Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Study in Blood

When you finish reading and regaling yourselves with madcap marathon and race recaps, turn your attention to these "studies in running" I composed today (with Critical commentary).

Thus, exhibit A-

The artist is aiming to convey life's subtle highs and lows. The jaunty angle of the running shoes—yet their precious arrangement on the Christmas tablecloth—belies the artist's state of mind. The casually tossed blood-stained sock evokes an earlier, possibly happier, era.

Exhibit B-

The position of the bloody sock suggests the artist has a sense of humor. Or possibly she saw some road kill recently. Note the potholder peeking from beneath. One can't help but think the presence of the embroidered tablecloth, coupled with the potholder, bespeaks an ironic statement on the nuclear family.

Exhibit C-

The theme of the bloody running shoe continues; the disembodied appendage an unnecessary and overwrought addition. It throws off the photo's neo-classical lines.

Exhibit D-

Here we get to the artist's deepest longings. The basics of life: succor, rest, food. The realism of the foot juxtaposed with the sanctity of the dinner table lends a note of post-modernism.


What happened was: I ran four miles (feeling oh-so-uber-runner), felt a blister starting up, ignored it, did some errands after, and when I finally got home and took off my sock, I thought I was gonna DIE.

The end.

Congrats to All!

On great races and recaps:

Naomi (plus race photos!), David, a. maria (she'll get to it!); and the Black Knight himself, Stefano!!!


Saturday, January 28, 2006

From the WaPo*

"A Sneaker That Shoos the Fat?"

Has anyone heard of this? Who even says "sneaker"? What is the story with these things? I'm all for "shoo-ing" fat by changing my shoes.

Off to Charlottesville. Good weekend to all.

That would be the Washington Post to you out-of-towners.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Moment of Truth

I headed out of my apartment building this morning, determined to put to rest my psychotic belief that I am unable to run in my neighborhood.

I waltzed outside at 7:30 a.m., into a brisk 29F (real feel, 11F), with strong headwinds coming in every direction. I am so HardCore. I set my watch for 15 minutes, and off I trotted.

Or slogged. Whatever, it was too running!

OK, slow running. Down hills, uphills, uphills, uphills (what goes up must go down; right?? RIGHT?? not right). I was determined to beat this superstition into submission. My watch beeped, I turned around and did a few thousand more back and forths on the concrete superhighways that constitute suburban Bethesda. Second timer beeped; 30 minutes done. Let's try to go long, Jeanne. Go all the way to ... 35 minutes!!!

Oh yes!!! She did it!!

Apparently yesterday's "All Carbs, All the Time" diet, plus my total lack of hydration, coupled with no sleep, did not affect me.

My reward: A stop at Ye Olde Corner Bakery, for a nice decaf, and a raisin bran muffin (come on, you all know that bran is totally justified!) A poor substitute for a blueberry scone, but nice.

This morning I did not hear that little voice in my head telling me, "Just walk! You can always just walk!" That little voice means well, but really is so very not helpful, because it quickly becomes a mantra during most of my runs. Somehow I need to lock that little fellow up and only let him out when I am seriously dying.

My left ITB is now acting up, but not to the point of not running. And today, my back chimed in. $!@$&!! But there was no time for Killer yoga today, so I did a regular yoga tape at home. That helped some.

I'm fairly certain that I'm going to have to surgically remove my ITB. On my own, if necessary.

Meanwhile, I do believe that the Spell [Has Been} Broken.*


If you can find this song for free online, I'll ... do something really nice for you! Meanwhile, here are the lyrics:
When the Spell Is Broken.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Nothing But the Truth

Today's food intake:

Breakfast: 8 a.m., Starbuck's decaf plus heroin-laced blueberry scone.

Lunch: 1 p.m.: Cinnamon donut, decaf coffee

Snacktime!!: 6:30 p.m., One appletini, with some nice crusty bread. (This was to say goodbye to a co-worker, so I skipped a cross-training workout to go.)

Dinner: 8 p.m., two mini-pizzas (but they were whole wheat from Whole Foods! Cuz that makes a big difference.)

Oh, let's not forget dessert, people: ginger cookies (count unknown), specifically, "Ginger LOW FAT Cat Cookies for People."

I think I've written enough for one day.

No actually, I haven't written enough. So, I've been dutifully turning left for the past three three-mile runs:
Thursday: 32:51 (10:57/mile)
Sunday: 32:16 (10:45/mile);
Tuesday: 32:17 (10:45/mile).

And now, I'm pretty sure I can no longer run to the right. (Life is so complicated.) So, tomorrow, in order to confuse myself, I will try running neither right nor left, but instead will tackle my nemesis, my very own neighborhood in the extremely pedestrian-unfriendly 'burb of Bethesda, Md. That is, if I haven't died from scurvy or protein-deficiency during the night.

