Thursday, May 31, 2007

Expect the Unexpected

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Celebrity Something Meetup!

I had an interesting weekend. Got in my long run of 1.5 miles, scrubbed some balcony furniture, gave away every piece of clothing I own, did a little retail therapy (b follows a) and oh, showed Celebrity I Run for Hope Blogger Laurie, the commentingest commenter, her nation's capital!

Laurie rolled into town on a big jet plane on Saturday, her 80-year-old grandma in tow. These two girls are goin' on a Road Trip! On a bus Road Trip! Laurie and I met up at her hotel on Sunday. She is just like her blog! And her comments! The original plan called for us to take a short (1.5 mile) run on Your National Mall.

By 2 p.m. Sunday it was approximately 1,000°F, plus, it was Memorial Day Weekend. Which apparently is a popular time to visit Your Nation's Capital (who knew?).

Execute Plan B! We would stroll the Mall, and pop in and out of some museums (Smithsonian fees are very reasonable—free!) in the two hours we had together.

I had asked Laurie on the phone if there was anything in particular she wanted to see, and she said "just the Botanic Garden."

And yet, sadly, that was too much information for me to carry around in my little pointy head.

Instead, I took her on the abbreviated tour of Your National Mall.

So we hopped Metro down to the Smithsonian stop and I took Laurie right into the American Museum of Natural History because who doesn't like to look at dinosaurs, right? Especially when every single kid on the planet is in attendance? We took one photo, saw a dinosaur, and left.

All the while, I narrated my tips and tricks for moving seamlessly in and around D.C. (I move like the wind). "How come there's a line over there?," Laurie naively asked, pointing to some hapless souls waiting to get into the National Gallery of Art, East Wing. "Because they don't know any better," I informed her, expertly maneuvering us into the NO WAITING entrance!

The National Gallery of Art is a treasure. It is cool, it is beautiful, and it is largely tourtist-free. We first wandered around its outside gardens while I may or may not have narrated a particularly harrowing part of my marathon journey. Inside, I expounded on pieces of art and their provenance.

After a quick hydration stop in the Cascade Café

the memory chip started humming and as it came to life I slowly recalled that Laurie had wanted to see the U.S. Botanic Gardens. In fact, that was the only thing she had actually mentioned wanting to see!

So off we went. I can't say it was the definitive tour, but I got the job done! Afterwards, we hopped back on the Metro, where I suddenly realized that I had to change trains but Laurie didn't. I threw myself off at the very last minute, shouting over my shoulder the name of the stop Laurie needed. For all I know, that poor girl is still riding the blue line!

And for those of you who follow the adage: "no pictures = did not happen," well, feast your eyes, bub:
Laurie, I swear there is art in this museum. See?

Listen, I know this town like the back of my hand. I'm quite sure that the Capitol is right around here somewhere.

Isn't she just gorgeous?

Laurie OWNED the Botanic Gardens.

She's just like her blog! Thoughtful, funny and nice!

Laurie, nothing but flowers.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Walkers of the World, Unite

I am here to tell you that you are misunderstood and unappreciated. Walking is hard! Walking is quite a workout! Walking is as hard as running. Since April 22 I've walked: 95.1 miles, at an average pace of 15:32/mile and it's practically killed me. So rock on, walkers, is all I have to say. You need to unionize! Or at least get a song!

Today was the Big Day. And in case you haven't guessed by now, or haven't read it yet in the New York Times, I got the all clear to walk, run, skip rope, swim, bike, spin, lift weights, and stand on my head if I want. Even all at once!

Upon hearing this news, I immediately contacted TEAM JEANNE for advice, before I did something idiotic.

And the TEAM of TEAM JEANNE gave these stellar instructions:
Go out for an EASY one-mile run today. Walk one or two miles to cool down. Walk on Friday. Plan your next EASY SHORT run for Saturday, maybe 1.2 to one and a quarter miles with a cool down walk. Run Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday next week. Nothing far (one and a half to two miles max) fast or strenuous.
Which, after much pondering and serious study, I translated this way:
Go out for an a really fast hard one-mile run today. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

I laced up the PF Flyers and hit the trail with much anticipation and loads of trepidation. Running, pfft, it looks so easy! How hard could it be?

