Wednesday, May 30, 2007

No Meeting!!!

GAH!!
How many times do I have to tell you?
I do NOT want to have a meeting right before I leave for the airport to go on vacation!
NO!

Fine. Tomorrow. 9:30. Now go away.

What a bone head.

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Week 21 Training Recap

Week 21 is week 2 of taper for VCM. Knee is still bothering me. Boy, they take a long time to heal.
Monday - Run 20 minutes
Rested. Nothing. Worked a long 11 hour day. Came home and vegged out for an hour or two before bed.
Rolling 7-day total: 1.06 miles

Tuesday - Bike 30 minutes
At least my biking totals are going up. Last week I actually biked about 22 miles. Anyway, Joseph said 20 minutes. Sheesh. So 20 minutes. 5.33 miles. By the way, there are 5 more days until VCM.
Rolling 7-day total: 0.00 miles

Wednesday - Run 30 minutes
Rest.
Rolling 7-day total: 0.00 miles

Thursday - Bike 30 minutes
Rest. This is certainly becoming an experiment. Zero-run taper. I don't think it's gonna go well...
Rolling 7-day total: 0.00 miles

Friday - Run 45 minutes
Rest. Picked up Cher and Milt from the airport. Went to lunch at The Barking Crab. Then headed up to Debbie's house in NH. Had a greattime visiting. We stayed the night. Wonderful cookout.
Rolling 7-day total: 0.00 miles

Saturday - Rest
Travel day. Sat in the car. The knee is better. Drove up to The Black Bear Inn outside of Burlington, VT. Had a great dinner - very reasonably priced - $25 for a 3-course meal. Had prime rib, soup, and a pecan pie. Washed down with reasonably priced wine.
Rolling 7-day total: 0.00 miles

Sunday - Run 26.2 at VCM
The run that wasn't. Sigh...
Rolling 7-day total: 15.39 miles
Not sure what is in store for next week. I guess I'll just play it by ear.

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100 Favorite Things #3: Tomato Soup

Creamy and thick is my most favorite.
Accompanied by a little rice in the mix is also good.
And paired with a good panini style sandwich which has horseradish sauce on it is even better.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Epiphany at 12

Two words.
No Mas! No Mas Marathons!!!

Basically, at mile 8 I started hurting.
At mile 9, I was REALLY hurting - the pain had radiated up from my calves to my hips, and down to my feet.
At mile 10, I contemplated possible choices.
At mile 11, I decided the whole attempt was stupid, and I decided I needed to stop.
At mile 12, after long bouts of walking, I stopped running, enjoyed the scenery, wondered how long before we get off the stupid bike path, and concentrated on forward momentum, trying not to think about the pain below the waist.
At Mile 15, I saw Milt. Standing at the end of the path, waiting for me, looking in my direction - hard - as if he was waiting for someone. I was never so glad to see anyone in my life!

I don't know what happened. I think that I don't have enough miles in the bank to go from zero miles of running during taper to running a full marathon and expect to finish. I kept thinking to myself, STUPID KNEE!!! GAH!!!! But, Joseph thinks it was something else. Could have been dehydration, not enough salt, whatever.

For a couple miles, I had nothing to do but think. I was becoming the person I always detested. The kind that entered a race on not enough training, who insisted on "just finishing" - screw trying their best; it was all about just finishing and getting the medal (in my case, getting another state done on my quest for 50 States). And then bitching and moaning about how everything hurts and how everything sucks and why they "just don't know why [they] didn't do better."

First of all, I didn't need another medal. I have a whole box of them that are in storage. But most of all, I knew if I finished the race, I would end up so injured that I would spend the next 3 to 4 months in rehab just to get back to mediocrity. No way. So I stopped. And I am glad of it.

My tennis knee is better. But my legs are in more pain than when I ran Boston. I can't remember having this much pain at any race before!

So, what's next? I was talking to Joseph about this a couple months ago. I asked him what he thought I would have to do to qualify for Boston. Not that it's my goal or will die if it doesn't happen. Nope. I really don't care about a BQ; I've run Boston 5 times for either Charity or on a free number and I train almost daily on the course - the mystique is truly gone for me. Boston is the "Holy Grail" of marathons and people chase this dream of a Boston Qualifer with single-minded focus. I don't get it. Some people achieve it easily (natural talent) while others are shattered by it - injury after injury, failure after failure, beating themselves up over shaving SECONDS off their time. That is definitely not me, but I know that a BQ is a standard of excellence that will demand the best in effort, focus and commitment that I can give. If I fail, at least I'll know that I gave it my all. Sooo....

I asked Joseph, "What do I need to do?"

"Simple," he said, "drop 20 pounds and average 50-55 miles per week."

Hmph. Well. Jeez. That was a bit blunt. How KOREAN OF HIM! None of this, "Hunny Bunny, you are just fine like you are..." as he usually says. Nope. "Drop 20 pounds and average 50-55 miles per week."

So at Mile 12 of VCM on a dreary day, I had an epiphany.

No Mas Marathons.
Not for a while.
Joseph has a plan for me and it's about time I listened to him.

I am taking the summer off. I will be running, biking and doing sideways weights to get my stabilizer muscles stronger. I will be concentrating on the half marathon distance for a while. They're more fun and you can walk afterwards. I want to do a century bike ride at some point and maybe a duathlon.

And then maybe, just maybe, my running miles will creep up toward that magic 50 number. And I'll drop some pounds. And then I can decide what I want to do.

And I don't think it will be VCM. This is race is hard!! Never run a race that goes through close proximity of the finish line 3 times! I like point-to-point courses much better!

Anyone every run the Green Mountain Marathon? Anyone??

