Monday, April 24, 2006

Gotta love my company...

...because they think of everything...

In fact, it seems they have a Think of Everything Department.
That's in addition to the Think Progressively Department.

The Think Progressively Department came up with self-service travel arrangements via the internet, connect to our intranet, and our World Travel group, and now we can make all arrangements ourselves through Orbitz. Unless you're like me and you have your admin do it for you. :o)

The Think of Everything Department has come up with an Avian Flu kit. In addition to updates on different areas of the world, they've put together a black zippered pouch that contains N95 respirator masks, non-latex gloves, anti-microbial lotion that is not your simple Purell - it's seems industrial strength, anti-microbial wipes, disposable thermometers, and an Avian Flu fact sheet and contact numbers, all zippered up with a luggage tags that lists the contact numbers for Company Security, World Company security, Emergency SOS, World Travel International and the Company Membership number. As soon as your international travel plans are set, they get alerted to send out a kit. This kit will go nicely with the syringes and needles that the doctor prescribed for me in case I need them while in India. Nothing like a company full of paranoid, hypochondriac types.

I think the Think of Everything Department is the same group who came up with the latest campaign on stopping the spread of communicable disease with frequent hand washing (signs are everywhere), staying home if you're sick, going home if you don't feel well, working by phone whenever possible instead of in close groups of large numbers in case someone is a carrier incubating some hideous disease...oh... and all the large Purell dispensers that are now everywhere.

And so, here I sit in my office with allergies turned sinus infections turned cold (I think). Getting ready to meet with 5 people on my team... yup yup yup... Then I'll go home and let my little germs do their thing...sigh...of all days I wish I could have stayed home, it's today.

Still sick...

...and so tired...

Did not run.
It's drizzly, cold, and gray in Boston.
I think my allergies turned into a sinus thing which turned into a cold.
Of course, Joseph still thinks that it's allergies...ever the optimist.
I will say that it's all in my head - my nose, sinuses, eyes...
So, maybe he's right.

Tonight I have a massage with Arun.
I hope it gets all the little buggies out of my system.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sick sick sick... a dawg...

Friday I ran.
Very slowly.
4 miles.

Saturday I ran.
Very slowly.
10 miles.
My last long run before Big Sur.

I am trying to decide if this is a cold or if I have allergies.
I am sneezing, sniffling, and so tired.

I decided to sleep in and take today off - I had 4 miles scheduled but thankfully, it's taper week.

Whatever I have had better be done by next Sunday.
8 days til Big Sur.

And it's going to be a very hectic week.
I did manage to rotate my winter stuff with my summer stuff.
In fact, last night I had so much stuff strewn over the bed that we actually slept on our wonderful French sleeper sofa - and we slept surprisingly well! Who knew?! At least now we know that we're telling the truth when we tell our friends who stay over how comfortable they will be sleeping on it!
And I finally finished up the rotation process.
Now if the weather would only cooperate and make it over 48*.

I feel like crap.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Book Review #4: To Hate Like This is to Be Happy Forever...

...A Throroughly Obsessive, Intermittently Uplifting, and Occasionally UNbiased Account of the D[ook]-North Carolina Basketball Rivalry...

by Will Blythe.

Let me first begin by saying that I grew up in North Carolina.
Let me finish by saying that I went to Carolina.
And so did my brother and my sister.
We got accepted at a lot of schools - Ivies included.
But we're "Tarheel born, Tarheel bred, and when we die, we're Tarheel dead."
'Nuff said.

In the above subtitle, I couldn't type out the name of the school in the official way.
Even when it's the title of a book.
Do you know that I once stopped seeing a post-doc at Harvard who was Korean, drove a great car, came from a very wealthy family (who my family knew but I didn't know it at the time) just because he went by the name D[ook]?
What kinda name is that to go by?
Well... I couldn't get past it.

Did you know that I broke up with my senior high boyfriend (who drove a Porsche - which is important to 16 year old girls with a love-affair with cars) just because he was going to D[ook]?
Well... I couldn't get past it.

So, call me petty - we all have our vices. What's that verse about throwing the first stone? Yeah. That one. Uh-huh... yup yup yup... so don't be going and throwing stones... or anything. Ahem.

So, this book was awesome. I could feel all the reasons. I felt the feeling of the Carolina games wash over me. When he wrote about the 1982 NCAA Championships, I remembered. I was there on Franklin Street when the street was washed in Carolina Blue.

Did I tell you about the neighbor from two streets away that went to D[ook]. Well... we were at a party and I was talking to her husband, a well-known local potter. It was a couple of years ago when Carolina won the NCAA again (and which is covered in detail throughout the book in the little vignettes) and I am not sure how the subject came up but he was telling me the story of how he was painting the foyers in waves of different shades of blue. Along comes his wife (whose name to this day I don't remember), and asks "what kinda blue is that?"
He said, "uh.... baby blue?"
She said,"uh... looks like Carolina Blue."
Needless to say, he had to paint that foyer over again.
And that little story is to show that this phenomena goes both ways.

