Monday Mindspacing Vol. 158

1) I'm having the hardest time caring about blogging so I decided to just go with it. I still like reading other people's blogs but things have been quiet here as far as conversations between me and commenters for about a year now so I just haven't really seen a reason to post. 2013 may be different but we shall see.
2) I also decided to stop writing my thoughts on every film I see. I've been doing that since 2009and my goodness! 4 straight years of writing thoughts on every single film has finally becoming exhausting to the point that I've skipped the last 10-20 films I've seen. Liberating!
3) Rashan has the instant Netfix queue, I have the DVD one. The split is most annoying when I can't ever find out when a movie I want to see is coming to instant. So I'lll get a DVD and it's on instant a week later. Even checking his account doesn't help because there's no list telling you 'coming soon' on instant.
4) Speaking of Netflix. They are on my LIST!! I haven't regularly gotten two-day turnaround (one day there, one day back) on my DVDs since SEPTEMBER!! Two calls yielded nothing. You can't email headquarters or fax or call so I had to write a letter. I hope they didn't think that would stop me. This thing has escalated so much that nothing short of free service for at least the length of time my DVDs have been late will make me happy.
5) Rashan and I are chillin at el cribo for NYE. We haven't done anything on NYE in a few years. Maybe next year? My mom is on her 3rd year of a party with my aunt and her friends in Hilton Head. I see you, old people! My aunt is many years retired and living THE LIFE! Lots of travel, 20-30 minutes from the beach. I so need this!
6) I registered for my next half marathon!!!! It's in April! :) I also have a 10K in March and a 5K in April. The half was super cheap, the 10K and 5K are FREE! POW!
7) Christmas was AWESOME! For breakfast, my extended family always gathers at someone's house. I saw lots of cousins, including one I haven't seen in a decade or more. Really cool! Then my mom and I cooked dinner (ribs, bbq baked beans, brussels sprouts), we all watched Christmas movies (I argued (and won) that "When Harry Met Sally" is a Christmas movie because they celebrate it 3xs... LOL), then Rashan and I came home.
8) I think I want some meatloaf. I'm constantly putting a new meatloaf recipe into the mix. That and a new burger recipe. And I don't discriminate on burger meat. I've tried turkey, chicken, pork, lamb, shrimp & salmon. All magnificent! Not every recipe of course, but every meat has had a delicious variation. Chicken was the driest. Rashan LOVED the shrimp burger.
9) I'm not ready to take down my Christmas decorations! Happens every year but I'm still never ready!
10) I haven't settled on my 2013 goals but you know they're coming!
11) Jameil fact: I'm so future-focused that I always write the next year for most of December. I've been writing 2013 on stuff for weeks. And I don't usually have issues writing the previous year until maybe February. WEIRDO.

Happy New Year!


Race Recap: Mistletoe Half Marathon


Two days before the half, I picked up my packet. I knew in advance the packets would be paperless e-packets and I was really just picking up my race bib (number) and shirt. I did not know the e-packet would be lame. For instance, a free Chick-fil-a sandwich with your bib! Yay! But race day only. At one Chick-fil-a. Go get it. What.the.FUDGE. Not a question. I won't hold you in suspense, it was IN.SANE in there. But I'm getting ahead of myself. May we talk about the shirts? I ordered an adult medium. I did not know it would be a dress. I went down to an adult small. Still.a.dress. And a short-sleeved dress. When I tell you I was swimming in it and it looked no smaller than the medium? Horrible. I can't do anything with that shirt.

The day before the half, I did my best to relax but I was also still a little in denial about the fact that I was FINALLY running a half marathon! I'd basically been planning this since MAY!! And it was finally here!

Race morning, I had a bowl of oatmeal with molasses, a little sugar and raisins. I slept? Not one lick. Couldn't sleep. At all. Know why? I'd dropped my phone IN THE SINK. WITH THE WATER RUNNING. AT FULL BLAST. My phone with my alarm and Runkeeper. I put it in rice then next to a portable heater.

Rashan set the clock alarm in the bedroom. The alarm I never use. I don't like change!! And certainly not on race day! My alarm!?!? Why??? The bedroom clock? Did not allay my fears that I would sleep through my half. I eventually did a factory reset on my phone, re-downloaded my apps and re-synced them.

I drove myself and had no trouble parking. Yay! They arranged so many parking lots and harped on parking so much that they made it seem like you would not be able to park within a mile of the start/finish line without arriving 3 hours before the start. LOL Tisn't true. When I arrived? SO AMPED!!! I took a bunch of pictures with my running group. YAY! Used a portable toilet for the 2nd time at a race-- again, not bad at all! No lines, there was toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Wins all around!

When it was time to start, I made myself focus on maintaining a steady, slow enough pace. I got choked up because I was finally doing it! I was running my first half marathon! One of my group co-ambassadors was hanging back and chatting with her was helping me stay calm. I was proud of our first mile. I had no idea we would but we ended up staying together for the first 8 miles. She REPEATEDLY tried to slow me down. REPEATEDLY. Couldn't do it. Such a mess. I did exactly what I knew I wasn't supposed to do. EXACTLY. Got caught up in the feel of the race and couldn't slow down. I felt A.MA.ZING! My goal pace for the early miles was 12:30. Please look at this.

Mile 3?????? As a matter of fact, look at all those sub-12 miles. Why, Jameil? Why??? My sub-12 miles weren't supposed to come until mile 10. Oh the best-laid plans. Mile 3 is always one of my best miles. No matter how far I'm running. It's crazy. I knew a huge series of evil hills was coming in miles 7-10 so part of me was okay with banking some time. The rest of me was saying SLOW DOWN YOU CRAZY NUT!!

You see who won out. You can also see mile 9 is where the death march started. I dropped my phone at 8.56 miles. It broke apart. That was the end of me having any clue about how much time had elapsed in the race and what I needed to do to finish at my goal time of 2:40 to 2:45. I walked for the first time in mile 10 and it was so SO hard to start back up again.... just like I knew it would be. Then it was hard to stop myself from walking again. I'm very VERY familiar with this area. Around mile 11, I started talking myself out of cutting through the park. I KNOW!! I was in such a dark place. I just wanted it to be OVER! At some point in this last 5K, I told myself to just finish. That's supposed to be your main goal for your first race at any distance: finish. So I would finish. It didn't have to be pretty but I had to finish.

I saw some members of my running group just before the 12-mile marker where they snapped this picture. I couldn't even muster up anything more than a wave. Oh I wanted it to be OVER!!!

One of them said, "Smile, Jameil!" That is the only reason you have this picture to the left. Shortly after that fake smile, I went back to scowling. Then I saw the 12 mile marker and told myself to run the rest of the way in.  
Less than half a mile later I saw more people from my running group. Oh the pain! I didn't even attempt to smile. No laughter. No anything. Just take my picture. Thanks for coming. I'm actually so amazed everyone took such great pictures! I look serious and awesome. LOL If I do say so myself.  

And then I walked again. I was KICKING myself. Oh I was SO disappointed!! Then I heard footsteps coming behind me... fast. I was going to let whoever this jerk was pass me. (It is not jerky to pass people. Again. I was in a really bad place.)

I'd already passed 10+ people in the last few miles. Fine. If she wanted to pass me, she could have it. Go forth, speed racer. But then. I thought, "NO. I will not be passed in the last half mile of the race. If she wants to pass me, she has to earn it. Plus, she's right, the faster we run, the faster we're done and GOD I WANT TO BE DONE!!!"

She'd passed me by a few steps but we were on a downhill so I picked up the pace relatively easily. Ha! Easy... It wasn't easy but I was determined. I picked up the pace, then fell into step. Then she dropped back. I so badly wanted to encourage her, "Come on! Let's finish this thing together!" I couldn't get my mouth to work. I was that tired. I felt bad about it but the finish was SO. CLOSE. It was around two corners so I couldn't see it but I knew it was there and I WANTED IT!!

 After I rounded the first corner, I could see and hear more people from my running group. They.were.AWESOME!! I knew I had to look strong. Fake it until I could make it if you will. They snapped this picture. Know what else they said, "I knew it was you. I'd know that run anywhere!" How sweet! :)

But I was still not yet in my happy place. One. more. corner. Actually that picture at left is just before the last corner I'd round to my right. Torture. TORTURE. And so emotional. I started tearing up again. I was doing it! I was finishing my first half marathon!

Then I heard the next group screaming for me at mile marker 13. Man did they pump me up! Oh it was REAL now! Let's go! I pulled out a gear I didn't even know I had left when I heard those screams! I threw down my water belt and BOOKED IT to the finish!

I LOVE this picture of me half out of the frame! It shows every bit of the intensity I felt at this moment... Less than a tenth of a mile away... I can do anything for a tenth of a mile... less than one tenth and you're DONE! YOUR FIRST HALF!

The first face I saw at the end? Rashan's. I felt into his arms and cried. I DID IT!!
My official time was 2:45:50. 
I'll count it as a win. And within 10-20 minutes, I felt good enough to take this picture-- my favorite of the day :)

In a lot of my first or second times racing at a distance I've been at or near the bottom of my age group and even near the end of all competitors. I don't know why that matters to me but it does. I truly do believe I have to run my own race while I'm running it (no matter how often I lost sight of that during this race) but I don't want to be last. This time I finished before 91 other people overall and 8 people in my age group.

But most of all? I'm really, really proud that I finished so strong. I know what I did wrong and that this was a learning experience. I'm already looking for my next half so I can show this distance who's boss! And 2013? The year of the marathon!


Christmas Workout Playlist!

