Thursday, October 26, 2006

With a Face Like This...

Bruce helped me review a camera this week. He kept wanting to get up close and personal with the camera, so I tested out the macro mode. He ended up getting so close that he licked the lens. Then he wanted to push the shutter button, so I let him take pictures of himself. As you can see, self portraits are rarely flattering. You get a great shot of his nose hairs and buck teeth.

The other picture of Bruce is the face he gives me when he doesn't get exactly what he wants. I think in this case he had brought me his socks, shoes, and hat and had grunted and pointed toward the door for five minutes. And I was still on the couch; it was 40 degrees and windy outside and I was feeling wussy. He always wants to be outside! We ended up watching birds from the front window. I'll have to post a picture of this sometime. He climbs up on the couch and peers out the window and watches cars, birds, neighbors, etc. It's pretty funny.

The other picture is of a cheesecake I made for Scott. He presented his PQE on Tuesday. I was busy Tuesday night, so we celebrated Wednesday with a big feast of baked chicken, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, peas, and cheesecake (and a veggie burger for me). Bruce absolutely loves cheesecake, so he's been helping Scott eat that.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Row-a-Palooza 2006

We headed to the Charles River on Saturday for Row-a-Palooza. There is a big rowing competition on the river and a big festival on the shore. I watched a few races, but was disappointed that they didn't all go at the same time. I guess it makes sense; they'd crash into each other and whatnot. But it's hard to tell who wins and who loses, so it's not that interesting to watch.

More interesting was the Nada Surf concert going on. They sing such songs as "Popular" and "Imaginary Friends." They are one of my favorites. Bruce had fun too; he was licked by about thirty dogs.

Scott presented his PQE to a committee yesterday. We are both so glad that's over! Hooray, he passed. Now he can work on real research. Next up is a big neuro-anatomy exam on Friday.

As for the running, I ran 3 miles on Monday morning at 10-minute pace and it felt awful. I did it again yesterday and my calf cramped up midday and I'm still sore from that today. Thus, I'm taking today off. Hopefully I'll be up and running properly within the next week; I feel like an old woman.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Make Way for Bruce

A few recent Bruce pictures. One is of Bruce playing with the Make Way for Ducklings statues in the Boston Common before the Tuft's 10k a few weeks ago. Another one shows Bruce in his lovely sweatshirt that says "My Mommy is Faster than Yours." Unfortunately, I forgot to pack that shirt for Hartford. Guess what else I forgot to pack? The camera. That's why there are no pictures of the race. It's embarassing; I know. I work for a digital camera web site and I forgot my digital camera. Well, I was a little nervous pre-race. All I could think of was "I have my sports bra, right?" The other picture is of Bruce this morning. I took a few minutes after breakfast to actually wash the dishes and it was unusually quiet. He was pretty busy in the bathroom.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Hartford Marathon

The Marathon Story.

The Hartford Marathon went really, really well. Scott, Bruce, and I drove down Friday afternoon. We walked around the expo center and I picked up my bib number and chip (for non-runners: this is a little computer chip that you tie to your shoe and it times you from when you cross the start line to the finish. This makes it more fair for runners who start way behind the start line and provides more accurate timing).

We got insanely lost in downtown Hartford trying to find the highway, but eventually made it to the highway and then the hotel. We plopped our stuff down and went to a local Italian restaurant for some dinner. Scott had some eggplant creation and I had "oreganata" or something like that. Basically, it was a wood-fired pizza crust with olive oil, garlic, and oregano. It was really good mostly because the crust was so good.

Friday night I had awful nightmares of missing the start of the race. I dreamt that my youngest brother and sister were with me at the hotel, that Marissa was eating banana splits for breakfast with 20 of her friends and couldn't leave on time, and Ben just wouldn't get out of bed. That totally didn't happen though. Instead, Bruce got up at his usual early hour around 5 a.m. I could have sworn our hotel had free breakfast, but if they did they didn't serve it early. I chugged a little water, but that was about it. I figured I'd eat some Gu on the course anyway.

We left at 6:30 for the race (it only took about 15 minutes to get there from our hotel, but as you can tell from the dream I was a bit anxious) and found a parking spot about a block from the starting line. It wasn't even 50 degrees yet and I really didn't prepare for the weather, so I was shivering cold. Scott and Bruce went to scout out some breakfast while I chilled (literally) in the "elite tent." It was pretty intimidating in there. There were lots of skinny athletes speaking different languages. Just before the race, everyone stripped down to their sports bras and bummies even though it was still under 50 degrees. Brrrr.

I lined up right on the line, but to the side because I knew everyone would go out a lot faster than me - especially because the half-marathon started at the same time. I was right. Everyone flew out and I sat back and ran a 6:35 or so. The first few miles I still couldn't really feel my toes very much; it was cooooold. I could tell that my sock was scrunched up a bit in my left shoe, so I wiggled it out with my toes on every step. I still ended up with a nasty blister in the end.

