26 April 2011

Hold on tight

Spring in the midsouth area is always tumultuous but this year is a bit more so than usual.  Mother Nature seems to be flexing her muscles a quite a lot this year.  I knew from watching the local weather tweets that my area was going to get hit again but still listening to the constant interruptions of an actually interesting to me NPR segment (Amy Stewart talking about her new book Wicked Bugs) by the National Weather Service warnings was quite unnerving.  I know Elsie was having a hard time dealing with them.  Every time she'd decide it was safe to venture outside her crate, another one would pierce the airwaves and back she'd go, tail tucked and ears down.

Now the smart thing to do would have been to have found a place to park and wait the storm bands out but I kinda thought from listening to the live coverage broadcast by The Point 94.1 that I could slip in between the two storm cells hammering the central Arkansas area.  Well I did, sorta...........The first hard gusts of wind hit me while I was going over the river on I440.  All I could do was hold onto the wheel and slow waaaaay down while looking over at the very insubstantial concrete wall separating me from the water.  Yeah, there was a lot of "please don't let me get blown over the edge" going thru my head.

Get over that safely and continue on my merry (slow) way to the I30 and just before 65th Street and  it gets even slower....all the way down to 5-10 mph while getting hit near head on with straight line winds..........quite an interesting experience to be pressing on the accelerator and feeling the truck actually try to go backwards while you, the engine and the transmission are trying to force it to go forward, lol.

Apparently this is what the radar looked like when I made my decision to keep going

Thankfully I made it through ok as did most of the other traffic around me.  I did come upon an accident on I30 where it looked like a tree did its level best to smash a car and a big truck, hopefully everyone was all right.   

Ending on a lighter note, hope y'all enjoy this :-)


25 April 2011

Shaken, not stirred

Whew, this is gonna be a bit of a tough post to write but I figure if Terri can be so honest and forthcoming about her experiences then surely I can talk about my issues occasionally.  Every now and then, I will experience a mild panic attack.......usually induced by very large, noisy crowds (hence my avoidance of concerts despite my deep love of music, especially live performances) or claustrophobia (parking garages kill me) but for the past year I've rarely experienced those problems and thought perhaps they were behind me.

Tuesday night proved that thought wrong.......I was in a very crowded Target having a phone convo and  something just tripped it.  Quickly told the person I had to go without explaining why--huge mistake on my part because they could have helped me through it.  But it is called a panic attack for good reason :-(.  I literally felt like the store was shrinking around me, the walls appeared to be warping towards me.  Everywhere I turned I was blocked in and couldn't get out of the area I was in. Roaring just kept getting louder and louder, voices (most of which were speaking Spanish) just seemed like they were slamming into my senses.  Yeah, very disorienting to say the least.

 I finally managed to work my way out of the clothing section (absolutely worst place for that to happen, it's maze-like at the best of times) and keep enough of my decorum to get in line and pay for my items.  I'm sure the cashier and other customers thought I was losing it though because of the quickness of how I was breathing and I'm sure I looked scared.  Got myself out of there though before the tears started thankfully....The tears by the way weren't part of the panic attack, they were more a reaction of being so ashamed and angry that I had  the attack after so long and I've got to admit it was the worst one I'd ever experienced.  Fortunately, I'm not totally debilitated by the ones I have and can continue to function enough to get myself into what I consider a safe place to calm down and start figuring out what went wrong.

Huge thank you to my twitter friends, there was a major outpouring of support and concern after I tweeted about the panic attack.  While I was still too shaken and frustrated with myself to reply individually that night, please know that everything was greatly appreciated.  Thank you, xxxxxxxxxx

24 April 2011

Social running

This past week I was reminded of a blog post I was going to write (and may actually have written and posted, lol) last fall that was inspired by a twitter conversation about running and the social aspects of it during a group fun run with my awesome running club.........Last year a very opinionated person online made what I considered to be a snide comment about a local 5k in their area that was having a dinner the night before, a breakfast prior, then food afterward about how running a measly 3.1 miles was not going to burn off even a tiny fraction of the calories that would be consumed by people participating in the race and who may or may not be partaking of the sponsored food festivities.  When I called them on sounding somewhat elitist, it continued to get worse in my opinion.  The comment was made about nobody else was going to run those miles, that running was a solo activity........

