Monday, July 13, 2009

5K Races

I haven't posted since May when I ran the Paws on the Pavement 5K. Since then I've ran several other 5K's and it seems my times just keep getting slower. I don't think my northern blood is every going to get used to the miserable heat and humidity here in Arkansas. And I don't think I'm ever going to "love" the 5K distance.

The Brickfest 5K in Malvern on June 27 was 90 degrees at the start at 8am. Miserable! It was the slowest 5K finish time I've had in a long time. Somehow I still managed to get second in my AG which gives me some GP points.

The Firecracker 5K was a disappointment. My finish time was 45 seconds slower than 2 years ago. I thought I was supposed to get faster as I lost weight? Again, I somehow managed a second place finish in my age group of 74 women and 21/448 total women. Maybe if I paced myself better and didn't bolt for that fist mile I might have a little more left in me for the last 0.5 miles.

Still no triathlons for me this year. Honestly can say I don't even have an itch to do one. I've been on my bike some, haven't swam laps in a few weeks, but I'm doing a lot more running. As much as I hate 5K's I know the hard, all out effort is good for me. God knows I have the endurance, now if I could just get some more speed before it's too late (not getting any younger).

We're heading to Pennsylvania this weekend! Should be a great visit since my sister and BIL, and cousin from San Fran and her family will all be in town and we're having a "reunion" in Pittsburgh at my other cousins house. Even if it's hot up there it won't compare to the 105 heat index warnings we've had here the past few days.

Nada is going to spend 5 days at church camp with her cousins while we're in PA. I think it will be a memorable experience for her, and hopefully a good one. Luka is looking forward to hanging out with his favorite cousin from SanFran, Max. Since we're flying up Molly isn't making the trip and won't get to meet Ellie, my parents pug. And me, I'm looking forward to seeing my family and friends, shopping at the tax-free Grove City outlets (Nike and Coach!), running at Buhl Park then getting coffee at Panera, and hopefully eating at Mad Mex! Like I said on my Facebook status, who needs a beach vacation when you have the beautiful city of Pittsburgh with it's 3 rivers?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Busy weekend

This picture makes me just as happy as my Ironman finisher pictures. Look at that huge smile on Luka's face. Can anything be better than that? Yes, my racing these consists of 5k's, 10k's, and a super sprint duathlon on Memorial Day. And you know what? I LOVE IT!!! I am so relieved to just be focused on me these days and doing what makes me happy. For once in my life I'm not trying to do everything and keep up with everyone. Have I mentioned how much less stress there is my life and how much happier I am?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Toad Suck 10K

My first race of the year and it was an unforgettable one. This is the first time I've raced, or even ran, in a full blown thunderstorm. I'm talking pouring down rain, lightening, thunder, and puddles the size of ponds. I was prepared for warm and high humid conditions since Friday morning when I went out for a little jog the temp at 5:30am was 67 with 100% humidity. We were actually cold waiting for the race to start yesterday morning. Of course, once we got started it was fine. My only concern was stepping into a puddle and inverting my ankle, so I ran a bit cautiously.

I believe this was a 10K PR for me. My best 10K thus far was last year in Dallas at an OLY triathlon. I felt relatively good, but I know I have the potential to do better. It would have helped to have had a proper warm up, but with the rain we just stood under the cover and waited to see if the race would actually go off. I definitely feel better than I did a couple of months ago and I think my HR issues have pretty much resolved. Now I can really train if I want to. I was 1st in my AG and 11 OA female. I'm happy with that, and I'm pretty sure all the serious runners showed up regardless of the weather. I can honestly say I was not the least bit concerned about who was around me and where I was going to place. My focus was on how I felt, trying not to blow up in the first 3 miles, and keeping strong for the last 3.2.

The race was in Conway, where I used to go to school. I realized yesterday I haven't been up there since graduation! Don't miss that place! My super fast runner friend Tammy went with me to the race. It was nice not going alone and having a chance to catch up with her on the ride there and home. She got to see my new car! Tammy was first OA masters female. Man, I hope I have a little bit of the speed she does in 10 years when I'm her age. We literally ran to my car after picking up some snacks at the finish and stripped off our wet clothes. I think our clothes alone weighed 5 pounds. Then it was off to Starbucks for coffee! We went back to get our awards and before heading back to Little Rock we stopped at Dairy Queen to pick up cakes. It's hard to believe Little Rock doesn't have a DQ and the cake was perfect for Milan's birthday.

