Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Early next year, I will be a bridesmaid for a close college friend's wedding. As the date moves closer, the bride is acting in uncharacteristic ways that are beginning to hurt her friendships. Two other close college friends are in the party, both of whom have become pregnant since agreeing to participate. On the wedding date, one will have a month-old infant and one will be seven-and-a-half months pregnant. Both were honest with the bride early on that they were trying to get pregnant, and in both cases she did not hesitate to express her extreme unhappiness about the situation. Each has offered to not participate or to serve in a less central role, which was met with an even unhappier response.
The bride's demands, which include not wanting them to wear maternity dresses or have the baby in the room where we're getting ready, are becoming more irrational and the other bridesmaids are becoming increasingly unhappy with her. I am slightly more protected, living far away, but there have been some significant financial requests beyond what I've encountered in the past as a bridesmaid. Is there a way to kindly steer her back to the land of reason without giving the impression that we don't understand the importance of this day for her?
How thoughtless of the other bridesmaids not to take a vow of celibacy during the year plus of planning for the wedding. Now that they have been so derelict in their duties, they must consider how to make amends. The one who will have the baby at the time of the wedding should consider giving it up for adoption so she won't be distracted by having to nurse the child. The seven-and-a-half months pregnant bridesmaid should have a premature, induced delivery. This will allow her to wear a regular bridesmaid's dress and leave the infant behind in the ICU.
As for you, why don't you just give your friend your bank account PIN so she can access your funds without having to bother you with specific requests for money. Alternatively, the three of you could get together, agree to have one of you act as a spokesmaid, and explain to the bride that she's planning a wedding day, not D-Day. Unless she is able to get a grip on her obstetric and financial demands, all of you will have to decline the honor of serving as her attendants.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
September - Hometown Run
October - Hometown Run (though in a different city so I don't get bored)
November - Santa Barbara News Press Half Marathon
December - Death Valley Half Marathon
January - Highland Run Half Marathon
February - Palm Springs Half Marathon
March - LA Marathon!!!
I've already registered for the Santa Barbara race since it's coming up, but will wait until the last minute on the others just in case I get injured. If anyone is planning on doing any of these races, please shoot me a comment or an email (I actually have an email address listed under My Profile that I check at least once a month...or maybe it's more like once a quarter...in any case, no less than once a year). I'd be happy to shake your hand at the starting line, and if you don't mind sticking around until about an hour or two after all the cones and barricades are put away (typically when I come shuffling through the finish line), we can even meet up for a post-recovery drink afterwards!
Welcome to So Cal! Last week we had a scheduled power outage that was about 10-12 hours long. Last night the power went off again (unexpectedly) for about 10 hours from 3pm until around 1-2am. I told myself to be use the forced downtime to reflect on and be grateful for all that I had. You know...enjoy the simple gifts of life! Embrace the life of the Amish! Give thanks and glory be to God! Glory, glory halelujah!
Unfortunately, after getting locked out of the house (since my garage door wouldn't open) and making Roy have to drive home like a bat out of hell on his break to let me in, taking a freezing shower and then still sweating all night without a fan, eating three cups of cold yogurt and a banana for dinner, and sitting in the dark from 7pm struggling to read a book by the light of four cheap, ugly candles- I would have to say my frame of mind was a little more 'homicidal' then 'godly'.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Unfortunately, my race time was faaaar from impressive (2:17)- so it looks like lazy Aunty Jo is gonna have to do some speedwork if she wants to shave SEVENTEEN MINUTES off her race time. This means Aunty Jo will more than likely NOT meet her 2nd goal of running a sub 2-hr half-marathon, since she has no intention/desire of ever doing speedwork.
Basically, if I don't speed up naturally, well- it ain't a'gonna happen folks. Because as I've contended all along, there are runners- true gazelles, light on their feet with lithe, strong bodies...inspiring to watch. And then there are the back of the packers who plod along almost painfully...John Bingham's 'penguins' (so named because we waddle along). I am still clearly and firmly one of the latter. However, I tend to agree with Hal Higdon's assessment that it is probably a lot more painful for those who stagger across the finish line in six or seven hours than those who crossed it in three.
What really surprised me today was just how good I felt. I was quite paranoid all day yesterday about the whole thing because I've only done ONE long run since the San Diego half marathon in early August, and even then, it was only 8 miles. I even warned Roy this morning that I was pretty sure I was going to have to walk a portion of the race in order to give my legs a rest/catch my breath (which I usually do at some point), but as it turned out, I didn't have to.
I think what really kept me motivated/made me feel like a champ (and this is bound to wear off pretty quickly) was the constant realization of what I was trying to do kept running through my head (six half marathons in six months). It really kept me pumped and almost made me feel as though I had a secret. In fact, everytime I passed someone I wanted to burst out, "I'M RUNNING SIX HALF MARATHONS IN SIX MONTHS!!! DO YOU WANT MY AUTOGRAPH?!!! WELL HOW'S ABOUT A PICTURE THEN? WHAT DO YOU MEAN I'M BARELY EVEN JOGGING?!! HEY!!!! COME BACK HERE, YOU PUNK!!!"
