Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Photo Challenge, Day 17: Shadow

Tammy's attic is pretty boss. Here are some shadows from the rafters.

October Photo Challenge, Day 15: Accomplishment

These are my bibs from all of the races I've been in. I keep them highly visible so I remember what a huge accomplishment it is for me to be a runner.

October Photo Challenge, Day 16: Edible

Cupcake at our friend Casey's birthday party. While the colors aren't particularly edible-looking, the cupcakes (courtesy of Tammy) tasted DELISH.

October Photo Challenge, Day 14: Silhouette


October Photo Challenge, Day 13: Seat

Spencer was trying to get Krieg (boy kitty) on my bike seat. As you can see, this didn't work out very well.

October Photo Challenge, Day 12: Hands

These are my friend Tammy's hands, with her pet rat.

October Photo Challenge, Day 11: From Up High

Pumpkin carving with Ben and Spencer, taken from up high on a stool.

October Photo Challenge, Day 9: Upside-Down


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

October Photo Challenge, Day 8: Close-Up

My friend Christine invited me on a photo walk in Lincoln's Haymarket, which is the historic district with lots of restaurants and cute little shops. Luckily enough for us, the photo walk happened to coincide with the last Farmers' Market of the season, where I got all kinds of cool pictures (post to follow), including this close-up of a jewelry stand.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October Photo Challenge, Day 10: Favorite

My favorite beer right now is Blue Moon's Harvest Pumpkin Ale, served at Old Chicago with its rim dipped in cinnamon & sugar. I went out with Spencer to meet up with Kelsey and her boy, Jeff, on Pint Night. The cherry on top was that the O's beat the Yankees.

October Photo Challenge, Day 7: From a Distance

This was a beautiful day for me. I got a new wireless controller for my old PS2, so I could play Spyro the Dragon from a distance (aka, in bed. Being a grownup is awesome). Also, in this picture, Spyro is traveling to a new homeworld, therefore covering even more distance. What the what.

October Photo Challenge, Day 6: Animal

Go figure, I post a picture of one of the cats on animal day. This is Stella, or Stelly, or Stelly-bear. She is my pretty pretty princess.

October Photo Challenge, Day 5: Sunset

I have a picture for Day 5, but I will not be posting it until later, lest I jinx something about which I very much care.

Here, finally, is my picture for Day 5.

It represents the sunset of the O's season, but since they actually made it into the Playoffs, I had to hold off on posting this to ensure I didn't jinx them.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Photo Challenge, Day 4: Love

I love my bestie Kelsey, and I love our girl dates. This was a breakfast-and-gossip date at Panera.

October Photo Challenge, Day 3: Home

Home is where the kitties live. This is through our front door; the beautiful-wonderful-fabulous Halloween wreath was a housewarming present (at my first apartment) handmade by my mommy. If you're wondering, the bass cab (aka "bass guitar amp cabinet") is our entryway table, since it didn't fit anywhere else.

October Photo Challenge, Day 2: Fashion

I know I could've screen-shotted this one, but it just looked too crisp. When I hear the word "fashion," the first thing that springs to mind is Action Action's first album, released by Victory in 2004. Popped it into iTunes (disclaimer: I HATE Apple products, but I won't take the time to learn another music-filing program) and found out that I have 35 items that match my search for fashion. Never say I'm not fashionable!

October Photo Challenge, Day 1: Self-Portrait

My mom linked me to Our Wired Lives' October Photo Challenge, where a photo prompt is given each day in October. I got started a couple days late (we're already a week into October! Where does the time go?!), so here's a backlog of the first prompts.

Here's my self-portrait, taken at work. I spend most of my time there so it seemed appropriate. For those of you who don't know, I work for Weight Watchers; you can read more about that here.

(Post-script: It took me about half an hour to get this photo uploaded correctly. Blogger would upload the first half--from the top to the middle--correctly, but the bottom half would come in all squirrely and negative-y every single time. Then, when I uploaded it to Flickr and tried to link it through the URL, Blogger kept saying that they couldn't find a picture at that URL. It was public and everything, too. Anyone else had that issue?)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Training Plan, or: Tory Digresses About A Clockwork Orange and Spiked Hot Chocolate

As the title said, this post is going to discuss my TRAINING PLAN, so if you're uninterested in such things, feel free to bug out. I promise not to track you down and clockwork-orange you until you read the whole post.

clockwork-orange verb to hold a person's eyelids open
in order to force them to view unpleasurable things:
"Malcolm McDowell is being clockwork-oranged in the above picture."

Okay, so maybe I make up definitions sometimes. A Clockwork Orange sidebar: DID YOU KNOW that two editions of the book were published? There was a British edition and an American edition. The movie is based on the American version (Stanley Kubrick claimed he actually didn't know that there was a difference, and hadn't come across the Brit edit. [I'm rhyming those two words; "edit" as in, short for "edition"] until the screenplay was written), which caused Anthony Burgess to hate the movie. Why, you ask? Well, because the American edition was published without the redeeming last chapter to be found in copies back in Jolly Old England. The American version, and therefore the movie, ends on a depressing note (spoiler alert! Dystopian novels rarely have happy endings!), whereas the Brits were treated to a more hopeful glance into the future of our good old malchick Alex. (Here's the final chapter, if anyone cares to viddy.) American editions have since been published with the final chapter.