I got my new kitchen table and chairs yesterday afternoon and it looks wonderful! I am so glad I finally got it. Last night I ran out to Bed Bath and Beyond for place mats. While I was there I found a console table with two lamps on sale so I got that too. I have to buy furniture items while I'm in the mood because this mood is really rare for me. Then I stopped for a quick pedicure! Too bad it's STILL raining here and I probably won't be showing off my toes today. Our high is only supposed to be about 60.

Molly is sleeping better and being a typical puppy. We're still working out the housebreaking. We're also trying to let her know that her little teeth really hurt when she "plays" and that we don't enjoy it.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Thanks for all the Facebook messages!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Time to race!

I know you've all been dying to know how Molly is doing. I am proud to say the little baby is now sleeping through the night. Yippie!!! Next on the puppy training agenda is getting her to quit her biting and barking. She does it playfully, but those little puppy teeth hurt! Last night I took her up Pinnacle Mountain, just the two of us since the kids had dance practice (for the Greek food festival). She does great climbing up the trail and the only problem she had coming down was slipping on the rocks. We made it all the way up to #9, which is just about the top. The view was great where we were. That was the first time I've been up the mountain sans family and on a weekday evening without so much traffic. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I really enjoyed it and I accomplished my goal. I wore Molly out.

I'm racing this weekend! Yes, I know, you're shocked. I had been thinking about running the Toad Suck 10K and decided yesterday to sign up. The weather looks "iffy" but who cares. I'm just looking forward to a good butt whipping.

Otherwise, I have nothing on my race calendar and no structured training plan. I am mostly running, doing some speed work, getting in some longer runs, and going to spin class. I've been out on my road bike once down on the river and did sprints. I was pissed off that morning (give you one guess at who) and it really helped burn off some steam. I was surprised that by the 4th interval I was cranking out about the same speed I was last summer. Oh, and I actually went to the pool last week too. If you're on Facebook you already know that. I ordered a new Splish suit last week so I'm excited about wearing it to the pool. I might even swim some laps in it!

I'm contemplating a couple of sprint tri's close by this summer, but I'll see when the time comes. I am just really enjoying having no committments to racing and training this year. I feel like I finally have a grip on life and it's been a really long time since I've felt that way. Let's hope it stays like this for a while.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

All about Molly

Life has been pretty much all about Molly for the past few weeks. I'm finding myself with de ja vu quite often, recalling the infant days with Nada and Luka. Our biggest obstacle has been sleeping. Funny, that was my biggest problem with Nada and Luka too!

The good thing is that Molly actually likes her crate. During the day when we're gone I had been putting her crate in our half-bathroom, leaving the crate door open, but the bathroom door closed, and putting a "pee pad" on the floor (once I determined where she liked to go). This worked really well. Someone tries to come home at lunch everyday to let her out and give her some love. But Molly does not like being in there at night alone. She starts out OK, would wake up at about 2am to go out to pee, but then cried again to get back to sleep. And then she'd be up again at 4am. Well, after several nights of this we were worn out (me and Milan).

Milan feels pets are supposed to be outside. That's how it is in Serbia. No one has house pets. So he felt he should go out and buy a dog house on Friday to put on our deck for Molly to sleep in. Hmmm, she doesn't like being in the house by herself and cries, but maybe being outside in the dark by herself might make her feel better? OK, I better not get started on that one.

I have read so many things on the internet and have asked every dog owner I know where there pet sleeps, how did they train it, and more important, how long did it take for your dog to sleep through the night? We tried letting her sleep with Nada in her bed, and I tried to sleep with them, but you get no rest. She wakes up and she wants to play, whether you want to or not. Friday night I finally decided we'd try putting the crate in Nada's room next to the bed and I'd sleep in there with them so she could see me. I wasn't sure if this would work or if she would just continue to cry, but I was willing to try anything at this point. Fortunately, it worked! The most she did was wimper and all I had to say was, "No! Sleep." She woke up at the usual 2am and I took her out to pee, but surprisingly she went right back to sleep when I put her back in the crate. And she slept until 6am. Last night was even better. She went to sleep at 8:45pm and didn't wake up until 5am. I even checked to make sure she was still breathing. See, just like the first time your infant sleeps through the night!

