Friday, November 30, 2007

David as You've Never Seen Him

DSL Connection not working...last day of NaBloPoMo!!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sedaris Fever

One more day ... and then? Fabulous prizes!!! Then I can stop this day-by-day recitation of my life and times. At least until next week.

I just got back from seeing

(Amy Sedaris, sister of my fav author David Sedaris, of Santaland Diaries fame. (Which if you haven't read, you must go buy immediately. Or e-mail me, I'll send you a copy. THAT'S HOW GOOD THIS BOOK IS.) Amy is a very funny lady. Although since I don't get cable, I've never seen her show.)

Spinning was on the menu this morning. Class starts at 6:30 a.m. I left the house at: UPDATE:5:22 a.m. (So that made no sense. I left the house at 6:22 a.m.--See, that's why I need a medal.) And I still had to drive to work, change into workout clothes and drive to the gym. Arrival time at spin class? 6:34.

Why don't they give medals for races like that?

Though I must say that the song selection is slipping. This morning was eh. Only one Talking Heads.

In other news, David and Mrs. David are coming to a town near me this weekend and we're trying to arrange a place to go to dinner.

I have absolutely nothing left to say.

Good night!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Moving On

Is always the hardest part, but move on I will.

I woke up at 5 a.m., and was out the door by 6, and on the trail at 6:30. Always beautiful at that hour, and fairly quiet. I've been listening to The Sunday Philosophy Club: An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery and trying to take my mind off the events of yesterday, and the upcoming events of today.

Today was a hard day, and there will be more hard days to follow. But it was a good lesson for me to learn, though unfortunately it was at someone else's expense. Believe me, I learned. I learned that words can seriously wound. A lesson you'd think I'd know by this age.

In other hard things, I'm trying hard to find a bell-ringing replacement for Dec. 9 (if you know one, contact me!) so that I can go to Fredericksburg and see whose butt I can kick. Plus, I just loooong to see Susie and David.

Meanwhile, let's entertain ourselves with the thought, which is really just an inkling of a minor inclination, really just a momentary synapse, nothing more, that I just might possibly, maybe, really not sure just yet, be interested in doing, which is to say, this.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Longest Month

Is it me, or does this seem like a never-ending (NaBloPoMo) month??

Maybe it's just me.

Something unfortunate happened today at work. By mistake, I sent a snarky e-mail about someone. I thought I was sending it to my friend, someone with whom I occasionally snark about work, and other things, but no. Instead, in my dazed state, I send it to the person himself.

This person immediately called me, was furious, yelled at me (rightly so), and will likely never trust me again.

But worse, I've hurt his feelings.

What's the solution? I apologized via e-mail, and I will again in person. But the damage has been done and I fear it's severe.

I can only hope I've learned my lesson about being snarky about other people. I can be a real ass sometimes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Locked and Loaded

Because I cannot tell a lie, I must report that apparently 4.2 + 3.1 ≠ 8.5.

Who knew?

So, instead of doing 9 miles at altitude, or even 8.5 I did 7.3. But 3.1 of them were with the Little Dictator, so right there that = 6. Toss in the altitude, and I'm claiming 10!!!


Number One Daughter and I had a great weekend with Bex, but were jerked back to reality far too quickly. There really should be a re-entry, detox program for people returning from California to D.C. Honestly.

We landed at Dulles International Airport at about 5:30 a.m., ahead of schedule, and stood in line to take the bus to the parking lot that's about as far from the terminal as you can get and still be in Virginia. Like, really, really far.

When we left in the wee hours of Thanksgiving Day (last Thursday for my international readers) as NOD and I were climbing into my car (the one without a working radio) we cleverly made a last-minute tactical decision to take her car (that would be the one with the working radio) instead of mine (that would be the one without the working radio). We decided this in the parking lot. NOD's keys were upstairs in her room, but I had an extra set to her car, so all was good. (Yes, you know exactly where this is going...)

All was good right up until we de-boarded the bus to the extremely far away parking lot (if you de-plane, why can't you de-board???), wandered around looking for the car for a few minutes, found the car, unlocked it, threw our bags in and ...(The ClubTM is a really, really, REALLY, good anti-theft device. Like ridiculously good.)

Not until we were in the car did we look at each other and say, "Oh, $@!!." That's when we realized that the key to the the Club was safely at home in NOD's room, nestled cozily amongst her other keys.

But no problem! It's for situations exactly like this that I pay my yearly fee to AAA. We called and they sent a locksmith after about a 40-minute wait. He pulled out his handy lock picks.

(On sale now for that special someone.)

