Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Doing a Lot of Stuff and Leaving the Worries Behind

Ok. I've decided I'm not injured. I am recovering. I am giving myself all of November to recover. I am not going to plan anything really. I am just going to run as I feel like it. I am even going to throw in ellipticalling as cross-training from time to time when I'd like to run but want to spare my legs the trauma. I did it today and it really wasn't that bad. I almost kind of enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong--it's not the same as running. It will lose it's charm fast, I assure you. There is no newness to it. It's pretty much the same thing every time except for the tunes that happen to be playing on the ipod. And you can't do it outside. And, well, running is just way more fun. That being said, I signed up for a 5 mile cross country race on Sunday. I know.

In other news things are quieting down in the orchard. My cats have found religion and have been pretty much behaving. They have definitely adjusted to their new nighttime basement routine. They go down about 10 and I give them treats and play with them for a few minutes. Then lights out and I go upstairs. After my shower in the morning I go downstairs and feed them and then let them come upstairs as they want for the day. I make sure to give them attention when I can. Oh and the tinfoil wrapped around the chairs seems to be doing splendedly to keep their dirty little claws off the upholstery.

But with this behavior comes calm throughout the OHOOD. Seriously. I had such a peaceful evening last night and I even slept straight through the night for the first time in months. I felt so calm and mrp even looked cuter to me than normal. I could just eat him up. I need to relax more often. It feels good.

Yeah. I think after a brief period of clearing the air about built-up emotional residue from the summer at my parents, hard training, returning to my job, adjusting to couplehood with mrp, etc., I think it's time to relax a bit. Not get lazy. Oh no. But to be busy and relaxed. That would be a nice balance to achieve. I think this is my big goal for November.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Post in Two Parts

The Surface
My IT Band is mad. Dammit! It is about as bad as it was 5 weeks ago, but that isn't good. I have been running about 1/3 the milage I was running back then. Yes, I've more or less only run on hilly ashpalt since the marathon, but that's no excuse! I hope it doesn't get worse. I am going to run 4 slow miles on the treadmill and lift weights and stretch like a good girl after work. I hope I make it those 4 miles. I have to let myself go to the elliptical if it hurts while running today. I hate having to do that and it's a huge mental barrier--once I resort to cross-training I'm admitting defeat by the hands of an injury. It's silly since cross-training would be to prevent the injury really since it's more or less in its infancy at this point. Oh, I don't know. I was having way too much fun on those hills in San Francisco (and then again for 12 miles in ohio, but I digress).

Anyway, the trip was great. It was relaxing. I got to lay around and eat a lot and shop in real stores and try stuff on rather than having to impuslively by clothes online because I desperately need them and don't have time to waste in a dressing room. I am very happy with what I bought. I also got to spend time with *B*. I often wish I had more friends locally. All my best friends live elsewhere and for the most part the distance has taken a toll on the friendship and we've drifted apart. The exception is *B*. We've remained very close despite lots of stupid crap getting in the way. It's so nice to not see someone for 3 years and then see them and feel like they never lived away. We didn't do anything epic like take a day trip or anything. We more or less went out to eat, shopped, and drank wine and acted stupid in our PJ's at her house.

I was so happy for her to meet mrp too. They seemed to get along really well. *B* said she would never have put the two of us together on paper, but in the flesh it makes so much sense. It's funny. A lot of people who know both of us, but don't necessarily see us together a lot seem to think we're somewhat mismatched. Our outside skin is different, but inside we are so much alike. I like that it confuses people.

The Deeper Stuff
First thing I need to mention is that when we were in SF there were two distinct times that I bugged. I haven't really bugged like that in a long time. I get filled with this frustrated tired anxiety when I feel like I need to take charge but something isn't cooperating (in this case directions to the Supershuttle in the airport and a Bart ticket machine). I get almost rageful and just bubble up with frustration. I can't help it. It's awful and I feel like a complete idiot. I don't know the last time I bugged like that. I never want to do it again. I don't know if this bugging is related to other stuff going on or not. Perhaps. You be the judge.

Mrp and I have been ironing out some kinks since we moved in together. Much of it has surrounded my cats. This has nothing to do with my cats but more how mrp and I approach the problem together. I am so intent on getting on the same side of the problem together rather than working against each other. I so want to tackle our household problems as a team rather than separately and against one another. I'm frustrated though because no matter how much I express this desire and no matter how many times mrp agrees we still can't seem to get there--or at least I don't feel we are. I'm worried that my brain is wired to not see when we're on the same side. I think I feel so bad when something from me (like my cats scratching the chair or me scratching the silverware) causes mrp distress. I either get defensive because I don't want him mad at me or I internalize his bad feelings and beat myself up because I'm mad at me for hurting mrp. More often than not I do both of these things. I know I have to ACCEPT the fact that mrp will be upset directly by me and things related to me. We can be on the same side even when he's displeased. Right? It of course would also help if mrp delivered his aggrievances with me in a softer casing. Sometimes he comes off as harsh and cold and it exacerbates my bad tendencies. Don't get me wrong. I take responsibility for those tendencies, but in a relationship the best solutions to these intrateam problems come from both players.

