Monthly Archives: September 2010

Busy & Tiring Day at Social Media Conference

Hi all. I’m still in Jacksonville, Fl. at the social media conference. I am utterly exhausted. Today we went from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. with really only a 30 minute break for lunch and then a few 10 minute breaks here and there. I am spent.

But, I have to say that it’s been a very good conference so far. To date, social media (blog, Facebook, Twitter) has really only been a part of my personal life because the company I work for has been very slow to accept and realize the benefits. However, I think I see changes coming in our future and I’m very happy that I have this chance to become more prepared.

I’ve found out about a bunch of great resources through this conference, and I’m sure that many of you social media gurus out there already knew about them, but they are pretty exciting to me:

Four Square
What the Hashtag
Yammer (non-profits can buy one flip camera and get one free)

I’m not going to go into what each of these sites is for – you can browse if you haven’t already checked them out. Some are geared toward social media and others toward more PR-based efforts. I’m very excited to have a list like this started to help us with our efforts.

Ok – enough of the boring stuff. I don’t have much exciting food to share with you because we haven’t had many choices. However, my co-worker and I did make it to a decent restaurant last night called Marker 32. We started off by sharing a shrimp cocktail and beet salad. The salad was amazing!! Then we both ended up ordering the same thing for dinner. A fish called Trigger with a quinoa pilaf and artichoke sauce overtop. It was simply amazing!!! I am not a huge fish person, but the waiter sold me on this and he was soo right. It was delicious.

Seriously amazing!!! So good. We were stuffed afterwards. And it sounds awful, but we might go back to this place again for dinner.

Ok – it’s getting close to dinner, so time to log off. Hope everyone had a great Tuesday. My question for today is:

What is your favorite social media tool? And what social media tool do you most often (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Blog, etc.)

Hi from Jacksonville, FL!

Hi all – I have been so crazy busy lately. I am in Jacksonville, Florida for a healthcare social media and communications conference given by Ragan Communications. So far, it has been really interesting and enlightening and I kind of feel like I’m behind the times in many ways. There are just so many things going in the social media world. I’m happy that my company was willing to send me to this conference.

I did give in and sign up for Twitter today. After all the talking about it at the conference, I couldn’t resist. Plus, hopefully our company will be jumping on the social media bandwagon sometime soon and I want to know what I’m doing. So you can follow me on Twitter now! The little icon is on the right of my page. Not that I’ll have much going on right away. I’m still learning the ropes.

Do you use Twitter? What do you like best about it? Does the company you work for use Twitter, Facebook, blogging, or any other kind of social media?

Well – we’ve had a really full day and we still have to find someplace to eat tonight. So I’ve got to sign off. I apologize for the lack of photos – I completely forgot my USB cord. 😦

Hope you all had a good Monday!

Happy Friday…and I Might Have Pink Eye

Good morning all. Today is a mixed up day. I’m super happy it’s Friday – I’m actually kind of giddy. The bad news is that I woke up this morning and could barely open my eyes. For the past few days, I’ve had some redness, but this morning was just ridiculous. The light in our apartment felt like it was burning my retinas and the thought of putting contacts in actually made me cry.

So I’m rocking my glasses again and made an appointment with my eye doc to figure out what is going on. I’m leaving on Sunday for a work conference in Florida and I can’t be walking around with bloodshot scary eyes. That just won’t do.

Despite my eye issues, I managed to suck it up and force my contacts into my eyes to go for a run yesterday. Here are my stats:

Mile 1 – 9:13
Mile 2 – 8:50
Mile 3 – 9:11
Mile 4 – 9:03
Mile 5 – 8:58
.22 – 1:51

Total mileage – 5.22 miles in 47:08. Average pace – 9:01 minute miles.

I wasn’t too thrilled with my pace, but I have to keep reminding myself I’m slowly getting back into training and shape.  My question to other runners out there is: Can you run with glasses on? I’ve never tried, but I don’t think that I could. I think they would bounce around and make me dizzy.  

For dinner last night, I wanted something really quick and easy. So I made a tuna-melt and had some grapes on the side.

It was actually exactly what I wanted and filled me right up. I hadn’t had one in soo long, I think I forgot how much I like them. Do you ever do that with some foods?

After dinner, I will admit that the rest of our night was filled with t.v. We watched that new reunion show that just came out and thought it was pretty decent. Then I watched Grey’s Anatomy and didn’t hate it. And finally we capped off our night with some good ole Jersey Shore. I know – it’s so embarrassing that I watch it. I just can’t help it.

