Monday, November 8, 2010

Have you heard?

There's a new blog post up on the new site! In case you missed the news, we've moved to wordpress! Check it out at (apparently blogger doesn't want to supply the link...)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

We're Moving!

Almost as soon as I started this little blog I thought about what it would be like with a different blog host. After a lot of changes on blogger, and quite a bit of frustration (post being deleted, photos being lost, freezing the computer...) it is time to move on. To Wordpress!!

That's right folks! There's a brand spanking new look for the running violinist on wordpress! Don't worry, all of your favorites are already there thanks to the internet fairies! As surely as Mr. Goat can shed his wings, he and all of the other post have already made their way over to the new site. So, reprogram your google readers, lace up those running shoes, and head on over! The next post will be on the new site!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

I am Thankful for: Friends

I went and voted on Tuesday, and afterwards I made a stop at Starbucks before heading to work, and found this:

My first reaction was, "Christmas cups already?" (yes, I actually said that out loud) I remember the first TV ads for Christmas starting back in July. Perhaps you don't remember, but there's this little holiday called Thanksgiving in between Halloween and Christmas here in the U.S. It actually happens to be my favorite holiday for several reasons. There always seems to be a race, loads of great cooking, and at the end of the day you get to sit down with family and share a meal. I understand that this might not be the same reaction everyone has to Thanksgiving. Some might find sitting down with family hard or painful, and I understand that not everyone feels the same way about the holiday that I do. Over the last several years I have become very thankful of the blessing and people that have come into my life. So, instead of just making a list this year, I thought I would take a little time to reflect, and express gratitude for the things, and people who have touched me this year.

I realize time and time again that I have some really awesome friends!
  • Angela Hansberger - I love how you find the beauty in small things, like the fog at the river. You make me think about the way I look at things & to find beauty everywhere. And thanks to you I have new respect and love for bacon :-)
  • Amy Fingerhut - To be honest I don't know where to start :-). Thank you for helping me find my own potential, for answering questions, and your honest opinions. I feel fortunate to call you friend, and grateful that I now know where all the best burger & cupcake locations are :-)
  • Mallory, Kim, & Betty - you are strong, wonderful, funny, amazing women who didn't let a little thing like cancer get in your way. You inspire me, and I feel privileged to call you friends!
  • Jaclyn - How can you go wrong with someone who runs the same pace and likes to eat! :-) In some ways I feel like we have known each other longer than 5 short months. Thanks for letting me hang with you
  • Laura S. - Your encouragement & support has meant so much! You've taught me how cool our side of town is, and that cheese dip is pretty awesome. I laugh when you run a route that I finished an hour before hand, and can't thank you enough for sharing Stephanie.
  • Tim L. & Ken K. - Thanks for all of the support, encouragement, and coaching "tips."
  • Jim & Carol - I get excited every time I see you! You make me smile, and there is no better way to start a run than with a hug from either or both of you!
  • Lori & Angela Holder - You remind me that running is fun, especially when it's followed by one of our breakfast outings to Highland Bakery!
  • to my friends on dailymile - I think dailymile is one of the best things I've ever found! All of the support & encouragement truly keeps me going.
  • to my Team in Training teammates - So many of you are like family to me now. I can't imagine running without seeing you. Things are not quite the same when I miss a GTS, although one might argue I'm not the same after a GTS depending on the topic of conversation during the run...
  • I have met some pretty great folks through twitter. It's one of the first things I check when I get up, and any chance I get during the day.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


In the next to last episode of Project Runway the designer who was out had a bit of a moment when they didn't know how to tell their family they had lost. There was fear, uncertainty, and lots of tears. And the first thing that came to my mind was I have so been there!

Growing up my Dad use to tell me that I had until my 25 birthday to make my first million dollars so that I could take care of him. There was one small problem with this plan. He wanted me to be a doctor or lawyer (I didn't discover this till much later), I on the other hand wanted to play the violin. I remember being in the 8th grade and having to decide between the International Baccalaureate program and the Performing Arts program at the high school I would be attending. There was no question in my mind, I was auditioning for the performing arts track. I signed up for an audition without telling my parents. They had mentioned that they wanted me to go into the IB program. I got into the performing arts magnet, and after playing in my school's soccer game I went up to my parents and proudly told them I had passed the audition. They were not happy. I remember the fight later after we had gotten home. They wanted me to do the IB program, and I was going to be applying for it the next day whether I wanted to or not. I would not be a musician, I would go into some kind of business. End of story. I vaguely remember walking into the school's office the next day and asking for the IB application. A nice secretary asked why since they had the paper work from the performing arts audition. I remember her very kindly explaining that I would get just as much out of the performing art track as the IB.  I could take Advance Placement courses when I was older, which were almost equal to the IB courses, plus I was getting orchestra, which made me look well rounded to any schools I applied to for college. Someone I didn't know was on my side!

