Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Running in the Rain and Panic over Garmin failure

It's Tuesday so that means it's running group night!  It rained all day.  I HATE running in the rain.  I don't just dislike it; I really hate it.  I don't do getting soaked, especially my feet.
I went to group run and was getting ready, complaining like nobody's business about the rain, and went to turn Garmie on and...nothing.  Oh noooooooo, PANIC, Garmie won't turn on.  I put her on her charger and plugged her in after my last run on Sunday and then forgot about it.  She was on the charger for 2 days.  One of the running store workers said he's read or heard something about it and that there is something you have to do but didn't remember what to do.
It was 54 degrees but it rained steady all during our run.  I can't imagine what people thought when they saw this group of people out there in the dark and in steady rain running!!  I was miserable within the first quarter mile.  Did I mention that I don't like running in rain one little bit?  We ran our designated winter route which circles through 2 subdivisions with minimal main road running.  (designated by the running store owners for winter running after dark)  There were puddles here and there which made for wet feet.   Right at the end of the run I stepped off the curb where we have to cross the street to return to the store and stepped in ankle deep, freezing cold water. 
I took dry clothes to change into, which I did immediately upon returning. 
A soaked runner
I don't know if this picture really shows how soaking, dripping wet I was!  As I was peeling off the wet running clothes, they were dripping!  There was a puddle on the floor when I picked them up!
When I went to my car to leave, I couldn't believe how warm it felt.  A few days ago we had single digit and teens temperatures.  I went to Whole Foods to get a few things and, of course, within minutes of leaving the running store...IT STOPPED RAINING!!!!!  Yep, that's how it always happens!
This evening after coming home, dinner and a shower, I set out to see if I could find any information on my non-functioning Garmin.  I found it right away, thanks to Google awesomeness!  Leaving it on the charger for so long can cause it to freeze.  I had to push the Lap, Mode, and Power buttons at the same time and hold until it came on!!!!  I was sooooo excited!!!  I got the "Low Battery" message as soon as it came on.  Must be leaving it on the charger too long charges it and then uncharges it!!  I'm just glad my running partner is ok!
Tomorrow afternoon I am meeting up with my friend, Erika.  If it's not raining, we will go running.  I am going to show her all my Key West pictures and tell her all that she missed by not being able to go!!

I have scheduled the next exam I have to take in the process of becoming a Registered Respiratory Therapist.  I take the 2nd exam next Thursday, Feb. 7 so I have a little over a week to study.

Runner Nerd
runs in rain

Friday, January 25, 2013

Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K

I signed up for a virtual 5K through a woman's blog that I read.  She organized a virtual 5K on her birthday.  The 5K had to be run at any time during the day of January 25th and anywhere one usually runs.  I chose to go in to the paved trail to run and then I showered at the YMCA and then had to get to an eye Dr. appointment.
The trail was snow covered but not as deep as it was the day I did my 10 miler out there.
snow covered trail

It was cold, I think it was 21 degrees when I ran.  I ran as if I was really running a race.  I ran as fast as I could with the snow.  It wasn't too bad but sometimes my feet would slip on push off.  I never even had to wait for any cars at the two places that I have to cross roads!!
Sooooo, this is me just after finishing:
self pic after finishing virtual 5K

5K results
The gal, Katie, asked participants to post a picture for her.  When I went to post my picture, I saw that quite a few people combined a picture of themselves and a picture of their garmin or the treadmill screen.  I have no clue how to do this so I googled it.  I found numerous instructions and tried unsuccessfully many times before I finally got a somewhat successful collage!!  Anyone who knows me knows that computers and I don't get along well!!  Here is the result that I posted for the virtual 5K race director:
I did this!! 

Garmin Connect link to my 5K:Runs for Cookies Virtual 5K

This is the first time I've run since returning from Key West.  As I was running, I had flashbacks to July when I was out there with the triathlon training group doing speedwork, when the temps were in the 90s and my plantar fasciitis forced me to quit early and limp back to my car in tears.  It was not pleasant flashbacks but it, once again, reminded me that I did the smart thing to take the 2.5 months off running because I run pain free now!!  I'm still nervous about getting my mileage back up to where it should be.  I do not want to go through that again; it affects more than just running; it affects all the walking I have to do.   My sister in law and I will be registering for the Chicago Marathon when it opens on Feb. 19th.
This was fun!  The woman, Katie, is part of the 12 person relay team that I wrote about a while back.  I'm glad I did it!