I watched, fascinated, because this is the part that is REALLY EASY IN ALL THE DETECTIVE NOVELS. He tried this, he tried that. He picked this way, he picked that way. And then? He gave up. He said the only thing to do was saw it off, but also said 1) he didn't have a saw, and 2) that could lead to the airbag deploying.

There was nothing for it but to re-board the bus, go back to the terminal, get more coffee, hire a cab back to Bethesda ($65, in case you're wondering), pick up my car and NOD's key to THE CLUB, and drive back out to Dulles, back into the extremely cheap and far away parking lot, back to NOD's car, where she UNLOCKED the $#!~!@ CLUB, and after more coffee, we were on our way home.

Time from getting off the plane de-plane-ing until we arrived home—for good—=5.5 hours.

Time from SFO to Washington Dulles airport? 5.5 hours.

And that, my friends, is how you do that.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

No Ski But Run

Sadly, we'll be leaving beautiful Lake Tahoe later today. We had hoped to get some skiing in (like I ski) but alas, no snow, although the resorts are doing their best pumping out the fake stuff. I had hoped to spend a day falling down the bunny slope, but you will have to wait for those photos.

I woke up at 6 a.m. Eastern Time today, and am sitting in front of a nice warm fire sipping tea with Nelson at my feet while the rest of the house sleeps. This is my favorite time of day. It's about 30F outside, and feels like snow.

(Mr. Nelson, a fine, fine dog.)

Yesterday, I ran about an hour on my own, out and back. Altitude was not a problem, except for the breathing part. After an hour Bex met me and took me another 45 minutes on a rolling course, and tried her best to teach me how to run. "Match my cadence," she intoned. Many a time she was walking while I was running. That's a real upper, let me tell you. But somewhere in the middle there I got my run on and did as I was told. "Pick it up, you're slowing down!" I think Bex should start a podcast, where she barks commands into her listener's ears. I'd subscribe! I think I did maybe 8.5 miles, but I ran them instead of plodding them. I surprised myself. At one point my heart rate hit 200 bpm. But I felt fine. Except for the breathing part.

(Bex and Mr. Bex, our most gracious hosts.)

As Nelson would say, could he talk, we shall return.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Training at Altitude

We have a winner!!! Technically, it's 21st C Mom, since she guessed California a few days ago. Of course, that's kind of like guessing the East Coast. So 21st and D.C. Spinster can duke it out for the fabulous prize (TBD).

I'm here at beautiful Lake Tahoe with Number One Daugher visiting the charming Bex family. We spent a lovely Thanksgiving crashing the Bex husband's family's celebration, then drove up to Tahoe on Friday morning. It's now about 11 a.m. Eastern Time, or as I like to call it, Real Time, and the Bex entourage, and NOD, are all fast asleep.

Yesterday we hiked up to Eagle Lake, and took way too many photos. Every vista is scenic, and it's hard to resist.

(Trying to get the Christmas card shot just right.)

(Bex in the lead, as usual. It was a big-ass hill.)

(Donner Pass, where we resisted the urge to nibble.)

Today I hav 9 miles on the schedule, and Bex said she'd push me along. I've heard, correct me if I'm wrong, that training at altitude is actually good for you.

What doesn't kill you ...

Pain is just weakness leaving ...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Four Things

This tagging thing is great! During NaBloPoMo at least, so that I don't have to keep thinking of fascinating things to blog about. But after November, all bets are off.. (Oh, and the contest is still on, but one person was very very close. Results disclosed tomorrow!)

First: Five miles this a.m., took about 57 minutes. Hard slog, but I kept at it. CANNOT imagine doing this for 13.1. (I do believe I've said that before. Several million times.)

On to the tagging, for whom I have LBTEPA to thank:

Four dishes I like to cook:
Well, this presupposes I like to cook. Actually, I do like to cook, but cooking for one is a drag, and cooking for me and NOD not so much fun either (one of us a vegetarian, one is not....)


1. Homemade yeast bread (NOT made in a bread machine). Nothing smells finer.
2. Nigella Lawson's LemonDrop. Only to be used during the off-season. Whenever that is.
3. Baking complicated desserts, such as Nigella Lawson's Chocolate-Coffee volcano cake, which she claims in her book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, is "infant-school easy." My butt.
4. My father's lasagna.

Four qualities I love in people:
1. Must adore me.
2. Laugh at my jokes (wait: is this a single's ad???)
3. Must tell the truth.
4. Must love surprises.

Four places I have been:
1. Ireland
2. Spain
3. Canada
4. England

Four things in my bedroom
1. Books
2. Books
3. Bed
4. Clothes (really, mostly books)

Four dirty words I like to use:
1. The eff bomb
2. As in, WTF?
3. Or, simply, TF?
4. Or, F***!!

