Monday, August 30, 2010


Just got back from the annual "Roadtrip with Mom." This year we took a drive down to a winery in south Jersey.

I think I may have turned into a bit of a wine snob after my trip through Napa this summer, as I wasn't particularly impressed with any of the ones I tasted today. Mom's big on the sweet wines, and one of the raspberry ones tasted like Nyquil. Which is what I told the classy woman that was pouring the wines. Into the plastic cups.

It was nice taking a ride and spending the day with Mom. We used to take all kinds of summer roadtrips together: Delaware, Maine, Maryland. One time we drove all the way to Cincinnati so I could take a college audition. These days, we usually just do day-trips. We talked a lot and it was great to catch up on stuff.

We stopped for lunch at this incredibly huge diner which makes these amazing cheese and cinnamon breads...

So. Damn. Good.

In other news, I managed a decent 5-mile run yesterday. I hate that I currently consider 5 miles a "long run." It seems like the double digit days were so long ago, and it hasn't even been a year since the Marine Corps Marathon. Amazing how quickly one can lose distance fitness. Ah well. We build slowly, right?

And tomorrow is my last official day of summer vacay. I think I shall stare at the clock, mourning each passing second. Sigh.

Friday, August 27, 2010


As summer winds down and I get ready for another year of school, I reflect on what an amazing summer it's been.

It started off at the end of June with a 10-day trip up the California coast with my BFF, Lisa. We flew out to San Diego and drove up through San Francisco.

After California, I came home and had 2 weeks of an awesome summer music program at school, while training for - and completing! - my first sprint triathlon...

And what better way to wrap it all up than a honeymoon in Aruba? A week with the love of my life in paradise...

By far, one of the best summers I've ever had.

But out of all the traveling and 'doing' that I did, my favorite part - and what I'll miss most of all - are the quiet mornings at home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Hello again! It's been a while, I know, but this time I actually do have a valid excuse. The Huz and I finally took our honeymoon! We spent a week in lovely Aruba at the Marriott Surf Club.

We were pretty active between snorkeling, wind surfing and swimming. I also managed to keep up my running - logging around 20 miles for the week - albeit on the boring hotel treadmill. It was an awesome trip, definitely worth the 2-year wait!

As nice as it was to be away, it's so great being back home. We missed the cat terribly, and there's nothing like sleeping in your own bed (even if it isn't a sweet king bed with a lush duvet *sigh* maybe someday...) Aruba's not the easiest place to find decent vegetarian fare, though there were no shortages of Brazilian steakhouses or churrascarias serving you giant spits of carcass. We ended up eating a lot of ethnic: Thai, Indian, Mexican, Japanese. No complaints from me!

While on vacay, I read this book. Although it's been sitting on my bookshelf for the past five years, I never really cracked it open. I'm glad I did, as it was really great. I learned a lot about speed training, VO2 max, and lots of other stuff I had written off as too complicated, advanced and boring for me. The author really explained everything bare bones. Good stuff.

This morning I set out on my first round of speed training in a long time. I headed down to the local high school track and ran four sets of 400s (in the pouring rain) at a pace which I hope will allow me to break my 5K PR in October. We shall see!

Other than that, I'm just wrapping things up for the summer. School starts up again on September 1, and the kiddies are back on the 2nd. I'm looking forward to a great year. Can I really be starting my 12th year of teaching?! Gaah, I'm old!

But definitely looking forward to a great year. Psyched about being head coach for the cross-country team, and planning lots of exciting adventures for my little band nerds. And so the fun begins... again!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


As I was having my coffee this morning, a photo in the local paper caught my attention.

Normally I just skim over the world news page - it's always all just horrible. Murders, war casualties, celebrities doing bad things. But this photo struck me. I looked at the faces of the people and tried to imagine the horror of their situation. I tried to put myself in their place.

Every day I take so much for granted. Not just the basics - food, clean water, clothing - but also the extravagances. Things like air conditioning, WiFi speed and $10/jar almond butter.

