Tuesday, February 27, 2007

She's Back!

This will be quick. I'm tired and still a little under the weather. I was pretty sick for the first half of my visit and then was feeling better by Sunday--just in time for the race. It wasn't my best, but I managed a healthy pr of 1:31:57 (previous pr was 1:35:11). I'm pretty happy with that condidering 8 hours before the race I was doubting I'd even be able to start it. I decided to go for it even though I was still all stuffy in my head and coughing up nasty chunks (can't you see the sad little sick flushed cheeks in my picture? sniff). My lymph nodes weren't as swollen by morning and I felt less tired than I had for the last couple of days. I knew it wouldn't be the best race, but I decided to go for my goal anyway. I was hoping to eek under 1:30. I was on pace for a low 1:30 through mile 7. By that point most of my splits were in the low 6:50's, right where I wanted to be. But we turned around at about 7.5 into the wind. I ducked behind a couple of guys but I think they were running slower. The wind sucked and I was excited to make a turn to get out of it, but once I made the turn it was worse and now the sun was beating down and I was HOT!! Ugh. I ended up slowing down almost 20 seconds for this mile--7:14. I fought a little bit and was able to get the next mile back down to 7:06 but I knew at this point 1:29 was not going to happen. I think besides feeling like I was roasting in a convection oven out in the open sun and wind, I just didn't have the fight. Around mile 11 I calculated that I could get in under 1:32 if I hustled so I managed to drop the pace below 7:00/mile for the last 2 miles and eeked in to third place in 1:31:57. I was simultaneously happy and a little disappointed. Oh well, onward and upward. Next stop Boston!

I had a great visit with my sister. It was so low key and just nice to be with her. We didn't even bicker even when we were both tired, uncomfortable, and starving! Yeah L and K!!! Way to grow up girls. Anyway, I will write more about that tomorrow maybe. Now I have to get dinner on for my mrp! I get to see him very very soon!!!!! I missed him!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Feelin' Grateful

I'm headed down to N'awlins this weekend to see my sister. I am getting excited. I love it there. I decided to run the Mardi Gras Half-marathon while I'm down there. Unfortunately, that comes smack dab in the middle of my trip so I won't be able to eat copious amounts of muffaletta and drink copious amounts of rum punch until about 8:30 AM on Sunday. Something else that is unfortunate is that right now I have a mild, yet icky, chest cold. I ran 4.5 miles in slower than 9min/mi pace and it seemed hard. While running I only coughed a little. But when I stopped I hacked up half a lung. I doubt anyone will be using that treadmill for a while. Ew. I don't know how this is going to impact my race. I'm not going to sweat it. I'm going to take it easy, drink lots of fluids and gets lots of sleep and hope for the best. What else can I do?

Oh yeah. You're probably wondering about last weekend. "What the heck was so great about it, Laura?" Well, mrp and I had a nice snuggly Friday and then went to our race on Saturday morning. We had fun warming up in the snow together and we both had fun while I peed in the parking lot of a very bad software vendor (hopefully not everyone saw my bare bottom!) After the race, we headed down to the grow light store. What? Following a snowy 5k with a trip to the grow light store isn't a completely normal couple's activity where you live? Shockingly the growlight store had grateful dead music playing and lots of fertlizers in psychedelic packaging and a trippy grow light sales guy who it turns out went to my high school. The dude was nice and we caught up on some high school gossip but dude talked way too fast. Mrp did get a grow light catalog out of the deal and now he won't come out of the bathroom. Sorry mrp! Bad joke. Anyway, after we left the grow light store we stopped off for a huge breakfast of chorizo omelletes, huevos rancheros, and waffles at the best cheap restaurant in all the land. Then we hopped down the street and over to the Westside Market. It's a European style fresh food market with lots of cheap fresh produce and other yummy stuff. We scampered over to the building section to check out the sausage (I know, for being a vegetarian for many years I have a bizarre love of sausage). We picked up a couple pounds of fresh andouille for jambalaya and then a bunch of fruits and veggies. We both got a kick out of me dictating what we wanted to the vendor and then to mrp how much coin to hand over. It was a great Saturday and I can't think of a time when life's felt more satisfying than it has lately.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Modesty