Well, for some it is solely a thing they do for the solitude but for many it is a chance to get out and socialize while doing something they love with like-minded people.  Anything that gets others out and running and continuing to run is a great thing.  So what if there are activities planned around an organized race.  So what if it's "only" a 5k.  So what if there are food festivities planned around a race.  Just because it's not your "thing" doesn't mean that it's not something that motivates others to get out and run and keeps them enthusiastic. Running with others makes you run slower, faster, longer, shorter than what you otherwise would.....and those changes may just be what was needed on that particular day, week, month and so on.  It keeps things fresh, mind, body, soul.  It gets those feet pounding the pavement just that much more.

Anyway, that's just my opinion. Maybe it's because I HAVE to run so many of my miles solo that I think differently on this matter.  I do however welcome the chance to race or run with a group like I did this morning (33 of us by the way!!).  Sometimes it's nice to talk to someone other than myself or Elsie during a workout--she doesn't talk back by the way although I have caught myself replying to myself, lol.

Opinions, thoughts, diatribes more than welcome :-).

Fancy a pic or 2?

I occasionally (well, ok a LOT) take pictures of things when I'm out walking Elsie aka waiting on her to do her business.  Thought I'd share a few of them.  I apologize for the quality, these were all taken with my iphone.

Blurry pic of ladybugs.......evidently it's mating season

And feeding season.......mother nature at work

I don't really want to know what's down that hole, betting it isn't a white, fluffy rabbit

Love the juxtaposition of red clover amidst the bluebonnets

Is this not a cool moth???

Yeah, it was kind of windy

Misty day

At least she quit trying to eat flowers, now just sniffs at them

Sometimes the mind is just a blank canvas

And today is one of those days, lol.  After a series of whirlwind blog posts and even a few ideas kicking around in the vast cavern of a brain (empty y'know) I seem to have just hit a blank when it comes to writing.  So perhaps one of my weird stream of consciousness posts? who knows, we'll just have to see how this goes, lol.

Ok, Lola seems to have been finally repaired!!  Much thanks to the dayshift guys at our shop for continuing to plug away at the starter issues although there were a couple of snide comments from a couple of mechanics (not the main guys).  It helped that there were a few times that the truck wouldn't start when they went out to bring her into the shop.

Strong winds in the Midsouth and Texas have made driving a high profile vehicle interesting this month.  No more edge of tornado instances as of yet though.

Finally had an over 20 mile per week running total--20.82, but dammit that still counts--first one since the end of January.

I have a resume thanks to the help of a friend, sent it in to my current employer who didn't seem to even bother looking at it seeing as they didn't realize I was already employed here, lol.

Hate missing out on so many races, training opportunities, rides, etc due to my crazy work schedule.

It seems to shift from summer to winter here.......no in between but the summer seems to be winning.  One last hurrah for my boots though on Thursday

Had my first 100F plus day this past week.

I finally bought a chair and put up curtains in my bedroom.......still need to go bed shopping though. Gotta love the clearance section at Target!!

Yes, I occasionally wear girlie shoes when driving the big truck

My usual breakfast when in Texas is Whataburger

Optimized fuel routing sucks.......especially when all the big companies use the same program/service

See that big hill on the right of the next picture.......yeah, I ran up that :)

Sweaty garmin.......something I had a lot of this past week

14 April 2011

Breakfast..? Hills please !!

Ok, I admit it. I love running hills. Yes I'm one of *those* people that spout the "hills are speedwork in disguise" quote as well as my tried and true favorite "let's make that hill our bitch".

Don't get me wrong, a flattish race rocks for getting personal bests but for training I love me some hills. And when I say hills, I mean the real thing, not those soul-sucking, mojo-stealing, what the heck is wrong with me, why am I going so slow, goes on forever false flats.

