Tuesday, January 22, 2008

RR: Clearwater Halfathon 1/20/08

On Sunday, I ran the 3rd Annual Clearwater Halfathon. After a stormy night, it was super-windy and c-c-c-c-cold (for us Floridians--Yes, I'm from Michigan, but I'm naturalized now ;) ) with actual temps in the mid-40s and a wind chill of near freezing. As Linae and I were standing in the tent to get our bibs and chips, a strong gust of cold air ripped through the tent. I looked at her and said, "Do you wanna just go get breakfast?" I guess she thought I was kidding, because we got our stuff and went and sat in my car until just before the race start. We huddled up behind a van near a couple of guys, one of whom was running the 5-miler (WAY smarter than us!) Linae's job was to pace me to a PR, and she felt that, based on some of my previous marathon times, that 2:45 was within my reach at this race. Going over two big-ass bridges TWICE and with a wicked cold wind, I was a bit skeptical, but I left it to the professional. We don't call her Dr. Ironman for nothing, you know.

We had decided if we were completely miserable and didn't warm up by the 5-mile turnaround, we would just do the 5-mile option. When the turnaround came up, of course the decision was mine to make. I kept running straight. No IHOP for me...

We held steady with 10 minute run/1 minute walk intervals through about 7 miles, which is a bit further than I had previously done them. I'm confident now that I can hold them through the half of my upcoming marathon in New Orleans. Linae took a quick potty stop and caught back up to me pretty quickly. After the 7-mile turnaround, the idiot cop made us get on the sidewalk, even though we were well within the time limit of course closures. Linae said, "When did it change?" The cop just looked at her and turned around. Jerk. And about a mile and a half down the road, we watched as the cops there abandoned their post, leaving us with no traffic control or directions. Thank God we saw another racer up ahead. The Clearwater PD did fine during the first half of the race, but I can't say much for them in the second half. I've run several races in St. Pete, and the cops there are awesome, from the first runner to the last. But, whatever. Linae sent out karmic daggers to the jerky CPD cops, and I happily promised to bail her out of jail should she feel the need to smack one of 'em down. You know, if I wasn't sitting next to her in the pokey.

We hit a lovely headwind for the last five miles, where we switched first to 5/1 intervals, then to 2/2s, after walking to the top of the Sand Key Bridge. I felt like I was going to puke a few times, even after taking a couple of Lava Salts halfway through, but I managed to run (mostly) when Linae told me to. Not realizing how close we were to the finish, I wanted to walk for a minute, but Linae said, "If we keep going, we're going to beat 2:45." That was code for, "Move your ass, woman!" Huh. Okay. So we ran it in. Both of our watches said 2:44:28, but our official results said 2:45:29, or something like that. No matter; it's still a 12-minute PR for me. WOOOO HOOOOO!!

Overall, it was a nice, scenic, challenging course. The bridges were a bitch, but you expect that :) We hit the park afterward and chatted with "Slow Twin" Bill, who ran a 2:02 half a week after doing Goofy at Disney (a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday, for the uninitiated.) Drank a little beer, ate some pasta and oranges, tried to warm up in the sun a bit, then headed home.

Linae, thank you again, soooo much, for your pacing and sherpa duties. You got mad skills, girl! I doubt I could have done it without you! You ROCK, my friend!

So I'm well on my way to a PR at every distance this year! Yay! Next race: Gasparilla 15K in Tampa, February 9, where I need to beat 1:48:37 to PR.

Bring it!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

George Strait Concert

So I got awesome kid points for getting my mom tickets to George Strait, her favorite singer of all time. I like him, too, so it was no hardship on me ;) It was a fantastic show, and the seats were actually really good. It's my camera that sucks. I apologize for the blurry crappiness of most of the pictures.

Disclaimer--I look like this because we got rained on during the 1/3 mile walk from the car to the St. Pete Times Forum.

The first opening act was a girl named Sarah Johns. I hadn't heard of her, but she was pretty good. I *did* vaguely recognize a song she sang about how she wanted to give her boyfriend the finger on her left hand used for a wedding band, but now she's giving him the one in the middle. Very clever song.

I was really excited about seeing Little Big Town, the second opening act. They absolutely ROCKED!! I would pay to see them headline any day. This was during their cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way," which was fabulous.

Their best-known song, and first hit, was "Boondocks." GREAT song, and it really got the crowd going. Even my mom was singing along with the chorus. They closed their amazing set with this song. I was kinda bummed to see them go, even though it meant King George was coming out.

Ahhh, here he is. Fifty-five years old and just as gorgeous as he was twenty years ago. He sounds awesome live, and he sang quite a few of his 55 #1 songs.

I was thinking of my friend Dawn in Calgary when I took this photo. Enjoy!

George sang for just over two hours and did a three-song encore, which included Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues."

He always ends his shows with "The Cowboy Rides Away." Unfortunately, I was not among the lucky bastards who got to shake his hand ;)

After the show, we wound up at Denny's eating pancakes until 12:30 AM. Of course, I had a half marathon in Clearwater the next day and had to get up at 4:45 AM, so I knew it would be interesting. More on the race later.

Next concert: Blake Shelton at the Florida Strawberry Festival on March 4. Woooo Hooooo! First was Keith Urban/Gary Allan, then George/Little Big Town, and soon Blake. All that's left is Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, and Rascal Flatts, and I can die a happy girl.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

2008 Goals

1. Lose 30 lbs. Give it one more shot. At least I'm working at it now.

2. Run four marathons: Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Country Music in Nashville, Tupelo, and a fall race, probably Mount Desert Island in Maine.

