Tuesday, January 31, 2006

You can tell it's Texas...

…when you taste that BBQ…

And other than Carolina BBQ, it's the best!

We went to Red Hot & Blue for lunch after a morning full of meetings. The pulled pork was the best. Wayne said that it was the best pork he's had next to the pull pork that was served at my wedding. He told everyone at the table how wonderful the BBQ at the wedding reception was and so I had to explain everything. So funny. I will be back to Red Hot & Blue.

Dinner was at Aw Shucks. I love this place. It's house off of Mockingbird Lane on lower Greenville Ave. You go in and order your food and they bring it out to you. You sit at picnic benches in the front of the house - sort of like an enclosed porch. You used to get your beer out of a tin bucket but apparently business has been booming because they put in taps inside the house and the bottled beer is refrigerated.

You order most of the food by the pound which comes out on silver serving platters. You make your own sauce using ketchup and horseradish. The napkins come on rolls (aka paper towels). We got 8 fried oysters, 3 fried catfish filets, a pound each of hot spicy shrimp (complete with heads and shell), crawfish (munchkin lobsters) and raw oysters. This is some of the best eatin' a person can partake in.

Oh, and I met my good friend Chris Hughes. He is not as big as I thought he would be - but then he is wearing a motorcycle jacket in the picture I saw. Nice Guy! Seriously! On the way there, I told Steve and Wayne we are meeting a guy for dinner. No, never met him before. No, I never talked to him. Only through the internet... I got funny looks but they went with it. Turned out that everyone got along great. I wish Joseph had come down with me. He would have liked Chris a lot. And Chris didn't mind when the group started talking politics and bashing various politicians. LOL! Gotta love a guy who just goes with the flow like that!

Ok, time to get some rest.
I have 6 miles in the morning - hills.
I am strangely not feeling like it.

Exercise Note
2 miles easy in the fitness center on the t-mill.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Traveling again...

…and I think this isn't going to be the last time…

I am in Dallas, situated nicely at the Four Seasons.
I am traveling with Wayne and Steve.
We are having meetings with a bunchapeople for the next 3 days until we fly out on Thursday. First meeting this afternoon went quite well.

Not much to report except that it's temperate and they moved all the damn roads around! ARG!!!
They didn't move them around exactly; they added a bunch more so it makes it look as if they moved all the roads around. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The last time I spent any length of time here was about 7 years ago. Yup. They can move a lot of roads around in 7 years.

Lunch was at Cool River on MacArthur Blvd up the road from the data center and down the road from our hotel.

Tonight we went to my old sushi stomping ground at Jinbeh near the Omni Mandalay - where I have stayed before. I don't mind it there but when I stayed there before, their fitness center was a small room with not enough equipment for my taste.

Okay, early to bed… 2 mile run in the morning...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Wine Weekend

This weekend we went to the Boston Wine Expo, a part of the Boston Wine Festival.
The Bernardus wine dinner we went to on Thursday night is a part of the three-month long festival (the longest wine event in North America, I think). The actual tasting event over two days was one of the Christmas presents I gave to Joseph.

Saturday was the Grand Cru Lounge, Sunday was "The Floor."
The Grand Cru Lounge has the higher end wines, usually around $45-$100+ per bottle.
The big surprise was the Fess Parker wine. I had seen this before, but Fess Parker?? Isn't that the guy on "Gunsmoke?" Well… we tried it. And we will be putting some in our cellar!

The Grand Cru Lounge was in building separate from "The Floor". It had big windows that overlooked the lines that led to "The Floor." As we watched from the windows of the Grand Cru Lounge, we saw the crowd and long lines to get into The Floor. Two hours after the doors opened, though, there was no line. None.

On Sunday, taking the hint from the prior day, we arrived around 3pm. No line. At all. We just walked right in (a very long walk)! The Floor was a bit of mayhem. It holds cheaper and more approachable wines. And by cheaper, I don't mean bad wine - they are just less expensive. We did try one wine that was in a screw cap - it was so good I was shocked it was a screw cap and that it was on "The Floor" instead of the Grand Cru Lounge! And I didn't know it was a screw cap until the rep pointed it out to me. Turns out the wine is sold for just under $20 but the wine inside the bottle is a $45 wine in a bottle with a cork. The makers wanted to break the image of the screw cap by bottling a really good wine. I must say that it worked for me - I will be looking for this wine. However, it worked only for this wine and not for all screwcaps!

The people who attended "The Floor" seemed brusker, and by the time we arrived, they clearly had enough time to get a mid-day buzz. Some were just going from table to table holding our their complementary wine glass, not bothering to rinse between "tastings" and clearly in it for the free booze at that point instead of learning about the finer points of a particular vineyard or bottling.

Arriving at 3pm didn't leave enough time to try everything so we had to be very selective. We decided to try wines we weren't familiar with and went to the South Africa, Brazil and Chile tables. All of these wines were very very good. At Portugal, the port was wonderful. I still like the tawny better than the ruby, although there was one ruby that I really liked - it wasn't as cloying sweet and thick as others I've tried. And then to France. The French wines were complex…not surprisingly.

We have a big list of wines under $20 that we will use to stop up the cellar.
I think we need to stop drinking $50 bottles of wine every night.

Next year, we will do both in a single day - two hours in the Grand Cru and two hours on The Floor. It will probably be in Sunday so that we can go the Reebok Indoor Games on Saturday. I also would not mind going to the Vintner dinner or attending the Spinnazola Gala.

