TOTR: The Best Thing About Running | Six Races, One Report

Good morning and Happy Tuesday, my lovies!  I’m linking up today with MCM Mama and a couple of her cohorts for Tuesday on the Run… which is SUPER convenient for me since I already had this running-related post mostly written.  haha  Today’s topic is “The Best Part About Running.”  I shared an Instagram post a couple of weeks ago on this very thing, and since I have very little overlap between this blog and my IG, I’m using it again.  Recycled content FTW!!!!

While I was running my most recent half marathon last month, somewhere I believe around mile 4, we came out into an opening in the wildlife preserve we were running through, and the view over the water was just breathtaking. In that moment, it hit me like a ton of bricks at just how infinitely grateful I am to have found this life. Let me explain a little bit… I’ve hated my body for most of my life. I hated it when I was a kid and teenager because it was fat. Then when I lost weight in my 20s I still hated it because it bore the physical reminders that it was once fat, and I knew it had the potential to be fat again. I had a very unhealthy relationship with food, subsisting on Slim Fast and lettuce to stay thin. It’s only been in the last 10 years or so that I’ve learned to truly appreciate how strong and healthy I am (yes, even when I’ve allowed the scale to creep back up at times). And since switching to a plant based diet a few years ago, I LOVE food (REAL FOOD) instead of resenting it for having calories! Thanks to running and living an active lifestyle, I’ve been so many places and done so many things I wouldn’t have otherwise. Experiences that are priceless. I’ve explored 13.1 miles (and 26.2 a couple of times!) of some amazing places on foot, up close and personal, in a way that driving through just can’t compare. I’ve hiked into the Grand Canyon and to the top of the Manitou Incline–experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything! And the friends I’ve made literally all over the country!  Fitness has given me back tenfold what I’ve put into it, and I can’t wait to see what adventures are still to come!

And now to catch you up on some of those 13.1 adventures I mentioned…here ya go!  Six races, one report!

#1 – September 5, 2015.  The Tortoise and the Hare – Canton, Georgia (State #8):  This was by far THE HARDEST race I’ve ever run.  Marathons included.  It was also by far THE SLOWEST half I’ve ever run, coming in at 3:09:45.  But ya know what?  It was also by far THE MOST FUN race I’ve ever run!  It was 100% trail.  It was my first trail race, but it definitely will not be my last!  There were hills (oh so many hills), roots, rocks, streams, mud, and it was September in Georgia, so it was effing HOT!!!  But it was also beautiful.  I tried a couple of times to take my phone out and take pictures, but it was impossible.  My hands were so wet from sweat that my phone wouldn’t even acknowledge that I was touching the screen when I would try to swipe or tap, and I didn’t have a single square inch of dry clothes on my body with which to dry my hands.  So pics from the start and the finish are all I have of this lovely but grueling course.

9-5-2015 - Tortoise & The Hare start line
At the start.  We started and finished in this clearing.
9-5-2015 - Tortoise & The Hare Half Marathon in Canton, GA
Over three hours later…
9-5-2015 - Tortoise & The Hare finish
Proudly sporting my tortoise medal.  (It was a super cute medal.  The middle of it spins.  There’s a tortoise on one side, a hare on the other)
9-5-2015 - Post first trail run
I got muddy, so I’m officially a trail runner now!

This race kind of happened on accident.  One of our favorite comedians, Jim Jefferies, was in Atlanta that weekend, and when we were thinking about buying tickets to that, I searched for nearby races to see if killing two birds with one stone could be a possibility.  When I found this one only half an hour or so away, it was a done deal!  After the race, a shower, and a short nap, we drove into ATL for dinner, drinks, and the show.

9-5-2015 - Jim Jefferies

9-5-2015 - Jim Jefferies 2
He is fucking HILARIOUS but definitely not for the faint of heart or easily offended.

#2 – September 13, 2015, Guardian Angels Virtual Half Marathon.  I don’t know that I should even include this one here, but I’m gonna.  I signed up for this virtual race because it was for benefit of a group that helps combat veterans with getting service dogs, and of course I donated the extra few bucks to get the medal.  Because if you’re gonna run that far, it’s my belief that you should damn sure get a medal for it.  The only drawback was that there wasn’t someone waiting for me at the end of my driveway to put it over my head when I finished that day.  But here are some adorable pictures of my pups modeling it when it came in the mail a couple of weeks later.  You’re welcome, internet.

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9-25-2015 - Harley

9-25-2015 - Bella 2

9-25-2015 - Bella“Paint me like one of your French Bulldogs”

#3 – October 4, 2015, Key Biscayne Half Marathon in Key Biscayne, Florida (State #9):  Like the Georgia race, this one happened to coincide with another trip, too.  We had already planned a vacation to Pompano Beach, FL, and a few weeks beforehand I searched for races.  This one was an hour away the day after we got there.  SOLD!  It was hot AF and I was eaten alive by mosquitoes since it was still dark at packet pickup that morning, but I loved it.  The view over the bay at sunrise was just amazing.  Races like this really make me appreciate this whole “running just for fun” thing.  It’s nice to just be able to take in the surroundings without worrying about pace or PRs!   I ran the whole thing just like I’d been running all my summer long runs and was perfectly okay with the 2:25:56 finish time.

#4 – November 7, 2015, Monumental Half in Indianapolis, Indiana (State #10):  I have a friend that lives in Indianapolis that has been trying to get me to come and run the 500 Festival Mini Marathon for ages, but it’s in May and there’s ALWAYS a conflict with either a vacation or a graduation or a birthday, so I’ve never been able to make it happen (and already knew it wasn’t going to happen again in 2016!), so I gave up on that idea and went with the Monumental Half instead.  I’m not sorry at all.  It was a great race.  And despite my time of 2:22, I had a great race that day as well.  Six of those minutes were spent standing in line for a portapotty around mile 4.  That’s really my only complaint for the race at all.  It realllly needed more portapotties.  So while 2:16 isn’t a spectacular time for me, for where I was at fitness wise, I was happy with it.  And BONUS I finally got my picture with Bart at the expo!