I remember getting into music school, and all through my first year my Dad kept telling me that I needed to pick a minor so that I would have something to fall back on when I failed as a violinist. He still didn't believe in me, and it hurt. The good news was at this point my Mom was at least behind me. Cheering me on through some of the hard things I went through in my early music career, giving me a hug and a shoulder to cry on when things or auditions went wrong. My Dad showed indifference. In April 2006 I called home one afternoon to tell my parents the good news. I was a month away from graduating with my Masters in Music and I had gotten a job back in Atlanta. My Dad was so relieved he said I could move back in with them till I got on my feet. I was stunned. He then said he was afraid that I was never going to find a job as a musician. At least we had gotten half way. In a strange twist I moved home, my Dad had a stroke 4 days later, and at the age of 27 I started taking care of my parents. Too bad I didn't have that million dollars I was suppose to have from being a lawyer or doctor. At least I was happy with my job, and I loved what I was doing!

Things don't always go the way we plan. I remember one particularly awful audition. I sent 15 minutes crying in my car before I could call my teacher to tell him how badly it had gone, and was bawling by the time I called my Mom to say I was coming home. It took hours, and countless hugs from my mom to admit what had happened. I was so afraid that my Dad was right, and that I had failed as a musician.

I have yet to win my dream job of an orchestra contract, but because I haven't it has allowed me to have some great experiences freelancing with other orchestras all around Georgia. Every job is an experience worth having, and learning from. I have a great teacher (yes, I have a Masters degree in violin, and still take lessons) who has helped fill in so many of the gaps I have in my technique. There is something coming, and I want to be ready. People tell me that I'm good. My teacher tells me I can play anything, and I never know what to say because deep down inside I'm still scared. What if I fail? It doesn't mater. Fear holds us back and keeps us from growing. I want to keep moving ahead. I'm happy, I love playing the violin, and I can't imagine doing something else.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Afternoon Tea

Sometimes I feel like there is nothing more perfect in the world than a wonderful cup of hot tea. Admittedly I'm a bit of a tea snob. My favorites come from a tea shop in England, although fortunately the Fresh Market down the street carries a few selections so I don't have to spend an arm and a leg on shipping!

 favorite cup for tea!

It finally feels like fall this morning. Not only is it starting to look like fall with the leaves changing colors, but this morning's 8 mile run was actually, wait for it, cold! I got home and could barely move my fingers :-). I loved every minute of my run this morning, despite the drivers on Peachtree that just can't seem to yield to people in cross walks. And after a wonderful haircut I feel ready to tackle the day. That is after my tea is done steeping. Because practicing the violin on a clear, crisp day with a hot cup of tea just hits the spot! Oh, and Lucy dog curled up at my feet is pretty nice too :-). It just seems like the perfect day!

new haircut. No FRIZZ!!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Taste of Atlanta

This past Saturday I got to have a little foodie fun! My friend Jaclyn and I headed to the Taste of Atlanta festival and spent the afternoon eating. We might have done a little too much eating since I felt like I never wanted to eat anything again by Sunday evening at our Chicago team reunion where, yes you guessed it, we eat even more (needless to say Monday's run was pretty awesome since I was all fueled up!).
one of my favorite places was right up front. West Egg!!

you can't go wrong with a Nutella crepe!

you would have a line this long if you to were serving Fries with Parmesan truffle oil! It was that good!

still good despite losing an awesome chef

fried goat cheese ravioli made to order = yummy! Only problem, it burned our tongues

Iberian Pig. It was so good we went back a second time!!

cooking demo. It was in the sun, and we ended up leaving. Part of my motivation to go was not wanting to eat brussel sprouts that were being cooked

The smart people at Cafe Intermezzo were offering gift certificates for coupons. Took a slice of cheese cake & a $10 gift card for later

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who wants a cupcake?

It was a crazy weekend, and it's carried over to the week. Needless to say I feel behind all ready, which means I don't have the fabulous blog post ready that I want. This is part of the reason:

leading the students in a little halloween concert. Like my hat?

all of the leftovers. Dear parents, what you don't take home gets given out during the week. They'll get the sugar one way or another (there are at least 2 dozen cupcakes left over, down from at least 6 dozen that walked through the door!)

