On Sunday, as a reward for hitting personal distance records/a way to eat back some calories, the boyfriend and I met up with Dan at Jarling's Custard Cup. The boyfriend had a brownie sundae:
Dan had a Snickers ice cream delight, and I had a coconut "snowstorm" (the same as a Dairy Queen Blizzard).
This week is consumed by moving. I finally got my junk together and started boxing. Moving is quite an ordeal normally, made even worse by the fact that I am an anal retentive control freak. For example, each box is labeled with its destination and a unique number. I then keep a Excel spreadsheet with each box number, its room, and its contents. (The idea is that I won't go through 40 boxes later searching for my ____.)
(Working at a running store=all the boxes I could ever want!)
I also have a file of photos of things we own, valuable and otherwise, so that in the event that our apartment burns down, I can say, "No, look! See, we did have a two Wii controllers!"
This is how feel throughout the process:
Not to mention that I managed to crack the glass in my [wrapped up and padded] diploma frame. Awesome. Now I get to go find a local frame shop to cut me a new piece of glass. (I'm really sorry, Mom! It's just a small crack and won't be a big deal to replace.)
And this morning, I ran four miles in the cotton batting humidity. Mmm! Here are my splits:
Mile 1 - 10:13
Mile 2 - 10:09
Mile 3 - 9:35
Mile 4 - 9:04
0.03-mile nubbin - 0:14
At least I managed negative splits!
My sincerest apologies if posting continues to be sporadic over the next few days. If you're worried, you can find me putting things in boxes and hopefully not breaking more stuff.
The last three days have been semi-eventful. One night, we met Dan for ice cream. As I don't labor under the illusions of being a healthy food-only blogger, I am not ashamed to say that I went to Dairy Queen. I thoroughly enjoyed my dipped cone, even if it looked a little weird:
The boyfriend tried the "Limited Time Only" Girl Scouts Tag-A-Long blizzard, made with real bits of Girl Scout! No, just kidding. It was made with real bits of Tag-A-Longs (not as good as the Tag-A-Longs that Jessica and I made). That said, he seemed unhappy to take a picture:
I didn't get a picture of Dan's beautiful face. I am sad. :(
After work yesterday, we got Mexican (Okay, Tex-Mex) for dinner. I found the use of quotations on the menu amusing:
What? Were they not sizzling and not fajitas?
Yesterday, I had a really terrible run with tight legs and cardiovascular fatigue. I got mad and said, "I hate you legs!"
Fortunately, this morning, my legs decided to behave and ran pretty well for my 14-mile long run. I did the first six miles by myself and kept the pace nice and easy:
Mile 1 - 10:42
Mile 2 - 10:11
Mile 3 - 10:07
Mile 4 - 10:07
Mile 5 - 10:05
Mile 6 - 10:19
Lena was kind enough to join me for her eight-mile long run, and she even mapped out a nice course. There were two "hills" which were a good challenge. At this rate, I feel like anything I can do to tax my legs on a long run will be good practice for when they decide to fall off in the marathon. Here are our splits:
Mile 7 - 10:36
Mile 8 - 10:16
Mile 9 - 10:16
Mile 10 - 10:16
Mile 11 - 10:20
Mile 12 - 10:27
Mile 13 - 10:27
Mile 14 - 10:10
0.22-mile nubbin - 2:11
Yahoo! Today marks a personal distance record for me! Ideally, the record won't stand for very long, since I have many more miles to pile on before October 11th. It was also a personal distance record for the boyfriend, who covered 15 on his own.
After the run, I drank a smoothie and gobbled down a zucchini-chocolate chip muffin. I managed to get some chocolate on my face:
I am really excited about going to bed. Here I go. Wheeee!
Last night, it was apparently possible to see the space shuttle in the sky around 10pm. The boyfriend was pretty excited about it, so at 9:30, we drove to the parking lot of the local community college and stood around looking for something that looked like a moving star.
It was so cloudy that only a few stars were visible, and they were in the wrong direction than the one in which we were supposed to be looking for the shuttle:
At first, I was confused and thought we were looking for a meteor shower.