I decided to gate myself in to the trainer. The last time I rode it my biggest fear is that Molly would stick her paw or nose in my back wheel. I got this new Superyard gate at Babies-R-Us the other day (another de ja vu moment) to gate off my kitchen, but it worked well for the bike to. Now I can ride with peace of mind that Molly won't get hurt. I'm going to let her start staying in the kitchen this week to give her more roaming space. This gate will work well since it's big and doesn't have to be wall mounted.

I finally got a new car last Saturday. My 1999 Honda Odyssey was at the end. To keep it going was to take a new transmission, which wasn't worth it. I ended up getting a 2009 Honda Pilot. Yeahy, no more mini-van! I loved all the space my van had, but I just wanted something a little more "cool". My Pilot is awesome! It is definitely the nicest car I've ever had. I guess the 3 years of PT school was worth it.

Happy Easter to everyone celebrating today! Orthodox Easter is next Sunday, April 19 so we'll be painting eggs and having an egg hunt next weekend.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Break

This spring break will be hard to top. First, a fantastic trip to San Francisco to visit cousins, then a new puppy!

We spent 5 days visiting my cousin Nada and her family last weekend in San Rafael (north of SF). Yes, her name is Nada just like my daughter's, and Milan also has a sister named Nada, that's how we agreed on the name.

Nada, and her husband Scott, have 2 kids, Max 7 (same age as Luka) and Nila 3. This was the first time for us to meet Miss Nila, that's how long it's been since we've seen each other. Nada was like my big sister growing up. Her mom and my mom are sisters and they lived about 5 blocks from us. Nada is 7 years older than me. They have lived in San Rafael for two years when she took a position with Levi's. Prior to that they lived in Laguna Beach, and unfortunately I never made it out there to see them while they were there. I have yet to go to LA, but after being in San Fran I don't know that I really care to go. San Fran was so beautiful, and clean, the weather is so mild, and I loved the fog. Milan goes to LA a lot for work and keeps telling how polluted it is and how horrible the traffic is. I guess a visit would be OK, but not somewhere I see myself falling in love with.

We went to the beach and saw the Pacific. The water temp actually wasn't too bad, definitely swimable with a wet suit. But I left mine at home. Darn! The kids really enjoyed wading in the waves with their feet. Luka finally got so frustrated with his jeans not staying rolled up that he just took them off. The drive to Stinson beach was AMAZING! We drove up and over a huge mountain. I'm guessing it was about 15 miles of uphill, curvy road, and then another 5 miles down curvy road. I could not believe how many road bikers were out. Now I know what serious hill riding is. Not sure I would have made it. Another 5 minutes in the car and I would have been car sick. Fortunately, the weather was clear on our way to the beach, but the fog rolled in while we were there so there was no visibility on the way back. Plus it was raining. Those poor bikers were getting soaked, not to mention it was not warm. I have a feeling they're used to that kind of thing. My cousin says their winter consists of rain from November to April, and then it's totally dry.

Sunday morning Milan, Nada, and I went to a beautiful Russian Orthodox cathedral for liturgy. It started at 7:30 and we got out of there a little after 10. Typically I'd be complaining, especially since not a word of it was in English, but it was so peaceful and beautiful, and not having the kids there to worry about, just made it so much more enjoyable. The relics of St. John of Shanghai and San Francicso are in the cathedral (he was consecrated a Saint there in 1993, died in 1962), something I have really hoped to one day have the opportunity to venerate. I read about his life in 1996 when I met Milan. Since then I have asked for his prayers and intercessions many, many times and they have been answered. I don't think I would have made it through PT school, the Ironman, or even my marriage, without him.

Monday we went to the city. We drove down Lombard street and went up to Coit Tower to see the city. Then we walked around Chinatown and had lunch at an authentic, well known Chinese restaurant called the House of Nan King. We walked around Union Square where all the major retailers are. I didn't go to Neimans or Prada or Coach or Tiffany's, but I sure as heck went to Niketown!

