Dreaming of $640 Million

(SIDENOTE: Today is National Cleavage Day.  Apparently it has something to do with Breast Cancer Awareness?  I’m not loving it.  I can think of probably 640 million other more productive ways to help eliminate breast cancer).

I would be lying if said I didn’t want to win the lottery.

If you handle things right, you would never have to worry about money again.

Although, to suddenly have that much money does seem a little overwhelming.   I know it would probably “change” me and I would never give enough to satisfy everyone, though I think Aaron and I would be responsible enough to not make decisions that spiral us into a cycle of ruin.

And even after I pay for my college debt, my sisters’ college debt, donate enough to get a building named after me at my college (“Where are you living this year?” “I live in Amy Hall!”), start a charitable foundation, and stay in the penthouse suite of the swankiest hotel in Monaco, there should still be some cash left over.  $640 million is a LOT of money.  Even Beyonce and Jay-Z would have to work hard for 10 years to rack up that kind of cash.

So, what to do with all this money?

Here are my thoughts:

1)A DeLorean.  And some plutonium.  I want to see 1955, too, Marty.

2) Ticket to Space.  There is really no good reason for this considering there isn’t a whole lot to see or do.  But I kind of want to anyway.

3) A Night with Johnny Depp.  But only if he agrees to talk  in Pirate the whole time.  Otherwise, no deal.

4) A pool bar.  Is anything else really necessary?

5) A diamond tennis bracelet.  Sorry. I really wouldn’t be able to help myself.

6) A rundown motel right on Historic Route 66 in Albuquerque so I could convert it into a hip, mid-century modern pool bar and boutique hotel.

7) An entry into all of my Bucket List marathons.  Affording to travel to Nike Women’s in San Francisco would not be an issue two weeks after visiting Chicago. And hey, why not stop by Paris in between?

8) And the usual LouisVuittonPuppyCarrierLouboutinShoesRolexandArmaniSuitForAaron PorchePartyBoatHouseinMalibuNewYorkPenthouseEtc.

What Would you buy with $640 million?

Advertisements

Commence Operation “Don’t be a Jiggly Blob on the Beach”

The weather has been marvelous here for the past week.  A good 10 degrees above average, and almost no wind.  While I’m assuming that it won’t last, especially since we always get snow the first weekend of May, the weather has reminded me of upcoming……BIKINI SEASON!

Last year at this time I was BEYOND motivated to work out because of the Jamaica vacation.

Photo by Rebecca Palmer

{Lean Jamaica Amy….can we get back there, please?}

I am unlikely to get near a beach this summer, though a probable trip to New York in September will get me close (maybe a day trip to the Hampton’s? Can you do a day trip from Manhattan to the Hampton’s? Is Atlantic City a better option? Will I be disappointed if I go to Atlantic City and it doesn’t look like Boardwalk Empire? Are these places even beaches like the ones I’m used to? I feel so out of the NY loop as a Southwesterner).

But nonetheless, you never know when some person will decide to invite us on an all expenses paid trip to the Caribbean, so I’d like to be ready just in case.

Plus, the less weight you have to carry around, the faster you run.  I would hate to finish these upcoming half marathons minutes slower simply because I couldn’t resist eating 2 cookies for breakfast.  For 2 days in a row.

Since I started running more seriously, I haven’t focused on weight loss.  Reducing carbs gets the weight down fast, but I don’t want to reduce carbs if  I’m needing that energy.  After a long run, I just want to EAT everything in sight, and I don’t really care if it is too healthy or not.

Still, running was doing a good job of keeping off the weight, and even after Christmas and a trip to Michigan where people eat a lot of white bread, I was able to stay at the upper end of my target zone.

But two weeks ago I did a taper for the 10 miler (which only turned out to be a 10k) reducing my mileage, then I nursed my twisted ankle for a week, and then this week we’ve had some family stuff going on and with family stuff comes a lot of comfort food and entertaining out-of-town relatives. I’ve been eating a lot more and working out a lot less.

On Monday I got on the scale. Even if I hadn’t, I’m at the point where my jeans are taking quite the effort (and sometimes some assistance) to get on.

Long story short, I want to lose 7 pounds in the next month to get me back to Jamaica Amy.