And, as is my humanitarian practice, the tagging stops here. Although if you are participating in NaBlowPoMo, feel free to consider yourself tagged.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Early Swim

It's 5:49 a.m. and I'm off to swim.

And since this is a running blog, here's yesterday's stats: 5 miles in 54(ish) minutes.

Last night at bell-ringing practice I discovered our group is slotted to play on Dec. 9. Too bad I'll be running a half-marathon that day with my good friends Susie and David. Am I the only one who consistently double-books myself??

I'm tired and grouchy. And I can't swim 1,000 yards. It's simply not possible. What was I thinking???

NaBloPoMo, you suck.

UPDATE, 6:30 a.m. Of course, my goggles broke the minute I set foot in the water. After all, I had used them a total of FOUR times, so I guess they were due. I debated—what to do? Breast stroke? Surely not for 1,000 yards. I bit the bullet and did the crawl, eyes wide open. I know look like I spent the night sobbing. If my day continues to be this fun, I might just keep updating!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Why Why Why

When, when I know how badly donuts make me feel, do i feel COMPELLED to eat one—or two!—every production day (once a week) when our exec managing editor brings in THREE boxes of them!!!! On his own dime, bless his heart! And then of course, he does not eat a single one.

I eat it, it's not that good, I feel bad.

Next week? I do it again.

It's inexplicable. Someone, please explain it to me.

(No, no not Aruba. Come on people! Next hint: The person I am visiting is an RBF member.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Day of Rest

This morning my church's choir, and assorted musicians, played/sang Gabriel Fauré's Requiem. If you like spectacular choral/orchestral pieces, you would have loved this. The music program at my church is incredibly strong, with nary a guitar mass to be found. (For the record, this piece is also known as the "Mass for the Dead.")

My little bell group, the Celtic ringers, played three non-Fauré pieces for the prelude to the service.

At our practice just before the service, our bell director, staring directly at me, suggested, in the kindest possible way, that we "practice our decorum." Meaning that, if for instance, say you play 10 wrong notes and then totally lose your place? Try not to grimace, shout sorry, and perhaps it would be best not to utter any curse words before a packed house of oh, 800 or so.

Who, me?

I took many deep breaths and managed not to drop a bell on anyone's head.


I'm a woman of wide and varied musical tastes.

So Peter, for you, since you asked, here's a look at the late (the group is late, not David) and oh-so-great, ever-so-ironic, brilliant David Byrne and Talking Heads, which the other Peter played just before he played some Stones, sending me head-over-heels into ... a spinfest o' happiness:

(Just be glad I didn't embed Fauré's Requiem.)

(Hint to yesterday's quiz: Yes, it will require an airport.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


OK, so maybe I'm not totally over my time addiction.

But you can blame the kind people at Timex IronMan iControl, who sent me this to review:

I had 8 miles on the schedule this morning, and I was hooking up with my 10-mile training group who are unofficially training for a half. Only their half—cleverly—is in March—2008. While mine is in three weeks. And next week, I am going to an exotic secret location—to be revealed later—where I somehow don't think I'll be doing any running.

So, let's do the math, cuz we know that's my strong point:
Week of November 18: Will run 4 on Monday, 4 on Wednesday, then travel to exotic secret location, returning Monday morning, November 26.

Week of November 26: Will do a 9-mile long run.

Week of December 2: Long run will be 13.1 miles.

I want to curl into the fetal position and suck my thumb.

Anyhoo, as I was saying, the Timex peeps sent me their iPod watch thing to test. I was running late this morning, and managed to get it out of the box but didn't have time to set up the iPod bit (yes, I know, that's the EASY part).

So I ran my 8 miles using their trusty watch. And I can report that the watch worked fine, but the buttons were a little unresponsive. Plus I couldn't figure out how to save my workout. Maybe it gets saved automagically?

The group was doing 6 miles today, and they were running along the C&O canal towpath, which is flat and pebbly. We met where the C&O towpath connects with my beloved Capital Crescent Trail. When I asked if anyone was up for the Crescent Trail, I was met with a round of "no's"—because the CCT is every so slightly uphill, all the way to its end, a million miles away in Silver Spring.

What to do?

I went with my instincts, and the group went with theirs. Yes, the CCT is uphill going out, but it's oh-so-gloriously downhill coming back.

I've been feeling good lately. Feeling strong. Eating well. Training every single day. Yet I woke up with a slightly upset stomach. By .5 miles into this I wanted to quit. My legs felt like lead. I was hot in the 41F cold. I cursed the day I started swimming. To get better at running, I asked myself, you need to do what again? Could the answer possibly be RUN???


5.5 miles of today's run was dedicated to Ryan Shay, so that got me through most of it. Steve Runner got me through the rest.

