Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's not about pace, it's about fun

I've discovered something on my last couple of runs. The less pressure I put on myself run a certain speed or finish in a certain time the better the run is. Saturday I ran about 15 miles. No pressure to finish in a certain time because I started super early and no pressure to run a certain pace. I just ran and listened to some podcast on my phone. I seem to like listening to podcast on my long runs lately. Maybe because it's similar to running with someone... It was a pretty awesome run!

This morning I did the same thing. I just ran. I didn't pay any attention to pace. I let my body decide what it wanted to do. It was awesome and I ended up averaging 8:57 per mile. Really awesome! I ran into my Team in Training mentor from my first event and her husband while shopping Sunday. They both said how glad they were that I was sticking with it (while also trying to talk me into triathlons. Lots of people have been trying to talk me into them....). My reply was that it's a lot easier to enjoy running when you're in good shape.  But it's more than that. All you have to do is listen. Listen to what your body is saying while you're running. You can have fun no mater what pace you're going. I have many friends who prove this over and over again. I'm starting to get excited about my race in February. I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing and just enjoy the run. Who knows what will happen. That's the exciting part. I'm actually looking forward to running 18 miles this weekend. I know I can do it. I've run further than that many times. And I'm going to have fun! Yeah, lots of fun, and listen to a several podcasts too :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cleaning out the old

I've gotten some new stuff for Christmas. My mom got me some awesome new slippers (it's the little things that make a difference when you run long distances) that the dogs are very interested in (they think my new slippers could be a stuffie), and I splurgered on a pretty dress from Anthropologie with my Christmas money. Oh, and I went shoe shopping today :). Which brings me to this evenings cleaning. I needed to find space for my new shoes, which got me to thinking about cleaning up the dresser and closet. I need more room for all of my running gear. It's multiplied greatly over the past couple of years. I have tons of old t-shirts that I don't wear that have some fond memories attached to them. Maybe I just need to find somewhere to store them. I don't think I'll ever wear them again. They are rather big now. It's hard to take them out. I keep thinking I might need some of these things again, but most of the clothes I'm thinking about taking out are too big.

Does anyone else have this problem? or is this just another weird thing about me?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Lights

Merry Christmas Everyone!!! one of my favorite things this time of year is to drive around to see all of the Christmas lights people have put up. Since I started playing for Christmas Eve services that's gotten more and more difficult (my family use to drive around after dinner Christmas Eve before church). So, I was super excited that people have been leaving lights on over night so that I get to see them while I'm out running. So, my trusty iPhone and I had a little fun on my 4 mile run this morning :)


View from the porch

This house decorates there mailbox for every holiday. It makes me laugh :)

close up

I liked the blow up snow globe

The dogs are never really sure what to do with this one. Are they fake, are they real animals? We're so confused :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My new friend

What do you think of my new friend? :) he needs a name, but I haven't thought of one yet....

I like to keep him on my dresser because he makes me smile. He has a very fun gift card to one of my favorite stores inside his mouth. Hope he doesn't eat it!

I'm really happy to have a little break from things over the next couple of weeks. It's nice to be out of some the of negative stuff I've been around recently. I was bouncing off the walls this morning, a clear sign that I'm both feeling better and a little lighter (people were suggesting decaf at Starbucks between the church services I played for this morning). I have a little art project planned for my mirror. I use it all the time to practice my violin. It's actually the reason I bought it in grad school. I want a place that can remind me of the good stuff.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Trying to rise above

I spent a large part of yesterday afternoon feeling like I was an awful person. I shouldn't have let a conversation go where it went. I have learned from past experiences in this particular situation that every time I let this happen I leave feeling like a horrible person. Everything about me is wrong. Everything I've done is wrong. It makes me feel bad for days. This started earlier in the year. It's not constructive or healthy, but it's something that I currently cannot get out of. Add two not so great auditions into the mix and it's no wonder I left for vacation in a not so great mood. Add on top of that being questioned if I was taking us in the right direction, being told that I was wrong, that everything I was doing was awful. It didn't help me feel any better. This one situation is effecting everything else. Over the summer I made the decision to avoid the whole thing. To focus on what I was doing at work, at home, and just do the best I could. I started to attack my practicing like I was on a mission. A mission to get to where I want to go in terms of performing. Going to my lessons makes me happy. Running makes me happy. Trying to have fun with my students and laughing makes me happy. I like it when they tell me I'm silly.

So, how do we deal with things that bring us down? How do we let something roll off our backs when it continues to hurt over and over again? This morning I went running even though I've been fighting a cold for days. I over dressed for my 6 miles and ended up sweating a lot (my hair was soaked), and it felt soooo good! It was just what I needed. At least until the memory of everything from yesterday comes back. I have some ideas for getting out of this funk. Now I just need to start doing some of them.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

trying to stay mentally tough

last weekend was a long weekend, which is odd because i don't have any performances. Instead, some of my students played at Phipps Plaza Saturday morning, one of my students was performing on a friend's recital Sunday and needed her violin tuned, and then I had my lesson Sunday evening. Playing has been challenging since the shoulder rest broke Friday afternoon.

My shoulder was soooo sore by the time the kids were done playing (I was playing duet parts). Needless to say practicing Saturday afternoon was challenging. I've pulled out my old sponges to use until my new shoulder rest gets here (which finally shipped this morning 3 days after I ordered it. I don't think USPS is 2nd day delivery like I requested. sigh). This of course can open a whole can of worms among violinist. Shoulder rest vs. sponge (or nothing)? I played for 4 years using a sponge. Believe me I get the arguement. However, I have an unusually long neck for a violinist. Hence the need for speedy delivery of the new shoulder rest. My shoulder, neck, and back all hurt. It's not a lot of fun. I couldn't even make it through a 60 minute lesson on Sunday. I'm trying to practice technique stuff and no solo stuff because I'm worried that I'll mess things up. I'm totally compensating because I cannot hold my violin the same at the moment.

The other problem is that I am once again sick :(. I slept for almost 12 hours Sunday and woke up feeling like a truck had hit me. After cranky knee throwing a wrench in training last week I'm a little nervous about training for my marathon in 8 weeks. I did do a lot of cross training last week, and I did a 20 minute yoga core workout this morning (love yogadownload.com). My legs feel strong. I'm just nervous about running 26.2 without enough training. I've done it before. My first marathon I only got a 15 mile run in as my longest before the race. It was miserable. I don't ever want to go into another race under trained. I feel like I can get away with under training for almost any distance other than a marathon. It's a different monster. Fingers are crossed that i can go running tomorrow. I'm spraying Lysol everywhere trying to kill the germs!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The death of a shoulder rest

My shoulder rest has been cracking for a while now in the most unusual place along the side. Yesterday evening there was a very loud crack while I was practicing across the middle of the shoulder rest. Another loud crack this afternoon, and then finally in the middle of our final rehearsal for our student's performance in the morning it gave one final loud crack and split in half :(. I'm going to try calling the store I bought it from to see if there is anything they can do. I only bought it 9 months ago. My last shoulder rest was purchased in 1997 and has never died...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Field Trip to the Big Peach

Do you smell that?

Take a deep breathe. Do you smell it now?