Today should be pretty busy. I have a bunch of things to wrap up at work before I head to the conference for three days next week. And I can’t believe that by the time I come back to NY, it will basically be October! My October is going to be crazy and fun: a baby shower, a 5k race with friends, a bridal shower and bachelorette, I’m running a half marathon while my friend runs a full (trying to qualify for Boston!), and last but certainly not least my two-year wedding anniversary with Hubby!

Do you have any exciting plans for October?! I almost forgot that my one-year blog anniversary is also in October. I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for almost a full year already. 🙂

Alright all – have a good Friday and have a great weekend!

The Results Are In…I’m Competitive

Happy hump day all. I hope today flies by for everyone. I am in training all day again today. Yesterday’s training was actually really interesting. It’s being given by the American Management Association and the class is Getting Results Without Authority.

I’m not exactly high up on the power list in my office, so it should be very helpful for me. It was also interesting because we took a Personal Style Indicator test by the Consulting Resource Group and it was pretty enlightening. Basically it told me I am a combination of Cognitive and Behavioral or C-B. What that amounted to was the label “Competitive.” Oh yes, I guess I have to face the truth now that this test confirms it. And after reading the description in the accompanying booklet, I have decided not to fight the label. It described me to a T, 100%.

Apparently it means I can be sensitive and challenging; I pay attention to detail; I find it difficult to adjust to unexpected changes; I accumulate stress and tension without releasing it; I can be a bit overly critical of myself and others; and I should engage in plenty of cardiovascular exercise to help release blocked tensions.

No seriously, it really said the last part about cardiovascular activity and I thought that was hysterical. Another page said that people under this descriptor feel the need to be very active, but then can also relax 100% when they know things are accomplished. That’s me!!

It was so funny to read this material that really speaks to me directly in almost all cases. And it explains why I react the way I do in certain circumstances and why, for me, running is all about goal setting and achieving milestones. And now I don’t feel as bad about it – it’s just who I am!

Have you ever taken a style or personality test? What did it tell you? Was it on the mark or way off?

I’ve taken another one before and it was pretty accurate. I enjoy taking them and like reading about my strengths and weaknesses.

Restaurant Review: Gonzalez y Gonzalez
After my full day of class, I met up with my friend Katie for dinner in Soho. We went to Gonzalez y Gonzalez for some Mexican food and margaritas. We contemplated starting off with guacamole, but at $16.25 for an appetizer, that seemed a bit steep.

Instead, we both ordered the passion fruit frozen margarita and had some nachos (much more reasonably priced).

I have to say that the nachos we just meh. I don’t think a plate of nachos means 8 chips smothered in beans and fake cheese with salsa, guac and sour cream on the side. I want a heaping plate of chips, with melted shredded cheese, some pico de gallo and beans. Yes, the salsa, guac and sour cream should be on the side, but you need to build the base of the nachos with love. 🙂 Sorry – I am a bit of a nacho freak.

Anyway, our main courses did not disappoint at all. I had the Burrito Vegetariano filled with zucchini, yellow squash, corn, tomatoes, cheese and black beans with brown rice on the side. YUM!!

Katie had the steak quesadillas and she enjoyed that entrée as well.

The only other thing that slightly annoyed me was that they were offering a happy hour special from 5 – 7 p.m., but only at the bar. I contemplated having us go get our drinks at the bar ($5 vs. $9) and then get a table, but Katie had a train to catch and we didn’t have time to dilly-dally. Still, I think if someone is coming in to spend money on your food, they should most certainly get the same deal on their alcoholic beverages as other bar patrons.

After dinner I headed home, read for a bit and then went to bed early. I didn’t watch Biggest Loser, but Tivo-ed it, so that might be on the agenda for later tonight.

Have a good hump day all!

No Excuses Run and Rice Pudding

Good morning everyone – happy Tuesday. We made it past dreaded Monday. My day was pretty busy yesterday, plus I had my guest post on Legally Fit. I was at an offsite meeting from about noon until 5 p.m. yesterday. By the time I got home, I definitely did not want to run.

I had some good reasons to scrap the whole running idea – I was exhausted from my hectic day, I hadn’t had a good lunch or much food throughout the day and I hadn’t hydrated well at all.

But then I decided those were all just excuses and I could manage a 4 mile run if I went at a slower pace and didn’t push it. No excuses!!

So I ran along the East River and attempted to use Garmy, but he wasn’t locating satellites quick enough and I was too impatient to wait. So I ran what I know to be about four miles, but I have no clue on time. And I felt so much better after I did my run. I was so happy I didn’t blow it off.

How do you get yourself motivated to run or exercise after a long and tiring day?

I was really just trying to remember the post-run relief and how great I would feel. I knew I would be so happy if I got out there and so mad at myself if I didn’t.