But I also know that I get emotional and sad when I internalize mrp's feelings. This is just one thing that causes me to be emotional (admittedly of many--see two paragraphs ago). I need mrp to understand that I'm emotional (occasionally a basket-case). So often in my life I have been derided for being too emotional. I have cultivated a tough exterior but in my bubble with mrp I need to be able to feel safe when I'm crying even when it seems like what I'm crying about isn't worth crying about. I don't necessarily want him to accept the kind of bugging out that I was talking about earlier. I'm not accepting that. It's just awful. But, the more general emotionalness is just me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Serious Guide for the Casual Runner

Today's marathon picture is white shorts guy. This picture does not do him justice. You must picture him from the rear and remember that out of low-res picture land these shorts are transparent. In fact, I know he was wearing a blue thong. I'll never forget his "you go girl" around mile 21. What a belycraed sweetheart!

In other news, I was invited to run with that--i don't know--guy that is running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. He was in Cleveland this morning. I wanted to do it, but I forgot my shoes at home. It's for the best. I was supposed to rest until Sunday anyway. Plus, I have a lot to do to get my work ready for my week out of the office.

I'm getting really excited about training again though. If I'm running a marathon in the spring it will definitely be Boston. I'm still figuring out what race goals I have for Boston and my tune-up races. Right now I'm thinking I'd like to go for a 3:18 in Boston. That would be 20 seconds per mile faster than my time in Columbus. I think I ran a very conservative race and could have run it faster. I don't mean that in a regretful way at all. I tactically chose to run a conservative race and I'm very glad I did it. The purpose of Columbus was to get a solid and positive marathon performance under my belt and I did just that. However, that being said, I know physically I am capable of running a faster marathon at my present fitness level and I am sure I could run a considerably faster marathon with 6 more months of training. Will I? Maybe, maybe not. We shall see.

As for tune-up races, there's a 5 mile race on Thanksgiving here. I'm not sure how speedy I am, but I'd like to run it in under 34 minutes. That would be about a 12 second per mile improvement over the last one I ran in July. I think it's doable for me, I'm just not sure if I can be in speedy shape within 1 month. I'm going to run a 5 mile cross country race in a couple of weeks but that's more for fun and the t-shirt than to achieve a goal time. I'm not going to sweat my time in that one. Other than those 5 milers, I'd like to run another half-marathon before Boston, but there aren't a whole lot of them around northeast ohio. Mrp said there's a 10 miler in Toledo and I know of a 15 miler in Columbus and both of these are in January I think. For a 10-miler I'd like to go under 1:10 and I think that's also doable for me. That would be a 10 second per mile improvement over my race in August. If I run a 1/2, I'd like to run it in under 1:33. That would be an 11 second per mile improvement over my race in early September.

It's funny. Sometimes I read my posts about running and they sound so serious. But really it's just a hobby. Sometimes I think it's a silly hobby and possibly not becoming of a 31 year old woman. I feel a little selfish or perhaps even sad sometimes that I do this rather than other things more typical of my female counterparts--mainly mothering. I hope that one day soon I can do both. That would be really nice.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I Think I'm Kind of Funny

Here's today's marathon pic. I like it because I actually look somewhat like a real runner with proper form and not a poseur runner with peculiar arm-swing (although if you look carefully my arms are going across my body rather than with my body--I think I biffed that girl somewhere around mile 24--maybe that's why I lost her around then). Sometimes I think I need to be less self-deprecating. Although funny (hey, at least to me it is), this type of self talk is supposedly based on actual feelings.

Am I hard on myself sometimes--yes. The answer is yes. Do I sometimes cross the invisible border into beatingmyselfupville? Yes, in fact I do. Is it generally a problem? I really don't know. I really hesitate to become all Stuart Smalley and fakey self-complimentary. I like the fact that I see room for improvement. I like the fact that I know myself and my "weaknesses" and "faults" enough to laugh at them. Sure, sometimes I get too down on myself and spiral downwards but these downward spirals aren't caused by my self-deprecating. Their caused by other things and the depression/spiral sucks my self-deprecating down into the vortex of despair and causes me to overload on it and ultimately beat myself up.

Anyway, the point is that I think my self-deprecating helps me improve as a person and keeps me focused on those things I want to improve. I realize that sometimes it prevents me from being little Mary Sunshine but I really don't want to be little Mary Sunshine. I believe I can be happy and aware (if not hyper-aware) of my faults.

However, I think perhaps I should monitor these things that I say to myself and deal with them a little better. Not all my self-deprecating jokes are about lesser important things like my running form. Sometimes they're a little more fundamental, in that they deal with things like distorted body image or irrational feelings of a lack of self-worth. It can't hurt to assess these things a little bit when they come up.

Gosh, I feel like I just did homework!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Welcome to Relative Land

I am going to San Francisco on Saturday to see *B* who I haven't seen since the naked hot springs adventure circa May 2004. I'd like to leave this fluorecent haze and go home to plan my trip and get my cats all settled in for the week and not have to be here editing another document. I still have a mild case of lead-head from training all summer, eating too many carbs last week, and oh yeah running that marathon too.

It's also mrpy mcmrperstein's birthday next week and I have to hatch some sort of plan to make it special for him. I think what he really wants is for my cats to lose all their hair, claws, need to poo, and inclination to jump on stuff and run around. He'd also like for the health care system to be fixed, a 32 foot ladder, and maybe a girlfriend who instinctively turned lights off when not in use, never desired to turn the heat on, and never used the green side of the sponge on scratchable stuff. Sometimes I wish I could wave a magic wand and make things perfect for him. I'd like to reverse all my cats' and my lack of training. I'd like to get lots of money to get him everything he could ever want. I'd like to be able to come up with ways to feed him vegetables so that he would actually enjoy eating them. Buying him a nice but utilitarian present and putting a candle in a cupcake just won't even be a drop in the appreciation demonstration bucket, I'm afraid.