Will Blythe paints a great story about the North Carolina landscape, the blood of the South, the South in the blood of the people who grow up there. It's about one unversity that started as southern and then was bought with oil money - I like to compare it all to carpetbaggers coming down and lording it over the gentle people of the South. It's about another university that is the oldest public university in the country. It's about Basketball.

I could go on, but I won't.

This book paints a picture of both sides.
It tries to explain the passions of both sides.
It gives little stories and histories of the basketball players and the coaches, the fans, the mothers, fathers, children who cheer for both teams.

For anyone who has felt their blood boil when cheering for their team against an arch enemy and can't explain why, this is a must-read book.

Joseph will read it next.
Then I will send it to my sister, who still lives in North Carolina.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Is it an allergy...

...or a cold...?

I have a sore throat in the sinal area.
What started as a scratchiness on the right side has spread to the left side.
I could feel it "bleeding" across the back of my throat today.
It was surreal ... like watching a knife descend on you in slow motion, knowing there is no way to defend or deflect...and then watching it hit...

I ran this morning.
So tired.
My body fending off whatever microscopic and sub-microscopic attackers has taken a toll, not to mention the craziness of the weekend.

I did manage to eek out 6.2 miles.
Slow, painful, tired miles.

12 days til Big Sur...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The best gig in the world... the Elite Security job at the Boston Marathon...

This was my second year volunteering for this job.
Someone I know who used to work for a vendor we used at work is the Team Captain.
This job is to basically ensure that no one without the right credentials get into The Elite Recovery Room.
Last year, is wouldn't let in Catherine Ndereba's husband or trainer. But somehow, her little daughter Jane sneaked by us. She's short, hard to spot.

This is the room that the elite runners come to right after they finish the marathon.
They pee into a cup, then go get a massage.
The room is also connected to the press room.
It's a great job.
We have a TV, food, and we hang out and say "no" to a buncha people and then we leave.

This year we met at 10am for the big Security Meeting.
Then we are let go around 11am.
This year, my friend Ken (who also voluteered on the same team with me) and my friend Harriet from NY (who was volunteering at the medical tent again) decided to go for a good lunch instead of the free dried turkey sandwiches they have for the volunteers. So, we went to Kaya for sushi and Korean Bento lunch boxes.
Then we sauntered over to the Copley Fairmont Hotel where our volunteer assignment was. We arrived around 12:30 and sort of hung out. The whole team is comprised of Phil (Team Captain), Rich (who has been volunteering for about 10 years), Augie (who has been volunteering for about 17 years), Pauline (who has been volunteering for about 7 years but only on this team for the last two years), Ken (who I've known for about 14 years), and me. It's a good team. Rich and Augie are drop dead funny. Pauline speaks Swahili and will say something nice to the Elite runners. Their faces just light up at the familiar language and friendly face.

Once the racers start finishing, it gets busy.
The elite runners start coming in aroun 2 hours and 20 minutes after the start of the race.
They are all small, shorter than me, about 100 pounds soaking wet.
I don't care what they say about Meb being 5'6". He's shorter than I am and I'm 5'3". It is what it is...

This year, a MIB (Man in Black) tried to get into the room.
We wouldn't let him in so he flashed his badge that identified him as Homeland Security.
I asked him if it was real.
He said he was trying to do his job.
I asked what job is that?
He didn't say so I said, well, he of all people should know that we, as Security, are trying to do our job.
He didn't like that either.
Anyway, Phil goes off and asks to double-check and the answer is still no, he can't get in.
So the guy stands there demanding to know the person is that said No.
Phil said it didn't matter and refused to tell the guy.
So the MIB huffed and puffed and threatened and tried to get in but we held firm.
What a blowhard.
Yeah. See ya. Don't let the door hit ya on the ass on the way out.

Anyway, around 3:20, I sauntered out to the VIP tent to see Joseph who had just finished.
I chatted with him for about 10 minutes, then went back to the elite room, and Phil said I could take off. I left around 3:45.

This is the best volunteer job out there. The best.

Weekend Summary

I was thinking of calling this a "recap."
But I haven't posted anything to recap.
Then I thought "weekly summary."
But the -ly in "weekly" implies that I do it once a week.
And I don't.
And so... in the spirit of honesty, I am calling this Weekend Summary - a summary of the weekend, only once about previously unposted activities.

So. How's that for anal-retentive?

A lot has happened since the last posting.
Let's see.... hmmmm.... okay....