Now, what were we talking about again? Oh, that's right, running. First off, I am not my own best friend. Geez, who is?! I tend to judge myself really harshly. To wit: A couple weeks ago, a girlfriend of mine started running. Unbeknownst to me, she had been a runner in high school, but had lapsed over her college years, only to pick it up again early this summer. She is also crazy-athletic and a swimmer. I didn't know any of that. All I knew was, suddenly this chick was running and like, winning races and crap. Her first 5K (that I was aware of, at least) time was almost FOUR WHOLE MINUTES faster than my ABSOLUTELY FASTEST 5K. I won't say I was jealous, but...yeah, totally jealous, and also kinda resentful. I'll admit it. I was ticked at her, for being so awesome right off the bat [or so it seemed to me], and ticked at myself, for still [in my mind] sucking hardXcore even though I've been running pretty dang consistently for eight months.

I am one to consistently dwell on the negatives. (Again, who doesn't?!) Even though I'd run two half-marathons, I obviously still couldn't run. Even though I could run SIX MILES at a whack, without stopping to walk--at my typical speed, that's over an hour straight--I definitely still didn't have any endurance. Even though I had steadily improved my times with pretty much every run, I positively still inched along like a zombie snail on tranquilizers (very very slowly is what I'm trying to convey here). The positive thing was, I FINALLY REALIZED THIS. I realized that I had never decided which was more important to me: improving my speed or improving my endurance. If I went for a short run, I would be disappointed that I hadn't gone farther. If I went for a long run, I would be disappointed that I hadn't gone faster.

Artist's representation.

Enter my training plan. One of the issues I'd had, I came to recognise, was that I never planned my runs ahead of time. I'd just go. The problem here was that if I ended up doing a shorter run, I probably wouldn't have done it very quickly, because I didn't know if I needed to save some energy in case the run ended up longer. This would also keep me from even running in the first place: I'd wake up, it'd be early morning, I'd be all "blehhhh I don't wanna go run for an hour," instead of thinking "eh, even fifteen minutes is better than nothing." This kind of indecisiveness is very much like me. I cannot make a decision to save my life. In fact, if you ask me to choose a restaurant, we will most likely starve to death before I make up my mind. (Right now, though: FAZOLI'S.) Anyway, I figured that a regular training plan would help me with my indecisiveness--and help it did!

I have several days during the week where I have to be at work relatively early: Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays. On those days, I decided that I would do a speed workout. My speed workout is very, very simple: run a mile up the bike trail (which is conveniently located just five feet from our apartment's parking lot), then run the mile back. This takes me a grand total of right around 18 minutes. I can always drag myself out of bed for EIGHTEEN MINUTES. All else fails, I can come home, take a shower, and go back to bed for at least a little while. The best part is, I'm usually awake enough then that I don't want to go back to bed. I want to get up and get my day going! Because then I can have a mug of hot chocolate! Or hot chaicolate, or my newest and best/worst invention ever, RumChacolate. This is a mug of hot chocolate spiked with a splash of RumChata. For those of you who are still oblivious to the wondrousness of RumChata, it's basically an alcoholic Horchata. For those of you who don't know what Horchata is...sighhhh. There are a lot of different variants, but what we in the States drink (courtesy of our southern neighbors) is usually a rice-based milky drink that includes vanilla and cinnamon. RumChata tastes almost exactly like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and is absolutely delicious when mixed with hot chocolate. Word to the wise: some of you might think "Yum! I bet RumChata would taste delicious when frozen! Alcoholic ice cream ftw!" Let me spare you the anguish: IT ISN'T. IT IS YUCKY. DON'T DO IT. However, I have not yet tried using RumChata as the milk in a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

I made this. You're welcome. Plus, the screen-grab is particularly apt if you're
cool enough to know in which episode it appears. Bonus points for you.

On Wednesdays and Fridays, I don't have to work until the afternoon. This means that Wednesdays and Fridays are my distance days. The routine thus far has been to run from home to the Campus Rec Center (a distance of 5.86 miles, according to MapMyRun), work out with my girl Kelsey, usually grab a coffee with her, then run back home (or more often, get a ride back home, since an hour of running plus an hour or two of working out = major exhaustion). I'm gonna have to shake up that routine here pretty soon, since six miles seems a bit wanting when compared to the 13.1 I'm going to have to run in seven weeks. Maybe take a different route to the Rec? Eh, I'll keep you posted.

Finally, Tuesdays and Saturdays are kinda free days. I don't have to work until 10 a.m., so I could do distance or speed if I wanted, or I can just take it easy. So far, I haven't really taken those days very easy. I did have to take the majority of last week off, though; I had a minor calf strain and biceps femoris (big muscle on the back of your thigh) soreness and needed to let them heal up for a race last weekend.

In my mind, good habits and a good routine are like the Beastie Boys: playing basketball with Bigfoot. Or, wait, wrong song. I meant: you can't, and you won't, and you don't stop! I find it a whole lot easier to keep up a positive schedule if I don't take time off, especially when it comes to being active. One day leads to two, two leads to a week, and a week...leads to suffering. (More bonus points if you get that reference, too.) Plus, Ben Franklin sure was right about the whole "early to bed, early to rise" thing. If you go to bed early, it's easier to get up early. I don't know about the rest of the quotation. Lemme know if it's worked for you.

Pictured: WTF. Also, a "deviled egg." Also, Bigfoot is dressed
up as a cowboy. Just because, I assume.

Peace out, playas!