Thursday, December 28, 2006

And now, 2007

People are getting all sentimental. Or they're getting all goal-oriented. Or, they're freaking out.

"Two-thousand and seven!" They scream it, as if they're surprised it's here.

"Two-thousand seven, no 'and'," I want to correct them.

I don't really believe in resolutions, you see. I don't believe in saying this year, this date, this calendar flipping moment will be the ONE thing that changes everything. I don't believe my life happens that way.

I believe, rather, that when we feel something and when we want it, really want it, that is the moment. It doesn't have to be the dawn of a new year, not even the dawn of a new day. It just has to be.

Nonetheless, I am a hypocrite. I still think about "resolutions" and things I'd like to do differently. My one rule, though, tends to be that I won't make consequential resolutions. I want to set myself up for success. That, I believe, is the key to getting many things we want. It's logical. If you don't want the dog to chew up your shoes, for crying out loud, put them away. Same goes with a resolution, I think. If you want to succeed, be realistic- accept the challenge and prepare for success.

Driving home in the snow today, I was trying to make my list. First, I thought of music. I want more music in my life. And not just that, but I want NEW music- music new to me, that will open my mind yet not offend me (note: Expect demanding post in near future). Second, I want more time to appreciate new things, like art and distant shores. After number one and two, I realized that it really comes down to one goal: I want to be more aware. I want more moments in which I feel like I'm only in that moment, appreciating everything it has to offer and knowing that it was made just for me.

So, in my non-resolute but never missing a chance to join the bandwagon frenzy, in 2007 I want to do something simple, that can only reap benefits.

Take time. Enjoy. Be aware.

Look up.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

High on Christmas

I'm still ridiculously giddy about the last three days. Days spent in a fury of gift wrap, visiting, food and drink. I finished one last shopping trip on Saturday and at the sight of my last gift wrapped and ribboned, I almost didn't know what to do with myself.

But then I did. Party, of course. A Saturday night party, a Christmas Eve breakfast, a Christmas eve lunch, a gathering at Grandmas and a Christmas Day dinner of lasagna, salad (both with excessively wonderful amounts of garlic) and cookies all made for a lovely weekend of tasting goodness. The homemade pie at Grandma's after the football game was TO. DIE. FOR.

A four mile run on the treadmill on Saturday, twenty-five minutes on the bike on Sunday and a run yesterday in which I didn't track the miles or time because it was just so good made for a good maintenance plan to balance out the to-die-for treats of the season.

Christmas Day began with some chai tea and the opening of a couple gifts. Then, it was off to the soup kitchen where I ended up delivering meals to several folks unable to leave their homes for a hot meal. Once again, I feel as though I'm the one who's received a gift as I'm reminded of the pricelessness of even one day of health, family and friendship. In all the trials in this world, I truly have been spared and blessed several times over.

A friend of mine's dad, whenever asked how he's doing answers: "Better than I deserve and often too stupid to enjoy it." Isn't that the truth?

After my delivery person stint, I stopped by the parent's house for even more Christmas cheer. In all these years, my mother still maintains the title of Slowest Gift Opener Ever. She sits and watches everyone else open gifts and then proceeds to open hers not by tearing paper from the gift itself but so delicately pulling it apart that if you didn't see her hands on the package, you'd imagine that the paper were removing itself from the box by sheer will alone. You aren't sure whether to be impressed by her patience and tenderness or grab the box out of her hand and do it yourself before we grow old, forgoodnesssakes!

Later, in the sunny, sunny thirty-nine degree afternoon weather, I went for a run. My knee is still quite unhappy and the side streets and trails are still covered in snow and ice but thanks to warm sun, no wind and Yaktrax I had one of the best runs I've had in a while and, arguably, the best Winter run I'd ever had. The snow crunching under my feet and sometimes coming up as deep as just below the knee in some spots created an interesting, yet peaceful run. Everyone was inside gifting and footballing which left the roads free of traffic and left me to run right down the middle. It's so good, feeling as though the road is yours for a day. I could have gone on forever.

