Monday, May 31, 2010

Musical Monday

So last Friday on my way from work*, I once again got stuck with commercials on every radio station that I have programmed. So I popped in one of the CDs that I have in the car. While I still was in the process of choosing a CD, I noticed that I had the same old CDs in the car for a VERY LONG time.

*including a stopover at the KIA dealer, turns out that my fan motor is jammed.... which is costly** and a lot of fun at 90 degrees outside...
**yes, KIA has the 100K miles powertrain warranty, the warranty for electronic parts is "only" 60K and I am at 61,550 thankyouverymuch

You see, I used to be a complete music snob.... But boy, I sure have digressed. But right then and there, I decided that it goes out with the old and in with the new... All the car CDs will be swapped out.

This is the stuff that I took out of the car:
Yep.... If you want to be nice, you can call this little collection diverse... Or you can just might as well call it schizophrenic.

In with the new, just as "diverse" and kind a blast of the past for me:


I hope you are off today for Memorial Day and can spent your day with family and friends.

So far, all I have seen today is rain, rain and more rain... I guess that means, I will get on my trainer today instead of riding outside.... BUMMER!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Race Report: 2010 XTERRA Paris Mountain Trails 15K

Results (based on Guntime):
1:52:53 (12:05 min per mile average)
Overall 129/175

Here we are back at the Paris Mountain State Park for the second XTERRA trail race of the 2010 series (first race was back in Nov 2009 and the third one will be in August).

I was looking forward to this race, because I really enjoy trail running and I felt good about our training run last weekend.

So pre-race routine was same as usual. We got there, picked our packages up and then walked over to the start area at the first picnic shelter. Team D.N.R. was represented by Alex, Brian, Chris, Dave, Kerrie (not racing, but sweeping the trail), Terry and me.

Most of the boys lined up closer to the front and I moved to the back of the pack. The first portion of the race is on the road until you take a right turn on Mountain Creek Trail. Fortunately, which helps a little with the congestion. Also, Mountain Creek Trail is one of the wider trails that we would be traveling today. This is a good section to just find your rhythm and warm up. Somewhere during this time, I noticed that I had my Garmin on "biking" and while I was running, I switched to "running" and the clock started at zero again. So I didn't know how long I was already running and I also didn't know how far I already was. Both things really didn't bother me too much, because I know the approximate mile markers along the trail. But still, I really need to start checking the setting of the Garmin before I head out for a race.... This stuff just happens way to often to me.

From Mountain Creek we crossed the road at the other picnic shelters (1. aid station) and headed into Sulphur... That is where the fun begins. On this trail, we would be doing the most and the steepest climbing of the race. It was also during that piece that I first "met" two fellow runners (let's call them 2dudes) that I would see multiple times during the race. This is me climbing Sulphur and since I was hiking at that point, I took my phone out and snapped a pic... You can see my new acquaintances in the background.

Once we hit Firetower Trail, they asked me how much more climbing we have to do from now and I told them, that this is going to be our highest point. There will be a little more climbing, but nothing like we did before. One of them asked me then, if I did this before and I responded "last weekend" and took off since I knew the next couple of miles will be where the fun is. From Firetower we turned on Kanuga... A long rolling downhill to the North Lake, the around the lake the trail flattens out and you can enjoy the scenery of the place a little. On the dam was the second aid station and this is where this picture was made.

From the North Lake Trail we headed on to Pipissewa and then the rolling uphill started and wouldn't end until we would get to the top parking lot (3. aid station) over Brissy Ridge Trail.

So far I felt great. I left 2dudes behind somewhere on Firetower Trail and was able to pick up several people in the next couple of miles. I felt like a did a good job with eating shotbloks every now and then and taking in plenty of water. But somewhere on Brissy, I all of the sudden felt sick to my stomach. I didn't even take any chances and popped an Immodium right away and decided to take it slow on Brissy to the top parking lot with the hope that my stomach would settle until then and I get catch up once we hit the big downhill. In that area 2dudes and 2gals (2 girls that I met several times later on) caught up with me. We were in a hiking/ running section with rolling uphills. Basically, we hiked the little uphills and then jogged the downhills. My stomach was still weird, but I tried to stick to that group. And then it happened... I didn't lift up my right foot high enough, tripped and fell.

