Saturday, April 26, 2014

10 miles for the first time in forever

I ran ten  miles today!  I went to the group long run this morning.  The course was a 10 mile loop and I couldn't find any good way to cut back for 8 miles other than going out 4 and back 4 and everyone knows how much I hate out and backs.  I've run 8 miles 4 times now so I decided to go for it and do the whole ten mile loop.  It went pretty good, the last mile got tough but I felt pretty good when I was done. 
We got out on roads we haven't run on since the fall.  There was over a mile on a dirt road; it was kind of hard to run on.  I haven't run on a dirt road in quite some time.  Wednesday night the running store group run also went out in an area we avoided in the winter which included mostly dirt roads and I noticed that they were hard to run on.  I think it's the unevenness of the road and this time of year they are full of holes.  I felt like I was always dodging holes. 
This week I'm going to have higher mileage that I've had in a long time.  I've already run 25 miles and I still have one more day! 
I went out to run on Monday after all my friends running Boston were beyond the halfway point.  I ran in Chelsea.  I intended to run five miles but the route I was thinking was five was actually six miles so I ran six miles.  The temperature hit 70 degrees that afternoon!  It was the first time I wore a sleeveless top this year!  In true Michigan style, the next day I needed a coat! 

Soooooo, Meb won the Boston Marathon wearing Sketchers shoes! 
I was so excited watching Shalane lead the marathon most of the race and was sad to see her fall back.  At seventh place she still broke the American female record! 

Most of the people I know who ran the Boston Marathon had slower than usual times.  \

Getting up crazy early and running ten miles makes for a tired nerd so it's off to bed.  I can barely keep my eyes open! 

Runner Nerd

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ten Running Blogger Questions

Just in case someone actually reads this -- I have absloutely NO idea why this post looks like this.  I've tried everything to fix it.  I may try to retype it but not right now.  I'm a nerd but not a computer nerd! 

The following ten questions were questions that a blogger, Runs for Cookies, who I follow, answered for a blogging award that she was nominated for.  She asked her readers to answer the same questions just for fun.  Sooooo, here are my answers to the ten questions.  

1. Who was your biggest role model as you first started running?

 A trainer at the Jackson, MI YMCA whose spinning and strength workout classes I attend, Jeff Beagle.  I call him Coach but most people call him Beag.  He's completed many Ironman Triathlons.  When I decided to run my first 5K in 2004 he was very helpful.  I never intended to run any longer race than a 5K.  I blame Jeff Beagle for the fact that I've run quite a few longer distance races, including six marathons!

2.  What is your best running memory?

 My best running memory has to be the Emerald Nuts New Years Eve Midnight Run in Central Park in New York City on December 31, 2010/January 1, 2011.  It was more fun than people should be allowed to have!  There were fireworks right overhead for nearly two miles.  There were so many people. I got passed by a giant banana about a quarter of a mile from the finish!  I hope I get to do this again someday.  
Running across the Mackinac Bridge on my Labor Day birthday in 2009 is also a special running memory. (My birthday falls on Labor Day again next year so I'm going to apply for the bridge run again.) 
Those two runs are tied for best running memory!  I just can't pick one. 

3. The time you now spend running; what was it filled with before you started running?

I was busy raising kids.  I was a stay at home Mom for eleven years.  When the kids were little,  I played outside with the kids a lot.  I took the kids to a lot of events for kids such as library story hour.  The kids were a little older when I started running.  I used to read a lot more than I do now.  I think I read several books per week back then. 
4. What is your favorite TV show?

I don't watch very much TV but I think my favorite right now is The Pioneer Woman.  I have the thingy set to record it automatically and I watch it every now and then when I get the chance.  I think I have 12 unwatched episodes right now! 

5. What is one habit you won't give up, even though you know it is not the healthiest?
Staying up way too late and not getting enough sleep.

6. If you could have lunch with someone famous, who would you pick?

Ben and Jerry, to thank them for making the world a better place!!! (hopefully, they would bring me lots of their ice cream!)

