Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More art... posted

This may seem redundant to put art in this blog while I have an entire blog devoted to only art, but I guess I'm just trying to hit all possible readers!

I'll keep it short and sweet. I did a submission for Karin Jurick's blog Different Strokes From Different Folks and it is now posted on her blog... along with all the others. She posts a photograph each Wednesday and then gives people a week to paint it, and then she posts them all as they come in. Fun!

Check it out...
http://differentstrokesfromdifferentfolks.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Art Blog - now up!

It has been a hope of mine for a while now to start an art blog where I can showcase and eventually sell my artwork. First step of course is to DO the artwork. It is hard to fit it in to my schedule, but recently I have been able to do a little.

So without further ado...
http://stephaniesmithart.blogspot.com/

Please check it out: subscribe or follow it so you can get updates when I post pieces. It will be slow going for a while, but my goal is to post at least one piece each week.

There will be changes and adjustments to it as I develop it. But for now enjoy Dexter, my first art blog post! I'm very excited!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mason Mini Marathon Report

It was a brisk morning Saturday the 8th when I ran the Mason Mini Marathon. It's a 15K, which is 9.3 miles. It was so close to home– down at Mason's middle school. That made a 9:00 race even sweeter! We left at 8:15, stopped to get Gatorade, and still had plenty of time to stand around freezing before the start. I'm happy it didn't rain, but it was only about 46º from start to finish. I had only ran in chilly weather once prior to this day since we've had such a nice October.

The Course
um....well....I didn't like it. My dislike stemmed from a conglomeration of memories: running during Hurricane Ike, running at lunch while I worked at Luxottica (hot and boring), running during the summer (Vegas desert-like). And, frankly, it was a boring boring course that never even got on the actual roadway. Starting from Mason Middle School, we ran down towards Luxottica, then turned onto the access road that is used during the ATP Tennis Tournaments. We turned around at the Tennis Center (around some cones) and then headed back to the middle school. Running past the middle school, we got to turn onto a new sidewalk (yay!) and headed down Mason-Montgomery to where there is a new bike path that connects to a park. After connecting to the park path, it was through the park and back out onto Mason-Montgomery, back to the school, and finishing with a 3/4 lap around the track.

The Run
For the first 5 miles, I carried a gatorade-water mix. Even though it was cold, I sweat like crazy and I didn't want a repeat of the Akron Half (they ran out of water). I figured I would drink the first 5 miles and then pass off my bottle to Greg. I couldn't have been happier to get that damn bottle out of my hands. I don't know why it bothered me so much, but if the thing hadn't cost me $12, it would have been chucked off into the landscaping along Tylersville Blvd at mile 2. I could have just been grumpy because my stomach was throwing all kinds of fits. For breakfast I had peanut butter on toast, which statistically isn't turning out to be a good pre-race meal for me.


















After I got rid of the dern water-bottle and saw Greg, I was better. I felt like I could concentrate on getting through the race. I caught up to a guy (who's name was Mike) and his trainer (who kept saying 'Come on Mike!'). I felt good passing him, though it was the slowest pass on record. He passed me back right after that on a hill, but then I passed him back for good. During miles 6 - 8 we were in this park that is wooded, ROLLING and curvy. I felt like I was a marble, at the complete mercy of the elevation– either rolling downhill or struggling to get uphill using the momentum from the previous downhill.


















After emerging from the park, I caught up and passed another girl who kept walking. I was worried she'd have some sort of kick at the end and pass me back and crush my spirits, but she didn't. Greg ran with me for a little bit in front of the school before I got onto the track and finished, uh... strong? Not really. Longest 3/4 lap of track ever. I was happy to be done.

After the race I got a banana and started shivering. It was cold. My legs felt like someone suddenly poured cement into them, and though I should have walked a lot more, we hopped into the car and went home. I took a nice long hot shower and then we got Chipotle. Doing errands the rest of the afternoon helped me to not stiffen up too much. I was never very sore, but today when I ran my legs were sooo tight.

Summary
Overall, it was fine. Just a hard race to get excited about when there are only 280 people and you're slow. I did it and I'm glad I did it. The money went to the Epilepsy Foundation and I got a cool shirt. And I might add that I have the best race-watching husband ever! Greg stood out in the cold during my slooooow coverage of the distance and cheered me on! I definitely wouldn't have wanted to do it without him there! It makes all the difference!

I don't know what's next. I need to devise some sort of plan to get through this winter. It might just be a numbers game. My goal, which I've mentioned before, is to get fast enough that Greg can run with me without feeling like he's shuffling by Spring. Also, I want to see how far I can run. That's fun to do when there isn't pressure of a race and timing. And don't say I'm crazy because I think that running far is fun!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Well, I didn't get to run to the polls this morning like I had considered. Time and sealing driveway cracks didn't allow. But I did drive, stood in line with a neighbor, ate a bagel with coffee, and voted for Obama. And now the fun begins: watching all of the news stations bust their buns to be the first network to (most likely inaccurately) predict the next president. CNN started today's coverage an hour early for the sake of keeping us voters informed. 5:00 a.m.– well before any polls are even open or most are out of bed! Sometimes I just wonder how I'd get by in life without CNN there to keep me updated with the latest breaking news. And all of it is breaking news by the way. That's what news does- it breaks. It does not meander in, bubble up, nor shyly present itself. It breaks.

Speaking of races (to the whitehouse), I will be racing this Saturday at the Mason Mini - a 9.3 mile run through what the website describes as "flat" Mason. So I'm looking forward to finding these flat areas of Mason. It can't be any hillier than Akron, that's for sure. So even though the virus I got last week has set me back, I think I'll be fine and it should be fun!

I am going to check out cnn.com to see if Wolf Blitzer has the country color coded yet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chilly Weather

I ran this morning in long sleeves for the first time of the season.

boo-hoo!

It was a crisp morning. I couldn't see my breath, but it definitely took a while to warm up. My legs were bright red when I got back (had shorts on).

I've always enjoyed running in the morning more than in the evening. I usually find too many excuses/obligations/fatigue to divert my plans of a nice, unwind-from-the-day run after work. However, I've noticed in the past few years it's been more difficult to get up and get moving. It is hard for me to believe I used to get up and out the door around 6 a.m. so I could be to work by 8 or 8:30. Over the summer I tried the evening approach, but it really just isn't my best time.

I think my new fall/winter schedule will be getting up and running after Greg leaves for work, which is sometime around 8. Thanks to self-employment, I can start a grumbling, zombie-walk from the bedroom while he is getting ready and be ready to go out the door when it's light outside. That puts me to work around 10 a.m. This plan works as long as I don't have a pressing a.m. deadline.

Though it will be cold to start out running before the earth warms up a little, it's a great start to the day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rubber Stamp Man

Tuesday I was visited at my studio by Barry, a rubber stamp salesman. Yes you heard correct, folks. Rubber Stamp Salesman.

He was probably in his 50s-60s, dressed in a nice suit, and had a hard briefcase full of stamps to demo, each in their own custom shaped foam cut-out block. He asked me if he could have 5 minutes of my time to demo his stamps.

