This is my life. Sometimes shown through the eye of my camera phone, and sometimes not. I'll talk running, gadgets, music, and whatever else I stumble on to

Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Week In Photos: Day 4 Thursday

Week: Jan. 28, 2008


This is Cookie.

He lives for treats.

He's always the first to meet me at the door when I come home because he knows I'm going to give him a couple of treats. He's of the tabby type and he's been around for quite some time.

He loves warm places and soft things to sit on. He's mostly a nice cat, but seems to have a short temper and can get a little too friendly when you pet him if he hasn't chewed your arm off first.

It's just in his nature, I guess.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Week In Photos: Day 3 Wednesday

Gadgets Galore
Week: Jan. 28, 2008


(If you click on the photo, you'll be taken to my flickr page so you can mouse-over the various notes explaining what everything is.)

This is a small sampling of the various electronic gadgets I own. This isn't all of them mind you, since I have more at the office.

Most of these are now retired and call a comfy drawer their home. It must be tough being a gadget, since new models come out all of the time; second generation this, third generation that. I swear I have to take out a separate bank account to own the latest and greatest! But I love them so.

A little background on a few of them:

-Sony Clie UX50: This is the one that looks like a mini laptop, which is pretty much what it is. This PDA was WAY ahead of its time when it came out. This little guy is loaded with all kinds of stuff: wireless, bluetooth, voice recorder, camera, scroll wheel, color swivel screen, metal exterior... It was super expensive at the time and I was PISSED when Sony canceled the entire line about six months after it came out- PISSED! I vowed to never buy another Sony product again.

- Treo smartphones: This line of Palm smartphones paved the way for most of the fancy do-it-all phones you see today. The Treo 755P is the latest in the Treo line and is my favorite. I struggled for a time as to whether to replace my Treo with the beautiful iPhone, but I couldn't justify the funcionality. The Treo is a work horse and does a damn fine job at everything I throw at it.

- Palm Handspring Visor: My first ever PDA and did its duty for many years before it was replaced by the Sony UX50.

- iHome2go portable speakers: My iPod Nano slides into the front of this mini-speaker system powered by 3 AA batteries. This is my favorite gadget and I absolutely love to travel with it. It does a nice job of filling those lonely hotel rooms with my tunes!

Head over to my Flickr site to see a description of everything you see in the photo!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Week In Photos: Day 2 Tuesday

Office Space
Week: Jan. 28, 2008


(If you click on the photo, you'll be taken to my flickr page so you can mouse-over the various notes explaining what everything is.)

A view of my office desk. What you don't see is the giant mess on either side of this photo. If I ever meet the guy who said technology will replace paper someday, I'd like to put my fist through his... well you know =)

The Treo smartphone you see in the photo is central to the other two systems you see here-my laptop and desktop computer. I'm not sure WHY I have both a computer tower AND a laptop to begin with, since the laptop will pretty much kick the towers ass any day, but they both serve a purpose in some way.

The Treo keeps all of my data synchronized between both. The phone also gives my laptop access to the internet no matter where I am. And since I'm responsible for my company's world wide data network, it's essential I have access everywhere!

It's geek speak, I know.

I kind of noticed that the wall in this picture is pretty bare aside from the post card thingy, so I have to brighten it up a bit. I also noticed that practically all of my gadgets match in color! Black is in, baby.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

My Week In Photos: Day 1 Monday


(click photo to enlarge in Flickr)

Week: Jan. 28, 2008

This was taken just after finishing my 6 mile run at beautiful Independence Grove forest preserve in Libertyville, IL. on Sunday.

Part of my route took me along side the Des Plaines river and the midday sun was hitting the bridge just perfectly. One of my goals this year was to document my journey of training to run and finish the 26.2 miles of the 2008 Chicago marathon. I'd never run more than three miles in high school before this, so for me this is something I'd like to remember the rest of my life.

This photo, although actually taken on Sunday, will begin my seven days of posting an event or photo of my life each day of this week. Most of my posts will go up late in the day, so what you actually read in the morning would of taken place the day before- or something like that!

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Jesse, Where Art Thou?

My goodness, I've been super busy around the office lately. They're practically doubling the capacity of our office building, and bringing in folk from one of our recent acquisitions.

The projects have been piling up, but I've kept on schedule, for the most part anyway. This is all good for job security and all, but I'm exhausted on the way out the door. This comes at the right time, since I've cranked down my workouts and running schedule ahead of my training for the Rockford half-marathon.

