Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today I Will Wear Lipstick

"I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny." Coco Chanel

I'm reading Getting the Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald and it's positively funny, entertaining and chocked full of good girlie advice.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Morning Run

I am not a morning person, yet I love morning runs. I love getting back to the house for a fresh hot cup o Joe. I actually spend a large portion of my run thinking about the coffee at the end of my run...and trying to remember the lyrics to Jay-Z's On to the Next One. Even with the humidity this morning, my short 4-miler brought a smile to my face. And the's perfect.

Now back to Mr. Lopart and Handy Manny. Anyone else think that Manny will someday hook up with Kelly?

Monday, June 28, 2010


During the 1990s Jim Collins and Jerry Porras rose to fame with their business theories and case studies. They even coined a catchy term - BHAG - and wrote a series of Harvard Business Review articles and a couple well-regarded business books, Built to Last and Good to Great. How does this apply to running? Very simple. Tackling 50 states has become my BHAG - my Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. Now, clearly my goal is not as visionary as Google's, which was to "organize the world's information" or as bold as Microsoft's "a computer on every desk and in every home". But my BHAG of completing a race in all 50 states does fit Collins and Porras' definition of "having a clear finish line, so the organization [my family] can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines." (1996)

I never thought my business and academic reading would apply to my real life. But as I was lying in bed this morning, I enjoyed giggling that I, too, just like Google and Microsoft, had my very own BHAG. The finish line will be Hawaii and we are nearly at the half-way point when we complete the 24th and 25th states in July. And, yes, I am looking forward to this exciting finish line.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Movie Recommendation: Elegy

While the kids and husband were away, I took advantage of the "me" time and actually watched a DVD from START to FINISH. What a luxury. I am a fan of both Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz. I obviously have a thing for bald men (I heart Ben Kingsley since Sexy Beast) and Megan and I are notorious for being spellbound whenever Penelope speaks. This movie was not only a pleasure to watch, but the dialogue was smart, there seemed to be chemistry, the story line was plausible, and the acting was quite good, including the late Dennis Hopper's role. Not appropriate for children, but well worth watching. I give it two thumbs up :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Perfect Trifecta

My Tuesday was wonderful because...

1. My family came home safely from their trip to Canada with exciting stories.

2. I enjoyed some "me" time earlier in the evening with a Hot Powerful Flow class with Tammy at Inner Bliss.

3. Eyebrows waxed! Somethig so small, yet so big!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Race Report: Grandma's Marathon

I enjoyed so much about this race - so let's get to the details...

Pre-race. Loved the town of Duluth. Stayed at Sheraton, which was located in a perfect part of town. I was maybe about a mile walk to the race expo; about 3 blocks from the race morning bus pick-up; and perfectly located near some of the most delicious looking restaurants. I mean, seriously, Duluth has some fantastic dinner options available. It was too early to check into the hotel, so I ventured off to the expo. I don't know if I'm getting burned out at expos or maybe my expectations are impossibly high, but Grandma's was just so-so. Kind of overly crowded, space-wise, and I wasn't in the mood to add to my running wardrobe. I did, however, buy a pair of compression socks. Loved them! The expo packet was the only disappointing part about the overall race experience. It was full of local race brochures...and nothing else! No samples of Clif bars, lara bars, chapstick, not even an ink pen! I mean, it's hard to top the Cleveland race packet, but an effort maybe? Having a little time to kill, I grabbed a quick lunch at Amazing Grace for a turkey sandwich made with fresh bread and served with a side of carrot sticks. How awesome! Afterwards, I darted off to take the tour bus to check out the course. The course description was pretty accurate - rolling hills with only one really tough hill coming at you at mile 22. Dinner was in my room and then just some serious chillaxin :)

