Happy Thanksgiving (and Liz Trains for a Marathon)

I'm writing this Thursday morning (Happy Thanksgiving!) although my internet connection is somewhat in doubt so it's not clear when I'll actually be posting. I'm also writing this in a plain text editor (see my previous comment about the internet connection) so I have no idea how it will look when I copy it onto my blog.

Yesterday, I had every intention of getting up and going to the gym. I did not. I didn't go Tuesday either. Or Monday. One of my goals with this whole "Liz Trains for a Marathon" thing is to run consistently over the course of the month, even at ahem uncomfortable times. It's a work in progress. This month, I made one five mile run I probably wouldn't have last month.

The drive was, well, I'm really not a fan of driving in, around, or near Chicago. Other than that stretch, it was fine. There were these two crazy merges, one on I-90 and one on I-39 within a couple miles of each other and traffic was less than thrilled about it. This might be one nice thing that comes of me going to Indiana for part of this trip. I don't have to come home that way. Traffic was equally screwed up on the other side of the road.

For most of the trip, I listened to an audio book. Perhaps you've heard of it, Dreams of my Father. I really didn't think I would enjoy listening to a book while I was driving. Usually I prefer to dance and sing at the top of my lungs. It keeps me active and engaged in driving. But I absolutely fell in love with this book. If you've been living under a rock, Dreams of my Father is the first book President-Elect Obama wrote. He wrote it right after he was elected editor of the Harvard Law Review. And of course, he reads the book himself. Thank goodness too, it would be really distracting if it was someone else's voice. Some passages of the book are really eerie, in hind sight. There's one part in particular about moving to Chicago right after the first black mayor was elected and how the white and black communities in Chicago reacted. Although possibly my favorite part was when he realized how his (white) mother saw African children. I loved that part of the book because that's how I see Africa too. When I arrived in Cincinnati last night, I'd just gotten to the part where he meets Rev. Jeremiah Wright for the first time. He'd already applied to law school (glad I know how that turned out), but hadn't heard back yet. Anyways, it's a book I could really get into.

Last night I stayed up and talked with my parents for a while before bed. That was nice, to actually visit with them.

This morning, I did, in fact, get up and run. I went to a bike/running path and ran a little over 5 miles. Go Lizzie. I was supposed to run four times this week, instead I think I may do three runs and cover the same mileage. I'm not sure if that's cheating or not. So, for the record:
Miles today: 5.3 (I'm guessing on the .3, it was over 5, that's kind of a low estimate really)
Miles this week: 10.3
Goal Mileage this week: 15


When people ask me...

When people ask me what my blog is about, I will now direct them to this picture. Hee hee. It's wrong but it's so right at the same time.

In the mean time, let me show you what I've been reading:

Liz Trains for a Marathon

Yesterday. Liz trained for a marathon yesterday. Today, I took a break.
Miles Sunday: 5
Miles for the week: 5
Goal mileage: 15

Actually, I'm supposed to run 4 days this week, 4 miles 3 days and 3 miles the last day, plus a 5 mile run next Sunday (while I'm trying to drive from Indiana to Minneapolis). So it was nice to put in an extra mile yesterday.

Other accomplishments from yesterday:
  • I fixed a leaky faucet Amanda basically fixed a leaky faucet for me but I did have the foresight to invite her over and promise her food, so in some way, I contributed to making my home better. And, amazingly, it only took one trip to the hardware store.

  • Laundry. I did laundry. It sounds small...

  • Vacuuming. That sounds even more ludicrous but given the recent bed bug issue, it's even more necessary. And I hardly ever do it.

  • Shopping, including toys for the toy drive at the YWCA.

All in all, it was a productive weekend. Which explains why I'm so tired now I guess.


Liz Trains for a Marathon

Miles today: 3.0
Miles this week: 14.3
Goal mileage: 14.0

What I learned so far:
  • I like having a schedule laid out, and trusting that it's there. I like being able to think, "ok, all I have to do is worry about today" and trust the plan. It helps me stay focused.

  • Check outside before choosing running apparel. I'm notoriously bad at this one and it's the reason I wind up running in the rain so frequently. Apparently, it snowed overnight. I was going to run outside. I decided my shoes would get too wet and went to the Y. (I don't have that luxury on weekdays when I have limited time to run and get to work.) I'll still try to run outside tomorrow.

I'm still trying to work out my travel and running schedule. I'm scheduled to run 5 miles next Sunday which isn't a super long run, but I don't think I'll be able to do it and then drive home. I might have to put that run sometime earlier this week. Wednesday morning before I drive may be free.

