Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bad Blogger, Bad Runner, Great Cookie Maker

Well well well, the holidays are coming to a close. Jason and I went to Fort Wayne, IN for the holidays and hung out with his brothers, parents and tons of neices including the newest addition to the family, Caeli. We have not seen Jason's oldest brother Andy and his wife Lysa (pronouned Lisa) (Parents of Caeli) for a long time, so it was great to see them. They live in Philly and we are hoping to get out there over the summer for Caeli's 1st year birthday.

I of course contributed to the holiday with my plate of cookies. I brought all the cookies that I had made, even those that didn't fit on the tray. Every morning I would wake up and refill up the was like magic. Everyone was mightly impressed with not only the amount but the level of deliciousness that the cookies attained. Go Me!

So running....lah di dah.....whistle whistle. We didn't do nothing which I guess is good. We had a 5 mile recovery for Saturday night and a 15 mile run on Sunday. We went to bed at about 2am on Friday night and got up at 7am and were still running late so we skipped the 5 mile recovery which isn't a huge deal. Then on Christmas eve we did run. We just didn't run 15 miles. We did probably about a 7 mile loop (I forgot Garmin at home, which I'm actually ok with). With the hills, and the drinking the night before and the sleeping of Jason AND I on a couch (we forgot our air mattress....and someone (that would be me) fell asleep on the floor....and somone else (taht would be Jason) WOKE me up so I could squeeze next to him on the couch....which was not the most comfortable) I would say that it was a 15 mile EFFORT. On Tuesday we should have done 8 miles with 10 strides and we did the 7 mile loop again. Close enough. We did go on a 5 mile run yesterday instead of 4 though to make up for the one mile difference.

Jason's parents gave us a gift certificate to a running store in Fort Wayne which we hit up on Tuesday.....we are idiots and two of things we got are the wrong size. Why do those stupid fuel belts have sizes anyways.....I already pulled the tags off but I am hoping I can give them a call and still be able to return them or something....we'll see. I was excited to have the fuel belts for long runs since the fountains are all turned off which is annoying....but we'll see what we can do.

Last night we went to Small Bar with a friend of mine that I have known for the past 24 years....which is just crazy to me. Jason had one too many Stella's and so we are going to do our 11 mile run tomorrow instead of today. We aren't coming into the lab tomorrow so it should actually be a nice day out on the lakefront path. So 11 tomorrow, 4 on Saturday, 16 on Sunday....pre Bears and PRE NYE! (Speaking of PRE, jason and I just watched Without Limits the movie about Steve Prefontaine, that guy was crazy! and did you know that the coach of Oregon was the one who started the little shoe company that we know today as NIKE....go figure)

In shoe news (I know you have all be on the edge of your seat waiting...) have preordered the new Brooks Adrenaline 7s. The guy at our running store said they were being released on January 1st. I hope that really is the case because my legs are a bit sore and it's a sore that usually means time for new shoes. Just achy shins and feet and ankles. Nothing hugely annoying, just well....annoying I guess.

That's all from here, I am looking forward to a nice long weekend filled with running, drinking and friends!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Oh Cookies...

Yesterday brought a busy day full of finding camera battery chargers, getting an eyebrow wax, getting a hair cut (see pic on right for cuteness factor of a million), and then of course...making the cookies. I have 8 types of cookies that I want to make for the year and last night I was able to get through 6 of them. I don't know how the magic cookie bars worked out....but I don't think the answer to that is good. The rest of them however look amazing. I ended up with 4 metal tins and 3 tupperware containers. Tonight I'm going to do the thumbprints (which are my absolute favorites) and then it's looking like I am going to make these creasant type cookies with my aunt when we invade her house Friday afternoon/evening for a Christmas movie night. So, look out Jason's family cause the cookies are going to end up eating you :-)

Even though I was up till 1:30am (and got up at 5:30am) I am so excited to be doing this. My mom always makes tons of Christmas cookies and this is the first year that I won't be seeing her for the holidays which I am a bit sad about. Obviously making cookies does not get me to her house, but it's been fun talking to her via the phone about what I am doing wrong, or right or new ideas or whatever. I would love to take on the mega cookie tradition with my future kids and so hopefully this is year one of that. I know Jason will probably divorce me if I don't make the freakin' sugar cookies next year so I'm sure he'll make sure I stay on it.

One of the funnest (I know this isn't a word, but I think it should be) types are these playdoh cookies, which actually would have been more fun to make with the kids since the dough looks like playdoh and then you add food coloring after you divide the dough, and then you put the pieces together playdoh...don't say playdoh...playdoh. I keep getting the bottoms of these a little too brown, but c'est la vie...I guess they will just be a little crunchier.