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Open letter to the driver of the GIANT red Expedition

First of all, the parking spot behind me is a mile long.
WHY would you drive a truck/SUV so large that you have difficulty parking it?
Oh, that's right. You can just find a spot that's a mile and a half long.

I wonder what you will do when you find out that meter is out of order.

Oh and standing there, staring at it, and looking up and down the sidewalk, isn't going to make it fix itself.

Oh.... Getting back in to move the truck... Find a new spot...

Because, we all know that mile and a half long spaces in the City of Boston are easy to find.

Did I mention you won't get a ticket for parking at an out-of-order meter?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Getting 2 hours back

For the record, I plan on leaving work 2 hours early today.
Maybe even 3 hours.

I have a date with my Hunny Bunny for a nice steak dinner accompanied by fresh sauteed mushrooms, cilantro rice, a nice fresh salad with croutons!, a stirfry of zuchini and broccoli, all washed down with a nice bottled of wine.

It's telling when I've been thinking it was Wednesday on Monday. And on Tuesday. And now that it's actually Wednesday, I keep thinking it's Thursday! The days are running together.

I have three icky things to do at work. They've been sitting on my desk for about... oh... three months?? I finished 70% of one of them yesterday! YAHOO! Today I plan on finishing things up and then move onto the next icky thing. Icky things are big activities that require a large chunk of time to focus on. And since my days are spent going from meeting to meeting, there is never a big chunk of time, until about 5pm. And so I've been leaving at around 7:15pm, after 2 hours of concentration, and even that isn't enough. In fact, the only reason why I leave at 7:15 instead of 8pm or 9pm is because I look up for some reason and realize how late it is. That is how focused I have to be to do these icky things.

Anyway... having a form of ADD, I am not good at long running focused activities. I can concentrate but for short periods of time. I guess that is why running a group of 100 people and 10 different service units suits me well. Lots of mayhem and chaos. Anyway...

Tonight is Date Night. Dinner and the finals of American Idol.

Happy happy happy!

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Soduku

I am addicted.

I do it while commuting, while walking to the office, while brushing my teeth, anytime I am not playing Goobers Lab on Webkinz (strictly for my nephew so I can get him prizes and points, of course).

I take it on vacation, I take it to work, and I have it around on my person when I am going to the massage therapist, to the grocery store, just about anywhere there might be a wait.

Well. Since I am not running, I figure I have to be focus on something.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Happiness is: Baseball on HD

There is nothing like a front row seat in your livingroom and watching your favorite team on high def. Up close and personal. It's the next best thing to a totally, unobstructed close-up seat at the ball park behind first base or third base.

Even if your team is losing.

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Leaving the laptop

I made a conscious decision to leave the laptop at work tonight.

I've done this only a half dozen times in all. And each time, I hesitate at the decisions, think about it twice, think again as I secure the laptop in the locked position, hesitate again as I pack my things (sans laptop) and one last time as I look back into the office as I am pulled the door behind me. It's not a pleasant feeling but the good news is that I can still prevail, walk away from it.

I will say that until I am home, I still have mini pangs of regret and anxiety.

I think this is wha addiction must be like.

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Open Letter to Paul

So, my good friend Paul in Pancake Flats like to ask me a lot of questions.
So here is my best to answer them.

Dallas:
Depending on when we get in, we might be able to get to Cafe Capri when we get there. I will try to make a point of it. Unfortunately to try to get to Dallas from Westlake will take over an hour, especially in rush hour after work. And work is crazy so one never knows when we will actually get to leave the office.

But I will keep trying to make it to see Johnny and tell him to charge dessert to you! LOLOLOL!

November:
I would love to go there. I think this is the marathon I'd like to run for my Kansas Marathon - now that I got the difference between Kansas and Missouri all straightened out! LOL.

Anyway, it's on my list. I just don't know if it will be this year.

Post Run Meal:
Mexican, Pasta... after a marathon, anything goes. In fact, we could probably have two meals!

The only requirement is the meal the night before (the pre-race meal). It must be a nice steak with a potato.

Hope you have a great day in Pancake Flats!

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Note to self: Fruit

Never put fruit under your seat when riding the train to work.
You will surely forget about it.

It will be a bummer at snack time.

Travel Schedule

Well... I am going to California to visit a vendor for the week of June 25th.

Then rumor has it that I will be in Salt Lake City and Dallas from July 10th through the 13th.

At least I have no huge training requirements for the forseeable future.

Then in August, they are telling me that I will have to go to Ireland.

Not to mention India in October.

But I know that skipping September won't be acceptable to the travel gods, so I have a feeling I might be back in SLC and/or Dallas. Again.

Monthly travel. They did threaten it. Thought they were joking. Guess not.

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Biking Notes

First, let me start by saying that there 5 more days til VCM.
Five.
FIVE!!!!!

Joseph told me to bike 20 minutes. Do you know how short that is?Then he told me, nothing over 16 mph. Do you know how SLOW that is?

It's hard to stay under 16 mph.
At one point, I freaked out because I looked down to see 19.3 miles on the computer. ACK!
I basically put it into a lower gear and kept my rpm's down - between 85 and 90.
It was still hard to keep things under 16 mph.

Both knees were sore when I got off the bike but one wasn't more sore over the other.
It's the kinda sore that tells you that you've been off the bike for one day too long. Nothing to worry about.

I might just finish the race on Sunday after all.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

100 Favorite Things #2: Kimchee

Kimchee. Cannot live with out it. Love to eat it as it is. Love it as a soup, a stew, in stir fry, mug bean and regular Korean pancakes, in rice, on bread, you name, I'll eat it as long as there is kimchee in it.

Except Liver and Lamb. Can't eat those no matter what.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Change of pace

The Niece has moved in for the summer. Joseph moved her this afternoon while it was raining and before the sun came out. Poor Joseph...

