Saturday, May 30, 2009

Neck Note

Hmm. That's got a nice ring to it. "Neck note." LOL.

So I forgot to mention that amaziingly, Scary Trainer made sure that every workout I did did not strain the neck. Amazing how many painful exercises there are that avoid using the neck. Simply amazing.

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My Ankle is So Messed Up

I worked out with Scary Trainer today. We went back to strength and core. Knowing that my ankle got messed up at Sugarloaf, we worked on ankle stability - shoes off, one leg, the other leg.

Wow. My right leg, which is my weak leg, was stronger and more stable than my left leg. My left leg was wobbly and moving all over the place. I could feel my ankle aching and straining to balance.

But it was good. I need to use it. Whenever I went to PT in the past for an ankle sprain, they'd load me up for an hour.

So, icing and massaging later. We agreed we have to start using it more. So biking all next week. Can't wait!

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Day 4 of The Crick

Good grief! I have a crick in my neck. I woke up with it on Wednesday morning and it's still here.


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Friday, May 29, 2009

May 29, 2009

Today is the day that Elizabeth gained respect for Boyd Tinsley.
Live and on stage at Dave Matthews.

Even though he's not in Orchestra.

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DMB

I am standing in Left Field at Fenway Park.
OMG!!!!

Ok. So it'd be even more over the top if it was Yankee Stadium.

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What is it with this weather??

It's 55 degrees!
And it's not a warm southerly 55 degrees, either!

I had to get out my fleece socks this morning!

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bad as a way of life

Is it really bad when managing chaos becomes a way of life?
When all you do during the day is go to meetings, back to back, without
a break?
And if you have to heat up your lunch or go to the bathroom, you must be
late for your next meeting?
And then you have all the work that comes out of the meetings, all
piling up on your desk.
And you realize that you can't ever take a day off or you will fall into
the Great Abyss of Late Deliveries and Angry Bosses. Of which I have 4
or 5 now. Because if you are late then they are late. It's like shit
flowing up hill for a change. Ya know?

Yeah. I think it's really bad.
Just wanted to make sure I wasn't delusional.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Exhausting and Satisfying

Ok. So let me wonder for a moment about how taxing and exhausting spending the day with a 10 year old boy can be.

We took Luke (Joseph's nephew) for the day yesterday and it became quite clear that the day's theme was "The Search for Shoes." Nike Shox, to be exact.

We picked him up in the morning.
Then we were off to Home Depot for gardening supplies since Niketown was not opening until 10. Then from there, back home to dump the stuff off.
Off to Niketown in Boston. Walked around, saw the different rooms, went to the shoes and ... nothing. Sigh... They have the Shox but not in his size.

Then off to Santarpio's for The Best Pizza in New England. He ordered so many toppings that you couldn't hold the slice up. You had to SLIDE it onto your plate.

Then back to Boston to go to surprise.
Luke: Where we going?

Uncle Joe: Hmmmm....

Luke: Aunt Julia, where we going?

Me: Don't know Luke. Your uncle is driving
.

[pause pause pause]

Luke: Do they sell shoes?

Uncle Joe: Nope.

Luke: Do they sell clothes? I hope we aren't going to a clothes store
.

So we arrive at Fenway and into the Boston Red Sox Team Sports Store.
Luke: WOW!

Uncle Joe: Well, look at all those clothes! I guess we should leave.

Luke: These clothes are good!
So, Luke picks a Jason Bay jersey and selected a hat. Then off to Johnny Cupcakes. Didn't open until 3 - some big event with a long time - no idea why. Then we go to the Pru to Olympia Sports. They have the Shox. Yeah! Oh. They do not have them in his size. They have the pinks ones and the purple ones. Uh... well, that is not going to work. Bummer.

Then back to Newbury Street to the Life is Good Store. We pick out a couple of T-shirts - one for him and one for his sister. And then to the Boston Bean Store (my favorite) and Luke helps me pick out beans to add to my collection and selects a bean for his sister.

Then what? Well, I was absolutely exhausted. Non-stop question and answer to occupy our time, in and out of the car, walking around. Good Grief!! We headed back home for a rest.

Then it's time to go back to his house where we will have dinner with the family.
Luke: Can we go on a whale watch?

Me: What?

Luke: Can we go on a whale watch so I can see some whales?

Me: No. You should have said something this morning. Whales are napping now.
We pile into the car.
Luke: Is there a Dick's here? (As in Dick's Sporting Goods.)