OUCH... That was my first thought. One of the girls helped me up and we picked up my Garmin from the trail that got ripped of my arm. After a first assessment, I knew that I was hurting, but that I was fine and nothing major happened, so I asked 2dudes and 2gals to keep on going. Shortly after they left, I tried to start back running again and it worked and so I kept on going..... The pain down my leg actually distracted me from my stomach stuff and by the time I remembered that, the stomach felt back fine again.

I finished up Brissy, crossed the top parking lot, climbed the steep and short piece of Sulphur and down we went. I already saw 2dudes/2gals again and I was set on catching up with them again while chatting with a girl running behind me (seriously, trail running is so social). By the time we hit the bottom of Sulphur I passed them and from then on, just kept on running, feeling pretty good again. We later chatted a little in the finish.

A couple of yards from the finish line, I saw a guy whacking his iPod. I told him to just keep on moving, the finish is just around the corner. He kept on working on the iPod

I kind of expected to see hubby with the camera at the finish line, but he was standing there chatting with Alex and Brian.... He said, he didn't expect me there yet! I guess that means I had a good race hmmmm??

And really, I feel good about this one.... Even with the stomach stuff and the fall, I ran this race 20 seconds faster per mile than the 11K in November... SWEET!!

About the race: I think they did a great job with this race! It was great that they had three aid stations on the course and that they had t-shirts (in November it was a string bag and finisher socks) again!

I am already looking forward to the August 7K!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

There Is A First Time For Everything....

Actually, there were two first times today and it's just a little after 4PM! ;-)

I completed the 15K trail run in an inofficial time of 1h 52m 55s and am very happy with that. Actually, there is no picture of me crossing the finish line, because hubby didn't expect me to be there already. The first first though was that I planted my butt on the trail and now have some nice scratches down my leg.

The full download about the race will hopefully follow tomorrow!

The second first today was having aerobars on the bike. I ordered them last week and got them installed today. I haven't properly tried them out yet and originally wanted to do a quick spin, but due to the leg and the scratches, that'll have to wait until tomorrow.... I shall report back about my first impressions! ;-)

And how is your weekend going? Do you enjoy the pretty weather? I hope you have pretty weather in your neck of the woods as well.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Polish Up Your Running Jargon

Here is a quick quiz* to polish up your running jargon. Please answer the questions in the comment section or add an alternative answer c)... The person with the most correct answers or to most original answers wins a box of stuff**.

* I didn't come up with this... She did.
** Just kidding... Not that I wouldn't like to host giveaways, but geez, this blog has a long way to go before that'll ever happen.

1. “Negative splits” refers to:
a.) Running the second half of a race faster than the first half.
b.) A particularly embarrassing cheerleading injury.

2. A “lactate threshold” means:
a.) The transition phase from aerobic to anaerobic running.
b.) The amount of cheese you can eat before experiencing severe gastrointestinal distress.

3. “VO2Max” is:
a.) The maximum amount of oxygen a person can extract from the atmosphere and then transport and use in the body’s tissues.
b.) A popular conditioner from the ’70s.

4. “LSD” is:
a.) Code for a “long, slow distance” run – anywhere from 5 miles to 25 or more.
b.) What I would have to take to run 5 miles.

5. “Couch to 5K” is:
a.) A beginner’s running plan.
b.) A sad alternative to the “Couch to DQ” plan.

6. Please define “split shorts”:
a.) They are higher-cut running shorts often used in racing.
b.) This is what happens when Steven Seagal tries to pick up a nickel.

7. An “easy run” is:
a.) A run at an easy pace done for recovery purposes or for enjoyment.
b.) A complete oxymoron for most of us.

8. “Hill repeats” are:
a.) Runs up a hill at a quick pace to build strength.
b.) Reruns of an MTV “reality” show about obnoxious blond people.

9. “Iliotibial band friction syndrome” is:
a.) An inflammation of the iliotibial band, which runs on the outside of the leg from the hip to just below the knee.
b.) The embarrassment you feel when you ask for “Rock Band,” and your mom buys you the off-brand “Iliotibial Band,” instead.

