Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bad Run #2

I am not sure what the deal is, but I have had a couple of really bad runs lately. I'm already feeling a little bit burnt out on training, so this has me really down. I think I have attrituted it to lack of proper hydration, but who knows.

I have been running for a couple of years now and typically know what my body needs. I am not a competitive runner and not at all hardcore about nutrition (heck, my last post was about ice cream and a recent Twitter update was about candy!!). So, I tend to sick with similar things around my long runs, just like I would be a race. But, half of my recent long runs have be a major FAIL! The only thing I (and some friends) think it could be is a hydration issue. Either way, I make it about 8 miles and then I start getting major side stitches and cramps. I can stop and stretch them out, but they always come back about 1/4 mile later. So, there is a lot of stopping and starting - not ideal for a long training run.

Any suggestions on what this could be or how to fix it? I need help ASAP to prepare for some upcoming races!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ice Cream!!

The fact that I LOVE ice cream is an understatement. I eat ice cream about every night. It is definitely not the best thing to do for my waistline, but I always eat light ice cream or yogurt in moderation. I also love the Skinny Cow products. So good!! Recently they came out with a new Skinny Cow ice cream. Let me just say that the Carmel Cone flavor is about the best ice cream I have had in a long time. So good! So much better than my Edy's Light. So much better than the Weight Watchers ice cream sandwiches. It is amazing. I am not sure if anyone out there will see my unsolicited review, but I hope that they take the Carmel Cone now available in the mini cup at Marsh (along with some other flavors) and make it into a big container! I would take this hands down over a full fat version and this is low fat and high in fiber!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Our first day of spring!

Spring is here...at least until the cold front and rain come through tomorrow! We got a lot dine today. Well, Todd did most of the hard labor. I just watched and handled him some tools when needed.

The garden is almost ready for planting when it gets a tad warmer. Todd cut down one of our fruit trees this morning. It hadn't produced any fruit since we planted it five years ago and the trunk was splitting. So, he cut it down and doubled the size of the garden. It is now about 22ft by 11ft. Pretty big! Hope this summer is better than last and we actually get some better vegetables!!

First flower to bloom in our beds. Hopefully the others are soon to follow!

My rhubarb is already coming up! I better start using the 10quarts left in the freezer from last year!!

Lucy hanging in the yard with us and rolling in the grass and warm sun!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Bad Week, Bad Run

Last week was a very long week. Everyone else was on spring break, but I was stuck in the office. The few others that were there were commenting how slow it was, but not for me. I got about every phone call that came in forwarded to me. Even things that had nothing to do with my actual job. It was not fun. So, while I spent time doing all of that, I got further behind on my actual work. Fun times.

To top it all off, I had about the worst run ever to end the week. It was beautiful out Friday after work and Todd was out of town until 8pm, so I figured I would go for a long run. I am training for some upcoming races and need to do some longer runs to prepare for that. I set out for an 11 mile run in sunny 65 degree weather. I was great until about mile 8 and then things started to go downhill. Between miles 7 and 8, I had a small side stitch and stopped to stretch that out and continued on. But, then I hit mile 8 and things just went downhill from there. My Nike+ pace line drops of the charts, so I have proof at how bad it was!! I was so thirsty and ended up stopping about every 1/4 mile to stretch my reoccurring side stitch. It was horrible. At 10.7 miles I threw the towel in. I knew I was not going to make it to 11. I know, it wasn't that much further, but I have not felt that horrible while running in a very long time. When I got home, I took a shower and just laid in bed for an hour.

I don't know what the problem was. I have a feeling it was a combination of things. I had eaten out for lunch, instead of having my normal Lean Cuisine at my desk, so my stomach wasn't feeling the best. Also, I think I wasn't hydrated properly. I had been drinking water all day and stopped for water at miles 3 and 8, so I felt like I had enough in me, but it was HOT! After running in 30 degree weather for months, 65 is hot! I think I need to spend more time adjusting to the temperature change and re-learn how to hydrate myself. When it is cold, I can go longer without water, but not when it is warmer. It seems I have to re-learn the amount of water my body needs every spring. On top of all of that, I have been running a lot lately. My running dropped off a lot this past winter, in terms of miles per week. I recently stepped it back up while training. Now, this is nothing compared to what others run, but for me, it was a significant jump and I think my body is just tired. I need a rest day, or couple of days. I wish I could have had a great run as I was so looking forward to it after such a bad week. I think I will rest today (from work and running) and start over tomorrow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Busted Bracket

So, it is only day one and I am wondering if anyone out there has a decent NCAA bracket left. I definitely picked all the wrong upsets. Georgetown?? Ugh! I had them going pretty far in one of my brackets. Oh well, I only have a little money involved. Plus, if mine is this bad and everyone else has a busted bracket, there is still a glimmer of hope. :)