And the Timex Ironman iControl (full review to come!) got a workout. Thankfully I had no stomach issues on the run, and equally thankfully, I took wore the damn belt and carried my own water.

So here's the breakdown:
Mile 1: 11:20
2: 11:20
3: 11:07 (I always say it takes your body 3 miles before it realizes it's even out of bed)
4: 11:18
5: 11:25
6: 11:17
7: 11:22
8: 10:55

Total: 1:30

I was pleased because no bathroom issues, I didn't puke, and I only took two scheduled walk breaks. And I think maybe, just maybe, all my swimming, biking, and spinning are making me stronger.

And, I didn't quit. Even though I felt like it many, many times.

I did end up with Runner's Headache, a malady I have apparently invented, and spent a good part of the day sleeping. I think I have Excessive Exercise Syndrome (EES).

Anyone care to guess where I'm headed next week?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Being Unreasonable

I went to a "wealth-building seminar" last night, though I tend to stay away from those kinds of things, because, you know, generally? They're bogus.

But this was put on by my mortgage broker (hmmm, this is sounding worse and worse).

And it was actually—not bad. The guy who presented it reviewed a lot of basic stuff, like how to make a budget. You know, stuff that I have no desire to learn and will probably never actually sit down and do. Although he claims that a budget is KIND OF KEY to building wealth.


But the guy said one thing that actually stuck with me, in amidst all the crap about assets and liabilities and income and expenses (that last part is where it all seems to fall apart).

Someone in the audience said to the presenter, who is now a gazillionaire, "It's important to be practical." Meaning, "Don't aim too high."

And the gazillionaire, who claims to have been $60K in debt in 1996, and not only climbed out, but over and up, said that he disagreed. He repeated that old saw about if you aim low, you can be pretty sure you'll hit your target. He said that it was important to "be unreasonable."

When he was $60K in debt, he set a goal to retire on $100K a year. And then he met that goal.

Naturally, I applied all of this financial info to fitness, triathlon, running. (The whole money part? Yeah, that blew right over my head.)

I'm taking a stand for unreasonableness. I would never in my wildest imagination thought that I could run a marathon, and certainly never ever ever thought I could swim 1,000 yards (yes, it is yards) at one go. Ever. Nevermind get on a bike after that and then run (of course we have yet to see...but that's not the point!)

The point is to take a risk. Push yourself. Go out on a limb.

Maybe your version of being unreasonable is asking for what you need. Or taking an unpopular stand.

Or signing up for swimming lessons.

I don't know.

For me, trying to become a triathlete, even my teensy version of one, is totally and utterly unreasonable. Running a marathon, or a half (upcoming!), is totally unreasonable.

For me, three years ago, running one mile was totally unreasonable.

Who knows where this little game could end?

Point is: I liked the guy's point!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Spin Me

So this morning at 6:30 was spinning. With the very well put together Peter.

Remember my love affair with spin instructor Jeff? No?? Well Jeff made me laugh my head off. It was like spinning with, oh, I don't know, George Carlin. So that alone made me fall in love. But he stopped teaching, to focus on his triathlon career. Selfish bas****!!!

Then came T, a chick who was a no-show one morning at 6:30. Which is so against all the rules it's not even funny. And then the next week she showed up 20 minutes late. Mysteriously, she doesn't work there any more.

Next up was Peter. I was still jonesing for Jeff, but Peter would have to do, despite the fact that there was a RING ON HIS LEFT hand.

Peter doesn't make me laugh. But he plays the best music. Plus, he's a yoga instructor, so he's all about peace and he's all about stretching the spine, keeping the torso long, yada yada. He keeps the lights off while puts us through 45 minutes of pure, sheer hell. But his soft voice makes it like yoga spinning. Or Spinga. Yoging?

This morning he played TWO Rolling Stones song, plus a Talking Heads! I mean really. Where do you find a man like that?!!! I told him I only come for the music, which made him laugh. Afterwards, he actually talked to me. He said "It seems like we have the same taste in music." And like the suave and sophisticated woman you have come to know and love, I stammered, "Um, yeah, we must be the same age." (Which dear God, I hope is true, otherwise I just insulted him.)


That man has taste.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Run, Swim, Bike, Run

Monday: Ran 4 miles

Tuesday: Swam 1,000 (feet? yards? what?!) I did 5 LAPS (25'=1 length) x 3= 15 lengths, or 30 (10 laps x 3) x 25' = 750'. Plus 50' warm up and 50' cool down. So that = 850'. So I had to do another 150' to make it an even 1000'. Except that I can't do math, so someone please point out the horrific math error I am making.

I didn't crash into anyone. The sky was overcast, rain falling softly, pool mostly empty at 5:45 a.m.

