Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's Great To Be A Florida Gator!!!!!

So while I was performing my American Bo Form, doing my creative kumite and getting my 2nd Degree Black Belt last Saturday, something even more SPECTACULAR was happening. My Gator team, ranked #2 in the AP poll, were playing the 1st ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome.

For some reason, I had thought it was an 8pm game. So I figured that right after the Karate Spectacular show, I'd go home and watch the game. But during the pre-show practice, one of my instructors, who happens to be a big Miami Hurricanes fan, came up to me and gave me a score update. Holy crap!! Our biggest game of the year, the game that would either send us to the BCS Championship Bowl or to a lesser Bowl, and I was missing it! AAAAGHHHHHH!

I got the score at half-time, which was right before our show started and the Gators were ahead by 3 points. But still, we were playing Alabama. There was 2 more quarters of football to play and anything could happen. I take nothing for granted in Gator football!

The Spectacular started and it was so busy that I barely had time to think about the Gators. When our show ended, my instructor came up to me and put the icing on my 2nd degree "cake"; the Gators had WON!!!

Sunday night they announced the bowl selections and it was confirmed; the #2 UF Gators will play the #1 Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS Championship Bowl here in Miami!!!!! It's kind of ironic; about 3 or 4 years ago I got the opportunity to go to the Orange Bowl here in Miami. It was USC (Southern Cal, not South Carolina for my SEC friends!!!) versus Oklahoma. I was routing for Oklahoma; but they lost.

To make things even better, this week they announced the final 3 candidates for the Heisman trophy. Tim Tebow was selected as one of the 3 candidates. And they will be selecting the winner at 8 pm tonight. While I would love for Tebow to win (he's an awesome person as well as a great Gator!), he has some tough competition. I have a feeling Colt McCoy from Texas will get the award. But, we'll have to wait and see....I'm hoping to be surprised!

So now starts the countdown to January 8th; 26 days!!!

Go Gators


Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Spectacular Spectacular!!!

I am now a 2nd degree Black Belt!!! Woo Hoo!!!
Saturday morning, the 2nd degree team met at the dojo for some last minute renshu (practice). We ran through the All Star Graduate routine and the NTC routine. We finished with the bo routine. We were all in good spirits and a bit nervous.

I came home and relaxed for a bit. I packed some food for the practice since we had to be there at 2pm and the performance doesn't start till 6:30. I got ready and put on my new 2nd degree gi pants (sweet!) and karate t-shirt. Then I put on my 1st degreee black belt for the last time!
Around 1pm, it was time to leave the house. RJ was with the neighor. He'd come to the spectacular with them. So that was one child taken care of. Next I dropped the girlie off at her friend's house. I reminded her what time she had to be dropped off (6pm), that I would be giving her the camera before the show, and how important this event was to me. She appeared to understand what I had said (this will become important later).
Now, with both kids taken care of, it was time to drop off tickets at my mom's house. As I was about 2 minutes away from her house, I realized I had left my gi top on my desk. Ugh!!!! I had to turn around and go back home to get it. Figures......

Having to go back home meant I wouldn't have time to drop off the tickets. I called my mom but kept getting a fax buzzing sound. So I called the girlie and tasked her with letting my mom know I'd meet her out front right before the show to give her the tickets. I hurried to Parker Playhouse and got there right on time, a bit frazzled, but on time!

I brought all my stuff inside and immediately we started with the run throughs. I think we did 3 or 4 complete run throughs and I kept improving with each one. We had a last minute "pep talk" from Kyoshi and Ma'am then we went to get our team t-shirts. Normally we get them the week before so that we can wear them at the practice. And, on the backs of the shirts everyones name is printed. But not this time. It was a "generic" shirt; very disappointing.
But, no time to dwell on anything "negative". I hung out with all the ladies and the time went by quickly, but not as quickly as it had when I tested for my 1st degree. Experience definitely has its plusses! There was a dressing room for the adult ladies and we all squeezed in and did our pre-performance primping. Alex had brought the glitter spray and we all got "sparkled".

We ate a bit, chatted and put on our gi tops. And then they announced the front doors were opening. It was 6pm. So I went to the front doors to look for my family. I waited. I waited some more. And kept waiting. Finally, RJ showed up with the neighbors. And then my mom & stepdad Mel showed up. I gave them the tickets. But the girlie still hadn't showed up. So I called her and asked where she was. She said she was just leaving the movies.

Needless to say I was upset, and disappointed. But not surprised; very typical for a 13 year old girl. But again, I had to get rid of any negative thoughts. I needed to be calm and relaxed to perform. So I gave the camera to RJ and I went backstage. Within minutes, they gave the 5 minute warning and we all quickly gathered backstage.

The show started on time. After the singing of the National Anthem, the XMA teams opened with a glow show. They had the black lights on and put flourescent strips on the weapons so it looked really cool when they spinned the bos, chucks and kamas. After the glow show they did the graduate intros. It started with all the juniors. Next was the adult 1st degrees. And then finally, the 2nd and 3rd degrees!!

There was 6 2nd degrees "All Stars"; 3 juniors (Niki, Brock and Johnny) and 3 adults (me, Melanie, Lori). And there was one 3rd degree "Top Gun", Morgan. We each had our name announced, then we did a short hand/kick blip into a running kick, circle set and bow. Then we went to our positions for a modified XMA Form 3. I was slow on the 1st move (DOH!!!!) but then made up for it on the rest of the kata! And in a flash, it was over.
The next 7 or so routines were demonstrations of XMA, muay thai, self-defense, kenpo, etc. And then it was time for the All Star/Top Gun American Bo form routine. We walked out to the music of Guns N' Roses, Welcome to the Jungle. It was really cool!! Towards the end of the routine, Master Chris stepped in and did a really AWESOME solo performance, and then we all finished the form.

We had our last performance 3 routines later. It was the Team NTC routine. NTC is National Training Center which is the Ft. Lauderdale dojo (there are 5 dojos here in Florida and 7 in New York). It was all the 1st and 2nd degrees, the 3rd degree and the instructors. It started with cross-through kicking by the instructors. Then Morgan did his creative kumite. The 2nd degrees went after Morgan.

The NTC 2nd degrees are me, Mel, Niki and Brock. We started with all 4 of us doing the beginning of short 3 kata and then some blocks and kicks. Then Niki and Brock did some moves together then each did their own personal creative "blips". They moved to the side and Mel and I did some blocks and kicks together. Next it was time for my creative "blip". I started with some kenpo hand moves, front kick, jump front kick, and a kartwheel into kenpo 5-sword move, finishing with a left round kick, spinning right hook. Mel did her personal blip, ending in the middle of the stage. Niki, Brock and I were on the side of the stage and did forward rolls to "line up" with Mel. The 4 of us finished in a straight line and did staggered blocks into a left crescent kick. It ROCKED!!!

And that was it for our performances. There were a few more demonstration routines, MMA, ladies self-defense, etc. And then it was time for the presentation of the belts. We lined up and our names were called. We walked out on stage and Kyoshi presented us with our new belt. When everyone had gotten their belts and was seated on stage, we took off the old belt and wiped sweat from our brow onto the old belt. I've had my 1st degree belt for 4 years; it's a bit faded, but it's soft and flexible. I've become somewhat attached to it! But I'll quickly get over that!!!

We were next instructed to take the new belt and wipe sweat from our brow onto the new belt. And then the moment we all had worked so hard for; time to put on the new belt. The new belt was very stiff and a nice dark black color! The new belt, like my old one has my name printed on one end. The only difference is on the "other end" of the belt, there is now 2 red stripes to indicate 2nd degree (the 1st degree belt didn't have any stripes).

After we all got our belts it was time for Kyoshi get his new belt. Several Grand Masters were there to award Kyoshi his 8th degree. They "charged" his belt with spirit (pretty cool) and gave him his belt and certificate.
We finished the Black Belt Spectacular by bowing out with our creed:

As a dedicated student of the Martial Arts, I will live by the principles of Black Belt...Modesty, Courtesy, Integrity, Self-Control, Perseverence, and Indominable Spirit. What's our goal? Black Belt Excellence!

After the show everyonec went up front to meet their families. There were so many people and tons of engery. Everyone was congratulating and hugging all the candidates. I saw Ryan first, then my Mom and Mel and finally the girlie and her friend.