It's amazing how much one can accumulate in a mere 9 months of school. It's more amazing that it all fit into a 10x10 dorm room that she shared with someone. And now, it's all exploded in her bedroom on the third floor. But I assume, even with the Dust Bowl Money Pit construction, this is a step up from our last place, where her bed was an aerobed on the floor in a room that was a combination bedroom, coat room, office, workout gear storage room. She never complained.

This move also puts a parental responsibility on me (us) I haven't had since the last time she moved in for the summer. About 10 minutes ago, I told Joseph that I will have to come home earlier and work for a couple of hours after dinner since Elizabeth is home. It's amazing how one's priorities change... without thought, instinctively, suddenly... when a child is involved. Not that she's a child, really. She's 20 going on 30 and has been looking after herself since she was about 10. I think. Since a very young age...

Even though I am busier than I can speak of, even though my summer days will be turned upside down, I am strangely looking forward to playing full time Auntie. She is the promise of a bright future, full of hope and happiness. Built in dog sitter, laughter machine... Time is fleeting and the gifts we are given must be savored.

Oh. I am also bracing myself.
She and Joseph are going to drive me crazy all summer.

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Weekly 20 Training Recap

I was doing really well before my knee pain and that stupid tennis game! ARG!!!
And I was really getting into working out. I was looking forward to my runs!
The knee pain is being managed. I am basically just walking and biking.
My morning regimen was to massage with Topricin and then ice for about 20 minutes.
The week looked like this:
MONDAY - RUN 20 minutes
Knee was still hurting so I didn't do much. I just massaged and iced in the morning and took it easy going up and down the stairs. I couldn't do a lot anyway. Today was a travel day from Ithaca.
Rolling 7-day total: 5.44 miles (uh oh. NOT GOOD!!)

TUESDAY - BIKE 30 minutes
I walked for about 10 minutes, then I biked for 10 minutes. Then I decided to do some lunges. Morning knee massage and icing followed.
Rolling 7-day total: 6.50 miles

WEDNESDAY - RUN 30 minutes
I biked for 30 minutes. 8.25 miles. My whole upper leg area aches from the biking and the lunges. Different muscles, different pain. Sigh... it never ends.
Rolling 7-day total: 6.5 miles

THURSDAY - RUN 30 minutes
Rest day. Rest rest rest. The knee did not hurt this morning as I was running around getting ready. I stretched - did a whole floor routine - before leaving for work. I was so tight that I had to go extra slowly and extra long!
Rolling 7-day total: 5.86 miles

FRIDAY - REST DAY
Biked for 11.3 miles instead of resting or running. I also did lunges, after which I massaged and iced my knee. Feels better.
Rolling 7-day total: 1.76 miles. Oy Vey!

SATURDAY - RUN 2 miles
Nothing. Rested. I was so busy I didn't have time for anything.
Let's see. What did I do:

  • had to go to the tile store and pick out tile for the Dust Bowl Money Pit
  • then we went from the tile store to lunch and grabbed a quick bite
  • then from lunch we went directly to a wedding 40 minutes away
  • then back home in time to do some rest - I worked a little
  • then we picked up pizza - took 2 hours (don't ask)
  • then we ate dinner (the aforementioned pizza)
  • then I had to move the clothes from my niece's closet into my own (long story due to construction - thinkg s get moved around a lot)
  • then I stretched
  • then time for bed.
  • Phew.
Rolling 7-day total: 1.07 miles. Sigh. Not looking good...

SUNDAY - RUN 10 miles
Joe told me to rest. Last night after all was said and done, my knee starting hurting pretty badly. So I did what I was told and rested today.
Rolling 7-day total: 1.06 miles
Next week is the last week of taper. I'd say I'm doing pretty well with it so far.
The schedule:
Monday - Run 20 minutes
Tuesday - Bike 30 minutes
Wednesday - Run 30 minutes
Thursday - Bike 30 minutes
Friday - Run 45 minutes
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - Run 26.2 at
VCM

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Pictures

My life is crazy.
I have no time.
What can I say?

These are some pics I failed to post before.
Wayyyyy before.

The trip to Naples.

The Cornell Law School Graduation on May 13 of the Nephew

The Crewed Run from March. Yes. March!!

This is prepping for the master bath. We had to move our kitchen out of the second floor kitchen and move it into our current kitchen which is going to be our master bedroom.

This is the rebuilding of the front entry room (or foyer).

It doesn't look much different today.

I need to take more pictures, I supposed.

  • the recentered front door
  • the almost-rebuilt back porch off the master bath
  • the framing of the second floor library
I might be able to schedule this in sometime in the fall...


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Wedding Report

Went to a wedding yesterday.
Got home early.
Did not go to the reception.
Wasn't invited.
Happy happy happy!

The most important part is the wedding.
I hate receptions.
You go to a big hall or hotel or something.
You sit with a group of people you don't know.
You eat smothered chicken and drink bad wine.
And we all know the chance of finding a single malt is nil.
And you dance to bad 70's music.
For four hours.

No thank you!
Yesterday was perfect.
And the bride was beautiful!
The pictures are here.

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100 Favorite Things #1: Pizza

Buffalo Chicken on a red sauce (as opposed to a white pizza). I had them add mushrooms and onions. Super thin crust on the well done side.

Good for dinner.
Good for breakfast.

Yum yum yum.

We won't think about the fact that it took us over 2 hours to get it for take out. And we won't mention that the free beer they gave us successfully appeased and Irate Korean Woman. Ahem.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tile

We went to pick out tile today. We both thought the process would be longer than it did. We went to Terra Cotta II where we met with the owner, as recommended by Scotty the Contractor.