Uncle Joe: [thinks for a minute] No. I don't think we have one near us.

Luke: Can we go to the mall?

Uncle Joe: What mall?

Luke: There's a mall around my house.

Uncle Joe: Really.

Luke: There's a Dick's there.

Uncle Joe: Where is the mall?

Luke: [thinks for a minute] I don't know.

Uncle Joe: Well, it's hard to get to if you don't know where it is.
So, we have an uneventful trip to the mall with a very disappointed little boy in the back - until he realizes that we are going to THE MALL! With DICK'S SPORTING GOODS in the MALL! Turns out Joseph figured out where it was because he comes down for business in the area once in a while.

We had to the back of the store.
And they have the Shox.
And they have them - IN HIS SIZE!!!
Happiness and excitement is restored once more.

The singular focus of a 10 year old boy.
Amazing.
And even more amazing... I survived it all.

Of course I slept for 10 hours.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ankle Update

Nothing new to report.
It still hurts.
The swelling is down but the pain is still there.
I went to the massage therapist yesterday and he said my hamstrings, calves and achilles are shot. Basically they have the kinda lumpiness that he feels in the muscles of the high level athletes. I just laughed.

So I think that time off from running is in order.
Time to use the biking muscles!!

Ok. I should qualify that.
It is time to give the running muscles a little but of rest. That is NOT to say that I will NOT run. That is to say that I will run LESS. Which is probably in the range of about 20-25 miles per week - as opposed to the about 40-45 miles per week that I haven been doing.

I might also get into the pool.
I hope I do not drown.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Fishing

I'm thinking of getting a fishing license.
After that, I might get a fishing pole.
Not sure.
Less sure about the fishing pole.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Calling it a night

Try as I might, I can't stay awake for Hunny Bunny to get home. I am calling it a night. G'night!


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Tuesday Night Track

I've signed up.
Someone shoot me.


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When is a streak a streak?

So, does it count if you break a streak because you are sidelined by an injury as opposed to an excuse?

My ankle is stil swollen. Not as bad as yesterday. So I didn't run yesterday and I didn't run this morning. I am lounging around like a big two-tied sloth. Do you know how fast they move? Yah. They don't. And that's how I feel.

Depending on how it feels and looks tomorrow, I might also have to take tomorrow off. I think that SOMEONE is trying to tell me that I might need to take a break and found a way to make me take one, even if I politely disagree. But given a contest between me and God, I would say you could bet on the winner every single time. Yup. Yup yup yup.

And given the situation, I am not going to lose any more sleep over it. And I am going to say that injury, death, birth, and of course, not being anywhere near land is reason to excuse breaking the streak. So it's not really breaking the streak. It's just sort of a... um... hiatus. Which is different.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Random Thought: My ankle

Wow. It's really swollen.
Like I sprained it.
REALLY SWOLLEN.

No wonder I can't walk.





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Another Marathon, Another State

May 17th, Sugarload Marathon, Maine.

So, how I would I sum up the event? The most memorable part was that Joseph bugged the crap outta me. How's that for a summary? First on his bike. I had to finally tell him to "shut up" when it was plain that he was going to keep riding up and down the course by me shouting out my name and encouragement. GAH! Talk about breaking my concentration!

Then he came to run me in. I almost killed him. I yelled at him and told him to go away. And said he was bugging me and that I couldn't run. His footsteps were so loud, it kept breaking my focus and concentration. And let me tell you, at 24 miles in the marathon, you need a lot of focus and concentration. But he refused to leave, just told me to keep running. I was so annoyed.

In the end, I shaved 13 minutes off my Boston time. Fastest time in 7 years. My PR and my second fastest time were both set in the same year. Along with my half marathon PR. That was SEVEN YEARS AGO.

Pre-race
We drove up Saturday morning after my 1 mile run - lest I break my streak of working out every day. It was around 4 hours. We stopped at a place in Belgrade called the Sunset Grill for lunch. It was definitely a local place. All the license plates on the cars in the parking lot were from Maine.

We got to the hotel at Sugarloaf and checked in. Before we went up to the room, we got my race packet and then we drove the up to the start and back down the hotel which is at around Mile 11 of the marathon. We knew what the end of the course looked like since we drove in on it. After checking out the race course, we basically vegged out all afternoon. We had dinner at the Black Diamond, the hotel restaurant. I had my usual steak and potatoes with red wine pre-race meal. It was a very nice meal and the wine was delicious. It was a 1998 Bordeaux.

