Monday, July 20, 2009

Running for One.

A pink cheetah skirt running on the side of the road in a pack of cheetahs is sexy.

A pink cheetah skirt running on the side of the road by herself is a woman who wants to be either noticed for her fashion sense, or noticed so she doesn't get run over.

I ran 11 miles on Saturday, in the humidity, alone. It was not my fastest 11 miles, by any stretch. It was, in fact, so much slower than my Shamrock race that I would have had to run a 3 minute mile for my last 2.1 miles if I'd actually been attempting a PR. Let me take you back though, through my New England run and share it with you.

From my In-Laws house you can go to the right and go up a monster hill for about a half a mile. It's comparable to the hill in Maymont Park. You all know "THE ONE" I'm talking about. If you go to the left, you run for about 400m or so and then you go up a monster hill for about a half mile, it's comparable to the hill in Fox Hall. Or, you can, on the 400m of "relative flat", exit the neighborhood onto a road that is not exactly what I would advertise as "runner safe".

So when I decided to run 12 miles, I headed straight up the hill to the right. Once you reach the top of the hill, you are mostly on gently rolling hills around the neighborhood. I eeked out 5 miles of out and backs and culdesacs before running back down the big hill to the left. As I turned to leave the neighborhood I was beeping at exactly 6 miles, averaging an 11:30 pace. Yikes, 11:30? Really? I feel like THIS at an 11:30??? Uh oh. After about a half mile of very real danger and dodging cars, I ended up on a highway that has a bike lane. I ran from Norfolk to Foxborough. The bike lane was really handy, giving me a 5 foot "window" of running room. But the traffic seemed a little thick, even for the early morning, so when I got the opportunity, I turned down a slightly more residential road. Still, lots of traffic for a Saturday morning... until I remembered the tiny detail that was nagging me in the back of the noodle... something like, "hey, is it TONIGHT that Elton John and Billie Joel play at Gillette Stadium?" Oh...

My plan had been to run a simple 3 mile out and 3 mile back to finish up at a total of 12 miles. I'd been able to improve my pace to a steady 10:30, but at mile 2.5... the road ended. As in, where the road should have been, it was now under construction and a flag "dude" was stopping traffic with the cooperation of another flag "dude"... Not exactly safe for me. So I turned around. I was feeling good- SO I FOOLISHLY THOUGHT, I'll simply overshoot by a bit at the very end.

Yea right. The hills on route 140 (the bike lane road) weren't killer, but they are rolling. So you can celebrate each climb with a nice rolling drop, but you KNOW there's another climb behind it. By the time I got back to the dangerous stretch and into my In-Laws neighborhood I had hit a wall. It was at that point I decided that 11 hilly miles would just have to equal 12 flat miles and I called Time Of Death on my Long Run at 1:59:andchange.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July Trip'in

Busy week, but here is a short recap.

After a few days in Marlborough, my friends daughter recovered from a very frightening condition brought on when her bone marrow was suppressed and stopped making new blood. Small detail, but important one, ya know? So she was fine. I left there in Friday and headed into Southie for a 4 day, 3 night city adventure.

Day 1 in Boston: what should we do? Sail Boston's in town! OK, let's go hop on the T and make a plan when we get there. It was great, I'll try to stick some photos in here somewhere. In this one day we rode the Red line, the Orange Line, a bus, the Silver Line, got an impromptu tour from a T driver, Go all DAY, FUN FUN, get moving, push the stroller, drag the kids, Ride a Ferry, walk again, walk some more, oh look it's a park! Play some more, get soaking we in a fountain and grab a taxi home... and, by the end of the day we were beat.

Day 2 in Boston: Drag myself out of bed at 5:45am when B decides it's time to wake. C is disgusted by the early wake up. By 6:45 we can't contain B any more and she wakes Jay, H's sister. Jay is graceful though, and doesn't seem bothered by the wakeup call. We eat cereal and plan our day. "Today," we say, "Today we will be home by 4pm at the latest. No need to stay out past then, we'll be exhausted if we do." Right. The best intentions. We went to the science museum. Have you ever been to the Boston Science museum? It's about 10 acres. Seriously. So, we stayed for hours, ate lunch looking over the Charles river, and still only saw about 2% of the things available at the museum. On the way home we swung by the Grocery store for a few things needed for dinner... made it home close to 4:30ish... I say, "ish" because we staggered in like drunks, exhausted, starving and ready for bed.

