Twenty Six Point Two

run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Random Going-Ons

A couple of weekends ago, The KoB and I made our first "longish" trip in his corvette.

Remember her?

We drove to Red Boiling Springs for a car show that my dad always goes to. It was a little warm out (at that time, there were still some A/C issues with the car) and it was supposed to rain, so we didn't ride without the t-tops, but it was still glorious. The KoB didn't enter his corvette (though, he should have, because he would have won 3rd place!!), but my dad entered his '56 and my uncle entered his '58 (? I actually have no idea) truck.

My dad won a First Place Trophy!

My Uncle also won first place in his division!
Trust me, this IS his excited face.

It was fun. 

Then this past weekend, I spent pretty much all weekend cleaning out my old bedroom and closet in my parents house. They are moving soon, so the plan was to just go in there and bag everything up for either the trash or goodwill.

Haha. Haha. Haha.

Well, that's all well and good, but once I started going through things, then it was like... ohhhhhh, I HAD FORGOTTEN ABOUT THIS, I can't throw it away!!!! So, I ended up bringing a bunch of shit home with me, that now I need to sort through and pack away. Ugh.

It was also pretty distracting, because I kept finding things and then sending my friends pics of them. Like, for instance, I had my friend, Pony's Admission Ticket for the MCAT in 2002 and I had a certificate of honor thing that was made out to my friend Dustin. Um. Why?

Also, I found my Fan Fiction Stories that I had written in middle school. I WROTE FAN FICTION, YOU GUYS! You'll never guess for what.... Gone With the Wind. Yup. Serious. My BFF, Stephanie and I were obsessed with Gone with the Wind and we both wrote stories about what happened after the final scene of the movie. I can't believe I just admitted that on the internet. 

Speaking of writing, my favorite thing to find was all my college papers. I was an English minor, and I saved all my notes/papers, etc from those classes. I actually miss writing papers about books. Some of my favorites papers were about Macbeth, The Moviegoer, and Hills Like White Elephants (I analyzed the shit out of that Hemingway story). University of South Carolina (Go Cocks!) had some GREAT English teachers.

This REALLY cracked me up.

I sent this gem of a picture to my best friend Stephanie.

Circa 1993.
We were in this drama program where "classes" were
held in some lady's basement. 
I'm not sure why Miss Australia there is wearing a red kimono.
Clearly, there were some artistic/creative licenses being taken.

Anyway, it was kinda fun to be taken back to my elementary, middle school, high school, and college years. I had a serious obsession with the band Oasis and have an entire box filled with magazines where there are articles about them, stickers, all their UK Single CDs, pictures of them printed out from the internet. I mean... it's a little creepy to look back on.

The Oasis of my High School years.
I was pretty sure I'd have the last name Gallagher at some point.
Ultimately, I think I dodged a bullet.

One thing is super clear: I was such a freaking dork. I mean... oasis memorabilia, stamp collections, Gone With the Wind FAN FICTION, I have a shadow box with ribbons and awards and certificates from high school (who hangs that shit up in their room? Weirdo), FFA Jacket, VHS tapes with SNL episodes and music videos recorded on them. RIDICULOUS. 

All, I can say is... While I am still pretty damn dorky... at least I recognize that now. And if anyone needs a English paper written... call me.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 9 Training

I finally feel like I can say I'm officially "training" and not just "trying to get my bearings." In the grand scheme of things... it honestly didn't take that long. And now looking back at all my bitching and moaning and navel gazing, I kinda just wanna be like... Ummm... overreact, much?

 Make room for the pity party!

So, now the pity party is officially over. (For today, at least). And I'm finally feeling inspired. To be completely honest, I'm more nervous about the Bitches Annual Relay coming up in a month, than I am about the 10 miler. We have changed things up this year. Normally, I run the trail leg. Which is like 8 miles of run hard, while trying not to trip, but admittedly, no one is going to see if you powerhike up this steep hill, or if you end up powerhiking up the steps, because YOUR LEGS ARE JELLO at that point.

This year, I'm running the first leg which is like 8-9 miles of the 11.2 loop. So, basically... you have to run hard the whole time, because it's mostly roads. Fuuuuuuck. This wouldn't be too big of a deal, because ya know.. it's a relay. it's supposed to be fun. But, I've been very vocal about wanting to go sub 4:00 this year. Melissa ran the leg at an 8:29 pace last year!!!!!!!! Which is just like.... WHOA. Seriously. In order for us to go Sub 4:00, as a team, we need to shave less than 3 minutes off our times from last year. So, yeah, I need to be at LEAST as fast as Melissa was last year. Hopefully a little faster. I AM GOING TO DIE.