Let's just say that it was a busy week.
It was Marathon Weekend.
And so, it went like this.

Friday night is Good Friday.
We have it off as a holiday because the Exchange is closed.
But I work from home.
Among various appointments, I also have to put some stuff together for a Brunch on Sunday.
I fret and grump and complian about the lack of time, I worry about the food I need to cook and it continues ad nauseum until Joseph gets all impatient and tells me I am worrying for naught and not to worry becayse HE will go to the store and that it's a partnership thing... and all that.
I manage to put together the Baked Blueberry French Toast before falling into bed totally exhausted.

Saturday morning Joseph gets up to walk the dog and I sleep him.
Turns out he went to the store bright and early, and he didn't wake me up while he got the cart out, got the doggie together, etc.
I end up running my last long run before Big Sur.
I run 18 long, tiring, painful miles.
I am so not into it.
Joseph takes the Dingle to the groomer where she will be for the next 8 hours!
But she is perfumed and really clean when we get her! Happiness!
I come home after my run, finish putting together the French Toast, put together the Sausage and Egg Strata, and finish just in time to shower for the Dead Runners Society Dinner Encounter at Big City.

Sunday morning, up early, I finish cooking the Strata, and then put together the Cinnamon rolls, and put out the food, etc. Joseph has taken the time to clean up the room and put out the table and gotten Easter goodies and put them in a basket...
We have about 40 people show up for the brunch.
I was so tired, I didn't even go to the Marathon Expo at the World Trade Center!
I just stayed home and vegged out.
We eat at home.

Monday is Marathon Day.
And out two year wedding anniversary.
I should have thought of this before I agreed to getting married on Marathon Weekend!

A lot happened but this is what happens when I wait to report things.
It gets briefer and briefer as time goes by...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Marathon Fever... in the air...

I passed through Copley Square on my way to my massage session.

The Medical Tent is almost up which means that Dartmouth Street between Boylston and St. James to closed. And it s a B-I-G Tent. For real.
The lawn in front of the Trinity Church has been taken over the Boston Marathon Command Center and the big white VIP tent - for BAA and John Hancock runners.
There is general mayhem from the visitors, the tourists, the runners and their families, and general curious locals who are just passing through.
Passing through the Comm Ave Mall, the runners are getting in their last easy run.
And all of it was topped off by a simply beautiful and shiny day.

One curious observation: why is it that the walk through the Comm Ave Mall always seems longer and more arduous when I walk it as opposed to when I am running though it?

Had I thought ahead - which I never seem to do - I would have brought my camera with me.

Tonight we will have spicy Korean BBQ'd pork loin chops, some kinda special stir-fried rice from Trader Joe's, and a nice salad with Jae's ginger carrot salad dressing, a little stir-fried watercress, and maybe a few other things. It's important for Joseph to eat well, sleep well, and drink lots before Monday arrives. No stress!

A new reader...

...from Ireland visited me a couplatimes...

His name is Liam and lives in Dublin.
My company has an office in Dublin.
I might have to go there either this fall or sometime next year.
I'll probably end up in Galway but I may be detouring through Dublin.
Besides, how far apart could they be?
Ireland is an Island and it's not that big.
Is it?

Hi Liam.
Welcome to my brain... random bits of nothingness and somethingness...
All my thoughts, good and bad... It write for myself mostly... so I can remember what I did when I am old and forgetful.

Dear Paul,

Do you know that I hated to run when I was younger? Couldn't understand the purpose of it. Not unless it was required for field hockey. I did run track for one season. Just one. I hated it. It hurt so much. I was told to take the stick and run as fast I could. I'd much rather sit on the lawn and make dandelion necklaces - I was good at that! But I will say that I used to ride my bike everywhere - until I took a header over the handlebars. Didn't ride for about 10 years and then I got back on and well... it's like finding your old sweetheart and falling in love all over again... I am not a nice person on the bike. Too competitive.

I'm not Jewish. We will have ham on Easter Morning. I am baptised and a confirmed Episcopal ("that heathen church" as one of my Born-again Christian friends call it - they're not my friends any more - it's a long story...) I was raised Confucian with Buddhist influences (of course I didn't know that until I was much older).

I did have a best friend in college who is Jewish. She now lives in Australia and owns a horse ranch with her husband. I was also a Little Sister at a Jewish fraternity, too. I've been to Seder but never to a synogue. That's on my list of things to do before I die. However, I will say that I've been to a dozen Buddhist temples when I visited Korea with my father before he died (of colon cancer after he just got tired of fighting it).

Happy Easter, Paul.
Wish your First Wife a Happy Easter for me, too.

Yoga in the morning... an excellent way to stre-e-e-e-e-tch...