So today I did this:
Mile 1, walk: 27,000 minutes (16:53 (including long traffic stop))

Mile 2, run (are ya ready??): 9:43

Mile 3, walk: 400,000 minutes (17:08 (long traffic stop))

Woot, I say again!

Of course I was ready to die after mile 2. I'll be good from now on, I promise. I have a long, long way to go. Actually, I don't need to promise, because if I'd had to run three feet more, I would have collapsed in a heap. The last time I ran was March 17, 11 long long weeks ago. Somehow I have managed not to gain any weight in the interim (walking!), but things were jiggling that I didn't remember jiggling before. I am starting over. And I have goals and plans and Big Things to accomplish!

Oh, and the other news? The operation was a success! And the patient lived!

And as if THAT weren't enough good news for one day, I got this e-mail from my condo manager about that little situation with my upstairs neighbors:
Hi Jeanne,

I found the original letter, written to the owner in November of 2005. Apparently, he had repairs done by unlicensed contractors at some point, which resulted in a violation. I will send a copy of this letter to him, along with a new violation letter, tomorrow. In it I will state that he has ten days to make repairs, or we will do it for him. He will also be called before the board for a hearing if he doesn't comply.

I'll send you a copy of the letter, and then please let me know within ten days or so if anything has transpired.
Woot! I just hope my place hasn't been burned down by the time I get home.

It's all good people. Life is really a ... no not a box of chocolates, a string of ups and downs. At least that's what the people at the psychiatric clinic told me. After they handed me my meds.

Now, I would like to leave you with an inspirational video. This character never failed to inspire me over the years, and I hope he does the same for you.

Monday, May 21, 2007

It's Not Me, It's You

Before I commence with the whining, go congratulate Mark who just ran an amazing marathon! And aj, who just kicked ass in her first duathlon!

OK, enough about them, back to me:

It's week ten of no running, and I see the doc on Thursday to either hear "all cleared for takeoff," or "you're benched for another two weeks." Or ten. Or whatever.

I'm having a great ol' time being depressed. (I am well aware that there are people with real problems. Honest. But I'm going to bleat for a while here.)

My 10k group ended, where I wasn't a runner but played one every Saturday. So I'm feeling rudderless on Saturday mornings. I should revel in being able to sleep til noon, but I kind of got in a routine. I kind of got in a routine of getting up and running and what if I lose it? What if these two years just vanish? What if I let my newfound fitness slip away? (yes, I know: other people, real problems. war, famine, cancer, etc.). Do you know how many years I was unfit?? Many. It's scary.

I've pretty much convinced myself I'll either a) never be able to run again, or b) have to start with the walk one minute/run one minute thing, or c) my doctor will tell me on Thursday that I am benched for another two weeks. I call it "premature depression." I like to get depressed about stuff that hasn't happened yet. It saves time.

I have put on a happy (sort of) face for ten weeks, but time's up and now I'm feeling good and sorry for myself, unlike some people I know, who can laugh through anything, and bring the rest of us along for the ride.

Other crap that is happening:
A friend from another department got promoted and is now working under me. It's tough when a friend becomes an employee. I'll just leave it at that. Really tough.

My highly underpaid coach will be moving to the west coast soon. Some of you know that until a few weeks ago, in real life Bex and I worked together (in different departments, so I could freely bitch, moan and complain to her. Oh the joy!) So that's another loss. We were also in the same bell choir, where she had the pleasure of elbowing me every time my ONE note rolled around. Two weeks ago she played the prelude and postlude at my church.

She's a classy dame.

There have been some other radical changes at work: 14 people were laid off, some of them good friends for years.

And, as a side affect, my workload has increased. So I'm working 10-11 hour days again (bleat bleat, moan, bitch). I can't keep up with the fun stuff that I do. Cannot. Keep. Up.