I ran with a lady for the first 5 or 6 miles, then latched onto a group of about 4 guys. We ran together until about mile 19 and just let the miles tick by. At mile 9, I was the eighth woman with the next woman about 3 minutes in front of me. Yikes. I chugged along, grabbing Gatorade-like substance along the way (the volunteers called it Gatorade, but it was definitely not the real stuff). It tasted like cherry cough medicine, so I just got water after mile 13 or so. There was only one Gu station on the course and I almost missed it. I did miss it, I guess. But one of the guys in my group grabbed one for me and handed it to me, so I sucked it down over about 4 miles (it is the consistency of glue and doesn't taste much better either, so I can't stomach it all at once).

Around mile 19, I caught the woman ahead of me and kept hauling along. At mile 21, there was a fairly large hill (not Akron-sized, but still decent sized for New England) and it took me a few minutes to recover from it. Nevertheless, I passed another girl who must have gone out too fast; she didn't look good at all.

Miles 21-24 were probably my slowest; they were still in the 6:40s, but they sure didn't feel good. There were some rolling hills and the mile markers just didn't seem to be coming as fast as they were before. I hit mile 24 though and the thought of only having to go for 2 more miles saved me.

I picked up my stride a bit at this point. My hamstrings and calves were really tight and it felt physically impossible to lengthen my stride, so I just quickened my short stride a bit. I hit mile 25, which was downhill, and saw another woman in front of me. Not just any woman, but one with a B.A.A jersey on (The Boston Athletic Association is the sworn enemy of the Greater Boston Track Club). I chased her down and got her with less than a mile to go.

I finished in 2:52:34 - running an average of 6:35 per mile. I was the fifth woman in and the second American. More results here...

At the finish line, my name was announced and I was given one of those awesome foil blankets and a finishers medal. Someone handed me a 20 oz water bottle, which I drank before I left the chute. I stumbled over to the elite tent, where I threw on some clothes and grabbed a bagel. Scott showed up and gave me a big kiss

I got a massage (in a previous post, I fantasized about the elite tent as a place where there were no lines and lots of perks, but I had to wait about 10 minutes for the bathroom and about a half hour to get a massage), then put on just about all the clothes that I had. I ran through the food line and got some hot soup and warmed up. Bruce ran around for a few minutes while I ate and flirted with all the marathoners scattered all over the lawn. There was no big awards ceremony or anything, so we waddled to the car and headed home.

I'm definitely taking a few days completely off, then I'll jog like an old lady for another week or so. I can't wait to put Bruce in the jogging stroller and go to a new park or something!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Prepping for Hartford

I'm so stoked for the marathon! I've been eating carbs and resting up quite a bit this week. On Monday, I ran the Tufts 10K as a marathon workout. I ran 5 miles at 6:30 pace, then did a faster finish for a total time of 39:52. It felt okay, but not like I could go for 20 more miles. I think I can do it in the marathon though. At Tufts it was almost 80 degrees for the first time in awhile (that random heat just gets me!) and I had to pee ridiculously bad. When I got to the race an hour early, I didn't want to go because I figured I'd have to go right before the race anyway - and I hate waiting in lines forever for those nasty port-o-potties. So I held it. Apparently, everyone else did too. Because with 15 minutes left until the race, there were about 30 people in line. And I know it takes ladies more than 30 seconds each. So I headed straight to the start line. I had to pee pretty much the whole race. Thank goodness there was no line after the race. Whew.

Photo by Stan Hu, one of my Greater Boston Track Club teammates and excellent photographer.

Besides carbo loading and reducing mileage, I've been looking up the names and times of other elite athletes that will be at Hartford. Now I'm super nervous seeing stats like 2:35 and 2:45 and residences of Ethiopia and Russia. Yikes!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What else was thrown away?

I'm back from Germany and am putting the house back in order. I went to take out the trash the day after I got back and found a few small toys in the trash can. Looks like Bruce has been trashing a few things. We are missing a few puzzle pieces and such; I think I have an idea of where they've gone.

Bruce has a new fetish with the toilet. I've caught him with his hands in the pot twice since I've been back. Grandma, did you teach him that one?

Grandma brought Bruce some new PJs. His favorite pair has red polka dots and I just can't get them on him fast enough. He loves those things. There are a few pictures of Bruce in his jammies. The enormous lump on his head is from a very close encounter with the side of the fridge. He doesn't really look where he's going all the time. And sometimes when he is looking he still eats it. A few weeks ago we went to a dinner in an MIT dorm hall and there was a glass wall separating the kitchen from the hall. I went out in the hall and Bruce came running at me - and hit the glass wall. Poor kid.

I've been relaxing a bit and avoiding all talk of cameras for the past few days. Scott had an exam today and claimed it was horribly difficult - although he always does well on those.

The next Big Thing for me is the marathon. It is next Saturday and I can't wait for it to come! I've done all my long runs and mileage and everything, so now is the time where I 1) eat ridiculous amounts of carbs, 2) drink lots of water, and 3) try not to get injured. So far, all are going well.

This morning my running partner totally bit the asphalt. Again. She falls about every other week. I'm not exaggerating either. She falls all the time. This time, it was an unfinished curb in Cambridge. She fell Superman style - different than her last Dukes of Hazzard style rolling fall a few weeks ago - and only banged up her hands. It's kindof ironic that she used to be a boxer, but now that she's a runner she gets more beat up than ever.