Wednesday, November 17, 2010

West Side

I am a West-sider. Have I ever mentioned this? Likely not. I am from a lovely southwest suburb of Cleveland called Berea. I am proud of my hometown. It was after all, the grindstone capital of the world. It also proudly boasts Baldwin-Wallace College (my alma matter) with its superior conservatory, musical theater program and overall attentiveness to the student. Not a fan of the arts, we've got football too. Ever hear of Coach Tressel? Yep, the Tressel family is from Berea. Not a Buckeyes fan? Well Berea's got this team called the Cleveland Browns. Heeeeellllllo Hillis.

Cleveland is a fine city. As stated earlier, I am from the west. It seems in Cleveland the division between east and west is pretty stated. West-siders dislike venturing into places like Lyndhurst, and east-siders wouldn't be caught dead in Rocky River. Each respective "side" disdains the other. I don't know why, I don't question it. It's just the way it is. So with this awesome logic I am always proud to tout the fact that I am from the west side. But to be fair, Cleveland as a whole is a pretty kick ass place.

So, why is Cleveland so special. Lots of reasons. I'll give you a few gems.

1.) West Side Market: This market has been doing its thing since the 1840's! You want it, they got it. A trip to the market wouldn't be complete without some pizza bagels, homemade pierogis, a poppyseed roll and some smokies.

2.) Malls: So this might not appeal to everyone, but the west-side suburbs have the sweetest shopping. Though none of the west-side malls have a Saks or a Nordstroms, ( I can't afford that stuff anyhow) they basically have everything else. Southpark, Great Northern and Crocker Park are the stuffs that shopping dreams are made of. *sigh*

3.) The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo: I LOVE the zoo. I have some amazing memories from the zoo. It's a fairly decent sized zoo that's just a good time to walk around. It's currently under some serious construction, (making way for a mighty big elephant habitat) but it's still sweet. They even has a Rainforest in it's own geodesic dome. It's 80 degrees year round in there, a nice pick me up in the middle of winter if I don't say so myself!

4.) A Christmas Story House: Interested in seeing "the soft glow of electric sex?" Yes ladies and gents, the movie A Christmas Story was indeed filmed in Cleveland. You can still see the house (as it's been restored to all its movie magic glory.) Most of the outdoor scenes were actually filmed either in downtown Cleveland at Public Square or in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood.

5.) Beer: Yes folks, Cleveland has lots of beer. Local breweries include the GLBC, Cornerstone Brewing Co, Rocky River Brewing Co, The Brew Kettle, and Fat Head's Brewery just to name a few.

6.) Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River: So maybe the river did catch on fire once, but seriously the lake and the river make parts of Cleveland quite picturesque. There are cruise boats (with varying degrees of kitsch) that take you around and show you a good time, like the GoodTime III and the Nautica Queen. On the lake front is Cleveland Browns Stadium (watch out kickers, the wind can be wicked), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center. Not to mention, it's a great place to be proposed to. :-)

7.) CMA: Just click on the link... it really speaks for itself.

So, I could keep going, but I'll stop. Cleveland is full of good times. The food scene is progressively getting super awesome. (Thanks Michael Symon.) There are fun neighborhoods and each suburb has a unique personality with something to offer.

Cleveland proper is a beautiful city with some fantastic examples of american architecture. There isn't a day of the year that wouldn't be a nice day to take a stroll around Cleveland, and I'll always stand by that statement.

The point: While I do like to simply exalt my hometown, there is a more specific reason for this blog. Yesterday I was lamenting my weight gain and general laziness when I did something a bit hastily. I busted out the debit card, got me to the internets and signed up for the Cleveland Half-Marathon, after all - the route does go through the west side. ;-)

I ran this morning. For the first time in a month.

Oh, and all you readers gearing up for Cleveland - hit me up as I can definitely promise to show you Cleveland's best!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


you just need a little pick me up.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finding my Enthusiasm

I know I stopped posting. Why? Because I had lost my enthusiasm. How could I be the Enthusiast without it?

I didn't want to run.

I didn't want to work.

I didn't want to edit my thesis.

I was a blob of frustrations and self-deprecating behavior, I was eating McDonald's way too much and not moving at all. I stopped caring.

Without going into psychoanalytical mode, let me just say that I've had problems like this in the past, but I thought that was all behind me. I was wrong. Sometimes, when you're a type A, an overachiever, a "the best" type - you stop thinking about all the good you can do, and focus on all the other things you're not accomplishing. I was stuck thinking about the latter and it was paralyzing me. I had lost my mojo.

I had to find it. (Yes bloggers, I am an Austin Powers fan.)

With Ohio fall proving to be beautiful as always, I used nature to help get me out of my haze. (read: Thoreau) I decided that since all the encouragement from my loved ones (read: Viper) was falling on deaf ears, I had to find my mojo for myself.