My daughter is loving Belize even though she has homework every day and exams on weekends.  I'm glad to hear that the students are kept busy so they don't have time to get themselves in trouble!!  She sent me this picture the other day.  She wrote, "Hiked through the jungle mud, got completely soaked, fell a couple times but we finally found the waterfall. I love Belize!"  The kid I know would have been whining and having a fit about mud and falling and getting soaked!! 
It's hard work studying abroad in Belize

Runner Nerd

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Last Day

It was my last day in Key West.   It was 68 degrees at 7am and it was -6 (yes, negative 6) and schools were closed back home so how could I not go running!!  I put on the same clothes I wore for the half marathon; I didn't bring any others.  I set out to run along the ocean on the half marathon course.  I saw a pier when I was riding my bike yesterday and saw a runner turn and head onto it so I wanted to check it out myself.
The White Street Fishing Pier
It wasn't much; it was a bridge-like structure out into the water for fishing from.  I looked at Garmie when I turned onto it and it said .86 and when I came back off I was at 1.31 so running down and back was .45 miles so it is nearly a quarter of a mile long.  I took the picture above and posted it to Facebook saying, "out for my morning run along the pier, no big deal!" (as if I run on a pier every day!!)  I guess I just felt like rubbing it in since I so rarely travel!  I'm always the one seeing friends' cool vacation pics so it was my turn!
I admit that I did stop and take pictures several times during my run!!  I am actually surprised that I never forgot to restart Garmie when I started running again! 
The course came within a block of my hotel so I ran down to that street and followed it out to the road that runs along the ocean.  I ran past the 10 mile mark again!
Running past the beach on my morning run! Yes, I could handle this as part of my every day routine!

Running ocean-side
There is a really nice paved biking/walking/etc lane which is separated from the road along the ocean which is where quite a few miles of the half marathon ran.
I planned to run 4 miles so I ran another mile down the ocean side path and turned back.  As I got close to my hotel, I kind of "forgot" to turn right on Simonton St. to go back to my hotel and went straight through the intersection  to run past this Key West landmark:
The Southernmost Point!

Then I HAD to head back because I had to check out by 11:00 and I didn't want to be too rushed.  When I got back, the hotel was still serving breakfast so I had some breakfast by the pool!
mini muffins by the pool after running
Then it was time to shower, dress and get ready to vacate my room.  As I was getting ready to shower, I had a thought...what am I going to do with these sweaty running clothes????  I was really sweaty and they were wet!  I ended up putting them in a plastic bag and stuffing them into the outside pocket of my suitcase! 
The hotel kept my luggage in a room in the office area so I could ride around all day until it was time to head to the airport.  My flight wasn't until 5:40 pm.
I had lunch at Cheeseburger in Key West.  It's on Duval St. and I had ridden or walked by it several times.  All the restaurants in Key West have their menus posted in front so I have looked at all of them.  This one had a cobb salad that sounded really good!  This was the only non seafood meal I had in Key West.  One other thing I keep seeing on every menu was Conch fritters.  It doesn't matter if the restaurant is super fancy and expensive or not, Conch fritters are on every one.  I asked about them at one of the places I was at and they said that they are a specialty in the Florida Keys.  I decided to try them today since they weren't nearly as much here as they were at most places.  I could also get a small order of only 6!
Key West Conch Fritters
The way I would describe them is like tiny crab cakes except that it's Conch instead of crab and they are deep fried.  The chunks of Conch remind me of clam strips.  I ate one and then just ate the centers out of a couple more since I had a big salad coming.  They were good but I doubt that I will order them the next time I'm in Key West.
I spent the afternoon riding my bike around and taking lots of pictures.  I took zillions of pictures of houses and chickens!
My last stop was, of course, ice cream!!  I had ice cream on the Historic Seaport!
Ice cream at Key West Ice Cream Factory on the Historic Seaport