10. A “fartlek” is:
a.) A Swedish term for variable-pace running.
b.) A term guaranteed to induce snickering in any 12-year-old boy.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday Thunks: Hope It Gives You.... Ideas?

In an ongoing effort to present in this blog not only workout related posts, but also general life and informative "going on these days" posts, I am joining in for "Thursday Thunks" this week.

In the light of living the married life for a couple of weeks now, a lot of my answers to these questions have a "married life review" spin to them. Oh... And since people like to see wedding pictures, I was also able to include some more of them too! ;-)

1. Tomorrow you'll be thinking to yourself?
It's finally Friday. I can't wait to get out of work to meet up with hubby for dinner. During the week, things sometimes get a little crazy and with everyone's schedule filled to the brim, we sometimes chase each other like the sun and the moon. But Friday (the latest) marks the day of regrouping and catching up. Looking forward to it.

2. Where's your picket fence?
Currently it's in Greenville and I really LOVE the area that we are living in... At the foot of Paris Mountain, close to Furman, close to downtown, BUT far far away from work for me. We want to sell the current house and move to somewhere, where it makes more sense for BOTH of our jobs. But there is still some stuff to get done in the current house before it goes on the market... Remember that big hole in the deck?

3. With a big smile on your face, you do what?
I want to think of myself as someone that smiles a lot. Most recently the day that I maybe smiled the most in my life so far, was my wedding day... Even though there was a little breakdown involved in that day as well! ;-)

4. If I was to walk up to you, you'd do what?
I am normally the smile, say "hi" and (maybe) shake hands kinda gal. But there was a day in my recent past, where I ended up hugging A LOT of people! ;-)

5. The list goes on and on. What list?
The TO DO LIST of course keeps piling up! After having lists and lists of stuff to do before the wedding, I thought that I will get a little breather now.... Well, I underestimated the time it takes to take care of the "thank-you" notes, but I am almost done. Then the whole "adjustment of status for permanent residency" process started and took a lot of my attention in the last couple of weeks, but I am happy to announce that as of today, the paperwork is in the mail and hopefully we didn't screw up filling everything out and collecting the supporting documentation. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

6. Does every rose have a thorn or does every thorn have a rose?
BOTH. Most good things have a bad/ not so good side and most bad things have a positive side/ aspect.... It doesn't matter what you are looking at as long as you focus on the "rose side" of things! ;-)

7. Talk dirty to me. What kind of mop/vacuum/dust thingymabob do you use?
My choice of floor cleaning utensil is a vacuum and a pad-thingy for mopping the floor... My husband choice (and I am soooo happy that we split this chore) is a broom and a soggy wet mop... YIKES... I think my methods are superior, but not having to clean the floors all the time is EVEN BETTER! 

8. Your Mamma don't _______ and your Daddy don't _______.
speak much English; speak English.... That was quite a challenge for us during their trip for our wedding. As much as I love having my family around, it just gets very difficult at times with the communication barrier between them and my husband. Basically, it's all about me sucking it up and translate more and also to become a better teacher to my husband. We known each other for over three years now (started dating close to three years ago) and so far, he picked up most of his German over the Rosetta Stone program and not because of me teaching... That's a very sad testament of my teaching skills. Add that to #5!

9. Ever had a suitcase packed by your feet, and if so where were you going?
 I feel lucky to say that I traveled around quite a bit in my 30 plus years of existence. But of course, the one thing that you can't get you want the most... I want to have the honeymoon that we planned, but until my "adjustment of status" stuff isn't processed and approved, I have to stay put. In the meantime, I am happy to say that we booked a hotel on Hilton Head Island for a long weekend sometime in June to get a mental break for the both of us. I am looking forward to not only pack the suitcase, but also the bikes and discover the island on two wheels!

