I May Be a Kenyan In My Mind…But NOT In My Feet!

D was a snoring monster last night.  I slept like poo and it took me forever to fall asleep.  I’ve got Six Sigma on the brain (I’m currently doing my Black Belt and spent most of last evening studying), so I’m sure that didn’t help.
I went to bed by 815 last night – about a half hour past when I planned – but just couldn’t sleep.  D came in around 10, and I was asleep 10 minutes later.  I tossed around all night, and woke around 430.  Since my alarm was set to 445 anyway, I relaxed for a few and then got out of bed.  After coffee, I ate the tofu, squash, millet stew for breakfast.  I also experimented with a new mid-run fuel – FIG NEWTONS!  I had read that they’re perfect running food; easily digested and a good source of carbs.  D went to the store last night to make sure I had some.  Since it’s my last long run before the actual marathon, it was the last chance I had to experiment. 
I left aroun 6am and drove down to Final Kick.  I ran up Great Neck to VB blvd (5 miles), and back, so that knocked the first 10 off as planned.  I went down the trail just shy of 5 miles (it was becoming a hard to navigate mud fest), and did an additional little loop to W. Great Neck to get the extra mile in.  All told, I felt fine pretty much the whole time.  My stomach started feeling iffy around mile 16, but I don’t think it was the fig newtons.  Because of the cookies, I used less GU, which made me happy.  My upper legs protested some the last 2-3 miles, but overall, it went pretty well.  I also only used about half the water that I did when I ran my 19 miler, and I still felt fine.
Here is what is dismaying to me.  I’m not any faster than I was back in March, or November, or the previous year.  My times at the 13 mile mark (that’s sort of how I guage how I’m doing…against my previous half-marathons) is virtually the same.  D thinks I have a mental block about going faster and pushing myself harder.  I think he’s probably right, but I’m not exactly sure how to get past it.  I’m worried that my marathon is going to take me nearly 6 hours!  At this pace, that’s exactly what I’ll end up with, which is disappointing to me.  I’ve already proven pretty much that traversing a marathon distance is doable for me, so it’s not like I should be afraid of that.  Any ideas on this subject would be very welcomed indeed!
Tonight we’re doing a backyard movie night – Futurama.  The kids are also having a few friends over and a couple that D and I are friends with are also coming.  All told – 10 people.  I was going to make mexican food for dinner, but we had that for lunch.  I had a Moe’s veggie salad.  So…I’m making salad, lasagna, italian bread, (vegan) eggplant gratin, and some lemon rice.  Hopefully everyone will be happy with dinner.
I’m not sure I’m going to make it to the actual movie.  With as little sleep as I got and as early as I woke, I may end up excusing myself and going to bed.  I don’t think anyone will hold it against me! 

Thai Food is Making a Comeback (in my life anyway)

Yesterday was a long, but productive day.  I was at the hospital by 715am, had a string of meetings, a yummy Thai lunch (I know, I know…so much for my ban on Thai food until post-marathon days), more meetings, a stop at my office on the way home, and home by 6ish.  I’m really enjoying all the new Cardiac stuff I’m doing, so I haven’t really been able to complain about work.  It’s been a LOT in a short period of time, and shows no signs of slowing, but I really dig it.

My eating yesterday left much to be desired.  I had coffee before work, and a bagel at work.  Lunch was a spring roll and tofu green curry.  After my team meeting, we went out to lunch, and I totally would have gone for Pasha’s again, but I had that for lunch AND dinner the night before, so I just couldn’t crave middle eastern food.  Thus Thai it was.  I rationalized it two ways…1-it wasn’t a run night so I wasn’t worried about my lunch making a return trip and landing in my neighbors yard and 2-if I’m going to keep up this major running thing, I need to train my body to be able to eat Thai food and have it remain in my stomach.  It’s not like I’m going to give it up forever.  So there.  I ate my favorite meal for lunch!  I made pasta with hummus sauce for dinner.  I didn’t use spinach though – I used peas.  I hate cooked spinach.  Unfortunately, I was so stuffed from lunch that I had no appetite for dinner.  I did have a taste and thought it was good.  Everyone else in the family ate it (yeah, vegan dinner for everyone!), so that’s a good sign that I’ll make it again.  Not so sure I’ll use the garlic hummus though….it was almost too garlicky.

