Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Miss My Friend

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance

I cannot believe that it has been nine years
So many things remind me of you
When the sun is shining bright, I think of you and smile
When I see the full moon, I think of you (and say hi!)
When it's unseasonably warm in the fall or winter, I think of you
Occasionally, I feel a hand on my shoulder for a moment and I wish it could stay there
I often think of you and I smile, I laugh, I cry, I remember
I will never forget you
I am so very glad that I had you for my bestest friend throughout those years
You believed in me when no one else did
I miss my friend, the one my heart and soul confided in
I miss you...I miss you more

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Festivities

After my daughter graduated and moved back home with her 4 year accumulation of stuff and her cat, Christmas came and went. 
The Thursday before Christmas was the running group yearly Christmas light run.  We run through two subdivisions near the running store to see all of the lights.  After the run we have food.   We donned Christmas lights, silly sweaters and hats to go for a run! 
Runners preparing for the Christmas light run
Lights on my hat and a beautiful Christmas sweater vest
I made a crock pot of chili and I made cookies in the shapes of a running shoe and a Christmas light bulb but I never took any pictures of the cookies.
My daughter and I did a bunch of baking the day before this party.  We also made the normal Christmas cookie shaped cookies along with the running cookies.  My daughter found a recipe that she wanted to try; she even bought all the ingredients for them.  They turned out pretty good -
Melting snowman cookies!

The Sunday before Christmas, my family had our annual Christmas get together with extended family.  This year we went to my cousin's house in Ohio.  I had found a recipe that I wanted to try but wasn't sure if I wanted to put the effort into it.  I'm pretty good at baking but I don't really do anything fancy.  It was for a chocolate loaf cake with a Christmas tree inside of it.  When sliced, the slices show the tree.  Here's how it turned out:
Yes, I really did make this!
I was afraid to cut it because I didn't think mine would turn out but it did!  The center is made from a pound cake.  The recipe calls for a frozen pound cake but my daughter thought that I should make the pound cake that I made for strawberry shortcake back in the summer.  The pound cake is sliced and the tree shapes cut from the slices, batter is put in the bottom of the cake pan and the slices of pound cake stood up in a line touching each other down the middle of the pan.  The rest of the cake batter is poured over the trees and it's baked.  Very complicated for me!!  I'm glad it turned out!  

Christmas Eve was church.  I love the Christmas Eve church service.  It is what Christmas is all about to me. 
 My family was originally going to get together on Christmas day at my sister's house but then plans changed because my sister from Maryland flew back on Christmas afternoon and being at my house is closer to the airport so she could leave later.  Sooooooo, because of that, we had to find ways to stash all of my daughter's stuff throughout the house so the place didn't look like a hoarder house!   My sister from California was here too!  All four of us were in the same place at the same time!
The Miller Girls
I think that's about it for Christmas.  I have been doing my long runs on Saturdays but haven't been doing very much running during the week.  I ran 10 miles last Saturday.  My run was slow and difficult which I think has something to do with three days of eating lots of candy and cookies!  I guess it's all my fault!  Saturday marked three weeks until the Key West Half Marathon!  Next week I'll run 12, the week after I'll run 8 and then it's time to go to Key West!!  Hard to believe it's getting so close! 
I still don't know where I'm running on New Years Eve.  I can't find any info on the 5K in Jackson and nobody I ask knows anything.  There is one in Ann Arbor that starts at midnight so I may go to that one. 
I'm behind on my log book so I'm not sure how many miles I'll have for the year.  My New Year's resolution was to keep up with the log book.  Oops!  I think I'll have to make the same resolution for 2014! 

Runner Nerd
survived Christmas once again

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Running in the Snow

Yesterday I was so disappointed to have to miss the Jingle Belle Women's 5K.  It snowed all night and the roads were covered.  It would have been fun to go and run through the snow.  But, it was my daughter's college graduation and we had to go up and move her out of her apartment before the graduation.  I posted on Thursday that I was planning to pick up my packet and shirt on Friday which I did.  I've run the race the last three years so I don't feel bad wearing the shirt.  I looked up the results today and found out that the winning time was 25 minutes so the course must have been really bad.  The winning time is usually 20-21 minutes.  (It's only women.)
I got my fill of running in the snow today!  I ran in the town of Chelsea.  I run mostly in neighborhood streets.  The footing was really bad.  It was either ankle deep snow or it was a slushy mess.  I ran 4 miles and it took 42 minutes.  There were times I was going really slow.
I took a few pictures, mostly because the friend who I am going to Key West with is in Florida right now and I thought she should see what I went through today!
paved trail that had seen a snow blower