We looked and looked, in all sorts of directions.
But alas! The clouds prevented us from seeing any shuttles. I was slightly disappointed, though nothing that making goofy faces couldn't fix:
This morning, I had a four-mile run on schedule. I tried to see if I could punish my legs on my own, without trying to chase Jessica down the street. My legs were a bit tired after yesterday's long tempo run, so I stopped a few times for water and rest. Oh well, some days are better than other. Here are my splits:
Mile 1 - 9:43
Mile 2 - 9:20
Mile 3 - 9:02
Mile 4 - 8:42
0.44-mile nubbin - 3:43
Yeah, negative splits! Woohoo!
In good news, Running Buddy ("Rubbing Bunny") Lena just signed up for the Chicago Half Marathon on September 13th. This is great news because 1) it means that her knee is recovering from the patello-femoral syndrome that sidelined her after April's Half Marathon and 2) I'm also running it! (The boyfriend is running it too, but he is like some kind of acetic runner-hermit who runs alone and refuses to take water. He therefore doesn't count.)
This morning, at 6:10am, I headed out for two easy warm-up miles before I was scheduled to meet Runner Jessica at 6:30. My hamstrings live in a perpetual state of grumpiness, so they let me know what they did not appreciated being dragged out of bed and forced to move. Here are my first splits:
Mile 1 - ?:??
Mile 2 - ?:??
Haha, funny joke! I didn't wear my Garmin today. It was probably a good decision.
When I got back from the warm-up, Jessica was waiting ready and waiting outside my apartment. I did my best to stall the inevitable discomfort that accompanies running with Jessica, but to little effect. Off we went! Here are our splits
Mile 1 - 9:05
Mile 2 - 8:42
Mile 3 - 8:38
Mile 4 - 8:43
Mile 5 - 8:55 (At the Mile 4 mark, I stopped and told Jessica that I couldn't run anymore. Fortunately, she made me get going again.)
Total - 5 miles, 8:49 average pace
The third mile split is the most impressive, particularly because it was mostly a long "uphill" stretch. (So really, not uphill at all.) According to Jessica, we also got some catcalls at this point, though I surmise that it was actually people asking if she needed help dragging her dead-looking parter (=me) to the nearest hospital.
Next time, I hope to not have to stop at all.
Last night, I used the approximately 34839024832 pounds (Okay, two pounds) of blueberries that I bought over the weekend to make blueberry muffins. I baked a test one last night to make sure that they didn't taste like fish or something:
This morning, I put the batter in paper liners and baked the rest. Unfortunately, they are sticking to the paper liners, which makes them ugly and deformed on the bottom. Oh well, back to silicone it is!
Also, thank you for all the suggestions for birthday presents, especially the chocolate-covered pug [riding on a motorcycle]. Keep 'em coming; I need all the help I can get.
This morning, I ran four easy miles with Lena. In truth, they weren't terribly "easy", and for some reason, we were huffing and puffing as we pounded our way through the quiet neighborhoods. I even saw a mini-hill off in the distance! Here are our splits:
Mile 1 - 10:49
Mile 2 - 10:22
Mile 3 - 10:26
Mile 4 - 9:47
As Lena said, we just had a three-mile warm-up. Obviously.
Tomorrow, Jessica is going to haul my sorry bum out for a faster run. She claims that we are going to keep it under nine-minute pace for five or more miles. Personally, I just think I'm going drag my heels and whine that I'm "actually dying."
The boyfriend's 24th birthday is coming up in two weeks. Unfortunately, I haven't been very good at thinking of presents this year. I'm sure I'll come up with something, but do you have any suggestions? (It's safe to leave them in the comments because he doesn't read my blog.) Or you can e-mail them to me at mllemica [at] gmail.com.
Over the years, I've gathered that he dislikes the following things [in no particular order]:
Nuts ["Especially in chocolate!"]
New England boiled dinner
Traffic and traffic lights
400m speed workouts
Doing laundry in a different building [Mercifully, we are moving next week. Um, whoops. Packing?]