You all know I'm a Christmas NUT! Slow, fast, in between. When I came up with a Christmas playlist last year, I quickly realized, my Christmas needs are NOT all-purpose. I absolutely cannot listen to any slow music while I run or workout. I start matching my pace to the tempo and next thing you know I'm barely moving! Before my race, I spent over an hour on Spotify finding more Christmas music. It's ridiculously difficult! If you are like me and need a frenetic pace to workout, here's my list!

All I Need is Love - CeeLo Green f/the Muppets
All I Want for Christmas (SuperFestive!) - Justin Bieber & Mariah Carey
Christmas in Hollis - Run-DMC
Christmas Tree - Lady Gaga
Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man This Christmas) - The Weather Girls (ROTFL!!!!!!)
Drummer Boy - Justin Bieber f/Busta Rhymes
Jingle Bells - Michael Bublé
Jingle Bells - Natalie Cole
Joy to the World - Natalie Cole (upbeat!)
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Ella Fitzgerald
Merry X-mas Everybody - Steps
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - Ella Fitzgerald
Run Rudolph Run - CeeLo Green
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town - Mariah Carey
Sleigh Ride - fun.
Step Into Christmas - Elton John
Up on the Housetop - The Jackson 5
What Christmas Means to Me - Stevie Wonder


*Peeks In*

Did you guys miss me??? I accidentally left my computer in Winston-Salem when I went to New York! Sorry about the radio silence! I'll be back with my RACE RECAP(!!!) and deets of my NY trip! I also owe you some Thanksgiving stuff, don't I? The good thing is that my best recipes will also work for Christmas! :) Want my favorite picture from race day?


Movies 2012: Weeks 44-46

Week 44: October 28- November 3, 2012
141) Brokeback Mountain. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal star as Wyoming sheep herders who meet and fall in love and carry out a decades-long secret affair. Sweet at times but mostly really sad. My heart ached for them. Excellent film. 4.2 stars
142) Vegucated. A documentary about veganism. She wanted multiple people to try veganism. The filmmaker's narration? Sigh. Way too jolly and silly. And the heavy-handed animal torture videos? Covered no new ground. If the purpose of this film had been to watch the veganization (New word! LOL) of three people, it would have been a lot more interesting. But it took these detours that were less interesting and even almost boring. It also only followed the vegan testers for 6 weeks. How much can you learn in that time? A little. But I felt like not enough. 2 stars
143) Take This Waltz. The story of a married woman (Michelle Williams) who finds herself wanting another man and the trouble that struggle creates. Ridiculous gratuitous nudity. A meandering story line. Too much effort-filled understatement. 2 stars
144) Safety Not Guaranteed. Aubrey Plaza (April from "Parks and Rec") and Jake Johnson (Nick from "New Girl") star in this film about a journalist and his interns who use a time-travel want ad to go inside a story. Things get stranger when they meet the man behind the ad and one of the interns gets the dirt. Strange. You kept wondering what would happen next. Then the end just ruined a lot of the progress. Weird. But I'd watch it again. 3.3 stars

Week 45: November 4-10, 2012
145) Monsieur Lazhar. A French film about an Algerian man who moves to Canada and, while teaching, helps children cope with the suicide of their well-loved teacher. A quiet but enjoyable film with moments of sadness, but not overwhelmingly so. 3.6 stars
146) The More the Merrier. Jean Arthur stars as a Washington woman who decides to do her part to help with the housing shortage during WWII but gets more than she bargained for. A sweet love story with some mad cap (but not too mad cap) activity. 3.6 stars
147) The Giant Mechanical Man. A street performer (giant mechanical man) who and another lost soul (Pam from "The Office") find their lives intersecting in an "unexpected" way. Kind of predictable in the most unnecessary way. Random moments of useless dialogue that did nothing to advance the plot. Then it just ended. ? 2.2 stars
148) The Amazing Spider-Man. The beginning of Spider-Man in the 2012 reboot starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. It shows a high school Peter Parker learning to deal with his new powers, falling in love and facing a nemesis. Enjoyable though a good 20 minutes too long. 3.3 stars

Week 46: November 11-17, 2012
149) The Queen of Versailles. The behind the family building the largest home in America-- 90,000 square feet, $100 million-- who in the process of the market collapse lost hundreds of millions of dollars. You do not go into this film expecting to feel anything toward these people who in every way live a life of excess and yet... The filmmaker does an excellent job of humanizing the family and making a sympathetic character, in particular, of the mother. Are you still scandalized by some of their behavior, past and present? Absolutely but you kind of like some of them in the process. This film should definitely be nominated for an Oscar. 4.2 stars
150) Moonrise Kingdom. Pre-teens in love abscond away throwing their tiny island into a tizzy. Amusing enough, cute. A little young for my taste. 3.3 stars
151) 2 Days in New York. Chris Rock stars in a film about a couple who have to deal with the female half's visiting French relatives. Way too much back and forth between French and English. It was difficult to transition so frequently between the languages. If the movie had been entirely in French, it probably would've been a better film. The English portions felt lackluster while the French portions were vivid. Disappointing. 3 stars


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 157

1) My first half marathon is in the books! It was extremely tiring but I'm already looking forward to the next one. Full recap coming later in the week. You know what I need other than new toenails and a massage (oh my legs!!)? A race sponsor. For real!
2) Due to a generous benefactor (LOL) I'm going to New York THURSDAY to see my BFF! Yay!! I love that I have such awesomeness in three consecutive weekends! Thanksgiving, race, NYC/Connecticut! We're going to Connecticut Saturday for our friend's dinner party, coming back Sunday.
3) Yes, I've already mapped out running routes in NY and Connecticut. LOL! I wanted to run with groups there but it doesn't look like it's gonna happen. No matter. By this time next week I'll have run in 3 states in 6 days. How cool is that??
4) Y'all... I'm newly re-crazy over this chipotle salsa from TJs. It's almost like I remembered, forgot and now I'm remembering again how awesome it is. I want to eat it on EVERYTHING!! And by itself! I'm sure this is a cry for help.
5) I'm trying edamame tonight for the 2nd time. I wasn't impressed the first time. This will be my first time cooking it, though. I'm doing a duo - a crunchy, oven-baked appetizer and a garlicky puree. Can't wait!
6) A girl in my running group is pregnant with baby number 5! We announced it dramatically to the group with a riddle I penned. "Oh yes it's true! No if, and or maybe! One of your leaders is having a baby!" Oh the speculation! Almost EVERYBODY thought it was me. One girl went so far as to say, "I knew it wouldn't be long!" Ma'am... Get your money back from Miss Cleo! Twas hilarious!
7) I've been having a hard time limiting myself to two eggs per day lately. My appetite for eggs is currently INSATIABLE!! They're just so gooooood!
8) Rashan has been sick for a good week. I do not like it! Not one bit! I finally convinced him to stay home from work on Thursday and he started feeling better after an uncharacteristic 4-hour nap.
9) It's supposed to be 70 today! 69 tomorrow! Excitement!! I wish I could run! (Addict. My running addiction is WAY worse than my TJs addiction... as evidence by every post for the last year!)
10) Did I tell you about my neighbor who likes to have ragers that start at 4 a.m.? He's restarted after a layoff period. He's way too old for this behavior. He's at least 50. Sir... Having your homies over at 4 a.m. on a Thursday, blasting music with their smoke filtering into my apartment? So beyond not awesome.
11) In related news, I applied for 4 promising positions last week. Lord PLEASE let one (or more) of them pan out! How is that related? It will allow us to MOVE!! Keep praying, peeps.



Movies 2012: Weeks 41-43

I was happy to get in a good amount of docs as well as some fiction films I really enjoyed. Yay!

Week 41: October 7-13, 2012
129) Lola Versus. An independent film about a woman dealing with upheaval in her love life and other relationships. I found the story line meandering but Rashan enjoyed it. 2.5 stars
130) Cowboy Del Amor. A documentary about a Texas man who connects American men with Mexican wives. Amusing at the beginning, the film lost some of its luster the more we got to know more about the go between's ridiculous ideas of womanhood. The film also began to drag in the last 20 minutes as it took too long to reach a conclusion. 3.2 stars
131) My Perestroika. A Russian film about a group of school mates who grew up in the Soviet Union and the adjustments they had to make as young adults when the union was dissolved. Interesting look at massive upheaval on a group. 3.4 stars
132) Snow White and the Huntsman. Charlize Theron stars as the evil stepmother leading a crusade against Snow White (Kristin Stewart). Theron is absolutely amazing! The story proceeds so amazingly that you forget this is a fairy tale usually told to children. And the visuals. Oh the visuals!! The dark look, the cinematography, the costume design, the effects. I was absolutely mesmerized. Fun watch. 4 stars

Week 42: October 14-20, 2012
133) Cabin in the Woods. InSANE horror flick with the most unconventional plot I've ever seen. Really really awesome! I had no idea where this film was going... over and over! They even had me fooled at the end! Of course there were a few things I didn't like but they were outweighed by the mystery throughout. I'd definitely watch this one again. 3.8 stars
134) Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A group of elderly Brits (played by some of the most recognizable elderly Brit actors & actresses) head to India to save money and for adventure living in a lovely resort hotel... that they realize is rather ramshackle. Amusing and interesting as they deal with living in a mostly unfamiliar, and for some overwhelming, country. There were even several love stories at different stages of life throughout. 4 stars
135) Small and Beautifully Moving Parts. An indie film about a pregnant woman unmoored and in search of herself as well as her estranged mother. Meandering film with characters that flit in and out. I guess you could call this a journey film. I didn't particularly connect with any of the characters, though. 3 stars
136) Senna. The story of the Formula One champion Aryton Senna. You knew the entire film that Senna was going to die young so there was a natural tension. Every race I was on edge. The film was constructed entirely from archival footage and interviews. It was strange not seeing any current sit-down interviews but it worked. I didn't like how they made a competitor the villain. I know you need a rooting interest but it felt unnecessarily manipulative. This film also felt way too long. 3.3 stars
137) Think Like a Man. The feature film based on the best-selling book by Steve Harvey with tons of celebrity cameos. Too many to count. You saw the love issues of the commitment-phobe, single mom, independent woman, player, mama's boy, etc. from the man and woman's perspective. I was surprised to find it amusing. Much better than two other celeb vomit films I can think of: Valentine's Day and New Year's Day. Celeb vomit. adj. a film that crams in as many recognizable faces as possible. Origin: Jameil. Is it a great film? No. Is it a terrible film? No. 3.3 stars