If I hit a red light on the way from my expensive health club to my comfortable townhouse, I bitch. If Facebook won't load in the first three seconds, I get impatient. You get the point.

This photo made me think about how unfair the world can be. One minute, these folks in China were probably on their way home from school or to the market when WHAM! their worlds were thrown upside down.

In an instant they went from worrying about being late and missing the first scene at the movies - to watching their house tumble down and wondering if their 4 year-old child managed to get out alive.

Life is so precious. I wish I could remember that more often, and be grateful for every breath I am allowed as a healthy person, living a comfortable existence.

Monday, August 09, 2010


I did it! I am now officially a triathlete!

Yesterday's race was awesome. Rather than bore anyone with a detailed race recap, I'll just say that the whole event seemed to fly by. I find that's a sign that things went well. Even with concerts and stuff, when I can barely remember them, that usually means they went well.

Also, I wasn't terribly nervous - just excited. Usually for races, I wake up feeling terrified and stay terrified all the way to the starting line. Standing at the water's edge yesterday, I just felt a surge of excitement! I knew I was well-prepared for the swim. And I held my own in the water - even if I didn't break any speed records. I didn't get tired at all, and was to the shore before I knew it.

The bike portion was a breeze. The course was super-flat and I cruised along with a huge smile on my face. The run was a little less pleasant. My legs were stiff as hell from the bike, but I pressed on. I ended up finishing with an official time of 1:20:46. Considering my goal was to finish in under two hours, I was very satisfied.

It was a very well-run event. Having co-directed the Rotary 5K for the past two years, I know what a pain in the ass it is to get things to run smoothly. I can't imagine how much must go into organizing a triple event like that, which drew more than 700 participants. Props to the event organizers.

And props to the dear Huz for being by my side - once again - as I reached a goal. While I train alone for these events, they would mean nothing without having him waiting for me at the finish line. For him, I am so very grateful.

Saturday, August 07, 2010


Last night, the Huz and I babysat for my two nephews, ages 7 and 4. We're not planning on having kids of our own because, well... we just don't like them very much. And anyway, my nephews are the two cutest kids in the universe. Even if we tried to have kids, they could, in no way, compare to these guys.

The oldest ("Bean") is big into karate. He recently earned his yellow belt and attends class three times per week. He's not the most coordinated kid in terms of throwing, catching or kicking a ball, but karate suits him well. I think he enjoys the structure and the discipline. They say that kids crave structure and discipline, and I think most adults do, too. I know I do.

For instance, I have not even finished tomorrow's triathlon and I am already trying to figure out what's next on my race agenda. I am registered to do a 45-mile bike ride in September, but that doesn't require much training. I love biking. It's super easy for me, and the only thing I anticipate is a sore ass the day after the ride.

A friend of mine put a bug in my head the other day. She's the same friend who convinced me to sign up for my first marathon in 2006. She's planning to run the Austin, TX marathon in February with her daughter and thinks I should do it with them.

Damn it.

First I was like, "No way! I would hate training all winter when it's cold and dark and I have school, etc. etc." But maybe that's exactly why I should do this race. Winters are brutal for me. I tend to go into hibernation mode, which involves getting into my pajamas by 5:00 in the evening and setting up camp on the couch.

And carbs. Lots of warm, sweet, lucious... carbs.

Now that the Huz has a private practice, he is not home until after 8:00 most nights. This is okay in the summer because there's plenty for me to do. But in the winter? Hmm... recipe for disaster.

So I think I am leaning a little towards a February marathon. I think what really sealed the deal was a conversation I had with Bean last night. We were looking at one of the kids' placemats which had a map of the U.S. on it. We were going through all the states that we'd each been to. He pointed to the biggest of the states and said,

"That's Texas. I really wanna go to Texas!"
"Yeah? Why is that?" I asked
"I dunno. But I really wanna go to Texas!"

Damn it.

Friday, August 06, 2010


Yesterday I did something that made me feel really good. Twice.