7. What is your favorite season for running?

Summer!  I love the summer.  I love the sun.  I hate to be cold.   I hate all the layers I have to wear in the winter.

8. Describe the one route you would be okay running over and over for the rest of your life. 

My favorite route is a 4.5 mile route that begins in Bandemer Park in Ann Arbor, MI, runs along the trail along Argo Pond, over the dam and along the trail that runs along the Huron River, goes under Broadway Street, continues along the river through Riverside Park, crosses Maiden Lane and continues along the river in Island Park, circles around the little park, follow the path back to Argo, turn right instead of going over the dam to go into Argo Park, runs along the other side of Argo Pond, through the woods, up the steps to the boardwalk along Barton Road and back into Bandemer Park, circle around by the entrance, over the bridge and back to my car! 
I could run this route every day!  
I tried to get the map from Garmin Connect but I couldn't do it so this is a link to my last run there:
My favorite running route 

9. If time and money were not an object, where would you choose to go on vacation?

Key West, FL.  I've run the Key West Half Marathon the last two years.  I love it there.  It's so expensive to fly there so it's not somewhere I can't just take off and go down there for a few days to go running.   
Running along the ocean in Key West

10. What is your favorite pastime other than lacing up the running shoes?
Playing the piano 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Birthday Party in Chicago

My Birthday party is in Chicago this year!! 
I'm finally registered for the half marathon on my birthday!  This half marathon wasn't as simple as just filling in my information and registering.  They have shuttles from different locations around downtown Chicago the morning of the race.  Tickets for the shuttles have to be purchased with registration.  I had to do some research and find a place to stay close to a shuttle location.  I like to stay walking distance to races but I couldn't find any hotels walking distance to this race.  It's in Jackson Park.  The closest I found is nearly a mile away.  I'm staying near Millennium Park which is where one of the shuttle stops is.  I will probably leave my car at the airport long term parking.  I can take the train from the airport to a stop not too far from my hotel and not have to change trains.

I'm now registered for two half marathons this fall.  Chicago and the Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon in November, as I wrote about in my last post.  I also would like to run the Detroit Women's Half Marathon, also in September but I haven't registered yet. 
That would make half marathons on September 7 and 21, two weeks apart and then on November 16, eight weeks later.  The Detroit International Half Marathon is on October 19, half way between the women's and Vegas but I don't know if I'll add that one in or not.  I did call this my year of half marathons! 

I'm happy that my training runs will be half the distances of last summer!  Marathon training is long and time consuming.  I'm figuring on my longest run being 14 miles this year. 
Researching hotel locations in Chicago is also time consuming!  It's tiring too so I'm off to bed now.

Runner Nerd
spending her birthday running in Chicago

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My First Grandmasters Win

In all the craziness of the dog getting sick, being in the veterinary hospital, and then dying, I forgot all about something.  I heard from the director of the April Fool's Day Twinkie Run a few days after the race that there had been some mix up in timing that night and that I was the Grandmaster winner!  I got age group winner that night.  I got the message about the mix up a couple of days after the dog died and I was still pretty upset over that and still coming to terms with everything. 
I checked the updated results and I beat the woman who was given the Grandmasters win that night by four minutes!! 
I'm glad that the results are updated showing me as the Grandmasters winner.  I hope I am able to win Grandmasters again someday and actually have my name announced as such and get the award designated  for the winner. 

Runner Nerd
Grandmaster winner

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Sister-in-Laws will be in Vegas!

There will be another Sister-in-Law running adventure!!  This time it will be a half marathon.  We're running the Strip at night!!  We will be running the Las Vegas Half Marathon on November 16th!
We came up with this on the train on the way back to her cousin's house after the Chicago Marathon.  I was texting with a friend about my marathon and then he said that I should register for the Vegas half which was a month later.  I told my Sister-in-Law what my friend said and she said, "maybe next year!"  An idea was born! 
I was really disappointed that we weren't able to run the whole Chicago Marathon together and cross the finish line together.  We talked about it again at Christmas when her and my sister were here and she said that she still wanted to do it. 
Registration opened the 2nd and I registered a few days ago.  The price went up after only a few days.  She hasn't registered yet.  Today I got an email with a discount code for the 13th, tomorrow, for $13.00.  This means that she will be able to register for $3.00 less than I did even though the price went up by $10.00!  So much for early registration!  This will be fun and the training runs will be half the distances of last summer's training runs!

