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Monday, August 29, 2011

There She Blows!

Fourth of July 2010
This weekend was Hurricane Irene.  It should have been the Annapolis Ten Mile Run, but sadly the run was canceled by the City of Annapolis. This is a good thing, though, because as I said on Thursday, Annapolis tends to flood quite a bit quite regularly.

I ended up running about 10 miles with my running group at Loch Raven Reservoir on Saturday morning.  It was cloudy, but dead still.  Then, those of us who had signed up for Annapolis went to the Nautilus Diner, so that we could at least do something special on what should have been a race filled weekend.

Todd and I prepared for the hurricane by putting away some outdoor furniture that might blow away.  We had a patio table blow off of our deck and shatter a few years ago, and that wasn't even during a hurricane.  The main problem with the hurricane wasn't our house - it was my mom's house in Annapolis, my mom's condo in Ocean City, and my dad's house in Southern Maryland.  All are fine, as far as I can tell (I haven't talked to my dad, as we don't speak on a regular basis for reasons I won't go into here).

My mom and her significant other, Vic, came up to our house to stay. They're in a bit of a flood zone and they have many large trees that can easily fall on their house, so they didn't want to take any chances.  We ended up having a lovely day.  I made a roast, and I continued doing some canning, which I"ve been doing for the past few weeks.  Our power never went out, and the worst of it was that Saturday night into Sunday was pretty scary with lots of wind and rain.  I take these storms pretty seriously.  Sunday would have been a great day for a race.

So, it was mostly a non-issue for us.  I do know a couple of people who had serious property damage, including one friend who had a huge tree fall through her bedroom roof overnight.

What bothers me are the people complaining that too big of a deal was made over this hurricane.  I totally and completely disagree.  This one went fairly easily, but they do not all go easily.  It is pretty hard to predict where the storm will go and what it will do with 100% accuracy, and it takes days to prepare for a storm of this magnitude.  Waiting until you're "sure" to start evacuation procedures is unwise - and when mistakes are made, people die.  So, I hope that this doesn't mean that with the next storm people will be complacent and fail to prepare and/or evacuate.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season

Image courtesy NOAA


Squalls out on the Gulfstream,
Big storms coming soon.
I passed out in my hammock,
God, I slept way past noon.
--Jimmy Buffett

This Sunday is scheduled to be the Annapolis Ten Mile Run, one of my very favorite races that goes right through my hometown.  I love this race, and this year is supposed to be the sixth time that I've run it!  Well, that is all up in the air now.  Hurricane Irene is on its way up the coast and while the race is supposed to start at 7:45am on Sunday, Irene is currently tracking to be less than a mile off of the coast of Ocean City, Maryland at about  noon on Sunday, when it will be a Category 2 Hurricane with ~100mph winds.  The Annapolis Striders, who put on the race, at first put a ridiculous note on their website that the race would go on, no matter what, rain or shine.

Well, I'm from Annapolis.  I know that even in a light rain, the dock area floods.  The race course goes straight through the Annapolis dock.   Despite how positive the Striders wanted to be at first, I think that if we truly have a hurricane coming, the dock will either be closed or flooded, or both.

The Annapolis City Dock after Hurricane Isabel, 2004
Image Courtesy of The Capital
I've been watching the storm track and updates for a couple of days now.  A wonderful website for this is StormCarib.com, which I usually watch all summer long to hear about what destruction is going on in various Caribbean places where I typically travel.  Right now, they have some pretty excellent Hurricane Irene resources, including a "Closest Point" tool, which shows you how close the storm will get to some coordinates based on the current models.  This is where I saw that the storm is going to pass .9 miles away from Ocean City.

I mean, it could be that this storm isn't a big deal, but as time passes, it is looking more and more like this is going to be a major event.  Todd and I have started making preparations, and it sounds like we might need to drive to Ocean City to board up my mom's condo.  I have serious doubts that this race is going to happen, which is a HUGE BUMMER.  However, now that I've decided that the race probably isn't going to happen, I've started making hurricane preparations.

[Obligatory side track because I have ADD] Did I mention we had an earthquake earlier this week??  I never even got to blog about that one because it's a release week at work and I'm super-busy those weeks.  I'll side track and say that yes, everything was fine in my area and that earthquake was stronger than the one we felt in Indonesia.  I was in a downstairs office doing a demo, and when it started I was convinced that it was our newly constructed second floor (that we only moved into last week) collapsing.  Then, we figured out what happened.  Anyway, this particular earthquake was a LOT more scary than the Indonesia one, where Todd and I didn't even lift our heads off of our pillows.

