Monday, February 26, 2007

Back in the Game

10K training started Saturday morning at 9 a.m., here:

(Lincoln Memorial)

I was so excited to be starting training again! Plus, this time around, I had the added benefit of helping to sign people up, collect money, take photos. None of the hard stuff, like the actual coaching part. I was determined to be the best darn signer-upper, money taker, photographer that DCRR ever saw! I had the brilliant idea to bring my laptop, so that people could enter their e-mail addresses directly onto a spreadsheet, sparing me the arduous task of trying to read handwriting. I'm clever like that.

I got home from work late Friday night, around 8:30, dog-dead tired. And as I started to lay out all my gear for Saturday morning, my eagle eyes instantly noticed something: I didn't have any gear. Because? I had left it all at work. Everything. (I know it's hard to believe I take all my running stuff to work, but I do. That way I don't forget anything and I'm prepared for all running conditions! Of course, this plan does have one little teensy consequence. It involves remembering to take it all home again. I'm clever like that, too.) Do I go back to work on Friday night and get everything? I couldn't face it. There was nothing for it but to get up extra early Saturday morning.

So I got up at 6 a.m., ate and drove to work where I changed.

Got to the Lincoln Memorial at 8:25. Score! One new runner soon joined me.

Did I mention it was minus 20F? OK, maybe not, but close. It was freaking cold. 24F, 14F with the wind chill. It was too cold to stand around for 30 minutes. A new runner soon showed up, but where oh where was P, the coach? I had told him I'd be there at 8:30, laptop, and camera in hand. It was now 8:45 and no one else had shown up.

Suddenly, new runner said: Hey, what are all those people doing over there?

Sigh. See diagram below:

Yes, I was standing on the wrong side of the stairs. Poor P must have thought I'd bailed on him. Well, I finally got everything set up and starting helping.

Did I mention it was cold? "Hi, please take your gloves off, fill out these two forms, write a check, and then type your e-mail..." Fingers were turning blue, falling off. It was cold. It was sunny. No one could see the computer screen because of the glare.


We had about 40 people turn out, many of them new runners.

P gave a pep talk, and some options for run lengths for this first week, and the everyone took off. Coach P (I've got to give this guy a nickname soon) said he had already run, so graciously stayed behind to watch all my crap so that I could run.

So I did. I ran down almost to the Capitol building, and back, about three miles. And I did it all by myself, like a big girl, with no headphones and in the freezing cold.

In summation, it was all good, if cold. It was good and cold.

Three weeks to go, and then ...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

If You Can't Beat 'Em ...

... administrate them? Or, I could have titled this post, "Those that can, do, those that can't, hand out gatorade."

When last we met, I asked you all for your thoughts on whether or not I should join this 10k training program. So far the vote is 1-1. (Thanks David!!! Thanks 21stCMom!!!)

But, God moves in mysterious ways. I wrote the coach, P., yesterday, explaining my situation, complete with various caveats and exemptions, addendums and exhibits, and he wrote back today and asked if I would mind giving him a hand with registration and support and e-mail lists and collecting money and maybe setting up a training log/blog, and taking photos, getting post-run goodies, etc. etc. etc., in exchange for which I don't have to pay for the program ($30 saved is a penny earned!) and he understands totally about my need for time off ... soooo, I'm so excited! I'm back in a training program! Even if it IS only for four weeks with a long vacation in the middle.

I don't know if I'll end up walking or volunteering for the Capitol Hill 10k Classic. We'll just have to see.

I am a little nervous (OK a lot) about taking on yet another volunteer job. I already have this great gig and a few other things I do at church and here and there (where did I put my halo? WHERE?). And when I volunteer, I volunteer. Like it's my job. (Now if only I did my real job like I was a volunteer.)

So, I will pour myself into this. And that's a little scary. But it can't possibly be harder than training for a marathon! (I just love saying that.)

So that's what I'm gonna do.


P.S. My feed (over there---------->that big orange thing?) is a bit screwed up. I know this is presumptuous of me, but if you are already subscribed to it (and if so, thanks!) could you resubscribe? Yeah, I know. Like you have nothing better to do. You'd have to first delete me and then resub....ah, I wouldn't do it either. :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's Official

First line, in case you can't read it: "Fifty feels good, doesn't it?" Uh, can I get back to you on that?

According to this invitation I have important things to look forward to, like Social Security reform and Medicare. But getting the senior discount at the movies? Ut uh. And really, what else is there to look forward to? I mean, really.