In other news, so far I've managed not to come down with the post-marathon blues. I have noticed that my thoughts about the marathon have become increasingly nit-picky. Why didn't I pick it up more for the last two miles? Why did I let transparent shorts guy get under my skin and waste my energy back at mile 6? Why did I let my pace slack in the middle? Why did I settle for 3:25:31 when I could have come in under 3:25 with just a little more effort? I think at one point in my life 3:25 seemed like an awesome time but now that I've done it it doesn't seem that great. I noticed these thoughts after my other races too. Back in July I ran a 5 miler in a sub 7min/mile pace and I was elated when I was done and so proud of myself but as time wore on I realized that the time really wasn't all that. I mean in some ways I know all my running achievements are actually achievements and great for me. I worked hard and I have improved tremendously. In the grand scheme of things I'm a pretty fast 31 year old lady. Ah, you know. This also happened in law school. Once I got into the top 10 percent of the class I then focused on being at the bottom of the top ten percent. I went from being stoked after getting an A- to being sorely disappointed by it. Yes, I'm camping out in relative land again.

PS The picture is from the marathon. Doesn't it look like to two ladies in the background are my Pips? We all look like we're doing some hokey tapdance rather than running.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Go Green Gloves!

Mrp and I got into Columbus around 5:00 on Saturday and hurried over to the expo to get my number and house arrest bracelet, I mean chip. It was an ankle cuff chip--very intimidating looking. Then we slyly found a hotel worker who helped us find a downtown restaurant to provide us take-out spaghetti sauce on the side. Thanks Brandon! We walked the block over to pick up the food and then hoofed it a few blocks back to the hotel. I was jittery and anxious but finally starting to relax. Mrp helped me figure out how to pin gu to my shorts and I wrote a few splits on my number. He also let me borrow his watch that recorded splits and was much easier to use than my $12.99 lime green target watch. I set out my base layer clothes and then my warm-ups too because it was going to be cold at the start!

I finally got to sleep--and I did actually sleep--around 11. I tossed and turned a little and woke up at 5. I had a cup of coffee, a bagel, and a banana. Drank some gatorade but quickly just couldn't stomach any more sugar. After carbo loading, I just never wanted sugar again at that point! I couldn't wait to have a nice hamburger and some vegetables or something! Ok, where was I. Oh yes, I then started the every 10-minute bathroom trips. I was so nervous. I was so afraid of having to stop in the middle of the race that I felt compelled to squeeze every last drop out my bladder. By 6 o'clock I started to get dressed a little at a time. By 7:15 (remember, I was in the bathroom a lot!) I wanted to jog the block over to check out the start. We did just that and I was so pleased with the weather. There was hardly a breeze and it was really not that cold. I was psyched. We went back to our room and I took off my jacket and warm-up pants and put them in my gear bag.

We went back out and I lined up and gave mrp my long sleeve top. I waited for a few minutes in my singlet, shorts, gloves, and hat (oh and that ankle-cuff chip thing that ended up not bothering me at all). I lined up in between the 3:30 and 3:20 pace groups just as planned. While we waited, some big plane flew over. The mayor of Columbus made a big deal about it and the guy next to me laughed and said it was one of those planes that drops food down to troops or refugees. We expected bags of rice to rain down at any minute. Luckily it didn't happen and before I knew it the horn sounded and we were off!!

It was a bit crowded at the start. Under strict orders from mrp I did not swerve or swear or anything. I just waited it out. I got to one mile around 8:10. (I saw mrp and tossed my hat so I didn't record that split.)

Shortly after mile 1 the 3:30 pace group caught up to me. Although I didn't panic I knew it meant I had to quit being lazy and pick it up. So I did. My 2 mile split was 16:05.

I don't remember much about mile 3 other than it had to be short. I clocked in with a 7:26 without picking it up and others around me were remarking about how fast it seemed to be. Some people were stoked to be going that "fast" but I really sensed it was short and didn't sweat it.

Mile 4 was 7:53 and mile 5 was 7:45. I hit 5 miles in 39:09. Somewhere in there we saw the governor. I wanted to say something snarky to him--you know something like "invest in any coins lately?" or "what are your thoughts on the Foley scandel?"--but I saved my energy and just smiled at him. It was nice of him to be out there afterall--and he can't even run for reelection! Also in here this guy wearing white spandex shorts that were pretty much see-through kept running with me. You could see his ass people! Those shorts were fresking scary and I tried to go ahead, I tried to drop back and he wouldn't budge. It bugged me. I finally lost him when he walked through the next water station. Also here it was nice because the 1/2 marathoners split from the course. It opened things up a bit and things quieted down.

Mile 6 was 7:45. At this point I took my first gu. It went down just fine. Also half-way through this mile the 1/2'ers joined back up but now instead of being at the same pace as the full'ers at this point, they were a mile back. So, it was congested and there was a lot of passing people. It threw me off a little in that I was worried I would get over-zealous with passing or that I would get caught behind people but I really didn't too much. I almost ran into one guy who stopped in the middle of a water stop and then walked horizontally across the road. I think I swore under my breath but relative to me I didn't sweat it.

Mile 7 was 7:49 and mile 8 had a mild head-wind and a gradual uphill so it was 8:01. The head wind and periodic uphills made mile 9 a 7:54 and mile 10 an 8:00. I knew I was slower than 3:25 pace but I really didn't sweat it. I was confident, yet cautious and I think this is really the theme of the day for me.

