Thursday, June 10, 2010


Well, I think my time as a quasi-blogger has come to an end.

I have no idea what my next major physical goal will be, possibly a half marathon at the end of the summer or in the fall if I can squeeze it in with that little wedding thing we have going on. But either way, at this point, it will be a little old hat for me and not really worth blogging on about. I never really got into blogging about the Avon Walk the same way I did about the marathon.

Part of this is simply related to technical difficulties. Since I got rid of my old Dell last fall, I've been doing all of my photos on our Macbook Pro but I use my Dell mini for my daily computer usage. When I blog, I have to figure out which computer to use (usually the mini because I'm already on it) and I hardly ever post pictures anymore. We have cheap internet but do we ever get what we pay for! Our internet frequently will just go out in the middle of what I'm doing. If I'm in the middle of a post, usually most of it is lost. I have probably lost 25 posts over the course of this year and I've mentioned it before but things never come out as good the second time for me.

I enjoyed having a place to vent my frustrations when training didn't go well and having a place to celebrate when things were over. So, if you are reading, thanks for that!

Monday, June 7, 2010

At least I'm honest...

*sorry I did not mean for this to post today but our internet is evil and cut out on me halfway through and it lost half of the post (I cannot stand rewriting, it never comes out as good the second time!) and apparently the date that I wanted it to post on. I'm so sorry that the first thing you'll read about the walk today is a Debbie Downer moment!*

Before I get to the good stuff tomorrow, I have to get some stuff off my chest. There were several things about the Avon Walk that disappointed me. I learned a valuable lesson through all of this and I can say that I definitely will not be one of those people next year wearing an alumnae button. I didn't realize it until this weekend but (somewhat understandably) our fundraising was valued far, far more than the physicality of the challenge we endured. I realize that their main goal is to fundraise for the cause and I am completely behind that, however, the physical nature of walking the 39.3 miles in a weekend is what inspires our donors to give money to the cause. I felt that my accomplishment should have been acknowledged a bit better than it was.

I cannot even describe the disappointment I had in the finish line. It's just a blown up thing that says FINISH and it was so crowded with spectators that we struggled to get a picture taken. It was utter chaos. There was no 39.3 milestone anywhere to take a picture. The first thing you came to when you crossed the "line" was the Avon Walk Shop and a booth where you could sign up for next year. Another quarter mile away was the medical tents, food and water. At that point, I felt a little hustled. I had absolutely zero interest in signing up for next year or spending my money on their product because they don't value what I did enough to provide necessary things for me after the physical exertion I did all weekend. (For those in the audience, when I ran the marathon and at most other races I've done, you cross a finish line in an organized manner, are handed a bottle of water and some food immediately. I didn't appreciate not being able to find those items and having to ask someone after crossing the finish line cluster of insanity.)

The mile markers, oh, the mile markers. I cannot even begin to explain how awful they were. A good portion of the 39.3 (probably about 15 miles over the two days) were on the lakeshore path. The path has mile markers that were done by the park service and a local running group. My sources with Garmin watches told me that they are pretty darn accurate. After spending a great deal of my summer and early fall training on the path, I know it well enough to know when mile markers are off. There was one part in Sunday's walk that was so blatantly wrong that the organizers should be embarrassed. It's too long of a story to tell but I know there was only half a mile between two mile markers and then supposedly the next "mile" took us 40 minutes, which there is no way. I think they just arbitrarily put rest stops and mile markers wherever they could, which is fine, but don't tell me they are at a certain mark when they actually aren't there. In my book, no mile markers are better than obscenely wrong mile markers. (I also can't count on one hand the number of times that someone told us, "Just around the corner and you'll hit mile XX." We'd assume we missed the mile marker until about half a mile later we'd come to it. Not cool when you are exhausted and your mind is messing with you enough already. Trust me you don't need a volunteer to mess with you about mileage.)

I even google mapped walking the end of the course. What they told us was 1.2 was really much closer to 2 miles. What all of this means is that I have no idea how much we really walked! I'd like to think that we did walk at least 39.3!