11-6-2015 - Pam & Bart Yasso

11-7-2015 - Indianapolis Monumental Half 7

#5 – December 5, 2015, St. Jude Half in Memphis, TN.  This one is just kind of tradition now.  I’ve run it the last four years that it was held (it was cancelled due to an ice storm a couple of years ago) and will continue to run it every year.  Based on some of my tempo runs in the weeks leading up to this race, I thought I might possibly just MAYBE be able to eek out a PR at this race.  Nope.  Didn’t happen.  Although I did shave a few more minutes off of my Indy time and come in at 2:12:54, still 5 minutes off my PR.  They changed the course this year, and IMO it was MUCH more challenging.  It seemed hillier to me, but maybe that’s my lack of hill training talking.  Again, no pics during the race, except the proof I swiped.

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12-5-2015 - St. Jude Half Marathon

12-5-2015 - St. Jude half finish
A perfect, sunny day in Memphis, TN.  Finishers’ area inside Autozone Park.

#6 – February 13, 2016 – Fly with the Eagles in Marion, Illinois (State #11):  This was one of those surprises that don’t come along very often.  I chose it solely based on two things:  price and proximity.  Marion is only two hours away from where I live in Northwest Tennessee.  Pair that short drive time with the 9:00 a.m. gun time and the fact that they allowed race day packet pickup and you have yourself a hotel-less race.  Since I’m shooting for a half in all 50 states, I’m taking every opportunity I can to travel on the cheap!  Also?  The registration was $30.  Yes.  THIRTY DOLLARS.  So I honestly went into this race not expecting much.  I didn’t even really read any reviews on it.  I read just enough to make sure there was a finisher’s medal because that’s one of my self-imposed stipulations on selecting a race for a state.  Yes, I am totally shallow like that.  I was SHOCKED by this race.  Guys, it was SO well organized.  The volunteers were awesome and many, the aid stations abundant, the course beautiful, and the finish line well stocked.  This race also went down in the books as my coldest one to date.  At the finish, the temp was 14 with a windchill of 8, so the hot soup that the volunteers had waiting for us at the finish was a very much appreciated bonus.  (And the fact that they even had a separate soup for us plant-based folks?  BE STILL MY HEART!)  I found out after the race that the finisher’s hoodie is this race’s claim to fame.  It IS pretty great!  I love getting something other than an ugly t-shirt.  Oh!  And the race photographer uploaded all of the photos for us to grab FOR FREE!!!!  Seriously.  All this for $30.  I have a feeling this one will also become a yearly tradition.  It’s a gem for sure.

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And that’s a wrap!  Six races and four states, bringing my total up to 21 HMs in 11 states.  Next up–Garmin Half Marathon in Olathe, Kansas, on April 16!

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Where do I even begin?

And just like that **SNAP!**, in the blink of an eye, seven months has gone by.  My last post was August 16, 2015.  What the hell?  I hadn’t PLANNED on a hiatus.  I had no reason for one…I wasn’t burned out.  I wasn’t any more busy than usual.  I wasn’t off somewhere sulking in a corner.  I don’t know WHAT happened, really.  But I’ve missed it!  For weeks I’ve been meaning to get back here and dust the cobwebs off this old thing.  I’ve even come to the page a couple of times and asked myself the title of this post.  I sat here with my fingers hovering over the home row, ready to pound out a post and drew a big, fat blank.  I did it just now, too, but this time I just decided to roll with it.  I feel like so much has happened in the last seven months, but to keep this one post from getting insanely long, I’ll do you a solid and break them down into shorter posts.   Haha  Maybe one for each topic.  But in short, since I talked to you last I have…

  • Run six half-marathons in four new states.  If things had gone according to plan, I actually would have been in the car traveling to the next one right this very moment, but due to some conflicts I decided to forego this one.  My next one will be the Garmin Marathon in Olathe, Kansas on 4/16.  (*currently accepting applications for suitable travel partners  haha)
  • Gotten very serious about cross- and strength-training.  I’ve been saying for EVER that I knew I needed to do it, but I finally did it.  And now I kick myself every day for not doing it years ago.  I have never felt better or stronger, and if you’ll allow me a moment of vanity, I’ll admit that I don’t think I’ve ever looked better either.
  • Taken an awesome vacation to Florida.  We go to the panhandle of Florida as sort of a farewell-to-summer getaway almost every year, but last year we mixed it up a bit and went to South Florida where epic shit ensued.
  • Got a new tattoo.
  • Carried out a stakeout and trap, resulting in the newest addition to our family.  I now have a new feline brother.
  • Nursed my girl Bella through her third (yes, THIRD) knee surgery.  She’s three and a half weeks post ACL repair now, after already having undergone two surgeries in the past for a torn ACL and meniscus in the OTHER hind leg.

And well I guess that’s about it!  haha  It sure seemed like more before I started writing it out.  That’ll give me a starting place for posting anyway!  Also, when I logged into Blogger, I had approximately 4 million unread posts.  There’s no way I could make my way through all of them, so I cringed and hit the “Mark All as Read” button.  So if I’ve missed any huge news on YOUR blog, please catch me up!!!!!

Weekend Recap: Trying New Things and Slowly Getting My Miles Back!

Another weekend, come and gone.  *POOF!*  Just like that.  This weekend was the perfect mixture of fun, active, and lazy.