Ultimately, it was a whole plethora of events that brought me back to my mojo. Lately I've been feeling that urge, that something, the drive that makes me go and today, my friends, today I found my mojo. Everything just felt right, the nagging voice in the back of my head was gone and I was ready to take on the day will full vigor, with ENTHUSIASM. Today I worked out, ran, ate right, taught the hell out of my classes. Today for the first time in a really long time I feel confident. And it feels damn good.

Moving forward I have two major goals:

1) Finish my damn thesis!

2) Get myself into great shape, I'm getting married in less than a year!

I leave you all with this little gem of Hollywood. :-D

Monday, August 23, 2010

What's black and blue... ?

and embarrassed all over? Me.

For this I have to back pedal. Last week Viper and I headed out to the bike and hike trail in the Summit Metroparks. He was aiming to log his longest/fastest run barefoot. I was aiming to be course support on the bike. We started and immediately there was a hill. I hate hills on the bike. I was ready to just walk the bike up- but then a sudden urge on inspiration came over me - I was going to own that hill. I got my momentum going, got out of the seat and went to shift when the panic set it. I totally utterly and completely forgot wether or not my left thumb or my left index finger would shift me down. Fuck. I was so out of practice with gear shifting and so overwhelmed by my enthusiasm in taking the hill I drew a blank and shifted up, more panic followed by a rookie mistake, a too quick downshift.

The result.

Me, pedaling faster than hell on the steepest part of the incline out of my seat with my chain helplessly off the gears. I don't know much about physics, but I 'm sure there's some law that could explain the inevitability of my falling. (Or is that just gravity?) My right calf slammed against the pedal as I did everything in my power to stay upright.

The result.

Two very nasty bruises on the inside of my right calf.

Wait - it gets better.

This past weekend while in Fort Wayne Dobson and I were out to enjoy a leisurely walk on the Rivergreenway. My goal was to walk from the trial head to the old fort in the city. I knew Dobson would be up to the challenge so we set out as Viper was aiming to do his 20 miler. All was well, the Dob and I passed points of interest (who knew a water treatment plant could be such a fine example of American architecture) and finally made it to the fort. I was disappointed when I got there for two reasons: 1) the bathrooms were padlocked shut and Dobson desperately needed water, 2) and there were no historical placards in sight. There's nothing worse than being in a historical sight and not being able to read up on why it was so damn important. We turned around, eager to finish the walk.

About a half mile in a biker whizzed past us from behind and Dobson was startled, he jumped and his head hit the outside of my left calf. I felt an odd sensation at that moment. Pressure followed by intense pain. I looked down and saw a blood-filled bump on my calf about the size of a dime. I kept walking and the pain got worse, my calf felt as though it were on fire - the next time I looked down the dime sized bump has literally turned into the size of a golf ball. SHIT. I had a huge visible clot of blood on my calf. The skin around the whole calf was dotted red and the bump was growing in size. I was in the middle of a long stretch of scenic pathway and I was getting scared. I called Viper, but I knew he wouldn't answer - he only turns his phone on to call at the turnarounds. I left a panicked voicemail. I'm not a doctor. Was it a blood clot? Did a vein burst? Was this thing going to travel up my leg and kill me? ( A bit extreme, I know, but I was scared.) The bottom line, if I walked it hurt and got bigger. So I stopped walking. I called my future sister-in-law and explained the situation. Within the next 20 minutes future father-in-law and sister-in-law were at my side getting Dobson and I situated in the makeshift ambulance.

In the meantime Viper called to let me know he was at his turnaround (unaware of the voicemail) and I'm sure I gave him one hell of a shock. I knew he was too far out to be of any timely help and I didn't want him to feel helpless so I finally told him just to finish his run. In the ambulance we headed home to coffee, homemade pancakes and sausage. (Much better than any ER.)

The result.

I still don't quite know what the thing on my leg is. My mom has a history with stuff like this, she told me it was burst blood vessel and that it will eventually go down and turn into one hell of an ugly bruise. If I see red lines or if it migrates I need to haul ass to the hospital. If anyone knows better - let me know. :-)

I have to very bruised and sore legs now. I feel rather silly and embarrassed when I look down and see so much black and blue. Here's to hoping for cooler, long pants weather.

Friday, August 20, 2010


It's been forever since I've posted. I know. Why, you ask? Life. Half-marathon training? Nope. Working? Yes. Thesis-ing? Sorta. Prepping for my now three (previously two) courses this fall? Not really. Recently finding out my Art History II courses at different campuses (at the same university) are using different books? Undoubtedly. Getting ridiculously excited for the wedding? Yes'sir.