In other news... it looks like I will end 2014 without a marathon finish.

It's an alternate world called...

And, I'm fine with that. I am kind of sick of the marathon training for a specific time. I've already decided that next year is going to be the year of the marathon and I might even get back onto the ultra horse. I miss running races for "fun." Not to say that I don't want to do well at them, I do... and probably next fall, I'll train for a "fast" marathon. But for now... I am enjoying being able to look at a calendar of races and be like... I can run that race, and I can run that race, and hell.. I can run that race! Instead of being like... Okay... PICK ONE race that will define your whole season. Ugh. 
Well, that was a tangent... ANYWAY... back to the week.

I'm still only running 8-10 miles as my long runs, but I finally pushed over the 35 miles a week threshold. So, that feels good. I also did a tempo run of 3 miles averaging about 8:10 pace. One thing I thought of while pushing through that workout, was how I need to start doing my tempo runs on the roads... instead of on the track or on the flat 1 mile loop at Centennial Park. Sure, it's easy to track my times there, and I typically don't have to stop for intersections, cars, etc... BUT, it's TOO flat. Harden up!

Monday, September 8, 2014

I actually did a workout, y'all!

Last week, I got my first real workout assignment from Coach:

4x800s at 8:00 pace with 400 recovery jogs.

This was referred to as a "cobweb shaker" and I was instructed not to freak out if these felt particularly awful.

I enlisted The KoB to run this workout with me. We have been rather lazy lately with our evening runs.

 Me on Wednesday nights for the past couple of months.

We ran straight over to the track and it was only as we were finishing up our warm up that I realized... AWWWWW Fuck! 800s are my least favorite workout distance. Blarg.

I found myself constantly checking in with myself during these intervals. 
How do my legs feel? They feel okay. Huh. Weird.
How does my chest feel? It feels okay. Huh. Weird.
How do I feel generally? Pretty dang good. Huh. Weird.

I fully expected to be huffing and puffing and dying my way through all but the first one. But, I was pleasantly surprised that I felt pretty dang good until the last 100 meters of the last one.

This is pretty much what they looked like.

I've already downgraded my personal expectations for The 10 miler. But, with 9 weeks to go, I am feeling pretty good that I will at least be able to PR there. My current PR is 1:19 which is just under 8:00 pace. Let's do this!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Your Weekly Non-Running Post

So, last Thursday, Mr. Bloom and I both had appointments to get groomed.

Where he went from this shaggy, hairy mess of a dog:


To this:

Who is this adorable young pup?

I barely recognized him. It's ridiculous how out of hand I let his coat get. 

And my before and afters kinda suck, because I somehow got one of those amazing well-lit before shots and then the after looks like crap. But, I assure you... my after in person looks MUCH better.

So, yeah, of course, the before has to be the
best my hair as EVER looked.

After. I got highlights and a trim!
First time EVER getting my hair highlighted.
To be completely honest, I can barely tell that there are highlights even there. Which for a first timer, is a good thing. Eventually, I might try to go a little lighter. Baby steps.
I've had a really busy, crappy, stressful week. I'm starting to think that maybe I'm overdramatizing my stress and in turn making my life more miserable than it has to be. I'm an accountant for chrissakes! I'm not performing life saving procedures here. Things can WAIT. Well... some things... I guess the IRS is pretty firm on their deadlines. 

Ever take a BOX of work home for the night?
I did on Wednesday night.

I have a bad habit of getting overwhelmed easily and spending too much time freaking out, instead of just coming up with an attack plan to get after things. That's something I'm going to try to work on. This also applies to my running. I get overwhelmed when I get behind in my weekly schedule, and instead I should just just forget about it and MOVE ON. 

Happy Friday, folks!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Running: The Hobby

I am having a hard time getting back into running. Of course, I expected some of that. Running sucks when it's hard. But just because I expected it, doesn't mean it makes it any easier.

This morning while running, I started thinking about why I run. I've done many, many posts on that topic, so, I'll spare you another. But the two biggest things are that running makes me feel good about myself and I think the physical exercise keeps the black dog at bay. Running is not just my exercise of choice, but for the last few years, it's been a big part of my identity, as well. At it's core, running is my escape from the humdrums of life and my biggest hobby.

