Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Swimming Lesson

Last night I met some of the women from my running group at The Press for some wine and appeitizers. I had a great time and tried some new wine that I really enjoyed. This surprised me because I don't generally drink wine, especially red wine but this was nice and paired really well with the cheese and devil's potatoes we had with it. While we were talking Marisa told me she was going swimming at 6 in the morning and told me that I could meet her there if I wanted and she would take a look at my stroke. Hmm, get up at 6 in the morning on my day off after drinking several glasses of wine the night before??

Needless to say, Marisa looked surprised to see me at the pool in the morning but I was there. I am dedicated to training for this marathon and swimming is the part I feel I need to work on the most. I haven't actually ridden on a road bike yet so hopefully I'm not overestimating my ability to ride a bike. I had a great time with Marisa at the pool. She took a look at my stroke and gave me some pointers on how to improve it and several drills that I can do to help with my form. I could tell a difference in my swimming immediately! I have all the way until April to get ready so I know that I am going to be in great shape by then.

After I finished my swim, I went in the locker room to take a shower and change into my street clothes. When I got in there the whirlpool looked so inviting I decided to get in for a few minutes. BAD IDEA. No sooner than I get in the water does this older, completely nude woman decide to join me. Now, I don't have a problem with nudity in general and I probably would have been fine if she would have just sat in the tub but NO! She proceeded to get directly across from me (it's a pretty wirlpool but not HUGE) and then turn around, hold on to the wall and stretch out her body towards me. UGGGGHHHH!!! That is me gagging. I don't think I will every get back in that whirlpool after that tramatizing experience.

Busy day today, I just finished doing some cleaning and I still have more to do. I have to go pick up my mom so we can do some last minute grocery shopping and then start getting prepared to cook Thanksgiving dinner. We will make the pies (sweet potato and pumpkin) tonight and save everything else for in the morning. I probably won't post tomorrow so have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Swimming Udate

It has been a few days since I’ve written a post. I would blame it on the fact that we are having Thanksgiving dinner at our new house this year and I’ve been busy with that but that wouldn’t really be true. I’ve just been kind of lazy about posting and it is kind of hard to come up with something interesting to write about.

I thought I’d give you all a swimming update: I am up to 600 meters without stopping, I MAY have done 650 during my last swim, I’m not sure because I lost count in the middle. I do know that I did at least 600 meters. I wasn’t even that tired when I finished so I’m confident that I will be able to do 750 with no problem. I know there will be the increased difficulty of having to swim in open water with a bunch of other people but at least I won’t have to worry about doing flip turns. I am really enjoying swimming, not as much as running but still a lot. It really is a total body workout. I can feel my legs, arms, back, and abs being worked while I swim. Six pack here I come! If I could only resist those delicious cheeseburgers….

The ONLY problem I have with swimming is still my hair! It has gotten pretty cold even during the afternoon so I don’t really like leaving the pool with my hair wet. Previously, I decided that I would just wash my hair after swimming and put some curl enhancer in it so it would just be curly after air drying. Well on Monday it was really cold so I didn’t think it would be a good idea to go outside with wet hair. I had the horrible idea to try to blow-dry my hair. Needless to say, I ended up wearing my hat the rest of the day! Luckily it is a cute hat and matched what I had on so it didn’t look TOO unusual. So I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do about this situation because if the recent weather is any indication of how this winter is going to be then it is going to be a cold one. I don’t think I can wear my hat every day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ready To Go

I said that I was going to take a month off from running after my marathon. Well it has been almost three weeks and I think I'm about to lose it. I need to run! I went from running 3-5 times a week to not running at all and I can definitely feel the difference. I thought I would gain weight because I haven't really been eating less but luckily that hasn't happened. I'm not quite sure WHY it hasn't happened but I'm happy so I won't question it. I have started swimming so I am getting some type of workout in but swimming just doesn't do for me what running does. I'm so concerned with thinking about my stroke, my flip turn, staying in my lane, not swallowing pool water, etc. that I don't get the chance to relax like I do on a nice long run.