Friday when I got off work, I did something I rarely do–I went to the gym.  Friday afternoons are usually my unwinding, beer-drinking time, but when I looked at the WOD and saw it was all upper body stuff with some rowing, I wanted to go.  Lord knows I need all the upper body help I can get.  I’m really glad I went!  There was only one other person there for the 5:30 class besides me, so the coach spent a lot of one-on-one time with us.  It was great.

When I got home I was kind of surprised that D wasn’t home yet.  It was nearly 7, and he really tries not to work past 6 on Fridays.  It’s our Friday night ritual to grab takeout for dinner, and I was starving, so when he wasn’t home by 7:15, me and the dogs hopped in the truck to go to the shop and drag him out of there.  But when I got there, I saw what the hold up was.  He had been waiting on his Dad and uncle to get back in town to unload his newest acquisition.  They had driven to East Tennessee to pick up this:

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He won it on auction for $2,500 and it has WAY more than that much on it in parts that he needs for a couple of other Corvettes he is in the process of rebuilding right now.  So it’ll be used as a donor car and stripped for parts and sell or scrap what’s left when he’s done.

The rest of Friday night consisted of Taco Bell and Cardinals vs. Braves on TV.  I’m so feminine.

Saturday morning the insomnia monster reared his ugly head.  I woke up, wide ass awake, for no reason whatsoever at exactly 3:48.  I stayed in bed hoping to go back to sleep until almost 4:30 then gave up, got up, and started the coffee.  I had absolutely nothing I had to do and nowhere I had to be all day long, and I milked that for all it was worth.  I wasn’t a complete bum.  I did do some cleaning and several loads of laundry, but that was spread out over several hours of Harry Potter and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia watching.  But even while I was watching TV I was multitasking:  paying bills online, doing some shopping online, ordering photo prints online… wow, remember when you actually had to put on pants and leave the house to do things?  And, yes, I said ordering photo prints.  I’m still old school in that respect.  I still order prints.  I do one photo album every year with printed photos from some of the highlights of that year.  I don’t know, there’s just something nostalgic about flipping through the pages of a photo album.

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But the thing I’m most proud of doing Saturday is this!

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I’m a total newb at canning.  But really I don’t think this counts as canning.  I didn’t cook anything or put any of this up.  It only made three small jars, so I just stuck them in the fridge.  I’m a salsa freak anyway, so it’ll get used quickly.

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I started working on it immediately.

Saturday night we went to the movies to see…wait for it… MINIONS!!!  I’ve been dying to see that since I first heard it was being made.  We were the only adults in there without kids.  It was hilarious.

Sunday I got caught out in a torrential downpour when I left to get groceries.  I had no idea it was even supposed to rain!  It was perfectly sunny when I left the house and by the time I got to town…

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I sat in the Kroger parking lot for 10 minutes hoping it would let up, but it never did, so I got drenched walking in.  Part of my grocery list involved getting the stuff to make pickles.  Like I said, I’m a total newb at this, but I have a ton of cucumbers that are going to go to waste if I don’t do something with them.  This will be my first stab at making pickles.  I got all the stuff with plans of making them as soon as I got home and then run later in the evening, but that rain REALLY cooled things off!  When I got home and it was still only 83 degrees (albeit with matching humidity–yuck), I put my pickle plan on hold and hit the pavement.  I ran five miles, making that my longest run post-injury!  It was at an embarrassingly slow pace and I even had to walk once for a minute at the top of a hill, but I’m just tickled shitless to be back out there.

And now we’re sitting here watching Run All Night that I grabbed from the Redbox while I was out earlier, and this weekend is a wrap.  I’m really not looking forward to this upcoming week.  I’ve got a new employee starting bright and early in the morning, and that’s always kind of a mess for the first little while.  So here’s hoping for a smooth transition!

Do you do any canning?  Any tips for a first-timer?

See any movies this weekend?

I’m linking up with Tara at Running ‘n’ Reading again for her weekly weekend update linkup!

Weekend Recap, an Injury Update (x 2), and a Plan!!!

And let me just say…what a FABULOUS weekend it was!  It flew by, of course, but, hey, what else is new?  It didn’t start off all that awesome since I had to work Saturday morning, but FOR ONCE the weather cooperated.  It was cloudy and misty and just generally shitty out until right at closing time at 11:00 (we’re only open half-days on Saturdays).  With the click of the lock, the skies cleared and the sun came out in all its glory, and this ol’ girl couldn’t get home and get outside fast enough.  I had an itch that only an outdoors run was going to scratch.  It’s been miserably hot this week–like oppressively, unbearably hot–so I had been avoiding the outdoors every chance I got.  But when the sun came out Saturday, it was a cool 80 degrees with humidity only in the 60% range–a regular old cold front.  I usually prefer it to be cloudy and much, much cooler for a run, but my mood had been in the shitter this week, and the sunshine was just what my soul needed.

Running the country roads.  Just me and the soybeans.
Running the country roads. Just me and the soybeans.

After I finished, I went back in, leashed up the pups and headed back out for a walk with them.  They were hankering for a nice long walk, too.  They don’t like being outside any more than I do when the heat index is 105+, so they were suffering from a pretty severe case of cabin fever.  Judging from Bella’s expression, I’d say they rather enjoyed themselves.

"I'm so happy.  But I'm so tired.  But I'm so happy.  And tired."
“I’m so happy. But I’m so tired. But I’m so happy. And tired.”

D and I had ourselves a little date night Saturday night.  Some people tell me when you don’t have kids EVERY night is date night, but whatever.  Maybe.  Maybe I should be more specific and say we took showers and put on non-flannel, non-tech gear, non-pajama clothes and left the house.  For months, I’ve been counting down the days for Ted 2 to open, so we went to see that.  The show didn’t start till 9:50(!!!  What are we, 18?!), so we went to Jasmine, my favorite (read: the only) local Thai joint to eat and hang out a while.  I was in hog heaven with my vegetarian sushi roll and the Cards/Cubs game on in the bar.  I briefly considered having a drink or five while killing time but then I thought better of it because HELLO!  9:50!!!  I’m usually holding down my side of the bed (read: the middle) by 9:50.  So I stuck to water and somehow managed to stay awake through the entire thing.  It was really funny.  Not as funny as the first one, but still pretty damn funny.  And then I fell asleep on the 30-minute drive home.  I party so hard.