At least I have a pretty view for this insane week! And I think there's only 1 stink bug left!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

stink bugs

I've had a little project going on the past 2 weeks. It's called operation kill the stink bugs. See my violin studio has a little problem. It's been over run with stink bugs, and not just one or two here or there. I haven't actually counted, but I wouldn't be surprised if I had 2 dozen dead stink bugs. It's been a pretty big problem. What's a stink bug? This my friends is a stink bug:

They like light, and they especially like my curtains. There is usually
at least 6 of them crawling on the curtains most days...

There are a few things that make stink bugs difficult:
  1. They fly. There's nothing quite like a 5 year old girl noticing that a bug is flying around during her violin lesson. Lets just say there are a lot of high pitched squeals being released these days, not just from the students...
  2. Do you know how stink bugs get there name? They're kind of like skunks. They feel threatened and they release an odor. Dear stink bugs, it is so not cool to let that fly while I'm working!! My studio has not smelled right for weeks!
  3. They creep me out (just being honest), and I really just want them to go away
Hence operation kill the stink bugs. I know they are getting in through the poorly installed air conditioner, and window.

Step 1: spray foam the cracks around the air conditioner

Step 2: recaulk the window. I can't do anything about the fact that the window doesn't sit in the track right. I know they are getting in because of someone didn't know how to install a window level or plumb (thanks for that)

I don't think I've had any new "friends" the past couple of days. Hopefully it stays that way!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Success versus failure

"There is no downside to winning. It feels forever fabulous. But there is no teacher more discriminating or transforming than loss. The great secret of athletics is that you can learn more from losing than winning. No coach can afford to preach such doctrine, but our losing season serves as both model and template to how life an go wrong and fall apart in the most inconceivable places. Losing prepares you for heartbreak, setback, and tragedy that you will encounter in the world more than winning ever can."
                                                                 - Pat Conroy "My losing Season"

Success versus failure is interesting isn't it? With success you are on top of the world. You achieved your goal, nailed the interview, got the dream job. Failure brings you crashing down. Or does it? Success and failure mean different things to different people. I get a daily devotional from my church. This week's focus has been looking at how the desire to succeed can take over our lives. It's been an interesting week to think about how success affects our lives coming off a race where I didn't meet my goal. One might deem it as a failure. I don't. I also stand on the verge of having a completely full violin studio. In fact we are having trouble fitting everyone into a slot. Success that has me slightly stressed out. I've watched others try to figure out if they have meet with success or failure. What does it all mean? I've watched as some who have reached some of the greatest success in running, qualifying for the Boston Marathon, attack others who they have deemed not as worthy as them despite having their own qualifying time. They have been blinded by success.

Losing is an important part of life. We often learn more from our mistakes more than our successes. It's why I tell me students there is no such thing as a bad sound. One student admitted just yesterday that she didn't want to try something because she thought it would sound bad, because she was afraid. How do know if you don't try? The thought of losing can bring us to a crashing halt. In life we lose more than we succeed, but that's part of what makes success feel so good. The idea of finally making it over that hurdle we've been trying to get past. In playing the violin I learn more by what doesn't work. It's a puzzle that I have to solve. Once I solve it I move on to the next. It's how we grow and get better. So what's the next puzzle? And how will we handle it?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Purple Haze

Maybe Mr. Goat knew that my fabulous friends on the Nike Team were headed to San Fransisco for their race. Whatever the reason, he's decked out in an awesome purple haze retro look today. It was too awesome not to share. Happy Friday everyone!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I love cupcakes!!

How about something lighter today? Maybe cupcakes?!!

I've had this odd tradition since July that I like to have a cupcake the night before a race. Doesn't mater how long the race is, I just like to have a cupcake. I mean it's important to fuel properly before a race, and everyone talks about carb loading. Cupcakes have really yummy carbs :-D. And frosting!

So I talked to my friend Amy about cupcakes in Chicago. Where should I go? She gave me two places to try, and then said if I didn't go to Sprinkles she would kill me. Okay, Sprinkles it is (you don't have to tell me twice). It ended up being a lot further from the hotel than I realized. A mile each way walking from the hotel to be precise. Good thing Mom and I went Friday!

Cute, right? Wait till you see what's inside! They had these:

mmmmm cupcakes! I got the pumpkin spice, which I had Saturday night, and this lovely chia with cream cheese frosting post race. I've heard a rumor that Sprinkles has been talking about opening a location in Atlanta. Dear Sprinkles, please hurry up! I'll bring friends!!!

