Thursday, March 26, 2009

There's a Stye in My Eye...

and it won't go away! Granted, I've only been dealing with it for two days, but boy is it a pain in the butt! Last spring it felt like I was constantly dealing with styes. For a long time I thought it was stress related, but then I looked at the Wikipedia entry for styes and found out that it is basically a staff your eye. And thus the root of the problem was discovered - images of wiping down my sweaty face at the gym with the gym's hand towels instantly flashed into my brain, making me both cringe and gag simultaneously. I stopped using their towels, and the styes went away.

So, one year later, you think I would know better than to mop my face up every morning with my current gym's hand towels. Call me an optimist, but I really thought it was safe to use the towels. But with MRSA popping up around our county, leaving one high school boy dead, I don't really want to take any chances. Needless to say, I will be buying my own personal pack of hand towels this weekend.

While the styes (one in each eye) are mildly painful, they are mostly annoying. I've been relegated to wearing my glasses instead of my contacts. At the tender age of 16, an American Eagle co-worker told me plainly that "I didn't have the face for glasses" and I have been scarred ever since. So, I usually try to avoid wearing my glasses in public at all costs. However, my friends and colleagues have been very complimentary about my "new look" - one co-worker even went so far to say that I looked like Mary Ann from The Babysitter's Club, whose Wikipedia entry reads like this:
  • Appearance* Long brown hair worn in braided pigtails for first 4 books (cuts it short in Mary-Anne's Makeover), brown eyes, short for her age, wears reading glasses.
  • Mary Anne is the BSC secretary due to her exceptional organization skills and neat handwriting. She also vowed never to get her ears pierced due to being traumatized by almost having her ears pierced by a fellow camper at Camp Mohawk.
I was quite the fan of the BSC, so being compared to Mary-Anne is really all I could ever hope for!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shamrock Shuffle 3k

I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 3k on Saturday morning with 4 friends. I hoped that the weather would be good for the 10:00am start, but alas it was 38 degrees and raining when we pulled into downtown Lexington. After walking a few blocks in the wrong direction trying to find the starting area, a lady selling Irish trinkets set us in the right direction. We doubled back and entered Victorian Square, a warm and large space that comfortably held all of the runners before the race began.

Of course, the majority of the crowd was decked out in obligatory Irish garb. Perhaps the scariest person in the crowd was this lady:
I suppose all three of us could be considered a scary sight, but I'm mainly referencing the ladies to my right. The leprechaun lady was very creepy, but was kind enough to take a picture with me. She also played a lovely little flute throughout the morning. The lady next to her with the green afro was her handler.

At about 9:55am we headed out into the cold, rainy morning, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. There were people standing around in shorts and I know they had to be cold! We stood at the starting area for about 10 minutes, and then the race began.

The plan for the morning was for my friend Kelly and I to run basically as fast as we could. Kelly and I are both training for half-marathons this spring, and we were looking forward to deviating from our training schedule for to run a fast, flat, quick race. Our friends Kat, Sarah, and Amberly planned to jog the course. Kat and Sarah are both pregnant, and Amberly has 2 kids and averages a few hours of sleep per night. I was so proud to see all three of them out running this race!

At about 10:05am, the bullhorn sounded and we were off. Kelly and I started off at a pretty good clip, bobbing and weaving a little to get around the walkers. After a few blocks we settled into a nice pace. I really had no idea what our time for the 3k would be, but I hoped to finish in under 18:00 minutes. The race was pretty uneventful - it almost felt like it was over before it began. A girl in front of us took a huge shortcut through a parking lot. Is 3k not short enough for you? That was ridiculous. When we made our final turn onto Main St., and I knew we had to be getting close the finish line. I checked my watch and it said 14:05...I was like wow, we are going pretty fast! We could see the finish line ahead, and could feel a Asbury co-worker closing in on us, so we hit the gas and sprinted to the finish. We crossed the line in 15:31, which was an 8:18 average pace. I was elated!