Sunday morning I was awakened by snoring, and just before I kicked D I realized it was coming from the foot of the bed.

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He has just started doing this.  He’s totally called my “no dogs on the bed” bluff.

I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up and started the coffee and just enjoyed the quiet morning.  I read, I caught up on some blogs, partook in a little online retail therapy… all while intentionally staying far, far away from the land of Facebook.  Social media largely contributed to my rotten mood the last few days.

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This is really funny, but in all seriousness… ENOUGH ALREADY!

Part of that little online shopping trip included planning a weekend getaway for me and D!  One of our favorite comedians, Jim Jefferies, will be in Atlanta in September, soooo….

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HELLS YEAH!

Once those tickets were procured, I thought to myself, “Hmmmmm……..I wonder if there would happen to be any races nearby that weekend.”  A quick little click to halfmarathons.net  told me that INDEED THERE IS!  The Tortoise and the Hare Half Marathon is in Canton, just outside of Atlanta, that same morning!

tortoise hare

I love the description of the race.  It sounds so fun!  And the scenery!   It’ll be my first trail half, my first race back after my hip/leg injury, and state #9!  I’m just downright giddy over the whole trip. D was skeptical when I told him I’d found a half just a little over two months away, but like I told him, I’m not out to prove anything.  I will wear my Tortoise title proudly that day.  I’m no stranger to running half-marathons half-assed trained.  What’s once more?!

With the excitement of planning that trip fresh on my brain (and the caffeine from my homemade iced coffees fresh in my veins), I threw on some clothes and headed out the front door for a run equally as glorious as yesterday’s.  After finishing that I did a little yard and house cleaning, laid out for a while, then dragged out the dogs’ pool.  Seriously, nothing makes me happier than seeing my furry kids happy.

7-21-2013 - Bella in kiddie pool 5

7-21-2013 - Harley shaking off

I wrapped up my day with an awesome shopping trip to Kroger ($0.99 organic kale and $0.50 organic red grapefruit–score!) and a terrible movie.  The Boy Next Door–UGH.  I had a feeling it would be horrible, and it exceeded my expectations.  I only got it because everything I wanted to see was gone from the Redbox at Kroger and I had a code for a free rental, so I took a chance on it.

Now just a little bit of an injury update…When I last posted I was miserable with some sort of issue with my abs a week after a killer core workout during CrossFit.  Now, three days later, things have gotten SO much better!  But not before they got worse.  The swelling peaked the next day but then has gradually been going down.  I’m almost back to normal now as far as the swelling goes.  They’re still awfully weak though.  I went from being able to hold almost a 3-minute plank a couple of weeks ago to not even being able to support myself to do a single pushup when I tried today.  I jacked something up real good, but whatever it was seems to be on the mend, so I’m holding off on calling in any professionals.  And as for the more chronic issue, I think it’s finally safe to say that the iliopsoas injury is behind me.  HALLELUJAH!!!   I’m continuing to do the things my physical therapist taught me, and I’ll go back to see her at the first twinge or hint of recurrence to stay on top of things, but for now, ALL SYSTEMS ARE GO, BITCHES!!!!

Join the Weekend Update link-up here!

Thinking Out Loud: The Summer Time Warp and Playing Catch-Up

How is it that in the summer the days get simultaneously longer and shorter?  In the winter, I’m usually in bed by 9.  In the summer, I’m lucky to be eating dinner by 9.  There’s just always so much more to do and so much more fun to be had in the summer!  Take yesterday, for example.  I worked till 4:30, went for a short run (short because HELLO SUMMER with your stupid feels-like 96 degrees) went to the 5:30 CrossFit class, came home and walked the dogs, took a shower, fixed a quick dinner, and sat down to eat at 8:40.  Who has time for blogging when every day is like that?!  It’s so much easier to throw a quick post on Instagram or Facebook.  I’m only able to spare a few minutes today because I took a vacation day.  Anyway, I’m using the Thursday Thinking Out Loud trend to catch up on the things I haven’t had time to blog about, so this is gonna be all over the place.

  • I’ve started doing CrossFit again.  I’ve been twice.  Last night was the first time I’ve ever thrown in the towel and “no-scored” a workout.  I went for a run before class, and during class I could NOT get my heart rate to drop below an explosive level.  I’ve never felt like that before.  I don’t know exactly what was going on, but my heart rate was sky high, my hearing was muffled, and I got a sudden pounding headache in my forehead.  It honestly kind of scared me a bit, so I stopped in the third of four rounds.  It wasn’t even a super hard WOD.  Four rounds of 15 kettlebell swings/15 burpees,/15 GHD situps.  I’ve done much harder, so I dunno.  I’m sure dehydration played at least a small part of it.

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  • Things are really going well at our business.  We’ve hired someone full-time to run the front office and clean the building and stuff.  Taking some of that busy work off D has saved him so much time and lets him spend more time on the things that make money and grow the business.  Insurance jobs are slow right now (not a point of concern–that’s an industry standard for this time of year), so he’s spending that time on his project cars instead.  He just finished this one up!  Isn’t she beautiful???  She’ll be for sale as soon as we get the title work back from the state, so hit me up.  haha  But till then I’m enjoying the shit out of driving it.  I had one of my own a few years ago, and this makes me miss it!
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BEFORE
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AFTER
  • The dogs are enjoying keeping cool this summer.