I haven't posted because I just haven't felt all that enthusiastic about anything lately, aside from wedding plans, and who wants to read a wedding planning blog, really? This summer is almost over and I've accomplished just about nothing on my list of things to do. I am determined to graduate this fall, but with three courses on my plate and prepping for two of them as first-time courses my confidence is wavering. I stopped training for the half when it stopped being fun. I started dreading every day on the calendar that had a small circled number in the corner "to run." Anxiety would creep into my muscles when I would realize after a 10 hour work day that I was supposed to go home to work on the thesis stuff and run. The reality - it wasn't going to happen.

I beat myself up over all of it for quite a while. I didn't understand why I couldn't be more productive. Why couldn't I work, run, prep for classes and work on a thesis? I had a really hard time understanding what was wrong with me. My enthusiasm was gone and I felt defeated.

Then it happened - the unpredictable.

I was on my way into work on a Monday morning, dazed, tired and in no mood to be getting off the highway. I wasn't paying close attention the the queue of cars in front of me waiting to merge onto the exit and then - THUD. My head was looking left, my car was facing right and my front bumper had shoved itself into the rear end of a small s-10. "Shit, I just got into an accident." An old man emerged from the small truck, looked at the damage and took out a cell phone - he documented the damage. Meanwhile all I could think about was the long line of cars behind us waiting to exit the highway. The last thing I wanted was to hear about my idiocy over the radio traffic report. Finally, we pulled into the nearest gas station and assessed the situation. Not too bad, his car looked much worse than mine. I went to my folk's place (since they live closer to my work than I do) and started with the insurance stuffs.

Long story short. My car was totaled. Apparently the force of impact shoved around the inside parts of my car - a.c. was done, radiator was cracked - in the end, it would have cost more than the 2000 Hyundai Elantra was worth to fix it.

The Viper and I are just getting our bearings as a financially responsible young couple so I spent days stressing over the car, wondering how we could afford a new car, feeling silly for having gotten us in this situation. He was my rock, he reassured me we would figure things out and not to worry. I tried, but let me tell you- trying not to worry can be pretty damn stressful.

Then I let go. My family stepped in with amazing generosity and I realized that life happens. We don't have control - really. I plan, I organize, I stress and I put ridiculous amounts of pressure on myself to perform extraordinarily well. And for what? Success? Success by who's measure? Mine? Yours? My advisor's? My parent's? (See where I'm going with this....)

I wear the pollyanna hat best, I just need to don it again. My new goal. To be enthusiastic about what I pursue. Simple. Easy. Stress free.

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Slang

It's beautiful out there today, and I might add, it was a lovely day for a short run. With some perfect tunes I geared up (somewhat reluctantly) and hit the pavement in my neighborhood. My training went from awesome to non-existent last week. But this week I was hell bent on getting back out there. So far - eh, kinda good.

I got out there Tuesday with Dobson. I took him to Sand Run- that was interesting. The hills of Sand Run are usually enough to get me down within my first mile, but when you have a 70 pound ball of fur on the end of a rope zig-zagging you around the trail you don't notice the hills so much. I still don't exactly know how the run went, it was sporadic, crazy and consisted of lots of "good boy's" and "watch me's!"

I was supposed to run a recovery on on Wednesday. That didn't happen. I did it today. (So much for recovery.) I plan on picking up and not missing any miles for the week, but that means back to back days of running, something my body is not used to. Regardless, I need to get back on track. I got myself into this pickle...

The long weekend ahead thus far looks to be packed full of bbq's, family, friends, running, biking and hopefully - relaxing poolside. - Thank god our Founding Fathers didn't decide to declare independence in winter

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Everything looks better with an engagement ring on your finger...

every outfit
every purse
every can of Coke Zero
every curling iron
every dirty dish
every pen (I am a lefty after all...)

And ultimately, every time I think about my future, it looks much better knowing I'll always have my man right there with me.

(For details, click here)

And I love you, my dear.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Murderers, Rapists and Ribena

As you all may be aware, my training has been going pretty darn well. I've had to slide some training days around to accommodate my schedule, but I'm getting the miles in and that's the most important part.

What you are not aware of is what happened this past Saturday on the towpath. Viper explains "Saturday night was a seven-miler at race pace (8:54 pace) with the Enthusiast biking." What he does not explain, is well - the whole story.

We left late to get in our respective runs/cross training. I had pooped out on a run earlier in the week and was committed to getting in the mile I lost in a not-so-awesome attempt at running mid-day. (Damn humid Ohio summers.) The plan was simple: Viper would run my first half mile with me, I would turn back to finish my full mile, jump on my bike and catch up to the Vip. As all of this was happening the sun was slowly setting. Picturesque, JMW Turner-like, right? Wrong.