Anyway, I saw mrp at mile 10 and that helped a bit as I was getting a little bored and a little worried that I wasn't feeling like things were so easy at this point. I wasn't hurting bad or anything, I just wasn't feeling like my pace was cake. He made me happy and I perked up quite a bit.

Mile 11 was 7:53 and mile 12 was 7:57. Before the half-point the crowd started getting really dense and really loud. This helped me a bit and even though there was a head-wind (the wind seemed to be in my face the rest of the race no matter which direction I was headed!) up High Street I clocked a 7:49 at 13. I said "see ya!" to the half marathoners and relaxed my way to the 1/2 point on the full course. I clocked a 1:43:13 for the half. I was happy. I knew I was slow still but I really was ok with it. Again, confident yet cautious. I saw my wonderful mrp again here and he cheered and it made me even more happy. This carried me through the parts of high street that were uphill, breezy, and pretty desolate.

Mile 14 was 8:06 my slowest mile after the first. This was the longest hill and the wind was the most intense there. It wasn't really bad at all, but it was noticeable and it did impact my pace. Between 14 and 15 was a folk singer and I can't remember what the song was but it was depressing and it made me have a second of doubt but then I got mad and then laughed at myself and continued on. Mile 15 was 7:50.

Between 15 and 16 some spectators said I get the award for matching gloves and then shortly after that someone yelled "go green gloves!" Those people made me happy and I gave them a jazz hands ackowledgement. Somebody in an apartment yelled out the window in a really bitchy queen voice to some guy who was walking and I can't remember what they said but it was really kind of funny and they made me laugh too. Mile 16 was 7:53.

Mile 17 was just desolate. I can hardly remember anything about it. I think it was uphill or at least I hope. My split was 8:04.

At mile 18 I took my third gu. I started eating it and then I could see The Hill up ahead. Mrp told me about it and told me to hate that hill. So I gradually ate the gu and finished right before The Hill. I threw down my gu package (I felt bad littering but there was no water stop or anything so I am relying on the race ops to get it) and started up. I hated that thing and I stomped it and went on to the water station above and forgot about it. No big deal. My split was 7:53.

Mile 19 I don't remember except thinking I need to get to 20, I need to get to 20. Almost to 20! Oh, and I passed a guy with a grass skirt. My split was 8:00.

Mile 20. I wanted to be at 2:36:xx to be on pace for my 3:25. I rolled in with a 7:52 mile at 2:37:56. Again, no worries. I was feeling good. No hint of a wall. My legs hurt but not as bad as I had feared and I could still do math in my head. I knew I could go a little faster but I was worried about hitting the wall somewhere in this last 10k. So I picked it up a little.

Mile 21 was 7:46. A little later I saw the guy with the white shorts again, Somewhere he passed me and I didn't notice (hey, I didn't care as long as he wasn't right next to me!) I passed him and he was sweet and said "you go girl." I felt bad. Maybe I should have told him that transparent shorts were not his color or that the blue thong underneath was not becoming. Anyway, around here was a radio station BLARING really bad R&B and it annoyed me, but I was feeling good.

Mile 22 was 7:34. Spectators were commenting on how "fresh" I looked or how strong I looked. I was hurting but not that bad. Still doing math. But still scared of that darn wall. Mile 23 was 7:40. I was just passing person after person. I started passing one girl and she stayed with me. She was the only person I ran with and the only person I talked to. I turned to her and said "let's go." She was chatting but I never said another word. For the next mile and a half we passed person after person together.

Mile 24 was a 7:41. Somewhere in the middle of this mile that girl fell back. I kept going. My legs were burning a little now, but I could still do math. I knew I could still make 3:25:xx. It was hard, but I kept going. I kept passing people and many people said encouraging things as I passed. I couldn't talk but I gave them a weak little jazz hand with my now naked hands. (I tucked the green gloves in my shorts--I was getting hot around mile 24).

Mile 25 was 7:46. I got to mile 25 and I was still worried about the wall! I didn't want to pour it on yet. I was hurting, I was tired, I was a bit dizzy feeling, yet KNEW I could get the 3:25. I passed some spectator who was yelling at us that we were on pace for 3:26. I said to myself, oh no we're not and I picked it up. I pushed, I ran, I focused, and I ran and I ran and I turned that corner and I saw the finish and I just hauled @ss down that brick covered hill. I heard my mom yell my name and I saw the clock ticking down the seconds past 3:25. I came in at 3:25:48 on the clock and 3:25:32 on my watch (official chip time was 3:25:31).

I crossed the line and I looked up and I thought of all the work and all the doubting and all the fear and just how I did it. I made a goal and despite all the naysayers and all my fears and everything I did it!!!! And as I got wrapped in mylar I felt a tear and then another.

I somehow made it to the back of the corral and a photographer grabbed me. I almost tripped over the little Columbus Marathon sign because I had no control over my leg muscles any more Then I made my way out of the corral and found mrp. I was so excited. I said "I did it! I'm going to Boston!"

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Here I Go

Off to Columbus. Think of me at mile 20 at about 10:36 AM (hopefully) tomorrow morning! Bye.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Heart Ted Corbitt

Storing Brain Cells for the Winter

I have nothing profound for you today. Not even arguably profound or something that I think is profound that is really the most obvious point ever made. Nope. I have nothing deep.

Today my thoughts are pretty much limited to the following. I am psyched that I found green stretchy gloves that match my marathon outfit at the dollar store. Mrp has to be the cutest dude who has ever walked the earth. Hmmm. What should I make for dinner tonight? I hope my stomach isn't all wacko during the marathon. Damn. It's cold. When am I going to squeeze in my run tomorrow? Uh oh. Tommorrow's Friday the thirteenth.

