Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Who Me, Slow?

Me, Heathrow Airport, Dec. 3, 2006, trying to contain my excitement at going home.

In other news:

My no sugar plan is going swimmingly. Well, except for the part where I pretty much want to kill everyone all the time. I could use some work with that part of the plan.

In other other news, I thought I'd share some more photos (to distract you from the general lack of running news) which I am calling the Evolution of Jeanne:

July 4, 2006.

Happy return from Sevilla, Number One Daughter! Dec. 21, 2006.

Company Christmas Party photo booth, Dec. 2006. Who knew I had it in me?

Dec. 23, Kennedy Center Concert.

It's entirely possible that I am losing weight. I refuse to write it, in case I jinx the whole thing.

So, just to balance out the yang from the yin, let's post this one from Christmas morning:

Keeping it real. Someone needs a new nightie.

Photos courtesy S., D., K. and B.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Christmas

My thanks to all my new friends, people I never would have met (and in some cases--most cases--I still haven't met, but who daily make me laugh out loud and take myself less seriously. And what a gift that is!

I won't even begin to list all of you here. It's impossible. Plus? I'm really lazy. But please, stop for a moment, and drop a line to our friend, Mark, founder of the RBF, and, with Aaron, of completerunning, and give him some love and thanks:

I'm not putting the url to his site because he has been battling nonstop against some nasty Internet bugs and I'm afraid to link to him for fear of making things worse. He needs a pat on the back for hanging in there. And a few hugs.

So if you've tried to get to recently, and haven't been able to, that's why. But do check back frequently. Mark is literally working around the clock to keep things running smoothly, and he's a bit afraid of losing our faithful readers (as if!)

So, thanks to Mark, to complete running, to the RBF, my extended family.

I must now enter go and enter the bowels of hell, otherwise known as:

Tyson's Corner Center Note: Appearances can be very very deceiving.

But, let's not end on that note. Let's end on this one:

Number One Daughter hanginging with the fam at the Barcelona Cathedral

And this:

Once in Royal David's City

And with that, I bid you all: joyeux noël et bonne année!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tag--I'm It!

I hated tag as a kid. I could never keep up. Some things never change ...

But this tag is different! Fun-ner! Thanks Rich!

Come along into my secret fantasy life:

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Irish coffee, decaf, with Jamesons, no whipped cream. Got that?

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Of course wrapped! Badly wrapped, I might add.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White lights inside. A house? You have a house?

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Of course. I'll take it however I can get it...

5. When do you put your decorations up? One week before Christmas. If I had my way (which, come to think of it, I generally do), it would be Christmas Eve. The way it's supposed to be.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Sweet potatoes, in any form, whatsoever (yes, even with gross melted marshmallows).

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? When the fighting stopped? Then again, that was rare. Don't have one.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Huh? What are you talking about? What truth?

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Always. One gift, and it must be p.j.s The way it's supposed to be.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Motley collection of miscellaneous ornaments. Nothing matching--ever! The way it's supposed to be.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it! SNOW DAY! (Ok, it never means this anymore, but it's burned into my brain that snow=staying home. Used to, anyway.)

12. Can you ice skate? Disaster waiting to happen.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Every handmade thing Number One Daughter has ever given me (that's the virtuous answer). Non-virtuous answer: Haven't received it yet. There's still time, people!

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Music, friends, Advent, religion.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Buche de Noel. Tough getting that regularly, though. Especially since I'm not usually cooking ...

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Queuing up at 4 a.m. in the cold outside the Kennedy Center for the free Messiah-sing-along tickets! Then, dragging various people to the Kennedy Center to attend said sing-along. If I do nothing else, this is it. The way it's supposed to be.

17. What tops your tree? An old broken down angel. The way (say it with me now) it's supposed to be.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? (Hmmm, do I go virtuous, or not? Not!) Getting doesn't feel so bad, I gotta say.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Easy! "See Amid the Winter Snow," from the album, CHRISTMAS CAROLS FROM OXFORD: Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford. Followed by "Once in Royal David's City." (I'm such a music snob.)

20. Candy canes? Eh.

21. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story, with Major Award!

22. What do you leave for Santa? A great big mess.

Now, I tag:
Black Knight, Thomas NEW! LBTEPA,
Anita, and last but never least, Bold.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sugar's Just Another Word for


I officially stopped eating sugar on Friday, December 9. Right after my appointment with the surgeon and my abrupt decision to get in the best shape of my life. I figured cutting out sugar would be a fairly easy way to drop a few pounds, plus, after the three-donut day, something had to give.

Week one went by without a hitch. I'm not being insane about this sugar thing, just so you know. I am still eating soy yogurt with fruit at the bottom that I'm sure has a ton o' fun in it.

But, it hasn't been as hard as I thought it might be. I am eating better. My favorite treat so far? Take an apple and nuke it for 4 minutes. Um, yummmm!

I haven't even been craving the stuff. Saturday at the hairdressers they were giving away cookies and chocolate kisses and I almost went for it—outta shear (get it?) habit. I stopped myself just in time. So much of eating is shear habit. Free chocolate? Extend arm, open mouth.

So things have been fine with me going sugarless. It's not like I've been on edge or ready to hurt, maim, or kill anyone who gets in my way or anything. (I think I made someone cry at work last week though. Sigh. I will make it up.)

And today? Today was our annual $@!$%@~ cookie contest. In which hordes of people bring in cookies for the hordes of employees to taste and vote on, with winning categories such as "The Martha Stewart Award," (I won once!), or "Best-Named," (lame), "Most Original," (the cookie "emsemble" that resembled a cat's litter box, complete with cookie "litter" won hands down one year) and of course, the grand prize is "Best Tasting." If you win that, you get crowned cookie queen or king and get to keep the crown for an entire year.

Here's how it works: You get in line, and walk around a giant table, and sample, oh, 300 cookies, and then you vote. It's a Big Deal.

And I ... almost cracked today.

But ...

I didn't.

Didn't go. Didn't taste. Didn't vote.

Oh, yeah. Did I mention? I hate everyone.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I went to sleep Sunday dreaming of Bedford Falls and woke up in Pottersville. You know the place, right? It's a very very bad place where everyone works 14-hour days and then wake up only to work out like madmen before heading back to work again (OK, I made that part up about working out). Still. You don't wanna live there.

Where, oh where is Christmas?

My news is that I'm scheduled to have a little surgical procedure on Feb. 12.

I don't embarrass easily (as you know only too well if you've ever read my blog), but for some reason, I am embarrassed about this: I have urinary stress incontinence.

Excuse me for a minute.
Voice inside Jeanne's head: Jeanne, it's not like it's a moral failing or anything! It's not like you killed someone!
Another voice inside Jeanne's head: Yeah, but if I was smarter, this wouldn't have happened!
Hand of first voice inside Jeanne's head: Dope slap.
Hello my name is Jeanne, and I have UI. And voices in my head.

I "leak" when I run, walk, talk, sit, sneeze, cough, move, live, or breathe. If this fact makes you queasy, imagine how I feel about it.

I had to tell so that the rest of my story will make sense. But first, let's learn a bit about UI:
Between 12 million and 25 million Americans are thought to have UI. Exact numbers are not known: many who have the condition are too embarrassed or pessimistic to seek treatment. But according to the National Institute of Aging, at least one in ten people over age 65 has the condition. Women are more likely than men to get UI because it can be caused by the physical trauma of past pregnancies and by the muscle weakness that sometimes results from a drop in estrogen at menopause.
—from the AARP's cutely named "Oopsie Daisy" site (gag me)
I don't quite fit into any of those groups, except I did have one enormous child 20 years ago. And I'll be 50 in February (Feb. 7 to be exact: mark your calendars!).

It's nice to know I'm not alone. And I'm betting that some of you out there have this problem too.

So,the upside is that I should be cured after this procedure.

The downside is that, post surgery, there can be no aerobic exercise—nothing, not swimming, biking, elliptical, nada— for—are you ready?—twelve weeks. I can walk fast, but that's it. And that's only after at least two weeks of total rest. No lifting weights, either. (And yes, I've tried all the other treatments, rest assured.)

You know what happens when you go two weeks without exercise. You can imagine what visions are dancing through my head just thinking about twelve weeks with no exercise.

