Friday, October 29, 2010

The Gauntlet

     I sometimes think I need to go to AA (athletes anonymous). Hi, My name is Emily and I have an addiction to sports! Haha, just kidding... but seriously though... I have a tendency to be competitive, at least a little. I blame it back on my soccer days and sports as a younger kid, well that and having 8 siblings, makes you have to fight a little to get what you want! Not quite that drastic, we were always very well provided for.
    But my competitiveness seems to come out with my family, especially where running is concerned. Pretty silly since I seem to be chronically injured... But my cousin Michael (who is one of my inspirations for running my first marathon, since he had already done one) and I are constantly challenging each other to the next athletic event. He is unbelievably supportive and is constantly emailing me about races and articles about different events. Our first event together was this past Spring for the STL 1/2 marathon, followed by the Lake Geneva Triathlon, finishing this season off with the Thanksgiving 1/2 marathon in Atlanta (a few separate posts will be coming on that shortly...
    The Gauntlet: The other day, I got an email from him with a link to an article about the Boston marathon and how the qualifying times might need to change from women. His message was clear, that if we were gonna do Boston we have to hurry up and do it! Wait, what?! Was he serious? I mean, Boston has always been on the horizon for me, a goal that I truly do hope to attain. But unlike many runners, who run it with a charity just so they can have a slot, I refuse to run it unless I truly qualify for it, not that I won't run it for a charity, but that I have to qualify time wise. Suddenly it was on, we have challenged each other to a race to Boston! WAHH.... Whether or not he was truly serious and will do it, I have no idea, but I do know a few things:
1. I am going to try my HARDEST to qualify for Boston in next year's Chicago Marathon!
2. I am not going to listen to all the people who tell me I can't do it. My Dad who is extremely supportive, did remind me that that means I need to shave off exactly 2 hrs from this year's marathon time... I am well aware, but I think, no I KNOW I can do it!
3. It is ON! Michael, be prepared to be schooled!
Moral of this Story? Don't let the fear of failure keep you from aiming for your dreams!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Personal Trainer...

     I caved.... sort of...  my friend and I always said that when we were rich the first thing we would get would be a personal trainer, I know probably a funny thing to want but we have always said that... Now I am certainly not rich, not even close, but I got a trainer... Well really it kind of landed in my lap, and I'm definitely not complaining...

      One day when I was training for the Chicago Marathon, it was raining like crazy and I needed to get a long run in, thankfully I had just gotten my gym membership that week.  So I went over to the gym and proceeded to run 14 miles on the treadmill, definitely not my ideal long run situation but I had to make do with what I had.  While I was running, one of the Personal Trainers came up to me and asked me about my knee brace he saw me in earlier (it was bothering me so I took it off mid-run).  I told him that I hurt my knee in my first marathon and that it hadn't been the same since.  He asked if I would be willing to do some assessments and tests with him to see if he could figure out my problems, so naturally I said yes!  So based on the quick assessment he told me what he thought, and since I had just become a member at the gym, I got 2 free sessions.

     I met with him the other day and he did some more assessments, all coming up with the same conclusions as the first time (I think I posted on this before in The Hot Mess that is my Knee).  Then we did some easy exercises, because he was trying to gage what I could do that didn't cause knee pain.  The overall goal is strengthen my knee and make me into a stronger runner all around.    My Trainer, Jose, is really nice but has been blunt with me from the beginning.  He told me that I have to constantly look straight ahead when I do the exercises otherwise I have to drop and and give him pushups!  Ok, fine, I can listen to the rules... ehhh WRONG!  All of a sudden out of nowhere he told me to drop and give him pushups!  I didn't even realize that I had looked anywhere but straight ahead.  But hey I can be a good sport, so I did.  I was pretty happy at the end of the work out and look forward to my next session with him this week!

    As I was leaving the gym, he shouted to me to look up, which is kind of funny because I was about to go down the stairs and didn't want to trip.  So I smiled and laughed, and had a guy tell me that I should be in the gym promo videos because I was smiling and laughing and looked like I had a good workout.  I guess I will take that as a compliment! 

    Overall, I just really look forward to becoming a stronger athlete because of my trainer than just through my own trial and error.  This way I know what I am doing and why I am doing it!  Jose, has been great and has been good about giving me information to read about to help me understand why I am doing the exercises I am!  Sounds good to me, the more I can learn the better!