Hurricanes, earthquakes...  What's going on around here?

I'll leave you with a little Jimmy Buffett...  Stay safe out there.

[UPDATE: The race was officially canceled.  :( ]

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Other Cross Training

Back in May, I mentioned that I had stopped cross training with the exception of cycling in order to focus on taking care of household chores.  So, I thought I'd give a little update on my "cross training" activities this summer.

The Bike!
This is the easy part.  I've been doing quite a bit of biking this summer, although less than is probably ideal.  I have been trying to get out on the bike once per week, and for the most part I've succeeded in that.  I've been pretty much sticking to riding on the trail near my work (also where I do my long runs), and I've been doing 11-14 miles per week.  Last week, I even joined my work friend Amer on a ride and he let me know that I'm the only person so far that had truly been able to keep up with him on a ride (besides his riding buddy, Jared, who was home sick that day).

I bought a bike repair stand so that I can give my bike a bath.  At this point, it's really muddy.  I'm hoping to get to that this weekend.  Then, once we get into fall and it gets colder, I'll probably be moving indoors.  I'm a fair weather cyclist.

The House
I started out wonderful at keeping up with housework.  I went the first 6 or 8 weeks keeping everything under control.  My strategy was to take all of the little chores and things that I have to do and divide them up over the days of the week.  I then use Remember The Milk to put all of the chores in, and I am reminded each day as to what 2 or 3 things I am supposed to do.  I've been using Remember the Milk for years now, and it is basically how I keep all of my chores and tasks straight.  I have my weekly expected miles in there, birthdays, social obligations, chores, reminders... everything.  It's an excellent tool for keeping track of stuff.

So, as I did this, things were going so well.  I was doing a load of laundry on 5 of 7 days per week.  The sheets on the bed were getting changed regularly.  I was dusting, vacuuming.  I had my basic chores to be done every day, but then I was also focused on one area of the house each week (for example, the kitchen on week 1 and the bedroom on week 2).  Things started out so awesome.  I started writing blog posts in my head about how to keep your house "guest ready" at all times.  Things were going great.

Then... well, I don't know.  Work was busy, we had a scuba class for several weeks that kept us out of the house one night a week (which meant we weren't making new mess that night, but my tasks weren't getting done either).  I started missing days.  It wasn't a big deal because the plan was to make up those tasks on Sunday (which has no tasks), or on Saturday (which has few tasks).  So, I spent several weekends working on the house all weekend to make up for it.  I started to feel like I spend every weekend cleaning the house, which was exactly what this whole new process was supposed to stop.

So, here I am, currently up to 3 weeks behind on some of my household tasks.  I work hard all day and then go home feeling like I have a mountain of stuff to do when I get home.  This is exactly the feeling I was having before I started this process, and now it's back again.  I feel pretty disappointed about how this has gone.  Disappointed in myself, and just plain bummed that things were going so well and I've ruined it.  I really, truly, do not understand how other people keep themselves together as easily as they do.

There's always the option of hiring someone to do the housework (in fact, I've had a maid before), but I just really want to avoid that extra expense.  So, I'll plug along and see how things will go.

Upper Body
In the meantime, I thought I ought to do something to work on my upper body.  I was doing a lot of weight training for the last few years, but I have to be totally honest with you - I hate weight training.  I just hate it. I don't want to do it, and I don't want to go back to forcing myself to do a bunch of stuff that I hate.  I had totally given up on it, but then I felt really weak and floppy in my arms.  Along came LB with her Project Pull Up Challenge and I've decided to participate!  The goal is to successfully do one pull up within the next month.  At this point, I've yet to do even one - EVER.  In my WHOLE LIFE.

I'm going to be adding in push ups and planks, and the hope is that I'll gain some upper body strength without subjecting myself to the torture of weights 2-3 times per week.  I'll have more on this later.

I've also thought about adding something more structured once I get through my marathon.  Swimming?  Crossfit?  I don't know, I have to think more on it between now and then.  So, another post on this later.

Ok, have a great weekend!

UPDATE: This post makes me feel better.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What's Up?

I've had a lot of ideas for blog posts, but haven't had the time or energy to write one.  Or, I go to start and think of nothing coherent to really write about, so here are just a few updates!