Race Day
The buses left the hotel at 5:45am. 5:45 AYY EMM!! Jeez. Thank goodness I had support crew with me. Joseph drove me up to the start at 6:15 and we got there about 6:40. I got into the porta potty line and then it was time to head to the start.

This race has a small one. About 200 people. Along with it was a 15k that started AFTER the marathon ended or something like that. It was a straight shot down Carrabassett Valley from right after Stratton, past Sugarloaf mountain, into the town of Kingfield where it ended at some lumber or construction yard. The start was literally a line on the ground that had been drawn in chalk. And without much of anything, a gun went off and you were off. It took me about 3 seconds to cross the start from the middle of the pack. And the back had crossed about 3 seconds after me.

The day was gray and drizzly, which ended up stopping and raining a bit harder until it finally stopped and started warming up. It was a soft rain. I was so glad I had on my Craft jacket that I had gotten at the Boston Marathon expo. It is awesome. It kept the rain out enough to keep me from getting drenched. And then it dried. When the tail wind hit me in the back, it came through the vents and cooled me off. It did exactly what it advertised, which is very rare in the world of technical clothing. I love my jacket! Anyway...

The course was interesting. The first 6-7 miles are gentle ups and downs on a descent. Then you hit the hills between 7 and 10 to hit the peak of 1600 ft. At mile 9 there is one big hill and at mile 10 you had this almost 6% grade down. OMG! I let my legs go. I controlled my speed by leaning forward or back but didn't use my legs to brake. I knew if I used my legs, they would be toast on the other side of the hill. I came off that downhill like a bat out of hell. And I kept going for the next half mile. I couldn't stop. I had no choice. Of course, that was my fastest mile.

After mile 11, it was rolling for a few miles and then it was gentle descent the whole way to the finish. There was one minor hill toward the end but any kind of incline at the end of a marathon is not a minor hill.

The camber was awful and toward the end I thought the inside of my left ankle was gonna have a stress fracture from it. I had been doing a pretty good job of keeping to the middle of the lane until there was more traffic. So I stayed on the shoulder. At about mile 12, I could REALLY feel my left ankle and I knew I was going to be pay for this.

I ran on the edge of the edge. I told myself early in that I was going to hit "comfortable" and try to stay there, even if it meant hanging on when "comfortable" became "hard" and then "painful." And that's what I did. I know that if Joseph hadn't come to see me at Mile 24, I would have slowed down. The minute I saw him, I KNEW that there would be pain the rest of the way.

The only thing that hurts today are the inside of my left ankle and my thighs. My feet hurt like crazy yesterday but feet have incredible recovery power. They are bit stiff but the pain is gone. But my ankle was slightly swollen this morning and now, hours later, it's more swollen. I've been icing it all day.

Toward the end of the race, the sun started fighting it's way out from behind the clouds. And there was a nice tailwind the entire course. Every once in a while it was a stiff wind and I had to brace myself and lean back into it or it would have knocked me on my face.

I wore my Zoots. They are tri shoes. Very light. They have holes in the soles to let the water out. Well they got wet in the rain. But they didn't hold the moisture so they never got heavy. And then they dried when the roads dried out. It was wild. I wore Desoto biking socks. I was worried that they were too thin but nothing else fits into the snug fit of the Zoots. Well, they got wet when the shoes got wet and because they are thin, they never got heavy. Also, when the Zoots dried out, so did they. Perfect socks! I love these shoes. I never thought I would be able to wear shoes that were this light and thin. These are the closest things to racing flats I've ever had. Of course, Joseph then told me, "uh... they ARE racing flats." Which freaked me out. I don't know WHY he does that to me. PFFFT!

The race was awesome. No bullshit. No expo. You got your packet and if you wanted the early start, you signed your name on a notebook sheet. No chip. The start was a line on the ground. Water stops about every 2 miles. The volunteers were great. The cops drove up and down controlling traffic and making sure we were safe. This was definitely a runner's race. No TNT'ers, no nuthin' other than the river on the left and houses, woods, or mountains on the right.

It reminded me of the description of St. George that my good friend Cher gave - which I got into, by the way, and where I have a place to stay if I want to do it but I'm not sure I'm gonna do it. I wonder what the camber of the roads at St. George are like.

