Monday, July 30, 2012

Long run # 2

Subtitle: Marathon training- not yet miserable, but starting to be less fun.

But we'll get to that in a minute. Nick and I had a jam-packed Friday. We went swimming, I had a doctor's appointment (where she accurately said that my ear infection is just swimmer's ear- an outer ear infection, and can be easily cured with rubbing alcohol and patience. She was correct) and then we went ice skating! I bought a Groupon a couple months ago and we finally got around to using it. It was a lot of fun and kind of tiring. Nick killed me with his reverse skating ability (I can skate in reverse...slowly... while staring at the ground)

Hi I don't put on makeup after swimming.

Saturday we went shopping and enjoyed a nice day off. Well, I did. Nick did lots of stuff around the house while I participated in a research study in Baltimore that required me to lay immobile in an MRI machine for 2 hours. It was not a ton of fun.

And Sunday... oh Sunday. Last week's 8 miles was pleasant, really. We felt good. I remarked I didn't feel totally drained after the run, and we spent the rest of the day being productive and pretty happy. This weekend... meh. We had had a hectic week, with no sleeping in, and I didn't set an alarm on Saturday night. I knew this was potentially a deal breaker since it gets warm so quickly, and I secretly hoped it would be 95 degrees when we woke up and we could spend all morning and afternoon watching Mad Men and doing laundry. I aim super high.

Instead, it was a balmy 80something when we woke up. After breakfast and coffee we lazed about for a little... and it was still 80something. C'mon, weather gods! Force me to stay on the couch! But no. We sunscreened up and headed down the road a couple miles to do a loop that Nick mapped out that went on some country roads. It was warm, but not too hot. Nick carried a water bottle that probably saved our lives. We started out as we (I) always do... too fast. The first 7 miles sailed by pretty well, and the average pace was 9:18. Pretty solid. And then... hill!
see the step change in pace, aligned with the hill?

The thing is, I don't really even remember a hill. I remember being tired and counting down miles and HATING the mandarin orange Gu flavor and being thirsty but not wanting water and complaincomplaincomplain. I remember seeing my Garmin pace drop but not being capable of speeding up. I remember thinking that I wanted to walk and if I just got to 2 miles left we could run/walk the rest of the way. Then just 1 mile left. Then 0.5 left. Then we were done! If Nick had not been with me, I probably would have run/walked the last 3 miles. Instead, we slowed down, but kept running.

Nick remarked at the end that the pace felt comfortable, and I guess I was just obsessing about the numbers because it felt comfortable to me too. 9:39 average pace? Pretty sure that's quicker than any of my 5+ mile runs last year! I'll take it. This run still felt hard and I was so happy it was over.

After we got home and drank a ton of water, I also had GNC egg protein mixed with about a cup of almond milk and a cup of water. It was delicious, and my legs feel great today. I'm totally buying into the protein recovery drink deal because my muscles have been behaving so well the last couple weeks. It certainly can't hurt.

And now it's Monday and I'm wearing a black and white skirt with a navy blue top and trying not to eat everything in sight. Life is hard. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

The only constant is change

Subtitle: then why aren't my arms getting less itchy?
Subtitle 2: seriously, no less itchy? And an ear infection? Why am I 6 years old all of a sudden?

Some randomness:

My arms still itch, but I clipped my nails so I won't gouge my arms when I scratch like I have been. I'm trying to go all day at work without crazy scratching because it makes my arms look so inflamed and terrible, and like I might have some terrible disease (go google leprosy, it's a rabbit hole you won't soon return from). My mom suggested getting calamine lotion but the heat index yesterday was 109 (it was 91 degrees when we went to bed at 10pm) and the thought of driving somewhere, parking, walking outside, buying something, walking back, driving more, etc. was really unappealing. So instead I complained. Way better option.

In case you can't tell, this ear infection has turned me into quite the negative Nancy. My right ear aches and feels all sloshy and gross. I rolled over to lay on that side multiple times during the night and my damn pillow is so firm (curse you, Tempurpedic!) that it was uncomfortable and woke me up. So now I'm groggy and ear achy? Kill me now. I'm hoping to get some antibiotics thrown my way today to make it all better.