Todd and I have had a focus on doing a lot of house stuff this summer.  He's been busy painting, I've worked out in the yard, and I also put together a yard sale this past Saturday.  I started putting it together in March.  We have a long term goal of finishing the basement (although it will take a while, we're not going to move particularly fast on that project).  Step one was for me to go through all of my boxes that I'd moved out of my apartment in 2007 and either get rid of stuff or get it upstairs into the house.  As a result, I ended up with a ton of things to sell in a yard sale.  I kept gathering stuff for months and finally had to actually have the yard sale because it was the last weekend I reasonably could this summer.

We ended up doing pretty well!  We made $300, and that was only with 3 hours of yard sale!  Partway through, it started raining.  We waited for the rain to pass and moved everything back out again, but then it started raining again and the radar showed we'd be in that pattern for a while.  We decided to load everything that was left into the car and drop it at Goodwill.  So, in addition to $300, we got a nice tax write off!

I must say, yard sale people are crazy.

Running is still going well.  I ran on Sunday this week since the yard sale was on Saturday.  It was still raining Sunday morning, and my iPod wasn't charged for a treadmill run.  I ended up going out at the first sign of sun at about 12:30pm.  Whew!  I am NOT used to running in full afternoon sunlight!  I had to circle back after about a mile to get sunscreen.  I ended up doing 7 hilly miles - my neighborhood is very, very hilly.

This weekend is 20 miles!

I'm trying not to focus on the 20 miles, so instead I'm thinking about after the run when I have decided that I am going to try canning some jams.  I've never canned before, so this should be interesting.  I ordered a waterbath canner, so my only hope is that it arrives in time.  A lot of stores were sold out - I picked the biggest canning month to start canning!

Ok, back to watching America's Got Talent, my favorite summer show!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Review: The Little Book of Common Sense Investing

I used to work for a mutual fund company.  I started my career there as an intern, and stayed for a total of five years before moving to a different company.  The great thing about working for such a firm so early in my career was that I learned a lot about 401(k) plans.  I'm in IT, so I wasn't working on the day-to-day investing side of things, but the basic principles of retirement planning were drilled into my head...

a) Invest as much as you can afford, and if you aren't at least putting your enough into your 401(k) to match what your company would match, you were throwing away money.

b) Once it's in there, don't move it around too much.  Set it and rebalance about once a year.

We learned the basics of risk, and how much of our investment should be at risk based on our age.  That being said, this was also in the midst of the tech bubble (I left the company in mid-2002), and a lot of us were putting a little more at risk than we probably should.

What I didn't learn was what I should be investing in.  I didn't really know one fund from another, and I didn't really understand how to choose my investments.  I did, though, have total faith that no matter what funds I was choosing, I would be doing well just to be in mutual funds.

If you ever check out my blogroll, you'll catch a few financial blogs in there.  I do really like to keep up with financial news, and my absolute favorite personal finance blog happens to be Get Rich Slowly.  It was this blog that suggested John Bogle's book The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns.  Get Rich Slowly recommends the methods of John Bogle, who is a former president of The Vanguard Group (not the mutual fund company where I used to work).  Bogle recommends investing in Index Funds.  Get Rich Slowly recommends index funds.  In fact, index funds keep coming up when I hear about investing.  I decided to check out the book and I downloaded it for my Kindle.

I'm new to index funds and I realized that I didn't learn as much at my former company as I'd thought.  I was convinced in only a couple of chapters.  Bogle talks about what an index fund is and why you should invest.  Each chapter tackles a different aspect of index funds and mutual funds in general, from tax implications to ETFs.  My favorite chapter was on expense ratios, which is basically how much money you are paying the mutual fund owner to maintain the fund for you.  Oh my.  This is when I realized how much I was PAYING my former employer to manage my money and I was floored.  Expenses had never really been emphasized to me, and in theory they seemed like such a small portion of my money that I didn't think it mattered.  Then, I checked out the funds that I was holding and saw a shocking .6-1.3% expense ratio.  Index funds from Vanguard were more like .10%.  This makes a HUGE difference to what you end up with over time!  I had no idea!