D had his doctors appts yesterday.  Good news is that he can stop taking the one med that they think is making him so sick.  Bad news is they upped the dosage on one of his maintenance meds that’s more invasive than the rest, so he has to get his liver checked regularly.

Our lawnmower stopped working a little while ago, and my yard started looking terrible.  D had tinkered with it, but the lawn thing gets on my nerves more than his.  A and M had just taken the push mower to the front yard when D must have felt sorry for them and decided to try and fix the mower.  It was funny, because he went outside, messed around with it for a few, came back inside, proceeded to read the mower manual online, and then declared that he “had to rebuild a carburetor”.  I think it was the manliest thing I had ever heard him say!  So off he went to some store, came back, and spent a good hour or more outside playing with the motor.  He got it working, came back in the house, and strutted around very proud of himself (and smelling like gas and sweat) until bed.

This morning, M went to mow the back yard, and the mower died after a minute and a half.  Tonight D tinkered with it for a few minutes, couldn’t revive it, and borrowed our friend’s riding mower who lives down the street.  I kid you not…D cut the grass!  I think he’s only done that 2-3 times in the past 2 years or so, so it was a bit of a treat.  Anyway, much thanks for my friends mower!  Now I can let the kids have friends over tomorrow night for backyard movie fun with Futurama.

Breakfast was coffee and a tofu, squash, and millet stew.  I did my Fitlinxx workout in the morning, which is always a mixed blessing.  Good because it’s done, and since I have to go to bed so early tonight, I didn’t have to worry about trying to fit it in this evening.  Bad because I hate mornings.  Oh well.  Lunch was Chinese buffet (M, D and I went.  D wasn’t feeling well, and I didn’t find much there appetizing).  It’s not often I leave a buffet and I’m not stuffed.  I had some miso soup, edamame, rice, and spring roll.  Dinner was pasta and the leftover roasted tomatoes and onions.  I’m heading to bed in a few since I have my 21 miler in the morning, so I hope I’m well fueled for tomorrow. 

So I’m off to bed in a few.  I have most of my gear for tomorrow set aside.  I’m going down to First Landing State Park (the poison-ivy trail).  I’m going to do 8-10 miles around the Great Neck/Hilltop area, and then go into the trail for the last half.  That way I hopefully won’t end on that stupid trail that I hate.  I never seem to turn the right way, and I always end up in the marshy/sandy area that sucks to run on.

I’m hoping it goes well.  As it turns out, there’s going to be 10 of us eating dinner at my house tomorrow.  If my run is awful, I’m not sure how I’m going to get off the floor and cook for that many….

Nope, This Ain’t My First Rodeo

I have wanted to have a reason to say that for as long as I learned the phrase.  The possibility has come to me twice in the past month…once just this evening.

Today was a long work day.  I had meetings scheduled until 730pm (though it went until 830pm).  I woke up with D this morning, had some coffee, and made R’s lunch while he took a shower.  I had a 3 mile scheduled run today, so I opted for a morning run (I know..amazing) because I knew I wouldn’t have the ability to run this evening.  More like I wouldn’t have the inclination, but whatever…same thing 🙂

The run was pretty good, but my body didn’t appreciate the java so close to the jarring motion of pounding pavement.  That, and I didn’t really eat dinner.  Fortunately, it was only 3 miles, so it wasn’t very long.  It was also a cool (if not muggy) morning, so that was nice too.  I was astounded by the number of neighbors I saw out and about exercising.  Kinda cool, but they’re nuts if this is a regular thing.

After my morning run, I said goodbye to D and R, and started getting ready for work.  I had a bowl of veggie soup for breakfast after my shower, and was in the office by 10.  Lunch was a red lentil soup and half an Anatolian wrap (which is a Turkish dish of a red lentil patty and veggies).  Very awesome.  Dinner was a harvest grain salad with olive oil and lemon juice – another awesome meal from Pasha’s in Norfolk.  And some Malbec!  Overall, a phenomenal eating day.