Wednesday morn: Up early, rode bike to work while the sun rose. I had to keep stopping and looking at my directions since I'm taking back roads so that I don't get killed. Two other bikers opened the door for me at work, so I made my entrance to applause. That was nice. (The applause didn't last though.) I carried my work clothes all rolled up in a ball in my backpack. (It's the grunge look.) It only took me one week to ride my bike back to work. (You'll be happy to hear that I am taking the bus home tonight because it is too dark to ride, E.)

Wednesday night: First hill workout in months. One mile warm-up, 2x .25 mile hill, one mile cool-down. My iPod stopped right in the middle of the first hill. It's a cruel, cruel world.

So my week so far? I would sum up thusly:


Stay tuned for:
Thursday: Spinning class!
Friday: More swim!
Saturday: Long run!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tag, I'm It

Here are the Rules:
• Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
• Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
• Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
• Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are my taggers (at least the ones I know about):
Juls of Keeping Pace and Peter of D.C. Spinster

I considered doing a silly one, and believe me, I've got the material, but wasn't in the mood. So here are five maybe-not-so-interesting random facts about me:

(You know I vaguely recall doing this before. Several times. But here we go again because I am SUCH a good sport!)

1. I've wanted to be a writer since I was in kindergarten.

2. I tried pot a few times in college (1970s, people, a long, long time ago), and the only thing pot ever did for me was make me puke. (Which when you think about it is odd, because isn't pot what's sometimes prescribed for cancer patients who are nauseated?) Except for that one day I was determined to find out what the attraction was, and I think whatever I smoked must have had a little something extra in it, because I literally saw little cogs turning around inside Eugene Tyrell's head. And then I puked. In the men's room.

3. I was married to a blind man (that would be Number One Daughter's dad). We talk when we have to but I'm seriously thinking of inviting him and his new girlfriend over for Christmas dinner. (It's just an idle thought so far.) Don't ask me why; I have no idea.*

4. I dated a guy in college (Boston University) whose older brother hotly pursued me until he convinced me to visit him in NYC. I did and it was a total disaster. I ended up stuck for the weekend with this guy (the brother) who treated me like crap. To top it off, just before I boarded the bus back to Boston at Port Authority, my ticket and wallet were pickpocketed. And I had to call that creepy guy to bail me out. (I have NO idea what made me think of this!)

5. My mother left home when I was 12. I had a tempestuous upbringing to say the least. I remember the paddy wagon coming to arrest my father shortly thereafter, in the middle of the night, and the police leaving me and my brother alone after they arrested my father. That's how the did it in those days. They arrested him for harassing my mother. But that's not why she left. My father started harassing her after she left. She left because she was seeing another man. I grew up in an upper middle-class family in New Haven, just in case you were picturing the Bowery.

Too much info?

I'm going to break the rules and not name the next five people, so if you just read this, consider yourself tagged.

*Turns out, I already told this tidbit in another tag. I'm including it again for the benefit of my new readers, cuz you gotta admit, it's kind of interesting!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Addicted to Time

Your lights are on, but you're not home
Your mind is not your own
Your heart sweats, your body shakes
Another look is what it takes

You can't sleep, you can't eat
Theres no doubt, you're in deep
Your throat is tight, you can't breathe
Another glance is all you need

Whoa, you like to think that you're immune to the garmin,

oh Yeah

It's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough,
you know you're

Gonna have to face it, you're addicted to time*

Are you, dear friends, addicted to time? To timing your splits? To keeping track of every single minute of every single run?

I can relate. I used to be one of you.

Until Number One Daughter's BF—you know, the future Olympian rower—suggested I toss the watch. He gave me some mumbo jumbo about how checking the watch was messing with my psychological functions. (How could he tell?)

His theory is that when I see how long I've run, it makes me more tired and I lose my will.

Plus, he pointed out that it's not like I'm an elite athlete who needs to know every detail of every run.

And FINALLY, he said he thought my addiction to the watch was interfering with me ever having any fun while running.

My trusty $35 Ironman quit on me shortly after this speech. So I didn't replace it. Hence, I've been running sans watch for several weeks.

And I have this to say: I love it.

I KNOW this is purely psychological, but curiously, without a watch, I haven't had to walk once. Not even on my LONG 6 mile run. I have no idea how slow I am but my goal at the moment is just to finish without walking and without plodding.

I think I'm doing both.

Now I'm lucky enough to run on a trail with mile markers, so I can at least track my distance. And I don't own a garmin and wouldn't know what to do with one if I did have one. And one day —soon, like really, really soon, I promise!—I'm going to need to hit the track. And there I'll probably need a watch. Maybe.