I need to incorporate this more regularly into my routine.
I feel great.
An hour of yoga and my back, side, hamstrings, and everything in between have been thoroughly stretched.
After my two good runs, it was decided that I could do yoga instead of running the scheduled four miles.

I am looking forward to Big Sur.
Not because of the run or the course, but because it means that I get to take some time off before coming back to a new schedule that was basically an epiphany for me. Time of is relative. We come back from Big Sur on Friday, that following Thursday, I fly to India for 15 days, then I come home for two days, and then fly out to Ohio to visit our Good Friend Cher and watch the Memorial and hold her new grandbaby - Alex (SO CUTE!!!) - for 9 whole days! Of course, Cher is thrilled. Right. HAHAHAHA!! Well.. she'll be happy because I COOK! LOL!

The new schedule I am looking forward to:
Monday - yoga
Tuesday - run easy (4-6)
Wednesday - run somewhat long (10-12) - with hills
Thursday - yoga
Friday - run medium (8-10)
Saturday - run easy (4-6)
Sunday - run long (12+) rolling hills

I want to get up to 40 mile weeks regularly.

Nightly: stretching

Wednesday and Sunday evenings: Massage my legs

I have to figure out when to do the biking and the weight lifting.

Tomorrow I have 18 miles.

Oh, and it's 17 days to Big Sur.

Finding balance...

...has always been hard for me...

I've always approached everything in my life as a project.
Being a very goal-driven person, I need something to reach for, to strive for.
Most people think I am highly motivated but I know better. I know that if I stop moving, deepest laziness will overcome me and I won't move, happy in my inertia, happy to sit and watch the world go by.

I am a very committed person.
I persevere and work at things; however, not to a point where I develop any sort of deep expertise.
In whatever endeavor I engage, I seem to reach the brink into "expertise" and as that door opens...I turn to other things.

I also have a tendency to concentrate on a single activity to the exclusion of others.
I am a study in contradictions.
I hate people, and I love them.
I hate food but I love to cook.
I hate to eat but I am not your uber-skinny anorexic type.
I hate noise but I love the city.
I am excessive but not addicted.
I have a busy life filled with hustle and bustle but I crave peace.
I am outgoing but very private. My closest friends know that I don't gossip and don't like to be talked about. I don't have to tell them; they know instinctively. As I told my Hunny Bunny the other day, it's not about what is being said, it's about control over one's own communication, the freedom to and the freedom not to. It's my personal stuff and it affects no one else - at least not in any real direct way if you consider thought to affect the fabric of the cosmos. The knowledge of my personal information does not impact the lives of other people. I choose to communicate when I want and how I want. To have that taken away is insulting. I know, it's weird, but there it is. I am what I am...
I claim to be a non-conformist but I am a part of an "establishment" of the oldest of Old Boys Network, otherwise known Investment Firm.

Given that I tend to live out on the fringes of the edge of the reality spectrum, it's amazing that I am as balanced as I am. I think. I tend to see things a little differently and often take the contrarian view. Not contrarian as in "the opposite." But more of a "side-step." Hard to explain.

My world has always been consumed by work.
Work is how I define myself and how others define me.
I am married, and have no children. Not yet anyway.
I work, I run. I cook and I buy too much food for two people.
Those are the small facts that describe me.
But the fact is that the summary of what I would LIKE to do tell you more about WHO I am.

I want to be more charitable, volunteer more, I would like to get a degree in religion and theology - not to preach but to be a better person, I would like a child - a little girl that I can dress up and who I hope can help save a small part of the world one day, I would like to run more, go to the gym and stick to it, take yoga classes and stretch more - daily practice would be ideal, remember to do my in-home facials - my father (being the doctor that he is) instilled in me the idea that you need to take care of you skin- gasp! who would have thunk it??, read more, learn more - I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and the ever-elusive "truth", and to understand. I would like to meditate more (formally and not just when I am running), go to the temple and learn what it's about, I would like to sing in a church choir, take voice lessons and piano lessons, I would like to dance again and feel the music going through my soul. I would like to hike the Himalayas, and travel the Appalachian Trail and meet the people who live there.

I want to give more, love more, share more, live more.
I want to embrace the world.
I want to be one with the universe.

Small things that add up to be too much - to ask for, to achieve, to ever imagine as possible. At least, not without winning the lottery of some sort. And...what would I do with all those experiences and knowledge? I haven't figured that out yet. Which is probably why it won't happen - why waste all that on someone who can't figure out what they would do with this gift?

Regardless, I trudge on. They say that realization is the first step of any journey.
Every day I realize the imbalances in my life create want and need in my mind and soul.
Every day I hope to creep a tiny bit closer to balance.
It all starts in the mind and ends in action.
One step at a time.
I'm getting closer.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I should never do math...

...while I am running...

