Tuesday, April 29, 2008
i topped off my tank on saturday afternoon. we're currently paying $3.53 for regular gas (at the cheapest station in town.)
to be fair, i had just about a quarter tank of gas already, so this could have been worse.
with some nice discounts, i could get a room for two nights at the hampton inn orem, UT for $58.00.
too bad i can't use my rebate to buy an airline ticket to get me there!! (i'm so sad to miss meeting all of you this time around! have fun!)
how did you *spend* your money?
Friday, April 25, 2008
i'm sure you've heard by now that the mailing out of the economic stimulus rebates have been fast tracked, meaning many Americans will start receiving their checks as early as next week. the intent here is that we will feel some relief from the rise of fuel and food prices as we continue to monitor a slumping economy.
it has been suggested that, "the rebates could trigger a spending spree. when the money reaches the American people, [they] will use it to boost consumer spending."
hmmmm. for me, realistically, my *consumer spending spree* will most likely be at the grocery store (after i stop off at the gas station.) but what if? what if i could take some of that money and spend it on myself??
your challenge this week? find your last receipt from the gas station (or if you are filling up over the weekend, make note of what you spend.) how'd you do? $35.00? $70.00? $100.00+?? what if you could take THAT amount and spend it on something for you?? to make it a little more challenging, let's just say that you can only buy ONE item, and the cost of that ONE item must be within $5.00 of what you spent at the pump.
don't let this challenge over *stimulate* you. have fun!!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
in the year 2005 A.D. (that would also be known as the year 1 B.B. - before blogging), i thought i was a pretty creative person. in the short time since then, i have been exposed to so many wonderful ideas, i sometimes don't know what to do with it all!
for example, we are currently celebrating *national laundry & linen week* here at the hotel (i know you are all super glad there was no spt challenge to go along with this theme!) throughout the week, we give little treats to our team to let them know how much we love and appreciate them.
in the year 1 B.B., i would have reached for a handy basket, artfully arranged the treats, and been very proud of my creative self. now, in the year 2 C.I.P.M.T.T.A.C. (as in, Could I Possibly Make This Thing Any Cuter), treat giving has reached an entirely new level at the hampton.
for instance, who wouldn't be exicted to find chocolate in their Mr. Clean box?
popcorn and sparkling water and comfy shoe inserts in a hotel laundry bag? oh, yeah, i'm gellin'!!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
my body, however, was not on board. i ran for 10 minutes, stopped at the park, and... that was all she wrote. had a nice walk home, but for the life of me, i could not step it up! i have been eating pretty calorie intensive meals lately, and i know i was under hydrated. not a good combo, for sure.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
my hamstrings were super tight. could be the zero stretching i did before i went out. i am particularly bad about stretching before i run. (i know.) but, i've never had issue with my hamstrings before. could have something to do with the 9 1/2 hours i spent in the car last friday?!?
i ran for just about a half hour, with a generous rest/stretch at the halfway mark, where jack was patiently waiting for me at spring lake. i stuck with walk 1/run 9 (seems to be my thing), but didn't do a great job of mile-marking, so i have no idea what my pace was. oh, well. i was out there!
earth day here dawned as a fantastic spring morning. this is the best time of year (my opinion) to live on the mid-atlantic coast... no humidity, no mosquitos. just hours and hours of gentle breezes, cool mornings, play-full evenings. the perfect time of year to celebrate our great mother earth.
it was fun to go back to my post from last year, a datestamp for my *greenness* in the year 2007. what am i doing differently? have i changed my families ecological footprint? here's what i was thinking last year:
i can be doing a lot more. i feel my awareness is keen, my follow-through needs to be kick-started. (i know i shouldn't buy products encased in layers and layers of packaging. has that ever prevented me from buying something? no.) my town doesn't have curbside recycling, so i don't recycle. yet, i drive by the free recycling station twice a day!! i know i should buy local produce to cut down on the fuel and packaging it takes to bring california strawberries to my grocery store. we don't have farmer's market, but why don't i check out one of those local farmstands? or the farmer in his pickup on the side of the road selling silver queen corn??
unfortunately, the financial impact of going greener affects many of my decisions. right now, it is just plain expensive to execute my three R's. personal feelings about al gore aside, i applaud the fact that environmental concerns are FINALLY getting main stream attention. i think it's important for *hollywood* to spend as much money on global warming concerns as they do on darfur. or AIDS in africa. or breast cancer awareness. it's just as important!
it IS just as important!! and, while i can't check off every item from my reduce, reuse, recycle to-do list, i have made some small, but major, changes in my habits.
love. my. grocery bags. this variety is available at my local grocery chain (i think i paid $1 for each bag. PLUS, i get greenpoints every time i use them). for a long time, i talked myself out of bags, thinking i would never, EVER remember to put them back in the car after unloading my groceries(!) how long did it take me to develop this great new habit? approximately one week. the bags always go straight back into my car. *poof* - another mental hurdle overcome!!
one day this past winter, when jack was home from school (i bet you know why he was home from school!) he helped me setup a recycling center in our garage. last year, we weren't recycling at all, because there was no curbside pickup. again, the mental hurdle was proving to be an insurmountable stumbling block. now? now we recycle, and drop it off once a week. we have cut our family trash in half. in HALF, people!! PLUS... i no longer feel guilty when i'm driving by the recycling center twice a day.
we can do more. we WILL do more. this earth day, i am proud to be excited about the small steps we are taking now. i am a member of *the green generation* and it feels good!!
what about you?