10. Have you ever ridden in a limousine?
Nope, not even on our wedding day... We are cheap like that! ;-)

11. I went to bed too soon and got up to ____?
workout three mornings this week. Oh well... I had to sneak in a workout reference at one point right?? ;-)

12. "And this last mile I travel with you ", to where?
To the finish line of the Thunder Road Marathon in Charlotte NC. I think, I never mentioned what the circumstances of the proposal to me were. Well, this is as good a time as any! ;-) You remember the post about Terry's first marathon last year? Make a long story short, Terry had horrible cramps and we ended up walking the last ten miles of his marathon together. That night back at home, wrapped in ice packs and compression socks he proposed to me... saying that "if someone walks 10 miles with you, just so that you don't have to walk the 10 miles alone, she's a keeper" and " I don't think we are going to forget this day any time soon."... Actually, we do have the race t-shirt with the date one it! So there you have it... Oh boy, that made me well up a little!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I am not a trained professional in the exercise field. The following post is based on my own experience and only meant to give you ideas for a home workout routine. Use your common sense when trying out these exercises. If it hurts, don't do it... If it burns, it works! ;-)

The necessity and benefit of stretching is a topic that is constantly under discussion. There are tons of studies out there, each proofing something else... Beneficial, not beneficial... What ever your opinion is, I am sure that you would find a study to "proof" it.

My personal opinion is, that when you do exercises that let your muscles contract, you have to stretch out that muscle again in order to stay limber and prevent injury and/or pain.

When it comes to stretching, I am trying to be much more diligent, because I know how fast it can get painful for me, if I skip it too often.

So these are my stretches that I do after finishing up biking or running, before I even go back into the house:


As alternative to this move, you can also stand on a step on the balls of your feet and then push your one heel down and then the other.



This is the same stretch. One time standing and then one time sitting. Reaching to your foot with the opposite hand will give this stretch extra oomph.


The last picture looks like a lunge, but is different. You will have a slight ankle in your back leg and then push your hip forwards.


Downward dog is a super stretch.It's all you need to stretch out hamstrings, calves and back at the same time. You can also walk in place to wiggle your legs into a deeper pose.

That's all I got for now, I hope you can use some of these moves.

So long!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits: Late Weekend Recap Edition

  • We had a wonderful time BBQ'ing at the house on Saturday. The house was filled up with old and new friends and the food was soooo yummie...and plenty.... I think we'll eat leftovers for the rest of the week and that even after I already sent people home with the leftover of the food that they brought.
  • It was quite an international assembly that we had going on in our dinning/living room: American, German, Brazilian, Puerto-Rican, Czech and English... Several different languages flying around at times, always depending on who was talking to who at the moment... Of course it was English as soon as the whole table joined into one conversation! ;-)
  • My bike ride Sunday did not happen due to several factors: I was SO SORE from Saturday (trail run) and honestly I have no idea why. On top of that, I had a couple of beers during the BBQ and that left me cranky and dehydrated the next day... I just didn't feel like myself at all. That's exactly the reason, why I hardly touch alcohol... It's just not worth feeling crappy the next day and it sure doesn't take much to make me feel crappy. On top of sore and cranky, I also didn't sleep much and just called it at day when it came to my cycling.
  • Later on Sunday, I still got a workout in.... just a different kind of workout. 5 hours at the package-pickup for the Assaults on Mt Mitchell/Marion sure has to count for something! ;-) It was rough and I got home late, but those couple of hours is nothing compared to what time and effort a lot of other people (race director and Freewheeler members etc) poured into this event, so I am not going to complain. Some people even volunteered on Sunday and then did the ride on Monday!!! 
  • Also, it was a lot of fun to talk to the cyclists and to see the hustle and bustle and the excitement.
  • Actually, it made me want to do this ride next year! I know, I have been talking about doing this race since I started cycling, but never committed to it.... I might have to put it on the calendar for next year early, because a 100-miler up to the highest point east of the Mississippi needs a little more preparation than the events that I normally do around this time of the year!
  • One highlight of the package-pickup... I met a fellow blogger who did the race yesterday and I can't wait to see his race report! He left a comment on yesterday's post and said he made it all the way to the top! CONGRATS! That is AWESOME!!!
  • Then last night, I wanted to do the bike ride that was originally planned for Sunday... I was set on two loops of the MTY tri course. First my Garmin died (again - I need a replacement batteries, but things seem not that easy), then I ran out of sunscreen and then, instead of pumping up my tire, I let out all the air in my front tire and was not able to pump it back up to save my life... Nope, the tire itself is still intact, it's just my poor pump handling skills that sometimes get the best of me. Anyways, I ended up doing the spin class at the Y instead... Was a good workout!
  • On many other fronts (housework, paperwork) the stuff keeps on piling up and I start thinking about taking a random Friday or Monday off to catch up. Then again, there is a holiday next Monday... That might just do the trick or maybe it's going to be tomorrow afternoon.... We'll see. 

