Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Halloween Workout

Well, it's here.  Visions of sugarplums and all that.  Oh, wait,  wrong holiday.  My fault :-) Still, I'm pretty sure there's one thing on the agenda for today:  Candy, candy, candy candy!  (If you haven't seen the Garfield Halloween Special yet, DO IT.  Spooky and cutsie at the same time!)
Seeing as I'm an old lady sans kids, the hubs and I will be handing out candy tonight and trying to keep our hands from unwrapping the candy and eating it all before the kiddos get it!  Last year, we had over 200 trick or treaters, so we're fully stocked up.  Which is super hard for someone with a sweet tooth like me!  It all looks so darn good!
We all know the tips-don't buy your favorite candy, eat a sensible dinner, buy the "smarter treats", hand out inedible things, like stickers or pencils.   But whats someone to do on all hallows eve when they've got all that candy candy candy in front of them?  And really, who wants to be "that house" that hands out pennies?  Not me.  So, we do it a little different in casa Glaser.  We still don't buy our faves (Reese's Pieces for me, Twix or Kit Kat for hubs), but in order to feel a bit better about indulging, we get in a good workout first.
But who in the heck can get a run or ride in with that doorbell ringing every 2 minutes? 
The Halloween Workout!
The hubs and I developed this one a few years ago.  Super simple, super effective.  Think of it as a randomized "crossfit" in your own living room.  We designate an hour (or 45 minutes, or whatever) and alternate who answers the door. When you go to the door, take note of the costumes donned by the kiddos, and each one "equals" a certain move.  This year, as follows:
Ghost:                                          10 push ups  
Super Hero:                                 10 sit ups
TV Character:                              10 squats
Movie Character:                          30 sec plank
Cowboy/Cowgirl:                         10 tricep curls
Zombie/Monster:                          10 bicep curls
Teenager/Lack of costume (ugh):   20 jumping jacks
Baby in costume:                           10 burpees
Princess/Witch:                              10 squat leaps
Other:                                            30 sec jump rope
So, if I answer the doorbell and see these two adorable characters (my niece and nephew!)  I need to do 10 sit ups (Mario, IMO is a super hero-c'mon, he saves, the princess!) and 10 triceps curls.  Oh, fine, we'll include the big kid and I'll do 20 triceps curls.  As I'm doing my set, the hubs will get the door.  It's a frenzy for the first half hour, then it calms down a bit!
After 200 kids (100 each)...I would say we've earned that crunch bar!  Hey, you don't have to have a justification for every treat, but I happen to think this little trick works for the home bound candy hander-outers :-)
What's your plan this Halloween?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Foiled Again

Well, apparently, I shouldn't speak so I was writing yesterday's blog post, we lost power!  Lights flickered a few times....then...gone.  Meh.  I didn't mind so much (the house wasn't that cold, and we had candles and flashlights ready) but we really didn't expect to lose power so quickly! (#warmdinnerfail).  Hey, I suppose there are worse things.   The hubs and I dined on cold chicken fingers and salad, played gin rummy, and chatted about nonsense while the storm raged on.  Not bad at all.  This morning, the power was back on!
On to today.  Aside from a bit of wind, Sandy has run it's course.  Whew.  I got into work early, busted out 4 hours worth of work, and headed to the gym to do some 400 repeats.  Bam.  Or....not.  So, when I packed my bag last night in the dark, I forgot something rather integral.  I can do without socks....or a bra (wear my swimsuit)...a top (run in sports bra)....and I've even done "intervals" on the elliptical sans sneakers.  But.....what does one do when they forget shorts? Face palm. Not into underwear runs at the gym, and I think my fellow exercisers support that.  So, with my run foiled, I did the next best thing.  I pulled out my swimsuit, hopped in the pool and proceeded to do 2 minutes all out pool running with 90 sec. recovery x 10.  With warm up and cool down, a nice 45 minute simulation of my planned speed work.  Hey, I don't give up.  We don't do "foil"ed round this joint.
Unless it's for dinner.  Cause even us Polish folk get sick of cabbage rolls.
And anything foil wrapped is bound to be delicious (when you have power, that is)

Cabbage with Pizzaz (adapted from Hungry Girl)

1/2 cabbage, quartered
6 slices turkey bacon
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp slivered ginger
dash of salt and pepper

This is one of those "so darn simple that I feel silly writing it out" recipes.  Rip off a piece of foil, about 18 inches long.  Line up the cabbage quarters.  Layer bacon slices over the cabbage.  Top with ginger.  Drizzle with the syrup, and sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder evenly over the cabbage.  Bake in the oven, covered, for 40 minutes.  Uncover and broil for an additional 2 minutes to get some of that melty, caramelized, goodness.  Serves 2 as a pretty tasty side dish!

I paired the cabbage with some turkey chorizo-nom nom nom.  Much better dinner tonight than last night.  Sometimes being foiled can be a good thing!

Except for when working out.  I have a spare running outfit in the car now, ready to bring to work for those "oops" moments.  I know, I know.  First world problems.  Hey, we all have 'em :-)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stress Relief

60 mile an hour winds, flooding, hurricanes and finance meetings.  Just another Monday, right?  Right!  Well, Sandy hasn't hit upstate NY yet, but there are 20 foot waves from our great lake expected, along with gale force winds and flooding.  Sweet.  So, like any normal person, I've charged up my phone, my laptop and my kindle.  I did *NOT* buy batteries.  What do you even use those for anymore?
Well, in my humble opinion (which no one asked for, but you know I'll share it) I doubt we'll get more than some winds and rain.  Usually, these things that are planned for never happen, while the ones that you do NOT plan for DO happen.  Something about making plans and God laughs...yeah, you got it.  Or maybe it was this?

Oh damn.  Well, enough with the storm.  But my Monday musings, incidentally, do hinge on preparedness.  So I suppose it's somewhat entwined.
So, yesterday, because I'm a moron, I did my long run.  In the 40 degree rain.  .  I had 13 on dock, and ended up doing about 10.5.  Now, it was a bit faster than normal, but I was so darn numb after 90 minutes that I knew another 20 just wouldn't do too much for my health or training.  So I slogged home and finished up inside. 
Aside from the wet and cold, it was a pretty legit run.  But, truthfully, I *should* have run on Saturday.  When it wasn't raining.  And it was in the mid 50's.  Might have been smarter, right?
Wrong.  Yesterday, my mind felt free.  I was un-stressed.  My music carried me along, and I really enjoyed the run (truth.  My legs didn't even hurt because I couldn't feel them.  That's either "winning"  or crazy.  I'll let you decide). 
Saturday....I was so stress hungover from the weekend, that I couldn't run.  So I pounded it out on the bike.  Which made me think.  I know that I use exercise as a stress relief, but there are certain things that I want to do activity wise when I am stressed and that I am GOOD at.  For instance:
Stress relieving workouts (angry stress) :  Bike-all kinds.  Intervals, tempo, you name it.  I can do long rides, too, but the hard efforts get me going.  Kickboxing.  Tae Bo. 
Stress relieving workouts (tired, draining stress workouts):  Pilates, yoga, long slow rides.  Swimming.  Nothing better than shutting out the world out via water-no one can get to you there.

