Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One Summer

One SummerOne Summer by David Baldacci

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I believe David Baldacci is known for his vast library of mystery thrillers, but this novel couldnn't be further from his normal reportoire. Not that that is a bad thing. "One Summer" is a book that had me crying within the first 20 pages and captivated through the end to learn how this family would progress.

The novel is based in Cleveland, Ohio, and Channing, South Carolina, where the piecemeal Armstrong family relocates for one summer to discover their identity. The story is not a completely happy one, and there were many times I felt this could not possibly end well, and who knows if it truly did -- I'm not going to give away the ending. I loved the imagery in Channing, which sounds like my perfect beachside town.

I fell in love with the protaganist, Jack Armstrong, from the beginning. He is a complex but completely likeable character. The other characters, with the exception of Jack's sons -- Cory and Jackie (Jack Jr.) -- are also well-developed and likeable. This would make one heck of a summer movie.

"One Summer" is a well-written, entertaining beach read.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First 10+ Mile Week!

Photo credit: Real Simple
I logged my first 10+ mile week running last week! I had to squeeze in three training runs and a race to do it, but I did it, and it's only up from here! I think the most important thing is that I feel great: no pain, no soreness, no tiredness. My runs were tough, but not unmanageable. I can't believe how far I have come in the past year; a year ago, I could not even run three minutes, and now I'm running two miles at a time on my best days.

How did I do it? Well, I am using Ease Into 10K to prepare for the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women I am running on October 10th. The plan calls for three interval-type runs a week, but I missed my third run of week 1, so I did it last week.

EI10K W1D3: 2.2 mi., 13:11 avg. page
This was a 29-minute run with a 5-minute warm-up and cool-down, then alternating running for three minutes and walking for one minute, five times. My pace time includes warm-up and cool-down (Do all of you runners down there include these times in your pace?) I did this run on the treadmill at the gym, and I even used a one percent incline for the second half.

EI10K W2D1: 2.66 mi., 12:47 avg. pace
Week 2 ramps up to 34-minute runs with four-minute running intervals. I also did this run on the treadmill.

EI10K W2D2: 2.9 mi., 11:44 avg. pace
I love seeing that average pace increase along with my mileage! I know you're only supposed to increase mileage or intensity, but this run was on the road (and I don't have a watch), so it's hard to gauge my pace. This was a tough run because it was hot outside, and I was dehydrated. It was a good lesson for race day on Sunday, but I didn't really pay attention to it.

5K race day! 3.1 mi., 10:55 avg. pace
This time does not include warm-up or cool-down, so this is a more accurate reading of my actual running pace. I used the race as day three of my training program because the running time and distance are close enough to what I was supposed to do that day, and I had already registered for the race. I didn't follow the EI10K prompts during the race; looking back, I probably should have. I ran the first 1-1.5 miles straight through, keeping a steady (albeit too fast) pace. The second half, I had to take a ton of walk breaks because I was so hot I felt like my body was shutting down. Tough lesson, I know. I finished with a gun time of 34:08 and a net time of 33:49, which is almost a full minute slower than my last (and first) 5K. Pretty disappointed about that, but running is all about dealing with the conditions thrown at you on that particular day, and the conditions were tough. I really was not happy with my race performance though because I was expecting to do so much better than I did.

This week, I move onto week three of the program, which requires five-minute run intervals with one-minute recoveries in between. I'm really going to push myself to stick with this and run in the allotted times. I would love to finish the 10K in under an hour.

Ok, now I have a question for you: Are you enjoying these run updates of mine? I know I just started really getting into running, so my long-time readers are probably wondering what is going on here. I want to know your thoughts.

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, August 5, 2011

What's Up, Friday?

Hello friends! I have been a little bit here, there and everywhere lately! I'm really branching out on the intrawebs: Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Google Reader, Goodreads, #30BBM, Yelp, and a little mysterious side project. As a result, I haven't been posting nearly as much as I would like. It's been a challenge balancing it all, but I am having a blast!

Today, I thought I would participate with Lauren on Fill in the Blank Friday.
Photo credit: Caroline of Coeur de la Photography

1. My go to outfit for a dress-up occasion like a wedding is       a short, black, cocktail dress. I found it at White House/Black Market, and it has been a worthy LBD for many years now  .

2. This week has been    challenging. I haven't been feeling well. I've really tried to commit to #30BBM. Work has been busy. I haven't felt like running. Really trying to get back on track this weekend .

3. When it's dinnertime and I'm feeling lazy I'll usually eat     pasta. It is my go-to meal. Pasta, sauce or EVOO, maybe some meatballs or veggies thrown in. Easy peasy  .

4.  My favorite pair of shoes are   my running sneakers! They are so comfortable and supportive (man, do I sound like an old lady or what?), and they're pretty! I'm also still a big fan of my flip-flops in summer and my equestrian-inspired boots in winter .

5. A random item that I own that is completely unnecessary, but that I could never part with is   my stuffed animals. Completely useless, but I just can't bring myself to throw them away  .

6. My favorite person is      my BFF. I admire and love her so much. I owe her everything  .

7. If I were going to write my own blank it would say       You can carry only one thing with you for the next five years. What would it be?  

Have a wonderful, fun, refreshing weekend!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Exposed to "Exposure"

Exposure: A NovelExposure: A Novel by Therese Fowler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Here's the lowdown: I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't mind-blowing. Therese Fowler crafts a beautiful and bittersweet story of two young high-schoolers in love -- a love that will overcome anything, or so they think. Their world is shattered when Amelia's father discovers indecent photos of a young man, Amelia's secret boyfriend, on her laptop. The plot spirals out of everyone's control as Fowler delves to the depths of these characters of her imagination. The emotion and relationships are raw, real and powerful, which makes sense after discovering Fowler was inspired by a real and very personal event.

The end was ruined just a tad for me by participating in a #SITSBooks club discussion with Ms. Fowler herself before I finished the book. Resist temptation to read the epilogue or author's notes at the end of the book before you finish reading. Just trust me.

Perhaps the most brilliant part of this novel is its title and the heavy meaning it takes on as the story progresses.

P.S. Thank you to Andrea of Great Thoughts for sending me a copy of this book and leading the discussion with Therese Fowler!

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