First, the little guest bathroom. We picked out a 2-inch octagonal white matte tile with maroon accents. Above the shower surround we picked a plain super glossy white tile. This bathroom will have 5-ft high beaded panels (aka wainscoting - this is a generic term while "beading" tells you the router cut).

Next tile up was the mud room off the back entry. We came up with a highly textured brownish-beige 12-inch tile. It will also have a 3-inch tile baseboard to match.

Next was the master bath. Ugh. Lots of arguing and back and forth. At one point I asked the owner if she had any other husband who came in here with so many opinions about tile. And she said no but she wished more would or something like that. Hmph. What a PAIN!

Anyway, in the master bath, I wanted a feel of the ocean, sand, sea glass, foam from the tide. After much to do, we settled on a highly textured 8-inch sea blue-green floor tile that went from light to medium shades. For the tile behind the tub, we got the same tile in 4-inch size. In the steam shower, we ended up with 2-inch tiles in muted bluish-green for the floor and for the walls, we ended up with the same tile in 1/2-inch; but with 3 different shades of blues and greens. They are reminiscent of sea glass. I love this tile!!

Then the kitchen. As I was standing there looking at the floor tiles, I looked over and noticed tiles with wine labels painted on them. Yup. Hand made Mexican tiles in a off-white-with-grayishness color with matching tiles that had wine labels drawn on them. There are 6 different labels in the set. This was perfect! This will be the backsplash under the cabinets and behind the stove in the kitchen. We will also do the same in the butler's hallway for the wet bar. What we thought would be the most difficult was the easiest!

That's about it.

Now we're having lunch at SATO before we go to a wedding.

Busy day.

It never ends.

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There has to be a lesson in there

What a week. Where does the time go? I need to squeeze at least another 4 hours into a day.

First, the knee. Getting better but it's slow. Since the pain is below the knee cap, it's hard to get to. The key is to manipuilate the muscles and tendons that insert into or under whatever is below. And since the ankle bone is connected to the neck bone, you have to pursue a lot of muscles and tendons. Sigh... The good news is that at least I know a lot about the anatomy and how it works together to be able to do this.

So, given the knee, I've been biking and doing lunges. All goes well until I hit 20.7 mph on the bike. Then the knee makes itself known. No pain. Just a dull pulling sense telling me I'm making it work. I pulled it back just a little...

What is it with the weather? Winter is back! 47 degrees right now. Unbelievable. I guess sometimes when you think something is over, it really isn't.

And then there's work. I am losing multiple hours to a series of 30 minute unplanned meetings because people can't seem to follow a simple process. Ok. Not simple. And always changing. But, everyone is on high alert and it's no secret that the process must be followed and that it's always changing!

So the final straw came yesterday. One of the indirect reports (one level below my managers) has failed to submit 10 (yes, TEN) new work requests, some of which were back dated for January. JANUARY! The work requests aren't just agreements on what the scope, assumptions, and what we will do; it also justifies one or more positions. And a position is filled by a person. Sometimes that person is a contractor whose current engagement is ending and needs a new work request to continue working with us. At other times it's a new person we need to hire. And we desperately need to hire and there are two contractors that should have been terminated a MONTH AGO!

Now, some of the work in the work requests have been started. WITHOUT APPROVAL! They have to be approved by our management (me included) and finance and the customers' management and finance, agreeing to hire or retain people and that the customer will pay us. And if you start the work before going through the process, you do it with existing staff. And given that the existing staff is already working 50 and 60 hours a week, this isn't small change! It puts pressure on everyone!

So we had a chat. This is such a heart attack inducing, anxiety producing, paperwork chasing, overhead time wasting activity, that if I could, I would have FIRED HIM ON THE SPOT! He is one of my best workers BUT when it comes to administrative work, he is lousy. But he insists he wants to go into management. And this would WIPE OUT ALL HIS PAST SUCCESES! That's how I feel about this process.

Sigh...

And I am giving him one more chance. He wanted my attention. Now he has it. This is like babysitting. He has a personality where he wants to control everything, has sour grapes when he isn't in the spotlight but hides it well. He has too much on his plate so when he grabs things and controls events, if he slows down, the rest of us do too. And sometimes he has so much, doesn't deliver. And I know he works into the night. But he won't give anything up because he wants to be in the spotlight. Like a slow car in the fast lane. I don't get it. I am so mad that I have think about this more.

Then there's the house is still a mess. Yes. The money pit!!! Whatever. Scotty says the cabinets will be in by Juine 11. I am not holding my breath. The electrical has been inspected. The building contractor came and the work was inspected and signed off on. We still have to finish up the placement of the speaker wires. The windows are all replaced. The front door has been moved and recentered. The stairs were ordered. The ballisters were replicated and new ones were made. The plumbing work continues. The back upstairs balcony is being rebuilt. Lots going on considering you can't see evidence of much of it. All I know is that I leave in the morning after work gets started and I come home to a Dust Bowl.

At least the contractors bring in the mail for us.

And that is the story of my life. Injured with a marathon looming in 9 days. Working so hard that I am four weeks behind at work. At least! Coming home every night to a construction zone where the building inspector couldn't believe that people were living here! Breakfast at home. Lunch and dinner at my desk at work.

I don't see any relief for a while.