A side note:  If, like me, you really didn't know what an index fund is, here's an explanation.  It's a method of buying the "entire" stock market, or an index of the entire stock market.  So, for example, the S&P 500 is a collection of 500 large cap stocks in the US.  And S&P 500 Index buys some of each of those 500 stocks, properly weighted based on the percentage of that stock over the whole index.  These days, there are Total Stock Market Indexes that do the same thing with the entire US Stock market.  And since they're not actively managed, their fees are lower.

Even better, they represent the market, so rather than trying to beat the market (which almost no one can do), you simply match it, which is a terrific deal.

Now, the bad part about this book is that it is basically an advertisement for Vanguard Funds.  Do your research though, and you'll find that this method of investing is well respected and Vanguard is a very respectable firm.  Vanguard is not your only choice for index funds, either.  The point is that Index funds happen to be the way to go, regardless of who is actually offering them.  My former company, for example, offers several index funds.  And, having read this book, you'll be smarter when going through the prospectuses.  Personally, over the last few weeks I've moved all of my assets to Vanguard, even though I feel a little like I'm betraying the company that launched my career.  They're just too expensive, plain and simple.

This book is a must read for anyone who wants a smart, simple way to manage their investments.  I'm a convert, and I'm planning to follow this one up with The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Countdown to NYC: 3 Months

Now we're 3 months out from the New York City Marathon, and the one good thing to report is that I've finally gotten used to the idea that I'm going to be running the New York City Marathon.  For some reason, I was so incredibly convinced that I wouldn't get in that it just became difficult to accept that I did indeed get in on my first try.

Training is going very well.  I've written this post in advance, so as this posts, I will be on the NCR Trail completing my 18 mile training run.  We started running at 5:00am, and this is our first run in the dark.  Personally, I think it's a treat to start my training runs in the dark.  There's something special or even magical about being on the trail as the sun rises.  I know it should suck, and it does suck when the alarm goes off at 3:45am, but when you start looking on the bright side -- the birds start singing while you're out there, and nature starts waking up.  It's a beautiful place to be so early in the morning.

I only have one more race to do before NYC, and that is the Annapolis Ten Mile run the end of August.  Then, I'll have two months of high mileage training and no races at all until NYC on November 6.  In all, 13 weeks of training remain and I'm feeling strong and ready.  It's been hot, but I've still been getting my runs in.

Usually this time of year, I am faced with a horrible apathy that prevents me from getting out there and getting my runs in.  So far, knock on wood, I haven't had that happen TOO much yet.  We'll see how things go over these last few weeks of hot summer days.

I'll leave you with this terrific video that I've watched about a million times of the runners starting at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in 2010:



How cool is that?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Little Cayman 2011

I'm finally writing about my vacation that I took in early July!
Beautiful Southern Cross Club (Owen Island, in the distance on
the right, is where we got married!)
We stayed on the top floor of the green building this time.
Todd and I traveled to Little Cayman on June 30.  Last year, we worked out as a group to come back in 2011, so we were meeting a bunch of friends down there.  Little Cayman has become like Cheers for us - everyone knows us!!  We saw friends as soon as we got off the plane in Grand Cayman!  Our friend Bill was waving from the second floor of the terminal.  We went through customs and then had a beer with Bill and his wife Gerry.  While we were waiting for our puddle jumper to Little Cayman, two more of our friends, Ed and Adele arrived in the airport!  The six of us took the twin otter to Little Cayman, where the rest of our friends were.
The Twin Otter at Little Cayman Airport
We were there for a week, and the scuba diving was, as always, amazing. We were blessed with fairly good visibility and because it's the Cayman Islands, we saw a turtle on nearly every dive.  We had a few shark sightings, two nurse sharks (one swimming, one sleeping) and a reef shark.  No cephalopods (squid or octopus), which made me sad.  Lots of beautiful reef and lots of beautiful fish.

The diving in Little Cayman was just good, awesome Caribbean diving.  Instead of telling you more about it, I'll show you through Todd's photos:
Nassau Grouper

Hawsbill Turtle

Ellen in a swim through

Bill and a turtle

I show off a swell Decorator Crab

Hawksbill Turtle

I'm all up in this turtle's personal space
We watched a presentation from the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) about Lionfish in Little Cayman.  The Lionfish are indeed still there, but the four resorts on the island are currently alternating Thursdays to go out on dives (staff only) to spear Lionfish.  As a result, we got to taste Lionfish!!  I thought it tasted pretty good, not fishy at all, just a firm white fish.
Lionfish

