April 30, 2012

A running-less vacation

This vacation, I was going to run.

I was prepared; I had the equipment. 

 I had the resources: a treadmill at the hotel and plenty of land for an outside run.

This was going to my triumphant post about how I finally conquered the beast and ran on vacation. Yeah, that didn't happen.

Instead, this happened.

Best salad ever at perhaps the best restaurant ever
Perhaps the best restaurant with the best salad ever has the best location 

One of the best drinks ever at the best bar EVER. Seriously.
The best bar EVER deserves two photos. Oh, and that sticker:
best ghost tour ever. Even better: the best bar EVER is on the
best ghost tour ever. (Look for ghosts in the photo. I'm ghostly
pale, but I'm not a ghost. Promise.)

Another stop on the best ghost tour ever         

Scariest stop on the best ghost tour ever
Awesome local band
Awesome shopping and people watching
More awesome shopping and people watching
As you can see, New Orleans rocked. I loved the food, the music, the people, the history.

The highlights:
  • Perhaps the best restaurant ever: Cafe Degas. Yum. 
  • The best bar EVER: Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar. And, one of the best drinks: hurricane. I shy away from sweet drinks. I'm a beer and wine kind of girl. Or tequila. Or vodka. Or rum. Or bourbon. Just nothing too terribly sweet. Our tour guide on the best ghost tour ever (Haunted History Tours) recommended the hurricane here, saying they made it with real fruit juice (healthy, right?) and not the syrupy sweet fruit punch mix that most bars use. I was sold. Honestly, selling me alcohol is not that difficult. But, the drink was awesome. I loved it. And I went back for another after the tour. 
  • The scariest stop on the ghost tour: Lalaurie Mansion. Freakishly scary stuff. And, my celebrity-loving self loved hearing that Nicolas Cage owned this place at one time (before the bank foreclosed on it). 
Although I had a fabulous time, I'm still a failure at running on vacation. The most action my running shoes saw was being worn for walking around by my boyfriend (sadly, with my large boats of feet plus the size up for running shoes, they fit him fine). But, I'm improving: I did come prepared. Next time, in addition to the vacation fun, I'll add some running fun to my trip.

April 25, 2012

Wacky Wednesday no more

This is my last Wacky Wednesday. Why? Because every day is wacky and random. And, I can write about that along with my running adventures. 

I guess when I first started blogging about running, I thought that's all I could write about (yeah, I'm a smart one). Obviously, that's always the focus, but there are other things in life like baseball, my dog, celebrity gossip, Elvis, Jessica Simpson, boy bands, Kansas State (and purple), music, movies and wine that are blog-worthy (or not). And, these other interests happen on days besides Wednesday. And, they are a part of my life as much as running. 

So, I'm just going to incorporate those other things into regular posts (not relegate them to Hump Day only). 

Now, onto the randomness:
  • Is Jessica Simpson really still pregnant? Holy crap. She's got to be uncomfortable. And, her baby totally missed my birthday. 
  • Chloe enjoyed the beautiful weather today ... or was avoiding the stairs. We live in a 7th floor condo, and the elevator was broken.
  • I loved New Orleans. It was beautiful, fun and had delicious food. Now that I'm not relegating content like this to Wednesdays, I can do a full post about it later (because it deserves it). 
  • I watched "Friends With Benefits." Didn't love it, but it kept me entertained. I like Justin Timberlake, but I think I like him better as a singer (more specifically, a singer in a boy band). He's an OK actor I guess, but bring back *NSYNC.

April 24, 2012

Less sweat in the craptastic gym

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I have some issues with my craptastic condo gym. My main issue: they cheap out and keep the temperature high. Way too high for working out. 

I sweat a lot anyway, but I end any attempted run as a complete sweatball. Luckily, no one else uses the craptastic gym when I do (or ever), so no one has to bask in my sweatiness. But, I really don't enjoy the massive amounts of sweat and feeling like I'm going to pass out from an easy 3-mile run. 

So, I took matters into my own hands.


Why, yes, that is a fan sitting on the back of an elliptical aimed at the treadmill. Why, yes, that is a fan I stole from the weights area of the craptastic gym. One of my better decisions.

April 18, 2012

Wacky Wednesday

  • After my 5K on Saturday, I headed to Winter Garden (one of the many Winter-named cities in the state to lure northern tourists) for a girls' weekend. We did some paddle-boating, quad-bike riding (not sure if this is what the four-seat, four-pedal bike is called or not) and wine drinking. Lots of wine drinking.
  • The party continued in the Bay Area on Monday night. Nothing like a Monday night party. 
Yes, I am a giant. A purple giant.
  • Jessica Simpson has not had her baby yet unless she is keeping a big secret from everyone, which I don't think she can do. Come on, baby Simpson! You can wait until my birthday now and make me one happy girl (again, for the millionth time, yes I'm pathetic). 
  • I'm leaving for New Orleans way too early tomorrow. I'm ready for a Bloody Mary and a ghost tour (and whatever else the city has to offer). Bring it on!

April 17, 2012

Turtle Trot 5K: review

On Saturday, I ran my signature race: the Turtle Trot 5K.

It was the hardest race I've ever ran. Why? Trails. Lots of trails. 

I knew going in that it wasn't going to be a record-breaking day. I knew that trails were involved and knowing that trails and I don't really get along. I've ran on trails twice. I fell down once. The other time I felt like I was going to fall down or sprain my ankle (Note: I sprained my ankle three years ago, and I still feel it. It was the worst injury I've ever had, and I couldn't do much except hobble around in my clunky ankle boot for months. Anything I can do to avoid that happening ever again, I'll do.) 