Uh, sure. WTF? A stamp demo? Don't you just slam it on the ink pad and then slam it on the paper?

Turns out, professional stamps of the 21st century have evolved...if only a bit. (How much evolution can they really accomplish?) You no longer need an inking pad. Somehow through the amazing technology of Self-Inking™®, now the stamp has ink already built in. So you don't have to hit the ink before you hit the paper. And you can adjust the ink flow simply by turning the handle.

Amazing.

I didn't need a stamp. Or a brass nameplate, which he also sold. (Though I considered for a moment ordering one that says No Solicitors.) But he did offer me a quote on business cards, before I realized they were just the black raised puffy ink kind with 4 not-so-designed styles to choose from. Oh well.

He wasn't pushy. The only suggestion he made was for me to get a signature stamp, in complete olde-timey sales language all but missing "step right up!":
[stamp man]: Signature Stamp! George Washington's the example. [boom! stamp is stamped revealing G.W.'s signature] Who doesn't sign their name? A stamp of your signature saves you time and money! And it prevents carpal tunnel syndrome.
[steph]: giggles and turns to look at her computer

[stamp man]: It does! It's been proven.

awkward pause...

[steph]: do you have opaque inks?
Paul (studio two doors down) also got the demo. We discussed later. Death of a Salesman, how many stamps do you have to sell to pay for a nice suit, and who still uses stamps were some of our comments/perplexed questions.

I'm glad random people walk in to my studio to keep my days here interesting.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Akron Half Marathon Race Report





































Saturday Sept. 27th I ran the Akron Half Marathon. I was sick, but it was OK. It was the tail end of the cold and I had been sleeping well thanks to cold medicine. I knew I was going to be slow anyway, so now I had an excuse ;)

Friday around lunch time we dropped the puppies off at the vet and drove up to Akron. It was a long boring drive. I have lost my tolerance of car rides over 2 hours. Maybe I need to reinstate Mad Libs and coloring books for travels above the 120 minute mark.

We stayed with Daryl and Paula in Massilon, which is only about a half hour from the marathon site. Daryl was also doing the half and Paula, sick with bronchitis was doing the full marathon! Paula and I drove down to the Expo while Greg helped Daryl with a photography gig. Then Daryl made us some yummy chicken alfredo and after some digestion and talking we went to bed.

I woke up at 2:30, not being able to sleep. Kind of laid there until 4:15 when the offical alarm went off. Greg was going to go to the race later with David, whose wife was running the marathon as a 3:50 pacer. I was glad he was able to have a spectating buddy and didn't have to get up quite as early.

Paula, Daryl and I headed out the door around 5:00 I think. We got there in plenty of time to find parking, pee, poo, be nervous, and wish each other good luck...all in the dark. Poo-ing in a port-o-john in the dark is not fun. Especially when 5 minutes later you realize the stadium you finish in was open the entire time. Oh well, I suppose the experience counts.

The race started at 7:00. Daryl and I lined up mid-back. Paula was trying for the 4:15/4:30 pace so she went off to find a pacer. The gun went off and we shuffled to the start line. I was actually running by the time we reached the start line, which surprised me for such a large race.

I lost Daryl pretty quickly but was happy to just settle in to my own pace. My first couple of miles were a bit too fast. I took a Hammer Gel at mile 2 and downed some water. I was drinking a lot of water since I was sick. I saw Greg, David and Paula's sister at mile 3. Yay! I was so happy to see them. Then after I passed them I was really disappointed because it would be so long before I saw them again!


















Yay they saw me! Awww... it's gonna be a few more hours...


Mile 4...no water. They had ran out. Hmmm... Mile 6 no water... Panic! Mile 8...barely any water. The race volunteers were running into a building filling jugs and then coming out and pouring while runners who waited with cups passed them under the flowing water. I had another Hammer Gel to take, so I grabbed 2 cups. I downed the one and part of the other. Then I rolled the cup top down a little, folding it, so I could carry it and run without spilling it. I was very nervous they wouldn't have any water for the rest of the race! There was no way I could finish without water.


















Where's the water?!


We were running through a nice neighborhood at this point and some of the residents were standing at the ends of their driveways with hoses. I thanked each one and took some water from one since my belly was revolting from the Hammer Gel. At mile 9, there was water again, and Powerade. I decided I would just take Powerade the rest of the race (if they had it) instead of my last gel because my belly wasn't happy and I didn't know what the aide station liquid status would be anyway.



















Around mile 9.5 - 10 we ran though the University of Akron's campus which was kinda neat. I was starting to fall apart here though. After the freakout of possibly no water and mile 8's extra long water stop, I lost the people I was running with. There were some run-walkers who would pass me, then stop to walk and I'd pass them, then they'd pass me, stop to walk, etc etc. I was enjoying this!! After I lost my "group", I kinda tried to make up time (MISTAKE) and ran fast for a while. Never quite got my heart rate back to normal and started suffering.




















On campus (I think).


Around mile 10, my left knee started throwing a fit. A big twinge and it slightly gave out, so I had to baby it for a while. I was really starting to hurt at this point. I saw Greg and the crew again around mile 10. That really helped! I tried to make a funny face, but it really turned out bad in the photos. I said something like "I"m in pain" and kept trudging on. Next time I'd see them would be in the stadium.




















Hi guys! Ow!!


At mile 11, the half and full marathons split. The full marathon went on to tour Akron, while the half marathon went on a closed down highway. A mile and half of concrete, no spectators (just construction barrels) and a crystal clear view of where you had to run to before you turned around to go back into downtown for the finish. Oh, and did I mention it was all uphill? AWFUL. The only really bad part of the entire race (aside from the water shortage).

There were some volunteers around 12.5 - one lady told me I was looking good.
I told her she was a liar and she laughed but insisted I was doing well. It was funny and I appreciated a little interaction to take my mind off the pain.

Running into the stadium was a lot better than I thought. This was just Akron's AA baseball team's stadium, so it was tiny and not nearly as intimidating as the old Riverfront statdium. I found a wee bit of energy and tried to run a little faster and like I wasn't in pain. It was a very nice finish. And soooo easy to find everyone again!


































Daryl and his cool headband. And he felt good enough to be drinking the free beer they give you.

I grabbed some food and Greg found me at the end of the ramp into the stands. My feet were very swollen so I loosened my shoes and we sat and watched some more of the race. I had Greg bring a soda, as this is my new race recovery drink. I think it helps my sugar/energy levels get back to normal. I've been drinking sunkist or dr. pepper after long runs and feel GREAT right after it!















Mmmmm RC Cola...

Daryl finished his first half in 2:17 which was great. Paula finished around 4:37! Amazing. She had only ran 13.5 miles in training. Crazy girl! My time was somewhere around 2:43, a 12:30 pace which considering all the circumstances, I'm fine with.

Amazingly, all my runs since the race have been sub-11 pace with minimal effort. Finally. I am doing the Mason Mini Marathon in November, which is only 9.3 miles (so funny to say that). I'm hoping to run it around 11:15 pace.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

3 Days Until the Half!

I'm about to go out for a nice, sunny run. I haven't ran in a while due to the craziness of work (catching up after the storm) and being extremely sore from a weekend of cutting up two trees.

