I'm no expert, but after six months of training, I began to pick up on a few things that made my life easier when running. Some of them I learned through my wonderful coach, team and unofficial mentor, and others I just figured out on my own. So since several of you have messaged me and said I have "inspired you" to try running (I put that in quotes because I don't think I'm any kind of inspiration, but thanks for saying it), I thought I'd share some of what I learned along the way.
1. Find a running buddy. That was one of the benefits of joining Team in Training: I had several running buddies on my Saturday morning runs. And during the week, I had a friend that would go with me. Sometimes early, sometimes late; we even ran at 10 p.m. a few times. And after running with the same person for a while, you find a pace you're both comfortable at, learn what each of you are capable of, and if either of you start to slip or get lazy (and by "if either of you" I mean "when I"), then you have someone to encourage you to stay strong and keep going (and who also knows what tactics/words work to get you to do just that). If you're married, congratulations — you've got a running buddy.
2. This may sound weird, but when I would wash all my makeup off before I ran, I felt better. Something about having my foundation, etc., on while sweating made me feel so disgusting that it would distract me. So I started taking it all off before I ran and got sweaty, and it made a difference. Weird but true.
3. Once you start running 5 and 6 miles, you'll want to try a supplement of some kind. I went to the running store (although I later found Target has some of this stuff, too) and bought sport beans, gels, shot blocks, bars, etc. I had to experiment with all of them to find what worked for me but eventually I found it: Accel Gel. Try it all at least once and find what works for you. Of course, try it without this stuff and see if that works too. Arguably these things (supplements, meals) can be more of a mental crutch than a physical one, but do whatever works.
4. Someone introduced me to Gmap-Pedometer.com and it has been the most helpful thing (second to my running buddy). I don't always want to drive somewhere to go run, so using that web site, I could map out a path on my own through my neighborhood, starting at my front door. You can save the paths so you can come back to them again later. The hard part for me was remembering the path and not getting lost...
6. Speaking of paths, if I am running four miles one day, I like to run away from my house for two miles, and then turn around and come home along the same path. This is a personal preference but rather than running a giant circle on many different streets, I just find a place that's 2 miles away, run to it and then run back (like this as opposed to this). That way I know how far I have to go and can't take any shortcuts. That is the technique we use on our group runs. Once you're already four or five miles away from your car/house, you don't have much of a choice but to run back to it. And to do the same thing during the week, I use the aforementioned Gmap-Pedometer.
7. I bought my running shoes from a smaller store that sells only running gear as opposed to a chain like Dick's or Academy. While I don't know those stores' return policy, when my doctor ordered new shoes three months after I'd already been wearing my Nikes, Fleet Feet took them back and spent an hour with me finding a replacement pair that worked. I would suggest starting at a place like that, not only for the expertise but so if a month or two months into running your shoes feel funny, or your legs start reacting, you can do the same thing. Those larger stores may take them back but I'm glad I bought mine where I did.
8. When I started running, I couldn't run a mile without stopping to walk. But after sticking with it, I was able to run 2 miles. Then 3 miles. But then once I started upping the weekend mileage on the group runs, those 2 and 3 mile runs got harder again. I finally was told that I wasn't having setbacks, my body was just getting accustomed to longer runs and therefore saving energy. When I started running 6 and 8 miles, it took me a while to warm up and miles 1 and 2 were usually the hardest. Don't feel like you're having a setback if the same thing happens to you. It's a good thing when it gets hard again. Push through it.
9. Not everything about running has to be expensive. It can definitely be an investment, but like I said, I eventually found the energy supplement aisle at Target, and in January or so I found a pack of 5 pair of Under Armor socks (socks that aren't cotton = awesome) at TJ Maxx for $7. I wouldn't scrimp on shoes, but find ways to save with the other things.
10. If at first you don't succeed, try try again. I tried running in college; I didn't like it. I tried running on a treadmill; It hurt like crap. But for whatever reason, when I just forced myself to run and learn to like it, I did. Having a good playlist to distract me helped, but it took a while. Weeks, in fact. I wasn't good and I was slow and awkward and was embarrassed. But one day I noticed the first mile was little easier. Then the second mile was a little easier. And before I knew it, I had run four miles. It may take weeks. But just keep going, and who knows - maybe you'll be running half marathons soon, too.
Again, please don't mistake any of those suggestions for arrogance or expertise. I am still learning about running. I am not a pro. I'm just sharing what worked (and didn't work) for me, and I hope you will share your tips as well.
The bottom line: If I can do this, any one of you can. In fact that's how my TNT coach got started. She was a Jenny Craig counselor and one of her clients shared that she was going to train for a half marathon, to which my coach thought, "Well if she can do it, I can do it." Ten years later, she's run more than 25 marathons, including a few Ironman races. If this non-running, shin-splint prone, goal-seeking wimp can do it, so can you!
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I'm no expert, but after six months of training, I began to pick up on a few things that made my life easier when running. Some of them I learned through my wonderful coach, team and unofficial mentor, and others I just figured out on my own. So since several of you have messaged me and said I have "inspired you" to try running (I put that in quotes because I don't think I'm any kind of inspiration, but thanks for saying it), I thought I'd share some of what I learned along the way.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
More half marathon memories as promised:
-My running team found it hilarious that my mom's signs were all Auburn related. Turns out she was one of many people sporting orange and blue on Saturday. Every person we passed that was wearing something Auburn, whether a spectator or runner, I made sure to shout as loudly as I could "WAR EAGLE!!!!" It was funny. Jarrod kept laughing at me which only made me look harder for more Auburn people to shout at. I mean, we have to stick together. I probably threw out 20 "War Eagles!" with as many in return.