Week 43: October 21-27, 2012
138) More Than a Game. The story of Lebron James' AAU and high school teams in Akron Ohio and the bond between the "Fab 4" turned "Fab 5." Mostly typical uplifting sports story. I wasn't particularly in the mood for a sports doc but as they go, this one was well done. 3.2 stars
139) The Bigamist. Insane film starring Joan Fontaine about a man who is secretly married to two women. His life begins to unravel when he goes to adopt a child and is investigated by a worker at the adoption agency. Crazy proceedings and justifications led to an unsatisfactory "conclusion." Use the term conclusion loosely. Let's say end. 2.9 stars
140) Donkey in Lahore. An Australian man meets and falls in love with a Pakistani woman while performing a puppet show in her country. Deciding to marry is one thing, converting to Islam, getting her family to agree to marriage and all of its changes is another. Wearying film in part because it was unnecessarily long. The process itself took years. Great conflict but too much time was spent showing the struggle. Still a worthwhile film. 3.6 stars


Trader Junkie

Our Trader Joe's opened a little over a month ago and I am officially a junkie. Remember how long it's been since I lived in a city with a Trader Joe's? FOUR YEARS!! I used to hit them up weekly then I was shut off cold turkey. Junkie talk. Okay maybe not completely cold turkey since I did hit up ones in Charlotte and Atlanta a few times while living in Gainesville but in the last two years that I've been here? ZERO TJ TRIPS!! ZERO!!  The junkiest of junkie talk.

Well I'm making up for it! I've hit up that store no less than 4 times in the last month. I could go more often but I refrain. Junkie talk. I'm such a good girl! There are two Harris Teeters and a Whole Foods within a mile of TJ's. Crazy, right? My preferred HT is the farther location. I've switched allegiances to Rashan's preferred HT because it's across the parking lot from TJ's. Junkie talk. One of my old favorites apparently doesn't exist anymore - soy orange creamsicles. I loved these popsicles! R.I.P.

Some old favorites still exist and have continued to bring me joy including principally: CHIPOTLE SALSA!!! I've not surprisingly loved every cheese I've brought home. There's a lovely selection at great prices and I can't wait to try many many more! Junkie talk. The fruit floes (popsicles) are still delicious.

I've tried out some things I probably never would've tried without bloggers."This pumpkin walks into a bar..." pumpkin bars? Sooo good! They're kind of like a grain version of fig newtons but with pumpkin. I can't say the taste is super pumpkin-y but they're delicious and they have multiple other versions including fig and strawberry. If pumpkin's seasonal as it likely is, I'll have no problem switching to another. Oh junkie.

The most surprising find? Pre-cooked lentils. Thank you healthy bloggers! Easy and tasty with just a little salt and pepper. For the picture at right, I just sauteed spinach in garlic & olive oil, added the lentils for a couple of minutes, added one diced tomato for one minute just to warm it up, plated and topped it with gorgonzola. This was one of our meatless meals and we both really enjoyed it! 10 minutes. BAM! We had this with homemade garlic bread from a TJ's baguette.

I've even squeezed in some blind tastings i.e. I buy it before trying it or even hearing about it. The spinach tortellini was great! I used it in the picture to the left for another meatless meal of roasted kobocha squash stuffed with spinach and cheese tortellini. Tyler Florence recipe. So goooood! You could also use acorn squash.

I can't remember if white cheddar popcorn puffs were a suggestion or blind tasting but they were MAGNIFICENT! The multi-grain waffles were good. Rashan and I both approve. The mushrooms and herbs are cheaper than other stores which I definitely love. The herbs are a good 60 cents cheaper. I need an herb garden but until I can stop killing the plants I buy, I must buy my herbs. And as many as I buy? Yeah... that 60 cents starts adding up. The bagged salad greens are also cheaper depending on which ones you get.

Those blind tastings also included some duds: frozen samosas? TERRIBLE. Flavorless, not delicious. Same problem with the fresh pesto ravioli. Really disappointing. It makes me hesitate more on the lobster ravioli. The mushroom risotto was just okay. It needed a lot of attention to bump up the flavor. The vanilla creme protein shake in a can probably tried its best but twas not good. The pumpkin spice latte isn't very good. Weak tea with barely a hint of spice. The fruit leather is good enough to continue eating as a snack/carb source.

In-store samples have also brought out some surprising yumminess. The frozen mac and cheese? WHOA! The frozen mandarin chicken was also really good. The biggest shocker? COFFEE!! Y'all! I don't even like coffee that much but this coffee is MAGNIFICENT! I get a sample every time I'm in the store. I can hardly focus on my list without getting that coffee first! Junkie junkie JUNKIE!! Shocking and shameful! LOL

Do you have any Trader Joe's faves?


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 156

1) I got unnecessarily stressed out by Thanksgiving... in part because my mom bought a 24-POUND TURKEY!!!! WHY??? We had less than 10 people there... The turkey was also very dry and part of the reason I hate turkey. (Yes, I know it wasn't the turkey's fault.)
2) Yesterday was Rashan's birthday!! Everybody say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! :) No one say Hbd. That is the worst, driest greeting ever. Still.
3) More Christmas decorations are up in mi casa! YAY!!!
4) My New York trip to see my BFF Stace? HAPPENING! Sooo excited! (I started planning my runs before I thought about food. What???)
5) My first half marathon is SATURDAY!! AHHHHHH!
6) My first film was named Best Documentary at a film festival! So much awesome in my life right now!
7) I've done more yoga in the last month than ever before in probably an entire year. Three times in the last 3 weeks! Do I like yoga now? NO! But I've found some poses that I can get with for post-run stretching.
8) I made a roasted cauliflower and broccoli soup for Thanksgiving that tasted over-roasted even though I cut the cooking time in half... until I added gorgonzola. SOOOO pleasantly transformed!
9) Y'all... I can't stop eating sugar!! It's been so accessible for the last few days! And I might have brought a whole sweet potato pie back and the rest of the tart I made. I MUST get it together! I had an absolutely WRETCHED run on Saturday. Every step was a challenge. I wanted to get in at least 6 but had to cut it short at 3. I need a redemption run! It will have to be short but I need it.
10) Did you guys see "Next Iron Chef" last night? I thought every single chef and judge overreacted in the secret ingredient showdown. Every single one. Quit being such cry babies!! Over foolishness!!
11) Our DVR got IN.SANE while we were gone. I like it below 10%. It got up to 45%. I tried not to go into a tv frenzy. It didn't totally work.


Movies 2012: Weeks 37-40

A rather disappointing set of films these few weeks. Thankfully it gets better! And this was when new tv was in full swing and my DVR was bursting with new adventures!

Week 37: September 9-15, 2012
120) The Siege. Denzel Washington and Annette Benning star in this film about martial law imposed on New York (with Bruce Willis as a general at the helm) after a series of terror attacks. High drama... but rather preachy and pedantic. 2.9 stars
121) What to Expect When You're Expecting. Romantic comedy about couples dealing with various issues around starting a family. I didn't expect to like it but I did! It was cute. 3.5 stars

Week 38: September 16-22, 2012
122) Hysteria. A period piece set in England starring Maggie Gyllenhall about the treatment for hysteria in the 1800s. Very amusing. A fun and easy watch. I realized I really like Maggie Gyllenhall. 3.8 stars
123) Detachment. Adrien Brody plays an inner city substitute teacher who becomes involved in the lives of his students and colleagues as he houses a young prostitute. What? Throughout the movie I wondered when it would end and why I was watching it. But Rashan absolutely hated it. 2 stars

Week 39: September 23-29, 2012

123) Damsels in Distress. College girls undertake a moralistic role of solving the ills of their school via dance. Amusing-ish. Of course their lives begin to unravel in assorted ways but the "unraveling" is so tame it's rather boring. I wasn't ever invested in the characters enough to care about their issues. 3 stars
124) Objectified. A documentary about objects in our lives, their manufacture and the thought processes behind them via their designers. Thought-provoking but with a lot of lulls. Rather boring at times. If you're at all leaning toward the idea that we have too much stuff and waste, this film will probably push you over the edge. 2.9 stars
125) My Afternoons with Margueritte. French film starring Gerard Depardieu as a man who gets caught up in the books of a lonely elderly woman. As the film unfolds, we learn more about life experiences that led both of them to connect with a stranger. Quiet and sweet but quite funny at times, too. 3.9 stars

Week 40: September 30- October 6, 2012
126) Prodigal Sons. This documentary follows two estranged brothers, one with a severe brain disorder and the other who is now a woman, who come back to their Montana town for a high school reunion and find their lives more intertwined than they expected. Mildly interesting at times with some unnecessary detours into the adopted brother's lineage. 3 stars
127) Peace, Love & Misunderstanding. A conservative lawyer (Catherine Keener) in the midst of a divorce visits her estranged mother (Jane Fonda). They navigate their relationships with each other and the two teenaged children who are just getting to know their free-spirited grandmother. Fonda was radiant and awesome. Keener's character was just a little too stuck up for any rapid loosening to seem real. Enjoyable film. 3.5 stars
128) The Five-Year Engagement. Jason Segel and Emily Blunt star in a rom com about a young couple who finds their relationship changing in challenging ways the longer they're engaged. Some absolutely baffling turns of plot (in that they made no sense) coupled with an unnecessarily long 2-hour run time and a few unnecessary scenes (of course sense it was too long) dragged this movie down. 3.4 stars