Monday, April 21, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
every once in a while, there is the perfect opportunity to sneak in an spt public service announcement. how fitting that next tuesday is earth day!!
take a look back at last year's reduce, reuse, recycle challenge. the responses were all very inspiring to me - from the smallest suggestions to the grandest *green* plans, i definitely used that challenge as a springboard for some much needed action on my part.
this week, go out and plant a tree. carpool. invest in a good water bottle. at the very least, take a moment and figure out your ecological footprint.
if you participated last year, are you doing anything *greener* this year? if this is your first earth day spt, do you consider yourself a part of "the green generation?"
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
last night, two runners checked into the hotel, and i got to spend a fair amount of time chatting with them. they were so enthusiastic about my first *real* race, and that helped to get me fired up for this morning. they gave me some great advice (oatmeal with a little maple syrup in it for breakfast) and a very inspirational thought to keep me going.
i'm not seasoned enough yet to have any pre-race rituals, so there were no grand plans for friday night. i didn't quite get around to making kristi's national marathon baked ziti, but i had leftover mexican chicken with vermicelli, which totally fit the bill. after a relaxing shower, i had no problems falling asleep by 11. after a midnight trip to the bathroom, during which i stubbed my toe (!), i stayed asleep until just before my alarm went off at 6:15.
lots of water and my oatmeal with syrup (no coffee...sniff, sniff), about 14 trips to the bathroom, and i was on my way.
this was a point to point race, so i actually got to drive most of the course before i ran it. (keep in mind, i've driven this road a thousand times.) but this morning, with the mile marker signs out, it was a whole new ballgame. the last 3.2 miles of the race are down a looooong stretch of road, and i was really nervous that these would be very challenging miles for me. as i was driving, i passed this sign at about where 4 1/2 miles would be when i was running:
and... i started crying!
i really did not think i would be that emotional, and i hadn't even run yet!!
i parked and took the trolley back to the start. we started at the airport, and i only had about 10 minutes to stretch and hyperventilate before they lined us up for the start. my parents were there to see me off! the start was partially up on the bridge (i was thinking how awesome it was to get some of the bridge behind us before we actually started). hah. that really wouldn't matter, as i soon found out.
we were off! after a minute and a half, i was already walking!! between the bridge and the wind, and the fact that i started out waaaay too fast, i actually had a moment when i thought of scrapping the whole thing. i walked for a bit to get my breathing under control, then challenged myself to get back into my plan (walk 1/run 9). while i had started out in the middle of the pack, it was clear by the top of the bridge that i was going to fall solidly between the runners and the walkers. okay!! as long as i beat the walkers!!
i never even saw the one mile mark, and all of a sudden, i was at two miles. it couldn't be, because according to my stopwatch, i was running about 8 minutes faster than my normal pace (did i mention i started out waaaay too fast?!?) it seriously took me until about mile 2 1/2 to recover! at this point, the *serious* runners were well ahead of me, and i got very familiar with the runners just ahead of me. later on, if i squinted, i'd still be able to see them.
and then, right at mile three, the 83 year old man passed me. and i was seriously okay with that. really, by mile 3, i was already just proud of myself for sticking to my plan and staying ahead of my own pace.
and then, what i had feared, the long stretch of road was in front of me. the final 3.2 to the finish. i started to think i would never see the four mile mark. no, really. i was convinced someone had taken it down as a cruel joke. i was, at this point, running between the ocean and the marsh (i am so glad i remembered to enjoy the view!) the lighthouse was still ahead, and not seeming to get any closer. and the four mile mark was nowhere to be seen!
but, then, there it was! and then it was behind me. and then i passed my sign and in a blink, i was passing mile five. i definitely wasn't running as fast, but i was still sticking to my plan, and i could see the guardhouse ahead where i would cross over into Fort Caswell to finish the race. at this point, i had been running by myself for almost the entire race, so it was very easy to con myself into thinking this was just any old saturday run.
i passed mile six just outside the guardhouse, and there, two moms that i know had come back to run with me to the chute. i skipped my last walk, and just went for it. my parents were there, as well as my friend karen, and (so many) people who had done the 5K or had finished the 10 before me. and i was faced with something i hadn't considered yet in my five months of running:
how do you manage to breath at the finish line when you are crying?!?
i didn't want to hyperventilate in front of all of these wonderful people!! i made it to the table with the oranges and had a moment to catch my breath before heading back to where my parents were. poor matty and jack were just arriving. but, hey, they arrived when i told them i would probably be getting to the finish. i can't help that i finished over 5 minutes early!!
i don't have my official time yet, but it was 1:29:something. it might not seem like a great race to a lot of people, but i met or surpassed all of my goals:
i beat the "walkers"!
i beat 1:35:00!
when's the next one?!?