And now, please whine with me and pity me, because twelve weeks of no training takes me into May and that means: No Cherry Blossom 10 miler, no St. Patrick's Day 10k, no Mother's Day 10K, no George Washington Parkway 5k ... waaaah, all my favorite races!

It also means quite a loss of muscle tone and endurance and, unless I'm extremely careful, weight gain.

OK whining over. I don't have cancer, I don't have any incurable or painful disease, I need to thank my lucky stars.

And I decided immediately that I would spend the time between now and Feb. 12 getting into the best shape of my life.

I started this week by taking a drastic step: I gave up sugar. Great time of year for that, right? So far, so good.

Next, I sampled some classes at a drop-in gym one block from work.

So here's what my week looked like:

Monday, 6:30 a.m.: A one-hour Reebok strength-training class that kicked the stuffing out of me. I still hurt from it.

Tuesday: 7 a.m.: Ran my first three miles since Spain. 11:30 min pace. I was sucking air the entire way. Not pretty, but my leg didn't hurt.

Wednesday: 9:15 a.m.: Second strength-training class with same instructor as Monday. Going to this was a pain because I had to get to work early, work, change, leave work, etc., do the reverse, and her class on Wednesday is very different than on Monday. A lot more talking, a lot less working. And NO OFFENSE TO the SAHMs out there, because I would cut off my arm to be one, but the class was populated by mostly rich Bethesda SAHMs, who had nothing to talk about but getting their hair done and the burden of the holiday and its many parties, and getting their grass manicured and their feet cut (or was that the other way around?), anyway: not for me.

Thursday: 6:30 a.m. this morning. Yoga (not Bikram) class. This was also a killer. KILLER.

So, I consulted my trusty, (if two-timing), highly unpaid coach for a plan that made sense, and this is what I got:

3 days of running: 30-45 minutes. Go easy. You're just trying to maintain right now.
1 day: yoga (which I consider core strength training)
1 day: upper-body and core strength training
1 day: spinning class

I realize this is 6 days of exercise. If too much, drop down to 2 days of running.
Now, this I can live with! And I hope it does the trick.

I had to tell my colleagues the situation, and one of them asked: Do you have any evidence that getting into great shape now will result in less loss of muscle tone after surgery?

Um, no?

But I'm pretty sure that I read somewhere that going into surgery healthy should speed recovery time. (Tammy, help a sistah out!)

So that's the story. Blood and gory.

Merry Christmas you old Building & Loan!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

It Really Is a Wonderful Life

Today I spent the day in Bedford Falls.

But before I get started with that story, run over to Susie's and give her a GIANT congrats for setting a PR on a very challenging course. (And to David, too!) And though Susan and David are the ones who actually did the work (and it was work, believe me, it killed me just looking at the hills), a big shout-out goes to Bex who was running her first half, yet decided to pace Susan and David to a PR. Bex could have easily said, "See ya!" and taken off, but instead, she did a fine thing. I heart the RBF!!!

My job, since I wimped out and didn't run this half because of my stupid $#!~@ ITB, was pretty damn simple: take photos at the start, drive 10 minutes to the 10-mile mark, where there was a cool statue, and take photos at the end. The race started at 8. Photos: check! I didn't have to be at the 10-mile mark til 9:15. That's an HOUR AND FIFTEEN minutes to make a 10-minute drive. That would be a 10-minute drive. As in TEN MINUTES.

I had the directions from the start to the 10-mile marker, which was TWO BLOCKS from Susie and David's house. That would be TWO BLOCKS.

So, with all the time in the world, I sauntered over to Starbucks, grabbed a latte and the Post, and figured I'd drive right over to the 10-mile mark (remember? That place that was a 10-minute drive?) because I didn't want to take any chances that I would miss getting a good shot of my little RBF group.

Armed with my latte, a map, and written directions (left, left, right, left, right—bam! home in TEN MINUTES), I took off.

Well, by 9:00, a good FIFTY MINUTES after I started, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to make it.

I was driving 70 mph, zigzagging all over God's creation. WHERE THE HELL WAS THAT FIRST TURN???

I returned to the start two times before I finally got it right. Then, of course, I got every single red light. Plus? There was a RACE going on. So there were marshalls holding back traffic on the quaint streets of old-town Fredricksburg.

I'm telling you I thought I was going to have a heart attack getting to that 10-mile mark.

Wheels screeching, I drove to within a block of the 10-mile mark, jumped out of the car, and instantly saw my work colleage Craig flying down the street. I tried to run alongside him (in my Land's End clogs and fifteen layers of clothing) but he was booking it.

I made it to the statue by 9:15. Only by divine intervention. And I stood by myself, asking everyone who ran by what their pace was, so I could see if I missed my little group. The 8-minute pace runners, the 8:30, the 9:00, yeah! I didn't miss them! Meanwhile, all the racers thought I was the race photographer, so I started taking photos of everyone. With that nice statue as a backdrop.

See? Strangers in front of nice statue.

(I'm trying to shorten this story, I swear.) I finally saw my brave trio opposite the mile marker and grabbed a shot. I couldn't figure out how they got by me. Oh well, disgusted with myself, I headed back to the car to drive the TEN MINUTES to the finish so I could at LEAST get that shot. As I opened the car door, someone screamed "Jeanne!" and there they were, running towards me and getting ready to run by the statue. The statue that I had left. Because I thought I had missed them.

I left the car door ajar, and ran alongside as they handed me clothes and gu packets and I got one decent shot of the three of them, but of course, not in front of the statue where I had stood for 1/2 hour and got every single other runner...bah!

See? Our little trio with NO STATUE in the background.

Blah, blah, all's well that ends well, right? Right! And what a finish! I made it back in TEN MINUTES this time, and got a few shots of our group pouring it on.

It was awesome!

Afterwards, we went to brunch in old town Fredricksburg, where I endured many comments about how clever I was to turn a TEN-MINUTE drive into a 60-minute one.


Old town Fredricksburg is like, well, this:

And Susie and David are, in reality, George and Mary Bailey. In fact, I'm pretty sure that David runs the old broken-down Building & Loan. As we walked along the Rockwellian streets of downtown Fredricksburg, we were stopped every 10 seconds by people saying hello to them, or congratulating them.

And, just to make the day absolutely perfect, Richie nailed his marathon! You go, girlfriend!

So, what I'm saying is: It's a Wonderful Life.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Marco, This Is For You

(Gratuitous photo of me, at Monasterio de San Leandro, a cloistered convent. That sells candy.)

I'm been trying hard to catch up since I've been back. But you people are relentless!

Let's start with Marco.

Marco Antonio, to be exact. He was named after the Roman emperor, he told me. He spoke a few words of English, I spoke a few words of Spanish, and we both spoke that other language—yes, the language of pain.


Well there is some history before we get to Marco.

Last Monday, after the Thanksgiving yoga class and treadmill embroglio, I laced up the shoes and decided to go for a 90-minute run along the river in Sevilla. This is not as easy as it sounds because 1) I had only the vaguest notion of where I was, and where the river was, and 2) the street names in Sevilla change every 50 feet.

(Map of Seville, in mosaic.)

Regardless, I was determined, because I had a half-marathon to prepare for!

Here's a curious thing. My entire time in Sevilla (six days) I saw a total of maybe seven runners. All of them at night. And all of them men. So here I was, dressed to the nines, as usual, in my lycra this and dri-max that, running through the streets of Sevilla. I felt a wee bit ... exposed. And then I got mad. Because, despite all the warnings I received, I never once got hit on! Is it possible I didn't look so good?!?! Nahhhhh...

Back to the run. Of course I had the Shuffle hooked up, and I was bopping along to the tunes, taking in the beautiful weather, the sites, trying to memorize everything I passed so that I could make the return trip.

I felt a slight twinge at the top of my right thigh. No matter. And a more severe twinge on the bottom of my right foot. So, of course, I ignored both pains.

I ran toward the river, past the Plaza de Espana

About 40 minutes in, things were starting to really go south. I was aiming to get to the bridge that was built for the 1992 World Expo, and looks like a harp

... but I didn't make it. Part of the run was on cobblestones and that was killing me because each step was a different height from the one before it. I pushed on to 45 minutes and then took a break and assessed the situation. Foreign city. No phone. No espanol. Only one way back. I tried stretching. Walking. Running. Rinse. Repeat.