I'm also trying to work out the rest of my Thanksgiving plans. As you know from previous years, I usually go to my aunt and unlces in Ft Wayne Indiana which I typically enjoy. But this year, Dad didn't want to go up there because he has too much work to do on the house(s) or some such nonsense. I was really sad to miss that part of the holidays. I think I've created a plan that my parents may or may not (probably not) like. I'm going to drive down to Cincinnati and spend Thanksgiving and the next day with them, then drive up to Ft Wayne and spend a day there and then drive home. Going up to Ft Wayne doesn't really take time off the drive back to Minnesota, but it doesn't add time either, especially if I get through Chicago nice and early.

Still listening to Rhythm of the Saints and loving it.


From the land of links

Liz Trains for a Marathon

I wonder how many posts will have this same title by the time I'm done. I can't count that high. But I am still on this whole train-for-a-marathon idea.

Miles today: 3.0
Miles this week: 11.3
Goal mileage for the week: 14

Today I ran intervals (run 1 lap, walk 1/2 lap) until the total distance I covered was 3 miles. Intervals are good because they make me run really fast. Besides just completing a marathon, I'm hoping that my times in shorter races get faster over the year. I'm ok running intervals. At first I wasn't sure if it was cheating or not. I've decided not.

Lessons Learned:
  • I can't believe I did 3 miles worth of that interval. Usually I'm dying after way less than that.

  • The hot tub remains an awesome reward. There was a really hot guy tonight swimming in the pool and I had a great view.

  • I can run even when I feel like crap. On a fairly regular cycle, I get really tired and don't want to do anything. Usually at times like these, I don't run because I think it's an impossibility given how tired I am. Nice to know that's not true.

  • Running at night is OK.


Liz Trains for a Marathon

Miles today: 4.0
Miles this week: 8.3
Goal mileage for the week: 14

Lessons learned:
  • Apparently, I can run 4 miles around a track without stopping. Who knew? It got hard to run around the track at the Y for long periods because I was so used to running sprints and intervals on it. I'm getting used to running in circles for long periods of time again.

  • Running on a track when it's [sort of] busy is fun, all those people keep me entertained.

  • Paul Simon's The Obvious Child from Rhythm of the Saints is a great song and needs to appear on all of my exercise playlists.

  • When I wait 'till the evening to run, I feel like a lazy failure all day. That sounds a little a lot melodramatic. I like to run or exercise in the morning, so when I don't, I feel like I've skipped a day, even though I haven't really.

  • The hot tub is the best reward ever after a run. I'm glad I've finally found a reward that doesn't involve food.

  • The hot tub is significantly less crowded on weeknights than on Sunday morning.

Tuesday Linkfest

For Bloggers:

Things I find entertaining:

For the environment and health Amanda:

For those of you interested in geography:
  • Where's the best place to be single? I highly disagree. Minneapolis actually rates 16 in number of singles. All I'd like to know is where the heck are these people? And it's not fair if they're only using census demographics like legally single and married because there's a crap ton of people who are with a partner but not married. Trust me.

  • Where not to live is the least healthy part of the US? While it's no surprise that the middle of Appalachia is first on the list, I'm shocked at Los Angeles and San Bernadino area in California appearing.

  • And the follow up, Where's the healthiest place to live in the US? I highly agree with this one. In the Twin Cities, there's always a road race somewhere, indoor triathalons in the winter and a championship triathalon in the summer, plus the Twin Cities Marathon and the insane number of people riding their bikes everywhere. Way to go us.


Well, I'm haivng a day...

Apparently, I'm having a bit of a day. I called home and talked to Dad as was normal, and then started talking to Mom. For some reason, Mom didn't know I was planning to drive home for Thanksgiving. So then she spent 15 minutes figuring out if I could get home another way. And I asked her stop [obsessing], and then I offered to call her back later [because she was still obsessing], which was when she said she'd stop. And instead of stopping, she kept discussing it, so I told her I loved her and I'd talk to her later.

I'm sorry, it's no fun for me to listen to my mom obsess and repeat herself for 15 minutes, I just wanted to chat with her. Here's the deal. I have a co-worker who obsesses all day, every day. And it drives me up a wall (although her anxiety doesn't transfer to me). On Sunday night, I just don't want to listen to it. Having OCD, I just assume mine isn't as bad as everyone else who has OCD. Is that wrong?

Sunday linkfest

The things that I found interesting:

For Sarah:

For people who shall remain nameless (it's ok, I don't think they read my blog):

For Kelly (and I want to make it clear that I don't think your fat, the article just reminded me of something you said):

Liz Trains for a Marathon

I've officially started training for the Marathon next October. I was able to find a Marathon Training Schedule online that looked pretty reasonable. But that's not what I'm doing. Right now I'm on the Build up plan which builds up to the marathon training program.

Miles today: 4.3
Miles this week: 4.3

Lessons learned:
  • It's too freakin' cold to stop. Ever. And on Sunday mornings, there's not many people out so it's really peaceful out.