And they had everything decorated for Halloween :-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chicago Marathon

It's been a few days. Things are sinking in. Trying to fall asleep Monday night was a challenge since my brain decided it wanted to replay the entire race while I tried to fall asleep. Looking back on the Chicago Marathon it was a day full of strange things, and definitely a story of two different races. Looking back and going over things I am not hanging my head in shame. There is no reason to. I did not fail even if my time doesn't reflect what I trained for or what I wanted. There are lots of positives thrown in with many things out of my control. So here we go...

Miles 1 - 14
The morning got off to an interesting start. At first there was nothing unusual. I got up and got dressed, ate a banana, and moved on to a bagel with peanut butter. Half way through the bagel the first oh crap moment of the day occurred. I started having huge waves of nausea. I would sit for minutes at a time just hoping that I could keep everything down. I knew that if I threw up everything was over. Somehow I made it down to where the Team was meeting still with 1/2 a bagel in my hand. I knew I needed to eat it, but every time I took a bite I felt like I was going to throw up. Everyone assured me it would be okay, it was just nerves. In my head I really hoped they were right, but I wondered if there wasn't something already wrong. I had never felt this way before any race before. I carried the bagel half way to the start, and ended up throwing it away. Eating it was just not worth the nausea I got with every bite.

It took forever to get to Charity Village South and the Team in Training tent. We were excited that they were doing a private bag check for us until we realized how far it was (an even bigger problem after the race). Still we had a chance to sit down for a bit before heading over to the start. Fortunately we found an opening into the corral, which was a little tricky to find, and 30 minutes after the gun went off Jaclyn, Betty, and I were heading over the starting line.

I really don't remember much of my surroundings during the race. I had to really focus on what was going on around me because it was so crowded. Jaclyn and I stayed together for the first 3 miles or so, until I had to stop for the first of 2 bathroom breaks. Things were not happy, and I was worried that I was sweating very heavily rather early in the race. For 30 seconds I wondered if I would be able to get through the whole race, and then I told my brain to shut up. I got myself back together and back on course as quickly as I could and just tried to keep things together. I started planning out how to handle nutrition and salt since it was getting warmer out. I decide to change from salt every 2 hours, to salt every hour, which after noticing that the alert system had gone up to yellow by mile 9 turned out to be a smart decision. I was drinking a lot of water, which worried me a bit, but I knew that taking some salt would help. By mile 7 I knew I needed to eat something despite the fact that my stomach still wasn't happy and I wasn't hungry. If I didn't eat something I knew I would be in trouble later, and managed to get 2 shot blocks down right before the next water stop (they had a really nice flag system that made finding gatorade and water really easy once you got it down). To be honest despite feeling kind of bad I knew I was running okay, which was the really weird part of it all. I'm happy with the first half.

mile 1: 9:48, mile 2: 9:41, mile 3: 10:02, mile 4: 15:34 (stupid line at the porti-potties), mile 5: 9:35, Mile 6: 9:57, mile 7: 10:07, mile 8: 9:35, mile 9: 10:14, mile 10: 10:01, mile 11: 10:01, mile 12: 9:53, mile 13: 9:38, mile 14: 8:46 (what the heck!)

miles 15 - 26.2
To be totally honest I don't really remember much of my surroundings during the second half of the race other than some of the neighborhoods we ran through towards the end of the 2nd half. I tried to stay focused on my form, and I was having to watch the road a lot (I had forgotten how chewed up the roads in the upper mid west get from the winter weather). Somewhere around mile 15 it got sunny, and it never stopped. The problem was that there was hardly any shade from this point to the end. The little bit of shade that did cover the road cause everyone to immediately try and get in it, which caused all sorts of congestion problems. It ended up being easier to stay in the sun. At some point the warning system went up to red because of the heat (at mile 24 there was a sign showing the temperature as 98 in the sun). I realized I was getting hot, and I knew that if I could get from water stop to water stop I would be okay. So instead of running 11 miles the rest of the race became 2 mile races from water stop to water stop. At some point I started taking walking breaks, and then at mile 22 my stomach just didn't want to go anymore. All I wanted to do was throw up. Fortunately, I ran into Fran one of our Georgia Team in Training coaches who walked with for a bit.