We're leaving Friday around noon and heading up to Akron. Then we come back to par-tay for Casey and Jannelle's birthdays. I hope the weather is good up there! The forecast looks good- cloudy with a low of 55, high of 72.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

10 in the Wind

Ike made for a very difficult 10 mile run today. But now I feel more prepared for the half that is at the end of this month.

I started out late, after eating and relaxing and stretching. It was probably 12:30 or 1:00 when I finally left the house. It was hot in the morning so what did it matter if I ran later? I thought I'd at least eat a good breakfast and wait for my body to wake up.

The good thing (and bad thing it later proved to be on more than one occasion) was it was windy! So that would keep me cool. Yeah.

During the first couple of miles through the neighborhood that attaches to ours via the salt barn path, 4 jets flew over. People were outside looking at them and I began to wonder a bit if something was going on. But then a lady asked me if I saw any Cinergy trucks around – their power was out. So I guess everyone was coming outside to discuss the outage and also noted the jets. (Maybe the jets did a fly over for the Bungles game?) The lady told me there was a wind advisory and we figured that's why their power was out.

After leaving that neighborhood, I did notice the strong wind – especially when I crossed over the highway. When there were pockets of no wind, I desperately begged for it to come back and cool me off. I turned onto Duke Blvd and when the wind did blow, it was a glorious tailwind. The lack of trees made it feel desert-like, but I was feeling great for the most part. I took a gel around 3.5 miles and turned left onto Socialville-Foster, enjoying the wind coming at me from the side. Then I turned right onto Mason-Montgomery to experience the strongest tailwind ever. At times it felt like someone was pushing me along. I took advantage of it the best I could, feeling fast and strong. At mile 5, I turned around.

And then it sucked.

At first it was funny. Ha! Look it's like I'm standing still! But the smile was soon wiped off my face as I struggled to run with the increasingly stronger wind. It became discouraging. Wow, I would have been to the corner already if I still had that tailwind. Then the reality of the effort sank into my muscles and lungs and I had to walk. This is rediculous. I'm never going to get home! And I have at least one more street o' headwind like this! It felt like I had people attached to me, trying to pull me back. Or as if I was going up the longest hill ever.

I probably walked a half mile. Back on Socialville-Foster I had the side wind again to recover with. I wished I had brought money with me to buy a Gatorade, as the now hot water in my fuel belt just wasn't cutting it. I dreaded going back onto Duke Blvd.

On hilly Duke Blvd, the wind gusts were so strong, sometimes I would stand still for a second, mid run. I walked the uphills and even that was hard, as I leaned forward quite a bit into the wind, way over my shoes. And then the nice big downhill I so looked forward to betrayed me. Even on a steepish descent I felt like I was going uphill. Surreal. I did catch some nice water spray from the corporate park retension ponds. The other things I caught were leaves in my face. That hurt.

I made it back to the nieghborhood that is adjacent to ours, and it was a different scene. Now I was hopping and jumping over fallen mini-logs and branches that were all over the streets and sidewalk. About every 5th house had a tree in the front yard that was half-fallen.

Hmmm.

It wasn't until I turned from the salt barn path to our road when I began to think about our house, cars, yard and trees. As I ran through our neighborhood, I saw just how many trees and branches were all over and thought, Our problem tree fell. Then I thought, I hope Greg thought to bring the dogs in. Next thought: What if Dexter and Harley got smashed by a falling tree! Or got out of the yard because it crushed the fence!? (I did know that from the direction of the wind, it wouldn't be falling towards the garage or house, thankfully) Final thought: What if Greg is under the tree!!!!??? I'm glad I didn't start thinking about it until a half mile to go. :)

As soon as I was close, I began looking at the tree lines. About 2 houses away, I thought our tree line looked wrong. Approaching our house, I only counted 2 trees - but maybe they were just blowing together??

I walked in the house and saw the dining room curtain was closed. That gave me the answer. I pulled the curtain open. Tree down. Dogs and Greg safe. Fence broken. Neighbors yard full of our tree. (Pictures coming soon...)

Our tree also took out another tree (not sure whose tree it is/was) that was dead. And a huge limb the size of tree itself fell off our former middle tree.

It definitely could have been worse (see above rambling thoughts). It was a tree we were planning to take down this fall after the leaves were gone, but Monther Nature sped up that process for us.

The carnage through our neighborhood was plentiful, as well as the houses along the drive to Loveland. We drove to my studio after the winds subsided. On the way we saw a tree that had completely come out of the ground, taking a huge patch of land with it, and had landed on top of the house. Bad.

We only lost power for a few hours, while it seems most of the city is still without. We saw on the news we were having 25 - 30 mph winds with gusts around 60 mph. No wonder the leaves, small pebbles and especially straw hurt when it hit my legs and face!

Back to those 10 miles... Thanks to Hurricane Ike, they weren't pretty. However, I feel like I am more prepared for 13.1. It was certainly good conditioning - mental and physical. In Akron at the end of September it should be cooler. And there hopefully won't be a hurricane aftermath to fight on race morning!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'm Registered!

I'm officially registered for the Akron Half Marathon now. Yay! I'm very excited. Check out the map!

















I read the course description, which was all sounding very nice: not too many monsterous hills, plenty-o-aid stations, spots for Greg to spectate if he can go. But then I read the description of the finish.

For both the marathon and half-marathon, the finish is what they call an "Olympic style" finish. You end up running into a baseball stadium full of people, and run straight across the outfield to the finish at 2nd base. Baseball stadium full of people. Just what I don't want at the end of a race.

That may sound crazy to some. What's wrong with crowd support and people to cheer for you, right? Well, the last time I ran into a stadium to finish a race, I nearly passed out and had to be aided by the medical team. It was a hot day and I got so overly-excited when I ran into the Reds stadium, I couldn't even feel my body anymore. Apparently I pushed a just a bit to hard. After crossing the finish line, I plopped down on the ground. Then the medical people found me and dumped water on me so icy I couldn't breath. So, though only a single experience, it is a permanent bad racing memory. In addition, I also tend to get a little bit emotional at the end of half marathons. It's long! And hard! And you're so proud of yourself when you finish! And everyone is so happy and trying so hard... I can't even watch the trailer for Spirit of the Marathon without getting a lump in my throat. So, combine an already emotional day made overly dramatic by finishing in a stadium with everyone witnessing it and that equals an icky pit in my stomach.

The up side is now I know. Perhaps I can prepare myself for the stage fright inducing finish. Here's to not puking in front of 9,000 people.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Sunny Eight!

Yay I ran 8!

This Saturday was a beautiful, sunny and breezy day. I decided I'd try again to run 8 miles and get somewhere with this half marathon training. Last week's attempt was not good. This time I just ran from the house to the end of the street, which is a half mile, and then back...8 times!

My first mile was waaaay too fast. But then I slowed down for the following miles. After each mile, I walked down the driveway and sipped some water, then walked back to the street to start the next mile. I think this is how I'm going to have to get through this half marathon... lots of breaks.