My lovely, chilly run last Sunday did a number on me! I've never been so sore in places I never new existed! It's a good sore, but it really wore me out. Would I do it again? Probably not, but I love training outdoors in the winter. Fortunately, the days are getting longer, and I'll have more light to run outside after work.

The little aches and pains that have bugged me since I started my "maintenance" running last December have pretty much gone away, and I know I'll feel good when my half-marathon training begins on Feb. 4. That's the point of rest, no? I have 6 miles to run on Saturday and that's it until the week after next.

Next week, I'll be having a little fun with this blog and posting a photo each day of the week about an event, or object related to my day. So come visit, will ya?

I can't believe how fast January has come and gone!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gloomy Drive

Driving behind the Lake County Coroner's van to work this morning.

Wonder if there's a dead person in there?

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Mother would be Upset

"Stay inside! It's too cold!"

I could hear her now...

Date: 1/20/08
Time of day: 9 a.m.
Total Time: 1:10:56
Where: Lincoln Park, Chicago lakefront
Miles: 6 (or so due to my electronics freezing up!)
Temp: -3 (cold!)
Windchill: -24 (fu@#ing colder!)

So there was a comfy treadmill just downstairs, which I passed by on my way out the door this morning, determined to plow through 6 miles in the bitter Chicago cold. Why? Why not?

I've been terrible with running this past week because my schedule has been so busy with the start of classes and all. I had only done less than two miles on Wednesday and that was it.

It was cold. Period. But I've never seen the Chicago skyline so beautiful heading south along the lakefront path. There were only a handful of runners out there, and some crazies running in shorts and a t-shirt. I felt sorry for them.

Right off the bat, my breath was freezing my eyelashes shut, and my water bottles froze solid only a mile into my run. The iPod Nano that was on my arm failed around mile 3-it just seized up and wouldn't play. The Garmin GPS on my wrist was in no better shape as the display was freezing up and I had to tuck it under my jacket so it could continue to record my miles.

It was super tough. I had a hard time feeling my feet after 5 miles, but I was comfortably warm. The sun was my only saving grace, and I loved it. I suffered some minor wind burn on my nose, but all of my limbs are intact.

I will remember this day when I'm plugging away at the last six miles of the half-marathon and marathon I am training for.

I will remember the pain.

I will remember the struggle to finally finish this run.

I will remember my motivation to get out on the coldest weekend of the year.

Most of all, I will remember the joy of doing something I've never done before.

And know that I can.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Summer Day Dreaming

Spent a good part of Saturday at the Chicagoland Outdoors Show in Rosemont, IL.

I enjoy going to these, especially during the dead of winter as it makes me think of warm days ahead spent outdoors camping and fishing.

I've been scoping out new out of state campgrounds and resorts to visit that are in decent driving distance from home.

I can't wait to get out into the warm sun to enjoy the outdoors.

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

After today I will stop running...

Are you kidding me?

I got this from Heather's wonderful blog (thanks for the tip!)

I have finally found a way to be more productive and still keep healthy without running...

Check this out

Who would of known these existed?

My goodness....

On second thought, I may keep running- far away from this thing!

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Relaxing Time

Enjoying an ice cold beer at Buffalo Wild Wings with, of course, wings!

My boss was kind enough to give me Thursday and Friday off the rest of this week to make up the time I spent at the office during both holiday weekends.

I'll still be doing some work from home, in my underwear of course, but mostly taking it easy, with lots of Xbox 360 action.

I won't be doing any running until Saturday, as I have 6 miles to crank out outside in the freezing cold- more on that later.

I've also set aside some time to go through the pile of JstreetRadio recordings I have in the hopes of resurrecting our podcasts, which is mostly my fault really- more on that later too.

I wonder what kind of daytime television is on nowadays?

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Week Ahead

Who invented Monday's anyway? I seriously need to see some sunshine- I would just be in a much better mood.

I start school back up again this week until March, so it's going to be a challenge to fit my workouts in. I have two weeks left on my maintenance running schedule before my actual training begins for the Rockford Half- Marathon. My current "maintenance" training through the months of December and January never bring my weekly miles any higher than 16 a week to keep me from over training or getting injured.

My training schedule for the 13 miles of the May 18 Rockford Half-Marathon won't begin until February 4. The schedule looks a bit intimidating! My longest individual run will peak at 11 miles (!), and my weekly miles will peak at 28 (!!!). I think I'm going to take a week off of running at the end of this month before starting to train for Rockford.

Oh what will I do?