Since blogs are not supposed to be for bragging I won't tell you that I won my second race ever last weekend. I won't mention that I won the most absurd trophy known to mankind all plastic and marble and shiney and red and bedecked with a picture of chili on it. I also won't mention how it was a really good race for me. I went out hard and at the half mile point felt like crap and then reassured myself that that's normal and that I'll adjust to the pace and within a minute felt fine and just pushed on with an even pace. This is definitely not the forum in which to discuss arriving at the two mile mark only to overtake the lead woman feeling strong and pushing, but not too uncomfortably to the finish to make it in for my second sub-20 minute 5k. The fact that I remained (relatively) comfortable during the last mile is definitely an improvement over the last 5k where some guy, as he was passing me, told me that although I was running well, I needed to relax. I didn't automatically think he was a jerk, I'll have you know. I actually agreed with him and realized how stiff I was. So, I made it a point to focus on not getting all stiff like that and I didn't. And, I am not going to write one word about the fact that I was only 1 second off my pr even though it was cold, windy, snowy, and slippery, or about the godawful hairpin turn occurring smack dab in the middle of the third mile, around which I needed to stop running to navigate. Even though I am very proud of this race and I learned a lot, this is not the place to discuss it.

Ok, I know I just bragged the shit out of that race and I'm sorry about that. But I am proud and I will be able to read this post when I'm an 85 year old barely able to walk and remember the good old days, so there. I do want to write more about my most wonderful weekend which was well, wonderful! But I don't have time. So, you'll just get my bragging about running for now. I'll be back to brag about how wonderful my mrpy is later!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Freaking out Laying off and Gearing up

This is going to be a looooong post. Brace yourselves!

On Tuesday we ended up with a nasty blizzard. Work closed early so of course the wussy lazy fitness center had to close and I couldn't get in my run. Instead mrp and I joined some of my co-workers for dinner before trudging all the way home on the tundra highway. Mrp drove us like a champ! Unfortunately, when we got home we had to tackle the driveway. Mrp started it while I took care of my chicky stuff inside. Once I was done with that I put on my be-pompommed boots and joined in the shoveling fun. The next morning you would never know we had shoveled! Everything was a snow-covered disaster. I drove us and was doing ok with just the usual smattering of swears here and there. That is until we came within 5 miles of downtown. As the highway drifted closer to the lake, the winds drifted and blew the snow all over the highway. I could hardly see. Plus, since Cleveland is the land of hoopties we came upon many a moron driving 5mph with their hazards on--on the damn frewway. The snow was relatively deep and having to slow down just messed with the momentum which in turn messed with my sanity. Between not being able to see the road and having to dodge and weave morons I was a stressed out wreck--seriously, on the verge of a panic attack. Maybe mrp didn't understand my level of distress. He sat on his side quietly only occasionally giving me pointers like "don't get to close to the edge" and "no, keep going to W 3rd." My adrenaline was pumping like crazy as visions of donuts and multi-car accidents and getting stuck in snow drifts danced in my head. On one hand I want to be reassured and sympathized with in these situations. On the other, how does one reassure and sympathize with a crazed stress case? On the other other hand, as I want reassurance and sympathy more I vocalize my panic more. On the other other other hand, as I vocalize my panic more one is less and less inclined to offer fuzzy notions of reassurance and sympathy. Paradox.


Anyway, we made it off the freeway and I was stressfully navigating the snow strewn city streets when we came behind a big ugly bus that needed to stop. Again, messing with my momentum. More stress. Argh! So, I got mad and pushed on to pass speeding up and when I was almost passing a bus all of a sudden this dude darts right in front of me!! I pictured his body rolling up onto my hood and his head smashed on my windshield, blood everywhere. My brakes slammed. My mouth screamed and then mrp very uncharacteristically screamed at me "calm the fuck down!" and I screamed back "fuck you!" and then sobbbbbbbb. I just lost it. All the stress came flooding out and I turned the corner, disregarding the left arrow with the red line over it and parked in the expensive covered parking garage. I turned the car off and just stared, almost shocked. I looked at mrp. I couldn't speak. We walked into the building. I felt alone. We said goodbye. I arrived in my office. A replay of that dude running in front of my car played in my brain. I sat down and saw my fingers trembling. I wiped a few more tears and felt better. Two hours later, I felt a pit in my stomach. I dialed mrp and apologized. We talked about it. I need to work on not getting so worked up. Mrp's learning how to help. We're both working on how to understand our tempermental differences. I'm a tamale. He's a cucumber.