A freeing run to take time to reflect on a fulfilling day followed by a non-traditional Christmas meal to conclude all of it left me feeling thankful and looking forward to the new year and new days to come.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Where ever you find it

I went to the store, and everyone was in a good mood. No grouchy shoppers.

I took new toys to the toy drive and the line to drop off was nearly as long as the line of those waiting to get in.

I went to a family dinner and managed to get hugs from my teenaged cousins.

I saw my nephew's first picture with Santa Claus.

I get more Chirstmas cards every year.

The sun came out and melted just enough snow.

I ran four miles with no pain.

I took the dog on a walk and a scruffy kid with too-baggy pants and an unzipped coat stopped to pet her. And said Merry Chirstmas as he walked away.

May the spirit be where ever you can find it.

Best wishes and good health to you and yours.

Friday, December 22, 2006

My Lame Brain Means You Get Stuff

However, whether you consider it something that is to your benefit, well you can decide.

First, here are the infamously simple recipes of the cookies from last weekend:


1/2 C peanut butter
1/2 C butter, softened (not melted, this is important- trust me)
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla (I hear authentic Mexican vanilla is best but I've yet to test that theory)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 C flour

Mix peanut butter until smooth. Add sugars, egg, and vanilla and stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Roll dough into 1" balls and place about 2" apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Press flat with a fork in a criss-cross (will make you Jump Jump!) pattern to 1/4".
Bake at 375 (F) until golden brown (approximately 10-12 minutes).


1/2 C butter
1/2 C shortening
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
2 2/3 C flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

In a small bowl, combine a separate portion of cinnamon and sugar. Mix together for the "coating" of the cookies.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients (the order doesn't really matter because you're going to mix your butt off no matter what- it's a bit of a dense dough). Roll into 1" balls and then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place about 2" apart on a baking sheet.
Bake at 400 (F) for 8-10 minutes.

***BONUS, because I like them and you***


Melt and cool:
3/8 C shortening
3/8 C margarine

1 C sugar
1/4 C molasses
1 egg

Sift together (or, if you're like me you've never seen the point of sifting for cookies so you just mix it- and I tried it both ways just in case and the end result could not have been more alike the one I didn't sift.):
2 tsp. baking soda
2 C flour
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 (F). Mix ingredients well by hand and chill for 30 minutes (this part, however, did prove to be important- that molasses is dang sticky!). Form into 1" balls, roll in granulated sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will crinkle while baking and they are actually supposed to be a little darker than you think- that's the molasses!
(Makes about 3 dozen.)


Now, for the 3 and 3 eating plan.

First, I am not a nutritionist, dietitian, doctor, medical professional of any kind.

I got a couple of emails about the plan and critiquing my approach. Here's the thing I should have mentioned but inadvertently left out because it was logical in my head: You cannot just go eating every thing you want or see every three hours. Duh, right? You can't have a five egg omelet with bacon and toast for breakfast at 7:00, then have a burger and fries at 10:00, and then a tuna melt and salad at 1:00, ice cream at 4:00 and then steak and baked potato at 7:00 again. Obviously, that will not work.

When my old trainer started me on this, my goal was to shoot for an AVERAGE of 300 calories per meal. That means a total of 1500 calories per day, MAXIMUM. I usually stay around 1200 when I'm not doing cardio work outs (like now) and 1500 when I'm running, biking, etc. That was/is specifically tailored for me, my body and my goals. What's best for you will likely depend on you, your body and your goals. It might be worth a try, is all I'm saying. Six pounds in eleven days is just the jump that almost any plan will be able to give you in the beginning. With good eating choices and exercise, any healthy plan will average out to a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week.

