Thursday, November 30, 2006

Blackjack, 20 minutes of sleep, and Albuquerque

Disclaimer: this blog has absolutely nothing to do with running

I am crazy. Completely crazy. I usually am the responsible gal- tucking in early when I know I have a 7 AM flight the next morning. Packing my clothes the night before. Get a good night's rest.

Not last night.

Tiffany was the social butterfly of Albuquerque. Yes, Albuquerque.

It all started with an innocent trip to the casino when we were driving back to Albuquerque from Santa Fe. I won a couple big bills at the blackjack table, we had a couple cocktails, and then kept moving south. No harm, no foul.

We grab some dinner, enjoy a nice bottle of wine.

I can now pinpoint that THIS would have been the appropriate time to call it a night.

No way- we are going OUT... watch out Albuquerque- this Southern gal is ready to rock and roll!

For some reason, I always end up meeting everyone in a bar and before you know it... I am in the midst of 20 people... playing matchmaker and organizing a pool tournament. I am hoooooorrrible at pool- but my co-worker is straight $$ at pool. We play. We cannot lose. We get back into our gambling mood. We load up the car and hit the casino... until 5 AM.

Phew... I sleep 20 minutes... shower... and am on an airplane home. At least I got upgraded to First class even though I smelled like a liquor cabinet.

So, here I am. Lying on a couch at home and could not be happier. Need to get in a decent run tomorrow.... and kick booty at the Reindeer Run on Saturday.

I will be the one dressed up as a reindeer... minus the bottle of Woodford Reserve :)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It early.... Tiff tired... cold in Santa Fe... must resort to treadmill

Buenos dias, readers! I made it to New Mexico and apparently did not get the memo (or watch the Weather Channel enough) to know it is f-f-f-freezing here. Now, I am a southern girl- I like warm. It was 79 degrees when I left Charleston yesterday... sigh...

I know... waaaa waaaa waaaa... cry me a river.

I actually wished I had planned this better and tacked on a little time in the mountains to ski. It is hard to come by a good slope in Charleston!

So, it is 5:48 AM and I persuaded the front desk guy at the Hilton to open up the workout room for me 12 min early so I can get my 7 miles in before my sales seminar this morning. Halleluia! I hope to burn off at least ONE of the margaritas and/or glasses of red wine I had while flying out last night. Hey-First class all the way, OK?

So, I am locked in for my second half- the 3M in Austin at the end of January. I like knowing that Kiawah next weekend is not the end-all, be-all. I think I need to keep tacking on the goals to keep the dream alive. And how perfectly did this Austin thing turn out.... I actually have a sales call that Monday in Austin and then will fly to Houston for a work conference (yes, I know I could drive but I hate driving). I couldn't plan it better if I tried!

OK- off to the treadmill. (Blah) I remember the good ole' days (last year) when I preferred the treadmill. Oh, the times are a' changin'!

Happy Trails-

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Geeezzz.... I am on a roll today... repost from one of my gal pals :)

I cannot stop laughing... one of friends posted this to her blog....

What's Chicken got to do With It? (or, The Demise of a Doomed Relationship)

Recently, I was the bludgeoned victim of a brutal breakup. My ex—to protect the innocent, let's call him Sam—finally decided that he couldn't bear to be "distracted" from his true love—the military. And hey, who can blame him? Donald Rumsfield was a demanding lover.

Ok, maybe I'm not buying it, but I'll try selling it.

Regardless, I've spent several months mucking through all the crap associated with a breakup—you know, those 5 stages of grieving: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. I even added one: Piercing Hatred. And throughout this, I kept coming back to one question: At what moment did it all go wrong? There had to be a turning point—a fork in the road where, had I went left, we'd be a happy couple. Instead, I chose right (hahah…that was a completely unplanned pun!). After months of mulling over that same question, the answer hit me like a punch in the face:


That's right. Chicken ended my relationship. Now, I know that might sound a little bizarre, but let me explain.