That my friends is the smell of new running shoes!!!!!! I haven't posted much on my runs this week because well... they kind of stunk. Not in terms of them being rotten runs, but because my knee has been bothering me a lot. So, this morning I crossed trained on the stationary bike (6.6 miles on a hill program) and then got in the car for a trip to my friendly Big Peach Running Co for some new shoes. If you live in Atlanta get yourself to the Big Peach ASAP!!!!!! I love everything about the store. I seriously think I could spend the whole day there and be as happy as a lark :). I have been fitted with the best shoes since I started shopping there 1 1/2 years ago. They have an awesome fit process where they do a digital picture of your arches (it also shows how you distribute your weight) and they video you running, then rewind and put it on slow motion so they can see exactly how you land on your feet. The first running store would just eyeball it. I had a lot of issues back then. Now I have a new running store :). And yes, a good pair of running shoes can be a little pricey, but think of it this way:

  • old shoes $120 divided by 339 miles = $0.35 per mile
  • if new shoes have same miles $90 divided by 339 = $0.27 per mile

Laura helped me pick out a new shoe, but the same brand (mizunos). As soon as I got my orthotics in them I just knew!! (they felt great & light!!! Imagine what I can do with lighter shoes?!!!) The runner ups were the same way. I got my orthotics in them and just knew they were not the ones for me. That's okay. They were still nice. Hopefully cranky knee and achey ankles will go away on my long run Friday.  I really want to strap the news shoes on now and go for a run (a very good sign), butt I just don't have the time. After putting my old ones back on I can definitely tell they are dead, dead, dead. Achey ankle is back. Now worries. I'll rock my new shoes on Friday :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Achey and Cranky

Darn my left knee. Why must you be cranky and sore?!! Is it the fact that I moved all of my runs up a day? or maybe you're not happy from the 14 mile run on Saturday? or perhaps you're trying to tell me it's time for new shoes?

Needless to say I'm not extremely happy. I planned my training schedule for Tallahassee very carefully before I signed up to make sure I would be able to get in all of the long runs I would need to be able to do a marathon in 10 weeks. In the back of my head I was worried that something might get achey from the quick ramp up in miles. The problem has almost always been my left knee. I've twisted it three times. Twice before my first marathon, and once last fall. Often the first place I start to notice I need new shoes in either my ankle or knee. Good news: I've finally gotten over 300 miles out of a pair of shoes! That's never happened before. I love, love, love my lynco orthotics. They have a higher arch support then my old superfeet orthotics, and they are saving me. Currently my shoes are at 339 miles. I think there will be a field trip to the Big Peach Running Company for some new shoes. In the mean time it's ice, stretching, and lots of massages with my massage roller...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

You ran how far???

It's that time of year when people start reflecting on the year's events and making goals for the next. I realized something about this year that I thought was pretty amazing. I set a personal record in every race I entered in 2009. Yes, everyone of them. Now some replaced an earlier PR set during the year, but I think that's pretty impressive! So, I was curious. I got on Nike+ after this morning's run and set out to see how many miles I ran in 2008 vs. 2009.

  • 2008 I ran 695.15 with an average pace of 10:18
  • so far in 2009 I have run 856.51 miles with an average pace of 9:09
I think we have the answer. What are my PRs you ask:

  • 5k 27:33 (2009 Big Peach 5k)
  • 10k 59:19 (2009 Peachtree Road Race)
  • 1/2 marathon 2:11:33 (2009 Atlanta Half Marathon)
  • marathon 5:00:33 (2009 Nike Women's Marathon)

So log those training miles kids!!! You never know what might happen!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Running Intervals with Lance

This morning I went running with Lance Armstrong. Okay, not the real Lance Armstrong, but his Nike+ interval workout. It's been a while since the last time I did an interval run. April maybe? Honestly, I can't remember. All things considered it was a pretty good run, and it all started with an awesome dinner at Flipburger last night.

Yes, dinner last night! It made me happy :). I'm such a foodie want to be. Partly because I need to make a lot more money to be the foodie I want to be. The list of restaurants is ever growing. Flip is owned by Richard Blais one of Atlanta's past TopChef contestants. It's awesome! A super awesome bacon cheese burger (bacon was heavenly) and butternut squash tempurah was had followed by a pumpkin pie milkshake that I split with my mom. I was a happy girl last night. Plus I've been cutting off the electronics by 9:00pm this week. It made for a relaxing evening (despite constant barking & howling from the dogs).

Anyway, back to the run. I had legs of lead at the beginning, but I was going to do the intervals one way or another. I decided to try and go with my "sprint to the finish" pace and see what I could do. While it's a little hard to place them on my Nike+ graph here's an idea of how it went:

Total Mileage: 6.01 miles
Total Time: 53:45
Average Pace: 8:57 per mile
Interval 1: 8:00
Interval 2: 8:00
Interval 3: 7:03
Interval 4: 8:13 (only made it half way through this one)
-And just for kick I apparently ran the last mile at 7:03 (downhill). I guess that makes up for the 4th interval

Tomorrow's a rest day, and it's looking like Saturday morning might be rather chilly. There's even a chance of SNOW!!!! I miss snow!! I always liked walking around while it was snowing in Milwaukee (was there for 2 years for grad school). It's even better when I don't have to shovel it! Snow would be awesome. And yes, I'm totally going to be out there running in the snow if it happens (but not rain. If it's rain I'm staying inside! I might need to borrow someone's treadmill).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I love Lysol!!

Apparently spraying the house down with lysol really helped!! Now if I could just get my Dad to cover his mouth when he coughs... I have an overwhelming desire to run after him with the can of Lysol and spray after every cough. That's probably not a good thing to do right?

Between the Lysol, vitamins, and wheat grass (I ordered a whole container from Amazing Grass. I can't wait until it gets here!!) I feel pretty darn amazing this morning, so I went for a run in 33 degrees this morning. Brr! It was a little hard to get out of bed, but it felt amazing while I was running. As usual after recovering from germs I wasn't trying to do a tempo run. I just wanted to go on a nice comfortably paced run. HA!!! You would think I would have learned my lesson by now. So, here's tempo Tuesday:

Total Distance: 4.08 miles
Total Time: 36:34
Average Pace: 8:57
Mile 1: 8:13
Mile 2: 8:13
Mile 3: 8:13
Mile 4: 7:03 (got to love downhills!)

I saw on Twitter this morning that Bobby Bowden is suppose to announce his retirement today (I'm an FSU alum). I remember watching them win our last national championship while I was there. Is this a good thing? Fingers crossed!

Time for some yoga for runners!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Kill the germs part 2 (or is it 3...)

This morning I walked around the house with a bottle of Lysol and sprayed anything that anyone might have touched in the past week. Especially my Dad, who was sick all last week coughing and blowing his nose everywhere and not cleaning anything afterwards. Well, actually he did start cleaning a few things yesterday after I started feeling miserable. I almost didn't make it through church yesterday. I sat there listening and trying to figure out how to take a breathe without having my chest hurt. Not the feeling I wanted with only 10 weeks to train for my next race. Fortunately a nap and a whole bunch of vitamins seem to be helping. This I found my last packet of powered wheat grass, mixed it up, and chugged this morning! If it helps like it says it will then I need to stop by Whole Foods later and get some more for the week because I need to get in a 14 mile run on Saturday to stay on schedule. I don't know if I'll be able to run tomorrow or not. My chest is still a little heavy, but at least it doesn't hurt anymore. The germs need to go away. I'm so over them!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I have an answer to what is next!!!

