Monday, October 26, 2009

4 Weeks

I have just under four weeks until my first marathon. I picked the Philadelphia Marathon for a few reasons. It is near the place I was born, and I still have some family in the area. I also picked it because it is very late in the fall marathon season. I liked having additional time to train and prepare, but soon I will just have to do it.

It has been over a week since my longest training run ever. I made it 25.5 miles, and it was a painful and ugly run. I was worn out after 15 miles that day. I really wanted to just go home after the 15 and call it a day. My friend and former group leader encouraged me to go on anyway. She said we could go as slow as I needed. While I was not happy with her at the time, I am glad I did it. I was able to prove that I can go the distance, and make it within the time limit. We finished our training run in about 6 hours, 40 minutes. I know that I will be able to finish 26.2 within 7 hours even if I have to walk the last 3/4 mile. It is a good thing to know.

I hope that my training run was an unusual day. I hope I feel strong on marathon day. I have decided that I am not going to try to predict my time, or be disappointed if I don't make a certain time. Running in a marathon is a huge achievement in and of itself, so I don't need any extra pressure. The only thing I will not do is fail, so really, I can't lose.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Birthday Freebies!

It's my birthday month, so a whole slew of birthday freebies have been heading my way. Last night, Bill and I had a date night where we went to a brewpub called the Carolina Brewery. They had sent me a coupon for a free dinner valued at $9.95 or less. We had planned this outing for a week only to find out that there was a football game in Chapel Hill the same night. It was the first Thursday night game in UNC history (it figures, right?) and the location we wanted to go to is in downtown Chapel Hill. Luckily, there are two locations for the Carolina Brewery. So, we headed out to Pittsboro instead.

We had a great dinner and enjoyed a few of the beers brewed right there at the brewery. It was a fun outing, and we saved $9.95. Unfortunately, we did have to drive about 20 miles each way to get there, so what were the real savings? Oh well, I had fun anyway.

Now I need to find time to use these coupons:

Red Robin - free burger
Firebirds - $10 off next meal
Cold Stone Creamery-Free Like it Creation
Flying Saucer - Free pint of beer of my choice
Nine West - 25% off any purchase
Express - $15 gift coupon
Ann Taylor Loft - $15 gift coupon
Macy's - $10 off a $30 purchase

Glad I have my actual birthday off - looks like I have a lot to do!

Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm a Ramblin' Rose

Last Sunday, I participated in my second Ramblin' Rose triathlon. The Ramblin' Rose series is a triathlon celebrating the empowerment of women. I did last year's event as my first triathlon ever, and it was nice to have this year's event as my final tri of the season.

The morning started early with my fantastic crew chief, hubby Bill, and I heading over to the race site. The worst part of a triathlon is that you have to get there early to set up your transition area before the race starts, then you have to stand around waiting for your individual race to start. We arrived around 7:20am, and I had to wait until about 9:30 for my swim time. Luckily, it was not nearly as cold as it was last year, and there were more vendors around as well. I got to see the first several finishers cross the line before I even headed to the pool.

My swim was pretty good. I got very lucky and had a young girl behind me. With only 10 seconds between swimmer, it is very easy to get caught up to the person in front of you. I had no problems whatsoever. I felt like I had a great swim up until I was ready to get out of the pool. Then, racer 464 was standing in my way. It was clear she was a first timer, so I resisted the urge to yell "Move your ass, 464!" at her. I finished by swim in 6:30 which was pretty consistent with my 250m swims this year.

My T1 time was a little slow (again, 464 stood in my way when I was ready to get out of the bike rack area) at 2:43, but I was soon off on the ride. I was just behind 470 (my number was 471) heading up the first big hill. My goal was to keep up with her, but she was a bit too speedy. I wound up trading places about 4 times with 469 on the bike. It was cold (being wet did not help), but I had a good ride. I bested my time on the same course that I did the UNC Wellness sprint in August. I finished the 9 mile bike in 36:30, which was 169 overall. It was much faster than my 332 place finish in the swim.