We have 11 miles on the schedule for tonight. But as I stand right now, I'm so tired that my eye sockets hurt. SO, I think we just have one meeting tomorrow morning and then we are going to do it at the lab around 11am. Then it can be a quality run and not just dragging our bodies through it, "cause the schedule says so". Speaking of running schedules on Christmas Eve...I don't know what to do here. We have a 15 mile run planed, but on Saturday night ALL of Jason's family will be there. I am planning on an evening of gaming (Apples to Apples=THE MOST FUN GAME EVER) and I'm *guesssing* some drinking. I don't know if I want to be all, "I have to go to bed cause I am running tomorrow" when I haven't seen these people for a long time. I am just going to play it by ear, I know that this marathon will probably not be as good as Chicago just because training in the winter can suck. I am doing it for fun and just more practice at the distance. SO with that said...we'll just see how it goes. Plus I might be so full of cookies that I won't be able to pick one leg up after the other.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

LT, Cookies Phase I & Blogger Beta?

Yesterday was the first Lactate Threshold run of the training cycle. In my opinion these are by far the hardest runs on the schedule. I get nervous and have a slight stomach ache the day we are doing them, similar to if it was a race day. During the summer, I think we ended up only getting through two of these fully, the first one and the last one.

Well we got through the first one again with flying colors. The splits were :
  1. 8:59
  2. 8:54
  3. 8:32
  4. 7:42
  5. 7:52
  6. 7:53
  7. 7:30
  8. 12:whatever
So Miles 4-7 were nicely under 8 minute miles. Good fast and LOUD music helped on these. We walked a bit during mile 8 and then picked it up and ran probably the last 0.75 miles. I have a love hate relationship with these workouts. If I get through them I feel like a beast and the best runner in the world....if however they go terribly, my day is ruined because I wonder if I could have gotten through it had I tried a bit harder. So for now I am a beast runner, we'll see what happens the next time we try this workout.

I made the cookie dough for the two types of cookies which need to be refridgerated overnight last night. Today is the big day of cookie making, I am hoping to get all or at least most of the cookies done. We'll see how far I can make it, no running today and leaving early since we got here at 6am but there is a desire for a haircut and some more christmas shopping, so we'll see how early I can get started.

and uh...Blogger Beta. It finally said I can switch and I don't have any circumstances, too many posts or team blogs which held me up in the past. Then I tried and it was all, "No you actually suck and we can't switch you!" So I will stick in OldBlogger World for now.

Quote of the day from Mr. Jason "My lower legs stumps are very sore."

Happy Hump Day.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas tag, Part Deux

  1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Egg Nog is 50% gross and 50% inexplicable, so I'm going with hot chocolate.
  2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrap. Does anyone just set them under the tree? Maybe Christmas in a flop house?
  3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Leah got it right. Tasteful white on outside, gaudy colored lights on tree.
  4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope. I get tired of watching people desperately avoid me whilst I stand hopefully under the mistletoe.
  5. When do you put your decorations up? Growing up it was not long after Thanksgiving. Now it's in early December with the non-tree decorations and mid December when we do a tree.
  6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? candy a dessert? I honestly can't think of a food I associate with Christmas that isn't a dessert.
  7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? I don't necessarily have a specific one, but I have very fond memories of Christmas Eve at my grandparents when, after dinner, everyone would gather in the family room around the tree and the extended family would exchange presents. My mom has a big family, so the room was packed and there were lots of presents for the kids from all the aunts and uncles. It was just very nice to have so many people in the same room having so much fun.
  8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? You mean the fact that if you rearrange the letters in Santa you get Satan? I figured that out a long time ago.
  9. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? My parents tree is very shiny, with lots of old ornaments, color lights, and handfuls and handfuls of that plastic tinsel. It's very bright. Personally, I like it, but it's hardly Martha Stewart. Leah and I decorate our tree, when we do a tree, with her family's homemade ornaments and lights, but no shiny metalic tinsel. It's fun to watch Leah go through the ornaments since she remembers all of them.
  10. Snow! Love it or dread it? It's somewhat okay, but mostly it annoys me. Cold and wet is not my preferred state of being. But Leah and I love taking walks through the snow when it first falls. Then the cars drive through it and it looks like poop.
  11. Can you ice skate? I can put on skates. The skates touch the ice. So yeah, I can skate. I also can fall. alot.
  12. Do you remember your favorite gift? I may be getting this confused with my birthday, but I believe it was christmas when my parents refused to get me a video game system and then, low and behold, there was one under the tree. Fool me once, shame on you... I remember I got a CHiPS tricycle one year (I was maybe 5) that had flashing lights and a siren and all that. It was really sweet. My brothers broke the siren off that same day. Now that I think of it, they owe me a CHiPS siren and I plan on collecting. Oh, and recently my parents got Leah and me gift certificates to a running store by their house and that ended up being really great. The people at that store were actually the ones who told us about the Shamrock Shuffle.
  13. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? It's all about the family.
  14. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Apparently, Leah's sugar cookies. I just discovered that this year. Also, those nouget mint candies with the christmas trees in the middle and the red and white striped edges.
  15. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Chrsitmas tended to change from year to year, but I eventually ended up going to midnight mass with my parents late in high school. Although I got very annoyed with the reading at the beginning of mass that gave the history of Christmas (with all the begetting and whatnot) referenced from the beginning of time (5000 years ago, of course), the Christmas music was great and it was nice to share that with my parents and then come home at 2 in the morning. Leah and I are working on new holiday traditions of our own.
  16. What tops your tree? That star that Leah made. Man, she is one amazing artist. My parent's tree had an angel.
  17. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? I like the giving when I feel that I've scored the perfect gift. As far as receiving, I never need anything so it's not that big a deal anymore.
  18. What is your favorite Christmas song? White Christmas
  19. Candy canes? Hell yeah
  20. Favorite Christmas movie? Well, it's not a movie, but the Charlie Brown Christmas special is my favorite holiday program. My favorite movie is probably The Nightmare before Christmas with Love Actually coming on strong. I also love It's a Wonderful Life.
  21. What do you leave for Santa? Santa leaves for me, I don't leave for Santa.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Tag

