Sunday, July 15, 2007

Has anyone seen...

my motivation to run? I seem to have lost it. Perhaps I left it on a trail somewhere.

People keep telling me that this is just what running in the summer in NC is like. Well if that's true, apparently I would rather not do so. This morning I had every intention of running 12 miles - at 1:45, it still hasn't happened. I am tired from bowling last night but that's not why I'm not running.

So....any ideas? Where might I find this motivation? The 30k is not looking probably really is best to just plan on the Danville Half and leave Salem Lake for some other year. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vegetarian Experimentation - or Amy would be proud

Hi Amy :)

Tonight I made a dish with edamame, garbanzo beans, feta cheese, couscous, and other random things, recipe found here.

It was great! Pictures and captions to follow...

Edamame, garlic, and olive oil in my cast iron pan

Added tomatoes, garbanzo beans, some water, and basil

Added salt and more water - my biggest pan is almost overflowing

Couscous added - time to wait

Feta and green onions added - and it's done!

It was marvelous :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

3, 4, 5 deep breaths

Followed by a heavy sigh...

What a week - already. I hardly slept Sunday night, so I skipped Monday morning's run to sleep. That all made me grumpy, and I arrived at work at 8:15 to turn our equipment on (to warm up) for a 9:15 treadmill, knowing my favorite coworker wouldn't show up in time to do it - he didn't. I'll admit I wasn't the easiest person to work with yesterday, because I've just about had it with this guy. It's to the point that the sound of his voice makes me want to pull out my hair...but I continued to grit my teeth and smile, because I only had 9 more days of work with him.

Today, I got up early to run 400m repeats on the track - I planned 7 of them, ran 4 approximately 40 seconds faster than planned, drank too much water between the 3rd and 4th, and threw up promptly after the fourth. Grumpy again, I quit.

I'll be covering evening exercise tonight because someone has another obligation, so I didn't come in until 10 (10-6:30 = 8.5 hours) - someone, planning to leave early, remember, came in to work at 11. I can't wait to see what time he leaves.

Besides that, there are other work related details that I will decline to write about, save the fact that they are not good.

Lots of italics today...

6, 7, 8 more deep breaths...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It's been almost a week

Almost a week, since I decided to go vegetarian. Ok, not since I decided...but it's been almost a week without eating meat. Seems that if you're going to have dinner at someone else's house, it's best to inform them that you're veggie before going over. So last Saturday I had a burger. A few thoughts...

First - tofu. It's not bad. However, it IS bad to overdo soy sauce. Very very bad. I wonder how much fluid I'll retain for the next few days.

Second - Brussels sprouts. They aren't half bad either. Although I sauteed them with onions, and we all know how that turns out.

Third - I also started a new training plan this week, in the hopes of running a 30k (yeah, 18.6 miles. Yikes) at the end of September. I'm awful at training through the summer heat and humidity, and have decided that the only way I will successfully do this is to run early in the morning. Since Monday, I've been trying really hard to get up and run. Monday I got up when planned, Tuesday I wound up having to run in the evening (but I did it!), and Wednesday/Thursday I made it in the morning, but later than planned. All in all it's going well, except I learned that I need breakfast if I'm going to run first thing in the morning. And if that breakfast is cheerios, I will crash and feel dizzy/nauseous by 3:30. Wednesday I added Boca or Morningstar Farms fake meat to breakfast and things are improving.

Fourth - yeah...there's a lot more fiber in my diet now...

This should be interesting! Anyone care to place bets on how long all these changes will last? I'm really optimistic right now, I feel good about what I'm doing and the potential health benefits. I hope I can stick with all this.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A day of perspective and small victories

Have you ever just sat back and paid attention to what's going on around you, without trying to control it or intervene? Maybe it's the nature of this job, where several of us share a suite with a common area (and an office under dispute), or where my boss talks on speaker phone like there's no one else in the room. Maybe it's just being innocently caught in the crossfire of things. But really it's amazing what people will say about one another when other people are within earshot. Might make you think...if you sat back and listened.

The last couple of days..
-My diet is in a tailspin, thanks to the reading I ranted about the other day
-My boss swears I'm doing something wrong, the grant says I'm right: small victory
-Now he wants to change it - ouch
-Tough assignment for a grant submission - hard work, but good, right?
-Running sucks lately - gotta get out there today. And tomorrow, and the next day.
-Parking. Enough said.
-Doug's new job :)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Well Crap. This isn't running related...