And now I get to enjoy the moment!!! My black belt, embroidered with my name and 2 red stripes is as meaningful as an Academy Award or a Pulitzer Prize. And although enjoying the moment is nice, it was truly the journey to 2nd degree that is to be remembered. It was a long journey, it was a memorable journey, and it has been a journey full of accomplishments.
When I set my goal for 2nd degree, I knew there would be challenges I had to overcome. The biggest challenge would be my run time. I have always enjoyed running and I even placed in a number of races many years ago. But during my 1st degree black belt cycle, I had a hard time making my run times of 2 miles in 16 minutes. My love for running turned into dread and avoidance. And I knew the only way I would be able to make my run times was to quit smoking. Smoking had been part of my life for 25 years. My younger sister and a certain Rock N' Roll marathon in San Diego were added motivators to quit.
And I did it. On February 2nd, I quit smoking and I haven't had one since that day. It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. Karate was the "end" goal, running was the means to get me there and quitting smoking was the catalyst to get everything going!
And boy did it get going. I finished that San Diego marathon. And then I ran the most amazing marathon ever, the New York City Marathon. What an experience!!! I made a lot of new friends; people who enjoy challenging themselves and who appreciate the dedication it takes. I've logged 883 miles this year, run through 3 pairs of shoes, dealt with heel spurs or bursitis in my heels, read every issue of Runner's World and spent more hours on my training log than is "healthy".
And, I'd do it all over in a heartbeat!!!
Thanks for traveling with me during my journey.......

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving Thanks

Things I'm Thankful For...
Mmmmmmm, turkey!

Kids old enough so I can use the good china!!


Sister, almost brother-in-law and their good friend

That I'm one of the 7 - 2nd degrees!!!!!
6 days till the spectacular and counting down.
I'll be doing 3 performances.
1) NTC Team routine: me, mel, brock, and niki do a 2nd degree creative kumite
2) All Star/Top Gun performance: the 4 2nd degrees from NTC, along with 2 from LHP and Morgan will perform a modified XMA Form 3 routine
3) American Bo Form (performed to the music of Guns -n Roses Welcome to the Jungle; it's going to ROCK!!!)
And finally, that I'm finally caught up with my blogging :/

Power Week

The flight home after the New York Marathon was uneventful. But, on the bus to the long-term parking there was another Gator who had also run in NY. We started chatting and it turns out I had read about him (Josh) in the Gator Alumni magazine. He had founded Miami Feet, a running club, and also Medal Memories, which are boxes to store and display your running medals. Pretty cool!

I got home around 3:30. My legs were feeling okay. There was a tiny bit of soreness if I stayed still. So, I kept moving around because I had to go to karate that night. Yes, one day after running a marathon, I was back at karate. No down time for me! And why was I punishing myself like this? Well, this was "Power Week".

Power Week is the actual exam for my 2nd degree black belt. Friday night would test our drills, katas and weapons. Saturday was self-defense and sparring. That meant I had 4 days to get in my classes, my SWATs, my runs (yes, I had to get in runs for karate!), plus get ready for the testing!

The week went by in a blur! And all of a sudden, it's Friday night. It's Showtime!! The testing was very similar to our pre-checks #1 and #2. We started with a good warmup (more running!). We did some boxing and MMA drills. And then we went into katas. I was a bit nervous. I had a slight brain fart with Short 2 (purple belt kata) but I quickly got back into focus. I felt really good with bookset and XMA form 2.

Next it was on to weapons. We did XMA Chuck form 1. My performance was ok, but I think I could have been more "fierce"! But then, we had to do it again and I rocked it the 2nd time. After chucks, it was time for kamas. Lastly, the black belts performed American Bo Form. The group's timing and energy was awesome. And, I think it was my best bo performance ever!!!

The night finished off with board breaking. First was the high-reds (going for their 1st degree black belt). The juniors went first and then the adults. The high reds broke 1 board. Next, it was time for the black belts. We had to break 2 boards. The 1st board was a hand (palm) break. I felt good because when I went for my 1st degree, I broke it the 1st time. But I was thinking ahead to the kick board and didn't focus enough. My punch didn't break the board. Ouch. But, I wasn't the only one to "miss". And surprisingly, I didn't lose my cool for "failing". I re-focused and threw my right palm and the board split!.

For the 2nd board, we could choose the kick, side or front. I decided to throw the front. I was kind of nervous because on other exams, I had seen many people miss on their 1st kick. And, after missing my 1st board, I was determined to do the kick on the first try. So, deep breath in, focus my energy, tuck the right leg, extend the kick and my foot went through the board like butter! Wow!!!!

And then, exam #1 was over. I was halfway to becoming a 2nd degree. But the second half would be the hardest for me, sparring.

Saturday morning came quickly. We started exam #2 with our usual warmup. We did some drills and then went into self-defense. We started off in circles of about 8 people each. One person was in the center and then the others took turns and did an attack. Then, we lined up and performed. I was really happy. My "attacker" chose good attacks that I was able to do good finished on (eg. take downs, guillitines, etc.).

Then it was time to put on the sparring gear. I sparred with Denay from LHP, Patty from CC, and Alex and Jen from NTC. The sparring went quickly; I though we would have more rounds. But I'm not complaining!!! It was one of my better sparring days.

After sparring, it was time to put on the running clothes. For my 1st degree, we did a team 4-mile run. I was hoping for that! But today, we all went to the field by Florinada Elementary. We ran a few laps. And then it was time for some drills. Suicide runs; run and pass the medicine ball, sprints, bear crawls, and more. Then it was time for our push up pyramid (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5) with horse stance blocks in between each "set" of push-ups.

Power Week was over. We had passed our exam and were now black belts, and 2nd degrees, and one 3rd degree. We were cheering, taking group pictures, hugging each other. Now we start preparing for the "Black Belt Spectacular" on December 6th. The fun begins!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

My NYC marathon race report (finally!!!)

Well, I'm about 4 weeks late in posting my marathon race report. Sorry :(

We last left off November 2nd, very early on a Sunday morning........

Temperature is 41 degrees. It didn't feel too bad (but I was surrounded by buildings). I headed to the NY library to catch the bus. I had been assigned to the 4:30am bus, which was way too early for me considering I was in Wave #3. I had tried to change my assignment at the Expo but they couldn’t change it (since it was already printed on the bib). But, I was told that basically if I showed up later, they’d get me on a bus. The bus area was very organized and I was quickly whisked onto a bus at 5:45.

The ride to Staten Island was around 30-40 minutes. It took some time to get the bus unloaded; there were lots of buses!!! I walked to the staging area which is in a wide open field. Ow, it was freezing cold!!!! It wouldn’t have been so cold if it wasn’t as windy (well duh!!). Most people came with either blankets, Mylar blankets from previous marathons or the windbreakers that they sold at the expo that made the wearers look like astronauts.

I met up with a runner friend. We made a dash to the Dunkin Donut truck and grabbed a cup of coffee. Then it was back to the waiting area by the stage where at least the music was good.

I had to take a porta potty break and got stuck waiting in line for around 10 minutes. It was here that I remembered an item on the “marathon list” my sister gave me that I forgot to bring; a roll of toilet paper (and now I know why it is on the list!).

Then it was time to check in my bag and I had to make the final decisions on what I would carry and what I wouldn’t carry. I decided not to wear my hydration belt as the fluids on the course would be enough and there didn’t seem to be the worry that they would run out. I decided to bring my ipod, my camera, 3 goos, and 2 packets of salt. I found my UPS truck and took off my sweatpants and fleece jacket. I covered up in a rain poncho that was in the goody bag I got at the Expo. It was a bit chilly but if I kept moving and stayed in the sunlight, it wasn’t too bad. I made a final porta potty stop. This one had TP (yeah!) so I took an extra handful for later, just in case!

I walked over to the Blue E Corral. There was clothing everywhere! Remember, I was the 3rd wave. I chatted with a few people in the Corral; everyone was in a fun mood! We started the walk toward the starting line and as we approached, they were playing Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York which really put you into the mood!

And then we were off! We crossed the starting line at the Verrazano-Narrows bridge toll booth (luckily we didn’t have to pay the $10 toll!). And it was an uphill run in cold, windy conditions. But you almost didn’t realize that for 2 reasons. One, there were thousands of other runners blocking the wind; and, Two, the adrenaline helped to numb the cold.