Running does not work when I am mind tired.  It can work when I need to think, when I need to sort out, but when I am beat down, my legs do not want to run.  I can do it,  but it usually doesn't work well.  So I take my three runs a week and do them when I can-no set days, no stress, no mess.

What works when you're stressed? Does exercise help relieve it?  Or are you best taking a day off?

On another, MOST important note, happy happy birthday to my dear Uncle-you're amazing and I love you to bits!


Edited to add- As I was writing this post, our power went out.  Damn you, Sandy :-P

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall Beauty

Time for something new.  With work being nuts, the 2012 season a "meh" season, and a zillion other little niggles in my life, I need something different to focus on.
Something stress relieving.
Something not governed by a "clock"  (well, less so).
Something beautiful.
Like trail running.
I tried the game this spring by signing up for the Mendon Mauler, a 12 mile trail race in (of course) Mendon Ponds park.  Didn't happen.
It was my second DNS ever, but I suppose a broken foot is a legit excuse. (First DNS...2006 half marathon.  I was so freakin sick that weekend.  Bummer).
I'm back.
Fall Beauty....what more can you ask for?
I'm still training for my winter marathon (whatever that ends up being, still up in the air), but I need something different.  And fun.
So I siged up for my first trail race next weekend!
I've run trails.  Um, twice.  Does that count?
The Rochester Orienteering Club is doing their annual Mendon Trail races on November 3rd.  The hubs and I were supposed to be out of town, but life intervenes, so we'll be here.  There's a 5k, 10k, 20k and 50k option.
I was almost a big dummy and signed up for the 50k.  Hell, I don't care what my time is.  I'm a trail virgin.
But I'm not that big an idiot, so I signed up for the 20k.  Just slightly idiotic :-P  Hey, the 5k, 10k and 20k all cost the same....and I'm economical!
I don't think I'll do a trail run first.  I have a 13 miler tomorrow, a 7 miler on Tuesday, and speedwork on Thursday.  Next Saturday is supposed to be 14 miles...I think 12.4 on trails will about equal it out.
Oh yeah, and 2200 feet elevation gain.
Pshh, no biggie.  I can't wait! Now let's hope it doesn't snow.....hah.
Do you trail run/race?  Any tips for a newbie?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday funnies, take 387

Welcome to another weekend!  I have absolutely no gas anymore this week...and a pretty heavy financial meeting to attend tonight in my casa (why are finances so damn hard?).  So break out the wine.  And the chocolate.  And, once again, my creative juices are dead, so I will hopefully write something this weekend and get it to you for your heckling :-P.....but for now, I'm leaning heavy on the crazy interwebs again for content-so, without further ado, here's some fun stuff I've been playing with online lately....

1.  Candidate Match: Haven't made up your mind for November 6th yet?  Check out this site!  It's a quiz that lists where the candidates stand on several issues.  You key in how you feel about the economy, women's issues, foreign policy, etc., and the quiz returns which candidate you are more in line with in order to help you make a more informed decision. 

Badass bracelet
2.  Survival Bracelets: Heard this one on the radio this morning.  A fashion statement combined with practicality-it's a bracelet that allows you to unravel the fabric to create a para cord that can hold up to 300 pounds.  Sweet.  Not that I plan on bungee jumping anytime soon, but it's pretty cool and bad-ass feeling.  I may have to ask Santa for one.

3.  Damn You atuocorrect:  I've kep this site in my cache forever.  You know when you're typing out an email or facebook status and you're using your mobile?  Well, sometimes the words don't come out quite the way you expect.  And now they have a website dedicated to it.  Stupid and mindless, but it's a great humorous time waster.  And you all know we need a little laughter. 

4.  My Parents Joined Facebook: The older generation and social media.  Once again, ridiculous, but hilarious. 

5.  Costume Idea Zone:  Stuck on what to do for Halloween?  Low on cash?  Check this site out.  Some of the ideas are a little out there, but it's a gem!

Any fun time wasters you want to share? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just Gorges

What a perfect fall day.  I know I sound like a broken record lately, but this season has really been stupendous!  Today, I drove down to Owego for work, which is in the Southern Tier of our state.  Aside from the fact that a 110 mile drive took two and a half hours, it was a gorges trip.  Heh.  (Old NY joke-Ithaca has a gorge, so we New Yorkers call it "gorges" instead of "gorgeous" cause we're witty like that).  The ride out was annoying, because I got stuck a bunch of times behind trucks and out of staters who can't read our New York speed limit signs, but the ride back was phenomenal.  Part of the trip went through Ithaca's college town (Cornell and Ithaca college) and another part wound through parts of the Musselman bike course (for the record, I prefer it on a bike, but somehow I thought the day would be cooler than the 78 degree temps! so I didn't stow my bike in the back).  I did, however, stow my running gear in, and got a lovely run in post meeting.  I had a 5 mile tempo on deck, but I forgot my garmin, so I ran for 45 minutes and called it a day.  I think the hills nixed out the tempo, so we'll call it productive either way!
Even though the day was a bit gray at first, I snapped some pics in downtown Owego, including the cutest cafe we did a "business" lunch at:
The Susquehanna river.  You know how I always talk about how every time I see a body of water, I try to figure out if I could swim in a ti for it?  (#trigeek).
The main bridge in town.  Irony:  Its 78 in October, we're eating lunch outside, and there are snowflake lights on the posts. 
The little cafe we ate in.  It was a mix of a cute gift shop (attic country kitsch) and a lunch spot with homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches.  Oh and desserts....holy heck, next time I am skipping lunch and going for the good stuff!!
 My lunch:  Turkey veggie soup and homemade cornbread.  Perfectly sweet/salty, buttery and moist.  yeah, i said moist.  And since I hate that word with a passion, you know I mean it :-P
 Downtown Owego, you might have a funny name, but you were worth it.  Especially when they paid me to drive to you, dine, and run through the leaves :-)  hey....rather than complain about the travel, I'll revel in the perks!  Hope your day was as super!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Going Unplugged