Racer 464 was nowhere to be found when I returned to the transition area (thank goodness). I re racked my bike and changed shoes to head out for the run. After a 2:30 transition, I was on my way. I was determined to run the best I could for the 2 mile course. My legs were definitely tired after the bike (must do brick workouts next year), but I kept moving. I got some encouragement from my yoga teacher who was cheering on the course. I managed to keep a slow run for the entire two miles with the one exception of a short uphill after the turnaround. I did feel like I finished strong coming in at 23:17 for the running section of the race. My time for a mile on fresh legs at the beginning of the season was 11 minutes, so I was very happy with my run.

At the finish, I got a first that I have never had at a triathlon. Each finisher received a necklace. The pink cord held a metal ring with Swim, Bike, Run engraved on one side and Ramblin' Rose 2009 on the other. Medals are common for marathons and half marathons, but this was the first time I have ever received anything for a triathlon. It was a great surprise.

Overall, I finished 296 out of a field of 473 with a final time of 1:11:27. I was very happy with my race. I am a little sad to see triathlon season over, but now is the time to focus on the next big challenge - The Philadelphia Marathon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bargain Sale 2009

The Junior League holds a fall fundraiser called Bargain Sale every year. This weekend marks the 70th annual sale. My husband calls it "Crap Sale," but he is not a big fan of The League anyway. I have to say, though, it is kind of a big crap sale.

Each member is required to bring a certain dollar amount of things to be sold at this sale. So, it is really a big old garage sale with stuff donated by about 140 women. Sure, there are a few nice things here and there (we are required to bring $20.00 worth of Treasures - high value items like jewelry, silver, china, and designer goods), but it is mostly stuff you would find at any garage sale. I find it to be very stressful. It is hard to get stuff together in each category and to get enough stuff to fulfill your dollar amount. This year I was lucky that we cleaned out many books from the office which really put a dent in my quota requirement. Each year, though, it gets harder and hared to find Treasures. I donated a jade ring this year as well as a pair of pearl earrings I got free from a local jewelry store.

I am not one to scour garage sales or bargain bins, so I don't even shop at this event. Other people do really seem to like it. I don't know. It seems like a bit of a stretch to call it community service, but what do I know. I'm just glad it is over for 2009.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Best of Fall

I love the fall. It is my favorite season for so many reasons. I love the cooler temperatures, the changing leaves, the beginning of hockey and football, and all of the wonderful holidays. It is also the beginning of the new TV season.

I have checked out a few of the new shows this year. Here's what I think so far:

Community - I thought the first episode of this show was hilarious. It has a great ensemble cast including the great Chevy Chase. The second two episodes were enjoyable, but not as funny as the premier. I am a little upset with NBC. They have moved Community to 8:00pm which will conflict with two other shows that I watch. So, I guess Community lasted for three episodes as far as I am concerned.

The Vampire Diaries - I love anything with a paranormal premise. In this show, we have two brother vampires who have returned to their small VA town. One is a vampire with humanity who does not drink human blood and seems to want a normal life. The other is an evil vampire who thinks of humans merely as food and does not seem to care who he hurts. In the middle of the brothers is Elena, a gorgeous young woman who resembles a woman from the brother's past. It seems the past is repeating itself as both brothers are drawn to Elena. So far, I like it. Yes, the cast is mostly teenagers, but I do enjoy the love triangle and the supernatural. Did I mention there is a witch, too? I am keeping this one on my list.

Cougartown - I have always liked Courteney Cox. I think she is a gorgeous woman and a funny actress. I had high hopes for this show about a 40 something divorced woman starting to date again. The premier episode was a dog. I stopped watching with about 5 minutes left. It was not funny or clever. I deleted the show and have not looked back.

The Good Wife - This story is set in Chicago. The state's attorney (guest star Chris Noth) has resigned in scandal. He has shamed his family and is now serving time in prison. His wife, Alicia, has stood by him and now must put her family back together. She (the wonderful Julianna Marguiles) has returned to the law and is now a 40 something woman working as a junior associate in a law firm headed by her good friend (Josh Charles - loved him since Sports Night) from law school. I like the quirky cast and watching Alicia find her legal skills after a 13 year absence. I really like this show and hope it continues.