Some of my friends from the running group are planning on getting together on Saturday and running and I'm strongly considering running with them. I feel fine, my knee hasn't been bothering me at all. I do still feel a slight twinge in my foot at times but I'm not too concerned with that. It's not like I did the marathon all out and was completely exhausted afterwards so I think I'll be fine with just a three week break instead of an entire month. OK, yep, I've decided, I will be running on Saturday! I'll just take it easy and if I start to hurt at all I will stop and walk. If I feel great then I will incorporate running back into my schedule. It will have to consist of some weekend runs and short runs during my lunch break because it has gotten much too cold to run in the morning before work or in the evening after work. I KNOW I KNOW, real runners don't complain about the weather....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Not Enough Time??

I often hear people say that they don't have enough time to cook dinner, let alone a healthy dinner. How long does it take to go through the drive thru at McDonald's? Let's assume it takes 10 minutes (depending on how many other people are in the drive thru and if fries need to be dropped). This is pretty quick and I can definitely understand the appeal of running by a fast food resturant. It is quick and there is no mess to clean up afterwards. Or is there? The mess you have to clean up is the mess you are leaving your health in. Of course, eating fast food once in a while is not going to kill you (unless you are unlucky enough to get one of those ecoli burgers). But if you make eating fast food a habit then you are endangering your health. Not to mention the health of your children by giving then less than nutritious food and teaching them poor eating habits.

Okay *stepping down off of my soapbox*. That was just a introduction to the point of this post. There IS time to make a quick and healthy meal. Tonight we had pan-fried steak, corn and salad for dinner. This meal took all of 10 minutes active time. I marinaded the steak in balamic vinegarette, red pepper flakes, seasoning salt, and herb seasoning. I let it marinade at room temp for about 30 minutes. I then pan-fried the steak in a non-stick pan with a little bit of olive oil on high. I cooked it for 3 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other side. This resulted in a medium to medium-rare steak. I popped one of the Bird's Eye Steam Fresh bags of corn into the microwave for 5 minutes and then opened up a bag of salad. So there you go! A delicious, moderately health meal (the beef was pretty lean but I understand it IS less healthy then some other types of meat) that took less than 10 minutes of active time on my part. Now there IS some cleaning up to do but I will leave that particular chore to The Husband, LOL. I mean dang, I can't be expected to cook AND clean!

On a slightly sidenote: I realized halfway through this post that I wrote a similar post back in September. Ah least you know how I feel about it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Choppy Water

I went swimming again today with Paul and Brian during lunch. Oh - update on the hair situation...I have just decided to give in to wet hair because it does not seem like I will find a way to keep my hair from getting soaked AND do flip turns. Speaking of flip turns, I think that mine are getting really good and are already WAY better than Bryan's.

I did 500 meters non-stop (well except for the time I paused briefly because I thought Paul was talking to me but really he was just waiting for me to hurry up and go so he could start his next lap). There were people in the other lanes so the three of us swam in a lane together. Ummmm, yeah, swimming in a line with two other people is a lot different than swimming in a lane by yourself. I can only imagine what it will be like to swim in open water with a gang of other people. The water was choppy enough with just those two other people swimming near me. So you can imagine that I did indeed swallow some water, but that's usual anyway. Currently, I only breathe when I turn my head to the right and I breathe on every stroke. Once I get up to swimming 750 meters without stopping I am going to try to start breathing on both sides and try to not have to breathe on every stroke.

I hope that my stroke is correct, I've never really had swim lessons on how to do a proper stroke. I'm really starting to like this whole swimming thing....I could feel the muscles in my abs, back and shoulders working really heard during the swim. I am going to be chiseled by the summer!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Movie Review - Quantum of Solace

I went to see the new James Bond movie today, Quantum of Solace. I have seen almost every James Bond movie that has been made. I'd have to say Sean Conner is my favorite James Bond. I was not pleased with the choice of Daniel Craig as James Bond since it was first announced, he just doesn't look the part in my opinion. Also, I don't like how he purses his lips - it just doesn't look manly to me.