One thing I need to better understand about him is his incessant need to do things the hard way even when sick. The dude is complaining about how bad he feels all night and then proceeds to insist on hand shoveling the driveway even when there is a plow a few houses down that I could get and we are both professionals who make decent money and work longish hours. Sometimes, I can see where it's fun to shovel the driveway. But not when sick. Not when you did it just the night before. Not when the windchill is below zero. I love that mrp is so dedicated to his principles and hard-working. I LOVE it. Really. I aspire to it. But, when you're sick!? Come on. And then we get inside the house and he starts to do the three dishes in the sink. I refused to let him and made him sit down and drink a glass of oj while I did them. But he chugged it and within seconds was up with the broom! ARGH! Sit down and rest for one minute!!!! Let me take care of you!!!!! I think that's why it bothers me. When he is feeling bad I want to take care of him like I feel he takes care of me. When he won't let me I feel like I'm failing him a bit. All he lets me do is feed him, I swear. Oh, and how am I supposed to be a lazy wuss when I get a cold after this precedent? Sigh. I love my cucumbery ant extraordinaire!


As for other stuff..ok, running...yesterday I had a great run! I did a 5-mile tempo. I started out around goal MP (~7:15 or so). I then dropped it to ~7:00 for the second mile and then at the 2 mile point I dropped it down to about goal HM pace (~6:50). I held steady to 4.5 miles. At that point I dropped the pace down to 6:32 or so. I felt comfortable the whole time. I am so pleased. I have a 5k coming up on Saturday and a ½ marathon the following Sunday and I feel like I’m in good shape. For the 5k I have to remind myself that it’s not my goal race and that I haven’t been training to run a fast 5k so that race might not be all that and I shouldn’t let a sub-optimal performance get me down about the half should I have a sub-optimal performance. Then for the half I have to remember that that’s not my goal race either. My goal race is the marathon and I’ll still have 7 weeks of training after the half so it’s not worth breaking myself to log a fast time. On the other hand, short of breaking myself, I’m gunning for a fast time! Woo!

Otherwise, I am also happy about yesterday’s workout because my legs felt so crappy after Sunday’s 20 miler. Yet, after my hard run yesterday my legs felt fine. My heel was a little sore but that’s normal after sitting around all day after running. I don’t know why the 20’s have been just killing me this training session. Over the summer I handled them fine. This training cycle I feel fine on the 16-18 mile harder runs but then get wrecked by 20-mile easy runs. I just don’t get it. I can think of several reasons. It could be that I’m running them too hard, but I doubt that. I’ve averaged in the 8:20’s for both the 20’s I’ve done so far this winter. It could be the relatively major hillage or perhaps the fact that I’m running on paved cambered roads rather than flat dirt trails. Last summer I ran the 20’s on a flat trail, even dirt trail. It could also be that I’m getting dehydrated or because I’m not taking in any fuel. Over the summer I drank water and took a gu during the long runs—this time nada. Or maybe it’s because I’m a bad person. Yeah, that’s it—heh.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

St. Valentine the Enigma

Man. My legs were feeling pretty good last week. But by Sunday afternoon they felt like poo. I ran 20 miles on Sunday and it just wrecked me. My back is a little out of whack, the top of my hips are tight, and most worrisome I have a weird inner thigh pulling achey thing going on. It's not horrendous but I have two races coming up this Saturday and then the following Sunday. I need my legs peppy! I'm slapping my legs right now and telling them to snap to it but I'm afraid it's not working. "Come on guys!" Nope. Not happening. I will take a leisurely jaunt around the urban mall at lunch time and perhaps that will loosen things up. The big question will remain: attempt the long hard workout tonight or not? Of course I will, but I am perfectly ok with bagging it if the going gets ouchy.

Another thing that isn't helping matters is that mrpy has a code in his nose. Poor thing has a head cold. He is so stoic about these things. I didn't even know he actually had a full on cold until two days after he came down with it. I thought he felt like one was coming on but I had no idea he already felt bad. So stealthy that one. Anyway, the problem is is that the congestion makes him snore--really loudly and it doesn't matter how he's positioned. Normally he snores a little while laying on his back. I just ask him to roll over on his side and problem is solved I fall back asleep he falls back asleep and rolls back onto his back and everyone is happy. But this time it's different. The first night I was up all night frustrated and cranky tossing and turning. The second night I ended up muttering four-letter words and mrp got mad and stomped off to the couch. The next night I went to the couch (and woke up in a knot). Last night I ended up frustrated and whiney and mrp ended up slamming the bedroom door and plopping on the couch again. I think I know where I'll be sleeping tonight. It is such a frustrating thing. Mrp thinks I'm mad at him. I'm not. He can't help it. Yet not being able to sleep is horribly frustrating and as an extroverted hothead I end up outwardly emoting about it. Mrp thinks I'm mad and then gets mad at me and I feel worse. There has to be a way to solve this problem that doesn't involve both of us losing valuable sleep or getting mad at each other. We need to set up a guest room in one of our spare bedrooms for times like these. In the meantime, perhaps I'll fire up the air mattress tonight.