After I got my bike off the car and make a quick pit stop at the latrine (smelly!) I began at a nice steady pace on the bike to meet up with my man. The sun was sinking over the corn fields of Szalay's and then - BOOM. DARKNESS. I could hear birds, feel the crushed limestone under my wheels but I COULD NOT SEE A DAMN THING. The backlight on my bike computer pooped out at some point while in storage (read: sitting in the exposed shed all winter) and I had no idea what time it was, how far I had gone or how long I had been on my bike. I began to panic. Where was Viper? I mean the woods is where all the murderers and rapists hang out. I could be dashing right past his dismembered body and not even know it. I tried to do the math of where we would meet on the path in my head but sheer panic is not conducive to figuring out math in my simple artsy head. I was surrounded by blackness and I had, honest to God, never been so afraid in my whole life. I just kept peddling faster and faster, when I would feel a twinge in my leg I would down shift my gears. I was freaked and flying on the bike.

Now, I know some of you must be thinking, "C'mon lady, it's not that scary in the park at night." And for some of you, I'm sure it's not. But I grew up fearing the park, trails and wilderness at nighttime. My mother always warned be about those murderers and rapists. But the scariest part of all was not knowing where Viper was, he was on foot and my skewed math had told me I should have met up with him long before I actually did...

Panic. Panic was consuming all of my thoughts. I think I might have actually been whimpering at one point. Then finally, finally - I found Viper. He was alive - and well. I was so relieved to see him I just lost it right then and there on my bike. We rode/ran back at a nice pace but admittedly even with the Vip there, I was still quite relieved to finally see the turn off for our trail head.

In the end I learned a few very important lessons on Saturday night.
1) I'm a big wimp when it comes to being in the dark.
2) Never go running/biking in the park when it's dark again.
3) Stop watching CSI, Unsolved Mysteries, Cold Case Files, Forensic Files, etc...


Yesterday I did my long run. My legs were still sore from my biking frenzy on Saturday night so my coach came with me for the much needed encouragement. I did four miles with a route that introduced me to The Bastard Garman Hill. I killed the hill. Seriously. And Viper, he was always a step or two behind as I climbed to my glory. I know he could have vaporized me on that hill, but he didn't. Now that my friends - that's love.

And finally - Ribena. Much thanks to Xenia for sending me the BEST care package ever. I mellowed out last night with my Ribena, but not before sharing with Dobson. :-D

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Doin' It

Well folks, I'm doing it.

My training is going really well, the running is getting a tad easier and I'm actually kinda sorta for reals enjoying it.

I'm still having issues finding the best way to cover my bottom half. I am pear shaped and I cannot wear running shorts unless I want them to ride up my crotch the whole time. My New Balance Bonita Run Skirt has seriously been a life saver, as it covers my ass wonderfully. The only downer, I need to wear capri tights under it, or else the shorts underneath ride up. The issue: it's HOT in Ohio right now, and super humid. My goal: A pair of running tight shorts, knee length or so, to wear under the skirt. (Could this get any more complicated?) I'm a girlie girl, I like skirts and cute tank tops and bright colors - can I help it if I want to look super cute when I'm out there sweating my ass off? ;-)

In other news, the job is settling down which means I need to get my ass in gear prepping for next semester. I'm teaching a new course in the fall and have yet to get that ball rolling. Now that I've literally got my ass in gear I need figuratively shift it into an art history gear, and fast.

Oh yeah, and that thesis thing. Need to finish that. Right.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Inner Monologue

A trip into my head during a run... it's not too scary, I promise.
(For those readers in foreign lands that can't access youtube links, this is No Doubt's In My Head, from their Rocksteady album.)

"Damn, It's already 7:00 pm and I have to run 3 miles today.
The Viper will get all bad ass coach on me if I don't get my run in before he gets home from the banjo jam.
Oh, I'll wear my new capris. I hope they don't suck.
I wonder if all girls have as many issues as I do finding running shorts/skirts/capri's that work?
I have such wide hips it's ridiculous.
I lost 2.2 pounds at my weigh in this week, so that's good.
But I gained 1.8 the week before, so really I only lost .4 - hell, that's still good. It's something.
Will I get faster as I get slimmer?
I hope I do at least a bit.

Out the door. I usually feel more motivated once I get going.
I'm going.
I'm not motivated.
Damn, my right ankle is twitching funny.
Will I have to stop? (That would be kinda nice though, not having to do this today...)
But no, the ankle is fine - just adjusting.

Shit. These capris SUCK.
Holy wedgie and camel toe.

Dammit, I have to run down Merriman like this.
All the rich people will point and laugh at my massive wedgie issue from their gigantic home windows.
They'll think to themselves 'Poor girl, she can't afford a trainer, personal chef and liposuction.'
They'll pity me.

I can't wait to turn down a side street.
Thank you God, side street is here.
Why is this run so hard today? This whole week has been hard.
My coach has worked me.

Tuesday I ran, Thursday I ran and did strength, Saturday I biked for 30 minutes.
The bike ride was tough. Been since September or so since I've been on the bike.
My ass hurt and my thighs burned.