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 155

1) My front door says fall (colorful, leaf-covered wreath) but inside my house says CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!! Lights are strung around the window and shining brightly at night! :) I want to take my wreath to my mom's house for Thanksgiving Eve & Thanksgiving Day, then switch to Christmas at both houses. WOOHOO!!!
2) Rashan's birthday is SUNDAY!!! My old man will be 38! Wow! I love him so! I just hope he doesn't start sprouting ear hair... That will test the vows. The sickness part.
3) Terrible sleep has returned and the bags under my eyes are my souvenirs. Booooo. I promise I never had bags like this on no sleep before I turned 30.
4) I got lost during my 13.1-mile (half marathon) run Saturday and ended up doing 14.1. Sooo displeased. It was more difficult this week. BUT I'm officially tapering now!! Shorter runs here I come!
5) I'M OFFICIALLY GOING TO NY AND CONNECTICUT NEXT MONTH!!!! EEEEEE!!! SOOOO EXCITED! (I'm also planning to connect with BGR! groups in both states. If I connect with BGR! Charlotte next week and with my own group (obvi), I'll have run w/4 groups in 3 weeks. Awesome!)
6) My Thanksgiving menu is coming up on Wednesday. I'm sooo excited about it! One of the things contains 4 main ingredients: 2 items I don't like, 1 I'm mildly allergic to and another I'm QUITE allergic to. Hooch is crazy. (I quote tv a lot...)
7) Still beatin the brakes off of people in Words with Friends. I now consider that 200+ points instead of 100+ points.
8) Have you guys ever watched "Thanksgiving Live"? That is HANDS DOWN the drunkest show on Food Network. And that's a channel with Sandra Lee. For real.
9) "Happy Endings" = STILL HILARIOUS! WATCH IT!!
10) Have I told you lately how much I hate all apple drinks? Apple juice and cider are devil's brew to me. YUCK. OH! I tried a hard apple cider. VOMIT ALL DAY. I like apples by themselves (ONLY if I'm about to eat b/c they make me ravenously hungry within an hour), in all desserts and applesauce but please, please never ask me to drink apple anything. Love, me.


Movies 2012: Weeks 32-36

I've been watching movies and recording the watching of movies but doing a very poor job of tracking them on here. Oops! Let's play catch-up for the next few weeks, shall we? We shall! (I now have "The One that I Want" in my head. Nooooooo.

Week 32: August 5-11, 2012
110) Grease. Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta star in this musical about teenagers who fall in love over the summer and the circumstances that bring them together and push them apart. Cute. A lot more vulgar than I expected. I was a little surprised how many of the songs I recognized. I can't get "Summer Lovin" out of my head now! 3.8 stars

Week 33: August 12-18, 2012
111) Off and Running. A documentary about a black adopted teenager with white parents whose life changes radically when she contacts her birth mother. It explores the intersection of race, identity and family. Very intriguing watch. You really felt for Avery throughout the film as you watched her grapple with these huge issues, some of which you would never want to see a teenager experience. A slice of life film. So yes, there was some emptiness and some questions left unanswered, but I'm okay with that. I expect it when you drop into someone's life in a pivotal moment of self-discovery. 3.7 stars

Week 34: August 19-25, 2012
112) Bernie. Jack Black stars in this film based on the true story of one of a town's most beloved residents who killed an old lady... the town's most hated resident. Pretty amusing though the documentary-style conceit wore thin from overuse pretty quickly. 3.4 stars

Week 35: August 26- September 1, 2012
113) A Separation. Iranian film about a married couple separating and the way their lives unravel as a result of the changes. A huge soap opera in the quiet drama way. Nicely done. Deserving of the 2012 Academy Award it won. 4.4 stars
114) The Other F Word. This documentary explores punk rockers who are also fathers and trying to balance their disparate lifestyles. In the interest of coverage (I suppose), there were too many snippets from people who showed up once or twice or had two or three quotes. That gave some interesting people short shrift. I would have enjoyed it more to see a few extended profiles versus a few extended profiles and lots of little add-ins. As you can imagine, there was a LOT of profanity. Like it will be years before most of the children in this doc can actually watch it. 3.6 stars
115) Trouble in Paradise. 1932 film about a thieving couple who decide to swindle a rich woman. Trouble ensues when the male half of the pair falls in love with his victim. I spent the first 5 minutes of this film distracted by the fact that it was not only made 80 years ago (and therefore had absolutely wretched and nearly untranslatable picture quality), it was made 50 years before I was born. Many of the actors could conceivably have been dead longer than I've been alive. Things like this blow my mind in the best possible way. It makes me contemplate life. That's the deepest thing I got from this film. It was a bit of fluff. Not really worth watching but vaguely amusing. Just there kind of like rom coms of today. 2.9 stars

Week 36: September 2- 8, 2012
116) Kiss Them For Me. Cary Grant stars in this film about WWII naval officers on leave who deal with love issues. Really bad and really long. Way too long. I love Cary but this wasn't his best film. Not even close. 2 stars
117) Sybil. Sally field earns her Emmy as a teacher with multiple personalities developed as a result of child abuse. It was a bit too long. Parts of it really started to drag. Still interesting to watch. 3.6 stars
118) The Hunger Games. The film adaptation of the smash hit book. I loved watching this unfold! Such a great watch. I can't wait for the rest of the films! I felt exactly the same way about the books. I wish they had shown more of the Capital fashion! That's what I was most looking forward to. 4.4 stars
119) Coma. This Oscar-nominated HBO documentary follows four people in various stages of coma recovery. We followed the ups and downs of their treatment over the course of a year. Really interesting watch as you root for these people to thrive. Dated music. 3.6 stars


Classic Book Club Vol. 1: One Hundred Years of Solitude

My 35 Before 35 list includes 26 classic books from various genres I'd like to read before I turn 35. Throwback blogger Desy suggested a classic book club and I'd love to have you guys read along with me!

The first book is my BFF Stace's favorite book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude. She's been raving about this book oh I don't know... all of our lives? So it's high time I read it! You have a little under one month. Let's meet back here on December 12th to discuss!


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 154

1) I ran 18 miles this weekend between my 14 miler Saturday and my 4-mile run on Sunday. So amazing!! At the beginning of this year I'd never even run 14 miles in one week! I hit 30 last week! My highest total ever! My quads are a little tight but not unduly so.
2) Was the weather magnificent in your hood? It was 70 yesterday. 70!! So delightful! 60s are norm this time of year here but we skipped straight to winter the last few weeks. So mean. Do not want. It was 35 on my run Tuesday morning. WHAT!?! Rude.
3) My BFF Stace & I are planning to reunite before the end of the year. It.shall.be. EPIC!!
4) I absolutely cannot with "The Walking Dead." It's way too gross and gruesome for me. My favorite horror genre is psychological. I don't get with the yucky. That's the technical term.
5) The Thanksgiving meal plans are finally coming together! Yay!! I want 1-2 appetizers, 1 soup, turkey, ham, 2+ vegetables, my mom's required canned cranberry sauce, 2-3 dressings (LOL), sweet potato pie and 1-2 more desserts. You?
6) Rashan is the best person in the world. My name is Rashan Jamal and I approve this message!
7) I let number 6 stand as he wrote it so you can get an idea of how nutty that man is! It's been a long time since you had evidence, huh??
8) I saw the ipad mini in person and was not impressed. It looks like a Kindle. Or an oversized phone.
9) A book has finally returned my reading mojo: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Thanks to blogger Nancy for suggesting it to me!
10) Quick backtrack to number 6: The hardest category for me to narrow down? Dressings! I've found at least 5 recipes I would love to make! I'm going to have to start making dressing on random days of the week! Which I know we'd love!
11) I'm shocked that after that blog post about Christmas music a few weeks ago, I've mixed in a little of it with my running music but have mostly left it untouched. This is unheard of for me this time of year! I think I'm trying to supersize the Christmas spirit post-Thanksgiving! I did consider buying a candy cane headband from Target. Still might... LOL


Year-End Goals

I've hit some of my yearly goals but I have more I need to attack. Better to start now than waiting until next month!

1) Read at least two books off of my 35 Before 35 list.
2) Run at least 20 miles per week for the rest of the year. (This will take me over my goal of 750 miles for the year!)
3) Cook 4 more recipes from my Tyler Florence book.
4) Make a decision and a move on my food blogging vision.
5) Try 3 new churches locally.
6) Finish my professional website.
7) Maximize my time.
8) Continue saving money on our grocery bill to reach our final goal of saving $1500 this year.
9) Complete the video of our wedding. This is just shameful!
10) Apply for 10 jobs.