-How's this for a bachelorette party: I saw a bride and some of her bridesmaids, decked out in white tank tops and veils and holding mini bouquets. Hmmmmm... Hey girls — start training now! Don't worry, it's not like you don't have PLENTY of time.
-I found this post, written in October 2006 about my complete disinterest for running a marathon. Funny that nearly exactly a year after I wrote it, I started training for a half. While most of those things I'd rather do than run 26.2 miles still hold true, after feeling what 13.1 is like, I need to take some off of the list.
It feels like forever ago, y'all. My roommate and I were talking last night about how it already seems like years ago. I have had so many thoughts throughout the past 72 hours. It's been an emotional roller coaster. Posts still to come this week: a sampling of those thoughts and emotions as a conclusive wrap up to this whole chapter as well as a list of what I learned/suggestions for anyone who wants to take up running (more than a few of you have told me you are considering it now).
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Well it's over.
All the training, all the thinking, all the planning culminated in one of the most challenging mornings of my life on Saturday.
There is so much to say so I'll probably be posting about this for days. First, I'll give you a step-by-step (literally) but still reader's digest recap of the weekend.
Eighteen of my friends and I met up for dinner at Carrabba's on Friday. Long story short, it took forEVER to get seated, we got free appetizers and I was so glad to see all my friends. It was really hard not to be able to drink a glass of wine with them or order my favorite dish, but nothing new on race day so I ordered plain jane spaghetti and controlled myself.
Afterward, I hopped in my mom's car and showed her how to get where she needed to be during the race. With dinner taking forever and then an hour to show her how to get to where she needed to be, I didn't get back to my house until almost 11:45. After some last minute words of encouragement, I got in bed.
Saturday morning came pretty quickly, especially after waking up at 4 to use the restroom and then not being able to sleep afterward. When my alarm went off at 5:15, the first thing I did was look out the window. Drizzle. I got dressed, ate some cornflakes and left my house at 5:45. I drove as close as I could to Centennial Park and parked my car. I debated about taking my ibuprofen then or later, but realizing I didn't have anything to carry it in, I bit the bullet and took it, even though it was too early.
I walked straight to gear check and gave them my bag, then I got in line to use the portapotties. While I was waiting, the rain really started to come down, so I put on my garbage bag/rainjacket while I waited. Then I met my team at the TNT tent. It was 6:45 by then so after listening to the bagpiper, we headed to the corrals. My TNT mentor (Jarrod), another TNTer and I decided to start together. But first we all needed to pee again. Trying to avoid the rain/drizzle, we walked to Panera and stood in their line for a while. After at least 15 minutes in Panera, we looked out the window to see people walking very briskly. The gun had fired and the race was starting. Panicked, we ditched Panera because the people outside didn't look to be stopping or slowing down. But of course once we found our corral and jumped in, everyone stopped. We hopped back out of our corral to find some more portapotties to use and finally got settled to start the race. At some point during all of that, the drizzle and rain went away.
We inched toward the start. It was getting to be 7:45 or so by the time our corral was finally next. A man on the PA system told us it was almost time, then we joined him in counting down from five until we all took off.
I had been told to start slower than felt normal because I didn't want to lose my adrenaline and exhaust myself. What I didn't realize was I'd be exhausted either way. So we took off up West End. My family was waiting near mile 1.5, and I was so excited to see them that I started jumping up and down while running, if you can picture that. We headed up Demonbreun and got to our first water stop. Then we just kept running. To the roundabout, down Music Row, up to Portland and onto Belmont. That was a neat part of the race because you are running on the same street as people that are on the return path, so I saw a few familiar faces. Near mile 4, I saw a jumping bean named Evan in his front yard with a giant sign that said GO LJ! We shouted at each other across the sea of runners and I told him I'd be right back! Ha.
We turned off Belmont into a neighborhood and rounded the block, where I knew a group of coworkers would be waiting. Sure enough, when I came up the street and saw a dozen or so of them with a giant GO LINDSAY! banner (courtesy of Sarah), I started to cry. It was so encouraging and humbling that they'd be out there to cheer for me. I pulled it together, gave some high fives, and managed to escape without being handed any live animals or hot beverages (as previously threatened). They were so loud and proud that when we took off again, a girl behind me (whom I'd never met) said "Hey, Lindsay - that was awesome. Quite a support group you had there." I was so proud.
We were coming up on mile 6 so I took my Accel Gel at the water stop. I started to feel like I need to use a portapotty again, so once we got back on Belmont, I waited in line to do just that. We got moving again and I was happy to see Evan again, who may or may not have given me an inspirational smack on the butt.
We were passing a lot of walkers as we were running back down Belmont, and once we turned onto Portland, we passed sweeper cars slowly inching forward, signaling the end of the race. We were offered a PBR around mile 7.5. Up to 16th Avenue, where I saw my family again. After a quick picture, my mom took off with us, and even ran a block or two with me! We came to the Roundabout again and headed off for the last 4 miles. We stopped at a water stop near mile 9.5 and as I was walking, sipping my water, I realized that my legs were in some bad, bad pain. And not just my legs. My back and neck were hurting too. In fact, it hurt more to walk than it did to run. That was when it got really really hard for me. Later, I realized that is because my ibuprofen had long worn off.
But we picked it back up again and made it to the split. THAT is the best feeling in the world: some man dressed as Elvis, holding a bullhorn, reminding participants that marathoners go to the left, halfers to the right. As if I needed reminding. I was so far to the right that I almost jumped the sidewalk. We headed up a small incline into Bicentennial Park, which was nice and flat, then got to make a Uturn. After a water stop, I saw the 12 mile sign. I walked a little bit longer, then gave it my best through downtown and to the finish (listening to "You Can't Stop The Beat" the whole way). As the crowd thickened, and people were cheering, I started to get misty-eyed. I was one mile away from accomplishing my goal. I actually looked at Jarrod and said "Can you believe this is almost over?"