Alright here we go
  1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot Chocolate with mini-marshmallows...of course I'm not one to say no to egg nog-----especially with a bit of liqour it in
  2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrap of course! What fun is just seeing what you are getting without having to open it.
  3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White outside...color on the tree
  4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nope
  5. When do you put your decorations up? Well living in a very tiny apartment....we put some lights and stuff up around the first weekend in December. No Tree though :-(
  6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? All of it! It's real food and not ordered via the phone which are most of our meals these days.
  7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? One year my mom had learned this game at work (I was pretty little, maybe 7 or 8 or so), and you had to go around the table and you would say, "I'm going on a boat and I'm going to bring _____" and there was some trick to it and my mom would say if you could go on the trip or not. (the trick was that the thing had to start with your first name or last name initial). I remember laughing really hard because neither my dad or I could figure it out and ended up being the last two at the table to get it. :-)
  8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What truth about Santa?
  9. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? When we get a tree, colored lights, and lots of ornaments. I love the old ones. When I was little my mom got me an ornament every year so I love pulling out those that were my favorites and putting them front and center.
  10. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it, especially when my car gets snowed in and so it's a work at home day.
  11. Can you ice skate? yep! Love skating downtown Chicago.
  12. Do you remember your favorite gift? My dad gave me a parakeet once. I was living with my mom more at that time....and I'm sure she was thrilled. Another year, the big year for the Nintendo Gameboy, my dad gave me a rock tumbler as one of my gifts. Now there was always a big gift and he would tease me and say, "No that's it...." and then pull out the big present. So he said, wait here's on more. It was the perfect shape for the nintendo gameboy, so I ripped it open and it was rocks for the stupid rock tumbler! BUT there was yet another one and that happened to be the nintedo game. But the process to get there was spectacular
  13. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Being with family.
  14. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Anything coming out of my mom's kitchen. She usually has all kinds of cookies and treats. Love it.
  15. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Oh man.....well. I guess all of my old traditions are over now that my parents have moved that's sad....I guess I'm growing up. But looking back, I guess there are two that stick in my mind. In the Ukrainian tradition the big day of celebration is on Christmas Eve, and so my grandmother would always have this big giant ukrainian dinner and all of their friends would be there and I don't know. I just always got super excited about it. Then on Christmas morning I would go to my dad's very early and we would open presents and eat breakfast and then watch whatever movie I had gotten that year as a gift.
  16. What tops your tree? A star---but one that I made when I was about 9 because the start we had, broke. Oh it's spectacular, just out of computer paper, glue, crayon and some tinsle glued to's very classy. I love that I still have it.
  17. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving!!! Jason and I give books every year for Christmas and I love going to pick them out and finding books that everyone will like and fits them (at least we hope so). I get very excited when people open the presents we give them....although I don't mind the receiving so much either.
  18. What is your favorite Christmas song? White Christmas
  19. Candy canes? Yum
  20. Favorite Christmas movie? White Christmas with Bing Crosby. My mom and I would watch it late late on Christmas Eve after everyone had opened presents and then we opened the presents we got for each other without the hoopla of the family around.
  21. What do you leave for Santa? Cookies and milk!

Running and Relaxing

or "My favorite way to spend the weekend"

We had tons of things to do this weekend and managed to get all of it in. On Friday we went with our favorite Chicago Running Bloggers Mike and Barb to a Bulls game. Which they won which is always nice to see. I lived in Chicago during the Jordan years and so I have to stop going, "This one time, at a Bulls game....Jordan won the game with a last minute shot". The new kids looked good and perhaps they are playoff bound this year. The half time show was Blue Man Group which was awe-some. I went to see the show many years ago but Jason has yet to see it live so we must put that on our list of things to do while in Chicago.

