Monday, February 26, 2007

Note to self: Think before you talk!

Scene: Tiff on a conference call today with a client about our software and what it can/can't do

Client, "Tiffany, what about if we want to do XYZ, can it do that?"

Tiff, "Sure... if you were in FantasyLand!"

Oooops.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

NOT the email I expected to receive from my boss...

"I will be out of the office on Monday.

As insane as this sounds, I have to go to a plastic surgeon on Monday morning. I had the unfortunately luck of waiting for drinks at a bar after dinner Friday night and getting caught between 2 large men that were on the verge of trying to kill each other. For some reason, they choose my arrival at the bar to begin the fisticuffs with my face (left eye to be exact) being the unintended recipient of the 1st blow. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time……

I will be available via email or cell – we can compare shades of purple eye shadows on Tuesday."

-Former Heavy Weight Champion of the World

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Poll

If you were training for a marathon (let's just say the Boston Marathon) and you were supposed to get a 20 mile training run in and it was power snowing like 25 inches and there was not way you could run outside, what would you do?

a) Run it on a treadmill
b) Run 71 laps around a 450 meter indoor track
c) Say f*ck it and watch MTV reality TV, such as My Super Sweet Sixteen

Thoughts?

Saturday Run... 5 weeks til the Bridge Run!

Got out and did 6.5 miles today around the neighborhood. Tons of people out enjoying the 68 degree weather and saw quite a few runners too... hurray! They have made it out of hibernation for the winter :) I love getting outside on a beautiful day- it was even warm enough to lay out by the pool afterwards with a cold one. I am trying to remain remotely sober before going to the symphony tonight as last time I showed up pretty drunk after racing go carts all day, kicking ass at skeet ball, and hanging out by the beer truck at the company picnic. You just can't hide class.

We have 5 weeks til the big Bridge Run here in Charleston and I am so excited! Not only is it our big 10K race... but also one of the biggest part-tay weekends here. I will be flying back from NYC the night before the race so this gives me a good reason to not be out all night and then waking up to run in a hungover stupor (as IF this has ever happened, right?!?) I am going for a sub-hour race goal and am planning on doing some fun hill set training on our good ole' bridge to prep. I also need to practice my race faces and poses for the camera. They always take a lot of photos and I would prefer to not look like a total freak show :)

Happy running to everyone out there!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I am road warrior... hear me roar!

Here is a look at my Outlook calendar for March- scary!!



I admit I am an over-organized computer geek, I color code my calendar based on type of appointment. Light blue days are days I am TRAVELING. Yes, it is not a mirage. I am in the office ONE day all month… March 16th. Woohoo! Day before St. Patty’s!!!

Off to the airport now... to the great city of INDIANAPOLIS!!! :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

And I thought my frig was expensive when I bought it...

One more month to mark the one year anniversary of Tiff's Return to Running...
At least I get Delta Skymiles for paying for my entry fees with my AmEx.

Monday, February 19, 2007

It all went downhill from there

There once was a 16 year old girl named Tiffany. She went on summer vacation with her parents and 17 year old brother to Las Vegas.

The lights. The glitter. The blackjack tables.

She dressed up in her finest black dress, teased her hair a little bit, and put on heavy eyeliner and bright lipstick. She carried one of her mother's purses. Her brother dressed in a suit. They agreed to stick together as a team so the over 21 cover would work. Fake IDs were not an option.

They walked across the street from their hotel, New York New York to the Excalibur.

Tiffany took a deep breath and sat down at a $10 blackjack table. The dealer asked if her "husband" would like a seat too. (Tiffany grew up in KY and this husband/brother comment still haunts her to this day)

Tiffany slides her hard earned $50 bill across the felt. Dealer does not even look at her and slides 10 beautiful red chips across to her. The rush Tiffany feels is indescribable.

Tiffany is dealt 2 tens. Not knowing what she was doing, she splits them. The horror! Everyone at the table looks at her in disbelief. What is she doing? Why? Is she drunk?

Dealer is showing a 4.

Dealer splits the cards and Tiffany doubles her bet.

First card on the first play- an ace. 21 on this hand!

Second hand- a 3... giving her 13. Tiffany takes the hit. An 8... 21 AGAIN!

Everyone at the table scoffs at her seemingly good luck.

Dealer's hole card is a 7. Dealer showing 11...must take a card.... pulls a 10.... dealer has 21!

Tiffany's hands push.

The table completely clears out.

And hence the fact Tiffany will never, ever, ever, ever split tens again.

Ever.

Beautiful day for a run downtown...

I am "working from home" today, meaning I will most probably head downtown this afternoon to hit one of my favorite running routes.... the Battery along the Charleston harbor.