We saw my coach on the Woodland Street bridge, so she ran with us for a few minutes until we were on the homestretch and about one minute away from the finish. There were people everywhere. I turned off my iPod and tucked it in my shorts so that I could hear the cheers and be able to throw my arms up when I finished.
The thirty seconds before, during, and after the finish are a blur. I was crying hard because I was just so overwhelmed with pride and exhaustion and glee and all at the same time. I was handed a medal, which I placed on Jarrod, and he medaled me in return. I took the water bottle that was handed to me and slowly gulped it all as we headed into the finisher village. I got my chip clipped then posed for a commemorative photo (which I am sure will be red-carpet quality), then pretty much raped the Publix free food tents. That was my other problem: I was starving. My stomach started grumbling near mile 2 or 3. It's hard to run when you have no nourishment. So I had two mini bagels, a bag of pretzels and a cookie. I went to gear check, where I saw my roommate, and we took some great pictures. I found my family, took more pictures and then we left downtown.
So all in all, a wonderful experience, from beginning to end. Did I have my best run on Saturday? Unfortunately, not even close. Would I do it again? Probably, but we'll see. Am I glad it's over with? In soooo many ways.
So there are the nitty gritty details. Tomorrow I will give you the more exciting, color commentary version of the race, such as getting passed by an amputee, all the funny signs and many more interesting sights and memories. That is, as long as I'm not too relaxed to blog tomorrow. After all, I will be spending four hours at the spa...
Friday, April 25, 2008
What a week! I am so sorry I have been MIA. This feels like graduation week, when classes are spent outside on the tennis courts and all your family comes to town.
I took my final run before the half on Wednesday, and it was HOT. Keeping this up over the summer is going to be a blast and a half. We did 3.5 miles and I wore my lovely purple Team in Training jersey to make sure it would be decent for race day (don't worry, I washed it).
Thursday I went to work for a half of a day and then left after many well-wishes to "pick up my family at the airport" (AKA do stuff that I needed to get done before my family arrives today). I went to the Health and Fitness Expo downtown to retrieve my number and that was quite an experience. I got a tiny taste of how crowded this thing is going to be (the Country Music Marathon is the fourth largest marathon and the second largest half marathon in the United States). Hoping that some of these people were in town for that evening's Bon Jovi concert, I tried for 20 minutes to find a place to park. Finally I found a meter spot and made my way into the belly of the Nashville Convention Center to fight the Expo crowd and stand in line, right? Nope. Whomever is running this race has the Expo down to a science. I spent maybe three minutes picking up my mandatory information, and the other 57 minutes walking around looking at all the booths (picking up free stuff along the way).
I almost cried when I was handed my number. I have worked so hard; I just can't believe it's here.
After some errands, I came back home and got ready to meet up with a friend to see Spirit of the Marathon. It's a documentary about six runners as they prepare for the 2005 Chicago Marathon. What was funny to me was each runner's friends and family's reactions to their training. For instance, one lady (a first timer) was asked if the training affected her marriage. Her husband replied, "It hasn't affected it, I just don't understand it. Like, anything more than five miles? That's what public transportation is made for: the bus, a cab, the train. I have no idea why she'd rather run that far, especially when she only ends up back where she started." Ha. Of course I was crying by the end of the movie, as all six runners cross the finish line, partially because I was so inspired and partially because I'm only running a wimpy half. Ha. Even so, I connected to a lot of what the runners - especially the first timers - said and did in their preparation and overall feelings.
Unfortunately, the crying didn't stop there. I cried a lot last night. I know people run half marathons and full marathons and much more all the time, but y'all remember back in November, actually October is when I started training, I just didn't tell anyone until November, why I started running this. I needed a goal and a process and something to work for, and it has definitely been all of those things. I didn't think I could do this. You may have been able to detect my self-doubt. But the support I've gotten has been overwhelming; not just for this weekend - EIGHTEEN people are coming to celebrate at dinner with me tonight - but the past few months and days as well as friends have sent cards and positive thoughts and told me they are praying no rain and no pain. It's just been such an investment, emotionally and physically, and I can't believe it's finally here. I am ready to graduate.
But having said that, I am also ready to party! My brother-in-law will be here in a little over two hours so I need to get moving. I still need to write my name on my jersey, drive the last few miles of the course and most importantly, figure out how to stop the rain. It's still 50% chance but it's supposed to hit at 6 a.m. Awesome.
Regardless, tomorrow morning should be really cool. Someone on my team hired a bagpiper (?!) to play for us before we march over to the start line. Paint my face and call me William Wallace! Also, a friend is meeting me at the start line to take my picture and calm me down if I need it.
So, say some prayers guys! Here we go!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Just to show you how distracted I am these days:
This morning I grabbed a free paper at the entrance of my building, as I usually do, and walked into to work. I fixed my morning coffee and was eating breakfast at my desk as I started my computer and read the paper. I read the articles more carefully than usual, though I don't know why, but when I was flipping the page, noticed that the paper said Wednesday. "Wow, it's already Wednesday?" I thought to myself.
I spent a good five minutes believing it was already Wednesday; it wasn't until I looked at the TV lineup and saw that it was results night on American Idol and Mariah Carey would perform that I realized it was in fact Tuesday, and I was reading LAST WEDNESDAY'S paper. Really? How did I make it all the way to the TV listings before realizing that, and furthermore, how is it still in the stand?
Last night was a great night. Unexpectedly. Those are the best nights, when you don't plan for it to be such a great night and then it's awesome? Love those. It started when I called a spa - carefully selected after my extensive research - and booked a few treatments for the Monday after the race. If I'm not going to pamper myself, who IS? Then I met up with the brothers Thomas for another free sneak peek, this time of Baby Mama. Y'all - HILARIOUS. Go see it this weekend so it gets good opening weekend numbers. Then, I ran a four mile stretch that will be four miles of course on Saturday by the way - chance of rain back up to 40% and the high is now 70°, yikes!