All too soon it was time to get back to the hotel, have them call a taxi and give them my bike.  (They took care of returning it to the rental place.)
The flight home was uneventful.  I had a hard time finding my car back in Detroit.  I left it in the Blue Parking Deck.  I had written down "D2 across from elevator, middle row" when I parked.  I was right in front of a sign that said D2 and I was across from an elevator with one other row of cars between where I was parked and the elevator.  I thought that the 2 meant level 2 so I went to the 2nd level and began wandering looking for section D.  I found section D2 but my car was not there.  I was FREEZING!  I only had a light jacket.  I was wandering around and beginning to panic and a security truck stopped and asked me if I needed help.  I showed him what I had written and said that I walked the whole length of D2 and could not find my car.  He asked if I might be in D2 on a different level.  He explained that D2 is a section and that every level has a D2.  He gave me a ride and it turns out that I was on level 1.  So, next time I leave my car there I guess I need to determine which level I'm on along with the section number!  I was probably so excited to get going when I got there that I didn't really look at the signs very well.  Anyway, I got going and got home just shy of 2 am.  I was starving so I had stopped at a 24 hr McDonald's on the way home and got a chicken wrap.  When I got home, I had some popcorn and the rest of my Mattheessen's oatmeal raisin cookie!!  I also brought a whole one home which I cut into 4 pieces, wrapped and put in the freezer. 
So, that was my adventure, my graduation present to myself, my graduation celebration, the trip I had been planning for over 3 years was over.
I love Key West and I will definitely be back!
Well, I need to get to the grocery store and get some decent food in the house since I gained 5 lbs in Key West.  I guess it's back to counting Weight Watchers points for me!  

Runner Nerd
missing Key West

Monday, January 21, 2013

I don't want to leave this place

Today was my last full day in Key West.  I don't want to go home.  This morning one of my friends who thought I was going home today texted me the following: " It's 17 and snowing.  Don't come home. Stay there!  Change your flight!"  
I slept in this morning.  I don't remember what time I got up but I know it was after 10!  (I went back to sleep after replying to the above text message that I wasn't going home today.)
I have no idea how many miles I rode my bike.  I rode all over the place today.  I went out to ride along the ocean where I had run during the half marathon yesterday.  I saw the mile markers which were painted on the ground.
10 mile mark on half marathon course
I got a little choked up when I saw this particular mile marker because I remember passing it yesterday.  I don't know if it's just me or if everyone feels this way; there is just something about passing the 10 mile mark in a half marathon.  It's not like you are anywhere near the finish line yet but once you pass the 10 mile mark, you are on the home stretch; there's just a 5K to go!  I love passing the 10 mile mark in a half marathon. 
Today was beautiful!  It was 77 degrees most of the day!  This is the warmest it's been since I've been here.
I toured the oldest house on Key West!  It was built in 1829.
The oldest house on Key West

I saw this shop:
Pelican Poop Shoppe
It was a typical Key West tourist gift shop with brightly painted metal crabs and lizards, Southernmost Point and mile 0 stuff, magnets, etc.  (I never saw any pelican poop or jelly beans being called pelican poop!)  I learned from a sign on the wall that this was Ernest Hemingway's first house. It was later made into a hotel.  It has a courtyard in the middle of it.  You can go into the courtyard and the store clerk starts a recording telling the history of the building.  It was very interesting.
remnants of the former hotel with palm trees reaching the 3rd story balcony

Courtyard pool of the Pelican Poop Shoppe, former Casa Antigua Hotel and former Ernest Hemingway house
I bought a Key West t-shirt at a shop near the Pelican Poop shoppe.  After lunch, I went back to the cookie place to get a oatmeal raisin cookie!  Oatmeal raisin cookies are my favorite and this one was sooooooooooooo good!!!!  Oh my!  It was awesome!!!  I ate a chunk of it and wrapped the rest for later.  

I had a postcard to send to my running friend, Erika.  I asked at the hotel desk about a stamp and they did not have any but said that the store next door sells them.  I went in and asked for a post card stamp and the gal looked in her bag and told me that she is all out of postcard stamps and began to put her bag away.  I could see stamps in the bag so I said, "but those are stamps", to which she replied, "they aren't for postcards, I'm sorry" and proceeded to put the bag away.  I explained to her that I could still use the regular stamp on my post card and that the post office doesn't care if regular stamps are used on postcards.  She had to ask someone else before she would sell me a stamp!!

I got my "One human family" sticker!!  It is the motto of Key West.  It is true there.  You will see couples of all types dancing on the same dance floor.  I think that's a good thing! 

After supper, I did one time up and down Duval street taking it all in then I went back to Mattheessen's to try their homemade ice cream!!  Yep, it's as good as the cookies!!

