamie so we made sure to drink all the drinks.

me and Jamie

I’m a firm believer that if you have a free hand, it should be holding a drink. Or food. That’s acceptable as well.

We all thought the show was funny and had a good time but I noticed there was a lot more dialogue and less singing than the first time I saw it. Not that that’s a bad thing because I don’t really enjoy most musicals. There was also less blood and blood I enjoy. So the show could have used more of that, but overall it was a good time.

7. I saw this at a gas station last week. Totally normal.

cat

Toonces, is that you?

8. My Christmas tree has been up for at least a week.

tree 2014

I don’t even wanna hear that it’s not Thanksgiving yet. I’m not one of those Christmas fanatics but there is nothing that I hate more than putting up that tree and having to take it down two weeks later. So that shit is staying up for six weeks. I’m going to have to figure out how to fix the top of the tree because it’s already driving me crazy that it isn’t lighting up.

9.  Hubs sent me this song and it made me laugh a lot. It’s not safe for work, unless your work loves F-bombs.

10. I saw Mockingjay. I’ll go ahead an reserve my opinion of this movie for a later date when I can watch it a second time. All I know is there was not nearly enough Finnick.

finncik

When he was cast, I thought it was the worst casting ever but he won me over big time. Also, I was pretty impressed with JLaw’s singing voice. So I guess she can just do everything. Ugh.

Mockingjay…yay or nay?

Stuff I Did to PR

All this marathon talk isn’t over. I have another one at the end of the month that I was way more jazzed about when I registered for it than I am now. So get ready for some more bitching, particularly about my shoulder because that issue hasn’t gone away. *cries*

With any big race or PR, I like to reflect on what I did differently during training so I have something to look back on. First, let me say that I know everyone trains differently. I read Michelle’s post on what she did to PR and thought, “no way that would work for me” but it worked for her and she got a massive PR. So I realize this is mostly for my benefit. Selfish post comin’ at cha.

Here’s what I did for an almost six minute PR:

I ran three days a week.

I ran three days a week for my last marathon too (one easy, one speed, one long) and it’s about all I can take. I barely have time to do my laundry much less increase my running so I kept it at three days. I also cut my Crossfit from three days to two days a week. One thing I will never do is completely cut strength training. I am a firm believer that is helps prevent injury.

I cut my training time.

Last time around, I trained for five months and was burned out six weeks before the marathon. This time, I trained for three months and started with a 10 mile base. I enjoyed my long runs so much more. I also ran two 20+ milers instead of three. I was worried it wasn’t enough at first, but it definitely was.

I walked every mile during long runs.

It’s nasty hot in Orlando. If I don’t walk, I’m not getting through a long run. So I walked between .10-.25 of every mile. The time on your feet is what’s important so I tried to kept that in mind when I saw how much those walks killed my pace. Some people have a hard time with the stop and go but I find that it gives me more energy.

I skipped runs and that was ok.

I missed a bunch of weekday runs and one or two long runs. Almost all of those were because of social plans. I used to stress out about skipping runs but this time around, I enjoyed the occasional break.

I kept up with speed training.

If I missed a weekday run, I made sure it was my easy run. I always tried to get speed work in. The first time around, I followed my running group’s speed work schedule. It was a lot of “2 x 4 x 400” or “2 x 1200 x 800 x 600 x 400” type runs which I think did absolutely nothing for me. This year, my speed runs were the same every time. I ran one slower warm-up mile and then 2-4 speed miles at the fastest pace I could without needing to stop, usually between 8:45 – 9:10 depending on how I was feeling. Consistent speed works much better for me.

That’s about it. Nothing really crazy in there. Of course, I also had that giant knot in my calf (must start stretching) that I got rid of with sports massages. I’m hoping my shoulder can make it through this next race because another 26 miles of that pain is not something I want to go through again. This next marathon should be interesting.

What’s your favorite PR strategy? How do I go about detaching my shoulder for this next race? Isn’t that selfish panda the cutest thing ever?

So Long

I’ve been talking about so many other things lately that I haven’t had a chance to mention that Hammy didn’t make it. Sad smile

I know. He’s just a hamster. But we were rather fond of him, so indulge me for a moment.

He was doing so well after about a week of antibiotics. Well enough that he started eating and drinking a little bit on his own. He wasn’t completely himself but he was walking up to the third level of his cage when he could barely walk before. So significantly improved. Since he was doing better, I took him to get his teeth clipped so he’d have an easier time eating. I really thought he was on the up and up. A couple days before we left for Chicago, he took a downturn. His energy was just gone and he wasn’t opening his eyes as wide. So of course I felt awful leaving him. Our friend, Jen, took care of him while we were gone. She knew he might not make it and still took care of him. That’s a friend right there. Hammy passed away on the day of the marathon. Jen said he died peacefully while she was holding him. We were happy he didn’t die alone.

We (ok, hubs) told Jen that if he died to put him in the freezer until we got back. So of course, I’m just picturing my frozen hamster that last day in Chicago. To make things worse, we didn’t have time to bury him when we got home so we kept him in our freezer for four days before we had time. That was fun reaching for food. Anyway, hubs made him a little wooden box and we buried him in the backyard. Apparently his tail was so frozen, hubs couldn’t get it in the box and he was a little freaked out that it would break off. But he got him in there ok and even more importantly, I didn’t have to see it because I would have been a mess. Now, Pants is back to being an only child and I am trying my hardest to stay away from pet rescues.

So long, little guy. I hope your second home with us was much happier than with the people who gave you up and I hope Hammy Heaven treats you well.