Anyway, I think I can do better if I wanted to run another marathon. Which I don't. Ahem.

This summer I am going to concentrate on strength and speed. Back to the weights and speedwork during the week. I am thinking of doing speedwork with Joseph's Tri club on Wednesdays. And I also want to drop a few more pounds and see how close I can get to beating my PR. That is if I ever decide to run another marathon, which I probably won't.


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Friday, May 15, 2009

TGIF!

I slept in this morning in a guest room (didn't want to wake up Joseph at 2am) and shut the door. Which meant a good deep sleep without Boris Baby and the Dingle Doggie waking me up at 3, 4, and 5am consectuively.

I am also working from home. Rolled out of bed and have been on my butt in front of the laptop. At some point I have to go out and run and now I am thinking that I should have done it earlier because the temperature gauge says it's 84.9* out. WHAT???

So this morning, I am down a lot of weight. It's not like I have been workiug out that hard. But then, I didn't eat as much yesterday either because I was on the road.

I had my normal breakfast.
Then at the airport I knew I would be hungry fast if I didn't get some fat into my system so I had a SMALL bag of tator tots.
Then a Larabar.

For lunch, I went to a local wrap place - ended up eating the insides and left the toritilla out. It had beef and veggies in it. That's it.

At the meeting I had a TINY SLIVER of choc cream torte. My slivers are pretty small, if you know me. And TONS OF COFFEE.

At the event, I had about 10 pieces of sushi and a glass of wine. That's it.

On the flight around midnight I had a promax bar - about 20 g of protein and 280 calories. I loved it. I am getting more of it.

That and a whole lot of walking around (being in NYC), staying up, stressing out, etc., all burned calories.

I need to take a small lesson from the type of eating I did. 5 small meals all day long. Wow.

Maybe I should travel to NYC more...

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Freekin Cluster!!!

Flight is delayed. 10::05 became 10:45 became 11:00 became 11:15 becane 11:45. Now it looks like we are leaving at 12:15 AYY EMM!!!

Which means that now I am landing at 1:15 AYY EMM!

ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hate business travel!!!!!!!!!


People better haul their butts into the planefast.

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There's always one

We are now at the Q&A section.
Why is it there's always one person that always drags the meeting out when everyone else is waiting to get out to eat and drink. For free???

And this one has a thick accent. And I can't for the life of me understand what the hell he is saying!

I am SO glad I'm not the one who has to answer his questions.

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OMG!

This is so boring!
I'm falling asleep!!

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Must be a uniform

So, I'm looking around and I notice a sprinkling of women. They're all wearing dark (mostly black) suits with pointy-toed mid-height heeled pumps.

I thought about it when I dressed this morning.
But I decided to be comfortable instead.

I will say that I, too, am wearing a black suit.

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NYSE

I'm in NYC.

I took a flight to JFK then switched to the Airtrain which took me to Jamaica Station where I switched to the LIRR to get to Penn Station. From there I took a cab to Wall Street. The process would have been faster if I didn't spend 15 minutes trying to figure out what tickets I needed for the trains! They never make it easy for you.

So a whole afternoon of meetings and now we're all at the Exchange. I wasn't going to come for this portion since it meant I wouldn't get home until after midnight. But I knew Joseph would give me crap for a long time. So here I am.

Security is intense. Outdoor security. Your name's gotta be on a list. Check the bags, photo ID, then inside to more security. Check photo ID (again) put your stuff on a security scanner, then you walk through a scanner. Then down to the left, two steps, into a holding area. Then they come get you. You go through a narrow short hall, take a right, and then take the elevator up to something like the 7th or 8th floor.

Then another check point, names on a list, name tags, etc. And into an auditorium. And here I sit. Waiting for a launch of a vendor product. And I get a free book out of it. About something I have no idea about.

Rumor is that aftee, we go to the floor of the exchange, rub elbows with some traders, see their work spaces, maybe ring the bell (try it out) and then eat and drink. For free. That last part is important, of course.

I'm scheduled on the 10pm flight. I'll leave about 7:30. This doesn't end until 8:30 but I am not staying until the end! That timing might me a little early for the flight since I already have my train tickets. I might take the subway instead of taking a cab though. That way I don't have to hail a cab and talk to the driver.

I have a while to start.

Oops. Program's starting. Ho hum...

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Cab is late!

I am heading to the airport and the cab is late!
Late late late!!!