Regarding the Indoor Games, we did make it! We got out of the Grand Cru Lounge early so we made it to Bukowski's and met up with a buncharunning friends. Then we all went to Reggie Lewis. Great event. We had really good seats and I brought my camera with me.

The Ethiopians were out in full force to support their countrymen as usual. Let me just say that as a group of people, they are some of the most beautiful men and women I've ever seen. And the kids. The kids are all just beautiful and VERY WELL-MANNERED!! Ethiopians have really find bone structures and they are not overly large or overly small. They always seem so happy; there is such a community in the Boston area.

Time to go pack. Tomorrow I am flying out to Dallas. Another long week coming up. Sigh...

Friday, January 27, 2006

For Valentine's Day...

…I will attempt to make Osso Bucco…

I might have to make another trip to Williams-Sonoma to get a Dutch Oven - red is a nice color.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tennis Elbow...

…and I don't even play tennis…

Actually, I used to play but not in tens of years so I know tennis did not cause my current tennis elbow.
Of course, I say "current" as if I've had it before, which I haven't.
Anyway…

Went to the chiro to see if I have an impinged nerve coming from my neck.
Turns out it's tennis elbow.

ARG!!!

So, icing and a tennis elbow brace which I got at the CVS across the street (and where I got the singularly worst bullshit from some low-level know-nothing employee who insisted that by opening the box and trying it on, I had "damaged" the product and now it had to be sent back to the manufacturer, and who went on to say that if I were buying a bra, I wouldn't try it on, to which I replied that was an totally inappropriate comment, and where the hell does SHE buy bras because where I buy them, there are ladies with measuring tapes helping you try on a hundred of them, and after which I complained to the shift supervisor that this is a multicultural area with lots of foreigners and how many people is she intimidating with her rude and ignorant behavior - to which he agreed - and why would she be such a bitch instead of asking if she could help when she saw me struggling, after which I said I would be complaining to the CVS headquarters about this.)

So, tomorrow I have a massage - hopefully it will help fix things a little more.

And next week, I will call the sportsmed doc and see about some physical therapy.

At least now I know what it is. And of course, my neck feels much better after having it cracked.

Tonight we are going to the Meritage at the Boston Harbor Hotel for a wine tasting dinner featuring Bernardus wines.

Two New Recipes...

…this week…

Two complicated recipes.

The first was an eggplant and lentil stew with pomegranate molasses.
Japanese eggplant, lentils, tomatoes, onions, garlic, anaheim chili peppers, fresh mint leaes, crushed red peppers, tomato paste, olive oil, pomegranate molasses.

The whole process took about 2 1/2 to 3 hours from start to finish, not counting the part where I had to go to the Syrian grocery store for the pomegranate molasses. And I will say that fresh chopped mints smells so awesome!!

It was DELICIOUS! I will definitely make this recipe again.
And now I understand why middle-eastern food is much higher fat and more calorically dense than the initial ingredients may indicate. This dish is, in fact, stewed in 2/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil! But when it was finished cooking, you couldn't even tell that any oil had been used at all! And the flavor was close to miraculous!

The second dish was a zucchini pappardele with tomatoes and feta.
This is really the first salad I have ever made. Since I just don't "get" salads, and I don't like salads usually, I don't ever bother making them. I first thought that this was cooked - which it is a little - but Joseph and our upstairs-tenant-neighbor (who invited herself to dinner again) called it a salad right away. Anyway…

So this dish calls for zucchinni and yellow squash, dijon mustard, honey, fresh chopped thyme (OMG, the smell!!!), fresh chopped rosemary (unbelievable aroma!!!), lemon zest, crushed red peppers, grape tomatoes, calamata olives, french feta (which is wonderful!), and lemon juice (which I totally forgot to add).

I don't know what I was thinking. First of all, the squash has to be sliced long ways into very thin slices. When I first looked at this recipe, I thought, "no problem, I am used to doing these things by hand." Then yesterday at work, I started getting concerned because I thought that maybe I can't slice it thin enough. So on the way home on the train, I was resolved. "I will go to Williams-Sonoma at Copley Place and buy a that Mandoline that I've been wanting to get for about 5 years!" I went back and forth about this for a while but I went and bought that Mandoline. And boy, am I glad that I did!!!

The second thing about this recipe is that it calls for me to brush a mixture of the herbs (nothing like fresh herbs) and oil into the slices of the squash and broil the squash until it is cooked or browned. That took about 3 big pans! ARG!

And the third thing is that I had to slice 20 grape tomatoes in half and brown them under the broiler, too.
In the end, I got a lot of ooh's and aah's over the salad. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to make this again, but when I thought that out loud about that, Joseph said "no, it's good, and you should make it again." Next time, the only adjustment I will make is to use just a tad less feta.

Both of these were hell to make but a little appreciation goes a long way. Based on the exclamations from Joseph and the upstairs-tenant-neighbor, I will be putting these two dishes on the cooking rotation.

We had both with filet mignons and a cabernet from L vineyards.
Wonderfully delicious!

Another friend...

…added to the list of "Friends and Family" links…

I moved Tim from "People I don't know" to "Friends and Family".
I met Tim at Amanda and Gina's wedding.
He and I nodded and smiled and shook hands.
And that's about it.

If prior experiences foretell the future, that meeting will evolve into a friendship - hopefully a good one.
After all, this is how I have fallen into some of my better-than-average friendships in the past.