That said, happy holidays to all, and to all a cookie-filled night! (Did I mention I get one free day a week if I want it? Hehehe.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Not that you wanted to go anywhere, anyway

It may be difficult to see in this picture, but I am freaking buried in snow. That's the "view" out of my patio door and if you look closely, you can see the top edge of the drift just before the railing. I'm taking the photo from above, so you can sort of see the drift comes about a third of the way up the door.
In other words: it was dang snowy and windy for a dang long time.
Thankfully, the job decided it wasn't safe for everyone to come in today... I won't talk about how it took them the entirety of the "delayed start" to decide this because that would just be silly. The important part is, I'm at home and I get to wrap presents all day.
I'm happy to get this finished now because inevitably, I've forgotten to get someone something and now I'll have a couple more days to get my act together. Yes, I've had lists -come on, who do you think I am?- but there's just always that one little gift you forget.
I'm also a little upset with Amazon as the CD box sets I've ordered for my grandma aren't here yet and they were ordered over two weeks ago. Don't make me hate you, Amazon, just. don't. do it.
The snow is probably going to throw a wrench in my plan for running this weekend, too. Following doctor's orders I've taken the last two weeks off from any running, so I was hoping to get my first run in this Saturday and, if that went well, I'd then be able to do my "traditional" Christmas morning run. Last year, I was able to run on Christmas day in shorts- it was sixty degrees (F). I'm guessing this year is going to be a little less pleasant.
Though I haven't been running, I can't say I feel entirely lazy. I'm glad to have taken the time off and though I thought it would be horrible at first, I now realize the purpose of rest after a marathon: to heal all the little stuff and realize what really hurts. Heh. Really, though, I've been strength training and stretching which are two things I neglected in the past six months.
Also, and I feel a little silly admitting this, but the Three-in-Three challenge (Nicole's idea that I invited myself to join in on) is going well. Better than expected, actually, as I've lost six pounds so far. I contribute this partly to not wanting any of the billion cookies I baked and also to finally taking the time to get to all the things I'd put off before the marathon.
I also have gone back to the Three and Three eating habit that my trainer put me on years back (the fact that this is also a "three" thing is strictly coincidence, I promise). You eat only every three hours and not three hours before you go to bed. It's really quite easy. It allows me to plan ahead (which I believe is THE key to healthy eating) and I'm never really hungry. If I eat at 6:00 a.m. and am hungry at 8:00 a.m., I know I only have to wait another hour before I eat again. It's not torture to me and often, I forget about the schedule altogether. Another good tip is to make sure every meal or snack contains protein. Also, if you're going to include a lot of breads or crackers or something, do it before noon. I don't know why, though I'm sure there's a science to it somewhere, but this makes a huge difference.
This also helps in getting my head together. I feel a little more successful and a little less "stuck." Life wise, anyway. I'm still stuck in the snow.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Always the same, like never before

This past Saturday, I baked eight dozen cookies. The same ones I always bake with a couple extra batches thrown in. I never tire of baking cookies I like, so it's always a predictable contribution from me. A friend of mine has a cookie exchange every year and while you may be thinking that a cookie exchange sounds awfully dull and boring, she also serves food and drink, and things like hot chai with Bailey's (my personal favorite) and wine. Instead of exchanging recipes, we all sit around, eat celery dipped in dill something or other and talk and gossip and joke about all the injustices in the world. Particularly, about how designers can make clothes any size they want to and then slap a number on it and call it an 8. That way, at one store, you're feeling dang good and the next, you want to hang yourself in the fitting room.

This bit of the holiday season is actually one of my favorite parts of all of it. I'm at home, in comfortable clothes, mixing and blending and rolling and measuring. I have the Christmas music annoyingly loud and the entire house smells like a big blanket of sugar and spice that you want to wrap yourself in for the entire Winter, only leaving for more warm-from-the-oven goodness. I feel quite domestic in times like this and not so much because I didn't burn one single batch this year, but because I answered the door and greeted the UPS man while wiping my hands on my apron. What, I ask you, is more domestic that that?

This is also the first year I didn't feel the need to eat every single cookie I'd baked. Usually, I have to eat one of each batch (I know, I know) but this year, after eight dozen cookies plus two experimental recipes (not pictured), I was so sick of cookies I could have thrown them out and not blinked. But I didn't, I sealed them all tightly until the next day when I transferred them into a tissue paper lined basket and presented them at the party. (Presented in a basket. That sounds ridiculous. I can't even spell Longaberger!)