We came back to Arkansas Tuesday night and were hit with major allergies. Wednesday evening we picked up the new addition to our family, Molly. She is the puppy of Nada's best friends dog so it was hard to say no. Not to mention she looks just like the dog we had when I was growing up, Ginger, so I fell in love with her immediately too. Molly is rat terrier (dad), and fox terrier mix (mom). Her mom almost looks like she has some doberman in her. I think she'll be a medium size. Probably not much of a running partner, but a good house dog. Who knows, maybe she'll surprise me and will make it for my 5 mile neighborhood runs.

In case anyone still reads my blog and is wondering what's going on with my training and racing, I am not training for anything in particular right now and don't have a race agenda. I am working out most days of the week, but nothing real structured. And I like it! I was going to run the Little Rock half marathon, but I was going through some issues with my heart rate. My heart rate was getting super high at really low exertion levels, whether I was running, biking, or even strength training. I knew it would eventually resolve and that I had to be patient, and thank God, it seems like it finally did. It took almost month, but I forced myself to keep exercising and not lose all my fitness. I am finally having some good runs. Some coworkers and I have started strength training during our lunch hour at work. It's really great since we have all the equipment. I've often thought of doing this but it was hard to get motivated. Now that I have others to do it with it's much easier to stick with and so much more enjoyable.

It's also been almost a month (will be officially on April 1) that I quit drinking. Yes, no more wine. I worried about the temptation while on vacation and knew there would be a lot of wine drinking, but I stuck to it and passed it up. I have seen so many positive changes in myself, both physically and mentally. I am so grateful. Thanks MoJo! I couldn't have done without you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Birthday/Valentine's Day Weekend & Visit

We had a super great visit with my sister and her husband. We haven't seen them since Christmas 2007 so it's been quite a while. The kids were naturally thrilled! Of course, we ate and drank waaaay too much. I guess we were making up for all the holidays we missed sharing together. There was also quite a bit of Wii bowling (not sure that burns a whole lot of calorie). I will humbly acknowledge that my sister is better at it than me. Just thought I'd share a few pictures of our trip to Petit Jean. It was a first for me and Milan and the kids too.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII - Steelers 6th!

My blog is taking a vacation and what better way to end it than with a Steeler Super Bowl win. I'll be back one day for an update, but right now I need a break.

Happy birthday, to my little Luka, who is 7 today!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Here we go Steelers...

Got my Terrible Towel ready! I am SO glad I finally feel better and will be able to enjoy the game. I want to watch the Philly/AZ game too so I have a lot to do in the next hour. I just finished a great trainer ride, which was a surprise. For as horrible as I felt yesterday and the Nyquil hangover I had this morning, I'm amazed I felt as good as I did. And to think I considered taking the day off to rest?

I don't have much time to blog now, but here's what's new. Or should I call this my "top 10 brag list".
1. My sister and BIL are coming to visit in February for President's Day weekend.
2. We booked flights for San Francisco for spring break to visit my cousins.
3. LOST starts Wednesday!!!
4. Milan and I ran a 5K race yesterday and we both did pretty well.
5. I've signed up for the Little Rock 1/2 marathon.
6. I'm seriously considering signing up for this other big race, but am keeping it a secret.
7. I have lost almost 5 pounds since December 22.
8. I am still drinking wine, but cut down. Not sure if that is good since we WILL be going to Napa Valley while in San Fran.
9. I have the day off tomorrow!
10. I have a killer training schedule this week and am looking forward to it!

Gotta go feed the kids, shower, and get ready for some football. Here's to a Pennsylvania Super Bowl!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Merry (Serbian) Christmas!

Tomorrow we celebrate Christmas on the old Julian calendar. Our church never adopted the Gregorian calendar, which means that Christmas, as well as all the other religious holidays, fall 13 days later. So, January 7th was the only Christmas I ever observed until a year or two ago when my kids became old enough to know about Christmas, gifts, and Santa Claus.