On the VN bridge there were sections in the asphalt that were, for lack of a better term, pot hole laden. I was looking forward (as runners should) and didn’t see the hole and did a half-trip. As I caught myself, I thought that would really suck to be taken out of the race before you run even 1 mile!

The VN bridge is not extremely steep, it’s just very long. And over the entire bridge, there was a steady stream of discarded clothing. I looked to the left and with the clear skies got a nice view of the city. And next thing you know, I’m in Brooklyn.

The crowds were out there, cheering, holding signs, screaming “Welcome to Brooklyn”. They were all ages, young and old out there. For pretty much all of Brooklyn, I seemed to always be running by Italian runners. All I kept hearing was, “Go Italia”! And many people, especially those running for charitable causes, had their names on their shirts. So I would hear, Go Victor, Go Amanda, etc. I was wearing my Gator shirt, no name. Despite that, there are a few Gator fans in Brooklyn.

The first few miles passed by relatively quickly. And then all of a sudden at mile 7, my knee started hurting. Wow. I had really jinxed myself. Only a couple of hours earlier I was bragging how my training for the NY marathon I was knee pain-free. This couldn’t be happening. This really was so unexpected. During my 1st marathon, my knees hurt so badly that I had to walk miles 17-23 and my time sucked because of that. I wasn't going to have that happen again. So I kept running, and after a while, they still hurt, but it was at a level that I just got used to.

And the next thing you know, I’ve done 13.1 miles, YEAH!!!! The ½ way point is right at the beginning of the bridge that takes you into the borough of Queens. Again, there’s tons of crowd support. There’s less than 3 miles to run in Queens and as quickly as we enter the borough, it’s time to leave to the next borough, Manhatten. But in order to get there, I have to cross the “dreaded” Queensborough Bridge.

I had ridden through the bridge when I visited New York this past July. So I kind of knew what to expect, or so I thought. I have to remember that I rode through the bridge, I didn’t run it. You really don’t feel the incline in a car. Anyways, I started up the bridge running.

The bridge doesn’t have any spectators; which makes for a lonely stretch after hearing so many people up to that point. This is where you start to hear that voice inside your head. Up to this point, you might have had that inner voice saying “what the hell are you doing this for” and all the other doubting phrases that every runner hears at some point in a marathon, but the crowd noises are so loud in NY that you never heard it.

And very quickly my knees reminded me they were hurting, my quads gave me a quick shoutout, and I realized I needed a goo. And since I’m not that coordinated to run and eat goo at the same time, I decided the bridge would be a great place for a quick walk break.

As I was nearing the end of the bridge, I could start to hear the crowd noise start to pick up. The end of the bridge is rather steep and had a tight turn. You exit onto this road and see a lot of people and think WOW!. But then that road turns onto 1st Avenue and you are just blown away by the sheer volume of people. There are more people on the side of the road watching us runners than there are in a lot of cities in America.

I cannot describe the enormity, the intensity, or the roar of the crowd. You would almost think that this is an Olympic race for all these spectators to be so loud. And the signs! There were so many signs! You looked up 1st Avenue and saw miles and miles of runners and spectators. It was never ending.

I got to the 18 mile mark and though about the fact that my longest training run was 18 miles. My time for that run was 3:15; my time today was 3:14:47, so I was on track for my goal time. And only 8.1 more miles to go!

1st Avenue kept on going, up through Harlem. The crowds thin a bit, but they were still as vocal as any other spectators. By now my knees still hurt by my brain had “numbed” it out. My legs were starting to feel heavy. But, I was still running. I was determined to run the entire marathon. So I kept plodding along.

Time for bridge #4. They had put a carpet over the metal grates. We were greated with shouts of “Welcome to the Bronx”. And Japanese drummers. The run through the Bronx was the shortest. Almost as quickly as we were running in, it was time to run out and over the 5th Bridge, back into Manhatten for the last leg of the marathon.

Only approx 5 miles to go. 5 miles, no sweat. That was a short training run for me! But my pace was definitely slowing. I realized I wouldn't make my #3 goal. But, I WAS going to make goal #2, come hell or high water!

The last 4 miles were the longest 4 miles I have ever run!! I don’t think I “hit the wall”, but I was skirting it pretty good. When we were inside Central Park and running uphill I had to use every mantra I knew to keep my legs moving. “Pain is temporary, Pride Lasts a Lifetime”, You can do it, You can do Anything! I was just trying to keep my brain busy talking to itself so I wouldn’t remember how tired or sore I was.

When I made the turn onto Central Park South, I was so happy, I knew the end was near, really, it was! But for some reason, CPS was a lot longer than I remembered it was (did they lengthen the road?) Again, mind games! And then finally, it was time to make the turn back into Central Park for the final few yards. They have signs, 400 yards to go, then 300 yards to, and so on. I don’t know if that is good or bad. And then in a flash, I was crossing the finish line with my hands high above my head in victory.

After crossing the finish line we were “herded” into the medal line. The medal this year has 9-time NYC marathon winner Greta Wietz. Next we got our Mylar blankets which in San Diego seemed unnecessary, but it was definitely needed in NY. Next we were given a food bag with a nice selection of bottled water, bagel, apple and some other items. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed an apple as much as I did that day. And then it was a long, crowded crawl to the UPS trucks to get our bags. Luckily since I’m a “slower” runner and my race bib # was high (41425) my truck was relatively closer.

Walking by the UPS trucks, I saw lots of runners who had gotten their bags and were trying to put on their sweat pants and had trouble lifting their leg. One guy was having a really hard time and I walked over and asked if he needed help, he kind of grunted so I held his pants so he could pull his leg up. I didn’t think anything of it, I was just helping another runner. He said something to me (it was a foreign language I didn’t recognize) and had a strange expression. So I don’t know if he was thanking me or telling me to take a hike. I guess it was kind of weird. Oh well.

I got to my UPS truck and got my bag quickly. UPS is really great; they did an awesome job in San Diego and here in NY. I walked a bit to find a spot to set my bag down so that I too could put on my pants! It was here that I realized that I was shivering uncontrollably.

After I dressed and “warmed up”, I called my kids. They had received the Athlete Alert emails I signed them up for, so they knew my time when I called. I think they were pretty excited for me. I don’t remember much of the call, but I know I cut it short because I was so cold. I waited a bit more to “warm up” and then I called my dad and step mom. They were at the family meet-up area. So I exited at 77th Street and found them within minutes. Anne brought the beer I asked her to bring. What an angel!!!!!

We walked to my cousin’s apartment (which thank God was very close). She and her husband had also run the marathon. We had a nice dinner and I got to see family.

After dinner, it was back to the hotel. A warm shower, a glass of wine and I slept very well that night!

The next morning I got up early and headed to Central Park for the Marathon store. I got in line to get my medal engraved with my name and finishing time. I saw Marci and we chatted about our races. Then I picked up a t-shirt for me, the girlie and a jacket for RJ. Lastly, I got a copy of the New York Times. They print the names of all the runners who finish in 5 hours or less. Then it was back to the hotel, pack the bags, and head to the airport.

And like that, my adventure came to an end. But oh what an adventure it was!

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!!!

  • Goal #1 to finish the race

  • Goal #2 to finish in less than 5 hours

  • Goal #3 to finish in less than 4:30

I finished the marathon 4:57:13 (goal #1 and #2). And although I didn’t achieve goal my #3 goal, my time was a 44 minute PR over my prior marathon. Which, isn’t too shabby if I do say so myself!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Race Day

So last night the Gators soundly defeated Georgia, 49 to 3. Go Gators!!!

And dinner with Dad and Anne was lovely. I had the pumpkin ravioli; yes at 1st that didn't sound that appetizing but they were soooooo goooooood! And after dinner and a glass of wine, it was time to try to go to sleep.

I put in a wake up call for 4am and 4:10am. I set the alarm clock. I set an alarm on my cell phone. Yep, cover all the bases. I put on the Texas vs. Texas Tech game; what a game!!! I woke up at 2am (which was actually 1am with the time change). I went back to sleep. I woke up at 2am (the "real" 2 am). And, I half-slept, half-woke until 4am.