I hate that!!!!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

One of those days

Ever have one of those days when you just didn't feel like it? This morning was one of those day. I just needed to run 2 miles. 2 lousy measly easy short miles. I went out and decided 1 mile was good enough today. And that's what I did. 1 mile and called it a day.

I am a little tired and it was a lot of effort. Yesterday was so easy. Today? I had nothing.

But, my daily workout streak is still going strong.


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Monday, May 11, 2009

The Difference

Between training and working out. My Hunny Bunny posted this question to a running club we belong to. So I had to really think about this one. I mean, really think about it and put it all out there. Can't fake it or make it something that's it's not.

Do I train or do I work out?

Wow.

I never thought I would train.
I only worked out.
I missed days.
I made excuses.
I was on again and off again - 2 weeks on and 50 weeks off.
I gave in when it hurt. And when it hurt, I knew I would die.
It was excuse after excuse.
And thinking I'd never be good enough.
Good enough compared to you, compared to him, compared to her, compared to whoever I could find that would prove that I wasn't good enough.

Until, one day, I said "enough."
And I decided to shape what was "good enough."
Now I train.
I train to reach that place that others find so naturally when they train.
I am almost there.
That natural state.
Fearless.
Knowing it will hurt and welcoming the pain.
Knowing that from the ashes, the Phoenix rises anew.
I want to be that Phoenix, reaching and striving.
I am almost there.

So, I am practicing my training.
Training to be in training.
And then one day, I will know that I have arrived.
Don't know how.
But I will.
It's a mental state.

I want to "Be Epic."
But for now, I am trying to qualify for the mental game.

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2009 Book Review #2: Wild Swans

Ok. Let me just say this. After reading this book am so glad that I wasn't born a Chinese female in the past, oh... 200 years. Okay. It couldn't have been better 201 years ago. So, I'm amending that to say that I am soooo glad I wasn't born Chinese. Period.

What a life. It was so hard for a female. Anyway, this is a great book. It' s pretty long and can appear to be a bit daunting. But the minute I started, I couldn't put it down. Interwoven into the story of three generations of women, is the history of China. Sweeping and epic. You get an understanding of the Communist takeover, the players, the powerbrokers, and the truly schizophrenic, psychotic rulers that ran amok, ruining lives and stopping progress.

I would recommend Wild Swans to anyone who is interested in history and for those who just want an good, involving story. I am amazed at what they went through, their ingenuity and their resilience. Without them, China would not have survived. Through all their suffering, which no one can truly understand, the repression and oppression of a patriarchal society and the whims of a government led by a series of madmen, and madwomen. When I see a Chinese woman, I will see in her face the history of her ancestors and how they survived so that she may survive today. Embodied in them is the suffering of history. I salute the women of China.


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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bread for Everyone

Good grief. I am making bread for my admins. I missed Admin Day because I was away working in Texas that week. So I am making them bread. I also have to make bread for my friend Lilly and her two adorable girls. And then my friend Ken who LOVES bread.

Anyay, I have a couple of friends on Facebook from high school and THEY want bread. So far, I have one address. Now I a waiting for the other one to send me their address. Of course my Good Friend Cher has been grousing about not getting any bread so of course she's on the list too.

So now, I have to figure out how to ship bread. Hmmm... so if you can ship cookies, you can ship bread, right? RIGHT???


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The Great Shrinking Year

When you plan ahead for the rest of the year, the year sort of shrinks. Joseph and I were talking about my training after the marathon this coming weekend. And how I might run Reach the Beach this year in addition to the usual driving I do - especially if you consider that if all goes well, I should be in the best running shape I've ever been in. On top of that I plan on running 5 marathons in 5 months beginning in August. And how I would like to get to 50+ mile weeks - at peak to start with and then inching up so that 45-50,52 is the usual mileage. Anyway....

So, he is going to do the training plan for me and we talked about how we would take the 2-4 weeks real easy - like no real plan but what I feel like. 2 to 4 miles one day or 6 yo 8 another day, or maybe 30 minutes for a couple days in a row because that's how my body feels. Then the next two months he will concentrate on some other things.

That's when I realized it. Here we are, barely mid-May, and I am already living ahead in August. The incredible shrinking year. Hmmmm....