Friday, April 11, 2008
i know you guys love an easy challenge, and i love a challenge that can go in several different directions! maybe we'll *see* some of you spt "strangers" next week!!
for tuesday, april 15th, the challenge is to provide a photo for the following caption:
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
it's not surprising that my spt this week is work related(!) i am tempted to one day set up a video camera that will follow me around to capture all of the crazy things that go on in the background of a hotel.
yesterday afternoon, i arrived at work amidst a flurry of monday *stuff.* mondays are especially busy for us, and since i had the weekend off, there were a lot of things waiting for my attention. the phones were insane, there were no less than 12 notes taped to my door (all urgent, of course), and i was trying to prepare myself for the long evening ahead. at some point, my chief engineer showed up, talking about *something*, showing me *something.* as i often do when i'm busy, i smiled and nodded in recognition, then went on about my other tasks. (this is a bad habit of mine... i really have to work at focusing on someone or something important when my mind is already abuzz. it's not uncommon for me to nod in agreement to something, only to claim totaly ignorance a week later. oops!)
it wasn't until this morning, as i was still wondering what to spt, when it clicked. i remembered what he had brought to my attention.
seems another family has moved in!!
i'll tell ya, i am truly thankful that i have a staff that acts as the eyes in the back of my head. somedays, i wish i could bring them home with me!
what did you *see* this week?
Monday, April 07, 2008
total time 59:47, which i was THRILLED with, considering i wasn't sure i would finish under one hour. so. there.
i think miles two and three are my favorite these days.
i planned to do the full 6.2, but by about mile three i really felt that 5 would be a good, solid run. i'll save the last mile for the race, right?
total time 1:17:53. the wind is really going to be a factor. that, and the bridge ascent in the first mile. tee hee.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Friday, April 04, 2008
we've all heard that *mom*-like expression: "i've got eyes in the back of my head" (usually delivered as some sort of warning.) do you ever wonder what you would see if you actually DID have eyes in the back of your head??
when you are cleaning the kitchen, or sitting on the playground, driving the carpool, browsing through target...what's going on behind you? something funny? colorful? disturbing? tempting?
this week, the challenge is to look past the "self" in the self-portrait, and focus on what's going on behind you. this is a great opportunity to practice using those eyes in the back of your head!
Thursday, April 03, 2008
it was one of those runs where i zeroed in on two specific songs (thanks, carlo!) it seems the remix of the eurythmics and the theme song to "the biggest loser" were all i needed to keep me going. i was also visualizing ali in the australian *triathalon* they participated in this week.
most importantly, i really tried to focus on my stride, pushing for a wider stride, rather than my usual shuffle. and i really felt it in my hamstrings! i kept with the walk 1/run 9, which seems to be very comfortable for me, and which i will use in the race coming up.
total time 46:48. that's right!! 1 1/2 minutes off of my total time (which i happen to think is a very. big. deal!!)
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
this was a fun spt for me. sometimes i get so rushed just trying to get a photo, any photo, that i don't really focus on the subject. to be able to spend some quality time with this particular subject, on this particular morning, was a gift.
i have grown so much through blogging, through the challenges of spt. i have made better girlfriends than i have had in a decade, and it doesn't even matter that i've never *met* any of you!! i feel i know your and your families like you were here going through this life dance with me. like you would be the ones who would ring my back doorbell.
i literally carry my word of the year around with me, and someday i might be able to compose a post that truly tells how choosing my word saved my life.
there are rough nights when i can't wait to blog the next day. there are rough days when i don't blog, but i travel the great blogosphere itself, gleaning words of hope and encouragement. it doesn't seem to matter that sometimes those words weren't meant for me, per se. i use them all the same!! i wonder at all of you out there with different talents than mine. and i wonder at myself and the talents i never recognized before.
so, about that whole "taking a break thing..."
for me, there will always be time for blogging!! i may not have anything remarkable to say. i may be grouchy or tired. i may not comment, or i may comment out of context. but, i'll be here!!
i scaled back to a walk 1/run 9. i had been up to walk 1/run 16 or so, but i new it would be ambitious of me to try for that when i haven't been running at all. the ten minute intervals felt pretty comfortable, and i might stick with this for the Lighthouse Run (coming up in less than three weeks!!) i registered for the 5K, but i really, really think i need to push myself to do the 10. we'll see...
total time 48:28