Work was really busy today.  I had a brief meeting around 10 with one of my team to give her some good news.  Then I had an 11 meeting to discuss adding a new team member to my other team (which I really need), which went well.  A quick lunch with a friend to bring her up to speed on the goings-on at work, and then a 2 hr team meeting.  From there, it was off to Norfolk to meet with L and A to discuss and plan the river weekend.  L is typing up the plan…she’s so cute.  We’re doing all the cooking since we’re staying in A’s vacation house.  Should be a very good time.

This evening I had a system demo from 6-830.  It went well, but was extremely long.  My role is as the IT director, making sure that the proposed new application is technically sound and will appropriate integrate or interface with out bazillion existing systems, work with our network, estimate the total IT costs, etc.  It was a very productive meeting and I think they are definitely the front runner for the contract.  As much as the meeting went well eventually, I always get the weird look and comments from the vendors when meetings like this start.  I look younger than I am, so they don’t quite know what to make of me at first…until I start talking.  While I’m in my “late thirties (>35, <40), I don't really look it (blessed with good genes).  I typically get mid to late 20's as a guess, so the vendors think I'm easy to snow…kinda like a woman going to buy a car.  Easy mark.  NOT SO MUCH. 

This has happened to me twice in the past month.  Tonight the vendor was very gracious and eventually started directing all of the technical discussion my way.  Earlier this month with a different vendor, they were not so gracious.  After the meeting was over, the project manager from the other company actually came up to me, patted me on the shoulder, and told me in a very condescending way “what a good job I did”.  I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs that this wasn’t my first rodeo!  I thought it would be fun to say, but proper decorum dictated that I just think it and whine about it here.  Fortunately my customers and my bosses are happy with the job I am doing, and that’s all that really matters.  Poo on the vendors!

Tomorrow is a ridiculously early day – with meetings starting at 8am back at the hospital that I didn’t leave until after 830 tonight.  I should have packed a bag and asked for a room to stay in!  Alas….I haven’t checked my workout schedule, so I think tomorrow is just a fitlinxx workout.  Maybe a small run, but I’m sure it’s nothing big since Saturday is my crazy long 21 miler.  I’ll have to pack my workout bag though, since I have meetings running until late in the afternoon.

D has a couple Dr’s appts tomorrow, so hopefully he’ll be cleared to be taken off the meds that are making him so sick.  He doesn’t seem to be suffering so much from the Crohn’s pain as much as the side effects of the meds to combat the Crohn’s.  Can’t wait until he’s back to normal!

So now…I need to wind down from a crazy day enough to get a good night’s sleep so I can get up early tomorrow for another crazy day.  At least it’s job security, which is an awesome thing.  Can’t complain at all!

Have I Mentioned…NO MORE SPEED WORKOUTS!

I realize I have been absent from my blog as of late.  The point was driven home even more so last night when my dad called to check up on me and see how things were since he hadn’t seen a post in several days!  That’s actually pretty cool….

My only good excuse is I’ve been busy.  With D’s Crohn’s flare-up, he needs to rest as much as possible (especially since he’s still going to work every day), I’m doing the lion’s share of all the “stuff” our family does.  I’m still getting in my workouts, but with so very little free time, I haven’t kept up with updating my blog.

So, the week in a nutshell since last Wednesday???

Runs, Fitlinxx, work, cooking, chauffeuring the kids. 

The youngest two had dentist appointments on Friday, and the eldest today.  Good news is that all of their teeth are shiny and cavity free.  Bad news, is that my little one (who will be 7 in a few weeks) needs to see an orthodontist.  It’s likely she’ll need some teeth pulled, but until we have the consult, I really don’t know much more.

Saturday was a wine party at a friend of ours.  D wasn’t feeling up to it, so he was our designated driver.  We all went over to a different friends’ house so A and M could babysit, then D took the adults to the party, and then went home to rest.  He then hoofed it all the way back to Norfolk to repeat the process in reverse.  Such a good guy!