So, I took the race slow and easy. It started in a neighborhood, went into a park with trails, went back through the neighborhood, into another park with trails, back through the neighborhood and back to the original park with the original trails. And a boardwalk. With a missing plank.
The neighborhood start. I look angry. I'm not.

The trails were narrow, uneven and packed at the beginning. I'm glad I wasn't shooting for a PR because it would have been very frustrating. It eventually thinned out, but the only time I felt like really pushing it was the neighborhood, which was such a small part of the race. 

So, I just tried to enjoy the race ... and avoid falling down. 

I ended up with my slowest time ever: 36:19. Yikes. I was REALLY careful on the trails. Oh, well. I'll try to better my time another day. The important thing is I loved the cause of the race: parks. Parks that loves turtles. Just like me.

Hanging in my area (with Chloe)
The turtle and turtles. In the water. They're there. Trust me.

April 11, 2012

Wacky Wednesday

  • I didn't bring my lunch today. I almost always bring my lunch or have a backup lunch in a drawer at work. Not even a backup lunch today. So, after years of never going to Subway, I went. And, I fell in love. Oh, delicious turkey on wheat with all the vegetables (minus green pepper and onion) with extra pickles and low-fat honey mustard, where have you been so many years of my life?? At Subway, you say. Hmm. I need to hit that place more often.
  • Seeing I could get a six-inch sub for $4 or upgrade to a footlong for $6, I did what any value-conscious person would do: Hello, six. Six dollar. Six dollar footlong. (Hey, I thought it was $5?). I thought I'd eat six inches and save six inches for lunch tomorrow. I thought wrong. It was so delicious, I had to have it for dinner. And, I'm already thinking about having it again tomorrow.
    This picture makes it look like slop, but it was awesome. Trust me.
  •  I saw a June bug tonight while walking my dog. Or at least that's we always called them. I guess because they come out in June? It's April, bug. What are you doing here?
Your two months early!
  • My friend is flying into Orlando on Friday and staying at another friend's timeshare there. I have a 5K on Saturday, but I'm thinking of heading over after the race. Orlando can be a traffic and tourist nightmare, but a girls' night sounds like bunches of fun. Of course, she'll be in the St. Petersburg area (where I live) on Sunday and Monday. Hmm. Such a conundrum.

April 10, 2012

Does she look like a runner?

When I first started training for my first half marathon, I got: “You’re a runner? Most runners I know look anorexic.”

When I picked up a packet for a half marathon and ran into a work acquaintance (who was picking up a race packet for a friend), she asked what race I was running. My response: “The half marathon.” Her response: “You can run the whole way?”

Me, finishing a half marathon, after running the whole way.

In the midst of training for my second half marathon, I mentioned at work that a woman in my running group was running a 100-mile race. The response: “Does she look like a runner?” 

After all of these incidents, I get the idea that people don’t think that I look like a runner. It just took three instances for it to really sink in. I’m a quick one. 

Apparently it's hard for some to believe, but this is me. Running.
But, if I don’t look like a runner (despite my finely tuned physique), who does? And, what do they look like? Am I even a runner?

Thinking on my running experiences and the races I’ve done, I came to my answer: a runner can be anyone. Runners are young, old, short, tall, skinny and fat. Runners come in all shapes and sizes, including my shape and size.

Do professional runners look a certain way? Yes. I’m not a professional runner. Do skinnier, fitter people run faster? Yes. But, I’m still running (albeit at a slower pace).

When I first started running, I was hesitant to call myself a runner. If anyone would ask if I was a runner, I’d say: “Oh, I try. I don’t know if I can be called a runner.”

And then I stumbled across this quote: “If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for 20 years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” I like this John Bingham guy (he’s an author and runner).

And I’ll take the word of another runner. And try to ignore those of the non-runners — like all of those folks that questioned my running abilities.

I'm a runner, yo.

April 5, 2012

The need for speed

Since I recently told my running group "see ya" (for a few months), I've been a little nervous about running on my own. Thankfully, that won't last long. I've got a new group. Well, a virtual group.

Thanks to this girl, I'm participating in a Couch to 10K group for mastering speed. I know what you're thinking: "Jina, why do you need that? You're already so speedy." Yeah, yeah. I know. Call me crazy, but I think I can run faster than 11-minute miles. 

So, starting next week, I'm tackling this 13-week program to get speedy. You probably won't see me run by after I'm done with this. I'll just be a blur.

The next 10K, you won't see a photo like this ...

In all seriousness (wait ... I'm never all serious), I'm excited to see what I can do in these 13 weeks. I'm also excited to have a group again. 

If you're interested in joining in on the fun, there's still time to do it (whether you're looking to master speed or distance). Read more about the plan and get your own plan here.

April 4, 2012

Wacky Wednesday

  • Due to unexpected (but not unwelcome) guests, this past weekend and week are craziness. Add to that some madness at work, and we've got ourselves a party.
  • Chloe loves having guests. As long as she's not left alone, she's a happy dog.
Please just don't leave me here by myself.

  • Every day that Jessica Simpson doesn't have her baby is a day closer to my birthday! As mentioned previously: yes, I'm pathetic.
  • College basketball ended on an awesome note. No, I'm not a Kentucky fan. I'm an anti-Kansas fan. I rooted against my school's rival the entire tournament. Finally, in the championship game, they lost. Good. I hope it's more painful that way.
  • Baseball season is here, thank goodness! 
I heart summer and baseball (and my pine tar T-shirt).