I can't believe I have to go back home tomorrow.  It's below zero back there.  I have my stuff mostly packed.  I only bought a few small things here but it's hard to fit them in because I only brought a small carry on size suitcase and my backpack.  I'm going to go running in the morning; I have to.  I'm in Key West and it's below zero back home, how can I not go running?  I have to be out of the hotel by 11 but my flight isn't until 5:40 pm.  I can leave my stuff in a storage room at the hotel until I have to leave.  The hotel will also take care of returning my rental bike!

Well, I better get to bed so I can be out running by 8am.

Runner Nerd
doesn't want to leave Key West

What a day

What a day!!  I ran a half marathon, I had a yummy seafood lunch on the Historic Seaport, I had a gigantic chocolate chip cookie, I took a nap, I went on a ghost tour of Key West, I listened to live music, I got hugged by a drag queen, I  am in Key West!!!!!

Lunch was great!  The restaurant is open like the one I went to yesterday.
view from my table
This restaurant is on the Harbor in the Historic Seaport District.  Right behind it are charter fishing boats.  Fishing trips are a big thing here.  This was on the menu:
you hook 'em...we cook 'em
Apparently, they will cook fish you catch and bring in!!
I also saw this in the restaurant:
Doggy having lunch with his humans!
you would NEVER see that around here!  Only in Key West!!
After lunch, I rode my bike around, went into a couple of shops and then I got away from the town area and rode in residential areas.   One thing I've noticed is that everything in Key West is old.  Everything is well kept up but it is old.  I really love the architecture here.  The houses all have porches the length of the front; two story houses have two story porches.  Many houses have palm trees taller than them.
I came back to my room and took a nap for about 1.5 hour.  I also put my running clothes in a washing machine here at the hotel and run it without any detergent.  My clothes were soaked and quite smelly.  Even the t-shirt I changed into before riding my bike back here was sweaty.  I don't have any detergent so they got washed in just water; it has to be better than leaving them in a pile in my room to ferment! 
Around 6 pm, I headed back out.  I had to be at the trolly tour place at 7:30 to check in for the Ghosts and Graveyards tour.  But first, I had another thing to do!  I had read on a woman's blog about a place with really good gigantic chocolate chip cookies!!  I wrote it down and looked it up online so I'd know where to find it.  This is the mother of all cookies:
Mattheessen's 1/2 lb chocolate chip cookie
It was really good!!  I didn't eat all of it, more than a quarter but less than half!  I went into some shops along Duval street.  Duval street is "the" street in Key West where it all happens! 
I decided to ride back to my room and put the rest of the cookie in my refrigerator, I grabbed my jacket because it had cooled down a little.  It was still warm but it felt a bit chilly when riding the bike.  Then I went to check in for the Ghost tour.  I wish I had taken a picture of the trolly.  It was fun, I learned a lot of history of Key West.  We went into an old fort that is now a museum.  They passed out EMF detectors - just like on Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures!!!
my EMF detector!!! 
Mine blinked a few times when we were in there.  Only three of us had them blink.  Who knows?  It was fun! 

After that, I was back to wandering Duval street.  All the bars are open to the outside and have live entertainment so you can listen to the music from the sidewalk.  I listened to this dude for the rest of his show; he was awesome!
Gerd Rube
I listened until he was done and then I found out that the place I was going to eat was closed.  It was a pizza place I saw earlier.  They make individual pizzas so I was thinking I'd do that for my dinner.  Oh well.  It was worth it to listen to Gerd Rube!!  I ended up having a slice of pizza at a place that was still open.  It was a place that sells pizza by the slice from the heated case.  (like at the mall) It was not terrible but I'm sure I would have liked the other much better.  I went back to my hotel and ate the rest of my cookie.

Sooooo, yes, this was a great day!!!  I love Key West!!!!!!

Runner Nerd
loving Key West

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I am a Key West Half Marathon Finisher!