The next meeting in a year (as with the others) will be much better.
Always is...

Monday, January 23, 2006

It's a photo opportunity...

...and I will be taking my camera on that cruise...

And the long lens. I will take that too.

Good.
Now, I can look forward to that cruise.
Yup yup yup...

Happiness is: Korean cookies

If I had free access to Korean cookies, I'd be the size of a damn house.
Yup.
There is nothing in this world like Korean cookies.

John and Elizabeth's mom and dad sent us Korean cookies for New Years.
Complete with a beautiful holiday card.
Nice.
Joseph got his favorite "oily cookies."
No. I cannot explain that.
Anyway...

And I got an array of nostalgic tastes in my mouth.
The kind from my childhood, only modernized.
And I remember...
Good memories...
Warmth from my childhood in Korea when I visited with my grandparents.
And all of their indulgences...
I remember more and more as I get older... as I get closer to their age.

Nothing like it - all the flavors of my youth.

John and Elizabeth's mom and dad are always trying to thank us for taking care of their kids.
How do I explain what I, we, get in return.
That these are the children of our hearts.
The kids we wish we could have had.
They enable us to love and to give and to live and to embrace...
Even though we know they are not"ours" we are blessed with a small glimpse into parenthood - with all the rewards and none of the diapers.
How do we even begin to explain?
To thank THEM for the opportunity to love and to give...
And that alone is thanks enough, reward enough...
And a gift unimaginable.
There is no reason to thank us.

But the cookies are wonderful...
The gift of my childhood.
More than words can express, I close my eyes and remember...

We're gonna go cruisin'...

...in March...

It's a small boat. About 400 rooms. Yah. Small and intimate. Meaning you can't get away even if you wanted to. Of course, this being a floating prison, you can't get away even if you could. Got that?

A cruise has never been on the top of the list of things I want to do. Ever.

Did I mention that I hate the water?
That I hate the sun?
Yes. I go from shade to shade.
The surf?
The sand?
Yes. Tactile Hell.

Sure. I've sailed.
Monohulls? Hate them. If a 54' Hunter isn't big enough, then there ain't no boat gonna be big enough. Ya know?
Multihulls? Sure, I've raced cats with HWINLML (He Who is No Longer in my Life). But with much gnashing of teeth and the only thing that got me excited and over getting wet was the hiking out on the trap, with the wind in my face, cutting through the water at 15 knots... the speed, the speed... now THAT is sailing...

But this is a big ole cruise ship.
With people who eat.
All the time.
It's a whale of a time - quite literally.
At least they have a workout center with treadmills and free weights.
I guess it's a good chance to try out being a lady of leisure.
I bet I hate it.

And no. Not going is, like, NOT an option.
And no. I am NOT going to explain.

I bet they won't even have WiFi.

Sigh...

And the white stuff is coming down...

…complete with severe weather alerts on my weatherbug…

And it's accumulating.
So pretty when it's first fallen snow.
Then it quickly turns to ugly gray and black and dirty…
Luckily, the weather guessers are saying that it will warm up towards the middle of the week.
Hopefully, they are guessing correctly this time around.

This morning, I decided against my 2-mile run.
What with the snow and all - not to mention I slept in a little late.
Tomorrow, I will run 2 miles at the gym before my chest/tri workout.

It's a new week.
A new weekly lease on life.
Back to the fruit.
Back to the stretching.
Back to the future…
Amazing what getting my calendar straightened out does for my outlook on life.
Happiness!

Tonight Joseph will be late.
I will go home and walk the dingle, do some stretching, take a look at that other yoga take (for flexibility), do my ab/pilates exercises, massage my ITB, maybe give myself a facial mask…so much to do…

It's so pretty out with the snow.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunday Run Report: 6 miles easy

This is the last day of recovery since Disney.
It's pretty cold out but there isn't much wind and the sun is shining.
It's a beautiful day to say the least.

I did a combo of my 3.15 mile loop + 1.83 mile loop and a mile to get there and back.
Yes, it's only 5.98 but gimme a break... that .02 of a mile? Yah. I probably stepped around several monuments on the Comm Ave Mall that added 3 times that distance. I am calling it 6 miles even.

My legs felt good.
Everything felt good except for my right hip flexors.
I remember this from two years earlier - in January - which made me miss the first Disney Marathon that I had planned to run. Instead of peaking and tapering, I spent my time in physical therapy and on race day, I walked Joseph to the first corral and watched him take off, as I stood there in the dark, watching streams upon streams of runners pass by me. A spectator.

I know what I need to do.
My glutes and hams are weak, causing my hip flexors (TFL, et al) to take over and do most of the work on the "leg-up" part of the stride. This fatigues those muscles since they are never meant to exert that much so they start to tighten until it feels like the muscle is peeling away from the bone. Yes. Been there, done that, and it ain't pleasant.
So my squats and side lunges are important and I might have to add step up and hip flexor leg hikes.
At least I know what to do and I've started doing it!

Easy 9:50 pace.
I am recovering with rice cakes in red pepper sauce, roasted rock seaweed, cabbage kimchee, and a sierra nevada porter. Yum. I admit, it's a Korean kindathing... and I am most definately taking in more calories than I expended.

After lunch, I will walk to Ming's and get Chinese eggplant for Tuesday's dinner.
I might take the Dingle with me.

What a change...

...in the weather from yesterday...

