Monday, July 28, 2008

2 For the Price of One

Oops, I never got around to posting my blog last weekend.
So, this week is:
double the pleasure...............
double the fun.................
for 1 week only............
2 for the price of one (ugh!!!)

My running has gone well the past 2 weeks; otherwise know as Training Weeks #15 and #14 for the NY marathon.

Week #15 I got in 3 runs for 19.99 miles; you'd think I'd get in that last 1/100th of a mile to make it a nice round number. Actually, I don't like even mileage. If I'm scheduled for 7 miles, I'll run 7.05 or 7.2. Yeah, I'm kooky :) Week #14 I got in 4 runs for 23.07 miles. Woo Hoo!!

Now that I'm starting to up my mileage, I'm doing more runs at the Oakland Park "Jog Park". The lap around my neighborhood is only 1/2 mile and has no shade. The park has a number of shade trees; although it was much "thicker" before Hurricane Wilma came through in '05. The lap is supposed to be 1 mile, but according to my Garmin it's really only 0.88 miles. That explains why my pre-Garmin run times were always much better there. Either way, it's fewer laps than running around the island.

I really hate that it is called a "jog park". That is so 1980's. This is the 00's; we're runners. So I've thought of 2 other names, either I'll call it "the OP" or "Gravelocity". Give me some feedback on which one you like best.

The OP/Gravelocity is ok for runs up to say 7 or 8 miles. But for my longer runs, I have been doing beach runs on A1A. Training for San Diego by myself was tough; it was too easy to blow off a long run or not put in the full miles. And I paid for that at mile 17 of my 1st marathon. I knew that for NY, which is a more hilly course, that I would need to train with others. So I joined the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Road Runners (GFLRR). The past 2 Saturdays, I ran my long run with the club. The Saturday run starts at the running store, we go over the Sunrise Blvd. bridge, head to A1A, and go south to the 17th street causeway bridge (the highest bridge in Broward County). Then we turn around and go back to the running store.

The nice thing about GFLRR is that they also have Sunday morning long runs starting at the Deerfield Beach pier. Once karate cadidate classes resume (in a couple weeks) on Saturday mornings, I'll have to switch my long runs to Sundays.

Next Saturday the GFLRR is having a 5k at Birch State Park. This will be my 1st 5k (running) in several years. At last year's Komen, I was nursing my calf injury and walked the event. The 5k is more of a fun run, but I'm going to try to beat my PR of 26:30.

Last week I only got in 3 classes; all "A" day curriculum. No "B" classes . This week I got in 4 classes; 2 "A" days, 1 "B" day and Friday night's class which is normally an "A" day but this week was changed to a candidate class (instead of candidate class on Saturday). It's been a while since I got in 4 classes and it felt good!

Last Saturday was Black Belt Spectacular. 37 people from 4 of the dojos got their belts; seven 2nd degrees and 29 1st degrees. Sensei Scaccia was awesome getting his 5th degree. It was a spectacular show; heavy on the XMA (extreme martial arts).

When I started at the dojo 7 years ago, black belt testing was done in the dojo. The candidates performed all of their stuff; katas, weapon, self-defense, individual creative kumites, board breaking, stomach punches. But the dojo was growing and soon became too small for testing. So it was moved to a school gymnasium. Here is where it changed from testing, to a "Spectacular" event. The actual "black belt testing" was held at the dojo during "Power Week". During my BB cycle, we had our exam on Monday night (forms), Wednesday night (sparring), Friday (self-defense, board breaking, stomach punching). Saturday was the group 4 mile run filled with pushups, jumping jacks and other things thrown into the run. It was an exhausting week!!

The Spectacular was 2 weeks after Power Week. We got to perform our holds and grabs and kicking skills, and did a group kata. The creative kumites were not individual anymore. I was fortunate that there were only 2 adult ladies in my cycle, myself and Amber. So I only had to perform with one other person whereas the 4 guys in my cycle had to perform as a quartet. Amber and I put together an awesome kumite (if I do say so myself).