You know what's delicious? Lentils. I had them for dinner and 2 lunches this week in meatball form, and then again for dinner last night on top of brown rice with some asian dressing. They're super filling and yummy.

Running makes my earache go away, stretching (i.e. sloshing all the fluids into my eardrum) makes it feel terrible all over again. I did 5 miles in 45:15 last night, plus cooldown. Here's my slightly tricky progression:

Mile 0-0.1 : 6.0
mile 0.1-0.2: 6.1
mile 0.2-0.3: 6.2
mile 0.3-0.4: 6.3
mile 0.4-0.5: 6.4
mile 0.5-0.6: 6.1
mile 0.6-0.7: 6.2
...
Mile 1.0-1.1: 6.2
...end at 5 miles at 7.4. whew. Basically stepped up every 0.1 till I reached a multiple of 0.5, then hopped back down, increasing my starting speed by 0.1 each time. Whatever, it made the time pass and I felt fast and pleasantly tired by the end. My legs are finally recovered from Monday's tabata/yoga extravaganza also. Hooray.

Here's hoping the weekend brings wellness for me (and all the people reading because they want to see pictures of baby turkeys. None today, sorry folks, but I'm sure you'll be pleased to read that our resident baby turkeys have gotten quite big and are growing real tail feathers. Soon they'll be all grown up. tear.).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Arm bumps.

So here's what my arm looks like now:
*artist's rendition. Not to scale.

Yeah. I am still getting new bumps. My dad sent me a blurb about how the first time you're exposed to poison ivy it can take 10-21 days for bumps to develop- so if I really did get exposed on July 15, this whole enjoyable process could continue for many more days. They're still not getting better, and I'm developing new ones too. Huzzah. I adore looking leper-ific.

Oh, AND, because I wasn't icky enough, I also have an ear infection. My jaw is achy, my ear keeps popping and it's draining like crazy to my throat. It's delightful. Why am I so gross all of a sudden? Did my immune system just decide to be a wuss this week? Uncool. I'm gonna need my white blood cells to pick up the slack because feeling sorta crappy isn't going to be a lot of fun during our 10 mile long run this weekend.

Yesterday- bike ride! I thought it was a record for the big loop by our house, but it was not. We finished 2.5 minutes faster when we biked with my dad the other day, which blows my mind. That's about 8 seconds/mile faster than we did yesterday! And I felt just about dead at the end of the ride yesterday. So of course for dinner I had 2 Boca Mushroom burgers (taste like feet, sorry Boca), and a salad with tons of cheese. Burning almost 1000 calories is awesome, but eating enough to make up those calories is actually not fun. Biking doesn't make me as hungry as running (it makes me hungry, don't you worry, but less so). If I had run for an hour instead of biking for an hour, I would have eaten a house for dinner, but last night I struggled to get through 2 burgers. Weird. Nick had some delicious looking chicken wrap things that I really wanted to eat instead of my mushroom/foot sandwich, but with fake chicken or something. I really did not like those burgers.

Tonight I'm debating running on the treadmill versus running in the heat index of ~110. Considering how terrible I felt after the run last week in the 97ish degree heat, I'm thinking treadmill is the way to go. It is more beneficial to get in the miles than it is to heat acclimate to that heat. Maybe we need to start fitting in morning runs, but I'm so not crazy about that idea.

In some pretty exciting news, I'm now taking prescription strength iron. At Nick's very smart suggestion, I'm going to take it right before bed so it has lots of time to absorb and for my body to get all iron-y. This is exciting news because it means I can drink daytime coffee! Whenever I want! I could have a second cup of coffee immediately after my first and not have to worry about how it'll affect my stupid iron levels. This is a minor victory for me, although it means I'm still on a freaking prescription. Whatever, I'll take what I can get, and a minor improvement in quality of life is better than nothing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Poison ivy.

Warning- gross pictures ahead.