Ok, on to the review of this particular movie. I'd have to sum it up by saying, a lot of fluff and very little substance. Have we, as a movie going nation, become so attention deficient that we only want to watch movies that are full of action instead of watching movies with a deep and involved plot? I won't say anything to "spoil" the movie, not that there is much to spoil anyway. I will say that in a movie that was only a hour and 45 minutes long there was a car chase, foot chase, boat chase, and even an airplane chase. I mean COME ON how many chase scenes are necessary in one movie? I was also disappointed by the so-called villian. He wasn't evil enough and I didn't see any physical defects. What self-respecting James Bond villian doesn't have at least a minor physical defect??? The Bond girl was significantly hotter than the one in the last movie so I guess that is a positive (for the fellas). She still needed saving by the heroic Bond...these movies are so sexist, but that is the topic of what could be an entire series of posts.

The bottom line is that while the movie was fairly entertaining and very action packed, I left the theater feeling empty. The movie had no substance, the plot was extremely weak. They tried to cram a bunch of stuff into a short movie and it ended up seeming like a bunch of nothing. It COULD have been a decent story had they even bothered to develop the plot instead of glossing over it and showing a lot of killing and explosions to compensate. I don't recommend spending the cost of a movie ticket to see this movie but if you are a Bond fan, you may want to check it out when it comes to DVD.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Early Morning Swim

Yesterday Paul informs me that he and Susan will be going swimming sometime between 5:30 and 6:00am the next morning and lets me know that I am welcome to come. Hmmm, this would mean that I would have to get up at 5:00 in the morning! I'm not really a morning person so I have to think about this. I decided since I've been waking up around 5 lately anyway it shouldn't be a big deal and I might as well get up and go work out. At least this way I will have it out of the way for the day.

I'd just like to say for the record that Paul and Susan are soooo CUTE! It was funny to see them playing around in the water. Paul tries to act tough at work but I see now that he's really not, LOL. I did 500 meters NON-STOP. No, stoping after each length to hold on and then push off of the wall. I was actually doing flip-turns. Not necessarily really good ones, but it got the job done. I need to perfect my turns as to avoid several things: scraping the bottom of the pool with my feet/legs and swallowing pool water (nasty). I wasn't completely worn out when I finished either which was a good thing. Now I just need to get up to at least 750 and then I will start working on trying to go faster. Hmm, I think I might have some nice looking shoulders when this is all said and done.

I didn't even feel bad that Susan and Paul did about 800 meters in the time it took me to do 500. They do have a considerable height advantage on me!

I am postponing Experiment Two because I did not take the time to get a plastic shower cap before the swim this morning. I am not very optimistic that it will work though. If not, that is okay, I will just deal with having to tame my hair after the swims - it's worth it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Swimming - Experiment One

Today was the first day of swimming. I would like to state for the record that this was the first time I have swam laps in about two years so I think I did pretty well considering. I swam somewhere between 400-500 meters, I lost count towards the end. I was winded but it felt great. It was especially nice to do some sort of exercising because I have been a total couch potato for the past week (aside from being drug around to various stores and having to move/unpack). I think the lack of exercise was beginning to get to me and making me extra irritable.

The experience did not start off well. Since we are still in the process of moving/unpacking I could not find my bathing suit. Yes, I only have one that I would have been willing to wear to the pool. All of my other bathing suits are bikinis and that just wasn't about to happen. I figured I could just pick one up at Target before going to the pool. OHHH YEAAAHHH, it is WINTER - there are no bathing suits are Target right now because who in their right mind swims in the winter! So I end up going to Omega Sports and settle on the standard racing swim suit, ugh.