Lesson: Sometimes it is better to "bite the bullet" and spend a little money to get some good instruction rather than going about it blindly!  I sincerely hope that this has a HUGE impact on my running and overall fitness!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The "Scary Room"

   As most of you know, I just recently got an apartment and am in the process of moving out of my parent's house.  It has been quite the process!  Here are the before pictures.  My family has been helping me move and paint the place, I am so thankful for all of their help, especially the hours my Mom put in with me this weekend!  On Sunday my little brothers came over to check it out and see where I am moving too.  When I asked them what they thought about it, they said that it was pretty cool but that the laundry room is scary!  Ohh NO!!  They compared it to the basement!  Now there is something about basements that often make them creepy, but my laundry room?  This is a HUGE problem since my laundry room is easily accessible and on the same floor. In fact, it is connected to my garage and so therefore it is the entrance into my apartment that I will use most often! 
It is by far the most un-glamorous part of the apartment but I can't complain since I am lucky to have a washer and dryer in my apartment, so I am grateful!  Here's what it looks like:
As you can see, it's not very glamorous... the door on the left goes to the garage and the door on the right goes into my kitchen and living room area.  So far I have been keeping the door open, but I think it will be closed after I finish all the painting!

Just another view, not much shelving.

   Any ideas how to make it less scary?  I  don't want my little brother to be afraid of my laundry room or, any room in my apartment for that matter!  HELP!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Caution: Wet Paint!!

   As many of you know, I recently moved into my own place and have been working very hard to get it all homey and wonderful.  Some people think it is taking me forever, and maybe it is, but since getting the keys, I have painted, worked 40 hr work weeks, ran a marathon, went back to my Alma Mater for Homecoming and moved in!  You can imagine how exhausted I have been, hence why I haven't updated you all on the status of my place.
    So... here goes!  I got the keys on a Friday, cleaned friday night and by Saturday morning was ready to start painting!  I wanted to go with colors that were warm and inviting but at the same time, toned down and more neutral so that hopefully my Landlord doesn't have to paint the moment I move out (which hopefully won't be for a LONG time).
      So here they are:
This is a blue-green color that I used in the living room as an accent color as well as in the kitchen!  I think it provides a nice splash of color without being too over the top and bold.

This is a corner in the kitchen, the kitchen and the living room share a wall, so the neutral tan color is on the main wall of the living room and carried through the hallway to the bedrooms.

This is the spare room, and it is a little hard to see because it is a cloudy, cold, overcast day and therefore no beautiful natural sunlight!  Anyways, this is another neutral color but it has a pink base tone to it.  What is so GREAT about this color is that it was a Lowes OOPS! can of paint and cost $5 for a whole gallon!  If you have never looked at the OOPS paint, think again!

    Now here comes the Master bedroom, now up until this point I was so excited how all of the paint was looking, it really has had a huge affect on my place.  Originally, if you remember back to some of the before pictures, the room was a lilac color, which was quite pretty and being purple is my favorite color, I loved it!  But it still needed to be painted, so I decided to stay in the purple category, something a little brighter but nothing crazy!  When my Mom and I were out shopping and getting items for the apartment, I bought a Bed in a Bag.  Never heard of it?  Basically it is a Bed comforter, 2 pillow shams, bed skirt and a set of sheets for my awesome Queen size bed - courtesy of my Aunt and Uncle!  But we saw it and it was purple black and silver, so I bought it... now it was a matter of figuring out the color for the room.  The Bed in a Bag was really bold, deep rich colors, so we grabbed the pillow case and marched into Lowes to find some paint that could work... We found one called Plink... Memo to self: If it has all the letters for Pink, BE CAREFUL!  You can see why below!

I went over one night after work and decided to tackle my room, how could I move in without a room to sleep in?!  So I started trimming out the wall around the window and began to panic!  CRAP!  It doesn't look like the purple shade I picked out!!  It looks like Pepto Bismol exploded all over my walls!  Especially compared to the lilac color, can you see the difference in the top left corner?  But it was too late to stop and I figured I could somehow make it work...  My parents came over to drop off some furniture and they agreed with me! So much for some encouraging words that it wasn't as bad as I thought!  They tried but... kind of failed!

See what I mean?! OHH MAN!  So I stuck with it and proceeded to paint the whole thing.  Thankfully, I think it ended up drying darker than it looked when wet! WOOHOO!! 
    Lesson #1:  Don't be afraid to use the OOPS paint, just because it wasn't what someone else was looking for doesn't mean that it won't be perfect for you!  

    Lesson #2:  Don't panic when a color doesn't seem to be what you were expecting until it dries.  Paint dries darker and will look more like you expected once it is dry!

    Lesson #3:  Don't be afraid of color!  Color is a great way to brighten up a space and will change the entire look of it!  Be BOLD!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicago Marathon: Third Time is a Charm!

   Each marathon has specific memories and moments that are forever ingrained in my mind.  Obviously my first marathon will forever be a huge part of my mind and even who I am as a person, with great memories of doing it the same year as my brother in law and my Uncle!