They were so secretive about the route during this entire time! We didn't know it until the actual morning of and even then, the map I have looks like a squiggly line and there are 2 roads drawn in. It was impossible to tell Adam where to be to meet us on the route. I was a bit irritated when I found out that it was the same route as the year before. As a first time walker, they made it extremely hard for me to have any sort of support. We could have had Brooke's friends come meet us along the way but we had no idea where to tell them to be! I personally hypothesize that they give us such a bad route map so we can't go home and check them up on the mileage. At first we thought they wouldn't have known the route until the last minute because of street closures. However, not a single street was closed for the entire 39.3 miles. You read that correctly, we did the entire thing on trails and sidewalks. (In case you were wondering, that's why it took us 11 hours the first day. We had lots of intersections to cross and cross walks back up really quickly with hundreds of people.) I was completely caught off card by this. I had no idea how the day was really going to have such a stop/start/stop/start nature. If you had been doing the walk for years and years, it would have been much easier to tell someone where to be if they wanted to come and sit and have lunch with you. They did give several "cheering station" locations but those were never good places to sit and rest and I would have liked to have known where lunch was going to be (especially the first day in the pouring rain, we could have sat in the car, haha!).

I hate feeling like I potentially come off as a jerk in this post but if anything, I always try to be honest. In this case, I honestly felt like my physical accomplishment was devalued by the Avon Walk organizers. It's not something that I will ever consider doing again or recommend to anyone because of the poor organization. With that being said, I have absolutely no regrets in doing it. I enjoyed spending the weekend with a friend who challenged herself in a completely new way and became a marathon finisher on Saturday! The fundraising was important and I completely understand that, but at least in my case, I felt that my family and friends donated because I was doing something big. Something that they wouldn't or couldn't do themselves. I would have liked to feel like that was as important as the money to the organizers.

26.2 = 26.2

I have so many thoughts on the walk that I want to get down on this virtual paper. I took probably 100 pictures or more, which is a great benefit of walking. I had time to literally stop and smell the roses. We weren't "racing" or really concerned about time except for to get off the route before it closed at dusk so I enjoyed taking lots of pictures, talking to people, not being out of breath, etc.

I'll get to lots of the other stuff later but I just wanted to say that after having done both running and walking a full marathon, I can tell you that 26.2 miles is hard no matter what you do. It took us close to 11 hours to walk it. We ate our lunch barely "sitting" on cardboard boxes in the mud under a tree in the pouring rain. On that first day, we hardly rested because the rain showers rendered most of the ground too wet to really want to sit on it. So that means that we were upright and involved in some kind of motor locomotion for truly 11 hours. I dare anyone who has ran a marathon to attempt that and try to tell me it's easier. At the end of the day, my body felt exactly the same as it did after running last October, only this time there was a catch. I had to get up and do a half marathon the next day!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Random Stuff

I'm waiting on a couple packages. First off, the highly-anticipated heart rate monitor is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. This afternoon, my new blackberry should arrive to Adam's office. I had it shipped there because I'm horrified that I'd be out of the house when it came and someone in his building's mail room will be there to accept it.

Yep, I lost my blackberry on Sunday. We started our morning by playing beach volleyball for a couple of hours, it's been a heatwave here in Chicity. We even have the A/C on... in May! Adam says I have improved 200% since last year. I think it's my stronger body that makes it easier to play. I still have my Daria moments (think watching ball fall near me when I totally should have had it) but I'll take 200% improvement any day. After v-ball we rode our bikes back home, showered and headed off to watch the Blackhawks game. We had a few too many pitchers of beer because they were only $3.75 (A PITCHER!) and my phone somehow got lost at some point during our transfer from one bar to another. I think I probably left it on the train and seeing as how our group was totally decked out in Blackhawks gear, including a playoffs broom (we swept the Sharks) and singing the "after goal song", I think we sufficiently annoyed everyone on the train car and if anyone saw me leave my phone behind they probably thought I deserved it. Which I probably did.

Moral of the story... take it easy on the pitchers, Big Jen. It was a valuable experience because we'll be getting iPhones in the fall when I move onto Adam's plan and I realized that I seriously suck at keeping a phone (this is the same Blackberry that fell out of my bag on the floor of a hotel in Montana and had to get mailed back to me) and I'll be taking Adam's old iPhone and he can get the new model instead of the other way around. And if you don't already have phone insurance, you should consider getting it. They are overnighting me the phone for $100. Which is way less than the $400 or so a new Blackberry costs. There was no way that I could carry on with my old flip phone for the next 4.5 months until my contract was over. I need the internet for so many things (CTA bus tracker being the most important).