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 153

1) I finished officially changing my name a few months ago but haven't had to write it much so I had to think about it every single time. Well after signing hundreds of ballots in the last week, I can finally sign my name without thinking about it! Yay!!!
2) I ran more miles yesterday (9.8) than all of last week. And I'm running 13.1 on Saturday. I may be slightly crazy...
3) My mom is trying to ruin my Thanksgiving joy. HMPH! I shant allow it!!
4) I'm annoyed for all of the NY marathoners who had their race canceled with less than 48 hours notice. They canceled every other race surrounding the marathon on Wednesday but waited until Friday to cancel the marathon. And told people ON FRIDAY the race would go on. Seriously? Thousands of people were already in town. Fail. CANCEL EARLIER!!!
5) I've broken my NYT habit since it's no longer free for me. I'm kind of sad I'm no longer addicted to that.
6) We've saved over $950 in groceries so far this year by using coupons and store sales! Woohoo!
7) I hate Netflix right now. My movies are taking longer and longer to arrive and when I called to complain about it? THEY TOOK EVEN LONGER!!! If I wasn't a filmmaker, I would cancel that service so quickly EVERYBODY's head would spin!!!
8) Ever since I hit my book goal for the year (52), I've lost my reading mojo. I think it's mostly that nothing's caught my eye. When all else fails, blame the books.
9) Watching a film about elementary school just reminded me of the sour milk smell in cafeterias. Ewwwww
10) I had some chocolate-covered ginger from Trader Joe's and it.was.AWESOME!!! It's hard to stop myself from devouring way too much in one sitting! I love new discoveries! Do you have a favorite TJ's product?
11) I think I want to pick up a new sport in addition to running. But I'm not sure what...



Hello Bloggies!

I'm sorry I've neglected you! I've been working as a poll worker for early voting here. I LOVE IT! I like helping people vote and just generally being awesome! And really, the people with the worst attitudes? Fellow poll workers of course!

You have some people who just love to be in charge and other people who INSIST upon talking to every single person. So sometimes you have 3 different people saying something to people as they walk in the door. This is a fail. Efficient? Ehhhh. When somebody leaves or goes too lunch. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Guess who's enjoying being an Indian? MEEEEEE! I don't need to be in charge if all of your mouths are going to be unnecessarily running.

And don't get me going on the laziness. Two chicks do next to no work. Go home. It annoys me to see you sitting in the corner when people need assistance and everyone else is tied up. Losers. One went home early yesterday (6 hours!!) and another went home 2 hours early today. Bye to both of you. Feel free to stay at home tomorrow! XOXO! There are 3 computers to check people in and register them to vote. These are the chairs in the room. One chick sits down ALL DAY. No one calls her on it. Why? Because she is over 400 pounds and gets winded walking across the room. Literally. How do you address this? There's a team leader... she doesn't say anything either.

So while I'm standing hours every day, my ankles and shins are trying to completely break down. They are so rude. I went for a run anyway today. I did not enjoy very much of it. :( Unfortunately, I'll probably need to just sit my hips down/do yoga tomorrow and Saturday. It's just not prudent to further tax my body as much as I want to run. BOOOOO!! This will be only the second time I've run less than 3xs/week in the last year. But I shall survive.

And I want to encourage all of you to take advantage of early voting or to vote on election day. Exercise your right! People died for it. Don't throw it away.

On the extra up side, I'm sleeping MARVELOUSLY for the first time in weeks! Yay!!!




Monday Mindspacing Vol. 152

1) I'm finally getting my AWFUL sleep pattern under control!!! Yay!!!
2) I have been the worst at cooking in the last week. Absolutely horrific. If you don't ask me how many times I cooked, I'll tell you no lies.
3) I need a big change in my life. I'm feeling stuck.
4) And now for an unnecessarily long recap of my long run. Saturday, I ran out of my front door with a goal of going at least 11 miles on a wandering route through one of my favorite neighborhoods. I've done multiple short runs from my house but this was my first time attempting a long run from there. It was also the first time in a while (if ever??) that I tried eating shot bloks in lieu of actual food i.e. oatmeal with molasses and raisins or a peanut butter bagel or peanut butter sandwich. Oh did this bite me early. I wanted FOOD. Duh. I know myself. Other people can run on empty or near empty and not eat during but this is not me. Reminder: Only fix things that aren't working. No matter. Training is the time to try ridiculous things.

Knowing I would have to return on an uphill (a pretty evil and steep one at that), I wanted to start out very conservatively. But as cold as it was (46 degrees), my summer version of almost fast for the beginning of a long run (12:30/mile) felt excruciatingly slow. I knew if I could stay at that speed for a few miles, I could pick it up in the middle and end and finish strong up to my door. Except... at mile 4.5, I saw a lady from my running group running with one of her other running groups (she's in THREE) and she invited me to join them at 11:15 pace. I knew that might be a little fast for a long run but I was (as always) game to give it a shot. I felt better about it because I had banked some time early on.

Sometimes the pace felt easy and awesome, other times it felt utterly ridiculous and wretched and not, like you may think, just on hills. The hills felt mostly okay. I was able to keep up with others and recover pretty nicely which felt GREAT! I think the biggest problem that I wasn't as aware of at the time was the incessant variation in my pace. When I looked at my chart, I was going back and forth between 10s and 12s pretty constantly for 5.5 miles. How exhausting! I got tired just looking at it! If we'd actually stayed closer to 11:15, I probably would've been fine.

But I was overjoyed to break off from them once I finally looped back to a street I recognized about 10.5 miles in. I knew I was over 2.5 miles from home but I wasn't sure on the exact distance and I was nearing TIRED. And smelling lots of bacon and sausage scents wafting out of houses over those middle 8 miles. (No, I wasn't hallucinating!) I entertained myself by imagining I would knock on a door and ask for some bacon. LOLOL It was nice running off from a familiar route onto an unfamiliar route and not having to worry about how to get back. It would've been nicer if I could've been bothered to pay a little more attention so I can replicate it! LOL

It didn't take long for me to REALLY be ready to be done. Like another mile ready. But by this point I was approaching my favorite section of downhills. I told myself I EARNED those downhills and I wasn't about to start walking now! I kept giving myself goals of a little farther, a little farther until I got to the rudest uphill toward my house and ended it at 12.85 miles. I thought about getting to or surpassing my farthest ever distance of 13.1 and decided I was so tired it wasn't even worth it. At one point I said, "How annoyed will you be if you don't do it? It's only XX farther!" But my body said stop. And I don't regret it at all. I walked the last mile home at approximately 700 minutes/mile pace squinting like a crazy person as sweat burned my eyes. This doesn't happen during my runs but after?  MY EYES!!

And now my left quad absolutely hates me. It's so achy and angry! I've prescribed yoga for myself and maybe another day layoff Tuesday depending on how much my quad does/does not cooperate. If it's at all tight like it is today, don't worry! I will sit myself down! I'll get in plenty of miles on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Saturday will probably be 13 but this time at MY PACE!! Overall, I still consider this a good run because I completed it and learned some things. I also think I've stumbled on the strategy I want to use. Starting over half marathon pace (HMP), then dropping 10 seconds every three miles until I'm under HMP, sprint to the finish. I've also revised my goal down from 2:45 to 2:37 (12:00/mile). My race is December 1st. 40 days away!


35 Before 35

Yay!!! New goals!

1) REALLY learn to swim.  I can float, I know what the strokes look like and I might not drown in a pool but yeah... it ain't pretty! Let's make it pretty!
2) Go parasailing.
3) Go waterskiing!
4) Have at least two children...
Let's all pray for twins, thanks.  I've always wanted them.  I used to read books about twins and other multiples from about 4th grade on. AND I just found out girl twin in French is jumelle. That is way too close to the pronunciation of my name for me to say it's anything but a sign! :)
5) Read 26 more classic books.
    ⁃    a. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois
    ⁃    b. 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez This is my bf Stace's fave book. I love Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera so I'm not sure why I have avoided this book.
    ⁃    c. Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver
    ⁃    d. Ain't I A Woman?: Black Women and Feminism by bell hooks
    ⁃    e. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
    ⁃    f. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
    ⁃    g. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
    ⁃    h. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
    ⁃    i. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
    ⁃    j. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott How I've gone so long w/o reading this in its entirety, I don't know.
    ⁃    h. A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
    ⁃    i. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
    ⁃    j. The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
    ⁃    k. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
    ⁃    l. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
    ⁃    m. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans
    ⁃    n. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
    ⁃    o. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
    ⁃    p.  To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
    ⁃    q. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
    ⁃    r. You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down by Alice Walker
    ⁃    s. The Delta of Venus by Anais Nin
    ⁃    t. Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
    ⁃    u. Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
    ⁃    v. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
    ⁃    w. Emma by Jane Austen
    ⁃    x. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
    ⁃    y. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

    -    z. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
6) Pay off a student loan.
7) Take my mom on a trip out of the country.
8) Create a family tradition. 
I think an annual trip to the beach and/or out of the country would be amazing!
9) Maintain a budget for one year.
10) Read My Utmost for His Highest every day for a year.
11) Save $10,000 toward a house.
12) Eat a non-breakfast vegetarian meal one day per a week for a year. 
13) Start a garden.
14) Go to Mexico (preferably with Rashan).
15) Learn to skateboard. 
16) Take skiing lessons.
17) Go on an international cruise. 
I went on a river cruise of a few hours while in the Netherlands in 2000 but I want to cruise that lasts at least a few days.
18) Ride in a hot air balloon!
19) Make cheese. 
I saw Rick Bayless do it and now I want to do it myself!
20) Go trapeze-ing! 
Yessssss!!  That sounds sooooo awesome!
21) Go to Taste of Chicago.
22) Win an major award for teaching or documentary.
23) Go paintballing!
24) Visit 5 new states.
25) Go to the Caribbean.
26) Run a half marathon.
27) Run a marathon.
28) Brush up on my French to become conversant again.
29) Reactivate my membership in my sorority.
30) Go to a Carolina Panthers game.
31) Run a race in another country.
32) Go to Vegas.
33) Complete a triathlon.
34) Complete a race to the top!
You run up the stairs of a skyscraper. Sounds fun! Also, I'm gonna need some stair practice!
35) Complete my 30 Before 30 List. LOLOL

Any goals you want to hit?