No wonder my legs feel like lead.
I haven't been this active since I trained for my first 5k in Nov of 2008.
I was so motivated then. I remember the first time I ran over 2 miles, I was on vacation with Viper in Cooperstown, NY.
I ran along Lake Otsego.
Damn, I could go for some Cooley's wings.
That was such a beautiful morning, the sun rising over the lake, smoke on the water, rolling hills - it was marvelous and I was so excited.

I need that kind of enthusiasm again.
This is hard.
Running is hard for me.
When will it get easier?
Will it get easier?
I've taken so many walk breaks this is crazy.
I suck.
No, you don't suck. You're out here - that's all that matters.

That was close, I honestly didn't know if that was burp or barf coming up.

Lame, only 2.5 miles in and I almost yack.
Quit getting down on yourself! This is your first week of training in forever!

Almost home.
Just dig deep, finish strong.
Damn, is it 'walk your family down the street day' in our neighborhood.
Stupid wedgie pants.

Oh well.
Home is in sight.
Kick it in.

That felt good."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Don't Like Running

Well, I may have done something very stupid the other day. This being said - here's the back story...

I got inspired at my last Weight Watcher's meeting. The topic of "activity" came up. (WW doesn't like the word exercise for some reason.) My meeting leader basically said we become active for one of two reasons. Reason 1: We actually like the activity we do, i.e., dancing with some Zumba, relaxing with some yoga, hitting the trails on your bike, etc. Reason 2: We don't necessarily like the activity, but we like the reward. I guess I never really thought about it that way. I realized the reason I bike: I like it. The reason I run: I like the reward.

The other integral event in this story, the Tallmadge 5-K Memorial Run. I'm used to going to races to watch the Viper run. But this run was different, a friend of mine who popped out a baby less than a year ago ran. She wasn't a runner, she hadn't run before her pregnancy, she just did a couch to 5k program. She ran, she finished and she was very happy. It reminded me of how I felt when I started running - the sense of immense accomplishment from hitting one mile for the first time, then TWO and so on... Something inside of me was stirring, my word - was it MOTIVATION?

After all this my head was wondering, "Could I run a half-marathon?" I never thought I could run a 5-K, but I did. I bounced this idea off Viper, he had nothing but the utmost confidence in me. That's when I realized - "If he thinks I'm so damn able, then let him be in charge of this whole endeavor!" Hence, a coach is born.

So, this is where I am. I am in Akron, with my man, coach, Viper (Note: We are not married, we live in sin. Hopefully, this will change. ;-o ) I have no real idea why I'm doing this but I just feel like I need to do this. I will run the Akron Half Marathon and I will finish. Damn skippy.

I leave you all (and myself) with some happy words of motivation from Marathoning for Mortals.

Who you can be doesn't depend on who you have been.

And a cute pic of Dobson.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010




So... um.... right.

I don't really know where to begin. I got a new job to supplement the teaching and it's been taking up a LOT of my time. Life has been, well- life. It's been crazy and a bit overwhelming. My enthusiasm for any kind of activity has seriously waned.

So what now? I purge. (Not barf.) And look to you (the blogging community) for support and advice.

First off. Feeling jiggly. (Not as in Jell-O Jigglers) I've always been a curvy lady. Usually my curves are just right, nice and feminine and I feel good swinging my hips in a well fitting pair of jeans. Not so much of late. My most recent runs have taken a toll on my ankles and admittedly - when I get out there I just feel jiggly. I feel like I'm moving in slow motion (I'm slow - but not that slow), and it's like my my body is just a mass a rippling fat rolls. Now, I know I'm exaggerating, but ladies I know some of you can back me up on this - sometimes it really does feel like that. Ya know? A recent trip to the scale and a panic attack over an ill fitting pair of jeans induced me to take some serious action. I am now enrolled in Weight Watchers (I've done it before, so I know it works) and I've lost 6 lbs. to date! :-D I am ready to attack the beast that is hunger and emotional eating. I want the jiggles to go away.

Secondly. I don't really want to run. I feel big and slow, I feel like I need some other form of activity to hold my interest for now. I have history with my super awesome mountain bike and a well worn tennis racket, but my motivation is - ZERO. I need help, I need to find my enthusiasm. Someone please challenge me, give me some great motivational speech, threaten my, call me names - ANYTHING!

I thank you in advance for all of your help.

Seriously. I need help.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Ouch, my ass hurts."

So, where have I been? Working 2 1/2 jobs. I am still teaching two art history courses, but I recently have been hired by the US Census Bureau as an enumerator. To add to that hot mess, I just recently did some intensive interviewing for an office manager/reception position. I got the job, wooohooo, and that starts full time on Friday. So, needless to say between teaching, enumerating (gotta love the gov't - why can't they just say "counting?") and interviewing, things have been kinda nuts.

But this weekend I finally managed to get a run in - and for some crazy reason I thought trail running sounded like a good idea. The Viper, Martini and I hit up O'Neil woods on Sunday.