One idea I had was to take a photo of something related to my day for seven days and post it here. Perhaps I'll throw in a geeky tech post or two- I don't do enough of those.

So prepare- the week of January 28- A Day In My Life: A Photo Journey... or something like that.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

This One's Gonna Hurt!

Oh my goodness.

I got up early Saturday to head down to Chicago's lakefront to do my 7 mile run. I got there just after 8 a.m. to meet a group I was running with, but there were so many runners around, I never did find my group. Oh well, off I went...

I was a bit tired. I've been horrible with my sleep as of late. I've been getting about 5 1/2 to 6 hours a night. It's just a bad habit I need to break and it caught up with me this morning. I was really ready to run, but I was feeling it a bit in my legs. It didn't help that I was running around Friday night and didn't get to relax much.

Still, it was productive. I was doing much better after mile 5, and decided to do the last two miles at my 5K race speed - 8:35 minutes-per-mile! (fast!) This after averaging 10:35 most of the run. It was really invigorating- tomorrow I will pay!

I've been experimenting with some power gels and energy shots during my long runs. Gels and powershots speed carbohydrates, electrolytes, and other nutrients to your muscles to keep you from wearing down too fast during intense exercise- and yes these are legal! And available at most sport retailers or supermarkets... :-)

I've tried two so far. Rocket Shot (left) and PowerBar Gel (right).

I'm not quite sure if they do anything for me yet, since I've been taking one during both of my 7 mile runs. I took the Rocket Shot during my 7 miles today around mile 5. Would that explain my boost to a 8:35 minute-mile and feeling damn good while doing it? Perhaps, but I would of probably done it anyway with the help of a good, rockin' tune on my iPod!! (click to play The Generators - So Many Miles)

The reviews? The Rocket Shot is disgusting! Think Red Bull stuffed into a four inch capsule and the taste multiplied by ten. Ick! The top has a seal on it that I would of fumbled with if I hadn't taken it off before my run. Come to think of it, my Garmin clocked a 7 minute mile near the end there.... nah... coincidence I suppose!

The strawberry/banana PowerBar Gel is a bit more palatable, but the goo is hard to take down at first. I have to wash it down with a gulp of water. The seal at the top has a razor sharp edge that can scar your tongue if you're not careful! I prefer this one over the Rocket Shot, but the goo is sticky, and makes a mess of everything if let loose.

This talk of goo's and gels is making me hungry... time to grab the best source of nutrients on the planet- a fat, juicy cheesburger!

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Friday, January 11, 2008

I love special deliveries

A new IBM Blade server arrived at the office today. These things usually come pre-configured at the factory, but not this one. I got the OK to set it up myself, which is always a joy! (until I break it, anyway).

The workload at the office has eased a bit after a couple of hectic holiday weekends. Since half of the planet (or so it seems) are at home on vacation, the holiday's are ideal time to setup for the large upgrades to software that require downtime. This means I get to spend some time at work during the holidays, unless I'm dialed in from home.

This is going to be an exciting year at the job, I think. My company has made yet another large acquisition, and as the network admin for IT, it's my responsibility to oversee the integration.

We're also going to revamp our entire server environment to support the new additions, which will bring on even more challenges in the weeks ahead- and lots more special deliveries!

2008 is off to a nice start.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Running Log 1-9-08: With action shot!

Action shot- Taken during my 6 mile run tonight somewhere in Round Lake, IL. Yup- that's a headlamp I'm wearing, and there's another flashing light behind my head.

Warning: Do NOT try this at home kiddies (i.e. prepare for some face plant action while fumbling with a camera phone in the dark while traveling at high speeds).

Miles: 6
Time: 1:04:08
Avg. Pace: 10:24 mile
Time: 6:50 p.m.
Temp: 39 deg.

This one was a little tough. I think I was still a wee bit sore from my 7 miler on Saturday. I was also a little over dressed, and got quite warm pretty quick for it being near 40 degrees outside. Still, once I got into a nice groove after mile 3, things went smoother and was able to finish strong.

This was my scheduled "tempo run". A tempo run is done at a "comfortably hard" pace, just hard enough to make you really work, but it's not a racing pace. In a nutshell, tempo runs teach your body to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently during a run. The faster pace is held for the entire run, with a warm up of about a mile or so before and after the actual run.

Yea- there is actually a science to all of this running stuff, which was a surprise to me when starting up running again. Each training session serves a particular purpose, and conditions your body to run the long distances required for the real thing (marathon, half-marathons, etc.)

