Is Summer officially gone? I mean, I know the equinox came and went, but this weekend is around 80 degrees, right? I guess I took a Summer vacation from this journal.

Lest this blog becomes a running journal, let me just take the time to say that I COMPLETELY stopped running after finishing the 10k Women’s Mini (one race after my qualifying Half Marathon and the Corporate Chase Challenge). I didn’t do the Warrior Run. Argh.

So, after months of being bad, I returned to the treadmill last month. Ryan is teaching at SUNY Purchase until mid October and has to wake up at the ungodly time of 5:30 AM to make the 7am Train and bus. So, I try to get my butt out of the door when he does, which gives me plenty of time to run 5+ miles at a leisurely SLOW pace. It’s a little annoying how much I’ve backtracked, but it’s understandable.

I also want to lose some of the eating and boozing that still remain… on Ahem, my frame, from those months.

Let’s see how much training I can get in.

In other news, I’m planning a little bash this Halloween, and I intend to go all out in the cheesiness. For the last couple of years, I’ve dragged my feet about what to do and never ended up doing anything. Some cheesy mini skeletons are dancing above the door frame of the bathroom and pumpkin lights are in the frame of the living room!

I’m also trying to coordinate some costumes, but Ryan doesn’t want to do any of the funny ideas I had in mind. Example 1: Tracy, Ryan and I dressing up as Mario, Luigi, and either Wario/Toadstool. Example 2: Sexy nativity scene – Tracy and I getting a Jesus and Mary costumes and sluttying it up (cutting it short)… Ryan can be Joseph or a wise man or something. Example 3: Vampire/Zombie disney princesses (and prince). Bah.

Then I started getting fantasies of creating my own costume, like a kick ass Princess Zelda from Twilight Princess… but as much as I broke it down into steps I need to do, I don’t think I have the time to put one together. AND forget about getting Ryan to dress up as Link! :P

On Wednesday, I finished the Chase Corporate Challenge race. (For a moment, I actually thought it was last week. This week has gone by so SLOWLY.) For the first time, I got out there with my Vibram Five Fingers: Bikila. I have to say, my left foot’s arch was aching afterwards. That was a bit annoying and discouraging, except it was fine the next day. My calves aching is usually a given. I’m slowly trying to transition into them and have been running on the treadmill for 3-5 miles on them. Now, running on the treadmill is pretty different than running on terrain, and I’ve been meaning to go for a smaller jog. I expected to hurt more, given the pounding my arches, ankles and calves are going to get. And really, I thought this 3.5 mile race was pretty perfect. For the last couple of months, since my terrain runs were longer, I just didn’t want to break out the five fingers.

The Chase Race was in Central Park and started past west 72nd st., looped around 110 st. and ended on the 72nd st. traverse. It wasn’t a bad course, especially since you are going down on Cat Hill to the finish. The only annoying thing was that it was from 7pm and I’m never a really strong runner at the end of the day. I usually feel the best in the mornings running, and the heat was getting me down.

I am so used to NYRR races running like clock-work that this race was SO disorganized to me. The volunteers were few and the ones that were there were clearly not used to running races. 1) This race was over crowded and a cluster fuck. 2) It wasn’t spectator friendly towards the start line (There wasn’t even a clear way for people in faster corrals to get through all the slower ones). 3) They ran out of water in the first 2 water stations and the attendants were quickly trying to keep up, instead of waving people towards the later tables. That was ridiculous. 4) Once you passed the finish line, they herd you for another half mile away from the race site to return to get your baggage, meet up with your party, etc… Uhg. Ridiculous. I lost my mother in the shuffle, my party missed me crossing the finish line, and I had to just meet everyone away from the action at Columbus Circle. Race wise, it wasn’t my strongest race and i definitely didn’t PR. I got pushed 3 times, and elbowed once. Race/common sense etiquette was clearly lacking. Overall, was it worth my $40? No. It would have been more fun had more people in my department signed up.

Ryan was initially super excited about them. Now, after he’s heard my complaints, he’s trying to get me off of them. Haha. I’m really still reserving my final judgment, since I haven’t had time to fully integrate them. And I am sort of convinced that my stride is lighter and lower with these shoes. And I can certainly feel the shoes giving my feet and calves a work out. And I’m ok with that.