For weeks people have been asking what race I'm doing after Thanksgiving's half marathon, and now that I have run and eaten my way through the day I have an answer!!! If you read my last post you know that the 13.1 miles went really well. That and I chatted with a friend along the way who had signed up for a flat race herself, and I came to a decision. So here's the 2010 race schedule as it currently stands:

  • Tallahassee Marathon February 7, 2010
  • ING Georgia Half Marathon March 21, 2010
  • Big Peach 5k
  • Peachtree Road Race 10k July 4, 2010 (assuming I get in)
  • fall marathon (currently thinking about Chicago)
  • Atlanta Half Marathon (loved it!!! totally want to do it again)
So, now it's time to figure out a training schedule with only 10 weeks till the next big race!

    Friday, November 27, 2009

    Atlanta Half recap or running for turkey!!

    Ah revenge is sweet!! Take that lake Merced!! and the great highway too!!

    As you might have guess I had a pretty awesome run this morning :). But I'm getting ahead of myself. I got a really good night's sleep Wednesday night, and jumped out of my bed when the alarm went off. It took me a minute to remember why I had set the thing for so early. Fortunately I had gotten everything ready the night before and all I had to do was eat my usually peanut butter and honey sandwich along with a shot of wheatgrass. Don't ask me why. I had a wheatgrass shot on Wednesday and spent most of the morning bouncing off the walls, so I thought it might be a good thing to have before the race. I also decided to wear my Nike finishers necklace (it says run like a girl!!) for the race this morning partly as a reminder of what had happened, and partly to show it who was boss.

    It was freezing when I walked outside. I decided to keep my jacket on for the first part of the race instead of checking it since I was just wearing my TNT singlet, arm warmers, and gloves. It turned out to be a really good decision! I got to see a bunch of my TNT friends before the race, which always makes me happy, and we headed over to the starting area to figure out our corrals. I was in the green corral (yay, my favorite color!!), which in normal language meant I was in corral 3 and got to start right at 7:00! My friend Sally and I started off together and only seperated for a few minutes when I had to go play mentor :). But that also meant that we found Andy who joined us for the rest of the race. Honestly, it was a blast!! it felt like we were the three amigos running down Peachtree Road, and getting dirty looks from the people we were passing as we ran happily down the street. I had originally thought of trying to run in 2:00 hours, but decided early in the week that it would be more enjoyable to just run for fun. Whatever happened would happen. I just wanted a nice enjoyable long run. Holly cow!! I'm still really happy about it (the Starbucks girl said I must be on a runner's high if I was going to go home after running 13.1 and cook a turkey. Umm apparently she is right). We just ran and talked. We said high to other runners we knew, and ran into a couple of awesome TNT coaches. (seriously whoever the coach at mile 12 was you rock!!). We got cheered on by a couple of Nike teammates. And then the sprint downhill to the finish started. Um, yeah, so it wasn't sprinting all downhill. There was a hill in there too. Kind of knocked the wind out of me, so I slowed for just a bit, and then the finish line appeared, and the next gear kicked in. Oh finish line, I think I love you!! :) In the end it was an awesome run, and a new PR (2:11). Have I mentioned I'm still really happy about it :). My Mom and sister came out to cheer us on too! My sister made a couple of signs for me and had some fun with my camera:

    Pretty awesome. I also like to run for pumpkin pie :).

    All in all, I feel really great. I got tight, but nothing major bothered me. I'm ready to sign up for some more races now! Say something flat that might take place the first weekend in February in the capital city of Florida...

    So, take that great highway & Lake Merced!! This girl is so ready to run more fabulous races!

    The dogs really wanted a walk when I got home. They felt forgotten...

    Monday, November 23, 2009


    I am Thankful for:
    1. my family
    2. 2 crazy dogs who make me smile, love me no mater what, and drive me crazy :)
    3. wonderful students who put up with their crazy violin teacher
    4. that I have a job
    5. that I have the ability to do something very creative
    6. that I get to be a musician and get paid to do something that I love
    7. that I can run
    8. for Team in Training and all of the amazing people I've met over the past 1 1/2 years
    9. friends
    10. a roof over my head and food in the fridge
    11. for a teacher who believes in me, and thinks I'm doing good
    12. for coffee. After all I'm a musician
    13. laughter and silliness
    14. for good mentors in my life (I want to grow to be just like them :))
    15. for a cup of tea of a rainy day
    16. for Karen Tuttle and Heather Mudd who are always there for the big & little moments. When's the next trip?!
    17. for Anne Marie who said that training for a marathon was only a little further than a half marathon. I'm glad I was running when you said that and couldn't really think about distances at the time, but I'm so glad you talked me into them.
    18. hugs, especially bear hugs (that may or may not come after a run with a certain group. Thanks Jim :))
    19. bagel crack :) (and Carol)
    20. for family and friends who never hesitate to donate towards my races for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
    21. Lori Rasmussen for all your words of encouragement
    22. the ladies from my bible study (Anna Beth, Ashley, Megan, Lydia, Caroline, Stacy and, Anne Marie). Even though we don't see each right now I loved seeing you every week, studying the Bible, and encouraging and supporting each other.
    23. the plan God has for me, even when I don't see it
    24. running with friends
    25. orthotics that keep my high collapsing arches in check so I can run pain and injury free
    26. that tomorrow is always a fresh start
    27. humidifers
    28. really good bow hair!
    29. cookbooks
    30. for my life, no mater what is thrown my way

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    What's next?

    I seemed to get this question a lot this morning from my Team in Training buddies. What's next? Well there's the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving day. No, after that? Ummmm..... I don't have a clue, and to be honest it's slowly driving me up the walls. What is the next race? I've had many ideas:

    • Callaway Gardens Marathon or Half Marathon - it's in January, which seems to early, and all the reviews complain about hills. Umm, this is Georgia, and we do have hills. Besides Callaway Gardens is on a mountain people.
    • Tallahassee Marathon or Half Marathon - the first week in February still seems kind of early, but it's appealing because it's flat! And I have a sister and lots of friends down there... But it's in February....
    • ING Georgia Half - will probably end up running this one. I don't have time to do the full because I have to teach a violin class that afternoon. Dang it!
    • Country Music Marathon - this is one that I've started thing about more the past couple of days. It's not until April, which gives me plenty of time to get ready for it, and I've been told that it's not a hilly course. Might be leaning towards this one, but will probably train as an alumni and save the big fundraising race for the fall.
    • Peachtree Road Race 10k - I love this race!! And my time gets better every year. I'll be back as long as I get in :)
    Hopefully I'll have a better idea after the 1/2 marathon on Thursday. Don't even think about asking what I'm doing in the fall yet. I've got some ideas. It's pretty much between 2 races, and I think I know, which one I'm leaning towards. That's all I'm going to say. You'll just have to come back and find out :).

    Have a race suggestion?