Unfortunately, I was extremely wiped out after I finished the last steps of the 8th mile. I was hoping to finish and feel like I could run more, but there was no way. I laid down on the floor and was in pain. It took a few hours, but after throwing around a Frisbee at a picnic, I was finally loosened up again. I definitely need new shoes pronto.

The plan is to do 10 (11 if for some miraculous reason I felt good after 10) some time next weekend. Then that's it until the 13.1 on race day. It should be fine as long as my body holds up between now and then. Not planning to worry about times– just want to complete the distance and get the "haven't ran a half marathon in over 2 years" monkey off my back.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Speedy on the Trail

It's been warmer and humid outside again. I'm reminded of that as I sit in my studio drinking hot coffee and am getting a bit warm! Time to use my remote for my a/c unit and bump that air up (er... down I guess)! I'd hate to have to walk the 3 steps to the actual unit and adjust it the old fashioned way.

Last night after work I went to the shady bike trail to run. I warmed up, then did 1/4 mile repeats - 5 of them. Tried to stay at the same pace for each one, and I did. The last one was definitely hard, and the jog back to the studio felt heavy, but overall it was a great workout in the shade.







I need to do more Speedy Gonzales workouts to get faster. I am not speedy. I am Slowpoke Rodriguez.












At SFT we DDR'd... so more fun exercise!

Bob Roncker's bought out or is now in place of the Runner's Depot in Loveland. It doesn't surprise me - the Depot wasn't much of a shop. I've never been in a running store without seeing tons of runners in it, either getting ready to run together or just having come back from a run...except for this one. I'll have to see if they do any group runs from the store - would be nice and convenient since I'm a half mile away. And I also need to check out the newly expanded Cycle Sport. See if they have anything fun going on this winter.

Wow this post is full of links!

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Sunny Seven Point Two

This weekend, I drove out to Miami Whitewater Park to run the outer loop there, which I thought was 7.8 (according to The Interwebs), ended up being 7.6 (according to their sign), but didn't matter because I think I only ran about 7 - 7.2. So much for 8.

I felt OK in the first 3 miles. There was a smidgen of shade in the beginning. Then, the trail basically became a steady repetition of sun and hills, surrounded by ragweed and other various Nature. I was happy to take my gel at the 4 mile mark. After that, I never felt too great again. Hot, yes. Hotter and hotter and hotter as the sun baked me. I had motivation to get the run over with, since I was sure I was slowly frying out there in the sun, but just couldn't find the oomph.

The trail is nice – a curvy, rolling path that makes you feel like you're not really anywhere in particular. But its snaking shape through the fields and constant change in elevation also prohibits you from seeing where the heck you're going. So even though I vainly scouted for an upcoming batch of trees every time I crested a hill, I never saw any. But that's because there weren't any. I kept pulling my tank top up and back to save the chest from a nasty burn.

In the last mile of the trail, I stopped to walk. I tried running again, but it was a pitiful shuffle. So I just tried to speed walk. After I got back to my car, I grabbed my wallet and bought a Pepsi at the concession stand. I find when I'm exhausted after a run, I really need the bad-for-you sugar boost found in colas. I stretched a little and got in the car for the half hour drive home.

It wasn't awful...I mean I at least moved for an hour and 30 minutes. Today I am a little burned (though it's getting better) and just slightly sore. I'm hoping to hop on the bike in the morning now that we have Raid and I can fend off the creepy spider that made a web in my trainer. (Supposedly it's gone, but I need the bug spray for the nail in the coffin.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Squirrels and Upgrades!

The squirrels were everywhere this morning. EVERYWHERE!!!









On my short 2.5 mile run, I saw somewhere between 10 - 15 squirrels...many dangerously crossing the road. Most were foraging in the grass and then hopping up to trees. I don't know if you can tell anything from what the winter is supposed to be like from the squirrels, but they were definitely active. I wonder if the squirrels that live in the nicer neighborhoods have nicer nuts. Gourmet nuts... that come already roasted.

And on a complete separate note, I FINALLY upgraded my design programs.

After much frustration on not being able to uninstall CS2 that~ eh hem~ came with the computer, I ended up talking to Adobe Customer Support for an hour as we cleaned out anything CS from my machine. Then low and behold, I was finally able to install CS3. And I've successfully opened Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. We'll just see what bugs I come across tomorrow, all in time for a huge rush project for my infamous Client NoTimeline. Most importantly, begging agencies to save down their files again after I already asked and feeling like I'm a big pest is finally over. Right now the Adobe updater is running, and things like "Patch Device Central" drives keep mounting to my desktop then disappearing. I have faith in the Adobe gods. I'm already for CS4, whenever that one comes out. Bring it. Cha ching.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lately

I've been running well and feeling stronger, post food poisoning. I know it sounds crazy, but I didn't just bounce back from that. Maybe 5 years ago I would have.

Last Friday I went to Deerfield Park to run the paved lap trail that is new. It's 1.5 miles so I was going to do just 2 laps and see how I felt. It was hot and muggy, so I thought maybe I'd try the trail in the woods instead. Greg and I used to mountain bike there, and I remember it being fun. I only spent a mile in the woods before I figured it wasn't a safe idea and was back out on the path to do a hot muggy loop. The trail in the woods is awesome though- very hilly and fun, always have to watch the ground. It took me back to the mountain biking days. I told Greg how fun it was and he said we'd both go in the spring. See, my goal is to be at a pace that Greg can run with by springtime. Still won't be his pace, but it won't be so painfully slow that he could WALK and keep up with me! :) At the end when I was walking to my car, I saw these HUGE bugs dead on the pavement.











By huge I mean at least 2 inches long. It was like a movie- they were huge and as I kept walking I saw more and more... Right about the time I thought I wouldn't want to meet one of those alive, I looked up and there were about 4 in the air. One flew at my head. I ran to the car and fumbled to unlock it so I could get in as the thing followed me. Turns out they are Cicada Killer Wasps, and supposedly are harmless to humans unless provoked (grabbed, stepped on etc) but I was too freaked out to find out.

I didn't run over the weekend, but we did some yard work. Last night I ran about 4 miles and felt pretty good. My GPS kept going in an out though, so I'm not sure what my pace was. I know that I felt really great the first 2 miles, then felt like it was difficult the second 2 to keep up the pace, but I did. I have found lately that I'm not liking out-and-backs. I have always preferred a loop and once I determined I could in fact do a loop of sorts from my house, now that's all I want to do. It's mental. This weekend I think I'll drive out to Miami Whitewater which has an 8 mile loop and do that. Though it is flat and I like to do the long runs on flat surfaces, I'm so tired of the bike trail. I'm also tired of not having a running partner. Maybe I should drag the chunky Dexter-dog outside once in a while!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nothing to See Here

I've decided that my blog is a bit boring. So I'm going to try to take more pictures to liven it up...which will also get me taking more pictures (which is fun, though a photographer I do not claim to be).

I have nothing to say right now, but for the sake of having something to look at...
Here's a random pic of a baby Starling that was in our front boxwood one day when I came home.














And here's baby Dexter, a few weeks aftere we got him (taken by Dad at Thanksgiving). Aw, the memories...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Staycation is Over

Vacation week is over. Now it's back to work and routine.