Saturday we went Christmas shopping which was nice to finally get out of the way as I had done none of it and now it's all done....almost as I still have 4 nieces that need more doting on. After Christmas shopping and a quick lunch at Goose Island and a quick nap we did a 5 mile recovery run. We were good little recoveryers and ended up with 10+ minute miles. Jason had some hip pain so we stopped several times to stretch and walk it out. After that we went down to Lincoln park zoo and met up with my old coworker to see the Zoo Lights. The zoo has all kind of Christmas lights u and ice scupting happening. It was very fun and as apparently we don't live in Chicago anymore as the temperature was really warm and it was an amazing night out.

Sunday brought our weekly long run of 13 miles on us. We were both a little worried about this one since our legs were a bit sore on Saturday. However, we had a GREAT run. Nice and easy miles coming in at an 8:49 min/mile average. This is good, but perhaps a little too low as our General Aerobic run was done at 8:48 min/mile. I think there should be a bit more seperation between these paces. We also started off too fast with miles under 9 minutes but we felt ok, so just kept the pace where it was. I think we had 3 miles over 9 and the rest were around 8:55 or so. The last mile we booked it to 'One' by Metallica and came in under 8. I just say that's practice for the upcoming (read : dreading) LT run tomorrow.

Later Sunday night (after a ridiculous Bears least Sexy Rexy is back.....the rest...sheesh I don't know) we hung out with friends of the family Kay and Gary and Lisa and Evin for Christmas type festivities.

Last week we got in the 35 planned miles which is nice to see, this week we have 39 on the calendar. I also have 8 or 9 types of cookies to we should be pretty busy. We are off to the Fort (that's Fort Wayne) on Saturday and are looking forward to seeing Jason's family. We finally get to meet the new baby Caeli (Jason's oldest brother's baby) and I can-not wait for that.

Happy Monday all.

Friday, December 15, 2006

9 Miles on a Thursday Night

Jason and I ran at Fermilab last night around 4:30pm. Instead of doing multiple loops around the rings, we decided to do about half of the miles on other parts of the Fermilab campus. The picture is from the new program TrackRunner. I think I am need of new shoes because I can always tell when I get certain pains, sorre shins and ankles and just "dead" feeling legs that it's time. However, I want to wait for the MoGo Brooks Adrenalines that should be out at the beginning of the year.....but that's like another 100 miles on the shoes that I am already having issues we'll see. I don't think I get enough out of shoes, I am currently at 226 miles for this pair and usually I never make it to 300miles. Aren't you supposed to get at least 350 miles from a pair?

Ok, even though I know we all love shoe talk, back to run talk. We paced 8:48 min/mile for the whole thing although we started off a bit slower, with the first three miles over nine and the remaining five all under 9, and the last mile in 8:12. These are perfect paces for these General Aerobic runs so I was happy even with the sore legs and the physics bruised ego I was able to get the run done like it needed to be done.

I was very sick however when we got home and lost all the food I had eaten all day. Unlike the last time this happened however, I at least made it back home (Jason was *very* happy about this). I don't know what the deal is, but I might *might* be putting a lot of stress on myself and my stomach is taking the brunt of it. Today we decided to work from home since our advisor is not at the lab this week so I won't be missing out on meeting with him in person.

Tonight we are going to the Bulls game with Mike and Barb because I guess Barb won some tickets. I haven't been to a Bulls game for-ever so that should be tons of fun.

Tomorrow is a recovery 5 miles and then 13 on Sunday pulling me to 35 for the total week. This girl is happy that the weekend is here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006 Like....Really Hard


Another long day where my office mate pointed out to me yet another error I have in my code. It's not that I don't know how to code, but rather I am missing a fundemental understanding of what I am doing. Which you awesome.

I get frustrated because at this obscenly old age of 27 I shouldn't be missing fundemental understandings of what my job is. Shouldn't I be zeroing in on what I will be doing with my life so that my time on this planet is not a waste of time. I think this exploration and non-understanding should not be happening at this time in my life.

So more tears were shed. Another meeting with my advisor this morning where I couldn't explain what the office mate thought was wrong. More numbers are being sent to the advisor.....who knows....maybe there will be a breakthrough in the next couple of days but lately it's been very demoralizing and frustrating.

Apologies to my husband, my parents, my cousin and so on for the endless bitching and complaining.

We did work out a bit yesterday after the downfall of my sanity in my office. Not much just a bit of upper body stuff and situps. Then there was fun and smiles at Lisa's while we made this really easy candy just using the looks like glass candy. Anyways, that was fun. Today is a new day I suppose.

