Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!  This is by far one of my favorite holidays.  Ridiculous amounts of food, time with family, the fact that it is perfectly acceptable to sit on the couch all day…these are the things that make a holiday great.

Another thing that made this holiday great was the fact that I am finally over the “plague”…still draining out a bit, but I feel like a human being.  I was able to taste and enjoy all of my T-day food!!

The day started out with me sleeping in until…9:30?  That is UNHEARD of, and it was FANTASTIC!!!  I felt so rejuvenated when I rolled out of bed!  All of the people and animals had already arrived and there was food cooking…I kind of wish I could wake up to that every day!  We all talked and snacked and caught up with each other until LUNCH TIME (!!!!!), during which we ate, talked, laughed, etc. for a few hours.  We also celebrated my dad’s birthday, and I FINALLY got to try some of my amazing sister’s amazing cupcakes!!! (http://stealthcakes.wordpress.com/)

In some of the leisurely downtime, I got to catch up on my favorite bloggers, and I’ve decided to jump on the “here’s what I’m thankful for” bandwagon.  So…here are some of the things I’m thankful for today:

FAMILY!

I wanted to eat all the cupcakes... and happy birthday, Dad--you're 1!

aww, everyone looks so happy!

FOOD!

homemade deliciousness....can someone say "FOOD BABY!"?

again, YUM!

TIME TO RELAX!!

Aaaaand this is what we all looked like after lunch 😉

FRIENDS!

GOOD HEALTH!

Etc Etc….I’m going to segue from good health to my solo 5-mile “turkey trot” of sorts around my old town.  It kind of took me back to middle school (perhaps because I ran by my old ms…), and things were a lot hillier than I remembered…the weather, however, was PERFECT, and the roads were so quiet!

Beautiful afternoon for a run!

bare fields, bare roads...

so pretty and peaceful! saw lots of cows, ducks, and geese

ran past the mill/lake

Shortly after this I discovered that one of my favorite websites, mapmyrun.com, is NOT quite as reliable for small towns/back country roads…I mapped out a lovely little route, but the road past the lake ended up NOT going through to another road like the map showed…Instead it took me UP a long/steep lane amidst a bunch of old order Mennonite farms…I probably scandalized someone with my spandex…oops.

This road does connect to anything except houses, barns, and more fields...

All said and done, it was an enjoyable run.  I’m going to try to get my mom to come to the track with me while I do some speedwork… as for now, I’ll leave you with this:

🙂

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Hello, Spring!??

Yesterday was FULL of sweating, but sadly none of the kind I like.  I woke up with a really fun fever of 101, which prompted me to cancel all Children’s Center activities and Suzuki lessons for the day.  I still had to go over for conductor’s quartet, which was a fun-filled hour of feverish sight-reading…it kind of felt like drunken playing, what with the disorienting dizziness…anyway, as you can imagine, the majority of the day was spent on my couch.  I looked up a lot of useless things and read a bunch of excellent blogs.

As the day came to a close, I gathered myself, my violin, and a handful of cough drops, and headed over to play the Symphony concert…it was also full of sweat and took a higher level of concentration than I wanted to commit to any activity at the time.  With that done, I headed home and decided that I would be all better when I woke up.  Easier said than done, however, as I hacked up half a lung trying to fall asleep in the first place.

Fantastically, though, I did wake up feeling a lot better this morning.  No fever, minimal snotting/congestion, and just a really fun, nasty, hacking cough.  I picked up a friend, had my first coffee in a week and a half, and headed to my first full day back in the world.  It was loooooooooong, but I survived!

Also, I’ve decided that I will be completely healed by tomorrow.  Which is great, because I’m overdue a few runs, so I’m heading out for a few miles in the morning.  Which is good, because I’m committed to my usual long-run date Friday morning. 🙂  Sounds good to me!

My amazing long-run buddy (after Myrtle Mini) and ADORABLE son!

