Sunday, January 25, 2009

Last Installment

This is the wrap up of our trip to the promise land....errrr...Arizona.

After the race Bill and I hugged Nick and Ed goodbye and headed off to my in-law's house to stay with them for a few days. We arrive and the spoiling continues with them treating us to a fantastic dinner. We sat outside on the patio, had a nice cold beer and watched the bunnies hopping around. Ah, bliss. The coolest part was seeing a coyote out on the golf course! WTF! It was hoping to get a little appetizer of A La Goose. Alas it wasn't successful. Thank goodness! I didn't want to see that before the waitress set my food down.

The next day we went to the Wildlife Zoo. It was a lot of fun.

Mr. Camel looking all smug.

Then we came to a spot where you can walk-up to this platform and feed the Giraffes! The big male was getting his share of treats! You drop the little pellets right on their tongue. Their tongue feels just like a cats except a lot more slime. My hand was coated with giraffe goo. Then in the background you see a little giraffe coming up from behind wanting to get in on the deal. The big one did not like that so the little one thought he/she was being sneaking and went around the side of the platform.

This is the face we see. Can't you just hear him/her "Psssst, over here! Give me some before he sees me!"But the big one DOES notice! And the little one gets an escort to the back of the enclosure. But the little one didn't give up. He/she was very persistent in their sneakiness. Must have been a teenager.

A Merkat on high alert. We decided that our greyhound Sophie looks just like a Merkat in the face. Same little face with a pointed nose and beady eyes. Now this is the way to relax!The entire trip was great and we are so happy we went. It was so depressing to come back to sub zero temps, but soon our summer will be here. And the roles will be reversed. We will be out in the sunshine at noon while people in AZ are in their houses hiding from the 120 degree temps. Sweet revenge.

Before I end I can't leave out Rusty. With her wagging tail and her happy dance to greet us when we came in the door. Gentle gal that wouldn't even know what to do with a rabbit if she caught one and once had to suffer a few days staying with the greyhounds who kicked her out of her own bed.

We miss you guys!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Day the Wheels Came Off

The PF Chang Rock n'Roll Half race report. Hmmmmmm.....let me say that the phrase crash and burn doesn't even touch what happened to me. It was by far the worst I have ever felt in a race (and God willing the last). However, I did learn a lot and it was a great race.

My poor brother was coming down with a cold when we arrived 2 days before and the germs decided to attach themselves to me. The day before the race I started to feel the undeniable burn in the chest and tickle in the throat of a cold. I was hoping that the cold wouldn't come to full force until after the race. I had to hold out one more day. But by Saturday night the cough started. Shit. Shit. Shit. I didn't let it get to me because it wasn't bad and I was sure it wouldn't effect me on the course. Yeah, right.

Sunday morning we wake up bright and early to head out to downtown Phoenix. My brother's partner was our navigator and Nick was our driver. It worked out perfect because we managed to beat the chaos of the traffic and found a spot to bail out of the car and walk to the holding area. It was still dark and a wee bit chilly. I had my throw away long sleeved shirt on and felt fairly comfortable. My cough was only a tickle so I wasn't worried about that and I didn't drink the night before only water so I felt fairly hydrated. While we were hanging around I decided that since this is the Rock n'Roll Half there would be music everywhere so I ditched my headphones thinking that I won't need them. Boy could I kick myself in the ass. Off we go to our corral.

Uh oh. I have to pee. Of course. And I have to pee bad. The lines to the Porto's are insanely long. No way I would make it to my corral in time even with a staggered start. On my way to my corral I am looking for any place for me to dodge and hide, but damnit this is Arizona! Not a lot of shrubs, trees, and ground cover! Unless I want to get a few cactus needles in my ass. I think not. On my way I see there are Porto's along the way in front of some corral's. Right in front of my are a few and I managed to sneak in line to pee. Couldn't have timed it any better. Bladder empty. Check. Feeling pretty good. Check. Ready to run. No so much.

The sun came out and it was gorgeous. The weather was perfect. Blue skies, full sun, not a cloud in sight. Ah, heaven. At least for the first 6 miles. I started out strong. After the first mile I peeled off my long sleeved shirt and just enjoyed running in the warm weather. Hit mile 3 and I was happy. My leg didn't hurt and I was cruising at a fairly fast clip for me. Around a 9:30 mile. But I knew it was a little too fast because my tempo runs were between 9:00-9:15. But I couldn't bring myself to slow my pace. At mile five, I though okay, you are starting to get a little tired so you need to watch yourself. Hydrate. Hmmmm....something was wrong.

I don't know what happened. How it happened. But when I hit mile six everything fell apart. I stopped, took my gel, drank some water and some Gatorade. Instead of feeling better. I felt sick. It was like I couldn't process the water and it just sat there in my stomach. Heavy, sloshing around. Uh oh. This is bad. I still have 6 miles to go.