Things got better once I got to the gym. I quickly signed up for my 30-day trial with promises to join for real (I do really plan on joining). Then I changed into my swimsuit while being visually assaulted by wrinkly, saggy old lady bodies. Unfortunately you have to walk down the stairs and across the gym to get to the pool. I used my towel to shield myself from the stares of the other people in the gym. My coworkers were nice enough to pretend not to be disgusted by the sight of me in my swimsuit, LOL. I'm glad those wetsuits look like they are pretty good at camouflaging fat.

Then the swimming took place....nothing exciting or fancy.

Now the information you are all waiting for....what did I do about my hair?? I decided to just try to manage with only a swim cap. How did that work for me? It DIDN'T! When I got out my hair was SOAKED. HUUUHHHH. I rinsed it in the shower and then blowdryed it a little bit before flat ironing it with my wet-to-dry flat iron. It wasn't TERRIBLE but my hair was definitely frizzy and did not look how I would like it to look. When I got back to work Paul and Brian said it looked fine, maybe they were being nice but more likely they didn't even remember what it looked like before I got in the pool so they didn't have anything to compare it to. Plus, they are men, what do they know about hair!

Next time I am going to try putting on a shower cap THEN put on the swim cap. I'll let you know how that works out.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Swimming Dilemma

I have a dilemma.

Next week I am supposed to start swimming with Paul and Brian during lunch time. No, the problem isn't having my coworkers see me in a bathing suit or me having to see them shirtless, LOL. The dilemma is my HAIR. Since I recently cut my hair I have been wearing it straight. My hair is naturally curly so I have to blow dry and/or flat iron it to make it straight. If it gets wet it is going to curl up. I COULD just start back wearing it curly although I am not quite sure how it will look now that it is about 5 inches shorter than I am used to. Not to mention that I prefer to wear my hair straight because both sides of my hair don't curl the same, one curls tighter than the other - weird I know. I also have YET to find the ideal curl enhancer to make my curls look glossy and beautiful instead of a frizzy mess.

SO, how do I swim without getting my hair wet???? I think I will pass on Paul's suggestion which was to shave my head like he does and then I won't have any hair to get wet. Of course being the Google Queen that I am (I will Google something in a heartbeat to prove a point) I googled the topic to see what suggestions are out there in the internet world. Here is what I found:

1. Don't go under water. - This seemed to be the most popular suggestion and also the most useless. Don't go under water!!?? How in the heck can I swim laps without going under water.

2. Wear a swimming cap. - Uhh yeah, well the last time I tried that my hair most definitely got wet. I believe swimming caps are designed to reduced the drag caused by hair, not to keep it from getting wet. I actually think most swim caps tell you to wet your hair before putting them on.

3. Wear a plastic back OVER a swim cap. - Hmmm, this has potential if you don't mind looking like a CRAZY PERSON. I would also face certain ridicule upon chosing this option.

That was pretty much all I could find, however, I did find this site that sold some sort of cap that goes over a swim cap that is supposed to help keep your hair from getting wet. It has a chin strap and looks like something those syncronized swimmers from the 60's used to wear.

This isn't looking too promising. I guess I'll go google some suggestions for a good curl enhancer because I'm pretty sure my hair will be getting wet. I might need to try to find a blow dryer as well.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Road to Recovery

It has been 4 days since my marathon and I am recovering nicely. I was VERY sore the first 2 days after the race but it is fading. My knee still hurts depending on how I move it and my thighs still burn when I try to squat or when I am walking down the stairs. The only place I am really feeling any significant pain is my right foot. I can't remember if this is the same foot that was hurting before. It is definitely the same place but I could have sworne it was my left foot that was hurting. It would really help if I had a refigerator/freezer then I could ice my legs as much as I wanted but that's not coming until Monday so I'll have to make due with what I can do for now.