I did however, have my debit card with me. So I stopped in at—are you ready?—a Starbucks. Sigh. To get some water, rest and think. Unfortunately you need an ID with a debit card. No tengo. I begged and cried (a universal language!) and the kid relented and gave me the agua. I made my way outside and sat at a lovely outdoor table; I was enjoying life. I was ... oh-so-European! What's a little pain in the face of so much beauty? I'd get home eventually. That feeling lasted right up until the waiter from the restaurant in whose chair I was sitting came over and shooed me away. I guess having the lyrcra-clad sweaty American with the big ugly running shoes sitting at his table was not exactly bringing in the biz.


The good news is I (of course) made it back to my hostess' house. The bad news is I was limping. However, I sucked it up and spent the rest of the day walking (more about that later).

Number One Daughter belongs to a health club. Health club offered massages. So I scheduled one for the following day, Tuesday, at 1:00.

At 1:05 Tuesday, I was ready and waiting. And in he walked. He took me upstairs. I explained where it hurt. He poked and prodded and found the spot (it's exactly in one spot), and then he did what he does.

And he does it very, very well.

Afterwards, we had a lovely chat. He showed me a photo of his fiancee and bebe (grrr). So, at least I knew he was on my team. I asked if I could take his photo because I would be blogging about him. I said all that in Spanish. Sort of.

If ever you find yourself in Sevilla, in need of a sports massage, go here:
Cuesta del Rosario 8, Pasaje Interior
(and by the way, none of that will help you; I walked by CuestaSport about 47 times before I found it.)

So, try this:

When you get there, ask for Marco:

He'll make you feel good.


However, curiously, one massage will not fix you. So I remain somewhat broken. I am supposed to run this on Sunday with Bex and Susie and David and I guess that would be a dumb thing to do. I'm going to try to run tomorrow. Just to see. So far this week I've biked and ellipticalled. Oh, and ate three donuts today. Just because.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Taste ...

I know you are all waiting with bated breath ... so here ya go ...

(Studebaker ad, in mosaic.)

(NOD's school.)

(Look! Lovebirds! And orange trees! At the Sevilla cathedral!)

(Y, tambien, Marco! Whatever is ailing you, Marco can fix. Or make you swoon. Either way. It's all good.)

Friday, December 01, 2006


I have 12 minutes left on this computer. Am in VERY cool youth hostel in Barcelona: Hostel Itaca. If you´re ever in town, stay here.

Barcelona: awesome. Gaudi: awesome!!!! Walking: Not awesome!

Monday last (God, was that only a week ago??? I went for a 90 min run from my hostess´ flat to the center of sevilla along the river to a cool bridge that looked like a harp ... everything was going great! I was bopping to the tunes! Beautiful day! And 45 minutes in ... something sort of snapped at the top of my right thigh... it´s been bothering me, and i guess it had had enough. No panic, though, I just limped/walked-ran home.

And then the next day I went to see: Marco Antonio (and I have the photos to prove it). More about that later.

I have had so many adventures I can´t begin to count them. This is my last night here, tomorrow I see the rest of Barcelona then back to sevilla at night then to england, then to a hotel then to heathrow, then to me case.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Yesterday I Asked a Waiter for Milk, Warm

It was a rainy Saturday yesterday here in Sevilla. As in pouring buckets. NOD and I met to go to a museum (actually to the house of Pontius Pilate (don´t ask)) but instead ended up in a coffee shop because we were too lazy. So we people watched for a while, then moved up the street to meet my hostess, MC, and my travel companion, S., to go to lunch. (Lunch here is a Big Deal.)

MC is a native Sevillano; she is 82 and could easily outrun me. Or probably you. In any case, we were treating her to lunch. She was a former English teacher in the states, lived in D.C. for many years, so is used to idiot Americans. She makes me a cup of warm milk every morning, into which she puts a teaspoon of instant decaf coffee (don´t laugh, it´s actually quite good). So we decided, in order to help me practice my Spanish, that during lunch I would ask, all by myself, for "una leche caliente, con una sobre nescafe, descafinado." Which means, roughly, give me warm milk with a packet of decafinated nescafe.

Unfortunately, I forgot to add the words "in a cup." Which accounted for the quizzical look on the waiter´s face.

I had practiced that sentence for about two hours beforehand. And, despite having essentially asked to have warm milk poured in my hands (head? lap?), I was quite pleased with myself. (Apparently though, you need to be really specific when asking for stuff here.)

Hey, habla Espanol est tres difficile, is all I can say. (And really, that is all I can say.)

I am also totally flummoxed by the fact that every single person we meet knows immediately that I am an American--before I open my mouth! It´s infuriating! I dress all in black, and it´s not like I´m stumbling around in tennis shoes and bermuda shorts. I´ve asked NOD to explain, but she just shrugs and says "It´s soooooooooo obvious, Mom."

No running has occurred since the debacle with the yoga teacher. Today (Sunday) we walked about 10,000 miles to visit the Museo des Belle Atistes (which sounds suspiciously French to me, making me think I have once again confused these crazy languages), had another two-hour lunch, and walked another 10,000 miles to see the Rio Guadalquivir. With the help of God and NOD, I will attempt to run somewhere, other than in circles, tomorrow (Monday).

Adios, chicas y chicos!

Friday, November 24, 2006

How I Almost Killed My Spanish Yoga Teacher

Hola chicos and chicas (that is probably wrong right off the bat). I am here in Sevilla, and like a grown-up girl, I have ventured all by myself into a combo bookstore-Internet access place, summoned up all my courage, and asked "Quanto es media hora?" (you can forget the other upside down question mark, i´m having enough problems finding the @ sign. momma mia!) Anyhoo, noche last, it was Thanksgiving! And our very kind hostess, MariCarmen, who is 82, and looks 55, made a lovely fish stew and vegetarian quiche for me and my friend and Number One Daughter´s bf. NOD had to attend a Thanksgiving dinner with her escuela (school), so I took Number One Daughter´s boyfriend in hand, and we went first to the gym.

Ay yi yi!

I successfully negoiated our passage to the bike-treadmill room, y got us some auga. I got the agua after we walked up 17 flights of stairs to the treadmill room.

Oh, and the treadills? You will never guess! Kilometers!! Not miles!! Yo soy stupido!

So I was not running 8 miles per hora. Sigh. I ran 5K on the treadmill. Then down to yoga class. Where the lovely teacher anna, who spoke a few words of english, helped NOD´s bf and me partipate in yoga.

En espana, yoga class begins with sitting cross legged and saying ¨"om" like California in 1970. NOD´s bf and I tried hard to follow along, but I don´t know right from left in english, so that was hard. We did sun salutation, and then the lovely anna had people try to stand on their heads. She was going from person to person to help them. Oly NOD´s bf didn´t understand that, so he tried a headstand on his own (NOD´s bf=6`10"(approx). Anna, yoga teacher came up behind him and he toppled arse over elbow and Anna, scared for her life leapt out of the way.

C´est tres amusant. Actually anna was very concerned for NOD´s bf, which was tres facile. (Here´s another problem I´m having: I took ocho (8) years of french, and can´t speak a word, but i find myself saying EVERYTHING en francais. Tant pis, non? This morning I said ¨"grazie" instead of gracias. ok that is not french, but you get the idea, i´m f´d up! (I also say the "f" word a lot because i can´t remember how to say anything from uno momento to another. Tant tres pis! Zut alors!

I have seen the cathedral, the plaza de espana, y lot of other things I can´t remember. Everyone is quite nice and helpful to the stupido americano. NOD, by the way, can speak to anyone and everyone. I´m muy impressed.

Signing off before I get kicked off or someone asks me something in which case I will faint and die,

Your gal en Sevilla.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Nobody Move

Okay, this is it, my last hurrah this side of the pond. Please, no one do anything exciting or fun while I'm gone, or write anything funny or motivational, for pete's sake. No having any babies or getting engaged (you know who you are) or setting any Big Giant Records of any kind.

In fact, as Number One Daughter's hippy babysitter used to tell her every time I dropped her off, "No Fun Allowed." (That always made her laugh.) (I plan to blog every step of this trip so perhaps this warning is moot.)

