Monthly Archives: October 2008

Because I can't keep the NKOTB posts at the top of the page

I think my last two posts have made me out to be some sort of NKOTB superfan, which I am not any more. So on to more pressing topics.

It is snowing. Ok, not really snowing snowing, but there is a fine layer of frost/freezing rain/aka SNOW on the ground outside. It is still October, and this is in no way ok with me. With the weather getting colder by the minute, I like to remind myself that we will be here in t minus 18 days:

Ahhh, beautiful Belizian honeymoon. I can’t wait. The view from the balcony in our one bedroom apartment suite will be like this:

I am imagining sitting out there at night with a bottle of wine, just relaxing and getting ready for SCUBA diving during the day.

This is a shot of the eco lodge in the jungle where we will spend the second half of our trip:

And the private waterfall that we will be renting for the day:

Ok, I really didn’t mean for this to turn into a post all about our upcoming honeymoon, but I am so excited I can’t help it.

In running news: I did the Lakefront Discovery Run 15K on Saturday. It was my first time doing this race, and I was surprised at the large turnout. I had a good easy run to officially end out the 2008 season. Well, I should say it started out easy. I did a pretty excellent job of running negative splits:

Mile 1- 9:12

Mile 2 – 8:47

Mile 3 – 8:56 (oops)

Mile 4 – 8:43

Mile 5 – 8:38

Mile 6 – 8:31

Mile 7 – 8:10

Mile 8 – 7:48

Mile 9 – 7:52

.3 miles – 2:00

Normally I don’t pay such close attention to splits, but I was pretty impressed with myself when I saw this (thanks to my buddy Garmin, who I have affectionately named Jasper). Also notable about this run was the fact that it ended at the Milwaukee Ale House, and there was free beer. That was enough to bring me back again next year!

Also in honor of the cold weather, I went to spin class today. It’s time to get back into the swing of things at the Y, after a glorious few months of outdoor excersise. I will still run outside of course, but I draw the line at biking when it is under 50 degrees. OK, under 60 degrees. I am a wuss. Maybe I will get to the pool this week too. Ha! Let’s not get carried away.

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Filed under Miscellany, The run, Travel

I Still (Heart) NKOTB

Here is my long overdue report on the NKOTB concert last Wednesday. I wanted to wait until I had ample time to do the post justice. Let me start by saying that the boys did not disappoint.  I was disappointed, however, when I got to the Bradley Center and noticed signs on the door that small cameras would be allowed inside. I did not bring my camera, as the “no camera” policy was clearly stated on the ticket. Trust me, this post would have been amazing if you were able to view photographic evidence of some of the things that I saw.

Since I reluctantly got rid of all my NKOTB paraphernalia several years back, I was unable to bust out my 1991 concert t-shirt or any of my buttons. For many women at the concert, this was not the case. There was something oddly hilarious but slightly desperate about 30-year-old women walking around in a t-shirt that fit them when they were twelve, with 14-year-old Joey McIntyre plastered on the front staring longingly with his baby blues.

Then there were the groups of women that actually had t-shirts designed and printed for the occasion. They had slogans like “NKOTB 4-Ev-R” and “Boston Babes.” These women went all out and were ready to re-live the glorious moments of the past.

But t-shirts were just the beginning. I couldn’t believe some of the stuff that people actually saved. Of course there were a lot of buttons, both the small one-inch and the jumbo six-inch variety. I saw one group that had brought their NKOTB dolls. Think Mattel dolls, like a barbie doll. I felt a pang of jealousy, as I never had the dolls as a child.

Then there were the girls that just flat-out dressed 80’s style. Neon tights, crimped hair, scrunchies, mini skirts. These girls were really having fun with it. Like I said, had I brought my camera, it would have been awesome.

We found our seats and I could tell that my poor husband was already in for more than he bargained for. He would say in the end that the whole experience was so much worse than he ever could have imagined. So I will say it here, he was a trooper and I still owe him big. There were 2 opening acts, the first of which I could have done completely without. The main opening act was Natasha Bettingfield, and once she started, I realized that I vaguely knew a few of her songs. She put on a decent performance, but everyone was anxious to get on with it.

Soon after that, it was time. The stage was set up with a huge monitor in the background. Words started to appear, and it said something like “15 Years Ago, they left the stage…Now the BLOCK is back!” Then five figures were slowly lifted on a platform to the top of the stage and the Bradly Center lost its mind. Women my age screaming like they were ten, in an instant transported back to their childhood, where all that mattered was one day marrying Donny or having Jordan sing only to you.

They performed all of their old hits along with some new songs (which I could have done without). They did their signature synchronized dance moves. Jordan even did the famous open white shirt blowing in the wind machine as he sang, exactly as he had done on this very stage 17 years ago.

I think that is what was so great about the whole thing. Seeing them perform last week, I realized that they are not amazing singers, and certainly not amazing dancers. But they are good performers and they know how to please their audience. The ladies were there for a night out with their girlfriends, an evening to cut loose and remember the good old days. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get into some of the songs. I sang along and I even screamed. I couldn’t help it, I am a sucker for nostalgia.

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Flashback to November 11, 1991

I was newly 11 years old. My friend Kelly and I had been preparing for this moment for weeks. We made poster-board signs that read “I HEART Donny” and “I HEART Jordan” in big Crayola letters. We did our hair and put on our jean jackets. Mine was completely covered in buttons. It was the coolest. I wish I could share a picture of this, but I don’t even know where to dig one up.