Before the party, I went to Total Wine to hunt for a bottle to bring.  I’ve been particularly fond of Malbec’s lately, so I was thinking of picking up either that or a bottle of Red Zinfandel.  (And B, if you’re reading, Malbec is the wine we drank while watching Avatar when you were here, when you declared that you just may like red wine after all…)  Of course, going to Total Wine when you’re a wine lover is like going to Home Depot when you’re a tool lover!  Only in this case, you get a lot of free samples, and I don’t think the hardware stores have picked up yet on giving away little miniature samples of wrenches and things….though I’d probably go just to get them.  My Dad has a big tool cabinet in his garage, and all the tools were always laid out meticulously and in order of size.  I used to gush over the “cute baby tools”.  It annoyed him.  Anyway, I digress.  After sampling 6 different wines, I left with not only a Malbec for the party, but several other bottles of wine, a bottle of champagne, and a beer from Seattle I haven’t seen in many years (for D when he’s all better).  As it happens, I’m enjoying a nice class of Moscato right now!

Sunday was a disgustingly hot and muggy day.  I’m so over summer this year.  Fortunately, I didn’t imbibe too much on Saturday, so I was in no need of “recovering” on Sunday.  I went to the gym and had a good workout while D took Sammie to the vet.

I forgot to mention a couple of weeks ago that my training plan has moved into the Stamina phase…which means no more of those awful sprint workouts until I train for my second marathon…which I haven’t actually selected yet.  Which brings me to something else entirely.  I was assuming a few months ago that I would run the Chicago marathon, mark it off my list, and that would be the end of that.  In the beginning of my training program when I was inching to 10+ miles, I was thinking that my happy medium is a half-marathon, and after my full in October, I’d go back to the halves.  Now that I’m getting up there in mileage (15,17,19….21 this weekend), I realize that running that far isn’t killing me, I don’t actually hate it, and maybe I’ll keep doing this.  Of course, I want to incorporate destination races as much as possible….like Disney, Vegas, Miami, NYC….who knows.  Maybe someday I’ll qualify for Boston!   Ha.  That’s actually kinda funny.  Don’t think I’ll ever run that fast.  But the point is, I may not be fast…but for some reason I can keep going.  I just realized as I’m typing that I am just like my favorite animal, the Penguin.  There is actually a running term for being a penguin runner, and that is me.  Essentially…have fun…don’t die.

I’m trying to think what’s been up in the cooking arena the past week.  I can tell you one thing though….eggs haven’t been on the list in my house!  Not that I eat eggs anyway, but my family does.  Half a BILLION eggs recalled?  Maybe the disturbing practices of factory farming will start becoming public knowledge and we can end the madness.  These “farms” choose to pay millions of dollars in fines and penalties for unhealthy practices rather than clean up their acts because to fix the problems would cost more money than paying the bloody fines!  Sorry, preaching again, but the facts are that nothing good comes from factory farming.  Nothing at all.

But that is not the question I posed, was it?  I have been cooking some, but not a ton.  Tonight I’m making something I did a couple weeks ago from my Mediterranean vegan cookbook for tonight’s meal.  Baked Sicilian style tomatoes and onions.  Sprinkled with some bread crumbs, olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano, bake for an hour and a half at 350….and holy heaven on a fork. Sunday I made a marinated potato salad that was very simple, but tasty.  I honestly don’t remember much before that!  I DID go out and buy a bottle of V8 for yummy bloody mary’s though!

Tomorrow is a really long day (meetings until 730pm), so I’m going to do my run in the (gulp) morning.  It’s only 3 miles, so it shouldn’t be too tough.  I’ll get up at 530 as usual, but just hit the office closer to 9 instead of earlier.

The next few weeks are going to be a whirlwind of activity.  The kids all have open houses at their respective schools, school itself starts, my last uber long run is this weekend, the Rock N Roll half-marathon, a weekend at the river with some friends (with kids, will be 12 of us), a trip to WI to visit family and attend a conference (where I have to give a presentation), a birthday party for my baby turning 7, and then off to Chicago to finally run this crazy thing!  Oy vey.  As for now….time for another glass of wine!