As a side note, Columbia is confused.  Following some really chilly days, today was a balmy, overcast, 80-degree (spring?) day. (until it started POURING and we got a torando warning…)  I did not mind this in the least, and I was sad that I was stuck inside! I’m hoping tomorrow morning is just as pleasant…

Anecdote time: inspiration comes in random and hilarious forms for me.  My friend Emily stopped by tonight to pick up some music, and I was telling her of my morning plans.  She is a swimmer, and not too fond of running, but mentioned that she went on a really speedy run the other night…to Bi-Lo.  It is down the road from her apartment, and a few minutes before they closed she realized she really needed toilet paper….sooooo….she sprinted down the road, made it RIGHT before they closed, then proceeded to jog back home toting her large trophy of quilted comfort.  🙂  It made me laugh, and also feel strangely inspired for my own running.  Meh, what can I say?

This bear looks like he's cheering along a marathon course...a sight that would potentially be welcoming... 😉

Along the lines of swimming, Emily (along with another friend who actually used to coach) has been recruited to teach me how to swim.  I love water (pools, oceans…jellyfish be damned…, showers, etc…) and can “swim,” but when it comes to any sort of actual competitive stroke, I pretty much flounder.  Yes.  ESPECIALLY freestyle…that usually involves breathing the water, which I know is not the point, but it happens…and I also feel super uncoordinated with my elbows and wrists…not good.  SO, sometime between now and May (personal goal) I need to acquire a swim suit that stays place when I swim so that I can embarrass myself in the Carolina pool and get some swim lessons.  I have visions of a tri in my future, and while I am confident I can handle the biking/running portion by myself, I have no qualms about admitting my swimming incompetence.

jellyfish are NOT this cute and innocent in real life...

hmm...yeah, this one won't stay put while attempting any sort of competitive stroke...

but then i'll need one of these...and OMG does it not look like an X-Men outfit thingy?!?! Aaaand my inner nerd is exposed... 🙂 But REALLY!

Like I said, I can handle the biking part…if only I had a bike…so that’s another thing on my goal/wish list to have by May.  (I picked May arbitrarily, but mainly because that’s when life stops becoming QUITE as hectic…also I love training in the summer. LOTS of sweat!)  I’ve been doing my research…while this summer sparked my interest in cyclists,  😉 😉 previously a running mentor ignited an interest in tris/cycling.

Isn't it PRETTY??!!!

😀 😀 😀 😀 donations, anyone?

Until that exciting moment that I can begin training on my AMAZINGLY PERFECT tri-bike…I will stick to training on my feet 🙂  I did a bunch of calendar-consolidating (actually writing in gigs/events, transferring things from random papers into my life-saving schedule…) yesterday as well, and along with that came a bunch of goal-setting in the running quadrant.  A lot were basic mileage goals, but I spent a good amount of time looking up fun races, too.  Also, I got my Runner’s World.  PERFECT timing.

yaay!

Good thing about having to miss Monday and Tuesday?  Today was “Monday” and it’s already almost Friday!

(also, if you hadn’t noticed…wordpress just made it a LOT easier to insert media!)

Monday. boo.

Alright, karma, point taken…can I get better now?

I will never again boast about my excellent health streak while around me all of my friends and family are coming down with the plague…  because, sure enough, a week later I will apparently come down with a harsher version of said plague.

I woke up feeling even WORSE than yesterday, and found out via text that my sister is sick as well…we like to keep it in the family, what can I say…oh and speaking of family, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY!!!  I’m planning on calling home later when I have more of a voice.  That way I won’t completely freak out the ‘rents…

Sadly, I had to cancel my morning lessons and coaching, and since then have been snotting around the house chugging gallons of tea. (Thanks, wordpress, but I already knew “snotting” was not a real verb…)  I’m going to need more tea and tissues before the day is over, I’m afraid.

Because of the morning’s festivities, I had to give up the morning run I had optimistically planned last night while hacking up a lung and trying to fall asleep…I was actually pretty excited to try out my new-found trick for getting out there in the cold.  I did this yesterday by necessity (because I had done laundry that morning) but forgot to share the wonderful find with you.  The trick?  Throwing my running clothes in the dryer for a few minutes before pulling them on and heading out the door.  So warm and comforting!!!  This will potentially get me through a winter of cold morning runs.

