What Wasn't Camping

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Every year for Memorial Day weekend my family and I go camping.  Even though the forecast looked pretty bad for this weekend, we decided we wouldn't let that stop us.

... or at least we wouldn't let that stop us right away.

I left work early on Friday and flew home to help with the packing and we quickly hit the road.  It was still pretty dry out and we all remembered a few weeks ago when I lucked out with the rain for my race so we had hopes that the all the weather reports were wrong.

As soon as we arrived at the campground it started raining.  Within an hour the entire site was a few inches under water so our only real option was to sit in the camper.  This was fine for the night but we decided around 8 am on Saturday that it wasn't worth sticking around all weekend if this was all we could do.  Especially since we brought both the dog and the baby.

So, less than 12 hours after we arrived, we packed up and headed back home.  If we were smart we just would have not gone in the first place, but we've never not gone so we had to try.  For the short time we were there we at least made the most of it and had fun.
Auntie time!
One of the many reasons why I will never be a fashion blogger.
Camping buddies
As much as I wish I was camping, I can't help but think of all the time I now how to take care of things around the house.

Yesterday I took a trip to Christmas Tree Shop, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Home Goods to start collecting things for my apartment. Did I tell you I found one?? Well, I did.  It's in an old mill building in Lowell.  I'm sure I will be dedicating a post to my new place once I actually move in but that won't be until July.

Ideally at some point today I will find the motivation to start cleaning and sorting my room but we'll see if that happens.

I hope you are all enjoying your Memorial Day Weekend!

Playing Catch Up

Sunday, May 19, 2013

This weekend has provided some much needed catch up time.

-I finally caught up on all 600 of my unread blogs.  This took me almost two days.  I skimmed many, skipped a few, and commented on zero, but I got through them all.

-I finally caught up on laundry that built up from DC and my race last weekend.  Not only did I hang everything up right away (yay unwrinkled clothes!), but I even matched up my socks for the first time in a month.  This, unfortunately, just led to chaos.
 Where are all of your mates?!
- I put the finishing touches on my binder of processes for work.  I hate leaving a position without preparing my replacement as much as possible so I made sure to write everything down as clearly as I could.  Fortunately, I'll still be there for any questions but I think this will help me as much as it will help my replacement.

- I put together MY binder for my upcoming new role.  I've taken pages and pages of notes on dozens of different things and I needed to get everything in order before I actually start.

- I took Mac on a much needed puppy play date.  He was so tired afterwards that he basically slept for 15 hours straight.
Three of the six pups 
Mac and his new girlfriend Lana

-We also went on a few nice long leisurely walks.  Even though I didn't run at all this week I still felt like I was busy every day when I came home from work and my short quick walks with Mac reflected that.

-I spent some quality time with my niece who hasn't been around the house much this week.  She really is the most amazing baby.

-I finished off three shows that I had let several episodes build up.  Not necessarily proud that I spent so many hours watching tv but I had to finish them one way or another.  Most of them are done for the season so I can stop worrying about staying on top of them.  (I don't think tv shows are supposed to be this much of a chore!)

It's amazing how nice it feels to have gotten so many things completed this weekend.  Most of the time I don't even notice the build up of stress from having all of these uncompleted tasks, but now that they are done it feels great!

Big Lake Half Marathon - Alton, NH 5/11/2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I missed my last few weeks of training recaps but I got all (but one) of my runs in.  For our last few long runs Alanna and I tried to focus on getting in some hills practice.   It's one thing to practice hills on a four mile run but it is totally different on a nine/ten/eleven mile run.

Anyway,  the race was taking place in Alton, NH along Lake Winnipesaukee.  It is about an hour and a half from my house so my friends and I decided to spend the weekend at my friend's aunt's camp in Ossipiee.  We thought (though we would find out later we were wrong)  that the camp was about 30 minutes from Alton.

We managed to get up there on Friday night without and problems.  We had a big pasta dinner and, using the race as our excuse, all hit the hay pretty early. Luckily just before falling asleep we checked a map only to find out that Alton was actually over and hour from where we were.  Whoops.

The forecast for the race was miserable.  No matter what web site we checked we concluded that we would be getting rain.  Luckily I had brought every item of running clothing I had, but that didn't really help since I had almost no training in rain and wasn't sure what I would actually be comfortable in.

The entire drive to the race it poured.  When we arrived and jumped out of the car and into the school to pick up our race bibs it was still pouring.  When we left the school it was still raining though lightly.  Finally we made our way to the porta-potties.  When I emerged from that the rain had stopped.  It was cool and overcast but no rain.  I credit the magical porta-potty.

My self, Alanna, and Keith (another friend who decided to join us) all made our way back to find out other friends (aka fan club).  We also bumped into my parents who had decided to make a weekend of the race and stay up in NH, too.

The starting line was just down the street from the school so all of us headed that way.  We took some pictures and then split up- Alanna, Keith, and myself towards the start while my parents and three friends went to find a good viewing area.