The alarms rang, the phone rang and I got up. And now I'm dressed and ready to go to the library to catch the bus. And now the adrenaline is starting to release, my stomach is getting a few flutters and I starting to thin that I must be crazy to want to go run 26.2 miles in 40 degree weather with 39,000 other people I don't know. Yep, that's me. Crazy!!!!!

Wish me luck!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Expo Day

The NYC marathon expo was held at the Javitz Center which is a beautiful structure with tons of glass. The registration process was very organized; id check, bib and chip, then the T-shirt and goody bag. Then it was off to the booths.

At 11am I met up with other Phedip listeners; Chris, Mitch, Frank and Marci. We chatted for a while and took a few pictures (which they all promised to post since I didn't have my camera). It was nice to finally put faces behind the names!

I picked up a few items at the expo. I got my running tights, a long sleeve NYC marathon technical shirt, some goos and replacement bottles for my hydration belt. I was surprised at the size of the expo; I thought it would be bigger. The expos for the Miami ING 1/2 marathon and the San Diego RNR marathon were both bigger and had lots more exhibitors. Maybe the economic troubles have hit the running industry?!?!?!?

After the expo, Ann and I went to an electronics store. We got there at 2:05pm but the store closes at 2pm on Friday because of the Jewish sabbath. We then saw so many orthodox Jews walking down the streets; quite a sight!

Anne went home and I decided a power nap would be awesome; and it was!!! It got me energized to go out to dinner with Dad and Anne. We went to an Argentinian steakhouse by their place. It was yummy! On the subway ride home, half the riders were in costume and there were some really creative get ups! There was also a group of 5 or 6 "punks" starting trouble with someone dressed up as Alladin. You could feel the energy in the subway become very uncomfortable. But quickly enough, the subway ride ended. And once back "home" I hit the sack.

Saturday morning I went downstairs to Starbucks for a cup of coffee and saw "teams" of runners; Team Holland and Team Italia. Then I remembered that there was a "Friendship Run" for the international marathon entrants. The "race" was from the United Nations to Central Park. It went down 42nd Street so I got a great view.

Anne and I planned to meet at Union Square at 11:30. I got there a bit early and checked out the farmer's market. I had a glass of warm Pear Cider, which I've never even heard of before. It was great; nice and warm on a chilly morning. I saw 3 different colors of cauliflower and brussel sprouts attached to a stalk (I never knew that's how brussel sprouts grew!).

Anne arrived and we went to a few stores. Got the girlie a little something from her favorite store. We grabbed a bite to eat and dined outdoors. The weather was just perfect. And then it was time to head home to watch the Gator Game.

And that's where it's at right now; 1st quarter, score still 0-0.


Friday, October 31, 2008

The Big Apple, Here I Come!

The day finally arrived to leave for New York! My flight was at 5pm so I figured I'd leave work at 3pm. And as usual, it was a crazy day with a long list of things that I JUST HAD TO GET DONE before I could leave. And next thing you knew, it was time to go.

The flight left 3o minutes late, but we were still "scheduled" to arrive on time. The flight was good; I watched Sportscenter and the beginning of the USF vs. Cinncinatti game. You gotta love Jet Blue's tv at every seat! As we made our approach we were put into a "holding pattern" for 15-20 minutes. It took another 15 minutes to get an open gate. We came into the new terminal at JFK. It definitely looks new, but it's very sterile and industrial looking; no character!

I got into the city and got situated close to 10pm. By then I was starving!!! So I went to a little Italian restaurant nearby and had a nice glass of wine and linguini with mushrooms and garlic; Yum Yum!!

Now it's Friday morning. I'm getting ready to go meet my stepmother and head to the Expo. At 11am, I'm going to meet up with 6 or 7 other Phedip runners at the Team Boomer exhibit.

I'm going to have to get some running tights at the expo. The temp last night was 37 degrees. Just a tad bit chilly for this Florida gal. Thankfully today it should be in the 50's and 60's. But Sunday's weather is expected to be in the 40's. Ugh!!! That's a little bit cooler than I was hoping for. And there's no way I'll be able to run in shorts. Yeah, I know I'll warm up once I start running. But I don't think that will be enough. And, I want this to be a pleasant experience; I don't want to only remember that I was freezing my butt off.

After the expo I'll probably do an early dinner with Dad and Anne. I want to get a good nights sleep tonight since I know I won't sleep well Saturday night.

That's all for now.......

Sunday, October 26, 2008

1 Week Countdown.....

The dream is starting to come true......the New York Marathon is next Sunday; 1 week away. I can hardly believe it! And now comes the hard part, counting down the final days till the marathon!!!

I've been watching the NY weather for several weeks. And it's ranged from the upper 40's to low 60's for the "lows"; their "highs" have been from the 50's to 60's. Considerably cooler than the temps I am used to in Florida. I'm starting to worry about what I should wear for the marathon. I'm always cold to begin with, so I'm thinking I should wear running tights or capris instead of shorts or my new running skirt. Or, maybe the skirt will be okay, but I'll wear a LS shirt. Aaaaah, so many decisions!(#*@*!@#*#)(!!@

For the week....
  • Karate: 3 classes, 4 SWAT classes; 4 days of extras =150 push-ups, 150 sit-ups, 50 lunges, 50 kicks off each leg (side, front, round, back)
  • Runs: 4 runs; total mileage 17+ miles
Fun Stuff.......

#1. The Gators beat Kentucky, resoundingly! But we only moved up from #10 to #8 in the BCS poll. Next Saturday we play Georgia. That should be a great game. I better be able to get the game up in NY!!!!

#2. Saturday night was the karate Halloween party. My costume went over very well! I was "Miss Hap", a beauty pagent contestant who has seen better days! Get it, a "mishap". I had the beauty pagent part down with a gown, tiara, tons of make up. The "mishap" part was a fake cast , a fake wound, wearing a foot boot (thanks to RJ's recent injury) and on a crutch (thanks to my torn calf injury). It was quite realistic! Several people freaked, thinking I had really gotten injured with only 2 weeks till black belt testing!!! I'm hoping someone who took pictures will send me a copy!!

The party was nice. It was great to go out for a "social" adult event. There was lots of food, a good turn out of people and good dancing tunes!!! There was even jello shots. I don't think I've had them since college!! Cool beans!!!

Well, it's 11:40pm and the Phillies just won game 4 of the World Series 10-2. It's not looking too good for the Rays. But, you never know.......

Yawn. Time for bed!!! Goodnight all!!!


Saturday, October 18, 2008

First things Gator football this weekend. I hate bye weeks.

Today was Pre-Check #2 for the December cycle Black Belt candidates. Pre-check #1 = forms and katas, Pre-check#2 = Bugo (sparring). We started class by running 4 laps of the dojo; trampoline high knees, side shuffles, backward running. Then we lined up and started stretching and worked our way into some ab work and boxing combo drills.

We then worked on our self-defense holds and grabs. We lined up with a partner; 1 person attacked the other person with 3 different Holds & Grabs and then we switched positions. We did this a second time, but with 5 holds and grabs each. Then it was time to perform. All the guys lined up on deck and performed their 5 holds and grabs then the ladies did the same thing.

I did much better with my H&G today than I did on Wednesday; I was "sharper". But on Wednesday I was able to tell my attackers which H&G I wanted so that I could pick the ones that were more "dramatic" and showed off my skills better. Today we were at the mercy of whatever H&G our partner chose. My partner (who is awesome!) chose H&G that were not my favorites, but that's the way the cookie crumbles!

After H&G, we put on our sparring gear, except for our headgear. We started out with light boxing moves and kicks for 2 rounds. Then, it was time to put on the headgear and to get into 3 person safety zones. Ma'am assigned me with Sensei Stephanie and Alex.

My 1st round was with Sensei. Now she could easily kick my a## because she is so talented/strong/skilled/you name it, she's it. But she's also a great partner and works with you. Overall, I was ok with my sparring against Sensei Steph; not great, but not bad. I took a number of kicks and punches from Sensei, but I was able to get in a few front kicks and punches of my own! After our round, Steph sparred with Alex and I got a short break. Then it was my turn to spar with Alex (high-red belt). Alex is considerably taller than me but I was able to get inside and throw some punches and kicks.

Then it was time to switch zones. And the zone from here on our were 2 person zones (which means no breaks!). Ma'am assigned me to spar with Ms. Melissa. Yes, Ms. Melissa who just competed in her 1st Muay Thai competition and kicked butt!!! Melissa had the height (and skill) advantage. She is an awesome partner. She could have easily powered against me, instead she worked with me. So, I did ok; not great, but not bad.