I got moving, but by the time I got to mile 23 I was crying. It was hot, I felt bad, and all I wanted to do was finish. I couldn't quit, I didn't want to. And then I ran into a Chicago Team in Training coach named Katrina. I will forever be grateful to her. She ran the next two miles with. She listened, and we talked. I told her about Mallory and Bruce and how both had to drop out before the race. I wanted to finish for them (more tears there). We started talking about why I got involved with Team in Training. She kept me talking, which was a great distraction.  At mile 25 we parted ways, and then I realized that once again that my stomach was my biggest enemy. And then I saw Bruce, Mallory, and my Mom. As much as I wanted to be running when I saw them, all I wanted at that moment was a hug. I think I scared the crap out of my Mom as I ran over. I was crying, and my stomach wanted to hurl, but I only had a mile. Bruce walked with me for a minute, got me settled, and off I went. The finish was right around the corner, just up the hill. I had finished countless training run up hills just like it, but I still ended up walking the top part. Half way up the hill a medic asked someone if they needed help. I didn't want any help if she was talking to me, and just ignored her. All I had to do was get around the corner and I was done. I don't remember speeding up. All I remember was a guy yelling Go Bonnie louder than I had heard all day followed by a very loud Go Team as I ran down the last 200 yards, and then I was at the finish line. I spent most of the finish shoot crying. It was huge, and took forever, followed by a very long walk to the TNT tent.

mile 15: 13:19, mile 16: 10:58, mile 17: 10:32, mile 18: 10:32, mile 19: 10:47, mile 20: 11:11, mile 21: 11:56, mile 22: 11:56, mile 23: 11:50, mile 24: 12:35, mile 25: 13:36, mile 26: 11:36, .2: 12:42

Somehow it's still a 2 minute PR. Not really happy with my PR time, but I'll take it

I think my Mom was really happy I finished after my mini meltdown. 
She got me flowers :-)

For the most part I really enjoy the race. It was very well organized, and the flag system at the water stops made following my nutrition plan really easy. And the cheering all along the course minus just a couple of hard to get to spots was great. There were a few things that were really annoying. There was absolutely no runner etique going on. People would come to a halt right in front of you, walk on the left side, and come darting across right in front of people. I can't tell you how many times I almost got knocked over by someone else. The road was crowded from the minute we crossed the start line to the minute I finished. I ran an extra .7 of a mile just getting around people. Once the alert system went up to yellow the misters came out. Now I generally don't mind misters as long as I can get around them. I don't like my feet getting wet, but these misters decided that everyone needed to get wet whether they wanted to or not. Sometimes they have a hose going across the entire street, or a couple of occasions I swear they aimed them right at me. Not cool! They ran out of sponges, so the volunteers at the kiddie pools there were using just started flinging water at people with their hands. It landed on our feet (again, not so cool).  At the first few bridges they had a carpet covering the metal grating to make it easier to run over. By the end of the race only a small part of the bridge was covered, and most of us had no choice but to carefully walk over the grating.
 this helped me feel loads better! :-)

Despite it all I'm pretty happy about the race. I finished, didn't get hurt, and ran what I think was a fairly smart race. Do I wish things could have gone differently? Yes, but they were out of my control, and I could only adapt to what was going on and do the best I could. I'm really looking forward to getting back to running and training again. Marathon number 5 is done!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sillyness, Craziness, and nerves

Why hello Mr. Goat. You're looking a little green and goblin like today... :-). I personally like the purple, sparkly things coming out of his ears (they are a little hard to see). I just thought I would share a few things this morning, like this (our coach sent it this morning):

Every five minutes, someone in the United States learns that he or she has leukemia or lymphoma. Every nine minutes, another child or adult is expected to die from these diseases. Every year, survival rates are increasing through advances in research and treatment. We are making a difference! - Fact

A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the Start line for the 100-yard dash.

At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back. Every one of them!

One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down, kissed the boy and said: "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the Finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes.

People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing:  What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

Another cool thing from fellow mentor and friend Andy:

And this one is cool, but makes me super nervous:

It's been a pretty crazy week at work. I had one random mom let her son run through my group class Monday, and nearly knock me over while holding a $6000 violin that is on loan to me. After asking them to leave 3 times they finally left my class alone. And I think another student quit. I think his mom might be mad at me for asking her to finally follow the same make-up policies that all of my other students follow (it's been a problem for a while), or maybe it's because he doesn't practice and hasn't brought his violin to a lesson in 3 weeks..