I am taking this week off from doing anything other than walking. Since the weather is going to be nice this weekend I might get out on my bike and ride around the new neighborhood so that I can get some exercise (I don't want to get too lazy). Next week I will start swimming with my coworkers. I have been informed that I am not allowed to talk about how one of them looks in his bathing suit. I cannot make any such agreements until I have actually seen him in his bathing suit. I'm looking foward to adding swimming into my workout plan. I also plan to focus more on doing some weight training exercises and being serious about my ab workouts. I can't count the number of times I have said that I will be consistant with my ab workouts only to do them for a few days and then stop. I'm serious this time!

Since the marathon is over I won't have that to discuss anymore but I will be training for a triathalon which will probably be an even more interesting topic.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Official Marathoner!!! City of Oaks Race Recap

I am now an official marathoner!!!! I successfully completed my first marathon this past Sunday and I did it under my goal time which was 5 hours. My finishing time was 4 hours and 54 minutes, whoo hooo. I will try not to be too scatterbrained in my race recap but since my brain was pretty scattered during the run (you try having organized thoughts for almost 5 hours straight while running!)

Weather Report: PERFECT!! The weather was great. It was a little cold in the morning but it quickly warmed up. Thanks to the time change it was really 8 am with it was 7 am (or however that time change stuff works). The high was around 64 degrees and most of the course was shaded so it felt wonderful. I don't know that I could have wished for better conditions to run in. I still managed to have some crazy tan lines from my clothes though. I hope they fade soon because they look weird when I'm in a bathing suit.

Mile One: Whoo hooo! I made sure to start out slowly even though I was excited by all of the cheering and people. The marathon and half-marathon people all started together so it was pretty crowded. The first quarter of a mile was up a hill, oh joy (many more of these to come) but the forth quarter of the mile was downhill so it made up for it. I saw a woman with an Obama/Biden sign taped to her back, I wanted to hug her but that would have been inappropriate, LOL.

Mile Two: Still feeling great, my knee isn't bothering me at all. I was worried about my knee being a problem but it wasn't for the whole race so that was great. They said the water stops would be every 2 miles but I haven't seen it so I get worried because I would like something to drink.

Mile Three:: I'm hot now so off goes the long sleeve shirt. It is kind of cool in the shade but I'd rather be a little cool than too hot. Finally the water station!

Mile Four: Moving along great, I am ahead of my pace which is good because I figure I will lose some time later on in the race especially when the big hills start coming. It is nice to see the people downtown cheering on the runners. One lady even had her little dog with her and was talking to the runners through her dog, "Fluffy says go!" in that weird voice that some people use to talk to their pets. Funny but also a bit strange.

Mile Five: YEAH!! Cheers for me...Amy, Christine and Kay are there and they are cheering me on! I needed that boost, I was starting to get a little tired. I give Amy my shirt and she gives me some Endurolite tablets, wonderful. Towards the end of the mile I find myself behind some guy who starts letting lose some very loud farts, EEEEEEWWWWW. I know he probably can't help it but dang, I was RIGHT behind him. This is motivation for me to pick it up a bit and get away from him.

Mile Six: Refuel and tablet time! I take two Endurolite tablets and eat one of my Gu packs. I still feel great and I am under my pace time.

Mile 7: Music!!! There is a huge speaker playing music - Eye of the Tiger is playing which is a great motivator. I'm now passing the vet school, it smells like cow poo...not the greatest smell but I can deal.

Mile 8: My running buddies cheer me on again! whoo hoo, another boost.

Mile 9: This is where the half-marathon people break off and turn around. These two ladies run past me and say, "we keep passing you every 3 minutes". Apparently they are doing the whole run 3 minutes/walk 1 minute thing that some people do. I think it is a good method but it IS annoying for the same people to pass you every 3 minutes.