Day 3 in Boston: WAKE REFRESHED AND READY FOR THE DAY!!! Oh wait, nope, that's was B's point of view. That wasn't exactly what I was thinking when she woke me. But since I was up, and Jay was up. and C was up. and G was up. I figured I could go for a run. So I did 6.21 miles. It was not a PR, but it was the COOLEST run. Super views, nice breeze, cool people to look at, tall ships exiting the harbor, a revolutionary fort, the city streets. Yes, it was a cool run. I got back "home", took a shower and we headed out for the day. We went to the Boston Public Garden to see the ducks and ride the swan boats. Our ride on the swan boat was fun, uneventful, until I noticed a shoe in the water just ahead of our boat. It was purple, and a little bigger than B's shoe. I could hear a 4 year old girl crying on the side of the pond and I felt bad for the mom, figuring it was lost. I even thought, if we went close enough, I could reach it. Sure enough, the onshore crew starts yelling at our swan driver to steer left, and I knelt down and scooped it out of the water just as it went under the pontoon. I hefted it into the air for the child to see. And the crowd on the bridge over looking the pond goes crazy, the swan drivers all cheered, and life was good and pure. I was a hero. And the Swan Boat manager (someone in charge) gave us 4 free tickets as a thank you for my heroic efforts. After we had a quick lunch in the city, we caught the T back to Jay's neighborhood, packed the car, and headed to Norfolk, MA.

So, we've been in Norfolk for a few days, and they've been low key. Lots of hanging by the pool, bike rides, walk the dogs, a miserable hilly run, etc. I didn't run, ride or swim today. This was a change for me. A true rest day. I thought about it and decided that maybe my horrible run with leaden feet was the result of pure exhaustion combined with not enough rest.

G Senior is still in the hospital (H's father). He's now about a week "over due" to be released, and we saw him tonight... and I can tell you that he won't come home for at least 36-48 hours. Since he's been there all this time, the kids hadn't seen him. We finally caved and brought the kids over to see him. After visiting for about an hour, we took the kids over to the mall to eat dinner... and they have a rainforest cafe. Too bad we didn't have the camera. That place is unreal. Totally over the top. It was like a destination. You walk in the door, and you've arrived in a whole new place. Amazing. The food was OK. The Margarita was expensive. But the waiter, was McSteamy. Even H said, "oh wow, it looks like there really is something here for everyone g, even you get something to look at!" Too funny, but he was right. McSteamy... oh wow.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

sharing beds.

So, on this trip I'm on, we're sharing beds a lot. C and I share, or B & I share, or C, B and I... yea, you get it I'm sure. So last night was our first night in the city. Traffic is rumbling on the streets at all hours, sirens going off, and so forth. It was GREAT! Just the kind of "city experience" that I wanted the kids to experience...

...Only, you know those cheesy movie scenes where someone is sharing a bed with someone, and the one person is lying awake because the other person is sleeping like a star fish with their hand sprawled across the other person's face? Fingers going into eyes and nose?

Well, C and I shared a bed last night... It was not restful.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

FastFood America

I'm traveling across America. Oh OK, technically I'm traveling UP the eastern Seaboard with a few western eddies. I left VA, went through MD and PA, came into NY for a few days, then across to MA, which is where I'm currently located. Next I might wander up to ME for a few minutes, because I can and I've always wanted to go see a certain lighthouse. I saw it on a postcard once. I know, I need therapy.

The thing is, things aren't going to plan, which is only complicating everything else. And one of the things that's being affected is that I'm eating like crap. I hate eating like crap. Some friends of mine just got back from touring Spain, and they said that everyone in Spain is skinny. Another friend I know just got back from Paris, and he said that everyone there is skinny. And I know it's because NO ONE in europe drives to run errands, sees that it's lunchtime, and swings into a Golden Moo.