Next was Jennifer, the 3rd degree dynamo! The ONLY thing I had against Jen was a height advantage which I can take advantage of by throwing my jabs or front kicks. Jen tends to throw a lot of round kicks. For the most part, I will "take" the kick because blocking it takes away most of the force. I can then come in with a straight line counter.

After Jen, I sparred Olivia. She and I are about the same size. The last time I sparred Olivia, I did very well, keeping up against her. But today I was starting to get tired. I had sparred continuously against Alex, Melissa, Jen and now Olivia, without a break! I tried my best to concentrate on not letting my fatigue cause me to get sloppy with my skills.

After Olivia, I sparred Lori, a 1st degree from LHP. She had some good front kicks and she was really good throwing her jab over and over and over! . Finally......Ma'am had the candidates line up and Mel and I got to spar. I really don't remember too much of the round; I was so pooped by then. I just wanted the round to end. And it did. And I was done, yeah!!!!!

Several months ago I would have been so intimidated to have to spar Sensei Steph, Ms. Melissa, Melanie, and Jennifer. In my journey to 2nd degree, my bugo skills have improved, although there's still plenty of room for improvement! But, the area that I feel I've had the greatest improvement is in my confidence in sparring. I'm no longer "scared" to spar certain people. I don't "shell up" like I used to.

Morgan, who is going for his 3rd degree black belt, had to spar one last round. He had 3 opponents, each opponent got 1 minute against him. First it was Picasso who has awesome speed and kicks. Then it was Christian who kept throwing punches after punches. And finally, it was Gavin who is skilled beyond belief. Each of the opponents had gotten a "break" waiting for their turn. Morgan had to spar continuously. You could see the fatigue set in (and I'm sure that's what he was being tested for) and yet he was able to throw kicks and punches. Impressive!

Kyoshi ended class talking about managing emotions and then sent us off to get ready to run our timed 2 mile run.

So I had made it through the bugo part, whew! Now, all I had to do was run 2 miles and Black Belt Pre-Test #2 would be done! The weather was cooperating; it was in the low 80's with low humidity. Everything was great. Except for my right heel.

I have bursitis in my right heel. It's inflamed because of my running. So the only treatment choices are to stop running (not an option) or take anti-inflammatory medication. So I've been taking daily doses of Aleve. For many weeks. Last week, I think it was a combination of the pain wasn't noticeable (because the Aleve was working) and I was so busy that I forgot to take the Aleve (I'm a very forgetful medication taker). Well, today at the end of class, the pain reared it's ugly head.

But I had to run. For the first 2 laps, the pain was uncomfortable. The discomfort caused me to shift my weight to the left foot which shortened my stride and slowed my pace. But by lap 3, the stiffness worked itself out or my pain threshhold increased. Either way, I ended up finishing the 2 miles in 15:44, which is the exact same time I ran last week. I'm very consistent!!

And now I've completed Black Belt Pre-Check #1 and #2. I should get feedback this week from Ma'am about my Pre-Check #2 performance. And with luck, I will be a candidate for Power Week (which is the actual black belt "final exam") which starts right after I run my marathon............

And now to end a busy day.....good night

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I was finally able to log my time from Sunday's WWFoR Half Marathon; here's my finisher's certificate!

Karate: Getting ready for Saturday. It's Black Belt Pre-Check #2; sparring.....

Class @ 8:30. Demo practice night. We started off in dojo 1 and did a "normal" warm-up, then into the demo practice. Morgan, Mel and I worked on our creative kumite. We added a jump front kick into the kata and a crescent kick at the end. That was the added "flair" the kata needed.

Class @ 7:30; SWAT @ 8:30. Class was good. Mel and I did our "extras" after class. This week the "extras" have been increased to 150 push-ups and 150 sit-ups. No problem!

Wednesday: Exam Demo
Mel, Morgan and I performed a creative kumite. Mel and I did the same moves and Morgan did his "flair" in between the 2 of us. It was a short but dynamic kata. The 3 of us also demo'ed holds-n-grabs. We each had 3 attackers and they each did 2 grabs. My 6 were: (1) rear, arms free; (2) side-shoulder grab; (3) front choke; (4) double wrist grab; (5) double lapel; and (6) side-headlock. I finished them all with leg take downs, schlocks or guillitoines (sp?).

The December candidates had to stay on deck during testing so demonstration and performance. We did kicking drills and MMA drills. Then we went on to weapons. Mel and I performed American Bo Form and we had our best performance ever; our timing was so perfect together.

Ryan decided to come to the exan demo with me. He got a few frames of video on the camera. The quality isn't great. He got everything on "video" except for our Bo routine; oh well.



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Race Reports

This morning I ran 2 races. I ran the A1A Marathon Training Run 30K, AND, at the same time, the Phedipidations World Wide Festival of Races 1/2 Marathon.

The WWFoR 1/2 Marathon was a "virtual" race; it's motto was Think Global, Run Local. There were over 1,100 runners from over 41 countries participating. Runners could run a "real" race or just run the distance. It worked out well for me that I already had a scheduled 18-mile "race". I ran the 1/2 marathon in 2:08:47; which is a PR for me!

The "real" race today was the The A1A Training Run. The "race" was sponsored by my running club and was targeted to runners who will be running the A1A marathon (which isn't until February). The "race" had 2 distances, 15K and 30K. I did the 30K (18.6) miles since I needed the long run for my NYC marathon training.
We started in Deerfield Beach, just north of the pier and JB's. There was probably around 200+ runners?!?! We ran north on A1A; through Deerfield Beach, into Boca Raton and then on into Highland Beach. At 9.3 miles we turned around and ran back. It was a scenic run; beach views and expensive residences. Everytime I go through that stretch of A1A and see all the beautiful houses, I really wish I had been an architect instead of a pharmacist........ oh well.....I can still dream!!!
It was a great run. Because it was held as a "race" there were water/gaterade/goo stations. This meant I didn't have to wear my hydration belt, which shaved 2 pounds off my hips! 2 pounds doesn't sound like much, but over many miles, you notice it.
The weather was good. Temps were in the low- to mid-80's. But luckily, it was a bit overcast, keeping the sun behind the clouds which made a huge difference. The last 2 miles it started to rain which was a nice cool down.
The miles went by well. My heels, feet and knees felt good; just a bit of soreness and discomfort which is to be expected with the distance and my age!!! But my "legs" (muscles) were sorer than usual, which was odd because I ran fewer miles this week and we really didn't do any extreme leg work at karate. I think all my mileage is just starting to add up. It's 3 weeks out till the marathon so my body will really appreciate the taper.
Breaking News......The Gators moved up in the rankings; we're #5!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sports Injury.....

Yes, that's RJ in a pink cast! He got hurt during his basketball game last week. Then he extra-injured it during a soccer game. The diagnosis is a fracture of the growth plate in his ankle. He gets 4 weeks in the cast and that will put an end to his basketball season.
Running: Rest Day :)
Karate: SWAT @ 7:00 and 7:45; Class @ 8:30; tonight was Demo practice. Morgan, Mel and me were assigned to perform a creative kumite. We came up with a beginning; some hand combos, a bunch of kicks, some cool hand movements from Mastik.....but we still need to come up with a "flashy" finish.
Running: 8.35 miles in 1:19:48
Karate: Rest Day!
Running: Rest Day :)
Karate: Class @ 8:30. Since it is "Spotlight" week, there is no Bugo (sparring). We did a lot of ground workouts; how to defend when you are on the ground. Check their legs, offensive forward kicks, technical lifts. A lot of work on the abs!!!
Running: 4.06 miles in 38:06
Karate: SWAT @ 8:30, Class at 7:30. Tonight's class was pretty much a repeat of Wednesday nights class. But that's ok because it was a great ab workout.
Running: 3.04 miles in 28:43
Karate: Rest Day! I almost always go to Friday night class. But I had the kids and I knew they would put up a stink about having to sit through karate. Plus, I really had a bunch of work stuff that I needed to catch up on. So, I took the night off from karate. The kids had friends over, and despite that, I was able to knock off a bunch of stuff from my "to do" list.
Karate: Candidate Class @ 8:30
Todays candidate class was a pre-bugo check. Next Saturday's class is Black Belt Pre-Check #2 and will focus on sparring. So today was a "test run". I was pretty psyched; I got up early and ate a good breakfast, got to class early to have time to stretch. Everything was going well. We ran a few laps to start class, stopping at every XXL bag for round kicks and then doing a pretty standard warm up. Then it was time to get into full sparring gear.