A whole bunch of different things have come together in my life lately to suddenly make me much more concerned about the world, this country's role in it, and my role in it. Mostly I'm seeing this from a health standpoint - specifically exercise and nutrition, by nature of my education and my personality.

For years I've known that the average American eats a poor diet and doesn't exercise, and I've always been interested in ways to change this. However, only recently have I started reading more about it. Call it growing up, but suddenly it occurred to me that if I was going to rant on and on about things, maybe I should be well-informed. Add to this my recent thoughts about what exactly is in the food I eat, and I've been reading specifically about the American Diet.

One book I began to read is Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth by John Robbins. I'll admit, I got a little bored with that one and I think I'm on chapter 3. In the meantime, I finally joined the Chapel Hill Public Library and am now reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

At first while reading this book I was bugged by the labor practices of the fast food industry and urban/suburban sprawl. Then I got to the chapter about Colorado Ranchers, and one specific rancher who took his own life, unable to face the bleak looking future afforded to him by the meat packing industry. Then there was the chapter about changes in that industry since the early 20th century and all the social problems created by such changes. Then, was the chapter where the author toured a slaughter house. Oh. My. God. I read the whole chapter aloud to Doug and then burst into tears. Oh. My. God. I understand how people want to be vegetarians.

Hey, Amy...I'm going to need to know where to buy some beef that doesn't go through all that, ok? That is, if I can ever bring myself to eat beef again. Damn.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A lesson in contrasts - Twisted Ankle 2007 Race Report (A PR!)

Goals: 1. Finish
2. Finish faster than last year (3:52 or so)
3. Finish under 3:30

Last year this race was my first half marathon and my longest run ever. To sum up the experience – it sucked. I resolved that I would be back this year for my revenge, and set out to train. Unfortunately I had a bout with ITBS that kept me out of running for 8 long weeks and I was afraid of what the outcome would be. Throughout my 8 week break I cross-trained like I have never cross-trained before and while I hated it, I’m now glad I did it. Usually when I get hit with an injury I mope about it and all but quit working out entirely, but this year I remained much more dedicated and it paid off in huge dividends.

After Randy all but literally pulled me through the race last year I was afraid of the potential to have to do it alone this year. Crys and I stuck together from the start, and she was a great running partner. We chatted a lot at the beginning, and then the hills started and the chatting halted rather severely. Crys and I agreed that the best strategy would be to walk the up hills from the very beginning, saving our legs for the duration of the race. At each of the early hills I thought of last year’s race, when I kept saying “this must be Becky’s Buff”, only to get to the top and realize it wasn’t, and have Randy say “I wasn’t gonna say anything”

I must have blocked Becky’s Bluff out of my memory because I had forgotten just how steep and narrow that trail was. For a girl afraid of heights, it would really be better to have a wider trail…and really it was so nice of Becky to knock that giant tree in our path. Nearing the top of the Bluff, the photographer was leaning on a tree and I fully expected to look like I was going to kill him in those pictures – I wanted to lean on that tree! But I made it past him and was so happy to see Christina and Rob at the top with water. Crys and I paused at the top for a drink and then headed on our way. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders once that climb was out of the way, and I can honestly say running on the ridge felt great.

On the ridge top things went pretty much as expected. We both almost bit it a couple times (thank you rocks and roots) but managed to stay on our feet. Every time we saw someone we knew they looked so awesome, and almost everyone commented on how much better I looked this year than last year. I felt good, but damn I wonder how bad I looked a year ago…

After stopping at the last aid station, I decided I was going to have to work pretty hard to beat 3:30 and I took off down the mountain. I don’t know what got into me because that trail was very technical in spots, but I made it down without a fall. Every few minutes I would look behind me to make sure Crys was still there, but eventually I couldn’t see her anymore. Right around the marble mine there were these golf-ball sized rocks hiding under leaves and I felt like I was running on marbles, but managed to make it through without any injuries. And then I hit asphalt. Ouch. I slowed to a walk and near the end of the campground Crys caught up with me again. We headed into the woods and I found my second (third, fourth, three-hundreth) wind and took off again. Through the woods and around the lake, where I almost started to cry, just like last year, but this time out of happiness and not out of pain. I was running along yelling at myself not to cry, because I knew if I did I wouldn’t be able to breathe. When I hit the parking lot at the registration building I saw I had smashed my goal and ran as fast as my little legs would carry me over the bridge and to the finish. It was so great to hear everyone cheering as I was running across the bridge, and I was all embarrassed when the announcer guy said my name on his loudspeaker. When I finished I really did start to cry because I couldn’t believe what a contrast this was from last year (I’m a wuss, I know).