Fruit salads that only contain melon
Dobby in the Harry Potter movies
And according to him, here are things he likes:
"Crotch-rocket" motorcycles [Like Kawasakis]
Berries, especially raspberry
Hm, okay. Writing that list out was not helpful. At all.
Last night, my friend Chris S. invited us and our friend Chris C. to a get-together at his hipster apartment.
The two Chrises and I are in the French linguistics program at the university. For me, they both are models of what successful grad students should be doing at various stages in the program. They assure me that no one knows what they're doing at this stage and that no one knows how to really do research or write about it, but looking at the work they're doing really overwhelms me. One day...I hope.
[Basically, I need to get my priorities straight. Right now, this means that I need to work more on my MA list than on my independent study of Latin. One step at a time. Phew. Deep breath.]
Anyway, Chris C., who ran the IL Half Marathon in the spring, hosted us with true southern hospitality. As hors-d'oeuvres, boiled "steak" peanuts were served. They were massive, and the boyfriend said that they looked like gonads and had the consistency of okra. (We all thought they were delicious.) Thanks, Physics grad student-man.
I forgot to take pictures of most of the evening, including Chris S's fancy chicken in brandy-cream sauce. The chocolate-zucchini cake was a success, and I highly recommend it to people looking for a healthier version of the super-moist box cake.
Both Chrises were amused to hear that I have a blog, and Chris S. expressed interest in being featured. So without further ado, here are pictures in which everyone looks high:
Chris S. :
Chris C. and the boyfriend:
And this morning, I did a shorter long run. (It's cut-back week in the program.) After two miles of warm-up, I met Lena for seven more. It was nice and cool this morning, but my legs were really dragging by the end. They felt as fatigued and sore as they usually do towards the end of a 10+-mile run. Who knows. Here are my/our splits:
Mile 1 - 10:43
Mile 2 - 10:21
Mile 3 - 10:27
Mile 4 - 10:13
Mile 5 - 10:06
Mile 6 - 10:17
Mile 7 - 10:29
Mile 8 - 10:27
Mile 9 - 10:32
0.27-mile nubbin - 2:50
Harumph. Those were kind of slow splits. Oh well, it was probably because we gabbed like giddy school girls the entire way/talked about how awkward it is when you run by an apartment and hear people having LOUD SEX. (=Not okay!)
This morning, I ran six miles, per the marathon training schedule. I still have no idea what pace I should anticipate on marathon day, so maybe I'll play it safe and hope to finish with approximately 10:00/mile pace. This may be an ambitious goal though, considering that I am expecting my legs to just fall off at Mile 20. Anyway, here are my splits:
Mile 1 - 10:16
Mile 2 - 9:38
Mile 3 - 9:49
Mile 4 - 9:44
Mile 5 - 9:33
Mile 6 - 9:38
0.1-mile nubbin - 1:00
Later, we headed to the local farmer's market, where I bought some zucchini. I refrained from buying this massive cookie:
I also tried out the fancy hula hoops being marketed by hippies:
I was actually pretty good at keeping it up. (Thanks, body, for having big birthing hips.) I'm actually tempted to get one or make my own because apparently it is very good for strengthening one's abs. And we all know that I really hate sit-ups and crunches.
Then I made the boyfriend try out the big hoop. He didn't really get the appeal and said that thrusting his hips was too awkward:
My blog posts are, for some reason, much more sporadic during the summer. Oddly enough, when I have more free time, I blog less. I surmise that this is because I am doing very little that interests anyone right now. Currently, my day-to-day life involves:
Training for the Chicago Marathon. I mean, running a lot and hoping that somehow, I'll be able to drag my sorry ass from the starting line to the finish line...26.2 miles later. (Um, still not sure how that will happen.)
Continuing to slog through the second half of Learn to Read Latin. I'm definitely learning things, but it can be very tedious at times.
Eating...and mumbling every night after dinner that "We could go get custard..." hoping that the boyfriend will get the hint and offer to go of his own volition.
Drinking my weight in tea in the local coffee shop on campus, trying to get work done.