    Friday, November 20, 2009

    An old friend in a new place

    It's been a year and a half since I first signed on the dotted line with Team in Training. It's hard to believe it's only been that long. I feel like it's been much longer than that, which is a good thing. A really good thing! See Team in Training combines two things I really love, fighting cancer, and running. Every Saturday I get excited about heading out to the GTS whether I'm training with the team or on my own because I get to see some of my all time favorite people. Oh, and I get to run :). We're not just about running though, we're about making a difference in the lives of cancer patients with all sorts of endurance events.

    Do you live in Georgia?
    Want to find out more about Team in Training?

    They have a new blog!!! Head over to Team in Training Georgia's new blog and find out more. You'll never regret it!

    cleaning, taking care of the to-do list, and practicing after sleeping late this morning :) #win5000

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    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Sticks & Stones

    My neighborhood got sidewalks last winter, which as a runner made me feel safer because I wasn't forced to run on the street amongst the speeding cars. Now, I'm not so excited about them. One section wasn't finished and City of Atlanta workers dumped gravel and all sorts of junk on the unfinished part. Last Wednesday I took several bad steps on that section. Now I have a sore ankle, knee and IT band. Apparently the homeowners with sidewalks on their lots haven't realized that they are in charge of cleaning these wonderful sidewalks. There are many places where the sidewalk can't even be seen because of all of the leaves on the sidewalk. Underneath the leaves are rocks, acorns, and sticks. I keep stepping on them, and it bothers my sore ankle, knee, and IT band. This morning I stayed off the sidewalks and did a workout on the stationary bike. Stationary bike = happy IT band. I followed that up with a 20 minute yoga for runner's workout. My legs are pretty tight. Now it's time to ice the afore mentioned sore knee & IT band. I'm annoyed that I can make it through an entire marathon training program uninjured, but one run with hidden sticks & stones does me in.

    Dear Atlanta Homeowners, if you have a sidewalk please clean it! My sore ankle, knee, & IT band thank you in advance.

    Dear City of Atlanta, please finish the sidewalks you started a year ago. If you just removed the dirt & gravel you dumped it would be really easy :)

    Wednesday, November 18, 2009

    It's beginning to sound like Christmas

    This week I started teaching Christmas songs to my violin students. Mostly this is because of a performance coming up that has lots of Christmas music on it. Now, you might think that I have a bit of a bah humbug attitude going on, but remember I'm a musician. I perform for a living. So, all of those nice Christmas concerts you're going to have to have musicians to play those lovely Christmas songs, which requires practicing on our part. It always seems like I play the same songs over and over again this time of year. Add 4 hours of teaching the same Christmas songs over and over 4 days a week, and well, you would feel the same way too. I don't dislike Christmas music, but I've been listening to it for 4 weeks because people have been teaching it or practicing it for a while now. Somehow it never seems to be my favorite Christmas songs. That's okay though. My students love it and they always get really excited when I pull out the Christmas music. So I have swapped Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for Jungle Bells.

    Today's run wasn't as good as yesterday's. My knee is being really cranky today, so I cut the run short and headed home and cracked out the ice pack. We'll see how it's doing. I may not run again until Saturday. Honestly, as long as I can run my race next week I'll be happy!

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Amazing Notes and Tempo Tuesday

    Several of my violin students played on a recital Sunday, and they all did really well! They didn't all feel that way. I've noticed a trend with several of my students. They tend to dwell on what's wrong rather than what they did really well. I thought one of them was going to break out in tears after she played Sunday. She didn't think about the wonderful sound coming out of her violin, or the fact that she got up in front of people to play, or that she completed the whole song from memory. She didn't see how proud everyone was. All she remembered were the mistakes. I have another student who gets upset when things aren't perfect, which actually reminds me of myself when I was her age. So, I decided that they need a little reminder that they are very good little violinist, so I got out some paper and markers and started working on a little something for their violin case. (I have a few more to make today)

    I have something similar in my violin case, but I didn't move it over to the violin I'm borrowing from my teacher. I think part of it was because I wasn't sure I liked the violin at first, and thought about giving it back after my auditions. Well, that's not happening :). So today I'm moving my wonderful notes over to the borrowed violin. We all need a little reminder sometimes!

    Tempo Tuesday is back on Tuesday! Honestly I hadn't really planned on doing a tempo run this morning since my hip and knee have been a little sore. So, I started out with the idea that I was just going to run at whatever pace my body wanted to go. It would just be a fun run. Of course I stepped outside to sprinkles. What is going on with all of the rain on Tuesdays? Of course now that I'm done running it is no longer sprinkling. Go figure. Turns out I had another awesome run!

    Total distance: 4.04 miles
    Total Time: 35:32
    Average Pace: 8:47 per mile
    Mile 1: 8:13
    Mile 2: 8:13
    Mile 3: 8:13
    Mile 4: 7:04

    I'm taking a little break from whittle my middle. I think it's part of the reason my hip and lower back are bothering me. So, it's back to 3 days a week of abs instead of 5 days.

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Did 20 minutes of yoga to start the day off right. #win5000

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    A weekend of Nike fun!

    What a crazy weekend!! It was a whole weekend of Nike Team fun too! For the first time since our race a month ago (what a whole month!!) a bunch of us got together at the GTS for a run together, and in typical Nike Team fashion it didn't disappoint. I had a fantastic 8 mile run (under 9:00 miles for most of the run!) and got to catch up with tons of friends. On the way home I grab some coffee as a treat and got what I needed to bake for our Nike Team reunion party on Sunday. Pumpkin chocolate chip cake with cream cheese icing!! I ended up paying a little bit for my great run with a cranky knee that I've been icing and stretching. It seems to be okay when I'm walking around. I had several funny steps on my Wednesday run for everything that was all over the sidewalks. My massage roller is helping a lot too. I think I'm still good to go for my Thanksgiving 1/2 marathon (with a bunch of my Nike friends!).

    The party was awesome! I don't think I have ever seen so much bacon in one place before! Angela H. I have discovered your evil plan of taking over the world using bacon :). I ate, and then ate some more. It was all so good. Yummy chicken chilli and this amazing brie with cranberries & figs on top! Soooo good. I ended up bringing a whole cake home, making my Dad very happy! Everyone was eating things that were already pre cut and finger food, so neither of the cakes got eaten. No worries. It just means I have something yummy to eat for desert!

    I can't believe it's Monday already. After playing for 2 church services, practicing, and having students playing on a recital it was a crazy weekend!! Is it Friday yet? I need a weekend fast!

    Remembering the Nike fun!