  • Whenever I run in the cold, I freeze for the rest of the day. Does anyone else have this issue? Discuss.

  • I'm going to need more cold weather gear. Good thing I bought that stuff yesterday and did laundry today.

  • Days like this are the perfect day for a hot tub. (My membership at the Y just got a whole lot more valuable.)

I actually did go to the Y after running. I lifted some weights and then, sure enough, got in the hot tub. And it was wonderful. And I wasn't really as cold as I normally am for the rest of the day.


Congratulations, you've reached your goal of 1,000 posts

Graphic taken from this place.

I was thinking about what would be a really special post for my one-thousandth post. Here's what I came up with: for all of you, I've updated my amazon.com wish list.

Also, Garmin GPS systems seem to be ridiculously discounted on Amazon right now, and, Amanda, Sports Authority online has ridiculous deals on Nike apparel. I got an insane deal on cold weather running pants and a jacket. I was going to just tell my parents what to get me for Christmas but it was so cheap, I just went ahead and bought it.

In a couple weeks, I have to give a talk about my trip to South Africa. I decided that I needed to talk about living in Malawi as part of that talk so I scanned a whole bunch of pictures into my computer for that, and from my first trip to South Africa, including some of the pictures where I'm bald. This stuff is really fun for me to remember so I thought I'd share it:

This was my first time in South Africa, October or November of 2001.
Above: Table Mountain at Sunrise. Below: Kaga Kamma.

This picture was controversial because I was too young to buy alcohol in the US. No problem in South Africa though.

Gugulethu township, which of course, I revisited in 2008.
That's my friend Sarah also seen here, and two South African school teachers. We tried Sarah tried to fix something on their computer but it didn't work. I still remember Sarah was fooling around on the computer and one of them was looking out the window and singing song to herself and we stopped to listen. It was really cool.

These guys are singing their national anthem, one of my favorite songs.

Yes, that's my "golfing". I think I was posing for a picture.

Remember: there's nothing like close ups of kids.

Why am I wearing a bandanna in all of these pictures? Because I was bald, and in the stop before South Africa I'd learned the rather painful lesson that scalps can peel because of sunburn just like any other part of the body.

Then, there's Malawi. Four years later, I still don't have the words to explain, but these might help:

I'm especially speechless thinking of my family:


Number 999

I was just watching an update about the senate race in Minnesota. The nice thing about having this one stretch out (as opposed to 2000) is it actually decreases any anxiety I had about who the winner will be.

I'm starting to get excited about running in the cold. (It's the new clothes I get to wear.) I wish it would stop snowing/sleeting/generally crapping out so I could go one morning. I'm also starting to get serious about this whole Marathon training business. It looks like I have to get used to running 4-5 days per week, a tall order considering I usually run about 3 days per week. Honestly, sometimes it's not a tall order. I don't think I'll loose enough weight not to get my period so those weeks could be interesting.

On Sunday I ran 2 miles with Amanda. Monday I did the elliptical at the gym (which is good cardio but doesn't count as running) and this morning I ran 3 miles. I'm thinking about going outside tomorrow. As always, it depends on the weather.


What have I seen lately?

For post 998, I will tell you

Regarding politics:
  • For all those of you who had a different opinion on the elections than I did, from me to you.

  • I got sucked into this article because it said President Elect Obama has read all of the Harry Potter books (which makes me feel a lot cooler than I did yesterday) and then I read that he smokes?!?. Serious? Interesting, I used a similar tactic to get my dad to quit smoking. Way to go Mrs Obama!

In the world of medicine:
  • The best inventions and cures are almost always by mistake. That's how we got the telephone. Apparently, it's also how we'll cure AIDS.

  • What happens when a documented immigrant with no health insurance needs care? Apparently, nothing good, unless you go to California. There's not a study, but I'd imagine it's cheaper to treat than to deport at some point.

  • I remember one time Kelly told me womens feet and hands are always cold because we're "keeping the baby warm" even if we're not pregnant. Who knew there was scientific proof? Cool. It's winter and my feet will be icicles until at least April.

And in the Just For Fun section:

::Steps up to Soap Box for post 997::

On President Elect Obama's Education Plan:

The other day I heard someone say that President Elect Obama had a plan to give $4,000 in tuition for 100 hours of volunteer work. I thought to myself, "add a zero and it's AmeriCorps", the program I did for two years. AmeriCorps is a little over $4,000 in an education award for about 1200 hours worth of work. But I read today, the person I heard did indeed get the figures right (see the "Education" section) and I'm fairly conflicted about the whole thing.

I feel like the contribution I made through AmeriCorps is suddenly a lot less valuable and that really hurts. I lived basically in poverty for two years in sub-minimum wage jobs helping people work and helping women escape violence. The whole time I had no actual health insurance. Then, when I went back to school (to become a social worker) I had to turn around and pay taxes on the education awards I earned while being poor.