With that, I'll leave you with this:
Click for cooking instructions! (My pleasure, CS.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Watch the vid over there------------> for its educational and geohistorical value, timely holiday message, and because it's just so easy to make fun of the '70s.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

10 Miserable Miles

Lest you think everything is cupcakes and precious moments over here at Not Born to Run headquarters, let me set your mind at ease.

Just as my glorious victory at the Marine Corps Marathon was slowly fading into sepia-toned nostalgia, this morning's run hurled me—literally—back into reality.

The first week post-marathon I ran zero miles. The second week I ran 3 and 4. This, the third week, I ran 5 on Monday, then on Thursday I ran (barely) 3 on the treadmill (while gasping and swooning the entire way like a character in a Jane Austen novel, well, minus the treadmill), and 5 on Friday. So today, Saturday, I put 10 on the agenda.

And my lovely and clever coach said "Yes, please do 10 miles. You should still have plenty of conditioning in you to do 10."

So, I suited up at 7 a.m. (38F) and with my headache still firmly in hand (day three on the headache) off I drove to Georgetown to the end of the Capital Crescent trail.

I was out of Gu, so I brough half a p.b. sandwich with me, just in case. There was water along the trail so I felt relatively certain I wouldn't perish. And yes, I ran fully plugged in, and listened to two full episodes of Pheddipidations. So there.

My head hurt. But I soon forgot about that because that little niggling ITB pain at the top outside of my right thigh? Turned into a giant ITB pain. And moved around to the inside of my right thigh. And that little pain on the bottom of my right foot? Well, I was sure I had plantar fasciitis.

And then I got to mile two.


And that was how 10 miles went by. I literally cannot believe I ran 26.2 miles. Or 11. Ever. Everything hurt like hell. By mile 9, I remember thinking: Huh. So this is what calf cramps feel like. (I'm leaving out the gross bits.)

I was going to regale you (and myself!) with the sad stats, but I see that my trusty Ironman Timex has cleverly wiped out all of today's miles. I do know I had a few 14 min miles in there. I guess the good news is that I finished. Right? And the bad news is that I am chafed in all the worst places, my right foot hurts and my ITB is acting up. And I still have this &$@!# headache.


I hate precious moments.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Complete Running Network

Once again, that idiot editor over at Complete Running has let some riff-raff loose on a keyboard. The result? This little piece on the headphone debate. You know what they say about an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of keyboards ... eventually, out comes the complete works of Shakespeare. So, I guess there's hope.

Go give her a piece of your mind. And tell her you want a writer, not a drink of water ... (get it?)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Can You Ever Post Too Many Pictures of Yourself?

Apparently not.

(Me (who else?), not born to run, at mile 11)

(Me, mile 13, trying to drink, breathe, think and run, mile 13)

(Celebrating with some of my fav work buddies at a local watering hole. You might see another familiar face tucked away in there.)

(Photos courtesy, S.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

... And Then I Left Again

Well, not yet.

But next Tuesday night I am flying out of Dulles to Heathrow (London) arriving at 7 a.m. ish (I know you all love the details), and then leaving from Stansted Airport at 6 that night to visit Number One Daughter in Sevilla, Espana. Stansted is 90 minutes away from Heathrow. So, my travelling companion and I have some time to kill in London (my fav place on earth!). But ... we'll have giant suitcases with us.

SO, the PLAN IS THIS ... (I just love the name of that blog): we'll take a train to Liverpool station, where they have a left luggage thing-y. And then stroll around Liverpool station environs, and talk British for a few hours until it's time to hop a train to Stansted where check- in is at 4 p.m. Arriving in Sevilla late. NOD's boyfriend will also be visiting her, and my visit will overlap with his for two days. Oh, I know he will be so happy to see his girlfriend's mother!! Does it get any better than that?

And then, ay yi yi ... so many plans to make! What to see, where to go, how to get places with no cash. Sigh. I am travelling with my good friend S. who speaks Spanish like a native and we are staying with her friend, who is a native Sevillianana (?) native of Sevilla. Spaniards are nice like that. S. has had to put up with some serious underplanning by yours truly. And that's tough, cuz she is a serious overplanner. Match made in heaven, right?

I'm sure it will all work out and I will be blessedly tired for two weeks. And of course, I am planning to blog from Espana. Hoping also to run there. Even if it's just around the block. Cuz that is too long for no running (a combination of words I don't think I have ever previously uttered ... and meant).

I had desperately wanted to get to beautiful Florence to see our very own Black Knight run the Florence marathon on Nov. 26. But alas, I cannot manage it. It is so unfair that Italy and Spain are so far from each other when they are so close on the map. Who's dumb idea was that?

So that's what's up.

Monday, November 13, 2006

... And Then I Came Back

To brutal harsh reality. It's a bitch. Why can't we have silent days at work? Or exclusively use IM? I mean, it's worth a try, people.

Yes, my weekend was wonderful. It is ... hard to sum up. I did no running at the monastery this year but lots of walking up and down some pretty steep hills. I walked outside by myself at night, and wondered "Why don't I ever do this at home?" "Because," I said, "you'd get run over or mugged in the cement suburban jungle of Bethesda." But in West Park, New York, there's just the Hudson River and the woods. (Oh, and Norman Bates' old motel across the street.)

But the woods are a lovely safe place. (Except for the occasional bear mauling. You know.)

Tonight, speaking of not running, I ran five miles, and it got dark about halfway through. And then I did something totally insane.

I took off my headphones.

I was alone with my thoughts.

I listened to the sounds of the trail and the woods at night.

I felt what my body was feeling.

I felt what running feels like.

No, it didn't feel great.

But I was there to feel it.

It's an experiment worth repeating.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Who Let the Dogs Out??

Holy hell, I turn my back for a minute and the place falls to pieces! a.j, so much for the mystery. You were immediately outed. Which means that you have an inimitable style. Which is a good thing! And despite all the begging, you didn't give in to the hordes asking for the "good" stories about me.

(Pssst, people: That's because there aren't any. Sigh.)

So, I thought today (Sunday for five more minutes) was on a.maria's agenda ... but she's probably out dancing on the tables somewhere !!!!!!!!!!!!! (that's me imitating a.j. Woot.) Thanks for holding down the fort, girlfriend. You are officially off the hook!

In the meantime, the boring me has returned, and I brought these with me:
(Sunrise, Hudson River, West Park, New York)

(Norman Bates lives here)

(I lived here for a weekend)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

caught red-handed..

well, there goes the mystery of the thing.

apparently my writing style - slash - choice of vocabulary - slash - drunken computer hijacking was completey see thru.

not even one wrong guess... how sad! hmpf!!

however, with my secret celebrity blogging identity revealed...
we can really have some fun!

trouble is...

um. yeah. i have zero ideas for fun fantastic and fabulous blogging adventures in the name of jeanne.

((( anyone else watching the KSU/UT game right now? for the love of all that is right and good in this world, someone please make it stop. Texas, oh Texas... what is wrong with you tonight?!?!

saddens me.)))


so. i ask you, my (jeanne's) good readers..
we've got all day tomorrow to tear it up.

what should i do with these sneakily accquired powers?!!

i'm all ears!

Friday, November 10, 2006


HEEEEEEEEE hee hee hee hee hee.....

i am celebirty blogger extraordinarire! and i drunke!

guess who i am!!!!!!!!!!!

(its 11:03 HERE, Bub its 12;03 THERE, so this totally counts as firday's post, yeah?

i'm thinkins so!)


bringing sexy back, woooot!

hee hee hee hee hee...

jeanne's gunna kill me!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Big Surprise

Well, fellow runners, I will be gone Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Now you didn't think I could possibly leave this little ol' blog unattended for three whole days, now did you? Hell no!

So I have given the keys of the kingdom to a Secret Celebrity Blogger who will post for me! And just who is this person, you ask? I'd tell, but hee, it's a secret. So you'll just have to check 50,000 times on Friday to see.

Stay tuned for a wild ride.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Food and Fear

I've had a lifelong affair with food, as I expect many of you have had. It's a love/hate thing. Often, it's been abusive (on both sides, I might add). But all that changed, after many, many years, when I decided to stop getting on the scale and stop dieting.

Now that sounds easy, but of course it wasn't easy. Or fast. It was gradual. I also started exercising around the same time. I discovered other interests. My daughter left home for college, so I could totally control what food I had around me (that's a good AND a bad thing).