Let's hope our marathoning RBF-ers will inspire me this weekend.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Other Way

I may not have mentioned it, but yes, I have actually been running. Let's see: two weeks ago, I tried to run on Thursday and Friday morning around home. This is when I discovered that I couldn't run for 30 minutes straight. Thursday I ran 20 then ran/walked the last ten, and Friday, I ran 15 and ran/walked the rest. WTH? I had no idea what the problem was and, after extensive and no doubt, extensively boring, consultation, my speedy friend/coach Bex concluded that I was mental it was all in my head.

I tend to agree, since I have to rule out lack of sleep or severe pain or really, anything else. I just stop. I start the endless litany of thinking "I can't do this." And my inner action hero just takes a nap.

Calling Dr. Freud.

Curiously, on Tuesday, back at work, on ye olde Crescent Trail, I ran three miles in 31:58.

So, it seems like I can only run on the Capital Crescent Trail. That's kind of a problem. It's beautiful and all, but really, that's like saying I can only walk in certain places. In other places, someone must carry me.

Can you believe I have worked in the same building for eight years, and have been running now since April 2005, and have NEVER ONCE gone out to the trail and turned LEFT? Talk about your ruts.

To overcome this one, on Thursday I did something madcap: I Ran the Other Way. Yup, I went out there and took a left. Three miles, in 32:51.

It was a whole new scene. Past retail stores, past the wonderful Bethesda Row Cinema, through an underpass, past a golf course, people's backyards.

So Running the Other Way is some big metaphor for life. And I should write something profound about it here. And I will. One day.

Meanwhile, Thursday night, I went back to Bikram Yoga in Dupont Circle, and yowza! I swear I lost five pounds in water weight in 90 minutes. Several extremely good-looking gentlemen were in attendance, covered only in speedos and sweat. Alas, I don't think they were dressed for anyone on my team. After about two minutes in the 120 degree heat, I kind of stop noticing anyone anyway, since I get really busy concentrating on staying alive.

And speaking of the Other Way and the Other Team—go see Brokeback Mountain. Extremely moving. Amazing acting.

The other way—we shall see whither it leads.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wow, Did I Do All That?

This is what Number One Daughter made me for Christmas:

It's all there, the thrills, the chills, the spills! Only my MCM medal is missing; it's at work, where I look at and fondle it daily.

It includes my first ever 5K, in 1998, after which I did nothing until 2005. Also included is the note stamped "Paid in Full" from my first student loan, finally paid off in 1990. Geeze, that's not that long ago... (NOD: What does this have to do with running?? Whatever.)

NOD threw in a few extras, like that classic photo from an "I Love Lucy" episode. (Cuz I remind her of Lucy when I'm trying to run??)

What a nice kid.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Running With the Black Knight

Be careful complimenting the Black Knight ... he is really a knight in shining armor. I got this lovely package from him last week (am only now getting around to showing it off):

LOOK!! Two—two CDs from the Mark Knopfler's concert in Rome (June, 13, 2005). With two lovely Italians announcing the songs! Whoo-hooo!

But wait! That's not all!! "In the envelope you will find a little thing
as a souvenir of the local half marathon, the 7th in
Italy for number of arrivals," writes Stefano.

Our friend, Stefano, came in SEVENTH in the half. SEVENTH.

Ah, Stefano: Congratulazioni!

And since my Italian is not so great, let me just add: Buona fortuna! Buon appetito! And finally: Mille grazie.


Update on me mum: I had to put her in a nursing home yesterday. Thanks to all for asking about her and for all your well wishes. You guys are amazing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Get Your Bikram On!*

I have a problem.

I am verbose. (See previous post (although you do have to admit that my first car was unbelievably CUTE. But then you would have had to have read the epic-length post to know that. And kudos to those of you who did! Though, sadly, no mugs will be given out.))

They say the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting it.

Oh, they are so wrong.

But herewith, a reformation in the length of posts. (Well, maybe. We'll see. Actually, doubtful.)

Meanwhile, I am gettin' my Bikram on! Whoo-hee! This is "hot" yoga. As in, 120 degrees F hot. My first foray, with Number One Daughter, and Bex and her s.o., E. (God, I feel like I'm in a witness protection program), was Friday night to the Bikram Yoga Dupont Circle center. I am pleased to say I did not pass out or throw up. My heart did, however, fly out of my throat, and ricochet around the room several times. No one was hurt. Heart rate was easily up past 180.

This is not your father's yoga. It's an intense cardio- and strength-workout. I-N-T-E-N-S-E. Class lasts 90 minutes; you do a series of 26 poses twice. I was sweating buckets just standing still. Afterwards, I felt like I'd been beaten up and spit out. Still, I like to let these things settle before passing judgment.