Some highlights:

Bodies Exhibit was awesome. Very interesting. A must see. Kinda gross, but more fascinating than anything. Proof that a 3-D look at things makes a big impact.

Garage - is CLEAN! Yay!

"Basement"
- is ORGANIZED! Yay again! The bike is all set up on the trainer and you can walk freely to everything in the room.

Food Poisoning - SUCKS! Had it Wednesday night. No yay for this one. Chicken Scampii at the Olive Garden wreaked havoc on the GI tract. Without sharing too many details: both ends, up all night, chills and hot flashes, headache, dehydration, severe stomach cramping and pain... I'd rather have the flu. Was finally feeling normal Saturday...3 days later.

Running - Due to the food poisoning, that didn't happen as planned. Really a bummer since the weather was in the cool 80's all week too. I ran Tuesday in the rain (storming) for 6 miles and that has been the last time. Will try to run tonight, taking it easy. I know I'm all recovered inside, but get tired quick still. And this is my first full day back to work, so I might need a nap!

Food poisoning aside, it was a great time off. Good to spend time with Greg and just relax with the dogs. I think they were a little upset this morning, after figuring out that I was leaving. They kept following me and would sit down, looking at me. (I think they conspire with these "sad puppy" looks they do.) I feel refreshed. Maybe I can do this again in another month! :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vacation!

...or should I say "staycation" – the overused term defining everyone staying home/local for vacation due to sucky gas prices.

Whatever you call it, Greg and I are enjoying some free time away from work to relax and catch up with friends and family. We will be traveling up to Perrysburg, which will cost apprx. $60 for my car at the recent prices. :) We'll be driving to Centerville at some point also, not nearly as far or tank-taxing (about 38 miles vs. 180). And one drive probably to the Bodies Exhibit down at Union Terminal (about 25 miles). Staycation here we come!

Other plans: yard work, seeing babies and visiting friends (and their babies), long bike ride(s), running, meeting with finance guy, celebrating 7 years of marriage!, finishing the Basement Project, fixing the scooter and perhaps getting temps, and somewhere in there just relaxing.

There are a million other things we could do also, but it's only a week. Yikes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Week of 7/21 - 7/27

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 3.5 from studio on the trail, alternated 1:30 speedy and easy
Wednesday: 11.4 bike from house.
and then... the week fell apart....
Thursday: exhausted. walked 1.5 m with dogs
Friday: 0 - family came into town. I left work late and couldn't get a run (or just a moment to myself) in
Saturday: 0 - up early for the Sunglass Sale and then at King's Island all day. Hanging with family the rest of the evening. To bed before the fireworks went off!
Sunday: 0 - exhausted. Family left. Napped. Went back to studio for more work. Yippee.

So I suppose these kind of weeks just happen and it's OK that my training was completely derailed. There really wasn't much I could do about it. Here's to a better week this week! And then the week after this, I'm attempting vacation! Yay!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Week of 7/13 - 7/19

Good week as far as sleeping and training goes.

Sunday: 14.5 hilly miles bike
Monday: walked 2 miles with the dogs
Tuesday: 3 mile run, fartlek
Wednesday: 0
Thursday: 30 minute run- walked a lot, it was HOT
Friday: 0
Saturday: 1 hour and 20 min run. I walked a few times so I wouldn't be so tired later. We have a lot to do today!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sunday ride

Last Sunday Greg and I went to Loveland and then out the other side of it, heading east. I had gone exploring for food one day out this direction (there's not much in Loveland for lunch) and thought, "wouldn't this be a nice place to ride my bike?". After traveling a few moments from Loveland, you are suddenly in the country. AND, the road lines disappear! One theory I have concerning road bike safety is that cars are much more willing to pass you with a lot of room between you and them when they don't have those pesky lines trying to keep them on the right side of the road. Also means the road doesn't have as much traffic.

So we parked at a church and started riding. For some reason, the "country" is synonymous with "flat" to me – probably because of where I grew up. Quite wrong in this area. I don't think we ever traveled on any 0% grades. It was hills all the way. Some were even quite large hills with fun descents and some hard climbs. Would have been good to train out here for Caesar's Creek. I had wanted to do 19 miles (in honor of my 19 mile Ride-of-Error the previous weekend) but after all the hills, we ended with 14.5 and felt great.

The Loveland bike trail is awesome, but going flat and straight in the woods gets old. I'm happy to have found an alternative place to ride on roads. And we saw 6 other cyclists (3 pairs) while we were out! So hopefully that means people in the area are used to seeing bikes on the road.

We saw a lot of cool houses and it was a gorgeous, sunny day. A coyote ran out in front of us toward the end of the ride. Came out of nowhere (well, came out of the corn field) and skipped across the road, watching us warily as it headed through the next field. Look out, chickens!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Caesar's Creek Tri and Du race report

DNF
(did not finish)

A beautiful day does not necessarily make for a beautiful race.

The first 5K never felt right. I felt I was working way too hard for what it was. I was already a little peeved when I got to the first transition area. I started to gulp down my clif bloks and got on my bike. I don't know what my T1 time was because the results and timing (and overall organization) of this event was all messed up. People were taking the wrong chips, body marking was not consistent and due to a "malfunction" in the timing mats, we don't have T times...the only thing that halfway mattered to me when this was all said and done. Oh well.


















The bike starts up hill, and I was having a hard time eating my bloks and breathing up the hill. I waited to finish them after I got on Rte. 73, the first main road outside of the park. Then, I turned right.

I wasn't supposed to turn right.

After about 6 miles, I was 100% sure I took a wrong turn and was doing the Olympic distance course (25 miles) instead of the Sprint course (12 miles). The course wasn't familiar (I have done it before) and I only saw "OT" on people's legs (olympic triathlon). No S's for sprint. But at 6 miles, if I turned around, I'd be doing 12, then the 12 I was supposed to do? I didn't know what to do. I thought about just asking a cop at an intersection for the quickest way back, but I didn't want to ride roads not on the course that might not be bike friendly all by myself.

So I went back and forth between being highly highly upset at myself for ruining my race, and trying to just be happy to be out there and enjoy the weather and just do a long bike ride. But a HUGE hill was the final crusher of my spirit. At that point I was deep in thought about when-where-how I had taken a wrong turn. I wasn't paying attention and then all of a sudden there was a wall of asphalt in front of me. I wasn't in the right gear, wasn't prepared and almost fell trying to unclip before I fell over. Walking up a hill in bike shoes isn't fun. Plus so many riders passed me huffing and puffing and I felt like a loser. I'm not competitive enough to race, but now I wasn't even doing it at all. One girl asked me if I was OK and I said yes. She kept looking at me so I felt a need to explain and said I just couldn't make it. She said, YES YOU CAN! YOU'RE OUT HERE, AREN'T YOU! So I got encouraging reprimanding. At this point I figured I could get back on my bike, though the hill wasn't over. So I did. And then the back and forth being mad being sad continued.