But how sad is it that it's the week of valentine's day and we're plotting ways to sleep apart. That makes me sad. I suppose that's part of what makes cohabitating relationships and marriages hard: sometimes pragmatism dictates we must leave the romance behind. It's not cuddly and wonderful all the time especially when things like sleep and nutrition and illness and basic human needs are at stake. I suppose the way to get through it is to accept what practical nonromantic thing needs to be done and remember that it's not some broader statement about the role of romance and lovey stuff in our lives. Maybe it's important more than ever that at times like these we inject a little extra mushiness into our life.

Friday, February 09, 2007

And All of a Sudden It Made Sense

Omigod y'all. I'm so hungry. I can't leave for 45 minutes and I feel like I could eat anything right now. Maybe I need a cup of coffee. Hold on...

Ok. I'm back. I've had a few sips and I definitely feel better. Anyway, not much going on here. I am working on so much great stuff at work. Lots o' litigation which makes me happy. It gives me an opportunity to be creative AND rational at the same time. I think that is my real talent in life. I remember sitting in the office of this printing company I worked for when I was 23. I was a college drop out and working overtime so I could get paid time and a half of my pitiful $13/hr salary. For a couple of months at that job I thought I was hot shit for working with models and big new york modeling agencies but for some reason on this evening sitting at my desk and looking at all the model comp cards on the wall I realized right then and there that I was too smart for this crap. It suddenly dawned on me after years of agonizing self-analysis that someone who equally loved calculus and contemporary poetry in college might actually not be a freak. Perhaps I'd make a good lawyer. They have to analyze text and logically apply what they've read. Yes, f* this crap. I'm going to law school. And the rest is history.

Anyway, I am trying to crank out some research so I have my weekend reading all ready to go before I get out of here. Sometime back a month or so ago I wondered if I'd ever regain my passion for "the law." Well, I can't quite say it's passion, but I'm really excited about what I'm doing now. Hooray for that!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

No Mrp Tonight But I'm Alright

I had it and ran outside today. It was sunny so I'll focus on that part of the run. I needed it after last night's treadmill flourescent lighted torture session. Nah. It wasn't that bad. It actually wasn't bad at all. I just did an easy two miles followed by 4 x 1.5 miles at 6:5x pace with .5 mile recoveries. The cool down jog was the hardest part. I started getting antsy and it was a chore to get in two easy miles. But I did it and I'm that much closer to getting through winter training. The best part is that Little House on the Prairie comes on the tv at 6:00 so I always get to finish up my workouts while laughing at Laura making Nellie Olson look like the bitch she really is!

Tonight I have to go home all by myself since mrp is Mr. Social and has a Cavs game date. I am kind of digging the change of pace. This morning I putzed around since I didn't have to rush for mrp's sake. Tonight I can take my time get home, throw some lame meal together in the microwave not worried if it's something I am proud to serve mrp. Then I can eat cookies in my pajamas and watch the sopranos. Oh, wait. I do that every weeknight. I have no shame. Heh. I will definitely miss mrp but sometimes it's nice to have a little time to myself knowing mrp is fully taken care of. It's especially nice when I know mrp is doing something very important like networking and advancing himself in his career. That makes me happy (and proud).

In other news I have awesome stuff going on at work. I have to litigate something in the bland midwestern state court mainly by myself and, get this--I get to write an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the US all by myself!! I am so excited!! Besides that we have three other constitutional issues to litigate in the pipeline. I am stoked! This is why I work here. And that is why I need to end this post!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Just a Few More X's on the Calendar to Go

I am starting to feel stir-crazy. I need the spring to come! I have to do my workout on a treadmill tonight and that sounds as appealing as being drawn and quartered. Ok, ok. Maybe I'm exaggerating. But seriously, y'all this treadmill stuff is getting old. I need to vent about it. It's hot in there and the tv channels they have playing stink and the music isn't loud enough to hear and I have to keep my clothes on and I can't blow my nose in the towel because it's at work and time seems like it's standing still. I'll swear 10 minutes went by and I lift the towel only to discover it's been 40 seconds. At the same time I've muscled through two tough workouts on the thing already. I surely can handle one more, right? And after this week the weather is supposed to start getting warmer and daylight savings is coming a month early in about a month so just a little longer now. I can't wait for that first sunny warm spring day when I can be outside without a coat and look up smiling with the sunshining on my face. Springtime always feels so good!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Hang on Little Junco!