     My second Marathon will forever be in my mind as the marathon that I ran with my Dad and my sister!  The entire training through the summer was a great bonding experience with my Dad and I loved every second of it!  My sister was in STL but we regularly chatted and shared music for motivation!

   This third marathon will forever be in my mind as the marathon that I ran with one of my best friends, Sabrina!  We always wanted to run a marathon together, and we always said that we would do our first together.  But for whatever reason, I signed up and she did not, so I did my first one without her.  So when she said she wanted to run this year, I refused to sign up until she had already done it.  So through out the summer we both trained, she followed a training program religiously, with a few hang ups here and there... I on the other hand... well let's just say I had a more non-traditional training program... in fact I focused more on the triathlons I was competing in this summer than the marathon and the longest run I was able to squeeze in was a 16 miler!  But I was determined and I was still going to do it!  I knew I was in great shape, so it was just a matter of mentally getting there.
  So the day before the marathon, we met and went to the Expo together.  I LOVE the Expo, I think it is a great way to get pumped before the race!  We took a few pictures there and enjoyed all of the booths!

    Marathon morning, came bright and early, like it always does, and we got to my Dad's office around 6am. 
     By 6:30 we were ready to go and Sabrina and I made the trek to the starting line!  The energy in the air was amazing, everyone was so excited to embark on this challenge.  At 7:15, they sang the national anthem and it was super exciting to listen to the crowd go crazy at the end!  At 7:30 the race officially started but we didn't even cross the starting line until almost 8am.  Right past the starting line were Sabrina's cousin Olivia and Olivia's parents to cheer her on!  It was awesome!  They were screaming so loudly!

    We came up to the 1 mile marker and saw my Dad and her parents!  They were cheering like crazy and snapping pictures!  Here's the one from my camera that my Dad managed to get...

   So we kept on our way, saw our parents again at 3 miles. Saw my cousins at about 8 miles in Boys town. but apparently missed my Dad there, missed her parents at mile 12 but ran into her brothers and their families at the 13.1 mile marker.  It was great to see them!  They had made shirts for her and everything!  All super supportive and gave us huge hugs and we were off again!  At mile 16.5, Sabrina's boyfriend Matt found us and jumped in to run a little with us! 

    Right before 17, disaster struck for me... WORST NIGHTMARE!  I suddenly had a horrible cramp seize my right leg, to the point that I couldn't put any weight on my foot at all.  I hobbled off to the side and Matt and Sabrina immediately came over.  Matt helped me off of the street to a nearby fence so that I could try and stretch it out.  Suddenly out of nowhere came a water bottle, bag of ice and a salt pack.  Matt grabbed the ice and held it to my leg while I opened the water bottle and chugged some water.  Finally, after what felt like an eternity my cramp finally relaxed and we were on our way again.  The cramping never fully went away, and I can certainly feel it today, but oh well.  We found my Dad at 17 where he gave me a GU pack, and some powerade as I attempted to stretch out a little more.  We found him again at 20, while the entire time Matt ran with the ice bag in his hand in case my leg started to cramp again.  At mile 24 or so, Matt jumped out so that Sabrina and I could finish together, we also ran into my Dad around that time so he rode his bike on the side walk cheering us on!  Then we ran into our friend Dawn who hopped in and ran a little with us just talking and keeping us going.  It was a great distraction at that point!  Finally we reached the curve right before the last hill and .2 keeping us from the finish line. Right at the curve was her family again, so we swung wide on the curve and gave them high fives and continued the trek.  All of a sudden I heard a loud "EMILY" and I looked to see my friend Sid from my Tri team holding this poster:

   I gave him a High Five and continued on!  Once we came in sight of the finish line, my leg cramped really bad again - go figure... I doubled over and tried to massage it a little as people were shouting it's OK you can do it!  I grabbed Sabrina's hand and we crossed at the EXACT SAME TIME!!! 5:39:53 is our official time!!!
We are obviously thrilled to have finished and have gotten our medals!!!

Our Supporters (at least some of them):

Mr. and Mrs. Giannelli

My Daddy!!!

Jenna, Rachel and Bri, all decided to take a break from their shopping to see us at the finish! Such a GREAT surprise!

Matt - the best on course support we could have had, carrying our supplies and giving us encouragement at those tough miles!

   Most importantly: a BIG, HUGE, GINORMOUS congratulations to SABRINA!!!!! I am SOOO Proud of you, overcoming everything that you did this summer in training! I am so glad we could do it together!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Condo Floorplan

   I didn't really have time to work on my post for today... but based on popular demand. Here is the layout of my Condo:
I think this is a good way to be able to see the layout of the space!  I am pretty excited about it atleast!  I will update you all on the color selections tomorrow!  I finally finished painting last night!  So I was waiting to take some pictures until the paint was dry! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Painting 101: Do NOT paint electrical outlets!