Modern Family - The first show made me weep because I was laughing so hard. We missed the second episode due to a DVR failure, but saw the third episode last night. I love the crazy son-in-law and the gay couple. So far, so good.

Flash Forward - This show was one of the most hyped coming into the new season. Every person on the planet blacks out for 2+ minutes. People are given a glimpse into their own future - what they are doing on April 29, 2010. We return to the present, and all the pieces must be put together to find out why it happened and how we get from here to there. Promising premise. It sounded interesting, and the initial episode was interesting. How does a loving wife who would never cheat wind up with another man in a few short months? What killed it for me was an commercial that aired during the show. The main character is walking down the street just as everyone is coming to from the blackout. There is a kangaroo that jumps past him. The announcer point it out again and says something like "Did you see the kangaroo? It may be important." Well, it the show need to point out things that may be important, it is assuming I am not smart enough to follow it. I finished the first episode and moved on.

So, what are you watching this season? Has anything caught your interest?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

So Much to Say

Sorry I have been gone for so long! There is no real excuse - life just got busy on me. Well, there are many things to update now.

1. Still undecided about book club - I did not go to the first meeting of the year. It was the same night as a beer tasting at The Flying Saucer, so I went with Bill to that event. We drank yummy pumpkin ales (Cottonwood Pumpkin) and Oktoberfests (Old Dominion rocks). To me, it was much better than a book club meeting. I was all set to quit the book club for these monthly beer tastings when they announced that the tastings would move to Thursdays starting in October. I have no excuses now. I still want to quit, but the conflict was so easy. Now, I am uncertain again.

2. Junior League is going full swing. I am actually liking what I am doing this year. It has been fun so far, and I have had a chance to get to know the women in my committee better. I am having issues with my Extra Hands assignment, but we will see how it goes in the next few weeks.

3. I am still running. We went to a happy hour last Thursday for the Galloway group. It was fun to see people in regular clothes, and I enjoyed talking to our friends Lesley and George. On Saturday, I had the longest run of my life - 23 miles. I felt great for the first 14 or so miles, but then the hills and the sun really started to affect my energy. There were 3 of us still running at 18 miles. I told the other women that I was ready to lie down on the trail and be still for about an hour. I was glad to know everyone felt that way, too. Somehow the camaraderie made it easier to keep running. I will say that I was very excited to see the lake which signaled the end of my run. Had you told me to go another 3.2 miles to finish marathon distance, I am not sure I could have done it. I will have to do it in less than 2 weeks. It will be an adventure. Finally today, my legs are feeling back to normal.

4. Hockey season opened in Carolina on Friday night. I was able to go to the first game with my friends Heather and her friend Tammy. Tammy was able to get us a 3 ticket package that included the opening game. The arena has a cool new Jumbotron in the center with many screens. We have several new players as well. Still, the crowd, the Jumbotron, and the new meat were not enough to get the win. The Canes lost to the Flyers 2-0. As of today, they have yet to win a game and have an 0-2 start. I hope it changes tonight against Tampa Bay.

5. I saw what was quite possibly the best concert of my life - U2 at Carter Finley (NC State) Stadium with Muse as the opening act. I have never seen a production like the U2 stage. It looks like a claw with four talons over a round stage with an additional outer ring. There were bridges that allow the guys to move over the crowd to the outer ring. There was a huge screen over the stage that showed the concert and expanded for an extra light show. The music was amazing (I am a new fan of Muse). U2 played all of there hits with one notable exception - Pride (In the Name of Love). It was really the one song I wanted to hear the most, and I was disappointed. I did get to hear Beautiful Day, The City of Blinding Lights, Magnificent, Where the Streets Have No Name, I Still Haven't Found what I am Looking For, With or Without You, and many, many more. If U2 comes near you, I would highly recommend you see the show.

6. My company has hooked me up with an executive coach to help me with my interpersonal issues. I met with her last week for an initial introduction. It should be interesting to see where we go from here.

Well, I think I covered all the news pretty well. I will try to be better about keeping up my blog. I should have more to post soon.