  • I sincerely hope I’m not jinxing myself by saying this, but the healing of the running injury is coming along nicely since changing physical therapists.  I’m kind of pissed about all the time and money I lost with the other place, but I’m trying to just focus on the now and be glad that I’m finally getting better.  Still the most I’ve run is 3.5 miles, but I’m hindered now only by loss of fitness and the heat, not by pain.  It’s damn hard, y’all, to start from scratch and build any kind of base in a Tennessee summer.
  • We’ve been in our house for eight years, and I guess eight years is kind of the time when everything starts to go to shit.  Sheetrock nails are coming out of the ceiling, walls need sheetrock repair and repainted, carpet needs replaced, boards on our deck are warping and coming up, and our air conditioning unit just had to have a pretty costly repair.  One thing at a time… The deck is at the top of my priority list because that’s kind of my summer oasis!

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I have several potted plants on my deck, but my Gerber daisies are gorgeous this year! And my hibiscus has buds all over it that are about to explode!
  • I’m super excited because the bestie Michele is coming in from Virginia in two weeks!  I’ve reserved her for a day.  haha  Two weeks from today we have a bestie date planned.  Gym, mani-pedis, drinks by the pool, YES!

Is summer keeping you hopping this year?  

Our NYC Trip (including our late-night television debut)!

We’ve been back from vacation for over two weeks now, and I’m FINALLY getting a chance to sit down and go through pictures and throw a post together about it!  As I did with our Colorado trip in March–less words, more pictures!

We flew in on a Friday and got checked in to the Wyndham Midtown 45 late in the evening, so we did nothing that night except hit up this little all natural, mostly organic Amish grocery joint right across the street from our hotel to stock the fridge with a few necessities.  I absolutely adored this place!  We went back a couple more times through the week.  It was the first thing I saw of the city, so I was in love from the start!

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For dinner that night, we walked to a nearby pizza joint that the hotel concierge dude recommended.  They were happy to accommodate my plant-based preferences and hooked me up with this sun-dried tomato, olive, and arugula cheeseless pie.  Hands down BEST PIZZA EVER!!!  And I don’t even remember the name of the place now!

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The next morning, we hit the ground running.  So much we wanted to do and see in one short week!  We went all out with the tourist thing and bought the 72-hour hop-on-hop-off bus package.  Well worth the money!  It helped us get oriented to the city and figure out where everything was.  We used it to kind of see everything briefly and figure out what we wanted to go back to.

5-9-2015 - Brooklyn Bridge 13
You can’t go to NYC without walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, right?!
5-9-2015 - Pam & Dewayne on Brooklyn Bridge
And you HAVE to take a selfie while you’re doing it. Duh.
5-9-2015 - Freedom Tower
Freedom Tower
5-9-2015 - Pam & Dewayne at World Trade Center Memorial
Don’t mind us. Just playing with my new selfie stick.
5-9-2015 - World Trade Center Memorial
Reflecting pool at the World Trade Center monument.
5-9-2015 - World Trade Center Memorial 4
Names of the fallen at the reflecting pools. So very sombering.
5-9-2015 - LAPD in NYC on freedom tour 2
Gazillions of police officers were in the financial district and I noticed the bikes said LAPD instead of NYPD. We stopped and chatted with the officers for a few and found out that they were in town for a unity tour. We made sure to shake their hands and tell them how appreciated they are.

We wrapped up our sightseeing for the day and headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and head out to dinner then to the theater district because we had tickets to see Something Rotten that evening.

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Damn, I clean up pretty good, if I do say so myself.
5-9-2015 - Something Rotten on Broadway 2
You guys, I HIGHLY recommend this!!! It was SO funny! It just opened on Broadway in late March, but I hope it eventually goes on tour because I can’t wait to see it again!

After the show, we hit up Times Square

5-9-2015 - Times Square 2
So many lights. And SO MANY PEOPLE.

The next day we hit a couple of museums.  One of my favorite things we did while we were there was go to the Body Worlds exhibit.  It was positively fascinating.

5-10-2015 - Body Worlds Exhibit 3

Then we headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Some things in there were pretty interesting, but I wasn’t as awed as I thought I would be.

5-10-2015 - Metropolitan Museum of Art 18
I’m sorry, this is not art. If this is art, the contents of my mother’s cedar chest are worth billions.
5-10-2015 - Metropolitan Museum of Art 21
THIS, on the other hand, is art.

Then we made our way back downtown to the Empire State Building.  We waited till later in the day to avoid the long lines, which are told to be as long as four hours during peak times.  We breezed right through in like 10 minutes.

5-10-2015 - Empire State Building observation deck 11

On Monday, we got up early to go stand in line at the NBC Studios for standby tickets to go to a Jimmy Fallon taping.  That turned out to be kind of an all-day ordeal, but it paid off because we totally got in!  We lined up at like 7:00 that morning.

The people at the front of the line camped there all night to be sure to get tickets.  I'm not that hard core.  haha
The people at the front of the line camped there all night to be sure to get tickets. I’m not that hard core. haha

They came out and numbered us off at 9:00.  When we got in line, there were 20 people ahead of us, but by the time several douche bags broke in line in front of us (Dewayne wouldn’t let me kneecap them with my selfie stick), we were numbers 31 and 32.  We didn’t have high hopes of getting in, but we were told there was always a chance and to come back at 3:45 to find out how many seats they had left to fill.

There was still lots that we wanted to do and see, but we were afraid to go far because we wanted to make sure getting back at 3:45 wouldn’t be an issue!  So we just trekked around town on foot all day.  We went back to Times Square and milled around then walked over to Fifth Avenue for some window shopping.