My alarm woke me at 5 am to get up and get ready to go run the half marathon that I have been looking forward to for three years!  I could hardly believe that I was actually getting ready for the race.  It was 70 degrees!  YAY!  I ate my bagel, got dressed, and rode my bike to the race location.  I was behind a lady who was also biking to the race!  We parked and locked our bikes a block away since there were still plenty of open spaces on this bike rack. 
before the race
I checked my bag, used the restroom (a real restroom, not porta potty!) and joined in the crowd moving toward the start line.  When I got to the start line, it was solid people facing me; the line up was on the other side!  I got behind the starting line but was off to the side and decided that I was going to wait there and jump in after the gun.  There was a 5K that started 10 minutes later and most of those runners were along the side of the starting corral so there were a lot of people in a small area. 
As I got started, I soon realized that I wasn't used to running in 70s anymore.  I actually had to get used to it.  After a couple of miles I finally felt normal.  It went good; I was running in the area of 10:30 miles which is what I expected with my minimal training method.  The race started in town but finally got out along the ocean.  The race was marked in both miles and kilometers.  The course was changed this year due to construction on the home stretch of the loop around the island.  It was out and back this year so as I was running out, I could see the mile markers for the way back.  When you are at 4 miles into a race you really don't want to see a 10 mile marker!  Eventually, I was headed back and passing the larger number mile markers again when they were really my mileage!  Around mile 7 I began feeling really beat and it was difficult and I thought, "this is going to be a long, miserable run the rest of the way" but it didn't last and I was back up to speed again.  Things went well until the last mile.  The last mile was tough; I just wanted to be done.  As I came back into town, there were a lot of turns.  I kept thinking that I'd see the finish line around each corner.  Finally, I saw the finish line and crossed smiling with  my arms in the air!!  I found a place to sit down for a few minutes and then it hit me - it's over, after 3 years of planning, it's over.  I was a bit sad.  I drank a little water.  The water bottles were cold!  They had been in ice!  Nothing worse than a warm bottle of water after a race.  I got my bag from bag check; I had a towel in my bag.  I soaked the towel in no time wiping my sweat off!  I took this picture of myself soon after finishing.  (I put my phone in my bag; I usually don't do that but I wanted to be able to text/Facebook post/take pictures so I did this time.)  The middle of the medal turns around. 
soon after finishing

I went looking for the food!  There were orange wedges and I ate 3 or 4.  They tasted really good.  Then there was:
frozen, chocolate dipped slice of Key Lime pie!!! 
I took a picture of it and posted it to Facebook saying: "You know you are in a special place when the finish line food is chocolate dipped key lime pie!!"  It really tasted good!  After I ate it, my tummy wasn't quite sure about it which I expected but I wasn't super nauseous or anything.  
Someone asked me if I'd take their picture so then I asked him to take mine with my camera. 
Key West Half Marathon finisher
There was no official finish picture area like there is at most races.  I don't think there were any photographers on the course either, just the finish line. 
Eventually, I was able to see results and my official finish time was 2:23:50.  I was hoping to be under 2:20 but I'm ok with it; I didn't train like I should have and I'm still not back to my pre-college weight. 
Soooooo, the Key West Half Marathon of 2013 is in the books! 
I'm back in my hotel room, I've showered and dressed in my shorts and short sleeve shirt to go out and about in Key West in the sunny 72 degree weather!!!
I feel good! My feet do not hurt other than normal sore feet after a long run.  My heel is not hurting at all and never did during the race.  Now, I can honestly say that I am soooooooo glad that I took 2.5 months completely off from running back in the summer.  It was the right thing to do, it was the smart thing to do.  I am here and am able to say the first line of this paragraph because I did it!! 
Well, I'm hungry so I am heading off to Schooner Wharf restaurant because I have a 10% off coupon from my race packet!!  Yummy seafood awaits me!!  I just ran a half marathon!!  I'm wearing the shirt the rest of the day! 

Runner Nerd
Key West finisher

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Another Day in Paradise

The fanciest race bib I've ever had!
This is my race bib for the half marathon!  It's the fanciest race bib I've ever had!  I've never had one with a picture like that on it!  I can't believe that I have a 2 digit number.  I don't know how they assigned numbers but I did register one of the first few days registration was open. 