I ran eight miles this morning with a long run group.  It got tough at the end just like last week.  There were five of us who stayed together the whole distance; it's been a while since I've been in a group of that many.  Today was the best weather we've had in a really long time.  It was in the low 40s.  A large number of the group are headed to Boston next week for the Boston Marathon. 
My run went well but I've been super tired and sore the rest of the day.  My feet hurt and I'm stiff.  That happened a few weeks ago. 

A couple of day before the dog got sick I had bought a 42 lb bag of his food.  It never got opened and I planned to donate it to the Humane Society.  I found out that the Humane Society has an urgent need for Puppy food so I was able to return the dog food and exchange it for two 25 lb bags of puppy food.  I took them to an event they were having at a pet store this afternoon.  They were calling it a puppy shower.  They had a "baby registry" of things they could use so I also bought some kitten toys that they were asking for. 
We are adjusting to life as a non dog household.  We are still finding things here and there that remind us that a doggy lived here until recently.  For now, we just leave them where they are.  His dishes are still in their places.  I did dump the water but I put it right back.  We will eventually put them away but for now they are fine. 
reminders of a doggy
This afternoon was so nice.  I took the Christmas lights down from the front porch and from around the garage door! Yep, it's April 12 and I took down the Christmas lights!! It was too cold to do it before now.  I also got some lights that were stuck into the ground pulled out and brought in.  They were completely buried under snow all winter.  I unplugged the cord after the holidays but I couldn't even pull it out of the snow; it was frozen in.  I had a set of three little trees that I was setting up by the steps of the front porch back in December and my hands got so cold that they hurt and I was to the point that I couldn't continue setting them up.  I had two of them complete but didn't get the third one done.  I intended to come in and warm up and then go back out and finish the job and get them plugged in to the timer that I had out there but never got back out there and then it snowed and completely buried them so they never even got turned on.  I had forgotten about them until the snow melted and there they were! 

Getting up stupid early, running, donating puppy food, and taking down holiday lights makes for an exhausted me!  I think I'm going to go to bed now. 

Runner Nerd
needs to sleep

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vera Bradley Outlet Sale in Fort Wayne, IN