    Growing up, my Mom always painted everything... in fact I don't know that I have ever seen my dad hold a paint brush (unless of course, it is his cooking paint brush to lather on some more of his marinade).  But as a result of my Mother's savy interior painting skills, I have learned a thing or two that I just assumed (which you know what they say about that) everyone knew... Yeah... Apparently not!  So in case you already know this important tip, bear with me!
     While I was painting my new place this weekend, we wanted to take the electrical plates off of the wall to make sure that we didn't get any paint on them... only to find out that every SINGLE one had been painted over... and I don't just mean one coat, I mean layers upon layers!  So much so, that some outlets couldn't even be used anymore because the plugs wouldn't fit!  My mom and I literally stared in disbelief!  How is this possible?!  So we had a choice to make, either paint over them again or replace them all... so we replaced them all.  Now some of you might not see why replacing them was really the only option... YOU NEVER EVER paint an electrical outlet... EVER!

     Here are a few of my personal reasons:
        1.  Paint is a conductor, therefore painting an outlet can cause a fire, very easily just based off of a spark!  Better have renter's and/or homeowner's insurance if you are going to paint over them!

        2.  If you ever have an electrical problem and need to replace the outlet for whatever reason, or check the wiring, you will have to ruin your paint job when you try to get the cover off the wall...

        3.  Just like the outlets in my condo, layers upon layers build up causing the outlet to become blocked, making it impossible to actually use the outlet.  What's the point in even having an outlet if you can't use it?  You would be better off taking it out and patching the hole!
        4.  It looks like Crap - honestly, it does!  The beauty of the cover plates is that you can hide the hole and the paint job behind them... it gives it such a cleaner look...

   Here are a few pics of the outlets, we were working with:

Exhibit A: This outlet, while it is white and the walls are painted purple, has in fact been painted over numerous times... Can you tell?

In order to get the outlets and the outlet covers off the wall and to replace them, we literally had to cut them off and chip away at the paint.  Even with the screw, that holds the outlet cover to the wall, removed the cover plate which should normally fall off the wall is still attached... My mom even ended up bending an old metal one...

Can you see the painted caked on?  Pretty Crazy!

Here is an outlet that we pried off the wall and that literally fell apart.  When we got the outlet over off, part of the outlet came with it because it was painted together... yet another example of why not to paint your electrical outlets!!!

   Lesson of the Day:  DO NOT paint electrical outlets!  It takes two seconds to unscrew an electrical cover and it could literally save your life!  Why not do the job the right way, the first time!? 

Rocking Out to: King of Anything by Sara Bareillis (I absolutely love it.... can't listen to it enough!)

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Beginnings! :)

    As many of you know, I graduated in May of '09 and then moved back home with my 6 younger siblings and my parents.  While I love my parents and my family very much I was ready to move out and be on my own, the day I moved home!  I am proud to announce that after 16 months of living at home, I have FINALLY moved out... well atleast I am in the process of moving out! 

    It is quite the process because I am painting the whole thing and moving everything in slowly, basically as I get it... but I am super excited!  Here are a few pictures of the condo before I started the changes!  More pictures as the painting is complete, etc....

Here is the kitchen - This condo was previously owned by an elderly woman who was in a wheelchair.  So my friend (whom I'm renting from) lowered the upper cabinets so that her Aunt would have access to the cabinets and be able to use them.

Another view of the kitchen, all oak cabinets.  The sink is not centered on the back wall because originally to the left of it was a dishwasher.  But it was broken so they put cabinets in, instead of putting in a dishwasher.  Fine by me, I don't mind handwashing... but then again I say that now... that might change!

This is obviously the laundry room, as of now I'm not going to really do anything to it.  I'm very excited that it has a stationary tub/sink, it has been very helpful in all the painting I have done so far!

This is part of the living room area, obviously I was trying to capture the flooring.  I am not a huge fan of the flooring.  The carpet was taken out in order to accomodate my Landlord's Aunt in her wheelchair, obviously it is WAY easier to roll around in a wheelchair on the vinyl tile flooring, but I am going to do my best to use areas rugs and make it more home-like.

This is the spare bedroom/ office space - atleast that is what I am going to use it as!  It's a pretty good size... Can't wait to show the before and after pictures!

This is the Master Bedroom... I love the color purple, so it's nice to know that the previous owner liked it too!

This is the bathroom, as you can see, the shower - is just that, no bath tub.  This obviously allowed her Aunt to be able to shower properly while being in a wheelchair.  The sink, on the right previously had a cabinet under the counter but it was too difficult for her Aunt to be able to wash her hands and so it was removed.  It has been put back for me though...

     Ok, that's it for now!  More pictures and tips to come!