But based on my experiment of one, I'm claiming that running without timing miles is a success!

The proof, of course, will be in the Blue-Gray Half on December 10, when I drag my sad and sorry butt over the finish line. But until then, I'm addicted to running NEKKED.

Now for your viewing pleasure, let's all take a trip on the wayback machine:

I bet those girls are really good musicians!

*Apologies to Robert Palmer, R.I.P.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Some images from Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY. Your regularly scheduled NBTR posts will continue on Monday (and I hope you noticed that thru the magic of the calendar, I didn't miss a day!)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Being Quiet

It's that time of year again.

The leaves are still turning, a chill is in the air. And by the time you read this, I will be safely ensconced in the wonder of Holy Cross Monastery for my parish's annual silent retreat.

It's funny how much comfort the silence of this retreat brings me, considering I already pretty much live like a monk. It's pretty silent at home. But I'm not home all that often, except to eat, sleep, and do endless loads of laundry. So it feels luxurious to be surrounded by people who are also keeping silent, allowing ourselves to be drawn in by the rituals of the Daily Office (the daily services kept by the monks).

It's not for everyone. But it's for me and I look forward to it every year.

I'll see ya on the flip side, Sunday night.

Friday, November 09, 2007

In Memorium: Ryan Shay

Our own amazing hip came up with the idea to honor the memory of Ryan Shay, who died at mile 5.5 of the U.S. Olympic Trials on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Jeff's idea is this: On Saturday, Nov. 17, we all dedicate 5.5 miles of our runs to Ryan's memory. is publicizing this (virtual) event, along with Steve Runner in podcast #122.

If you plan to participate, please leave a comment over at CRN. We hope this effort will give some small measure of comfort to the Shay family.

Read more about Ryan over at, where they've collected a lot of stories.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What Makes Good Blog?

How do you decide what blogs you follow?

I have about a gazillion in my bloglines, and then another few hundred in a standalone reader at work.

So, the other day I was trying to tidy things up by deleting some blogs from my readers (my FEED readers, not my people readers!) so that my life didn't feel so completely and utterly out-of-control. Seeing a loooong list of bolded blogs in bloglines that you just know you will never ever read is dispiriting. But I couldn't do it. It felt like a betrayal. Nevermind that I barely know what some of these blogs are about.

I started thinking about which blogs I like and why. And then I thought about NaBloPoMo. And then I thought, hey, this will make a good post!

So, here are some of my criteria for what makes me love a blog (I purposely left out blog names to protect the innocent):

1. Friends. If I know you, either in real life or virtually, I'll be a reader. Unless you are the absolute worst writer on earth. Or extensively use constructions like, "WOULD OF," instead of, "WOULD HAVE." (Am I the only person driven insane by this??)

2. Make me laugh. I don't care if I barely understand what is being discussed—say, for instance, incomprehensible bike crap (you know who you are) if you make me laugh, I'm all yours.

3. Clever. I love cleverly written blogs. Those written in a voice, or with attitude, or style. I also aspire to be

4. Inspired. Though I will say, because I am shallow, I usually go for funny over inspirational. A good inspirational post every now and then is good for the soul.

5. If you're a worse runner than I am, though I am loathe to PUBLICLY HUMILIATE MYSELF BY ADMITTING THIS, I'll probably read both of you.

6. If you are a kick-ass, take-no-names runner, and you are STILL nice and encouraging to me, I'm also all yours, no questions asked.

7. You write about stuff I care about. Obvi.

8. You post more than once every six months. (Although I'm seriously considering revising this one. Every six months might be juuuust fine.)

9. Are you from another country? Yep, shallow-meter kicks in.

10. You give good comment? I'm reading you!

11. You have great stories, and tell them well. Preferably illustrated.

Now I fall waaaay short of my own list. Heck, I don't even live in another country! So I realize this is a potentially snobby exercise.

Still. We all must have some set of rules to read by.

So, what are YOURS? Why do you read who you read? How do you decide when to take someone off your list?

(You people participating in NaBloWmeIcantposteverydayMO will thank me for this post.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Maiden Voyage

You are looking at a woman who just rode her FANTASTIC NEW DONATED by SUSIETM BIKE home from work for the first time, in the dark, using directions cobbled together from the internets, in 46F, and who did not fall off (it was close), get run over, mauled by an errant post or fireplug in the middle of the freakin' sidewalk, or gored by a "deer with horns," as one kind driver rolled down her window to tell me was awaiting me up ahead on the sidewalk of the six-lane highway I had to ride on for about 1/4 mile. That's when I started singing "I Whistle a Happy Tune, So No One Will Suspect I'm Afraid."

It was a BLAST.