With a larger venue, more people could attend. Demonstrations were added to the show. They increased the energy level, motivated current students and inspired non-students to join. With the addition of dojo's in Lighthouse Point, Coconut Creek and Boca Raton, the # of candidates got larger and the school gym wasn't large enough. It moved first to Westminster Academy for a few shows and then moved to it's current location, Parker Playhouse which holds almost 1,000 people. We've been told that it will probably only be held at the Playhouse for 2 or 3 more times before a larger venue is needed again.

As with anything, there are some good things and some bad things with the growth in the venue size as well as the number of candidates. The good is the addition of new demos and skits (XMA, MMA, jui jitsu) and definitely more comfortable seating for the spectators. The bad is that the show is getting so large that fewer people are allowed to perform, the candidates have less time to perform and the focus seems to be moving away from the candidates.

During our karate classes the week after the Spectacular show, all the students are asked what they liked best about the show. Inevitably what is mentioned is the high kicking, explosive demonstrations and skits. Most of which the majority of us cannot participate in. What is not mentioned are the candidates who just put in many months of hard work.

Oh well. Sorry for my rant. As I get closer to my 2nd degree I guess I'm starting to analyze things too much. Thinking about the fact of how much time and effort I will have to expend, and still not be one of the chosen few, not able to participate in future Spectaculars, and just be a "filler person" in the monthly demos. What is the pupose of getting my 2nd degree? Hmmmm....................................

Take care, Dani

PS: I passed my Louisiana MPJE law exam!! Woo Hoo!!! Next state, Nebraska. Exam set for August 20th. And, I just found out that 3 more states now require out-of-state (mail order) pharmacies to have a Pharmacist on staff be licensed in thier state. So, after Nebraska comes Tennessee and Arkansas and then I'll have to do Virginia, Oregon and Arizona. By the end of this year I will be licensed in 9 states. Wow.......that's a lot of renewal fees!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

After the trip to New York last week, this week seemed pretty "blah".

  • I got in 3 classes this week; Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Friday was BBC night (Black Belt Club) and was on MMA (mixed martial arts). Kyoshi taught class; that in itself makes it a great class.
  • Wednesday was exam night and I was on the demo team. I did cross through kicking, was the ouki (attacker) for self-defense and then ended the demo with 10 count kicking (X-block). I don't think we've done it since I was a blue belt. It's pretty basic, but looks really nice! I felt really good with my performance!
  • Because I missed 3 days of work last week, I stayed late almost every night. Which meant I didn't have time to run on Monday or Tuesday night before karate, or Wednesday night before the demo. Thursday was supposed to be my run night. But personal issues prevented that. So I had to relegate running to the weekend.
  • Saturday I ran at the OP running park. Here the course is gravel which is gentler on my knees. But it really sucks when a piece of gravel gets in your shoes!!)*#*@*&($. The other annoyance about the run park is that the marked distances are wrong. According to my Garmin, "their" mile is really only 0.88 miles. I had planned on running 5 miles, but it was late afternoon and very hot!!! I ended up doing 3.33 miles in 32:01
  • Sunday was my long run. I decided to modify my "normal" beach run. I started at the Galleria mall (free parking), ran over the Sunrise bridge to A1A and turned south to the 17th Street Causeway bridge. After crossing the bridge and getting to my 4 mile halfway point, I turned around and ran back. Around mile 6 I had to stop at the 7-11 to get some gatorade since I drank all 4 bottles on my hydration belt. I ended up running 8.02 miles in 1:27:53. Again, not too bad considering the bridges, heat and humidity.
  • Wednesday I took the MPJE (multistate pharmacy jurisprudence exam) for Louisiana. There are 5 states that require out-of-state (mail order) pharmacies to have a pharmacist on staff be licensed in their state in order to provide prescriptions to their residents. The states are Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Nebraska and Louisiana.
  • Most states do not reciprocate licenses with Florida because Florida doesn't reciprocate with other states. So, last year I got licensed in Kentucky via examination. I took the NAPLEX exam; which, after being out of pharmacy school for 14 years, was quite a challenge But I did well, passing with a score of 120 (75 is required to become licensed). My NAPLEX exam when I first got licensed in Florida was 119! Now I am using my Kentucky license to become licensed in LA, NB, TN and AR via reciprocity. This means I only have to take the law exam for each of these states. The exam is comprised of federal pharmacy law and state law questions.
  • I definitely didn't prepare well enough. I mean, I studied; I read front to back the Federal Pharmacy Law book and read every Louisiana statue/regulation relating to pharmacy. But alot of pharmacy law is "learned"; you learn it and live it. Since I'm not actually practicing in Louisiana, it didn't really "stick" when I read the laws. Or at least, not well enough for my liking.
  • The exam is a computerized, adaptive test; meaning, it changes the future questions based on your answers. Well, I got the same question 3 times, with the wording just slighty different on each one. So either I kept getting it wrong, or they were "test" questions for future exams. Either way, I'm not too sure how I did. I think I did well enough to pass; but I'll just have to wait the 10 days for the results.......Worse case scenario, another $175 and take the exam again......

