Saturday, April 30, 2011


This is a short post, but I just needed to share this.

So, Janae brought my attention to this AWESOMESAUCE website.

If you're an athlete and you like jewelry at ALL, there's something there for you. I just ordered a necklace, and I couldn't be more excited about it. This is mine, and it's a Joan of Arc quote. I CANNOT WAIT TO GET IT IN THE MAIL.

Go there. Spend your hard-earned money. ENJOY.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mental Training

‎5: days left of classes
4: days left of babysitting
3: papers (and Shakespeare posts) left to write
2: Classics finals
1: take home exam and portfolio to construct
0: motivation

I'm down to the last crunch of the semester, and I'm spent. I feel like I have nothing left - and it's really not a good time for that. But this past weekend I reached a new level with my mental training, and I wanted to share this with the class (/y'all).

On Saturday I had the most difficult of all of my MTELs (read: crazy Massachusetts teacher tests). I had less than two days to prepare for it because of school work and babysitting, and this is not an exam you can NOT prepare for. Basically, I retaught myself a semester's worth of information in one night. It's not that I didn't KNOW the information, it's that ever since I've learned it, I've applied it. I know how to apply it. Follow me in a classroom (or even while I'm babysitting) and you will see it left and right. But the exact definition of phonemic awareness v. phonological awareness? Ugh. This is where the studying came in.

On Saturday morning as I angrily got up and got ready, everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. In my exhaustion, I stubbed my toe and jammed it. (Also, this was my barely healed broken big toe... so that's fun.) I couldn't find my favorite sweatshirt. It was raining and FREEZING (yay for New Hampshire in April). I was starting to get that feeling - that feeling like "if my morning is going this poorly, why do I think I can do this test and pass it?" I was getting down on myself the entire drive to the exam, and beating myself up for not quitting my job sooner, not asking for that paper extension sooner, not studying sooner.

I just wanted to give up.

And then it hit me - all of the best races I've ever had came after an AWFUL morning. They always start with no good very bad days, and then I set PRs and have a blast. So why was I allowing myself to get so cynical?

Because I wasn't in the racing mindset. Because this is an exam, not a race. But isn't everything related to racing at this point? I tell myself that I can crank out a paper if I'm in the "right mindset," just like I tell myself I can crank out 10 miles on the treadmill if I'm in the "right mindset." Why is it any different? Well, it's not. At least it shouldn't be. So I changed my mindset.

I told myself I was going to have an awesome test. Our kitten Barley (or as I call her, Cat #2) was "helping" me take a practice test on Friday night, and I passed that even with the little leech climbing on my shoulder, licking my glasses, and eating my hair. If I can pass a practice test under Extreme Kitten Duress, of course I could handle this.

And, while I don't know if I passed or not yet, I do feel good about it. And I would be genuinely surprised if I failed.

This was originally going to be a post about my new bike pedals (clip-ins, baby!) and how much I ADORE them and how I desperately need a road bike instead of the bike I have now, but I got sidetracked. All of you with these pedals understand how awesome they are, and the rest of you... just go get them. They're worth it. It's crazy how much more power you get. But more importantly, work on your mental training. It's just as important (if not more important) than the physical aspects, and it can have an effect on the rest of your life. I credit my athlete's brain with my success on Saturday, and I'm grateful that I am capable of this kind of mental manipulation at this point in my life. It's a powerful thing.

Now to kick this mindset back into gear for the rest of my semester...


When do you think this mindset helps you the most (outside of sports)?

Definitely anything academic.

Did you do anything fun for Easter?

We visited Jake's grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins down in Massachusetts. I ate ALLLLL this food.

(Not really. I ate the spinach pie, potatoes, veggies, and rolls. I'm the token vegetarian everywhere I go.)

I also got to play with one of my favorite dogs ever - Oreo. He is a standard poodle and the most huggable pony on the planet. If we get a third dog (ha), I want a standard poodle.