So, this morning, as I was driving into work in a caffeine hyped state, honing in on my to do list for work, home, and what in the eff my workout was supposed to be today.  I'm traveling to "Owego" for work tomorrow (ahh the desolate farm lands that I get sent to for glamour trips).  I have a deadline for contracts today.  I have 3 meeting scheduled from 11am-2pm, which pretty much ensures that I'll work through my lunch hour. 
And then my cell phone rang.  I ignored it.  It rang again, 10 minutes later.  Once again, I ignored it.  I pulled into my parking space, ran into work, cursing the traffic that made me 5 minutes late.  I made coffee.  Checked my phone.  2 voicemails and a text.  And then I opened my Outlook work email.  An email from the same caller, "where are you?"  Yikes. 
On a matter of principle, I checked my work voicemails, rest of my work emails, settled into my day, and called the person back (it was personal, nothing work related).
Yesterday, I had an 8:30 meeting.  I cleared it that I was going to be in my office by 9:30.  This one was work related.  I got 2 missed calls at work, 3 emails, and a voicemail on my cell from one person looking for me.  When they couldn't find me, they called my assistant.
WHAT?  This is not a rant.  I had a good laugh with both impatient individuals, and it's all good now.  But it got me to thinking.  About our crazy society, where we can email, text, call (office or mobile), tweet, skype...and what else am I missing?
Who do you know that doesn't own a cell phone?  Or have an email address?  How bout Facebook?  (I know a few of these, but most people I know online stalk through Facebook, myself included).
Now, here's the kicker.  Remember, back in the day (wow, am I old or what?) when you went on vacation and NO ONE could get ahold of you?  Cause, ya know, you didn't have a cell phone, just a home phone.  And you had email, but no laptop, so you were...unplugged.  And the world survived.
When the hubs and I travelled to Maine earlier this month, we tried to unplug.  It didn't work.  Sometimes, life intervenes, and you deal.
When I prep for a long race, I try to unplug the day before.  Sometimes it works.
And ideally, on Sundays, we turn our phones off and I don't blog.  We get away with it once in awhile, get alot of crap for it on a routine basis.
So...I ask....when did it become so expected that you are available 24/7?  When I fall off the radar for an hour, people freak out.  When someone calls you on your cell and you don't answer, it's not the same reaction as when someone used to leave a voicemail on your handy dandy answering machine (remember those?).  Back then, it was simply assumed you weren't home when someone called.
Now, it's anarchy when you aren't available! 
And with the hustle bustle of our daily life, it seems as if with all this's not more convenient.  It's a hassle.  You end up feeling stressed out that people are expecting you to be in touch all of the time.  And somehow, with all of this "connection", people seem to be...less connected.
We had a long discussion about this at a work meeting yesterday.  Our CEO suggested that we work more toward in person communications rather than adding to email communications.
I also heard a segment on the radio this morning about "unplugging" and how you need to let people know in advance that you are unplugged so they don't think you're dead :-P
Have we really come to that?  Yikes!
So true
I sort of feel like an anomoly here, but I am a big fan of using my cell phone similar to a home phone.  I will turn it off when I need a break.  I will turn it off on vacation.  I will keep it on silent and ignore it at work and also when I am at the store, etc.  The cashier checking me out doesn't need to be subject to my phone call that can't wait 10 minutes.
I also like to just get away from it every once in awhile.  Get off facebook and twitter.  Take a day off from blogging.  Turn the phones off.
And go for a nice long run :-) 
And on that note, I'm working on the run unplug as well!  I strap into technology way too much during my runs...garmin, stopwatch, and mp3 player.  With the fall colors and weather so beautiful, it's time to remember why I love the serenity of a run.  I thought about trail running during the spring, but my foot said NO, so I DNSed my first race...the mendon mauler, a 12 mile trail race.
Well, I've got my fire again.  November 3rd.  Mendon Ponds.  20k Mendon trail race, in the prime of fall beauty.  I thought about the 50k, but that's even silly for me, no?
So, let's bring it.  More beauty.  Less technology.  And less stress.
What do you think? Do you have trouble unplugging?  From yourself or from the world around you?  Tell me I'm not alone here!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Primary Colors

WHY is it that the weekends are so short?  And that so long.  Oh, right.  That whole working for a living thing.  Man, that can get in the way of a good time, can't it?
Well, today was work work work with a side of work.  I'm only travelling one day this week (woohoo!) so with a full day in the office, I got a crap ton of paperwork accomplished today (and yes, that is the term I'm going with).  Easy recovery day in terms of working out-I did a nice 45 minute no data swim.  I adore swimming in the off season....I take a few months off from structured training (oh heck, that was my entire 2012 season, but who's counting) and just enjoy getting some movement in in the water.  Today I ran through 10 songs on my relaxed play list and then finished off with some kicking.  Shook out the long run kinks, and I'm ready for speed work tomorrow.  Bingo.
That's tomorrow, though. about Primary colors.  In more ways than one.

By the numbers!
 First of all, today's the kick off for the Wegman's Eat Well Live Well Challenge where I work.  It's a 12 week program where you count your fruits and veggies everyday, as well as your steps.  Each day you log onto a site and keep track (in terms of servings, and steps) and then tally each week for 12 weeks.  I'm the leader of our group (Team Special K, cause we're special kids), and we're a pretty competitive bunch, so we're hoping for the company win!  Aside from being fun, the challenge focuses on what is sorely lacking in our society....a greater emphasis on movement and eating your primary colors (taste the rainbow!)  On the Eat Well, Live Well site , there's a great chart for the different nutritional options (snacks, serving sizes, etc), as well as a "step conversion" - each activity you do can be converted to how many "steps" it corresponds to, as all activities are entered in as steps (12 miles of running = 24,000 steps).  I can't wait to inspire our team and help lead us into the holiday season with a focus on healthy living!
And, speaking of primary colors...I started off the challenge with a healthy dessert, made from those 8 pounds of cranberries!
Fall Bounty Relish
3 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
3 clementine oranges
2 tbsp agave nectar (or sugar)

Rinse cranberries, add in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Add in agave nectar and cinnamon stick.  Peel oranges into sections and add to cranberries, simmer entire mixture on low for 10 minutes, or until cranberries begin to "gel".  Mash with a potato masher in order to get the nice bit sized pieces of a chunky relish. 
That's it.  Super simple.  You can serve with yogurt, over ice cream or....head it straight up like I like it :-)

Such a yummy and healthy dessert.  But probably not the best idea tonight....because we have another form of primary, blue (and white).  That's right, it's time for the final debate before we head to the polls to decide who's gonna lead us for the next 4 years.....I envision something like this....
Bust out the popcorn and vodka.  It's gonna be an interesting night!  Maybe I'll make a Cosmo and add a fruit to my daily tally :-P

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Super Sunday

Don't you just love this time of year?  I think Fall is hands down my favorite ( I know, I know...I'll say the same thing in December....).
You have cider.  Pumpkins.  Fall squashes (butternut, yum!).  Apples.  Hayrides.  Corn mazes.  Cross Country season.  Sunny days and chilly nights, perfect for fuzzy socks and pumpkin herb tea.
And it's the perfect running season.
And (bless you left foot!) I can run!!
 After a full day yesterday and a great nights sleep, the hubs and I leisurely awoke this morning to tackle our first project....

