Friday, March 30, 2007

DC Trip, take 1

Tomorow is the first weekend of two subsequent weekends that I'm headed to DC. This time around it's for the road race I've been going on and on about in past posts. My boarding pass is printed, my laundry is progressing, and I have no other plans for the evening. Perfect!

I have always loved Friday nights. All the possibility of the weekend lies ahead.

When I went running yesterday, I felt really good. One of those mysterious good days, where you suddenly have the energy to keep on going. I stopped around 5 miles, mostly because I had to get home. I also liked ending on a high note, and I'll keep that confidence with me when I'm at the starting line Sunday morning.

Aside from the running, I'm totally looking forward to seeing friends while in DC. I'll stay with the two that are running with me, and visit with others. I am secretly hoping that we all get together for a post-birthday celebration (I turned another year this past Tuesday). I largely hid the birthday thing around my office, as I wanted to avoid any chance that someone would invite me to a meeting only to find coworkers in a conference room with yellow cake. Forced conversation would ensue, I would feel the need to entertain and be witty, my humor would bomb, and I'd get desperate to leave.

That's how I picture it in my head, anyways.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Fartlek is a funny word

But then again, I grew up near a town named Hicksville. So it's all relative.

My neighborhood is hills. If I run downhill for 1.5 miles I will get to flatter territory, and then to get back to my front door I have to head back up the hills. So, by default, I spend much of my regular runs doing hills. This morning I went out for my most well tread path, which is a full loop around our local ski hill. Lots of left turns.

With morning traffic playing a role in my ability to keep a steady pace, I was surprised to hear my final pace was 10:04. I figure that means my running time was quite a bit peppier, which makes me happy. I could have stopped the Nano at every intersection, but that seems like cheating; in a race you can't stop the clock if you have to tie your shoes.

On a sidenote, the Nike Sport thing on my iPod has a bug. Every time I run, either Lance Armstrong or Paula Radcliffe congratulates me on a record time or distance. Even though I know it is wrong, I haven't done anything to see about correcting it. Would you if you ran your fastest mile every time? Or if you covered another 500km, even though all you did was go for a 5k jog?

I think tomorrow is the last time I'll run prior to the race. Maybe something short and sweet Friday evening. P will be heading out of town on Friday, so it'll just be me and the cats. I would mind ending the week with a poke around the neighborhood.

Today I got excited for the upcoming trip. I don't know if I'd ever live in DC, but I really do like visiting. I've never seen the cherry blossoms in bloom (other than pictures), and I think it's going to be amazing. I got some great advice from Sir Chilles on the course, and the whole thing, like all of these events, is going to go by fast.

Plus, I have a few things to think about on the run. Passover is coming, and each year my father in law devises a question that we must answer as a part of the first night's Seder. Oh, the pressure! Sometimes it's pretty touchy feely, but this year it's all serious... "What is the number one priority in America today?" I could go all pithy and say hope, or patience, but that might make me vomit at the table (wouldn't want to waste that yummy seder meal!). So I gots to get thinking...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Back in the saddle. Or at least trying

Today was a pretty great day.

This morning I went out for a 6 mile run. I went over to a favorite spot, a rail trail that is a few miles from the house. I neglected to think about the possibility that the melting snow might create a muddy route... The terrain went from dry land to ice to mud to snow. Very messy. I rationalized with myself that this was the cost for having it be a pretty flat course - the negotiation of the terrain made up for any thought of breezing through.

With the Cherry Blossom 10 miler only a week away, I am a little nervous about the time goal I set. I'm relying on positive thinking, determination, and the race atmosphere to help out. I have not been as consistent with training as I was with the half marathon, but this time around my baseline fitness was better. Plenty of room for improvement, though.

As I was plodding along I thought about how this will translate into a lifelong habit. Will I always try to gain speed? Will I ever feel the need to run a marathon? Will I find a race distance that is a favorite? The fun of it all is that I have no idea, really. I hit my ruts and then reinspire to pick new goals, and I expect that pattern will continue.