Yesterday my daughter and I loaded up and headed on down to Fort Wayne, IN for the annual Vera Bradley Outlet Sale.  This was our first time.  Vera Bradley is a manufacturer of all kinds of bags made of quilted cotton, usually floral or paisley patterned.  Bags (purses, tote bags, travel bags, etc) are their main product but they also make other products too.  My daughter and I have several Vera bags.  Every April they have a big outlet sale at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, IN.  The sale runs yesterday, Wednesday,  April 9th through Sunday, April 13th.  The first three days are divided in 2.5 hour sessions which a ticket must be purchased.  Those sessions are limited to the number of people permitted to be in there at one time so that everyone is admitted at once at the start of the session.  I know, how silly to have to pay to go shopping! 
It was an easy two hour drive down I94 west to I69 south to Ft. Wayne.  We had lunch at a Red Robin right down the street from the Coliseum.  We had to wait twenty minutes to be seated.  It was crazy, the place was packed and most of the women in the restaurant were carrying Vera purses!! Our waiter told us that they are very busy during the sale every year.
After lunch we drove to the Coliseum; it was only 1:10 and our session time was 2:30.  We saw some people going in but we didn't go in until 1:45.  We didn't plan to go in until 2:00 but we began seeing a lot of people going in so we decided to go.  We couldn't see the front of the line but someone said that we weren't that far back.  Soon after we got in line the place really started to fill up.  They had a large area roped off in rows.  We walked past that but it wasn't long until they were filling the rows up.  A man came though at 2:25 and said that the doors would be opening right at 2:30 and that everyone should be in by 2:45.  We didn't start moving until after 2:45 and we were finally in the doors at 2:50.  We got a guide as we were entering the building.  It listed products and gave the section where they were located.
Everything was on tables with a sign with the sale price on the top:
The best deal I saw
As we entered the sale, each person is given a large pink bag to carry their items in.   The space was huge.  It was crowded but not so bad that you couldn't move.  I tried to get a picture of the crowd.  This doesn't really show what it was like since it was a huge space. You can see the pink bags.
Vera shoppers
The best deal that I got was a garment bag.  They were the biggest discount I saw.  Regular 135, on sale for 50 which is 63% off.  I found one to match the travel bag I have!  I was a bit disappointed in most of the prices.  I've heard people talk about this sale and the prices being so low.  They are selling retired styles and patterns at this sale; it's not the latest styles and patterns.  I did some googling last week and found some blog posts people made last year after the sale and they all said that the prices weren't as low as they used to be.  (These were people who had been going to this sale for years.)  One lady said she had went for seven years but probably wouldn't go again.  I know they can't give the stuff away but they promote on the website and in emails that prices are 40 - 60% off.  I was seeing things right away that were less than 40% off.  I even used the calculator on my phone to make sure my brain wasn't malfunctioning.  My daughter bought one of the duffel bags in the picture above.  The regular price is 85 and the sale is 55 which is only 35%.  It was the one thing that she really wanted and she found it in the pattern that she really wanted so she bought it. 
We found the things that we wanted to get and then we went up and down all the rows just looking at all the stuff.  After we did that, we were off to the checkouts which were in a different area.  We got in the line.  The line moved right along but it was nearly an hour before we checked out.
The checkout line:
I don't know how many checkouts they had but there were a lot of them.  We were finally at a checkout!
almost done!
After we left the checkout area there was a picture background.  My daughter took a picture of a couple of ladies and they took our picture for us.
Mother & Daughter at VBOS14 
We took pictures of each other pointing to our favorite pattern on the wall.  This is me pointing to my fave:
fave Vera pattern

So, that was our Vera Bradley Outlet Sale experience!  Geez, I'm as tired from typing this out as I was yesterday when we were leaving!   I'm glad we went and we had a good time but I'm not sure we will be in any hurry to go again next year.

Runner Nerd
attended #VBOS14

Monday, April 7, 2014

Remembering a special doggy

Today would have been our dog's 6th birthday.  It's only been five days since he left us and we still miss him a lot.  We keep finding things that remind us of him. 
He loved watching the farming action.  

watching his boy chisel plow
The vet called today with the pathology results of the mass that was removed from his abdomen.  It was a rare type of dog tumor.  It was a cancerous tumor even though they didn't think it was to begin with.  I did some googling and found out that it's usually seen in older dogs and once it's removed, the dog either recovers or doesn't.  He was one of those who didn't.  It does help to know that we made the right decision in not doing another surgery because it doesn't help the dog much and most will still die within three months. 
I am glad that we took him to the MSU Veterinary Hospital.  They are wonderful there.  They even have social workers there.  One talked to me on Wednesday when I was visiting the dog and one called the next day because he had died.  She said that they will call again in about a week. 

Well, I just wanted to remember him on his birthday.

Runner Nerd
misses the dog who drove her nuts

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sad day

Yesterday I wrote briefly about our dog having to have surgery.  He was beginning to recover and seemed to be doing much better this morning.  I visited him at the MSU Veterinary Hospital at 1pm.  He was much more with it today than he was yesterday.  He wouldn't eat for me but he was alert and looking around much more than yesterday.  Then, I got a call about 4:30 pm.  He had begun having some problems and was not doing so well anymore.  They needed to open him up again but even if they did there still wasn't a good prognosis so we had to make the very difficult decision to not go ahead with any more surgery.  He died shortly after 5pm. 
He would pose for selfies although we had to be quick!
He would pose for selfies
He would wear a Halloween costume:
Pumpkin dog  
He was a naughty dog who liked to take things off the counters and island in the kitchen!
Oh boy!  I got a sleeve of crackers! 

