Monday, April 28, 2008

Two Funerals and ...

WARNING: This post is a downer.

Thursday night, my mom called with some bad news. My great-uncle, who was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, was declining quickly. The doctors said maybe 2-3 weeks, but the family was thinking less. My family is very close so this news was difficult to take. Especially since I hadn't been down to visit with him in a few weeks.

The other bad news was that my childhood friend's father was diagnosed with three types of cancer, shortly after Easter. He went in because he thought he had pneumonia... came out having a few weeks left. Something like this, I just can't process.

Friday was a hard day for me... just thinking about everything. And, the insurance guy didn't show to assess the damage of my car. Grrr.... JP had to change his flight returning from Phoenix, and I didn't pick him up from the airport until 1:30 a.m. (On a postive note, I got in a kick-ass workout Friday night. Hardly anyone was at the gym at 9 p.m. on a Friday night, which was nice since I needed to get my mind off of everything.)

Saturday night, we were having dinner with JP's family to celebrate his sister's birthday when I got the call. My friend's father had passed a few hours earlier. To top it off, she lost her mother two years ago. They were like my second family and now, they're both gone. At least they're together now.

Yesterday, I went down to my parents to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. We had breakfast with our extended family (The last Sunday of every month is my huge family breakfast. It's been a tradition for more than 30 years), my dad and I went to visit my uncle and I got to say my goodbyes, and my parents and I got out one of our classic cars to take a Sunday drive. It was really nice out and we ended up walking around a metropark for the afternoon.

Seeing my uncle was tough. My dad saw him on Friday and he was still responsive, although bed ridden. Two days later, he didn't open his eyes and it was a struggle for him to breath, even with oxygen support. I'm expecting to get "the call" today or tomorrow, so that'll mean two funerals in one week. Why does growing up suck so much sometimes?

Anyway, gotta make the most of it and remember all the great memories. Plus, they're in a better place now and will be there waiting for the rest of us to join them...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fury Little Friend: Strikes Again

Damn raccoon.

This morning I went out to my car and noticed the plastic was sticking up a little bit. Hmm.. well, it is plastic and I'm sure it tore while I was driving. No big deal.

I proceeded to put my coffee cup on the bed of my truck (like I do every morning to avoid spilling it all down the front of me) and put my briefcase in the back of my truck.
Wait. Back up. Go back to the coffee cup on the bed of the truck...

No... It can't be... yep... it is...

... little paw prints all over the bed of my truck. (I'd like to make the point that this is dew on my car and not dust. Although, my little truck is quite dirty and I can't take it through a car wash because the dumb sunroof is open.) Little bastard tried to get inside AGAIN! It tore open the plastic in four different areas before giving up.

When I got to work, I called the local animal control to see if they could do anything. Since I live in an apartment complex, I have to work through my leasing office. But, the animal control guy gave some insight into the little creatures mind. Here's what he gave me:

1. Raccoons are creatures of habit and my truck (parked in the same spot) must be in its path from point A to point B.

So.. why not jump it twice...?

2. Perhaps the first time it was a female trying to steal my Cheez-Its. The second time may have been a male that smelled the female's scent and tried to reach the female that gave off the odor.

Great... so now I'm driving around in a raccoon-scented vehicle. Can't you just picture a herd of raccoons chasing me down the expressway? GEEZ!!!

Seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried! :)

The good news is the insurance agency is sending someone to appraise the damage on Friday. They didn't say no, so I'm taking this as a good sign.

Since there were some holes in the plastic (and the dealership is pretty far from my main office), I decided to patch it up myself. I went to the Detroit Tiger's game tonight, so I got home pretty late. I'm out in the parking lot patching the holes with packaging tape. Ghetto, I know, but at least it closed the holes up in case it rains.
Oh, and I parked in a new spot tonight so we'll see if the little bugger finds me.

P.S. In the midsts of all the wild animal drama, I started running again this week. Just a few easy miles, but it's good to get back!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Furry Little Friend

Crazy stuff always randomly happens to me.

Friday morning, I went out to my car to leave for work. As I approached, I noticed something unusual. It looked like my car had big, black bug antenna's. Weird. As I got closer, I realized what it was... I had accidently left my sunroof cracked open throughout the night, and the molding around it had snapped in half and was sticking straight up in the air.

Surprised and a little upset, I really didn't think much of it. I tried to bend it back into place (with no avail) and ended up tucking it inside the sunroof so at least I could drive to work without looking like a hug idiot.

It was a beautiful sunny morning and as I was driving, the sunlight came through my windshield. Wait... what is that... it looks like a... paw print. No. It can't be.

The sunlight came in through another angle and ... there were little paw prints ALL OVER my windshield.

The first thing that came to my head was a picture of some rabbid animal attacking me as I'm driving a huge SUV, going 70 mpg down the expressway. I have quite the imagination and I was actually planning my emergency exit strategy if needed.