Riding through nearly deserted (car-deserted, anyways) darkened neighborhoods, with the wind blowing, the leaves rustling, the smell of fall in the air, the sights and sounds coming from cozily lit houses along the way—where all the normal people live. Ya don't get that in a car!

In fact, it really starts to pain me when I think of how many years I've spent killing this planet by driving when I could have been riding.

I followed this map, which came with directions and which I read by the light of my bike lamp. What was tough to read were the street signs. The route went through many back streets, except for that 1/4 mile of hell where the deer, antelope, and insane drivers roam. It was so fantastic being out in the cold, with my makeshift bike clothes and my new bike pedals thank you aj. I was toasty warm.

Here's the route I followed from downtown Bethesda to my home sweet home.

If there are any Bethesda riders out there who can tell me how to avoid Old Georgetown Road to get to Montgomery Mall, without ending up on Democracy Blvd., I'm all ears. Tonight I took this route only to Old Georgetown, where I diverted and rode up Old Georgetown, past the Giant and up and over 270.

But whatever. I can't wait to do it again. But there are a few precautions I'm going to have to take such as learning how to change a flat and carrying all that crap with me.

Oh, and trying to retain feeling in my butt would be nice too.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm In! Again!

After some severe arm twisting, I decided against the $5 Dec. 1 DCRR Gar-Williams half-marathon, because why choose the cheap option when you can pay $30 more? And participate in a small race with fast runners? Oh, and did I mention this course is "rolling," a.k.a, "all uphill"???

It's the Fredericksburg Blue-Gray Marathon! Which I fondly remember from the window of a warm car last year. I'm doing it mostly primarily SOLELY so I can visit with the lovely Susie and David and see all the purty "It's a Wonderful Life" decorations that downtown Fredericksburg pulls out during the Christmas season. You'll remember this event from last year, when I did such a stellar job taking photos of Bex and Susie and David.

I told Susie I'd do it as long as she could give me some reasonable hope that I would not be last.

Here's how it went down:

me: do you want me at your place again, hogging the bed??? [ED.'s NOTE: Apparently all four of us shared a bed last year. ha ha, just kidding!]
what if i'm the LAST ONE IN????
oh well.
Susan: Yes, absoluele!
me: that would be a first.
Susan: Geesh, I can't type
You won't be...let me check the times. hold on
me: k
i mean, it has to happen sometime.
now is as good a time as any!
Sent at 5:44 PM on Sunday
Susan: I see some 2:36, 2:48....they don't have them by age group.
Besides, it doesn't matter, right? I'ts your effort. We would LOVE to have you come and stay with us [ED.'s NOTE: DOESN'T MATTER??! EASY FOR HER TO SAY!!]
me: ok, i'll take a look.
it doesn't matter! [ED's NOTE: I'm lying.]
like i said, it's bound to happen sometime.
might as well be now!
do they have water on the course? [ED'S NOTE: ONLY THING I CARE ABOUT...]
Susan: Now I'me excited again!! I have been so blah about this race. I think I'm tired of running in the dark and col...
Susan: Yes, they do. Last year, it was well staffed. The only pain in the ass is that HILL at the end
me: i well remember that hill.
Susan: I'll bet.
me: not the same way YOU remember it.
Susan: LOL

So she reluctantly sent me the finishers' list from last year.

After perusing it, all I can say is: Let's all hope that Paul H******* is running in a cast this year. That way, I'll be SECOND to last!

All I need is blueberry pancakes afterwards and I'm good.

Forewarned is forearmed, Susie. Or something like that!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Collision Course

When's the last time you collided, headfirst, with a 11-12 year-old kid with Down Syndrome? and it was YOUR fault?

Um, could it be NEVER? Would NEVER be the right answer??

Day three of my swim extravanganza. So far, (that would be the past two times), I've been sharing the if-it-were-any-slower-you'd-be-walking lane with a kid with Down Syndrome. He's awesome. His coach walks alongside the lane; this kid is a machine. He just goes and goes. Since there's just the two of us, we each take 1/2 of one lane, swimming up and down our half.

Half-way thru this morning's swim, some guy--in a blue speedo, of course--asks if he can share the lane. I say sure. This means we now have to circle swim--up one side, down the other. So I start doing that. Until this kid's coach asks me if I want to keep doing it. I say, well, aren't there three of us now? "Err, no," he says.

(Remember I can't see? I need to get those prescription goggles, or something soon, before I wreak more havoc.)

Apparently blue-speedo guy asked me to circle swim and then left the lane without telling me.

No problem.

I go back to swimming in my 1/2 lane. No more circling.

This morning was tougher than last week. I think because it was light out at 6:15. I don't like seeing what i'm doing wrong. There was sputtering, and panic, and anxiety. I was trying to relax--but don't stop that counting!--and I got into a groove a few times.