I ran outside today for 30 minutes. FIRST time (in D.C.) in three weeks! It was 50F! So the trail was filled with slush. It's not so easy to run in slush, it turns out. It makes running harder. That is actually a good thing. Right? RIGHT? But I got to wear shorts! Outside! In February! I ran fifteen slushy minutes one way down the trail and 15 non-slushy minutes on neighboring streets on the way back. The whole way with a side stitch.


Here's a little secret they don't actually tell you: Spin classes do not actually make running any easier. Which is a real pity, because I'm getting really good at spinning.


In other news: I'm finally well enough for surgery. New date is March 19. Isn't it funny how you have to be perfectly healthy in order for them to render you helpless? Ha. Ha.

In the meantime, I am toying with the idea of joining the local 10k training program which starts this coming Saturday, even though I can only run with them for four weeks before the axe falls. (I love how positive I am!) The program prepares runners for the Capitol Hill Classic 10K on May 20. I figure I can walk the race if I have to, which I will have to, since my six weeks of no cardio after surgery will put me right at the start of May. Whaddya think?

In other other news: Happy Ash Wednesday! I'm starting to repent right now. As my fourth-grade teacher Miss Coleman used to say: A word to the wise is sufficient.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Want a Free Bike?

Um, heck yes!

While waiting in one of my numerous doctors-dentists-oralsurgeon's-offices, I happened to pick up a copy of Bicycling magazine.

Flipping through, I came across a story about an organization that is giving away 50 bikes in several cities this summer: BikeTown.

The Web site is here. You have to write an essay, and the program only operates in several cities, and I'm guessing there are judging criteria (though I couldn't find them), but whatevah! This is a cool program!

Here's the history, which apparently began, like most save-the-world ideas, in California.

About 15 years ago, long before he was primarily known as a wonkish proponent of utility cycling, or the idea that bikes should be ridden to get somewhere rather than for sport, Joe Breeze was downing beers at a party in Northern California...when someone asked, just making party conversation, "Can bikes really save the world?"

"Wrong question," Breeze said. With a hand holding a red plastic beer cup he gestured around the room at the cycling cognoscenti.

"The real question is how can we get enough people on bikes to save the world?" ...

Change lives? You bet. Change the world? ...

If you're in one of the target cities (alas, not I), who knows, you just might qualify. Check it out.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Snow! Ice! Cold! Heat Wave!

Yes, tomorrow's weather forecast is for 50F.

Last night, I looked out my window around 5 p.m. and this is what I saw:

Snow squall!

In other news, here is the other awesome present I got for my birthday, from a close friend, in fact one of the MAIN people who inspired me to start running. She's 54, and still winning her age groups. This woman rolls out of bed in the morning and decides to do a triathlon...and then wins it! Plus, she's tall and slender and gorgeous. And incredibly nice, so it makes it very difficult to you know, be unbelievably jealous and envious. As if!

I think this means I can't stop running. Sigh. It also means I will never be left by the side of the path, friendless and SOL!

What a great present!

Speaking of inspiration, I was thinking today about this l'il ol' blog, and trying to remember why I started it. What I remembered is being inspired by reading another blogger, none other than 26.2 miles vs. Naomi, who I bet inspired many of you, too. She was then training for her first marathon, and wrote hilarious recaps of her experiences. She is an awesome writer. So, Naomi, to you I tip my blog cap.

Who inspired you to start blogging? Tell us, and then tell them!

Happy Presidents' Day!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Spin Cycle

I'm still coughing and now sneezing. I can't remember the last time I was sick for this long. I did zero exercise this week. I can't remember the last time that happened either. It's funny—or not—how not exercising for a week sends me into a frenzy. I'm convinced that my running days are over. And it was only last week that I ran in Florida, for Pete's sake. Will there ever come a time when I can trust my body, and myself, enough? Enough that I can take a week off without worrying that it's all over?

Well, I have a lot of history to overcome, I guess. I didn't even start exercising until my 30s and 40s. And my efforts were pretty half-hearted. Then there's forty-some years of being overweight. I guess two years of diligent training doesn't cancel out 48 years. Maybe it will take me another 48 years to feel like I am an athlete. That's ok, because I plan on living to 98 and crossing some finish line somewhere and winning my freakin' age group for once! It could happen.

So, I dragged my snot-filled self to spinning this morning. I've noticed that a lot of people do back-to-back spin classes. And really, that's a good idea. This class is 45 minutes, and it's a killer, no doubt, but honestly, the actual heart-rate-thu-the-roof time is probably more like 30 minutes. So it's like running a 5k. Extremely fast (for me). But it's not long enough. (Not that I'm actually going to double up, or anything.)