But you know, being a little shallow from time to time might be a good thing. Sometimes my workaholic introspective mind needs a break.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Somewhere in the Middle of the Road

Over the past couple of years I have come to realize how important athletics is in my life. I always thought it was kind of a frivolous extra--like a stamp collecting hobby or dressing fashionably. It was playing around and something to be enjoyed in one's childhood. But for whatever reason, since I stopped doing it regularly after high school running always lingered in the back of my mind as something I wanted to do. At first I thought it was just some wish to turn back the clock and achieve something I never did. But as I matured and grew older I realized it was more than that. This sounds all sorts of porny but I wanted to get back in touch with my body and see what it could do. Even in my mid-twenties I could tell my body was aging and if there was no intervention things could get ugly really quickly. But it really wasn't about looks. I just didn't feel strong anymore. Even long after I put away the running shoes I was muscular and active and proud of it. But after throwing myself into school and consequently parking my ass in a chair in the library most of the day I really couldn't say I was strong or athletic anymore and I kind of felt physically crappy a lot of the time. And I saw cellulite and bugged, to be honest, ok? Heh. I actually did but this was a minor factor in my decision I assure you.

Anyway, so I swore to myself when I was done with school that I'm running and nothing can stop me. I no longer even cared if I sucked. If I ran 17 minute miles I was going to run regularly. I didn't care if I looked like a moron. I didn't care if I had to sacrifice time for other things. I didn't care if I had to run in cotton sweatpants. I made a commitment to run (run/walk, jog, whatever it took) for good. I have to say this is one of the best things I have ever done. It's so funny just how much of a difference it makes to drop all expectations of achieving this or that and just do something because you want to do it no matter if you suck or not and just do it for the pure joy of it. It's so liberating to not have pressure on myself to achieve something. Every achievement in running is just for my own personal satisfaction.

And it's not just the achievements themselves, but the process. I actually enjoy all facets of training and racing and not just the end results. I like the highs and the lows and the springy leg times and the dead leg times. I love feeling strong and I love overcoming the doubts I have about my physical abilities. I love pushing through pain and discomfort and I love those moments of bliss when endorphins flood my body. I love gliding along soaking in sun beams on a sunny morning in the summer and I love the frosty peek cheeks and seeing puffs of my breath in the winter.

When I started running again I had finally come to grips with the fact that I wasn't as physically strong and capable as I once thought. I was cool with that. But since this time I have realized that I'm actually stronger and more capable than I ever thought possible. I sound like some sort of weird born-again, I know. I'm sorry. But I've come to realize, for me anyway, that to be the best person I can be I need to tap into this athletic side of myself. I need to have a strong body and to push that body to be the strongest person I can be. I've learned so much more about so many different parts of myself than I ever could have imagined and I know I'm far from finished learning.

Well, my marathon is in 4 days now. I suppose all of these feelings are bubbling up because it really is a milestone for me. I definitely hope I run a fast time, but really, just being here is pretty rad.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Left Foot Right Foot Left Foot Right Foot...

This morning I was so nervous about the marathon. I don't know why. I was reading the final race instructions and I noticed the paper shaking as I read about the course entertainment. And no, I wasn't worried about whether there would be a bad or really bad local band entertaining me at mile 21. I don't really know what I was nervous about. Well, I'm a little nervous that my pleurisy flaired back up a little bit. But that's more a what the ... and less of an issue for the marathon since it's really never bothered me all that much running. Anyway, mrp and I discussed it a little bit and we concluded it's just general feelings of anticipation--not necessarily bad worried stuff or even good like I can't wait to do this stuff. Just anticipation of the unknown and of something I have been working towards for a long time. No big deal. I'm ready as I can be and all I have to do is put the left foot in front of the right foot, then the right foot in front of the left foot and repeat. After our brief pow-wow on the topic I hung up the phone and headed out for my lunch hour. I put on my running shoes and headed up to the local track and put in my last track workout. I have to say I crushed that workout and felt fabulous doing it. I ran faster and easier than I have run any track workout since high school. Seriously. Cake. Fast cake. I jogged back smiling and ready to race on Sunday!

But then I came back to work and found out we lost our case in the bland Midwestern state. Damn that sucks. But in some ways that rules! Now I get to go to court! Woohoo! I hate losing, but a win at the bland Midwestern state Supreme Court would be so better than a win at the Department of Revenue level. So, this time I'm going back to the bland Midwestern state to win baby!

All good things are in threes because three imposes some sort of sense of completeness on people. It's some weird numerology/Ancient Greek concept or something. Maybe it's Chinese, I don't know. The point is, I feel like I need to talk about something else now or the blong shui will be all off. Anyway, mrp and I walked by the orchard last night and then found ATV trails along the river and smelled the fallen apples and the fallen leaves and just enjoyed the beautiful fall evening. It was so relaxing and refreshing and it made me happy. The end for now.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A To Do List of Sorts

I'm feeling a little aimless. Life's been busy and I haven't had a chance to sort stuff out. So, I am devoting my lunch hour to figuring out some things I need to do. Here's the list I've come up with.

1. More chill-out time
2. To relax, sleep well, and eat well this week
3. To get on top of my work at work: organize and do icky stuff
4. Start thinking about new goals

As you can see, the first is a general need that I think will apply to some extent for good. It took me a while to figure out what exactly this need was and I've explained why it's come up now in (excrutiatingly painful?) detail. The other three are more short-term need-to-dos. Anyway, without further ado, here's the supporting verbage...