9 miles tonight after work.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Running Like....Really Hard

Or maybe running with a hangover and after another shitty day at work makes it so hard.

Either way the plan was 8 miles with 10x100m strides in there. We split the workout into three parts as follows :
  1. One lap around the ring = 3.7 miles
  2. Walked out 100m, strided back, walked to start ended up = 1.5 miles
  3. Out and back on the ring = 2.8 miles
For a total of 8 miles. I felt just "ok" during this run which I guess is all I can really expect after Monday night's night of apparently I am an alcoholic (I'm kidding....right?). The strides were all great but those last 2.8 miles were a bit tough. I forgot to upload the data when I got home so I don't have pace numbers yet. For those of you Mac&Garmim users that haven't tried it yet, TrackRunner is really great. I like that I can finally see all my paces and distances in one place. So kudos to the writer of that software and I'm looking forward to seeing it grow.

Today is cross training or rest which I am going to take for weight training at the gym. Just some upper body stuff and situps. Then we are off to Lisa and Evin's where Lisa is going to teach me how she makes her Christmas candy. Woot.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday Headache....


awe-some to say the least.

Jason and I played volleyball for about an hour and a half and headed home as soon as our games were over (and we won a game!!!!). We went out to our favorite bar, Small Bar, which we frequent on Monday nights anyways, and wow what a difference between Monday night when no Bears are playing and Monday night when they are playing. The place was jammed, but we managed to find a little table and some stools.

We put an order in for a bbq chicken pizza and then waited and waited and got some comped beers because we waited for about an hour for the pizza to get done. We also ran into a fellow Fermilab dude and hung out with him for the second half of the game which was fun. Anyways, way too many beers later and a Bears win we headed home happy as can be.

Then I woke up. With a headache. With the knowledge that I have a noon meeting with my advisor and in my usual Leah Sucks fashion I have nothing more than I had last week on my analysis. With the knowledge that I better get out of the funk because I have marathon training starting this evening. With that I am off. An hour and a half before my meeting. Mantra of the day is, "Just don't cry in front of your boss"

Monday, December 11, 2006

Longest Run Since October 22

Yesterday afternoon Jason and I got through 12 miles which is our longest run since the Chicago Marathon. We did a 10 mile run a couple of weeks ago, but mostly our distances have been 8,9 7 and so on. I have really been missing running longer miles, but I think my legs are extremly happy (or were until this morning) that I have given them a bit of a break before the onset of marathon training starts.

We drove over to the lakefront, near the totem pole, around 2:30 in the afternoon yesterday. The temps were in the mid 40s so we were back to shorts and two long sleeve tops on. This might have been a bad choice for the first half because the wind was a bit strong out of the south, but in the end it was a fine decision because I warmed up with no problems. We started off somewhat slower with paces around 9min/mile, I had Garmin go CRAZY around mile 2 and completly lost the signal. I have no idea what that was about but I just stood still for about 30 seconds and it got a signal back that stuck for the rest of the run. It was way nice to run on the path because there was no ice or slush like there is on the sidewalks....well at least until we got to Oak St. Beach. Whitney wasn't kidding when she said it was covered in ice. Like Covered a couple of inches thick and solid. We had to walk around this part because I could not get a grip on pavement and didn't want to risk falling because I was too stupid to just walk through it. We kept on going south until about Buckingham Fountain and then headed back.

All of the miles (from what I remember) where all around 8:30 minutes aside from icyville at Oak St. This was a great run, no pain and no troubles just one foot in front of the other. Considering Jason, Lisa (the Cousin) and I split 3 bottles of wine on Saturday night I am even more impressed that this run was gotten through with ease. We did 31 miles total for the week which is also our highest mileage sice the marathon.

Last week put us in perfect position to start our marathon training program for Sarasota. The race is on March 4th and we are doing a 12 week program Pfitz style. This training cycle we will also be playing volleyball on Monday's and Fridays so we should be lean mean, runinng, volleying machines. We are also going to try and add in weight training on Wednesday evenings.

This week plan is 35 miles like this :

Monday : Volleyball + (maybe) ab work
Tuesday : 8mi w/10x100m
Wednesday : Weight lifting
Thursday : 9 miles general aerobically
Friday : Volleyball +ab work
Saturday : 5 miles recovery
Sunday : 13 miles Medium Long Run

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Yep, all recovered

Yesterday was oh-so-busy, but it was a good kind of busy. What does that mean, exactly? It means that Leah was busy making Christmas cookies! Woot, that's what I say to that.

To be precise, she was mostly making dough to be baked today (which she's doing this very moment). So far, the cookies have come out perfectly and we've managed to tame the oven which was apparently forged in the pits of hell. That is, it's a tad hot. An oven thermometer has made burned cookies a thing of the past, however.