I got my rental bike today!  I don't have a picture of it yet.  I rode around this morning, found where the expo and packet pick up would be and then had lunch at a seafood restaurant.  You know you are in a place where it doesn't get cold when the restaurant doesn't even have walls around the outside of it!!  It is open to the outdoors and there are pigeons walking around the floor and they will come right up by your feet if they think there is a crumb on the floor!  I bet they never have to sweep the floor!
 I saw two cruise ships today!  There were two of them at the dock in Mallory Square this morning.  They are HUGE!  I've only seen pictures and I knew they weren't small but I didn't realize how massive they are.  I took pictures with my camera but I haven't put the pictures on my computer yet. After lunch and more riding around and looking in some shops that were off the main areas, I went back to my hotel room and took a nap until I rode back to pick up my packet.  I wasn't ready for dinner yet so I rode around a little bit more looking at everything.  I was in the seaport area.  There are a lot of fishing charter boats.  The pasta dinner was nothing special.  It was not even very good.  Oh well!  Hal Higdon was the speaker. 
Hal Higdon
After Hal Higdon spoke, I got on  my bike and rode back to my room and then started thinking about tomorrow morning.  I had never made any plans for breakfast.  I asked at the front desk and they directed me to a place with a deli that was in the same block as the hotel so I was able to get a bagel and I went to a convenience store I had stopped at last night for water because I remembered seeing fruit.  I'm so glad they had decent looking bananas so I got 2 bananas.  I like bananas just barely ripe and they had some that still had some green.
I have my bib pinned on my shirt and clothes and Garmin ready to go and will be going to bed soon!  The race is at 7am.  

Runner Nerd
race night in Key West

Friday, January 18, 2013

Key West

I'm here!!
The first leg of the trip from Detroit to Fort Myers, Fl was like any other flight.  When I got off the plane in Fort Myers and began looking around for signs as to where I was supposed to go to change planes I couldn't find anything to indicate where I was supposed to go.  I asked a lady who was there at the gate I had come in from.  She told me that I have to go to the other end of the airport and even had to go through security again.  I had to go to the ticketing counter for the airline that was taking me to Key West.  I had to go to where people were being dropped off at this airport and I about panicked when I got there and saw all the people.  I went to the very end, as I had been instructed to do and there was the Cape Air counter with 2 workers and not a single customer so I walked right up and got everything taken care of!  They even stamped my boarding pass as "First Class" so I could enter security in the same lane as pilots and flight attendants!  I walked right past many people waiting in line!! It turns out that this airline, Cape Air is very small and the planes are very small with only 6-10 passengers per flight!  The gate was to the very end of the terminal and down some stairs and was just a dark corner with a few chairs.  The little plane drives right up to the door and the same dude who checked our IDs at the counter took our bags and put them in the various compartments around the plane.  There were little compartments on the wings and other small compartments around the outside of the plane.  Every passenger has to be weighed with their bags too.  There are strict weight limits and it has to be distributed evenly around the plane.
When I got to the gate there was another flight leaving soon and this was the plane that was taking them:
The Shark

Later on, I was a bit disappointed when this plane showed up:
Not as cool as the Shark
You can see the man loading bags in one of the compartments.  It was a 10 passenger plane and there was 9 passengers.  The Shark is only a 6 passenger plane.  We also had 4 bags that belonged to people who went earlier on the Shark because there was too much weight and they had to remove those bags. 
Southwest Airlines jet being loaded next to our little tiny plane
I took the above picture when we were standing by our plane and our bags were being loaded.  We were all just standing out there that close to a "normal sized" plane!   
It was a 50 minute flight to Key West.  It was very loud.

So far, Key West has not disappointed other than the fact that it was only 66 degrees.  I didn't even change out of the jeans and long sleeve shirt I wore for the trip.
There are chickens running around everywhere here!!
YES, they DO cross the road!! 
I was walking down a sidewalk and a chicken was coming toward me on the sidewalk and the chicken just passed by me like it was nothing out of the ordinary!! 
The first place I went to see is very close to my hotel:
The southernmost point in the US
The half marathon course passes by this and I believe that there is a photographer stationed there during the race.

I saw cross-dressers/drag queens around town this evening!!  I even had one tell me about the show he is in at 11pm!!  I wanted to take his picture but I don't know if they like that so I didn't.   I wasn't going to stick around until 11 for the show, I was tired and my feet were starting to hurt.  I walked all the way to Mallory Square which is a spot to watch the sunset.  I know I walked over 2 miles by the time I got back here.  I had dinner at a seafood restaurant. 

This morning I took this picture:
Can't figure out what's going on
Sam, the cat, wasn't sure what to think and wouldn't move so I could completely make the bed.  It is not normal for me to be getting up at 6 am and I don't think he liked it one little bit!  I didn't either.  He did eventually move so I was able to finish making the bed before I left!!