 Yep, that's 8 pounds of cranberries.  One of his clients at work has some sort of "cranberry connection" (sounds ominous, doesn't it?) so he sends the company oodles of berries each fall.  Only a few people have a clue what to do with them, so I get to play!!  First, I rinsed them and froze 6 small bags-cranberries freeze super well, so you don';t have to use them all at once!  Watch out for the plethora of cranberry recipes coming your way!
On the docket today:  Cranberry and mandarin orange relish (recipe coming) and cranberry oats.
Cranberry Oats (serves 1)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries
1/2 cup Almond milk
1 cup water (for oats)
1/2 cup water (for berries)
pinch salt
2 tbsp.  chopped almonds
1 tbsp sugar/agave

Super simple.  Fill a saucepan with 1/2 cup water and cranberries.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for about 5 minutes, adding sugar.  Once the berries are soft and have "popped" add in the additional cup of water, salt and oats.  Cook on medium low for about 10 minutes, or until your preferred consistency (I like min a little runnier, so I add a bit more water.)  Stir in almond milk for the "creamy" factor. Dish out into your breakfast bowl and add the nuts for garnish.
 Perfect for a fall breakfast treat. And chock full of antioxidants-cranberries help your circulatory system and are also an anti-inflammatory.
 So with all that goodness in me and a beautiful, fall sunny day was clearly time to run!  On the training plan:  12 miles at a LR (9:10-9:30) pace.  Took along my favorite mid run fuel (with a fall twist): Jelly Belly Jelly beans in Caramel Apple and Toasted Marshmallow! (25 beans = 25g of carbs.  Why chug down nasty gels when it's not a race situation??)
 Since I didn't feel like lugging water with me, i did 3 four mile loops around our neighborhood in 35-37-37 and change time.
The Workout
12.06 miles
Time:  1:50:49
Pace:  9:11/mile
 I'm BACCCCCKKKK!!!  Running and I are now BFFs again.  I had decided before getting into this marathon training a few things:
1.  I would take it easy on myself and never force myself to do a run when feeling like crap.
2.  There is no such thing as a crap run.  There are awesome runs, good runs, and character building runs.
 Today...was an awesome run.  A bit windy, but the colors and temperature were spot. on.  My back hurts (forgot to do body glide on my hot spot-doh!), my legs hurt, and I broke in my new shoe with my trademark blister and a bit of blood.  A sacrificial offering, if you will :)
And I couldn't be happier.
Welcome, fall running!! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Free Pass

Phew.  There are weeks when Friday is a blessing...and then there are weeks when Friday is a freaking necessity.  It's been the latter here.  And at 5pm, I bolted for home...and my jammy jams.  No judging.  You know that street clothes will never.  ever. be as comfortable as pajamas.  Am I right?  Hear hear.
So.  This week.  Conferences, contract writing, travelling or work (and taking the scenic-and long-route back home...ugh...45 extra miles on a 3 hour trip sucks big time).  Add that to a bunch of personal stuff going on and the fact that I've been feeling like poo all week...and I'm ready for some down time.  Literally.  Like...running doesn't even sound appealing right now.  Yeah.  You heard that right.
No worries though.  I'm like a Tigger.  I always bounce back.  It's just been a tough few days.  Weeks.  Okay fine, months.  But I always try to side with the glass half full, even if it's a struggle sometimes.
And I know I'm not the only one who's going through one of life's dips lately.  It seems to be pretty prevalent lately in my little world.
And so, as I drove 400 miles yesterday for work....I got to thinking (road trips are so wonderful in some respects).
We all go through crap in our life.  Sometimes it drags on....sometimes it is more of the isolated little blips that add up.  Sometimes  And we don't feel like it anymore.  And we just want to either a) curl up in a little ball and eat chocolate while watching sappy movies and crying, or b) become depressed and sobby and/or tetchy with everyone we talk to.
I'm guilty of both.  Especially around that time of the month....for one day or so, my poor other half can't do much right.  I also have been known to snap at him and say things I don't mean when life is handing me lemons.
Wait-before I completely brand myself as a bee-you know what....he does the same thing.
We all do.
What I want to talk about it is...the people that do it all the time.  The "free passers" if you will.  Where there's no accountability for their actions or what comes out of their mouth.  Because they "don't say things right".  Or "the client is always right".  Or "everything is wrong in their lives".
Listen.  I have empathy.  Hell yes I do.  I'm a social worker!  But when is enough enough?
Since I am a woman and I have a monthly I allowed to be a complete ass to my husband once a month because I have cramps?  Maybe so.  But I bet he would get awfully damned sick of me.
If I'm broke and on welfare, but decide to spend my food stamps on expensive lobster and run out halfway through the month, should you feel sorry for me because I don't have any food?  (okay, maybe once.  But probably not ongoing, right?)
I'm talking about behavior patterns.  There are some people out there (energy vampires) who seem to suck the life out of you with every word that comes out of their mouth.  Bosses.  Family.  Friends.  Frenemies.  Co-workers.  Acquaintances.
This is no news to anyone-I know there's one more more in everyones world.  The question I have do you deal with them?  When nothing you have to offer is good enough.  When they find fault with everything you do.  And-heres the kicker-if it's a boss or you're related by blood or marriage...and you can't walk away.
I'm flummoxed.  And I'm not the only one.  In the past few months, the hubs, some of my close friends, co-workers, and myself....we've all been struggling with this.  When it's okay for something to fly out of an EV (energy vampires) mouth that is incredibly hurtful....repeatedly....because they (fill in the blank about something that "isn't their fault".)

When I was a kid, we were taught a few things:
1.  If you can't say something nice, don't say it at all.
2.  You can't take back words very easily (written words for sure-but the spoken word is awfully powerful).
3.  You can forgive....but it's much harder to forget.

That is all.  Does anyone have any words of advice for this one?  I know it's out there....what in the hell happened to people being personally accountable for their thoughts and actions?