For the full effect, I put the hood of my shirt back on:
Wooded trail
In the cemetery I made tracks through the snow!  I was the first to trek through this particular path:
My tracks in the snow

I had a hard time getting out the door to run today.  It was one of those days.  It was 23 degrees.  As I was running there were times that it was tough because of the snow but after I was done I was so glad that I had got out and ran!  I even saw 5 others out running which always motivates me.  One of the sayings you hear a lot is that you never regret that you ran but you regret when you didn't run.  Today was a perfect example of that!  After running, I had to stop in the grocery store for a few things.  I felt so hard core in my running clothes! 

Runner Nerd
ran through the snow

My Baby's College Graduation

Yesterday, my baby girl graduated from college.  I still remember the day I took her to college.  We moved her into her dorm room and we went to Sam's Club to buy a refrigerator. While we were in line to check out, she just began crying and saying, "you're just going to leave me here" over and over.  I didn't know what to do.  I'll never forget it.  Well, she adjusted just fine and made it through 4.5 years and graduated! 
We got there around 1pm.  My Dad has a big enclosed trailer that he hauls his snowmobiles in.  We loaded most of her possessions in it including a couch, a chair, her bed and many boxes of things.  It had snowed all night and the roads were snow covered.  My Dad had to drive slow but we made it up there.  We went for lunch and then changed and headed out to graduation.
The drive over to the basketball stadium was really bad, it was snowing and blowing, the snow was getting deep.
Just graduated!
CMU Class of 2013
Her sash is for studying abroad in Belize.  It has the flag of Belize on it.  The gold cords are for honors.  I am beyond proud of this girl!
After graduation, we took some pictures and trekked through the ankle deep snow to my Dad's SUV.  It had been snowing the whole time.  We drove back to her apartment and we headed for home.  The drive home took longer, the roads were getting really bad.  
She (and her cat) will be home tomorrow.  Right now, she's not sure what will be next.  She has had one interview.
I don't know where the years went.  It's hard to believe that she's graduated from college.

Runner Nerd
Mom of college graduate

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Missing the Jingle Belle 5K

For the first time ever, I registered for a race and will not be able to run it.  I registered a couple of months ago for a race this Saturday knowing that my daughter graduates from college but not until 5pm.  Now I find out that we will have to be up there around 1 pm because we have to move a lot of her stuff out of her apartment.  I am going to packet pick up tomorrow afternoon to get my shirt.  I've run this race the past three years so I think it will be ok to have the shirt. If the race was at 9am I could probably do it but it doesn't start until 10 am. 
The race is at the Delta Twp. Library which is right by the Lansing Mall.  I always go to Barnes & Noble after the race and buy my new log book for the next year.  I'm going to do that after packet pick up. 

My laptop has been overheating lately.  The fan will sound like an airplane about to take off.  I have been careful to make sure nothing is blocking the vents.  If I use it on my lap, it is on a cooling pad.  When the fan starts to sound like an airplane, I shut it down for a while to prevent it overheating to the point that it shuts itself off.  I did some googling to see what I could find out.  I thought that it was going to have to have a new fan.  I shined a light into the vents but couldn't see any dust blocking them.  I took it to a place today and the man used a can of compressed air to blow dust out of the fan.  The dust is in the blades of the fan.  He said he could tell by the sound of the fan that it was clogged with dust.  He showed me how to blow the air into the vent - with the laptop open and sitting on the side (screen and keyboard making an L shape so it will stand up) and just using short bursts of air.  He did not even charge me but asked me to contribute to the local high school media center fund.  If anyone in Jackson, MI needs any computer service, I highly recommend Pro-Tech Computers on Horton Rd. 

Runner Nerd
sad to be missing a favorite race but happy that her computer is not dieing.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Handel's Messiah