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 151

1) I have at least 5 gift cards with $.94 to $5 on them... to 5 different stores (Crate & Barrel, Express, Container Store, Macy's, Madewell). Does that make me a failure??? If so, does it help that I've used every last penny on every Target gift card I've ever had? LOL
2) The comments on some of the most popular blogs I read have me convinced the popularity is just not worth the headache. Why are people so mean???
3) Lord help me. I'm so jealous of everyone who has run a half marathon in the last 3 months. SO JEALOUS!!! Can I say I'm appalled at the prices of these races, though? So appalled. The NY Marathon is $255. To torture challenge yourself for 26.2 miles. Other marathons are about $60-100. Considering the logistics (road closures, security and timing being top concerns) surrounding a race of this distance, I don't want to but will almost allow $90-100 but anything over that is highway robbery. Many races are too expensive, period. That's the real reason I've only done a handful of races this year. Even with 5Ks and 10Ks at $25 to $45 on average, it starts to add up and unfortunately, it's just not in the budget.
4) If you've run during the heat of the summer, your time gets a huge boost when the temperatures drop in the fall. I can't tell you how exciting and gratifying that is to watch in myself! With running (like so much else), consistency is key. Your body will adapt to what you're asking it to do if you just keep running consistently. Really! I looked back at my times over the last year and I've dropped 2 minutes per mile on my slowest days. SOOOO exciting! :)
5) Last week I surpassed my goal of reading 52 books this year. Woohoo! That's due in large part to the 8 books I read in January and September and 7 each in February and March. I'm now at 54 books and going to keep going. Do I create a new goal of 60 or 65 or just wing it? I think I'll wing it.
6) I'm going to post my 35 Before 35 list this week. YAY!!!
7) I also start working as a poll worker for early voting this week. EXTRA YAY!!! How did I not know they paid people for this?? I volunteered to help with kids voting when I was a teenager and loved it.
8) I've already started planning my menu for Thanksgiving... I can't help myself! It's just over a month away and I got a Thanksgiving issue of a food mag in the mail last week so I feel justified! Thank you, food magazine publishers, for fueling my obsession!
9) My film got into another festival! Yay!!!
10) The best thing about starting work this week (after money)? Returning to a normal sleep pattern!! I'm so sick of sleeping a few hours at a time. It's absolutely ridiculous and I can never stop it until I have a reason to leave the house at a normal, non-running, hour.
11) In my shout out to new shows I like, I left out "Ben & Kate." I dig it! :) Of old shows, New Girl is amusing, Dexter needs to kill someone and "How I Met Your Mother" is frustrating me like no other! OH MY GOODNESS TAKE ME TO THE MOTHER AND SHOW THIS DOGGONE BARNEY WEDDING!!!!
12) Don't tell anyone... but I've heard some pseudo holiday sounding music & I'm tempted to break out my Christmas music already. I know, guys! I know! But I just can't help myself! I'm proud I've made it this far! I've been known to pop out the Christmas music in September for the year and randomly in March or July. I'll try to make it through the week but I make no promises! (Just talking about this means I probably won't even make it through the day. LOL)


Monday Mindspacing Vol. 150

1) Remember how I look forward to being a grandma more than a mom (more fun)? Rashan and I have decided upon our names as grandparents. I was going with Grandma until he said he wants to be Pop. So I'll be Nana. Nana and Pop goes together. :)
2) When I was going running the other day, Rashan was smiling at me randomly. I said, "What??" He said, "My wife is beautiful." SWOON!
3) I'm so glad tv is back! But Thursday is a crazy TV day for me. Yikes! Anyway... New shows: I like "The Mindy Project" and "Go On." "Partners" was okay but I can't see it lasting. "The Neighbors" amuses me. "The New Normal" is still wretched but the little girl's Little Edie (from "Grey Gardens") was magnificent! "Guys with Kids" is a fail. Worst? "Animal Practice." Never watch it. I'm secretly obsessed with which shows get cancelled with. Secret's out.
4) If you haven't seen the premiere of "The Office" yet, skip this.... I'm so sad Dwight's not the father. :(((((  I love them together. That episode started wrapping up too much stuff for me. I'M NOT READY!! But Creed has been cracking me up this season!
5) I get strange desires for food. No I'm not pregnant. This isn't new. But I'm ever more susceptible to commercials and food shows. It's ridiculous.
6) My left ankle is being intermittently mean to me. Make it stop.
7) I read several blogs where people put nut butter (healthy bloggers love the term nut butter) on waffles. I cooked two waffles, put peanut butter between them and topped both with syrup. YES, LORD! The bloggers were right! Bless them.
8) We get a Trader Joe's here on OCTOBER 26TH!!! YAY!!!! I haven't lived in a city with a TJ since 2008!! I'll probably get a job hundreds of miles away a week before they open. LOL I'll take the trade-off. Hopefully it will be in a city where TJs is also just 6 minutes away!
9) Nearly no one gets this about me but... I almost hate running with music. It's an unnecessary distraction for me. I only use it occasionally when running alone and then low enough that I can hear my surroundings. With other people, I'm chattering. In a race, I'm working hard and absorbing what's happening. A lot of people find music helps them in rough patches. That is when music most irritates me. I'm always like "SHUT UP!!" And rip out the earphones. I know! Extreme! Before I started running, I was a "leave the gym if you don't have your ipod" kind of girl. I'm not even sure how the change began but it was somewhere in my 3rd month of running.
10) Somehow I forgot to mention I lost my race porta potty virginity at the BGR! race! All of my other races had non-porta bathrooms available. I hadn't used a porta potty since softball at age 8. What a difference! Spacious, with toilet seats & paper and HAND SANITIZER!! And since it was dark and there were no lines, free of trauma. Hallelujah! (And you're welcome for sharing!)
11) I'm reading the new J.K. Rowling novel mostly because it got terrible reviews. LOL I'm a little over halfway through and I must say, there's nothing like a 500-page book where the first 100+ pages are a slog of too many characters. Yes. Yes, I mean this book.
12) I'm going to be a poll worker for early voting this year. Can't. Wait. We had an orientation with the temp agency that does staffing for the county. It was supposed to start at 3 and last about 30 minutes. I was there at 2:50. A woman strolls in at 3:04. Orientation actually started at 3:10. This man walks in at NO LIE, 3:28. 3:28!?!? We started 10 minutes late and you're still an additional 18 minutes late??? What if it started on time and actually lasted 30 minutes?? Mess. I expect many much more delicious stories. Oh the blog fodder!


Broke Phi Broke

Early this morning I watched the latest installment of ESPN's "30 for 30" series: Broke. It had in depth interviews with athletes who literally lost millions of dollars, ending in bankruptcy and millions of dollars in debt for some of them. While it was a fascinating train wreck, like the director of the film, I was surprised by how much I empathized with the athletes. Yes, it is unfathomable to earn and lose 40 to 100 million dollars. Even 10 million! But a lot of them were duped by family and friends, sometimes their own parents. Can you imagine your mother giving you a 25,000 bill for raising you? On your birthday? According to one anecdote, this actually happened. While technically I know people have toxic relationships with their parents, it still shocks me.

Another downfall was generosity. I love giving people things I know they'll love! Basically these men (every athlete interviewed was a man... I would've liked to hear from some of the women) didn't know how to say no. No, I can't pay your rent. No, you can't have $200 or $300 every month for YOUR child support (not their own children) or car payment. No, I can't pay your cell phone bill. No, I can't support five households until I can't support one.

Mostly I tried not to make judgments but some of it was just plain stupidity. STOP MAKING BABIES WITH STRANGE WOMEN!! Don't spend a mortgage on jewelery. BUY HOUSES OUTRIGHT WHILE YOU CAN AFFORD IT SO YOU AREN'T HOMELESS WHEN YOU CAN'T. BUY A NORMAL-SIZED HOUSE!!! No one needs a 52,000 square foot house. No one. Somehow they forgot or never realized that 1) it all adds up and 2) the money ends.

At the end, I didn't want to spend any money. Okay. I wanted to spend $10 this week and the next one. I know this is an extreme reaction but I'm a spender. I like buying and having stuff. But I don't ever want to be the athlete version of myself: tens of thousands of dollars of income and nothing to show for it. Do you know the last time I bought an item of clothing not tied to a free gift card? Me either. I'm pretty sure it's been more than a year. I want an award.

Thank God my parents drilled into me the evils of credit cards. I have one credit card that could be paid off in less than a paycheck. My debt is from student loans. This period of unemployment has reigned me in but over-spending happens in every income bracket. I'm glad Rashan is extremely level-headed about money even though and ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I want to be reckless sometimes. God knew what he was doing when He placed him in my life. I will have my moments again but if I plan well, I should be able to go a lot farther than I ever have before.


30 Before 30 Update Pt. II

Find part I here. And here's the rest! There are fewer things crossed off of my list but I feel better about this half.