On Saturday, I think, I first noticed some ridiculous itchy spots on my forearms. Like, uncontrollably itchy, to the point where it was all I could do to not itch them. I had dot shaped welts and straight line, raised welts. After some discussion, it was decided that it's probably poison ivy. One small detail: I hadn't been outside, doing yardwork, in 6 days. Either I have the most delayed immune response ever, or it's not poison ivy.

Fast forward to Wednesday. I still have the original dots and lines, plus some new ones. They still itch just as badly as they did initially. I'm still grouchy and have trouble getting to sleep because the itching will not go away. Ugh. Nick is very sensitive to poison ivy, and he says my welts look just like his normally do, but the mystery of where and when I came in contact with those plants is totally unknown. Ugh again. I'm going to continue to monitor. Hopefully no new spots come up, because I don't know how much more I can handle. I know I can take Benadryl but that tends to knock me out for 10 hours, and I just don't see myself going to bed at 7:30 tonight. We'll see.

Normal blog talk: yesterday's speedwork was lackluster, sort of. I wanted to do 4 miles of intervals but ended up doing 3 + cooldown. Maybe my intervals were too hard? I did 0.25 @ 6.0, 1% incline, then 0.25 @ 6.0, 5% incline, then 0.25 @ 6.0, 1% incline and 0.25 @ 8.0, 1% incline (on the treadmill. obviously). I did that 3 times, plus 0.25+ cooldown (basically one hill segment, one speed segment, 3 times). Total distance: 3.4 miles in 32 mins. See? Not really impressive stats, but I felt DEAD. The thought of doing another incline segment was unfathomable, I was so ready to cool down. Since I've never done this workout before, I don't have anything to compare it to, but it feels somehow inadequate. Whatever, my legs are tired.

I also spent the entire rest of the night cleaning the house and doing laundry. Things are sort of feeling like a normal home again! I don't know if my butt and legs hurt from Sunday's long run, Monday's Tabata/yoga, yesterday's intervals, or just climbing the damn stairs a trillion times putting stuff away. Nick's mother may also be visiting sometime in August (which is next week, so I'm pretty much freaking out), so my night of doing very minimal housework was full of moments of "omg, I'm going to have to scrub the baseboards too!" and "have the light switch covers always been this dirty?!" I'm calm. I swear.

And here's the picture. You didn't have to scroll down this far, really...
Right hand, just the bumps at the top. So much more grossness is not pictured.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Big Bowl of ground beef

I formed this into meatballs and ate them plain last night:

This deceptively meaty looking mixture is actually not ground beef- it's boiled lentils (boiled in a 50% vegetable broth mixture, which made them a little more flavorful and a little less... beany), tomato paste, bread crumbs, an egg, garlic powder and italian seasoning. I got inspired by reading recipes for lentil patties (lentil veggie burgers, basically) and decided that if lentils could act as ground beef, they could make meatballs. I was also inspired by the (delicious) weirdness of Morningstar Farms' Veggie Meatballs, which are tasty but... meh. Nick thought they had an odd gumminess to them, and I would have to agree. Also, the ingredients list is... sketchy:
WATER, SOY FLOUR, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, WHEAT GLUTEN, CORN OIL, CORNSTARCH, ONION, WHEAT PROTEIN, CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF SPICES, EGG WHITES, SALT, METHYLCELLULOSE, CARAMEL COLOR, YEAST EXTRACT, NATURAL FLAVOR, HYDROLYZED CORN PROTEIN, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, GUM ACACIA, HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, GUM ARABIC, AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, DISODIUM INOSINATE, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, ONION POWDER, TOMATO PASTE (TOMATOES, SALT, CITRIC ACID), THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE, CARRAGEENAN, GARLIC POWDER, DEXTROSE.
I rolled most of this mix into balls and baked them at 350 for ~30 minutes (I did not time it, I just poked them occasionally). I finished the rest by rolling in breadcrumbs and pan frying in olive oil. Those turned out nicely, crispy outer shell and hot inside. We had them with pasta and marinara and it was delicous. So yummy that I'm having leftovers for lunch today and for dinner tomorrow.