Here's an little fantasy I thought I'd share: Whenever I'm in spin class, or yoga, or strength training, I fantasize that when the instructor says, "Great job!," he or she is really talking directly (secretly) to me.

Am I the only one having that little fantasy? Nevermind. A girl's gotta dream.

Another tidbit from spin class: I looked around this morning, and noticed, for the first time, that I was not the fat girl in class anymore! The room is mirrored (why? WHY?) so it's hard not to see yourself, although believe me, I try not to, but today, I thought, dang, I look good! I wanted to take a picture!

Instead, I believe I'll spread some sunshine with this video where George Costanza (aka Jason Alexander) recaps Dick Van Dyke's role:

Now, that just has to make you smile!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I Did It

Blogger finally wore me down and I switched. Actually, my hand was forced. Let's see how this new-fangled thing works.

UPDATE: Well, I see that my template is screwed up. So much for the promise of "keeping my template exactly the same." Buggers.

UPDATED UPDATE: OK, that is fixed. Whew. It was grueling. (Not really.) I'll have a FULL report on the new blogger, something that I have not yet seen anywhere online.

In other non-running news, I am finally almost better. Today was my first day back at work and it went by quickly. By the end of the day my voice was raw, though I'm not exactly sure how much actual work got done.

(Are you asleep yet?)

I had two very exciting presents awaiting me at work! This one is from Number One Daughter, who smartly bought it on E-Bay and had it delivered to work so I would get it exactly on Feb. 7. Unfortunately, I hadn't been to work since Feb. 6. I am so excited you can't even believe it!

Best. Present. Ever!

UPDATED UPDATED UPDATE: The other present is really cool too, but I left it at work, so you will just have to wait to see it!

Monday, February 12, 2007


I have had the crud since last Wednesday.

The good news is that my throat no longer feels like someone is in there sanding it down before a nice coat of varnish. Now it just feels like someone went in with an ice pick. I am still coughing and hacking up pieces of lung though, and now all the snot has moved into my brain (sorry, TMI?) so my head feels like it's ready to explode.

At first I blamed that handshaking thing at church (I am so keeping my gloves on from now on!) but now I'm thinking, no, no, no: in the past two weeks I've had three different dentist/oral surgeons/endodontists with their arms down my throat. What are the chances of picking of a bad throat infection from one of them or their assistants or their equipment? I'd say they are high. But, I'm no scientist.

So I know what you are all thinking: that if the only thing I have to whine about is all the broken stuff in my luxury hotel, I really need to shut up and suck it up! Well, all I can say about that is: you're so right! However, I do have loads more things to whine about. But first I want to share with you some scenes from Miami, where I was rendered speechless:

The path I ran on before sunrise.

The path ran alongside this harbor.

The courtyard of the hotel in which I spent my 50th birthday, not talking.

My own personal patio in my own room.

The hot tub in my luxury hotel room.

And see, I got through this entire post without even mentioning the fact that I got two nasty blisters from those two measly little runs!

I want a do-over.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I Fell Hard

Off the sugar-free wagon.

My throat started hurting before I left D.C. yesterday, gradually worsening as I got to lovely Miami. It was snowing when I left D.C. It was 82F when I got to Miami! And now my throat was roaring.

I'm staying at a luxury hotel. (If I was paying for this trip, believe me, I'd be camping.) All the rooms have patios with hot tubs. Nice, huh? I had requested a "quiet room" and the first room they put me in was definitely quiet. Also airless. And devoid of light. Um, no. So I asked to be moved. Now I was in the "noisy" room. But with light! And a hot tub! But first, I needed food. I needed something to soothe my now-on-fire throat. No soup! So I ordered salmon. I even considered cracking open the bottle of wine in the mini-bar... except the mini-bar was warm. OK, call front desk. Well, how 'bout I turn on the ginormous flat screen TV? Yeah. Except, um, it was all static. OK, second call. Last stop, into the hot tub! Except it was more like the tepid tub.

I'm not proud, but my hand was forced:

I had no choice. I ate every chocolate thing in the room.


I did get up at 6 a.m. for a run—outside. Because you can run with a sore throat! And it was 80F here! Did I mention that the shower drain didn't work? No? That I tried to get tea this morning? But that 7 a.m was too early for tea?

Next time I'm staying in a Holiday Inn.