Anyway, just wanted to share that little bit of excitement.  now back to my couch and 30 Rock…and tea…

Word of the day: Perseverance

Can I just start this by saying how glad I am that today is NOT Monday?!  I had a brief moment yesterday where I thought it was the end of the weekend…that would have been unfortunate to say the least.

I just returned from a short run, during which the only other living things I saw running were probably what amounted to ALL OF THE SQUIRRELS IN COLUMBIA.  Seriously though, they were having a squirrel party or something.  I chalked the lack of human runners up to potential Homecoming hangovers?  I could have potentially been among those ranks, as I had intended on meeting a bunch of friends downtown to hear another friend’s band play some jazz, buuuut around 8:30 I felt like I had been drugged, so I gave into the wave of exhaustion and passed out.  I had some pretty weird dreams (I think I woke up a few times on account of a sore throat), including one in which I actually DID go out…that one caused some minor confusion when I finally woke up for real at about 7:00.  I felt AWFUL.  Apparently my body does not appreciate all of the tea, soup, exercise, and sleep I have been giving it recently, or maybe it just really did not like the girls’ night the other night…either way, it was in full-fledged rebellion mode this morning.  Snot, sore throat, cough…etc. etc.

I nursed myself for a few hours with tea and some pretty amazing oatmeal/banana/cinnamon/raisin pancakes, but after that couldn’t really conjure up enough energy for anything except the couch and reruns of Arrested Development.  I did manage to do some thinking and web-surfing, however, and came up with a decent paper topic and final project idea/plan…so that was productive, I suppose.

Around noon I decided that I should follow through on my new-shoes plan, but REALLY didn’t want to get dressed and brave the traffic and shoppers at the mall.  I was about to give in and buy them online, but remembered that I had to go to the grocery store anyway, and also remembered my $10 coupon for footware from Dick’s Sporting Goods that came in my Governor’s Cup swag bag…soooo I got dressed.  I persevered like crazy through the nutty Columbia traffic (some of the worst driving in the country, I am convinced), did NOT die on Harbison Blvd, and made it to my destination.  I also found the freaking MECCA of all fresh produce grocery stores (I’m trying to decide if it’s worth braving Harbison traffic once a week for…maybe…it was THAT amazing…) and got garlic for my cold remedy, and ginger for tea.  Then I got my shoes!!!  More about them later… 🙂

So for whatever reason I’ve been having stomach problems again this afternoon, much like the ones that hit me last Saturday morning.  This time, however, I can’t come up with any weird foods from yesterday to blame, so I don’t really know what’s going on.  Again, I wanted to stay on the couch REALLY bad, but also wanted to initiate my new shoes with a spin around the block.  I couldn’t think of a better initiation route for a pair of my shoes than a Turkey Trot loop, so I set off.  I ended up extending it to 3 miles, though it took a surprising amount of perseverance…it’s amazing how hard running is when you have a cold/upper-respiratory thing going on…  The weather was gorgeous, though, and the shoes cushy.  I did forget, though, how much padding they shove into those Cumulus-13’s…the toe box looks wide, but until the shoe is broken in a bit the padding is almost too much.  I had to keep stopping and loosening the laces until I found that happy point where my toes did not loose feeling (something that should definitely not occur until way into the double-digit-mile runs…)  I guess the run got some more blood flow to the brain as well, because I managed to do some more brainstorming, this time for my group classes.  We have some concerts coming up, and I had a bunch of things to individualize for each of my classes…that is now done as well. Check!

Here are my new shoes! (and some old ones…)

GEL-Cumulus 13-- I like the color of these better than my old 13's...

My almost-worn-out Cumulus 13's...I did feel pretty patriotic running in these babies...

DS-Gel 15's (what I ran my marathon in! but not the exact pair, of course)...I kind of miss these (really lightweight) and might resurrect them for some short runs...

Fall is Here!