After getting to work (unharmed by the ghost animal), I looked up the weekend weather and saw it was to rain the next day. Urgh. That means I needed to get it fixed today, not during the weekend. So, I called up my dealership and left work to go get it looked at. The guys were laughing at me (I'm sure I was the story of the day) and after they looked at it, it was determined that the entire freaking sunroof needs to be replaced. The stupid animal tore it up -- the side molding, the main molding, etc. trying to get inside (thankfully it couldn't squeeze inside) and steal a box of Cheez-Its I left inside. After closer examination, not only were there footprints all over the windshild, the guilty little bastard left footprints all over the hood of my car, too. The quote: nearly $700. So now I'm really mad. Little f-er is costing me a lot of money!!! (But, I can't help but laugh. It is a funny story). It's going to take a few days for the sunroof to come in, so the dealership put this sticky, saran-wrap type plastic over my open sunroof. Ghetto... :)

I later looked up raccoon footprints online and confirmed that it was, in fact, raccoon footprints covering my car. Later in the day, I called my insurance company to see if the damage was covered. The convo went something like this:

Me: I believe a racoon destroyed my sunroof and I was wondering if it was covered by my insurance.
Insurance lady: (dead silence)
Me: It's okay... you can laugh
Insurance lady: (busts out laughing) what...!?!?!
Me: I believe a racoon tried to get in my car, through my sunroof, and it completely destroyed the molding around the window. The dealership told me the entire sunroof needs to be replaced. Is this covered?
Insurance lady: (still laughing) In all the years I have worked here, I have never heard this one before.

They're suppose to call me back today and let me know if I'm covered... please keep your fingers crossed that it is!

Seriously though... I live in the burbs. Raccoons should not be walking through the parking lot, hoping to find an open sunroof and find a box of Cheez-its. What are the chances!?!?!?!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sunshine from Key West

Key West was freaking awesome!

We left Thursday morning and landed early afternoon in Miami. Instantly, we were all in a good mood -- sunshine, palm trees and warm weather. I thought the four hour drive to the Keys was going to be painful, but it went by pretty quickly. I think it was a combo of being excited to get down there and the beautiful scenery.

Thursday night we explored the infamous "Duvall Street" - and decided to partake in the "Duvall Street Crawl". The boys had their bachelor party and the three girls that were there had our own fun. If you haven't been to Key West before, let me just say three things: 1) Open containers are legal, 2) strip clubs go completely nude (so I was told!) and 3) the bars don't close until 4 a.m. Needless to say, I think the boys had a good time. :)
Friday we spent a lot of the time helping with wedding stuff. But the highlight of the day for me was that I had a coconut for the first time. We pulled up to a red light and I looked over at a corner store. There were coconuts pilled up with straws in it. I jumped out of the car (JP wasn't quite sure what I was doing) and ran over to the store.

They drilled a hole in it first and stuck a straw in it. After I drank all the "coconut water" we took it back and this crazy (and I'm pretty sure intoxicated) man chopped it open with an axe. It didn't taste quite like I thought it was going to... and I didn't like the texture... too slimy for me. Everyone asked me what I thought it was going to taste like. Like... coconut... Fresh coconut taste nothing like the dried sugary stuff you buy in the store.

Saturday some of us got an afternoon at the pool (JP was busy with his best man duties). It was fabulous!!!!! Bikini, sunshine, relaxing pool and alcohol. Doesn't get much better than that! :)
The wedding was at the Westin resort, on a pier, overlooking the ocean, at sunset. BEAUTIFUL!
Everything went smoothly and it was so nice meeting more of JP's family. We got along so well and everyone had a wonderful time.

Love was in the air and... everyone was bombarding JP with questions of when we were getting married. I even learned that his office has a pool going. Poor guy. No pressure there, right? :)

Sunday we had a nice breakfast with some of JP's family and drove back up to Miami. We spent the night in South Beach. We had dinner at an authentic Haitian resturant that JP and his family goes to everytime they're in Miami. It was so good! We were both so tired that we didn't explore the night life... it's bad, I know. But after so many late nights we pretty much passed out around 10 p.m.

We did get up early on Monday morning and went for a walk on the beach. The water was freezing so we only put our feet in. From there we got ready and headed to the airport. Not the laying on the beach all week vacation we were hoping for, but it was still a great getaway.

Tuesday I flew out to D.C. for work (landed a few hours before the Pope. Ever see a long line of priests go through security?) and on Wednesday, JP flew out to Phoenix. So, we've both been seeing a lot of the airport lately.

Absolutly no running since my race, but plan on getting back into it this weekend. Gotta work off all this alcohol and rich food I've been consuming lately... :)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Race Photos!

yay! JP sent me the photos from Sunday. Check out the beautiful blue sky!!!!

Feeling better, thanks. I stayed home from work yesterday because it finally knocked me off my feet. Guess I just needed to REST.

Here I am, pre-race. Looking good, smiling, loving life, etc. :)
... Here I am, finishing up the race. Almost there. Almost there.