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Weight Training Without The Weights

    I am not a trained professional in the exercise field. The following post is based on my own experience and only meant to give you ideas for a home workout routine. Use your common sense when trying out these exercises. If it hurts, don't do it... If it burns, it works! ;-)

    Do you want to tone you abs, buns and tights, but you are afraid of hurting yourself with the dumbbells or the machines in the gym? You don't feel like investing money into dumbbells or shell out a gym membership? You can have it all and do weight training without the weights out of the comfort of your home or while you are out and about.

    Here are a couple of moves that I sometimes* do. No frills good old body toning.

    *I am not as diligent with my weight training as I should be.

    Oldies but Goldies: The Push-Up/ Plank/ Side Plank

    Push-Up/ Girly Push-Up

    Plank (on elbows, on hands, girly, move up and down between hands and elbows)

    Side Plank (regular, leg lift, arm scoop)

    Great push-up plan to increase number of push-ups is here. I did this plan before, though I never made it to 100, I came a long way. Also, push-ups don't always just have to be up and down... you can slow down, go up or down on two or three or four, you can hover over the ground for a little or you can hold at the top for a while. The possibilities are endless and you are going to feel THE BURN!

    When doing planks/ side planks start out with holding position 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds and repeat as often as you can... You can build from the 30 seconds and hold the position longer.

    Target the Arm Flab: Chair Dips

    Push-ups and planks are great moves for the shoulders, biceps, the back and the abs, but we ladies like to wear those sleeveless tops in the summer and that might calls for extra action for the triceps and so we bring out the chair dips. You can keep your legs straight and balance on your heels or put your feet flat on the ground depending on how strong you are so far. With the chair dips, you can go do similar variations than described with the push-ups above (slow down, hold at the lowest point etc).

    Simple Truth: Lunges and squads tone your bun up!

    It really doesn't get any simpler than these moves. The only thing that you have to watch in all of them is to make sure that your knee never goes over your toes. So while you do lunges and lunges dips you might want to increase the length of your step to ensure that. When it comes to the squads, visualize yourself sitting down on a chair, stick your butt out and use your arms to balance... How low can you go on this number? ;-)

    What goes up, must come down OR You did the contraction, now do the stretches

    Come back on Wednesday to get a quick guide to a couple of nice stretches that you can do after your strength workout or any other workout!

    So long!

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Fun Run in the Sun.... ummmm.... Rain....

    This was much better... Eating properly the night before and in the morning sure helped along with the the cooler temps and less humidity.

    So this is the loop we ran, which is the race course for next week. It totaled 8.85 miles and the remainder of the race distance will be the road from the state park gate to the trail head where we started.

    This is the elevation chart for this version.... Two hills for the price of one. Good thing is, that the really rough portion is out of the way early! ;-)

    Right after we finished our run, this group of geese crossed the trail right behind us.

    Back at the parking lot. Ready to stretch and really happy with my new Nathan race vest..... Super comfy and no chafing going on at all... I might just have to customize (cut off) the drink tube.

    Well and now I have to get the house ready for the BBQ.

    So long! ;-)

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    This Is NOT A Food Blog

    Back when I decided to start a blog, I sat in front of my computer screen for a long long time, trying to come up with something smart as my blog name... Everything that I liked, kinda seemed to already be out there or it was too specific to describe the content that I was planning on "broadcasting" on this channel.

    So I fell back to describe the most basic situation that I am in... A German in SC... This is not all that I am, but it certainly explains a several of my posts. But I didn't want to spell it out like this and so I decided on the apple strudel to represent the German side of things and the peach cobbler to describe the SC side. I thought that was smart and I let you be the judge of that... You maybe never thought twice of the title, but now you know.