So, Monday night in Charlottesville, I went again. Woo-hooo!!! Hot, hot, hot. But in C'ville, where life is apparently more civilized than here in D.C. (as if there were any doubt), at the very end of class, when you are in the aptly named "corpse" pose, with the lights off, while you are trying to slow your heart rate down to extremely high, from ridiculously high, the instructor comes by and puts a very very very cold washcloth in your open hand. It's positively orgasmic.

A side affect of Bikram is that afterwards, you sleep the sleep of the dead. Which came in handy in the Super8 motel I was staying in. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday morning, I got up at 6 a.m. and ran for 30 minutes in pitch black in the seemy underbelly of C'ville's 'burbs. Yay, me. With no ID. Duh, me.

Tuesday night: Back to Bikram!! Whoo-hooo! Heart rate up to 186 (I checked). Body: drenched. (Did you know your knee caps can sweat?) (There, I just edited out a verbose sentence. You're welcome.) And, for those keeping count, that's two workouts in one day. Just like all the cool kids are doing.

So, I'm gonna stick with Mr. Bikram for a while. I do need to try to not have a heart attack in class, though. So unseemly.

Meanwhile, in RUNNING news, I am now officially signed up for the following:

1) The Eighteenth Annual St. Patrick's Day 10K, Sunday, March 12, 2006, D.C., (which I will not be ready for, yet again...)

2) The Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, April 2, 2006, D.C., (I'm announcing now that I will set a PR at this race. Thank you.)

3) I have signed up with the D.C. Road Runners' Club for their 10K Training Program, which starts Feb. 18, at the height of snow season, because I oh-so-obviously should not be left on my own to train for anything.

4) I am starting to think about, mull over, cogitate on, and generally ponder, my long-awaited DO-OVER of the Marine Corps Marathon next October. Dunno, though. I really need to learn how to run first, I'm thinking.

So, soon, I'll have lots more running chills, thrills, and spills to talk about, along with how Cooking With Yoga feels.

* Apologies to Bolder in Boulder; B: I couldn't help myself! I've been telling NOD nonstop to get her "fill-in-the blank" on. It's getting on her last nerve.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Moi, Moi, and More Moi

I've been tagged (thanks Bex!) and thank God, because now I needn't think up anything clever. Plus it gets my mind off of other not-so-fun things. So thanks again, Bex!

The difficulty I have with these things is that I fail to realize that I am much more interesting to myself, possibly, than to the general public. It's a real problem, people.

Four jobs you've had in your life:
1) In college, I was hired by the Mass. Transit Authority to drive a modified bus for handicapped people. In Boston. The pay was great. So, OK, maybe a few handicapped people fell on the floor occasionally. And maybe there was the occasional overhang that got ripped off, due to the bus' height. Nobody's perfect.

2) In college, I worked the night shift at the most disgusting nursing home on earth. I "worked" from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The only work involved was getting the patients out of bed at 6:30 a.m.,, cleaning them up, and dressing them, The rest of the time, I, and the rest of the staff slept. The nursing home was in Brighton, Mass., on Commonwealth Ave., and if it's still there, it should definitely be closed.

3) In college, I was a barmaid at Bunratty's (in Boston—or more accurately, Allston). On pitcher night. Perhaps where I developed my intense dislike of beer?

4) In college (see a pattern here?), I worked for three years as a personal care attendant, getting handicapped students up in the morning and putting them to bed at night. This also paid a lot (relatively).

5) (Sorry, I have to add #5, see above note about finding myself fascinating): In college, I worked at a place called "The Learning Guild," doing secretarial work. The Learning Guild put on health-related productions in schools across the state. I worked in a very chic renovated building in South Boston, with some very very funny people, and laughed my ass off most of the time. Once, one of the principals asked me to make him coffee and I refused. He then asked me back to his office and asked "What exactly do you do here?" I had no good answer. I survived there til I graduated. One time, just for kicks, at an office party, we Xeroxed money and used it to light cigarettes. Good times, people.

(And yes, I held all these jobs simultaneously. In the snow.)

Four movies you could watch over and over:
"The Best Years of Our Lives";
"Truly, Madly, Deeply";
"Woman of the Year"; and
"Adam's Rib."

Four places you've lived:
New Haven, Conn.; Arlington, Va.,; Richmond, Va.; Bethesda, Md.

Four TV shows you love to watch:
Masterpiece Theater; Mystery; (don't even think of calling me at 9 p.m. on Sunday); I Love Lucy; and The Honeymooners (See? I am both high- and low-brow at the exact same time.) Oh, and LOST, until I missed three episodes. Now I have to wait til reruns next summer, cuz there is just no catching up.