5-10-2015 - Pam at M&M World
M&M World
5-11-2015 - Tiffany's
I tried to convince D I needed a souvenir. He wasn’t buying it. Literally or figuratively. Rude.
5-11-2015 - St. Patrick's Cathedral 4
St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Then we headed back to the studios to find out whether or not we would get in.  That was an emotional roller coaster.  haha  When we first got there, they were turning away anyone with a number higher than 60.  (Yay!)  Then we waited around for what felt like forever.  (Boo!)  Then they said they could take 36 people.  (YAY!!!)  Then they said, no, only 26.  (BOO!)  Then they told us to wait around because they may get a few more.  (YAAAAAAAYYYY!)  Remember, we were numbers 31 and 32.  They had taken 26.  Then they came out and said they could take six more.  Do the math.  We got the LAST TWO SEATS!  WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!!  (Or so we thought.  During a commercial break, we saw one of the guys that was with the family of five that was behind us.  They went back for one more after they let us in.)  I was freaking stoked.  If you’re a Fallon watcher, we were at the taping with Tom Brokaw and Charlize Theron.  Several friends and family watched the episode and said they saw us several times.  A couple even sent me pics!  haha

Fallon 2

Fallon

As much fun as that was, we trumped it the next night by going to one of David Letterman’s last tapings.  We had tickets secured for that one, so it didn’t involve the waiting and wondering like Fallon did!  I just entered the ticket lottery before we went, and while we were sitting in the Nashville airport waiting to board the plane to NYC, the studio called and asked a trivia question about the show that I had to answer correctly to get the tickets.  I don’t have any screen shots of that one (you could barely see us if you knew where to look during one camera pan of the audience), but we were at the taping with Bill Clinton and Adam Sandler.  I was so disappointed when I found out who was going to be there.  haha  I couldn’t have picked two celebrities I would LEAST like to see.  lol  But guests aside, it was even more fun than the Fallon taping.  I freaking love David Letterman and miss him already.

5-12-2015 - Pam & Dewayne at Letterman taping

When we were leaving, we rounded the corner and found Adam Sandler signing autographs.

5-12-2015 - Adam Sandler signing autographs after Letterman taping 3

I don’t like him, but that didn’t stop me from getting him to sign my ticket stub for a souvinier.  haha

5-12-2015 - Adam Sandler's autograph
If you can make “Adam Sandler” out of that, you’re more talented than I.

After the taping we went for dinner and then to the Broadway Comedy Club.  We were one of the first to arrive, so we were treated to a stage-side table.  It was great because we got to interact with the comedians.  There were several there that night.  I think like 6 or 7?  I don’t know, I was hammered.  haha  I recognized a few of them, but I was really only familiar with one of them–Mike Vecchione.  We bought the tickets blind, not knowing who would be there, so I was excited when he walked out!

5-12-2015 - Mike Vecchione at Broadway Comedy Club 2

Oh and I forgot to mention that earlier in the day, before the Letterman taping, we went to the Statue of Liberty.  We didn’t go up in the crown or anything.  We basically just ferried over, took some pictures, and left.

5-12-2015 - Statue of Liberty 6

5-12-2015 - Pam & Dewayne at the Statue of Liberty

That night after the comedy club, we hit another bar on the way back to the hotel and then I crashed and burned.  haha  We didn’t have any solid plans for the next day until 8:00 that evening, and it’s a good thing because we didn’t get out of bed till 4:00 in the afternoon.  We were both exhausted and I was more hungover than I’ve been in a very long time.  We left the hotel in just enough time to grab dinner and get to the Best Buy Theater for a concert.  We saw Of Mice & Men with Crown the Empire and Volumes opening for them.  I loooove Of Mice & Men–they were the headliner and the reason we bought the tickets.  I only knew one Crown the Empire song and had never heard of Volumes, but they both put on a solid performance.  It was a great show and a great time, even if I was still hungover.  haha

5-13-2015 - Of Mice & Men 6

Neither of us were really up to going back out that night, so we just vegged out and watched TV in the hotel so we’d be rested and ready to make the most of Thursday, our last day there and our 8th anniversary!  We slept in again that morning and I FINALLY felt like a human being again.  haha  So much so that I decided to test out my leg on a run in Central Park!  After being sidelined for the better part of three months due to injury, I was ELATED to run a pain-free three miles.  And the fact that the comeback run was in Central Park was just the very sweet icing on the already sweet cake.

5-14-2015 - Pam after comeback run in Central Park

We hung out in Central Park for a few hours walking around, eating pretzels, watching street performers, taking pictures, just savoring our last day.  It was nothing short of glorious.

5-14-2015 - Central Park 20 (Orton)
I’m fascinated by bridges. I just think they’re so pretty.

Then while we were trying to decide what we wanted to do that evening for our anniversary, we decided we’d go back to Broadway for another show.  On a whim we bought tickets to see An Act of God.  We really didn’t even know anything about it other than it had Jim Parsons in it and we both love him.  It was an awesome show and so cool to see Sheldon as something other than… well, Sheldon!  hahaha

5-14-2015 - Pam & Dewayne at An Act of God

And then just like that, our trip was over.  I don’t think we’ve EVER crammed so much activity into one week!  It was so much fun and very rejuvenating for us as a couple.  Now to bust ass and save money for our next trip in October!

Three Things Thursday – The Return to Running Edition

Yes, I’m still alive.  I didn’t get lost or abducted in NYC.  I’m alive and well but just sooooooooo behiiiiiiiiiind!!!!!!!  I’ve got a full post about NYC coming as soon as I can find a few spare minutes to sit down and get it done.  So in the meantime–BULLETS!  Just so you don’t forget I’m here.

  • As the title suggested, I’m FIIIIIINALLY on the road to recovery.  It’s still very, very short runs for now, but I’m slowly adding mileage back in, a quarter-mile at a time.  One of the highlights of my NYC trip was a 3-mile pain-free in Central Park!