I also was careful to save a few cookies for the constructive criticism of the best cookie baker this side of the Mississippi. Which side of the Mississippi, you ask? All sides. Grandma, of course. I always want her opinion and even more so in the last couple years. You see, I've developed quite the competition of cookie baking with Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe, forester and lumber guy by day, is a baking dynamo. He bakes pies from apples grown in his back yard, for crying out loud. Anyhow, a couple years ago, he shared some cookie recipes with me. Particularly, Snickerdoodles. Everyone has always ooooed and ahhhhed over Uncle Joe's Snickerdoodles, including me. (Chocolate hater = HUGE fan of the non-chocolate cookies.)
It wasn't long, though, before I hated waiting for Uncle Joe's cookies. I wanted to make my own, all the time. So, I started with the exact recipe, an approach which lasted batch after batch for a good year. Then, one day when I was feeling particularly critical of the World's Most Perfect Non-chocolate Cookie, I decided to use half the shortening required in the recipe and make up for it in butter. I did the same with the Peanut Butter cookie recipe.
Best and likely the most important decision I've ever made in the kitchen.
So this evening, at Grandma's, I nervously handed her the tin of cookies. She opened it, removed one, took a bite and thought carefully. I, sitting on the edge of my chair for what seemed like a good ninety to 100 seconds, leaned forward.
"So, are they good."
She just sat, took another bite, leaned toward me and whispered, as if we weren't alone, "Better than Uncle Joe's."

Christmas miracles come in many forms.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tall, Tall Trees

You know, it never ceases to amaze me when you get to have these little "epiphany" type moments at the most random times. Really, it's just incredible that we get to grow and progress enough from time to time so that we can really see the purpose or value in a moment.

My moment, just the other day, was completely unexpected- as they often say the best ones are. I was reading Michelle's blog and this post. To most, it would seem like any other post. We had a storm, a power outage, a run, etc. What's extraordinary about that, right? Admittedly, while I always enjoy Michelle's posts (really, her ability to find just the right mix of enthusiasm and laid-back is incredibly admirable), I thought the same. It's good to hear the perspective of a storm and outage like that from someone who's in it, rather than the news but that's it.

Until I read this part:
Today as I was walking the dog, I took a good look at our trees and decided that I had underestimated their height. I'd say they range from 75 to 125 feet. I also counted - three in the front garden, ten in the backyard. Of these, there are probably eight that I cannot fit my arms around. The middle one in the front is a skinny, woodpecker drilled thing that is mostly dead. Eric and a neighbor have grand plans to take it down on their own. It's probably an okay plan because it is one of the shorter ones. I guess we'll find out next summer.

This is where my "moment" occurred. Big, almost dead tree removal? Epiphany? Wait... what?

Yeah, I know. But stay with me, it all sort of flooded into my head. I pictured the trees in my mind. I pictured this "almost dead" tree in a front yard, in front of a house. I pictured the front windows, a driveway, the street in front of the house. I pictured the family that runs (ha, pun sort of intended) in and out of that house every day. I pictured the hustle and the rushing around, and the quiet moments, too. Not necessarily of Michelle's family, but just of a family. Lives running in and out of the house, past the old, almost dead tree. And then, when she says "Eric and a neighbor have grand plans to take it down on their own. It's probably an okay plan because it's one of the shorter ones. I guess we'll find out next summer." Just like that, so easy.

"I guess we'll find out next summer."

And that's where it happened, and something clicked in my brain. There's a feeling there, something I can't quite point out. I can't explain it. But, at the same time, I want it. I want that part of life where you have a big huge tree in the yard that has to come down and it has to happen next summer and somehow you're just "eh, it'll happen... whatever, no big deal." Because now, in my current state of mind, I would be something more along the lines of "tree? Old? Dead? Has to come down? When? How? You? You're going to remove it? Isn't that dangerous? Won't it be difficult? And when is there time for it? And what and how and when and you, mere mortal man and tree, huge ten-ton tree? HOW?!" Relaxed, don't you think?