Suddenly I was on Oregonia, which is the final road of the loop I should have been on. Not only did I miss a turn right in the beginning, taking me on the Olympic route instead of the Sprint route, now I (thankfully) missed the turn that would have kept me on the Olympic route. What was wrong with me today??!! It was a good mistake though. I only ended up doing 19 miles instead of 24. The Olympic and Sprint distances share part of the course. Apparently I did one of their extra loops, but missed the turn for the second one. So all the people that had passed me before...were passing me again. Kind of surreal. That's how I figured out I missed the 2nd offshoot loop.

Greg was worried I had wrecked and was all done by the time I rode into T2, head hanging low. I was so mad. I started the final run but decided there was no point since I was feeling like crap mentally and physically and my times would be SO off after having done 19 miles when I should have done 12. I stormed over to the race tent and handed in my chip. They still have me listed as just last place instead of DNF.

So, lesson here is to pay a lot more attention on the bike. I'm always worried about cars, but I should have been more concerned with following arrows I guess. I still don't know how I did it. I'm done with du's the rest of the season because I'm just not in good enough shape for them to be very fun. I'm just going to focus on running, and bike for fun/cross-training.

I should also mention that Greg did really well. I felt bad tainting the day with such a horrible experience while he did so well. It really sucks that their timing was so messed up and we can't see his splits correctly.


















Friday, June 13, 2008

Runs with Cicadas

This is the year for the cicadas in our next of the woods.












They are everywhere in Loveland. I listen to their undulating loudness all day through my closed studio windows. I went for a run on the trail the other day and seriously considered turning around. Not because they were flying at me, but out of fear of damaging my hearing! It was so loud on some sections of the trail that I felt as if I was at a Cicada rock concert in the front row right by the speaker!!

The pictures are of one that sat patiently for a photoshoot on my hostas. Probably munching away. I think they are fascinating bugs. I don't mind them if I have control over their bumblingness, but if they come at me uninvited....kinda freaky. Here's the rundown of our cicada happenings so far:
  1. Dexter LOVES cicadas. As in crunch crunch crunch. I remember when the cicadas were in the lower part of Cincinnati a few years ago, cicada recipes were shared on TV... so I guess I'm not worried about the dog popping them like m&m's. Makes for nasty doggy-gas though.
  2. Driving with the windows down is not a great option. I was driving home from work when one ricocheted off my driver side mirror across my face and landed on my seat just below my headrest. Turning around to find a huge cicada by your neck while driving isn't fun. I flicked it into the back, where it buzzed the rest of the way home, caught in the back door's pocket. I got a stick and got it out when I got home. I can definitely see how people wreck because of these things.
  3. They can hold on to a car perhaps up to 40 mph? Greg had to pull over before he got on the highway one morning to flick one off his sunroof. Otherwise, the chunk o' bug would have probably decided to hitch a ride inside after he opened his sunroof. It held on from our house to somewhere on Fields Ertle... good grip.
  4. Tis the season to bike with your mouth shut. We went on a bike ride last weekend and didn't hit any. They seem to stay in the trees along the trail. I have swallowed a lot of bugs on the bike trail and can't imagine how badly a cicada would choke you! I did have a big bug go down my jersey on the ride, but it was a false alarm - just a typical along-the-trail flying bug.
  5. Dead cicadas start to smell if there are enough of them. This we learned from our bug man. On our street, you can kind of smell an odor that reminded me of if you get a dead mouse in your wall: dead animal smell. Our bug man said it was all of the dead cicadas decomposing. That's gross. There are enough dead bugs to stink up the neighborhood? That's what I call a plague.













I don't know how much longer they will be around, but I've had my fill. And so has Dexter. I think he's gained some weight from his newfound snack.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

If a Tree Falls in the Forest, Does Steph Hear It?

Yes, if she's out for a run in that forest.

Saturday a.m. was my "long" run – I'm starting at 1 hour since it's been quite awhile since I've ran over 6 miles. It was raining and cool, much better than Thursday's run. Exciting events worth mentioning: I saw another deer and heard a tree fall. The tree was loud – sounded like gun shot, and I wasn't sure what it was at first. It sounded like it was on the other side of the river. Today Greg and I went for a bike ride and there was a fallen tree across the trail. Seemed too far away for what I heard though. After our bike ride we had breakfast at Paxton's. It was very nice and relaxing.

6/2 - 6/8
Monday off
Tuesday 30 min run
Wednesday biked 30 min inside during a big storm
Thursday 45 min shuffle-run due to heat
Friday off
Saturday 1 hour run in the rain
Sunday biked 45 min- 13 miles- anywhere from 14 - 18 mph

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bam! Heat Wave

So yesterday I think it broke 90º... a little warm and very muggy for the beginning of June. A perfect day to do a tempo exercise, right? - cue annoying that-answer's-wrong buzzer sound -
And if this is any indication of how the summer is going to be... well... yikes.

I was just supposed to do a 45 min run with a 15 minute tempo pace in there. After warming up (and I do mean warming up) I tried to pick up the pace, but I could only hold it for 6 mintues. I was dying. So the tempo run turned into a modified speedish session? and I ran two more sets lasting 5 minutes at my pace, walking in between. Then I shuffled home for another 15 minutes. Grueling, even though most of it was in the shade.

I took a cold shower and then laid on the floor with an ice pack on my head. I felt fine, but the ice pack just felt so good! The heat really isn't a problem for me, once I'm used to it. But I'm obviously not used to it yet.

Tomorrow's run (thankfully just long and slow) will have to be done early while it's still somewhat cool. Summer is here, despite what the calendar says!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tri for Joe - race pics!

A HUGE thanks to Daryl for taking all of these awesome photos from the Tri for Joe! When do you ever have such personal coverage during a race?!?! He seemed to be everywhere on the course snapping shots.

While Daryl took a lot of great pictures documenting the entire event, here are a few of each of us during the different parts of the event.
Without further ado...

Group shot when we got to the race. It had just finished raining, and it was cold.













Greg getting his race face on.













Paula at the Swim start. She swam while Greg and I did the first 5K.




















According to Dayrl who watched the swim start, the sound effect to go along with this picture was
"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" because the water was only 64º. Oh and I went to high school with the girl in the bright yellow cap. Random.

























Greg ending the first 5K.





















Greg starting the bike.







































Paula during the bike.































Me during the bike.














Paula doing her 5K.


















Finishing!





































Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sore.

The weather has warmed and there is so much to do... which equals Sore Weekends.

For one thing, I am hunkering down to train for duathlons this summer. With Greg's help and a good book I bought (appropriately named Training Plans for Multisport Athletes) I feel like I know what I'm doing. I'm giving it a shot at least.

And then there is the yard. On Saturday, I planted some flowers, then we mowed, cleared out the front beds of the dead daffodils and gigantic weeds, and we got our old landscaping stones from our neighbors who thought they wanted them but then didn't use them (and now we are going to use them). All of this in one day made my hamstrings scream.

No yard work today, but I did run. Loosened me up a bit. Trick for sore hamstrings: use a rolling pin to massage them. Looks ridiculous but really helps.