Anyway, I need to drop about 10 pounds. I know that my body will gain back five, then hold steady. That's how my body does things. Lose ten, gain five, hold. Lose ten, gain five, hold. I've been like that forever. So, I am digging out the diet that Scary Trainer gave me when I first started with him. And since I weight less, I'll take the caloric total down by 100 a day and see what happens. I plan on starting this durig recovery next week, which is the right time since I will be running a whole lot less and will need to be careful how much I eat.

I ran in the zoots today. 10 miles. Felt great except my socks were too thick and my toes went a little numb. But overall, from a total mileage perspective, the shoes were great. I had the fastest 10 miler I've had in a long time. But just in case, I plan on packing the other fast shoes, too.

I am praying for a good day. Overcast with a tail wind. Just temperate enough to avoid having to wear a lot of clothes. You take what the day gives you but I've got to hit Jackpot once. At least once.

Tomorrow morning taper starts. 2 miles easy in my slow slog shoes.


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2009 Restaurant Review #5: Uncle Julio's

So, when I was in Texas for work the week after the marathon, we went to a place called Uncle Julio's. It's in a strip mall on the side of the highway. First of all, there are a lot of restaurants in strip malls on the side of the highway in Texas so you tend to get blinded to the fact that they are there. And being from New England where (at least in the area where we live) there are very little strip malls, it's hard to think that anything in a strip mall can be any good at all.

Well, what little gems those strip malls can hold in Southlake, Texas! Who knew? Uncle Julio's is HUGE. And in true Texan style, the portions are huge. The only thing I found out of whack was that the margarita I ordered was NOT huge. Ahem.

We started out with home made tamales. Good grief, they were good!!! I liked the plain ones best - although I did try the pork and the chicken ones. The chips and salsa was also very good - no spicy enough for me, though.

Uncle Julio's is known for their fajitas. Well... who knew that the fajita was less about the onions and pepper swimming in oil than it is about the flavorings of the meat rub used on te deliciously tender flank steak. Mine came with a half rack of ribs. It was a lot of food. It was a shame I was staying at a hotel and couldn't take a doggie bag with me.

Leaving the parking lot, I noticed a giant arrow with "Uncle Julio's" in purple and yellow, all lit up with hundreds of light bulbs. And I missed this from the highway? Wow. I am definitely going to gives strip mall restaurants a second look, that is for sure.

Anyway, now that work is further out from Dallas than before, it is good to know there are still good and reasonable places to eat. Uncle Julio's has made my list of regular places while I'm in Texas.


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2009 Restaurant Review #4: Snuffers

So, in April, the day after the marathon, I flew to Dallas for work. I never saw so many marathon jackets at the airport before. But then, I've never been at the airport the airport the day after the marathon either.

I stayed at the brand new Hilton in Southlake. It's really nice. It's in the middle of a shopping/residential area called Town Center or something. Anyway, talk about convenient. I walk 3 minutes out of the hotel to Snuffers for dinner. Cheap fast burger place.

I got a salad (huge) and a burger (huge) and had a beer (Shiner Bock). It was really good. I might go back. And I like this hotel.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

2009 New Restaurant #3: Orinoco

Do you know what Orinoco means?
I have no idea.
Might mean nothing.
Might mean something.
Who knows?
We went there about a month ago and all I know is it's Venezuelan food, and thias place serves food that is wheat free, and delicious. Our friend Jacqui turned us onto this place when she and Joseph went there for dinner one night.

We had the trio of Empanadas - chicken, fish, and Black bean with some Venezuelan cheese. It came with a fabulous cilantro dipping sauce.

We also split the beet salad with greens. Since I do not eat goat cheese, we left that off. It has julienne slices of granny smith apples in a vinaigrette that was delicious.

I ended up with a whole red snapper that had been cross cut and then deep fried without a coating. It was crispy and delicious! The meat was juicy and tender and the taste was "clean" - no greasy oily fried taste!

It came with tostones - fried plantain cakes. I was wondering how you make them when I noticed a recipe for it in this issue of Food and Wine magazine. Go figure! It's a great replacement for rice, potatoes and bread. And what pain to make! You have to deep fry the initial raw plantain after you've cut them. Then you mash them and make round shapes with them. And then you pan fry them or bake them again.

There were so many interesting things on the menu. We're definitely going back as many times as it takes to get through that menu. The owner came by and asked us how we liked it. We gave him a rave review. And the service was excellent. We had a bottle of wine and it was bad. There wasn't a question about sending it back. We ended up with a good bottle to wash down our wonderful meal.