That's all the whining I can take for now.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Week 19 Training Recap

Okay. So there are only 15 more days to VCM. Someone, shoot me!
This past week was hard due to:

  1. the remainder of the vacation in Naples
  2. my knees from tennis on Tuesday - WHAT WAS I THINKING??? ARG!
And so, the recap:
Monday - run 20 minutes (thank goodness)
I ran about 2 miles on the stupid treadmill. Hot hot hot!!! At least the gym at the hotel was pretty nice. Not as nice as the Four Seasons in Dallas but still nice.
Rolling 7-day total: 25.75 miles

Tuesday - bike 45 minutes (I'll probably run 45 minutes since we will be flying out on Wednesday)
Decided to take a rest day and played tennis instead. Dumb dumb dumb! Will I never learn??
Rolling 7-day total: 23.67 miles

Wednesday - run 45 minutes (4x800) - I'll do this on Tuesday at the fitness center.
This was wishful thinking due to my knee pain, not to mention that it was a travel day back home.
Rolling 7-day total: 19.59 miles

Thursday - bike 45 minutes
Tried running outside to see what would happen. About 2 minutes into it the knee started hurting and twinging. this is not good. I am getting really worried now. .64 miles - up the block and back.
Rolling 7-day total: 20.23 miles

Friday - rest
Well, it's a rest day but I decided to go ahead and run. Things didn't hurt if I was running and that's what I did. 4.1 miles on the treadmill - soft service, nothing bad, right? Not sure if I am relieved or if I should panic. I had a session with Arun. He did a gentle all over massage and worked around the tendon that connects the knee to the thigh. It was very "scrunchy" and lumpy feeling. I'll see how I feel.
Rolling 7-day total: 24.33 miles

Saturday - run 4 miles
Okay. Maybe I overdid it yesterday. I was going to run tomorrow's 16 miler today because tomorrow we'd be in Ithaca for John's graduation and Joe had an 80 mile bike ride and I wanted to be there to support him. So I got out and started running and I only managed .70 miles on the treadmill. I am not too happy right now! Oh. Did I mention that VCM is in 15 days? Well. It is.
Rolling 7-day total: 19.52 miles

Sunday - run 16 miles
Nothing. I supported Joe. It took me an hour to get to him on the bike route that he took. Poor thing. It was cold in Ithaca, and there are lots of hills and this weekend, unfortunately, there were lots of HEADWIND! GAH!
Rolling 7-day total: 7.5 miles
My 7-day rolling total is really looking bad right now. This was supposed to have been my last week of training before tapering for VCM. And because of this stupid knee, I have no idea what next week will bring. The knee pain is really worrying me. Next week taper starts and the schedule looks like this:
MONDAY - RUN 20 minutes
TUESDAY - BIKE 30 minutes
WEDNESDAY - RUN 30 minutes
THURSDAY - RUN 30 minutes
FRIDAY - REST DAY
SATURDAY - RUN 2 miles
SUNDAY - RUN 10 miles
We will see what we will see...

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Nothing like a nice drive home

Yup. Yup yup yup.

With me on the phone.
With Joseph on the phone.
Both of us working.

It never ends.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Things that make me happy




My Hunny Bunny.


















My buckey pillow














A field full of sunflowers

















Big puffy white clouds













A dark night sky filled with bright sparkling stars












Waking up in the morning in a landscape painting.












Rabbits frolicking in the front lawn.














A deer run right through your yard!









The promise of the future from a sea of black caps and red gowns.










John the Nephew graduated from Cornell Law School this weekend. This weekend his parents flew from Korea to claim him for the weekend. It was wonderful to see them.





It's another small marker in the passage of my life. I met him when he was 15. And I can't remember the time before I had known him. He is a child of my heart. We are similar in so many ways, and so different. Different in ways that are mostly marked by his youth and my age. But he'll grow. Quickly. He's a very fast learner. And why not? 3 years of high school, Cornell undergrad, a dual major law/masters degree. Amazing.

I wish for him the world. It is his oyster. Now he must go out and find the pearl. Or in his case, maybe create it. A new pearl.

Congratulations, John. I am so proud.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

TWO HOURS!!!!!

Who would think it would take TWO HOURS to go from RI to Boston? It's only 54 miles. TWO HOURS! GAH!!!!!

I even started out two hours earlier than normal to miss the traffic. What is it with people? Don't they every WALK? Okay. It's highway driving. Don't they ever just stay home??? It's a wonder that any of us get wherever we need to on time.

I hate working from the RI office.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Knee Pain

Ugh. I knew I should have stopped. It's been two days and my knee still hurts. I think I strained something. Joseph mentioned my side to side muscles are weak. He's right. That's what did me in. And I knew while I was playing tennis that it was happening and I couldn't stop myself.

I tried running this morning. Made it .64 miles. Unbelivable.

And insult upon injury, I have to go to the RI office tomorrow. GAH!!!

Looks like I am back from vacation!!!

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Best of Everything...



...is found in Naples and Bonita Springs, Florida...

And yes, they truly have the best of everything!
Went there today. Got gifts. It's a place everyone needs to visit if they happen to be in Naples/Bonita Springs area!


They have $8 watches, tons of jewelry, purses and other accessories. In an hour and a half, I scooped up some gifts and a few fun baubles for myself.

It is definitely a "destination". I had heard about this place since I arrived. When we got there, the doors hadn't opened and there were a few cars in the parking lot waiting. And while we were waiting, a few more drove up.

The place caters to both men and women. There is wonderful shopping indoors and a set of comfortable rocking chairs right outside the main entrance for the male companions who aren't interested in the Best of Everything!


We left with a lot of purchases!

If I ever come back to Naples, this will be on my list of Things to Do. Unfortunately, it's highly unlikely I'll be back.







On another note, I played tennis today. It's been thirty years since I last played tennie. Thirty. Years. And no, I wasn't FIVE the last time I played. Someone actually asked me that. Sheesh. Anyway, now my knee hurts. It's always something.




It's the last night and there was a big celebration dinner tonight. A part of this trip was for Joseph's work. At the banquet, they gave out little Tiffany boxes with a beautiful Tiffany crystal frame. I was introduced as the "team photographer."