We're still trying to get back into the swing of normalcy after 4 weeks of abnormal living. Last night was some Tabata, a huge grocery run, and the veggie meatballs. I also have a bunch more lentils that I'm going to use as "taco meat" tonight most likely. Work is in a bit of an upheaval (when isn't it...) so I'm hoping Nick will be home to taste test them as well.

Monday, July 23, 2012

First real long run!

Nick and I did our first real long run of this training cycle. Woo! I was so excited to report that and then I looked at the training schedule that I had worked out a few weeks ago and it had 10 on the schedule. oops? I really, really thought it was 8. Damn. Oh well, the 8 still feels like a victory. We had planned on starting out relatively early from my parents' house (we were birdsitting over the weekend) but instead I slept in, lazed about for a couple hours, and when it came time to run it turned out Nick had forgotten to pack (super important) running shoes. Oops again? We've been going back and forth and back and forth between the 2 houses for 4.5 weeks, so remembering where everything is has been challenging.

Despite feeling like this was a sign from the running gods that we should just give up, eat some scrambled eggs and watch some Mad Men, I kept my complaints to myself, only dragged my feet a tiny amount, and we headed out around noon. Luckily, Sunday's weather was glorious. It had rained overnight and was cool(er) and intermittently overcast. I think it was around 80 when we headed out? That plus a slight breeze made for a good time. We both ran with music and chugged along. After an 8:58 first mile I tried to dial it back a bit. We finished in 1:13:36, for a 9:12 average. What's that, you're supposed to run long runs at a min/mile slower than race pace? Well. That didn't happen. 9 min miles are comfortable and I felt good and that's what I went with. So there. I know we might slow down a little during the upcoming longer runs, but I'll deal as that happens.

What I ate-
Night before- seaweed salad and a cucumber roll and 2 avocado rolls. And a bunch of popcorn. And ice cream?
Day of- banana upon waking. Toast with peanut butter about 2 hours before run. HUGE ASS iced coffee like 30 minutes before (dumb). Gu with caffeine at mile 4. Recovery protein drink, sandwich, V8, apple and Triscuits after. And then all the Thai food for dinner. Yum.

How I felt-
Comfortable, no major pains while running. No real chafing. Good times all around. A little sluggish the last 2 miles, but never any worries about finishing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Intervals

Intervals scare me a little. Or a lot. I'm always worried that whatever run speed I choose won't be fast enough and I'll be 4 miles into a run and not tired/bored. I did this the other week at home, I ran short little 0.15 @ 8 / 0.1 @ 6 intervals and it was just not the most exciting workout. I ended up lengthening the intervals but by then I was bored and ended with a not-stellar run overall. Yesterday I was worried about the opposite- I wanted to do longer intervals, so I upped the distance and lowered the speed (this was also done on the work treadmill, where interval speeds can be programmed very easily):

0.5 @ 6.5
(0.4 @ 7.5, 0.1 @ 6.5)  x 5
0.11 @ 7.5
0.5 @ 6.5
Cool down @ 6, 5, 4

This was almost too tiring. I think my "jog" speed was a little too high, so those little 0.1 segments were not nearly long enough for me to recover, and I was not ready for the next round when it was time to speed up. Next time I think I might lengthen the run to 0.5 @ 7.5 and run the recoveries at 6.0 (but I really love running nice, round intervals that sum up to something easy to calculate).

Anywhoooo. The other day after kayaking in our new boats for a brief but eye-opening trip (river currents are strong. who knew?) I did a round of Tabata intervals. I didn't even have anything planned, but I had vague dreams of doing 4 exercises x 2. Well... I ended up doing 8 random ones. Then I promptly forgot about doing them and went on with my life.

Yesterday ALL DAY I wondered why my legs and butt hurt. This morning (2 days later) I finally figured it out. It's weird to me that I completely forgot jumping lunges, but maybe I was trying to block them out?