It's 29 degrees out.
Twenty. Nine.
Yesterday, it was 55 degrees.
That is a temperature drop of 26 degrees.
Twenty. Six.

At least there is less wind.
Yesterday, there were 25 mph gusts.
Today...a steady 4-6 mph breeze.

Wondering if I should go to the gym or run outside.
That cold, the cold...

I know.
I'm a wimp.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Oh, and another thing...

…did I mention that my Hunny Bunny brought me a dozen roses today?

Well, he did.
He went to pick up a couple of suits and brought back a dozen roses.
Red ones.
With babies breath.

We are going to a party tonight and I thought they were for the hostess…

Silly me. What was I thinking?
I have the best Hunny Bunny in the world!

Oh, and he did bring the suits back, too.

A windy run...

...but the weather was very nice...

55 whole degrees.
Cannot waste those kinds temps in the middle of January.
Even with the blow-you-over-and-out-into-the-street gusts of wind which blew headlong into me for half the run.
And I did not even mind.
That's what happens when it's 55 whole degrees in the middle of January.

4 miles.
Nice easy 9:45 pace.
I don't get it. Everything above the hips felt great - heart, lungs, waist, back.
But the legs. The legs did NOT want to move, even with a tail wind on the way back. They felt as if they were working much harder than they were judging from the pace. It is the second week of recovery since the Disney Debacle. And I have been doing leg weights - from which pain has been a constant companion since I started a week ago...

Tomorrow is 6 miles easy.
We will see what we will see...

Time to go get that Pomagranate Molasses with the Dingle...

New recipe...

...for Wednesday...

I was thinking about fried catfish and okra but then upstairs-tenant-neighbor is a bit fussy about fried food. Sheesh. What is that saying about beggars being choosy? It's a good thing I like her!

So, given that this week is a bit hectic and there won't be many opportunities to cook, I found a couple of nice-looking recipes in the Food and Wine 2005 Anual Cookbook which as a especial Amex member...I get for free. We will have Zucchini Pappardelle with Tomatoes and Feta (French Feta, that is), with Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses. Accompanied by filet mignon and a nice cabernet which Joseph will pick out. The Eggplant dish can be made ahead - which I will do on Tuesday night, and the Zucchini dish is easy to prepapre. I'll let you know how it all turns out.

I have to go up to Ming's and get some japanese eggplant and stop by Formaggio to get the Pomagranate Molasses. I'll take the Dingle up with me... she's been lazying around the house...a little walk will be good for her! HAH!

Saturday morning...

…breakfast was especially good…

Bacon
Three-cheese egg omelet
British muffins grilled with a pat of butter

My day is going to be a little lazy.
More schedules to work on - especially the workout schedule. I think I have to pull back a little on the leg workouts. I reviewed my running schedule and I have hills almost twice a week. I think that as a result, I can probably eliminate single leg lunges and do the general squats. I will also keep the side lunges for my lateral muscles.

The interesting thing since starting this program is that the intsy muscles on the outside of my lower gluteal area is sore - a good kinda sore - like I worked them out or something - DUH. You would think that running would help these muscles but it doesn't. Running is a singularly focused, forward moving, highly efficient way of engaging the minimum amount of muscles for forward motion. That's it. Every other muscle be damned.

The other interesting thing is that my upper body is also sore. That shows how weak my upper body is.

Joseph and I tried out a yoga tape the other night. He had a good point when he saidI should not overdo things and just use the tape for a while, THEN take a class and see how things go. What? Don't jump into it with 4xweek classes of 1 1/2 hours of yoga? What?? Okay. The morning after yoga, I felt much more flexible. I think this is going to be a good practice for me.

Did I mention that our upstairs-tenant-neighbor invited herself over to dinner next week? Yup. Wednesday night. She is also interviewing at Timberland. For now, she gets 75% off retail prices. We are gonna look online and give her an order! LOL! Sometimes it's good to have inviting-self-to-dinner-upstairs-tenant-neighbor who has a bunchagood contacts!

My Good Friend Cher is running Naples Half this weekend. I think she is traveling today. I don't know how she does it - travel the day before a race. I need a whole day to become human again.

Another bit of miscellaney…I am thinking of starting up swimming again...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Two much...

…of a good thing…

Okay. Carrying around two blackberries is a royal PIA.
I love my new one - sleek, and pretty. It is thinner than the old one.
The old one is so THICK. It is VERY BIG. I always had a hard time finding a place for it - whether it was on my person or in my bag. But until I get my number transferred, I have to worry about carrying BOTH of them. Yes. Life is tough.

I am working from home today so Monday I will as Wonderful Jessica to take care of the paperwork. Wonderful Jessica is my Admin in SMT.

Transferring the phone number had better not take too long. I don't think I can take carrying two blackberries for too long.

Sheesh.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

And another thing...

…before I forget…

Did I mention that I am going to Dallas for work in a couple weeks?

Well, I am.
Staying at the Four Seasons in Las Colinas.
They have a full gym and I need a full gym.

It is what it is.

This is like deja vu for me. Many years ago, I used to go to Dallas for a week at a time. First it was once a month. Then every three weeks. And over the course of 3-4 years it became almost every other week. All told, my travels there spanned almost 5 years. It got to a point where everyone at the hotel knew me by name. The Lobby Piano Player knew who I was! It was then I knew I was in trouble...

So now, I am going back. I think this will be the first of several trips, although less frequently than before. I am looking forward to it but with very mixed feelings. It will be nice to get away from the cold but I will miss my Hunny Bunny, and I do have a marathon I am starting to train for. Maybe my Hunny will come with me on a future trip. They have the reknown Byron Nelson golf course there.