Wishing I had a dog to keep me company.
At 12:15am on Tuesday morning, I saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince with the boyfriend, Dan, and Brian. I'm pretty sure that we were the oldest ones in the theater, which was a little depressing. Mostly though, it was just infuriating because there were a lot of teenagers whooping and hollering and clapping for seemingly no reason whatsoever. The boyfriend exclaimed that I am "so disdainful" of entitled teenagers. Then I got took out my dentures and threw them at him and beat him with my walker.
Anyway, Harry Potter was very entertaining, though I am not sure that I processed a lot of it, thanks to a lack of sleep and a very full bladder. I think it's odd when the filmmakers decide to cut out several things that I deem important and instead, replace them with scenes that weren't in the book in the first place. (Um...Christmas chase in the fields?)
This morning, I ran five miles. It was sunny by the time I got out, so I had a pretty hard time. In fact, I walked a little bit. (Bad!)
Mile 1 - 10:37
Mile 2 - 10:19
Mile 3 - 10:15
Mile 4 - 11:16 [I walked some. Boo.]
Mile 5 - 9:36
Okay, I just roasted some potatoes in the oven, and it's time to get them out. Er...bye.
I'll leave you with a picture of our not one, but two purebred dog banks.
On Saturday, Dan, Brian, the boyfriend, and I attempted to go to the local meeting of the Food Not Bombs movement. I'm all for not-bombs and for free vegetarian food. Unfortunately, we couldn't find the friendly vegetarians. Instead, we sat around:
And were sad:
As Dan said, "This was a fail." As Brian said, "Well, I guess bombs." Fortunately, Dan had a back-up plan: homemade green curry, oatmeal-craisin cookies, and card games!
Sunday was uneventful. I ran three miles. The boyfriend used the wok for the first time to make some kind of Vietnamese noodle dish. I'm so proud!
This morning, I ran twelve miles. The first six I ran by myself, and my hamstrings were tight. Here are my splits:
Mile 1 - 10:43
Mile 2 - 10:16
Mile 3 - 10:14
Mile 4 - 10:04
Mile 5 - 10:00
Mile 6 - 9:55
Then I went home and grabbed a water bottle and a Vanilla Bean Gu. I ran across the park.
0.21-mile nubbin - 2:07
And met up with Lena, who graciously agreed to run the second six miles with me, even though it was her birthday. My hamstrings finally stopped hating me, and chatting with Lena made the six miles go by much more easily than they would have all by my lonely.
At Mile 7, I took the Vanilla Bean Gu. I thought it was decent, though it kind of looked like I was sucking down yellow snot on the side of the road.
Here are our splits:
Mile 7 - 10:21
Mile 8 - 10:08
Mile 9 - 10:38
Mile 10 - 10:30
Mile 11 - 10:17
Mile 12 - 10:02
0.01-mile nubbin - 0:07
I'm glad I got through all 12 miles. I was really debating not doing my long run this week because I've had an acutely sore throat for the past two days. Oh well, I grew some cajones and got through it. Woohoo, I'm almost at the half-way distance. Woo. Hoo. Ooh. Oof.
After a meeting with a professor and a visit to Student Health for my sore throat and to get my ferritin levels checked, Lena and I went to a birthday lunch for some barbecue. (I heard it through the internet grapevine that Black Dog in Urbana serves up some decent B-B-Q.)
My beef brisket, German potato salad, and "pit" beans were delicious:
Lena got a pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries:
The fries were nice and crispy, which I like. Down with flaccid French fries!
After lunch, we treated our feet to pedicures, though we had to tell the ladies to leave our running callouses alone. Is that hardcore or just kind of gross?
I picked a color called "Bastille My Heart" or something like that, partially because it was a shiny red and partially because tomorrow is Bastille Day! (France's national holiday, comemorating when several over-zealous revolutionaries overtook a massive Parisian prison, only to find that it was mostly empty. That said, it did start the French Revolution...because that was such a raging success.)