Four places you've been on vacation: :
San Francisco; a cross-country (ok, I admit it)— bus tour— of Ireland; Wellfleet, Mass.; and London

Four websites you visit daily:
Every one of the RBF (but never at work!!); CNET; New York Times; Wash Post; various political blogs; when I have LOADS of time, Television Without Pity. [Edited.]

Four of your favorite foods:
I'm not hungry right now. Chocolate, but only the very, very best. Oh, currently addicted to Starbucks blueberry scones, which have heroin in them and should obviously be outlawed.

Four places you'd rather be:
England, Ireland, or England, or Ireland. I'd settle for somewhere in Canada. Or Maine. Somewhere dark and depressing, though. Or Boston, in a pinch.

Four albums you can't live without:

(These first two I have to borrow from Bex, cuz we have the same taste!): My Aim Is True - Elvis Costello; Skylarking - XTC; then: Beat the Retreat--covers of songs by Richard Thomspon; anything actually sung by Richard Thompson, (who I will one day be marrying); R.E.M. (couldn't possibly choose just one); June Tabor (very dark and depressing!); and then, alright, I admit it: The Indigo Girls who have been reduced to a stereotype but are actually unbelievably talented artists. Oh, and Dylan. And the Beatles. Stop me...

Four vehicles I've owned:

My first car was a neon orange Austin America (at least I think that's what it was called, though I just googled it but can't find anything by that name but the newspaper in Texas) but it looked just like this (and I looked just like the young ladies enjoying lunch):

bought at auction by my mother's boyfriend; next, in Boston, I drove a Nissan 510, this time neon green (the axel broke while I was driving it; I paid $999 for it; it lasted one month); a VW Fastback (1980) with gen-u-ine leather seats; then some kind of Ford station wagon when NOD was born (can't remember the name of it; it was that nondescript. When it was towed away after the engine blew, NOD cried. She was four); and a very very fun Mazda MX3 (blew the engine on that one too...).

Let's see, who should I tag next? I tag YOU.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

In Other News ...

I'm home for a day, Mom's taken a turn for the worse, her kidneys are shutting down, and the future is uncertain. As it is for all of us.Though her prognosis changes every 15 minutes, things do not look good.

Thanks so much to my blog family for all your good wishes.

I am keeping a journal of the saga. Some of it is funny, looked at in a certain light ... OK, if you insist, here's an example: My mother (who had been perfectly lucid until last week) hallucinating that she is in Sears, and asking the nurse does he work at Sears too? And him saying "No, but I shop there a lot!"

I mean really, Sears. Why couldn't she hallucinate Sak's, or Tiffany's???

Sick, huh.

Memes, The Well, Vaginas, and the Occasional Marathon

That's what you'll find over at 21st Century Mom's site.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The 5K That Wasn't

I had every intention of starting the New Year by setting a new 5k PR at the very cleverly named 8th Annual DCRRC Predictions and Resolution (PR) 5K Run with my pal Bex today.

Alas, 'twas not to be, due to aforementioned family problems, which had me driving a long way and getting home late and exhausted on New Year's Eve. So, this morning I hung around home, researched nursing homes online, read blogs, and even the newspaper, and generally did nothing.

Until suddenly, at 3:30 p.m., I decided I absolutely had to run. All my running clothes were at work. So, I hopped in the car and went off to work, changed, and thought I would set my own little PR, all by myself.

Alas, 'twas not to be.

But, due to the miracle of "new" math, plus some entertaining extrapolation, we give you this:

Mile One: 10:42
Mile Two: 10:45

Now close your eyes, and imagine Mile Three and Mile point One:
Pretend Mile 3 (Let's say I got tired): 10:55
Pretend Mile .1: 1:15

Which gives us a total of: (oh, right, like I can do math) roughly 33 minutes and 30 seconds. Something like that.

Yeah me!! You GO imaginary girl setting your imaginary PRs!!!

Now, back in the real world, I ran two good miles, they felt slow, but weren't for me, my ITB hurt like a very bad word that I'm not going to say here because this is a FAMILY blog for God's sake! for mile one and then lessened up for mile two but by then I had run out of time so then I stretched and did some strength work for 15 minutes, plus took a shower AND washed my hair at work, which made me arrive at the 5 p.m. church service at exactly 4:49 p.m. (right, like that would ever happen) 4:59 p.m. With wet hair.

Resolution Number One (which I will break at the first possible moment): STOP WITH WATCHING THE SPLITS ALREADY! I've, sigh, been advised to do this many times before, and sigh, can't seem to break the habit, but i'm going to try try try to run for a set amount of time and gradually increase that, and as GOD IS MY WITNESS, I will stop obsessing about splits. (OK, I'll try really hard to.)

Resolutions Numbers Two thru Twenty are on their way.

Tomorrow, I head back to Charlottesville for a few days. I'll be missing ya'll.