Tomorrow, we head home. I feel the rolling tide of heavy air fast approaching. Reality is headed my way...

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Nothing of significance...

... is a good thing when you're on vacation.

And that is exactly what happened today.
Lots of lolling around.
Someone mentioned tennis.
Hmmm... I haven't played in 30 years. Seriously!
Someone laughed and said, "what, were you like five?"
If they only knew...

I went to the spa and get a facial and a Thai Massage.
The problem was that the Thai massage person was pregnant, hadn't told the people at the spa, and so she asked if she could do things a little differently. Of course, I was fine. We did a little Thai massage, a little Swedish, a little shiatsu... all good. She was an excellent Massage Therapist.

I also ended up with some SkinCeutical purchases. I've been wanting to try a few of the skin care items but was afraid to since I didn't have any information. They had the whole line at the spa salon and I got more information so... I decided to give the A E Ferulic Acid, the Intense Line Defense, the Phyto +, and the Sport UV Defense 45 a try. So far so good.

Then it was back to The Grill for dinner with a few people we were traveling with. This time, I tried the Delmonico steak and the Tuna Tartare. It was excellent!

Ran for 25 minutes at the fitness center. It was very air conditioned when I first started. But then it got fast. I needed a fan to blow right on me.

Tomorrow is the last day here and then it's back home.
I dread starting to think about work. Sigh...

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Week 18 Training Recap

I suddenly realized in looking over the training schedule that the longest run I have between Boston and VCM is 16 miles. And that will be done on unfamiliar terrain in upstate New York. Am I happy about this? Take a wild guess.
Monday - Run 20 minutes.
I had to take a rest. I was so tired. I woke up at 1:50am due to heartburn-angina-like-almost-can't-breath-asthma-like pain in my chest. I had a hard time falling asleep again. I dragged all day and got into bed around 8:30 PM and stayed there until Tuesday morning.
Rolling 7-day total: 20.38 miles
Monthly April Total: 105.45 miles

Tuesday - Bike 45 minutes
Amazing what a good night's sleep can do for you. Ran 25 minutes on the treadmill. The Nike Zoom Elite and Gray Super Feet insoles are a perfect combination. Starting to think that the Green Super Feet has too much control.
Rolling 7-day total: 17.48 miles

Wednesday - Run 45 minutes (2x1 mile)
I can't believe it's already Wednesday. Had a good run. Warmed up for a mile and then did a mile at 9:30 pace and slowly took it up to 8:54 pace. Then recovered for about 4 minutes. Then another mile and slowly ramped it up to a 8:19 pace. Then a cool down and nice easy running. Everything felt pretty good.
Rolling 7-day total: 21.56 miles

Thursday - Bike 45 minutes
I did not run. I did not feel like it. Instead, I started packing for our trip to Florida.
Rolling 7-day total: 21.56 miles

Friday - REST (We are traveling to Florida for vacation)
Travel day.
Rolling 7-day total: 18.73

Saturday - 4 miles
Ran 4.01 miles. Got LOST!!! Blast. Took a wrong turn. Ended up walking another 1.50 miles. And it was HOT HOT HOT!
Rolling 7-day total: 20.04 miles

Sunday - 12 miles
Ran 12.02 miles. Almost died of thirst. Almost didn't make it. Too damn HOT in FLORIDA!!! GAK!
Rolling 7-day total: 23.69

The rest of the week will be interesting. It's the last week of training before taper begins.
Monday - run 20 minutes (thank goodness)
Tuesday - bike 45 minutes (I'll probably run 45 minutes since we will be flying out on Wednesday)
Wednesday - run 45 minutes (4x800) - I'll do this on Tuesday at the fitness center.
Thursday -
bike 45 minutes
Friday - rest
Saturday - run 4 miles
Sunday - run 16 miles (this will be done somewhere in upstate NY. Thank GOD for my Polar mile-o-meter!!)

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Vacation Day 2 - waterfront, shopping and The Grill

Lot's a doin's today.

After sitting around and recovering from the Heat o' The Run yesterday, Joseph and I decided to venture out.

First. If you stay at the Ritz, everything is expensive. Including the car service they call for you to take you down to Old Naples for shopping and viewing. It was $42 one day. Flat Rate. All Inclusive. We found out that this is about $17 more expensive than if you use a regular taxi. Not, the regular taxi guy did start the meter a little later and did click it off a little early so let's add on another generous $5. It's still $12 less than the car service. Sheesh. So call USA Taxi instead.

Second, if you think that running heat is bad, then walking in heat can be worse, especially when laden with packages. We don't do the traditional shopping, we go to the WINE store and we buy WINE and CHEESE. No material goods for us. Nope. It's all about eating and drinking. Ahem. We discovered a wonderful store called Tony's off Third. If we lived here, they would probably be our wine supplier. Although, they didn't have anything in the way of Scotch. If you are in the Naples area and like win, visit Tony's Off Third. Wonderful place with wines that are ALL reasonably priced, ALL good wines. You won't go wrong and if you have questions the wine manager will help you.






This was after we had a nice meal at The Dock in Crayton Cove.







We chose to eat outside under some tightly placed unbrellas. We started with a dozen gulf oysters. They were mah-vah-lus! Then Joseph had some shrimp dish (10 of them!!) that had mashed plantains mixed with a bit of crispy crumbled bacon, some stirfried veggies with some type of mango sauce, that was pour on top of the shrimp and plaintain mash, sprinkled with fried plantains. YUM!!! I had the crab spring rolls. They used phyllo dough as the wrappers and it was chock full of crab meat! DELICIOUS!!!