Ma'am assigned everyone to 3-person zones. I was put with Terri and Shirley who are both high red belts. I wondered why I hadn't been put with other black belts but I figured when we switched partners that would change. So round 1 was just boxing skills. After that, we didn't switch zones (Hmmmm); instead, we sparred round 2 using just kicking skills.
After round 2, Ma'am had everyone line up. She said she was calling the December candidates; she started with the 2nd degrees (Morgan), then she called the 1st degree black belts (Mel, and the 2 junior 1st degrees) and finished with the high red belts. But wait, why didn't she call my name with the 1st degrees? Am I not on track for December???
I don't even remember watching the bout. My mind was going 100mph; I was upset, I was confused. Am I not on track for December? I've done everything that's been assigned, I've made my run times since day 1; I've done the demos; I doing my SWATS, what could be the problem? Or, was I just fogotten again? I was pissed; I was upset; I was confused. All these thoughts are not very good in light of this week's Black Belt Message ("Black Belts control Their Emotions").
Round 2 of the "spotlight" bugos came and I did get called. Olivia was assigned to spar with me. She definitely had the height advantage on me, but I was able to get in a good number of kicks against her. After bout #2, class ended and it was time for the timed 2 mile run.
Running: 2 mile tmed run in 15:44.
After class, I went to change into my running clothes. I was still upset about being "overlooked" and for a moment, I actually thought about just getting my stuff and going home. But, I knew that wouldn't "fix" anything. So, I changed, puffed on my inhaler, gulped down a goo packet and went outside to get the run over with.
Today was the last day for candidates to make their run time. I had already made my time, but Mel needed to do it today. The run started and I had my headphones in both ears listening to the Black Eyed Peas "Pump It". After I finished lap 1, I realized I was ahead of Mel by 100 or so yards.
It was at this point that I snapped out of my "sucks to be me" funk. Mel needed to make her time and I could help her. So I slowed down and stayed with her for the next 3 laps. I screamed, I shoulted, I pushed, and we finished at 15:44. I was so happy that she did it!!! And Mel was so thankful; but it was all her doing, she had it in her all the time.
After the run we walked over to Vince so that he could write down our times for Ma'am. And sure enough, my name wasn't even on the list. Needless to say, at that point, I pretty much lost it. I've busted my ass for how many months and I'm not even on the list!! WTF??? Thank God Mel was right next to me. She calmed me down. Well, enough of the karate drama..................
So Saturday started pretty crappy. But, it is ending on a Great Note!!! The 11th ranked Gators are right now leading the 4th ranked LSU Tigers 42 to 14. Woohoo! It's Great To Be A Florida Gator!!!
And now, it's time for bed. I have an 18 miler to run tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

4 Weeks Till NYC!!

It was way too fresh to talk about on my last blog post, but I think I can finally open up about it now. Yes. My Gators lost. To Ole Miss..........By 1 point.....It was a painful fall all the way to #12.

But, there's always another game. And sure enough, the Gators won this weeks game against Arkansas, 38 to 7. A little bit of redemption and feel-goodness after Ole Miss. But unfortunately, Tebow's record of no interceptions in over 160+ passes came to an end; what a bummer. Next Saturday we face LSU and that's going to be a tough one. But at least it is a home game; the Swamp isn't friendly to Tigers!

29 days till the NYC marathon....4, the days are just flying by!!! This year's NYC marathon will have a wave start. The wave assignments are based on your prior marathon times. Since I am not a "fast" runner, I will be in wave 3 (the last one!) which has a start time of 10:20.

Running: 5.02 miles, 48:52
Karate: Class at 8:30; SWAT @ 7:00 and 7:45

Running: Rest Day! Whew!

Karate: Class @ 7:30; SWAT @ 8:30; Ma'am & Mr. Daniel worked us hard!!! Got in our "extras" 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups during class (yeah!); did some great conditioning bag work, and after class ran through all of our katas.

Running: 8.06 miles in 1:18:19
Karate: Rest Day

Running: 3.07 in 28:11
Karate: Class @ 7:30; Bugo night. In the 1st "3-person zone" I sparred with Sandy and Alex, both of whom are considerably taller than me. I couldn't get inside with Sandy but held my ground. I did a bit better against Alex, as I was able to get inside. Next I sparred with a High Red belt who just moved to our dojo from LHP. Then I sparred with Jen (3rd degree) and Eduard (2nd degree), which was awesome. My last round was with another High Red belt. Overall, it was another great Bugo class.

Running: Rest Day!
Karate: Class @ 7:00; a true "Happy Hour" class! Mr Mike ran us ragged!!! We did core work, push-ups, sit-ups, and tons of squats and lunges. We did pad work (the big ones and then the muay thai pads). It was a great workout, but I was thinking that I would be really feeling it on Saturday morning during candidate class.

Running: 8.02 miles in 1:21:28 and 1 mile timed run 7:11
Mr. Galindo ran us as hard as Mr. Mike did the night before. Again, we did our core work, stances, katas. The class seemed to go on forever. But, it finally ended and then it was time for our timed run.

I really wanted to run the 1 mile in 7:00 or better. But, right as we all started, Veronica (a junior high red) fell flat on her face and my "mother" instinct kicked in and I stopped running. I started again after I saw others attending to her, but I lost some time. I didn't have my ipod because when we 1st walked outside it was sprinkling so I didn't want to get it wet. And, my Garmin was taking forever to link up the satellites that it wasn't ready when the run started. But despite all these "glitches", I ended up with a time of 7:11; which is 1 second better than my previous PB of 7:12.

I finally updated my marathon training log today. I've been remiss in that I've only been focusing on my karate training log; although most of the training is interchangeable. Anyways, since I "officially" started my NYC marathon training on July 14th, I've run 53 runs for a total of 485.28 miles. I wish I could say I enjoyed every mile..........

Well, off to enjoy a glass of '06 Napa Valley Merlot and finish watching the Ohio State/Wisconsin game. I love football season!

Go Gators


Sunday, September 21, 2008

NYC Marathon, 35 more days!!

Wow. I can't believe it's only 35 more days till the New York City Marathon.....and 94 days till 2009......

I ended my last blog the night before my Black Belt Pre-Check #1. So how did it go?????

Well, as I suspected. Neither of my kids wanted to come and support me. 11 and 12 years olds don't want to "hang" with their moms. So, RJ went to the Yacht club, LR went to her friend's house, and I went to the dojo early so I could get in an extra good stretch!

I felt really good with my performance. I was energetic, I showed intensity, I powered through the strength drills (push-ups) and I rocked my katas! I only had one tiny "oops" in my American Bo Form, where my bo hit my leg when it should have been spinning. But overall, I was very happy with my performances. I was on cloud 9 when I left the dojo.

A couple of days later I got feedback from Master KC; she says that she and Kyoshi noticed my conditioning but I need to work on my upper katas, focusing on my performance energy.

Since the Black Belt Pre-check #1, the days have gone by in a blur. I took the pharmacy law exam for Nebraska this past Thursday and I'm not feeling that great about it. But then again, after I took Louisiana's exam I was certain I had failed, but oddly enough, I passed!

Speaking of Louisiana, I got the call this week that I have been scheduled to appear before the Board of Pharmacy. I am taking that as a sign that my background criminal check and fingerprints "passed" and that I am being granted a license to practice pharmacy in Louisiana.

So, with Kentucky, Louisiana, and Nebraska done, next comes Arizona, then Oregon, followed by Tennessee and Arkansas. Yep, I'll be busy for a while!!! :)

Now on to the homefront. The first open house was this weekend. It really sucks that so much effort was put into getting the house cleaned and staged and there was only 1 couple that stopped by. And, they weren't pre-qualified for the price of our house. We did get feedback that they loved the kitchen, the master bedroom, the master closets and the master bathroom.