Will I never learn??

So, I had 6 miles scheduled for the day.
Easy running. Yesterday's run was so good I told Joseph I think I might do 7.3.
He sort of hesitated and said, "ummm...I'm not sure you want to do that..."
I look up sharply.
He quickly says, "ummm.... see how you feel."
I say, "I'll see how I feel. Hmph."

So, before I start out, I think, "okay. I'll do 2 2.75 mile loops and my half mile there and back - 6.5 miles."

I start out and there's a bit of a breeze.
In fact, there is QUITE A BIT of breeze.
Actually, there is a headwind there, a headwind west, headwind north, a headwind-tail-wind-headwind-tailwind east, tailwind south, and start over again and finally, a HEADWIND BACK!! What is it about the HEADWIND??? I hate the damn wind! Why oh why is there so much HEADWIND! ARG!!! I would love a run where I have NOTHING but a TAILWIND!!!
And it was HUMID! 60% humidity according to my handy dandy weather station that my Hunny Bunny got me for Christmas. (Happy happy.)

My legs were tired from yesterday. My heartrate was all over the place. My lungs couldn't keep up, I slowed down and slowed down. Then my cardiovascular felt better but my legs didn't. Then my legs felt better but my cardiovascular started acting up again. What a RUN! GAWD!!!

So, I finally head home. I look at my watch and I think to myself that I have to finish in 1:02:30 for a 10:00 pace. And that is my easy pace. I. Must. Make. That. Pace. I get to the house in 1:03:50 - totally disappointed because I didn't make the 10:00 easy pace over 6.5 miles.

6.5 miles
Think think think...

GAH!!! 9:49 pace.

Not mention the PEOPLE that were out there at lunch - couldn't run this morning becaue of PT so I had to run at lunch. Don't people work through lunch? Or eat lunch sitting down in a RESTAURANT?? And the TOURISTS! Oh, and lots of runners. That part was kinda neat.

Okay. If anyone is counting, 18 days to Big Sur.

Tomorrow I have 4 miles.
Tonight I am stretching. Alot.

Where's the Advil...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Spring has sprung...

...when I went for my run...

I had 12 miles on the shedule.
I managed 11.6 miles before going home to make a morning meeting (love working from home).
It was weird.
When I finally logged the run, my pace turned out to be 9:25-9:35.
I think it is closer to 9:25 since I had to stop for a few light and I forgot to stop the watch.
I thought I had stopped the watched but I later found out that I had actually hit the LAP button instead! ARG!!!

I ran three 3.15 mile loops, one 1.15 mile loop, and .5 mile there and back.
There was a slight breeze but not too bad.
I ran fartleks. I had 3x1 mile scheduled but I didn't feel like it.
So I sped it up for 5 minutes at a time and went back to my regular pace.

The run was surprisingly good.
No wonder my legs felt a little tired.
But they felt good after two days off from the 21.10 miler on Sunday!

I had a lot of smiles this morning.
On my last loop, the sprinklers came on on the the Comm Ave Mall.
And on my second loop, I saw Jack, who was walking his owner. Jack is a yellow lab, old and slow, just like his owner. They both list a little to the side. They make cute figures against the backdrop of the brownstones.
And I saw the Tai Chi ladies out by the flagpole in the Public Gardens. One was making snow angels standing up. The second was doing deep knee bend/snow angel combinations. And the third was sort of thumping herself on the head. Interesting.

It was a beautiful morning and a beautiful run.
Even more beautiful knowing how well I ran it!

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering... 19 Days to Big Sur

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Oh, and another thing... case anyone is interested...

I ran 21.10 miles.
Joseph thinks I ran more than that but I mapped it out as 21.10 - actually, a little less plus a 10% fudge factor, since one never runs in a straight line.

21.10 miles.

Why do I run?

That is the question.

The question is NOT:
"To run or not to run."
I am not imitating Hamlet here.

I am not cut out for this.
It takes me way too long.
It's not like I really enjoy it.
Maybe I enjoy it until the pain sets in...or my iPod shuts off...or the headwind hits me like a ton of bricks...oh...let's say I enjoy it for the first hour or two.
After that, I start talking to myself and asking myself all sorts of unanswerable questions...
Like, maybe I should quit my job and do nothing but work out, or maybe I should attend Palm Sunday service when it's already over, or something better, like why do I run?
Anyone have any answers? Anyone?

I ran for almost 3 hours and 45 minutes today.
I was out there for over 4 hours elapsed time if you count the multiple water-purchase breaks, the pee-break, the oh-there's-Joseph-time-to-stop-say-hello-and-change break.