And one day, oh one day, I will be able to just walk out my front door and run along the Battery. I've got my eye on the pink mansion on Rainbow Row.



Isn't it just perfect?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What really happens after mile 13? My Myrtle Beach Marathon Relay Race Report…

Departing Charleston yesterday afternoon for Myrtle Beach, I admit I had not really given much thought to the relay race. I have been killing myself at work lately and my travel has been nuts. Luckily, the relay race was a great chance to get to know everyone a little better and have some fun!

I volunteered to drive us up there so we loaded up the Tiffmobile and were off! A beautiful drive up highway 17 takes you through some of the most beautiful coastal views of the state. We get into town in just enough time to hit the expo and get our packets, do some fast shopping and get some great deals on gear, chug a beer or two, and grab dinner. My friend Edi’s mom lives in Myrtle Beach and was nice enough to play our host. We hit the hay around 11:00 PM in anticipation of a 4:30 AM wakeup. Getting 5.5 hours of sleep was actually a treat for me after last week and I did not even mind the twin bed I was sleeping in, despite my feet hanging off my edge and Edi’s dog trying to eat my socks. My “roommate” (another relay partner, Steph S) kept receiving text messages throughout the night from her boyfriend back at home so finally I turned her phone off. Eerrrr!!! 2:30 AM wakeups are NOT good!

I am naturally a very super-organized person so I tried to get everyone to lay their clothes out, get the bibs handed out and pins allocated, and take care of any last second logistics the night before. My friends think I am crazy… although it is weird thinking about other people and their preparedness as part of your team when running is usually an individual thing. Unfortunately, the relay exchange point map SUCKED. There were NO street names and NO info about road closings. Piss poor if you ask me. I have an earful for the race organizers. It was super stressful getting everyone to the relay exchange points due to some jackass not giving us proper info. More about that later.

4:30 AM comes early and I try to get the crowd moving. We had planned to leave the house around 5:15 AM and get Steph S to the start a little early for the 6:30 AM gun. Edi’s mom has the coffee brewing and bagels so I try to get everyone rolling and the car packed. Getting 3 women out the door in the morning is NOT easy. We finally get going at 5:45 AM and I am worried about the time.

Pull up to start line at 6:20 AM. Drop Steph S off. It is 29 degrees and I cannot feel my hands. Luckily, I run Steph S to the start line with a blanket around me… and we made it! She is running the first 5 mile leg. She is off… great!

We drive like madwomen to the next exchange point. We run into a tangled web of road closings, traffic, and poor navigation. We finally get to the Mile 5 exchange point and Edi (the next runner) refuses to pee outside. She wants to go into a hotel. Damn… I am getting nervous!!! She runs in and comes back 2 seconds before Steph S shows up. Good deal- they pass the relay bracelet and Edi is off.

We drive again to the next exchange point and we realize we had the wrong directions. We improvise (because Edi is the one currently running and is the only one of us FROM Myrtle Beach) and find our way. Steph H has a couple minutes to warm up and stretch and I got to even cheer on a couple of my friends from work running the full or half marathons. I am starting to feel a little more relaxed. Edi comes through to the exchange point and Steph H takes over. Steph H is definitely our fastest runner so I am starting to get worried again as time is short. The girls in the car (Steph S and Edi) want to get coffee and donuts at Krispy Kreme. Fine. I drive them over there and tell them we need to hurry. We run into HUGE traffic problems and I realize we might not get to the exchange point in time. The next point is MY exchange before I run the last 11.2 miles. I am worried- I want to pee, I want to warm up, I want to stretch. I start to get frustrated. Edi is lost with the directions and I start driving 65 MPH through back streets in Myrtle Beach. I finally regain my cool and we have to backtrack and get on the highway. We take the long, long, long route and Steph S and I did a Chinese fire drill and she takes the wheel at a red light so I can just jump out at the exchange point. I scurry to get my crap out of my bag- MP3 player, a couple GUs, sunglasses, etc.

We pull up the relay exchange point and I have to jump out of the car. People are looking at us like crazy people. I run across the street and see Steph H right away- PERFECT TIMING! She hands me the bracelet and I realize I have done NOTHING to prepare. I immediately take off and realize how ill prepared I am. My MP3 player promptly cuts off- dead battery. I have to piss like a racehorse.

I finally get into a groove. I run the first 2 miles with ease, get to a port-a-pot at mile 3, and do a little stretching while waiting.

After all the drama to this point- I felt great. I had a couple really crappy runs last week and was worried about how I would feel today. I felt AWESOME. The weather was perfect- low 50’s and sunny. I soon realized I did not miss my MP3 player. I could concentrate on the world around me. My breathing. My footsteps. The comments of people around me. I felt totally into it instead of being closed off to the music.