Like I've been trying to update my profile for weeks and I can't even get that done. (Not like I care!) So I'm sure I'll die alone, surrounded by cats. (Of course that would require getting a cat.) So I'll be 49 on forever, apparently. (Eh, maybe not entirely a bad thing.) Of course, you have to actually pay to play over on, and I haven't been willing to shell out the big bucks after all the fun I had with e-harmony, not once but twice.

Plus, my bathroom ceiling is falling down because of my upstairs neighbors who haven't fixed their leaky pipes in two years, requiring me to confront the owner who doesn't even live there. His MAID and her family live there, rent free!! As if!!

I just need a little help:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

You Need to Know

(You might think you've seen the following somewhere before. If so, that's because I just stole it wholesale from Mark. I don't think he'll mind.)

For those of you who don’t know, I am one tiny part of the dynamic team over at CRN. In addition to the great writing the team does, now is a good time to visit because of the numerous enhancements and additions we’ve made:

  1. A new and much improved runner focused race calendar (triathletes welcome!)

  2. Great new ways to promote your running blog

  3. Quite a few improvements to the Running Blog Family Directory

  4. A brand new forum

  5. And lots of widgety/gadgety type things for your blog or Web site.

And, since he's so modest, let me tell you that our beloved blogfather (one-half of the team who dreamt up and IS the engine behind the RBF, CRN, and probably many other acronyms) is running the Woody's RV Marathon in (I think, it's hard to tell!) Red Deer, Alberta, on Sunday. Mark is trying to break 3:30 and is having a contest to guess his time. The winner gets...something!

This is the fellow who inspired all of us, whether you know it or not. He's a great guy, a bundle of energy, a never-ending source of ideas (see above), a non-stop encourager, unafraid to don a skirt when necessary, a great family man, and a terrific runner.

So hop on over to Mark's and get your bet in! While you're there, take a minute to wish him well.

And Mark, here's a little motivation just for you:

(I'll be watching you Sunday, l'il bro'.)

Monday, May 14, 2007

It Always Evens Out in the End

Just like in that Seinfeld episode....
...after Jerry claims that his life always seem to be able to even itself out, Elaine tests his theory by throwing $20 out the window.
Today I walked my fastest mile ever, because I had a nice rabbit in front of me and I was damned and determined to overtake him. So we had a thang going for a while.


I won.

Here are the numbers:

Mile 1: 14:58
Mile 2: 14:43
Mile 3: 13:44

(Yes those are minutes per MILE.) And that's my very very first sub-14-minute-walking mile!

As I smoked this guy, who was about five seconds behind me, and who had been glancing over his shoulder for the past two miles to watch as I stuck to him like glue, finally passing him in the last 1/2 mile, we both laughed, and I said, "Dang, you're fast!"

And he said: "So are you!"

(And Number One Daughter, now home from college, also out on the trail, said "Mom, remember when you could barely run that pace?" Yes, indeed I do!)

So, take that, roller-blading lady!

I'm fast!

At something!


Saturday, May 12, 2007

The New Humility

(Photo, courtesy Coach Peter.)

Me and R., DC Road Runners 10K group, two weeks ago. R. has severe (and painful) arthritis in his knee and needs a replacement but is holding off so that he can continue to run.

R. is a trooper, and soon left me in the dust.

Enough to keep a person (me) humble—and grateful for what I can do.

IT Services in a Nutshell

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

"I'm Probably Even Slower Than Her"

This, THIS is what I get for going headphone-less.

Being privy to snide comments.

About me!!!

So that's what I got to hear today on the trail, while I was busy busting my ass—with no headphones—cuz I'm tryin' that, too, and btw? it blows—trying to break 15-min miles walking. Do you people have any idea how hard that is?!?! Give me four miles in under an hour. I double-dog dare you to try it. Triple-dog.

So anyway, I'm walking along, minding my own business, trying to catch the moms with the strollers and the old lady in front of me, and the guy on the gurney hooked up to the oxygen, when this women on roller blades slows and says to the roller-blade dude behind her, "Go around me, I'm slow. I'm probably even slower than her," with a nod in my direction.