I'm distracted from everything else because I am Focused with a capital F on the half! So I'm starting to feel really prepared! Yay!
at 3:45 PM
Monday, April 21, 2008
With the warm weather finally rolling around, I think it is time I shed some light on two recent discoveries in the Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt market. What better way to beat the heat than with some tasty cold ice cream or yogurt?
First of all, check your local grocery for Ben and Jerry's Single Serve Mini Cups: a wee 3.6 ounces of one of five delicious flavors, and they even threw a spoon under the lid (it actually looks more like a shovel than a spoon). It's the perfect size (it's like as tall as my pinky) for a bedtime snack or mid-day boost. I bought Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but you can also get them in Cherry Garcia, Strawberry Cheesecake or Vanilla. And each one is only a dollar at Kroger! Hip hip hooray.
Second, I discovered a new yogurt shop in town. Yogurt Oasis is unique in that unlike TCBY (which I am NOT knocking; this is just a little more convenient [aka they take debit cards]), you can choose as many flavors or toppings as you want, and then you pay by the weight. So rather than pay for each topping or additional flavor you want, you could hypothetically get a teeny tiny scoop of like a dozen toppings (though I think you'd run out of cup) and not pay any more for it. I enjoyed chocolate yogurt with Oreos and a few chocolate sprinkles. Yummy!
I have always had it bad for ice cream. My favorite snack in high school (besides cheese fries from Wings) was a bowl of Bluebell chocolate chip ice cream with Nesquik powder dusted on top. Delicious! We also had an ice cream truck make regular appearances in our school parking lot. Not to sound all Saved by the Bellish, but it was fun eating popsicles with my friends on warm afternoons, especially senior year when we didn't have to race off to our respective spring practices. We'd sit in someone's tailgate and hang out.
Maybe I should turn my lifelong quest for ice cream (chapters of which have been documented here, here and here) into a career?
P.S.: Ben and Jerry's Free Cone Day is 4/29. Write that down.
at 4:15 PM
Sunday, April 20, 2008
The chance of rain is now only 20% on Saturday, and my legs are getting back to normal again. Thanks for the prayers, keep it up!
Yesterday, I passed my first This Road Will Be Closed From 6 a.m. to Noon on Saturday April 26 for the Country Music Marathon sign. Exciting! It's almost here!
(Stay with me people. I promise there are some non-race posts coming up.)
Friday, April 18, 2008
1. Wes and I are still tied, now at 12. He was told to predict Brooke and Syesha, which were correct, but I predicted Kristi Lee Cook to go home and my goodness, aren't we glad?
2. I felt the earthquake last night! Did you know we even had one? Well, "we" didn't so much have one; the people on the Illinois/Indiana border got the worst but its vibrations traveled more than 450 miles away. Isn't that amazing? To paraphrase the Tennessean, that's because this area of the country has sediment deposited by the Mississippi River, while the West Coast is much rockier. The vibrations travel farther in sediment than in rocks; therefore, an earthquake in this region will be felt in a wider area than the same size earthquake out west. I woke up and sat straight up in bed because my bed was vibrating. It creeped me out. My first thought was "are we having an earthquake? No, not in Tennessee, that would be weird." Then I got scared that someone was in my room shaking my bed, but I realized what I was feeling was not a shake so much as a vibrate. Then I decided I must have been dreaming, but then I remembered that what I was dreaming had nothing to do with earthquakes and I was now awake, feeling very real vibrations. Then I thought maybe they were blasting somewhere for some construction. Then I lost interest in it all and went back to sleep. But I read online this morning that I was right with the first guess: a quake! Does this mean I experienced an earthquake before you did, Eric?
3. A few weeks ago it was announced that Nashville was getting a Trader Joe's. This is very exciting and now all that is missing from our retail puzzle is a ChickFilA in Green Hills and an IKEA. But, I have heard that the most exciting thing about Trader Joe's is their Charles Shaw wine, AKA Two Buck Chuck. I was all excited about finally getting to experience it for myself, until one day, I realized that Tennessee's stupid liquor laws* would mean that we wouldn't get be getting Two Buck Chuck, or Three Buck Chuck or even Four Buck Chuck (the price varies by region). I think when I go to Atlanta in two weeks I am going to buy a case and bring it back... that's legal, right?
4. I went to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall last night. I won't lie, it was so stinking funny, but it was sooo crass too! It would have been just as funny without all the outrageous graphic parts (and all the WEIRD parts: a Dracula puppet musical?!?), but be prepared if you go to see it. It will make you cringe! I'm kind of glad we didn't pay for that one (hooray for sneak peeks... and Evan).
5. Unfortunately, they are predicting rain (60% chance) on race day. Please start praying that this percentage decreases!!! No rain! Also, please pray for my weird legs. Our coach said that every tiny ache and pain will be magnified in our head because of stress and nerves, but I haven't hurt this bad since the MRI days. I hoped the NAIL I pulled out of my shoe sole might have had something to do with why I have been hurting, but I guess not since I am limping today after a good run yesterday. It's my right leg. No rain and no pain - let's make it happen.
*There's no wine sales in grocery stores up here. It's horrible. They can sell beer, but not wine. It's so inconvenient. The first time I went to Kroger I went around and around until I finally asked someone where the wine was. I was both embarrassed and outraged by their answer. So that's why they know my face at the liquor store by my house.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
We had a group meeting last night which, oddly enough, did not settle nerves and only stressed me out more. The highlights were when we were told to plan to get to Centennial Park an hour before the gun (aka 6 am, even though I won't start running until 7:45ish) and - my favorite part - that headphones, including those attached to iPods, are NOT ALLOWED. While this has always been a rule, it is just now being enforced, largely because what happened in Chicago. Whether it will be enforced at this race is anyone's guess, but we are being encouraged to leave them at home.