Okay, sorry, I suppose I've got cookies on the mind too much (which is why it's good that I run). We also ran yesterday after all the dough was safely stowed away in the fridge. We went 4 miles in the shape of a loop, arriving back at our apartment ~42 minutes later. Over 10 minute miles? That, my friends, is an excellent recovery pace for these two. I'm very proud of us for slowing down so well as we need to make sure we stay healthy and injury-free this winter. Suffice to say, there will be no ice bathes this winter.

In about an hour we'll be heading out for a 12 mile run. I'm thinking we'll be driving to the lakefront path as a) we don't want to have to skate over the ice on the city sidewalks for 12 miles and b) don't want to have to deal with shoppers on Chicago Avenue for the first and last four miles of our run.

Okay, time to go see if Leah's made some more cookies.

Friday, December 08, 2006

*Slightly* Underdressed and *Overly* Bad Food

After a long day at work yesterday full of 3.5 hours of meetings and 6 hours of me scratching my head at my code and wondering where in the hell I am going with this. Forward Leah. FORWARD, we headed out for our 8 mile run.

Being not too bright we didn't do a last minute check of the weather before we left home in the morning and the temperature in Batavia at 6pm last night was 8F with a feels like temp of -5F. There is no spin that you can put on those numbers to make them warm or at least "ok". But we are tough little runners so we put the layers we had with us on and headed out. I had a Nike mock turtle neck, a thicker Brooks top layer, nike pants, ear band, gloves and smart wool socks. Ok. So I was a bit cold, but it was not too bad. I could have used my Nike running tights which are a bit warmer than the loose pants I had and I also would like a pair of thicker gloves as my hands were cold throughout. What was nice to see though was that my toes were NOT cold. For the past two winters I have had problems with my toes after cold runs where they turn really really red and hurt. I think the smart wool socks are doing the trick and I'm on the prowl to get a couple more pairs for the rest of the winter training.

I am continually amazed with the level of our training. We are becoming the runners that I never though we would be. Running 8 miles in 8 degree weather at a 9min/mile pace no less is about as unfathomable as a physicist having a sense of humor (well most physicists anyway, as we are not talking about the hilarity that is Jason and I). I am so proud of us and looking forward to the rest of the training. 8 degrees is pretty low and I don't expect many days lower than that this winter, so if that's the worst that it gets (or close anyways) I don't see any problems getting through the runs.

As we came charging into our office building after the run we had more validation for our awesomeness when we ran into our advisor who couldn't believe that we were out there running and he was impressed with our dedication. Which is nice that he is impressed with me doing something since my physicsness has been lacking of late. However, it was at this point that I realized how cold my body was. My skin was reallly red on my stomach and sides and my legs, especially my knee caps which is weird, were bright red. I don't think I could have been out there much longer and so it's a nice learning experience for the what to wear and when questions that come up in the winter. I also took a look at myself in the mirror and I looked like a drug addict. My eyes were really bloodshot (windy maybe?) and my face was really red as well. I guess I am a drug addict and my drug of choice is running. my GOD that was lame :-)

After the run we had to get some food because we were starving so we made the decision to go to Rock Bottom Brewery out in Warrenville. I don't know why we continue to go here. Every single time we go there we end up pissed off and annoyed. This time proved no different. We couldn't find a table and then when we did we were sitting next to the biggest Tool that I have ever seen. The good thing about this was that Jason and I had full evening of entertainment in not believing what he was doing next. First of all he was smoking a cigar. I don't actually care about this, although I think that cigars are meant for weddings, new babies being born or deep frying turkeys on Thanksgiving. That's about it. I don't think the Warrenville Rock Bottom Brewery is the place to be smoking a cigar. Forget about that's the way he smoked it. First of all the cigar was about 1.5 inches long and he thought he was the king of the Rock Bottom...did I mention that he was wearing a plaid flannel shirt.....yeah he=awesome. It continued to get better as the cigar got even shorter he started using what looked like a roach clip (not that I know what that is of course) to get the last few bits of goodness out of the said cigar. I'm not kidding when I say that by the time the cigar event was over, it was bout an 1/8 of an inch long (jason wants to point out that he kept taking the cigar out of his mouth, looking at it with a self-satisfied smirk, and then replacing it in his mouth). So although that was hilarious, the food was as always pretty terrible. It's way way overpriced and tastes like garbage, so I highly don't recommend Rock Bottom, unless you are just going for the beer which is pretty good.

Tonight we are playing volleyball here at Fermilab which I am happy about...since you know it's indoors :-) Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


The plan was to work out at the Fermilab gym after work yesterday.

Instead answer the following SAT style question:
What is delicious?

a. Beer
b. Steak & Shake
c. Core Strengthening
d. a&b
e. None of the Above
If you answered D then you would be correct.