Crazy, just crazy...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Race week

It's race week. holy crap, holy crap, holy crap keeps running through my head. Not the most helpful running commentary to have going on in my head right now. Running 3 miles didn't really do much for me. It just wasn't quite enough, but I'm sticking to the schedule.
  • Monday morning I ran in my Mizunos just to make sure I was going to be happy about the shoe choice I've made for the race. They felt heavy, clunky, and my feet were not very happy. I was ready to take them off before I had even finished a mile. All signs point to running in my Newtons for the race to be the right decision, and I'm excited about it. I'm not excited about running in my Mizunos. At least one question has been answered!
  • I was looking back over my Dailymile training log on Sunday to discover that I've covered over 800 miles running and biking while training for Chicago. Am I ready? yes! Do I feel ready? umm...
  • I'm making a list, and checking it at least twice! Ask my sister or good friends you'll find out I have a tendency to forget things. Sometimes important things! So, I've pulled out my trusty Team in Training packing list and added a ton of things to it. I will not forget anything, I will not forget anything!
  • Our Team in Training coach asked for our goal times. Writing it down freaked me out a bit. Ah, taper, stop messing with my head. I seriously need to get over this!
  • I find it really funny that our hotel is on Wacker Drive in Chicago. In case you're wondering it's right on the river. Hmmm, wonder what was going on when they named this street... :-)
Fortunately I have a lot of things to focus on.I have a tons of things to practice and a new student to teach a trial lesson for. I hope I'm not totally out of it for the trial lesson. Focusing on normal stuff is not my strong suit on race week.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The great shoe dilema

Mizunos or Newtons? Newtons or Mizunos? This is a question that has been running through my brain almost around the clock since my last 20 mile run. My head has said run in the Mizunos for Chicago. You ran all of your long runs in them. So what if they are approaching old age. You'll be fine! My ankles, and knees have said run in the Newtons, and by the way, get some new orthotics! So, I decided to listen to the ankles. They after all, will bear the brunt of 26.2 miles in 13 days. I got new orthotics a size smaller so that they would fit better in my Newtons (which run a little small), and decided to finally get the metatarsal support too. Holy awesomeness Batman! I tried them in my Newtons Friday afternoon and walked around a bit, and then ran my part of the Ekiden relay in them Sunday. No knee, or ankle soreness! Hmmm, can I run a marathon in shoes that have only gone 10 miles as their longest run? I've been running twice a week in them for a couple of months. They are definitely broken in, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to wear them, which makes me kind of excited. This is the first time that I'm thinking about running a race in shoes that I haven't done my long runs in. That makes me a little nervous, but I feel like I run better in the Newtons than the Mizunos. I really do think the Newtons are going to win, but something tells me the conversation in my head isn't over. That's the fun part of the taper right? So ready to be done tapering!

Now if I could feel like I'm not coming done with something... Oh taper, you drive me batty!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When Tuesday becomes Monday

Yesterday wasn't the best day of the week so far, which was sad considering how awesome Monday was.
 My Chicago bib number & participant guide came in the mail Monday!!!!! :-)

Well, at least until I got into work and discovered for the second time in 3 weeks there was no air conditioning. Grumble, grumble, grumble. If it were actually fall this might not have been a problem. However, summer is still here. Monday it was 93 in the afternoon, and Tuesday it was 95. Sigh... It took calling the maintence people twice over 2 days to actually get them to come out (I guess not having AC isn't a big issue for them). My student's were rock stars, and put up with temps in the mid 80s in my room all day on Monday, but after 10 minutes I was sweating on Tuesday, which is not a big deal, but I was inside, and I wasn't running.

So, the maintence guy finally shows up (apparently we are suppose to e-mail rather than call. Thanks for letting us know...) and asks if I would like for him to take a look at it right now, or if he should come back later. Dude, it's 95 outside, the sun is on my room, and I'm already hot & sweaty after 30 minutes. Guess which one I choose? After making the fun dieing noise for him, he said the compressor was giving out, and started looking at things. Then he noticed one the heat buttons was pushed down slightly (the unit was not installed correctly however many decades ago it was put in so part of the cover actually sits on top of the low heat button). I must have let someone climb on it. No, I had not thank you very much. Oh, well I must have let someone push down on the cover. Again, thanks for trying, but no. How about we blame someone else. And then it pops in my head that they had been out to fix the stupid machine 3 weeks ago. The cover had come off, and then slapped back on. Hmmm, wonder if that would be considered pushing down hard? In which case maitence men you messed up my AC by trying to fix it the last time. These people drive me crazy!