I need some new music. Recommend something.



Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I've found a new hobby! It's called scoping-out-real-estate-while-running-in-the-rain. The rain part is VITAL because if it's nice out, the people are outside and can see you creeping around their driveways and trying to check out their backyards. The rain leads to some soggy feet so it's important to not make this a LONG run, but it's a fun one. Today I scoped out three different properties until a dog alerted attention to me and I ran off before I was caught.

No, I'm not in the market for a house. But aren't they fun to look at? (We've already established that I'm obsessed with HGTV - you shouldn't be that surprised.) And they're right in my area! So if I DID want a house, it'd be a great location! ...Yeah, I'm creepy.

I used running entirely for stress management today, and I didn't wear my Garmin because I didn't want to get it wet (and it was POURING). So here's the problem with that:

I wasn't monitoring my heart rate, and I was in a bad mood. I've been known for running too hard when I'm in a bad mood, because it gets the bad juju out faster. I've also been known to pull things when doing this. Luckily, I didn't pull anything. BUT my heart rate sky rocketed.

I should backtrack here. I've been having heart rate issues for a while now. I noticed while running on the treadmill that if I got past like 5.3 speed, it jumps up to 180+. I ignored it for a while (I know, stupid) and then after the first time I saw it go over 200, I panicked and have been hyper aware of it ever since. I'm still slow for one primary reason - my heart rate. If I run faster than 11 minute miles (sometimes even 12), my heart rate goes up - and keeps going up. I've been good about monitoring it but I still haven't figured out what to do about it. I've been waiting for my health insurance to kick in, and now that it has, I need to figure out who to go to for a check up.

Back to today. I was running hard and, for a stretch, in an area without a sidewalk. That led to a spontaneous practice of parkour (shout out to Katie for introducing that term to me) while running faster that my heart was comfortable with. My body was fine, and that's the thing that's continuing to confuse me. It's NOT that I'm not capable of faster speeds, it's that my heart FREAKS OUT. So I turned down a side road and leaned against a stop sign for a few minutes and took my heart rate the old fashioned way and it was definitely above 200. Wtf, mate?

To say that it wasn't comfortable would be putting it lightly. I didn't exactly feel like I was having a heart attack, but I was kind of dizzy and felt... weird. Just very off. I waited until it calmed down before I jogged (slowly) home.

I'm a creeper and a freakazoid. And yes, I know, I will be making an appointment with a doctor. Soon.

But for now, this is what happened when I tried to take a picture of how soaked I was after my run:

(Thanks, Knightley.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hugs for Janae.

Janae over at just found out that she can't run Boston, and we're giving her as many hugs as possible. Therefore, these are pictures of HUGS from my young years to more recent years. And to everyone else who's in these pics, just remember, it's for a good cause. There's even a hug from my Knightley in here. WE ALL LOVE YOU, JANAE!!!

Two Tangent Tuesday

I'm doing Two Tangent Tuesday (just like Janae, Leslie, and Maia) for the first time ever. Here we go.

1. I don't function without caffeine. I'm mentioning this on today of all days because I got to Dunkin Donuts this morning to get my daily unsweetened iced tea and discovered that I was missing all of my cards and my ID. I had my wallet, but no methods of payment. This is because I actually used a purse over the weekend, and my stuff was still in there. I freaked out while driving down to school because the caffeine headache was starting, and I wasn't sure how I was going to survive the day. In my frantic state I sent a facebook message to a friend and she did me a HUGE favor by grabbing me an iced tea when she was at DD. I have the best friends ever. (Even when they're really just acquaintances that I did a presentation with.)

2. I have an unhealthy obsession with HGTV. Yesterday was my day off from class and the day where I usually try to get a TON of work done, but there was a marathon of "Income Property" on HGTV, so I got nothing done. (But isn't he fun to look at?)