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Today I've been cleaning the house and baking. I just made Roy some peanut butter-macadamia nut brownies that I've been wanting to try and make for months. I'm trying to take it nice and easy because tomorrow is the *big* day- my first (of hopefully six) half marathons! I had a mild panick attack last night when I realized that because my parents will be here next weekend, it meant I was going to have to run my first one this weekend if I were to run one in the month of September as planned. Shockingly, I am completely unprepared. Wish me luck. My already trembling thighs will need it.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
That evening I stepped onto the elliptical, cranked up my MP3 player to a near-deafening level, and pumped my short, sturdy man-arms and man-calves like there was no tomorrow. Even though I wasn't feeling it initially, I soon got in the groove (translation: I started to confidentally sing out loud...NOT a good thing). Gotta love those endorphins. Forty-five minutes later I was tired and drenched in sweat, but still motivated enough to do another 20 minutes on the recumbent bike before heading home. If the calorie counters are to believed, I burned somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 calories over those 65 min. (I've been averaging around 300 for a 60-min. workout), so I couldn't have been more pleased.
While I was on the elliptical I realized that there's a natural ebb and flow to my diet and workouts. Despite my best intentions (I'm going to look a Playboy Bunny by next Thursday!!!), I have good weeks, and I have really bad weeks. Since it's near impossible to have my game on for 12 months a year- it's pointless for me to beat myself up over the constant lapses I seem to drift into. I've found that the best thing I can do when that happens is to just try and find the strength to refocus/motivate myself.
I also realized that my setting a goal of running a marathon in six months does not provide enough day-to-day motivation for me. I'm a simple girl with a very limited amount of gray matter- so I tend to respond much better to more frequent, short-term goals (Ooohh Josie...do you want a lollypop? YES! YES! I do! I do! Gimme one! Gimme, gimme!). As a result, I've made the bold decision to set the following new goals for myself:
1. To run one half-marathon per month until the LA Marathon in March (six total).
2. Of those six runs, I would like to be able to run one of them with a sub 2-hour time.*
*This will require shaving nearly 15 minutes off my best run to date (that's A LOT for a lazy weakling like me who rarely runs more than once a week). It will mean being able to run a consistent 9-minute mile (I currently run a 10:30 - 11:00 minute mile).
I'm actually quite giddy about the whole idea. I love running long distances, and I've found 13.2 miles to be a somewhat reasonable distance (challenging, but not crippling). I've also already researched the number of half-marathons in the area, so it's definitely doable. Some of the runs will be genuine races, but in the interest of saving money, some will not (in which case, Roy will be my support team). I'm definitely a little nervous, so I sincerely *hope* that it will be just what I need to keep me motivated, confident and out of the cookie jar. ;-)
Monday, September 18, 2006
Because I'm cheap, I try to avoid going to the doctor unless I have least two semi-serious ailments. Ideally three. So on the off chance that I don't have at least two, I make one up. Yep, juuuust to get my $20 worth. So a few days ago I was yammering away to my new and very disinterested doctor about my sore right ankle (I get an x-ray tomorrow), my low blood pressure and resulting postural orthostatic hypotension, and "the old tried and true" bump in my neck issue (it hasn't changed much in a year, I just wanted him to spend more than 5 minutes in the room with me).
As a result of my whining, he ordered a full blood test. This is not a problem. Though I'm usually quite melodramatic about pain, I am strangely unfazed by having my blood drawn or getting shots. That is, until today.
This is because today, I got Student Phlebotomist Marcy. As soon as I sat down in the chair Marcy announced that she was a student phlebotomist in training (no doubt a requirement on her end). This was no biggie, because again- I was cool with it. I've had students work on me before, and I've never had a problem. Additionally, I'm also very empathetic given what Roy does each day (I'm very appreciative of all the wonderful patients who graciously agree to let him use them as 'practice' in all of his clinical rotations).
What I failed to take into consideration, however, is that Roy is competent. For starters, Roy did not use a live human being to practice sticking needles in, he used an orange. Unfortunately, Student Phlebotomist Marcy must have missed that f**ing lecture. Because Student Phlebotomist Marcy stuck me with that needle like I was a thrashing psycho in desperate need of a sedative. That is to say- viciously, callously and unsuccessfully.
As soon as Marcy stuck the needle into my arm I knew there was a problem. Because not a drop of blood dripped out into that little plastic container. Nonetheless, Marcy stood there and stared at my arm for a full FIFTEEN SECONDS with a puzzled look on her face before she finally grasped that hmm...maybe something was wrong. At that point, she then turned to her coworker and wailed for help.