Wanna know what I think? I think I'm a little nuts. I think my brain has to slow the heck down for five seconds and take some time to realize I don't have to figure out the entire world of tree removal (or anything else that's going on in my little reality) RIGHTTHISVERYSECOND, ORELSE!! Because that feeling of nonchalant, no worries, comfortable right where you are, dealing with life as it comes to you sounds a whole lot better. And, the best part is, I'm totally capable of that. A little more so every day.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I think basketball may have been on t.v.

Don't you hate when you're tired and worn out and you've already made plans and you don't have a good excuse to get out of them -or at least one you can live with- so you go anyway? And you hide your yawns and you try to concentrate. You laugh and joke and do your best to engage but your mind still slips to thoughts of your home, and your bed.

This was my night. I'd already made plans. I came home from work, rushed around, showered and got ready to go. Then, on the drive, it hit me: I am too tired for this. But, I couldn't go home now, so I showed up. Right place, right time, wrong person. Me, of course. I just wasn't there.

I played with my brain a little. Trying to repeat things that were said, so I'd remember. So I could remind myself I cared. So I could stay awake. I looked at the lights, squinted a little. I watched the kids running around, hoping their screams would keep me awake. I gazed out the window, and at the television. Hockey on one, basketball on the other. It's that time of year, I told myself.

Two hours in, I couldn't hide the yawning anymore. I yawned, politely. I stretched a little, drank more water and was glad when the check came. I had laughed, I had asked questions. I tried to be engaged, and engaging- figuring the entire time that it seemed so fake. The bad news is, I don't know if it worked. The good news is, I'm still too tired to care.

I Am Terrible With Crushes

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I could never pick just one crush
But if I could, it would be YOU!

Sorry to Miss Sizzle, I have failed. I could not pick a "crush", it's just too difficult. There are several insightful women and men I "know" in the blogging world and, even if it's just in my own mind, I would feel bad for choosing only one. Not so ironically, this is how I operate in life, as well. Rather than picking just one to admire, I often give myself several choices depending on my mood. Hopefully, my ingenious poetic talent will make up for my indecision!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Do I Know It's Christmastime At All?

I have not gotten into the Christmas spirit this year. Save for a wreath and a stocking, I haven't pulled out a single decoration. I haven't turned on the Christmas music I usually love. I haven't looked around the neighborhood to see the effort of stringing lights and the careful placement of candy cane lawn ornaments. It has all happened while my back was turned.

I was really busy up until now. I've missed the lights and the trees, the parties and the cards. Thanks to the internet and a couple lunchtime errands, I've skipped wandering the stores altogether. And now, it's all going on and I feel like I'm watching it from the outside, through a window. I'm going through the motions, but I'm about as unplugged as Willy Nelson in the back of a tour bus, minus the dope.

I'm not really bothered by it, either. What's strange is that I'm okay with it. When I think of pulling out all those decorations, I think of the time and the work, not the twinkling lights and sentimental ornaments. I think, to myself, that they'll only be up for a couple weeks anyway and, somewhat sadly, what's the point anyway? Who's going to enjoy it? Me and the dog? Nah, I'll just go see my mom's ten Christmas trees if I need a dose of that. And it seems fine by me.

I find my mind already wandering to January and beyond. To healing my foot and my knee, making more time for weight training, late Winter and early Spring events and 2007 travel plans. I'm thinking about better triceps and sun, not garland and snow. It surprises me how complacent I am, but I feel like if I just do everything I need to, like send the cards, bake the cookies, give the gifts and look at the lights, I'll be doing what I'm supposed to do. Maybe I don't have to be over the moon about Christmastime, as long as I find a way to appreciate the season and steal a moment or two to remember what it's about, maybe that's enough.


Thanks for the kind comments and emails lately. Obviously you are in the spirt. I appreciate it. :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

And so it's done, and I'm a finisher

I didn't know I'd feel so many different feelings today. Things are running the gamut of emotions. I never want to run again, I want to run again tomorrow. I miss my running friends already, I'll see some of them soon. I want to eat a house, nothing sounds good. I want to take a nap, I can't sit still. I want to get busy at work, I can't concentrate. It's all very strange.

The pre-race feelings, I could describe. I could chalk them up to nerves, excitement and anticipation. This? Is just a little different.