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Went for a fantastic 8 mile run with good friends this morning #win5000

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    Friday, November 13, 2009

    One of my favorite things

    I got inspired yesterday after Angela's post about Green Monsters on Oh She Glows. I remember reading about green monster smoothies on another blog over the summer, and couldn't figure out what the heck the person was talking about. So, I clicked on the link and magically went over to the Green Monster page and started poking around. I wasn't too sure about them at first since one of the major ingredients is spinach and other greens. I got a little scared at first, but was dieing of curiosity. I kept going back to the website and thinking about whether I should try one. See my dentist gave me a no juice, no sugary drinks, no added sugar prescription after my December cleaning after finding 2 more cavities. I really don't like cavities. I don't mind getting my teeth cleaned at all, but I get very nervous at the end when the X-rays are reviewed and my dentist starts checking to see if everything is okay. I've had at least one cavity every 6 months for many years now making me officially cavity prone. They have some ideas, which is why the sugar had to go. It was hard! I love juice, and smoothies, and I had to change a lot of things in my diet, especially when it came to running. My follow up cleaning was back in June after a 10 day family vacation to Italy, home of gelato. I was rather nervous. I had gotten an awesome Sonicare tooth brush, started brushing after every meal, flossing, using fluoride toothpaste & mouthwash, the whole works. (I should say that I had pretty good dental hygiene before, but I really stepped it up. I don't like the drill!) Finally I got a clean bill. No Cavities!!! For the first time in at least 5 years. So, one day I was relaxing at home watching "The Spirit of the Marathon" on hulu and I decided to make a green monster smoothie. I tried just the basic one to start, and loved it! You can't taste the spinach in it at all. I started making the chocolate green monster and can't get enough of them. Some days I have so much energy I bounce off of the walls, or practice for an extra hour. They are one of my favorite things to have after a long run! Chocolate & milk, you just can't go wrong! My favorite way is to make it with Amazing Grass Chocolate Amazing Meal (it has some protein powder added to it and has no sugar in it!!!!!), which I'm out of at the moment, so I'm using Chocolate Amazing Grass Superfood instead, which I'm totally hooked on to. Doing something good for myself helps me feel better, inside and out. I think that's part of Angela's message. Take care of yourself, nurture the good, and let it shine through on the outside. Reading her blog is definitely one my favorite things to do everyday. To make this wonderful smoothie I use one scoop (or packet) of Chocolate Superfood or Meal, 2 handfulls of spinach, banana, skim milk, and 4-8 ice cubes. Blend and enjoy (Angela suggests a fun glass).

    So, is there something you do just for yourself? Something that makes you happy & just glow? We all deserve a little happiness!

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    A Hilly Thursday

    My car doesn't smell good =(. Since it's been raining for 2 days in Atlanta I knew right where to look... the sunroof! It has been a thorn in my side all year long. The last repair (as oppose to the 2 before that) was back in August when one of the tracks had to be replaced due to a visit from a tree branch. The tree in question has done untold amounts of damage to my car. So, I was rather annoyed to find water sitting underneath the brand new track. I called the company that installed and they said that this was normal and that the water would run forward to the drip lines and drain out. Um, what part of "there is standing water in my car," did you not understand. Again they tried to say that this was normal. Um, my car smells like mildew. I really don't think that's normal. Call me crazy.

    Since I was rather put out after all of that I decided to head to rehearsal after teaching my 2 students. I've been playing with a community group at a local church for several years. The director and I go way back (he use to accompany me on piano when I was in middle school). It ended up being exactly what I need. Gone was the frustration over another car problem, and in it's place was a new sense of confidence in my playing. I played really in tune! My sound was crisp and clean, and I really liked it! I can definitely see what my teacher said about my playing becoming more consistent. It was awesome!

    If there was any frustration left over the car it was gone by the end of my run this morning. It was amazing!! I decided to try something new and start adding hill repeats to my Thursday runs every other week (I'm going to try some intervals on the weeks I don't do hills). So, I picked an easy hill on my route (living in Collier Hills gives me lots of options) and did 2 hill repeats sprinting up the hill each time. It was awesome! I love sprinting!!!!! I even threw in an extra hill sprint at the end of my run on a longer more gradual hill just for the heck of it and then flew down the final downhill. It was such a great feeling, and my average pace was even better than my tempo run on Monday! It makes me feel pretty good about my race coming up on Thanksgiving.

    Are you whittling you middle with Oh She Glows? Day 2 of getting those abs back into shape

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Relaxing & More Rain

    I will admit that I was not in the greatest of moods when I got home from work last night. See I've had a really annoying sinus headache for days now, and the advil had worn off midway through the work day. So, I really wasn't happy that the kitchen was a mess and no one seemed to show any signs of doing anything about it (I should mention that I live at my parent's house). So, once again I had the pleasure of cleaning the whole kitchen, which is not my favorite thing to do. Have I mentioned I was in a rotten mood? So I decided that some relaxing was in order before bed, and tried out this wonderful video from Tara Stiles

    Oh my goodness!! It made such a difference. I was so relaxed and fell right asleep, and got a great night's sleep (totally jumped onto the yoga bandwagon). I was really hoping I would wake up to a nice dry morning. Instead, it was still pouring, but I worked up the courage to go for a run in the rain hoping that my route would be flood free. Strike two. Half way around I found a lake that is actually Peachtree Creek across the road I wanted to run on. With a small change I headed up to Peachtree Road and Cardiac Hill, which is actually part of the route of my next race. Planning ahead!

    By the time I made it close to home I was tired of being wet, and had to stop to carefully get out onto the street to get around a tree dangling from a power line (now I know why the power has been blinking on and off!). So, it was time to go home for a nice hot shower and an awesome bowl of oatmeal! One of the blogs I read is Kath Eats Real Food and she has a whole page of oatmeal recipes. I've been trying the oatmeal, almond butter, cinnamon, vanilla, and fruit (this morning it was blueberries!). It hit the spot! So yummy and filling.

    One of my other favorite blogs has a core challenge that starting at Oh She Glows and I love a challenge! Besides it will help prevent injuries too!

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Shop, Save, & Give Back

    Ah, shopping!! One of my favorite things :). Because of the economy I haven't done much lately, but now I have to. Between my parent's washer discoloring things, and items wearing out I need to get out there and shop. I've tried lately, but just haven't found much that I like. Does it seem like every store has the same designs? So much for variety being the spice of life I guess. Mom and I are headed up to the outlet stores on Friday, which is perfect timing for the Gap's Give & Get sale. Follow the link for a coupon good for 30% off at the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and their outlet stores November 12-15!!!! Plus the Gap will give 5% to your favorite charity. If you use this coupon you'll be giving 5% back to my favorite charity The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. So shop, give, and be merry!!

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    Gap.com values its customers and respects their privacy. Please review our privacy policy for more information. If you have any questions about the Give & Get program, contact gap.com Customer Service via email at custserv@gap.com, call us at 1-800-GAP-STYLE (1-800-427-7895) or write us at gap.com Customer Services, 100 Gap Online, Grove City, OH 43123-8605.