That's me along Bloody Bay Wall

Sailfin Blenny
July 2 was our second wedding anniversary.  We had been planning to have dinner on the beach that night, but instead there was a big event on the island!  It was the Sister Islands Cooking Competition.  The chefs on the island as well as on Cayman Brac all got together to compete against each other. Some big time chefs from Grand Cayman came over to do the judging, and our group got tickets to into the tasting room to try the entries! It was awesome.  There were a ton of Lionfish dishes, so we got to taste it more and more.  I really do think it's great!  The winning dish was a dessert that a group of us shared (it was huge).  Yum, yum, yum.
Team Southern Cross at the Sister Islands Cooking Competition

The cooking competition was held at Little Cayman Beach Resort, which is about a quarter mile up the road.  It's totally walkable, but we ended up piling into the Southern Cross Club van for a ride.  It was pretty funny, since the van wasn't big enough to hold all of us.  We squeezed in, but it was like a clown car.
Clown Car!  By the way, I AM wearing a shirt, it's just a halter top and my
hair is covering the strings...
I didn't hydrate enough at the Little Cayman Beach Resort and ended up with a pretty nasty migraine the next day.  We ended up skipping the morning dives on the 3rd, but it worked out perfectly.  I've been so busy and stressed at home that I really needed some time to just lay in a hammock and relax.
Missing a couple of dives isn't so bad when this is the alternative...

Since we didn't get to have our wedding dinner on our anniversary, we thought we would do it on July 3, but there was another couple having a private beach dinner that night (and it was their last night in the resort), so we decided to do it on July 5.  In the meantime, it was time for the 4th of July!
Me, on the 4th of July

We always have a great time on July 4th in Little Cayman.  Yes, they celebrate US Independence Day there, because there are so many Americans on the island and because, frankly, it is an opportunity to party.  Peter, who owns Southern Cross Club, enjoys pyrotechnics as a hobby, so when the time came, he just pulled up his pickup and started shooting off fireworks on the beach.  We sat on the pier and watched, and it was great!
Ellen and Todd try out paddle boarding
Photo Courtesy of Ellen Tate
July 5 came and it was time for our dinner on the beach.  We did a dusk dive that evening, and just as we were heading back around to the resort, the rain started.  Big, giant thunderstorm.  We made it back to the resort, and I went over to the palapa and stood sadly in the rain watching the nice table and candles that were set up get totally soaked.  We did end up having an absolutely lovely dinner with some of our friends inside.

So, we were down to our very last evening on the island.  We had planned a sunset cruise out on the lagoon, which meant that all of the resort guests were on the barge, with lights, hors d'oevres, beer and wine.  It was a lovely happy hour.  It wasn't much of a sunset though -- the clouds had come out and the wind had picked up.  I was nervous that our dinner would be another rain out.  However, the rain held off and we ended up having a lovely candlelit dinner on the beach.  While we were having dinner, our friends all came out and sang "Happy Anniversary To You," which was so awesome.  We went to meet them on the pier after dinner (as we usually did) and right as we walked up, it started to rain.
Todd and me on the Sunset Cruise during our anniversary celebration.
(The necklace I'm wearing was an anniversary gift from Todd!)

Our group on the sunset cruise, plus divemaster Alycia & Bartender Fernando
(Fernando's first day working at SCC was the day we arrived!)
Photo courtesy of Mike Schmidt
Todd and I sprinted back across the beach as the rain picked up, and headed upstairs to our room.  We had put our scuba equipment on the porch to dry since we were leaving the next day, and we had to grab it up and bring it inside before it got all wet.  While we were doing that, I noticed that Todd had had the staff light a bunch of candles in the room, and they were all around on every surface :)  The lights were on because of the rain and the equipment, but after that was taken care of, I could stop and see the candles.  He's so sweet.

The whole trip was like a whirlwind, where I couldn't believe that it was over so soon.  It was as if we'd just arrived!  We headed home.

We had a little trouble getting in to Baltimore.  We circled BWI for almost an hour waiting for a thunderstorm to pass (I guess the weather we'd had the last couple of days in Cayman was all the way up the coast, too).  The captain came on and told us we were going to maybe need to land at Dulles.  We waited some more.  He came on again, and said we were going to land in Baltimore right then!  Get your tray tables up!  Hurry, hurry!  I turned off my kindle and waited.  We kept circling.  I shrugged and started reading again.  The captain came on and said that there was a microburst at BWI, and we would maybe need to land at Dulles.  Not two minutes passed and he came on again, saying we were cleared to land at BWI.  We kept circling.  I saw the airport get further away.  Sure enough, we were heading to Dulles and landed there a few minutes later.