The race, it was fantastic. I did not have an expectation of time, really, but I was happy with my result. It wasn't my "dream" time but it wasn't "worst case", either. I suppose I would have been even happier had I not ended up with a sprained foot, but such is the unpredictability of running and racing. The knee problem that won't go away came back to haunt me a little, too, but nothing horrible. As of today, the doctor told me to stay off it completely for two weeks. No running, cycling, elliptical or weights [on the legs] at all. Then, we'll see what it does. As of now, it's got some fluid/swelling going on but not significant enough to drain (I know, gross). So, I will wait. All I'm allowed to do is Yoga or Pilates and upper body weights. I can handle that, though in my head I just picture my cardiac fitness going straight out the window. Ugh, the thought of rebuilding makes me nauseous.

So, the race. Like I said, it was great. It was so much fun, everything from meeting up with my friends early on to the pasta dinner, the race itself and the celebrating afterward. No matter how many people continue to participate in marathons, I'm reminded that it is a BIG DEAL. There are only something like one in a thousand people that could actually complete the distance of a marathon and thankfully, I am one of them. I'd venture to say, though, that I wouldn't be without all the wonderful people I've encountered along the way (in racing, training, discussions and beyond).

This race, in particular, was powered by the strength I've found in the running community. For those that aren't in it, I'm not sure I know what to compare it to. It's a remarkable thing, really. With the exception of the occasional snooty runner, everyone is really just as welcoming as you'd expect a best friend to be. Michelle over at Back of the Pack recently posted about this phenomenon and I could not agree more. It is a very unique experience and privilege to be a part of this community.

In the group I met at my race, we had every speed and ability of runner possible and I am not lying when I say that each and every one of these people embraced one another. From those who finished in 3:18 (completely unfathomable to me) to those that brought up the tail at six hours or more, everyone congratulated and celebrated together. It is an awesome feeling to know that I get to be part of something so special.

So, today as I sit here with all these different emotions, I am certain of this: I may not be terribly fast, my body not be made for running but I have definitely chosen the right place to be. With all the other unanswered questions floating around me, I am glad I am certain of at least this. Running has brought me a sense of peace and community that I otherwise would have never known. That is worth more than feeling great for 26 miles or any medal I've ever received- though receiving the medal was quite a good feeling!

Thanks for all the support and advice over the weeks of training, too. It's great to be able to relate my triumphs and woes of running to both runners and non-runners on this blog and get the insight of others.

I'm sure my feelings and emotions will be all over the place in the next week or so, as I come down off this ride and work on finding another challenge. For now, I'm just going to get my knee back to working, rest the sprained foot and enjoy the marathon story-telling I'll get to do around the holidays. I'm also joining Nicole over at Powered by Vegetables in her 3 in 3 "challenge." There are three weeks until the end of the year and I'd like to lose 3 pounds. Not because I feel I'm three pounds overweight or that my Winter sweaters will look that much different minus the three, but more so because I like the idea of the distraction and the challenge. It's going to be a little tough seen as I can't get much cardio in but I think I can do it now that I'm not eating like I was during training. Join us, if you'd like, because really, there are no consequences or prizes-it's just three pounds.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Don't you want to be me?

Okay, so we're t-minus three days till marathon day. (Seriously, if you want to know where I'm going to run, just email me. I will tell you. For obvious reasons, I don't want to post it here.) I am doing my normal, pre-race freak out. Times one thousand. I am eating well, this is honestly the most balanced seven days of eating I've likely ever had in my life. It's not that I think I am going to be a better or faster runner if I eat clean this week, it's just that I want to leave NO room for error. Keeping the system, uh, regulated is job one. Also, skipping on the sugar and large quantities of fat (read: grease burrito from that place on the corner) is probably helping to calm my nerves quite a bit. However, I have not given up caffeine because, let's face it, it is the juice of life and the purpose for my wide-eyed existence. Diet Pepsi is my drink of choice. Yes, I'm sure the aspartame is doing a number on me, got it, thanks.