Tonight I'll have to figure out how to do Sprint's at home phone activation for the first time. Oy vey. But on the brightside, my lost Blackberry was having more and more frequent meltdowns and for some reason the back was stuck on so I couldn't remove the battery for the hard reset that they are so fond of for fixing said phones. Hopefully the new-to-me (I am expecting it to be a re-ferb) will be able to hold on until October.

We only have a week and a half until the Avon Walk! I'm so excited and ready for it to be here. Brooke and I are mapping out our weekend plans and we've decided on our pre-walk meal of pasta at Mia Francesca's and our post-walk meal at Tango Sur (aka the best BYOB Argentinian steak house ever). I try not to think about the overwhelming emotions that will be running through me. At the introduction meeting, I was tearing up at the video. There are so many survivors that walk and many who have lost mothers, sisters, friends, daughters, etc. I'm thankful that it is a walk so we'll be able to chat with so many different people and hear their stories (as opposed to me asthmatically running and not able to talk as easily). But because I am an emotional basket case I'm not looking forward to the sheer sadness of it all. Luckily, I'll have Brooker next to me to hold my hand and walk me through it (literally, haha).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Negative Nelly

I'm going to totally be a jerk and use this opportunity to vent. We've had the gift certificate for a week but it was mailed to Adam and he chose this week to decide that opening mail addressed to him was not important. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

On the bright side, I ordered my HRM. It will probably be shipped when we are in San Diego next weekend and I'll have to pick it up from UPS. See, I am so cranky right now! I can't even be happy that it's ordered.

I also wasted $50 on signing us up for a 5K that we didn't run this morning. To be fair, I could have gone alone but I chose to sleep in and Adam is not-so-recovering from bronchitis so there was no reason to push him into running. But I'm mad at myself for registering and wasting money on it.

So in short, I am having a not so good Saturday. But it's all stupid in the grand scheme of things and nothing that a good sesh at the gym can't fix.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Do you believe that your (future or otherwise) children will haunt you in similar ways that you drove your parents mad? Adam and I talk about that sometimes. I am determined that my children are going to be so demanding and impatient because that is exactly how I am.

As I previously mentioned, we used CC rewards on two different cards to get gift cards. Adam's Sports Authority is already here and it's an actual gift card so he can have merchandise in hand as soon as he's willing to go there. My amazon card? NOT HERE YET. I'm going insane. I've needed a heart rate monitor for about a year or so now but I'm too cheap. I also will have to wait for shipping and as I mentioned, I'm too cheap to do anything but the free super saver shipping that takes twice as long.

Ok, rant off.

Lately, I've been finding that I'll glance down at my watch now and then during workouts (even, gasp, yoga, so much for the mental benefits). I imagine that I was just getting bored with my routine and classes and needed a new challenge or two. Hot yoga has been one of them but at the hot yoga studio I signed up for an introductory set of private lessons on the Pilates reformer machines so I can take group classes if I want. They are a little more expensive but we save a lot of money by using the YMCA as our private gym so I figure I can handle it.

When my hour was over, I could have cried. I definitely checked to make sure that she wasn't gypping me out of some time because it felt that fast. I don't think I've ever had a 1:1 workout/instructor ratio before and HOLY MOLY I cannot wait for June and personal training sessions. It was the best ever! And the reformer machines? Awesome, awesome, awesome!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Credit Card Rewards

We did some redeeming of our credit card rewards last week and believe me, it was hard to convince the old man around here that we should but I prevailed.

He obviously needs to replace his entire golf club set, golf bag and the oodles of things he kept in said golf bag (a nice windbreaker pullover, etc.). So I used my card rewards to get him a gift card to Sports Authority. Combining that with the $25 off of $100 purchase coupons they come out with frequently, he'll be able to get a lot for a little.

We also got an gift card from our joint card rewards because that is the best price that I've seen for the Polar F6 heart rate monitor, which is what I have decided I need for my latest fitness purchase. I am so impatiently waiting for that stupid certificate to get here so I can buy it. Which brings up a huge pet peeve... it's a gift certificate for, which basically means it's going to come with a little code that I can enter on their website. Why do they feel the need to waste the postage (and my time) to mail that to me? An email wouldn't have worked? Grr.

At any rate, I'll be rocking this on my wrist soon enough and I am SO intrigued to see how many calories I'm burning.

P.S. There will be some money left on the amazon card so Adam is replacing his prized hokie bird golf club cover. And I am still royally pissed at the dude who stole the clubs.