After my run, I made some soup for my still-sick Hubby and then decided to join him and had some soup myself. Then our evening was spent flipping back and forth from the football game to Dancing with the Stars. I’m not obsessed with the show, but I was interested.

I was also craving some kind of dessert. However, being that we still do not have an oven, I was limited by the options that can be made on a hot plate. I decided to make a Rice Pudding recipe from the Happy Herbivore website. It actually turned out pretty well. I only had skim milk, so I used that instead of non-dairy milk.

The final result…

It was totally yummy and made me very happy. I originally planned to go to bed early last night and get up super early and run this morning, but as usual, that did not happen. I may give it another shot on Thursday.

Today is another busy day. I’m in training all day and have a dinner date with a friend after work. I honestly don’t know where September went. Between vacation, travel, training and events, I feel like I’ve barely been around. And it’s true – I figured out yesterday that if I add it all up, I’ll only have spent about 8 days in the office in the month of September. Kind of crazy.

Anyway – have a good Tuesday all!!

Check Out My Guest Post!

Happy Monday all! I’m super busy today, so it’s really good that I have a guest post over on Katie’s Blog at Legally Fit. Check it out! I talk about my running slump and how I’m SLOWLY working my way out of it finally. 🙂

While you’re there, be sure to check out the other bloggers that have contributed to Katie’s “The Many Faces of Running” guest blogger series. It’s truly awesome to hear about other runners’ stories, accomplishments and overcoming running setbacks and challenges. I’ve enjoyed the series so much, I had to ask her if I could participate. Thank you for allowing me to contribute Katie!! And thanks for coming up with such a great series. You rock!!

9 Miles – Check!

Good afternoon – happy Sunday. I hope you’ve been having a good weekend. I’ve been having a low-key weekend with my sick Hubby. I’m praying I don’t get his cold.

Yesterday I woke up early and was nervous and excited to head out for my first longish run in a long time. I left around 8:30 and ran a solid 9 miles. My Garmin was still locating satellites for the first 1/2 mile, but as I got closer to Central Park it finally picked me up. Here are my stats:

Mile 1 – 8:55
Mile 2 – 8:20
Mile 3 – 8:48
Mile 4 – 8:45
Mile 5 – 8:40
Mile 6 – 8:49
Mile 7 – 9:25
Mile 8 – 8:54
Mile 9 – 7:26 (.83)

Total Garmin mileage – 8.83 in 1:18:08. Average pace  8:51 minute mile.

Overall, I was very happy with that pace and time. My return to running has started off slow and I’m okay with that. I don’t want to push things too much. I felt pretty good throughout the whole run, but was definitely still moving slower than usual. It felt strange to be passed SOO much by runners in the park. And I got a little jealous when I saw all the teams training for the marathon together. But that will be in the winter/spring. So I’ll try to enjoy this down time.

I have a 3 mile run on my training plan for today, but I may just take it as a full rest day to give my legs some time to rebuild. I don’t want to push it.

Hubby and I also watched “It’s Complicated” this weekend and it wasn’t too bad. It was a little different than I expected, but entertaining.

Today will be filled with cleaning and laundry. I’m also trying to create an album on Snapfish for our Ireland trip. It’s a bit more complicated than I thought, so it’s taking a little longer than anticipated. I’ve widdled down our more than 1,000 photos to about 600, but I’ll still need to get it even smaller for the album. But I’m afraid that if I don’t do this now, I never will. I love having printed albums. I know that most people have gone totally digital, but I still love looking at printed photos. Call me old fashioned.

Anyway – have a great Sunday all! I’m dreading Monday. 😦

Finally Friday and Finally A Book Review

Happy Friday all!! I was pretty busy at work this week, but the first week back after vacation is always rough and it seems to have taken years to get to Friday. Thank goodness it’s here!!

So far I am doing pretty well with my half marathon training plan. I headed to the gym yesterday after work because they skies were looking ominous and when I was about a block away from the gym is started pouring! It was insane here. The floor of the women’s locker room at the gym actually flooded a little bit. But I ignored the minor flood and hopped on the treadmill for a quick three miles in 26:26. Don’t worry – there was no water near my machine. 🙂

The skies were clear when I emerged from the gym after my run, so it worked out perfectly.

This weekend we have no major plans. It’s going to be the last weekend that Hubby and I will have together for a while because of conflicting travel schedules. So low-key sounds perfect.

Before I leave you on this fine Friday, I offer you a little book review that is looong overdue. Here you go – enjoy – and have a great weekend!

Once a Runner

By: John L. Parker, Jr.