Tangent: When I first got the Bikila’s, the store attendant was SUPER enthusiastic about them. He said he wore them EVERY SINGLE DAY and the only reason he didn’t wear them that day was because it was raining (I believe him and it was raining). I was sold on the Bikila’s, although I tried on the KSOs as well. The Bikila was comfier and I didn’t expect to do any heavy extreme sports type running in them. Then, he showed me these other Vibrams Five Finger shoes, meant for yoga and just lounging. It was kind of like these Classic, but everything was soft faux leather, and kind of like a slip on ballet flat version of these shoes. And he was like, “these are on sale now, and you are NOT GOING TO WANT TO TAKE THESE OFF EVER.” Obviously the attendant didn’t know the extent of my vanity. I was just like, “No.” (Kind of “Hell, to the NO.”) Seriously. I am willing to run in these shoes for the benefits they are suppose to offer (less strain on your joints, lighter stride, etc…), but I am not going to start to wear these things all the time. No. They are not a fashion statement. Sorry! And I’m probably not going to stop wearing my boots or heels.

The one thing is, running in them feels great, because they encourage you to be a forefoot striker. However, walking in them is another thing. Not really comfortable for someone who is used to walking in heels, since the soles conform to your feet, you feel like you’re walking on an incline.

So anyway, I’ve been giving these baby a shot and haven’t been able to completely transition into them, since I’ve been running mostly 10K races.

Find out more about Barefoot Running.

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve finished my 9 races to get guaranteed entry into the 2012 NYC ING Marathon! I’m volunteering on the 25th for the Front Runner’s Gay and Lesbian Pride Race for my “+1.” I’m pretty excited. After the really hot months, I’ll start training exclusively for long distances. I’m considering running the Bronx Half Marathon in the end of August.

The Races I’ve Done:
NYRR New York Mini 10K (June 11)
Brooklyn Half-Marathon (May 21)
UAE Healthy Kidney 10K (May 14)
Japan Day Run For Hope 4M (May 8)
Japan Day Virtual Run 5.18M
NYRR 4 Mile (April 23)
Run for the Parks 4M (April 17)
Scotland Run 10K (April 10)
NYRR Gridiron 4M (Feb 6)
NYRR Fred Lebow Classic 5M (Jan 8)

The Chase Corporate Challenge (3.5Miles – June 15-16) isn’t included, because it’s not a Marathon qualifying race. I’m also considering running the Warrior Dash in August (if my coworker is still interested in doing that with me), which is also a non-qualifying race. (Only issue is that it’s 3 hours outside of NYC, so either my coworker is driving, or we need to make a weekend of it.) It’s also an obstacle course race, so it’s not a traditional straight run. On the upside, YOU GET A VIKING HAT if you participate! And that’s probably my motivation. (I’ve become a race swag addict, and I admit, I’ve been a little obnoxious about it. “Why is this a regular cotton T-Shirt?! I should get a Tech-Shirt for the $40 I put in!!!”)

I wasn’t originally going to write at length about my races here, but I decided to at least post about my first Half Marathon experience. When I first signed up for the Half Marathon, I scheduled a couple of 10k races and one 15k to get me into the groove. However, the series of plagues that I caught in March (immediately following my 10 mile practice run) put a damper on my 15k race. The 10k races went fine, but being half the length of a Half Marathon, by the time this race came up, I barely trained for long distances. Yikes.

I was nervous about traveling there. I was also annoyed and nervous about getting up early enough to travel. The Race was 7am, so I had to be up by 5:30am. I decided to get a car service, since otherwise, I would have to travel to Manhattan to get to that part of Brooklyn. My morning breakfast was a Naked shake (so I didn’t get too full) and I ran with 2 espresso gel packs that I was planning on take after the 6/7 mile marker.

It ended up being a really great race. It wasn’t too hot in Prospect Park and I finished the 2 laps (TRYING TO PACE MYSELF) with relative ease. It was interesting leaving the park and running on Ocean Parkway. I wasn’t baking the way I expected to be and it was mostly flat (maybe a slight incline?). Around the 10 mile marker, I started to fatigue, and I pushed myself to maintain a slow jog. I’m not going to lie. I’ve forgotten my fatigue and the aches that I felt during the race. I can only remember the pride of finishing and the exhilaration afterward. You know, kind of like childbirth, right? I’ve forgotten the visceral feeling, but I remember my legs aching right around 10 miles. On the other hand, psychologically speaking, I was doubtful before the race that I had the psychological endurance of just running for 2-3 hours straight. That proved to not be a problem, going through Ocean Parkway was just such a new experience, that I wasn’t bored at all. And running with anticipation of each mile marker wasn’t excruciating, but rather hypnotic. I was rather surprised at that. The cheering and the water stations were wonderful, offering water and Gatorade at each station… everything was very plentiful.