No, you pervert. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Back in April I bought a road bike. I had been enjoying the spring weather on my goofy hybrid (it really is goofy... it looks like this:)

One sunny day, I was huffing and puffing it up a big hill when this older guy on a road bike cruised by me effortlessly.
"I gotta get me one of those!" I gasped.
"You really do. It makes all the difference in the world."
That was all it took. A few days later, my impulsive ass was at the bike shop and I was on my way to this:

After several glorious rides (and much prodding from my IronMan triathlete pal, Dan) I registered for my first sprint distance triathlon. The only problem? I didn't really know how to swim.

I grew up in a lake community. I vividly remember having my first swim lesson when I was around five years old. The instructor told me to lay on my stomach and we were going to practice the "dead man's float." That lesson was also my last. I remember crying in the car about how much I hated it, and so my mom didn't really push me to continue. My swim career was short-lived.

Flash forward about 25 years. I signed up at the Y to take some adult swim lessons. They were very helpful. I learned some very basic strokes and gained confidence in the water. I think I was the star of the class! Then again, my colleagues were two Chinese women who refused to put their faces in the water, and an old Indian man in a Speedo.

Here I am - five years later - and I am determined to become a proficient swimmer. Last month I signed back up at the Y and began swimming about three times per week. It was hard as hell in the beginning. I could barely go two laps of freestyle without gasping for breath and feeling like my heart was going to explode. How can this be so hard for someone who runs marathons?

My awesome cousins, who live on a local lake, hooked me up with one of their neighbors - a feisty little fireplug of a girl! A law student and former competitive swimmer, Amie enthusiastically agreed to coach me. The first time we met up was at my cousin's house. I think they had forewarned her about my ability, because she showed up with one of those pool noodles.

At the pool, I had increased my freestyle distance to about 100 yds before switching to breaststroke for a couple laps. This past weekend, Amie encouraged me to try and swim freestyle as far as I could. She said I'd never get stronger if I didn't push myself to go farther, and I'd never know how far I could go if I didn't let myself try.

Wise words.

Had I not tried, I never would've realized that I am able to swim the full 1/4 mile of freestyle. Yesterday I did it twice. And that felt amazing. I think I might kick this triathlon's ass.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Wow. I could've had a baby in the time since I last blogged. Don't worry though, I didn't.

And rather than make excuses for why I haven't blogged, or give you some lame updates about what I've been doing during the past 9 months, here are five random things about my day today:

1. There's an old man who swims laps in the slow lane of the pool at the Y. He arrives every morning (at least, the mornings I am there) at 8:00 a.m. and puts on his snorkel mask. Then he proceeds to creep along like one of those 200-year old sea turtles, back and forth. I don't like swimming in the lane next to him - and I definitely won't share his lane - because I don't know what his motive is for wearing the snorkel mask.

2. I put in a work order to have the toilet seat fixed in my bathroom. A cute, young maintenance kid came to replace it. After about five minutes, he informed me that he'd gotten the wrong color - bone instead of white - and that he'd be back soon to replace it. In the meantime, could I deal with the color?
"Hell yes," I replied. "This way I won't have to clean it and no one will know!"

3. The fact that bone is a color kind of grosses me out.

4. I spent about 45 minutes cleaning a food processor that my in-laws gave us last year. It's been sitting in its box in the garage. I've been a little afraid to deal with it, but we have six really ripe peaches and I found this great recipe for making peach sorbet (which requires a food processor).

After cleaning all the blades and containers, etc., I no longer felt like making sorbet. I thought about packing up the food processor and maybe selling it on eBay. Then I realized that I had recycled the box about an hour before. I also realized I have absolutely no room in any kitchen cabinet to store the damn thing. So I wrapped it all up in plastic ShopRite bags and put it under the sink it the cat's bathroom - the last inch of free storage space in the whole house.

5. Yes, our cat has his own bathroom. Don't worry, he hasn't got a tub.