Thursday, January 29, 2009

Yes We Can!

Yay! Good news out of Washington : ) I am so excited that the first bill President Obama has signed into law helps women (and really everyone) as they fight pay discrimination! Hopefully soon the statistic that women still make $0.78 on the dollar compared with men for the same jobs will be history. Equal pay for equal work!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Comprehensive Exam Accountability!!!

Alright friends, my comprehensive exam is Friday, March 6th. I will be tested on pretty much everything I have learned in my graduate program over the past four years. I need to start studying!!! Eeek! Okay, so it's an essay exam, and I'm pretty good at sounding like I know what I'm talking about. But I still need to study and get some names and theories and interventions straight in my mind. If you see me, please ask me how studying is going. If I don't answer, I give you permission to give me a mean look and tell me I need to get those books open!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

MRTC XC Series #2

This afternoon was the 5k of the cross country series, and Becky, Erin and I headed out to the Stanky Creek Trails in Bartlett to participate with all the other crazies! It was very cold, and I wore lots of layers, none particularly matching! This was my first race wearing my 'Run Midtown' shirt, but I had a fleece vest over it, so no one could see my Midtown pride.

The race was pretty hard, but also fun! Running on trails is a pretty hefty mental exercise for me, since you have to watch the ground to place each foot 'just so' as not to fall or twist a knee or ankle. I fell once, quite early into the course, but it was very minor and I came away without any scrapes or sprains. And really, shouldn't everyone finish a trail race with some mud on their pants? The course had short but frequent dips into creek banks, and they always seemed to come in pairs! We passed and were passed, saw a few injuries and one crying child. I didn't beat the folks I wanted to, but I did finish pretty strong. Becky and I led a pack through most of the trail, and then every single one of them passed us in the last quarter mile. I had an inkling of what it felt like to be a team mate of Lance Armstrong, or the poor Ethiopian who finished fourth in the Olympic marathon.

I have a bit more conditioning to build up in the next two weeks before the 8k+, but I'm looking forward to it! I also finally bought trail shoes this evening. Bright red! I think I shall call them my ruby trail slippers : )

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gran Turino

When people ask me what types of movies Jonathan and I go to see, I usually answer, "Either absurdly silly movies (e.g. Hot Fuzz) or movies that make us think (e.g. Gran Turino).". I had not heard much about Gran Turino before we saw it last night, just that it involved a grump old man befriending a youth at risk of gang life. Being a social worker, that was enough to make me want to plunk down $9 a piece to see it.

I really don't want to say any more about the movie's plot. Those of you who choose to see it will get to watch it unfold. I do have a short quiz for you to decide if you would like to see it:
1. Can you make it through 2 hours of the 'f' word and excessive racial slurs?
2. Have you ever gotten to know a child or family affected by gangs?
3. Do you believe in redemption?

I think that if you answered yes to those, you should see this movie. This is only the second Clint Eastwood directed film I have seen (Letters from Iwo Jima being the first), and I think he is a great film maker. He especially captures the internal struggle his characters experience.

And please respect the R rating. This is not an appropriate movie for kids under 17, and I think any teen who sees this movie needs to be pretty mature.

That said, I highly recommend the movie to those who seek thinker-friendly films.

Monday, January 12, 2009

MRTC Cross Country Series 3k

Yesterday I ran my first cross country race ever. In high school, my freshman basketball coach had recommended that I join the cross country team to improve my conditioning. When I found out they got up at 5am and just ran around our little town until school started, I opted not to join.

So, at 27 I am voluntarily almost doing the same thing : ). Not quite the 5am part, but close to it. Yesterday"s race was at 2pm, and it was sunny and beautiful. I gathered with the rest of the crazy looking MRTC folks in Overton Park and headed out for a 1.86 mile race through the trails. We started off in the back with the over 50 and under 10 crowd, because Becky and I have very low runner self-esteem. We always assume we will be among the slowest runners, not without reason I might add. But yesterday, this pick of starting position hurt us. As we entered the trail, there was an immediate stop. I had anticipated a bit of a log jam as we entered the trail, but this stop was due to the folks in front of us daintily walking through the mud. In my head I yelled, "For Pete's sake, people! It's a trail! Run through the mud!". We attempted to make up for lost time by passing as many people as we could along the trail, including a woman who thought it necessary to gasp each time she put her foot down! Once we got out of the trail section and there was room to break out, we attempted to speed up a little. For the first time ever, we passed several people in the last half mile of the course. I have learned to run as fast as I can once I can see the finishing cones.

After months of half marathon training where slow and steady is the rule, it was lots of fun to run fast! Granted my fast is probably your slow : ) Finish time was 21:15, which actually a slower pace than I ran my last 5k. However, I did not have to dodge mud pits and tree roots in my last 5k!

If you are in Memphis, come join the fun! The next race is a 5k in two weeks. You can check out info at the Memphis Runners link on the side bar.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mile Markers

On my 25th birthday I confessed my new secret desire to Becky, "Let's run a marathon!" We walked three miles later that month and thought we were going to die.

On my 26th birthday, I could run a mile without stopping, but I thought I was going to die in the process and I needed a running buddy with me.

On my 27th birthday, I ran 3 miles by myself without stopping and with mild to moderate effort. Although I have finished two half-marathons, this is the first time I have run 3 miles straight without the crutch of a running buddy or a treadmill.

Am I slow? Yes.
Am I going to really run a marathon one day? Maybe.
Am I very proud of my little accomplishment yesterday? Yes!!

That was my birthday present to myself: being fit enough to run the 3 miles by myself and enjoying the run!

My husband's birthday present to me was a new Vera Bradley bag in 'daisy daisy.' : ) I am trying to decide which gift I like more!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Trail running first attempt

Happy New Year! To get the year off on a good foot, Becky and I planned a run yesterday. We ended up hitting a trail at Shelby Farms with one of Becky's friends, Erin. We have signed up for the MRTC Cross Country Series, which starts in about a week, and Becky had the very good idea that it would not be best for us to do our first trail run at a race.

So, I crawled out of bed at 9am with an almost hangover. I say almost because there was no extensive time in the bathroom or massive headache, just a kind of general feeling of ickiness. That was thanks to a Newcastle, two cosmos, way too much junk food, and not leaving a party until 3:30am.

I wasn't sure how the run would go since I haven't done much of anything since the half marathon. We took it slow, and walked a few times when we wanted a break. I found the trail running to be much easier than road running, and There could be many reasons: it is quiet, you have to be very aware of your surroundings, the ground is springy and helps you kick up your feet, and it's just something different. Part of the trail was on a raised bit of land between two creeks, and both creeks had a beautiful thin sheet of ice covering them. Another bit went by what we think is the Wolf River. We saw a couple groups of runners, bikers and walkers, some who were serious and had on team training uniforms and others who were just out for the first walk of 2009.

I only face planted once : ) A root caught my right foot and I dove to the ground, sliding on my right side as if I was going after a volleyball. Just a bit of mud, and this morning some soreness in my neck from the jolt.

Overall we had a nice time outside getting back into running and celbrating the new year : )