Of course it doesn't help I don't have my headphones. There are bands, but you are running in more quiet than music. Most of the course I am alone with my thoughts and the only thing I can think of is how dry my lips are and I want more water but I can't drink any more water without wanting to projectile vomit everywhere. Around mile 8 I noticed that I started getting the chills and chicken skin. Sure signs of dehydration, but every time I drank even a little bit of water I felt so nauseous. There was one point on the course when we came to a bridge and I thought for sure I was going to get sick. I was frantically looking everywhere for a place to throw-up because I didn't want to get sick on the bridge! There is no where for the runners behind me to go except...ewwwww....I can't even write it down. At this point it is sheer survival mode. My strategy was to walk for one minute and run 10. At mile 11 and 12 it was walk .25 mile and then gut it out. It. Was. Brutal. There were a couple times were I thought for sure I wasn't going to finish. The only thing that made me feel better was I wasn't the only one having a tough time out there on the course. Along the way I witnessed a lot of carnage. People walking, laying on the ground, looking miserable etc. It was a tough day for a lot of us.

My finish time was 2:16:00. 7 minutes slower than my first half in October, but I will take it. My thoughts are that I think it was a combo of a lot of things that came together to create a perfect storm. What I did learn was to have salt tabs with me and my headphones!

P.S.
That night my cold came full force. Bill caught it the next day and then his dad. Sorry guys. But misery does love company.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back to Reality!

WTH. I hate coming back to reality. I want to stay on vacation forever! WAH. As you can tell we are back from what a friend likes to say 'the promise land.' We left on Wednesday the palm trees, sun and mid-to high 70 temps. Sigh.

We had a fantastic time. Visiting with family, eating fantastic food and downing even better margaritas. Mmmmmm....mmmmmm.....good. Our family clan spoiled us rotten while we were there. Taking us out to dinner and catering to our every whim. We couldn't thank them enough for their hospitality.


We stayed at my brothers for the first half of our trip. His house is amazing. Seriously. I am like, what the hell happened to me? It was like we walked into a B&B in Maine. The antiques, the decor, it was beautiful. But not so much that you didn't feel comfortable. It was the opposite. We felt too comfortable and didn't want to leave!!! This is where we spent 95% of our time: The porch.
I even had a chance to get into the spa!
This is my lovely brother and Ralph. Ralph, is well, Ralph. He is very much the boss of the house and that is all I am going to say about that!

While we were there we visited the Botanical garden where there was a Chihuly exhibit. One word describes it. Breathtaking. The glass sculptures mingled in with the beauty of the desert plants was sheer beauty. You couldn't help but just stand there and gawk at the exhibits! How amazing and it is all made of glass!



This glass sculpture reminded me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

On our last night my brother held a little pasta party to get us ready for race the next day (more on that in a later post). Everyone was so sweet and we had a great time. My only regret, not having any wine!

Well, that is it for the first half of the trip. The next post will be about all the gory race details. It wasn't pretty. But for right now, I will leave with a lovely picture of the lemon tree in my brothers backyard. I am so jealous!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Later Taters!

Right now I am looking out my office window at about 2 feet of snow and thinking next week at this time I will be some place warm.

When I get back I will fill you in about the race and the trip.

In the meantime enjoy this meme courtesy of Bazu!

1) LAST MOVIE YOU SAW IN A THEATRE? Oh judas when the hell was that?! I think it was the movie from the book The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. NARNIA! That was it.

2) WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? Trac is going to give me shit for this because it is a teeny bopper book, but it is New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. And I should get shit for it too.

3) FAVOURITE BOARD GAME? Actually, I am not a fond of board games, but if I had to pick one I would say Pictionary. Is that even a board game?

4) FAVOURITE MAGAZINE? Runners World, Yoga Journal and Bark Magazine

5) FAVOURITE SMELLS? This is weird, but I love the smell of gasoline. I know, weird. Freshly brewed coffee, leaves in the fall and puppy breath are also top of the list.

6) FAVOURITE SOUNDS? In the summer, I love to sit outside and just listen to the trees rustling or swaying in the breeze. And when I take a nap in the summer I find the sound of lawnmowers comforting. I need therapy.

7) WORST FEELING IN THE WORLD? Being helpless to help someone or something. Watching someone you love die.

8 ) WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU THINK OF WHEN YOU WAKE? I have to pee. I think this first thing in the morning and the last thing before I go to bed.

9) FAVOURITE FAST FOOD PLACE? Geez. This is a hard one since I don't eat out much. But as evil as they are I would have to say McDonalds have the best damn fries.

10) FUTURE CHILD’S NAME? Blastula. JUST kidding.