I wonder what Chris is doing on the 30th....

All set up...

…and ready to go…

Two Regional Support guys came out and fixed my Blackberry issue.
It is all installed and I am ready to go.
And it only took them about 30 minutes to get to me and another 20 minutes to get everything fixed.

The next thing left to do is transfer my old cell phone number from Nextel to Cingular.
I'll keep the old Blackberry for incoming calls until that switch happens.

Did I mention how much I love our help desk??

What a disaster...

…magnet…

I have been trying to load up the new Blackberry software and it is failing on step two.
I have called the external help desk. Same thing.
They gave me to Techline - internal help desk. Same thing.

Techline is going to send out regional support to my office and have them do it for me.
ARG!
They will do it today.
Really?
They will not leave until it is all fixed up and loaded.
Really? Oh…
I will be all set up.
Well, now…

So, now I wait.
A email showing the problem ticket that was sent to regional support just popped up on my desktop.

I love our helpdesk at work.
They are so good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New toys...

...are great....

I just got my new Blackberry.
This time it's Cingular-powered.
I can choose to keep my old phone number or use my new one, which isn't too bad.
what to do what do to what to do...

I also got a car charger and a bluetooth.
It's also GSM ready, which means I can use it in India!
Yahoo!!! Just gotta figure how how.

Now I just have to figure how to get the whole thing working without missing out on service interruption.

I wonder if I should sign up for call forwarding from this phone, also.

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

Monday, January 16, 2006

2006 Goal: Book Number 1 - 11 More to Go


100 People who are Screwing Up America by Bernard Goldberg

As someone who is more moderate and leaning toward libertarian, the book was very funny. I love the one about Paris Hilton's parents. Anyway, I found that I agreed with most of what he was saying and disagreeing with some - especially when it comes to the gay marriage issue. Anyway, it was a fun read and I enjoyed it. He put into words some of the caustic things I think about when I hear people who are less than qualified spouting off judgments, etc.

The funny part is that the very thing that these people are criticizing are the things that allow them to criticize in the first place. It's an interesting world, to say the least. The bottom line is that it takes all kinds to make up the world.

I would recommend this book if you don't take yourself too seriously. If you do, then walk away.

I'm leaving it all...

...to Fate...

As of a minute ago, Big Sur is 80% full.
And I haven't registered yet.
Happy happy happy!

On another note, I am leaving it all to Ultra Fuel. Finally found some. Ran up at lunch and picked up 8 bottles, two in each flavor, one for Joseph and one for moi, to try. I guess you drink it the night before the long run, and then the morning of before your long run. It kinda makes me wish that I had a long run coming up this weekend. Oh well, in about four weeks I have something substantial I think. Regardless, the guy at the store said that they could special order a bunch for me if I wanted. The stuff has 400 calories. Yikes. Can't imagine what the spike in my triglycerides will look like right after downing one.

Last week's recap...

…easy recovery week…

I am working today.
Yes, it's a holiday.

No, I don't believe in taking this particular day off as a holiday.
And that also goes for President's Day.
Whatever.

Thought I would take a little time and post about last week.

So far, it was a recovery week.
I did not run. At. All.
I did manage to 7 pieces of fruit the week before last week and 6 pieces of fruit last week. Right on track with my goals.

Yesterday, I wrote down my workout schedule and Joseph gave me my new training schedule leading up to Big Sur. Yes. We are going. Yes. There are bridges. Yes. I will get over it or run with my eyes closed. Joseph said I needed to look at the course profile. I will do that once I get a chance to breathe.

The writing down of my schedule took about 3 hours.
And it made me realize that other than training and working, there will be very little time for me to do anything else.
Also, it is hard doing weights and running seriously. I have three hard days. When do I get in my leg workout? On one of those days, I will have to go to the gym in the evening which means that I will need to eat dinner before I leave work or eat late. And I hate doing that.

It also made me realize that I will have be a bit flexible for those interruptions due to work - eg. Early morning meetings, going to a remote office on an off day, traveling to Dallas and India, unscheduled meetings, etc.

And it also made me realize on those "normal" days, if I am late by even 15 minutes, then forgeddaboutit. Ain't happening.

So this is notice for all those people out there… I am gonna live by my schedule. At least until I feel a little better about the overall plan and until it's all engraved in every fiber of my being and I can make sudden accommodations for scheduling mishaps automatically. That oughta take about a year. Or two. Sigh…

Monday Workout Note:
2 miles at the gym - felt good. Nice and easy.
Weights - upper body and legs. Took about and hour and ten. It felt good but I have lost 50% of my strength from 6 months ago. I'll get it back soon.

Joseph is going to set up the VCR and TV for my nightly ab & stretching routine.
Yikes!
It's all coming together, bit by bit.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

New Recipe...Chile Garlic Shrimp with Okra

...all made up in my head...

Jumbo Tiger shrimp with garlic, olive oil, splash of reisling (thanks to my Hunny Bunny), Chile garlic paste, okra, splashes of chicken broth, splash of whole lime juice after the whole thing is done.

Accompanied by Basmati rice pilaf and stir-fried watercress.

It was all delicious.

I spent the better part of the day doing schedules and catching up.
Tomorrow is a holiday but I will be going in to work.

New training starts tomorrow.
It includes running and biking and lifting and hill work and abunchaother stuff.
I am going to be very very busy.