So when I find myself stuffing things willy-nilly into my mouth, I get worried. No, not worried. Scared. To. Death. As in terrified. Cuz I've been overweight, and I'm in no hurry to get back there.

I just read this article from the Washington Post about food cravings, and this last paragraph struck me:

Many desires for food mask other emotions. Are you tired, stressed, upset, sad, anxious, angry or just plain bored? If you're tired, consider a nap. If you're stressed, a walk or other physical activity may help. If you're angry, maybe a call or e-mail to a friend will help -- and keep you from consuming calories that you may not be hungry for. You get the idea.
Duh, right? Unless you allow yourself to become unconscious. Which it looks like, somehow, I have.

So now I have a bit of work to do, to figure out what exactly I am busily masking by eating like it's going out of style. Maybe it's just the fear of having completed this enormous goal—and not yet having another one quite as large to take its place.

Maybe it is some hormonal changes; or my body adapting to a reduced running schedule.

I honestly don't know. But it's starting to really freak me out.

I'm hoping a weekend with the monks (and by the way? the monastery I'm visitng this weekend is directly across the river from the C.I.A. That would be the Culinary Institute of America, where at least one monk studied. And now he's a monastery cook) will help me figure this out.

Or exorcise it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Quotes o' the Day

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
—Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)
And here's one from my refrigerator:
The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist.
—author unknown
In other news: Good God, I've never been so hungry in my life! I eat like every 10 minutes. What is going on?? I really have no idea, except maybe because my weekly mileage has err, dropped, um, significantly, maybe my body is just ... confused? Tonight, after dinner I had a peanut butter sandwich. WTF?!?!

I ran 2 miles yesterday, did yoga today at work (another butt-whooping), and tomorrow, following Hal Higdon's post-marathon's recovery plan, I've got an easy 4 on the schedule. Hal is really smart! He says stuff like this:
Saturday: A run of 30 to 60 minutes. Piece of cake, you say. After all, only a month ago, you banged out a 20-miler. But in your post-marathon mode, a run an hour long can still tax you. So don't pay that much attention to your watch except for when to start and finish. I don't care how far you run. I don't care how fast you run. I don't even care whether or not you run the entire 30 to 60 minutes! Walk if you feel like doing it. It's your call as to how many minutes you want to run today. Your body will tell you.
So, I realize this post is all over the place, but that's because in addition to eating everything that's not nailed down, I am so tired I could actually ... sleep!

And, I realized that I am leaving for Spain on Nov. 22. And returning on Dec. 3. Which is a Sunday. And then the Sunday after that? I'm running a half-marathon.

Well I hope 21st Century Mom is correct: that you (me) can run a half marathon sick and without training. I guess it's possible. We'll see.

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Big Plans

My adoring fans (OK, one) write:
Okay. It's been a week and I'm still waiting to hear what's next on your running dance card...half-marathon, marathon, or ultra or ironman?
It's tough having fans. So demanding.

So far last week, on my post-marathon training plan, I did: nothing. Monday thru Sunday. A perfect zero. Well, not quite. I did go to a strength-training class on Friday, which whooped me but good. Sunday, I stood for about nine hours, serving coffee. So that counts for something, right?

Today, I ventured back out there, and let me tell you: I still have the demon of "you can't run" on my back. (Or the monkey. Something is on my back.) I ignored him. And trotted off for a 3-mile run. A slow 3-miles, around 11 min pace, although one mile dipped into the 10:45 range.

My Big Goal is this, and simply this: To Get Fit

Yes, I know I just ran a marathon, but how many sit-ups can I do? How many push-ups? (That last one is easy: none. Well, none done in any sort of correct form.)

So that's it. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to attain this goal, but I figure I have a while to reach it. As with everything else related to fitness, nothing (especially me) goes quickly.

Oh, and I plan to keep racing.

And I'd like to get faster, so I'm scouting around for a running club that will help me achieve that goal.

Next up: Dec. 10, the Blue and Gray Half Marathon with Susie and David and Bex.

See the thing is, when you're training for a marathon, 13.1 miles starts to sound like nothing. "Of course I'll do a half! Cake!!"

And then when the marathon is over? And a 3-mile run seems hard? Yeah. But! I will be there! I will toe the line.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

"Go, You Canadian Bas****, Go!"

Was how my friend a. maria put it at one frustrating moment yesterday, during a marathon (get it?) IM convo we were having while watching Ironman online together (apart). We had a virtual screamfest.

Another theme was how do you do it?? How do you swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 mile, and THEN run a marathon? We saw piles of runners at the half-marathon point and they all looked as chipper as if they were out for a stroll in the park.

I don't know how they do it, but I do know two people who gave it their all yesterday. Give a BIG shout-out to Nancy Toby who turned in a fine, fine effort, and another one to the man of the hour (week? year?) Bold, who finished his first Ironman in under his "dream" goal time.

Take a bow, lady and gentleman. And a rest. You deserve it.

And another shout-out to me for winning the local pool for guessing Lance's NYC finish time. I said: 2:59:59. Official time? 2:59:36.

I so win. (I wonder what exactly, I win?)

Oh, and one more shout-out to my friend P., who finished NYC in a blistering 3:52:34.

I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted. I can hardly wait to get back to work.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ironman Florida!

Watch it here!

Our friends Nancy Toby (bib #2484) and Bold (bib #1269) (along with many other people I care about, but whose numbers or names I don't know!) are tearing it up!!!

(Edited: Removed times, because hello, this is not my race!)

This is too too exciting!

I so wish I was there!!

Instead, I'm heading off to starbucks for coffee ... because it's Saturday morning and ... NO LONG RUN TODAY! Woot!

Friday, November 03, 2006


It's National Blog Posting Month! The equivalent of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where participants are challenged to write one 50,000-word novel, from scratch, in a month's time.

NaBloPoMo requires you to write just one post per day—for 30 days straight!

I believe there are prizes involved. But no matter. Strap yo'selves in, and let's see if I can pull off this bad boy without completing alienating my loyal audience.

(BTW, I totally stole this post from Little Miss Runner Pants. Thanks!)

One thing: It's going to be really hard to do this from the monastery I am checking into next weekend! Thanks again, a. maria.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Marvelously Made

Here's what I just happened to read Saturday night:
I will thank you because I am marvelously made/ Your works are wonderful, and I know it well.
—Psalm 139

So I wrote "marvelously made" on back of my hand, and it became my mantra for the day. A reminder of how marvelous and miraculous it is that I am able to do any of this.

But enough of that, let's get to the good stuff. (And sorry if you thought yesterday was the recap. Obviously, you don't know me. Oh, and my tenses are all over the place. Shockingly bad form.)

Prelude to a Race

First, David and I get GOLD medals for being on time. We were the ONLY ones out of five people! In all fairness, I did set a ridiculous meet-up time of 7 a.m. for an 8:20 (or 8:40) start. But I wanted time to take group pictures, and lollygag.

David, me, happy before the race

Poor Rich. David and I called him at 7:20, and asked where he was? He was in his hotel, why? We told him what time it was. Poor Rich! He insisted that we were kidding, that it was 6:20 a.m. (I think he finally caught on that we weren't.) So, we pretty much saved his race for him, which fact I will now remind him of for the rest of his days. (Lucky boy!)

Bex called around 7 ish to say she was running late. Then called again to say she missed her train. Then called again to say she was on her way to Charity Village (near the finish) to drop her gear. We never did see her, but I'm pretty sure she made it to the race on time, since, holy cats, she "placed in the top 10 percent of female finishers as well as in the top 10 percent of age-division finishers, and in the top 18 percent of the 20,855 runners who completed the marathon. More than 32,000 runners started the race." Go send Bex some comment love!

Back to me. Certain things had not happened by the time I left home at 6 a.m. I had been experimenting with taking Metamucil wafers (tasty!) every night before bed for a week. Worked like a charm every morning except marathon morning. I was so worried that I went and bought a cup of coffee, totally forgetting that I do not drink caffeine because my body can't handle it. I was hoping that the coffee ... well, you know. But no luck. (Poor David had to listen to all this. I mean, I just met the man!! No shame.)