The other night, the boyfriend and I took a rare trip to CocoMero, Champaign-Urbana's hip and over-priced tart frozen yogurt place. Since it opened in the spring, it has always been swarming with students, most of whom are of the Asian persuasion. I try to limit my visits because 1) I hate crowded places and 2) tart fro-yo with fruit is overpriced.
That said, having run 11 miles that morning, I felt that I deserved a little treat in the form of original frozen yogurt covered in mango, kiwi, and strawberry bits. Since we're on summer semester, I assumed that visiting CocoMero would be a pleasant, crowd-free experience during which I could enjoy my fro-yo in peace.
Um. No. Because this happened:
This was taken from the balcony on the second floor, where the boyfriend and I made a futile attempt to escape the child-induced madness that was sweeping the first floor like a tornado.
As I was getting my frozen yogurt (dispensed from little machines lining the walls), one of the boys was literally screaming and weaving in between all the other customers, saying, "Mom! Look at how much I got!" Imagine, if you will, a three-cup carton filled to the brim with sugary frozen yogurt and topped with candy, Oreo bits, and sugary fruit. What did his mom do? Roll her eyes and say incredulously, "You'll never be able to eat all that!"
For my part, I raised one eyebrow and stared at him, hoping to elicit some kind of reaction of shame and embarrassment for his irritating behavior. To this reaction, he impetuously replied, "What?"
Later, I saw him piling on even more candy and toppings while his mom looked the other way.
I snapped the above photo after the hoard of screaming, running children had descended for the third (or was it fiftieth?) time from the second floor to the first floor. The entire time, they were hopping from table to table, trying to enter the bathrooms and keep the others out, and playing hide-and-seek.
Notice in the photo that the three mothers are having some kind of ridiculous suburban pow-wow in the middle of the restaurant, oblivious to the fact that two of the boys are picking up a bar stool. The poor whipped dad (standing behind mommy pow-wow) was forced into chasing after the out-of-control brood while the wife-ys decided to eschew their duty to society, which is keeping their kids in line.
Please, people, be decent parents and contributing members to society. Just because you think your chubby, soccer shirt-wearing eight-year-old is the bees' knees doesn't mean that everyone else wants to see/hear/talk to him. I'll try not to blame your kids if they annoy me because it's not their fault that you are raising them to be irritating people. No promises though.
I don't know why I look like a deer in headlights:
Last week, the Web 2.0-savvy people at Pom Wonderful (Scary Flash intro on the website. Ack!) sent me a box of 100% Pom juice to sample. Here is my review, in bullet points for the ADD.
According to the fact sheets that I received, drinking Pom juice has a lot of health benefits, most of which are backed by small-scale scientific studies.
I don't know if I trust small-scale scientific studies.
According to one reliable source who drank a lot of Pom juice last summer for the antioxidant benefits (Runner Buddy Lena), consuming a lot of Pom Juice turns your pee a dark red color. ("It looked like I was peeing blood.")
One of the aforementioned health benefits is increased cardiovascular health, such as increased blood flow to the heart and a decrease of arterial plaque. I don't know where I stand in the cardiovascular health department, but those things sound like they can't hurt.
Other well-touted benefits of Pom Juice include a decreased risk of prostate cancer and an improvement in erectile function. I have neither a prostate, nor a penis, so this 1) does not affect me and 2) is not something I can measure.
Pomegranates and their juice are apparently chock-full of antioxidants. I like antioxidants, as long as they don't turn my pee red.
Based on this expensive, health-improving juice, I expected some pretty great results. In fact, I even saved the high-brow juice for a viewing of everyone's favorite high-brow Bravo! show, NYC Prep.
So far, I have found no evidence of increased cardiovascular, prostate, penile, psychosomatic, or general health. That said, I only drank half of one bottle, and I'm pretty sure that it takes awhile for the benefits to manifest themselves in my system.
It tastes really sweet and a little tart. The boyfriend says it tastes just like cranberry juice, which I think means that it tastes like cranberry juice cocktail.
The sweet taste comes with a price: 150 calories per 8-oz bottle. This is probably the biggest deterrent for me; I like to eat my calories, not drink them!