We are definitely going back.
I am thinking that Brookline Village has some gems of a restaurant.
I've got to get to that Tibetan place one of these days!

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2009 New Restaurant #2: Sichuan Garden

My friend Lilly told me about this place in Brookline Village that supposedly had "authentic" Sichuan food. She had to tell me twice before Joseph and I actually went.

So, let me just say that Sichuan Garden is one of the best Chinese restaurants I've been to in recent memory. They have a huge Chinese clientele and the food is delicious.

Sichuan food is typically highly flavored and pretty spicy. And Sichuan Garden had both but the spiciness was still not hot enough for me. But it was full of flavor and "clean".

Clean food is food that I define as not high in oil or fat, good tender cuts of meat, and vibrantly green fresh vegetables.

The portion sizes are also reasonable. This is not a place that hides the lack of quality buy giving you an overabundant amount of quantity.

The wait staff is professional and courteous. Service is good. It's not like they are snap-to-it-quick and when they are busy, they are on the slower side of good, but it's okay. Ad they're not on top of you every second but if it's not too busy, they are attentive. We did go on a night where we had to wait for a table and they weren't quite as attentive. The order taking was a bit slow but understandable especially if you consider that most Chinese restaurants are notoriously understaffed during rush hour. But after the order was taken and the first food order came out, everything was served hot and very promptly.

This is my new favorite sit-down Chinese restaurant.

Next time, I'm ordering a whole Dumpling with Spicy Ginger and Chile Sauce appetizer for myself.

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There's Always a Line at Zaftig's

And I don't get it.

The food is good but it's not that good.
Certainly not good enough to have about 50 people blocking the sidewalk waiting for a table. And it's gonna be like this all summer.

Hell, it's even like this all winter!

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How to Go From Fast to Slow in One Day

Switch shoes.

Wear your heavy trainers.
The ones you thought were great when you first got them.
Yup.

Today I went for an easy 4 mile recovery run. And to make sure I ran slowly, I wore my Karhu's. Yup. They were slow alright. To the tune of a minute to a minute and a half.

Yup.
And they were HEAVY.
And they made me run in a forward position - not as comfy as the upright position.
By mile 3, my legs were really tired.

I'm wondering if, in the end, this was really a recovery run at all, I had to work so hard. Sheesh.

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New Blogger - Jenn from Georgia

Jenn from Georgia visited me the other day. So, I went and visited her. And she's a new blogger. And kind of a new runner. So go out and visit her and give a little encouragement if you get a chance!


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Friday, May 08, 2009

Note to Self: Zooting Along

Never wear Zoots when you are supposed to go out for a slow recovery run. Because they will make you run much faster than you've run in a long time. And especially if there is a short, fat woman riding up your butt forcing you into a tempo run. Uphill.

I think tomorrow I will need to wear my slow shoes.


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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ups and Downs

It seems that now that I am THIS close to the marathon, the ups and downs are bigger. Or maybe they're just more noticeable. Or maybe I'm just that much more nervous about this one. I think I can run better, run faster... But can I really? This is a test. There is no reason for me to believe that I'll succeed. Yes, I've trained better than ever before and physically, I am stronger than ever before. But my weight isn't that low and I haven't done any speedwork.

So, why should I feel like I can do better than Boston?
Cause I feel it. In my gut.
Sigh... now watch... the best I can do is the best that I have done...

I went for a 6 mile run this morning and I felt great. I wore my Zoots. They make me fast. And today was no exception. I'm putting in my fastest mile going UPHILL into a HEADWIND! What is going on? My Zoots. They zoot zoot zoot me along. And I love it.

The ankle hitch seems to be resolving itself. And my right hip flexor/TFL seems to be holding its own. But after an especially fast mile, I felt my hamstring insert and my glute medius. That's to be expected, I suppose.

All in all a good run. I think it's what I needed. My atttitude after all that's happened hasn't been the best. And as Scary trainer told me the other night, mental is 50%.

Based on this morning, I think it's gonna be a good marathon.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hip flexors

I swear the gods and planets are intent on screwing up my marathon. Right now, I am having some issues with my right hip flexors. SCary Trainer is actually listening to me and we are working core and upper body in preparation for the marathon. But last night, we did some isometric things and now my hip flexors are tight. .

ARG!!!!
PISSS!!!!

Today I took it easy and went for a small walk in the middle of the day and did some quick stretches here and there.