16) Find a church. Not just any church, one that speaks to my soul. Sigh. I haven't even really been trying lately.
17) Prepare a six-course meal. I added this so late that I forgot about it! I need to make up an occasion to make this happen... Hmmm... A Saturday?? :)
18) Learn how to hem clothing (on a sewing machine). It's such a mess that my grandmother is a seamstress and I can't do this!
19) Play laser tag! My mom is anti-toy guns so we weren't allowed to go as kids. As I got older, I always wanted to and never did it. Plus this seems like a stupid thing to have on a 35 before 35 list. LOL Since I didn't do it before 30... I guess it's basically on that list! And I'm cool with that. I don't feel too old to play laser tag!
20) Make a house a home via decoration! I'm itching to do this! 'Twill be awesome when it happens! Our place is so small and I'm so ready to move on from here that I don't have a desire to decorate.
21) Tour a brewery!  :)  [7/14/10] Sooo fun. I liked this even better than the winery! Let's do it again!
22) Find my perfect shade of red lipstick. [12/24/10] I don't wear it often but I love it when I do!
23) Make AND KEEP a budget. I've done some budgeting for our household but not enough to feel like I can consider this a success.
24) Take a dance class for some dance you have to get pretty for! :) [8/22/12] This was just okay. It was a salsa class at a bar. Rashan was too self-conscious to dance with me because there were so few men there. It was weird to dance with someone other than my husband with him sitting right there. I'll be back.
25) Read 10 classic books: [12/17/10] I enjoyed this so much that I multiplied the number for 35 Before 35!
    a. Pride & Prejudice [6/6/10] LOVED IT!! I will read this many times!
    b. Oliver Twist [8/14/10] Liked it a lot. The neat wrap up was rather ridiculous at the end. My 2nd  e-book.
    c. Catch 22 [5/15/11] A historical fiction about a WWII bombing squadron from the officers' and fliers' perspectives.  I really hated reading this.  It was out of sequence and went in circles so you heard the same story with different details two or three or four times.  Incredibly frustrating at times. Moderately interesting at others.  It took me months to finish this month.  I'm so glad to be done.  Good riddance.
    d. Catcher in the Rye [1/13/11] I can absolutely see why this one was banned. I don't particularly enjoy being cursed out the entire time I'm reading a book.  It was a pretty easy read.  Very stream-of-consciousness which I was actually far more tolerant of than I've ever been before.
    e. Grapes of Wrath [8/20/11] Loved it!! OMG I didn't expect to like this book about the dust bowl migration but I did!  It's a classic for a reason!  He skillfully interweaves general migration stories with the tale of the Joad family-- complete with a strong matriarch and a likeable murderer.  Right!?  Loved it.
    f. The Great Gatsby [5/2/11]  It's the story of a mysterious man living among the filthy rich. The cadence of the writing felt off to me from the beginning, I didn't particularly connect with any of the characters.  It all felt frivolous.   I can honestly say I didn't enjoy this book. 
    g. Invisible Man [12/17/11] Slow start but really sped up after the first 150-200 pages. Made me want to read a literary critique. How often do you get to say that??? Have I EVER said that??? LOL
    h. Lord of the Flies [12/2011] It was just okay. I wondered more about what happened to the boys AFTER they left the island.
    i. Their Eyes Were Watching God [12/4/11] Loved it! Such an amazing love story.
    j. Uncle Tom's Cabin [7/15/10- Slow start, intriguing & at times infuriating middle, shark-jumping end. My first e-book. That experience alone was an adjustment.].
26) Go to an opera! [10/5/10] I'll go again! With my mom this time!
27) Get my name in the newspaper. [8/2011] A local paper covered a class I taught at an area high school. I originally wanted my name in the paper five times but this will do!
28) Enter a food competition with my own recipe. [7/31/11] Entered a Taste of Home breakfast recipe contest. I never heard back but I want to enter more competitions.
29) Watch AFI's Top 100 movies When I put this on the list, it felt like a chore. And sometimes during the process it felt like a chore. But I also came across some great films I never would've watched. [12/28/11]
30) Get a job I love.  [8/15/10] I'd never had one of these.  I've been happy for periods of times at my old jobs but I can't say I'd ever had a job I loved until I became a teacher. Now let's go find another one!


30 Before 30 Update Pt. I

I have a hint of 35 Before 35 for before we get into how I did with my 30 Before 30. One of the 35 things I want to do? Finish my 30 Before 30 list! :) That includes some things from the 30 Before 30 that I knew ahead of time I wouldn't be able to complete and migrated to that list and the things still outstanding.

I didn't finish the list which I'm kind of okay about but y'all know I like setting and achieving a goal. I knew by June that I wasn't going to be able to finish this list by August 23, 2012. Some things were cost prohibitive but here's what I accomplished and how I feel about it. The stars are all the things Rashan refused to do with me. LOL It got kind of long so I'll post part two tomorrow.

1) Get married. :))))) [7/1/11] Obviously this is one of the happiest things in my life! One year later, it still feels like just the beginning (of course) and at times like we've been together a while. I love navigating and getting to know our life together.
2) Get one of my films into a festival. [8/25/12!!!] Yay!!! Super extra awesome news! We're so excited!
3) Go skydiving.*  I've always wanted to do this! And I definitely still will.
4) Ride a mechanical bull for at least :08.  How ridiculous is it that this is still on my list? It should've been one of the first things I got done! I just knew it would be! Ah well. If there was a non-sketchy place in town that had one it would be done.
5) Go on a helicopter ride. I CAN'T WAIT for this!
6) Go white water rafting.* My sister definitely said she'll do this with me. Yay!
7) Use my passport again.  It's been 10 years!!  My passport expired in May 2010... Clearly one of those cost-prohibitive things. I'd love to get it done before the end of the year. COME ON, JOB!
8) Read the entire Bible. [Started 5/31/10][Finished 10/20/11] I loved this and didn't at the same time. I have multiple different approaches throughout the 18 or so months it took me to complete this. First I just took the verses from "Our Daily Bread" and read the entire chapter, 2 chapters per day. Then I decided if I got really into a story, I could read as many chapters as I wanted. That worked for a while. If I read early in the day, before I did anything else, I noticed a positive effect on my day. Then I had a bit of a faith struggle. One thing I didn't expect as I proceeded, I felt less strong in my faith and it was freaking me out. There were things I just didn't agree with or understand I felt like no one could make me understand it. My mom said it was normal.That made me feel better... but still concerned. This entire year, I've read only sporadically. I'm still unanchored. What I'm doing is not working. I need a change.
9) Run a 5k.  I've been saying this for years so it's time to actually do it!! [10/16/11] Wow. I soooo had no idea how this would change my entire life. This one goal has shaped the biggest non-Rashan-related change in my life. I run to feel calm and happy. When I know my body needs a rest day, I take it but it can be like TORTURE!! One day off, okay. Two??? My body starts whining and my brain starts begging for it. No lie. So crazy. And awesome. Since I created this goal, I've done four 5Ks. I'm super excited about what's to come!
10) Take a cooking class. There have been multiple free cooking classes in my area WHEN I'M OUT OF TOWN!! CONSPIRACY!!
11) Go wine tasting in North Carolina Wine Country. [8/23/11] Fun! I definitely want to do more!
12) Cook my way through Tyler's Ultimate cookbook.  It's achievable by sheer volume (there are about 100 recipes) but still difficult enough because of the techniques required to be interesting.  And with some of those ingredients, it will be a true stretch of my ability to follow a recipe. I'm still working on this but I've completed 60/100. This book has definitely helped me grow as a cook. I'm confident I can make absolutely anything if you give me a recipe. Except fried chicken.  I failed at that and beef stew. But banged out some technically difficult dishes. Nuts. I have too many that I liked to start listing them here but we learned that Rashan doesn't like fruit with meat. I'm more open to it than ever before. My mother-in-law is OBSESSED with the ultimate french onion soup. I'm now required to make it every time I see her. I like cauliflower now! I don't think I'd ever had it cooked before. There were a ton of things I'd never had before this book but I think that's my favorite standout! Oh! And I never would've thought I'd make barbecue sauce but I made TWO and both were amazing!
13) Go to a gun range and shoot it out!*  Don't ask what IT is!  Lol. I've been looking forward to this for a good 10 years. This will absolutely happen in the next five.
14) Work out 3xs a week for a full year.  [7/24/12] I'd done it before (for almost 2) and I wanted to do it again. When I made this list, I was in such a workout rut. I had just lived minutes from a FREE gym and gone a handful of times. Running definitely kept me on track with this goal! I had a two-day week last month and I was a little disappointed but I know missing a few days isn't going to derail me. Lifestyle change.
15) Run a 10K. I would never have imagined I'd be bitten by the running bug enough to want to do this before 30 but I really do! [3/17/12] And now I've done three 10Ks! :)


Race Recap: BGR! 10K

This race included a whole weekend's worth of events. I have a goal to run a race in all 50 states. I have my Georgia 10K! 2 states down, only 48 to go! LOL If you're wondering how (we'll ignore why... obviously because I'm nutty!), I want to visit all 50 states anyway so I'll make some of these visits combos!

The night before the race, I attended an awards banquet with delicious food. I had mushroom tortellini, fettucini with summer squash, turkey meatballs, a salad with mixed greens, cheese, lite caesar dressing and grilled chicken. Dessert (right) was a chocolate cup filled with fruit & yogurt. Very yummy!

The speaker was a 75-year-old body building champion.
Me & the amazing body builder post-race
AMAZING body! And so inspirational! She did one-legged push-ups at the banquet. I'm sayin! I'm definitely trying to be that fit in 45 years! Can I get an amen??? I was getting chills and near tears at the banquet thinking about how two women started a blog three years ago and in just the last 18 months it's grown to more than 70 running groups around the nation serving tens of thousands of women. And I was there to witness & participate in the inaugural race & honors dinner! AWESOME!!

After the banquet, I went to a mixer for group leaders very briefly since it was already late and I had to be up at 5 to prep for the race. I would've loved even more time with them. Such a wonderful experience to talk with other women from across the nation who are helping their communities! I might have sneaked a half glass of wine. MAYBE. LOL I have never had any alcohol the night before a race. Playing fast and loose!