I finally got to see a glimpse of what happens after mile 13 of a race. Up to this point, I have done two half marathons, never venturing past that point. I will admit, I “cheated” today and had my friends run the first 15 miles for me but I still felt pseudo-legit. It wasn’t until mile 18 or 19 of the course that I started to see the differences. It felt like everyone was running this marathon together. Shouts of encouragement from one runner to the next….People that did not even know one another. I was happy I did not have my MP3 player with me as I met a lot of great people on the course. There was the guy from Durham, NC running his first marathon. He looked strong when we shared a conversation from miles 20-22. He caught up with me post-race at the beer tent and had tears in his eyes. He had lost over 100 pounds and just reached one of his life goals. There was the father-daughter team from Iowa running their yearly marathon together. We ran together through mile 18 and they could not believe the wonderful weather… after being banned to the treadmill in sub-zero weather. And my personal favorite… a lady I found at mile 19 that was running her 100th marathon. ONE HUNDREDTH MARATHON. I am amazed.

Plus, the medical tents were a little more busy than I have ever seen.

My relay partners met me for the last 2 miles and we ran it in together. It was a perfect finish to the day. It is amazing how much better I got to know these women… and we are already mapping out our next relay (Steph H recommends Hood to Coast as a natural progression- she has done it several times) and other races we want to do together this year. I think Steph S might actually run Chicago with me in October… her first full! Steph H might be going up to Louisville with me in April for the KY Derby Festival half too. I love it!

In a way, I felt a little guilty running the relay and “posing” as a marathon finisher. However, I also felt like I had my place helping others through the tough miles. I didn’t really even have to initiate conversation as I found most people were talkative and just looking for someone to help them pass the miles, like the one guy that told me to “tell him anything and everything about myself that had nothing to do with running.”

So, today I feel good. I feel energized. I feel ready to take on the next challenge.

Next up? Some new cross training, a couple 5Ks, and The Cooper River Bridge Run…. and I’m gonna kick its ASS.

And hence I continue on my journey to Chicago....

Good luck to all the Austinites tomorrow at the marathon!


I know yall will totally KICK ASS!!!!

And some of you can go ahead and book your Spring 2008 plane ticket tomorrow to....

BOSTON!!!!!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

So, I'm running a marathon this weekend...

...and my friends are running the first 15 miles for me! Saturday is the big Myrtle Beach Marathon relay for me and my three gal pals :) They are each taking a 5 mile leg and I will finish up with the last 11.2 miles and cross the finish line.

Truth be told, I do not know how I will feel. Crossing the finish line with other people who have just run 26.2 miles will be bittersweet. Sweet because I will be finished and ready for a beer. Bitter because I will not be able to share in the same feelings of achievement, accomplishment, and jubilation as someone who has just completed such a long journey.

For the time being though... that is OK with me. I will get my chance soon enough :) I am looking forward to spending some fun times with the girls in Myrtle Beach and running a fun race!

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

...to quote the great Lulu...

"Why do I do this to myself?"

Let's just leave it at that, OK?

Off I go... :)

Monday, February 12, 2007

One Day Down, The Rest of My Life to Go!

Today was a great day. I have implemented some new changes into my life- for the good. Mostly it includes switching up my diet a little bit thanks to my personal dietitian who also doubles as my mom. After getting to the 30 lb loss mark, I was not seeing any progress. Not losing, not gaining... just staying the same. I started to get mad. I mean, I am running a ton. Why is it not working? I kept a food journal for a week with what I ate and the times I ate. She concluded I was not eating enough protein, I was not eating enough breakfast, not eating frequently enough, and I was eating dinner too late (8:00 PM or so) when getting back from night runs. Throw in the hectic travel schedule, time changes, and cases of beer I have consumed recently and I am pretty much completely off track.

I started to think about this… I seemed to be dropping weight easier when working out in the mornings… hmm… interesting. Makes sense based on her feedback because I would eat a larger breakfast after working out and eat less as the day wore on. Inevitably, I will be switching to morning workouts again during the week as the weather turns warmer. Being a total masochist, I will be hitting peak marathon training for Chicago in the dead of hot and humid summer here in Charleston. Hurray!

Game plan- eat more breakfast, eat more protein, more frequent and smaller meals throughout the day, drink less alcohol, run faster.

OK, break!