If you recall, bad things happen when I relax.

This morning, as I'm relaxing, getting into the groove, dreaming of swimming in the Schuykill, I relaxed right back into circle swimming. Which, if you recall, we were now NOT doing. I neglected to tell my little friend though, who of course was doing his workout PERFECTLY. Bastard!

And...ka-boom. I hit the poor kid right in the face.

But really. I mean REALLY! He stopped, looked at me, and continued.

I sputtered, muttered I'm sorry, my fault, over and over like a mantra.

Me=Grown Up Adult Who Knows What She Is Doing.

Him=Kid With Down Syndrome Who Now Knows Never to Trust Adults.

UPDATE: Don't forget to tell us why you blog. Lot of interesting answers so far.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I'm In!

Philadelphia trialthlon

The Philadelphia Insurance (?) Triathlon, June 21, so I'm sorry, I can't come to your wedding that day.

How hard can an .8K swim, 24K bike, and 5K run possibly be??

After all, I have 47 months left to train.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Perfect Week

Of training!

(Great answers, btw, on why you blog. Keep 'em coming!)

The week in review:

MONDAY: Swim: 750 yards

TUESDAY: Run 4 miles

WEDNESDAY: Swim 750 yards

THURSDAY: Spinning with hot sexy-in-a-quiet-yet-forceful-yogini-kinda-way instructor. (Sidebar: AM I DOOMED TO FALL IN LOVE WITH all my spinning instructors?? Well, I did not love Sylvia. Especially after she failed to show up at all one morning at 6, and the following week, showed up at 6:30. For a 45-min class. So the answer is: No, I'm not.)

FRIDAY: Run 4 miles

SATURDAY: Run 6 miles; followed by walking tour of quaint downtown, Frederick, MD for 97 hours.

The good: I've been waking up at 5:30 every morning. It's been glorious! Great weather. Chill in the air. Pitch black.

The bad: I've been going to bed at 11!

The good: I did it! I had a perfect week!

The bad: You'll never repeat it. So enjoy it while it lasts.

The good: Shut the hell up!!

The bad: I broke my glasses in half Friday morning, just before showering—at work of course. At 7:30. I am seriously blind. So I had to leave the car at work, walk to the bus, pick out the right bus, go to the mall, (all without seeing), wait til the store opened, and then, WITHOUT BENEFIT OF Number One Daughter, who is in charge of things that go on my face (usually), pick out new glasses. Thank God for LensCrafter. Two hours and $$$ later and I was back on the bus, at my desk and ready to work by: 2:00 p.m.!

The good: I get to drive my car because the bus gets me to work too late in the a.m. plus now I'm stopping to swim and to spin.

The bad: I have to drive my car!!! I'm tryin' to be green, people!

The really bad: My car radio is dead as a doornail.

The good: My car radio is dead. Requiring thinking.

Let's leave it at that.

UPDATE AND P.S.: BEST OF LUCK TO RUNNER SUSAN, DAVID, DANNY and everyone else running NYC tomorrow! May the wind be always at your back.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Why Do You Blog?

Someone asked me this perfectly natural question a week or so ago when I was in lovely Toronto at a conference, and I had to really stop and think.

I vaguely remember why I started it. I wanted to capture my journey from couch potato to marathoner. I was pretty damn sure one of the studios would find my blog, or at least a book publisher, and I'd be on. my. way.

So yes, becoming famous and wealthy was a goal. I'm a dreamer. Like John Lennon.

Then it turned into a dear diary. Then it became a way to keep up with all the many friends I'd made. Because somewhere along the way, it became a way to make friends. Some of the best friends I've ever had that I've never met came from this blog.

Does blogging sometimes just feel like a chore? A mind-numbing exercise in thinking? Trying to entertain, or engage you, the reader? Well, yes. (And I've heard most of you say this same thing about your blogs too. Come on, admit it.)

And how do you know when it's time to end?? (Not before Nov. 30!) Really, will there come a time when I'm just stick-a-fork-in-me-DONE?

Throughout these phases, I wanted always to use this blog to practice writing. I long to be a better writer, and I hear that practice makes perfect. I'm not sure that I'm putting the time in that I'd need to to really hone that skill. AND there are many (too many) times that I just dash off some thoughts ... sadly without much thought. Is that worthwhile too?

So what about it?

Why do you blog?

Thursday, November 01, 2007


You'll soon long for the day when I only posted every other week. Cuz it's time for National Blog Posting Month again.

Wherein I agree to post once a day for 30 days.

Maybe this will force me to reduce my posts from their formidable 10,000 words to something people can actually read.

We shall see.