Now that I'm in my 30s, I find myself comparing to myself to my parents a lot. Every day, I look more and more like my mom.

 My mom's in the pink.
My aunt's in the white.
Yes, they are wearing matching rompers, but in different colors.
Yes, you could do that in the 80s.

I will never be as hot as my mom was, however.
She's had 3 kids in this pic and I've had ZERO and my 
body will never look this good. 

 And every day I find my personality becoming more and more like my dad. When I was growing up, my dad was a hobby enthusiast. He was a member of a Spelunking Club and a Spoonplugging Club (also known as a fishing club). And he took us out camping and on the lake a LOT.

Spelunking Club.
My dad is second from the left.

He's always been interested in cars and when my brothers got older and interested in them, too. They spent MANY hours every week together working on old cars.

And now you know where I get my body from.
Stumpy legs and long torso. Thanks, Dad!

To get all therapist-y on my dad, I think a big part of him keeping busy and having lots of different hobbies and interests is for a couple of main reasons. One, he was drafted in the Army as a young man, and I think having 2 years of your life taken away from you to serve your country would put anyone's spare time into perspective.
Stationed in Alaska.

And two, he was the sole provider for my family and worked long and hard hours at a desk. He definitely worked/still works more and harder than I do, but, I too feel the need to do something with my life when I'm not at work.
Back in the day, visiting dad at the office on a Saturday.
Please note, he has a pic of me on the credenza behind him.

All the gratuitous photos and stories of my family to say... I've realized that running is pretty much my only hobby. I mean, sure, I do other things... I read and watch television and I enjoy cooking and yoga. I would love to hike and camp more often than I do now. And while travel is probably the thing I love most, it's not something that I can do every week/weekend (see: why I don't hike and camp as much as I would like to).  So, the fact that running has become such a chore for me, is kind of slowly sucking away at my soul.

Ahhhh the good ole days.
When my main hobbies included clomping around in adult shoes...
And hosting my dolls and imaginary friends
for tea parties.

When the hobby that makes you the happiest and feel the best about yourself, suddenly turns into dogshit, it's hard to get back on track. And it starts affecting your daily life.

All this navel-gazing to say... I think my mental focus on running right now needs to shift into a different direction. I'm going to try not to worry too much about GETTING BACK INTO SHAPE IMMEDIATELY. But, into trying to find enjoyment in running again. Getting back into shape and mileage and speed will all eventually come back.

I feel like I've written these sentiments in MANY posts over the course of the past year or so. And I know, it's boring. But it's something I'm really struggling with. It's not as easy as.... just run when you want! Because, honestly... I'd barely be running if that were the case. And whether I like it or not... I NEED TO RUN. I like who I am when I'm running a lot: I feel better, I sleep better, I work better, I'm a better partner and friend. But, I'm finding that maybe wrapping up so much of my identity into one hobby can be a dangerous game. I wonder if spelunkers have as many existential crises as I do?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August Favorites

This is going to be a dump of a post wherein I talk about my favorite things from the month, as if I were some kind of consumer guru or something.

Favorite ACTIVITY:
Whitewater Rafting the Ocoee

The picture is not of my raft, because holy hell not only do you pay $98 per person for a trip. But then they have the audacity to charge you $54 for a cd of your pictures AND ask you to tip your guide. Um. Wut? Despite the price gouging the trip was an absolute blast. If it wasn't an exhausting all day excursion to get there, I would probably quit my job to become a guide and raft that sucker 5 days a week. But it is WAY far away from Nashville. We left at like 8:30 in the morning and got home just after midnight. Anyway, it was so much fun. I'm pretty sure all I did was sit in the back and giggle like a maniac while simultaneously kneeing The KoB in the back. (I laugh hysterically when I am nervous/anxious).

Favorite SONG: 

Burnin' it Down by Jason Aldean

I d/led this song WHILE DRIVING to Asheville and listened to it about a zillion times on the ride because my mom's car stereo is freaking awesome. USB ports in cars???? Whoa. I don't even think USB's were a thing when my car was made in 2002.