Let me remind you of the last time I tried to run long distance without my iPod. We certainly don't want a repeat of that. Music has become a mental stimulation. I can't run without it. Or, maybe I can, but I don't want to try. "Just enjoy the bands along the course," they said. Yeah, okay. Unless the bands along the course include Timbaland or the entire cast of Hairspray, I'm going to need to to take my iPod with me, even if it means I am "at risk" of being DQed.
But the good news is that some little fires are being put out. I freaked when I found out that the Gel won't be handed out until almost mile 8, because I am used to taking it around mile 5 or 6. But then a few friends decided to watch the race at the 5.5/6ish mile marker, which means they will be able to hand me some Accel Gel to take. So not only will I get a boost from smiling faces, I can throw back my Gel and I'll be good to go.
One big fire that has yet to be put out? I am about to wet my pants to see a weather forecast for that day. Weather.com's 10-day preview will start including 4/26 tomorrow, but they are predicting rain on Friday (60%), so start praying and stay tuned.
And yes, I am aware that I am thinking about this way too much. I'm just wired that way. Type A. OCD. Logistics-focused. Detail-oriented. Anal-retentive. Call it what you want.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
As I mentioned yesterday, I was invited to a NHL playoff game between the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings.
Until yesterday, I had never been to a hockey game. Hockey always seemed like a sport that I wouldn't really enjoy. The rare times I have been subjected to it on television, I could never keep up or understand what was going on. It takes enough out of me just to learn all the rules about the other sports, like football and basketball and baseball. Hockey is so northern. It never interested me.
So I was very apprehensive about the game. I likened it to taking a baby to the ocean for the first time: will she hate the sand and the salt water, or will she love it? It could go either way.
We parked and hurried to the Sommet Center in time to hear the National Anthem and see the puck drop. I was thrilled before we
evan even sat down - our seats were kickass. I mean, we were practically on the ice and if not for the glass partition, we would have been in the box with the team.
They had the mascot drop down from the ceiling all Mission: Impossiblesque and then the team skated out right beside us. Vince did okay with the anthem (as okay as a grown man can do when singing the whole song in falsetto, that is). Then they all got situated and the game started.
As someone who has the attention span of a flea, I was in heaven. There was so much to look at and see, especially since we were so close and the game moves so fast. It's not like football where time stops every few seconds so they can move chains. And they are mean to each other! One Detroit guy skated right up next to a Nashville guy, and kind of shoved him, and the Nashville guy reached out and swatted at the other guy's face. But then the ref skated up so we'll never know what could have happened. But the players ram one another into walls and break each other's sticks and it's very exciting/frightening.
So much, in fact, that I really don't see why they have rules in hockey. The only rule should be do whatever you have to do to get the puck in the net. The end. To my naked eye, that's what was going on anyway. So it should be a free-for-all with one exception - the Penalty Box. That is without a doubt my favorite part about hockey. When a player did something wrong or drew a penalty, he had to go sit in a box on the other side of the ice for two minutes. It's like timeout: go sit over there and think about what you did! At one point, Detroit had two people in the box. I think that's SO FUNNY. They don't have that in other sports do they? Rather than be allowed to join their team on the bench and wait it out, they have to sit in the box because they were not playing very nicely. Genius.
Other highlights of the game:
• The guy in front of us scaling the glass and almost jumping onto the ice after a goal was scored.
• During the second intermission, these inflatable character animals called Zooperstars came onto the ice to entertain. Peyton Manatee, Tiger Woodschuck and Mario LeMule were funny-looking just standing there, but when they started doing the Soulja Boy, I was HOWLING. It was hilarious. Then, as if that wasn't enough, they went into Cotton Eyed Joe and just started running amuck on the ice, banging their heads onto the glass.
• Dierks Bentley was there! Guess the CMT Awards were too boring for him...
• We were able to go visit a suite, just in time to enjoy the dessert cart. Delicious!
• On the way in, everyone was handed some noisemakers called Bam Bams - two sticks that you inflate and then whack together to make noise? LJ + noisemaker = bad idea.
• Like I mentioned, we were more or less sitting in the Predators team box. One player just skates right on up to the box and someone else hops out to take his place. It's an art form how good they are at rotating. I was fascinated just watching that.
And course, the last three minutes were the best. Apparently people are calling last night's game the greatest Preds game ever. They were down 2-3 with like 4 minutes left or something and scored 3 goals. Two of them were back to back. In fact I was watching the jumbotron, thinking what I just saw was a replay of goal from like 30 seconds before, but it was another point! Hooray!
So the verdict is in: hockey games are fun. And I am very spoiled because that was an awesome game with awesome seats.
Actually, I think it's less about the sport of hockey - which I find horribly boring on TV - and more about being in an arena with 17,000 people cheering when the underdog hometown team gets a victory. So, using that logic, what other live sporting events have I have been missing out on? Who knows, I might just go to a NASCAR race or wrestling match next!
at 9:13 AM
Monday, April 14, 2008
What a productive weekend!
My 10k on Saturday was great! It was a super flat but super boring course. I finished in what I thought was good time and enjoyed an ice cream sandwich for my effort. Outback also provided post-race refreshments, but instead of steaks, they served pasta. What a tease, Outback. Because, unlike most people, after I run 6.2 miles at 9:30 in the morning, all I want is ice cream, a steak and a blooming onion. Not pasta. GAH.