A Run and a Bloody Mary (and Brett Favre is a Putz)

It turns out you CAN make a bloody mary with V8!  I’ve never actually tried it before.  To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever made a bloody mary before….which is strange since I do love them.  Anyway…
I apologize for not blogging yesterday. I just didn’t have it in me, so I guess today is a two-fer.
Tuesday’s are pretty long meeting days.  Granted, most days I have many meetings, but it seems that the Tuesday meetings are the longest in duration.  I have a hard time sitting in a room for 2+ hours without getting up and at the very least going to the bathroom.  Yesterday was no different.
Breakfast was some Irish steel cut oatmeal and coffee.  I had a banana during the meeting (excuse #1 to get up during the meeting…to throw away the peel).  I had very little time to get across town between meetings, so I grabbed a quick black bean wrap and a smoothie and had that at the next long meeting of the day.  I admit…I also had some jalapeno chips which are my favorite.   Dinner was a leftover stuffed bell pepper with some eggplant croquettes – which were fully awesome and from that Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen cookbook.
The older two kids and I went to the Y to do the Fitlinxx workout and then A was off to her boyfriends house to go swimming, have dinner, and spend some quality time with his parents (tee hee).  I had nearly finished book 5 of my audio book while doing my weight training, and I figured I’d finish the last 15-20 minutes while making dinner.  This is the only time I break my rule of not listening unless working out.  If I’m so close to the end that I’d run out during my next workout, I finish it while doing something other than working out. 
I finally watched Episode 1 of Season 1 of True Blood!  I figure that now that I’m starting book 6, I can probably start watching the series, and D downloaded it to our upstairs TV the other day.  All told, it was fun.  At 8 minutes and 46 seconds into the episode they had the first major character modification, though it works within the context of the show and it didn’t irritate me enough to make me not want to watch it.  I was surprised because fairly recently D and I rented a movie (Angels & Demons) and turned it off about 5 minutes in because they changed it SO much I couldn’t handle it.  I had just finished the audio book (though I’ve read the book before), and I was worried I may have the same reaction to True Blood.  Fortunately I haven’t yet…so far so good.
Today was another long, but good day.  I had meetings non-stop from 11-5pm.  I did get quite a bit done that I wanted to this morning though, so I felt good about that.
Breakfast today was the remaining stuffed bell pepper and coffee.  I have to clarify when I mention my unconventional breakfasts.  I don’t actually drink my coffee while eating.  I typically finish my coffee anywhere from 15-45 minutes before I eat.  Even I think that flavor combination would be weird. 
My mid-morning snack was popcorn.  Not balanced (bad me), but very yummy.  I wasn’t hungry most of the rest of the day, so my lunch was really just snacking on some prunes in orange essence.  I never thought I’d eat prunes (or admit to eating them), but I love plums and decided to give them a try.  I bought the dried ones in orange essence from Sunmaid and they’re wonderful.  Dinner was some tofu spicy soup.  Once a staple (as it was the first fully-successful tofu meal I had made), I haven’t had it in months.  I think the weather has been so hot, that I just didn’t want it.  Fortunately, today we had some major storms which cooled it down a bit, and with the AC cranked, a spicy tofu soup sounded perfect.
Speaking of storms, it gave me a bit of a delima.  Today’s scheduled run was a 6-miler.  I really wanted to do it, but was worried about getting poured on.  D’s also still not feeling the greatest, so I was taking the kids to TKD.  Their class is roughly 45 minutes.  Try as I might, I can’t possibly run 6 miles in that length of time.  I decided to run tomorrow’s run today (only a 30 minute run), and do the 6 miles tomorrow.  I’ll have more time and more luck with the weather.  As it was, I started getting sprinkled on just as my 30 minutes was coming to an end.  It didn’t bother me though because I was a sheen of wet due to the humidity and my inability to have the sweat on my body evaporate.  Sorry, I imagine that visual isn’t too cool.
I was checking my Twitter account, and received the following post NPR news this evening “QB Brett Favre: One and Done”.  Yeah.  Right.  According to the article, pretty much everyone is excited about this; except many WI fans.  I’m one of them….you don’t sign a lifetime contract with a team and then go play for one of our biggest rivals.  And you know what…I don’t even WATCH football!  I just think it’s annoying that he “retires” and comes back just before the season starts.  I’ve read that it’s just his way of avoiding training camps.  Putz. 
On the more fun side, after my shower, I decided that I wanted a bloody mary!  I have a martini shaker that has recipes on it, and I had pretty much everything I needed.  I didn’t have tomato juice, but I had a little lonely can of V8 (D drinks them often..especially when he has a flare-up…since he can’t eat fruits or veggies when he’s sick, it makes me happy).  I had vodka, and I picked up a bottle of vegan Worcestershire sauce the last time I was at a hippie grocery at the Oceanfront.  For those who don’t know….regular Worcestershire sauce is made with anchovies.  EWWWW.  