Yesterday I went to see a performance of Handel's Messiah at Hill Auditorium at University of Michigan.  I saw an article on the Ann Arbor News online edition on Friday.  I thought, I've never seen it and I could go on Sunday!  Total spur of the moment, I found the ticket sales online and found a single seat available in the front row of the balcony! 
Being on the campus of UM, parking is in parking garages around town.  I parked in the Maynard St. garage which looked to be pretty close on the map.  Bonus - FREE on Sundays!  I allowed plenty of time since the instructions were to pick up tickets no later than 30 minutes prior to the show.  I started to get nervous as I circled each level of the garage which seemed to be full.  Finally, on the top level there were some spots.  I walked to Hill Auditorium in no time; it wasn't a long walk at all.  I got my ticket at the ticket window and went into the entrance to the Auditorium.  It was 1:10.  I guess I wasn't cutting it too close!  They weren't even allowing people to go up to the upper levels yet.  I would rather be way early than cutting it close anyway.  
When they opened the doors, I asked if I could look on the main floor before going up to the balcony and they said that I could.  It's quite a place!  They have it decorated for the holidays.  I also looked into the mezzanine level before heading up to the balcony.  I went to my seat in the front row of the balcony.
My view from my seat:
View from front row of balcony in Hill Auditorium
(I took the picture before the concert started; the orchestra members were still coming onstage.)
As people were coming to the seats behind me, a woman came to me and told me that she was there with her large family and that her grandchildren would be sitting in the row behind me.  She said that they are really good but if they bother me to let her know.  I told her that I highly doubt that they would bother me and I did not mind at all.  When the lights went down some of them sat on the steps.  Someone told them not to sit on the first step, which was right by my chair, but I didn't care if they were there so I told the man that it was ok if they were on the step beside me.  So I had a little boy sitting on the step beside me!  Once the show started, I didn't even know they were there.  Occasionally, I felt the back of my seat get bumped but that doesn't bother me. 

It was really nice.  I enjoyed it very much and am very glad that I went.  The music to the Hallelujah Chorus was in the program and the audience stands and sings along with them.  I'm not a singer at all so I sang it very quietly!  I'd hate to hurt anyone's ears! It was three hours long and it went by really fast.  This is an annual show and I hope that I can go again next year. 

After the concert, I headed back to where I was parked.  The parking garage is on Maynard St. just off Liberty St.  There is a frozen yogurt shop at the corner of Liberty and Maynard so I couldn't just pass by!  I had a frozen yogurt before heading home.  It was a great day! 

Runner Nerd
sang the Hallelujah chorus

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Holiday Hustle 5K

Yesterday afternoon was the annual Holiday Hustle 5K in Dexter, MI.  This race takes place at 4:30 pm so it's still light out but daylight is beginning to fade so light up accessories show up quite well! 
I was once again decked out in battery operated lights!
Ready to run.
It's all about the reindeer antlers!
I have some crazy friends:
I want a Santa dress! 
As I mentioned in my post earlier, I did run this morning. I ran 6.6 miles.  Toward the end of the run I began feeling my inner thigh muscle again.  It wasn't painful but it was there.  UGH, enough already.  I even wore compression shorts under my tights.  After I got home, things seemed to feel ok.  I had a few hours before having to go and run again.  I decided to go to the 5K because I wasn't racing; I was just going to run easy and not worry about time.  I also had to get all of my things for church ready.  I got everything packed and got my lights pinned on, my striped knee socks on, jingling bell necklace, jingle bell pony tail tie, jingle bell bracelet and my reindeer antler headband.  
I saw all my crazy runner friends there!  We took photos and admired each others snazzy outfits! 
The race went well, I just ran at an easy, comfortable pace.  Somewhere along the way I began feeling something in my upper leg.  It never got really bad, I didn't have to slow my pace.  I don't know what's going on.  I'm going to have to make a visit to one of the runner's injury clinics. 
I ended up with 28:26 which is faster than I planned to run. 
Just like I planned, I crossed the finish line and headed right back to my car.  I started it and turned on the heat and jumped in the back seat and proceeded to change into my church clothes!  I love Burts Bees body wipes!  It was really cold and I didn't push myself at all so I wasn't very sweaty. 
I took off from there to Belleville.  I went to my niece's church for an Advent service.  It was a candlelight service with a lot of music.  My niece was singing.  It was a very nice service.  My niece sang a solo of Oh Holy Night.  I was in tears.  I've heard her sing it before but this time she was accompanied by piano and guitar and it was just beautiful.  She had asked me to record it on her cell phone.  I noticed that her battery was very low so I checked mine and I had nearly full battery so I decided that I better use both phones just in case.  I had the phones ready, she told me to get ready when the whole congregation sang Joy to the World.  A man sang after that and then it was her.  I had a phone in each hand with my elbows braced against my stomach so I wouldn't move the phones.  As she was belting out "fall on your knees", the tears started and there was no holding them back.  I got a little shaky but got my self under control.  It's a good thing that I used both phones because I glanced at the phone and the screen was blue and said that the battery was too low to record and to connect it to a power source.  It turns out that her phone was still recording and just barely made it.  It was dead so she had to plug it in at home to see if the whole song got recorded or not. 
I was exhausted by the time I got home!  This was a very long day!