Mile 10: I meet a nice man named Craig, this is his 2nd marathon and he loves sweets (random, I know). We talk for a while but he leaves me at the 10 mile water stop. The Husband and Parents are here!!! Yeah, I enjoy having them there to cheer me on, another boost!

Mile 11: HILL - the first really long, big hill but definitely not the last. I make it up without walking (barely)

Mile 12: I picked it up a bit to make up for how slowly I went up the last hill. I still feel really good. Time for another Gu pack and some Endurolite tablet.

Mile 13 & 14: Ups and downs, with not that many spectators. I feel good but not really enjoying how these hills are affecting me.

Mile 15: YEAH! Kiyanda is there to cheer me on! I needed that after that big @ss hill I just went up.

Mile 16-20: BRUTAL!!!!!! This was the WORST part of the race for several reasons. #1 - hills, hills and more hills #2 - almost NO spectators as this portion was through Umstead park, #3 - part of the surface was gravel which I hate to run on, #4 - did I mention HILLS???!!! I lost time on these miles because I had to walk more than I planned on. More Gu and Endurolite.

Mile 21: YEAH! The Husband and Parents again!! My mom and Chris ran with me about a quarter of a mile which was a huge boost and helped me get up this stupid hill (I had to walk some) I am told this is the last hill (I will later find out that this is not entirely true).

Mile 22: A little uphill (last hill my butt) but mainly flat/downhill, feeling a little better since being in the park. YEAH!! My running buddies again! They talked the police officer into turning on his siren to help cheer me on, I love them!

Mile 23: MUSIC!!! Passing by the speakers again and now Michael Jackson's "Beat It" is playing. I would like to note that I chose to follow the rules and NOT wear my ipod although I saw numerous others that had theirs on. That kinda pissed me off.

Mile 24: More Gu! I want to stop...every muscle in my body is hurting. My foot is cramping, I think I might start to cry. Why am I doing this?? I must have a mental disorder, who voluntarily puts themselves in this much pain?

Mile 25: Ok, I'm better! I got this! I am almost done, I'm am 2 miles away from completing something that most people can't even dream of doing. All of my hard work and training is paying off. I am not about to collapse, I will finish strong!

Mile 26: Whose bright idea was it to have a steep hill on the last mile of a marathon??? This is some bull, okay I have enough time that even if I walk up this hill I can still finish in under 5 hours so I think I will walk up this hill. Yeah, my mom is at the top of the hill! I wish she would have been able to run the entire race with me even though she probably would have been telling me to pick it up the whole time, LOL.

Mile 26.2: FINISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I finished STRONG and with a smile on my face (I mean people WERE taking pictures so you know I had to smile for the camera). I almost started to hyper-ventilate at the end and I could feel the tears wanting to come out but I held them back. I didn't want to be a cry baby, LOL.

So there you go! A recap of my first marathon. I had a great time and can't wait for the next one. The next one will definitely be on a more flat course though!

Days after: It is now two days after the race and I am still have a little trouble walking normally. I took an ice bath the night of the race which helped some and I rested a lot the next day but I am still super sore. Hopefully this will fade soon......

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tomorrow is The Big Day!

I thought I'd post a little something before I go to bed to get some rest for the big day tomorrow. My FIRST Marathon!! I'm so excited and also a little nervous. I keep tellng myself that I have this and that I'm completely prepared so there is nothing to be concerned or nervous about. I just need to start believing myself, LOL. I got a lot of rest today and had some delicious pasta for dinner so I think I did the things that I need to do to get ready for tomorrow. I have all my supplies ready and set out for in the morning. The whole time changing tonight has me a little nervous but I don't think it will be an issue. At least it won't be AS cold in the morning because it will be like it is really 8 when it is 7 (I think that is how the whole time changing thing works) The time change always confuses me, which is probably why movies that have time travel in them annoy me and I never really understand what is going on.

Ok, bedtime for real! Wish me luck and think about me tomorrow while I'm on my run. Hopefully I'll be able to walk on Monday.