(and with that said, I'm doing okay....not meant to be a woe is me kind of post!....I just needed to get that out there in the open.  You all know that life is a mix of crap and rainbows....we show both here.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My 5 point plan

 Last night, I had a plan.  A 5 point plan, if you will:
1.  Unwind from work (conference presenting)
2.  Go for a run
3.  Read some contracts for work
4.  Blog
5.  Eat a sensible dinner and engage in some hubby and me time

Well, we know how those 5 point plans.  Let's just say it turned into a 1 point plan...sacking out on the couch and watching the future of our country go down the tubes.  Yikes.

Nonetheless, I bounced back today, got a crap ton of work done, did that run, and pulled out my binder of women ideas for some blog action.  Since my thoughts on politics are dubious at best, my running is  a snoozefest, and between work traveling, life and some health issues life is a mess....I thought I would talk about the one thing that's been my saving grace in the last few weeks....good ole fiction.

Because why woldn't you want to climb into someone else's life for a day?  hear, hear.  Commence the periodic meeting of the TFB book club...otherwise known as....what have I been reading lately (and by lately, I literally mean at 2am.  Not kidding on the stress thing).  So, here's the new 5 point plan.  Much like a political plan, it contains 80% fiction.

1.  "Game of Thrones": George R.R, Martin  Okay, I'll admit right off the bat that this one took me about a month to read.  I kept switching between Thrones and a litany of other books.  It's really well written and very engaging, but not an "easy" read-in terms of the fact that you really need to pay attention.  the characters switch quite a bit, no one has a pronounceable name, and there are about 5 different story lines going.  with that said, the writing is excellent.  Lord of the Rings meets The hunger games meets Braveheart, in my onion.  The story line deals with rulers in a medieval society that battle it out for power across family ties, betrayal, and secrets.  The TV show was adapted from the first few books ( I think he's written 5 books total) and up next is "Dance with Dragons".  I'm on it.
2."The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom  Love this author.  I read "Tuesdays with Morrie" a zillion years ago and fell in love with his ability to tie a decent story line in with touchy feely emotive content that is relevant to....well, almost everyone.  Reconciling faith with living.  The five most pivotal people that had an impact on your life.  You get my drift.  In this novel, Albom focuses on the concept of time though Father Time' eyes...what it means to us, how we misuse it, and how we concurrently wish for more of it (immortality) and less of it (suicide attempts).  It's a quick read, only about 150 pages, but one of those books where you come away with a new appreciation for your life when you've finished.  Definitely recommend.

3. " A Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling - Even though I was a senior in high school when Rowling released her Harry Potter series, you can bet that I read all seven of them as they were released.  The stories were good, easy to read (I would hope so!) and a nice break from reality.  Literally.  This newest book is.....different.  It's definitely not meant for kids, and while HP took us into a world of make believe, this novel brings us to the stark reality of what the world is: a clusterf^&ck of classicism and interpersonal problems.  Still, as always, Rowling has the ability to bring her characters alive and transport the reader into her world, so I have to give her points for that.  I would recommend it, but only to someone who is NOT on vacation or easily agitated/depressed.
4.  "Where we Belong" by Emily Griffith.  One step above Danielle Steel and one step below Jodi Picoult in terms of content, I turn to Emily Griffin when I want some substance but don't want to throw the book across the room at the ending (Picoult).  This story dealt with the age old teen pregnancy issue-but in a slightly different way.  The teen mother gave the child up for adoption..but never told anyone that she was even pregnant, aside from her mom.  So the Father had no clue.  And, of course, the kid shows up on their 18th birthday to find her birth parents.....fill in the blanks.  The book was pretty predictable, but well written and had good character articulation. 
5. "Killing Kennedy" by Bill O'Reilly.  I'm actually in the middle of this one now, so full review upcoming.  I as a big fan of "Killing Lincoln" and this book seems to follow suit.  I think there is a bit less mystery about the Kennedy assassination (most of the adult world was around for it, wheres no one still alive now was around for Lincoln) and with King's 11/22/63, alot of the history has been recently discussed.  However, O'Reilly has a great voice and I'm a sucker for historically based books.  Doesn't take much.

So there's my 5 point plan.  Fully explained.  Take that, politicians :-P

Read anything good lately?  What should I pick up next?

Monday, October 15, 2012

And the Beat Goes on....

And well, look at that, Monday it is.  And a pretty blustery one at that!  I hope everyone's weekend went well-we had a roller coaster of ups and downs on the home front, but I suppose that just serves as a reminder that we're alive, so I won't waste your day with the complaints.  Instead, let's skip to the good stuff.
Confession time.  Back in high school (was that really 12 years ago??)  I was a bit of an ecclectic kid.  Jack (or Jill) of all trades, master of none.  I did it all.  I was part of the newspaper club (ahh, look at that, even back then I was long-winded!), the cross country and track team (but...I did it for a boy.  My 5k time back in high school?  33 minutes.  My 5k time now?  22 minutes.  Some things DO get better with age!) Drama Club, Dance Class, Debate Team, Theatre Guild, SADD, Adopt a Sixth Grade and...Marching Band.  Yeaps.  I played the French Horn in the band, which transitioned to Mellophone in the Marching Band, and then after a few years of that I moved on to Color Guard (flags, sabres, dancing and spandex).  Actually, the colorguard was really more up my alley, as dancing was my favorite, but seeing as I'm a bit of a jumping jack, I had to try both. 
I was never one of those stereotypical "band geeks"....I enjoyed it, but it wasn't my life.  Quite honestly, I think the social aspect was the best part!  (Aside from the dancing...I always loved that).  I made some great friends (still have some of those to this day!), had some awesome trips (Phoenix, AZ....can't beat that for a "school trip"...marching in the Fiesta Bowl parade!), and some great memories from it.  But...I still can't read music (I know, I know.  Don't ask.)  I still trip over my own feet.  And who in the heck knows why I thought a good time on a Saturday night meant freezing my tooshhee off at a field show (who makes spandex uniforms for October??)
Nonetheless, some old habits die hard. 
So, on Saturday, the hubs and I travelled back a bit in time for me to attend a good ole field band show- his son, Brennan, plays snare for the Jamestown marching band and they were playing in competition at Victor High School.   There were about 7 bands scheduled to perform - a decent 90 minutes of entertainment!  We weren't up high enough to get alot of the cool shapes, but here's a few from Jamestown's repertoire:

 The whole band during one of their slides (a ten minute show can use about a hundred of these formations).
Stand, plant and play. Brennan (Greg's son) is the far left snare. 
 If you aren't of the "band know", snare is one of the most prestigious percussion instruments. 
For him to make snare as a freshman was pretty legit!