It was decision time, and I knew I couldn't run this thing with a bellyful of ... well, last night's dinner and that morning's oatmeal. So out came the Immodium. I took five. Now, I had immodium and Metamucil swimming around in my stomach, along with coffee. Which one would be the victor? Three guesses.

David and I finally left our cozy perch at the Organization for Autism Research booth, and headed toward the start, with 50 million other people. We were walking against the crowd. He was meeting up with Michelle somewhere around the 4-hour pace sign, and I was looking for the Other Jen, at the 5:30 pace sign. We hugged goodbye, and I went on my way, back back back back to the waaaay back.

I never did find the Other Jen. I asked the pacer about how she paced and she said she'd be doing a walk/run thing. Ut-oh. She said it was too hard to run that pace without walking. I'd trained to run this race, so I wasn't going to change that now. I had my pace band all neat and tidy on my wrist. My goal was to shoot for 13 min miles for the first two miles, which are pretty much straight uphill. And then switch to 12:36 til mile 20, when I'd knock it down to 12:26, all set for a 5:30 finish (I'm hilarious, non?).

The race was delayed for a medical emergency (the first of several). It was cool, crisp, sunny, a bit breezy. I was literally shaking, teeth chattering. (Here's where I remembered why I don't use caffeine. It makes me insanely jittery and anxious.) We stood for an eternity, finally crossing the start at 9:11.

The Race

Mile 1: 12:11 Ok, this part of the course was only slightly uphill, so I must have read the map wrong. No problem, I thought, I'll just do the next two miles at 13. Because, God knows, the only way I can screw this thing up is to start too fast. How many times have I read this??? And been told it??? Thousands.

Mile 2: 14:42 This time is wrong because I missed the mile two marker. But this was the first hill. Pretty steep but I ran it like it was buttah. This hill killed me last year!

Mile 3: 9:10 OK, this isn't right either, because I started the watch after mile 2. So no idea what my pace is, but I'm pretty sure it's not 13. We entered Spout Run Parkway on our way to the George Washington Parkway which runs along the Potomac. A beautiful, beautiful morning. The crowds were out in full force.

Mile 4: 11:24: The crowds continue along Key Bridge and into Georgetown.
I have this conversation:
"Jeanne, what are you doing? You are so going too fast and you will regret this later!"
"Yes, but what if I go slow now and I'm still slow later? That will suck. I have to bank some time now!"
"You know it doesn't work that way."

Mile 5: 11:59 Pace band goes out the (metaphorical) window. Is it possible I can do this in 5 hours? Oh yes! I head up Rock Creek Park for a three-mile out and back. Another hill and I'm not feeling a thing.

I see runners flying along the other side of the road, on their way back. An emergency vehicle comes past on our side, scooting everyone over to the right. Suddenly on the other side, I see the Marines holding back the runners. They have stopped the race for the emergency. (It looked like a girl fell off her bike.) They soon get going again.

Mile 6: 11:59 So, all along I've been listening on and off to the Phedippidations "Bravery" episode on my Shuffle, turning it off whenever we passed bands playing or crowds cheering, because I wanted to be in the moment and remember everything.

The park is glorious! The day is gorgeous. Not a cloud in the sky. A bit windy, but we're well protected here. We're on our way up towards the National Zoo. I'm so glad we trained on these hills! I've turned Phedip back on, and I hear the host, Steve Walker (who also ran MCM yesterday) say, "I'm adding a new feature to the podcast. I'll be featuring a blog or podcast of the week." And I'm thinking "Cool! I wonder if I know who he'll pick! And it would be great to find some other good running podcasts."

And it turns out, I know quite well who he picked for this week's featured blogger. Quite well indeed. And I had a big stupid smile on my face for a long long way.

Mile 7: 11:56 Hmm. Funny tummy rumblings. I start looking for a portapotty, but they all have lines and I am not going to wreck my time by waiting in line! Heavens, no!

Mile 8: 12:02: I'd rather wreck my time by darting hither and yon into the bushes lining the park. Except we're running alongside a straight uphill on the right and a severe drop to the Creek on left. What to do?

Mile 9: 14:12: Ah, I spot an underpass! And run over to it. Cars are blocked from coming this way, so no fear of being seen (this was when I still cared). There was a little concrete barrier and I went behind it and ... I went behind it.

Mile 10: 12:28: We're now running along the National Mall, past the Washington Monument. It feels so different this year, I actually have people around me! I start looking for my friend S. so that I can ditch the pullover I've tied around my waist.

Mile 11: 11:37: Still looking for S.! I so want to see a familiar face. I'm now running along the part of the Mall where the Smithsonian is. I chat with a girl for a few minutes and tell her there's only one more big bad hill, up and around the back of the Capitol building.

I finally see S. a bit after mile 11. Woo!!! But, I can't hear what she's saying. Why can't I hear her? Because my Shuffle is on and there is music blasting in my ear and I don't think to turn it off. I back up and run again so she can get a photo. I do have the presence of mind to ask her if she can hold my pullover. Relief! She looks cold and unhappy. I find out later she was battling a migraine. Good Lord!

Tummy again. I see a low sculpture in front of the East Building of your National Gallery of Art. And sad to say, I think I may have defaced it. Two security guys are sitting nearby, watching the runners. Thankfully, they did not arrest me. Let's just call what I did performance art, OK? Also, thankfully, I see that no one is going up Capitol Hill! I was so wrong! Instead, we turn in front of the Capitol building, where it's nice and flat, and run back on the other side of the National Mall.

Mile 12: 13:27: ... And a tree grows on the Mall. And now it is fertilized. This time, all of God's creation got to see what should never be seen. Tourtists strolling the Mall. Security people. Homeless. Spectators. I. Don't. Care. I catch S. again on this side of the Mall. She says I shrugged my shoulders. I have no idea what that meant!

Mile 13: 13:07: I see the first electronic clock and it says 3:15. 3:15!!! Oh man, I am so off pace! That's a six hour finish! I panic and speed up. We're heading towards the tidal basin.

Mile 14: 11:41: See? panicking is good! I realize here that the official clock time is not my time. Idiot. My watch said something like 2:40 for the 1/2. So now I can slow down again.

Mile 15: 12:51: Slowing down.

Mile 16: 12:16: I pass am ambulance, one of many that day. This looks serious, so I refuse to look. It turns out it was serious. A runner died. I find this out last night. So heartbreaking. Marathons are deadly serious business and we must never forget that.

Mile 17: 13:14: Am entering the feared Haine's point. The wind has picked up a bit. Haine's point is a peninsula known for its winds and for being a desolate part of the course because there are no spectators out here. Last year, it went on for miles (it's a 3-mile loop). Lulu had said she would join me at mile 17, and there she is! I had warned her I might not be able to talk, but I manage a few words here and there. She has kindly brought Gatorade, and happily dumps it into my water bottle. She also has a garmin, so I tell her to keep me at 12:30, no 12:40 min. mile pace. I swear she's running 10 min. miles, just to trick me.

Mile 18: 13:09: Lulu is trying her best, but look what she's got to work with?

Mile 19: 15:14: And it's the tummy again. This time near the Haine's Point golf course. I tell Lulu she should turn away, but forget to tell that to the other 5,000 runners. After I finish, we see several people barfing their brains out. I say, "Thank God I'm not barfing!," and Lulu gives me a look, like "Please, must you tempt fate?"

Superman (my work colleague) jumps in here, cleverly avoiding my last roadside episode. He gets a lot of attention! I'm so glad I get to escort him.

I run right past Susie and David, who are waiting at the base of the on ramp to the 14th St. bridge. Superman tells me that someone just said my name. He says, "Who is it?" I say, "I have no idea." I'm expecting Susie at the other side of the 14th street bridge, so it takes a few minutes to register that she and David are here on this side! They jump in and start running.

I now have an official entourage! I feel like royalty! Lulu, Superman, Susie, and David! We power up the ramp to the bridge, where I saw D. and C. from work. C. shoots some photos. Mile 20 starts at the top of the ramp.

l-r: Superman, Lulu, and moi

l-r: Superman (he's so shy!), moi, and David

Mile 20: 13:15: The bridge? Is a bitch. The wind is bad. I run for a bit, and then on and off I say "fading," like I'm a piece of electronic equipment giving a warning. As I fade i move to the right and walk. But my entourage is there encouraging me on. I do a lot of run/walking across this effing bridge.