Of course, all of this is painful without Illinois in the tournament for the second year in a row!! I come from the era where we were in the tournament every year. Hand down, no questions asked, no bubble to worry about. I can't take all of this up and down play. I want my team of solid players back to make the season so exciting. Next up is Kent State. A rather interesting match-up, especially for me - I graduated from and worked for Illinois, as well as worked at Kent State and half of a MBA sitting there. While I was at KSU, I think I went to one basketball game, so it won't be difficult to put on my orange and blue! Thankfully, we get to play at home in Assembly Hall after the Cirque du Soleil scheduling disaster from Wednesday night! I guess you can't really blame anyone. Who know that far in advance Illinois would have a change to host any NIT post season games.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Priceline is not my Negotiator

So, here is the long awaited Priceline blog that has taken me a week to get to. I always think about a hundred different things to blog about and about 1% of it actually makes it to this page due to lack of time.

Anyway, let me start by saying I will never again use Priceline for anything after this last experience. It has been a week and just writing about it still makes my blood boil. First things first, I was playing faculty secretary for Todd. He had a student coming in to check out IU and SPEA's PhD program. He is really hoping this person will come and work in his lab. That said, we needed to find a great hotel for the student and her dad who was coming along. Of course, I got two days notice - called on Wednesday for a Friday time frame. To top it off, it was white coat weekend for the School of Optometry (whatever that is) and it was the School of Music's audition weekend for freshman hopefuls (think American Idol). So, there was not a hotel room to be had in town.

Todd wanted to use Priceline but didn't know how (I'll refrain from any comments about this), so I went in and reserved a room at one of the nicer hotels in Bloomington. I wanted to make sure I could get a non-smoking room with two beds since the dad was coming along. I called the hotel and they had no reservation even though I read off every possible confirmation, tracking, and ID number from the two emails Priceline sent to confirm my reservation. He also said the hotel was sold out, so I was pretty much out of luck. Panic set in so I called Priceline. After getting bumped up a level of customer service, I got to some guy who could speak English. First he told me that he had my reservation to which I relayed my story of the hotel not having my reservation and being sold out!! He then proceeded to tell me that their contract was that if the hotel is sold out they are required to find me a room at a comparable hotel within a certain distance. I question what he meant by a certain distance and he said that meant within a certain number of miles. Really? I think I could figure that out. How many miles?? By this point I was so mad I started to yell and told him that I was not going to stay 50 miles away and that they may have this contract but nowhere on my reservations is this listed. It is only listed that I have a reservation at the hotel I booked. He proceeded put me on hold, called the hotel, and came back on the line to report my reservation was there and that they must have typed in the name wrong. Then I felt bad and apologized for being rude. Although, I am not sure why he didn't make the call in the first place. I chalked it up to a lazy kid working the hotel desk and decided to call back in the morning to put in my room request.

I called the next day and got a super nice guy that appeared to be totally with it. I talked to him and he still had no reservation for me from Priceline and informed me the hotel was booked. He checked the system, the paper arrival list for Friday, and tried every spelling of my name possible. Nothing. Panic again. I got off the phone and went to the hotel's website. Just for kicks, I clicked in the reservation area only to find they did have rooms available and due to aforementioned panic, went ahead and reserved a room. However, I started to panic more thinking I now had two rooms, both past the time to cancel, that I would have to pay for. So, I called the hotel again. No Priceline reservation, just the one I had made online. [I won't go into this and it could be a whole other post, but how can I reserve a room at your hotel after twice being told it is sold out. I don't get it. Maybe the workers can only see so much information?] At this point, I was beyond pissed at Priceline. I had wasted a lot of time on the phone with them the previous night. I called in and didn't even talk to the first level of customer support, but asked for a supervisor right away. I told her the situation and that I wanted the Priceline reservation canceled with no charges. The hotel made it clear they did not have my reservation even though Priceline did. The customer service person said it was probably a hotel error. At this point, I didn't care who was a fault, I just didn't want to have to pay for two rooms or get any cancellation fees for either room. I let her know the name of the competent guy at the front desk of the hotel and asked her to call him. She came back on the line a few minutes later with no real answer for the situation. The hotel only had one reservation - the one I made directly through their website. She promised no cancellation fees and followed up with an email chain stating this (always good to get things in writing).

I wasted several hours of my life dealing with this whole situation and the fact that Priceline kept saying everything was fine when it really wasn't just makes me mad. I got some follow-up survey for my stay, so clearly their system didn't get the note that my Priceline reservation was canceled. Obviously a disconnect somewhere! I hit delete right away. Their customer service people were no help and never able to really confirm anything. I have used them in the past with no problems, but never again!

Once we got everything confirmed with out reservation directly with the hotel, we had to call back and change the name the reservation was under and the billing method. They were super nice even though I think it was about the sixth call to them about our room. At one point, Todd called and I gave him the name of the guy to talk to. He got some girl, but she already knew our situation. Not sure if that is good or bad. Oh well, the student had a place to stay and it was a nice weekend in Bloomington. After all that, I hope she comes here!