I got a few more snaps in, but most were blurry-it was rainy out, so the conditions weren't the best, and they move so darn fast it was hard to get a stand still good shot!
The hubs and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the bands play, and Jamestown kicked a little band tail (86/100 score)!  Our next stop is the Carrier Dome, which is an indoor show in Syracuse.  Back in the day, there was a whole political thing going on with some of the bands in that;s funy what you remember, isn;t it?
Anyways, I decided to educate the hubs with my band knowlege during the show - I gave him the 411 on the whole deal, and probably bored the $hit out of him with my side notes on the guard formations, sabre and rifle analysis :-P  Old habits die hard.  I also got to see some of the instructors from Victor who used to teach at Webster when I was in the band, so it was a nice little blast from the past.  Ahhh, high school.  Don't miss it, but sure had fun!

Were you ever in the band?  Ever play an instrument?  Any juicy stories or memories?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Matchstick post #3: The Great Debate

In light of the nonsense that is the presidential debates, though, I bring you Matchstick post #3....
Quote from book:  "Time out! Time Out! We can call that, right?"

The Great Debate

As the teenagers trouped into the classroom, they were greeted with strange site.  Instead of a neat row of desks, there were two podiums that were poised in the front of the room.  The desks were arranged to face the podiums in a semi-circle design, with ten desks in three rows. "The Great Debate" was written on the chalkboard.  Green and yellow crepe ribbons festooned the front of the classroom, reflecting pride in the display of the schools colors.
Ms. Abrahams, their social studies teacher, ushered the kids in, encouraging them to take a seat at any desk.  As the bell rang to signal the beginning of the period, Ms. Abrahams rapped a gavel on one of the podiums and brought the class to attention.
"Class", she began "It's almost time for one of the most time honored traditions in America.  The right to choose our leaders-election day".
The class sat silent, unconvinced at their teacher's enthusiasm.  ms. Abrahams outlined the process that defines the first Tuesday in November in the Untied States, and why it was so important to exercise the right to vote-especially every four years when determining the leader of our nation.
"But Ms. Abrahams", Charlotte stated, "we're only 14.  We can't even vote for another 4 years!" 
"Well, that's about to change, Charlotte", the teacher revealed.  "Today, we're going to elect a new class president!".  The class stirred with interest.  "Now," the teach continued, " I need nominations for two candidates.  Who would like to start?"
Andy, the class clown, nominated himself.  His girlfriend, giggling like a hyena, seconded the nomination.  Charlotte nominated her best friend Sienna, the smartest girl in their class. 
Ms. Abrahams gave instruction to both candidates, asking them to select a running mate for assistance in the process, and then gave the class their homework-tomorrow would be the "great debate".  Both candidates were taxed with preparing two points for a "platform" to stand on- one on class events and one for a class project. 
"Tomorrow", the teacher turned to the rest of the class, "the rest of you will be our constituents.  You will listen to the candidates as they debate, and then cast your vote at the end of the period.  I will moderate the debate. After you cast your vote, you will need to write a review of the debate, due next Thursday."  As the bell rang, the class filed out, abuzz with the change from the standard lecture that they had come to expect from World History.
As the next day dawned, the candidates arrived to class early and stood up to the podium.  Andy donned a clip on bow tie, and Sienna dressed in a blazer in order to look more grown up.  As the bell rang, their running mates sat in front of the class, and the rest of the class filed into their seats, taking note of the ballot box on the teachers desk.
The Great Debate was on.  After watching the presidential debate and the Vice President debate for homework in the past week, the class sat on the edge of their seats, waiting for the mud slinging to begin.   The teacher began asking the candidates questions, and Sienna was clearly more prepared, articulating her plans for the winter dance, the class trip, and her plan to institute a contest involving loose change in order to raise money for the local children's hospital.
Andy waffled in his own grandiose plans of asking Dave Matthews to come sing at the the school dance, and of going to Maui for the class trip.  As Sienna began to question the feasibility of his plan, Andy turned bright red, not anticipating the brutal cross.  "Time Out!  Time Out!"  he yelled.  "We can call that, right?"  He turned to his running mate as the teacher rapped the gavel, signaling a close to the debate. 
She asked the class to cast their votes for who they thought the better candidate would be for class president.  The class quickly voted-the winner was an obvious choice.
The resulst were in the next day-aside from two votes, Andy had won the election.  After all, since when were elections based in reality or legitimate promises?

Note:  This is one of those..."writing is easy...sit at a desk with a computer until drops of blood form on your forehead" things.  The words just did not come with my idea on this one.  But it is an exercise, nothing more.  Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Five things Friday

Hey hey and happy we-got-through-another-week day!  I hope your Friday is going splendidly and you weren't too ill last night from the mudslinging on TV aka the debate.  Two thoughts about it, then I'll shut up.
1.  Joe Biden came off as the total politician grandpa.  Not sure if that's good or bad...if he laughed at Ryan one more time I was going to punch him, but his thoughts on the economy and abortion really resonated.
2.  Paul Ryan looks like a damned boy scout.  I think he might secretly be 17. 
That is all.  Enough of the hot spot.Well...I know its a day for a short story....but I started it a bit late and have run out of creative juice.  Look out tomorrow for the regularly scheduled Friday matchstick....aptly named "The Great Debate"!

But hey. Since it's Friday, and it's been awhile, how bout  a rousing rendition of "Five Things Friday"?  Cause there's some pretty cool stuff going around the inter webs I know you might be interested in.....

1.  I HAVE MY OWN DOMAIN!!  Sweet!  The hubster decided to be an awesome pants kinda guy and registered me for 2 years at  No more blogspot!  Woohoooo!!  I guess since the blog is almost 2 years old, it was about time to get serious...well...URL serious, anyways.  You all know I am incapable of any other kinds of serious!
2.  Google images-Just for fun, go to google images and type in "completely wrong".  If you're a Romney fan....I'm sorry.  If you're's (yes) completely wrong, but also completely hilarious!!
3.  And while we're poking fun of the candidates....check out Paul Ryan's newest Time article.....apparently, he's a boy scout who "works out".  Wow.  That is all.  Maybe he can work toward that 2:50 something marathon now....or something like that.  Meme generation and a twitter account for Paul Ryan's bicep have sprung up after this went viral....alll I have to say (and I'm not alone)....Rae (or Mikayla) is NOT impressed.  Stick to your platform, Ryan.  (although he looks better than Joe Biden without a shirt washing his car....YIKES!