After lunch, on our short walk to the shopping district, we stopped and to the requisite picture of the Naples Pier. Yup. Right over the water. Yup yup yup. Kinda high. Yup. It's a pier all right. Alll righteeeee - moving on.





So after, visiting Tony's off Third, that was it for us. The heat was overpowering and there is no public transportation of any kind. So we asked a conierge in a visitor kiosk to call a taxi for us.

Dinner was at The Grill in the hotel. It was WONDERFUL.



First, Joseph ordered a wine that they didn't have. So they gave us a new wine for the same price (we made out). And it was new to us and we loved it. We will need to tell Carrie at Brix about Tom Eddy wines. We might have to get a case or two.

Then they delivered the bread plate. There was a freshly baked loaf of Honey Wheat Bread. It was so good that I asked if we could take the rest for the room. The waiter assistant offered to send up a FRESH loaf to our room and it would be there before it got there. That told us that there were a lot of requests for the bread. And sure enough, there it was... all wrapped in a linen napkin, placed in a blue Ritz Carlton handle bag, placed on our desk. This is the best bread I've ever had! I will have some for breakfast tomorrow before my long run!


Anyway, Joseph ended up getting the 8-0z filet (huge enough for the two of us to split), and I ended up with the Kobe short ribs! DELICIOUS!!! And for dinner we had the banana cake which was not only beautiful to look at but as fabulous in flavor!

After dinner, we had time to catch the sunset.





The wedding party from the beach wedding earlier was also out to take pictures with the setting sun.








It was beautful.
Dark clouds threatened to over the the sun but the sun prevailed.




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Note to Self: Running in Florida

It's best to run before 9am when running in Florida. Especially when you are coming from New England and jumping into an immediate 50* temperature difference.

I thought I was going to DIE!!!
Not to mention getting lost and adding another 1.25 miles into your 4 mile Run. In. The Heat.

Tomorrow I will die when I run my 12-miler. In. The. Heat.
Thankfully, they have no buzzards here.

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Dinner with the Artisans

Artisans in the Dining Room is one of the many restaurants at the Ritz Carlton. Nothing here is formal but men are asked to wear long sleeves or a jacket, no tie required.

This was not only an experience in terms of food but also in.... SCOTCH!!!!
This is the first notable mention.
Springbank 1966.
No one knew the characteristics.
At $51 a dram, they aren't giving it away, that's for sure.
My most favorite is Springbank 21 and this is a close second.
It's very different from the 21 year.
First, the 21 year can't be found anywhere except at our house where we are hoarding 2 unopened bottles.

Second, it's like a warm bubble that doesn't "pop" until it gets half way down your throat. And it's soft and mellow. Good without water and good with a few drops. I'm going to be looking for this when I get home. (Poor Joseph.)

We started out with appetizers, of course. Joseph had the three oysters with Ceviche on top covered in cucumber foam. I had the Lobster Bisque with a lobster ravioli and toasted pumpkin seeds. It is a tomato base and has no cream. It was salty, briny, yet smooth and oddly rich for a tomato based broth. It is the BEST lobster bisque I've ever had!

For dinner, Joseph had the scallops and I had the halibut with white asparagus.
And the desserts were amazing. Joseph had a strawberry souffle with strawberry sorbet and confit of strawberries. I had the pistachio cake with pistachio ice cream

We were so glad we skipped the pasta course. The food was rich but very light - strange how it all balanced out. And when we got up this morning, I wasn't full from last night's dinner. Thank goodness! I hate that undigested food in my stomach kinda feeling! Not to mention, it's time to go for my run. Sigh... The sun is shining... hate running in the heat... well, it's FLORIDA after all...

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Tough way to start a vacation

Tough Start to a vacation

We have arrived!
Got up at 4:45 am.
Finished packing.
Left for the airport at 6:00am.
Arrived in Florida at 11:35 pm.
Arrived at the hotel at 12:05 pm.
Of course, our room wasn't ready.
We decided to eat. So hungry!

We went to Gumbo Limbo, in keeping with the let's keep this difficult theme. Mianly because it was Hotter 'n Hell! And I was wearing long black loose-fit running pants. It's like an OVEN here. Anyway...

You had to leave the main building, go around the pool area, down the boardwalk, up the stairs and around and there you were. Sort of a "shack" on the beach. We had the combo cold shrimp cocktail appetizer. I had the grilled grouper sandwich. Joseph had a crab cake sandwich. Delicious!

I had a foo foo umbrella drink without the umbrella because this please doesn't have little drinky umbrellas. Instead, I got a big fact slice of pineapple for my spiced rum banana colada. Delicious!

After that, it was down hill. We checked in. Unpacked. I took pictures. And then Joseph went to swim and I went to work. Yes. WORK! Turns out the hotel was upgrading it's in-room internet systems so I had to go down to the lobby lounge area to use the free internet. Because in the room it's not free. Go figure. At the prices they charge! ARG!!!

Anyway... I am done with work! YES! Now that it's the technically late afternoon, I might avail myself of the sunshine outside. Maybe it won't be so sauna-like out there. Wishful thinking. It is Florida, after all...

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Big Sur pictures

For those who have been wondering what Big Sur was like, here are some pictures from this year. These were taken by a couple of friends who ran it this year. The pictures don't do justice; however, when I went through them, I relived and remembered race day 2006. And it was wonderful.

I'd love to do this one again.
The hardest one ever, but not my worst time.
The most beautiful ever; it helped to take away the pain.

If you can get there, do it.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Happy May Day yesterday. I hope that all the people who danced around the may pole finally came face to face with their one true love. Anyway... happy non-meterological spring and all that.

One note: There are 26 more days to VCM. There. Glad I got that off my mind.