Susie has Dianna on the phone and hands it to me. The first thing I say is "I went out too fast!" Dianna says "No kidding!" along with some encouraging words, and I finish by saying "I love you." I'm heartened to know that when I finally do go completely bonkers, it will not be the angry version of insane; it will the slobbering lovefest version. Because I really do love everyone. I cannot believe all these people are here to help me! I LOVE EVERYONE! No cursing at anyone this year.

I'm listening to Billy Bragg singing, "You're an accident waiting to happen!," which of course I sing out loud, with every refrain. God, I have a Great Voice! Who knew? Susie advises me, wisely, to save my breath.

And then, in a gesture worthy of Florence Nightingale, she offers to carry my water belt for me. It's like heaven on earth getting rid of that thing. I almost cry with joy.

Mile 21: 12:46: Noooo! The bridge is only one mile! How is mile 21 in the middle of this bridge? HOW?

Mile 22: 15:54 Finally off the bridge and into Crystal City, Virginia. There's a line of portapotties and no waiting. Oh, the luxury of a real toilet! Lulu says good-bye before I duck into one. I can't believe she's leaving so soon! Time stands still in a marathon. When it's not biting you in the ass, that is. Superman ducks into another portapotty. And just like the real Superman? He disappears. Susie tells me we can't wait for him, so off we go. Maybe that was the real Superman, after all.

Mile 23: 13:22: Now, it's just me, Susie and David. Susie reminds me I can just run slowly. BRILLIANT! I swear, the thought hadn't occurred to me. My left knee started hurting on the bridge and I'm doing my best to ignore it. I get strange bursts of speed and then totally fade. I am out of water, so ask Susie to run on to the next water stop and fill my bottle. Before she returns, David and I reach the water stop and we walk thru it, but don't see Susie. I figure she'll catch up to us. I figure wrong.

Mile 24: 14:03: David is great. He helps me keep running. I hug David because, well, yes, he's a nice guy, and all, but I suddenly notice that I am freezing and that he is quite warm. Warm feels good! What is wrong with me? Where has my cynical bitch gone? Last year at this point I was hurling curse words at Bex and Naomi! There is nothing to see from mile 24 on. It's all concrete. Spectators are sparse. The Pentagon comes into view and that makes it feel like we're close. We're not close. It's a mirage.

Mile 25: 12:45: Look, a one-mile negative split! Because it is time to get this over with. We're running on a barren highway. Lots of people are walking. Some are barfing by the side of the road. It looks like something out of the Civil War. Somewhere in here is the last water stop, which I walk thru, and then start running again.

Mile 26: 13:09 I finally make it, and say good-bye to David, because this is where the chute starts.

Mile .2 2:48 (hey my goal was 2:30!): The last .2 miles begins with an uphill that is brutal. I ran this uphill every single Saturday during training. Funny, it didn't feel so hard then. I am by myself now, and take out my headphones so I can hear the crowd roaring for me. I want to walk so badly but I refuse. I feel like there are lead weights on my legs running up that hill. Lots of people are walking, but I'm not one of them. Several times I try to kick it in, but I don't think it's working. Point two miles is a long freakin' chute! I can't even see the finish. Finally, it comes into view. I try to remember to smile and not look at my watch. At the very last minute I think I should raise my arms but it's half-assed so I'm pretty sure I screwed that photo up.

The Finale

Yes, I kissed another Marine. It was good. Was it good for him? Who cares?! Collected my medal. It took an eternity to get a stupid space blanket but I was freezing. This year I remembered to look up to see the Iwo Jima Memorial. (It's huge. It's right there at the finish line, and last year I missed it.) I follow the signs to have my photo taken in front of it.

And then? I'm in a daze. Last year my posse was waiting at the finish, telling me what to do, but this year my posse had been very busy running me in. And the rest of my posse, David, Rich, Michele (who I never met!), and Bex, had all come in earlier. The place where we planned to meet ("under the letter 'Z'") was a million miles away. I had to retrieve my bag from Charity Village, which was in the opposite direction from "Z." My knee was killing me. My stomach was killing me. I was trying to remember what to eat, but felt nauseated. I grabbed water and a drinkable yogurt and carried them around.

I limped over to Charity Village to collect my stuff and had my photo taken there, and got another medal from the Organization for Autism Research. They gave me ice for my knee, too. I was getting cold. My phone battery was dying, but I reached David. He was far away, waiting for his ride.

So, I slowly limped my way to my parked car, which was a solid mile away, but I bet all the walking was good for me.

I drove home alone, elated.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Stick a Fork in Me, I'm Done!

Official result: 5:36:37

Last year: 6:30:40

Edited: I forgot to throw this in:
START 9:11:55
5 Mile 59:18
10 Mile 02:01:51
Half 02:41:21
15 Mile 03:04:36
20 Mile 04:11:45
23.5 Mile 04:53:50
Finish: 05:36:37

I'm very happy, if a bit sore!

I had sooooooooooooooooooooo much help, it was unreal! Angela (aka Lulu) from miles 17-22, Craig (dressed, as promised, as Superman) from 19-22, and the beloved Susie and David from 20-26! Well actually, I managed to lose Susie, despite my blisteringly slow pace, somewhere around mile 23 (?). I sent her ahead, like she was my personal servant, to fill my water bottle and then come back with it, and somehow I went skipping by her at the water stop, so poor Susie was left running back and forth trying to find me and her David. I feel for ya, Susie!

So much to say, so many stories! That's just one of them.

Here's another: On the 14-mile long bridge (mile 20), Susie called the Running Chick and passed me the phone, and I'm not entirely sure what I said, but Dianna, I'm pretty sure we're now engaged!

Here's another tidbit: I left my mark on every monument, underpass, and bridge in D.C. and Virginia. Yes, Nancy Toby, despite taking FIVE immodiums, no good. I found out, once again, that I have no shame nor any inhibitions whatsoever. Sigh. When I think of the number of people who saw my ass today ... oh, the humanity!

Then there's the stories of the all the missed connections. Only David and I met up this morning. I never saw Bex or the Other Jen.

Full report tomorrow, where I tell you how David and I saved Rich's butt.

Congrats to everyone! And 10 trillion thank you's to all of YOU. I thought of you constantly.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

All I Want

I was inspired to post this particular video because the wind in your nation's capital is currently at GALE FORCE, blowing all plans of what to wear out the window. I mean, I'm talking about some serious WIND people. My car just got blown out of its lane. So, the natural seque is
All I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air...
It just came into my head! "Lots of chocolate for me to eat..." Oh yes!

I'm feeling a bit discombombulated at the moment. The nice restful day I had planned evaporated when I came home last night to a note from the condo office informing me that I needed to completely clear out the storage unit on my balcony, by Monday morning, because they're doing some fiber optic rewiring thing. Monday would be the day after Sunday. The day of the marathon. I couldn't really envision myself coming home from the marathon and hauling nine years of accumulated crap out of the unit; so that was today's excitement, along with laundry, and 27 phone calls to Bex and the Other Jen (who I did my best to scare the hell out of but she was unflappable), trying to figure out What Not to Wear. And where to meet in the morning? Oh my God, forget the marathon, it's the details that will kill you!

So now, I am finally, finally trying to get things in order for the morning. I plan to leave home around 5 a.m.-ish. Meet the gang at the Organisation for Autism Research booth at 7 a.m. (that's right i'm leaving two hours early. Parking.), who have generously offered to store all of our gear. And then? Then it's off the bed to sleep the sleep of the dead (note to self: turn back clocks!!!)

And finally, thank you thank you thank you for all your encouragement and for making me laugh so hard things came out of my nose.

You rock. And You Know Who You Are.

(EDIT: #31935)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Yo Mama!

That's what I'm talkin' about! (God, this is fun.)

And while we're at it, here's a sneak preview of the RBF meet-up tonight at the posh Zola's, restaurant to the International Spy Museum:

David, Rich, David, Jeanne, Bex, Susie, Hallie, Peter

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh, It Is So On!