So this is what the week's training looked like:
Monday Bashful Ostrich 5K
Tuesday off
Wednesday 3 mile run
Thursday Tae Bo video (yeah. um. wanting some variety in the training. it is pretty hard.)
Friday 30 min on bike trainer
Saturday yard work galore
Sunday 30 minutes easy run

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Harley in School


















This was the 3rd week at Beginner Obedience for Harley. While she is doing pretty well, this most recent class session was chaos. Of course having gone through the class already with Dexter, my views are tainted a bit. But the instructor was getting very mad at the class, so I don't think it's just me.

Harley's worst subject is Staying Quiet. (This shouldn't be a surprise to any of you.) She's extremely excited for the first chunk of class, barking randomly as well as every time we switch directions while walking in the ring. She's eager to go go go! I had to give her the lime juice treatment in the beginning of class. I think lime juice worked better than the lemon juice– there were less mmmmmm this is tasty! licks following the squirt into her mouth. As for the barking at home progress, I think what we'll have to do is make Harley lay down when people come in and make sure she doesn't bark by pinning her and squirting lime juice in her mouth. It's a lot of work and is going to take a lot of practicing.

I kind of yelled at another dog...er...owner?...or at least in the direction of the owner via her dog? It was stressful. This woman wouldn't make her dog do anything, she didn't say boo to it the entire class, and it was being aggressive toward Harley during the sit-stay exercise. So a big NO DOG! came belting out of me. People proably think I'm a b!$*# but I just didn't want a fight.

Over all, Harley is having a good time. Greg comes and watches (and laughs at the chaos) and says she looks completely content and happy to be there.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bashful Ostrich 5K Race Report

Greg and I did the Bashful Ostrich 5K race on Memorial Day morning. It is a race that benefits survivors of sexual abuse. Smallish race with a new location this year - Scarlett Oaks - where Greg did autocross in his Focus... so it already had a "speedy" feel. It was just in the parking lot surrounding the campus of Great Oaks. Kinda boring, if you ask me, but it was flat at least.

The sun came out while we were there waiting to start, and I didn't have my sunglasses. Nor did I remember my watch. My goal was to run sub 10:00 pace (as in 9:59 would be just fine) since I ran my first 5K of the Duathlon at 10:07 pace. Greg was trying to beat his 25 minute something time from the Duathlon. In short, Greg met his goal. I did not.

My first mile was 10:12, and of course I had no idea when that first mile was coming since I didn't have my watch. Who knew I was so dependent on a watch? I knew when I heard the guy call out the time that I wasn't going to be able to pick it up any to reach my goal. I was already not feeling great– the sun was beating down and I was getting really hot for some reason. But I kept telling myself it was a race and I'd be mad later if I didn't race it. So I pushed on.

Picked off some people who kept walking then running. Then, after the 2 mile water stop (never heard the time called here) where I dumped one cup on my head and one in my mouth, I was passed by the lead race-walker. That's right, a very strong man race-walking passed my slow butt.

I thought about catching the race walker, but I just couldn't. Then I came to a part of the course where you could see the finish line and I picked it up, only to realize I had to pass it and do another small loop before it was all over. Ug. So I slowed back down and mourned the energy I just wasted, possibly ruining a strong finish. I picked off another person and my head was really really getting hot. I turned the last corner and Greg was there to run me in. I told him, "HOT". But thanks to him encouraging me and running just a bit in front of me, pulling me along, I was able to at least finish strong and look like I had actually ran a race.

So my official disappointing time was 32:43, a 10:33 pace. Oh well. Better next time.
Greg's time was 24:43!!!! A 7:59 pace. He PR'd we decided, because he can't remember his best 5K.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tri For Joe Race Report

Sunday May 18th, Greg, me, Paula (who came down to do the Pig) and Daryl woke up at 5:00 a.m. for a windy drive down to Coney Island to do the Tri for Joe race. There was both a triathlon and duathlon event. Paula was doing the tri while Greg and I were doing the du.

This was my 3rd duathlon (1st in 2 years) and Greg's first! While it was my third, it was going to be my slowest– but I already knew that. I was only looking at it as a long workout, not a race, and a hopefully fun season kick-start. Greg and I both weren't prepared, but I knew Greg would do well. For those who aren't familiar with the sports, a duathlon is a run - bike - run format and a triathlon is a swim - bike - run format. The transition area is what you visit to transition between the different parts. This particular du of ours was a 5K (3.1 miles) run - 18 mile bike - 5K run. Yay! Daryl was kind enough to take pictures of all of us. I can't wait to see how awful I look!

Thankfully the rain stopped before we were to the race, but it was a chilly morning! Paula had a 64º pool to look forward to... sans wetsuit! We picked up our packets, sat in the warm car while we sorted through everything, then got out and took our bikes to the transition area to rack.

Greg and I were on the same rack. I laid out my towel and goodies, thinking through the order of everything. It was a "do it in this order" stacking of equipment for when I returned from the first run: Clif Bloks to eat while I did everything else, shoes, bike helmet, sunglasses, grab bike and go! I already had my gloves on, hoping to save a little time there. While I wasn't racing this race, I did want to see if I could work on getting faster in the transition area– as with all other things with me, my transition times are s- l- o- w.

After some milling around, it was time, and Greg and I left Daryl and Paula to toe the line for the 5K. There were NOT many people there, so I figured I'd be running alone. A gun went off and I started jogging. Probably about a 10th of a mile into it, I was already last. :) It's OK! This is just a workout!! I watched Greg bopping along way in front of me until the curves of the path prevented me from seeing views of the people in front. The course winds through Coney Island, a little carnival-esque "amusement" park. For the rest of the run, I felt OK and just kept going on my slow 10 minute per mile pace. I grabbed some NASTY energy drink by mistake at one of the water stops. The course is an out-and-back so I got to slap hands with Greg on his way back.

Coming into the transition area, I was indeed already tired and sweaty. My bike hung waiting for me all alone, since I was now second from last (I passed a very old dude). Being last makes it easy to find your bike!

I wiped my face off with my towel and stuffed some Clif Bloks in my mouth. Then I put on my bike shoes, helmet, ate more bloks, sunglasses and grabbed my bike. Turns out my T-1 time was 2:27...13 seconds faster than when i did it 2 years ago. My only "PR" for the day.

I was still munching on bloks when I began biking. Finished off the pack, chugged some water, then I was ready to get serious. I saw Greg and Paula on this little part of the first 5 miles that has a turn-around. Never saw Greg again, but saw Paula one more time.

The bike was pretty normal. I didn't recall the course being so hilly, but enjoyed the downhills best I could. I passed people on mountain bikes, and I was passed by many of the triathletes who had come out of their swim waves. The course went down Kellogg Avenue, turned into Lunken Airfield onto the bike path loop (including the worst part of the course- a bumpy gravelly section near the end of the loop), back onto Kellogg where you turn around and then head back. Nothing exciting really. It felt a little long. My pace was all over the place. I was hoping for an average of 15 mph.

When I got back to the transition area and got off my bike, I couldn't feel my feet. My legs also felt like they weren't of my body. I woggled (walk-hobbled-jogged) into the t-area with my bike and put on my running shoes. I laughed at a girl who started running with her helmet on. She caught her mistake within a few steps.