    Back then, I was completely unaware of the food blog world... Since the name of the blog already has this kind of food blog vibe to it, I recently toyed around with the idea to make my food consumption part of my regular posts.... After a little consideration I scratched it, because:

    1. BORING:  I am not saying that food blogs are boring. Au contraire! I actually read several food blogs on a regular basis and really enjoy them. But following my eating habits would certainly be boring to all of us. I am a creature of extreme habit when it comes to my eating... If you were to compare my food intake from week to week, there wouldn't be much of a difference.
    2. PRESENTATION? WHAT'S THAT? Yeah... I am a pig... I can eat out of takeout box any day of the week... Why get one of the pretty dishes dirty hmmmm? Even though most people operate this way, it's not going to fly on a food blog. Which brings me to...
    3. THE PICTURES: In order to document, most blogs use pictures of the food. First of all... You don't want to see what eat (see point 2.) and I am just way too lazy anyways. Last night, I thought of taking a picture of the beer and the hot dog that I had at the ball game to make it part of this post, but I just couldn't get myself to take out the camera before digging in.
    4. DON'T COOK: That's another sad fact of my life: I hardly ever cook. Well, to explain myself here a little.. I also hardly ever eat at home during the week other than breakfast. I have my biggest meal at lunch (most of the time at one of the places around work) and if anything at all, I just snack on fruit or something similar when I get home at night.
    There would be a big advantage though: If I feel like somebody is watching what I feed myself, I think I would be more mindful about my choices. It's not about weight loss for me at the moment, but it certainly is all about making (another) effort to clean up my nutrition. Last weekend, I had two longer workouts that both didn't go as planned and I think a big part of that was missing energy. When it comes to food, you can be dead on your calorie needs, but how you feel is mostly determined by the quality of the calories that you are consuming... It's all about "crap in, crap out"... If you feed yourself with crap, that's exactly how you are going to feel during the workout.

    Speaking of workouts... With all the "hotel-charges-for-canceled-rooms" and other drama going on this week, I didn't write much about the workouts that I was able to squeeze in and it has been a fairly good week for me... I'll spare you the exact stats, but this is basically how it looked:

    good fast bike ride on rolling hills

    good interval run on the new section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail

    tough spin class followed by short brick run, legs felt good off the bike

    longest continuous swim in a year or so, 3,500 yards at a moderate pace

    REST DAY... Well, I wanted to hit the weight room over lunch, but due to my little "adjustment of status" stuff going on, I had some errands to run...

    Outlook for the weekend
    There will be trail running (with new vest and hopefully the complete course this time around), a BBQ with friends, a bike ride and some volunteering at the package pick-up for the Assault Of Mount Mitchell.

    Have a good one!

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Toothless Tiger

    This is not a toothless tiger (kinda cute, but not toothless):

    But this one is:

    And this is also a follow-up on the status of my claim about the Sleep Inn Charleston, that I filed two weeks ago. Well... The claim is closed....

    Now I know why the complaint person on the ChoiceHotel hotline wasn't bothered at all by my statement that I am going to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Looks like the BBB is pretty much a toothless tiger... Roaring like crazy, but not able to really do anything. Working with the BBB is entirely up to the gusto of the business. The business responded to my claim that I don't have a point and even though I submitted more information, the business is not even asked to respond a second time to my statement why I wouldn't accept their solution. In their closing statement, the BBB said that they are going to include this claim into their yearly report about this business.... Oh, I am sure they are scared now.

    I am just thankful, that the credit card company didn't operate the same way and took the charges off... I still don't think it's right, but I am running out of options here.

    So long!

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Midweek Inspiration

    Grab a box of tissues and be ready to get inspired.

    It just goes to show that people excel above and beyond when their goal is bigger than themselves.

    To learn more about Team Hoyt click here to visit their website.

    Hope you had a great hump day!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    Tuesday Tidbits Vol. 8