I decided it wasn't fair to the kids to make them wait out Christmas like me, my sister, and all my cousins had to do. It really stunk going back to school after winter break and all your friends were talking about what they got for Christmas and you still had to wait at least a couple more days. I decided to distinguish the holiday into two parts, gifts and religion. The kids got all of their gifts, except from their grandparents and great aunts/uncles in PA, on December 25, and tomorrow will be primarily church and celebrating the birth of Jesus (Milan and I took the day off and the kids won't go to school). We didn't go to church on December 24 or 25. I took Nada last year to the Greek church here in Little Rock, and although it was a very beautiful candlelit service, and it was just weird and awkward for me. Not what I am accustomed to, and not what I want them to become accustomed to if possible. I'd like for them to know something about their heritage, after all, they are full blooded Serbian from a native born dad and first generation mom. Fortunately, tomorrow there will a church service at the Serbian church in Hot Springs and we'll go.

If we lived in an area with a higher population of old calendar Orthodox churches, like we had in Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and in the small PA town I grew up in, we'd be in church right now. Christmas eve is one of the best memories I have of Christmas as a child. We'd go to church at 6pm for the vigil service and afterwards there would be a huge bon fire outside where the priest would bless the yule log (not really, it's an oak tree). We'd be freezing our butts off hoping he would just hurry it up. There is an old Serbian custom about going out and finding the oak tree that fell, or something like that. Our church would just get a huge branch of one and then everyone breaks off a small branch of the tree and takes it home. But before going home we'd partake in the "fellowship hour" in the social center which consisted of hot tea spiked with plum brandy. Let me tell you, this stuff warms you up instantly, from the inside out! Normally after church my family would go to my aunt's house and get together with cousins and friends, eat dinner, open gifts, and just enjoy ourselves. The only limitation with Christmas eve is that it is technically still part of the advent fast so no dairy or meat products are allowed until after church on Christmas (lunch). Seafood was always served for dinner, which is great (you know it was fried), but my aunt was adamant about not breaking out the Christmas cookies. We softened her up a bit over the years and I think last year she let us have some of the peanut butter kisses at 11pm.

Needless to say, I'm a bit sad tonight. I wish I could click my heels 3 times and appear (with my family) in little Farrell, Pennsylvania where it is 33 degrees with a wintry mix (which means snow, not ice!). It was virtually impossible this year with January 7th falling on a Wednesday, my lack of vacation time, and the kids being back in school. Maybe next year we'll make it home for 'a' holiday. In the meantime, I'm trying my best to have the best Christmas possible here in Arkansas with the four of us. I have to say that in the past I was always disappointed that by the time our Christmas came around all of the Christmas spirit had ceased. This year I'm finding more of an appreciation that it has ended, that we're not distracted with the marketing of the holiday, and that we can now focus on the true meaning of the holiday.

By the way, the new year on the Julian calendar starts January 14th. That means a) another New Year's eve celebration on January 13th, and b) another chance at New Year resolutions in case you've blown yours before then. Pretty cool, huh?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Day 3

He caved. Hubby had a cup of coffee about an hour ago. He told me a few days ago the reason he gave it up was because since he was home all week on vacation there was really no need to be alert and focused. It was a trial thing just to see what would happen.

Day 3 into the new year, and so far so good. It was about 65 degrees here this morning. Had the roads not been wet, and I got out of bed a little earlier, I might have rode outside with the group at 7:30. Key word is "might". I know what a Sufferfest I'm in for once I join them again and I don't look forward to it. I'm also not at the point where I need to be riding for a couple of hours so why rush things? I got my trainer and did the scheduled workout instead, even added 5 extra minutes. What an overachiever I am! I finished with the P90X shoulders/arms workout and most of the AbRipperX workout. I say most because I finally got to the point where I just had enough exercise for one day. Plus my abs were screaming, so were my arms, and so were my hip flexors and quads. Oh, and I cooled down by vacuuming the downstairs. I finally had to do something productive and I couldn't help but notice all the crumbs on the carpet while I was down there crunching my guts out.

Don't know what we're going to do the rest of the day. Since I had Thursday off I got all the laundry done. Milan is leaving at 3pm for a short overnight trip to DeQueen, Arkansas. Don't ask. I'm thinking the kids and I will go out and something, maybe a movie or something, or maybe a Mario Kart marathon. As long as we're done by 7pm when the Indy game comes on. Naturally I'm cheering against them because it might be to the Steelers favor, even though Payton Manning is so darn cute.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!