Sigh...

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sundry Snippets

Went to NH to see Debbie as she moved into her new temporary home and got settled in. We met her friends Carolina and Janos who drove her up from NYC. We took her to the grocery store and then sat around the apartment and drank a beer and enjoyed each other's company until her cousin came to whisk her away.

Our friend Cher gave us a call and chatted with Debbie.

Debbie seems to be settling in well. I wanted to make sure that she was surrounded by friends and love and support. It's not easy moving away from a place you've lived in almost half your life. I know. Been there done that.

The apartment is nice - a one bedroom, nicely furnished, minimal kitchen accessories, etc., spacious, washer and dryer. And a cleaning person comes in every other week to make the transition even easier. There is also a fitness room and a clubhouse with a pool. Nice.

I hope she is happy with the move. With her New Company, she will be very busy I am sure and that will help a lot.

We're gonna be surfin'...

…at Big Sur in April…

The judges are in…
And we will go to CA April 30th to run Big Sur.

I must train on hills.
Against the wind.
Over long bridges.

It will definitely be a hang-on-snoopy kinda run.
But I will get California medal and will cross off another state.
At least the scenery is supposed to be beautiful and the shirt is supposed to be awesome.
Maybe we can go out there for a week and toodle around.

Gotta get that training schedule together and run the hills, maybe start hitting the weights again… at least now I have a real good reason to get my butt in gear.

The chip on my shoe...

…has been changed…

I took off the Marine Corp Marathon chip, put away the Disney Marathon Chip, and took out the Boston Marathon Chip.

I will use the Boston Chip for all future races.
I will remember who I am and what I have accomplished.

Today we had Steel Cut Oatmeal and bacon for breakfast.
The usual weekend breakfast - especially before a long run although I am not running today.
It felt like going home…and the lesson is learned.

The other Lizzy...

…cut a cd…

No, not Lizzy the Niece. Lizzy, the 12-year-old daughter of friends of ours.
Last night we had dinner at Sibling Rivalry.
There was a glitch with the baby sitter and so Lizzy came along.

She is a wisp of a girl, growing taller and taller, a beautiful face, a sweet personality, smart.
And definitely still on the innocent side of 12.

Half way through dinner, they handed us a cd.
The reason why our prior dinner was canceled…because of the cd.
For Lizzy's birthday, the parents had said she could cut a cd, on the day of our previously scheduled dinner, and since the sessions could go long and late, we rescheduled for last night.

Anyway…

They handed us a cd.
All proceeds go to St. Jude's Childrens Hospital.
Five songs.
All sung by Lizzy.
She autographed the cover - in 12-year old handwriting using a fat-tipped red whiteboard marker - signing it LizzyA.
No pretensions.

We are listening to it now.
And she is good.
Very good.
It's weird to listen to her singing about love and longing...
She's not a Carrie Underwood but then Lizzy is only 12.
There was a Norah Jones song she sang and she could pass for a young Norah Jones.
She has promise.
They need to get her some professional training asap.

Amazing.
Twelve.
That sweet face.
And behind it is a girl with a voice.

Wow.

Friday, January 13, 2006

My friend Debbie...

...is moving to NH tomorrow...
From NYC.
Talk about a change.

And that is all that I am gonna say about that...

Pigs are starting to fly...

…and it looks like the jig is up on the Pig and we could be going to Big Sur instead…

Not sure how it happened but I am sure it is my friend Cher's fault.
Now there is talk about doing Big Sur instead of Piggy.
So, we are trading up for a harder windier course clear across the country?

Oh, never mind that it's ALREADY 78% full…
Why???
Because we are Good Friends of Sally - she who works for Big Sur Marathon!

Did I mention that I HATE WIND???
Did I mention that I HATE BRIDGES???
Did I also mention that I would like to run for a PR instead of just to finish???
ARG!!!

There. Must. Be. A. Conspiracy.

Avian flu...

…might become an epidemic, I hear…

In fact, I hear that it might be of pandemic proportions.

I am soooo working from home when people start getting sick.
And I am blocking the door.
And Joseph will not be leaving the house.
It's not that he will get sick - he never does.
He brings it home and I get sick.
And if that happens, I could die.

Ugh.
Watch me die of the damn avian flu because Joseph refused to work from home.

That would totally suck.
WATCH IT HAPPEN!
I AM SO NOT HAPPY!!!
ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Marathon Do's and Things to Pack...

...are posted here...

I had to do this so that next time I can mitigate the major brain fart that I had at Disney.

I feel much better now.

Now, I have to do that strength training schedule for the next phase of training...

Random Thoughts: Monday...

…or it is Thursday…

I am back at work.
I canceled all meetings for the day so that I can get back into the swing of things.
That means that I sit at my desk and catch up on my emails, talk to people who might have traveled into the Boston office from other sites, chit chat, catch up, etc. So far so good. It's been very uneventful which means I have had a chance to catch up on blog-reading, email-reading, etc., and get back into a place where procrastination can start on those same tasks I was procrastinating on before I went to vacation.

My legs are feeling good today. As Joseph said it would, it took 3 days. I am almost back to normal - about 5-10% achiness and that's it. I am also starting to look forward to my next run - which is next week.

I also got on the scale this morning. I weigh 1.6 pounds less than when I left for Disney last week. What is that all about? And I recall eating like a pig most days while on vacation. Whatever happened, I'll take it! It gives me more motivation than ever. I definitely want to be down another 5-6 pounds by May when I run Flying Pig. Yes, that is still on target for my next marathon.