I ate breakfast about 9:30, out the door at 11:25 - until three tenths of a mile later, I discovered that I left my waterbottle on the entry way table - ARG! So I turned around, WALKED back to the house, grabbed the water bottle and ran back to where I left off. SO. ANNOYING! As if I didn't have far enough to run!

Anyway, if consider the time I finished breakfast to the time that I got home, I didn't have anything to eat for almost 6.5 hours. Other than GU and Gatorade and water, that is. It occurred to me that people who are strapped to machines at hospitals are on liquid diets and they don't have to run!

I ran from the house, all the way down the Comm Ave Mall, down Beacon Street through Brookline and Newton until I hit Route 16. Then I took a right onto Route 16, then a right onto Comm Ave just in time for the hills - which by the way coincides with the hills at Big Sur. And today, the Wind was in full simulation mode - only a little lighter than what I imagine Hurricane Point to be.

I stopped and stretched three times.
My legs hurt.
My feet hurt.
My brain isn't functioning.

I think after Big Sur, no more marathons.
I am going to go back to what I do best - cycling, lifting weights, yoga and stretching (that replaces my dancing until I lose another 10 pounds and can get flexible enough to do an arabesque again).
If I get into St. George, I am not running it.
That's it.
So, the answer is...I have no idea why I run.
And that is a good enough reason for me to stop.

What day is it?

Oh, that's right.
Long Run Day.

I feel slightly better than yesterday.
I am waiting for the weather to warm up.
What are the chances of that happening?
Still, I am waiting.
The twinge in my right psoas is better than last night when it was shooting electical jolts down my thigh and up through my rib cage.
Joseph massage my leg last night and it did feel a little better.
My calves are knotted and tight.

I need to find a new sport.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

22 Days to Big Sur

...and I cannot wait for TAPER!...

Did. Not. Feel. Like. Running.
Had to run!
Did a bunchaerrands in the morning.
Shopping mostly, to prepare for the week ahead filled with preparations for the weekend ahead - the Boston Marathon encounter weekend when friends from all over the work converge in Boston to run the Marathon. We host the Annual Bagel Brunch every year and that means we have to plan the menu, shop, lay out when to make what and in what order, and send out emails on who needs to bring the orange juice, bagels and cream cheese. Next weekend I will do a last minute run to the store to pick up the fresh fruit and the veggies for platters.

I wouldn't have run if Joseph hadn't quietly asked me - twice - if I was planning on running.
After all, I only had 2 miles. Two. Miles. Yes. TWO! Whatever!!!
You can't make an excuse for not running two measly lousy lame miles! Really.
So, I got dress and went out and still didn't feel like it.
I ran, and I didn't feel like it.
And since I was out there even though I didn't feel like it, I decided not to cut the course short and ran the additional little leg down Tremont to East Berkley to the house to make sure I had run 2 miles. Two Lousy Miles!
Wasn't too bad for feeling like crap.
Ran it in 19:something - especially considering I slowed down a lot because, well, I did not FEEL LIKE IT.

Tomorrow I have 21-22 miles.
I hope I feel like it.
Can't imagine running that distance without feeling like it.

Friday, April 07, 2006

23 Days to Big Sur

...and the man with the hammer caught me today...

Don't know what it was.
It could have been the late dinner last night, which was heavy, to boot.
It could be the stress dealing with work the past two days.
It could the lack of rest due to the stress or due to my body trying to digest dinner instead of resting overnight.

This morning I got up with a "knotty" burning sensation in the my chest - right at the base of the rib cage where the base of both sides come together. I've had it before and it's been happening frequently in the last month.

I was scheduled for 6 miles so I headed out.
I was tired but I tried not to think about it.
I decided to do the 3.15 mile loop and add 2 loops of the .9 mile loop.
Chugging along and suddenly, I stop.
Don't know why. I just stop.
The burning is still there.
I am tired.
My mind won't work.
And I just don't care.
So, I walked home.

I finished with 3.5 miles. So sad.
Tomorrow I have 2 miles scheduled. I can do that.
I also have to do a yoga workout at some point and do my entire PT exercise regimen for my non-tennis elbow. Sigh...

On a good note, however, last light we went to Flemings for dinner - entirely too late. It was excellent and we had an adorable and efficient waitress named Molly.

We immediately said that we will have to go back the second we sat down! We split the Seared Ahi Tuna - served on a decorative plate, thin slices, perfectly seared, draped over some sort of asian-style slaw, topped with pickled ginger, accompanied by a ginger wasabi mustard sauce. Unbelievable. We should have order two.

For dinner, I had the Beef Flemington. Joseph mentioned that it had been written up. I was hesitant because every beef wellington type of dish I order is dried out. But this was unbelievable. a 6 ounce filet perfectly cooked with phyllo puff pastry dough draped over the top, all served on a madeira sauce glaze. Joseph ordered the 8 ounce filet. The plates are about 300 degrees so you have to be careful.