I've been very busy at work. It's actually be hell. One person sent me meeting minutes with a list of "things to do" which were due April 30th. That was, like, umm... 10 days later. Which would have generated more work on the single thing I had been working on for the prior two months. And it was unnecessary!

I told him, "There is no way that I am going to be spending the next two weeks updating a PRESENTATION that won't be looked at or reviewed until JULY! I am innundated and suffocating under paperwork and I have spent the last two months doing a PRESENTATION to the exclusion of more productive work. I will not be doing this for you... just to set expectations."
He came back with, "Ok. I'll change the due date."
Unbelievable. He works in a group that all they do is generate demand for filling out paperwork. Pain in the A$$!

The house is coming along well. The following things have been done:
  • Electrical work is almost finished
  • The kitchen cabinets have been ordered
  • The stairs have been ordered
  • The temporary front door is in and the real door is still being researched
  • Windows have been ordered
  • They are studding out the walls of the library on the second floor landing area - it's a very big area that is totally wasted space. We will be putting in glass french doors and glass transom and side lights.
  • The bathroom is all studded out and the special hydrotherapy tub has been ordered
  • All fixtures for the kitchen and baths have been identified and logged into an order sheet - awaiting the plumber to order it all
  • The plumbing is in place for the most part
  • The heating is in; we need to turn on the air purifier and the whole house humidifier once everything is done, and we need to balance the heat for the whole house to get rid of the hot spots
  • The mudroom in the back is in process
  • All lighting fixture placements have been spec'd out and most of the cans are installed or we are awaiting arrival of more orders
  • The outdoor lighting and water faucets are spec'd out and the lines are in place
  • The doorbell/camera system has been spec'd out
  • The alarm system has been spec'd out
  • Various interior doors are moved or in the process of being moved
  • The balisters are being recreated for to match the original
All I have to say is Phew! Once the walls get put up, it will be WOW!
But if you looked at it now, you'd think that nothing's been done!
After this is all done, we will be living on ramen noodles and rice.

Eating dinner at work is helping me lose weight. A few days ago, my weight was down the lowest it's been in abougt 6 months, I think. I also notice that within a week, my weight fluctuates on average by 4 pounds. My body fat is also incrementally getting lower. I think it's all about portion control. When I pack lunch and dinner for work, it's all I have. Once I am done eating, there are no seconds. There is no more food. I also eat when I am hungry. The other day I ate dinner at 4pm and then got home and had cheese & crackers with a glass of wine around 8:30pm. Yesterday, I had lunch at 1, then at 3, I had dinner. I was so hungry! I got home and shared a pizza with Joseph! Yesterday was a high calorie day. But I think I was craving something and think it was tomatoes. My body is requiring some nutrient in tomatoes because at 3pm yesterday I had a chef boyardee cup-a-meal (for two people but I had the WHOLE THING), and before that I had spagetti at 1pm. Last night's pizza had tomato sauce and tomatoes on it. Today, I brought spagetti again.

Running is going pretty well. I am trying to experiment with the shoes and insoles combination. So far the sure things are:
  • Nike Zoom Elites with the thin gray Super Feet insoles
  • Ecco Receptors 3020 with the Spenco Q-Factor insoles
My body doesn't have too much tightness or pain, but then, I get a weekly massage with Arun, the Muscle Killer.

This weekend, we are off to Naples, Florida. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to this vacation! Of course, I will be working a couple hours a day while there. The funniest thing happened the other day. I was talking to the contractor about the bathroom. We need to decide on the steam shower and so I said, "well... I want to keep my options open on the style of tile. I have something in my mind from staying in hotels, you know..." whereupon, Joseph immediately patted my arms and said, "Uh, no... Not everyone stays in the same hotels as you do..." Hmmm... I had to think about that for a moment and I said, "Oh. I guess that's right. Not many hotels have separate tiled showers..."

That's all for now.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Random Thoughts: Smells

I don't know if the nose spray my doctor gave me to fix my sinus inflammation is a gift or a curse.

I can smell everything! The dog's breath that smells like stinky feet. The Greenie she's chewing on to get rid of stinky-feet-smelling breath. I am continuing to experience increased instances when I suddenly smell odors that make me pause in my tracks, wondering, "Gawd! What is that??"

I'm not sure I like this. I kinda liked it when my nose couldn't smell much - not even kimchee!

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Recent revelations in training for VCM

Let me start by saying: "There are 26 mores days until VCM!"

I've been looking over my training schedule for VCM and I've noticed some things that I feel I need to write down. Not because they are profound in anyway but because I need to be able to see the words in black and white and ponder upon the implications.

First, this weekend while we are in Florida, I have a 12-mile long run. In Hot. Sunny. Florida. In fact, I will need to run every day while I am in Hot Sunny Florida. If VCM is hot, as in prior years, then I will be training right.

Second, while we are away in upstate New York the following weekend, I have a 16-mile long run on unfamiliar terrain. On Hilly. Narrow. Unfamiliar. Terrain. We have a graduation in the afternoon, so I will have to get up EARLY to get this run in.

Third, the longest run I will have between the Boston-Marathon-Which-I-Will-Never-Run-Again and VCM is the 16 miles I mention above. I am pondering on the implications of this - 6 weeks with only 16 miles as the longest run in preparation for a 26.2 mile run? No. Wait. Based on Boston, I'd say it is a 27.5 mile marathon. Marathons are never the advertised and certified 26.2 miles. Do they think we are stupid??? That is questionable since we run marathons in the first place.

So... this is something to ponder on.
The thoughts will rattle around in my head and they won't have any real bearing on my actions. They are sort of an appendage like my arm or my head, stuck to my brain... and as we get closer to race day, I will start to practice repeating the phrase, "I am a dolt" in preparation for use during the marathon.

I wonder what the Coach thinks of all this...

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