    •  The other day, a Cadillac XLR passed me on the highway. Not sure of the model year, but maybe around 2007? Anyways, this car looks from the outside, like designer would have invisioned the 2000's to look like back in the 1980's.
    •  Terry official threw down the gauntlet for the Middle Tyger YMCA Sprint Tri. He wants to beat me... And to be fair, his chances are pretty good for it. The deciding factor of the race between the two of us is going to be transitions and the bike leg... I have a hard time gauging his and my bike fitness this year vs last year.
    • Update on my To-Do-List (like it's not already long enough): Ride the bike leg of the MTY Tri in order to compensate (possible) gaps in fitness with course knowledge. Yeah... I am sneaky like that.
    • Once again, I am slacking in the nutrition department... I think that was also part of the problem of Saturday's run and Sunday's ride. It's not like I am not taking enough calories in (I know I don't have a problem on that end), but it certainly is not enough good quality calories and I also think that my timing is off for fueling.
    • After redoing our honeymoon plans over and over, I think we finally getting somewhere.... Not where we originally wanted to go, but it's going to be a getaway that is desperately needed. Once the whole process described yesterday is over, there will be a "real" honeymoon, but we NEED to get out for a little while in the meantime.
    • We have a hole in the deck right now... Yeah... It's another one of our remodeling projects... Sorry no picture right now.
    • Highlights of tonight's run: THE GOOD: going on a little discovery tour of the new section of the Swamp Rabbit trail and have a good run in general. THE BAD: the guy on the unicycle telling me to "pick it up" during a rest interval.... seriously? THE UGLY: waiting to cross a road and saw a guy throwing trash out of a truck, I just looked at him and shook my head, while the truck passed me, he leaned out and blew a kiss at me... I was sooooo close to flick him off and then thought better of it... you never know what they would do next.
    • The orange guy at Biggest Loser just finished a marathon in 4h 2mins. What an accomplishment. On the other hand, I am always surprised that those BL people, don't give their contestants a proper training plan, if they want them to run a marathon. One guy just passed the 13 mile marker and said that it's further than he ever ran.... That is crazy!

    Monday, May 17, 2010

    About Pins And Needles

    I was hoping that life is getting a little less crazy once the wedding is over, but well... I guess that didn't happen, at least not quite yet. One of the things that needs my immediate attention is getting my permanent residency, now that we are married.

    To be honest, I completely underestimated the time, paperwork and money that will have to flow into this project for the next couple of days and most likely weeks. Thinking of the paperwork alone makes my head hurt a little, because "Form English" is by far more difficult to comprehend that normal spoken English and I am pretty sure that even native speakers do have their issues with it.... I know I have issues with German forms as well. Before I can even get bothered to fill out the paperwork, there is tons of stuff that needs to be gathered and copied and translated (certified of course).

    One of the "peaks" of this process is certainly the medical examination... So this morning, I spent a couple of hours in a doctor's office to be examined and getting poked with needles.... repeatedly. One blood drawing, one tuberculosis skin test, and two vaccines (tetanus and chicken pocks - fortunately, I could prove that I have been vaccinated against everything else that was required) later my left arm hurts*... And on Thursday, I have to go back for the results and hopefully, there won't be any more tests... There are only so much needles I can take in one week.

    *Actually, by now I have trouble lifting my arm up. Fortunately, I don't need to lift my arm to ride my bike! ;-)

    And since this was such a serious content post, here are a couple of Monday pick-me-ups... I know that I need them:

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    Review: Sleep Inn Charleston (Savannah Highway)

    Okay, this might not going to be "review" but more a "rant" about the Sleep Inn Charleston on Savannah Highway. I wrote "review" in the title of this post in the hopes that search engines are going to pick the title up and people get to read what I have experienced with this "fine' establishment so far and the issue is not resolved in the meantime.

    It's a long one, please bear with me. Here is what went down:

    Team "Do Not Resuscitate" needed accommodation in Charleston for after the Palmetto200. So I set out to find our team rooms early in March. We ended up choosing the Sleep Inn on Savannah Hwy in Charleston because of practical location and good pricing. Since it would be almost another 2 months until the relay and a lot of the team's family didn't know yet, if we they would join us down there, I ended up making reservations for 10 rooms. The thought process was to secure enough rooms and if we don't need them, we can always cancel them - right?? Yeah right! In order to make reservations on the rooms, I gave my credit card.

    Fast forward to our last team meeting one week before the relay. We finally got the final headcount and found out that not many of us would have the family coming along. So we decided to cut the rooms in half and order rollaway beds for two of the rooms. Since I made the original reservations, I was in charge to take care of the rollaways and the cancellations. Which I did, first thing Monday morning. I had a young lady on the phone, whose name I can't recall (which is really extremely unfortunate) that went through all the confirmation numbers that needed canceling and all the confirmation numbers that we needed to add rollaways. In the course of our conversation, there were a couple of questions which she verified with somebody in the background. She said she is going to take care of it, we ended the phone call and I forgot all about it.