Well, I am really really tired and I have to be around at 9:30 am for the bike rental place to bring my bike to me so I am going to go to bed.

Runner Nerd
in Key West

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Key West, here I come

January 10, 2009 I began my first class and today, January 17, 2013 I sent in the paperwork for my RT license!!  It's been forever and I can hardly believe that it's finally over! 

I am all packed for Key West!  I packed light; I'm not going to check a bag. 
I rented a bike in Key West online and it will be delivered to my hotel Saturday morning at 9:30 am!  I bought a ticket online for the Ghosts and Graveyards tour for Sunday night!!  It sounds like a lot of fun and I am excited about it. 
So, today was a productive day! 

The next time I blog, I will be blogging from Key West!

Runner Nerd
heading to paradise

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I passed!!!

I am now Runner Nerd, CRT!  I passed my first board exam today!  I can now get licensed to practice as a Respiratory Therapist!  I will send that in tomorrow.

When I finished my exam, I felt like an idiot.  I felt like I guessed at so many questions.  I didn't think there was any way that I could have passed that exam and I was not very proud of myself and feeling very defeated.  I went from the testing room into the office and the lady did her thing which resulted in a piece of paper coming from the printer.  She had to look at the very top of the paper to verify the name and ID# and then she handed it to me upside down.  She had not looked at the rest of the page; she just folded the top of it over.  She said to me that I didn't look very happy.  I took the paper and turned it over.  I saw a lot of numbers and had to look around and finally I saw the words, "you have PASSED this..."  I almost cried!!  Passing is 75 and I had 88 so I guess I did just fine.  I was very happy but I was just drained.

After the exam, I went to my friend's apartment and we went running.  We ran 5 miles and I was so slow and was barely moving the last mile.  I was just so exhausted and my whole body just felt crappy.  She had to keep slowing and waiting for me to catch up.  

I haven't even begun too pack for Key West and I leave the day after tomorrow!  Tomorrow is definitely packing day.  I can't believe that it's here already. 

Well, I'm going to get my tired out self to bed so I can get up at a decent hour and get myself packed for a vacation!! 

Runner Nerd
passed boards

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Running in Mud

Last night was the Ididarun which is an 8 mile night cross country race that is usually in at least ankle deep snow and freezing cold.  I looked up my blog post from last year and it was in the high 30s, no snow and very muddy. This year it was 56 degrees when we started and the portions of the race on the school cross country course were very muddy in places.  One portion that went across a big grass yard was just very wet which made for soaked feet.  The course is 4 loops so it's worse each time around.
Because it was so warm, I did not wear a hat or headband which resulted in my headlamp falling on my forehead!  One of my friends took this picture just as I was going to adjust it!  I had to adjust it quite tight to keep it where it belongs.  

headlamp almost covering eyes!

running group friends ready to play in the mud!

I am the one in the bright yellow shirt.  My headlamp still wasn't adjusted right.  The guy on the far left in grey shirt was the race winner. 
muddy shoes are the result of a great run!
This picture really doesn't show the mud on my legs.  My legs were all muddy as well as my shoes. The back side of my lower right leg had the most mud!

With this 8 mile run I am now done with long runs in training for Key West!!!   One week from today is the race!!
In 5 days I'll be in Key West!!  I so can't wait!!!

Runner Nerd
muddy running shoes and all trained for Key West

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Windows open in January

yes, it's January 12 in Michigan and it is:
top number is outdoor temp
and my cat is loving that he gets to sit in an open:
This is not a usual activity in January in Michigan
I am not complaining!  Tonight is a night cross country race that I've done the past 3 years.  It seems to be warmer each year.  Last year it was very muddy and I suspect that it will be again this year.  I'm planning to wear knee-length tights!

