Friday, September 26, 2008

Friends and other thoughts

Sometimes when I'm feeling sad or alone, I start to think I have no friends... whoa is me, I'm so lonely, life is depressing, blah, blah, blah... and then something happens. I check a blog and feel connected. I get an email from a long lost friend, a phone call with plans to go do something... and I realize, I'm not alone. I do have friends, some pretty good ones. They are a VERY diverse group and offer so many things in so many different ways. A wonderful group of people who would NOT all get along under one roof, but like other people I've known, I seem to collect them. And I love them all in their own special, unique ways and for their own special, unique qualities. My biggest problem is I've lived and traveled in too many places so the friends are in many cases far away. I need to fix that. I need to get out of the house and meet some new friends.

In that vein, I've begun taking a few classes just for fun. I enrolled in a Russian language class that is quite entertaining and very difficult. It's quite a mix of people in that class, most of them younger, but a few professionals in their 40's and 50's as well. The class on India I signed up for is another story. This class is mostly retired folks getting ready to travel to India or just trying to quench a never ending thirst for knowledge. Another entertaining class in a very different many.

Now one of other reasons I signed up for these classes was because I was bored. I wanted to use my brain, think a little. Work has been very boring and unchallenging for about a year and I'm just tired so I thought, I'm not travelling, I'm not busy, let's sign up and do something different.

Then Murphy stepped on my plans. The boss called up and said, hey, how would you like to work on this project (not truly an option to say no even if I'd been so inclined). Of course, I said, sure, what do you need me to do? That was on Wednesday. I haven't had a moment's peace since. It's been go, go, go... a million new things in my mind for work because there is a ton of information to internalize and analyze... and then come up with a solution for in very short order - and of course new people who need to know that I am capable. New people to impress, great!

And just for kicks, I'll share this... Thursday, a million things to do, my mind going a million miles an hour trying to keep up, trying to find a place to land for just a few minutes to actually accomplish something. In the midst of this, several meetings, a doctor's appointment that lasted FOREVER, more meetings, .... rest (ah) for about 10 minutes until the dog came in all happy and wanting to see me. "Hi, mom. Whatcha doin? Aren't I cute? Want to pet me?" Me: "What is that smell? Why is your (supposed to be white fur) collar all black? EWWWW. What did you roll in?" 20 minutes before I have to leave for class, my dog decided it was time for a bath!

So I chased him around the yard with a pitcher, shampoo and a hose. Catching him occasionally for long enough to wet - away he goes - shampoo - away he goes - rinse - away he goes... keep in mind he likes to shake off on me before running too far away. Rinse and repeat, then dry, dry, dry. I'm sure I was a sight by the time I got to class. Good thing it was dark.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Race report

Or... running in the rain.... the day started with a 45 minute drive in the rain that turned into an hour drive (and then some).... Luckily I always give myself plenty of time to get new places - especially when I'm going to be racing. Granted this was only a 10k and I was really looking forward to it.. just something fun, no stress, no worries, but still I like to be prepared. (turns out I wasn't quite the girl scout I thought - more on that in a bit)

After several wrong turns and back tracking, I finally found my destination and was a little surprised to note that I was driving in mud by the time I got there. This is not a large race and I've learned that around here small races mean fast paces. Doesn't matter the conditions, the people that typically come to these races are fast. Faster than they were when I first started running races. Middle of the pack is faster than I am and I'm faster than I used to be so once again let's try not to finish last. There was a little added pacing confusion because this was a looped course. We started 5k and 10k runners together and once the 5k finished, there were like five people left on the course to go around for that second loop of the 10k.

So I did most of my warm up like a good girl and by the time I finished that I was completely soaked. Well, not completely, my shoes weren't soggy yet, but I took care of that in quick order at the beginning of the race by splashing in mud puddles that couldn't be avoided. Now these weren't just puddles, but truly mud puddles because this part of the course was dirt transformed to so much mud that my car traction control came on when I drove through it :) Lovely! But it was fun because I do like running in the rain and there were women there who obviously didn't.

The loops were a mix of dirt and pavement, lots of up and down hills most of which were very long with some short steeps at the top. Not exactly what I'd signed up for but I was in the moment and having fun. I determined after making it around the entire course once that this was NOT going to be a PR day - not going to happen, but it could certainly be a PR on a hilly course in the rain - and it was.

After the race, still raining .... harder now.... Got back to the car and realized I'd lost my girl scout badge for being prepared. No towel. I'd brought clothes to change in but no towel. Hmmm... what to do. Well, I did the only thing I could. I climbed in the back with the dog blanket and stripped and towelled off with that. Now you might imagine a dog blanket would be furry. You'd be right. So when I finished I was no longer wet, just mildy damp and very furry :) Then not wanting to face the rain again in mostly dry clothes, I climbed into the front seat. It pays to be small sometimes because I know the big guy who beat me for instance couldn't have climbed the seats of my VW :)

Now what's for lunch?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm having fun again. I've been running more this week. Fast runs. How fun! And back in the pool. I didn't know I'd missed it until I got back in yesterday - the pool was closed last week. Yesterday I went back and swam an actual swim workout - did the actual rest intervals I was supposed to, did the time splits I was supposed to... and finished the entire thing five minutes sooner than I had on the schedule. This is a big deal for me cause I'm still getting used to the pool. The pool is becoming my friend - even though it felt like bath water yesterday - 87 degrees! Whew! Just a tad warm.

Today was a swim and a run - both short, both fun. I've started running with music again - when I feel like it. I've started doing more of that when I feel like it, what I feel like.... It's nice. I'm going to use that small bit of motivation and momentum to get myself away from the no bake cookies (seriously been eating way too much sugar lately) and wine, stop feeling sad and sorry for myself and bored. Start doing instead of just being. Start living in the present instead of the past or the future. I've found that both have the ability to make me absolutely miserable. That's just no way to live life. So accept what is.... enjoy today, right now... this is life! Live it!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A change in plans

I really wanted to do another marathon this year. I really wanted to try to qualify for Boston. Then life and work and stress got in the way ... and training became one more thing I had to do rather than something that energized me. So the coach and I talked it out and agreed that perhaps two marathons in one year just wasn't in the cards for me - at least not this year. So I'm focusing on getting fast. And I've got to say, I'm totally re-energized. Fast is so much more fun than LONG.... Now my workouts are generally not more than 90 minutes. And I get to do things like farleks and track workouts. This weekend I did one of those fabulous track workouts with everything from 800 to 200 repeats. How fun! And at the end, the second to last repeat - a 200, I actually did it at my high school mile pace. Granted it was only 200 m, not a whole mile, but still, it was at the end of a workout and I have to say I was feeling pretty excited about it. It's the little things :)

Last week I ran hardly at all - only once. Maybe that is another reason that I'm feeling re-energized. And this week it's all about running - no swimming this week because my new friend the pool is closed, but I'll be back there next week I'm sure. Trying to figure out what fast is in the pool :) Now there's a little chuckle for you!