No, I want the real thing.  Something that goes up and you're staring at it wondering who's gonna win, you or that hill.  And there's such a charge as you near the apex....lungs burning, breath hitching, legs aching.    Nearer and nearer and you're wondering am I gonna make it? Is this hill my bitch? Or is it gonna make me slow and falter until I finally concede that it's the master as I walk the remaining distance?

Today I won the battle of wills, didn't let my mind tell me I couldn't, convinced those legs to keep churning, made those lungs hurt just that wee bit more.  And what a gorgeous place to do so, only traffic I encountered was crossing over Hwy 50.  Cows, birds, squirrels, trees, and the sun were my companions.  Absolutely fantastic.

I did stop to take a photo of a cemetery...y'know the whole life vs death contemplation business. Highly overrated if you ask me (the contemplation part that is).  Plus I was wondering if I'd survive the hills back, lol.  Note that I said hills, not mountains...that's a whole other ballgame that I've yet to tackle.

Sooo.............. what WAS your breakfast of choice this morning?

08 April 2011

Giving Back

I occasionally try to do either a cycling or running event that has a fundraising emphasis. Unfortunately this year with my work schedule I don't think I'm going to be able to do so.  However, more than just a few of my friends are getting out there and raising money for some worthwhile causes and I thought I would put up links to a handful of them.  If you are able to do so and one of these charities/organizations happen to strike a chord with you, I'd love it if you could help them meet their fundraising goals.  No amount is too small and it all adds up quickly.  Thank you xoxoxo

Natalie is doing (and has done) the MoonWalk in London to raise money for breast cancer research/care etc.  This is a very unique event in that it is a marathon that is walked in the middle of the night. How cool is that??? Natalie's fundraising page and info about the Walk the Walk organization

Matt of the excellent Run Digger Run podcast is running the Marine Corps Marathon this year for TWO very worthy causes the Semper Fi Fund and the Captain Jennifer J. Harris, USMC Memorial Scholarship.  The direct link to his blogpost about how and why can be found here.  Oh and subscribe to his podcast! It's excellent.


Jules is riding the RONA MS Bike Tour in June to raise money MS.  Absolutely great lady whose tweets I always look forward to.  Her fundraising page where you can also read about her friend Simon and why she's riding.

Penny is an avid animal lover who backs up what she is so passionate about with TONS of running for fundraising (and just for fun). Completely in awe of what she accomplishes and I've yet to meet a more generous lady.  Pick one (or more) of the charities she has listed on her blog.

There are so many more that I could list here but honestly I need to get in bed and sleep.  Even if you can't give monetarily, I can assure you that comments and thank yous are just as welcome so please stop by their pages and say "way to go" if you have the time.

06 April 2011

Shhh, I'm wabbit hunting

Yesterday was a somewhat full day of driving, made it to Laredo before the sun went down. No other trucks in line at our terminal nor Penske so that all went quickly. Experienced a bit of on the job sexual harassment from one of the guards there at Penske--hate using that term but not sure what else you'd call being asked about your personal life in detail (which I didn't answer) and then being told that if I ever got a few days off in Laredo to call him and we'd go party.  I'm trying to do my job, he's on duty, so yeah to me that's harassment.  By the way this is a married man with kids, grrrr.

Other than that all went well.........at least until I found where my northbound trailer was dropped.  Right in front of where the trucks queue up for inspection, lol.  Had to wait for one truck to move and try to beat the other guy that was waiting to pull forward in order to back under my trailer, even so had to do it at an angle.........got that done and the floodgates opened!!!!!!  It seemed like everyone came in for their inspections all at once.  I couldn't turn left because there were signs and posts at the front of the inspection area that I would've taken out with the midsection of my trailer even if I got everyone to hold up for me.  Couldn't turn right because of all the trucks lined up and the queue extended around the corner of the dropped trailer line.  Had to sit there and wait for it to clear out.  Once it did I walked up to the next driver and asked him to hold up so I could swing out and the guy wouldn't unroll his window to talk to me!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL, I'm in the terminal, I got out of the driver's seat of a company truck and he thinks I'm gonna hit him up for money or something worse I guess, lmao.  Anyways finally got that sorted, got my truck out of there and spun back around for MY exit inspection.