This is a real PIA.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

No Sprain... Tight Soleus

Last night I told Scary Trainer I thought I had a sprain. Of course he started in on "sigh...runners...all that running..."

Needless to say, considering he doesn't understand running at all and how they train and recover, I was NOT amused. I said that it wasn't the running. And he said all that running is not good for you. ARG!!! I said that's because people run to the exclusion of everything else! I mean, HOW do you explain the fact that in the first QUARTER of this year, I've run about as much as I usually run in prior years? And I am still running strong. It's because I am LIFTING in addition to RUNNING! Before I did that, I was on the injured list every single year. So, it's not the running. It's the fact that you pound over over-pound on an unstable base. And of course there are structural malformations, too. Like if you have bad knees in the family, you will get bad knees. It's not the running. It might hurry it along but the running is NOT the cause of it.

So he goes on and on and on, and I finally got sick of it and said, "enough about the running. You don't understand or like running or cycling so I don't want to hear it. Lots of people don't like lifting either." And that was that.

Anyway, at that point, he concentrated on my ankle and thought it was a tight soleus and not a sprain. Hmmm... So I went home after the workout and use The Stick on it and then Joseph worked on the soleous a bit, and it HURT LIKE A MUTHA!

And this morning, I could see feel the "hitch" in my ankle, but went out for a run and ended up having the best run in a long time! I wore my Zoots. They are light and fast. And they make me fast. They shave off about 30-45 seconds a mile. Running uphill, even! I ended up running 3.2 miles.

I am so glad that it's not an ankle sprain.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Sprained ankle?...?????

I think I did it again.
Sprained my ankle.
My left ankle has been bothering me since Saturday when I went out for my 4 miler. Nothing happened. I stopped at a red light and started up again and that's when I felt it. A slight twinge to the front side of my right ankle. Nothing hurts but there is something definitely going on there.

This happened once before when we were in South Carolina visiting my brother last year. That time, it was my right ankle. And after careful examination, my brother looked up and declared that I had a very slight sprain. And that is exactly what happened this time. I think.

At first I thought was a tight muscle. And then about 5 minute ago, I had an AHAH moment. It sucks. But at least I know what it is. It doesn't make it suck any less though.

Time to leave for Scary Trainer. After all that's happened with the lifting and my recovery from the marathon being set back for a week, he's gonna love this one.

Sigh...

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Feeling Better

Today, I went out for a 4.5 mile run. It felt good. It felt like it did last week when I ran before the weight lifting debacle earlier this week. My adductors were feeling it but was not so bad. And my hamstrings were tired but no pain. My glutes were working but didn't feet anything bad. The key is to keep the momentum going, keep recovering and move forward.

So next week, I am going back into the gym. I think that Scary Trainer really thought I was joking around and being a drama queen until I sent him a series of emails. And people on Facebook were like, "Uh... what the hel were you thinking??" I think at that point he took it really seriously because he canceled Friday's sessions.

So next week, I am putting my foot down. Stay away from my freekin' legs, man! I want to do just core and upper body. No squats, lunges, anything that puts ANY kind of concentrated stress on the legs. I am NOT going to go backwards again. If he doesn't listen, the I will force it by not going back for a full 3-4 weeks after running a marathon. But I think he will. He's not a runner so he can be stubborn. He thinks runners and cyclists are nuts and thinks it's bad for us. Ok. Maybe not to that extreme but he definitely doesn't get it.

I will say that he is an excellent trainer for what he does. The problem is that very few people lift weights to lift weights. It's because they are injured or need to get stronger, and usually after a bad situation occurs. But no one I know really spends all that time in the gym after a certain point. He needs to realize how he can help runners. How he helped me. If it hadn't been for him, his methods, etc., I don't think I'd be training with him still. And I don't think that I'd be running this strong. Or be able to say that I've done some sort of exercise every single day since Dec 29th of last year. If he realized how he can help instead of compartmentalizing everything, he has a huge market out there of runners and cyclist he can tap into. I've been talking to him about this.

So, this is not to say that one week of reversion and pain was his fault. It's not. It's MY Fault. It's my fault for being lulled into the belief that I can withstand anything even when common wisdom and science said that recovery after a marathon takes 3-4 weeks of EASY running. And that does NOT include heavy weights in the form of squats, lunges, and cleans.

So live and learn. It was a very hard lesson.


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