I'm also having a super-difficult time concentrating at work. I have two out of three projects I need to finish my the end of today, finished. However, I have been putting one off because I have to call this one lady in particular to finish it up and, gah!, I do not want to talk to her. She is just a downer. She's grouchy and lazy and never excited about anything and, my gosh, I try not to judge but someone needs to tell her it is NOT okay to wear sweat pants to work. It is NOT. Believe me, honey, if it were I'd be all over that. I'd be here in my flannel jammies and my slippers because that is my most favorite "outfit" for this time of year, but no, it's not okay! NOT! So, I don't want to call her. If my mind weren't going a bajillion miles a minute, I'd get into the fact that this woman and her attitude and her attire represent everything that I don't want to be but gah!, I have 26.2 miles to think about. And also, packing. And also, a carry on. And also, errands to do before I go. No deep thinking here.

I don't know if this makes sense or not, but I am possibly more excited about going to this marathon and meeting up with some friends I haven't seen in a very long time than I am to actually run. Sure, I've trained and battled injury and suffered through a year of ridiculous knee problems but really, there are just a few people that I can't wait to throw my arms around and hug, possibly to death. That is how much I love them. They are funny (like beyond hilarious, wear-your-Depends funny), supportive, kind and my gosh, MY friends. I wish there was some way I could tell them how motivated I am by just being in their presence. I hope, with every step I take in that race, I can find some way to be half as wonderful to them as they have been to me. I hate that miles have to stretch between us but I love, love, love that we are coming together this weekend. It is honestly going to be one for the record books and if I had talent and time (and my mind weren't doing that bajillion miles a minute thing) I would post some kind of video of me and the sheer joy bursting from every part of me due to the excitement I'm experiencing right now. Phew!

And oh, yes, there is that 26.2 to worry about. You know, I am not usually an outward type of hopeful person but, my gosh, I just hope and pray that this confidence and reassurance I have in my head and heart right now for this race is real. I am so thankful to have even been able to train these last sixteen weeks. SO thankful. And I just hope that these day dreams I'm having about the course and the people and my friends and that finish line are somehow based in reality. I am sure this all seems a little insane, but you know, that's me! I'm a little cracked but, I think, in a good way. In a way, I hope, that gets me through this thing. Also, I'm a little worried about not getting up in time, not being able to do "business" properly before the start and about forgetting something (like shoes, bodyglide and safety pins). Whew! See, a little cracked.

I'm off for a few days, hopefully to return sufficiently tired, satisfied and thrilled to have a break. And if that doesn't work, I can always just add some rum to that Diet Pepsi.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I LOVE the Drive In

Thanks to Runner Girl FL over at Run Baby Run, I can now dream of my dream day:
(FYI: You don't get to pick the groom/bride, location or design. Because no, I would not pick Brad Pitt)

You are cordially invited to the wedding of

Just Run
Brad Pitt
November 21, 2021 at 5 pm
Location: At the drive-in
'What will your wedding invitation look like?'

I'm less than thrilled about the groom, but the location friggin' rocks!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


A group of my running friends and I are talking while listening to a friend's music. He was in a band in the 80's, he wrote several songs, which we all listen to now. I'm always joking about how if it weren't for running, we'd likely never have met. We're all often joking about that, actually. Sometimes, when we're all talking and not running, this is abundantly clear.

Me: Wow, J, this is good stuff. Nice guitar in this one.

A: Yeah, I like it.

H: I'd like to rock out to this on the way to work.

Me: Listen to your voice, holy crap!

J: Yeah, I wrote all kinds of this hard stuff back then.

S: Burn me some copies, okay?

J: Sure, no problem.

O: You know this is really awesome. Thanks for letting us listen. You know, the only thing that's missing?

J and group: What?

O: Banjo.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I've started using the excuse of "oh I'll do that AFTER the marathon" or "I can't think about that until AFTER the marathon." Right now, I just want to pack, eat well, sleep well and check of everything on the ten checklists, ten times.

I've traveled to races before, I don't really know why I feel unprepared. I mean, I have checklists!

Situations in which I've used the race as an excuse to put something off:

Finishing my Christmas shopping.

Decorating for Christmas.