Ok grumble over.  Really it was quite a funny night except for the creepy guard :D.

This morning once I finally drug my lazy arse out of bed I went for a little 3 miler about Pearsall, going along minding my own business when I came upon these cute little guys in the middle of the street.  Unfortunately couldn't get my phone out in time for THAT sight but they stood still long enough for some other pics.

Now down here I'm used to dogs, cats, chickens, wild rabbits, armadillos, rattlesnakes, an occasional dead wild hog, and even almost tripped over a squashed alligator once.  But cute domestic bunnies running loose in the town streets? That's a new one for me.

05 April 2011

Airborne Bovines

Fortunately there were no flying cow sightings but I did catch the back edge of a storm that produced a tornado warning in the Nashville area.  Sorry if I got everyone's hopes up with the blog post title :D.  

First truck I followed this morning

Not looking good

Don't really want to see these signs

A bit of the storm damage along I40

Pink skies and hellacious winds

04 April 2011

Can't. Stop. Sweating.

Oh yeah, the humidity the south is infamous for is rearing it's ugly head.    Woke up this morning and it was 68f/20c, very windy, and a slight sprinkle every so often.  Just enough to be a tease and not cool you down at all....even after 30 minutes and cleaning up I'm still all sweaty & yucky.

Couple that with a raging case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and what do I decide to do? Go run up some freaking hills!!! Oh my....the uphills weren't so bad but those downhill sections nearly had me in tears a few times, OUCH :-(. And what's up with this being pushed back up the hill by the wind?

Despite all my grumbling it was a decent run. I didn't have to take a walk break and I managed to shake the morning grogginess.  Now if I could just quit sweating, I'd be a happy woman, lol.  Bring on the day! But mother nature, could you please calm down a little before I have to start driving? I kinda prefer keeping the truck and trailer in the same lanes as each other.

My reward? A traditional southern style breakfast with BACON!!

this rocked my world

Sister Machine Gun is (was, I suppose since they're no longer recording) one of my go-to bands when I'm in the mood for some industrial and this video I found today (technically yesterday now) completely rocked my world.

03 April 2011

Crunching numbers

Numbers:  Trying not to focus on them is hard when you're a runner that also likes to track, plot, and analyze them to death.  One glaring number for me lately is 45.66.  That's the number of miles I ran last month.  Yep, not in a week, the entire month of March.  For the majority of my friends who also run, that's a normal LOW weekly mileage.  Can't help but prey on your mind especially once you finally get an opportunity to toe the line on a race.  Oh yeah, that's something else that's nagging at me--3 races this year, 2 of which were these last 2 weekends.  

I'm sure some are wondering why it does bother me, after all, I'm just a middle of the pack runner, rarely do I crack into the top 10 females at a finish line, much less the top 5.  But I do take this seriously.  I want to do the best I possibly can in a given situation and let's face it, I'm a bit competitive with my other middle of the pack running mates.  Not in the rude, in your face, you're going down manner but I do want to know that I gave it my best shot wherever and whenever I happen to race.  And of course there's the always elusive PR (personal record) or PB (personal best as those across the pond say).  In a way I'm always racing against MYSELF more than any other person. That being said, hearing your name called for an age group award ROCKS!  Ok race report time :-).

(spent too much time here before and after the race, yuck)

Today was the Capital City Classic 10k, my absolute favorite 10k course, it's flat and when I bother to look around, has some absolutely gorgeous scenery.  I really should have skipped it this year though, yesterday I was plagued with the most hellacious pollen induced headache for most of the day and just felt completely out of it.  Top that off with gastrointestinal issues today and it doesn't make for a very promising race.  Didn't even bother doing any warmup, my goal was to just finish and gather up the grand prix points for crossing the finish line. Thankfully several of the people I try to run with whenever possible that are around the same pace as me were there (YAY!!).  

(some of my gurls!!)