I hate the Golden Moo. I don't enjoy the food. I think it's gross. I'll let my kids eat in when we're traveling because it's hard to NOT feed them that, given that the options for food are few and todays choices were even slimmer. The idea of eating there makes my stomach roll over.... but the idea of a milkshake sounded good today. So after eating a vegetarian (yea, with cheese) toasted, uh, sub- yea, it was a white roll, which I ate while my kids ate their McMooMoo Meal, we got milkshakes to go. We were on the Mass Pike. We'd been driving for 3 hours. We had 3 hours left to drive. It seemed like a good idea.

Only, guess what? My stomach doesn't like milkshakes from the Golden Moo. At all. Uhg. S'ok, because I planned on a nice healthy veggie filled meal for dinner.

I've arrived in Marlborough MA today to visit friends, and as I arrived, my gf left with her youngest daughter to the pediatricians. Uh... they're at the hospital. She's been admitted, given a blood transfusion, and (yea, I said blood transfusion) and they're staying overnight. So, there was no food in the house because obviously, today didn't go according to plan. For dinner, we ordered Dominos Pizza.

Only, guess what? My stomach doesn't like Dominos Pizza. At all. S'ok, because tomorrow for breakfast.... I'm probably eating a McMooMuffin when I unexpectedly leave here before breakfast. With the way things are going, I figure, it's a sure bet. I'm going Vegitarian as soon as I get a kitchen of my own.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

lost and found

Today I decided to clean out the car again because we're getting ready to go on another long trip, only this one isn't like a 10K, it's like a marathon. I deemed it worthy of a "real" cleaning.

Usually when I "clean" the car I pick out the trash, gather the toys in the back into a bookbag placed in the car for that purpose, zip over to the vacuum place near my house and vac out the "visible stuff". I don't move too much in the way of seats and such, and I have a $2 limit. $2 buys 2 rounds of the vac and that seems like it should be enough for a space as small as a car.

But, this time we're going on a Loooooooong trip, and I am going to need to utilize every inch of car, so I decided to pull the trunk out of the back. The trunk of our van is just a locking box, made just for our van and some kind of extra the dealership threw in to make us think we were getting another $400 off the price. It's beige, like the van interior, and it holds things like jumper cables, cargo bag, sun shades for the van windows, a box of Kleenex, etc. Only, it looks just like the floor of the van and after a while it just blends in and we forget that it's not the floor... so we never think to open it, and what it actually holds is jumper cables, a cargo bag I'd forgotten about, sun shades I've been looking for for months, a crushed box of Kleenex, a first aid kit duplicate to the one that's under my seat.


Today I opened it, and was distressed to learn that over the past years a bunch of leaves, sand, dirt has worked its way into the "trunk". So I removed it and started to pick out the items that were in there. When I removed it, I could see all the way under the 3rd row seat... which was a treasure trove of junk. One AA battery, about $1.30 worth of change, something shiny, a few crayons... which melted into the carpet by the way, and... wait a minute. Something shiny? What is that?

Flash back to just after the Shamrock 1/2 marathon in MARCH when after a particularly rowdy, uh, night, I had to take off my wedding band. I set it on my nightstand where it sat all night. The next day, around noon, I realized it was missing from my hand, remembered WHY it was missing, and went up for it. It was gone. Huh? Well, I'm sure it's around here somewhere. For a month I wasn't worried. And then I was worried. I came to realize that the longer it was missing, the less likely we were to find it. I tore my room apart. I tore my bathrooms apart (including the drains- uh, probably the grossest thing i've ever done, and I used to own a HORSE so that's saying something). I tore the playroom apart. I replayed all the times I'd randomly run the vacuum over a penny and thought- ah, that noise, it was just a penny. I quickly concluded that B had been in my room and stolen it. I scoured her room too. No luck. It was just gone. And so I quietly said goodbye to my ring. My beautiful ring. On our 11th anniversary we went out and replaced it with a very similar looking band of lesser quality and duller bling. H offered to get me a REALLY expensive replacement but I sadly declined.

The shiny thing? It was my wedding band. Missing for over 3 1/2 months- it came back to me! And, bonus- the car is WAY cleaner than it's been in the 92K miles that we've owned it because I was energized by my awesome find!