Here's something funny - I was discussing with Sarah my 10k finish time and how I was originally pleased, but after I realized that I was running slower (approx. 6 seconds per mile) than I did in my 5k, I was discouraged. She interrupted me and said "do you realize how good you are now that you are worrying about time and not the distance?" I realized she had a good point. For the first time ever I was concerned with my speed/time instead of worrying about just finishing the distance. I guess it's official - I'M A RUNNER y'all. I actually give a damn about my time; something I did NOT see coming.
My day off of work on Friday was good too. I found one part of town that had all the stops I needed to make - on one road, even - and so I felt super productive getting everything done. I even found something to hang on the wall in my bathroom in place of some ugly paintings the girl that lived here before me left behind (probably to cover up the big holes she left in the wall). And then, most exciting of all, I spent more than an hour online researching where I am going to go for my post-race massage. Woohoo. Should I put a Donate Now button on the left of this web page like I had up for the Team in Training Campaign? Ha.
And yesterday, I went to see Smart People. It was good. And not just because I snuck 8 lbs of candy into the movie theater.
So, all in all, a great weekend. I have been invited to the Predators hockey game tonight - my first hockey game ever. I am really anxious to see if they are as bad as I've always imagined they'd be, or if I'll be pleasantly surprised. But this one shouldn't really count because it will be their last game of the season if they lose (aka, a playoff game). So there'll be a big crowd of hockey enthusiasts... and me. By the way, Mom - Vince Gill is singing the national anthem, which is funny, because my ears just recently stopped bleeding from the last time I saw him perform.
Friday, April 11, 2008
1. The Idol competition is getting good. Wes and I are tied again with 11, David has 9 and Eric is probably wondering how he got drug into this mess.
2. Idol Gives Back. Did you watch it? I lost interest after the Teri Hatcher catastrophe. What in the heck? Who told her that was a good idea? I ran back in the living room with very high hopes when I heard Seasons of Love, but when all I could hear was KLC, I went back into my bedroom. No thank you. I was done. My favorite part of the whole show was the opening number with the So You Think You Can Dance contestants.
3. I took today off and am loving it. I got a late breakfast with Evan, watched Family Feud on TV this morning, and now that the rain has cleared, am about to go run a few errands. I've never taken a vacation day where I wasn't traveling or having to do something. I'm just relaxing today, and I can't lie - it's pretty fun.
4. Y'all would not believe how many people arrive at this blog looking for what happens when you unfriend someone on Facebook. Here's what happens - you get made fun of when the person you unfriended figures it out.
5. Congratulations to the future Mr. and Mrs. Rainer, aka "Mom and Dad", aka Meghan and Doug! Love you both! Maybe we will be able to put some of that Bachelorette stuff from Target to good use pretty soon after all!
at 1:25 PM
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Two and a half weeks. Sixteen days. And I could not be any more ready for it to get here.
Last night I ran 5.6 miles and in pretty good time. I have been told that I am hitting my peak, and I feel like I am too, so that worked out pretty well I guess. I planned my route to cover some of the half-marathon course that I'd never run before, so that was a good thing.
After my run, I tossed my iPod into the grass and walked around to cool off. Around 1 a.m., I remembered I had left it there. Poor lonely iPod, lying in the grass, or far worse, in the backpack of some greedy Lipscomb student. I have never driven so fast down Hillsboro and Woodmont. Luckily Rod the iPod was waiting on me and getting dewier by the second. I felt like a mom that left her child at the grocery store. It took me more than a year until I would leave Rod in the car by himself for fear he'd get stolen. And now I'm leaving him in the grass? I'm so ashamed. Please forgive me Rod, and pretty pretty please do not choose to seek revenge on the day of my race. Or else I will leave you in the grass for good.
Speaking of races, I am running a 10k this weekend. It will be good for me to be back in the race environment one more time before the big show, even if on a very small scale (competitive runners can be crazy intimidating). It's called the Moosic City Dairy Dash - put on by Purity Dairies, so I have very high hopes that ice cream will be served afterward. In fact, the top male and female finishers receive a year of free ice cream. But I'm not banking on being the top female (or male - ha) finisher, so I'll let someone else enjoy that prize.
I am sure y'all are getting sick of reading about running, but it's all I can think about lately. Thanks for being patient and supportive. I'm going to hear an 80s cover band on Saturday night, so between that and the 10k, maybe I will be have some funny stories to share.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
I'm sure most of you have heard about Thomas Beatie, the woman/man who is carrying a child.
Slippery slope, medical ethics, yada yada yada. Here's the real question: does this mean that now women can start asking men when their babies are due?
After this awkward incident, and now the whole Thomas Beatie thing, I think the answer is YES, we absolutely can. Vengeance is ours, girls.
at 10:04 AM
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
If you follow this blog closely, then you may know a few things about my bed and my sleep preference. Let's recap.
1. I looooove to sleep (especially now that I run so much, I feel like I earn my sleep).
2. I looooove my bed. It looks like a cloud and feels like one too.
3. Therefore, I love being in my bed even if I'm not sleeping - reading, TV, etc.
4. I sleep on my right side.
5. I am a very heavy sleeper when I am tired enough. When I'm not tired enough, I will wake up to loud birds, wind or worse - my mom's snoring.
Here's a new fact:
6. I am touchy/feely even in my sleep. How do I know?
I used to sleep in my sister's bed with her until I was in probably third grade. It's funny that we would be all over one another in the middle of the night, but during daylight, she was very protective of her personal space. In the last picture, I am twirling her hair.
Thanks for sharing your bed with me Sister! If you ever woke up to snoring, it wasn't me - it was Mom in the next room.
at 9:43 AM
Monday, April 07, 2008
Today's lesson is on customer service.
Example One: Bad Customer Service.