A summary of data (NERD ALERT!):
Starting HR:
2006 – 154 bpm (yeah, standing still)
2007 – 110 bpm (that’s more normal)

Max HR:
2006 - 222 bpm (SVT?)
2007 – 207 bpm

Avg HR:
2006 – 199bpm
2007 – 181 bpm

Time (oh yeah, that):
2006 – 3:52
2007 – 3:17!!!!!

I really struggled over what to say in this report because I can’t wrap my head around the differences between the two years. Last year I was miserable – it hurt like nothing I ever imagined and the only reason I made it was Randy’s encouragement (and patience!). This year it was under control. A huge part of that is that I knew what to expect, and the weather was 1000 times better, but seriously all of that cross training paid off. My aerobic fitness was so much better than last year and even though my legs didn’t have the mileage in them, my cardio could carry me through. Truly I think I could have done closer to 3 hours, but I felt great running that race and I didn’t want to feel like crap, I wanted to have fun. After last year, I thought I would never be a distance runner and I would never be good at this stuff. This year, I see that if I bust my ass I do have potential – I know from the way I felt at the end I have a lot left in me, I just have to figure out how to get it out.

So, thanks for reading my freakishly long report (notice there’s no short version)
I’m a little teary and really left a whole lot out of this because I can’t figure out how to say it and y’all probably don’t care anyway

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Today I feel like a real trail runner...

Short version: I ran 10.... one two three four five sixseveneightnine TEN pain free miles!!!!!

Long version: I needed to do a 10 mile run today, mostly to help myself decide if I should even start TA but also to get some strategies figured out. Doug, Kona, and I headed to Raleigh to Falls Lake. The lake is a reservoir serving the area and I think most of Raleigh's drinking water comes from there. As part of the MST (Mountains to Sea Trail), Falls Lake is surrounded by 26 miles of trails. Margaret keeps telling me they're really nice, so that's where we decided to go.

We started off at a fishing area parking lot and did the first mile together as a warm-up. Once we had figured out where we were going (lots of winding around at the beginning) I starting running and Doug and Kona kept on walking. The first few miles weren't anything special, but I decided early on to walk the bigger hills because they still make my IT band feel not so great. Before we left the parking lot I had a fleeting thought that maybe I should pee before we got started. Nah - what's 10 miles feeling like you have to pee? By mile 2, I was sure I needed to go. Right around there was where I also picked up a freaking annoying fly that would not leave me alone. I never got a good look at it, but in my mind was convinced that it was a horse fly. I'm terrified of horse flies. So I tried to outrun it, which didn't work. Then I tried running slower - nope. At this point I really needed to pee, but wasn't gonna stop to give the fly a chance to sting my asss. According to my handy little trail guide there's a bridge at the 2.8 mm. By the time I got there my feet were hot, so I decided to unleash my inner trail runner and I waded through the creek. Ahhh, refreshing.

At the 3.5 mile marker, the trail comes out on a road. Apparently you are NOT supposed to cross the road, just go to the right, walk over a bridge, and find the trailhead at the end of the guardrail. Had I read my handy trail guide I would have known that. Instead, I crossed the street. I saw a spot that looked like a trail head, so into the woods I went. Wait a second....where are the white blazes? Hmm...this isn't a trail. Wait! If this isn't a trail that means my chances of getting caught peeing are slim. Ladies and gentlemen - I peed on the trail for the first time today. You can go ahead and clap, it's a big step. After that I pulled out my trail guide and discovered I had in fact gone the wrong way, and got myself back on track.

After that adventure, I decided that if I could pee on the side of a trail, I could run in just my sports bra and off came the shirt. It was much cooler, but even though it had been quite some time since I had seen anyone, I spent the next half mile obsessing over the thought that someone might see my jiggles, and put my shirt back on. This section of the trail was a lot more rocky than the previous section and I had to walk a lot because I still don't trust myself to avoid turning an ankle on terrain like that. TA is in less than 3 weeks, I can't risk that! Finally, I made it to the five mile point, where I stopped and had some yummy espresso love Gu and turned around.