Now, I thought we'd be stuck there and bussed to BWI (an hour or more drive for those not familiar with the area), as my sister had happen once.  We were at the terminal, but we weren't permitted to leave the plane and get back on.  I then was more worried that we would be stuck for hours.  However, it ended up being only about an hour and then we took off and flew the 15 minutes or so to BWI.  We got home pretty late, but Southwest handled it well.

(We fly Southwest to Tampa, then switch to Cayman Airways in Tampa, and this avoids paying all baggage fees)

It was a great trip.  I love Little Cayman and feel so lucky that we have gotten to visit there five times.  Once again, happy anniversary to Todd - my husband and my best friend.  It's been two wonderful years!

Me, in a chimney

That's me!

Flamingo Tongue

Todd was taking a photo of the structure in the background, called Randy's Gazebo,
but the Groupers (who I always say are like dogs) wouldn't stop getting in the photos.
It was like the squirrel!  

See what I mean?

Divemaster Mike in silhouette 




Gerry and Gumby!
As always, if you love these beautiful photographs, do me a favor and check out Todd's Redbubble site.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hadassah 8K 2011

The Fleet Feet Baltimore group before the race. Can you find me?
Image Credit: Bobby Levin
This is my second year running this race.  Last year the course looped back on itself, but this year it was changed to go through local neighborhoods so that we wouldn't have to loop over on itself.  This had the consequence of making it a much more challenging course, with three big hills that weren't there last year.  However, it was not bad.  I mean, this isn't my target race, so it's actually great to have a few hills while going at race pace for training purposes.  I did have to walk a little bit extra on a couple of the uphill sections - but I made up for it on the downhills!

It was a hot day, also, which didn't help.  We're on our 17th day in Baltimore with temps in the 90s.  Todd came along, and it's always nice to have him running with me :)  I did 1:30 and 1 intervals, and in all it was a pretty pleasant race.

I finished in 58:03, about a minute and a half faster than last years time.  I felt really great about that PR until I saw that I drank half a bottle of wine the night before last years' race....  LOL.

I still am confused about the whole 8K thing...  I don't understand making a course that distance and not just making the race a 5 miler. The food spread was a little less than last year, with no Coldstone, even though I told everyone that there would be Coldstone at this race.  Oh well.

I guess I don't have a whole lot to say about this one this year.  It was nice, I enjoyed the run, but it didn't stand out as a really great race like it did last year.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stats as of 31 July 2011

July 2010
49.1 miles
10 hours, 37 minutes
Avg Pace: 13:00/mile
Hadassah 8K (8/1/10): 59:32 (11:59/mile)

July 2011
51.8 miles -- 2.7 miles more than in 2010
11 hours, 12 minutes -- 35 minutes longer than in 2010
Avg Pace: 12:59/mile -- 1 second faster than in 2010
Hadassah 8K: 58:03 (11:41/mile)

Year Totals:
344.1 miles at 12:48 per mile

July is always a little bit lighter in mileage than other months because I go on vacation for the 4th of July (usually, and I did this year -- I SWEAR there's a trip report coming).  This July looks almost like a carbon copy of last July!  I did manage to PR yesterday at this year's Hadassah 8K (I will write a race report for this, too!).

Training for the New York City Marathon is going well - my group will be doing our 18 mile training run next Saturday.  As the schedule looks now, we are expected to do training runs up to 26 miles, which will be a first for me.  Running the full marathon distance is suggested in Jeff Galloway's training schedules, but up to now I've only ever completed 23 miles in training.  We'll see what happens, my group is supposed to have a pow wow on it during our next run.

In other news, I have been biking this summer as well.  There isn't much to say about it, though.  Most of my rides are the same - 11 miles on the NCR trail.  I turn around just before Mile Marker 6, at my "favorite spot on the trail".

Jake at my favorite spot on the trail on Monday
I've been making it out on the bike about once a week, but I missed a couple of weeks after my vacation.  I've been spending my cross training time in July mostly scuba diving.  Saturday, we went into the quarry to do certification dives with the people in our Open Water class this month.  It's always nice to see some new divers on their first dives ever.  :)

Happy August!  Can you believe it's August already?  Where is this year going?!
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