My Running Check Up

Today I did some thinking about my running and where I stand right now... I have done two half marathons in the last two months (my first two ever!) and I am running the final 11.2 mile leg of the Myrtle Beach Relay Marathon this Saturday. After that, I stand at a bit of a crossroads. Of course, I will run the Cooper River Bridge Run 10K on March 31st... my homecoming to running race. I also want to run the KY Derby Festival half marathon in April as my family in KY has already formed my cheering team. Other than that, I haven't committed to anything else besides the Chicago Marathon in October. THE Chicago Marathon. My marathon. My first full marathon!

I will admit, reading others' blogs about marathoning makes me want to run one sooner... although I must learn marathons take time. They take patience. They take hard work. It is not necessarily a race to the start. It is a journey which I know I need to take in my own time to get there.

I am so excited about running Chicago. I am amazed how much support I have received from friends and family members about my decision to run. After signing up for it, it felt real. I knew I was locked in...no turning back! I think it is pretty cool how I get email updates from the marathon with info and other motivation bits. I especially liked this part-

Over the course of the next 8 months, runners just like you will also be inspired to register for the race, making the same devout commitment you did to train for and complete the 26.2-mile challenge. Between now and race morning, each of the 45,000 participants who sign on for The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon is likely to question his or her abilities, rethink the commitment and experience extreme physical and emotional challenges.

Wow... I can't wait! :)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Park City Skiing Recap

Six days of vacation just wasn’t enough! After getting back from Houston late Friday afternoon, I did laundry, ran to buy some last minute ski essentials, and tried to get the best night’s sleep before taking off for UTAH! Geez, I was happy I splurged with my miles and booked a first class ticket. It was wonderful to relax in first class with my friend Jim and have a little Bailey’s in my morning coffee. It was also fun playing in-seat trivia with everyone else on the plane. Apparently, my voice carries more than I thought as I could see on the scoreboard that the guy in 2A and I were tied for first place right when we were touching down and I yelled, “SUCK IT, guy in 2A… booo yaaa!” Unfortunately, we never got the last question but I would have totally wooped ass. Amateurs.

We get to Utah and meet up with a few of our group members flying in from other locations. I went on this trip just knowing Jim so I met a lot of new folks. Six days in a condo helps the getting-to-know-you process. The ride to Park City was pretty quick- only 35 miles or so. The men (in typical fashion) did not mapquest or ask for directions so we went based on my instincts and Blackberry navigation. HA!

We immediately start drinking and planning our week. We all agree to ski most days and maybe take a day “off” aka drink beer all day and watch movies. I hit the hay early in anticipation of a full day of skiing at Park City Mountain Resort.

Day 1 comes early. Luckily, Park City has a fantastic shuttle system and we have a stop right outside our door! Getting everyone out of the house is a chore but we are finally all outside waiting for the bus. I get to the equipment rental place and within the first 5 minutes of being there, I SEE MY BOSS FROM WORK!! Can you believe it, of all the places in the world… he has come to Park City the same week as me. I end up seeing him 4 or 5 times more all over the resort. CRAZY.



Park City Mountain Resort

I take the first day easy with a couple green slopes. See, I learned to ski at Paoli Peaks Ski Resort in Indiana. Yes, Indiana. What they called greens out here would have clearly passed as a black trail back in Indiana. Daaaaamn…

Skiing starts to come back to me… no problem! I brag to the guys about how I am really getting back into it, my turns are going well… and then I ski off down the mountain and totally wipe out. I mean, WIPE OUT. I then decide to keep my mouth shut.

The next day we took off from skiing. Most people were so sore they could not even move. I decide to get a run in that morning and the 7,000 ft altitude kicks my ass. A good 5 mile run though and some core work. I feel great! The rest of the people in the house think I am c-c-c-crazy for going out and running although they wholeheartedly cheer me on from the porch with Bud Lights in their hands. We spend the remainder of the day drinking downtown and enjoying the gorgeous weather.

We head back to Park City Resort the next day and I feel a little more confident. I warm up with a couple greens and then hit some easy blues. I am doing awesome! In a moment of complete confidence, I ask the guide at top about a couple of the blues that intersect from that point. I notice he is from Rock Hill, South Carolina. This should have been my first clue that this guy had NO idea about the trails and their level of difficulty. He tells me to go on “High Card”, a ‘signature run used in the 2002 Olympics but has since been scaled back to an easier level of difficulty’.

No problem! Bring on High Card!

I get to the top and look down, past the point of return. Holy shit. It is super steep. And moguls.

Moguls.

Moguls.

Moguls.

I don’t do moguls.

I freak out.

I see a guy skiing up towards me and wave him down. I ask, “Is this run hard? I did not know it had moguls.”

He laughs and says, “Well, does it look hard? Good luck!” and skies on.