A friend is visiting us this weekend. He's one of those people I've known since high school, and we've only grown closer since. Even dated for a while, before we each figured out that we were gay. Funny how any boy/man I ever dated is now gay. Perhaps gay is catching, and I gave it to them?

He is likely moving back east, and to help persuade him to come to Boston I took him on a big walking tour. The South End, North End, government center, Back Bay, Copley Square, etc. I love (and miss) walking around Boston for hours. We had a great time.

On the way back I went a little out of the way to take him to Jordan's Furniture. If it sounds srange that I would take anyone to a furniture store for the heck of it, then you are not familiar with the place. The one we went to, in Reading, has a trapeze school, a water laser light show, and an enourmous front entrance that is filled with a vast array of scupltures created entirely of jelly beans. Millions and millions of jelly beans.

The furniture is also nice.

After all of the walking, both of us were pretty beat. When we got back to Manchester, we got some burritos, watched Igby Goes Down (which is either really self righteous and bad or oddly intriguing - I haven't decided yet), and called it a night.

A pretty great day.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Vacation redux

We are stuck in Florida. Not a terrible place to be stuck, all things considered. The airport is a madhouse (cruise ship passengers + cancelled flight passengers + new flight passengers + broken computers and kiosks = very, very, long lines and short tempers) so we are sticking close to the apartment until we absolutely have to leave.

It is a bit of a comedy, and we don't exactly know when we'll be coming home... It's sort of liberating, in a way. Of course all of our charging cords (phone, iPod, etc.) are packed in our checked bags, which are somewhere between here and MHT. So here we are, in our one set of dark northeastern clothes, hanging around Florida.

We did try to make it home last night, and at first it all went incredibly smooth. We checked our bags outside, and there was no one on the security line. Too easy, we thought. Too good a start.

Then, we started to see what a mess the airline industry is in these days... Zero organization, crappy computer software, no staffing plan for these times when they are swamped. I understand even more now why people fly private jet services.

At last count, our rearranged flight details are hand written on a piece of either dot matrix printer paper or restroom towel (we couldn't tell). We are trusting that our new airline employee friend Jim is going to get us on a plane sometime before, oh, Tuesday? Hopefully sooner.

In the interim, we have had a really good bagel breakfast, gotten some playing cards, and are making the best of it.

Sunny and 80 here in Fort Lauderdale!

Friday, March 16, 2007

While I am still relaxed...

Still in Florida at the moment, at the tail end of a much needed vacation. We fly home tomorrow night. Meaning we still have the rest of today and much of tomorrow to soak up the sun and stare at the ocean.

This morning we saw five manatees lolling about near the shoreline. Mind you, we are 31 stories up, so it wasn't that close, but they were right there below us, and a zoom lens captured them easily enough. Great way to start the day.

This afternoon, we watched an enourmous storm cloud approach, dump sheets of rain, and then roll out to sea.

Now, P is napping and I (not a napper) am contemplating whether or not it is cool enough for an evening jog. Methinks I'll wait another 45 or so, then run up along the ocean, maybe to a state park I've been wanting to check out. It's about 3 miles from here, making it a good round trip distance. Cherry Blossom race is in three weeks (give or take), and I have been a little lax in the training department. Not that I haven't been running (Mr. Satan A. Chilles, I did make sure to put in a 4 miler at sub-10. I think it was around 9:48 pace. Painful in the heat, but painful in a good way), I just haven't been as planful in the distance department. Then again, I am on vacation.

It's been a happily active vacation, with lots of lolling about in between. I've run along the ocean here in Laudy, the streets in Key West, and a treadmill when it got too damn hot. Minus the treadmill part, it's a great way to see lots of small details that are easily overlooked when passing in a car. In Key West it provided a great way to survey the land and get a mental map.

Aside from the running, we've been on a number of small adventures, eaten some amazing food, eaten some greasy but tasty food, spent time with dolphins (not in a creepy Sea World way; just watched them from a boat), snorkeled with the fish and coral, watched cruise ships take off from the balcony of our fantastic borrowed apartment (for which I am grateful), drank lattes and read nonfiction, enjoyed stone crab season, watched pelicans fish, taken in plenty of sunsets, marveled at the number of blues that the ocean can create, and ignored the urge to have any sort of agenda.