Another observation is that someone with my same name ran Disney. She did the Goofy Challenge. She is much slower than I am and is from Washington DC but still, she was strong enough to do both the half and the full in the same weekend. Good for her! And no, that does NOT make it want to do both races in the future. As I stated earlier, I never ever ever want to run Disney ever again.

And that is that.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Finished business...

...that was unfinished a couple of years ago...

In a nutshell, the race this weekend was pretty bad.
I was on pace through the first half.
Even pace, easy running, getting in the groove.
Then, I crashed and burned through the second half, to finish the race in a blisteringly slow pace.
I knew the world was passing me until I looked back and saw the thousands behind me.
But that still did not make me feel much better.

The long and short of it is that I should have eaten more before the race - had that oatmeal for breakfast.
I knew I was in trouble at mile 8 when my right leg started aching.
I knew I was in deep when I started getting hunger pangs at mile 10.
I thought I could hold on... what was I thinking?
And I kept pushing, hope against hope that the inevitable wouldn't happen.
I got hungrier and hungrier until I started almost-starving at mile 14.
And then the bonk started.

Depleted of glycogen, my muscles let me know they were unhappy.
I stopped to stretch three times - 2 minutes, 4 minutes, 2 minutes - all lost.
I stopped and walked every 5 minutes for 30 seconds starting at mile 16.
30 seconds stretched to a minute, then the two minutes.
At one point, I walked for almost 3 minutes.
I hurt too much to notice anything around me.

I crossed the finish, got my bag, walked around looking for someone I knew.
In a crowd of people I felt alone.
Then Joseph found me. He knew. One look and he knew my disappointment. He just gave me a hug and told me "things happen."

I did everything right - GU, water, GU2O, SUCCEED capsules - everything was perfect, except for that damn breakfast. A quarter of a bagel with a dollop of cream cheese is NOT enough for a 26.2 mile run. And now, THAT lesson has been learned.

And today, my legs still complain. They make me walk down the stairs backwards and I know they are displeased whenever I get up or sit down. They can just shut up. As Joseph reminded me, this is the first marathon in two years, and the first race since my injuries, and that my running was only been real since the end of August. He's right but I still am disappointed. Very disappointed.

But, I am not looking back.

I am switching to the Boston Marathon chip - remembering what I have done well.
I am ditching my MCM chip that represents my first marathon attempt and a major bonk
I am referring to my list of lessons learned - I am writing it down so I don't have any more brain farts.
I will work on strength and continue to build on my base.
I will race more - even use some marathons for training runs. I have to get used to going to these events again, getting familiar with the routine again.

I am looking forward to a few races in the future, crossing a few more states off the list.

And the best news is now that I have the Mickey medal to go along with the Donald medal from a few years ago, I am never coming back to Disneyworld to run a race again. Florida is in the bag. Done. Finito. The End.

Random Thought: Impending work

Can I just say this for the record?
I sooooo do not want to go back to work.
I'd rather sit here in the Grand Floridian, bouncing from park to park, living a surreal life with all these very highly trained people I like to call the Disney Decoys - not real people, but well-trained stand-ins to provide the best service ever (except for the Leela Palace in Bangalore and the Four Season Spa and Resort anywhere in the world).

I have soooo much work to do when I get back.
And I can tell it's almost time to go home because thoughts about all that piled-up work are starting to creep into my brain.

ARG!!!!!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

A Goofy start...


Goofy meets Joseph at the finish line.

Mickey gets in the act, too...

Joseph did great. I am so proud.

It never fails. He finishes, I rush over to meet him as he comes out of the finishers area. And as he sees and waves at me, my heart skips a beat. He never looks finer in my eyes when he is salty and sweaty and tired and still finds the energy to look up and wave at me. Even at the end of a marathon.

We've been relaxing in the hotel room all day. I went over to the spa to see about those treadmills and on the way back, I jogged a bit and my legs felt good. They were springy and had some bounce to them. I'm glad we did some walking over the last two days - not too much but just enough to keep the legs from finding inertia and growing roots...

Tonight is steak and potatoes at Le Cellier in Canada at Epcot.

I hope my weight isn't up for the race tomorrow.

Tomorrow? ACK!!!

One more day until Disney.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Friday Recap...

I am trying not to tire myself out before the race on Sunday.
It helps that Joseph is with me and that I have an innate anti-social nature.
We are NOT meeting up with a bunchapeople.
Thank goodness.
Too much stimulation.

We had a wonderful breakfast at the Grand Floridian Cafe.

Then off to the expo.
They had more vendors then a few years ago when we were here.
So, the place was more crowded.
Good thing we got there early!
Got our packets and checked in our chips to make sure they were registered.
Did I mention that I found that lost chip?
I did.
Before we left, it suddenly hit me where I had put it.
In the middle of the night I got up and grabbed it.

I wasn't sure which chip to run with - the lost-but-found one, or the new Disney Marathon one.
In the end, I decided to use the lost-but-found one because if I wasn't meant to use it, then I woudn't have remembered it. And I decided that the Disney Marathon one was just there to remind me of where I was going in the future and not look back at what was lost-but-found. In the past, no matter how hard I trained, I would put that old chip on and remember the debacle of my first marathon - where I got that chip. And sure enough, the race wouldn't be good. Sometimes it was good but never great. I am hoping for a great race this time around. And losing that chip made me focus on the future and I am looking forward to the race.