Good night.
Dani :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Twas the night before Black Belt Pre-Check #1

Now I lay me down to sleep..............But first I have some thoughts to keep
I guess I'll blog before my test...............and pray the Lord I'll do my best

Karate: Class at 8:30, SWAT at 7:00 and 7:45. Tonight was demo practice; but that didn't take the full class so we were able to get in some bag work. And, it was an extra tough workout because the transformer blew; the lights came back on but not the AC. And oh my, was it hot!!!!
Running: Rest day :)

Karate: Class at 7:30 and SWAT at 6:30; a good "A" day workout
Running: 8.07 miles in 1:31:23

Running: 3.05 miles in 28:54
Karate: Exam night!! The Demo went well. I did American Bo form with Ms. Kim and Ms. Mel. We were going at performance pace and the 2nd "set" where you do 4 figure 8's on the left, well I was a bit behind the other ladies. But I finished strong! After the bo staff, me and 13 other black belts and high-red belts performed 3 set kumites. We performed it in a square formation. It looked really cool and the staggered running kicks looked great. We did a pretty "easy" finale and then exited the floor. I went to the ladies room to change into my running clothes since Mel and I had talked about doing our 3 mile run after demo. But Mel wasn't in her running gear; instead, she was on the bench holding her knee.

She twisted it pretty good. And the stubborn lady she is, she was still talking about going out and running. But after some persuasion from a number of blackbelts, she iced her knee, she tried to "work out the kinks", and eventually went home to do RICE.

I then went on to the floor to help with the exam and after a few minutes, Mr. Mike asked me to check on a white belt who just went into the ladies room. Ms. Kelly wasn't doing very well; she was in the midst of having a migraine. I definitely could empathize with her. Migraines are the worst!!!! And I say that from personal experience. Unfortunately, Ms. Kelly wasn't able to go back to testing. And needless to say, I spent most of Wednesday night in the bathroom. :)

5.11 miles in 50:21
Karate: Class at 7:30, SWAT at 8:30. It was a great Bugo class for me. I started off by partnering with Kathy. She is awesome; she's very good about giving you feedback (keep your right guard up higher; move to your right side). When we went into 3 person safety zones, I first was with Marlene and Kathy. Marlene and I are about the same size so it was a pretty "even" match. Kathy is shorter than me, but she's a petite powerhouse. Tonight I decided I was going to focus on staying in tight with my opponent and just keep throwing punches (and yes, expecting to take some punches). I did much better against Ms. Kathy with this approach.

We only did one 3-person safety zone. Then Ma'am had all the black belts and high-red belts line up in the red zone for a round. I sparred with Ms. Terri, a high-red belt. She too is close to my size and we had a good sparring round. Finally, Ma'am had just the black belts on deck. Ms. Jennifer was "assigned" to spar with me. Now Jennifer is a bit shorter than me, BUT.......she's another petite powerhouse, 3rd degree kick-ass martial artist. I kept with my strategy of staying in tight rather than try to use my reach. And I held my ground!!! I was able to go the full 2 minutes without having Ms. Jennifer kick my butt!!! It was at the end of class and I was getting tired, but my cardio kept up (thanks to my running!!!). I was so happy with my sparring tonight; it's really come a long way; between improving my cardio and really focusing on specific drills, I may end up actually liking bugo. Imagine that!?!?!?

Recap: as of mid-week
3 karate classes
5 SWAT classes; made up a few (I'm still behind a few SWATs) :(
3 Extra 100's; I'll get in the 4th sometime this weekend.
3 Runs for 16.23 miles

Now it really is time for me to go "lay me down to sleep"!!! I'm so excited because tomorrow is the 1st Black Belt Pre-Check for the December cycle. Going for my 1st degree black belt, I was nervous and lacking confidence; I stressed at every Pre-check. But now as I go for my 2nd degree black belt, I have "told myself" that I will enjoy this! I'm not going to stress out. I know the material and I will perform it to the best of my abilities. I will be strong, I will be confident, I will support my teammates and we will all achieve our goals!!

Good night!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Bye Week, Bummer

No Gator football this past Saturday, it was a "bye" week. Next Saturday, we face Tennessee.

I want to get this blog posted, so it's going to be a quick recap of my training.....

Monday 9/8
Running: 3.27 miles; 31:58
Karate: class @ 8:30, SWAT @ 7:45, "extra 100's"
Tuesday 9/9
Running: Rest Day
Karate: Class @ 7:30, SWAT @ 8:30
Wednesday 9/10
Running: 8.03 miles; 1:33:46 (listened to NPR Wait, Wait; LMAO!!)
Karate: Rest Day; "extra 100s"
Thursday 9/11
Running: Rest Day
Karate: Class @ 7:30, SWAT @ 6:30; it's spotlight week so no Bugo (muffled YEAH!!)
Friday 9/12
Running: Rest Day
Karate: Class @ 7pm, "extra 100's "
Saturday 9/13
Running: 6.06 miles; 1:05:07, then a 2 mile timed run @ karate in 15:41 (didn't run at 100%)
Karate: Candidate class at 8:30am. Was "easier" than most candidate classes
Sunday 9/14
Running: 17.02 miles; 3:06:31
Karate: Rest Day; "extra 100s"

Weekly Total

Running: 5 runs totaling 36.38 miles; another all-time mileage high for me!!!

Karate: 5 classes, 3 SWATs, 4 "extras"

Overall it was a great training week on both fronts; running and karate. As of today (9/16/08), I only have 47 days till my next marathon, the ING New York City Marathon. I'm getting psyched, I'm getting nervous, I'm getting anxious, I'm getting concerned.......

I'm getting most scared because with all my training, I'm feeling physically really good; no major aches or pains. With all my mileage, classes, etc, I should be sore, stiff or otherwise complaining. But I'm not. Yeah, I still have my heel pain, but that's minor; it's very tolerable and doesn't really impact my running. When I was in training for my 1st degree black belt, I felt sore every day. Now training for my 2nd degree, I feel great everyday. Well, whatever is the reason, I like it!

Till next week,

Boa noite (good night in Portuguese)


Friday, September 5, 2008

Hanna Hustled, Ike Inched and Dani Did a PB

WOW!!.......there must be a forcefield around South Florida; Hanna took a right turn and hustled to the north. Ike has inched southward and now South Florida is out of the "Cone of Concern". Yeah!!! Good news for us; bad news for the Carribean nations that have already been pounded this season.

On to happier news: University of Florida Gators 26, University of Miami 'Canes 3!!! The 1st and 4th quarters were exciting. Quarters 2 and 3 the Gators seemed to lose some momentum. The 'Canes defense picked up and the Gators had a hard time getting past the line of scrimmage. But the final result is a win!!!

The "for sale sign" got hung and the house listing went up this past Tuesday. 3 days later came the 1st call for a showing on Sunday. So part of Saturday and Sunday was spent moving boxes to the storage unit, and cleaning up/tidying up the house. Then the call came in and the showing got cancelled. Oh well, maybe next weekend.

Training News:


-Running: 5.07 miles in 51:11.

-Karate: 7:30 bugo class and 6:30 SWAT class. It was a good bugo class; Chloe, a brown belt (again, I'm bad with the names), Sam, 1 other person (?name?) and then finished off with Marlene. I did much better in my final match with Marlene on Thursday than I did with her on Wednesday. My SWAT class was with the advanced junior class. I haven't SWATTED a junior class in quite a while and forgot how inattentive the younger kids can be but also how much fun they can be too.


-Running: Rest Day

-Karate: Friday was a candidate class. We warmed up and then went into boxing skills and drills. Next were the forms. Ma'am called for the December candidates to go in the front row; 1st Mel. And then me. I was surprised because normally I don't stand out and get overlooked. We did appreciation form, short 2, bookset, XMA form 2 and threw in 2-count kicking in between. Then the weapons, XMA Chuck form 1 and American Bo Form. I'm sure the 1/2 bottle of Speed Stack before class helped, but I was ON FIRE!!!! I think I performed at my all time best. I was the most happy with my bo form; I performed it at performance speed and everything just clicked. I was smiling so hard afterwards. We ended class with Kyoshi going over the MMA drills.


-Running: Up at 4:30am for the long run; my training plan called for 14 miles. Met up with the running club. For a 14 mile run, the route goes up Bayview to Commercial then crosses over to A1A, heads south to the Yankee Clipper, then turns back north and heads to the running store. There were 4 of us doing that route: myself, Coach Robert, Alicia and Sandy. We started on a good pace around 10 minute miles for the 1st three miles. I ran next to Sandy and we chatted about her training for the Chicago marathon. After 3 miles we picked up the pace a tiny bit. By mile 5, Sandy slowed a bit. I was still feeling good so I partnered up with Alicia while coach ran back to check on Sandy.