I have to first tell you how I came to select this book. I was spending my lunch-hour browsing around Borders downtown. I had stopped in to pick up a specific book and then the comfort and expansiveness of Borders sucked me and I started lingering in the Fiction/Literature section (always my drug of choice). As I slowly walked from shelf to shelf reminiscing over previously read and much-loved books, and eyeing some new release here and there, a book on a shelf just above my head caught my eye and seemed to jump out at me. The cover had the outline of runner. I stopped. Reached up. And pulled down “Once a Runner.”

Not all that strange you say? Well, it just so happened that I was going through a little running rut at the time and had been struggling to force myself to get back into a running routine after my last marathon. The title described exactly how I felt: I was “once a runner,” but wasn’t so sure anymore. I felt that fate had placed that book in my line of sight, so I bought it.

I didn’t get around to reading it for quite some time, however. I think because I knew I’d feel a little guilty once I dove in. And I did. The narrator of the book, Quenton Cassidy is a collegiate runner at fictional Southeastern University and he is hard-core. Even my 20-mile pre-marathon training runs don’t stack up next to this runner’s training.

Admittedly, I felt like a lesser runner almost immediately. Chalk it up to my running rut circumstance or my less than speedy times, but it seemed that Quenton was there to show me what a real runner was—and that wasn’t me. I think this made me a little resistant to the book at first. But finally, about halfway through I dropped the jealousy and guilt and found myself gladly accompanying Quenton on his most difficult training runs.

And shockingly, I understood just how he felt on many of those runs. Parker was able to articulate those strange and intangible feelings that runners face on particularly trying runs and even on amazing runs. Soon I found myself wanting to put on my running shoes, sign up for a race and share in Quenton’s experience.

This book is considered a cult classic in the running world. It was originally rejected by many publishers and Parker took to selling it out of the back of his car at races and meets. But it was an instant hit with runners and a buzz began to develop. Eventually, it was picked up and printed officially by a publishing house.

I won’t say that this book changed my life or the way I look at running. I’ll just say that it renewed some excitement in me and reconfirmed that all the sweat and pain is really worth it in the end. Not just because I might set a new personal speed or distance record, but more importantly because of those wonderful indescribable feelings you have after you finish a run that takes you to the brink and back, and shows you exactly what kind of person you are on the inside.

200 Posts and Half Marathon Training

Yay, I’m finally hitting my 200th post. It sure took long enough. I used to be an everyday poster, but the past few months have lagged a bit. But I’ve reached 200 nonetheless!

I’ve seen other people do some fun stuff for their 200th post, but I can’t really think of anything cute or entertaining at the moment. So I will dedicate my 200th post to getting back into running. As I mentioned, I started off by running 3 miles on Monday night and, despite the consistent rain, it felt really good. My body missed it. And I think I had enough of a break where I’m truly ready to get back to it.

So on Tuesday, I drafted a half marathon training plan. Afterall, my half marathon is a very short 5 weeks away. And no, that’s not typically how long I would train for a half, but it’s all I’ve got so I’m making do and praying that my faint muscle memory from the Poconos Marathon may help get me through this. So here’s my schedule:

Yup – it’s pretty tough to see. Here’s the link to the Google spreadsheet. Basically my long Saturday runs will be 9, 11, 12, 8 and then 13.1 on race day. So essentially, I’m praying I can run 9 miles this weekend. 🙂 We’ll soon find out.

On Tuesday after work I forced myself to run a full 5 miles and boy did it hurt. I could not manage to run under a 9 minute mile. I have some major work to do.

After the tough run, I made a quick and easy dinner on the hot plate. Yes, we STILL do not have gas.

No real recipe on this one. I cooked the pasta and then made a sauce with mushrooms, grape tomatoes and peas using chicken broth, white wine, butter, a little lemon juice and some shredded cheese.

I thought it had a nice little kick and was very tasty and filling. I’ll end this post with a few things I learned while in Ireland…