Even though I’m in “off” training season until June when Marathon training kicks off, I still have two half-marathons coming up in the next 6 weeks. I can use taper weeks to get in some low carb days, and over the next 2 weeks before taper I can get in some more intense weight lifting days.  I can substitute salads for french fries with my cheeseburgers (I suppose I can TRY to substitute grilled chicken for cheeseburgers). And I can probably go without high calorie margaritas until Cinco de Mayo.

It won’t be easy, and I will probably be grumpy for the next month, but it must be done.

And then I may buy myself a kiddie pool and go crazy.  Unless someone wants to take me to St. Lucia?

{I was searching for an inspiring fitness poster, but all of them have half naked girls who didn’t drink water for 3 days in order to have that much muscle definition for the picture.  I opted against that. Healthy weight loss all the way!}

Sometimes Aaron Goes on Cool Trips And Doesn’t Take Me

FIRST: Tomorrow is National Unplug Day.  No facebook, no internet, no tweeting, no blogging.  I think it will be hard, but I’m planning on participating.  My little BlackBerry doesn’t do much, but I do get all my social media updates, so I will have to be extra disciplined in not checking facebook every time Aaron goes to the bathroom.  And hopefully, if everyone else is participating, I won’t miss much! (My guess is me and 5 other people in the world will actually do this).

Also, kind of sad that we’ve become so reliant on constant social media connection that they (whoever the heck ‘They” are) have to actually invent a holiday to get everyone to take a break.

Personally, I’m more a fan of National Margarita Day!

*********************************************

IRHSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association….i.e. gym people) holds a huge trade show and convention every year.  As a gym manager, Aaron gets to go to this convention to see and demo all the newest cardio and weight equipment, and I’m a little sad that I didn’t get invited.

This year IRHSA was in Los Angeles, so Aaron was out there all last week getting wined and dined by vendors and running 9-10 miles a day on fancy new treadmills.

While he was there, he spotted Mark Wahlberg shopping to furnish his personal gym and raced Carson Palmer (QB for the Oakland Raiders) who was demoing the next treadmill over.  He also walked by the Felicty Huffman trial circus with lots of flashing cameras and news reporters.

Meanwhile, I ate my grilled chicken and watched Real Housewives of Orange County at home with Giuseppe.

I sent Aaron with the fancy camera to capture all the excitement and chaos of a fitness industry convention and to report on all of the new-fangled equipment that he wants to buy me as presents.

He did not bring back any pictures (he was having to put his stuff down while trying out equipment, and as much as leaving a fancy camera laying around without supervision sounds like a good idea, he opted against it).  I was a little disappointed when I found out that Markie Mark got away unphotographed (I could care less about the Raiders).

However, I DID get lots of pictures of the Biltmore (the home of the original Academy Awards in the Biltmore Bowl Regency Room) where Aaron got to stay (jealousy doesn’t even begin to describe).  The craftsmanship that went into that hotel is amazing.  Hand carvings, stone work, and gilding not to mention fresh flowers in different colors every morning.  A palace built for the original Hollywood Royalty.  Walt Disney accepted an Oscar for Snow White, and Shirley Temple presented 7 honorary Oscars to the 7 dwarfs….all downstairs from where Aaron was sleeping.

I also got some pictures of downtown L.A.  I’ve been to Disneyland, Orange County beaches, and Universal Studios more times than I can count, but I’ve never spent any time in L.A.  I kind of want to spend some time exploring the historical buildings…but only if I get to stay at the Biltmore!

Happy Friday! I hope everyone enjoys this amazing weather!

Come to Think of It…Were the Irish Lucky?

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Well, I’m not too versed in Irish history, but I don’t recall the Irish having the best luck unless you consider the Potato Famine and religious riots to be lucky.  So, maybe to wish Irish luck on someone isn’t necessarily doing them any favors?

{NO! Get away!}

I wrote yesterday how my St. Patrick’s Day themed race didn’t go so well

But as I browsed around blog land, it doesn’t look like I was the only one who had a rather unlucky Shamrock race experience.

Among other mishaps, Julie from Run Revolution actually woke up 20 minutes before race start and had to frantically get her sleepy self to the start line. She still managed to place 2nd in her division!  

Then I saw Tiffany’s post about her St. Patrick’s Day half marathon that she had been training for and didn’t get to run because she accidentally locked her keys in her car (they were in plain view right on the front seat).  Like her, I would not have felt comfortable running for a couple of hours knowing that I had left a gigantic “STEAL ME” sign on my car. 

It looks like the luck of the Irish was definitely with us! Here’s hoping that next year it WON’T be!

Any other stories about unlucky race happenings?  They seem to be more common than I thought!

A Grumpy Shamrock Shuffle Race Recap

In keeping with my goal of doing a race every month, I decided March’s race would be the Shamrock Shuffle 10-miler.

Aaron has been out-of-town all week, and I didn’t really want to do a race alone, so I needed to convince some other weirdos to come out and race with me.

Luckily, I knew just where to find some! 

I had a great St. Patrick’s Day yesterday!  The weather was perfect for sitting outside all day drinking Guinness (in responsible increments) with friends.  I took Giuseppe with us, and he was a big hit in his little kilt!

Then, this morning I got up to get ready for the race and woke up to a not-so-fun surprise of the lady kind (sorry for the overshare) . I knew that I would not be able to make it through 10 miles so I decided to switch down to the 10-K. 

The twins were in town for spring break and had decided to do the 5-k along with my dad (one twin backed out) so my family came to pick me up. 

We have been having the most amazing weather this past week.  But then today, we got a storm blowing through and the winds really kicked up.  The race was held at the edge of an Albuquerque suburb with no buildings to block the wind, but a lot of dirt and sand to blow all over the place.

I’m not exaggerating when I say the wind was bad.  Reports of gusts up to 58 mph, businesses closing down for the afternoon, the entire west side of the city losing power, and stuff like billboards getting town down.

From local news anchor Antoinette Antonio's facebook page

After we got to the race central and I switched events, I made my way down to the starting line. Each event started about 5 minutes late which was annoying because it was so windy, but whatever. 

The blow horn went off, and we started our race. About 1 mile in, I passed a baseball field, and this guy asked me and about 5 other people in our little cluster if we could cheer for his son who was playing.  I was pleasantly surprised that all of us actually cheered!  Have I mentioned how much I love other runners?

The course itself was by far the most uphill course I’ve run on.  It seems to me that we ran up 10 hills, but only ran down 3.  Every corner we’d turn, I’d see another hill, and I’d say impolite words.  And the wind.  At points, I’d be on a decline, and the wind was blowing so hard that I could feel myself actually being pushed back uphill.

Still, I was doing ok.  My splits weren’t my best ever, but I ran mile 3 in 7:37, and I was actually feeling pretty good and even started passing some of the people who passed me early on.

THEN.

I’m not actually sure what happened, and I don’t remember it at all, but at about mile 4.3, I tripped on one of those miniature bottles of alcohol that happened to be laying in the middle of the track, and fell down.  I looked up and was so thankful for a nice lady who stopped to help me up.  I tried standing on my left foot, and I couldn’t.  The nice lady shouted back encouraging words like “Come on! You’ve got this!” to me.  Meanwhile I was thinking, I SO don’t got this.  I was scraped up and bleeding, and my ankle was so hurt.  I tried walking on it for a few steps, but it hurt too bad.  Unfortunately, I was kind of in the middle of the course, there were no medical aid stations, and really no way for me to get back to the finish line except to limp my way there.

Hand scrapes. Ouch.

More impolite language.

Then I remembered the awards ceremony at Rock n’ Roll Arizona, and the lady who came in 3rd for the marathon pulled her groin very early on in the race (she literally couldn’t walk onto stage), and she still ran 20 crazy fast miles in pain.  If she could do that, then surely I could run on this ankle for less than 2 miles. 

So I started very slow, and then managed to get back to a run.  It obviously wasn’t broken, but it didn’t feel good.  I was able to get my pace back down and even finished mile 6 at just under 8 minutes.

I ran to the finish (the course ended on an uphill…thanks race peeps) with my wonderful family cheering me on.  I came in at 51:38, which is more than 2 minutes slower than my last 10-k time, and almost 15 seconds slower per mile than my last half marathon.  I suppose despite the circumstances, I did ok, but I just hated all of the bad stuff that had to happen.

I don’t think anyone had a great race. My poor sister has asthma, and was having a really hard time breathing and everyone came into the finish with face fulls of dirt.

I still managed to finish 14th overall, 4th female overall, and got 1st in my age group!  I have a hard time being excited about placing when this was so far from peak performance.  I did try as best as I could considering the circumstances, but I still kind of feel like I don’t deserve to celebrate it.  One day I hope to place after running a race I feel good about and with a time that I’m proud of.  Plus, I’m just grumpy.

My dad got 3rd place in his age group, so we both got medals!

I got home, and immediately iced my ankle. I think it will be ok in a few days.  It isn’t broken and I don’t think it is even sprained, mostly just tender, although it does hurt to walk right now.  I have a half-marathon planned for April, so I’m hoping I won’t be off it for very long. 

Oh.

And then when I was icing my ankle, the puppy ate his breakfast too fast, and puked it up.  Lovely.

AND THEN, Aaron called from LAX to let me know that his flight back home was cancelled due to the wind over here.  I’m not sure yet when he’ll get home, but after having him gone for 6 days, and after the day I’m having, I just want him here.

(UPDATE: I picked up a very tired Aaron from the airport at 1:00 a.m. this morning, 12 hours after he was supposed to be home).

Until then, I guess I’ll just have to sit here with my wine and my ice pack.

General St. Patrick’s Day Themed Musings

Tomorrow is one of my favorite holidays!

No expectations, no fancy costumes, no presents to buy.  Just green beer, corned beef and cabbage, and general revelries. And maybe some kissing and/or pinching if you are so lucky!

I’m actually not in any way Irish.  But tomorrow, it won’t matter because I will be celebrating with the best of them (at least a little bit)!

I have been beyond busy this past week (and I’m actually feeling super exhausted), so all I can do is come up with St.Patrick’s Day thoughts in little, tiny increments. That, and March Madness is going on.

General St. Patrick’s Day Musings:

1) I met my husband on St. Patrick’s Day in 2008.  We were sitting next to each other at the fire pit at a party and talked for a couple of hours.  He didn’t end up asking me out for a couple of months (which is a good thing since he was dating someone else at the time), but I pretty much decided I was going to marry him that night.  And hey, here we are!

2) I am really bad at drinking Irish car bombs.  I can’t gulp down fast enough, and by the time I get to the bottom of the beer, my Bailey’s has curdled.  Curdled Bailey’s and beer is pretty awful to slurp down.

3) I had no idea that Shamrock Shuffles/St. Patrick’s Day races were so big.  It seems like everyone I follow is doing one in different cities all over the country.  I will personally be running my 10-miler this weekend!

4) My 10-miler race is the morning AFTER St. Patrick’s Day.  Not cool, race people.  Combine that with soreness so bad that it hurts to turn my steering wheel from a kick-boxing class I randomly decided to take on Wednesday (idiot Amy did a man push-up with every burpee and there were about 10,000 of them) and feeling blah in about 10 different ways AND windy/rainy weather conditions after a week of perfect 70’s… I’m thinking that this race will not be my finest hour. 

5) On that note…I was icing my calves this morning, and apparently my Capri pants weren’t quite long enough to completely cover my skin, and now I have a big, red ice-pack burn.  It isn’t too bad (no blisters or anything), but it looks really ugly and kind of feels like a minor sunburn.  This is not a running injury I anticipated getting.  Ice Pack Fail.

6) My mom is making Giuseppe a kilt.  Giuseppe IS Scottish, and I totally understand that Scotland is an entirely different country than Ireland, but I feel like this is his holiday anyway and I need to help him celebrate accordingly.  Kilts are also pretty Scottish (though I guess people in Ireland do wear them according to Wikipedia), but I’m hoping people will think he’s so cute in his little kilt that they won’t judge me too much for mixing stuff up. 

7) I LOVE corned beef.  The color is pretty disgusting, and I think it is probably not something that people should eat if they want to avoid clogged arteries.  But oh my goodness does it taste good!

Ok.  Brain is done musing.  I hope that you have a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day (well, first, I hope Saint Mary’s wins their game tonight against Purdue)!  And GOOD LUCK if you are running a race this weekend (hopefully your race organizers were nice and scheduled it for Saturday).  I look forward to lots of green race pictures in days to come!

May the sun shine, all day long,
everything go right, and nothing wrong.
May those you love bring love back to you,
and may all the wishes you wish come true!

-Irish Proverb

One Year Bloggerversary Celebration!

I made a vlog!

I’m so not a vlog type person (though a local news reporter did once say that I had a great look for the camera…right before he asked for my number), so this is very likely the only one I will ever do.

So, now that that’s taken care of…

As mentioned, this blog has taken a much different direction than I originally thought it would and has transformed into somewhat of a “runner” blog.  This has allowed me to connect with some awesome people who I wouldn’t have “met” if I only talked about what restaurants I went to in Albuquerque. (You can read my first post HERE).

I also did a bit of rebranding to be more consistent with what I actually write about including a revamped About Me page.

And you have all helped me more than you know.  For example, I don’t know if I would have been so enthusiastic to sign up for my first marathon if I hadn’t been inspired by so many amazing people taking that leap.

So, thanks again for visiting! 

I truthfully appreciate each and every person who has taken the time to explore my little slice of Cyberland.

(Oh, and even though in the video I said I hoped SOME of you would come back, I obviously meant ALL of you. I don’t discriminate!)

{This picture was taken at the local Lavender Festival, and the sign was the inspiration for my blog name}

Oh, and good luck today, this first Monday after the time change.  I already published the post before giving it a title.  I obviously need more coffee! It is going to be a rough day for most of us.

Also, congratulations to Numberz Runner who also just celebrated his One Year Bloggerversary!

Does Anyone Else Think The Word “Fartlek” is Really Obnoxious?

On pretty rare occasions, I’ve seen the word “fartlek” pop up in twitter updates/blog posts.  Really, it looks innocent enough if you don’t think about it too hard.

But, it is pronounced “fart lick.”

I can’t even type it without snickering.  What kind of word is that?

Because runners were the only ones mentioning it, I figured it must be something along the lines of racing behind someone who ate too many bean burritos.

But then a couple of days ago, when I asked about our workout, Coach Aaron said we were doing a fartlek. 

I was not amused.

Turns out fartlek is Swedish for “speed play.”  Thanks, Wikipedia!  I’m also guessing that “fart” means speed in Swedish.  Do people walk around Sweden saying they wish they ran as farty as everyone else? This wasn’t covered in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Anyway, a fartlek is similar to sprint intervals, but without any set distances.  For example, we would sprint from the street light to the white truck, then do a recovery jog from the white truck to the funky mailbox.  We continued for 2 miles after a mile long warm-up.  The advantage is that you can do shorter, faster sprints based on your energy level with less focus on distance.  It also helps the miles go by quickly! (I guess you can also do a slightly more organized version with set intervals. But that doesn’t sound any different from regular intervals. Nor does it sound very play-like).

I imagine in my running career I’ll end up having to do another one of these workouts, but I kind of want to call them something else.  SpeedLek? Eff-a-ar-tee Lek? tar-fay-ke-lay?

*************************************************

I’m still feeling kind of low on energy, and I’m not sure why. It’s very noticeable when I run, but I’ve also been crashing hard at about 2:00 p.m. at my office.  Over the next couple of days I’m going to reevaluate my diet and water intake and see if I’m doing something wrong.  Aaron also suggested that all the springtime crap in the air (made worse by the wind we’ve been having) might be clogging my lungs, so I’m taking in less oxygen, lowering my energy level.  I don’t really know.

I started posting some of my workouts to dailymile last week.  I’ve been kind of Debbie Downer in my descriptions, thinking no one was really looking at them (I hadn’t really intended to make friends on dailymile). There were a lot of “blah” smiley faces.

Then, on Tuesday night I came back to the computer, and found a tweet from a guy who followed me last week (I figured it was one of those people who just follow other people for self promotion.  I never thought we’d have an actual interaction).  He tweeted to his bizillion followers that I was new to dailymile and needed a big welcome and some motivation.  I also had 20 new daily mile friends and almost as many welcome messages.  

Aside from being completely unexpected, that was so sweet! I’ve always thought runners were the most supportive group of people, and I was proved right with an overwhelming welcome from my dailymile cheerleading crew.  So, thanks, running peeps!

I also immediately became self-conscious about all of the workout notes I’d been writing. Obviously I was sounding so blah that I needed an intervention.

At least I was smart enough not to include “fartlek” in my description of Tuesdays workout! Then people would really start to wonder….

God is a Gael (And Bring On March Madness)

Just wanted to do a quick jump for joy in honor of my alma mater (JUMP!).

I went to a tiny Catholic college (3,000 undergraduates) in the San Francisco Bay Area called Saint Mary’s College of California.

Last night, in a rather stressful game that went into overtime, we beat the Gonzaga Bulldogs (aka sworn mortal enemies) to clinch the West Coast Conference Tournament (and regular season) Championship!

{Wow…these kids look young…}

Hello, NCAA Tournament!! Let the March Madness begin!

And I’m absolutely wearing my Saint Mary’s shirt to work (I bought this when I was 21 back when short t-shirts were cool…it doesn’t quite fit as well as it did back then…)

{You can’t judge me more than I am judging myself for taking a mirror self-portrait. At least I’m not doing duck face? Also, had to flip the image so the words didn’t read backwards!}

Meanwhile, Aaron’s New Mexico Lobos and the rest of the Mountain West Conference will face off in their tournament starting on Thursday.  Regardless of the outcome, New Mexico is expected to get selected into the Top 64.  I’m just hoping for both our sakes that Saint Mary’s and New Mexico aren’t put up against each other.  Our marriage hasn’t ever been tested to that extent.  We may have to watch the game in separate buildings (though current bracketology doesn’t have this scenario playing out).

GOD IS A GAEL!

{This phrase was bestowed upon us many, many years ago.  We didn’t choose it, but I think it fits quite nicely!}

Could I Hate Hills Any More? And Misspelling Tweets to Olympians

Hills. I hate them.

At least I hate having to run up them (they are fairly nice to look at though).

Unfortunately, hill sprints are one of the necessary evils of a training program, especially to get faster.  And I need all the help there I can get.

I live in a city situated right next to a mountain, so hills aren’t hard to come by.  And basically any run we go on has some uphill.

You would think I would be more accustomed to uphill running.

But I’m not.  My hill pace is drastically slower than my flat pace.  And this past week, I’ve felt so low on energy anyway (my pace per mile times definitely confirms that).

Yesterday we did hill sprints in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. The foothills themselves are very scenic and very hiker/mountain biker/runner friendly.  I really don’t like hanging out in the foothills during the summer months because I have an irrational fear of rattlesnakes.  I’ve never actually seen one in the wild, but I know they’re there, and I run much slower because I’m convinced that one is going to drop on me and inject venomous poison into my bloodstream.

But right now it is too cold for rattlesnakes, and I have no good excuse for running as slow as I did.

Because the sun sets just shortly after I get home from work, we’re having to do our intervals the day after our long runs (not so fun) on the weekend when we have daylight.  Luckily, next weekend we can go back to doing hill workouts during the week in between recovery runs.

This is my Garmin elevation report.  If you’ll notice, Albuquerque is pretty high above sea level.  This makes it an ideal place to train.  I think it makes hill sprints more miserable than they should be.

I registered for Daily Mile a couple of days ago, and I was really hesitant to put in my workouts this week because I feel like I usually put forth a better effort.  I’ve actually been running a lot the last couple of weeks, and somehow I’m getting slower.  Even my tempo run (on a treadmill) had me at a 9:35 average pace when I felt like I was maxed out.  This doesn’t make too much sense to me.

I don’t really know what’s going on, but it better fix itself fast.  I can usually run a race at a minute faster per mile than I do in training, but I don’t know if I can run two minutes faster.

At least Daily Mile tells me how many donuts I can eat per week!

In other news, the USA Indoor Track and Field Team headed to Istanbul last night.  I tweeted my BFF Sanya Richards Ross, wishing her good luck (Yikes…I spelled Istanbul wrong in the tweet.  Embarrassed.  This is why you don’t tweet famous people after hanging out at the winery all afternoon.  I thought my phone was supposed to prevent me from doing something like this!).

At 4:12 am this morning (presumably from Istanbul) she responded!

As if I needed a reason to be more obsessed over this lady. Hopefully she doesn’t judge me for not being able to spell foreign cities correctly.  She has enough to judge me about with my hill sprint pace.