So what was the challenge? You ask? There were enough bathrooms by the start of the race, and I waited until after running to go to the bathroom… twice… And the second time the bathroom was out of toilet paper… and I waited on line for around 5 minutes. :T That was kind of disgusting. I haven’t really managed the whole planning the bathroom around the race.

It seemed more of trouble for Ryan to get to Coney Island from Prospect Park, as he got there the same time I did (and I was freaking running – Thanks Q Train). He was a trooper and saw me off at the start of the race, waited for me by the 3 mile marker twice (the second loop that was between mile 5 and 6), and then traveled to see me cross the finish line in Coney Island. I was lucky to have him. And this time, since he was coming, I didn’t need to carry my keys, etc… around.

In the end, turning into the boardwalk was super exciting… except the boards were uneven. As we were running down, one man fell. We all stopped for a moment and he got right back up and moving. I think after seeing that I ran with my knees pretty high. Darned if I was going to face plant right there. In the end, my finishing time was what I expected. I was just happy to finish before the 3 hours (I suspected that if something happened and I had to walk the final miles, I could finish in around the 3 hour timing limit) and I ran it.

After a tip from my friend Sam (who’s a freaking triathelete & marathon runner), I made sure to wear bikini bottoms underneath. You can bet that after I finished running I took off my pants and jumped into Coney Island. The WATER WAS ICE COLD, so it was a great way to ice my legs after all that. I stayed in there for around 10 minutes, until I saw Ryan growing a bit restless. I brought a change of underwear, but I decided to just brave it… which needless to say was a STUPID idea. The train ride wasn’t fun with wet pants. With the rest of the runners, the Q train definitely smelled also like a locker room. :P Oh well.

Coney Island food post soon at feeding umi, so watch out for that!

I’ve been trying to be active. I’ve been running races, but I’m definitely not as active as I was, say… around 4 years ago? It’s sort of a sore point, getting older and just being aware of how hard it is to maintain your body. I’ve over-indulged COMPLETELY. I don’t know where my iron-clad discipline went.

I’m taking this whole year to gear up to thinking of myself as 30/30-something. I’ve had 10 years to get used to my 20s. I know that’s quite dramatic, but it’s true. And let me clarify to say that I don’t feel sad or anxious about it. It’s the problem I always have. When I turned 17 over 10 years ago, for half of that, I still thought of myself as 16. I forget. I also forget to write “2011” sometimes. Ridiculous, right? Most days I don’t even know what date it is.

This is all coming out because I just celebrated a birthday. A really nice birthday, I would have to say. I usually never celebrate it. The prior year was very lame and kind of annoying (because I was being a brat and the boy just hung out with me at home – he wanted to go out, but I was insistant on sulking at home). But this year, I had everyone come out to a local bar with TONS of craft beer, ate some great friend oyster po boys and fried pickles, and got high by the end of the night. Glorious. And this is really all I need. That and an icecream maker, which I received. So my birthday was quite perfect… well almost. I went to a DISAPPOINTING restaurant on the actual date of my birthday. And my mother missed out on that. What’s up with that? But, I think I’m still winning (via Charlie Sheen, of course), so it’s all good.

So… can’t complain?

Anyway, back to the running… Race-wise, I’m down 5, 6 if you count this weekend. I just have until the 3rd 10k in June until I’m qualified for the Marathon if I stay on schedule.

Oh yeah, and I finally got the funny 5 fingered barefoot running shoes. I’ve ran a few times/miles with them and it’s very different.

I still have the plague, unfortunately. It flared it’s ugly head in the form of a 100+ fever.

But let’s talk about something else.

I’m scheduled to run the 4 mile grid iron race in the beginning of February (good thing I don’t need any training for that). I want to run something in the beginning of March and then I’m all ready signed up to run 15k in the end of March.