First, I need more chill-out time in my life. Life is so hectic sometimes that I need to stop and slow down and just not rush one iota. Sometimes mrp and I need rush-free chill-out time together. We did just that during a tour of big box stores yesterday. We took out time and compared bathroom rugs and analyzed shelving units and considered all of our mail sorting needs. And we spent lots of time debating whether to purchase fruity or dude-smelling body wash. We ended up purchasing one of each. I will smell sweet and citrusy and mrp will smell virile and ocean-breeze-like. It was a wonderful day and I was just bubbling with mrp love all throughout it.

Sometimes, though, I need a different-kind of rush-free chill-out time. Sometimes I need an hour or so where I am allowed to eat cookies and stare at the tube or to curl up in bed with light reading or soak in a hot tub and stare at the ceiling with absolutely no other demands on my time. This means, the lunches are already made, the laundry is done, the cats are taken care of, the dishes are done, the car is in the garage, everything and anything that I must do other than my vegging out is done for the day and I have time to veg out for an hour AND get an adequate 7.5 hours of sleep. Having this hour every day is unreasonable and truly unnecessary. But once a week would probably be sufficient. If I don't have this bit of truly free time when I need it I start feeling frustrated by stuff that stands in my way of it.

Last night for example, I needed it. I just straight-up needed some time just free of all obligation. It was a very busy week followed by a very busy weekend. I was on my feet both days pretty much non-stop--going going going. I thought I was going to be clear of stuff for awhile around 8:30, but then mrp reminded me that I needed to move my car. I was cold, I was tired, I just didn't want to do it. I whined, but went out to my car and when I got there I realized I left my keys inside. I was so mad at myself for wasting my own time. I muttered, I swore, I acted like a baby. I got the damn keys and moved the car. I came back inside and then thought I could steal a 1/2 hour and just veg until 9 or so and then finish up for the night. I don't even remember what we were talking about but mrp was talking and out of nowhere all politeness left the building and I interrupted him and said "I just want to sit down and watch the rest of this show." And he got mad and I put my head in my hands on the counter and felt like an ass but a tired and needing to veg-out ass and just tired, ok? And somewhere in there my cat scratched the chair again and jumped on the counter and mrp thought I was using too much water to do the dishes and I was just over it. I just felt hopeless--like no matter what I did the work was never done and I'm so tired and I'll never have a moment and wa wa wa wa wa wa wa wa wa. And I wasn't really mad at my cats and I certainly wasn't mad at mrp. I was mad at myself for not being better at helping my cats behave and for not being able to get stuff done faster and better.

But now, I am not so mad about that. I realize that I just didn't want to ackowledge that I needed something. Why I have a tendency to dismiss my own needs as weakness or inadequacy I'm not quite sure. But in any event I'm articulating this very reasonable need and proud of it. Once a week--preferably the night before the workweek starts--I need to have everything done by 8:30 so I can have 8:30-bedtime to do nothing or anything or whatever.

Second, and along these same lines, I need to relax this week. I'm running my first marathon and I'm nervous and excited and I want it to be a positive experience. To that end, I need to get to bed on time and relax more in general. I need to cuddle my cat more before bed so he'll be less likely to wake me up in the middle of the night to jump on the bed for cuddles when I'm trying to sleep. I think I've slept through the night once since we moved because of that. It's starting to drive me nuts. I also need to eat well and just feel like I'm taking good care of myself. It will make me feel less nervous and better prepared.

Third, I need to clean and organize my office at work and to do some things I've been putting off because I don't like doing them. I'm in an I've had it mood here and I need to get back in control of my work. I feel overwhelmed by all the crap all over the place and the task list now full of things I don't like to do. I'm cleaning this up and getting that stuff done and then I'm going to go and get something good to do.

Fourth, I need to start the process of making new goals. I've finished school, I'll be finishing the marathon, I'm settling back into Cleveland life now, and it's time to think about where I'm headed in the career, running, and otherwise. Other than the marathon, I'm feeling a little aimless and I'd like to get back on track with some short and long term goals.

Friday, October 06, 2006

What a Cuddle Can Do

Oh my god! It's only 1:30!!! What am I going to do for 3.5 hours?!?! Not work! I am stir-crazy and want to go out and have fun right now!!!!

I just got back from a short jaunt around downtown Cleveland. It is the most gorgeous day here today. It is a brisk 58 degrees and the sun is ashining! Ooo, is it ever. I just felt so happy to be out there walking by myself and enjoying the wonderful day. On my elevator ride downstairs I remembered how much I missed cheesy Cleveland decorum when I was in NYC. I used to think it was gross but now I see something charming in the quaint custom of allowing "ladies" off the elevator first. All the bloated besportshirted office guys move to the side and allow us perceived female humans off the elevator first. I always wonder how they would treat an obvious post-op transexual. To be honest, this is Cleveland and they're so oblivious to stuff like that they probably wouldn't even realize an obvious transexual was an obvious transexual. But the point is, I have come to appreciate this "courtesy" and expect it. Plus, it's nice to count on when I'm in a hurry!