If I was to walk to the balcony right now, the sun would be shining and the ocean would still be out there, in fifty shades of blue. Insane. It's so pretty that it makes me wonder why Florida, on the whole, is so tacky.

I admit I miss our cats, but it will be hard to leave this brief respite in paradise.

At home I hear we're getting snow.

Friday, March 9, 2007


This morning, in the parking lot of Dunkin' Donuts, I saw a pregnancy test. The cap was missing, but I didn't bother to look close enough to see if it had been used.

That's something you don't see every day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Countdown to vacation

P&Me are heading on vacation next week, and it's pretty much all I am thinking about. My happy place, so to speak.

It's very cold here. Cold enough that even I, who is not a fan of small talking the weather (unless it is for some sort of meteorological phenomena type of chit chat). Running inside only until further notice, lest the cilia in my nose freeze.

Did I mention that I am looking forward to vacation?

Got a work bonus this week, which is just in time for the vaca. Booked us a cool room in a B&B in Key West for a couple of nights, and a fancy dinner is guaranteed. This is the one perk of working for the Man. That and paying the mortgage and bills while P toils away in residency... Small details.

Someone in my office is having lunch on the early side today - I can smell it from my desk. I don't know what it is, but it smells really good... Which reminds me of my lunch in Portland yesterday at Federal Spice. I go there almost everytime I am in P-land. So friggin' good. One of the many delicious looking specials they had yesterday was a sweet potato and banana quesadilla, with peanut sauce on the side. To say it was yummy is a vast understatement. I love that they love food.

Did I mention that I am looking forward to vacation? Clearly feeling punchy as a result.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

This is the week leading up to a week of vacation. That means that I am trying, on a daily basis, to remain focused on work and not mentally fly away.... Tough.

We are heading to Florida for the week. I never really envisioned myself a Florida kind of girl, but with access to an apartment and car, it makes it a very appealing spot. Plus, we've been there a few times now, so it is familiar enough without being too familiar. I have to admit, I like Fort Lauderdale.

Mostly we'll be in Laudy, with a trip down to Miami for Calle Ocho and then a few days in Key West. I am not sure if I will love or hate Key West - seems like the kind of place that can feel like Mardis Gras on a daily basis. I am sure there's a quiet side to it, and that's the side I'm going to seek.

Upon sharing the travel plans with a coworker this morning, they suggested we have a meal at CHeeseburger in Paradise. The Jimmy Buffet chain restaurant. That, to me, is as appealing as eating at Chili's or Applebee's.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to going for runs in warm weather, and with no big constraints on my time. This week I've literally had to sit with my calendar and plan on when I would be able to fit in time for running... I was able to run outside this past weekend which was great, but the rest of this week is looking too cold and windy for that. Yesterday morning I was on the treadmill, and that's likely where I'll be tomorrow... I much prefer being outside (for running or otherwise), but with winter comes compromise. Thus I am very excited to run outside anytime next week. Along a beach, even!!

This week at work has been somewhat trying, largle due to a coworker who is particularly negative. On one level I am sad for her, as the way she treats people is clearly indicative of an unhappy person. On another level I am done with her treating me and others like they are beneath her.

Her latest was to indicate that my appraoch to work was "unfortunate" because I am willing to allow for flexibility in any given process. You know, allow for a human element. Generally I let her little digs roll off of me, but sometimes it gets to me. This was one of those times.

Not cool, you know?

So, to bring it all full circle, I am very much looking forward to the week in Florida.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

So close and yet so far

All day I was looking forward to my evening run. I have been on the verge of leading one of my Nike+ challenges, I have new neon sneakers that are comfortable, and something inside of me has been reignited; perhaps it's the arrival of March, and thus the knowledge that spring is around the corner. Who cares - whatever the reason, I'd been looking forward to the run all day.

It was only after I was fully changed into my running gear that I realized my shoes were still at home. Damn! It's supposed to snow pretty heavily tonight, which means if I don't get out in the morning I won't get out until Saturday.