I have 2 races I’m planning on running in April and one tentative one planned for May. That would make the count “7” if I keep to that schedule. That means, by the beginning of summer, I will be past half way done with my qualifying races. Then I can just run right after the summer when it’s more comfortable around September and October and BE DONE! I will have to see what race I want to volunteer for, though. That’s about it.

This isn’t the hard part… you know. The hard part is actually training and running after the qualifications.

This weekend I had the plague. Friday, I was all ready feeling under the weather. Yesterday, I was horribly achy, had a fever, and had chills… it basically HURT to sleep. This morning I was feeling reasonably better. My fever broke several times last night (and spiked back up), but stayed out of sight today. My achiness was mostly gone, except for a slight stuffy congested feeling. And you know when you’re sick and you have this bad taste/smell permanently lingering because you’re sick? Well I have that.

I went to get a haircut today. Of course every etiquette book, if they had a chapter for ‘how to be a decent human being,’ it would have a little paragraph on how I shouldn’t get services done while sick out of respect for others. Oh well. I was desperate for a haircut and well… germs are everywhere. Deal. I did shower, and I medicated myself so i wasn’t coughing or sneezing while in the chair. And my haircut was mediocre, since I went to a mid-price salon in Chinatown, which is still half the price of my guy in midtown. My hair looks manicured… and FLAT.

I also spent half the time kind of icked out at the place… after watching hours of Tabitha Salon Takeover on Bravo TV while I was sick. Look at all the hair just accumulating! Did my hairdresser actually lay the dryer down on the floor?! (Near the hair?!) They get “A” for effort, but the only reason I go there is because my best friend likes the place, so I go there to hang out with her. Also, it’s cheap. So… touche.

I’m hoping once I wash my hair I can style it differently. I am also hoping it’ll just get me through to the next full haircut. We’ll see.

Just to recap… PLAGUE, almost ‘deaded,’ fried brain and lost regard for people, walked into DIRTY DIRTY salon where they trimmed my hair for a minimal fee. Overall, I got what I asked for.

I would like to introduce you to our newest addition, here at His name is Dogbot.

Jane in my office told me that I need to give him a cute name, though. So I thought, why not “Destroyer of Worlds?” and Jane said, “DOW is a perfectly cute name.” But technically, he’s Ryan’s so… it’s probably Dogbot. Just sayin’

He likes crocheted bacon, chasing and collecting dust bunnies, and new friends (does not necessarily have to be made of yarn or stuffing). He’s the Chief Operations Officer around here.

Dogbot was made by myself using Nelly Pailloux‘s “Dogbot” pattern from her Crobots: 20 amigurumi robots to make book. It’s easy to use, even for the beginner. Dogbot was fairly easy to make for someone who hardly ever crochets (but I do knit).

He was made using wool medium weight scrap yarn and a 3.25 (not the 2.77 recommended) hook. He is stuffed with high quality toy-grade polyester and lots of love.

I hope to try to make one little guy a month. (Especially since I committed to making little handmade things for 3 of my facebook friends on a meme.)

Somehow, running the marathon is not as daunting as updating this blog. Just sayin’… But I’m the type of person that likes to spite those that are skeptical of me. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I secretly want to do that very thing and spite them passive aggressively. Yeah, I’m that type of chick.

I always like a challenge, so when I read earlier today that WordPress is challenging bloggers to write for every single day of 2011, I wanted to do that. I felt very bitter towards the little voice in me that says, “Fuck, I can’t reliably post once a month.”

And today earlier at work, I made a vow to try to post every single day. I am going to give myself some allowances. I am going to go for 30-31 posts in a month for 12 months straight. This means that although I just found out about this on the 4th, I can still catch up with smaller frequent posts. I’m not sure whether that’s the direction I want this blog to go, but I’m willing to experiment. Just excuse the fact that this all happened on the 4th and now I’m home typing in the very early hours of the 5th. Woops. Just lost another day.

A part of me thought that perhaps I should make a resolution just to update one of my blogs a day. Maybe that’s more realistic.

Today was my re-entry into the productive workforce. I just got back from Portland early yesterday morning and came into the work for the first time in the New Year. So, in my mind yesterday was really the first, the first day of the new year in the real world. So, I will post a post for every real day I have. :P