Yesterday I decided to institute phase one of project make cats behave. I bought a sisal scratching post, 2 cat nip toys, an alpine scratcher, and a cat dancer. I brought them in the OHOOD and set them up and played with the doods while dinner cooked. Then after dinner Fort tried to jump on mrp's lap as he read the thermostat manual (riveting!) Mrp freaked and said "you're cat just tried to jump on my lap!" The nerve of that cat trying to get a little love! Anyway, I took Fort's cue and I sat on the other chair in the living room and brought him with me. His motor was ahumming and he snuggled up something fierce for about 10 minutes. Seemingly sated he stretched out his front paws and hit the carpet headed back to the cat nip covered sisal to roll around in over-stimulated glory. Last night he slept the entire time in his own little bed on the floor and there hasn't been a single scratch on the pleather chair in at least 24 hours.

And I slept like a baby for the first time in months.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

When the Cat Hits the Fan

Fortunato has identified his target. He's going for the pleather chair. No, it's not a particularly nice piece of furniture but it's mrp's so it's not acceptable for him to shred it. I must manipulate him into ceasing this destructive behavior. There are several options:

1. I can work with what I have. Block the areas of the chair he wants to claw. Try to catch him clawing and squirt him with a water bottle. Try to play with him with his scratchy toys more.

2. I can try to get scratchy toys and scratchy toys that are more attractive to him than the chair.

3. I can spray on that stuff that smells gross to them but not us on the chair or put the sticky stuff on the chair until he quits it.

4. I can clip his nails myself.

5. I can cover his nails with those lee press on claws myself.

6. I can take him to a groomer to either clip his nails or press on the claws.

7. I can get him declawed.

I think I listed these in descending order of severity. Declawing is the absolute worst case solution. It's bad enough to amputate the knuckles of kittens but it's extra nasty to do it to a 10 year old cat. It will guarantee short-term pain and risk him long-term pain, at least short-term depression, or even death. I will consider declawing if it comes down to it. I will cry. I will worry. I will feel awfully guilty, but if it's ultimately absolutely the only way to stop the destruction and keep him from getting thrown out on his little furry tush then I will consider that option. Before I will even consider it I must exhaust every product, every tactic, every other possible way to get him to leave the chair alone. I am open to any combination of the other options. But with this list of options, I know some solution is at hand. However, I really honestly feel that clipping his nails, cleaning his scent off the chair, and having a better scratching post will most likely be enough. And keeping him occupied will help too. I need to spend more time with him and play and cuddle a little more too.

I love my cat if you can't tell. He's been with me for 10 years. He always loves me even when I ditch him with a bunch of ferile cats for 9 months. He's accepted his sisters when I brought them home with no complaints and soothed my broken heart when his brother and sister passed away. He makes me happy when his motor is humming and when he's up to no good and looks at me like he knows it. I don't know how to articulate my love for him. It's not the same as the love of a person. There just is no comparison. I've loved animals my whole life. My heart breaks when I see one dead on the side of the road. As I've previously mentioned I cheer for squirrels to make it across the street. I talk to the animals at the zoo. I can sacrifice this love in the future and agree to no more pets, but I cannot sacrifice the two kitties that I have promised to care for their entire lives.

This was going to be a blog post but then it seems like I was really talking to mrp and then I was going to just write it to him but then I thought about it harder and realized I was talking to myself and explaining my feelings to myself. I don't expect anyone, especially mrp, to share my love for my cats. And you know, sometimes they p1ss me off to be honest. I know mrp is sacrificing a lot to work this out with me. I appreciate the difficulties this causes him and I in no way want to deprive him of the right to those feelings. I just want to find that common ground. I need to honor my commitment to them and I love mrp and am committed to him in every way so I am absolutely determined to make this work. I will sacrifice my own money, comfort, pleasure, whatever, so mrp and they can live together. Whatever it takes.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Blah Blah Blah and A Blah Blah Blah Some More

The adjusting continues. The cats seem to have relaxed and F0rt was just so angling to sleep on the bed at 5AM. He was motoring that purrer up and was just relentless. It breaks my heart to deny a purring cuddly kitty his early morning warm-up cuddles but for the sake of a non-disgustingly hairy bed I must. I got up and fed him and laid on the living room floor until I could no longer hear his motor humming and felt safe he was no longer in the mood for bedtime cuddles and then I returned for one more hour of slumber. Don't worry, I squeezed him and cuddled him like mad when I woke up this morning. He's hardly deprived of affection!

I'm adjusting to my shadow following me and reminding me of all the little things I must do to maintain the integrity of the house. "Turn the fan on when you take a shower." "Make sure there's no water in the iron before laying it on its side." I have to say I've struggled a bit to not be a little irritated by it but it's actually kind of cute that mrp is like that. I haven't noticed any particular instance of this, but I am sure he goes around checking things after I'm done to make sure I did what I'm supposed to and didn't do what I'm not supposed to. He must be very stealthy about this and really I recognize that this stealth is out of respect for me. If there's one thing I can say with certainty is that he tries so hard and I know he so desperately wants to do the right thing and take care of us and I certainly, without a shadow of a doubt feel taken care of.

Mrp's adjusting to have to deal with me in the context of the everydayness of each day. When you're just dating you really only deal with each other in defined relationship time chunks--you know, dates and the like. The time is devoted to the relationship. But when you're living together you spend all the time in the same vicinity. Anyone must adjust to this whether they've lived with someone in the past or not but I suspect it's particularly hard the first time you embark on this kind of thing to get used to seeing this person next to you every morning when you wake up, etc. You can't hide all your bad habits for those non-relationship times of your day and you have to cope with that other's bad habits. Luckily, we're pretty forthcoming about our bad habits and at least I think we're very forgiving of each other's bad habits--so far that seems to be a nonissue.