I feel like I got screwed with my pants on if this really happens. It feels even more personal since I actually voted for this guy, he is my president. (Like you all didn't know who I voted for.) I was used to getting screwed with President Bush (sorry, you know it's true) but I wasn't expecting it straight out of the gate with the President Elect.

I feel like this will kill AmeriCorps which is too bad. It's a really good program. No one will spend a year being poor for $4,725 education award when they can volunteer 100 hours for almost the same amount of money. AmeriCorps members contribute a lot in all the different programs. And (and I can't believe I'm saying this) even President Bush acknowledged AmeriCorps when he talked about public service in one of his State of the Union Addresses.

I feel like the money is too easy. It's like it's too good to be true. $4,000 for 100 hours? That's $40 per hour. What college graduate makes that to start out with? (And if I'm reading it the other way, it's $4,000 for 400 hours. $10/hr is above the average wage in the country, certainly more than most high school graduates make.) In some ways, it's a lot of money, in other ways, it's not enough. $4,000 is nice a really big help, but the rest of the money to pay for a college education has to come from somewhere. Which still means this program could miss really low income kids who don't have parents to chip in.

Most of all, I feel bad for feeling mad and cheated. (I told you I was conflicted.) I was in a youth program as a teenager and then I supervised teens in a teen program here in Minnesota. I cannot believe the crap kids (especially low income kids and minorities) have to put up with that's totally outside their control. I was amazed at how hard these kids worked and it still wasn't clear if they'd get in to college or be able to pay for it. I think going to college should be a given for those kids like it was for me. I believe that the government should believe in these kids, and $4,000 is a nice way to show it.

So, here's what I want from the President Elect: Sir, it sounds like this program has the potential to help people and that is a good thing. And when it gets signed into law, I want you to speak directly to the former AmeriCorps members who spent much more time for a comparatively smaller reward (that we had to pay taxes on). I need to know that this program is going to add value to our country without taking away the value of what I've already contributed. Given everything I've just said, I need you to tell me why I should be excited and feel good about this.

::Steps down from Soap Box::


Counting down

T minus 5 posts until I reach the 1,000 post milestone.

It's been a big week. This election was by far my favorite one that I got to vote. I woke up at 5:20am on Tuesday and leaped out of bed. I was really excited to vote. I actually went to the Y and exercised. Then I picked up my mentee and took her to vote with me. I had her fill out my ballot. To all of you freaking out (because my ballot will be re-counted in the Minnesota Senate Race), it was my vote, I told her how to vote, and I'm allowed to have help filling out my ballot. But in four years, she'll be able to vote for Barack Obama herself.

We waited in line for an hour to vote. I've never seen the line go out of the gymnasium before. Tuesday it was all the way across the ball field. Dad said he had to wait in line in Cincinnati too. We agreed that it's our favorite line we've ever waited in. After that, I took my mentee to school and went to work where I had a hard time concentrating.

The rest of the week was slow by comparison. Today I did manage to leave my apartment long enough to go to the Y and run. Who turned on the winter? That's right, it's snowing outside. This is prime running season so I need to get into good enough shape that I can do a long run in the cold. Today at the Y, I realized that for the month of January, I'll be doing a lot of indoor running. That's partly because it's January in Minnesota and I don't have that many options. It's also because January is the month everyone becomes a member of the Y and it's kind of hard to get on the machines then.

What else have I been doing?
  • Lately, I've become addicted to on-line puzzles at Jigzone. It's mostly because I can't just sit and watch TV. I have to be doing something else at the same time. Try the "240 Piece Squares" cut for some long lasting entertainment.

  • We also just passed Halloween which is my least favorite holiday. For those of you who do like it, here's another use for all that candy. Be warned, when I opened this page, I didn't think it was candy on the calendar.

  • Do you shop at one of the 10 healthiest grocery chains in the US? Super Target? One of my favorite things about Super Target is that I can reliably and easily get Chicken Sausage there, something not even my co-op can boast.

  • I always remember Kelly getting these "eye twitches" that she couldn't stand. Why? Here's one possibility. Kelly, the last time I remember you having these, you weren't married yet, not even sure if you were dating Eric. Hopefully they're not a problem anymore.

  • Best caption of the Vice Presidential Debates. Ever.

Speaking of President Elect Obama, here's my favorite reads about him and the election:


Well... Wow.

I didn't think this race would get called so early. I can't remember the last time a presidential election was called before 11pm in Minnesota. I also didn't think I'd have tears in my eyes when they called it. I didn't at first but then I started listening to all these old white men who were tearing up (Tom Brokaw is who did it to me) and then I started to get tears in my eyes.

Wow. Just Wow.

From here.