He liked his John Deere Tractor toy:
Of course, John Deere toys were his favorites!
We will definitely miss this dude.  He drove us nuts sometimes with his howling and barking at nothing.  I guess that's what hound dogs do.  He was a happy dog who had a lot of fun in his 6 years.  I know we gave him a good life.  He got his own couch, he got a hot dog and a piece of bread every day when the boys got home.  He flipped waste baskets over and scattered the contents whenever he got the chance.  He swiped my bananas off the counters, he could stand with his front feet on the table and beg for food (see picture in yesterday's post!).  He occasionally got into trouble and got sent outside for a while but we weren't too hard on him and he got away with a lot.  He had a bunch of toys but his favorite thing was to raid the recycling bin for plastic bottles that made a lot of noise when he chewed on them. 
He's buried at the farm he loved with a couple of toys that he loved (and the squeaker that he worked hard at for a long time to get out of one of them) and with a brand new Pioneer hat that he got a hold of and chewed holes in the day his boy brought it home.  We decided to keep the John Deere tractor toy to remind us of him.
Pioneer Mr. Dog Faist
4/7/2008 - 4/2/2014
Pioneer Mr. Dog Faist

We're really going to miss you.

Runner Nerd
had a sad day

Dog surgery

The last couple of days have been crazy.  Our dog is in the Veterinary Hospital at MSU.  He had a mass in his abdomen that had to be removed.  We go to visit him.  He will be there at least one more day.
He was fine and then suddenly, around 5pm on Sunday, was just lying on the floor and wouldn't move.  He wouldn't even eat his favorite doggy treats.  Later in the evening my son noticed that he was starting to look bloated.  We ended up loading him up and taking him to MSU shortly after midnight.
The Beast

He can look very handsome when he wants to

trying to get my dinner
He's a 105 lb Walker Coon Hound.  In the picture above, I'm sitting at the dining table and his front feet are on the table.  That picture was taken two days before he got sick.
Hopefully, he will be home in a couple of days. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tutus and Twinkies

I ran races on Saturday and today.  Saturday was the Tutu 5K in which I, Runner Nerd, wore a tutu for the very first time!  I think I mentioned it the other day when I wrote about the tutu bashing in SELF magazine article.  Here I am:
Runner Nerd in a tutu
I ran my fastest 5K ever!  Well, I guess I should mention that the course was a bit short, .43 mile short to be exact!  Yep, Garmie says I ran 2.67 miles which makes perfect sense for a time of 22:45!  That's an 8:32 pace; I can believe that.  A 22:45 5K is 7:20 pace and I know I can't do that!  I don't even know if I could run one mile at that pace.  After the race I ran 3.5 more miles without the tutu.
Today, April 1st, was the annual April fool's Day Twinkie Run in Ann Arbor.  It takes place on April 1st every year, regardless of the day of the week it falls on.  This race is one I like to do because it is for ALS.  My Grandfather had ALS back when almost nothing was known about it.  I get to eat Twinkies!  Those who participate in the Twinkie eating have to eat a Twinkie before crossing the start line after the gun goes off and then halfway through the race.  You have to stop at the Twinkie station to eat the Twinkie and cannot start up until it is eaten.  You get a minute deducted for each Twinkie!
Twinkie ready at the start
Twinkie medal
After finishing the race I got a drink and then took off on a different trail in the same park and ran another 2.6 miles.  I went to my car to get my jacket and then got back just in time to hear my name called for winning my age group! I got a glass with the race logo on it.  

Age group win! 
It was 50 degrees!  It was also quite windy.  The trails where the race was run are cleared all winter so they were clear and dry but where I ran afterward isn't cleared during the winter.  Most of the snow is gone but there were areas on this trail that still had snow.  I hope that today is the last time my shoes step in snow for a long time.
snow on the boardwalk
Well, that's about it for now!
Runner Nerd
eats Twinkies for a good cause