One terrible thing about the race is that there was no water at the finish line. Luckily, we had parked pretty close to the finish, so Kelly and I just walked to the car to get our water. But it would have been nice to have water provided at the end. Overall, I really enjoyed the race and will try to do it again next year.

Breakfast at Alfalfas afterward was amazing. I had pancakes, bacon and a scrambled egg. The buttermilk pancakes were so good - I think they are the best pancakes I have ever had (sorry, mom!). After warming up and filling up, we ventured back outside briefly to check out the irish goods before heading home.

Here are some pictures from the day!

On the way to race: Kelly, Sarah, me

Waiting to start: (clockwise) Sarah, Amberly, me, Kelly, Kat

Running buddies for life! Me and Kelly
(This is the 3rd race Kelly & I have started & finished together - 2 half marathons & now a 3k!)

Amberly, Sarah and Kat
Self-proclaimed "Team Let's Just Get to Alfalfas!"

Warming up with some post-race coffee and tea

Kat looks happy to be done with the race!

Me and Sarah - looking forward to breakfast!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Swimming 101

I swam this morning. It was really more an exercise of humility, more so than endurance. See, I have visions of grandeur of becoming a triathlete and I think that this vision often overshadows reality. The main problem with reality is that I can't swim. Well, that's not entirely true - I can swim just about enough to keep myself from drowning, but it's not pretty.

So, that is why it has taken me two months to work up the resolve to actually get in the pool. I went at a time this morning when there was only two other people in the pool. I settled into the very last lane of the pool, on the opposite end of the lifeguard and two other swimmers. I arranged my towel, shorts, flip flops and water bottle neatly on the bleachers, makings sure that everything was neat and orderly and positioned at right angles. You can ask my husband - this is what I do when I am anxious and let my OCD tendencies start to take over. Just about everything in our house is positioned at a right angle. After I had arranged and rearranged my neat little pile of things, I realized that I just needed to get in the pool and get it over with. I tried as much as I could to act like I knew what I was doing. I dunked my head under water and then pulled on my swim cap and goggles. I didn't really want to wear the swim cap, but my hope was that it would make me look like I was serious about swimming and that I had some idea of what I was doing. I took a deep breath, immersed myself, pushed off the wall and started down the lane, under the surface.

If I had established any shred of credibility with the other two swimmers and lifeguard with the cap and goggles, it was shot to hell right about the time I realized I desperatley needed air and I shot up like a rocket from under the water - gasping for breath, limbs flailing wildy. I immediatley looked over to the lifeguard, hoping that she hadn't seen me struggling and was getting ready to jump in and pull me out of the pool. She was definitley looking at me, but she looked more perplexed than concerned. I quickly looked back down at the water and started a slow, pulling stroke. I'm not sure if it even has a name other than "the oldy lady stroke" you know, it's the one where your head is above water and you move your arms like you are clearing a path in front of you...the one you usually see old ladies doing. Sadly, it's the one and only stroke that I am pretty good at. So I pretty much did that stroke for 30 minutes - moving slowly up and down the lane. I did try adding in some other things - like trying the breast stroke with my head above water so that I could establish a breathing pattern, or trying to do a lap only kicking my feet.

So I have a lot of work to do with my swimming. I can only hope that any triathlons I do will have open water swims, as I cannot even imagine ever being able to do a kick flip. The risk of getting water up my nose and/or slamming my head into the wall is too great.

I will stick to training on land until next Tuesday, when me and the pool shall meet again .

On a different note, I will be racing in a 3k this Saturday. I'm really excited about it - I have only done one other 3k, and that was one I did with Emma. Emma and I got third place overall in that race, and I would like to think our success was due to our speed...not the fact that there were only 10 other people competing in the race, most of which walked the course. But this Saturday I will be doing the "Shamrock Shuffle" in downtown Lexington with some friends. I will try to get a race report up this weekend!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Pictures of Ruby

Our newest friend, Ruby Delatte, turned one month old yesterday. Here are some pictures that were taken the day after she was born.

Happy family - Charis, Ruby and Justin

Relaxing with Ruby

A little sleeping beauty

Chad with his newest buddy!