Oh my god, y'all. It's freaking cold! On Saturday morning we flipped on the tube which cheerily informed us it was 7 degrees outside. Rad! So we put on the layers and mrp went his way and I went mine and we came home all frozen with 16-1/2 and 20 miles in the bag respectively (yeah, I'm the wuss in our house). I was supposed to do 10 miles easy, 4 miles at marathon pace and then 2 miles hard (probably at marathon pace, since I'm a wuss like I said before). However, I quickly discovered that right smack dab in the middle of the stretch of roads that I was supposed to do the 4 miles at marathon pace there were long stretches of ice and lots of it. The footing would not be conducive to hard running. So right then and there with 10 miles or so to go I decided to just start pushing the pace every chance I could get. The longest stretch was about 2 miles from about the 9 mile mark to 11. The rest consisted of 5 minutes here, a hill surge there, and after abunch of that I turned the corner for the last half mile to our house and WHAM! I got smacked by 30+ mph winds right in my poor widdle face! It was 7 degrees! That felt like absolute shit. But I pushed through it and just ran straight for the garage to escape the wicked tundra. I got inside and ripped my wet clothes off and cuddled my cat and was just so happy to be out of that crap. Woo. Then the next day I proceeded to run 6.5 miles outside with the same winds and the temps at 5 degrees because I have a stray masochist gene somewhere on my strand.

Other than that mrp and I pretty much stayed cuddled up at home. It was a lovely weekend to stay home and watch the chubby juncos swing on the bird feeder clinging for dear life as the wind whipped across the backyard. It looked like a sandstorm the way the gusty wind would pick up the dry powdery snow and whip it into a dust-devil. It was just the perfect time to get close and have a meta-heart to heart about all things team mrp-ltg. Of course we didn't get all our chores done again and we can't really say we were all that productive in the household sense, but I woke up this monday feeling like we've accomplished alot.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Chubby Toe, Et Al.

My legs are finally feeling better! Yeah legs! I still have the plantar's achiness every now and then (it's actually in both feet), but it's much better. I did 12 miles with 6 x 1 mile repeats at 6:40ish pace (*brag-o-the-day) on Tuesday on the god-forsaken treadmill after work and when I was finished I had a weird soreness at the top of my left shin. It was pretty tender on Tuesday night and Wednesday, but yesterday it was gone! I love how my legs just like to mess with me from time to time. Last night I did an easy 10 with some .5+ mile inclines thrown in and felt just meh when I was done. But this morning, my legs feel better than they've felt in weeks. My IT band has been pretty much fine. My popliteus muscle is happy again. My piriformis muscles aren't pinchy. My second toe on my right foot is still chubby (since end of November) but my doctor says there's nothing we can do about it even if it's fractured and if it doesn't hurt, so what? I sound like a mess, I realize. But I'm really not. My legs are like whack-a-mole. One little ache and pain pops up in one spot and then I get that to start healing and then another pops up somewhere else. It's normal when you're old and running all the time.

In other news, work has been fun the last few days. I'm writing a brief for my appeal to the courts of generic midwestern state. I love writing briefs especially when I'm arguing against people who are bad writers and make ridiculously illogical arguments. It's challenging yet oh so fun to craft subtle smack downs.

Things on the homefront are good. Last night while starving and rushing to finish dinner I groused at mrp for criticizing me for putting the hot spaghetti pot on the counter and I pouted a little too, but it lead to an interesting conversation as calories seeped back into my blood stream. By bedtime I was happy as a clam (without this cliche I would never have known that clams are a particularly happy animal! I would have said as happy as a squirrel full of nuts in his cheeks and a little squirrel buddy to chase around a tree or perhaps a mole who has once again escaped the fury of the padded mallet, but who am I to question the millions of people who recognize the clam as the happiest of god's creatures? heh.)