Halloween Costumes for Runners

Halloween is fast approaching. I’ve scoured the web for the most hilarious running themed costumes this year.

Running Forrest Gump Costume

Running Forrest Gump $59.99

Runny Nose $34.99, How do you see through that thing?!

Adult Pair of Sneaker's Costume

Two costumes for the price of one, Pair of Sneakers $49.99

118118 Male Runner Costume  - Medium

And if you’ve never run a day in your life, you can purchase the “Male Runner Costume” which consists of the t-shirt and shorts for $17.22.

What are you going to be for Halloween this year?

 

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Visit Lex

Waiting just a bit longer for work to start. Last weekend, I decided it was time to take a trip! I set out East on I-64 toward Lexington, KY for a visit with a BFF from high school. I was so happy that two months ago she moved a bit closer to me for a job at the University of Kentucky.

On our first night together we ate at Palmers Fresh Grill. We started with calamari with peanut sauce. The fried banana peppers added a tangy twist. The dish paired well with my light beer, Cougar Bait, ordered mostly for the name. For my main dish I ordered the toothsome Oriental Mahi (is that term still PC?). Since I spent five long hours in the car, with a one hour time change, it was refreshing to be able to sit on the outside patio.

On Friday morning we took our time waking up. We set out on an hour long scenic trip to Maker’s Mark in the town of Loretto. The drive was certainly worth the visit to the beautiful distillery grounds decked in Chihuly art. (This is my first time looking up the artist… he wears an EYE PATCH.)

Our tour guide was enthusiastic, the tour was thorough, and the tasting was worth the wait.img_2910.jpg

After lunch at the on-site restaurant we headed back toward Lex. We tried visiting Four Roses but arrived 10 minutes before closing. This gave us only enough time to see the gift shop.

Later that evening we went downtown to meet with friends to play the escape room game “Mystery Mansion” at Breakout Lexington. Our party was made up of all first time players. The 60 minutes went by quickly. We broke out with about 6 minutes to spare. Our host said, “Wow. you guys were hard on yourselves.” We cheered ourselves back up with pizza and beer in a trendy outdoor spot.

The next day, we woke up a bit earlier to attend a lecture at the UK campus. I also got to tour some of the grounds. Our next stop was the downtown farmer’s market. Luckily, parking was just a few blocks away in an ideal spot where we could leave the car for the day. Pumpkins and squash of all kinds were abundant and peaked our appetite. We decided to have brunch at the nearby Village Idiot. Afterwards, we walked over the Mary Todd Lincoln house. Our tour guide, Tom, was a true Southern gentleman and very knowledgeable about the history and furnishings. He said he got to meet Sally Field when she was preparing for the 2012 movie, Lincoln.

Our next stop was the boutique shop Bella Rose. It was fun to browse but the clothing was wayyy out of our price range. Then it was time for something we could afford, ice cream. We went to Graeter’s where I ordered the mocha chip. It was quiet in town by this point since UK was playing a home football game. Our evening ended at El Rancho Tapatio. The Enchiladas Verde were tasty and served with sliced avocado on top.

This was my second time visiting Lexington. It was so fun to do a girls trip and there was plenty to keep us busy. Hopefully, I’ll be back because there is still more to explore.

 

 

The couple that spins together…

stays together?! Haha, yes, Runner and I are that couple at the gym. Just last weekend we attended a two hour indoor spinning class called Cycle120. We also enjoy the 45 minute version on Thursday mornings at 6:15 am.

I have to say that I really enjoy getting to go to the gym with a friend, even if he is really competitive and kicks my butt! He’s usually one of only a few guys in the class. Girls usually dominate group fitness classes and this one is no exception. However, this year Runner has encouraged some of his classmates to come out which has made the class even more fun.

Our classroom is in a re-purposed racquetball court. There are only 24 bikes so in order to attend the class you have to pre-register online. Some instructors are more popular than others, and their classes fill up fast. Our favorite instructor motivates us with her ripped muscles and motivational speaking  – “You are here this morning because you are a high achiever.” I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up to that ego boost?!

I enjoy the class because you can choose your own intensity. Yes, the bike seats are uncomfortable and sometimes you feel like you might die.  But, its easy to get lost in the music and just focus on yourself.  I usually make it about 10 miles in 45 minutes. I find that I have trouble getting my resistance up very high but I know with each workout my legs are getting stronger.