To top it all off I can't wear my good pair of glasses any more :(. After 3 years the anti-glare coating is coming off, and ruining the lens. I can't see out of the right lens anymore, and the headaches are driving me nuts. So, I'm currently wearing an older pair until I can get to the eye doctor Friday to get a new prescription because nothing can be done to save the lens. They have to be replaced. At least the guy at the store I bought the glasses from was super nice, didn't blame me, and gave me an estimate. While I was there I asking about prescription running glasses, and he was super nice and answered all of my questions. Apparently I am just too blind. Because of my prescription, and because of the shape of most athletic glasses I would end up getting really dizzy trying to wear them (he said that he got some, and his prescription is no where near as bad as mine & he gets dizzy from them). That doesn't sound like a good combination if you ask me. So, now I'm thinking about getting some contacts to wear while running, and then getting a pair of sunglasses for running. Having a headache from squinting while running is getting old.

I could use a little Westside Creamery treat right about now:
a little post long run treat on Saturday salted caramel ice cream!

And look what I found at Antico while waiting for my pizza!

love Alton Brown!
Needless to say my run this morning was not the greatest. It's alright because I made it up everyone of the crazy hills without stopping this morning. Here's to a better Wednesday! May it have never heard of a case on the Mondays...

Monday, September 20, 2010

The last big run!

Saturday was a big day for the Team in Training Georgia Chapter's Chicago Team. Why? Because most of the team was running their very first 20 miler. That's right folks! We ran 20 miles on Saturday. I'll be honest, I wasn't really worried about the run. With one 20 mile run already under my belt I wasn't worried about the distance. I was a little worried about the course. We ran out at the river, which is a 20 mile course that I've never done in my 3 seasons with Team in Training. I hope I don't have to do again! Holy hills! I thought the other 20 mile courses were hilly, but this one had some doosies. There were a couple that were near impossible to run up. Jaclyn and I decided we were going to take it easy and not push. She was getting over a cold, and I had spent most of the week cursing ragweed, and trying to regain the ability to breathe through my nose. It was slower than my first 20 miler, but it still felt great, and I really think that's because we took it easy. There was no reason to push with the summer heat & humidity coming back. Now it's taper time! I can't believe there are only 3 weeks till the race!

The team before the run. All smiles & we smell pretty good too :-)

At the 3rd waterstop. Cruising along before the hills...

30 seconds before this was taken I mentioned how happy I was that our coach had stopped taking our picture... This is what I get for opening my big mouth :-)

Done!! Chocolate milk  in hand! Life is good :-)

Most of the team post run. We still look pretty happy even if we don't smell as good... :-)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chicago Marathon - looking back at summer training

The past two runs have been full of glorious fall like weather in the mornings!! I can't believe it's already starting to arrive. It is a much welcomed break from the unrelenting heat & humidity of the summer. I honestly can't remember a summer that was hotter than this one. With the last big training run before Chicago scheduled for this Saturday it got me to thinking about some of the things that have gotten me through the tough summer months of training:

    CamelBak Fairfax 50-Ounce Hydration Pack,Black/Hi Viz
  • My CamelBak Fairfax 50-Ounce Hydration Pack,Black/Hi Viz!!Some friends have laughed when I've shown up to training runs with it, but it has quite simply saved me this summer. I love having my hands free, and having the storage for my phone, any gels I might need or salt packets. I really can't sing it's praises enough! It's just the right size for my mid week runs, and with water stops on Saturday's I've never run out of water on my long runs. It took a little bit of work to get use to drinking out of the mouth piece, but it didn't take long to get the hang of it.
  • I've been running quite a bit more in my Newton running shoes, usually 1 or 2 runs a week (and I always wear them for my speed workouts). It's taken me a while to get use to them, but I love running in them. I definitely feel like I'm much more efficient and running is easier when I'm wearing them. My orthotics are a bit long for them, so I need to get new ones. I thought about running Chicago in them, but I haven't done any runs longer than 10 miles in them, so right now the plan is to wear my Mizunos for Chicago, and then continue to break the Newtons in for future races. I'm excited about checking out the Newton booth at the Chicago Marathon expo too. I bet I get into a lot of trouble ;-)
  • I have discover Pilate's! I planned to a lot more strength training this time round, and tried a bunch of different things. I started out with the 100 push up, 200 sit up, and 200 squat challenges, and after finishing those moved on to other things. I could definitely tell my running was improving, but I got tired of the repetitions. My friends Amy and Laura talk about Pilate's all the time. In fact I'm pretty sure Laura is trying to take over the world by convincing everyone to try a Pilate's class. See Laura, I'm on to you ;-). I wish going to an actual class fit into my schedule, but my non-conventional work hours mean I miss all of the Mat 1 classes at the studio I want to go to. Fortunately I found a pretty good workout to do at home, and even after just a couple of weeks I can tell a huge difference in my running. What in the world took me so long to try Pilate's?
  • After 4 marathons it was time to move from beginner runner to intermediate runner. With the help of my friend Amy we created a brand spanking new training schedule that is only slightly different than the Team in Training schedule. This time running was balanced with an equal amount of cross training, more strength training, longer runs, and speed workouts. Now that the weather is cooling off I can tell it's all starting to pay off. I spent most of the morning bouncing around despite a 20 mile bike ride and Pilate's. What, I ran 10 miles yesterday? I have 20 miles to run on Saturday? huh? No biggie, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce :-)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I love being an orchestra musician