Race Morning. Woke up unable to really hold down food. Ate a little of my bagel/PB and made sure to hydrate. I wasn't nauseous - just felt too full to eat anything...weird...just plain weird. We had to be at the bus stop between 5:30-6:00 a.m. Buses were running about every 10 minutes or so, but I wanted to make sure I didn't cut it close so I erred on the side of caution arriving around 5:35 am. Since it was a point to point race, we rode a school bus (how cool - when was the last time you rode a school bus?). Now wouldn't you just know it that the guy who plopped down next to me spoke very little English. So much for having a little nervous pre-race conversation! I barely understood where he said he was from! The race morning had a cold wind with a sky that looked like it was going to break loose with some seriously cold, damaging rain. Instead, about 10 minutes before the race start, the cloud cover moved and opened up to a wonderful day. The race temps started in the 60s and we finished with high 70s at the end. Best of all, at the end of the Star Spangled Banner, two jets flew overhead and it was just amazing....simply amazing to see.

The first few miles were uneventful. I was focusing on keeping a nice steady pace. The last marathon I ran, I did a terrible job of running consistent splits. In hindsight, I think I started out too conservatively in this race because I was trying to make sure I had plenty left in the tank for the last few miles. Go figure. Miles 6-15 were just breathtaking. The course was run on Scenic Highway 61 right along the Lake Superior shoreline. I can't even describe the beauty I saw. I stopped at several points along the course and took pictures. I wanted to remember everything and it was worth losing a few minutes of time for the snapshots I got. Miles 18-20 were a bit boring because we began crossing over to a busier highway, but then we found ourselves in the downtown area for the last 5 miles. It was about here that I switched from powerade to ice cubes and just crunched and hydrated. Stomach was revolting and I was not going to let it win. I stayed very consistent for the first 15 miles, then started thinking, "wow, this is a long race." Come on, who doesn't have that thought while running a marathon. Mathematically, I know the distance and can add and subtract with skill and accuracy (with or without a calculator, thank you very much). But sometimes, you just have to wonder what you were thinking when you paid that $80 to get the t-shirt! Kept plugging along till I hit Lemon Drop Hill at mile 21. Interesting story: neither the road or the hill are actually called Lemon Drop. Rather, it was a famous Duluth restaurant (no longer in business) on that stretch of the road. I walked the hill. Yep, I and about 100 other damaged runners walked about a three-fourths mile stretch of the course. But don't worry, I pulled it together and hobbled on since my goal was incapacitation...and I could still trot at this point! For the next 3 miles I channeled my inner Jeff Galloway and ran 4 minutes/walked 1 minute, which worked quite nicely. When I approached the mile 25 marker, I came across this sight. I.HAD.TO.STOP! What?! Belly dancers? Overweight belly dancers?! I did what any self-respecting runner would do with an iPhone. I stopped at the side and snapped a shot. Mile 25 may be my favorite! It gave me a good laugh for that final stretch. Thank you mile 25 ladies! The final stretch was tough because we were routed around several twists and turns, which was a bit deflating. But I rallied, sprinted, and made it with a 5:15 finishing time! Woohoo - a PR by 35 minutes and 44 minutes better than my last marathon attempt. Very happy.

Post-Race. Gathered up my medal (very very nice), got my space blanket (the guy wrapped it around me and said "Now that's a wrap!" lol), grabbed my t-shirt (a medium, thank you weight loss!), and my free drink ticket. I am a huge fan of post-race drinks!
For food, I grabbed several strawberries (mmmm), chugged a half glass of orange juice, a couple Pearson's nut rolls (for the flight home), and the mint chocolate chip ittibitz ice cream (only had a couple bites...wanted the beer more). I managed to wander over to the Michelob tent, grabbed myself a Michelob Light and plopped down to the band. What a great band. They did a Johnny Cash cover, moved on to Charlie Daniels Band, some Aerosmith, and then some honkey tonk music. Loved it. Began making my way back to the hotel, grabbed a latte for recovery (sounds good to me), then off to get this stinky body clean. A shower, a nap, clean clothes and I'm golden.
Great mexican dinner on the deck overlooking the lake, and a little shopping excursion for jeans (I overindulged with a pair of Citizens for Humanity jeans) so wonderful of a day!