Runner Nerd
ran 2 runs in one day

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Yes, this is normal!

This morning I ran with the PR Fitness group run for 6 miles.  This afternoon at 4:30 I plan to run the Holiday Hustle 5K in Dexter, MI.  I've run the Holiday Hustle for quite a few years now.  I will be decked out in lights, reindeer antlers and a jingling bell necklace to annoy anyone running near me!  After I finish the Holiday Hustle I will return to my car, change in the back seat into a dress and will be off to church for an Advent service.  That is totally normal isn't it????  What??  Doesn't everyone do this???  Isn't that why tinted windows were invented?  Isn't that why Burt's Bees invented their little packs of wipes?  Isn't that why Bath & Body Works sells little mini bottles of body spray?

Runner Nerd
changes clothes in the car all the time

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Turkey Trotting and pulling muscles

I ran my 9th annual Turkey Trot at the YMCA on Thanksgiving morning.  Before the race I was helping set out cones on the streets for the turns and then I was assigned to help the high school runners and walkers get with their teams and get their bibs and shirts.  There was a big competition of high schools in the county.  Each High School had a leader who had the bibs and t-shirts for their kids and I directed them to the high school area and made sure they got to their leader.  It was very strenuous work! (not really!)  Then it was time to turkey trot!  I ran the 10K option.  I was zipping right along faster than I ever expected to.  My first three miles were 8:41, 8:38, 8:48.  That would put me at 26:something for the first 5K.  I ran past the finish line (the 10K is two loops of the 5K) to start the second half of my race.  I decided that I'd keep this pace as long as I could. My fourth mile came in at 8:57.  I was feeling something in my inner thigh; I didn't know what it was.  It wasn't hurting but it felt funny.  Somewhere around 4.5 miles everything came to a huge halt.  I don't know what happened but all of a sudden it hurt BAD.  I came to a stop and walked about a half of a block.  Crowds of people were passing me and people were saying to hang in there and keep it up and good job and stuff like that.  I began to ease back into running but I was totally limping but it got better and I did eventually get back to a somewhat normal running stride again, although much slower.  My fifth mile came in at 9:26.  Then out of nowhere my friend, Gilbert, from Wednesday track workouts in the summer came up behind me and zipped right by me.  I would have beat him if not for this pulled muscle.  I rarely beat him, he is usually just a bit ahead of me.  That last mile was a painful 9 minutes and 28 seconds.  I finally finished.
After running, I helped with cleaning up the packet pick up/registration area which was right next to the food area where I removed full garbage bags and replaced them with empty garbage bags!  (such glamorous work!)
When I got home there was no time to google inner thigh muscle pulls or anything like that.  I had to get showered and ready to go to dinner number one!  I wore compression shorts under my clothes.  I had to wear a pair of corduroy pants that are a little big on me so the compression shorts would fit under them.  It hurt pretty bad the rest of the day.  We had dinner with my Mother-in-law and then in the late afternoon headed to my sister's house in Lansing for more food and desserts.  My parents were there and they really wanted to see my kids.   It was a total pig out day.  
My brother-in-law is a professor at MSU and he always invites foreign students over on Thanksgiving.  There were 5 students who were from China, Thailand, Russia, and India.  Around 7:30 PM the students said they had to get going because the stores were opening at 8PM and they wanted to go shopping on Thanksgiving like the Americans do!!  They were really excited about it!  They were all very nice and very polite. 
When I got home I was able to do some googling and came to the conclusion that I had pulled an Adductor muscle.  There were some tests to do.  One was to lay on my back and place a box or some object between my knees and push inward on the object with my knees.  The pain was exactly where the article described for an Adductor muscle pull.  The other thing was to lay on my sore side with my leg straight on the floor and the other leg (the top leg) over the lower leg with  my foot on the floor.  I then lifted the bottom leg off the floor.  It took great effort to lift it which meant that the adductor muscle was weak.  I then turned to the other side and was able to very easily lift my other leg off the floor with no effort at all.
Soooooo, what to do?  I have a stretch to do but not until there is no pain.  It should heal with rest within a week.  This is bad - I can't run after a major pig out day.  I had planned to run 10 on the following Saturday but didn't run at all.  Hopefully I will be able to pick up where I left off this coming Saturday.
I did not run all week.  It hurt for about three days and then didn't hurt anymore so I started the stretch.  I ran tonight at the group run and it seemed to be fine, it didn't hurt at all.  I ran 3.5 miles.  This is encouraging.  Now to see how it goes on Saturday.  I think I will just do 6 miles. 
Runner Nerd
pulled a muscle