Now, I have to preface all of this by admitting that I got my woods/trails mixed up. There are so many different woods and trails in our area, I honestly though we were going to a trail that I had hiked before -- I was wrong. It wasn't until The Viper informed me that we were driving with Martini, since he didn't know where the trail was, that I realized, "Oh shit - I've never been to this trail before." And about a half a second after that realization The Viper continues to inform me that "Martini says this trail is really hilly." If Martini thinks it's hard - then damn - I'm screwed. This is the guy who actually places in races and stuff. I was already worried about slowing the boys down, but now it was inevitable. But being quick on my toes, I decided that Dobson would want to come. I could blame my ridiculous pace on the dog! :-D

We got out there, Martini lights years ahead, and The Viper, Dobson and I began to run. I like the feel of the dirt under my shoes, so much nicer than pavement. The trail seemed nice enough at first, then - THE STAIRS. You try holding onto an eager 60 lb puppy while running down a seeming never ending series of staircases. I did not like this portion of the trail - running down stairs sucks. But then things leveled out, the scenery was nice with a babbling brook to boot. I had to seriously pace myself and walk when I needed to, but I was determined not to flake out, I had to really try. Going back uphill was a bitch. The hills were steep and at times gravity really pissed me off, but I ran up every hill (though the last being so steep you're practically forced to walk near the summit.)

I did one loop, was grateful for The Viper and his encouraging words. After some much needed hydration I sat in the grass with the Dob and relaxed. After another loop with Martini, The Viper joined me in the cool grass. We waited for Martini.

I felt good about myself, I got out there and really worked hard. The entire car ride home was I was reveling in my accomplishment until I started feeling twinges of pain near my ass. Odd, I thought. I got out of the car once home and the first words out of my mouth, "Ouch, my ass hurts!"

Today, the ass not so much, but my calves sure are screaming.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I got out there. Finally I sucked it up, laced up the kicks and ran. It's a beautiful morning here in Akron so I figured best to take advantage. Not to mention, if I want to train for my first 10K in June I need some base mileage to start out with.

My plan was simple, gear up, listen to some tunes and run for about 20 minutes. I know this doesn't sound like much, but I've never ran distances of more than 5 miles, so I wanted to take it nice and easy. I chose a route around the neighborhood that took me up and down a couple of small hills where I got to see some great architecture and soak up sun. I contemplated taking Dobson with me, but decided I needed this run to be just me and my tunes.

I love running with music, it keeps me motivated and I find if I sing along it helps me keep my breathing in check. It always amazes me how much a song can do for my spirits when running. So I have decided to share what is currently on my ipod shuffle with you!

Coldpay - Viva la Vida (note: I ALWAYS start every run with this song. Just gets me going!)
Duffy - Mercy
Katie Perry - Hot N Cold
Taylor Swift - Love Story
Steve Perry- Oh Sherrie
Kevin Rudolph - Let it Rock
Weezer - Hash Pipe
Estelle - American Boy
Jimmy Luxury and The Tommy Rome Orchestra - Cha Cha Cha
Gwen Stefani - Now That You Got It
Pussy Cat Dolls - When I Grow Up
Metro Station - Shake It
The Go-Go's - Our Lips are Sealed
Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
Tegan and Sara - Walking With A Ghost
Gwen Stefani - Wind it Up

I normally just let the shuffle do its thing. I've been know to dance while running, I just about always get a chest pump in and it's not unheard of to see me running with my hands in the air just getting down. What can I say, I like to dance. :-D

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rosalie Recommends!

I have decided that I need a weekly installment for my blog. Every Wednesday to spruce up your mid-week hump day I will post a Rosalie Recommends! In this weekly blog I will include five items I find worthy of discussing.

The first item will relate to running or biking in some manner; don't expect these items to always be traditional, I'm going to take a lot of liberties here!

The second will have to do with food. I love food, I love to cook and I love to eat - I just want to share the wealth.

Item no. 3 will relate to shopping - perhaps a good cheap find or something I just realized I absolutely couldn't live without.

I like to read so the fourth item will be a book recommendation. There's only one problem with this - I have a tendency not to finish books. I'll get about 3/4 of the way through... then .... well.... I hope to recommend books I've read all the way through, but I make no promises.

And for the final item, it's anything goes!

So enough of the explanation, here's the blog!

Rosalie Recommends!

You can find some great deals on running apparel here. Shorts for $5, shirts for $10. I've never had any shipping or billing issues. The only caveat - shop fast. I've put things in my shopping cart that are gone by the time I check out!!

2. Mayonnaise
So yeah, I love mayo. If it were socially acceptable, I'd dip my french fries in it. I know it's not the healthiest, but since it's one of my favorite condiments, it had the be the first food I recommend. I've even been known to make my own. Need a recipe, click here. I like it on pizza too. Now before you all go running to hurl in buckets - I'm not the only one. If it's good enough for Bill Rodgers it's good enough for me!