It felt like I was on that mountain for an hour. I saw one other skier the entire time. I started crying at some point. I felt helpless. I took it slow. I fell at times. I was sweating bullets. But, I was not going down that mountain with the ski patrol.

I have never been so happy to get to the bottom. And who do I see? My boss. And his 6 year son. Apparently, they had done the run the day before.

Damn.

We ski the next couple days at Deer Valley, a gorgeous ski resort that does not allow snowboarders. I have to admit, snowboarders do not really bother me as a skier but some people hate them. One difference is the narrow, narrow trails at Deer Valley. I guess they assume skiers do not need a wide trail. Wrong. Most of the runs I went on at Park City were wide enough that you were still going to live if you ventured off trail, at least into the trees. If you go off trail at Deer Valley, you go off a ledge into a deep ravine. Scary!

Gorgeous scenery though. A true treat!




We broke for lunch at the top of the mountain and had a couple beers at lunch. I was heading down the signature green trail, “Success” after lunch and hear some lady behind me yell, “Get out of my way, I am out of control!” She wipes out right behind me and her pole comes flying towards me and gets caught in my skis. I wipe out too and hit my head on the snow. Hard. Eeekk! I took a couple minutes to get up, put my skis back on, and not kill her. Having decided that I was happy to be in one piece, I called the next trail my last as I did not want to get majorly hurt and I took this a sign.

All in all- I had an amazing time! It was so nice to get out West again and take in some beautiful scenery. I am hoping to tack on a couple days to my Colorado trips in the next couple months and do a little skiing… might try cross country next time around too!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saturday morning run with my marathon relay team!

Damn, it is nice to be home. I have not spent a weekend in Charleston since the middle of January so I figured it was high time to gather the troops and do a group run with my relay team. We are just a week away from the Myrtle Beach Marathon Relay next Saturday and I wanted to make sure everyone had met and was as excited as I am!

This morning was picture perfect running weather... 50's, sunny, blue skies. I had originally sent my Outlook meeting request to the girls (yes, we are computer nerds) for 8 AM and then re-thought it and sent an update for 10 AM.

8 miles this morning with the girls- started downtown at my friend's Edi house, ran by the water on East Bay Street (saw the debarkation of a cruise ship that just came into town....weird to see cruise ships in Charleston), and ran to the top of the Cooper River Bridge and back. Lots of folks out enjoying the beautiful weather!

I have decided that I am going to concentrate on training for the Cooper River Bridge Run after Myrtle Beach but still keep my mileage up to train for the KY Derby Festival Half on April 28. And from that point forward... it is ALL ABOUT CHICAGO, baby!!!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Back in Carolina...

My 3 week travel bender is o-ver! (OK, until next week) I am back in Charleston and enjoying some peace and quiet, low (or no) elevation, and not having to wear ski boots anymore. Those f-in things kill your feet!!!!

I did manage to get two runs in this week in the 6,700-7,000 ft altitude which was a new "high" for me... whoa... I wore my Garmin to graph the elevation. It felt so good to actually run and not have 49 pounds of ski equipment on!

Here is my favorite photo I took from atop the gorgeous slopes at Deer Valley (appr 11,500 feet at the summit which was a new record for me)... I had such a kick ass time!!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Tales from a Road Warrior…

Here I sit in Atlanta airport. Delta Crown Room. C Concourse. A familiar scene. Middle-aged business men chatting on cell phones and trying to make haircut appointments with their secretaries, people fresh off the redeye looking to catch some sleep, overcast skies out the windowed wall, dozens of planes waiting for taxi and takeoff. I have always been in awe of airplanes. What makes them fly and how do they stay in the air? I like to think about the people inside of them and where they are going, who they will see, how they feel about where they are going…

I sit here and I am tired. I have been on the road for almost 2 weeks straight (sleeping at home one night in between). I have been to Philly, DC, VA, Austin, and Houston. Somewhere in between... I also ran a half marathon, presented about 25 software demos, and entertained prospects and clients every night. I took a 6:00 AM flight this morning so I can get home in enough time to run my errands, pay bills, and go shopping for last minute stuff for my ski trip tomorrow. Yes, I am turning around in Charleston and taking a 7:00 AM flight to Utah in the morning. Ironically, my boss is also going to Park City for vacation and we will be there for the same time period. HA!

So, off I go soon to get on another plane. Seat 2 D today. Bulkhead window seat. Perfect for sleeping and getting a good look at my beautiful hometown city when we fly in over the ocean, tidal creeks, and my beloved Cooper River Bridge. Hoping the weather holds up and the storms from Florida did not creep up. Would be nice to get a run in…

Happy trails!