And man do I feel like a slob! I am getting SO flipping antsy to run this marathon. Can't it be tomorrow? Well, maybe tomorrow is too soon--how about two days after tomorrow? That would be good--until the day after tomorrow and then it would be too soon! Heh. I'm just antsy is all.

Work is boring. Just boring. Fun stuff keeps getting pushed back. Blah. Oh well. At least I don't have to run all over the place and can continue my taper lard assery while at work.

You know what? I feel pretty damn good!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I Want a A Crumb-free Floor and My Cuddles Too

It's cold in my office. Supposedly it's warm outside but it's freezing in here. I need mittens. And socks would be helpful too.

I'm starting to get psyched up for my marathon. I feel itchy to get out there and run hard. Maybe that's the purpose of a taper--to deprive you of running just enough to make you really want to get out there and run till you hurt. I'm still worried I'm going to be a bloated lazy cow by the time I make it to the starting line, but less so. But yeah, I'm feeling really confident, excited, and strangely at ease about the whole endeavor. Oh and I think the new running outfit is hip, cute, and highly functional. Definitely a keeper. A blue and green marathon it will be!

As for the transition to life in the OHOOD it's going pretty well. It's complicated. There's so much at stake right now. There is so much that can be worried about but I suppose this is probably a good time to roll with things and go with the flow a little bit. I feel like I want to muscle through the transition and just get through it as fast as possible and be a happy blissful mrp/ltg couple all stable and perfect right now! I want to feel accepted and loved and cherished and productive and sexy and helpful and in love and not needy and pathetic and tired and dumpy and sad and worried. And I think mrp is the similar. He wants to feel in control and stable and confident and on top of things and grown up and strong and not worried and exhausted and unsure of things and insecure. In a way we are both grasping so desperately to overcome these negative feelings and get to the positive side, but we're forcing the issue. Me with my pleas for mrp to be nice to me and mrp with his pleas for me to be nice to the house. I am bordering on tyrannical about my demands and so is he. We both sense something is up and is causing us to work against rather than with each other but we have not been able to pinpoint exactly why this is happening.

Hmmm. I have an idea. For me, the focus is secondarily the house transition and primarily the relationship transition and for him I think the opposite is true. When I want to put all our energy toward the relationship and he's worried about crumbs on the floor I get upset and when he wants to put all our energy to keeping the house nice and I'm asking for cuddles he gets upset. We need to realize that this is a good thing: we need to take care of both things and I lead us in taking care of our relationship and he leads in taking care of our house. I need to not rigidly hold onto the idea that warm fuzzy relationship stuff must take precedence over everything else in our lives and if it doesn't then we're doomed and I think it would be helpful if mrp recognized the same thing about the house--that if crumbs on the floor is not the foremost thing on my list of priorities that the house is not going to collapse. And at the same time I have to let him lead with the house stuff and trust him on what is best in that regard and I believe he should do the same with me and the warm-fuzzy relationship stuff.

Of course, none of this is so cut and dry. I do care about the house and it is very high on my list and he cares about our relationship and it is very high on his list (if not the highest macro-priority--it's just not his talent and not on the radar screen at every micro-moment like it is mine). I truly want to learn to better take care of our things, be more self-disciplined and responsible and he truly wants to learn how to be a better partner, friend, and lover* I am sure. So maybe it's just a matter of me more gently nudging things along on the relationship front and he more gently nudging things along on the house track and both of us being more receptive to the respective nudgings.

*This word inspires both an ewww and an mmmm response from me. It's at once fabio and vronsky, richard marx and jeff buckley, velveeta and brie. Anyone else with me here?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Adjustments All Around

Guess what! We moved into the OHOOD! For Real! It was a very hectic weekend and the blissful aura is only descending on me now. In the short term we're tired and busy and adjusting and working out kinks but the big picture is so lovely. In particular we are adjusting to not enough covers and too much snoring (apparently I can saw up some wood myself!) We are also working hard to respectively tolerate cats and manipulate good cat behavior. So far it's going pretty well. Mrp had a brief scare in the middle of the night when tubby Astrid "lunged" at him and Fort succumbed to motion sickness on the ride over and puked a little in his carrier.

The other adjustment of note is the fact that every time there is a significant relationship change I need extra reassurance. In a way, I need to be reaccepted. Subconsciously I fear that with intensification of the relationship comes the point at which mrp realizes that I'm a pain in the ass. Don't get me wrong. I am a pain in the ass. I worry he will realize I am not the cute cuddly pain in the ass who tries really hard not to be so much of a pain in the ass. Mrp on the other hand, withdraws a little to cope with the adjustments. He seems to need to step back a little and process the change by himself before coming back in close. I understand that and appreciate that about him. It makes sense. However, when I am not fully cognizant of this fact I misinterprate this brief and mild pulling away as some sort of unacceptance--the calm before the post-relationship-change abandonment. We went through something similar after I moved to NYC and when I returned. I addressed this with mrp yesterday and he sweetly explained that he never unaccepted me to have to reaccept me. I guess I'm not used to being and feeling so accepted. It's a great thing to have to adjust to.

That's interesting, for all the difficult things to adjust to, most of those things are life bonuses and very few of them are compromises. Even the ones that go against my nature--like cleaning up after myself--are things that might be hard in the short-term but make me a better person.

But yeah, yesterday I pulled up with the groceries and the chubbiest chubby woodchuck was munching on some grass. He looked at me and then froze before jiggling off to his haven in the hole under the woodpile. Little does he know now that he'll be seeing a lot more of me.