Check out this link for an explanation of some of the various elements involved in training for long distance running.

No running until another 7 miles on Saturday- probably in the city again!

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Seven Mile Milestone

I took on my longest run to date Saturday of seven miles. Both my Garmin Forerunner and Nike+ system calculated just over 7.5 miles, but that's OK by me. I had a great run!

I decided to run along Chicago's lakefront trail beginning in Lincoln Park at Irving Park Rd., with my turnaround point at 3.5 miles just north of Navy Pier at Oak Street beach. I've never run here before and I felt like a little lost kid in a giant park surrounded by skycrapers- a weird feeling considering I've been clocking six milers near home.

Don't get me wrong, it's convenient running near home, but the scenery is getting BORING! Plus, being around so many other runners in Chicago was a neat feeling.

Here's a photo I took near my turnaround point:

I've been blessed with relatively pain-free runs since my nagging knee issues late last year. During the last mile, my left ankle felt like a knife was being plunged into it and being wiggled around. Fortunately, it only lasted for about 15 steps and I took it as a sign that I needed new running shoes soon. I've had my current shoes for close to two years now, and it's time for a newer pair.

My maintenance training continues this week:

Mon: 2 miles easy
Tue: cross train/weights
Wed: 6 miles
Thu: Rest
Fri: cross train/weights
Sat: 7 miles
Total miles: 15

My actual training schedule for the Rockford Half Marathon won't start until the first week in February, and I'll be joining the Chicago Area Runner's Association half-marathon training program in mid-February.

Bring it on!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Spirit of the Marathon release

UPDATE: I found this neat snippet from the New Balance online blog containing a brief interview with the director of the film- a marathoner himself. Check it out!

One of the biggest running events of the year isn't a marathon, or any type of race for that matter, but a documentary-based movie.

The Spirit of the Marathon

I briefly mentioned this upcoming movie in a previous post. I'm super excited to find out it is being shown one-night only on January 24 at theaters near me!

From the website:

"Spirit of the Marathon is the first ever non-fiction feature film to capture the drama and essence of the famed 26.2 mile running event. Filmed on four continents, the movie brings together a diverse cast of amateur athletes and marathon luminaries.

As six unique stories unfold, each runner prepares for and ultimately faces the challenge of the Chicago Marathon. More than a sports movie, Spirit of the Marathon is an inspirational journey of perseverance and personal triumph; a spectacle that will be embraced by runners and non-runners alike."

So if you're curious about what it takes to train and run a 26.2 mile marathon, then I highly recommend this movie. The preview alone is enough to inspire me to pursue my dream of finishing the Chicago Marathon this year.

Want to come along? The one-and-only showing is January 24 at 7:30 p.m. and I'll be seeing it at the Gurnee Cinema in Gurnee, IL.

For tickets, visit or

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Holiday Family Fun

One of the highlights of my New Year weekend was a visit from my family on my dad's side who live in the Kansas, City, Mo. area. They come up here about twice a year to visit and check out the sights, especially Chicago.

And there were a total of 19 of them- three car loads full all making the trip to celebrate the New Year with my immediate family- husbands, wives, babies, children... A visit to Chicago, of course, was on their agenda, and it was up to me and my sister to lead the way.

So let me form a picture for you. A total of 23 members of my family are going to visit the city, and it involves public transportation- bus AND train- and beautiful Navy Pier on a holiday weekend meaning LOTS of people seeking something to do indoors on a brutal day.

Fortunately, the first train out was mostly empty, since we were only its second stop. My goal is to be the last on and off to make sure no one gets left behind. No problem.

The fun starts when the train passengers exit at Union Station- with seemingly THOUSANDS of others. I knew this was going to be fun! I'm the last one off and take a quick count of everyone.

Lucky again- we're at the first stop for the bus that will be taking us to NP. And wouldn't you know it? We FILL the thing up! Nice.

Exit the bus and walk into Navy Pier, and it is super busy in there. We decide that instead of walking 23 people around together, we split up and meet later. Works like a charm, and I count heads again. It's a miracle we haven't lost anyone yet.

On the way back, we're the first to get on the bus back to Union Station, and we're an hour early, so we wait around.

Getting ON the train back home was a complete nightmare. There were SOOO many people that I completely lost everyone. Again, it's a miracle that everyone ended up in the same train car. No one seems concerned that anyone is missing- Which I take it to mean a good thing.

The whole experience could of turned out to be a nightmare, but luck went our way and we got home safe to enjoy the New Year the next day.

Thank goodness!

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