  • “Cheers” can be used to say hello, goodbye and thank you.
  • Small, compact cars are the optimal choice
  • Always carry an umbrella, it can be sunny and bright one minute and downpour the next. And then be sunny and bright again.
  • If you don’t want to drink a full pint, simply ask for a “glass” of whatever beer you drink. It’s the same as a half pint. (I’m sure people already know that, but I never knew it.)
  • Many people in Ireland were greatly affected by 9/11. On numerous occasions, when people heard we were from NY they began talking about how saddened they were by 9/11 at great length.
  • An Irish breakfast typically includes a fried egg, bacon, sausage, a fried tomato and sometimes beans.
  • Blood pudding is sometimes included in an Irish breakfast and it consists of  a combination of animal blood, suet, grains, raisins or currants, and spices, which cause the resultant sausage to look either deep purple or black. It’s also not liquidy.
  • Potato pancakes are a surprisingly filling meal and quite delicious.
  • Ketchup tastes a little off in Ireland – a bit too tomatoey.
  • They love cream, butter and full milk…as well as ice cream.
  • In some of the bigger cities, the teenagers and college students were often very scantily clad on the weekend. It was kind of shocking.
  • Apparently, we witnessed a Gypsy wedding while we were there. We were visiting a church and watched as people filed in dressed like they were ready for Halloween. It was a sight to see.
  • When you “buy a round” with people, it means that however many people in your group, is the number of drinks you’ll be having. Ex. If you buy a round for 7 people. Then those 7 people will buy a round back. There is no way of getting out of this. The point: think carefully about the size of your group before buying a round. 🙂

I think that’s all I can come up with for now. I’m already getting nostalgic about our trip and can’t believe it’s really over already. Anyway – have a good Thursday!!

Back from Ireland!

Well – I’m back from Ireland and it seems like our trip just flew by. I’ve already made it through my first day back to work as well. That went by at light-speed. I have a lot of catching up to do at work and in the blog world.

I won’t bore you with an overwhelming recap of our trip. I’ll just tell you our itinerary and show you some of the highlights. Here’s what our 11 days and 11 nights in Ireland looked like:

Arrived in Dublin and drove to Kilkenny (we stopped at Glendalough on the way). Spent the night in Kilkenny and met my Irish relatives. We explored the city the next day and met the Mayor.

After exploring Kilkenny for a bit, next we stopped at the Rock of Cashel and then drove on to Kinsale. We spent one night in Kinsale and then drove to Cobh for the day.  Cobh was a gorgeous harbor town and well-worth a visit. From there we went to Kenmare. I thought Kenmare was adorable.

We spent one night in Kenmare and then drove the Ring of Kerry early the next morning. We had planned to go on this amazing excursion to Skellig Michael Island, but the weather was too rough for the boats. We explored Valentia Island instead.

From there we finished the Ring and went to Dingle. We spent a gorgeous night in Dingle.

The next day we drove from Dingle to Killarney. We spent two days in Killarney and explored a lot of Killarney National Park.

After two days in Killarney we started to make our way to Galway. We stopped along the way at Bunratty Castle and the Cliffs of Mohr.

We arrived in Galway and had a relaxing night and then explored the city of Galway the next day.

We had a lovely dinner in Galway and then made some friends from Cincinatti.

After Galway, we headed back to Dublin and spent our last two days there doing all the touristy stuff – Dublin Castle, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Christ Church, St. Patrick’s Church, the historic jail, Guinness Storehouse and even took in a soccer game.

And finally, we spent our last night in Ireland in a castle.

Obviously, this is the extremely abbreviated version of our trip. I think we have about 1,300 photos from three different cameras. I have a lot of organization and sorting to do.

It was really an amazing and unforgettable trip. We didn’t get to see everything I had on our itinerary, but I’ll admit that it was a little bit hopeful and unrealistic. We hit almost everything though. The only issue we had was the size and condition of the roads over there. They were TINY and some of them were totally rough and undeveloped. There were some scary moments on some treacherous roadways. But we handed in the car unscathed, which we’ve found out is not always the case. So that is my only warning – be prepared for some difficult driving. I didn’t even feel comfortable driving, so it was Hubby 100% of the time.

Also – I’ll say that I wish we had left our schedule a bit more flexible. I booked all of our B&Bs online before we went and then felt guilty if we thought about staying in one city for a while longer. Not to mention, I was worried we’d be charged anyway. So that is something to think about if you ever consider going. How structured do you want to be? Do you want any wiggle room? I’d recommend it.

So that’s my overly short recap of our trip. It does not do it justice and my few photos posted here hardly scratch the surface of the beauty. It was a great trip.

Now it’s back to the grind. And back to running. I ran a short 3 miles in the rain this evening and was happy I pushed through the disheartening weather. I was very close to just calling it a day. I’m going to create a half marathon training plan in the next day or two to help me stay on track. My 3 miles tonight were run Garmin-less and it was probably better that way. I need to ease back into it. However, I’ve only got a little over a month to get back into shape for my fall half marathon, so slacking is no longer allowed. I’m getting back to it and I’m fully excited about it. 🙂

Hope all has been good with everyone while I was away. I have a lot of catching up to do. However, I’ve been gone so long, no one is probably even reading this blog anymore.  Anyway – happy Monday night. It’s time for bed.