5-14-2015 - Pam after comeback run in Central Park

  • I’ve been carrying around a $50 gift card to Dick’s ever since Christmas, but when a girl ain’t running, a sporting goods store is a pretty depressing place to be.  haha  I took care of that last weekend.

2015-05-27 21.13.13

  • And what makes a comeback more official than a race registration?!?!?!

st jude

Weekend Recap + An Injury Update

TL;DR version:  Foster puppy adopted.  Ran two miles.  Hip/leg still hurts but not as bad.  Not ready to commit self to psych ward just yet.

As I briefly mentioned last week, my little foster pup Penny was adopted.  After having her for three months, she finally had a wonderful adoption application.  (Many, many thanks to Kara for that!)  Friday morning started off bright and early for Penny and I as her adopter lives clear on the other end of Tennessee–a 6-hour drive from here.

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Snoozing in the passenger’s seat just a few minutes from our destination, clueless that her life was about to change forever!

The family that she went to has another hound that they had rescued just a few months ago, two rescue cats, and three kiddos (the oldest is four!), so lonely is something this little girl will never be!  Of course I teared up when I left (and then ugly cried in the truck lol I’ve become so attached to this one), but seeing how happy she is in the pictures her new mom has posted to FB and texted me, I know she is right where she is supposed to be!

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Once I cleared away the snot and tears, I realized how famished I was.  It was after 4pm and I hadn’t had anything but a Larabar all day.  I used the Happy Cow app to find a veg-friendly place.  The closest one was a place called Cootie Brown’s.  The name cracked me up, and it was 2 miles away, so I drove straight there and had a delicious grilled veggie sandwich.

2015-04-24 17.18.07

I also used my dining-alone time to find a hotel.  I had told the rescue and the adopters that I would spend the night just in case anything went wrong and Penny needed to come back with me–plus I have a friend in Bristol that I haven’t seen in years, so that was a HUGE bonus and incentive to stay the night!  But I was on my own for that evening because Rebecca couldn’t meet me till the next day.  I had noticed road signs on my drive there that said “Asheville” so I knew I was only about an hour away.  I have always wanted to see the Biltmore Estates, so I came VERY close to driving on to Asheville to get a hotel so I could get up and go tour the Estates the next morning, but I ended up talking myself out of it.  It was supposed to rain the next morning, and the web site said that one should allow 6-8 hours to tour the entire grounds.  I was supposed to meet Beck at noon, so I nixed those plans (which turned out to be a good thing because it rained its ASS off the next morning).

The most reasonable hotel I found was a Red Roof Inn just a couple of miles from where I was sitting eating my dinner.  It was only $60 but it had mixed reviews.  I figured I’d give it a drive-by and check it out before I booked.  The grounds and lobby were super well-kept and the front desk dude was super polite (and spoke English!) so I took it.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the room!  And I didn’t know that Red Roof Inns were pet friendly, so I’ll definitely keep them in mind from now on when I need to travel with pups in tow.

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Small but squeaky clean with a comfortable bed and pillows.  For $60.  Can’t beat that.  And the location was great.  It was within walking distance to a little strip mall with a Target, Books A Million, Pier 1, and TJ Maxx.  A little retail therapy was just what the doctor ordered after my emotional day.  haha

I came back to the room, called the hubs, turned on the tube, and was out like a light before 9:00.  I slept longer and harder than I can remember sleeping in a looooong time.  Funny how you can do that when you don’t have a snoring/tossing/turning husband sharing your space or a cat pawing at your head or demanding breakfast.  I slept until 6:30 and only woke up then because I was having a horrible dream about one of my dogs.  Leftover feels from the previous day, I’m sure.  I lounged around for a little while then got up and headed to my friendly neighborhood Starbucks.

Helllooooo cinnamon chai soy latte!
Helllooooo cinnamon chai soy latte!

As fate would have it, the Starbucks was directly across the street from a mall, so wiih still a couple of hours to kill before meeting Beck I headed to the mall for a little continued retail therapy.  The universe must have known I needed to do a little shopping before our NYC trip coming up!  I came away from the whole trip with three super cute outfits, a cardigan that I can wear over two of them if it’s cool, and a pair of sandals on the cheap.

I totally ate my words and bought a shorts romper suit.  It's acceptable for 35-year-olds to shop at Forever 21, yes?
I totally ate my words and bought a shorts romper suit. It’s acceptable for 35-year-olds to shop at Forever 21, yes?

Then it was time to meet Beck!  And like a terrible blogger, we didn’t take a single picture.  But we enjoyed a fabulous couple of hours over a delicious meal and fell right back into place where we left off the last time we saw each other about 12 years ago.  Yes, we’ve sort of kept in touch through FB, but there’s just nothing like face-to-face girl time.  We ended our visit with hugs and promises not to let it be another decade before we see each other, and I began the long drove home.

Sunday… I have no idea where Sunday went.  It started out normal.  I got up, made my coffee, and had some breakfast before 8.  I sat around and caught up on blogs, paid bills, etc., till D left to go to work sometime around 9:30ish.  Then I decided I wanted to start “unfucking my habitat.”  haha  I started with my closet.  Somehow it was around 10 when I went into my closet and much, much later when I came out, but the whole “unfucking” deserves its own post.