That's it for today, I just felt the need to do SOMETHING and it's really not that hard to write two tangents about myself. I dare you to do the same thing!


1. What's your drug of choice? Mine is caffeine. I only drink one caffeinated thing per day, and it's always first thing in the morning. I used to drink soda but since that was so dehydrating, I unofficially switched to iced tea. I say unofficially because I'll still get Diet Coke sometimes when I'm out because it tastes SO good when it's a fountain drink, but otherwise, I heart my tea.

2. When you're doing work do you like silence or background noise? I use HGTV as background noise. Except when "Income Property" is on - then I have to pay attention.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Great Bay Half Marathon Race Report

This is like a week late, and I could make excuses, but I've just been too lazy to write it. There were so many parts of this race that I hated that I was not eager to relive it. But, now I'm doing it. So let's get started!

Jake drove me to the high school which was supposedly near the start, and I went in to go to the bathroom. Needless to say, the line was long, but I was happy to not be using a porta-potty. However, I started the walk to the start with about ten minutes to spare. I didn't think this would be a problem, since it was SUPPOSEDLY right there, but they lied. It was a long walk to the start - especially because once we got there, they routed us in a big loop to get to the BACK of the pack and this took an extra few minutes. Everyone was starting to panic that it might have started, but I got there during the singing of the national anthem and had a few minutes to hop up and down to stretch out before it started. Then it got started.

My problems started early. After the race the weekend before, I was thinking that pace wouldn't be a problem. For the four miler I kept my goal pace with no problem - this race I was alternating between a 9 min./mile pace and a 14 min./mile pace and I couldn't seem to get control of it. The first three miles were all over the place pace-wise, and I knew that that did not bode well.

(Mile 2. Trying to figure out what's up with my pace.)

My favorite part around this portion of the race was the guy blasting the Rocky song from his house for the runners. It was HIGHLY appreciated.

Around mile four, the pavement ended and the dirt road began. This was, by far, the best part of the race. The dirt was easier on my legs, there was lots of shade from the trees, and I made a friend to talk to for the next several miles. This is also where the hills began, but they were mild at first.

Once we got back on the pavement, the real hills began - and they didn't let up until about mile 11. To say that the hills were brutal would be putting it mildly. I was walking much more than I wanted to, but I was keeping up a fast walking pace (at least there's that). Around mile 9 I lost my running buddy because I just couldn't keep up the pace anymore. I fell back a little, and would up talking to an older woman for the rest of my time. She was a walker but a freaking FAST walker, and I had to jog to keep up with her. This was a good thing because jogging was actually easier on my knees than walking quickly was. Whenever I started to fall back with the woman, I'd kick my butt in gear to catch up again and keep up.

The race was well run, and the water stops were frequent enough. However, I really should have gotten a hydration belt before the race. I was desperate for refreshment - so desperate that I ate snow for the first time in probably 16 years. I also shoved it in my bra and down my back to help cool down - that direct sun was really getting to me after about ten miles!

The worst part of the race, by far, was when I turned the corner at the 11 mile mark, thinking "we're so close! it's easy now!" and encountered a REALLY long stretch of absolutely nothing. I should've been happy that it was flat, but I was just miserable - it was the road that wouldn't end. It was an out and back 1.8(ish) mile stretch, and it was awful. The only good thing about it was that on my way back, I was able to see how many people were still behind me. I was starting to get the "I'm dead last" feeling, and seeing that there were still dozens of people behind me made me feel a little better.

After the out and back, we were in the home stretch. We were almost on Main Street, and Main Street was where the finish was. We had less than half a mile to go, and then we turned left - and looked in the face of another hill. ANOTHER FREAKING HILL. We thought the hills were gone! We thought we were done! ONE MORE HILL. This was the first time that the woman I was running with showed that it was getting to her. She started yelling about how ridiculous the course was, and I couldn't stop laughing. We slowed to a near crawl in getting up that hill, because our bodies were just giving out. We ran the rest of it, though, and finished with a time of about 3:10.