    Offer valid November 12, 2009 through November 15, 2009 at Gap, Gap Outlet, Gap Factory Store, Gap Generation, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory Store and Old Navy stores in the US (including Puerto Rico) and Canada. Not valid online or at Edition by Banana Republic store. 30% discount cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. Discount applies to Eligible Purchases ("Eligible Purchases") which are merchandise only, not gift cards, packaging, applicable taxes, or telephone orders placed to stores or customer service 1-800/888 numbers. Not valid on Gap (Product) RED™, Junk Food™, Converse®, Havaianas®, Medela®, CharmIt!®, Robeez®, Stella McCartney for GapKids, Stella McCartney for babyGap, or the following babyGap Home items: strollers, car seats, high chairs and nursery furniture. Not valid for cash or cash equivalent. Gap Foundation ("Gap") will donate an amount equal to 5% of Eligible Purchases to a nonprofit partner ("Partner") only when one is designated by the Gap Inc. best customer ("Best Customer(s)"). If no Partner is designated no donation will be made. If the Best Customer selects Donorschoose.org as its Partner the Best Customer can also select a specific project on Donorschoose.org to receive the donation. Gap’s total donations to all US and Canadian Partners shall not exceed US$2 million. Such donation does not entitle the Best Customer or any offer recipient to claim a charitable contribution deduction. Merchandise cannot be put on hold during offer period. Return of discounted merchandise will be for the price actually paid. Exchange for different size is permitted; however, the discount will not be applied to exchanges for different merchandise. Reproductions or photocopies of offer card will not be accepted. Not responsible for lost or stolen offer cards. Offer is not transferable or valid for resale. No price adjustments are allowed on previous purchases or on purchases made with this discount.

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    Yes, it's the dreaded word of consistency :). Well, maybe not so dreaded. I've found that it actually has helped a lot in my violin playing. Why couldn't I have discovered that sooner? It's something that I work on trying to teach all of my students. Some get it better than others. It's teaching them to go slow and make sure that things are right before speeding up. Unfortunately kids only have one speed, fast (or maybe 2 speeds and the other one is faster).

    My violin teacher said something to me that made me very happy yesterday. He said I was getting more and more consistent every week. I never realized what a huge difference it makes in playing. A difference in sound, intonation, and confidence. When people asked me if I was any good before I kind of himmed and shrugged an I guess so. Now I know I sound good! I wish all of the contractors and personal managers knew the same thing! Getting some freelance jobs would send my confidence through the roof right now! (know of anyone who needs a violinist? :) )

    I've always been one to stick to a schedule. I do the same thing almost everyday at the same time. Get up, go running, eat breakfast, take a shower, practice, lunch, more practicing, teach private lessons, eat, wind down, and finally go to bed. It's just the way I work. Imagine what happens when you apply the same consistency to your job, or in my case my violin technique. Making sure that everything is working right every time, and if it doesn't find out why and fix it. My teachers calls it adjusting instead of reacting, and it's certainly helped a lot. I'm actually looking forward to the next time I have an audition because I know that things are consistently starting to work for me, and that's the only way I'm going to land one of my dream jobs. The slow down in the economy has been frustrating, but it's given me more time to focus on things and make them right the first time instead of putting them off and trying to fix them later. All that leads to is disappointment, frustration, a lack of confidence.

    Do you have something you do to help you be consistent? Has it made a difference?

    Monday, November 9, 2009

    Tempo Tuesday on a Monday?

    It's back!! I'm so happy that I can run again!! And to celebrate and start getting ready for my next race in 2 1/2 weeks I thought I would try a tempo run and just see how things went, no expectations. Weather.com has a 100% of rain for Atlanta tomorrow, and seeing as I'm just finally getting over a 2 week cold I thought it would be better to run today and take tomorrow off. I would have been happy with 10:00 or 9:30 a mile. I was most pleasantly surprised to discover that my average pace was 8:54! Now that doesn't include a couple of breaks I had to take after some of the hills on my route, so it probably comes out to be 9:00 a mile, which is right where I was before the marathon!! It felt sooooo good despite being a little sore from yoga yesterday (it's so nice to be sore again!! ;) ). And since the weather was that weird 50 degree in between temperature I tired out my new Nike arm warmers. They rock!! I picked up a pair at the Big Peach (I love the Big Peach) since they are sold out on the Nike website. They were a little tricky to get off since I had my iphone strapped on over them, but they worked so well. I can't wait to use them again!

    Total Mileage: 4.00 miles
    Total Time: 35:39
    Average Pace: 8:54 per mile
    Mile 1: 8:13
    Mile 2: 8:13
    Mile 3: 8:13
    Mile 4: 7:03 (downhills are awesome!)

    Now it's time to get practicing and enjoy more chocolate amazing grass superfood! (I just opened a new container yesterday and I felt so good afterwards, which made me put this container straight into the fridge this time!).

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Don't forget your ID!

    As runners we don't always think about the dangers that might come during a run. All it takes is one car to change a great run into something horrible. The Georgia Chapter of Team in Training knows this all too well. Five weeks ago one of the Team members was hit by a car while on her morning run. The good news is that she survived and is making good progress. However, she had no ID on her and was a Jane Doe for 30 hours before the brilliant hospital nurses remembered that she came in with an ipod. They got her ipod, and called Apple with the serial number to discover her name. Because of this our coaches have continuously reminded us to be safe and above all else carry ID. And that's where the partnership with RoadID began thanks in part to another Team in Training runner. If you haven't heard of RoadID you need to! They offer a variety of IDs that can be worn while training. It's super to order off their website and there are a lot of options and suggestions for what to include on your ID. Here's mine:

    You can add as many phone numbers as you want, plus any drug allergies or blood type. I also have one of my favorite phrases on it (although I did think about Because I eat, or love to eat. What can I say...). And it's super easy to put on your shoe if you choose this style:

    Right next to my Nike+ sensor :). Super easy, looks good, and could save your life! I got great service too! The owner e-mailed me to let me know it shipped and it got here 3 days sooner than they indicated! Now that's service! Be safe, make sure someone knows where you are, and never forget your ID!

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Still waiting

    Germs, germs, go away, and don't come back!! Between this cold and the fall allergy season things haven't been fun lately. It's been 1 1/2 weeks since my last run. It feels like eons!!! This morning I attempted a two block walk with the dogs to see how things were doing. HA! I started coughing the minute I walked out the door and continued for most of the first block. Maybe my lungs just needed to clear things out? One can only hope. At least I'm not winded when I play my violin! Must stay positive!!! I tired some yoga when I got home from the walk. I can till my legs have recovered from the marathon already, which is great because I have a 1/2 marathon coming up on Thanksgiving Day. Yeah, running again would be awesome! I've been doing a lot of yoga since the race. I love how good I feel afterwards, but someone is going to have to explain how downward dog is a resting pose. Because yoga focuses so much on stretching it's really great for runners and musicians! Never tried, but always wanted to? Here's a little introduction from one of my favorites (you can check more at her website www.tarastilesliving.com):

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    How did they know?

    Oh, Runner's World how did you know?! My issue of Runner's World came over the weekend and it was like they just knew that my race didn't go the way I had hoped it would because on page 43 was the article "Let it go." A whole two pages on how to get over a race that doesn't go the way you had hoped. I have to say it would work pretty good for a bad audition too =).

    1. Wallow - check. Been there done that. It's okay to be unhappy if something doesn't go right after working really hard towards a goal, but just for a little bit.

    2. Find a positive - admittedly this one can be harder especially if you're still in the wallowing phase. There is no such things as a bad sound playing a violin or a bad race. Everything is a learning experience. Learn and be better for it!

    3. Analyze - you can't learn from the experience if you don't look back at it objectively. I've learned a lot over the years by making small adjustments after something goes wrong and I keep getting better!

    4. Set new goals - I'm a very goal oriented person. I always like to have something that I'm working towards. Plus it helps stay motivated to do the work whether it's practicing or running.

