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.