After all, I do wear Nike Pegasus. So it could happen just like this on Sunday! Cuz after the bus doused them? They got married.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I Say, Old Bean

Continuing with our theme of Getting My Game Face On (GMGFO), tonight, I give you the remarkable Jesse Owens in the 100M, 1936 Olympics, Berlin

In 1936 Owens arrived in Berlin to compete for the United States in the Summer Olympics. Adolf Hitler was using the games to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany. He and other government officials had high hopes German athletes would dominate the games with victories. Meanwhile, Nazi propaganda promoted concepts of "Aryan" racial superiority and depicted ethnic Africans as inferior.

Owens surprised many by winning four gold medals: On August 3, 1936 the 100 meter dash by defeating Ralph Metcalfe; on August 4, the long jump - after friendly and helpful advice from German competitor Lutz Long; on August 5, the 200 meter dash; and, after he was added to the 4 x 100 m relay team, he won his fourth on August 9 (his performance wasn't duplicated until 1984 when Carl Lewis won gold medals in the same events at the 1984 Summer Olympics).

On the first day, Hitler shook hands only with the German victors and then left the stadium (some claim this was to avoid having to shake hands with Cornelius Johnson, who was African-American, but according to a spokesman Hitler's exit had been pre-scheduled). Olympic committee officials then insisted Hitler greet each and every medalist or none at all. Hitler opted for the latter and skipped all further medal presentations.

(Read more about Jesse Owens.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ooh Rah? Whatevah!

Well, who am I to argue with David or the Urban Dictionary about boo-yah, which apparently has nothing to do with the Marines, who curiously enough prefer "ooh rah." Who knew? (Though, I could swear that they gave out Boo Yah-branded power bars at last year's MCM. In fact, I probably still have the wrapper somewhere.)

Moving on, I decided that I would use these final days before my demise—I mean ascent!—to inspire and motivate all of us at whatever impossible task we have set before us—be that running a marathon, completing IronMan, or coping with a new baby (hi Anthony!).

So tonight, at T minus FOUR days, I give you this:
History was made with the running of the 5000m Final at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. The field was packed with gold medalists and world record holders including Ron Clarke of Australia, Kip Keino of Kenya and Michel Jazy of France. The US was represented by Bill Dellinger and Bob Schul.

On this video clip you will see the final two laps of the race, perhaps the most exciting finish in American distance running history.
Because blogger sucks, you have to click here (7.21MB) to see this amazing vid. It made me cry! Ya just don't hear commentary like that anymore!

(From Running Past.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

What Week Is It?


(I couldn't go in to marathon week with that last snarky post up there. Bad karma.)

The big RBF Meet Up is on for Friday night at the restaurant attached to the Spy Museum, paid for no doubt with your tax dollars (the museum, not the meet up). Finally Running Susie and her betrothed, David, will join us, as they are KEY in this race, people. KEY! Susie has promised to run me in the last four or five thousand miles. They will be cheering for the rest of us.

So, T minus FIVE. How are we all feeling?

Bex (She's GOOD!)
David (He's EXCELLENT!)
Michelle (She's AWESOME!)
Rich (He's so READY!)
Steve Walker (The nicest CELEBRITY I know!)

and my training partner in crime, the Other Jen, along with my good friend, Bob, who are both, sadly, blog-less.

The Other Jen is feeling AMAZING! And Bob is gonna kick this marathon's ass!

Who am I missing? Oh yeah: ME! (Jeanne's feeling ... well ... um ... yeah ... I'm TRYING to get my game face on! I'm sure it will come. Right? RIGHT?)

Well enough about that, what have I been up to, you ask? Well, last week I had the killer headache, which enforced my taper. I did four slow miles on Wednesday, five less slow ones on Thursday, and then 10 on Saturday in lieu of the three that my group was doing, allowing me to feel morally superior. Which is probably why God decided I needed a smackdown and gave me lead legs for my last run. I still finished faster than any 10 mile run I've ever done with DCFIT, in 1:57, with a new blister to boot. Curiously, it did nothing to reassure me.

Other Ways I Am Getting Ready

1. Speaking of blisters, I went to the podiatrist today, and told him I could not take one more blister, not for 26.2 miles and begged him to fix my orthotics. Again..

2. With the help of the amazingly talented and speedy Running Chick, I made myself a pace band.

3. I got me some peeps to run me across that big bad bridge at mile 20!

4. I bought a $20 overhead long-sleeve shirt thing-y to wear in case it's cold, windy and rainy. Which it will be tomorrow.

5. After much debate, I will be wearing the fuel belt, even if it does make me look like the pillsbury dough girl. I was just vain enough to consider not wearing it. What's a little dehydration in exchange for ONE decent photo? But Susie talked me down.

6. Still need to arrange morning of meet up place. I want to get there at 6 a.m. (starts at 8:45) and the Other Jen wants to get there at 7:30.

Can we hear a boo yah??

Right on!

Tomorrow: Jeanne gets her game face on! Or ELSE!

(Big congrats to everyone who did Chicago in not-so-great weather! And who managed to finish upright, unlike this poor guy who, incidentally, won. But, you are all winners!)

Friday, October 20, 2006

This? This Is What I Signed Up For?

Yes, it's true. I do have another life outside of this blog, and part of it, which I believe I have alluded to once or twice, involves dating. Some of it online. So far. But, I always like to keep an open mind.

So I joined a very popular internet dating service associated with an upscale online magazine that shall remain nameless, and have had two nibbles that haven't gone anywhere. OK, no problem. (Or, as Number One Daughter, living in Espana would say, "no problem-o!!" Sidebar: Today she taught me how to say "vomit" in Spanish. But I digress.)

So, this online dating thing involves "winking" at people who you think look interesting. Today, I got a "wink" from a dude who filled out his profile thusly [my comments in upper...i'm pretty sure you can tell which comments are mine):

# The last great book I read
mark twain short stories. [SO FAR, SO GOOD.]

# Favorite on-screen sex scene
I don't particulary like on screen sex occasionally..mickey rourke and whats her name were pretty good in angel heart.
And I love Carol Baker...(baby doll) [OH, I LIKE HOW YOU SLIPPED THE PORN THING IN THERE! VERY IMPRESSED! But please, learn how to spell!]

# The celebrity I resemble the most
robert Downey jr [MY BUTT!]

# If I could be anywhere right now
I would be walking down the city street, maybe smoking a cigarette, with you. [SMOKING? Did this man actually say SMOKING?? WITH ME?? HA HA HA HA]

# Five items I can't live without
I actually could live with out any of these (excepting oxygen, food, shelter) but I am playing along. [LUCKY ME]

Indian Food...asian/mexican//latino

Musical instrument (preferrably guitar or piano ..or

Court Tv (pop culture tv) King of the Hill [UM, YUCK??? DID YOU READ MY PROFILE? NPR? MASTERPIECE THEATER? THEATER???]

excitement (horse racing) [OK, YOU'RE A COMPULSIVE GAMBLER.]

# In my bedroom one will find...

# The word or phrase that best describes my personality
Way up beat, compassionate, creative, sardonic. [JACKASS???]

I dunno. Maybe my standards are too high. Maybe I should date a porn-watching smoker, living in filth (or reading it, hard to tell his meaning) who likes his ponies and his mindless sitcoms.

On the other hand?

Um, no.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pardon Me for Whining

Small ills are the fountains of most of our groans. Men trip not on mountains, they stumble on stones.
-Chinese Proverb
No freakin' kidding.

This was the "Morning Mantra" awaiting me in my inbox today.

This week's headache started Saturday night. It's what I like to call a "loose brain" headache. The kind where when you stand up too fast, or bend over, your brains slosh around in your head. Fun.

It continued thru Sunday, while I went out on a very very short "hike" with the "over-40 group" at my church. (Turns out, this was the over-90 group. Sigh.)

Head was slammin' on Monday, all through bell-ringing class. So no running on Monday. Same thing on Tuesday. No running on Tuesday, and I skipped my meditation class, since listening to my head pound for 30 minutes would not have been very meditative. Instead, I opted to take some codeine-laced tylenol someone so kindly offered me. And slept from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. So Tuesday was Day Three of no running.

And, that brings us to this morning.

And I still have this %#!#% headache!!!

I told myself I will WALK four miles today if I have to.

Just how much fitness do you lose in a week if you don't run?

Let's change the subject ... check out Anne's thoughtful comments on DNF-ing.

Turns out, failure can mean success.