Finishing the workout by 7 am is a huge perk and we never have any guilt stopping by Dunkin Donuts on the way home.

 

A New Fitness Goal

Bride here with some new letters after my name! Yes, I am newly graduated and awaiting the start of gainful employment. This also means I have a load of free time. Ahh what were my hobbies again?

Well, I decided to give running another try. Remembering that I enjoyed the 10K distance while training for my first and only half marathon, I decided to go for the St. Louis Rock ‘n’ Roll  10K on October 15. Runner is going to be a pacer and is training a friend for the half event, so I figured it would be fun to participate. Runner and I have always enjoyed Rock ‘n’ Roll races (Virginia Beach x 3). When I found out that the band Fastball would be playing the post-race concert, that sealed the deal!

I turned to the internet to find a training plan. I am following Hal Higdon’s novice 10K training plan. I’m in week 3 now and it has been going well. The last time I ran an official 10K was on Valentine’s Day in 2015 (brr it was cold!). You can find a nice recap here. My time was 1 hour and 17 minutes. My goal with the upcoming race is to smash this time. I think I can!

I’m cross-training with swimming and indoor cycling. So, I may be working myself up to attempt another indoor tri… baby steps, people!

My First Open Water Swim

Last Sunday, I participated in my first open water swim. The event was called “Swim the Sun” and it was hosted by US Masters Swimming.

Early early Sunday morning (4:45am!) a group of five of us from the Saluki Masters Swim Club departed Carbondale. We had a 2 hour drive west toward Lake Sunnen in Potosi, Missouri. We were off to a rough start because of the thunder and lightening, however, we were determined that the event wouldn’t be canceled on us.

While the weather did in fact clear up, the sun did not want to shine on us! On the car ride I sipped coffee and ate a Cliff bar. We made it to our destination around 7:15 am. The event was held at the beautiful YMCA Trout Lodge.

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I was a bit nervous before the start. I did not practice swimming in a lake ahead of time (smh, I know!). The course was set up as a triangular 1-mile course, marked by three large inflatable cone-shaped buoys. There were lifeguards in kayaks scattered among the lake as well. My coach gave me great advice on sighting and I felt excited to swim.

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I chose the two mile option, which meant I would go around twice. There were some swimmers there who chose to swim up to 4 miles. The start was from treading water that left in waves every 15 minutes based on distance. My group entered the water just before 8:30 am. We walked into the water from a beach with about 3 minutes to spare. The temperature of the water was 80 degrees. Since the air temp was only in the 70s, it felt good!

My first thought was that this was less scary than I expected. The water was deep and there wasn’t much to look at under the water. As I rounded the first buoy I felt confident. The conditions were awesome – barely any current and great visibility. I felt like I was pushing myself to keep up a good pace. I was glad that I wore my Garmin Vivofit as a watch and measure of my distance. At times I felt like I wasn’t taking the straightest route, especially when I looked over at other swimmers. But, following coach’s orders, I didn’t let that lead me astray. There was only one time that I got freaked out and that was when a piece of seaweed floated over my shoulder, lol.  It took me 1 hour and 5 minutes to complete the 2 mile swim.

After the swim, we were treated to a lunch at the lodge’s cafeteria. Fried chicken and mashed potatoes never tasted so good! It was a great experience and I’d love do another open water swim again soon.

 

Baby Shower

Happy Valentine’s Day! It is snowing here in Carbondale. I’m busy studying for finals but I wanted to quickly share with you our fun last weekend. Runner’s brother and his lovely wife are expecting a precious little girl this March. Last weekend we headed up to Bethalto, Illinois to celebrate the baby shower.

This was my Pinterest-inspired gift:

wagon

A welcome wagon!! The fact that you can find a mini-wagon on Amazon and have it shipped to your home is so freakin adorable! To fill the wagon, I bought some Spot the dog books and a toy, a baby cell phone and a hanging turtle. One of my favorite hobbies is scrapbook making, so I made one for Mom and baby. It was “How I Met Your Mother” themed.

The party was held at The Weeping Willow Tea Room. MaryJo worked there many years ago. It is currently open just for breakfast and lunch, serving soups and sandwiches. It was such a cute place. Our party was in the downstairs area but I got a secret tour of the top floor which had a beautiful old stage and hardwood floors.

Baby girl has about 1 month left to bake, due March 13ish. I’ll keep you updated!

 

Bride is in the house!