Here's me holding a baby and Nick holding a beer at our work party this weekend. Me: baby. Nick: beer. hmmm....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Red blood cell frustration.

Here's the sequence of events:
Summer 2011: feel crappy. Train for marathon. Attribute crappy feeling to marathon training. Run marathon October 2011. Realize maybe I'm broken.

Fall 2011: Go to hematologist. Have! No! Iron! (hemoglobin was ~7, ferritin was 5) Start supplementing heavily. Feel... better?

Winter 2011: See hematologist again. Iron increasing. Somewhat. She says: keep taking iron. I say, ok!

Later Winter 2011/early 2012: See hematologist again. Iron not increasing. Take more? Take more often? Everything's ok!

April 2012: More lightheadedness. More sadness. Same numbers on blood count. Dr. says stay the course. I pursue an appointment with a gastroenterologist but the ones in my area need a referral (?!?!) even though my insurance doesn't require one. Hematologist will not give me a referral.

July 2012: Hematologist again. Numbers are now going down (12.1 vs. 12.6). Well damn. Dr. still says, things are ok! Maybe take this different type of iron? Oh, and definitely call me if you start feeling worse. Do you feel ok? Call me if you feel bad. No really. Call me. Absorption issues? Yeah you probably have absorption issues but let's not worry about that for 3 more months. You're fine.


Here I am. Eight months after my first hematologist appointment. I feel better. I think. Most days. I honestly don't know what "normal" energy feels like. I know I'm a least better than I was during marathon training but now there seem to be more hard days. More lethargy. Runs seem marginally harder. Is this all in my head? Does 12.1 g/dL versus 12.6 g/dL even make a difference? Why is my doctor giving me such unsatisfying answers? She mentioned giving me IV iron but she doesn't think it's wise for me to see someone else?!?!  We're looking at INFUSIONS of iron before we look at "maybe something else is going on"!?!?!?

My favorite part of the appointment: "Are you bleeding from anywhere?"....... I would have told you about any gushing I have going on. I promise.

I am... frustrated. I technically have borderline normal iron levels.... and i'm taking 600% of the RDV of iron! Seriously. 600%!

So many exclamation points.

I have an appointment Friday with my general practioner, who took the very first blood samples way back when in October 2011 and recommended I go to a hematologist. Hopefully she'll have a more holistic view aside from "take more iron and come back in 3 months" and we can discuss what else might be going on here. I could have fun things like gastrointestinal bleeding or Crohn's or Celiac. Or I could just be bad at turning massive amounts of iron into anything useful (unless you consider mild nausea useful).


p.s. everyone who got here by googling "baby turkeys": Hi! I only have one baby turkey picture. But welcome nonetheless!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Who I want to be when I grow up...

mmm. foot pictures.

On Saturday morning Nick and I went for a little walk. It was just supposed to be a couple miles out to the beach, turn around, come home and head out and start our day. Instead, I slipped on a wooden plank and turned my ankle. At the time, it hurt. A lot. But walking didn't make it hurt any worse so I powered through. We went to a party and drank and swam and then on Sunday morning I woke up to my foot looking like that. Swolen and purple. It is less purple today but still achy. I just feel dumb for doing something so simple and screwing up my foot. Last year during marathon training I was constantly terrified I'd do something like this, and I never really did. This year, 1 week in (or no weeks, considering we missed our long run so I'm calling last week "Week 0"), I just jump right in and injure myself. Dumb. We're swimming today so that'll be a nice rest for it, hopefully. And then maybe triumphantly return to running on Tuesday?

My car is such a trooper.

Driving home was pretty stressful... I had no idea how far my back end stuck out.

Pretty kayaks in the garage.