After work we went to a "social" with folks from our experiement where the professors bought the beer. We made a new friend who is new to the experiment. After talking to him for awhile we found out that he grew up in Manhattan. No one is ever from New York and then's always, well actually I'm from Long Island or whatever. Anyways, I was super jealous because I love NYC and can't imagine what it was like to grow up there. Although I did grow up in Chicago which of course was fantastic in it's own accord.

On the way home we stopped at Steak & Shake and I don't care how unhealthy it is because it's the most delicious fast food out there. Oh yeah and I added to my Frisco Melt and Fries a vanilla shake with hot fudge added. De-li-cious!

Tonight we got 8 miles on the agenda. Tomorrow we have a long day at the lab with meetings from 8-5 and then we are going to stay late and play volleyball from 8pm on. This weekend is full of running, cleaning and of course...baking cookies.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Waiting for my face to thaw

Today Leah and I were all set for a brisk 7 mile run over the frozen tundra of Fermilab. Fermilab is famous for two things: well plowed streets and wide open spaces (all the better to build wind with). It was going to be cold and windy, but at least we wouldn't have to skate along the sidewalks. So we packed up our stuff and took it to work and we were all set to run at 5 o'clock. All set, that is, until Ms. Leah forget an essential piece of running equipment.

For shame!

So we jumped in the car to race home so we could run before it got too late. Astonishingly, there wasn't much traffic and we were out the door by seven and hitting the sidewalks. The nice things about getting to run in Chicago? Well, for one thing it's Chicago, but besides that it's much warmer. So it was a great run through the city with a winding loop that finished at our apartment exactly 7 miles after we started. Leah has this bizarre ability to make perfect loops that I just can't relate to. I'm happy if I don't end up in Waukegan.

But 7 miles is still a long time in sub-freezing weather and my face got all lock-jawed. My big goal last night was to drink a Fresca without it dribbling down my chin. Maybe if I didn't run with my mouth agape like a 12 year old watching a burlesque show it wouldn't be such a big deal.

Anyway, it was a really nice run although all the skidding and sliding has left me quite worn out. Without friction, running gets awfully tough.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I'm not going to say this is as beautiful as the screen shots I have seen of SportTracks. However, that is not saying that it's not going to become more beautiful in the future.

As a Macintosh user I bought my Garmin in June with the knowledge that Garmin was going to release the Training Center Software for the Mac in the summer of 2006. Well that of course has changed and has been pushed to the "end of the year" of which I still have yet to hear about the actual release date. I haven't used BootCamp to put a PC on part of my hard drive so I can use things like SportTracks or whatever, but I don't know. I hate PC's. They make me so frustrated everytime I try and do anything on them that I have just been holding off until the day someone had something useable for the Mac.

That day has come. A new piece of software I found yesterday called TrackRunner and can be found here I tried it very briefly this morning and while it does not (YET) have all the features of SportTracks it's really nice to see something available for the Mac. It has only been out for a month or so and will continue to add functions and features as time goes on.

You can put a smoothing function onto the pace/heartrate/elevation graphs so you don't get the garbage that MotionBased produces which is by far the most USELESS graphs you could give a runner. You can see your runs on a map and all the windows are connected. So you see a spike in your pace and you click on it, it will show you were on the map that activity occured. I had a bit of a problem with the map function at first, but when I just clicked on the map without selecting an activity and then clicked the activity and Map it showed up fine.

Plus of course just having the log of all of your runs is fantastic. So go Mac users go Run and give it a try!

Change of Attack

Originally when I started thinking about training for Sarasota I thought I would move the schedule in Pfitz back one day so that our long runs would be on Saturdays which would give us Saturday nights free and then Sunday's free to go watch the Bears. However, this poses two problems :
  • We play volleyball on Monday nights. At the start of the schedule there are several LT runs on on the first day of the week,which if switched would be Mondays, which would make volleyball pretty tough. Originally I was thinking that I could get up early on Mondays and run in the city and then be fine for volleyball in the pm. So far this season volleyball has been really fun and our team has been playing really well (even though we have lost ALL the games....we have been playing well....seriously!) and I don't want to screw up my play by being exhausted. Plus I know that it's going to be very hard to get up and run early and so the runs would end up being pushed to after volleyball which would just make those LT miles that much more fun.
  • If we do our long runs on Saturday that's probably only one day a week that we'll be doing runs in the city and although I love running at Fermilab in the winter because the roads are all plowed and there is very little traffic making it ideal to get runs in, it's so not as cool as running in Chicago.
SO....the plan is to do our weekly runs at Fermilab after work. Then of course the Saturday/Sunday runs in Chicago. This benefits us in many ways because we don't have to get up at 5am to get to work by 6 to be able to leave by 2 to bypass traffic. We can get to work at 9 and then run at 5pm here and then drive home aruond 6:30 or 7 and still bypass traffic and be slighly more normal than needing to be in bed AND asleep by 9pm. This will also work great for the LT runs because it's so flat here and there are no traffic lights to dodge AND like I said about they will plow all the roads here so there won't be any slowing down to account for ice.