I spent pretty much the entire second half of the run wondering when I would come across Doug and Kona. I kept thinking I saw them ahead of me, but then they wouldn't be there anymore. Also during this stretch I didn't step high enough over a big tree route and almost fell hard. I managed to catch myself, but I probably should learn to just fall safely because I think I pulled an ab muscle in the process. I carried a bottle with water mixed with elete to keep my electrolytes balanced. It worked great - until I ran out of water with about 2 miles to go...

Finally, with about .75 left I caught up to Doug and Kona. I was very very happy to see them, and Kona seemed very happy to see me. She did her longest walk ever today - 7 miles.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Poor Planning..

This morning I didn't manage to get out of bed in time to eat breakfast or pack lunch - I barely had time to shower. That meant I had to rush to the fitness center to supervise AM exercise, and then at 9 was able to go by Brueggers and get my morning coffee and a bagel: rosemary olive oil bagel with plain cream cheese - approximately 480 calories (yikes..) and coffee with half and half, maybe 20 calories. So for breakfast we have 500 calories.

Then my day got busy, and I wound up having to run out of the office to get to my doctor's appointment. No lunch. I inhaled a cliff bar (200 calories) on the way from the doctor to the gym. Now we've got 700 total.

Once at the gym I changed and headed out on a 4 mile run. We'll call that roughly 400 calories. Then, I lifted for 30 minutes (not gonna estimate calories) and did a 60 minute spinning class (we'll say at least 500)

So that's 700 calories in and 900 calories out. Add that to my BMR, which we'll roughly estimate to be about 1500 calories, and I'm STARVING.

I just inhaled some pizza and in a little while I'm gonna go get coffee. Screw fruits and vegetables.

So the workout...

4 miles "running" and 60 minutes spinning
lunges with a medicine ball
leg press
calf raises
leg curl
leg extension (which kinda hurt)

My legs are gonna hurt tomorrow

I felt like such a newbie on my run. I hadn't really planned on running when I left the house today, but didn't want to go back to work after the doctor's appointment, so I ran. In my Montrail Hardrocks. They have stiffer soles than my other shoes and my arches have been hurting in spinning, but I very rarely run in these shoes and they're a little shorter than I would like. Well today, my toes fell asleep, on both feet. Half way through my run I was sitting on a bench with my shoes off, text messaging with Doug. Then, I had my nano armband on my right arm, and they drew blood from my right arm today. I don't know if it was the increase in BP in general, or because of the combo of that and the armband, but the spot where they did the blood draw got all swollen and painful and bruised. It still hurts. I feel like a moron. I switched the band to the other arm and that was a little better but it was still hurting. It should be fun to see what that looks like tomorrow.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Getting back to running

In the past week two weeks I've actually been able to run pain-free - yay! And, yesterday I got new shoes, so of course I had to try them out today.

Kona and I headed out for a non-remarkable 3 mile run. But, a little less than halfway through Kona decided to add some excitement. She tried to leap up onto a bridge, missed, fell, and scared me half to death. She's ok - no limping, crying, or anything else. Shortly thereafter, we discovered that aliens have apparently been visiting Chapel Hill...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Random Thoughts from Easter Weekend

- 106 miles each way - on a winding, rolling-hill country road, hardly anything but farms the whole way

- Plans in the works to bike it this summer

- My Grandmother is getting older. Of course she's getting older. But things are changing and it makes me sad.

- Back to work, yay.

- Interviews this week.

- Konagirl <3

Friday, April 06, 2007

It bit me!

The freakish torture device that is the handle on my office door bit me today!

It hits right above my hip bone and practically impaled my tummy :( It's going to leave a gorgeous bruise, I'm sure...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Second post for today - Is it still possible?

I ran a mile on the treadmill today. Yeah, a mile isn't impressive, but I've been saying for the past couple weeks that my aerobic fitness is such that I can do the half marathon. The question has been my legs. Today's mile was just over 9 minutes, which is pretty fast for me, and PAIN FREE.

I'm trying not to get excited because I know it's only a mile, and a flat mile at that...but maybe....

Power Scissors.

Douglas now has a set of power scissors. And a wind-up flashlight. And Kona has a new portable water bowl (the Ruff Wear Trail Runner). These all came to the house on the same day, yesterday. Kona likes her bowl...and Doug just loves his power scissors and wind-up flashlight.