Runner Nerd
loving warm winter days

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

She's gone for three months

I put my daughter, my baby, on a plane today.  Actually, I pulled up to the curb, took her suitcases out of the back and sent her on her way; people cannot accompany people into the airport anymore.  I'm sure that's probably better in this case!  There were two other students on the same flight and another who would be joining them on the second leg of the flight in Dallas, TX.   She is studying abroad in Belize for three months.   The trip is led by Anthropology professors and is only with students from her university.  She texted me when she landed in Dallas and then called me just before boarding in Dallas and one last text when she was on the plane and it was going to be leaving.  After that, no more cell phone.  I got an email from her saying that she got there safely and she is already loving it!  Her email said that there are trees EVERYWHERE!!  There are trees everywhere here, too.  I am not sure if the trees there are dense, as in a woods or forest, everywhere in Belize.  I guess I will have to wait to see pictures. 
I will worry about her safety every day and will miss her but I am glad that she has this opportunity.
I had to drop her off at the airport at 6:30 am so we had to leave home at 5:15 am.  We only slept a few hours after being up late getting everything packed so I was tired when I got home.  I fell asleep and slept for over four hours!  I guess I was tired!
Tonight was running group!!  With Christmas and New Years falling on Tuesdays, there was no running group the last two weeks.  It was good to get together with the group again. 

My trip to Key West is rapidly approaching!  I leave in 9 days!!
I have been following the story of 12 people who made up a relay team for a relay from Miami to Key West.  This relay took place Friday and Saturday.  It was hot with temps in the 80s; I sure hope it's like that when I'm there too!  This group of 12 people on this relay team have all lost at least 100 pounds each and came to know each other though blogging and a weight loss website called Sparkpeople.   A documentary is being made of this relay and the journeys of the people from being morbidly obese to losing the weight and becoming runners.  I can't wait to see the documentary.  As a respiratory therapist, I take care of people who are realizing that their lifestyle choices have caused their problems and I've heard many times of how they wish they could go back and do it differently.  One of the reasons that this documentary interests me so much is that these people made those lifestyle changes before it was too late and changed their lives in such great ways.  They are proof that it can be done and that people are really doing it!!!  I have also heard every excuse there is for not making those lifestyle changes.  I've listened to patients refuse to put any effort into their recovery; they want medicine; they don't want to be told to exercise and eat differently.  When I hear of people making the changes I get very excited!!! 

Time for bed, tomorrow begins my study and review for my board exams which I hope to take next week.

Runner Nerd
no kids in the house

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Longest run and 2 weeks to go!!!

Two weeks from today I will be running in Key West, Florida!!  I will be in the southernmost city in the United States!!  I will be where it is "far from normal, close to perfect"!!! (fla-keys.com/keywest)

Yesterday I ran my longest run in my training for this half marathon.  I ran 12.2 miles.  It was cold - 30 degrees, which isn't really that bad but I just wasn't enjoying it.  Part of my run was on dirt roads which had been plowed but still had snow on them.  Most of the time it was fine running but there were places where there was more snow and it was harder to run on.  I decided to use my ipod on this run.  I rarely run listening to music.  I was never on a main road.  I combined a couple of my 4 mile routes in Chelsea and added 4 miles on Trinkle Rd out and back from the high school.  I ran really slow.  I know I'm not going to be able to run this half in under 2 hours but I really really hope that I can run it faster then I ran yesterday.  I'd like to think I could do 2:10 but 2:20 is the most I want to be out there.

My daughter leaves to study abroad on Tuesday.  She will be gone 3 months.  I think that will be the longest I've ever went without seeing her.  We won't be able to talk very often either.  She will have internet access so I will get emails from her.  When she went to Africa on a Lutheran mission trip when she was 17 there was no contact at all; that was hard.  After she leaves, I have to get myself in gear and review for my board exam.  I would like to take it on Monday, a week from tomorrow.  I guess I just need to sign up for it that day and then I am committed.

Thursday will be 10 days out from Key West which, to runners, means - 10 day forecast!!!  It's both good and bad!  I don't know why I continue to look at it every time I have a major race.  It changes daily; it can go from one extreme to the other.  I have been following the weather in Key West for several months now and it really doesn't fluctuate much.  This time of year it is consistently in the 70s; in the summer it's consistently in the 80s.

Next Saturday I will be running 8 miles which sounds easy but I'm going to use a night cross country race that I've done several times as my run.  So much for easy!  I've already told my friends who also run this race that I'm going to be very cautious out there because I'm not taking any chances of falling or even twisting an ankle.  The run is on the grounds of a high school; some of it is on their cross country course and some in parking lots and driveways that wind around the athletic fields.  The cross country course parts usually have deep snow and there's a big hill!

Well, I'm off to help a panicky kid get packed for 3 months of traveling!! 

Runner Nerd
off to Key West in 12 days!