Here I am post-race. Tired, beaten down, ready for a nap... hahaha! My mom saw this inflated martian and said, "oh, go stand by that one! It looks like you!" She is so funny! I tried to look as pathetic as I could :)

Like I said, I'm so glad I did it and it's totally motivated me for the next race!
My next adventure? We're heading down to Key West tomorrow for JP's brother's wedding. Sunshine, beach, 80-degree weather --- here I come! (My running clothes are packed and I'm hoping to get some good beach running in.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Martian Invasion: Race Report

What a fun race! I'm so glad I did it!!!!!

Saturday morning, I woke up congested and with a super sore throat. As the day went on, I was feeling better. So far, so good. In the afternoon, JP and I were going to eat lunch, run a few errands and pick up my race packet. At least that was the plan.

We were at Olive Garden (I LOVE carb loading!) and I started feeling sick to my stomach. I thought it was just because I was so hungry. Ate my salad and breadsticks and when I took a bit of my pasta, the first bit didn't taste good at all. JP instantly knew I was sick and we asked for our meals to be boxed up and our check. No sooner had we gotten home, I got sick. OH NO! I have a race tomorrow!!!! I slept the rest of the day, went out quickly to get my race packet and prayed for the best.

Sunday morning, I woke up and felt better than the morning before. I decided I was good enough to race.

It was a beautiful morning -- a warm, sunny spring morning. As we got closer to the race site, I got more and more excited.

The course started on the University of Michigan (Dearborn campus) campus. We ran a little bit on the campus trails and then out and about on the surrounding roads. Note: Only in Michigan are there race volunteers cheering you on the sidelines and warning you of pot holes. Some were SO big, I'm sure a runner could get lost!

First six miles felt great. Pace was a little faster than I was thinking nit should be, but I figured I'd go for it and see what happens. Plus, I was pretty consistent. Goal 1 -- accomplished.

Mile 1: 9:08
Mile 2: 9:23
Mile 3-4: 18:01
Mile 5: 9:01
Mile 6: 9:04

Shortly after I hit mile 6, the first female runner was heading back and hit mile 9. Geez!

Next 7 miles... well, let's just say I have a lot of work to do before my full marathon. My legs tightened up, I was just plain tired and didn't feel strong. Not consistent on my splits, but I was mentally tough, so I consider Goal 2 accomplished. :)

Mile 7: 9:14
Mile 8: 9:33
Mile 9: 9:34
Mile 10: 10:04
Mile 11: 10:08
Mile 12: 10:19
Mile 13: 9:42 -- Needless to say, I was ready to be done and pure adreneline took over for the last 1.1 mile.

Total time: 2:04:01 (9:29 pace).

I finished 59 out of 139 in my age group. Finished top half in my age group, so I was pleased. After the race, my parents took JP and me out for breakfast, but I started to feel bad again so we had to cut it short. Took a nap and relaxed for the rest of the day. Anyway, I'm so glad I did this race and am motivated to continue training for the next one.

JP took a bunch of pictures, so I'll post those later.

Friday, April 04, 2008

No... No... No...

No! I can't be getting sick! Not two days before my race!

I think it might be a sinus thing. Felt like I got hit by a bus last night, so I opted to rest rather than run. Feeling kinda antsy about my taper week since I was very liberal with my easy and / or rest days.

Stocked up on cold/sinus meds, green tea and Cepacol this morning on my way into work. Feeling better, but still a bit leery. Just as long as I can breathe through my nose on Sunday, I'll be okay!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Supportin' "The Girls"

For a while, I've been in dire need of new sports bras. After reading an article in the latest Women's Health and watching the "bounce-o-meter" video... it convinced me to finally go to the store and find a much better bra!
This is the newest add to my running apparel collection (although I got mine in black) and I'm super excited. It's a whole new fit and feels SO comfortable!! I'm tempted to break all the race rules and not try it out on a long run and wear it during my half... If I bodyglide up, it should be okay... right...?
It cost a bit more, so I'm considering it an "investment" piece. If you're in need of a new bra check out this awesome Women's Health article!
Got in a good 3-ish mile run outside yesterday. It was super windy and I'm really hoping it won't be that way on Sunday! Keep your fingers crossed.
Today, I had to go to the gym because I had a hair appointment tonight. I was already to go except... I forgot my shoes. Oops. In the spirit of saving the environment, I opted not to drive home and drive back to the gym. Since it was dark, I decided to do a cardio workout at home. Not quite a run, but hey, I'm tapering. :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Taper Week!

I didn't run last night.

Can you tell how guilty I feel? I try to justify it by saying that this week is really a taper week, so it doesn't matter that much...

After work, I went to the mall to look for a dress for this wedding that is in 2 weeks. NOTHING! I tried on like 8 dresses and nothing looked right. It's either too long (I'm short so a "knee-length" dress hits me mid-shin), too low-cut (meeting some of JP's family for the first time. No slutty dresses for this wedding), yellow (my favorite color, but also the color of the bridesmaid dress), or just didn't fit me correctly. After shopping for 2 hours, I called it quits and headed home.

It started POURING on my way home. No running outside. And, my stomach was growling like crazy. I had already eaten my pre-workout snack, and I failed to re-fill my car with a stash of emergency Luna Bars for cases such as this. So... I went home.

After work, I'm heading straight out for my run. No excuses!