What better way to celebrate September 11th then with a concert full of patriotic music! All American music, some of it centuries old, and other recent celebrating different parts of American history. You know it's going to be a good concert when the first piece, the national anthem gets a standing ovation & people are still cheering as you start the second piece. It ended with our Irish conductor spiritedly running around the stage with decorative hats and decorating various musicians. It was hard to keep a straight face and play off beats. Lets just say they didn't all stay on the off beats...

 we had a good laugh at this one. Go from playing really soft to softer, but really loud (from E.T. flying theme)

I really love playing in Savannah, and I was pretty happy when it sounded like I was going to continue to be asked to come back. Score!! I think there are some very exciting things going on, and the orchestra is heading in a really great direction. Not to mention it's really fun playing under a conductor that is passionate about music.

It wasn't all completely about work, although it was a lot of playing (my arms feel like they ran a marathon, which is saying something considering all the hours I normal play during the day). There was some food involved. Hey, you have to fuel properly to play well right? ;-)
good old southern BBQ

The Tea Room. I got soaked with no umbrella (fortunately nothing got into the violin case) and walked pathetically into the tea room asking if they did sandwiches. They found me a table and a bunch of napkins to dry off, and replaced my soon to be destroyed shopping bag. Then I had a super yummy lunch of soup, sandwich, tea, and an assortment of sweets. My kind of place!

Reynolds Square, right outside of the theatre

I ended up brown bagging it for dinner Saturday night from a cute little french sandwich shop.
brioche, ham, swiss cheese, brie, with honey Dijon mustard topped with thin apple slices along with a salad. YUMMY!!

Now I just need to find new black trousers before my next concert. There was a lot of pulling them down because they kept bunching over my quads every time I had to stand up (which was a lot). Yay for strong marathon legs. Now I just need trousers that fit them!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

hello again mr. goat

Yes my friends, the plastic goat is back!! Today he's the king of the hill :-). My favorite are the fake flowers just peeking in on the left side of the picture. Hysterical!! I saw him at the end of my 10 mile run this morning. I'm working in Savannah thins weekend and decided to change my runs around, and did my long run this morning. I thought it would be a good day to kick off a very long day. Oh, and it's my birthday ;-). So, I'm working till 9:30pm tonight and trying to find time to pack. And somewhere in all of that there will be cake!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Down the Home stretch

It's hard to believe that there are only 5 weeks standing between me and the Chicago Marathon. It seems like we just started yesterday, and yet it was a full 4 months ago! The ability to finish 26.2 has never crossed my mind having run the distance four times before. I wanted this time to be different. I played with my training schedule, ran some extra miles, and trained with a purpose. I balanced running with speed workouts, lots of cross training, and strength training with the goal of getting stronger and starting to find out what I'm capable of.

So, this weekend I ran the first of two 20 mile training runs. Yes, that's right, two 20 mile runs. I was unusually nervous before starting. I had butterflies fluttering around my stomach, allergies trying to upset the butterflies, and then there was the bug I swallowed running 2 miles before the group run. But I have great friends who started putting my mind to easy. Jessica came over smiled and said I would do awesome. Angela reminded me that I was going to a super yummy dinner the next day, and Lori and Jim were at water stops doing what they do best, handing out water, high fives, hugs, and smiles. I ran with my mentee Jaclyn, and both of us starting thinking the same thing a third of the way through, "this feels really awesome, and kind of easy. Are we going too fast?" The beautiful weather brought new possibilities to both of us, mostly that we are a lot stronger than we thought.  The weather this summer has battered confidence down. It's been mostly about surviving more than anything else. This was one of the best runs in months, maybe even the best 20 miler period (20 miles in 3:18 an average of 10:03 per mile). It gave me such a needed boost of confidence going into the final weeks of training. My teammate, and fellow mentor Andy snapped a few pictures while we were running:

 the Chicago team before starting our run

heading down one of several hills with Jaclyn

Sunday a new confidence was growing even more after discovering that I'm 95% of the way to my fundraising goal! I simply cannot express how much it means, and what a difference the money is making.