Months ago, Sam was returning from an excruciatingly long trip away. It might be romantic to say he had been deployed to war, but truthfully he spent 11 weeks at some training facility in Alabama (not exactly in the $hit). Anyway, the homecoming I had planned was finally here and all my preparations were about to pay off. Clean house? Check. Belated birthday gifts? Check. Schoolgirl outfit? Check. Fabulous dinner? CHECK!

In fact, the dinner was the key to my future happiness. How? A couple weeks earlier, a coworker sent me a recipe for "Engagement Chicken," a magical, mystical chicken dish that when served, was like 99.9% effective in guaranteeing a proposal. I would have been crazy not to prepare that, right?

So, I printed out the recipe, memorized it, and threw it in the gutter outside my boyfriend's house (lest he find it, and then the whole thing would be pointless, right?) Then I painstakingly prepared the poultry, making sure to do everything as I remembered.

I set the table with new plates (that's a story for another day—but the gist of it was I had purchased plates I knew Sam wanted to buy for me. I accidentally let it slip that I had acquired new plates for the dinner, and then had to cover up the fact that I had ruined his gift by finding different plates to purchase to cover up the fact that I had bought the ones he wanted to buy for me. Then I had to hide them in my closet, where they stayed for two months while I waited for him to follow through and purchase the rest of the set. Which he never did).

Ok, this blog is really long so I'll try to speed it up. Sam comes home. Chicken's in the oven. We begin to drink. Thermometer in the chicken pops up—it's done! I cut into it, and it BLEEDS. Not great. It goes into the oven for another 45 minutes. Still not done. Another 30 minutes. What the hell???....At this point, I am TRASHED. He suggests we skip the chicken and just eat the side dishes (which at this point are severely overcooked). And I scream, "NO!!!!! WE HAVE TO EAT THE CHICKEN! WE HAVE TO EAT THE CHICKEN!" Nice, huh?

Take a moment here to picture me, dressed like a schoolgirl, lounging sloppily over the side of his brocade loveseat, drinking champagne out of the bottle, belligerently yelling at him about chicken. Pretty.

At some point, he chastises me for spilling champagne on the loveseat, and my remark is something like "This loveseat isn't that nice. You got it at a garage sale…" To which he replied, "Not a garage sale, an estate sale." To which I replied, "That's just a dead woman's garage sale."

Then, I passed out.

Which brings us to the present. Maybe I expected too much—from Sam and the chicken. Maybe it was too much of a commitment to occasionally spend time with me. Call me once in a while. I guess that's what you get when you date a chicken.

At least when the question of what went wrong comes over me—which is less and less these days— I know the true answer. Engagement chicken poisoned my relationship.

Procrastination rears its ugly head

Yes, it is 5:30 PM and I have not done my 11 miles yet. I have been soooo good about procrastinating... until today. I did manage to upload all my recent photos today though- not a total waste.

Alright, alright. I am going now.

Here's a new pic to celebrate my good pals and partners in crime, aka "The Printhethes"... I am Printheth #2 (in the middle)

SUNDAY- feels like homework day!

Let me start by getting something off my chest. I have not run since Thursday. OK? I ran the Turkey Trot 5K (read below if you need to fill in) and have come up with bad excuses to not run since then. After getting off my mid-day hangover from the beer truck, I took Friday to recover only to be persuaded into attending a tailgate party for the BIGGEST football game of the year- USC/Clemson. And I had post-Thanksgiving shopping, OK? Fast forward to Saturday. I had to recover from Friday and watch the game. And clean. OK, I never cleaned. But the Gamecocks did beat Clemson 31-28... so the day was not a total loss.

So, here I am. Sunday. I know I need to get my 11 miles in before the end of the weekend, preferable before 11:59 PM tonight. It is getting up to 71 degrees today here in Charleston- but it sure beats those hot summer nights... of running... :)

I feel better now.

Alrighty- back to normal.

So, I am on the prowl for some fun races to run in the spring. I am gonna shoot for a couple half marathons before taking on the full.