After a beautiful national anthem we were off!  Keith wasn't going to be running with us but Alanna and I had pretty much the same goal pace.  Every day of training I said to myself, "remember not to start off too fast or you'll burn out."  What did I do? Started out too fast.  The first six or so miles were about a minute / mile under my goal pace.  I really felt great though and I figured I was going to struggle at the end any way so I might was well enjoy it what I can!
Running, waving, AND keeping my eyes open is just asking for too much

Those first few miles were along long rolling hills.  As scary as it was looking into the distance and just seeing a hill for a mile it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  Look back at the elevation chart I'm surprised to realize that I was feeling my best during what was essentially a 3 mile uphill run.  I should also add that the first half of the race was insanely humid.  At one point I felt what I thought were rain drops on my arm but it was actually just my own sweat dripping off my head.

We hit the turn around at about mile 7 and it was all downhill from there (literally).  I have been practicing taking GUs but I feel like the more I've used them, them more I dislike them.  I managed to get it down before the turn around but then we hit some steep hills.  The first hill had such a steep drop that it was too hard to actually run down. I stutterstepped down while I watched a woman in front of my zig zag back and forth as if she were on skis. I think the up and down motion of the hills between miles 7 and 10 combined with a GU and a cup of gatorade just made my stomach angry.

My stomach is something I've been battling with since starting running (and through all of life really).  I noticed it after my first 4 mile run and felt it often as we did longer runs each week.  Luckily I no longer feel it for 4 mile runs but by the time I hit mile 9 in the race I was definitely feeling it.  I've dubbed it "Jostled Tummy Syndrome".  It basically feels like my stomach is bouncing around so much that it cramps up and it becomes very hard to run.  For a while I blamed it on dehydration because I wasn't running with water but I was drinking pretty much every two miles on this race.  While it was not ideal to experience during this race, I know that with time and practice the feeling will eventually go away on my longer runs.

At around mile 11 I let Alanna go on without me.  Granted I was actually now just running at my goal pace, but she got some freakish burst of energy so she took off.  Miles 12 and 13 were about a minute over my goal pace but I still trudged along.  I was able to pick it up at the very end and even planted a smile on my face while crossing the finish line.

Overall I was very happy with this race.  Even with the stomach problems and slowing down I still finished under my goal pace.  It was also great to see that I am capable of running at a faster pace for at least the first six miles of the race... I just need to work on that second half.  Because the race was along a major road there were no spectators through most of the race.  I would love to do one where there are because I think that could have a huge impact on the race.  I've also decided that I probably will not be using GUs any more.  Even thinking about them I gag a little.  I've heard that candy is a great substitute so that's pretty exciting.

So, for my first half marathon I finished in 2:27:23 with an average pace of 11:11 (my goals was 2:30 / 11:30).  I am already looking forward to my next race so if anyone has any suggestions let me know!


Well, I know I've been quiet on the blog lately, but that is because I have been incredibly busy.  I think I mentioned in an earlier post that my boss is retiring and everyone is moving around internally.  I have essentially spent every day over the past two weeks either being trained for my new job or training my replacement.  I think I've spent a total of 5 hours at my own desk doing my own work over the past week.

This, of course, has been great.  I've been so busy I don't even have time to look at the clock to realize the day is flying by.  It's generally already over before I realize it.

Unfortunately this means all those sneaky minutes I take to keep up with the blogs I follow are non existant.  Between going to DC for a week for work and my race last weekend, I've built up over 600 unread blog posts.  I want to catch up on all of them but it's going to take me a few days.

I've also been using any spare moments I do have to apartment hunt.  It's much harder finding an apartment in this area than it was to find one in Boston or Dublin.  I'm also being picker this time around because it's not going to be "just a place to live"... this will be my home for at least a year, if not more.

I have hope that I'll find something good though.  It's just a matter of me being patient which isn't the easiest thing for me to do.

Anyway, now that my race is done (recap to follow) and I'm back from DC and I'm feeling comfortable with my new postion and my replacement I will hopefully be able to make it back to the blogging world. Hooray!

Oh, also Mac graduated from puppy kindergarten.  Everyone, please congratulate him!

Movin On Up

Sunday, May 5, 2013

What an exhausting week.  I spent Monday through Thursday down in DC.  It was kind of a last minute decision to send me down there so I don't even think I mentioned it on the blog.  Traveling down there for work isn't nearly as exciting as going for fun.  I spent three days in a hotel without stepping outside once.  They were a busy and exhausting few days but I learned a lot which is good because... I'm getting a promotion!

Another thing I don't think I've mentioned on the blog but my boss is retiring.  Because he is leaving they are promoting someone in our office into his position and then another person into that one which has left a third postion open.  The open position is the Training & Development Specialist which means I will coordinate and facilitate internal and external training programs for all 1200 of our employees.  It's a lot of responsibility but I think I'm ready for it.  I have learned so much in my current postion but it is a lot more data entry than I would like so I am eager to take on this new position.

The transition doesn't take place until June 1 but I have so much I have to learn before then.  I also have to make sure I train my replacement which is a job in itself!

Because I'm expecting a slight bump in pay I've started (or re-started) looking at apartments.  I should wait and save money to buy something but I realized the other day that this month marks the longest period of time I've lived at home since high school.  I think it's time to get a move on!