4. Enough politics.  But more healthy crap. There's been some awesome deals around the 'nets for racing and gear...check out the saveology waterproof mp3 player deal (if you swim, this is a lifesaver!) And if you're local and thinking about getting muddy...check out this half off deal for a 12k mud run next weekend!  $20 for a 12k run at 10am with free food and a long sleeved tech tee?  I'm in.  (If I can convince my other half!)  Thanks for the birthday gifts, rock!!
5.  This is neither relevant or impressive to anyone but me, but I bought a 4 pound butternut squash at the market today for $1.29.  That's....30 cents a pound!  I'm quite attached to butternut squash fries, but unless I want to turn into a fry, I need to figure something else out to do with it.  Any ideas?

And there you are.  5 things that were big on my Friday.  Have a wonderful evening, friends!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Running Pop Quiz!

Running Pop Quiz

 I found this quiz yesterday from one of the running blogs that I read and figured...why not?  It's a perfect fall running day out there, and it's time for my first tempo in order to get in the mood, I filled out a little 411 on my running likes and habits.  Check it out!
1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?
For running, I do either Hammer Gel (Apple Cinnamon flavor tastes JUST like apple pie filling!), dired fruit (craisins...yum!!) or candy...specifically jelly belly jelly beans in either buttered popcorn or toasted marshmallow.  They aren't as easy to take during a race, but during a long training run it helps break up the gel monotony!  (Note- don't try them in the winter....they freeze and are super hard to chew!)
2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?
Ohhh, this is a toughie.  I would say that my MIND prefers the marathon distance....there's just something about 26.2. body prefers 13.1, and it's much easier to train for a half and avoid injury!  So....I would say about 50/50 on that one.  Still would love to run a marathon in each state, will settle for at least a half in each state!
3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?
Ohhhh, I'm a complex one, aren't I?  I usually favor capris with a skirt over it....capris for compression, skirt because I am just a titch self conscious (hey, full disclosure, right?)  If it's warm out, I'll wear my lulu shorts, if it's super cold out, I'll wear full length tights (love my cw-x's). 

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?
Old fashioned one's all water.  I've done nuun for some of my longer tri's, but my tummy really hates gatorade, powerade and most DEFINITELY Ironman perform and HEED!  However, I think I need to revisit liquid nutrition when it comes to Ironman,'s awfully hard to get in enough calories in solid form when racing for 12 hours!

 5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?
Well, that ain't easy.  I can't just want 50 degrees all year round and be done with it?  Damn.  Well, I guess if I have to pick one, I would go with heat.  I have Raynaud's, so I tend to get super cold, super fast....and even though I don't do as well in the heat, relative to the field I do MUCH better in heat!
6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brooks, Asics or Other?
Long distance, training runs:  Asics 2150-2170 (depending on which year I can get for cheapest!)
Racing Half marathon or less:  Brooks Ghost
7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?
Tri's- peanut butter toast and a piece of fruit (banana or stone fruit).  Running races - Oatmeal with banana and almonds.  For some reason, the swim portion of a tri and oats combo don't settle well in my stomach....and I learned that one the hard way...blech.  Also must have a cup of caffeinated coffee!  (Since I usually drink decaf, the extra boost gets me going!!)
8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?
Damn.  Can I plead the 5th?  I'd like to say 1x a week, but it's moreso once a month in reality.  (hangs head).  I know, I know.  But I do mix it up....2-3 days of running, 2 days of biking and 2-3 days swimming, so it's not all running...I mix up what I work.  I typically strength train twice a week, too, but don't let it fool ya....I aim for 60 minutes on weekdays and 60-90 on the weekends.  I know, I know.

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?
Love it.  I can run without it, but it really helps me get going to have some tunes to rock out to. I tailor my play lists to my runs-different songs for speed work (hardcore-Rammstein), peppy for tempo (Gangnam style!) and slower tempo for long runs (Fun ). 
Obviously, I race tri's without music, but if it's allowed, I will run a race with headphones.  The one exception is trail running, which in my opinion, has it's own soundtrack-nature!

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?
#1:  Stress relief.  Running allows me to get away from life, to contemplate, to figure out solutions to my problems.  I get really grumpy if I can't get out a few times a week (this year was rough!)
#1.5:  The cupcakes.  I won't lie.  But in my world, it's peanut butter and chocolate.  Noms. 

Feel free to play along!  Oh yeah, and that tempo run?  Rocked it.  3 miles in 24:33= 8:11 per mile.  My current tempo pace is.....  It's slower than a few years ago, but baby steps are where it's at, I'm keeping the perspective purely positive on this one!

Now, time for the mess of a debate.  What was I thinking?  I MEANT to say that I did 26.2 in "two fifty something".  Duh :-P

Have a great night!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Soup for (Vice) President

Hmmm.  I'm not sure if it's the fact that its smack in the middle of the week, the weather is turning cooler, I was out too much in the rain on vacation, or the speed work kicked my bottom yesterday I feel like crap.
A real foggy head "I'd rather be sitting on the couch and watching bad TV and sipping soup" kind of day.  Well.  I did have to work today, but when I got home, I got my wish.
Soup from the crock pot.
And bad TV.  As in....Joe Biden and Paul Ryan duking it out on National television.  And let's face it, we all need comfort food in the face of today's political shambles.  Now, where's my bottle of wine to go with my grilled cheese and chicken soup?  Oh wait....if I want to run a "two fifty something" marathon (in your dreams, Ryan), I should stick with green tea.
Oh well.  At least there was soup.

Simple Chicken Veggie Barley Soup
(serves 4)
4 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
3 cups broccoli, chopped
2 small sweet potatoes, cubed
2 cubes chicken bouillon
1/2 cup dry barley
2 med carrots, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
1 tsp. savory
1 tsp. rosemary

Chop all of the veggies and add to the crock pot.  Add chicken, bones and all.  Fill crock with 5-6 cups water, add in boullion and seasonings.  Cook on low 6-7 hours.  De bone and chop chicken.  (It sounds odd, but I add the bones back in and take out just prior to serving-it adds great flavor!)  Add in barley and cook on low for an additional hour.  Remove bones and serve.
Although the flavor was pretty darn good, the soup alone is probably not enough for dinner...I added in a grilled cheese (because I am secretly 5)!  But a nice side salad or a whole wheat roll would work, too.
Nom nom nom. 
Hit the spot.  Not too heavy, but flavorful and easy on a not feeling so hot kinda day.
The heck with politics.
Soup for President!**
(Wait....what the hell is a "SOUF"?  Aww c'mon, you read those, right?)