On Saturday morning, we owned 0 kayaks and 0 roof racks. On Sunday at 2 pm, we had 2 kayaks on our newly installed roof rack. Bye bye, 2 grand. Hello, paddling! We found the kayaks on Craigslist and after some light Googling, took the plunge. The folks we were buying them from were super nice over the phone. The wife said they were selling the boats because they just had "so many hobbies." She sounded a little older, but mentioned how they love biking and walking the dogs. In general, it was a very promising phone call, especially since Craigslist interactions have the potential to be super crappy sometimes. We planned on picking them up on Sunday at 1pm... 70 minutes from home. That meant assembling a roof rack and Kayak holder (Thule Kayak Stacker. Neato), getting gas and coffee and driving a good distance to an unfamiliar area. There was some stress. Surprisingly, we got the roof rack on fairly painlessly and drove up the road without it falling off.

The kayak sellers were just as awesome as they sounded on the phone. They were older, active people with at least 3 awesome road bikes in their garage. The wife was an exercise physiologist and we talked about running and marathons and I basically wanted to adopt them to be my grandparents. So cool. They helped us load up the kayaks on the rack and tie them down, a process that took about 40 minutes. All in all, it was a great experience. We were going to take them out right after we got home but there was a threat of rain. I can't wait to see how they handle!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Things I love

Subtitle: It can't always be about hate

1. These shoes my mom got me. I had been wanting neutral/nude business-y flats and these are NOT what I was thinking at all, but they are adorable. And comfy. I've worn them two days in a row, sockless, and my feet don't hate me. Pricey shoes (bought by someone else, clearly) are worth the money. I'm rough on my shoes. I am wearing them today with charcoal pants and a black shirt and trying to convince myself I'm fashionable instead of clashing horribly (since the shoes are kinda/sorta in the brown family). They're just so cute.

2. Bike rides. Nick and I did a short one yesterday, ~12 miles, but it felt so fast. It is nice to work different muscles. My legs felt tired at the beginning of the ride and then warmed up nicely. We had a great 6 mile loop near our house with rolling hills of joy. Just enough uphills to be challenging (/annoying) but not so much I was crying. Variety is the spice of life.
yes, I google image searched "variety is the spice of life" and I chose the picture of donuts. I'm learning toward the Chocolate glazed cake one hiding coyly in the corner. Other picture options: a bored looking couple which is either associated with open relationships or bedroom spicy tips. NSFW either way.

3. Checking out potential bands for our work party next year. This year we had it at the Air and Space Museum, next year might be the Baltimore Aquarium! Apparently researching bands means I get to listen to fun mixes of those bands performing dance music, and there is nothing I love more than a 6 minute video that includes Aretha AND Usher. These guys are one super fun example.

4. A weekend. At home. Or my parents' home, which is 90% as good (the other 10% is my folks' obnoxious pet crow and not being able to park in the garage. woe is me!). We have a small work party tomorrow that is outside delightfulness and then NOTHING. Oh except marathon training. Bleh.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Excited about Training!

Subtitle: Using exclamation points to lie
Subtitle 2: if you don't complain all the time, your boyfriend will like you more.

After this storm slammed our area and much of the rest of the mid-Atlantic (also check out the pictures here of this type of storm...yikes), Nick's front yard was left with several downed trees. This also happened last year following Hurricane Irene, but the trees/branches that came down this time seemed to be even more sizeable. We spent Monday chainsawing and hauling tree bits away, trying to get the yard to look reasonable. Nick's a whiz with the chainsaw, and I'm afraid of it, so I left that part to him. Instead I picked up branches, loaded them in the lawn tractor and chucked them in the woods. I'm pretty much living the dream. Between that and camping last week, I feel like I should get a merit badge. Then we went on a run and I DIDN'T COMPLAIN. At least not audibly. Nick and I did our normal 3.5 mile out and back and I didn't wear a shirt and no one died. The end.

But really, I don't mind the hauling at all... until the next day. Sore, tired hamstrings from repeated bending over and slightly achy arms. We swam Tuesday night, which was one of the harder swims I've done lately... maybe because it had been 2 weeks since I'd been in the pool? I swam 2300 in 45 minutes and was tired and ravenous by the end. I've been using MyFitnessPal for calorie guesstimates, and I knew that with my food intake plus swim yesterday I had a ton (>800) calories left for dinner. So I had 2 huge beers and most of a pizza? I think I may have actually broken even, or come close to it. I'm not obsessing about calories but I'm becoming way more interested in them to ensure that the Marathon Training Hunger Monster does not start to dominate my life, or that I end up undereating and screwing myself performance-wise.  And to ensure that I'm getting enough protein. And because it's fun/terrifying to find out that the pasta you just ate technically qualifies as 4 servings and therefore dinner should consist of concentrated air.