    5. Manage Expectations - I'm not really great at this one. I always have high expectations whether it's winning an audition or trying for a certain time at a race. I need to focus more on what is going on at the time and adjust (not react as my violin teacher always tells me).

    Pretty timely! What do you do after something doesn't live up to your expectations?

    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Remembering the Season

    I've been having a little fun with my pictures from the Nike Women's Marathon =). It's pretty cool what we can do with things! Hope you enjoy!

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    A better perspective

    A week after the Nike Women's Marathon and I have a better perspective on things. I lost sight of things in my disappointment from the race. It's too easy to dwell on the negative, something I've done a little too much lately. Some good things:

    1. I surpassed my fundraising goal and raised over $3064 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Add that to my 600 miles of training that's over $5 for every mile I ran while training or $117 for every mile of the race

    2. The 4000 Team in Training participants raised $14 million just for this one race! Roughly $500,000 for every mile we ran

    3. Two of my honored heroes are officially in remission!

    4. I can run anytime I want for as far as I want. Many people can't say that. Many people are struggling to fight a disease that still has no cure. (one of my favorite signs on the course said "I run because I can")

    5. I had a totally awesome weekend with some fabulous people who I can't wait to see again and even run with again! (some of us are doing a 1/2 marathon in a couple of weeks)

    Did things fall apart at the end? yes, but it shouldn't define the experience. As one of my very smart friends said I finished, raised a bunch of money for LLS, and am better for it. Sometimes I feel like I dwell on the negative too much. It definitely happened on the back side of Lake Merced. I never questioned that I would finish. Mostly I was disappointed that my body would not do what I asked of it. I really want to do another full marathon, but am having trouble finding one close by that works with my schedule. I'm thinking sometime in the spring, but work already rules one out that I originally wanted to do (I'll probably still do the half).

    official chip time 5:00:33 (that's me right in the middle)


    Germs, germs go away, don't come back another day! Seriously!! I feel like I have had the "crud" for weeks now. I feel like I have a cold, then feel better, so I start running again, and wham! Back to feeling lousy again. It's making practicing difficult too because I'm tired and my ears are stopped up.

    Not much new going on at the moment. I signed up for my next race on Thanksgiving day last week. A bunch of us from Team in Training are running, which is going to be a blast! I spent most of the week trying to find an official finishing photo from the Nike Women's Marathon. I'm pretty disappointed in the official photographers. Most of my friends have great photos of them running up to the finish line. Me? Nothing!!! I was blocked in every photo I found. Next time I'm bringing my own camera! I have to call to add some photos to my album before I can buy it, so hopefully I'll have a few more pictures from the race soon!

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    It just wasn't my day

    I survived!!! It maybe not be the best way to start a race recap, but after finishing on Sunday it truly was how I felt. It really was not my day, which was a huge let down considering how well the first half of the race started. It taken me a while to write this, which may turn out to be a good thing. It's given me sometime to reflect on what happened.

    The weekend started out really well despite the really awful flight with AirTran. I'm sorry to say this about anything, but I would be perfectly happy to never fly AirTran ever again. It really was that bad. We made to San Francisco though, and got checked into the hotel with a wonderful view of the parking deck, and then headed over to the expo to pick up race numbers and have fun. It was the most confusing expo lay out ever. I ended up having to walk around the entire tent before finally figuring out where the race number pick up was, and then there wasn't anything to do in the tent after that. I really didn't needed the flavored oxygen, nor did I want to blend my own smoothie on a bike. So, I went over to Macy's to check out the official apparel, and get a little something for myself.

    Saturday was fun, but I ended up walking a lot more than I wanted since Mom and I couldn't find a cable car that had room for us until we were almost to Fisherman's Wharf. One of my roommates from Florida State lives in San Francisco, so we got together to have lunch and hang out some. Amazingly right when we were headed over to the dock for our bay tour we ran into the rest of the team! So we ended up having a great time together before heading back to the hotel (no walking this time!) for our meeting and pasta party! Walking into the pasta party is truly one of my favorite things of the weekend.

    Saturday night was the first time I didn't sleep through the night before a race. It was kind of a weird combination of nerves and fear that my alarm wouldn't go off. The hardest part of the morning was waiting for everyone to get together for pictures before we left. It felt like it was taking forever. We didn't head over to the start until almost 6:30am which made me a little nervous. The group I was running with got stuck trying to get to our pace group and ended up waiting with the 12:00-13:99 pace group. All I'm going to say about it is that I have never come across so many rude people in one place in my life! If no one if moving there is no room for you to go anywhere no matter how rude you are to us, we can't let you go anywhere, and pushing us around isn't going to get you anywhere either!

    The first half of the race was great! Because there are so many people we started off at a really comfortable pace. It was so much fun running past the piers and even getting to run by bakeries as they were making sourdough bread. It smelled great! We hit the first hill coming up off of the bay and you could tell that a lot of people were not ready for them. We had to keep jumping around people so that we could keep moving. Most of us jumped up on the sidewalk. It was by far the easiest hill to get around people because the road was still wide. The second hill was really narrow! And hardly anyone ran up it. We had so many problems because people would abruptly stop right in front of us. It was just way too narrow for that many people. I almost ran right into a road block pillar because it was hidden by the people in front of me. Mile 6 brought the first of the really challenging hills. It's actually pretty similar to one that I run all the time on Peachtree Road called cardiac hill although this one might have been a little steeper. There were two more challenging hills after that to take us up to the highest point in the race and the cliffs over looking the ocean. It was beautiful!!! And very steep, which made me a little nervous when someone in our group mentioned going faster to make up some time. I tried not to see myself falling flat on my face. It was probably the best view we had!! I was kicking myself for not bringing my little camera along for the race (and even more so after getting my official photos. More on that later).

    From the cliffs we hit the Golden Gate park. The crowd started thinning out some at this point, although the crowd came and went in spurts, and there was never a big crowd until you got to the finish line. The best part of the park was the smell!! It smelled like eucalyptus! It was awesome. We split twice from the half marathoners in the park. By the time we rejoined the second time we were at mile 16 and I found my Mom right before the final split.

    What happened next never crossed my mind in the weeks and months leading up to the race. The first half had gone so well (I finished 13.1 miles in just over 2:16, which was great). What was next was the great highway, which I hope was named for the view (which was great). I didn't think it was so great at the time. The great highway took us to Lake Merced, which is a 5 mile loop, the longest 5 miles of my life. Up until mile 18 I felt really good, and then things started to cramp. Not a muscle getting a little tight, but full of cramps in my hamstrings. Once one started another one would get going. I couldn't run anymore, so I stopped and got some salt out and my last pack of Luna moons to eat, realizing that I was going to be in big trouble later, but there wasn't anything I could do about it. Things got better and I was able to start run walking around the lake all the while thinking I could still finish with a decent time. The problem with the lake is that the only people out cheering you on are the volunteers at the waterstops. It was the first time in a race that i had run by myself for such a long stretch too. It was miserable. I could have used a TNT coach, but they were all running past me in the opposite direction and ignoring me. I'll spare you most of the details because this was a really low point in the race for me. I somehow managed to get around the stupid lake and make it back to the great highway where I came to a complete stop. Because I had eaten everything I had brought with me already I was out of energy and fuel and no way to get any. Finally a TNT coach stopped and asked if I was okay, and I told him that I needed something to eat. His reply "what do you mean you need something to eat?" I'm pretty sure it means I need something to eat, just a wild guess. Fortunately he had some sports beans that he gave me and then I saw Tommy Owens, our head coach (the other TNT coach was surprised I knew Tommy. I think he finally looked at my shirt and realized I was from Georgia. Maybe he was going through brain melt...).