I received the best advice from Karen before I ran my first marathon. She told me to enjoy the experience, enjoy the crowds, enjoy the course and to be happy that I got there - to enjoy the crowds and the whole race experience. In Duluth, I certainly did just that. I managed to greatly improve from my last marathon race and I made sure I took the time to enjoy the sights, the crowd, the course and the overall vibe of this wonderful race. And now, I'm not dreading the marathon distance, but rather I'm excited about my next opportunity!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I PR'd Grandmas's Marathon

I redeemed myself from my train wreck performance in October 2007 at the Marine Corps Marathon. Although I didn't hit the "A" goal, I did meet the "B" goal and I couldn't be happier. I finished in 5:15:46, which is a 44 minutes better than my MCM time and a PR by 35 from my PF Chang's Arizona time. I had stomach issues when I woke up and couldn't eat anything and was reduced to eating ice cubes for the last 8-9 miles - not sure what the story was there. But even with the toasty temps, humidity, warm headwinds and stomach isisues, I still kicked butt. I'll write up a proper report after I sort everything out in my head.

If you haven't been to Duluth, you should. It is beautiful and a lovely town with something for everyone. I really like this place and I'm having a tough job narrowing down my dinner search. There are THAT many places!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Getting Nervous

So last night I had a terrible dream. A nightmare, if you will. I dreamt that I had an inner ear infection that caused me horrible balance problems and kept toppling over while trying to run the marathon. Holy crap! I normally worry about twisting an ankle while wearing my Kelly Ripa-esque heels or being plagued by foot, shin, knee or hip problem (who says you only have to check one box on runnig ailments?) but inner ear issues? Talk about an overactive imagination?!

So to borrow from Elizabeth, I have an "A" and "B" goal. My grand goal is to finish in 4:59:59. My back-up plan is to finish by 5:15. I'm excited, but apprehensive at the same time. The weather looks decent with a high of 64 and morning showers. I'll take it. Certainly beats the heat and humidity of the past several weekends. Off to bed for much needed rest, then morning flight, expo, then race day!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tapering Is a Curious Thing

So my third marathon is now less than a week away. This morning was my last "long" run, although I called my 8-miler a short run. It had gotten to that. Eight miles, who knew it could feel so quick. And what's with this amazing performance this morning. I ran like I was part gazelle (I'll always be part elephant so indulge me in my weak belief that I could be part gazelle at the same time). I ran with little effort. It's possible that my run was due to the fact that I am in full taper and the body is not totally and utterly worn down. It could also be due to the fact that I was only able to run twice this week because of my demanding work schedule and I was thrilled to be able to squeezein a run. Or it could be because I wanted to hurry up before the so-called thunderstorms hit. Whatever the reason, it sure felt good. And it reminded me of why I love to run!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Here We Go Brownies!

Today was another fun Satuday in the CLE. We started with B's dance class, then headed down to Browns stadium to pick our seats. We had the option of full season ticket packages (which included the ridiculously over-priced license fee) or a 3-pack. We opted for the 3-pack and added a 4th game. The price was reasonable and got me excited about spending 4 Sunday afternoons having a beer and hotdog while watching the Browns. I love football weather!

We also hit up the Gordon Arts district for a trip to Room Service and Made in the 216. Picked up some cool one-of-a-kind items before heading back for a naptime! Perfect day!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones didn't break her bones...rather, it was the climbing wall at day care that my little spider monkey decided to jump off of, then land on a ball, followed by breaking her arm and yelling "ouchie" over and over. So Tuesday marked our first broken bone. And what cast experience is complete without a trip to Mitchell's for blue (cotton candy) ice cream!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Happy 6th Anniversary

Hard to believe that 6 years have gone by since that day at St. Colman's Church and Windows on the River. It's been a wonderful ride :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

I Just Dropped One "Big Bar"

In an effort to shave minutes off my marathon time, I decided weight loss had to occur...realistic weight loss, though. I set a goal to lose 15 pounds by Grandma's Marathon. Today, I reached the 13 pound mark and dropped one big bar!!! That's right, I now get to use the 100 pound weight bar instead of the 150. Of course, the top "little bar" is all the way to the right, but I'm making progress and I'm darn close to that weight loss goal!