Rashan & I got back to our hotel around 10:45. Before the banquet, I'd laid out my clothes and set up the coffeemaker so the only thing I had to do in the morning was press brew. I was so keyed up I didn't think I was going to be able to sleep. It didn't even matter that I'd only slept for 2 hours the day before. (I sleep horribly up to two days before races.) But I was pleasantly surprised to fall asleep before 11:30. I woke up with a start thinking I'd slept through the race. This is how my brain wakes up on race day. I grabbed my phone and saw it was only 3:08. The race is at 7. It's too early to eat or do anything else but surf the web so surf I do.

A sampling of my manic race morning tweets:
1) And I've now been up almost an hour. At this point I'm kind of scared to go back to sleep! As usual! Lol
2) I don't enjoy sleeping in king sized beds but these pillows are giving Rashan a run for his money under love of my life status.
3) I want some eggs. And toast. And a pickle. What the... Everybody watch out after the race. Eating all the food!
4) The 5k starts 30 minutes after the 10k. I'll be interested to see how finishing next to 5kers affects my race. In the best way, I hope!
5) I'm getting crazy hungry but I don't feel like getting out of bed. More races should start at 7 p.m. instead of 7 a.m. I would love that!
6) When Rashan gets up, he'll be so happy he wasn't to recipient of this chatter. Lol I'm always on 10 in the morning.
7) Let me clarify: RACE morning! Lol Important distinction.

All of those tweets were within 20-30 minutes. CRAZY! Rashan usually hates how peppy I am pre-race but this morning he was actually awake at 4 a.m. and fine with my energy! YAY! I brewed my coffee, ate a peanut butter sandwich & showered. Somehow I was still rushing to leave by 5:30. INSANE!! I grabbed some of our hotel's free cookies for Rashan as he got the car. Since I already had on my race bib, the hotel staff definitely heckled me. LOLOL "You're gonna have a cookie before the race???" LOL! No!

We hopped in the car and headed to Atlantic Station. We parked and took a quick picture! :) I love my number one race supporter! He tolerates a lot of my crazy running chatter. I literally talk about running every single day. Considering he has no interest in running, it is a wonderful thing that I married a very patient man! :)

As you can see, it was DARK. Why? Because it was 6 a.m.!! This is wrong. Running and traveling are the only things that get me up at that hour. Despite my night owl tendency, I am a ball of energy all morning on race day and this race was certainly no different! There might have been even more excitement in honor of this historic event!

I thought about my goals again. A) 1:09:00 B) 1:10:00 C) Personal Record so 1:13:45 or faster. There was a BEAUTIFUL rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. After that we couldn't hear anything happening on the stage (we didn't know there was a prayer until people closer to the stage said, "Amen") so we actually missed the start. I was turned around facing the stage when the people from my running group were like, "Oh. I guess we're starting." I turn around and people are streaming through the start line. Um. Okay.

It turns out the 5K and 10K were starting at the same time after all. I was soooo excited to be running! Hence my blurry shot of joy! :) All of my phone pics look like this while I'm running. LOL You can KINDA see the sun was just breaking the horizon. Even though I don't like being up that early, I love sunrise! And because I worked overnights in Pittsburgh, they always remind me of my time there. I saw the sunrise 5+ times a week for 3 years. It never got old. Look at God.

The first mile, we were running out of Atlantic Station. It was mostly flat and/or down hill. I ran with one of my group members for a few minutes and chatted with her and assorted random people. Do you see those town homes off to the right? I commented on how hilarious it is that people were asleep inside, some of them likely with no idea that 3000 people were running past. LOL Can you imagine waking up to that?

Shortly after, we hit the first mile marker. At this point I feel like the race might be short because I haven't heard a one-mile notification from my phone. Then a few seconds later it goes off. Cool. Except I'm moving way too slowly. I always do this in races. I'm so conscious of not going out too fast (and crashing and burning the later miles) that I go out too slow. Drives me nuts. I wrote my pace times on my arm again so I know I need to pick up the pace a little. I'm about 2 minutes under pace. Heading into mile two, two guys were calling out the 5K/10K split... no signs. Several people missed the split and went on the wrong course. Impromptu longer/shorter race distance? Not awesome. I run 5Ks and 10Ks completely differently. 5Ks will now be all out the whole time. If I drop a little at some point, fine, but I'm going all out and hanging on the best I can. Back to the 10K... I was certain I was on the right course (going up a good sized hill as far as steepness) and still felt a little nervous. Not too long after, we hit the two-mile marker. I glance down at my arm. Yikes! Still too slow! Like 4-5 minutes too slow. I speed up a little more, knowing there are a good number of hills still ahead.

There were very few people on the course as we ran through Georgia Tech's campus but at one point, there were a few workers sitting along the side. They were silently amused so I heckled them to cheer for us. LOL Apparently we also ran past a frat house with beer cans scattered across the lawn and a kid passed out on a leather couch. Whaaa??? LOL I so wish I'd seen that! I fell out when I saw this picture! I wonder if he ever woke up during the race...
Good morning?
When we hit mile 3, I see I've picked up a little time but was still under pace. I speed up a little more and think about my idea of hitting the hills at pace and taking the downhills and flats a little fast. I also decide I'm having such a great time at this race, encouraging people, chatting (Cute shirt!) and soaking up the atmosphere that as long as I PR, I'm good!

Mile 4 was a blur but I glanced down, saw I'd picked up still more time and was getting very close to being back on pace. But I knew I'd need to pick it up again. The hills were rolling but not too bad. Definitely not worse than anything I'm used to running. [I heard the Floridians were MISERABLE. This makes me really REALLY want to run a half marathon or full marathon in Florida! :)] I decided at this point that not only would I run faster and do my fastest miles of the race for the last two, but if it didn't hurt a little at the end, I wasn't doing enough.

I had my own water with me so at each water station, I'd skip the first people handing out water while deciding whether or not to take water then grab from the last person. I accidentally poured water all over myself while trying to drink and run at every station. LOL This made me really glad I had my own water. It felt hotter than I was expecting out there. Nowhere near what I'd been running in all summer but hotter than expected.

At the 5th mile marker, I tried to enjoy some downhill and flat stretches knowing from the course elevation chart that there was still a monster ahead. Not too far afterward I heard someone who had run the route in practice say, "Last hill!" Oh HECK YEAH! Except.... from the bottom, that hill was EVIL-looking. It loomed ahead, long and steep. But I can do ANYTHING for one mile. A lot of us yelled out things like, "LET'S GO LADIES!" and "KILL THIS HILL!!" It was awesome! Then I bounded up that hill, encouraging people as I passed them. Then I ran out of breath to do any more talking. This is probably also where my cramp began. There were people along the hill encouraging all of us, too. It was amazing! I recovered by slowing a little at the summit but I knew we weren't that far away so I picked it back up. At this point I knew the race course was definitely short because I had to do a lot of weaving to go around people walking and I still was coming in under mileage. No matter, I was going hard all the way in!!

It started really hurting as we approached Atlantic Station. OH MY GOODNESS I HURT! I had an evil cramp for the last half mile or more of the race. Worst cramp of my so far short running life right under my right rib cage. NOTHING helped. As evidenced by THIS face heading into the last few turns. LOL

Trying not to die! (I'm in all black w/the shades)
I promise you I was feeling like I was NEVER gonna make it to the finish line. Were there 100 turns in the last .3 of the course??? I kept expecting to see it around the next corner as I'm sure someone LIED about. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY CORNERS??? AND WHY DID YOU SAY THE FINISH LINE IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER??? At least the next picture looked more like I was gunning!

As you see in my pace & elevation chart, my pace has a steady (slight looking) downhill slope. Each mile of this race was faster than the previous. My intended pace was 11:06. I ran the last two miles at 10:50 and 10:42 respectively. And (my version of) SPRINTED across in 10:30 in the last tenth of a mile for a 1:10:32 finish. I was ECSTATIC!!! And hurting.

This chart is rude. It felt way worse way closer to the end.
My running group cheered for me as I crossed the finish line on one side. Rashan was on the other. Both got a pained wave. OH MAN it hurt! CRAMP!!! I limped over to the food to grab a banana. Thankfully by the time I finished the banana, the cramp was mostly gone. I turned both of my ankles in the first mile of a 7-mile run the week before the race and my left ankle was angry with me post-race. But a few minutes later I saw K. Rock. Yay!
My mom said we look like high schoolers. LOL!

I cheered in the rest of my running group then checked out the post-race party for a few minutes and right before I left, ran into the co-founder of BGR! How awesome! Yay! Weekend made!

Then Rashan & I headed to Another Broken Egg with the interweb crew, Patti, baby Ty, Naima & Bakari. Great fun and deliciousness! Now that I eat during my runs at real intervals, I'm no longer starving at the end. It actually took me a while to finish this Mardi Gras omelette with smoked andouille sausage,  red peppers, crawfish & scallions topped with tomato hollandaise. Quite tasty.

Oh and Rashan... this man... It's been a long time since he/we went somewhere and had to beat the women off with a stick. Every time I turned around to ask him to take a picture for me, some woman had already conscripted him for her own pics. Generally not a big deal but mildly annoying. Where is my photog??? I saw him taking a picture for a group, took my own pics, then looked back again and was like WHAT THE??? This chick is POSTED UP on the wall solo having him take pictures of her. Ma'am... He later told me she made small talk, "You from here?" "Why are you out here today?" "I'm here supporting my wife in the race." "Oh. That's nice." Side eye. He also ducked two former coworkers and a girl he dated a couple of times. That part made me laugh. Oh to have seen the girl he dated! Wedding ring flash, "I won!" LOL J/k j/k But I was irked by the woman who made him her personal photog. Have a seat.

Early morning tweet recap: The 5K had no effect because it started at the same time, I'm pretty sure the wine had no effect on my race and a week later I have still had 0 pickles. Well I had chips on a burger but I want a pickle spear! Overall? Great weekend!