I would like a new gadget. And I would like for it to just magically come in the mail, for free. Maybe a fancy camera. Or a new DVD player since mine quit. One of those Roomba vacuums so I can be lazy and clean at the same time.

If anyone figures out how to make this happen - please let me know.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Great Human Race - 5k Race Report

Short version: It was hot (high 70s), cloudy..I wore blue Nike tempo shorts and a white dri fit tee, brooks adrenaline 6’s…final time 41:49 – a PW for me but a PR for my friend in his first race ever!

Loooooong version:
The Great Human Race in Durham is organized by the Volunteer Center of Durham, and non-profits from the area are all eligible to participate. Fundraising can go to the non-profit of each runner’s/walker’s choice.

Flash back to January – I started a new job, working with three exercise training studies. One of the studies had a group finishing up about a month after I started, and we all became friends in the process. A man in that group, who could barely walk the full 30 minutes when he started, began to run on the treadmill during the last couple weeks of the study. Wanting to keep him motivated, I thought he needed a new goal to work towards and suggested a 5k. We talked about it, and he thought about it, and we wound up picking today’s race as a goal. He’s been on his own training for this race for the past two months, with only a little input from me via email.

This morning I arrived at the Durham Bulls athletic park to meet my friend, his wife and 5 yr old daughter, and a friend of his. My friend wore his study t-shirt, which made him much easier to find in the mess of people. We chatted for a while, and his little girl showed us how to stretch (too cute!!), and then the race officials started herding people towards the start. The three of us (me, my friend, and the other friend) lined up together pretty close to the back of the pack. This being my friend’s first 5k, I expected a 14 min pace or so and we tried to line up accordingly.

Just past the start, friend’s friend left us behind. The first half mile (maybe a little less) is uphill, and my friend really struggled with it. I encouraged him to take baby steps, and he made it all the way up the hill before we took our first walking break. Somewhere on this hill we passed a blind man, who was running with his walking stick but wasn’t using it – he had hold of a companion’s arm, and they were working together. Really inspiring! We walked about a block at the top of the hill, and then when we started down another one I suggested we use gravity to our advantage. First mile in about 13:30.

The second and third miles were really more of the same. After our initial walk break I suggested that we pick landmarks to run to, and reevaluate when we came to each one. It worked really well! Often times my friend would say “Ok, to the speed limit sign”, we’d reach that sign and he’d say “Well…to the intersection” and then extend it again, and so on. We walked through the lone aid station so that he could drink his water, and headed back on our way.

The volunteers on this course were great! The Durham Police were out directing traffic (and put us back on course when we almost went the wrong way), and local cheerleaders were out doing what they do best. A great race, I will do it again next year.

According to my watch (I didn’t get splits), we ran it in 41:49 for an average pace of 13:28 – a PW for me, but the most fun I’ve ever had running a race! Going out there planning to do nothing but make it fun for someone else really puts a whole different perspective on things, and I’m so glad we did it!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

IT Band update and first run in 3 weeks

In a recent post I stated that I was ok with my IT band tightness. I lied. I'm not ok with it. Three weeks ago, I headed out for a three mile run that became a one mile run, 1 mile run/walk, and 1 mile hobble-and-pray-I-make-it-to-the-car.

For three weeks, I haven't run. A couple of times I tried to run on the treadmill and would last less than a minute before the pain in my left leg was excruciating. I have spent more time on the arc trainer and in spinning class in the last three weeks than I have in the last three years, probably.

Today, I got to run again. I took Kona with me, because when I run with her I'm always sure to stop and walk so I don't push her too hard. I figured if I was worried about pushing her too hard, I would keep myself from overdoing it, too. Mission accomplished. My left leg was hurting by the end, but it wasn't awful. Three weeks ago I wasn't sure I could make it the mile back to my car - today there were no such fears (thank GOD). We did four miles. When we were running, it was clear that I've kept up my cardiovascular fitness well, but my legs aren't up for much yet. At this point I feel like my heart and lungs can do a half marathon, but my legs might only make half that...