In conclusion, Pom juice, like many things, probably has plenty of health benefits and is pretty tasty. I'm going to finish my awesome case of free juice and jump at any future opportunities to drink more of it. Maybe once I'm not subsisting on a student budget anymore [i.e. when I'm fabulously wealthy and have bought my happiness with money], I'll drink Pom juice every day and tout its benefits to everyone who will listen. For now though, I think I'll stick with water. It's cheaper, both monetarily and calorie-wise.
This morning, Runner Jessica dragged my ass out on a tempo run. I was explicitly told that I was not allowed to wear my Garmin. First, I ran a one-mile warm-up, though I have no stats for it. Then Jessica showed up and beat my poor legs into submission.
Mile 1 - ?:??
Mile 2 - 9:04
Mile 3 - 8:36
Mile 4 - 8:44
Mile 5 - 8:41
Mile 6 - 8:51
Average pace for the last five miles : 8:47 min/mile
We ended up stopping three times: twice because I was whining about being eaten alive by lactic acid, and once because my shoe became untied. In any event, thanks to Runner Jessica for running slowly to help me achieve my tempo pace.
Given that I'm training for a marathon, I might skip all further Wednesday night speed workouts in favor of Wednesday morning tempo runs with Jessica, if she still agrees to put up with my whiny, only child attitude. ("We're stopping. I have to stop! I'm dying! My legs hurt! No, really, I hurt!") Man, who wouldn't want to run with me?
Finally, my friend Maria is at some kind of non-profit bootcamp in D.C. One of their projects is to get Spiderman elected for Mayor through online campaigning and voting. Please go here to vote on Friday, July 10th, 2009.
This morning, I headed out the door at 6am for a long run. I covered my typical five-mile loop by myself, and it wasn't terribly easy. I wasn't suffering, but I was worried about doing six more. Here are my splits:
Mile 1 - 10:30
Mile 2 - 10:20
Mile 3 - 9:55
Mile 4 - 9:52
Mile 5 - 9:48
When I got back to the apartment, I grabbed my water bottle and a "Chocolate Outrage" GU and headed across the park to meet Lena in front of her apartment. After a brief hamstring stretch, we headed off on a six-mile loop around campus.
Running and chatting with Lena took my mind off of slogging through the miles and worrying about my pace. Even though it was getting warmer and pretty sunny, we were able to cover the six miles with a pretty strong effort. In fact, most of the splits were under 10:00/mile pace, which almost never happens when we run together.
At Mile 7, I took the "Chocolate Outrage" GU. It was pretty much like chocolate cake batter--even slightly grainy. I forced it down with several swigs of water, and it was pretty bearable. (Though I don't plan on making a meal of GU flavors any time soon.) Afterwards, I felt a bit crampy when we started running again, but that went away pretty quickly. I can't say that the GU gave me any sort of power boost of energy, but I didn't die at the end of the run. My legs were pretty tired though...
Here are our splits:
Mile 6 - 9:56
Mile 7 - 9:43
Mile 8 - 9:44
Mile 9 - 9:51
Mile 10 - 10:05 [We wuz' taaard!]
Mile 11 - 10:19 [We wuz' taaard-er!]
0.22-mile nubbin - 2:10
I must say, the last time that we covered 11 miles, it was much easier. Perhaps because it wasn't the summer.
Pushing my long run from yesterday to today threw me off mentally. I was really worried about covering the distance, especially since last week was a cut-back week in the Hal Higdon program. (Admittedly, I am only loosely following Uncle Higgy's advice.) Fortunately, the combination of not-terrible weather, water and GU, and a tall, kick-ass running buddy helped me get through the miles. Hooray, I feel successful...until Sunday's long run.
Oh, and last night, we went to the postponed fireworks show. It lasted for thirty minutes, and because we live in Small Town, No-wheres-ville, we were able to sit closer to the pyrotechnics that usual. Consequently, the fireworks were big and loud.
And then we sat in traffic for forty-five minutes to get out of the parking lot. Nothing says "Happy 5th of July" like a traffic jam.