All About Balance

Today is Monday, so it was back to work.  Overall, it wasn’t a bad day, just starting to realize how much stuff I have to get done in so little amount of time.  I get fleeting moments of feeling overwhelmed, but they usually don’t last very long.  I know that if I focus, I’ll be okay.
With summer ending, I’m also thinking about how much life in general costs (back to school expenses are never fun).  This happens to me a couple of times a year (like right after Christmas, summer time, when D gets sick, etc), and I try to think of ways to downsize my life.  Today my head was filled with thoughts like that which get me both excited about the possibilities…and depressed!  Oh well.  It is in the vein that I think it’s funny about my pictures below.  D is still feeling poopy, so I took the kids to tae kwon do, and did my scheduled 40 minute run in the REALLY nice neighborhood while they were in class.  I took a couple pictures of the mcmansions I ran past.  It’s funny because when I run in really nice neighborhoods like this (which I enjoy immensely), I usually think things like “that would be cool to live in”, and “hey look, a gazebo”, or sometimes “good grief, how would I keep a house that big clean”?  Today was different.  Today I thought, “wow, there are no kids playing in this neighborhood” and “I bet it’s like a museum inside…I’d be afraid to touch everything”, and “ugh, I’d have to pay for housekeepers and gardeners just to keep it looking nice”, which goes in the face of everything I was thinking about today with trying to think of ways to reduce the excess in my life. 
I had normal black drip coffee this morning.  D laughed at me that I was slumming it with my java since I’ve been drinking espresso pretty much every morning since April when I got my new espresso machine.  I thought it was funny, and told him I was feeling especially lazy (since he always makes the normal coffee).  My breakfast was leftover slow roasted onions and tomatoes over couscous – my dinner from last night.  I snacked on some low fat crackers and fruit the rest of the day.  My lunch was admittedly unbalanced.  It was the leftover basmati rice (I made a batch to use with the peppers for dinner) with soy sauce. I was in a hurry!  I made a coconut-rice-pineapple stuffed bell pepper meal in the slow cooker for my dinner.  It was surprisingly bland – until I dumped a ton of hot sauce on it.  Then it was quite tasty!  I think this is the first recipe from my slow cooker vegetarian book that I didn’t love.  It’s a bummer too, because I was going to take a stuffed pepper each to H and M since they gave me those peppers from their gardens.  I’ll have to make them something else instead! 
I made a healthy shrimp recipe for D and the kids for their dinner tonight.  I had everything on hand except the spinach, so I just made it without.  I served it over couscous, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. 
The kids finished off the tofu eggless salad last night, so I’ll have to make another batch this week.  I have plenty of other leftovers, and while my family (other than me) is absolutely pathetic about eating them, they’re going to have to get used to it!  I think we’re too wasteful with food, and they can start contributing by eating leftovers the next day.  D is especially bad at this (example….just a few minutes ago, he decided he was hungry and made himself a sandwich….while I have leftover dinner from today, chicken and rice leftovers from the other day, and pasta leftovers too!  All of which will be thrown away in the next day….wasted).  The kids will eat them if I remind them that they’re there.  Otherwise they tend to forget too. 
Well, that’s pretty much it.  It’s been a pretty uneventful day, so I don’t have a ton to talk about!  My run was good, and I was only a little sore.  Most of the aches were worked out in the first 1/4 mile, so that was good.  My book is almost over, and I’m looking forward to book 6 already!