*I included this pic of Jason Aldean because I just wanted to say that probably my least favorite song of the month is a little ditty called Hannah Montana by a rapper Migos. Watch the video. You'll be chanting HANNAH MONTANA all day. Seriously... it's a song about Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana. And it's ridiculous and frustratingly catchy.

Favorite TV SHOW:

The Americans

Holy Moly. BEST SHOW EVER. I've only seen one season (Season 2 isn't on dvd yet), but my interest and love for this show is almost as great as it was/is for The Wire. If you aren't watching the Americans. You need to be. SO GOOD! Such a great premise and so weird to be rooting for Russians. Like. Really weird. Plus the cars and clothes... OMG you gotta watch it.

Runner up:

Bojack Horseman.

Just watch it. I can't explain it.

Favorite DRINK:

Illusive Traveler Shandy

It's no secret that I am not a fancy beer drinker. I hate the taste of hops and I would pick a Miller High Life or a Beast Ice over pretty much any other beer in the world. (There are a COUPLE of exceptions: Innis and Gunn and Yazoo Dos Perros being the only two basically). However, Liz and I met for drinks this weekend and this beer was introduced to us and WOW. Delicious.

Favorite FOOD: 

Blue Mountain Pizza and Brew Pub

If you ever find yourself in Weaverville, NC you should go here immediately. Although, no one ever finds themselves in Weaverville, so instead... if you ever find yourself in Asheville, NC and don't mind driving 25 minutes to eat some DELICIOUS pizza... then go here. While I might not be a beer connoisseur, I do know my pizza and this place was legit.

Books finished/started and thoughts:  I finished Ken Follett's World Without End in August: FANTASTIC of course. And also read Lee Smith's Guests on Earth which was absolutely wonderful for the first 150 pages or so.. and then completely burned out for the last half. Currently in the middle of a book about Russian hikers who died in 1959 called Dead Mountain. So good!

Favorite MOVIE:

The African Queen

I must admit, I am not the biggest Humphrey Bogart fan. But I am a HUGE Katharine Hepburn fan. I never watched this movie because the plot synopsis sounds boring and crazy as shit:

In Africa during WW1, a gin-swilling riverboat owner/captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

Ummmm. Wut? That shit sound cray. But, on a whim, I gave it a whirl and was completely and utterly entranced for the whole movie. Brilliant! I loved it. That Katie Hepburn.... man, she was a real movie star.

Things I hate:

Summer is practically over. It has gone wayyyy too fast this year. Boooo.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It finally happened!

The last time I ran 30+ miles in a week was the week of June 9-15th. I finally broke my streak... I crossed over into 30 miles last week!!
Boo ya!

I must be completely honest... there was some walking in my 10 mile long run on Sunday. And as much as I would LOVE to use the excuse of humidity or dehydration... it was just a case of "WAHHHHH..." Crybaby/Out of Shape Amy not really wanting to run anymore. Thankfully, the route was an out and back, so I was forced to get the mileage. 

I am really hoping that this gets me over the hump of getting back into training mode. 

I've decided to tweak my training schedule a bit. While my little Mr. Leopold Bloom brings me such happiness....
 He loves getting in the bed while I'm trying to make it up.
So, I just end up making the bed around him.

He has presented a bit of a snag to my routine. He wants ALL THE ATTENTION in the mornings. So, it's hard for me to leave him and go for runs in the morning. In the afternoons he could care less about me. And in the past, I've been trying to force him into my schedule, but, I think now, I'm going to try to adjust my schedule to fit him and I think it will work a lot better. Yes, clearly he is the boss of me.

So, my plan is to switch from being a mostly morning runner... to an afternoon runner.  I'll still jog around with Leo for a couple miles in the morning during the week because he enjoys it. And, I already run on Monday and Wednesday afternoons with the KoB, so, I'll just add in another couple of evening runs. It will be much easier to do this training for a 10 mile race as opposed to a marathon, because, I'm assuming I won't be running 45+ miles for lots and lots of weeks. So, running 6-8 miles on weeknights after work will be no big deal.

Also, hopefully, since I am at my core a morning person... having my mornings free-ish, will encourage me to do some yoga and pushups and stuff. In theory.

I will obviously still do my long runs in the morning, because... ain't no body got time to do that shit in the evenings. But, I think this schedule will cause me a lot less stress.

It finally feels like I am actually back at training now. I'm even thinking of doing my 10 mile long run this  weekend on the race course to get myself geared up for the training. Let's do this, bitches!