Speaking of training, I made a Google Docs spreadsheet with a tentative training plan. Cliff Notes version: 3 run days, 1 long, 1 speed, 1 medium length. One swim day and one bike day a week, and an optional extra workout day. I'm thinking I'll do either short runs and strength training or some other kind of activity those days. I scheduled them for Fridays, and since I tend to get off work early on Friday and have a more open schedule, it would be nice to use those days for some different workouts or more relaxed runs. And Saturdays are rest. Ahhh. November 10, here we come!

Oh I haven't registered yet? Should get on that...

Monday, July 9, 2012

I took a vacation

From running. And eating reasonably. And the internet. It was glorious. 10 days straight with this guy and we still like each other:
Oh you wanted more creepy face? And two people who aren't super good at knowing where to look to focus on the camera? This picture is my gift to you.

I'll give a very quick update and maybe some more details later.
- Drove ~1500 miles
- "Hiked" the highest peaks in Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia (only truly hiked one but the other two would not have really qualified as hikes even if we had tried hard)
- Ran very low on water on our one overnight, primitive camping night
- Awoke to PONIES! right outside our tent in Grayson Highlands National Park
- Ate some very good food.
- Slept outside even though it was 95 degrees out
- Went CAVING!
- Visited Mammoth Caves National Park and wanted to crawl in a cave and live forever
- Watched the fireworks in Lexington, KY
- Ran a 5K in 25:26 which is the exact same time as my last 5K in April which was a mega PR for me, and this race was 1) miserably hot even at 8am, 2) hilly, grassy, and annoyingly twisty, 3) long- my Garmin said 3.16 miles, 4) hot? did I mention the hot? 5) after a poor night's sleep 6) after 3 days of camping, sleeping on the ground, and not doing running conducive things. So I'm calling it a PR re-creation except under terrible conditions and I'd like to think it means I might have sort of gotten faster. Ish. Nick ran super fast again and got 2nd in his age group (he was 15th overall!)
-came home to a dead garden and a 97 degree house. Ugh.

A quick 5K recap- we almost missed the race because we were going to stay the night at Mammoth and drive about an hour to the race in the morning. That would have meant we went from Central time (at mammoth) to Eastern time (at the race). Luckily, we were both feeling miserably hot enough to bail on our campsite and head to a hotel closer to the race instead. And we crossed that time zone line and our cell phones recognized it and we were relieved and all was well. It meant an hour less sleep, but oh well.

The race was small and we had not pre-registered, but registration was a breeze. I paid by check. check! 2007 called and it wants its method of payment back. We then hung out for almost an hour waiting for the start, getting warm and antsy. At the starting line, the National Anthem was played over a loudspeaker but the sound system failed a few bars into it... after a second of quiet, the crowd piped up and sang the rest of the Anthem together. It was goose-bump inducing and a wonderful way to start the 4th of July. The race itself started off crowded and I ran a stupid fast 7:41 (downhill) first mile, followed by a "I cannot possibly maintain this pace but I'm going to die trying" second mile and a "this race course is dumb and I hate running" third mile. The course was quite hilly and doubled back on itself like 6 times. Silly. I tried to run tangents but didn't suceed, as evidenced by my slightly long Garmin distance. I was pretty dead at the end of the race, I definitely ran hard. I wish I were faster.

In other news, today is sort of the start of marathon training but we're still trying to get our lives back together (12 hours before we left for the trip, a monster storm hit and tore off shingles and broke apart several trees) (oh and our air conditioners PLURAL are broken) (oh and I don't think I've felt rested in 2 weeks) (oh and whining is my favorite). So... marathon training might consist of cleaning up brush in the yard. Totally counts as cross training.