The official training program starts next week. (yikes!) To get ready for that we are doing do run on each day that we have to run next week and we are going to take a mile off each run. So the plan for this week is :
Tue : 7 miles
Thur : 8 miles
Sat : 4 miles
Sun :12 miles
Next week then is
Tue : 8mi w/10x100m
Thur : 9mi General Aerobic
Saturday : 5 mile Recovery
Sunday : 13 mile M-Long Run

We'll see how this works for the first few weeks. Given that it's winter and it's Chicago runs might have to be flip flopped to account for weather/snow storms etc. I am excited that this training plan is only 12 weeks. It will be much harder than the 18 week program because it's way more condensed BUT it's only 12 weeks thatI have to stay focused AND that means that my vacation is only 12 weeks away. Nice!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Winter Running Thoughts-Just Get Out There!

How can one love to get out there and run when the temps are in the 20s? Because the idea of doing that is well.....crazy sounding. After a few comments on my last post I thought about why I don't mind the weather and how I have really come to embrace it over the last few years.

Unfortunatly it's not as easy as the summer, you can't just throw on a pair of sweats and your favorite college sweatshirt and your cotton socks and shoes and go out and get 15 miles done. I invested in high quality winter running gear and it made ALL of the difference. For most temps during these short days & long nights I wear tights or Nike running pants, a Nike mock turtleneck and a jacket. That's it. It's all really lightweight, breathable, and yet keeps me warm. Over the years and lots of frozen toes I have found Smart Wool socks which are AMAZING for keeping toes warm as wool stays warm even when it gets wet. Also a light pair of gloves and a ear band usually join me on these winter runs. As the temps drop I move to a warmer jacket that I have and there are some really nice windproof/waterproof etc jackets that are out there. Jason had one by Sporthill that was utterly amazing, it blocked everything and he only needed a very lightweight long sleeve underneath it.

When you get out there in the winter, it's very quiet and the crisp air is very calming and crazily rather inviting. You can totally get away from all the craziness in your life, away from the loudness of a gym, away from the monotony of a treadmill. I will say this for sure, every run you get through in the winter makes you feel like Rocky. You'll come home and be like, "Hell to the hizzah. I got my shit out there and got it done!" It's a way better high than running 7 miles on a moving belt.

So give it a try, get some good warm lightweight winter gear and get out there and pound that pavement....or the snow whatever is on top! Enjoy all winter has to offer. It's no different that struggling through a 120 degree day in July, it's just a different kind of difficult.

Go Winter Running! Woot!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Slip Sliding Through Five

We spent our morning shopping and gettng some holiday decorations. I am going to get into the holiday spirit if it kills me and if that means raiding the Crate and Barrel Outlet store, so be it.

Then we hit Target and I almost killed...well everyone there. It was so crowded but we got some cute stuff. Tonight we are going to listen to some christmas music and decorate and maybe make another batch of cookies....all friends of Leah and Jason get ready to get forced to eat cookies :-)

After our shopping escape we went for a run and I have to say not much more could have made it more perfect. The temps were ideal at upper 20s and I just love running in the winter. The snow was amazing and it was just...i don't know....very nice I guess is the word I am looking for. We only made it five miles but there was a lot of skating in there and so we say we went 5 forward and 5 sideways :-) The pace was pretty slow but we waited at lights and took it slow on the icy patches. We are going to try for more than 5 tomorrow after the Bears game....we'll see.

Happy Winter Running!

Friday, December 01, 2006


I absolutly love the first snow of the season, before it gets all dirty and gross and eventually just a pain in the ass. Today we woke up with a couple of inches on the ground, a winter wonderland you might say. To bypass the morning commute in the snow, working from home was on the menu. We have an 8 mile run and a 10 mile run to do sometime in the next three days. I am thinking we are going to do them Saturday and Sunday to give people a chance to shovel if they are going to.

I am in the process of making all kinds of Christmas cookies for the holidays. My Aunt always makes cookies for everyone as part of their presents and I am hoping to start a similar tradition. Yesterday I made thumbprint cookies (which are my absolute favorite) for the first time ever. I thought they tasted a bit funny and when I was at the Jewel this morning picking up a few things I realized that the flour we had in the house was self-rising flour which I had used to bake some bread a few weeks although they were still delicious at least now I know why they weren't quite right. I was also following my stepmom's recipe for these delicious do-dads and her instructions for the frosting where "add sugar and milk until the consistancy is good"....I don't know what 'good' meant, but it tasted super good. I am doing a trial run of all the cookies I am going to make before the final batches to give people....this makes Jason pretty happy and you know....runner DO need carbs. Right?