Getting a hair cut.

Going through the mail.

Any laundry that does not involve clothes for the trip (you should see my wardrobe this week, lookin' pretty hot!)

Writing Christmas cards.

Starting my end of year tasks at work.

And I'm sure, much more.

However, I have found time to book my villa.


Because after this week's craziness is over, I'd like something to look forward to.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Over the past month or so, I've been on more first dates than in the past five years combined. Gee, the adventure a cold day can bring. There have been a couple second dates, as well.

Overall, it's been fun. I'm pretty surprised at how good I am at conversation. This is not to say I'm attractive, interesting or intriguing to everyone, but I haven't had an awful date. That said, I haven't had a "spark" beyond friendship in any of these, really. I've actually been able to make a few friends, which is cool. My count of male friends has really gone down in the past couple years. So, it's a good thing. I have plans to go skiing with one guy and his sister next month. We agreed that we weren't a match but both have trouble finding people to ski with, so we're doing that. I won't go alone with him, because we are not dating but if we can form a group (i.e. sisters, etc.) that's fine by me.

I suppose some of this is a little disappointing, seen as it is a dating service, but if the story I come away with is how I made some new friends, I've probably already beat out half (or more) of those experienced in online dating. In some ways, that's good enough for me. In others, it's a little exhausting because then I have to think about the whole when and if thing more; and you know how my little mind goes, and goes. I told a friend this the other day, and how I just didn't want to try that hard right now. I told her I was a little tired of it and that I wouldn't keep up the online thing and maybe not be too concerned with dating at all. She knows me and she knows I can do this. She knows I can block things out, at least temporarily. I expected her to say "sure, take a break." Instead, she said this:

"You know what? No. You don't get to quit. You don't get to convince yourself that timing or karma or lack of energy have anything to do with your dating life. If you want to stop the online dating thing, that's fine but you don't just get to quit altogether."


"Because, despite your claiming a destiny of Old Spinster Cat Lady, though you don't even have one single cat, there is someone out there for you! I know you can't see that all the time and I know it might get a little difficult to believe but it's true. It's true and I see it. I see it in you and you know what?"


"You owe it to that person to not give up. You owe it to him to be 100% looking for him, the RIGHT guy, when he finds you."

It seems so obvious. Of course, it's not about only me, it's about him, too. I owe it to myself, and the person that might come along. Maybe this statement doesn't apply to everyone. Maybe some things do happen when you least expect it. But for me, right now, I believe it. I want to believe it.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Helping of Snow

When you need to sit inside, get your house, your suitcase, and your thoughts together, it helps if it's cold and snowy outside. Thankfully, this is what I'm getting today. We're getting a good share of snow and though I hate it, it's going to help.
I'm not running today, treadmill or otherwise. According to schedule, I ought to do an eight miler today but according to my knee, I need to take some Advil, rest and have confidence that my training will get me through the marathon.
I have some good friends that are a doctor and nurse (and husband and wife) and they are both reassuring me that rest and keeping the knee from getting stiff are the best things I can do for myself right now. I am doing my darndest to believe them, afterall aside from being adorable and successful, they have something like 14 years of combined schooling and twice that in experience. And my medical knowledge comes from working at a veterinary clinic for four years and Google. Obviously, I need to listen to them.
Inevitably, though, the nerves will still get to me. I'm trying to stay calm. Trying to take care of myself. This last week before the race, I have a pretty well-planned diet, I'm avoiding alcohol and excessive sugar, I'm stretching; just trying to maintain. Later tonight might put that off course a little becuase if someone I'm having dinner with wants to order me a glass of wine, I am not going to refuse. But overall, I'm just trying to not lose my mind in taper-mode.
M friend, the nurse, told me that these last couple weeks before are PMS (Pre-Marathon Syndrome). The body and mind are a little whacky, which is remarkably similar to the actual PMS. I've tapered for half marathons a ton of times, but the experience is different. Completely different.
Which is why I'm glad the snow came today, and who would have ever though I would say that? I needed something to make me stay in, relax and take care of business. And also, a good reason to drink tea and watch a movie or two.