Ha, ha, I say. Cuz I'm nice that way. What I want to say? Is, listen lady, I just had my wee-wee worked on, and I'm not allowed to run, OK? I'm not allowed to do anything but walk, but I used to be able to run, but now it's going on eight weeks of no running, but I was almost getting close to being not horrible just before I had to quit, so why don't you just take that stick out... nevermind.

Instead, I say: ha ha.

I can't wait 'til I can run cuz I am gonna seriously kick a few people's asses!

In the meantime: Have a nice day.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

It Ain't Exactly the Paleo Diet

DC Spinster (Note: He is not actually a spinster, just fyi), was obviously having a slow day, and issued this challenge: to "divulge [my] fridge particulars." As in, post photos of what's inside my fridge.

OK, the first-photo-in-the-morning was one thing, but now we're really getting personal!

But, as always, I live to serve. So, here is the entire contents of NBTR's refrigerator, along with photos of the outside. My kitchen is so small I had to do this in parts, since I can't get far enough away to take a photo of the entire fridge. You will just have to use your imagination to piece it all together.

Are we ready?

The Bottom Shelf

This is the bottom shelf. Protein bread, havarti cheese, ancient bran muffins (thrown out after this photo was taken), and eggs. If it looks like no one in this house (that would be moi) eats fruits or veggies, well, that would be because I generally buy veggies on the day I'm going to eat them, and I hate and detest cold fruit.

Middle and Top Shelves

Here we have (middle shelf, l-r) a look at some mainstays of NBTR's diet. Soy salami (yum!!!), soy yogurt (yum!!), some kind of shredded cheese (v. old), and...I spy a tomato! Top shelf, l-r, we see that NBTR stores her natural peanut butter upside down (that way the oil rises to the bottom (clever, eh?), ye olde Marinara di Napoli, soy milk, and yummie fruit sauces.


Ahh, where the wild things are! Top shelf, l-r: Irish oatmeal, of course (in freezer to discourage ants), garden VEGETABLE lasagne (not just like dad used to make, but good!), penne pepperonata, and look, fish! Bottom shelf, l-r: my favorite meataballs! Red pesto something, and fire-roasted VEGETABLE ravioli. Hmm. I detect a theme... (Note bags of flour, sugar, baking chocolate (all in freezer to foil ants) and frozen peas, which are purely for medicinal use and have been applied to every body part you can think of. So, if I ever serve peas ... don't say I didn't warn you.)

The Refrigerator Door—Inside

There's nothing to see here, people, move along. Except for two bottles of limoncello, I'd be afraid to touch anything else.

The Refrigerator Door—Outside

I had to squish everything together so that you could see it. You wouldn't necessarily guess from this that I don't actually drink. Much.

What's on Top?

I do use the mixmaster, which is now 20+ years old; the other stuff is about the same age. (I think someone gave me that cream sherry for my wedding! In 18xx. yeah.)

What's That Typewritten List Say?

You're going to have to get up real close to see.

I should really trade this model in for one of those fridges you take to college.

Please send food.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Down But Not Out

There's been so much commotion lately about the big Rise and Shine contest (two thoughts on the results: it's the first time I've ever placed! and, always a bridesmaid...) that I haven't brought y'all up to speed on the state of my err, delicate medical condition.

The state is this:

I saw the doctor last Thursday for my six-week post-op "you're-all-healed-and-ready-to-run-now" check-up, and she said, and I quote, "No running for you for six more weeks. No aerobics of any kind. Blah blah blah blah blah."

We must not have been reading the same brochures.

After much back-and-forth, I bargained her down to a four-week follow-up visit so that she could check the state of the union.

So, I felt sorry for myself, re-started my countdown counter, over there--------->, and am back to walking. So far this week: four miles on Sunday and Monday. (Do you people have ANY IDEA how long it takes to walk four miles?!?! Walkers, I have a new respect for you!!)

Other new things I am now allowed to do: WALK on the treadmill at an incline, and I may do sit-ups. (I may. And in fact, should.)

And that, my friends, is that.


In the spirit of unbridled optimism, for which I am well known, I signed up for this, Oct. 7.