UIUC No Pants

This is too funny and definitely deserves a look. Some people at the University of Illinois created a website of pictures of people wearing no pants, otherwise known as the spandex look. It is too funny. Yes, some might consider this just an opportunity to take pictures of someone's butt, but the fact remains that spadex are not pants and 99% of people should never wear them!! The 1% that can, probably shouldn't be either. Whoever thought up this fashion faux paux should be put in jail or something. It is horrible!

In my book, that makes this website funny and worth looking at.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Signs of Spring

When you live and work on a college campus, there are always a few tell-tale signs of spring.
  • The college girls trade in their Ugg boots for flip flops and boat shoes. (I actually don't mind this. I am not a fan of the boots with the spandex look.)
  • The same girls can be seen sun tanning in their bikinis, even though it is only 55 out and not exactly bikini weather.
  • The fraternity boys begin hanging out on their front porches and pretty much spend all day there.
  • You can walk down the street and hear 20 different kinds of music blaring from the cars lined up at the stop sign with all the windows totally down, even though it is only 55 out.
  • Everyone (and I mean everyone) is out trying to run. I say that as nicely as possible. Everyone starts somewhere, but some of the running outfits I saw do not indicate a serious runner...at all. One guy was all decked out in a serious of matching sweatbands and struggled to go one block. It was pretty hilarious.
  • Now that there are more people out walking around, there are also more people not paying attention to where they are going. I've gotten run into twice by people texting and walking in the last two days. There was no sorry or excuse me involved, they just kept texting and walking - right in front of a moving vehicle.
  • Everyone is dusting off their bikes and getting ready for Little 500, at least here in Bloomington. I've overheard many conversations about riding in the last few days.

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. I can finally run in shorts, we can start thinking about our garden, and we actually see the neighbors again. But, the behaviors on campus crack me up - they change along with the seasons without fail. Totally predictable and always reason for a good laugh!

Monday, March 8, 2010

A note from the cleaners...

Probably TMI, but here is a note from the cleaners today. I feel horible! Lucy tends to puke in the middle of the night when we are sleeping upstairs. I think I may need to tip them as I am sure they didn't assume they would be cleaning up dog puke today...

Floral Laundry

I was gone over the weekend and asked Todd to do a load of laundry for me. I am not sure what he used, but everything seems super floral. Way too smelly for me! I asked him what he used and his response was, "a little bit of everything." I am really not sure which combination of different detergents and sports fabric cleaners he used, but it is killing me. I about gag every time I catch a whiff of my shirt!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A leak is never a good thing.

So, I have noticed that one of the outside-facing walls of our guest bedroom closet is not looking good. I've aways thought there was a problem with this wall. It is a corner of the closet where two outside walls meet. The gutter above this area does not seem to drain well and we always get huge brown spots and stains in this area on the siding outside. It makes the front of our house look horrible! I have it pressure washed every other year and we get out the ladder and clean it off, too. But now I fear the problem has moved indoors. :(

I mentioned as much to Todd about a month ago. He finally had time to walk by a look at it today. (I am so in trouble when he reads that.) Anyway, all he could do is agree with me. Not good. The walls on the inside of the closet all the way down to the baseboard are turning very brown. Not good. There is also some brown around the decorative window in the closet. Not good. I also pointed out a spot in another room I am worried about where this is some brown stain on the ceiling due to possible leak on roof. Not good.

So begins my search for a contractor who is good, and can fix my house really well without charging me an arm and a leg. Any suggestions? Please, please send them my way. I joined Angie's List for a month and didn't get much info on there. Not enough people around Monroe County with ratings. I have one possible lead and I may call him tomorrow to see if he knows where exactly the problem might be, how extensive the damage is, and what it will take to fix. I keep thinking about all the rain we had last spring and I just get a pit in my stomach. It has gotten exponentially worse the last few weeks and I can only imagine if we get a lot of rain how bad it could get.

I've always said this house was built rather shoddy. It has been proven now with problems in mass quantity. I have a feeling the summer vacation has just been downsized...

I Got Swabbed!

I got swabbed today!! Really, I signed up for the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry. There was a drive on campus at the union and the drive was actually trying to find matches for a family friend, Lindsay. Her story and information on other drives can be found online at http://www.teamlindsay.org.

I have to admit I was a bit nervous signing up. I am all for helping to save a life. Anything I can do to do to help someone beat cancer is a high priority for me. But, I hate needles. I can't imagine them drawing blood or taking my stem cells because it would involve needles and doctors. Besides dentists, I can't think of two things I hate worse! You can remove yourself from the donor list at any time, or say no if they call to report you are a match for someone. But, I couldn't ever say no. If someone can go through what the patient has/is going through, surely I can survive a few needle sticks for a day.

I am on the list. Part of me wants to be able to help someone. Part of me knows if I ever got a call, I would definitely need some support handling the needles.