The Chicago Picture Fest Part 2

If you read Part 1, you’re probably thinking that all we did in Chicago was eat. Ok, that’s true. But we walked a lot too. I just want to put that out there so you don’t think we were hanging around outside restaurants waiting for the next meal time. Not that I’m opposed to that.

Saturday

In the morning, I went to the expo with Michelle and Melissa. After that, we parted ways and I walked back to the hotel by myself (didn’t get lost!) to meet up with hubs. The first order of business was getting hubs a Chicago hot dog. The man talked about his future dog for weeks before we left. The mere mention of Chicago put him into a hot dog frenzy.

We went to Portillo’s (another fave of mine) and I was very excited that our whole meal was only $12. That was basically free compared to our other tabs. Hubs had his dog and I had my pre-race bacon cheeseburger. Hubs said the dog was everything he imaged it would be, so I’m happy that one of my favorites did not disappoint.

After lunch, we were nice and carbed up for our walk all over creation, a.k.a, the Navy Pier. Hubs was particularly excited to ride the Ferris wheel.

We walked around the pier for a while and checked out a few shops. It was close to dinner time, so we walked back to the hotel area to find a place to eat around there. I was feeling pretty meh about all the places we were passing. Finally, we decided to give Gino’s East a try. Gino’s is Lou Malnati’s direct competition so I was a little apprehensive to cheat on my man, Lou. We’ve had a really close relationship for a long time and I didn’t want to jeopardize that. Hubs asked me before the pizza arrived if I was scared that I would like it better and man, I really was.

The verdict: meh. The crust was undercooked (maybe on purpose?) and tasted corn-starchy. Not my thing. I still ate it all so it’s not like I went hungry but Lou’s is so much better. Lou and I have decided to continue dating and I’m not going to mention that fling with Gino. It meant nothing!

After dinner, we walked to Firecakes for a donut ice cream sandwich. I spotted the sign for it a few days earlier and would not shut up about it until it was in my mouth.

Unfortunately, the idea of it was better than the execution. It wasn’t bad, but I would never get it again. We didn’t even finish it between the two of us.

I think you all know how Saturday night went. I won’t rehash that one.

Sunday

Of course, Sunday was race day. While I was running, hubs booked a harbor cruise we had been eyeing for a day or so. There wasn’t much time between my shower after the race and cruise time, so we had to fast track it if we wanted to eat. We took a cab over to the cruise area and then walked to D4 Irish Pub because it was the closest thing that wasn’t Subway. We sat at the bar and shared two appetizers in lightning speed. I was wearing my medal and as luck would have it, that got me a free mimosa.

I don’t usually drink mimosas because I’m not a big fan of orange juice but when free and alcohol come together, I can make exceptions. We made it out of the restaurant in less than 30 minutes and walked back over to the harbor cruise.

The cruise was all about the architecture and design of the skyscrapers. It was fun to learn how Chicago pioneered the skyscraper. The first one in the world was built in Chicago in 1884. Also, the Willis Tower (Sears Tower) was the tallest building in the world for 25 years after it was built in 1973. The cruise was 90 minutes long and really interesting. That was also 90 minutes in which I got to sit and that made me extremely happy. Plus, they had giant cookies.

After the cruise, we met up with everyone at Rock Bottom for a post-race celebration. I can’t even recall what I ate for dinner but I do remember a bunch of jalapeno bread sticks and beer, so we’ll just go with that. After dinner, everyone went back to the hotel except me, hubs, and Michelle. We were all tired but felt the need to stay out because it was 8:00pm and we had a strong desire to not be lame. We ended up at an Irish pub near the hotel. We made it an hour and a half.

Monday

On Monday, we wanted to check out the sky deck of the Willis Tower. Unfortunately, there was zero visibility so we decided to skip it. I swear the sun was out when we left the hotel.

That was a fun 20-minute walk for nothing. After that disappointment, we walked over to Ed Debevic’s for lunch. Ed’s is a diner that’s famous for having waiter’s that are rude to you. The waiters were more sarcastic than rude. I would describe them as that cool waiter you get every now and then at a regular restaurant. Unfortunately, the food was awful. I had the three-way chili, which was really greasy. I could see the grease separating from the chili. Apparently, the grease didn’t even like it. I also got a Cesar salad and sent it back because it had a lot of black, wilted lettuce. I did have an Oreo shake that was good. Except the whipped cream wasn’t good.

#neverhappy

Hubs had a chocolate shake that he liked as well but overall, I wouldn’t recommend it. I did think it would be good place for kids since the waiters stand on tables and sing. So if  you have kids, drop them off for the day. Just kidding, don’t drop them off. Unless that’s what you do with kids. How should I know?

After lunch, we went on The Untouchables tour. Hubs was really excited to learn about Chicago’s mobster history but the tour took a big dump on his dreams. The tour guides were pretty good but the tour itself was terrible. We didn’t learn where things happened, like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and instead were pointed to general areas. I feel like the guides also needed to kill a lot of time because they didn’t have enough material to cover, so they would play the Godfather theme randomly, which was a little weird.

I know that’s Scarface but I just don’t know how to segue to something that amazing.

To top it off, the bus got stuck in a construction zone and, while trying to 3-point turn the way out, hit an overpass. It took the driver a good 10 minutes to get us out of the area, which I think cut the tour short. They didn’t cover John Dillinger (who was captured in Chicago) even though he was on the brochure and they covered everything else on it up to him. It was just a big suck fest. After the tour, I really wanted to check the damage on the back of the bus but I chickened out. We left for the airport after that.

Lastly, here’s a picture I found that Michelle texted me at some point over the weekend. Thanks to her husband, I have been immortalized somewhere in Chicago.