We got in the car and my dad drove us to the Bradley Center. We found our nosebleed seats amidst a sea of giddy pre-teens. We could hardly contain ourselves. My dad put in his earplugs and the concert started. The screaming was deafening. NKOTB took the stage and we lost it. We held our signs high, proclaiming our love for Jordan, Joey,  Donny,  Danny,  and Jon.

At one point during the concert Donny sat on the edge of the stage as he was singing, and he pointed towards the upper deck. I was forever convinced that he saw my sign and was pointing directly to me (in nearly the very last row). We had a connection, of that I was sure. It was the best night of my little 11-year-old life.

So 17 years later it comes full circle. I came home last night from the So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour (a whole different story not really worth talking about) to find that my husband had scored free tickets for  the NKOTB concert tonight. Because he loves me, he will also accompany me to the show. (How many of you ladies can say your husband would do that?) I would be lying if I said I wasn’t totally excited. If only I had saved my 1991 concert tour t-shirt, you bet your ass I would be sporting it tonight. Stay tuned for my full review tomorrow. Right now I need to go find my jean jacket and tease my bangs.

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Filed under Miscellany, Music

At least is wasn't as hot as last year

Well, I am happy and relieved to say that Chicago Marathon #5 is in the books. While it wasn’t as hot out as last year when the temps hovered neared 90 degrees, it was still quite a bit warmer than I would have hoped. Luckily, people were great about standing outside with their garden hoses to spray people down, and the city opened up some of the fire hydrants, which made the temps in the low 80’s seem not quite so bad.

All in all I had a great run. I didn’t get to the start area as early as I should have, and by the time I checked my gear bag and went to the bathroom, the start corral was pretty packed. I inched my way up as far as possible, but I couldn’t make it much past the sign for the 11 min/mile pace. I didn’t think this would be a huge deal by the time I got going, but it was.

The entire first half of the race, I was trying with difficulty to pass people. We were so packed in it was nearly impossible. I hit the half way point at 2:04, about 15 minutes slower than I would have liked. At this point I realized that I would not PR in this race, so I just tried to enjoy the second half as much as possible.

On the upside, my legs felt great the entire time. By “great” I mean that my quads didn’t feel like they were bursting into flames or being stabbed by daggers every time I slowed down for water. I was always able to start right back up with no problem. I also aced my nutrition plan, and ate everything I planned to. This is a feat in itself, as usually I can’t force myself to swallow much.

I finished right around 4:10, I don’t know the exact time because the Chicago Marathon website keeps timing out on me. I am happy that I was able to hold the same pace from first half to second, and this was probably partly due to the fact that I ended up running so slow in the beginning. I am a little bummed because I know I had the fitness level needed to PR, but it was not in the cards.

I am also not too sore today compared to past marathons. I think my body has resigned itself to the fact that I am going to continue to push it to the edge and sometimes over, so it decided to just get used to it.

With that, race season is over. I plan to do one more 15K in two weeks if the weather is decent, but from here on out the focus is on Ironman. Which means I have to start swimming again. I am actually kinda sorta looking forward to it. I’m sure that feeling will last for approximately 10 meters when I jump in the pool, but for now I will pretend that I like swimming and can’t wait to get back in the water.

Now I think I will pour myself a glass of wine and be happy that I am taking another rest day tomorrow before I slowly start getting back into the swing of things. I am relieved to have some down time, but also excited to take on the next challenge.

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Filed under The run, Triathlon

2nd Place Baby!!

Yesterday I participated in the 20th annual Lapham Peak Colorama 10K race. I thought it would be a good last hard effort before the Chicago Marathon next week. It also sounded like a really cool race, run on the cross country ski trails of Lapham Peak State Park.

Having been out in that area a couple of times before, I expected the course to be hilly. Maybe even quite hilly. This turned out to be a huge understatement. The race started up a gently sloping grass hill. This quickly turned into a very steep cross country ski trail full of rocks, dirt and tree roots. I would say the first mile was pretty much all uphill. After that it flattened out a bit, and I was able to catch my breath.

Then we hit the mother load. This was more than just a hill. It was long. It was steep. It seemed it would never end. Many people around me were reduced to walking at this point, but I would not allow myself. I chanted “one foot in front of the other. you can do this” over and over in my head. My breathing became quite audible. Ok, I was wheezing. By the time I reached the top I was drooling and snotting all over the place. Fun!

Now it was time to go down. And guess what – the backside was just as steep, just as long. There is nothing you can do but let your legs go in sort of a controlled fall, limbs flailing. One wrong step or unseen root would send you toppling head over heels the rest of the way down. Luckily I made it without killing myself, and the worst part was over.

The rest of the course was rolling hills. Some were quite steep, but they were all short enough to be manageable. I crossed the finish line with a time of 50:51, or an average of 8:11 per mile. Pretty good for such a tough course. Then came the kicker. I won 2nd place in my age group! Here I am with my plaque:

Now for the coolest part. My wonderful husband got a bonus at work last week and surprised me with a new Garmin Forerunner 405. This thing is the bomb! It can take any route you run and show it in Google Earth. So here is the race course from yesterday:

How cool is that?? You can also click on any of those little white squares, and it will tell you your time and distance elapsed to that point, as well as what your pace was at that very second. It will also keep track of my pace, speed, elevation and grade, and display them on a chart. I feel my inner nerdiness coming out already.

With that, marathon week is here. I have a super-busy week ahead, and then it’s off to Chicago on Saturday. Lastly, a big shout-out to everyone running the Lakefront Marathon today. The weather is perfect for a great race!

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Filed under The run