And that's about all for now folks....


Sunday, July 13, 2008

New York, New York

The week started out with bad news; my Aunt Alice Murray passed away on the 4th of July. While it was sad, it was a blessing at the same time. My aunt had Alzheimer's, which in my opinion, is one of the worst diseases to be afflicted with. The disease "strikes" the patient, but it is the family that suffers.

I made plans to go to New York for the wake and funeral and decided to take my daughter. Coming from an Irish Catholic family, wakes and funerals are our "family reunions" and I wanted my daughter to meet her extended family.

We flew up Wednesday for the wake. Thursday was the funeral mass and then the burial. Afterwards was a get together at my cousin Murray's. It was nice catching up with family members. My dad had already "bragged" to everyone that I will be running the NY marathon this year, so that was the topic of many conversations!

After the get together, we rode the LIRR into the city, per my daughter's request! Back at the hotel, I took advantage of being so close to Central Park and went out for a 2.7 mile run. I ran about 1/2 of the "loop". It was such a great run; the run has ascents and descents, lot's of shade from the trees, and best of all, it was filled with tons of active people riding bikes, rollerblading and running.

Thursday night the girlie & I went out for a stroll; we went to Times Square and got a NY street hot dog for dinner! During our stroll, we saw several of the MLB "Lady Liberty" statues that marathoner had mentioned in his blog at

Friday, the girlie & I did some more "strolling" through the city, ending up in the Chelsea area. We met up with my stepmom Anne at the Chelsea Market. I wanted to get a "Food Network" gift for my son, but didn't find anything appropriate or reasonably priced. The least expensive item was $22 for Iron Chef coasters and I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous (plus, he has no use for coasters!). On the way out of the market, we saw the Detroit Tigers Lady Liberty. So far I've seen St. Louis and Detroit, but no Cleveland (my Mom & Dad will appreciate that!).

Friday night we dined at my father's place; we sat on his terrace which overlooks Riverside Park and the river. Dad cooked hot dogs on the grill. More dogs!
Saturday morning I did another run in Central Park. This time, I did the entire loop, running 6.11 miles in 1:03:26. My "slowest" time was mile 4; this is where there's quite an ascent in the NW part of the loop. It was a good challenge, and after completing it, I felt so invigorated (yeah, I know that sounds corny!). Honestly, my runs in Central Park were AWESOME!!! I am so envious of NY'ers. CP is the perfect running spot; you can easily adjust your run length to shorter or longer runs, it's not boring, it's not flat. I don't want to go back to Florida!!!

After my run and a shower, we met up with Anne for some shopping down by Union Square; DSW (my personal favorite), Filene's Basement (got some good deals there) and Strawberry (for the girlie!). For dinner, us 3 girls met up with dad at the Wicked Wolf pub on 75th and 1st Ave. Everyone had lobster; except for me (the filet was great)!!! We topped that off with some ice cream before getting on the bus. The bus went through Central Park, right at the time that Bon Jovi was performing their concert. We got off and listened for a short while before transferring to another bus.

And Sunday we flew home to Florida; hot and humid Florida.......Sigh......

It was great to see Dad & Anne; although it was because of an unfortunate event. But, the girlie and I made the most of it, seeing family, sightseeing, shopping, spending time together. And most importantly, we made it through 5 days together without any catfight scratches!!! (Anyone with a teenaged daughter should appreciate that!).

Till next week.....

Run long, Run strong...........

Dani (blonderx)