Her coworker came over immediately. After asking repeatedly if it was okay for Marcy to have a second go round at my arm, I hesitantly agreed (again, thinking of Roy). Same result. Only this time- Marcy took it upon herself to jerk the needle around in hopes of striking oil. Her coworker quickly grabbed the needle away from her and apologized profusely to calm me down (I was now rigid, sweating, and pale, and perilously close to hopping over the counter to beat every last breath out of Marcy).
Once the coworker took over, she explained that because Marcy had probably badly bruised my arm, she was going to have to switch to my other arm to draw blood (this earned Marcy a death glare, as this has never happenned to me before- I have a huge veins that are ideal for drawing blood).
After repeatedly assuring me that Marcy was done with needles for the day, she allowed Marcy to tie the little plastic band around my left arm (it took about four tries, because you know how HARD that is). Once she managed to tie around my arm, it took Marcy approximately FIVE SOLID minutes of staring at my arm dumbly before she managed to find the LARGE, PULSING, BLUE VEIN in front of her.
Once I was bandaged up (looking like a heroin addict with needle tracks on both arms) I realized just how bad of a phlebotomist that Marcy will be. You see, while Roy is also a rookie/student, he is also studying all areas of the medical practice- from assisting in childbirth, to inserting catheters and learning hundreds of drugs and their side effects. Marcy, on the other hand, has exactly ONE thing to learn as a phlebotomist- to draw blood. And yet somehow, she turned a normally pain-free 1-minute procedure into a massacre.
In all honesty, I'm already over it. Nonetheless, I hold Roy 100% responsible for the entire incident, (which he thinks is pretty funny), since I did it all for him (am I a hopeless romantic or what?).
Saturday, September 16, 2006
No, not the marathon one...that one is still very much in progress (I have an ankle x-ray scheduled for next week). I mean the career one.
I work in Human Resources...yes, yes, the department everybody loves to hate. Last week I had my first hearing with the Department of Labor, and unlike everyone else on my team who reported having anxiety and wanting to vomit the whole time, I was absolutely enthralled. In fact, I was so in awe of the entire experience that I decided right then and there that I would become a Deputy Labor Commissioner for the Department of Labor.
Interpreting labor code and mediating wage and hour disputes? Cushy federal/state job with 4-5 weeks off per year? Shorter commute? Love it. Needless to say, by the time we left the conference room- I was already dreaming of flashing my deputy badge at all the hot spots in town that I hit regularly (Ralph's, the post office, Bank of America, etc).
This morning I realized I should probably go online and actually see what the position qualifications and rate of pay are (mind you, I've already instructed everyone in the office to address me as "The Commish"). I was fairly relieved to see that my technical qualifications might qualify me for a lower level Deputy Labor Commissioner position, but I was absolutely devastated and horrified to see the rate of pay. Even if I were hired at the top end of the wage scale I would still take a substantial cut in pay. I Googled around a little more and also found out that many of the positions are very political (not surprising) in nature, and as a result, it's not the most ideal situation the higher you get.
Soooo...as of today, the dream is over.
No more badge. No more being able to gleefully watch my friends and family have to go through metal detectors just to come and visit me. No more vacations every three months. No more dreams of being able to scream at CEOs for making their illegal immigrants use overfilled porta potties in 110 degree heat. No more demanding that all the busboys at Chili's refer to me as "Boss Lady" when they refill my water glass. Sometimes life throws some really f**ked up curveballs at you- thank God I have fortitude to stand tall.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Thankfully Joseph's photos with Minnie & Mickey came out much better (clearly the boy has experience shooting porn).
I've been laying low recently (you know what that means). Thaaat's right- it means I've been eating like a pig. So I have nothing to gloat about right now. In fact- just about the only thing that I've gotten excited about lately is that Wendy's now has a vanilla frosty. That excites me in a way that is probably not normal or healthy.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
On the fitness front, I've backpedaled a wee bit. Because I was obsessively cleaning my house a few days before our company arrived, I missed two workouts. I also had a private party with a giant bag of tortilla chips last week (though I wisely made sure to leave a thin layer of crumbs on the bottom of the bag so Roy couldn't accuse me of eating them all) and ate out a few meals, all of which resulted in a 2-3 pound weight gain. To add to that, ever since I read that the local marathon will be rescheduled/cancelled, I've completelhy sloughed off in the running department. I went from being able to easily run 10 miles 5 weeks ago to barely being able to run 6.5 miles today. I didn't think one could digress so much in such a short period of time, but I seem to have done it. Lo-ser.