Here are some races on my radar- any feedback is most appreciated. Keep in mind, these are my criteria for picking races:

  • Flat course, preferably downhill
  • Fun people
  • Pre-race festivities
  • Flat
  • Post-race festivities
  • Flat
  • Not a lot of travel time to get to the start line
  • Not a lot of travel time to get to the post-race activities
  • Fun people

So- here they are....
  • Myrtle Beach half -it is close enough to home and FLAT
  • 3M half in Austin in Jan- this is starting to seem like a good plan. I can just tack onto a business trip in TX that week (because it is a small state, right?)
  • Yuengling Shamrock Run half on St. Pattys- VA Beach
  • ING GA Half Marathon- inaugural running- I think it is in March
  • KY Derby Festival half- it's in my hometown of Loooooouahvull

Off for my 11 miles... arrivederci!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Turkey Trot.... and the beer truck...

Ahoy fellow runners! Hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving... I sure did.

Good news first. I ran a personal best yesterday- 28:18- 12 seconds better than my Race for the Cure time.

I will admit, I am a little thrown off with running a race on Thursday instead of Saturday- I kept thinking I had THREE weeks til the Kiawah Half when in fact, I only have 2 weeks and a day now. No worries. The beer truck was in full swing. I planned on running the race and heading home to get ready for my family Thanksgiving at my parents.

Plan derailed.

I end up running into many people I work with, old sorority sisters from college, random acquaintances I have met over the years. Ironically, I see all of these people in front of the beer truck. It is almost like the stars, moon, and sun were aligned... just for me! One of my friends was even at the race with 18 of her family members, all wearing "Team Beer Truck" matching T-shirts.

Long story short- we shut the place down. I was singing Christmas carols with a group of folks, including a dude drinking out the beer stein he won for winning his age group. See.... we ARE legit.

It was close to 1 PM when the cops finally shooed us off the property (the race had started at 9 AM and it was a 5K- do the math) and I find myself wobbling down the street in downtown Charleston (maybe this is why it is called a Gobble Wobble) hoping to grab a Starbucks coffee to sober myself up. I finally make it to family thanksgiving in the best of spirits. A couple pieces of turkey, a handful of tylenol, and I officially crashed at 5:00 PM.

Tomorrow? I have another 5K followed by a 7 mile cooldown.... 15 days til KIAWAH!!

Love and all that jazz-

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Back in the US of A... and I'm still running...

Whilst I did not run 4x like I vowed to do while in Europe (I only managed to get 3 good runs in although the routes through Hyde Park and by Buckingham were lovely), I did really focus on working my right bicep muscle lifting pints of Grolsch to my mouth on a daily basis. Tsk tsk, Tiff!! I got home late last night- totally zonked out from the time change. Hence, I gave myself yesterday off from running and woke up early this morning to go. And by early, I mean 2 AM (7 AM UK time)

Well... today I punished myself. I ran the bridge today. The Cooper River Bridge. Our beautiful new suspension bridge. I went 9 miles.... a haaaaard 9 miles.... I live below sea level. There is a reason why I signed up for the Kiawah Half Marathon. It is FLAT. See, the hard part about running the Cooper River Bridge (or any bridge for that matter) is that you are either running up or down. There is no middle ground. The bridge spans 6 miles. That means a lot of uphilling running. Now I know why I save my bridge runs for times when I feel I need punishment. Alas, I am still alive. Hurray!

And for good measure- let me just say how much of a genius that I am in the kitchen. I made grilled lemon and pepper chicken over a salad tonight. For dessert, a pumpkin smoothie.

Tiffany's Pumpkin Smoothie

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sweetner (I use Splenda)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend in a blender with ice. Throw a little Cool Whip on top to garnish.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cheeri-o! Tiff is off to England....

Heading out tomorrow to England and France for a work trip. Yes, I have the coolestestest job in the whole world. Don't be jealous if your job sucks :)

After trips to Chicago and Atlanta this week, I am finally home for 10 hours to sleep and get ready. I also need to get my long run in tomorrow morning before flying out- 8 miles for those counting.


Time for a few random thoughts:

Ever tried those Quaker's Smores granola bars? OH MY GAWWW... they are so good. I think I ate like 48 of them tonight which I am chalking up to be fuel for tomorrow's run.