I went "antiquing" for about ten minutes on Saturday. I knew I had to go while I was still (barely) awake/alert, because once I hit the couch after those long runs, I pretty much go comatose. So I was walking very slowly through the store, partially because actually walking = small miracle at that point in time, and also because there was so much to take in and see. I rounded a corner and found a stack of windows. I was bent over going through them when the owner came by. "Let me know if you have any questions," he said, as he walked by me carrying a door. I was admiring an old white churchy-looking window when a piece of paint, approximately the size of my pinky fingernail, flaked off in my fingers (revealing more white paint - it was barely noticeable). The owner walked back past me. I set the piece of paint on top of the window frame. Just as I did, he yelled "Oh you can keep that piece of paint you just chipped off, ha HA HA! Go ahead and put it in your pocket!" I looked up at him as he turned and walked off. I placed all the windows back against the wall, flicked the tiny paint chip onto the ground, and walked out of the store. It wasn't until I driving away in my car when I noticed all the dirty plain old windows and doors outside, wet and rotting from sitting in the rain. Now I ask you - is he aware the sign on his door does not say Tiffany & Co.? Does he know he's running an ANTIQUE SHOP and that chipped paint, on the outer corner of something that's already chipped, only adds character? It's not like I broke all the glass in the window pane. I was fuming. Jerk. You'd think with such superpower vision, he would be putting those bionic eyes to use someplace besides an antique store.
Example Two: Good Customer Service.
Last night I went to Pei Wei, one of my favorite places to eat. I changed up my order a bit (teriyaki chicken on fried rice) but was still a little surprised by what I was served (teriyaki chicken on fried rice, with a salad in between). I mean, there was a garden in my bowl. Enormous steamed onions and foot-long strands of lettuce and giant carrots... I like vegetables just fine but never covered in teriyaki glaze, steamed, slimy, and most importantly - when I haven't requested them. So I was removing the layer of extraneous, unwelcome vegetables out of my bowl when I unearthed something else I didn't order - a piece of raw meat. Juicy, oozing beef, about the size of three of my fingers. That can't be good, I thought, as I showed my dinner companion. We decided I should send it back. I got one of the waiter's attention and showed him the raw meat in my dish. He offered to make me another one, which was ready minutes later - but still had all the veggies. Oh well. I was picking them out - again - when the store manager came up to the table and handed us each a $10 gift card. Why thank you, Mr. Pei Wei. I would have come back, gift card or not, but now I will probably be back sooner. Hide the fortune cookies!
at 3:37 PM
Look what I found:
Here we have Jennie, Aubie, Katie, Lindsay and Jennifer in Auburn, fall of 1995. Katie and I were in seventh grade and our sisters in ninth. Please make sure to notice my sister's huge feathered bangs, Katie's dinnerplate sized glasses (we could have tailgated off of those, Katie), my braces, bangs and VEST, and how Jennifer ends up looking like a supermodel, thanks to our fashion (or lack thereof) catastrophes.
I loved me some vests in the mid-nineties. I had at least five. But what this picture illustrates, besides that we were all horribly out of style, is the bond between our family and theirs. Katie's sister Jennifer and my sister Jennie are the same age and best friends, just like Katie and me, and our moms are even really close too. Weddings, divorces, death... there has been plenty to laugh and cry about over the years!
Also, notice what we are standing in front of - another Auburn building that is no longer there. Shocking! That's the old athletic building, aka "the barn" that burned down a year later. Rest in peace, Barn.
Just for the record, we've come a long way:
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Yesterday was my longest run before the half. I was so nervous about it, as you may have read, and was really worried that I would have a repeat of my last long run (which was no good, if you remember).
But, I am happy to report that I felt great, I finished strong, and ended up running 12 miles yesterday morning. Success!
We have been coached not to try anything new on race weekend. No new clothes, no new food, no new anything. So in light of that, I needed to go buy some stuff to be prepared for Saturday, so I went to the Athlete's House and bought a great pair of shorts (in pink, of course); some Powerade Gel since that is what will be handed out on the course, some socks and some Bodyglide. The shorts I wore on our last long run ended up rubbing a little burn on the inside of my legs from the piping on the hem. With new, piping-free shorts and some Bodyglide, I was not letting that happen again (those shorts are awesome; I highly recommend them).
I ate an enormous bowl of pasta - seriously, it was enough for three people at least - and drank 2 and a half Nalgenes full of water between 8 pm and bedtime. I got all my things together the night before, just like I will do for the race. I laid my shoes, socks, shorts, shirt and sports bra out by my bed, my rubber band and bobby pins on my bathroom counter, put my powerbar, fully charged iPod and bodyglide in a bag by my wallet and keys, and a change of clothes for afterward on my couch.
I woke up at 6:15 and was ready to go. Having everything in order made me feel much more focused as I headed out the door. The morning was chillier than I hoped it would be but it ended up feeling great. After a quick huddle with our coach, we were off.
The course we were running is where I had my first group run experience. I don't think I blogged about it because it was in November before I'd told anyone I was training for the half. I only knew one person out of like 100 there, and it was the first cold morning of the winter. I show up in the only running clothes I had: a long sleeve Tshirt, shorts and my very worn, very old New Balances. My bare legs stuck out like a sore thumb among all these people in sleek, black running tights and jackets and high tech shoes. I was scared. Out of the three that I was supposed to run, I may have run a mile and a half that morning. I got back in my car and thought, "what the hell have I signed up for?"
So it was very rewarding when I got to the bridge at 1.5 miles, where I had turned around the first time. I've come so far. I took water at mile 2, and again at mile 3.5. My running buddy's iPod died there, but he never wavered. We ran the first five miles in under an hour, which I was really excited about. I took my Powerade Gel at mile 5, we ran up to mile 6, and then turned around.