I wish I could say I've done something, anything that's been a step in the right direction lately- but I come up with a blank. Well, I take that back, I did manage to go to Chicago and not gain any weight. In fact, I even lost a pound while I was there (which I've obviously since regained). There's nothing like watching two pregnant friends still eat half of what you do for motivation to put. the. damn. fork. down. And I guess I did manage to run three days this past week- which I want to say is a first, even though they were all short distances...4, 4 & 6.5 miles. So I guess I haven't been a total loser, but it's still time for Aunty Jo to get back on the wagon.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Now that the local race postponement/cancellation news has sunk in (and pretty much passed), I'm all fired up about the race again. This was not the case a week ago, however. I noticed that as I started to run more each week in the heat, my energy level had really started to wane. For about 2-3 weeks I could barely manage 4-6 mile runs. I felt like a wimp. Which is why I hit Amazon.com for motivation. I ended up getting a book I've been wanting for awhile- First Marathons: Personal Encounters With The 26.2 Mile Monster.
And how's this quote (from George Sheehan, the widely acknowledged philosopher-of-runners) for motivation?
"We are here to be heroes. The marathon is one way we prove it to ourselves... The marathon is a theater for heroism, the common man and an uncommon challenge."
But I have to agree with him. Running 26 miles really IS absurdly crazy. There seems to be a recent trend of ultramarathoners who almost make running a marathon look easy (Dean Karnazes & Sam Thompson come to mind), but by and large, I think at least half, if not more of all marathoners are like me- novices, scared sh**less, slightly out of shape...just hoping to finish.
Though all of the personal accounts in the book are ultimately motivational, there are more than a few that terrify me. One woman wrote about hitting the infamous wall at mile 20 and witnessing other runners laying down on the side of the road, vomiting, being carried away in stretchers, etc. Another wrote about being unable to step off a curb the next morning.
Everything I've read thus far has said that a little over 400,000 Americans run in marathons each year, and about 382,000 (in 2005) actually completed one. Of that number, 60% are male, 40% are female (apparently transgendered individuals opt not to participate). When you consider that the US population is about 300,000,000- this makes the feat seem all the more impressive. Now before you point out that many of those 300 million people are either the elderly or young children (not exactly prime marathoning material)- I would beg to differ. As I've pointed out in the past- most old people finish in front of me in races, and I'm quite sure that given the chance, toddlers would too.
In any case, I think I'm gonna roll with LA in March of '07. Though I was really looking forward to a December race, I think this will give me the opportunity to train a little more competitively and perhaps beat a few more toddlers. ;-)
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I just found out this morning that the local Dec. 3rd marathon I've been focused on will either be postponed, moved to a nearby city, or cancelled. The city they mentioned moving it to is not exactly safe. Let's just say that the odds of me running through those streets are about the same as a white guy running through Compton wearing a t-shirt that says "All gangstas are big, fat pu****s" on it.
All along I've had a Plan B...there's the OC Marathon on January 7th, or the LA Marathon on March 4th. But I was really looking forward to doing the small one because it was so near my house, and because it would have been so intimately...well, "mine" (as opposed to running with tens of thousands of other people). If I choose to run the OC race, it will also postpone our Christmas vacation plans, and I really, really don't want to do that. On top of everything else, I didn't know anyone else who was going to run in the Dec. 3rd race, whereas I know two other first timers who plan to do the OC one. And I really don't want it to become a competition. On my end, I know it wouldn't be...but somehow it always ends up becoming that way with others. ("So you took 6 hours to run it?! Wow! Didn't Jennifer do it in 4?") Well, you know what I mean. It would really deflate my spirit to be (even unintentionally) compared to others, and would put a quite a damper/blemish on what would otherwise be a very special day.
I suppose the big plus is that now I'll be able to participate in a long standing, well-organized race as opposed to a more chaotic, disorganized one, but I was all geared up to prepare accordingly and would have been okay with that. I'll also be able to do the race with my brother, and will not only have more time to prepare (since I'm already behind in the training schedule), but will also be able to train in slightly cooler weather, as the OC race is about a month later.
So wow. Still kind of a shock though. Kind of a bummer. I definitely sulked for an hour or two. But there's a reason why I make Richard Simmons and Tony Robbins look like they need anti-depressants (though really, all they need is vitamins and exercise)- and it's because I'm a trooper, people! A real, grade A trooper (yes, I'm being snarky.)
So stay tuned...more to come on this!
Monday, September 04, 2006
Remember when I said I was still the heaviest of thefriends? Here is a picture of three of us (the fourth, who is not pictured, is a black belt in judo and ripped as hell). There's nothing like losing 55 pounds and still being the heaviest of your friends EVEN THOUGH TWO OF THEM ARE PREGNANT. Niiiice.
Anyway, we're heading out soon since it's Labor Day. A day that honors all those who work. I've told Roy that while I am not 100% certain, I interpret this to mean we honor all full-time workers (and not part-time bartenders), and have therefore demanded that he spend this glorious day driving me around to the great Labor Day outlet mall sales. He's thrilled.