    It was great seeing Tommy. I wish I had looked better. To quote Tommy he said "this sucks because you're in such great shape." No argument from me. It did suck, and I had already gotten pretty upset over it all. And then Rob came back! Rob and I had started with the rest of the group and had fallen off at the great highway. We were both in pretty bad shape. Both of us were cramping up, and both of us were ready to be done. So we started walking and running, and even stopped to stretch (should have done that earlier!). And then a glorious sight appeared. We were at mile 25 and just a little further down the road we got our first glance at the finish line from a distance. It was all we needed. Rob started yelling at me to take us home as I took off with him behind me. Somehow we started sprinting in, picking up our Coach Joanna right before the finish were we went even faster. I almost had trouble keeping up, but there was no way I was stopping. We were finally at the finish! I grabbed Jo's hand early in the sprint in the hopes of crossing with her and Rob, but had to let go because of the traffic in front of us. Somehow I even managed to PR (5:00:33). I really don't feel I deserved it at all. I was so mad, confused, emotional. And then I saw the pretty blue box from Tiffany's! It didn't make everything better, but it at least gave me a small sense of accomplishment. I had finished!

    I feel like I left a lot of myself out on the course. The memory of the great highway and the lake keeps coming back almost a week later. I'm not happy about it at all. There is some unfinished business with those two. I don't know if it means doing the event again next year or not yet. I've already signed up to do a 1/2 marathon Thanksgiving day. I need to go run another race and try to get the bitter memories out of my head. I know that I can't control how things go, but a bad race on top of not great auditions has certainly lead to some low feelings about myself. I'm also thinking about try another full in the spring. I need to check my schedule before I do anything else, and I want to get through the 1/2 marathon too and just see how things go. I'm already running again, and feeling pretty good! I've also started doing a lot of yoga the last couple of days which has felt amazing! Sadly last Sunday just wasn't my day....

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    2 Days

    So, there isn't really anything new today. It's raining again. I'm pretty sure I live in Atlanta, but I have to say it feels more like Seattle's weather at the moment. I got up and went on my run this morning. The radar said it wasn't raining, but the soft patter on the roof said otherwise. Actually, it was just dripping and misty. I really didn't get that wet. Well, I did get a little wet because you can't see puddles in the dark. Shocking I know :). Nothing big is going on with my runs. I'm trying to take my time and just use them to stay loose and relaxed, but yesterday's average pace was 9:30 and today's was 9:21. Hmmm....

    I've had a lot of trouble staying focused and motivated this week. I'm glad my lesson was on Sunday despite it being the worst lesson in a month. Honestly, it wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't anything to brag about. My teacher is pretty awesome and very understand since I was sick all week. I promised to practice lots before I leave for San Francisco. I feel like I'm failing big time. I am practicing, but I don't know if it's doing any good. I am really good a packing though :).

    Just 2 more days till we leave!!! Here's a little reminder of why I do this:

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    2 years in the making

    I remember exactly where I was the day I first saw the website for the Nike Women's Marathon. I don't remember the exact date. It was sometime in June of 2007, and I was training for my very first Peachtree Road Race. I had done a few fun runs when I was a kid, but had never done really well. All through youth I played soccer, but never once did I consider myself a runner. I had recently gotten a pair of Nike shoes which were compatible with the NIke+ system and I was on the website checking it out. I had set up my training plan with Nike after getting the shoes, which was great because I had never learned anything about training to run all through my time as a soccer player. Looking back I probably would have been even better at soccer if I had done some endurance training before the season started. And then one Saturday it happened. I came across the site for the Nike Women's Marathon, and I was entranced. It sounded like the coolest thing I had ever seen. A race geared towards women with a chocolate mile, foot stations, and a tiffany's necklace as a finisher's medal. At the time I never thought I could run a marathon, but I thought it would be really cool to run this one. There was no way I could do it that year because the race was already full, but Nike had done something very cool. They had set up a virtual half marathon for those who did not get into the race. All you had to do was sign up and get the Nike+ system so that you could upload 13.1 miles on the day of the race and in return (for a small entry fee) everyone who uploaded the correct mileage got a finisher's shirt and a tiffany's keychain. I had never wanted to try something so badly. I saved up and got an ipod nano and the Nike+ system, paid my entry fee, and set up a training plan to train for a half marathon.

    Now, I should say that up to this point I had never run more than 8 miles. I had been training during the summer in Atlanta, my least favorite season to train, and it had been tough. I had gotten to know an old friend at church who was a runner. The day I discovered the Nike Women's Marathon had been the day that a bunch of us from my Sunday School class had gone to a Braves game (which they lost because they always lose when I go to a game), and we started talking about running and I told her what I had found. She said that one day she wanted to run that marathon, and before I knew it this came out of my mouth, "well if you do let me know, because you might be able to talk me into doing it too." HA! The next morning I tried out Nike+ for the first time and loved it!

    I thought a lot about trying to do the race in 2008, but for various reasons I ended up running 2 different marathons that year, ING Georgia and the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon. San Antonio was my first race with Team in Training, and we ended up training along side the team going to the Nike Women's Marathon. I was so jealous! I had never wanted to do a race so badly before and right then in the middle of training I made a promise to myself. I was running the Nike Women's Marathon in 2009 with Team in Training. No questions about it. I didn't care if it meant turning jobs down (which hasn't been a problem because there are no orchestra jobs at the moment) I was doing this race! There was also no question about doing the race with Team in Training. I love working with Team in Training! It's one of the best decisions I've ever made. Unfortunately for our staff coordinator in meant that i started bugging her the day I saw the lottery for spots opened (I'm pretty sure she's forgiven me, at least I hope she has). She talked me into signing up to be a mentor, which was funny because at the time I didn't realize she was the one choosing the mentors for the Nike Team (payback for the bugging? lol).

    In just 6 days I'll be running a race I've wanted to do for 2 years. It hasn't fully sunk in yet. Could it really be possible that on Sunday I'll be in San Francisco running the Nike Women's Marathon? Could you believe that I've already started packing? I'm just a little excited. Frankly, it's hard to sit still at the moment. I have a feeling that it's going to take a lot of focus to get through the week. Just 4 more days till we leave. I don't know what will happen at the race. I have a time in mind that I would like to finish in, but I don't know what will happen. There is no question that I will finish. I haven't held my goal pace for more than 10 miles, and my long runs have been significantly slower than what I'm use to. To make things even more complicated I've gotten a little faster now that the weather is cooling off. It's honestly starting t mess with my head. Saturday's run was great despite being sick, but my average pace was 8:30 a mile. I can't hold that for 26.2 miles. It is whatever it chooses to be that day, but one thing is for certain. On Sunday I'm running the Nike Women's Marathon. It's just 6 days away!!