**Edited to Add....the debate is on tomorrow.  Lame.  but the soup was still good!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Square One

 Holy cow.  Wowza.  Yikes.
Yeah, I got more where that came form. was day one of the good ole "second" plan.  Yup, I'm calling it that.  Just try to stop me.  15 weeks x 3 quality runs.....45 runs till I'm in marathon shape....(plus some quality runs through the holiday madness to keep me sane...huzzah!).
Well, that sounds good in theory, right?  Right.  So, without further ado.... here's my little plan!
"2nd" Marathon Training Plan 
Wk  Speedwork/Tempo/Long Run
1       8x400 m      3 miles      10 miles
2       6x800m       7 miles      13 miles
3       3x1600m     3 miles      10 miles
4      10x400m      5 miles      14 miles
5       5x1200m     5 miles      15 miles
6       7x800m       8 miles      17 miles
7       3x1600m   10 miles      13 miles
8     12x400m      3 miles       18 miles
9       8x800m      5 miles       15 miles
10     4x1600m    8 miles       20 miles
11   12x400m      5 miles       15 miles
12     6x1200m    5 miles       20 miles
13     7x800m      4 miles       15 miles
14     3x1600m    8 miles       10 miles
15  30' EZ w 5x60s/20' EZ w 3 or 4 pickups/Marathon !!

The FIRST Paces (based off 10k pace 8:15/mile)
Long Run 10-K pace + 60 to 75 seconds/mile (9:15-9:30)
Long Tempo 10-K + 30 to 35 seconds (8:45-8:50)
Mid Tempo 10-K + 15 to 20 seconds (8:30-8:45)
Short Tempo 10-K pace (8:15)
1600m Repeats 10-K - 35 to 40 seconds (7:40)
1200m Repeats 10-K - 40 to 45 seconds (7:30)
800m Repeats 10-K - 45 to 50 seconds  (7:25)
400m Repeats 10-K - 55 to 60 seconds  (7:15)
 You see it's similar to last years plan, but with a few small tweaks.  My paces are a bit slower this year, because, let's face it, I'm a bit out of shape.  I'm planning on re-assessing my paces in about a month to see where I'm at....I would surely love to PR in this marathon, but the way I'm doing now, I'll surely be okay with running a strong race and not looking like this at the finish line:
 Ugh.  Maine marathon, you were not pretty.
But at least I finished you!
So #1....was speedwork. 8 x 400.  Yikes. 
I always do my speedwork on the treadmill, because it forces me to keep a steady pace (and not slack off!)
The Workout
5 minutes warm up
8 x 400 @7:13/7:19 (alt) pace with 90 sec recovery
5 minute cooldown
Time:  35:10
Distance:  4.20 miles
Overall pace:  8:22
Well.  Other than the fact that I was pretty sure I was dying by the 6th repeat, I would chalk that up to a win.  (Poor guy next to me on the treadmill.  I'm sure you would have run away if you could!)  Lesson learned.  Just because you can run long, doesn't mean you can run fast!  and that's okay.  I might not be all the way back on square one, but I sure feel like it today!  Bring on the pain, bring on the workouts-I'm ready!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

2013...a good year for 26.2!

Ahh, Monday.  You are a cruel cruel day, but after returning from a week off...well, let's just say I felt like someone hit me over the head with a baseball bat by 11am.  No, I'm not complaining-I know I was quite lucky to have a week off, but....Monday still sucks.  You with me? Good.  Well, as I said, work was pretty nuts...we just got a sizable federal grant in the program I manage, which is completely awesome, but it will mean quite a bit work work and travel for the 90 day start up.  I'm up for it....not a problem (except when my boss arranges 9am meetings in a town 300 miles away....yeah, we're working on that one!).  I'm actually quite excited about this.  We will be partnering with 3 new counties every year for the next three years in order to get some dedicated services for our clientele, which will really help out our clients and expand our services!
Okay, enough worky work.  Let's talk about....running.  Cause, really, we haven't talked about that nearly enough for me this year.  We all know it's been a pretty disappointing season for me (well, depending on how you look at it.  I was lucky as all get out to be able to run at all!).  I set out to best my half PR (1:50) and was cut short by injury back in May.  I got stung, stress fractured my foot, and then busted a big callous (yuck, I know).  I've ran, including races, 12 times since Memorial Day.  And for such a crap bag of training (oh yeah, I went there), I have nothing but love for what my foot gave me back.
But that was 2012.  We're done with races for that year.  So....what about 2013? 
Well, I'm not quite ready to plan out my tri season.  I need a break from that formal training.  But...I miss running.  So what does one do when they need a reason to run?  They find a new race!!
Last year (2011) I trained for the National Marathon using the FIRST plan from Runner's World.  I documented my adventures on the blog, and really enjoyed the plan structure:  3 runs a week-one speed work, one tempo, and one long run.  No fluff, no wasted runs.  All done at a specific speed to gear you toward your goal pace.  The "pace" is determined off your best 10k, and gives you a set goal for each workout based off of that.  I PRed by a half hour on the course, and feel strongly that I would have gotten my sub 4 if I hadn't been idiotic enough to work a 12 hour day the day before, including 8 hours of car travel (dumb, Rae).
Well, what is life for if we don't move on and try to fix those mistakes?  So....tomorrow is day #1 of the NEW FIRST plan!  (The second plan?)  I've got two marathons on my is 15 weeks away, and one is 19 weeks away.  Let's take a look....

Option #1:  Ocala Marathon.  (Florida)
This race is January 20th, or, 15 weeks away. It's a small little marathon in horse country, and last year, 500 people ran it.  The course is 2 loops, and one Floridian described it as "hilly", but the net elevation gain is 200 feet per loop, and the last 8 miles of each loop look flat or downhill.  Of course, "hilly" is relative-most of our courses in NY would look flat to a Northern Californian...and pancake flat to me.  Bonus?  The race is pretty cheap, and the hubs is playing flag football in a town 40 miles away that weekend, which makes for a double awesome reason to fly down to Florida for 5 days.

Option #2:  Myrtle Beach Marathon (South Carolina)
This one is 4 weeks later, so I would just need to do a repeater of 4 weeks somewhere in my plan (no biggie).  It's a bit closer, and we have family and friends within spitting distance (kinda).  It would be a bit cheaper, because we don't have to rent a car or fly.  However, who knows that PA will be like in February to drive through.....
This race is run mostly by the ocean (how cool!) but is also a bit bigger and pricier.

Decisions, decisions.  I have until November to sign up for either at a lower price, so i think I'll start the plan and then see how it goes.  I'll post my plan tomorrow....gotta get in that 10k to figure out my training paces!

Have you ever done a marathon in SC or Fla?  Either one of these?  Which one would you pick?