Anyway...we scooted out of the expo as fast as we could.
I am blue start, Corral B.
The plan is to start between the middle and back of that corral so I do not start out too fast and get sucked into a fast pace.
Then to run even pace.
I picked up two pace bands for the future.
I already have a pace band I am going to be using on Sunday - I've had it for about 2-3 years. It's taken me that long to be able to put it on and think that I might have chance in hell freezing over this year. My training says I can. We will see how the planets align on Sunday.

Afterwards, we went to Downtown Disney with Joseph's parents. Lunch was awesome at Captain Jack's - the best grouper I think I've ever had!

Then back to the hotel and dinner at Mama Melrose's at MGM/Universal Studios.
Pasta with meatsauce. Excellente...

Tomorrow is Joseph's half marathon.

2 more days until Disney.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

It's gonna be an interesting week...

...in Florida...

We are traveling with Joseph's parents, for one thing.
This trip is a Christmas present for them.
His mother has always wanted to go to Disney and now... hopes do come true.

I have a feeling that this week of taper is going to be a week of no running.
Thank goodness I got that four-miler in on Tuesday. We will roam about the Compound (aka Grand Floridian), and then go to dinner. Unpacking, and watching Joseph's parents deal with being totally overwhelmed will take the rest of the day. LOL!

I've been on the damn blackberry with work all day - except the time in-flight when we played trivial pursuit with other people on the plane (Song Airline got it all over the rest of the airlines - which of course means they won't exist in a few months. Seriously.). Da Shit is Hittin' Da Fan at work.

And I can see the puzzled looks on Joseph's parent's faces - wondering why I am so involved in my email, etc. etc. etc... How to do you even begin to explain to people who don't understand? Not sure... Luckily, Joseph is being pretty good about it - he understands but I know he is probably a bit concerned about his parents' reactions. I did tell them that I work at one of those companies that if you go on vacation and don't continue to have some sort of presence, you can come back to find out that you don't have a department any more. And that it's all very political - how do you explain office and corporate politics? That more damage can be done in a DAY than one can imagine by a single day of not responding to a bunchapeople running rampant based on faulty assumptions and personal agendas? Joseph's dad took it pretty well - but his mother had a more probing look - kinda like "it doesn't make it right". I wasn't even gonna try...it IS what it IS...

I am getting a little nervous about the race.
It's only three days away.

Not sure if I can get in another jog between now and then...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I am never going to get out of work...

...ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!....................................

WHY is it always like this before I leave for vacation??

I have a feeling this is going to be another one of those "working vacations."

GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I packed for Disney last night...

…and it was all strangely fast and easy…

It only took a little over an hour.
I had a list and everything I needed was where it should be, except for the Champion Chip from MCM in 2000.
Luckily, I have three or four more - souvenirs from past marathons.
One of them is from the Disney Marathon that I never ran.
Joseph said that it was a good sign, my losing the MCM chip because it gave me the opening to use the Disney marathon chip for Disney.

I didn't tell him but MCM was a lousy race - my first one and everything was perfect until I got a cramp so severe in my right hamstring that it literally sat on the grass median are mile 22 for about 10 minutes and hobbled my way into the finish line. I missed my goal by about 58 minutes.

So, in hindsight, I suppose it's good to start out the first race after getting a new lease on running with a brand new chip, that is from the race you will be running…a karmic clean slate, hopefully.

Today is a crazy day at work.
It seems that every time I plan on leaving early, I can't.
The gods conspire to keep me busy so I won't go crazy making myself nervous over the race, even though it sits in my brain, simmering away, letting me know that Disney is only FOUR days away.

Four Days.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

My first run of the new year...

...went exceedingly well...

The weather outside is rather inclement so I hopped on the t-mill in the upstairs tenant's apartment and away I went.

Started out w-a-y slow and I kept upping the speed every 30 seconds until I hit my stride.
I think I could have kept going for most definitely another mile and probably another but I stopped at 4 miles since I plan on running an easy two miles every day this week except for Thursday (travel day) and Saturday (the day before the marathon).

I also ran without the brace and my ankle felt fine. I think it's on the road to recovery.

Based on the run this morning (indoors, quick, negtive splits, easy, hot, etc.) I am extremely optimistic about the race. And yes, my weight is up just over two pounds but Joseph pointed out that Tuesdays are typically "high weight days" for me. I really didn't feel the two pounds this morning.

I haven't decided what my goals for Disney are at this point other than to "just finish."
I know that is not realistic since I can do more than "just finish" if I am feeling good.
I guess I will post it when I figure it all out.

I have over 6500 miles of running under my belt since I started running about 10 years ago. Every year has been riddled with some sort of injury (half running related and half klutz-related), but all those miles do seem to add up (as my more experienced friends keep saying). And I think I am really getting ready to tap into that pile o' experience. I hope that 2006 will be a consistent running year for me. I think after 10 years of just plugging away, I kinda earned it.

5 more days until Disney.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Pictures from the weekend...

...can be found here...

Christmas Flowers...

These flowers lasted through the new years.
So I thought it would be fitting to start the new year with flowers and a picture.

Good night!

After a New Years weekend in NH...

…I am going to add a stretch goal to my 2006 Goals List…

Learn to quilt.

I have 363 days left in which to do this.
Plenty of time...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Out with the old...

...in with the new...

Happy New Year, everyone!