First mile I woulda sworn that I wasn't going to make it to mile 3 much less finish......felt extremely lethargic and just couldn't seem to get my legs to move.  Funny that it was at an 8:02 pace, sure didn't feel that fast. We also had a VERY heavy breather fall in behind us, I don't want to knock anyone getting out there but oh man does it throw off my breathing rhythm :-(.   Mile 2 finally settled into a good steady, sustainable pace and grabbed a water from the first stop........huge mistake!  My gi issues decided to flare up then, yikes! Right, steady pace, steady breathing, work through it--8:30. Mile 3 I felt like hey, I can make it so long as I don't have to make a sudden pitstop in the woods, lol--8:28.

Mile 4 starting to catch up and pass people(and a few were passing me, grrrr), joked around with a few runners around me  which helped me pick up the pace, stomach issues were easing (thank goodness!)--8:12.  Mile 5, can see Carol's ponytail in the distance so made that my goal to catch her, she's fantastic to run with, always a great cheerleader--8:12.  How odd are those mile splits? Bang on though.  Mile 6 was  cheered on by Carol and that helped me picked up the pace--8:02.  And then comes the longest .26 miles evah!!!!  Could see the finish chute but didn't think it was getting any closer no matter how fast I ran--1:54 which works out to a 7:18 minute pace per mile.  

All told, my garmin time was 51:18 (didn't shut off right away), official time was 51:16, not a chip timed race with over 500 participants so that's not bad at all......especially for a race I intended to use as a training run.  Ended up being a course pb, last year was 53:22, 2009 was 51:50.  I think this is my 4th best 10k time overall but would have to do a more thorough check before saying so for sure.  Good enough for 3rd in my age group today and with my training numbers lately, I will own today proudly.  Finished it up with  3.28 miles with friends to bring my total for the day over 9.5 miles.

Today's age group award, really funky looking re-usable plastic cups. Much heavier than they look.

02 April 2011

A bit of fun stuff

Most of my family knows that I have a thing for shoes........It was always a standing joke growing up about my passion for wanting to have cute shoes and there might have been one temper tantrum about being forced to wear an ugly pair before I was old enough to babysit and earn money to purchase my own footwear.....needless to say that shoe passion might have developed into an obsession, lol.  With that I thought that I might actually start reviewing some of my favorites I've accumulated.

I'm not saying that I have a closet overflowing with shoes, I have developed some level of pickiness, some might even call it persnickety but I do have quite a collection started.  Right now, though I'm kind of disappointed with the majority of what's on the market.  I HATE the zipper in the back of the heel, patent is getting way overdone, and what's up with everything being an extreme platform?  Platforms are great, some styles look best with one but does EVERY BLASTED PAIR have to be a platform???  I've been on a search for single sole 5" heels and it's nigh impossible right now.  Oh, that brings up another grumble, people who calculate the heel height by including the platform height......yes, I did mention persnickety earlier :D.  The patent to me just looks plastic for the most part, about the only designer who gets it right is Ruthie Davis and her shoes are just over the top fantastic (and mostly out of my price range sadly).

Ok, rant over :-), now onto what I have liked. This past season I've ADORED the variety and quality of boots that were available......yes, I am unabashedly a boot gurl and have taken as much advantage of the plethora of styles available as my finances would allow.  One pair that I scored this year were the Julians by Dolce Vita.  Absolutely gorgeous boot, buttery soft black leather.  The heel is covered in the same gorgeous leather and the boot has the tough lug sole that I love so much and makes it easier to wear in more inclement weather. One of my complaints is that the calf is a bit too wide and while I have skinny(ish) legs, I do have very muscular calves.  The other is that these had one spot on the big toe area of both boots that rubbed a blister, I now just wear them with thin socks.  Specs: 4" heel with 3/4" platform so in reality a 3.25" heel, 14" boot opening, 15.5" height.  The 8 1/2 ran true to size.  Very, very versatile, I wear them with both jeans tucked in and skirts. If they weren't so gorgeous, I'd even wear them while driving because of the lug sole (shhh, I actually have when I knew I wasn't going to have to get out and muck about fueling and stuff, lol).