So far this weekend is off to a great start!  It is Homecoming here in Columbia for the Gamecocks…in fact, the game is going on right now.  Go Cocks! (something that still cracks me up…in this grand city it’s a common phrase to be shouted by men, women, and children, alike…)

Go Cocks! (or fighting chickens, if you like)

Last night I played for the craziest Homecoming fundraiser gig at the Convention Center; they actually recreated the Horseshoe INSIDE of the center!

Including a replication of these gates...

And this statue...AND the trees!!! There were trees inside! So cool.

Anyway, it was fun to read Mozart quartets for an hour and a half and watch all the rich, important people mingle and dine.

I’m still trying to get over this quasi-cold thing I have going on, so naturally I gave into some texts and headed out after the gig for a “girls’ night”.  Dinner, drinks, and…yeah, no dancing.  Columbia is sadly lacking in dance clubs, so we just ended up hanging out at a bar and heading home.  It was fun though–I got to catch up with my girls!

This morning, group classes were excellent!  My morning baby class was a little rough–everyone was feeling high-maintenance.  The late class was awesome, though, and we had a lot of fun.

Post-teaching I was feeling so great and the weather was so gorgeous that I decided to catch up on all the running I have missed from feeling like poop in the mornings.  I headed out for a leisurely 8 miles around Shandon–I ended up doing Turkey Trot loops, my favorite, easy, go-to route, in honor of the fact that I sadly cannot run the actual Turkey Trot here this year.  😦 So sad!  For whatever reason I ended up making a list in my head (see “about me”…I love lists…) of the reasons I run.  One point that I ended up centering on was that it forces me to be “in the moment” at least for a few miles.  I’m constantly on the run, which means thinking and planning ahead at all times.  Running forces me to slow down (only mentally though!) and just BE for a while.  That is surprisingly hard for me, but I’ve decided to embrace that even more in my life.

For about an hour I got to enjoy the gorgeous, perfect weather and the beautiful trees!!  I’m not sure when it happened, but suddenly the leaves are all red and orange and yellow here.  I passed a few ironic yards that had palm trees side-by-side with red- or yellow- or brown-leafed trees…it made me laugh a little.  On my cool down walk I tried to take some photos, but my phone’s camera is not so hot.  Here are some of the better ones:

I actually pulled over to take this one on the way home 🙂

red!

Holly berries!!! (excuse the poor quality...)

my favorite one!!!

Go outside and enjoy this beautiful season!

Drowning in Tea…

Blaaaaah.  That is how my week feels.  I woke up Tuesday with a sore throat and knew it was going to turn into something not fun…yesterday was a little worse, but today was a little better…I’m basically chugging tea, taking vitamins, eating soup, and trying to stay optimistic.  Good thing I really really like tea.  And honey…usually I drink my tea plain, but I’m treating myself to honey this week because it’s very soothing on the throat.  It’s also very nice for my sweet tooth 🙂

Along the lines of staying optimistic; I realized that it is a lot easier for me to stay positive when I run.  The past two days I missed my scheduled runs and it was a lot harder not to be a big cranky-pants.  Today I dragged myself out for a slow 2 miles with my good friend Paula.  We trained together all summer and were supposed to do last weekend’s half together…but alas, she got a foot injury.  She’s on the comeback, though, and is doing really well, so we’re back to trying to schedule runs around our busy schedules.  I didn’t really want to go outside because it was really overcast, cool, and my throat was gunky and sore…buuut we’d made plans so I headed out.  The leaves here are FINALLY changing, and it was so pretty!  We chatted and caught up, and on the way back home I felt that uplifting feeling that everything was right with the world…

Long story short, I’m going to drag myself out for my long (ish) run in the morning, and continue through next week, month, year, etc…despite busy schedules and sickness.  I do this for myself, and it makes a huge difference in my mental as well as physical health.

On  another note, I made some really weird soup the other night…it is comprised of pretty much all of my leftovers dumped in a pot to simmer…it’s kind of bizarre but edible, and keeps getting better with time, so that’s at least promising…

Off to research! (and drink more tea!)