I love to plan and be organized. I have always had a super hard time finding a planner/organizer the suites my needs ... but not anymore! These organizers are amazing. You can make them work just about any way you need them to. I highly recommend for all of you super organized freaks like me out there!

This book might not be for everyone, it's in the metaphysical section at Borders, but it's one of my favorites. When I need to find focus I turn to this book. It's calming and inspiring - just makes me feel like life is going the way it is for a reason. It's short and a fast read, so give it a look see.

I love Taco Bell, I could eat it nearly every day and not get sick of it. (And no, I don't put mayo on my burritos.) The bean burrito really is a thing of beauty, so tasty and so good. Now before you go knocking fast food, just consider that the bean burrito really isn't that bad for you. At 370 calories, 10 grams of fat (3.5 saturated and 0 trans fat), 11 grams of fiber and 14 grams of protein, you just can't beat that with a stick! The only downer, 1,270 mg of sodium, so don't go overboard with the burrito goodness!

I hope you find my recommendations helpful, and at the least - interesting!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Have a Plan

I bought a new pair of sunglasses yesterday, spring must be on its way!

I finally feel as though I am emerging from my dark hole of Byzantine hell and I'm getting the itch to be active again. Wooohooo! Dobson has gotten more walks in the last two days than he has in the last few weeks combined, and when I see the runners and bikers speeding past I have the urge to be out there like them. This is monumental as up until now my only urges have been for McDonald's, shopping and redecorating.

With this renewed spirit for outdoor activity I have devised a plan, kind of. I have desperately missed my bike, so I was thinking to get back into shape I would do nice short bricks on the towpath. I figure the first time back out, I'll take it super easy - 4 on the bike then run 2. This isn't based on any method or Runner's World article, it just seems like something I would enjoy and something that won't kick my ass. I don't want to feel discouraged the first time back in the saddle. Then I'll up the miles from there!

The ultimate goal: The Jim Klett Memorial 10K. It's not until June 19th, so I have plenty of time to get my ass into gear. I will devise a plan at some point and keep all posted on my progress!

It feels good to have a running goal again! (Let's just see how good I feel 20 minutes into my first long run :-P )

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm Not Dead

I'm not dead. I'm just writing. The thesis goes to the advisor and readers tomorrow.

The Viper has bribed me with jewelry, haircuts and trips to to get this thing done. What a wonderful boyfriend.

I don't know what running is, I don't know what exercise is. I only know things Byzantine, liturgical, "provincial" and to the general public, simply all things boring.

I'll be back. Soon - I hope. But not before some serious boozing.

Wish me luck because I know I'll need it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Day in the Life

Running? No...
Relaxing? Yes..
... and the puppy too!...
Thesis? Necessary Evil...
Dinner? Chili anyone?!
The kicks for the next few weeks? Not so much these...
as these!

It's February in Akron. Since running just isn't going to happen I have decided that I must commit myself to winter sporting of some sort. The options:

Ice Skating
Downhill Skiing
Cross Country Skiing
Snow Shoeing
Chasing puppy at dog park

I tried downhill skiing once, in Austria (where the Alps are.) I don't think I'll be hitting up our local ski resorts, let's just say the Alps left a lasting impression. I will consider ice skating though, could be fun - right? The cross country skiing and the snow shoeing, I'd like to give both a go; they seem strenuous but enjoyable. As for the hiking - of course! Too many great trails not to try. And the puppy chasing, well that's a given.

Reports to follow. The scale has informed me it's time to get moving again. :-)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bad Neighbor, Good Dog

Dobson has been the only form of exercise I have had of late, and today, well today was a day for the books. First, I must digress and take us back to Saturday night. It was approximately 11:30 p.m. when the Viper and I got home from a concert. Dobson was happy to see us and eager to play a game of fetch. Our apartment hallway is quite long, so we proceeded to take advantage of that great hallway and play fetch with our adorable pooch. Dobson was in utter glory bounding up and down the hallway chasing after his Kong tennis ball. Suddenly, our evening of revelry was disturbed by a loud knock at the door. The Viper went to answer while Dobson managed to grab a pillow off the couch and run around with it - typical puppy behavior. But who was at the door you might ask? It was our neighbor. She was frazzled. Overwhelmed. Fed up. She gestured wildly to the Viper, explaining that our "shared wall" was creating a cacophony of sound. The "constant" up and down was too much! And the barking - rue the barking! (Note: I did some record taking. At the height of his barking, he emitted 6 barks in one hour) After she left, we calmed Dobson down and within the hour he was quietly resting by the fireplace. So, no harm, no foul - right?