So, we headed out to my favorite trails, but started at a different spot behind the middle school, rather than my usual dirt parking lot at the other end. We had A LOT of rain on Friday, and I wasn't sure if I'd ever get my car out of that mud. Behind the middle school there's .25 miles or less of pavement, and then you hit dirt. The main jeep trail is really low-lying and runs along Bolin Creek, so it's relatively flat. A good portion of the trail was covered in water, and what wasn't covered was definitely muddy. Some of the higher and rocky areas were pretty dry, but most of it was nasty. My shoes were tight, but even so I almost lost my left shoe to the mud. We ran along the jeep trail for about 1.5-1.75 miles and then turned off on the "burnt-out car trail" that I always make sure to run when I'm out there. Yeah...that trail's too hilly for me these days. We walked that whole .75 or so. One of the hills on that trail rivals Becky's Bluff - it isn't as long, but it is just as steep. If my leg was healthy I'd go out there for hill repeats..but that probably isn't the best idea these days.

There's an old burnt out car at that trail head, and every time we go by Kona puts on the brakes and starts to whine. Well today she actually ran right by it! I was so proud. We got back out on the jeep trail and headed back to the car. I tripped a couple times and slipped a couple times, but nothing too exciting happened until we passed a large group of people with 4 or 5 dogs. The dogs were all leashed, so I thought we were fine. Kona and I stepped off the trail a little bit (and this is a wide trail) and kept on running. Until one of the dogs lunged at and pinned Kona. NOT COOL. How is a dog that is on a leash allowed to behave like that?? We got out of that mess and continued on down the trail at a quicker pace. Maybe a quarter mile or less after that, we came upon a couple with a puppy off-leash. When they saw us they put a leash on the puppy, and I warned them about the mean dog.

Things were uneventful after that, and considering the walking and occasional sniff-stops, we finished our 4 miles in over an hour. Definitely slow, but I think it was probably best all things considered.

Pictures Here

Saturday, February 24, 2007

My little running partner

Kona and I had a great run together today. Just a short one, about two miles around the trails between campus and the community center. She was such a trooper and stayed right by my left leg the whole way. Well...except when one couple on the trail scared the living daylights out of her. It's interested to have a dog tethered around one's waist when the dog just stops dead. No idea what scared her so much, but that was our only incident! Good little Konagirl...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Found time!

Every Monday morning, I supervise exercise sessions at work from 8-9 and 10-12. Today on my way to the 8:00 class, I realized that no one would be attending the class. Bah - I could have slept in! My original plan was to run one lap of the XC trail during my free hour at 9. That would give me plenty of time to change into my running clothes, run, and get myself cleaned up before the 10:00 class.

Well, with the found time I decided to run two laps of the trail instead - six miles instead of three. It was damn cold. It took two miles for my muscles to really feel warmed up, and even then I was still cold. The first lap was pretty good, after five miles my left IT band quit. Half the time it seems like no matter what I do, that IT band issue is always going to be around. Sometimes I'm cool with that, other times not so much. Today I'm cool with it, even though it meant taking the elevator all day because going downstairs hurt too much.

Running like that, before work, feels good. It's good to go supervise that exercise class, knowing I've already done my exercise for the day.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The last few months...

Here's an update, since it has been forever since I last wrote anything.

First - the stress fracture that wasn't. That's right, it wasn't. After five weeks on crutches, I finally got in for a MRI. A MRI that came back completely clean. Imagine the frustration! Eventually I rationalized that, had I continued running, I might have wound up with a fracture anyway...but wow, five weeks. During that time off I missed the Nittany Valley Half Marathon, which I've since heard is an excellent race. As sad as I am to have missed it, I think I'm going to mark it off the list for this year, too. No more road races for me. At least, no more long road races.

Second - new job! I don't want to post too much about work on here, but I just have to say that I'm a million times happier now than I was two months ago. The new job started at the beginning of January, and one month into it, I'm sure I made the right decision. This job allows me a great deal more autonomy and I don't have a boss constantly looking over my shoulder. Despite my previous supervisor's attempts to convince me that I would absolutely fail in this type of position, things are going great. I do my work, and if a problem comes up I go to either a study coordinator or the big boss and take care of it. No problem. Sorry, former boss lady, looks like I can survive without you.

Third - Kona girl. For some reason I haven't posted about my darling little girl before this! The horror! Kona is a 9 month old border collie/pointer mix who joined our little family back in July, at a mere 10 weeks of age. She has grown like a weed from approximately 10-15lbs when she joined us to right around 50lbs now. Her socialization has gone really well as we have really made an effort to expose her to people, and now that she is old enough, other dogs at the dog park. We make a trip to the dog park at least 4 times per week allowing her to run and play to her heart's content; and when we get home, she passes out on the couch, all played out. There are so many other things I could say about the girl, but I'll leave it at this for now.