The conference is being held on the gorgeous campus of the University of Miami, where there were lots of opportunities for schmoozing. Except? By now I had laryngitis. So when, for instance, Craig of Craig's list stopped by to chat, it was all I could do to croak out "hello." And he couldn't understand what I was saying.

So I had two mojitos at the last networking event of the day. They didn't help.


Oh, and my surgery that was scheduled for Monday morning? Cancelled. I called the surgeon as a precaution to make sure this itty bitty sore throat would not interfere with anything. And she said, "No way are you having surgery. I don't want you coughing. Plus, the anesthesia could cause pneumonia. And that could result in you dying."


Well, I did get a photo of this:

And if I were an Oscar Meyer wiener, everyone would be in love with me.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes of course I will milk this birthday for as long as possible! What else would you expect??!

Today at work I got paged: "Jeanne please report to the library." Which until a month ago was upstairs. And is now 20 feet down the hall from me. It's hard to remember things when you're my age. Next time, include directions, please!

I arrived to find that my thoughtful colleagues had put together a lovely low-key (key!) birthday celebration for me.

Here is what they provided:

See? No good comes from announcing to people that you are giving up sugar! Lovely homemade bread and hummus. Ya know, traditional birthday fare! And flowers! Thanks, guys!

Some of my favorite peeps! Photos: David K.

UPDATE: You will NEVER believe who called me. NEVER! No, not the spinning instructor (oh if only). Stay with me here in reality. Someone from ... well, here's a clue:

(No not Men at Work, not Midnight Oil, sheesh!) No, even better than all of that hunky manhood put together, it was none other than: LBTEPA aka Now the plan is this! From MELBOURNE!! AUSTRALIA!

Called me! and left me a funny happy birthday message! She has the cutest accent. (I would pay a million dollars to be able to talk like that just for a week.)

LBTEPA, you my hero! It's time to NTBWSNBN'd, LBTEPA. It only hurts for a minute.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Where I'll be Tomorrow ... In Case You Need Me

Me! In Miami Beach!

OK, OK, more likely I'll be stuck in a room like this for eight hours a day.
Still, there's always the night! And you all know what a night owl I am...

Don't envy me.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


As I approach my 50th year, I realize I should really have something profound to say. Lessons learned, lists of bests and worsts, regrets, highlights, lowlights...something, anything! Maybe it will come to me. In the meantime, let's take a break from root canals and tooth extractions.

According to the Gallup organization, 1957 was the happiest year ever recorded in the United States of America.
The Thunderbolt Kid, Bill Bryson
Well, there's an easy explanation for that! Moi!

Here are more fun facts from 1957:

  • Eisenhower Doctrine calls for aid to Mideast countries that resist armed aggression from Communist-controlled nations (Jan. 5). (That went well.)

  • The "Little Rock Nine" integrate Arkansas high school. Eisenhower sends troops to quell mob and protect the students after Gov. Orval Faubus defies federal order (Sept. 24). (How many more years did it take?)

  • Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.03 (Plus, mail was delivered twice—TWICE—a day!)

  • Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story" debuts on Broadway and brings violence to the stage. (My favorite musical!)

  • Eugene O'Neill's "A Long Day's Journey Into Night" is produced posthumously and wins both the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize. (My favorite play!)

  • Columbia University professor Charles Van Doren becomes a media sensation by winning $129,000 on the quiz show "Twenty One." (I had nothing to do with giving him the answers! Nothing!)

  • Leave It to Beaver premieres on CBS, ushering in an era of television shows that depict the ideal American. (Well, that explains a lot about me right there. Personally, I'd have to say that "Father Knows Best" was head and shoulders above "Leave It to Beaver.")

  • Soviet Union inaugurates the "Space Age" by launching Sputnik I, the world's first artificial satellite. A month later Sputnik II carries a dog into orbit, making that dog the first living being to enter space. (Dec. 6, 1957, we launch a rocket carrying a satellite. It rises two feet before toppling over.)


Buddy Holly. So not my fault.

Chuck Berry!

Ricky Nelson!


Movies in 1957 rocked! I had impeccable taste for a zero-year-old!

  • The Bridge on the River Kwai

  • Twelve Angry Men

  • Sayonara

  • Peyton Place

  • Witness for the Prosecution

Seriously, go out and rent these movies right this minute if you haven't seen them. Meanwhile, I'll start thinking about what life lessons I can impart to you young 'uns.

ORN: Spinning, Saturday.
Obligatory sigh: Sigh.