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lightfest 8K

I'm finishing up another post in my attempt to get caught up on blogging.  I keep starting posts but don't get them finished.  I guess I'm a failure as a blogger! 
A few weeks ago was one of the most fun events I do every year, the Wayne County Lightfest Run through the Lights 8K.  They set up a big drive through light display on Hines Drive which runs through a series of parks.  The 8K is a fun run with no timing on a Tuesday evening and draws a surprisingly large crowd.  It's only $18.00 and you get a long sleeve t-shirt! The drive through display opens on the Friday after the run. 
I met up with running group friends before the run started. My lights were on but they don't show up very well in the picture. The lights on Larry's hat really show up.
Decked out in lights
The run went well.  Miles 2,3, and 4 were all under 9 minutes.  Mile 4 was 8:37, how I did that, I have no idea.  I never felt like I was running fast.  I was tired out by the end.  My overall pace was 9:00 even.
After the run I met a local running celebrity!!!  His name is Doug Kurtis.  He has quite a list of accomplishments.  He made news this year when he ran the Detroit Marathon in under 3 hours for his 200th sub 3 hour marathon.  He is 61 years old.
My first running celebrity photo:
Just hanging out with my BFF after the run!! 
My running group friend, Larry (in above picture and wearing the same thing) knows him.  They are both on the staff of the Detroit Turkey Trot.  (They are both wearing their staff jackets and hats)  Larry took our picture and I told Doug that it was my first picture with a running celebrity!  I told him about seeing Dean Karnazes at the Chicago Marathon expo and that I didn't wait in the line.  He then proceeds to tell me that the Thursday following the Chicago Marathon he had lunch with Dean Karnazes in Dearborn! 
I could hardly believe that I had just run another Lightfest 8K.  This year has just flown by.  I felt good afterward, especially for the pace that I ran.  I am feeling more confident that I will be able to come in under 2 hours in Key West. 

Runner Nerd
runs through lights wearing lights

Monday, December 2, 2013

Silly Season for Running

I'm way behind in blogging.  I have a bunch of posts started and I need to get caught up!  
I call this time of year silly season!  There's Halloween runs, Turkey Trots, and Christmas themed runs where we dress up, act silly and run! 
My silly season started with one of my yearly favorites, the Headless Horseman 5K in Howell, MI. 
I wore my usual Halloween pumpkin shirt and some light up stuff
running pumpkin 
I light up when it gets dark!
This was two weeks post Chicago Marathon; I had no goals other than to enjoy the unique course.  The race is a night race and is run in the dark. The course makes a loop through a park and runs along a lake shore then goes down the street and winds through a big cemetery and again along the lake shore.  I've never come close to placing in this race so I left soon after finishing since I had another race early the next morning.  I found out the following afternoon that I had placed in my age group.  Oh well!  I was surprised that I ran an 8:46 pace! 
The next morning I was a pacer for a 5K.  This was the Wicked Halloween Run.  I was a pumpkin again!  I wore the same thing as I did the night before.  I was going to be pacing the 10K as I did in their two previous races this year but at the last minute I was reassigned to the 5K.  I was told that there was a lot of requests to have pacers in the 5K as well as the 10K.  I was the 10 minute per mile pacer.  During the race I kept hearing people around me saying that the pacer is going too fast.  Sometimes they even said it to me.  I had my Garmin set to give me splits every quarter mile and I was always within a few seconds of 2:30.  I hit the first mile at 10:03 and the second at 10:06 so, if anything, I was a bit slow, not too fast.  I don't know if these people thought that they were running faster than 10 minute miles but I was right on pace.  During the last mile I caught up to a dude in a blue hairy suit of some kind.  He saw me behind him with my 10 min sign and sped up to stay ahead of me.  I soon caught up to him again and again he sped up to stay ahead of me.  I knew that he must be getting tired and I could so leave him in my dust but I couldn't do that since I was a pacer.  He started calling me the grim reaper.  Yep, the 10 minute pacer is the same as a grim reaper!  It rained during part of the race so I was wet and cold after finishing, my feet included.  I was glad that I had clothes and even dry shoes to change into.
So, that covers Halloween.  Next up was the Lightfest 8K, one of my favorite fun events each year.  I will finish that post soon.