For dessert we had the chocolate lava cake accompanied by two scoops of vanilla ice cream, each served on a thin lacey sort of cookie all drizzled with some sort of special syrup.

We had a Stags Leap "Artemis" Cabernet (can't remember the year) - their last bottle - which was just divine! We were, however, disappointed with their Scotch list. For a high end steak place, it was bland and drab at best.

It was a late dinner - we didn't get home until after 9:30. Next time we have to go early!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

25 Days to Big Sur

...and it's been a Hell of a Day...

I am spent.
Nay, resigned might be a better word.

And I am not talking about the running - although I only ran 7.3 miles today instead of the requsite 10. And that was the best part of the day.

All that hullabaloo that occurred yesterday? Well, I've cleared my calendar for the next three days. I've rescheduled my hair appointment tonight for next week, I will be coming into the office tomorrow. I worked until 9pm and now I am at Delux.

Why? You ask?
Well. I left my keys at home. Again.
That meant I couldn't get into my locked office this morning and Security had to let me in.
That also meant I had to ring my upstairs-tenant-neighbor again when I got home, who either wasn't home or didn't answer. Who can blame her if she was home and chose to ignore the doorbell? After all, it was after 9 when I got home. Joseph isn't home.

So I headed down to Delux for dinner. I sent Joseph emails letting him know where I am. He's at an industry function and will be home late. Not sure he gets the emails so I call. He's all in a hurry because he's busy. I tell him I am Delux. He says "okay."

The question is, do I wait here for him to walk by on his way home?
Or is he already home waiting for me?
But it's not like him to not come by or call me to let me know he's home.
Do I go home and take the chance I have to sit on the stoop like some homeless person? In the cold?

These are dark days. Strange and dark.

And the proverbial excrement is hitting the fan at work. A large pile of excrement. And a very large fan.

But I warned them. Three years. I finally told Jack and Adam, "stop caring so much." The people who need to care don't, the people who need to understand don't, the people who need to know what they are doing don't, and we won't get through to anyone until the whole thing blows up.

And they exploded today. I hate being right.

My poor boss. He wasn't around when I first started warning people. But he's interested in all the work we did to try and warn people. I am going to need over $3M to do what's needed. And it's all unbudgeted. He wanted to know "why?" I said, "I asked. But no one thought it was important. But they agreed it was a dilemma." So, if I can't get half a person for funded work, do you think you and the powers would be giving me 8 people for unfunded work? He didn't have much to say...

I've been told today, "funding isn't an issue."
Sometimes you have wade through the shit to get to the gold...

In other words, as a wise manager once told me, "sometimes, you just have to let people fail."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

26 Days to Big Sur...

...and what a DAY....

I started out at the office this morning even though I had planned to work from home. I went home to work at noon because I had to take the cat to a 3:30 vet appointment.

Everything goes well until around 2pm when I am interrupted by my boss. The call I was on ends, this and that happens, we have a situation brewing (I've been saying we will for over 2 years), blah blah blah (I'll be there tomorrow even though I was going to be working from home again), and I finally get him off the phone.

I barely make it out the door at 3pm. I am frazzled. I scurry around collecting things to leave. I have to leave at 3:00. Depending on traffic, it could take forever to get there!

I am out the door. I've got the cat, I've got the car keys. No pocketbook. I go back, no housekeys; they're in the pocketbook. ARG!! I ring the bell. Upstairs-tenant-neighbor is home. I tell her what happened and I'm in a rush! She sits on the stairs to tell me about her life. I tell her I am late. She doesn't care that I am panic-stricken and have a 20 lb cat with carrier in my hand! After all, it's always all about her! And my Hunny Bunny wonders why I avoid her sometimes.

I get my pocketbook, I leave and think, "I'll take the Miata. The battery needs to be charged so I'll drive it." It's now 3:06.

I get in the car, it won't turn over. I try again. The alarm goes off! ACK! It's not supposed to go off! We turned it off!!! I get out, it's still going off. I finally get it shut down, I grab the cat and head to the garage. I make it huffing and puffing. It's 3:14.

I drive to the exit. Someone is in front of me. I can see they are picking stuff up, shaking out a coat, looking around... Uh-oh. . They lost their garage parking ticket.

I wait a minute. I finally stick my head out the window and shout, "IS THIS GOING TO TAKE LONG??" The attendant looks up. I wait another minute and the car finally goes through. It's 3:16 pm.

I hit lights and TRAFFIC on the highway!!! GAH!!! I call the vet. "I'll be LATE!!". Huh? "Oh...five minutes," I lie... I make it at 3:40 and they still take us.

Henry Cat has EAR MITES!! ARG!!! Come back in 3 weeks. Use this medicine, twice a day for 2 weeks. Sigh...