The last 5K was by far the ugliest of my life. I seriously felt like the lower half of my body was somewhere still on Kellogg, or perhaps had gone back to the car to relax (not a bad idea!). Nothing was bending or moving properly. But, me and my two stubs for legs kept going, as I hoped it would just take a bit to loosen up.

Nothing loosened up. I gave up the hopes of not stopping and made a plan to walk through the water stops hoping that would help. I got to the half way water stop and took a long walk. At this point I wasn't even out of breath anymore since I was going so slowly. Now I just wanted it over and hated that it was being drawn out. I ran then walked then ran then walked the entire way back. My legs just said nope, we're done.

I saved up enough energy to "sprint" the last bit to the finish line. And by "sprint" I mean that I was probably psuedo-running at this point. To me, it felt like I was on my way to break a record, but in reality I know I must of looked like I was acting out a slow motion scene from Chariots of Fire. I finished with a smile for whatever that was worth.

I had some chocolate milk (yum!) and an orange. Then I was done with the food for awhile as my body went through it's typical post endurance race nausea. Nothing major. We checked awards and Paula got 2nd in her division! ...out of 4 ;) Greg and I both placed last! There's only up to go from here!

So here are the awful details, of which I'm ONLY sharing because later this year I will have MUCH better times and I can look back at this and laugh!

5K 31:38 (10:07 pace)
T1 2:27 (ooooh! a 13 second PR!)
Bike 1:08:54 (16.2 mph...better than I thought, and the same speed as when I did this race 2 years ago)
T2 1:40 (a 16 second PR...I did at least do better in my transition times)
5K 38:27 (oh the horror. 12:28 pace)

TOTAL: 2:23:17
a wopping 84th place out of 90! But not last! :)

Greg (who hopped on the bike ONCE before the race) did really well. 1:58:00. He's a natural!
Next up, Caesar's Creek in July. Various 5Ks in between. Let the games begin!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Steph Likes to Spectate

As most of you know, neither Erin nor I did the half Pig this year. Erin is injured and I am slow. In training for the duathlon season this spring and summer, I decided to opt for trying to increase my speed over increasing distance (my body can't do both right now).

I did go to the Pig to root on my friend Paula. She did the half in 2:00!! A 9:16 pace... after having only ran 8 miles as her longest run!

A co-worker of my husband's, Jeff W., did the entire marathon in 3:32...qualifying for Boston! Oh and did I mention he's 54!?!!

A current client, Jeff P., finished his first marathon with Team in Training in 6:13!! And he raised TONS of money for the cause.

I had a really great time spectating. Paula and I got up at 4:45 to leave by 5:00 a.m. We didn't leave until 5:15, but still made it down to the hubby's parking lot, using his pass. We zipped past all the cars waiting in line trying to park in designated lots and had plenty of time to walk to the start. We went in Paul Brown stadium for a potty break and stretching. Paula was nervous and I have to admit I was a little nervous for her. I don't think I'd be able to run 8 miles and then go run a hilly 13.1!

I left Paula in the crowds, setting up her illegal iPod, staged somewhere in the 4:30 - 5:45 pace block. I took some pictures and began to plan my spectating route. The route first goes into Kentucky and then back to downtown Cincy, so I had plenty of time to head up to mile 5's water stop on 7th street. I even made it up in time to see the leaders come through, men and women. Amazing to watch.














Paula is in the middle...above guy in black hat looking down
















Umm...spectating dog in pink collar and ribbons.


I had a ridiculously loud clapper thingy that I got at the Expo on Saturday, so I slap-clapped my arm off. After the leaders went by, the amount of runners in the road slowly increased until it was a full-on stampede, and water/Gatorade cups covered the ground. I wasn't sure if I'd see Paula, but suddenly she was right in front of my face, chomping on her Clif Blocks. We said hi and she looked like she was having an OK time. I spectated a little longer at this spot, then headed back down to the finish line.

I climbed the stairs to the baseball stadium a couple times, trying to figure out where the runners ended so I could find Paula after she was done. Since the streets were corralled, I couldn't easily switch sides and had to go up and around. So I got a stair workout in :) I never did figure it out and decided to try to follow the crowds later when people were finishing. After plastic slap-clapping on one side of the street, I decided to switch sides so I had a better view of the runners. I picked a spot all by myself, around the last mile marker, almost to the crest of a small hill, and started slap-clapping and cheering. It was so fun. I know how important it is for people to cheer you on when you're running...especially in this last stretch of the race! I love to hear the words "almost there" in a race, especially when I know that is in fact true. I saw a lot of heads facing the ground suddenly perk up when I yelled at them, some of them smiling. Usually the people were spread out enough that it was like I was cheering just for them.

Suddenly I saw Paula's yellow shirt! She was early!! I cheered and took a blind picture into the sun, which turned out OK :)














I ran along the route for a bit more so I wouldn't miss her after the food line. Up the dang stadium steps again, and back down to Sawyer Point. Amazingly, I spotted her coming out of the caged off area. If we hadn't found each other there, I'm not sure how much longer we would have spent wandering Sawyer Point!

Though I was so disappointed that I wasn't running too, I thoroughly enjoyed my first spectator-ing at a race. I saw some very interesting gaits (even among the fast people), the guys that run in hospital gowns with prosthetic butts, people dressed up because it was their birthday, a war protester, pig noses, and plenty of pink skirts and tutus.











All done!


And now on to the Tri for Joe, May 18th. Paula is going to come down again for that race and Greg and I are also signed up. None of us are completely prepared on varying levels, but I'm sure we'll have fun!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Graduation!

Dexter graduated beginner obedience!














We received a certificate, perfect attendance ribbon and....
BEST HANDLER!!!

Yay Dex for being a good dog and making mom look good!

Now I'm signing up Harley for beginner obedience. This will be a much bigger challenge– especially the barking and whining. But I am confident that progress will be made! Classes for her start the 13th of May, Tuesday nights at 8:15.

And while speaking of the dogs, both of them just got over a very bad illness called HGE (Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis). Harley had it first. Then while she was hospitalized, Dexter was mopey, I thought because he missed Harley. But he went to the hospital the day after Harley returned. Both dogs are now recovering on bland food and sleeping a lot. They played together for the first time yesterday, so they are definitely returning to normal.

In a nutshell, HGE is a disease (unknown causes) that makes the blood thicken. There is profuse and very bloody diarrhea which eventually leads to anemia, shock and collapse of the blood vessels. We caught it way before either dog was close to the severity of the disease, but it was still scary. Coming home to a you-know-what filled kitchen is not pleasant. 32 pounds is a small body to lose that much blood.

Harley showed no signs of being sick, other than the messes. Dexter, however, spoiled baby that he is, moped around and seemed to be hit harder with the disease, though his blood counts were better than Harley's when I took him to the vet. The disease is not supposed to be contagious, yet both dogs had it. So we assume they must have gotten into something in the yard that had the bacteria in it. The vet attributed Dexter's moping and Harley's not moping to them being different dogs with different personalities. Makes sense to me! After all, Dexter does sleep under the covers!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday Jamie!!!!!















****************************************
Happy Birthday! From your nice new rail, and especially from the gang that's on the rail.
Not sure when you're going to France, but have a WONDERFUL TIME!
Bon Anniversaire! (I think)