I grabbed Bella and Harley and took them to the park for a walk…which took forever.  There were SO. MANY. SMELLS.  haha

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Then when we got home I decided it was time to try out my leg.  It’s been almost a month since I’ve tried to run, at which time I was able to run 800 x 3 with walking and stretching in between, and by the end of the last one I was limping.  Since then I’ve had fairly marked improvement (although still not as much as I or my orthopedist would like).  I’ve changed physical therapists at his recommendation, to see what someone else can offer.  My pain level without anti-inflammatories is now where it was with them just a few weeks ago, but OMG can I just get healed already?!?!  It’s been over two months!!!  Anyway, I set out at a very slow pace with no plans other than stopping when it hurt too badly.  I was actually fairly pleased.  I ran one mile, walked a quarter-mile, stretched, ran another mile, and walked the quarter-mile home.  It was hard to get started again at the start of that second mile, but then it loosened up a bit and I was able to continue.  It was very uncomfortable by the end, but not anywhere near the level of pain I had at the end of my last attempted run.  I stretched and rolled the ever-loving shit out of it, but as I went about my evening I felt it getting more painful.  I popped my first anti-inflammatory in several days, and as I sit here now, the pain is almost back to where it was pre-run.  So although the improvement is not coming as swiftly as I’d like it to come… it’s coming.  Thank God.  Just in time, too.  I’ve been inching closer and closer toward a dark place with every day I don’t run.  Today, even though it wasn’t pain-free, I felt more like myself than I have in quite some time.

Baby steps.

My Running Favorites…Back When I WAS a Runner

Even though I’m not running right now, Holly at HoHo Runs tagged me to answer a few running related questions.  What a sadist.  “Oh, you’re still not running?  Let’s talk about the things you miss the most.”  Haha!

1 – Location:  Treadmill, road or trail?   Road.  Hands down  Always.  Road.  I’ve learned recently that the only thing worse than running on a treadmill is walking on a treadmill.  But honestly I can’t say anything bad about trail running because I’ve never done it.  I don’t have any near me.  I’d like to try it sometime.  Hey, look at that!  Another good reason to move to Colorado!

2 – Time:  Morning, noon, or evening?  Evening.  Most of my runs are done around 5:00, after I get off of work.  I’ve tried a few times to get up early and run before work to make up for a missed workout or something, and those runs always feel TERRIBLE!  Yes, I run in the mornings on the weekends, but that’s different because it doesn’t require an alarm clock.  I just run when I get up.

3 – Weather:  Sunshine, mild, hot?  None of the above!  I like it cold and overcast!  I’m not a warm weather girl at all!  But only when it comes to running–any other time I’m a sun-worshiper.

4 – Fuel:  Before, during, after?  I don’t give much thought to fueling for runs under 10 miles other than taking my Fuelbelt filled with Nuun if it’s hot out.  Runs over 10 miles get a Clif bar before, a gel or two (depending on how long I’m running) during, and a protein shake after for recovery.

5 – Accessories:  Music, watch, more?  Music.  Always music.  I HAVE to have music.  I positively cannot stand to listen to myself breathe.  And I’m a total data whore, so I always wear my Garmin too.  Always.

6 – Rewards:  Food, wine, or….?  Yes please!  All the things!  I definitely enjoy being able to fill that calorie deficit created by a long run with a little extra grub and vino.  🙂

7 – Type of run:  Long, tempo, intervals, easy, hills, progression?  I have two favorites here at completely opposite ends of the spectrum.  I love a nice easy run, but intervals are right up there with that for me.  I love that lungs burning, chest exploding, heart pounding feeling from a kick-ass intervals workout.

I think I was supposed to tag 7 people, but …. yeah, I just don’t do that.  Just tell me your running favorites in the comments!  It doesn’t have to just be these 7 things.  Tell me your favorite ANYTHING running related.  Come on.  Let me live vicariously through you.

I RAN!

Don’t get excited.  It was only for one mile.  And it didn’t end well.

Saturday I woke up with the least amount of discomfort I’ve had in my hip since before my last race on February 22, so I thought maybe… just MAYBE… things had improved.  Just to be on the safe side, though, I didn’t want to bust out with a 3-, 4-, or 5-mile run, so I set the treadmill to a very slow pace and jogged for a mile.  I did have some discomfort during the run, but I wouldn’t call it pain, really.  When I finished, I stretched and foam-rolled for longer than it took me to run the mile.  And I felt okay!  Until I didn’t.

After a few hours everything was right back to where it was a couple of weeks ago.  *insert frustrated tears here*

I didn’t take any anti-inflammatories Sunday because I knew I had my first PT appointment today and I didn’t want to mask anything.  The Duexis really does a good job of dulling the pain, and I wanted her to get a clear picture of what hurt during her exam.

She did all the same “does this hurt?” stuff the chiropractor, the M.D., and the orthopedist did, and my answers were exactly the same for her as they have been for everyone else.  She really feels like I’m on the right track but offered a couple of other suggestions.  She told me to stretch (already doing it) and foam-roll (already doing that) and alternate ice and heat.  I’ve used one or the other at various stages of the injury, but I haven’t tried alternating.  She also recommended deep-tissue ultrasound therapy, which we started today.  I can’t tell a difference after the one treatment, but I wouldn’t expect to.  And her final recommendation… ACUPUNCTURE!  This both excites and intimidates me a little bit.  I haaaaaaaaaaaate needles, remember?  But everyone says you can’t really feel the needles, so maybe it won’t be so bad as long as I don’t look at them.  I have always been fascinated by the concept behind acupuncture, and honest to God, I’m willing to try just about anything at this point, so why the hell not?  Let’s do this shit.

After talking with the therapist, I feel like her optimism kind of rubbed off.  I’m feeling a little more hopeful now than I have in a while.  DEFINITELY better than I felt Saturday night.  I was seriously contemplating taking down my medal rack and hanging a picture in its place Saturday.

I’ve been thinking about something someone once said to me a lot lately.  It was back several years ago when I was having IT band problems that I was afraid were going to stop me from reaching the start line of my first marathon that I was training for at the time.  I thought was very assholish at the time.  But now those words are giving me comfort (which was probably the guy’s intended sentiment anyway).  “Worse things have happened to better athletes.”  Damnit, he was right.  If Olympians can come back from broken bones and multiple stress fractures and torn important parts, then surely to shit I can calm down a bitchy hip and get back to my comfortable level of mediocrity.