I make it home. Traffic wasn't too bad.

The bright spot was dinner with Amanda and Gina. We let them have our NCAA championship tickets since UNC didn't make it and well...not sure I care to see Dook. The Turtles better beat them!!

What a DAY!

Monday, April 03, 2006

27 Days to Big Sur

Last week was a stepback week. Regardless of how little I may run during the week of a stepback week, I always get in my long run. Now, it's up for debate as to whether that is good or not.

Yesterday called for 18 miles. To simulate the Big Sur course (complete with headwinds, I might add) Joseph and I decided to run 9 miles uphill to Hopkinton and then 9 miles back down hill. We parked at the VFW Post across from the reservoir in Natick, got permission to park the car from the guy that was there, and headed out. Joseph ran down to Mile 10 and then turned around because he had 20 miles to run.

It was a warmish sort of day, but the wind makes it tough to decide what to wear. Into the wind, you can get really hypothermic. Running down wind, you can really overheat. I have nothing to say about this run other than that it was tough tough tough. Running uphill is never fun. 9 miles of uphill is even less fun. I did see a Kenyan on the course, who looked over across the street at me, smiled and waved. I waved back and ran a little stronger for at least a few hundred yards.

The last three miles is technically uphill. Coming from Hopkinton, it's a screaming downhill. Going toward Hopkinton, I discovered that it's a series of sharp uphills (downshills the other way) with small flats, or "landings." It's amazing how different the course was depending on the direction in which you are running it!

Joseph said it was crucial for me to get this part right. I needed to find a way to run this 3 mile uphill without bonking. I chose a 3 minute run/2 minute walk pattern. Then I changed it to a 3:30 run/1:30 walk pattern which seemed better toward the end. I'll end up doing this going up Hurricane Point at Big Sur. Hurricane Point is steeper and shorter - about a hundred feet more of incline in 2 miles insteadof 3 miles. We'll see how it goes.

Coming back from Hopkinton was interesting. I am not sure I could have run longer than 18 miles. My legs are beat today. The downhill running muscles clearly not happy and I feel like I've run a hard race!

The only saving grace is that at Big Sur, it's not entirely uphill the first half. It's a bit of a smallish decline with the big hill in the middle. Yesterday's run was more uphill with a big hill in the middle.

Another note: this was one of the SLOWEST training times I've had all year.

Next weekend, I am scheduled for 22 miles. So not looking forward to that.

This morning, I was scheduled for 2 miles. No way. Tonight, it's going to be yoga and stretching.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Time is a constant... matter how much life squeeze you...

There is never enough time.

An interesting thing on the news this morning.
A piece about office concierges.
These are different than the concierge that I use. She does things that involve phone calls - appointments, trips, rentals, etc. The office concierge does almost anything you want, including shopping, paying bills, picking up the dry cleaning - all those little errands you do that squeeze the life out of your schedule.

I guess the most time consuming thing that I do every week is grocery shopping. It hangs over my head like a dark cloud. It probably takes about 5 to 8 hours a week, depending the size of shopping I need to do. That time includes driving to the various stores, shopping, driving home, putting stuff away. The most time consuming part is the driving there-shopping-driving back portion. If I could just have someone do that, I would have a lot more time to go to the tailor, get the pictures framed, work out, run more, put things away more instead sitting around saying to myself "I have to do something about that." I could order groceries online and have them deliver. Unfortunately, Costco, Shaws, and Trader Joe's don't do this. Sigh...

In two weeks, it's Marathon Weekend. We are hosting the annual bagel brunch on Sunday. That means shopping and cooking. By next Monday, I have a major delivery at work. Unfortunately, I have about 4 hours of free time to actually do about 20 hours worth of work - all other time is spent in meetings and I am not even going to count the endless interruptions I will face. By the end of the month, I've got about 6 major deliveries before going on vacation and then to India for two weeks. And I will probably have to do a few more deliveries ahead of time because I will be away in May. In between, I've got to see the doctor for my non-tennis elbow, take the cat to the vet, get my hair cut because it looks like Albert Einstein's, go shopping for the marathon events, pack for Big Sur, rotate my clothes from winter to spring/summer, get my Burberry trench coat cleaned (the cleaners hate this - it's very delicate), take the admins to lunch (there are three of them) - get their cards, presents, make arrangements, collect money for a group gift, etc etc etc), figure out if we can go to Medoc since I need to tell my friend Jo one way or the other so I don't leave her hanging, go to PT, run many miles in training (that never goes away)...

And I left out, eat, cook, sleep, drive to the various offices, do laundry, etc etc etc.

I need a personal assistant.
Or I could not sleep.
Or I could just not care.

What to do what to do what to do...