    The morning we checked out of the hotel, the receptionist asked me what happened to the other five rooms that haven't been used from the group and I told her that I called the previous Monday and canceled those rooms. She then asked me who I talked to and I told her that I can't remember the name, but I can remember that I called Monday in the AM and that the girl kept on relaying questions to somebody else. She then responded: "Well, it must have been the new girl! I am going to take care of those cancellations for you." And we left and I forgot all about it again.

    A couple of hours later while in the van on our way back to Greenville, I received a call from the receptionist again, trying to verify "my story" because her manager wouldn't let her take those reservations out of the system without a cancellation number. So she asked me if I had gotten a cancellation number which I didn't and I really didn't expect to get one, because nobody mentioned a cancellation number before this. She once again asked me, if I could remember the name of the person I talked to and again I said I couldn't. She said she is going to talk to her manager again and get back to me.

    By Thursday of that week, nobody has gotten back to me, so I thought this whole topic has most likely been resolved, but I checked my credit card statement and low and behold, I had six hotel room charges on my CC. One of the room, that I actually used and the five canceled room... We are talking about around 600 bucks here that my CC has been charged with for canceled rooms.

    What followed over the next couple of hours sure wasn't pretty... I called the hotel, I was promised a return call from the manager. Several hours later, I called again, finally got the manager on the phone and she basically just told me that I never called and I am making up this whole story and they kept those rooms for us in good faith* and now we have to pay for them. I then asked for her manager and she gave me the reservation hotline for the ChoiceHotels and those guys basically told me that billing related topics are the hotels responsibility, there is nothing they could do for me and if I don't agree with the charges, I should go ahead and dispute the transaction with my CC company.... How handy of a solution is that FOR THEM!

    *I came to hate this phrase over the next couple of days.

    I ended up disputing the transaction and as of now my balance has been corrected. But I also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), since I believe they need to refund that money instead of pushing the responsibility over to the CC company.

    The response by another hotel manager for my BBB complaint was going with the famous "in good faith" theme and that he spoke to each of his employees and nobody can remember talking to me (of course they are going to step up and say that they screwed up) and besides, group reservations cannot be changed anymore after 30 days prior to arrival. I have a confirmation e-mail that states, that I can cancel the room up to 6PM of the day of arrival.... So much for that and that's what I wrote in my response to the BBB.

    That's the last thing that happened in this matter and I will keep you posted how things developed.... if anything else is going to happen from this point on.

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

    Trail Run Fail

    Today, I made it back on a trail to run the first time in months. I signed up to run the Paris Mountain Trail 15K in two weeks and I thought it might be smart to run the course since it has been a while... like a year or so. To explain the "fail" portion of the post title right away... I didn't  run the 15K course.... I ended up close to 8 miles. Once I reached the top of Sulphur Springs Trail, I just knew that I wasn't going anywhere. I felt weak, my legs felt heavy and my heart rate was all over the place. True, this portion is the most difficult section of the course, but I didn't feel like pushing myself through the whole thing. So Brian (Team D.N.R. member) and Terry kept going towards Kanuga and I headed into the opposite direction back down to the car.

    Once I was back at the state park office, I decided to add the Lake Placid Loop and then even added the Turtle Trail... The trails there are a little flatter and I also had the security of not being stranded exhausted on top of the mountain, but being close to the car.

    Here is the map of today's run.

    And here is the elevation chart... When I said "steepest section" above that translates into a 11% grade.

    Yeah... I didn't look too fresh after that number.

    A little gear side note: I took my Camelbak M.U.L.E. with me and it certainly is not the best hydration pack for running. It's a little on the heavy side and the water sloshes around a lot. At least it stays put on my back better than the smaller Camelbak Charm that I own. And I sure was glad that I had that much water with me... it was humid out there, even in the morning. Well, in order to get the best of both worlds (lightweight and stays put) I ordered the Nathan Hydration Vest. So far, I only read good reviews about this product and can't wait to take it out next week, when I once again try run the WHOLE course of the 15K race.

    So long! ;-)