Hello my friends! It’s been a while, 7 months in fact. Well, Bride is back for 2016. Runner has been so dedicated to keeping up this blog that I didn’t want to let him down by flaking out.

Life update: PA school officially started June 1, 2015. Time flies. It’s also amazing how much my life has changed and how much I’ve learned. PA students warned me that the learning would be like trying to drink from a fire hose. This was 100% correct. Graduation is August 2017.

Fitness update: Zumba classes have been my main source of physical activity. Lately, I’ve been attending spinning classes which I’m loving. I hope to keep this up and maybe even run a few miles here and there.

Hope this isn’t too late, but here’s what Runner got for Christmas:

(Think of it as gift ideas for triathletes.)

Also, I recently stumbled upon this gem of a website: triwivesclub.com

 

 

My First Half Marathon

Greetings from Illinois! The days following my FIRST half marathon were completely nuts. Lots of packing and goodbye parties. My last day of work was Wednesday, we loaded the Uhaul on Thursday, arrived in Carbondale on Friday and on Saturday morning we unloaded into our new apartment. Then it was time for a camping trip in Florida and finally the beginning of PA school. A whirlwind for sure!

Confession: there has not been a lot of running.

But, I wanted to write my recap of the Delaware marathon before it becomes a too distant memory. In the days leading up to the race I felt prepared. Thanks to my awesome coach, Runner, and his training schedule. No, I did not do every run. There was time that I took off for knee pain and time that I was suffering from allergies. My longest run before the race was 10 miles.

We arrived in Delaware on Saturday morning around noon. The drive up was easy with minimal traffic. Wilmington is Delaware’s largest city, which we found much more exciting than it’s capital of Dover. The Running Festival was smaller than I expected. My dream of seeing elite athlete,Titus Rotich, happened earlier than expected when he cut Runner in line during T-shirt pick-up. Ha!

We looked up things to do in downtown Wilmington but didn’t really find anything better than heading over to the Christiana Mall which was crazy busy. We walked around a bit and then headed to the movie theater. I took a nice nap during Avengers 2!

I booked a room through Hotwire and was pleased to find out that it was an Official Race Hotel, the Sheraton Suites Wilmington Downtown. Our room was a suite, natch, with a huge living room. We also got a goodie bag from the race upon check-in.

The morning of the race, I took my time getting ready. We were able to park close to the start and finish line. At the start of the race I was so excited in anticipation of what I was about to accomplish. The song that was playing as we crossed the start line was “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, a good omen! (A frequently played song in training)

The first three miles of the race were a bit crowded but listening to the steps of all the runners was really cool. We ran on the city streets and then turned around through a shopping mall. It was still very congested at this point and many runners around us were complaining. It was also insanely humid and the sweat was pouring! We ran along the riverfront and then back past the festival grounds at Tubman Park.

Shortly after this, Runner and I had a dispute over drinking enough water at the water station. I’ll admit to not being very prepared for this aspect of the race. In my training, I rarely drank water until I was done, even on the longer 8 and 10 miles lengths.

nothappy

Not pleased

mitrabrandonsmile

Still married!

Our run through the Zoo and Brandywine Park was so pretty and shaded. Of course it was overcast and humid – so it didn’t make much of a difference. The suspended bridge was my favorite section of the race. It is featured on the medal. I just wish the photographer was there to capture our crossing. Then we ran up some really long inclines for what seemed like forever… but, the homes were pretty to look at. Also, anticipating the really long decline helped too.

Runner’s favorite part of the race, Little Italy, was my second favorite. Bernie’s Italian Ice in lemon was heaven. Yum! Although, I didn’t finished my cup, the lingering lemon taste really helped. This was also the part of the course when we were passed by Rotich. I kept hearing the cop sirens and was getting excited to run with the elite. However, he came and passed us in the blink of an eye.

Throughout the race there was a young kid who caught my eye because he would sprint by me and then I would slow and steady catch up to him (very much the tortoise and the hare, lol). So I made it my goal to beat him. Spolier alert: I DID. Near the end of mile 11, I finally got him back in my sights and he was walking! Well, I passed him and didn’t see him for the rest of the race. Woo hoo – take that 14 year old! Runner informed me of this well after we had finished the race. Because the end of the race was a real dooz-ey…

Mile 12 was a real nightmare for me. So close yet so very far… my body completely seized up (much like it did in my early days of running). I was crying like a baby and just barely moving my legs… I was walking for a good portion. I saw that mile marker for 12 and at the same time saw the steepest hill of the entire race. Oh my body was not pleased….

pain

It hurts so bad

finish

It hurts so good

It was only for the last few blocks that I was able to pick up my pace, after getting my motivation from the crowds. My legs started moving again and I was able to run through the finish line….crying like a baby! Lol I think I scared the girls who were handing out the medals. I also gave Runner a dramatic kiss infront of them.