The area we were running in is very pretty, so there was lots to look at and be distracted by. In fact, we ran by Alan Jackson's farm twice and his wife Denise waved to us when she was pulling out of the driveway. The second half of the run went by without much trouble; I really didn't start feeling out of breath or energy until the last mile (except for one hill at mile 8.5 or so). My awesome running partner stayed with me the whole time, even up the last hill, when it looked like he was ready to make a sprint to the finish.
All in all, a great run. Exactly what I needed. I am ready and confident for the half. It took us just over 2 hours to run the 12 miles (but knowing that a Waffle House breakfast was waiting on me afterward may have provided a little bit of an incentive to hurry up).
So, thanks for your encouragement and prayers. I can't believe it's almost here!
Friday, April 04, 2008
1. Idol scores: LJ, 10; Wes, 9.5; David, 8. I am really glad the person I predicted (Syesha) did not get kicked off, because I really like her! Who was sad to see Lamiele go? Not me.
2. One month until the big Kanye and Rihanna concert, woo hoo!
3. This just in: I am letting my hair grow out until after the half. I use the term "grow out" loosely. Don't worry, it's not like it will look the way it was for years and years before I got it chopped, which was apparently awful considering how everyone went nuts over the new 'do. But I digress. The point is, rather than get it trimmed again next weekend when I'm supposed to, I rescheduled for the week after the race. It's just finally getting "long" enough where it will stay in a ponytail and I need to be able to stay that way for the half. So, if you like my hair a little longer (let's be real, an inch at best) get excited.
4. For anyone in any weddings anytime soon, Target has a ton of Bachelorette party stuff in the dollar bins: Bride to Be sashes, dare dice, crowns, beads, "hottie whistles" (not sure what those are but they sound fun!), shot glasses on a chain, temporary tattoos, dare scratch off cards (watch out for those, trust me) and more. The only way this could be better? If they'd made it all in 2005, 2006 or 2007, when I was in multiple weddings. Thanks Target. Although I guess I don't have to be a bridesmaid to make good use of a "hottie whistle." I mean, that sounds like something handy to keep around the house just in case you ever need it.
5. Raise your hand if your sister is a bona fide* bad ass and landed her dream job yesterday!
*Yes, bona fide is two words. I looked it up.
at 9:16 AM
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I had a great run Monday night! Yay! I have been really discouraged lately because of that one hard 9.5 mile run two weeks ago and then feeling wimpy on some small runs afterward. I think I hit my peak mental state early in March, when I was all pumped up and really ready for the half to get here, whereas now my frame of mind is let's just get this over with already! But, I have been encouraged to remain confident, and after my good run Monday (and hopefully another good one in a few hours) I am gaining that confidence back again.... proud now?
Also, on Saturday I will run my longest distance before the half. It will be anywhere from 10-12 miles. So, between now and Saturday, please please please send positive, encouraging, half-marathonesque thoughts my way, or at least direct them to my inbox. Pray for nice weather, pray for no mental blocks and pray for energy! I want to come out of this long run feeling awesome, so that my confidence will carry over into the next long run, which happens to be the half.
If any sweet friends and readers are coming to Nashville to cheer during the half-marathon, please let me know. I can try to help you find some lodging, where to watch the race, group dinner plans, etc. Also, I am deciding on an incentive for whomever brings the most clever sign. I think I have something in mind for a reward.... do you have something in mind with which to win it?
You see, funny signs are an acceptable cheering technique. An unacceptable technique: some of my friends from work were joking that they are going to bring stuff to hand off/toss to me during the race, such as a cat, a bowl of soup, a brick, etc. Not funny, guys! I told them to bring squirt guns instead, and they seemed to like that idea. You can douse me (just not in the eyes, please) as I run (trot...drag... limp...crawl) by. Whoops, there I go, not being confident again! Try to soak me as I FLY BY!
Funny signs, squirt guns, what else is there? I want this to be fun, fun, fun.
Just as I reported, the New Kids On The Block are making an appearance on the Today Show this Friday, most likely to announce a reunion tour.
Know what this means? I'M GOING TO SEE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK.
The NKOTB concert was my first concert. I was in first grade and I remember being soooo enchanted. I thought it was so cool that we all screamed and beat on our chairs SO LOUD that they came back out on stage. Good job, Birmingham.
My parents did nothing to curb our frenzy over all things New Kids. We had the tapes. We had the Christmas album. We had the dolls (and they dated our Barbies). My sister had a sleeping bag and house shoes. We had the trading cards. We recorded the NKOTB: Wildest Dreams MGM Special... and watched it over and over again (as should you - listen to those accents!!!! It's like five CTs talking to each other!). We had buttons. We had T-shirts. We had the books. We watched the cartoons. We had our favorites (mine: Joe; Jen's: Jordan).
I have several NKOTB songs on my iPod and if you think I haven't been playing them a lot lately, you're wrong. I gotta start relearning those words so I can sing along at the show!
Update: DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN! Even Danny is looking good in this picture! 20 years did the boys some good!
at 9:46 AM
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Today I was telling my sister a story about something that happened at work, and I realized that my mom has created a new catchphrase for my family.
I got to the part in my story where exactly what I didn't want to happen happens and you could tell it was going to happen because it was precisely what I told myself I didn't want to happen. As in, I was driving to work thinking I was glad that I did Action A because I didn't want Result B, and B ends up happening anyway. In other words - foreshadowing.
And to illustrate that, I say to my sister, "So, I bite into the egg and of course it was not chocolate."
Let's make this popular.
And if you have no clue what I am talking about, click here to read the funniest and possibly grossest story you'll hear this year. And just so you know I'm not being negligent, I'd tell you the story that I was telling my sister, but I think I finally found a topic that's not blog-appropriate! Ask me if you really want to know. Cause it is kind of funny.
at 1:45 PM