11) FINISH THIS STATEMENT—IF I HAD A LOT OF MONEY I’D.... stay tuned

12) DO YOU DRIVE FAST? Yes.

13) DO YOU SLEEP WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL? No, but I do sleep with four real animals and that includes my husband.

14) STORMS–COOL OR SCARY? Far too scary!!!!!!!!!!!

15) WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR? A beer can of a car called a little chevy.

16) FAVOURITE DRINK? A really cold beer on a hot humid day.

17) FINISH THIS STATEMENT - IF I HAD THE TIME I WOULD...there is too much to write. But it would be learn something new.

18 ) DO YOU EAT THE STEMS ON BROCCOLI? Yeppers!

19) IF YOU COULD DYE YOUR HAIR ANY OTHER COLOUR, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR CHOICE? Pink

20) NAME ALL THE DIFFERENT CITIES/TOWNS U HAVE LIVED IN? It is too depressing to write because it hasn't been many.

21) FAVOURITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Running. There is something so awe inspiring watching someone finish a marathon in two hours! It is like watching someone who has super powers!

22) ONE NICE THING ABOUT THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Well, I stole this off Bazu's blog, but I will say this about her. She is a person that is genuine and is truly the nicest person I have ever met.

23) WHATS UNDER YOUR BED? Jimmy Hoffa.

24) WOULD U LIKE TO BE BORN AS YOURSELF AGAIN? What fun would that be!

25) MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL? Neither. I am more of a mid-morning person!

26) OVER EASY OR SUNNY SIDE UP? Over Easy.

27) FAVOURITE PLACE TO RELAX? At home on the couch flipping channels with the dogs cuddled around me.

28 ) FAVOURITE PIE? Pumpkin. YUM!

29) FAVOURITE ICECREAM FLAVOUR? There is one ice cream that is awesome, but it is soooo bad for you....Ben and Jerry's Half Baked. Holy shit is it tasty and only like 500 calories for a teeny bit.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

FINALLY!

I was about damn time. Today was the first decent run in WEEKS!

Around 9 p.m. Friday night Trac and I decided we were going to switch our days and make our long run on Sunday. Saturday's weather report called for high winds, very low temps and heavy snow. We couldn't do it. We couldn't bring ourselves to run at 7 a.m. in those conditions for the 9th week in a row. Sunday looked MUCH better with sun and no wind. So we said screw it we are running Sunday. It was the best decision EVER.

Our friend Mary met us at 10 a.m. for our 2.5 hour run. This was the longest Mary has ever ran before and she just started running last summer. She did fantastic. Unofficially she ran her first half-marathon today. Woooo hoooo!

The sun was shining, the temps were low, but the path was clear. It was great to be running on clear roads again. It made all the difference in the world. My leg held up and wasn't bothering me too much, which makes me extremely happy. All of us keep a really steady pace of around 11 mm. We did 13.5 miles. At the end I didn't feel crippled. It was a great feeling and is really getting me excited for the P.F. Chang.

P.S. We received our bib numbers. Mine is 28093. HOLY SHIT.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

See ya' 2008! Hello 2009! I am excited about 2009. A little nervous about it too. So many changes on the horizon and I hope with those changes good things follow. If cooler heads prevail, then it will be a good year.

We aren't big New Year eve's people. We rather stay at home with a few good friends, good food and lots of laughter. Oh, and sharing it with people who are also in bed by midnight! HA! I made an awesome spicy chicken and one tofu pizza. If you like Asian flavors then you will LOVE this recipe. It is super easy and quick to make. Recipe at the end.

Training is going okay. Still fighting an injury. Right now I am focusing on just getting to and through the race in a few weeks. No illusion of beating any time, just working on finishing without being crippled afterwards. Sigh. It is SO frustrating. All this hard work only to realize that I won't be able to go out and test the training. After the race I am taking 2-3 weeks off running to give my leg time to really heal. Then start some serious weight training to strengthen these old quads of mine. I will have the rest of the winter to work on gaining strength before May training starts.

Spicy Chicken Pizza

1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced gingerroot (Do Not Grate)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons peanut butter
8 oz, boneless chicken or extra-firm tofu, cut into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup (3 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 baked (12 inch) thin pizza crust
1/2 cup scallions

Combine the vinegar, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, garlic, gingerroot, red pepper and peanut butter in a small bowl and mix well. Saute the chicken in the olive oil in a skillet for 3 minutes or until cooked through. Or dry fry the tofu. Remove the chicken or tofu to a plate. Add the peanut butter mixture to the skillet. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 5-7 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Add the chicken or tofu and cook for 1 minute longer.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle the cheese on the pizza crust. Top with the chicken or tofu mixture. Place the pizza directly on the oven rack. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the topping is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions.