Wednesday, March 30, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge

Music has always been an important part of my life. While I'm not talented enough to play it or write my own, I've always felt that it was good for the soul. My musical tastes are quite varied - country music is really the only genre that has no appeal to me (although some would argue that Sheryl Crow is country...). I also love that music acts as a powerful trigger of memories. Actually, strike that - I have a love/hate relationship with that phenomenon. There are some memories that are bittersweet and some that are downright awful. But there are many more memories of happy times, times with friends and family, certain parts of my life that were so central in making me who I am today, and I love that listening to a song can take me back to those times and give me the warm and fuzzies all over again.

So where am I going with this? Well, there have been an awful lot of Facebook posts lately about the "30 Day Song Challenge." There's a list of topics, and each day you have to pick a song to go along with the topic (i.e. What's your favorite song? What song makes you happy? What song reminds you of your childhood?). I thought it would make for a fun blog meme. You can really get to know a person by learning about their songs and the stories that accompany them.

So here we go. I thought that daily posts seemed a little unreasonable, so starting next week, I'm going to post the challenge link-up every Monday and you'll have until the end of the week to respond. I'll post the topics a week in advance, as some of them take some mental effort (or they do, for me, at least).

Hope you will join me in this little game, it would be fun to get to know my fellow bloggers and maybe even find a new favorite song or two.

Just to give you a head start, the challenge for next week is "What is your favorite song?" Just to warn you, this one is harder than it initially seems. I've been thinking about it for a good 24 hours and I still can't decide which is my absolute favorite.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite cover songs, posted in honor of Opening Day tomorrow! Let's Go Yankees!

Week One - Your Favorite Song

Week Two - A Song From your Childhood

Week Three - Your Favorite Cover Song

Week Four - A Song that Makes you Happy

Week Five - A Song that is a Guilty Pleasure

Week Six - Your Favorite Song From a Movie Soundtrack

Week Seven - Your Favorite Song From a Television Show

Week Eight - A Song that No One Would Expect you to Love

Week Nine - A Song that You Can Dance To

Week Ten - A Song from your Favorite Album

Week Eleven - A Song from the Year you Graduated High School

Week Twelve - Your Favorite Road Trip Music

Week Thirteen - A Song that Reminds you of Someone

Monday, March 28, 2011

OCD is Getting the Best of Me

Posting this at the risk of turning this into a running blog, which I promised I wouldn't do.

I'm totally psyching myself out today. It seems like everyone around me is injured right now. Even Saturday's long run was plagued with problems: one of our foursome dropped out with knee pain at mile 13 and a second dropped at mile 16 after climbing the giant, dreaded Eden Park Hill. I ran into one of my Daily Mile buddies at mile 15 (his 18) and he was down with a twisted ankle. But I ran on, and turned in 20 miles. Felt good afterward, like I could have kept going. Legs were a little tired and sore, but nothing major. Even the quad I was a little concerned about was totally fine by the end of the day.

Then yesterday. Yesterday I decided to go ahead and do a core workout with C. I'm incredibly bad at cross-training, so I was trying to do the right thing. I planned on sitting out the leg exercises.

10 minutes it, we get to the "speed skater" workout. I figured I'd try just one, so I bent down and leaned to the right, and OMFG, hello sharp, stabbing pain in my leg! It was on the outside, about two inches below my knee. I don't even know what's over there. So I shut it down. It hurt for a good 20 minutes afterward, but then it was ok. This morning, I can stand, I can walk, I can jump (yes, I tried). I even went so far as to jog a few steps in the office bathroom, even though I've decided to rest until Wednesday to let whatever it was go away.

But that doesn't stop me from googling. What if it's a stress fracture? Sure, stress fractures in the upper part of the fibula are rare, but so are four-digit prime numbers, and I got one of those on my first race bib. What if it's tendinitis? Or shin splints (even though it's not the right area)? Or any number of horrible things that could plague a runner dreaming of her first marathon? What if, what if, what if? And I'm driving myself crazy.

This is funny, and kind of makes me forget about the weird pain from yesterday.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

So last week's leisurely morning spent lounging on the square enjoying spring temperatures? GONE. It's freaking cold again. Cold makes me sad, especially when the forecast tells me that it will be 30 degrees at the start of tomorrow's long run. So much for packing away the winter gear :(

I guess the one good thing about the cooler weather coming back is that we don't have any more morning struggles with getting Charlie to wear t-shirts - he keeps asking for his "down-sleeves" and trying to pull the short sleeves down over his arms. Usually, I let him wear whatever he wants, but with it close to 80 degrees, sunny, and playing outside, I told him all of his "down-sleeve" shirts were dirty and in the wash :\

Last night we went to Zootini - a martini tasting at the zoo.

It was loads of fun. Good food, good martinis, good company - but wow, am I tired today. Hooray for Dunkin. I did discover a new favorite drink - espresso-infused vodka with half and half and ice. Yum!

For the other children of the '90s out there - have you heard that Nick is going to be introducing a block of shows called "The 90s Were All That?" It's starting this fall and I'm super excited because they're bringing back Clarissa Explains it All. I wanted to be just like her!

I'm hoping they'll add Are You Afraid of the Dark at some point. I loved the Midnight Society.

Another big event for the generation that produced ME is the release of Sweet Valley Confidential - a new novel from Francine Pascal about the Wakefield Twins and company - 27 and all grown up and stuff! Just like me! I'll be reading it as soon as I can get my hands on it. Big thanks to BFF (pictures above with martinis!) for reminding me that we need a reading night on the calendar. Those books were wrong on so many levels, and incredibly outdated, but boy, they bring back memories.

WAY back when I was pregnant I had maternity pictures done. I loved my pictures, but holy cow, this set is freaking amazing.

Underwater Maternity Photography with an Underwater Fashion Photography flare (Jennifer Erickson)

Check it out. It's really cool. Almost makes me miss being pregnant. But then I see FB updates from pregnant friends about swollen feet and ankles, and... nope.

For those of you who missed my update, Sunday's Half Marathon went very well. (super cute toddler race pictures included in link!)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


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Will hopefully be replaced with the big 26.2 in 39 DAYS!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Race Results - Heart Half Marathon

Toddler Charlie made his running debut on Saturday afternoon at the Heart Mini Marathon Kids Fun Run. It was super cute, and he was SO excited to be racing.

Approaching the starting line - how cool is it that he got his own bib number and everything??

Toddler mayhem! This was before he looked back to check out the field of competition and took a nose dive on the track.

Showing off his hard-earned medal. He always wants to have it with him.

After Charlie's race, we went home for our big carb dinner - pasta with chicken. Then it was up bring and early to make it to the starting line for my own race - my first half marathon. The anxiety was running high, thanks to the reputation of the course - the 15K is infamous for the constant elevation change, and the half marathon they added this year included all of that course and more - two trips across the Cincinnati river. Those bridges are killer, and I know that thanks to my Pig training.

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I decided to run with the 9:45 pace group, which would give me a finishing time of about 2:07, a few minutes under my 2:10 goal. It felt slow, but I forced myself to stick with them because I just knew that the course was going to be a killer and I didn't want to start out too strong and then falter at the end. I lost them somewhere around mile 6 - just kept running and didn't look back. And it felt good. I ended up finishing in 2:02 (9:20/mile) - two minutes slower than my super unrealistic "someday it would be nice" goal of sub-2 hours. I feel like I could have done better - if I hadn't started out so slow, I could have made up those two minutes somewhere along the way. There's always next year!

Post Heart Half Marathon. Don't I just look thrilled to be standing out in the rain?

The runners posing with their medals.

26.2 up next - bring on the Flying Pig!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

Almost didn't make it to Friday Fragments today! Didn't get to the office until 11:00, thanks to a breakfast meeting, a design meeting with our development team, and a coffee break on the square, where we enjoyed the 64 degree weather. It's good to be me!

I'm running my first Half Marathon on Sunday! It's for the American Heart Association. I'm not so worried about the distance, since I've already run 13.1+ miles on four separate occasions. I'm more worried about the hills - there isn't a flat spot on the course.

Toddler Charlie will also be making his running debut this weekend - he's going to do the Kids Fun Run tomorrow afternoon. He's very excited about "racing like mom" :)

Yesterday we had an afternoon date - took the afternoon off and went out for lunch and a movie. It was absolutely gorgeous weather - 75 and sunny. Lunch was great (Dewey's Pizza = yum!) but the movie (Battle: Los Angeles) sucked. After the movie we picked up Charlie and went to the park. Just so happened that the firefighters were there doing practice drills, and he was just giddy with excitement watching them spray the hoses and flash the lights. I thought he was going to die of happiness when they actually waved us over and let him touch the firetruck! They offered to let him sit inside but he was too scared. It's so nice when people go out of their way to make a little kid happy.

HUGE, HUGE THANKS to everyone who has supported Team Rachel - I'm 2/3 of the way to my goal. Poor girl can't catch a break - she's on day 6 of chemo and her grandfather just passed away over the weekend. Please keep her in your thoughts.

44 days until the Flying Pig Marathon! I'm super excited, but I'm also sad because my running buddy is no longer able to train with me due to an injury. I know she's disappointed by the way things are turning out, but she's managing to keep a shockingly bright disposition about it. Miss you!

Did you know there's a new X-Men movie coming out June 3? I just found out yesterday and it's on my calendar. LOVE comic book movies!

Let's go UC! My Bearcats are finally back in action and won their first round tournament game with a decisive victory last night. So far I'm winning in my bracket competition, but it's only been one night :)

I have Pitt winning the title, how about you?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Perfect Body, as Illustrated by Olympic Athletes

Food and body issues are pretty much always top of mind for me. This includes much bitching and moaning about the unattainable standards that we set for women in our society, and how those supposed ideals are affecting the youngest generation of girls (don't even get me started on the sexiness-infused disney characters and bratz-type dolls).

I came across this link last week and thought it was a pretty neat example of how there is no one perfect body type, even among world-class athletes. A solid graphical representation of the complete range of shapes and sizes out there, using olympic-caliber athletes as examples. Obviously, these images don't represent realistic standards for mainstream society, either, but it was really interesting to see just how much differentiation there is between these individuals who are at the top of their sports.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I'm an admitted brand whore. I have certain brands that I'm loyal to in many aspects of my life - I love my Chuck Taylor sneakers, I love my Droid, I love Ben & Jerry's (you'll rarely find any other pint in my freezer). I even have a statistical solutions brand - I will always be loyal to SAS over SPSS. I'm just as particular about my beer. I'll drive miles out of my way for a coffee from Dunkin Donuts before I hit the Starbucks down the street. That's just how I am - I find something I like and I stick with it.

I also practice brand abstinence. I've always been a PC, and somewhat self-satisfied that I managed to make it through life without succumbing to the beautiful-yet-trendy Apple iProducts. Yes, I was perfectly comfortable in my geekiness, even if Justin Long is way more pleasant to look at than John Hodgman. (Really, back in the day, Justin Long as Apple would have been my boyfriend. True story.)

All that changed on Saturday, when I bought my iPod Shuffle. Not only did I cave and buy the iProduct to begin with, but when I started playing with it and realized that the playlist function on Winamp was almost completely incompatible with the Shuffle, I did the unthinkable. I uninstalled my beloved Winamp and replaced it with... dun dun dun... iTunes. And I feel dirty, like I've been sneaking around with my best friend's husband. Or with Justin Long.

But really, look at how cute it is!

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So small, so pretty, so SQUARE. And the Genius playlist functions? Well, they're freaking genius. Ew, I can't believe I just said that.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

Snow. Again. Yuck. 6-car pileups, icy overpasses, and a narrowly avoided crashing of my own car. Come ON, bring on spring already!

I realized the other day that I've become my grandmother. Well, kind of, anyway. I always used to think how funny it was to see my grandmother wearing sneakers with her nice work clothes. She carried her "work shoes" to change into once she was done with the train station/train ride/walk to work. I realized it when I caught my own reflection in the elevator door, sneakers on with my suit pants and collared shirt, heels in a bag over my shoulder. Funny how that works.

Random grocery cart mashup:

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Yes, that's a case of gatorade, a bottle of wine, two pints of Ben & Jerry's, and a mini bag of cheetos. That's what happens when you stop at the grocery store after a 7-mile run to grab something that's on sale (the gatorade, which I really don't particularly like, but it's been effective on my long runs).

One of the funniest things on the web this week:

A nice example of social media gone bad, courtesy of The Consumerist. I was confused because it didn't say as the originating site.

I had my first run in serious rain on Wednesday, a very long, very wet 7 miles. Torrential downpours at times. It sucked just as bad as I thought it would.

Are you excited for March Madness? I used to be a huge fan of college basketball, but then my team's head coach was canned and we started losing. Badly. As in, it's been years since our last NCAA tournament appearance. So I haven't watched in years, because what's the point when you have no horse in the race?

This year, we're projected to be back in action! We'll just pretend that they didn't get their asses handed to them by ND last night, OK?

Cheer Cincinnati!

Happy Friday! Oh, and for those of you who asked, my race last weekend went very well. You can read the details here. Half Marathon next Sunday!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Run for Rachel

A few weeks back I mentioned that I was going to turn my marathon effort into a benefit for one of my son's teachers, who was recently diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Her treatment is leaving her unable to work for at least the next month, so we've created Team Rachel to help her pay for her medical bills and costs of living.

If you want to learn more about how you can help, visit my fund-raising page.

For all of the details on Rachel's story, visit the official website of Team Rachel.

WTF Wednesday (on Thursday): FB Oversharing

Just like everyone else, I have a random collection of people that I'm FB friends with. Lots of friends from right now, some friends from college, and a few friends from high school. Some that I don't even know why I keep on my list. Maybe I need to do some more housecleaning.

Yesterday, I was cruising innocently through my FB news feed when a shocking photo popped up from one of my random high school "friends." It happened to be of my sophomore year homecoming date, who I only went with because we had both been recently dumped by the loves of our lives, and our friends thought we would be a good match. It was weird and awkward. I guess when I think about it, he's always been a little weird and awkward, but why in the name of all things holy would anyone possibly want a picture like this floating around on the interwebs??

Click through at your own risk (face has been covered to protect the "innocent.")

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Sociological Video

There's been a lot of talk lately about how the pay gap between men and women still hasn't disappeared. The pay gap is probably the most publicly discussed gender issue. Work-life balance and how parenthood effects each gender differently is probably the second most. But it goes deeper than that. lisleman over at A Few Clowns Short posted this awesome UK public announcement, and the sociologist in me just wants to share it with everyone.

Watch it.

Then go visit lisleman. He has a lot to say.

A Few Clowns Short

Monday, March 7, 2011

Race Results - Food on the Run 10K

I went into Saturday's 10K with three progressive goals:

1. To finish in under an hour
2. To run as fast as I ran in my awesome practice run last Monday (57:28)
3. To beat my practice run (I considered this a long shot since the practice run was my best run ever and I wasn't really feeling 100% thanks to sinus issues and rain)

The race started out with the giant Gilbert Hill. I hate that hill, but I've run it a few times already, thanks to the training group. I knew that if I could just pace myself and keep it slow and steady up that hill, then the rest of the race would be simple. I tucked in with the 9:15/mile pace group, the gun sounded, and we were off. The hill was every bit as crappy as I expected it to be, and we ran that first mile in 9:21. Made it up to the top, completed the turnaround, and then proceeded to have the best 5.3 mile run ever, finishing with an average pace of 8:38/mile.

I finished the race in 54:28. I smashed all three of my goals, and beat my practice run by a whole three minutes. My time was good enough to place me 17th in my age group. Granted, it was a very small race, so it was 17 out of 116, but still kind of neat to exceed my own expectations. (I was 59th out of 387 women, overall)

The really cool thing is that I feel like I could have gone even faster. I can't wait for the next one.

My running buddy is suffering with shin splints, but she still showed and ran a great race. Now that's some dedication! It was really nice to cheer each other on when we passed on the hill. We're already planning out our next 10K, but first I have to make it through the Half Marathon in 14 days!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments is brought to you by Mrs4444!

Mommy's Idea

My first race EVER - a 10K - is tomorrow. Of course it's going to rain. Of course I got an odd number on my running bib. Of course it isn't just any odd number, it's a PRIME number. Ew.

I had horrible dreams about it all night last night. Dreamed that I missed my start time, dreamed that it was some awful obstacle course and I got stuck in the tires we had to crawl through, dreamed that I pinned my tag on backwards and then my time didn't count. Think I overthink things too much?

You know what's gross? The thought of spiders building homes in your car. Apparently, this actually happens sometimes. True story. No picture for this one, because I don't want a picture of a spider staring me in the face at 7:00 in the morning.

When Charlie was a week old, my sister Katie came to visit. She brought him a little stuffed kitty from FAO Schwartz. We call him the Park Avenue Kitty. Kitty has been a part of Charlie's life ever since.

This week we found out that kitty is a girl, and her name is Hundreds. Where do they come up with this stuff?

I almost had a heart attack yesterday when it cost me just shy of $50 to fill up my gas tank. Holy cow.

I still haven't opened the Thin Mints. I'm saving them for the weekend.

The free Yankees calendar I got at my Stadium visit last year goes all the way through this month. That excites me greatly, because I still don't have an acceptable replacement. They gave out free calendars at Dunkin in January, but the last thing I need is a giant jelly donut staring at me all day. mmmmmmm.

Happy Friday!


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