Alicia was keeping a steady 9:30-ish pace. My long runs are usually 10:30-11:00 (or more) minute miles. I am not very good at keeping an even pace. Alicia was planning on running 12 miles so I decided to run 12 with her. And, since I was running "faster" than usual, I figured we'd be done close to 8am so I would have time to make it to karate for the timed 2-mile run. That would give me my 14 miles.

Well, my timing was off a bit; we finished our run at 8:15, but only because we started our run late, at 6:15am. We ran 12.01 miles in 1:58:59! It was a great run. And, it was a symbiotic run. Alicia thanked me for helping her finish the distance. She says she probably would have stopped at 9 and 1/2 miles. I thanked her for pacing me. I would have easily run 20 minutes slower if I was by myself.

It's a bit ironic. The night before the run, I was talking with someone at karate about the fact that I joined the running group so that I could have people to run with. But every run so far had left me running by myself. I was starting to think joining the club was a waste of money. And then I have one of my best runs; in fact, it was a "PB" for me. And what timing! As the New York City Marathon quickly looms around the corner, my confidence is starting to wane. So Saturday's run was a fantastic confidence boosting run. I saw that I could handle a faster pace over a long distance. New York, HERE I COME!!!!

The only sour note was that after a brief cool down from the run, I got in my Jeep to head to karate and realized I would never make it on time for the timed run at 8:30. Rats.....hopefully Ma'am will accept my 12 mile run!!


Running: Today was a "recovery" run. Ran 8.08 in 1:30:18. I really like catching up on my podcasts on my longer runs but I definitely run "faster" when I listen to music versus podcasts.

For The Week

Karate: 4 classes, 3 SWAT classes

Running: 5 runs totalling 34.01 miles; another milestone for my training!!!!

I really am starting to feel bipolar. Last week was a pretty crappy (depressed week). Now, this week was spectacular (manic). It was one of the best karate weeks I have ever had. I took 2 bugo classes and didn't feel intimidated. In stead, I felt strong and confident. In the candidate class, I felt like a "2nd degree black belt"; I was able to focus, have "tiger eyes" and perform to the level I know I can. And in my running, I made huge strides in total mileage and in seeing that I can push myself a bit harder.

I guess I need the crappy weeks to better appreciate the spectacular weeks.

Well, let's keep our fingers crossed that this week is another Spectacular Week!!!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Holy Hurricanes Batman!

OK, from the pictures, I'm sure you can gather how I will be spending the next week or so. I am already so "over" this hurricane season. Fay, Gustov, Hanna, Ike,'s starting to remind me of 2004 and 2005 Charlie, Frances, Jean, and Wilma.......

My biggest concern right now is Hanna because it looks like she'll be in the Gainesville vicinity around Friday or Saturday. And, Saturday is the day of the Florida Gators versus University of Miami Hurricanes football games! How appropriate that we're playing the Hurricanes!!! Anyways, I am really looking forward to the game and hope it doesn't get cancelled.

Also, I'm not too thrilled that Ike is projected to be a category 4 storm. Wilma was a 3 and we had to get a new roof. A cat 4, yikes!!!

And now for the non-hurricane news.....
My daughter is going to the Jonas Brother's concert Thursday night with her best friend. For anyone who has a teenage daughter, the "JBs" are the hottest thing right now. The concert is in Tampa, across the state. This means she has to miss a day of school. I am not the type of parent who lets my kids miss school; ever (and you can ask either one of them!). But, I know this is something she really wanted. She always does well in school getting good grades and making honor roll, so I am chalking this concert up as a "reward".

Of course now my son thinks he is entitled to getting a "free day off from school". SoI told him, if his grades get as good as his sister's, I will honor that request. He has the capacity, he just doesn't have the drive. He's a typical, normal 11 year old boy who enjoys lazing around, playing video games and watching TV.

Training far this week.....
**Running: 5.15 miles in 53:51
**Karate: closed because of the Labor Day Holiday

**Running: Ran 3.28 miles in 32:00 minutes; ran before karate behind the dojo.
**Karate: 7:30 class. Master KC threw in conditioning type drills in between the "usual" MMA, boxing type of drills. She always seems to do that after a holiday when we get an extra day off! I was a bit tired and extremely sweaty after class, so I didn't stay to SWAT the novice class.

**Runnng: running Rest day!!
**Karate: SWATted the 7:45 novice class and then took my 8:30 bugo class. I was happy to see a good number of ladies for the late night sparring class. And it was a nice mixture of ladies. I sparred twice with Marlene, twice with a Brown belt lady (I'm bad with names!) and once with Ms. Kim. Overall it was a good sparring night for me. I'm trying to focus on using my left jab more; both offensively and as an "entry". I'm also trying to string combos together better using both my hands hands and feet.

Well, enought for 1 night. I'm off to sleep!!!

Dobroi nochi (Good night in Russian)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gator Football is Back!!!!

The Olympics end and College Football starts, isn't life grand!!

Running: Rest Day :)
Karate: Went to 5pm class! Yes, the early one. And why is that? Well, we had to change out the hopper at work (the machine that that drops the empty prescription vials into the labeler). The change out had to happen after hours and since they were working in the pharmacy, there has to be a pharmacist on duty. I didn't have a large number of pharmacists volunteer to work late; ok, no-one volunteered for Monday night and only 1 person signed up for Tuesday night. So, I left at 3pm, went to karate at 5pm and came back at 7pm to "babysit" the pharmacy and was there till 12:45am. It ended up being a great night for 2 reasons; (1) since it was "quiet", I got a lot of work done!!!; and, (2) the guys got everything done on Monday so we didn't need the pharmacist for Tuesday night (this saved a lot of overtime dollars!!!).

Running: 7.14 miles in 1:17:34
Karate: No class tonight because of Home & School Meeting :(

Running: 5.66 miles in 1:03:09.
Karate: I don't remember why, but I'm sure there was a good reason why I didn't go to class on Wednesday.....hmmm..... it's that darn CRS acting up again....

Running: Rest day
Karate: I didn't make it to class and I definitely know why. "He who must not be named" left the kids at the house with grandma. This meant I would have to take them to karate. When I told them that, they refused. This is going to be my biggest challenge in working towards my 2nd degreee blackbelt; getting in all my classes between my schedule and the kid's and "he who must not be named"'s schedule. Ugh....

Running: Rest day
Karate: I didn't make it to class (again). At work we had to run an Open Refill File for a plan that moved to another mail order provider. We couldn't run the file till end of day and then it had to be reviewed and signed off by a pharmacist. Although I assigned a RPH on staff, responsibility still fell on me and since this was the 1st ourbound open refill file under my "directorship", I coudn't go to karate class in case there were any problems. So......for the week, I only ended up with 1 karate classes and zero SWAT classes. This means, I will be in make up mode for the next couple of weeks.

Running: 8.06 miles in 1:32:13 at CPS. It was a good run; not great.
Karate: The dojo was closed for the holiday weekend.
Football: Gators vs. Hawaii: W52-10. It was a good game; lots of good plays by the offense, defense and special teams. Tim Tebow wasn't "explosive", but hey, this was the 1st game and it wasn't a ranked team. No need to go out and take excessive risks. But next week.......we play Miami!!! I can't wait!!!!


Running: 8.10 miles in 1:30:43; again at CPS.

  • My heel pain is the same; not better, not worse. It still "cracks" when I flex it and I can see/feel the protrusion. I'm not sure whether it's really a bone spur or bursits, but either way, I've decided to start back up on the Aleve (naproxen sodium), taking 440mg BID; I'm planning on taking it continuously for 2-3 weeks then re-evaluate.

This was a "stormy" week. We started the week off with several days of rain thanks to Hurricane Fay, since we were in the "dirty side" (north east quadrant) of the storm. We ended the week with rain thanks to the feeder bands of Hurricane Gustov. And right now, there's Hurrican Hanna knocking on our door with Tropical Storm Ike right behind her. I'm so "Weather Channeled" out!!

Till next week,

Uz drīz redzēšanos! (see you soon in Latvian!)