I pulled out a business suit from my closet tonight to pack. While trying it on to see if my butt will fit into it (thank you to the running gods for making my butt smaller- it fits!) I noticed the salesclerk LEFT THE SECURITY TAG THINGY on it. What a pain. I have to take it to the store tomorrow so it can be removed. And of course... I have thrown the receipt away- I bought it last year. Wonder if the suit will still fit after the granola bars settle in.... interesting thought.

Chickfila diet lemonade was sent to Earth directly from the gods above.

Britney and K Fed were never meant to be. Kinda like me ever winning a race. Some things just will never happen.

Ever notice the overall theme of cooking shows changes throughout the year? We start the year off on Food Network with New Year's Resolutions, everyone eat HEALTHY!!! That takes us through the summer months with a little hiatus from healthy for Labor Day, 4th of July, and Memorial Day (might have mixed those up- I always remembered Memorial Day comes first because it is the opposite of the alphabet- random Tiffany fact) and then come Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas- the cooking shows get DOWNRIGHT raunchy- health-consciousness is kicked to the wayside for full fat dishes and butter-laden biscuits (can you tell I am watching Paula Deen right now?) Just an observation....

I am starting to realize how long the list of things I need to do tomorrow before leaving really is. I am the world's biggest procrastinator... but it always gets done!!!


Tiff E.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Tiffany Epiphany

Very seldom do I have a full blown Tiffany Epiphany. Sure... I try to incorporate the world "epiphany" frequently into my daily conversations as it is the only word that truly rhymes with my first name... but this one was pretty big.

I have never really considered myself a runner. God did not mold me into a runner when he created me. I think he pictured me best as a basketball player, recreational volleyball player, perhaps even a competitive ping pong player. But a runner... no... no... no...

I run. I love to run. People seem astounded that I choose to run- without someone forcing me to do it or having to be chased by a wild bear or something. I run because (after 5 months) it feels good while I am running. It feels good after I run. I find my day goes by a lot better when I start it out with a run.

Truth be told.... I actually ran cross country for two years in high school. I ran because my high school basketball coach was also the cross country coach and it helped to keep me in shape in the off-season. I never thought I was a runner back then. My PR was a 17:47 4K (2.5 miles for you confused folks) and a 5K in just under 22 minutes. At the time, I was also running as the 5th runner on the Varsity Cross Country team as a freshman. I remember thinking I was so slow and I just looked so odd out there... never thinking I, Tiffany, was indeed a runner.

Fast forward 13 years (yeah, I am young OK?)

26 years old and I am celebrating like a madwoman running a 5K in 28 and a half minutes. I consider myself a runner now. It feels good to be part of a community of people that share this love, even though our paces are all over the chart. I have a pace chart hanging on my wall at work. I read it over and over and analyze my progress. I love my Garmin "geek-o-meter" (thanks, John). Somehow, I believe that ONE DAY I might actually run the Boston Marathon. I may have to wait until I am 70 years to qualify... but damnnit... I can do it. I don't mind almost permanently giving up my 2 AM Friday nights out... in lieu of an early (earlier) tuck-in for my long run in the morning. I don't worry about blowing off my run tonight to have a glass of wine tonight with friends because I know I will be back at it tomorrow.

Yes, I am a runner now. Guilty as charged... and I love it!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I was r-r-r-running....

Brrr.... it was cold this morning for the James Island Connector 10K. I have not run a 10K race since last spring so I KNEW I could blow away my old time of 1:17... and I did!!! I ran it in 1:03!!!! Yiiiipppppeee!!! The morning was cold and windy and the course involved quite a few hills (hey, it is a connector over a river... makes sense, eh?) I was kicking butt on the first 5K with the wind on my side- and then I made the turn. Eeeekk... wind blowing against me, cold, and hills, hills, hills. I am blaming this for the 3 minutes extra tacked on my time... however, new goal.... A sub-60 minute 10K.

FIVE WEEKS TIL THE HALF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!