(Home stretch.)


My goal going in was sub-3 hour, and considering the hills, I'm ok with my time. Talking to the elites after the race, it was made clear that the course added at least ten minutes to even the best runners' times. That made me feel a whole lot better about my time.

What was made clear to me in this race was that I am capable of a sub-3 hour half marathon, I just need a flatter course! I'm definitely doing this race again next year, though, just to see how much I can improve in a year.

Needless to say, what saved me was the woman who ran the last portion of the race with me. She kept me on pace and didn't let me give up. I love her.

Well, if nothing else, I'm officially a half marathoner. I won't talk about how I could barely walk for two days, because I don't want to relive that. I WILL relive how awesome it felt to get that finisher's medal, though. And how amazing it felt to pin up that bib on my bib corkboard. Happy. ...Especially now that the pain is gone.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Twas the Night Before Race Day...

My half marathon is tomorrow. You'd think I've been trying not to think about it, but that's a little tough with signs like these ALL over my town.

Today was my first ever expo. Unfortunately, it was a little disappointing. Much more in way of jewelry vendors and chiropractors looking for patients than running stuff. I picked up my bib and shirt, bought a bright hat, entered a couple raffles, and bought some Avon products for dirt cheap.

Then, with my leftover money that I thought I'd be spending at the expo, I went to Target to get new pants for tomorrow. I got some sweet pants, a super thin long sleeve hoodie that will work for sun cover and I won't over heat in, and I got some clothes that actually fit me. My clothes have increasingly been a problem and most of them are way too big on me, so it was time to splurge for a few new things.

On my way home I drove the course for tomorrow and I suddenly understood the back of my shirt:

The course is very VERY hilly. You'd think I would know the extent of it going in seeing as it's my town, but I couldn't have understood how hilly it really is. It's going to be ridiculous. However, there are several miles of an unpaved road which, despite potential mud, I am REALLY looking forward to. It will be easier on the legs assuming that I can avoid the massive (and smaller) potholes. If nothing else, the course will be GORGEOUS. This is just one glimpse of it:

Then I had a weird turn of events in my evening. I was taking the dogs out, and Knightley took off on me. He found a baby muskrat stuck in a chain link fence. If any of you know me, you know I'm an animal lover. I love them so much that I don't eat meat. Therefore, I wasn't leaving a poor little animal stuck in a fence. I put the dogs in the house and asked my neighbor who I should call (thinking maybe animal control or something). He put on some gloves and got some wire cutters and between the two of us, we got the little guy out. He looked perfectly finally afterwards, despite some anger towards his rescuers. I wish I'd taken pictures, but I was too focused on helping to pull out the phone.

Lastly, I had cottage cheese pancakes for dinner:

The dogs like to think they're for them, but they're not. They're all MINE! (Ok, Jake got some too. Which is only fair because he made them.)

I followed up dinner with watching The Spirit of the Marathon and eating Skittles (yaay carb loading). So that's it. I'm going to bed soon, and my "invisible woman" is lying on my bedroom floor getting covered in cat fur. (Note: Invisible woman is when you lay out all of your race clothes on the floor so it looks like a person so you can look and see if you're missing anything important.) The only thing I haven't figured out yet is how I'll carry my Swedish Fish with me. Yes, I'm using Swedish Fish in place of something like Gu, because I have a weak stomach and pure sugar in form of candy works better for me. I decided on Swedish Fish after Janae recommended them.

I figured I would be overly anxious at this point but I'm at a strange point of zen. I'm excited, but also a little nervous. I think I just know that I'm going to finish the race, no matter what. I don't want to walk at all, but if I have to, I will have still completed a half marathon. The goal is officially less than three hours. Can I do it? I think I can I think I can...

So now I sleep. And next time you hear from me, I will officially be a half marathoner. See you on the other side...