3. PR all race distances. Should be interesting to see how this one plays out.

4. Complete my first (and possibly only) triathlon. How the hell did I let myself get talked into THAT one?? Ahhh, yes. Crazy Dick's. The things I'll do for a t-shirt.

5. Weight training/yoga. Seriously. I *want* to do these things.

6. Six hours of sleep per night. The ever-elusive goal, much like #5.

7. Finish school. I really think this can be done with hard work. I'm over school. I'm over retail. I'm over living with my parents.

8. The damn credit cards again. Pay off the smaller balance (and leave the friggin' thing ALONE!) and pay the bigger balance down by 1/3.

9. Read at least 12 books for pleasure. This is a gimme goal. I just want an excuse to keep doing something I love.

10. Keep up with my blog reading and posting. Even if only a couple of people read mine. I know, I'm not real exciting. Which is fine :) But it's nice to have the race reports all in one place.

11. Become more organized and keep my area neater. I'm already kind of behind on this one. My biggest problem is clutter. Everything has a place, it just doesn't always make it there when I'm done using it, sometimes for a couple of weeks.

2007 Goal Recap

1. Lose 30 lbs. >> Didn't happen. Guess what will be on the top of my 2008 list?

2. Run three spring marathons and a fall marathon. >> I ran Mercedes, ING Georgia, and Flying Pig in the spring, thus earning Marathon Maniac status, and then Marine Corps in the fall. I had a late-summer marathon in Tupleo, MS all planned out, but I messed up my foot two weeks before, so had to scrap that one.

3. Weight training/yoga. >> Nope. Think I'll EVER do this one? I don't know *why* it's so hard...

4. Six hours of sleep per night. >> Not always, but I've gotten better.

5. Get to 180 wpm steno. >> Got to 140. Slowly but surely getting up there.

6. Pay down big balance credit card by half. >> Nope, but my smaller balance will be gone by the end of March.

7. Read at least 12 books for pleasure. >> Of course. Read 13.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Slacking already

Hmmm. It seems I owe a weekly report. But it's kinda late, so I'll get to that tomorrow. I should also post my Annual List of Failures, 2007 Edition here. Followed by my Annual List of Future Failures, 2008 Edition. You'd think I'd just stop making the damn goal lists. But I guess I gotta have something to shoot for, right?

I can't imagine *how* I forgot to post this (uh, maybe because I'm a blog-slacker?) but I'm registered for Country Music Marathon in Nashville on April 26. Or right around there. Whatever that Saturday is. Anyway, WOOO HOOO, Nashville, Baby! And Linae is going, and I'll finally get to meet the awesome and wonderful Lisa in person. So I'm pretty stoked. That weekend is gonna kick ass!

Umm, what else? Oh, I have a busy weekend coming up. No Hellhole for me on Saturday (yay!!) because my mom and I are going to the George Strait concert. Even though it'll be a WAY different crowd and vibe from the Keith Urban concert Linae and I went to last month, I'm still really looking forward to it. I got the tickets for my mom for Christmas, and it was nice getting her a cool gift that she was NOT expecting.

The day after the King George concert, I'm running a half marathon in Clearwater. With a little luck, good weather, decent preparation, and an awesome pacer, this will be my PR half. So everyone send fast vibes to me on Sunday morning!

Lastly for the evening, I got a down-alternative fiber bed to put under my mattress pad. This gives me about an additional 4" of fluffy softness to sleep on. Add that to my down-alternative duvet, my down-alternative (notice a theme?) pillows, and my 600 thread count sheets, and I may never leave my bed again.

On that note, I'm going to get into it right now.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Back to "Real Life"

Well, vacation is over, and it was pretty craptacular. Just more incentive for me to finish school (which I WILL do by the end of this year!! Oh, sweet Jesus, PLEASE...) and finally start my own life. I guess the reason I don't feel my age is because I'm basically living the life of a 16-year-old.

My sister and her BF and their baby left Saturday. I actually enjoyed the baby, Little Tony (or L.T., as I nicknamed him--it sounds cool, like a football player!) in spurts. He's only three months old, so he doesn't really do much; I enjoyed him for about 15 minutes at a time. He's a cute baby:

Okay, not the *best* picture of him, but he was very cute in person. Here's one of Steph, Tony, and L.T.:

They're on their way back to Michigan now, but they're moving back to Daytona in February. Close enough that we'll get to see them, but still a 3-hour buffer for me ;) I can't wait until L.T. starts talking--I've got LOTS of stuff to teach him....mwahahahaha!!

We didn't really do much over the holiday vacation. We went to SeaWorld in Orlando last Friday. I have tons of pictures to go through, which I will get to soon. I had never been, so it was interesting. I love aquariums, but I'm terrified of open-water swimming. And my fears were not lessened after going through the shark exhibit at SeaWorld. But I decided (read: let my friends coerce me) into doing a sprint triathlon in June, and I'm going to do it, Jaws or no Jaws.

Well, that's it for now. My life is way too boring to post daily, but I'll try to get at least a weekly recap up, and post if anything exciting happens (don't hold your breath...) One of my 2008 goals is to keep up with my blog-reading, which I've already started, so I'm feeling pretty good about that.

Happy 2008, y'all!!