This morning I was going about my everyday business, just watching some tv and getting ready for the day ahead. Dobson wanted to play, so we played. We did not play fetch up and down the hallway, and I tried to keep his barking to a minimum. (I believe he may have had a 6 bark hour this morning as well.) While I was attempting to do my hair I heard a knock at the door. Could it be? Really? I mean really? So to the door I went and lo and behold - it's our neighbor. Before a word came out of her mouth I was explaining, "He's just a puppy" I said, "he's still teething!" I implored her to understand that "I am trying!" She looked at me blankly and stated "Well I'm wearing ear plugs and it's still too much." (No lady, the fact that you're wearing earplugs is too much. Seriously.) The exchange seemed pleasant enough but I was furious. My dog is a good dog. He listens to commands and he is sweet as pie. I grabbed his leash, my coat and gloves and we were off. I called the Viper near tears not knowing what to do. I want to be a good neighbor, but I am also a person of reason. The Viper suggested I find a field and run Dobson around, expel the excess energy.

I could not find a field, but I did find a trail. Summit Country Metroparks San Run park has amazing trails, so like a fool I chose to do one I had never done before and knew nothing about. I did the 1.8 mile Dogwood trail with Dobson. Easy enough, right? Again, wrong. It was hell, pure hell. I literally descended down a hill that was damn near straight up and down. I am certain now that Dobson understands the "easy boy" command. I knew at some point I'd have to go back up, but man alive - it was harsh. I was sweaty (as I was in no state of mind to put on my moisture wicking base layer before I left) and gross and my face was bright red by the time I came to the trail head clearing. At one point on my venture back uphill I stopped to eat snow. I STOPPED TO EAT SNOW I WAS SO DAMN FATIGUED.

After we got back home Dobson still wanted to play, so we played. Again, within the parameters that would not disturb the neighbor. I fed him his weight in ice cubes to help with the teething and I went on with the rest of my day. He's passed out in front of the fireplace again and my temper is finally starting to calm down.

The moral of this story. There is none. I needed to vent. Our Dobson is a good puppy and he barely barks. Yes, he's enthusiastic (he must get that from me,) but he is a four month old puppy after all...

Monday, January 18, 2010


Well I finally got out there and ran my first run of 2010. Yesterday I was back in my hometown of Berea and decided I needed to get my ass out there, so Viper and I hit the pavement in my hometown neighborhood and off we went. I don't know if it was the excitement of finally getting out or if it was the fear of an old high school classmate seeing me run, but I bounded out at a pace that was more fitting of the Vip and not of me. But in good form I kept going after that first too fast mile (with some encouragement) and completed my short little jaunt around Berea. The strange part of the run - the fog. There was a weird winter fog permeating the streets and it was pretty darn dense. Maybe not being able to see too far ahead of you when running is a good thing? Regardless, I am quite happy that I finally got my ass back into gear. And today? Well... the legs are a bit sore, but it's that "hurt so good" kind of pain.

Now that I've gotten myself going again... what to expect.

Hell if I know. I've been trying to find some inner peace as of late - the stress of thesis deadlines is really starting to get to me and the semester starts this week. With more students than last semester I'm anxious and after a month and some odd days off I'm strangely nervous to get in front of the classroom again. I haven't set any running goals yet because I fear a goal overload. I have teaching goals and thesis goals and graduation goals and health/weight goals... and now running goals?

Seriously. Can a person have too many goals? This zen blog says so, but is that really my only option - one at a time?

So I am soliciting the help of this online community of running crazies. What do you think? Can I make multiple goals for myself without going nuts and short circuiting? How do you handle stress and getting multiple tasks/goals (i.e. thesis, work, running) done? And please remember, I'm one of those annoying perfectionist types. Damn my need to always be awesome.

I'll take all the help I can get!

I just had to post of pic of Dobson the wonder puppy! :-) Four months old and he's nearly 40 pounds!

Monday, January 4, 2010

So Far, So Very Good

I know I've been gone from the blog-o-sphere for a bit, but I warned that such would happen. (See last blog) So, I'm sure all of you have been anxiously wondering what I have been up to. There has been much in the way of Christmas and New Years merriment, but that's not the big news at all. And yes, there is indeed big news....The Viper and I have a new pet. No, it's not a rock - it's a puppy! I have aptly named him Dobson King and he's the cutest 14 week old Old English Sheepdog I have ever seen.

With this new addition life has been pretty crazy, I haven't been much for running lately, but I have been for walking the dog twice a day. That's gotta count for something, right?

As for my thesis, I doubt I'll reach the verbose heights of Mr. Loser's 220 page thesis, but at least I've actually started writing it - HUGE step in the right direction. And Mike, lemme tell you, it feels good to know that there are other Byzantinists out there that know how to use a computer, let alone how to blog on one. I have had nightmares where I'm a tenured professor in the classroom having to ask the students "How do you turn this damn thing on?" in reference to any one of the pieces of technology in the room. Scary.

I am hoping to get my first run of 2010 in soon, but considering the Akron weather forecast, it likely won't happen until the high reaches at least 30. Until then I'll take the puppy walking. :0)