Chip Time: 2:53:40.8
Overall Place: 1021 out of 1151
Age Group Place: 83 F 25-29 out of 88 total participants in the Female 25 to 29 age group
Pace: 13:15/M/mile

I’m so proud to say that I’ve completed a half marathon.

Lessons learned: If anything, I can say that I’m a fan of 10Ks. During my training I ran two of them for time. I also love running outside. The majority of my training has been indoors on the treadmill. I am sick of the treadmill. The hills on the course were a real challenge for me. I was taken completely by surprise by them. Well, guess who lives on the top of a hill now? This girl. I’ll get plenty of practice.

Thoughts on Leaving Ophthalmology

First of all, ophthalmology is a difficult word to spell. This you will learn on your first day. However, I guess it could be worse, otolaryngology comes to mind. To keep things simple, I’m and eye doctor’s assistant who works in the eye clinic; but not for much longer.

I was hit recently with the overwhelming emotions that come with doing something for the last time EVER: sadness, elation, nostalgia, happiness. It’s not that I’ve never quit anything before — soccer and clarinet come to mind — coincidentally I participated in each of those for 8 years. It certainly is the end of an era, but an important part of my life as a young professional that is sure to follow me as I move on in my career.

IMG_0277 To even be considered as a candidate for PA school admission, I had to have clinical healthcare experience. Over the past 6 years, I have spent day after day examining the eyes of anywhere from 2 to 28 patients/day. This work has inspired me to go farther with my education so that I can continue to serve patients in a greater capacity. It’s taken a lot of work to get where I am today.

One of the hardest parts about starting a new job is the time it takes to get comfortable in the position. In my experience, it usually takes about one year for me to really ease into the job and to let go of all my anxiety about “not knowing enough.”

This was especially true in the position I’m currently leaving. Three years ago, during my interview for the hospital, I made promises to learn many new examination skills. I struggled a lot to catch up. The learning curve was very steep! Especially due to the fact that my manager believed that everyone should know how to do everything (not an easy thing for the lowest man on the Totem pole to hear). I finally cut myself a break when I realized that I was doing the same work as a 1st year ophthalmology resident. This occurred to me on the day I was required to attend a medical school lecture given by my boss. However, with hard work comes great pride, and I felt like a rock star (eventually).

It seems like a shame that I have skills that will not be used again like determining a person’s glasses prescription, measuring motility through prisms, testing 3D vision. At other times it feels like a relief that I will never again have to perform a Humphrey visual field (aka watch someone’s eye position in the dark for 20 minutes), clean a rack of lenses, or tell an impatient family that the eye drops takes 40 minutes to work. But, I will miss my awesome drawer of fixation toys, getting to put a sticker on my nose and moo like a cow to get a child’s attention, and putting glasses on a child for the first time.

Is this a great toolbox or what?

Is this a great toolbox or what?

I will definitely miss my coworkers. After I was hired, we eventually acquired two more technicians. We have gotten close and can relate to the struggles and joys of the job. Our orthoptists are incredibly knowledgeable and excellent teachers. The front desk staff has always kept it real and kept it fun. Working with 8 different attending physicians makes you quick on your feet. Learning their quirks takes time but it’s so nice when you can really get it the groove working with them. This relationship has revealed to me how important it will be to find a good supervising physician.

One of the first pieces of equipment that we are required to buy for the PA program is an ophthalmoscope. So, I’m pretty grateful to have one subject area firmly under my grasp as I begin my studies. Many people have asked me if I’ll return to ophtho. While I don’t want to close the door to that possibility completely, I don’t see it as a good fit for PA work. There is already a large network of allied professionals in place – optometrists, orthoptists, technicians and nurses. What I have learned is that I love working with kids and (for the moment) am leaning toward pediatrics. Parents have told me that I’m good with kids and I have a lot of patience. I really don’t mind the crying either. We shall see… I’m keeping an open mind for what PA school has in store.