Friday, August 31, 2012

VP Politics and Republican Marathons

I don't often share links, but this news article from Runner's World today about Paul Ryan was interesting.

Short version:  Last week Paul Ryan claimed he's run a sub-3 hour marathon.  "A two hour and fifty-something." 

But of course there are no records to be found to support this. 

In fact, nothing indicates he has ever run a marathon.

The article says if his claims were true, he would beat John Edwards (who has a 3:30 PR) as the fastest politician on a national ticket. 

And the article notes that John Kerry in '04 was likely caught in a similar lie, claiming to have run Boston when no such records could be found. 

This just supports my ever-deepening belief that politicians are lying sacks of $hit -- and this applies on both sides of the fence. 

Man, I am ready for the elections to be over.  And living in Texas, I don't think I've seen a single commercial yet to indicate the office of President is up for a vote this year, it's just all over facebook, which is enough to drive me crazy.  I mean, I'm all for people voicing their opinions, but it's all so negative, so irrelevant, and frequently so false. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Finally, Labor Day weekend 2012.  My best friend works for the Univ. of AL and when their football schedule came out a couple years ago, she saw that Labor Day weekend 2012, there is a game in Dallas.  She and her husband used to live here, back in the good old days, so years ago, she promised they were coming to visit this weekend.

And now it's finally here!  Our house isn't exactly clean, but hubby is off work today and he has instructions to mop the kitchen floor, clean the kitchen counters and sink, clean two bathrooms, and put away laundry from the dryer and the "laundry storage station" in our bedroom.  In the last 15 or so hours, I've vacuumed all three floors and around where the ceilings meet the walls, washed the glass on our doors, washed all the other glass and mirrors, cleaned one bathroom, washed the sheets and made the guest bed, put away my laundry and put away my clutter. 

Their morning flight from Charlottesville had some maintenance issues, so they missed their connection, but fortunately there are lots of flights into Dallas, so they'll just be here a few hours late. 

The best part of their visit will actually be the fact that their 5 year old twins aren't coming with them!  Woo-hoo!  It will give us more time to spend together.  While her kids always seem pretty good, it would be a lot to have them in our house, and it would certainly make trips to restaurants and bars considerably less fun.

So we have an awesome meal schedule, hitting all their former favorite restaurants.  Out tonight for sushi.  Tomorrow is food trucks for lunch and a steakhouse for dinner (think I'll be going with a baked potato and veggie sides).  Saturday morning is breakfast with a bunch of my running buddies at a fun patio place with a big bloody mary bar (though I don't drink those).  Then lunch will be at my favorite taco place lately.  Then they're going to the game in the afternoon and we'll hit up a bar district (possibly the one within walking distance of our house) after the game.  Sunday morning we don't have any plans other than sleeping in.  Lunch will be at a Mexican place, followed by gelato, and then a wine bar, and then dinner at a pizza place (the same place I usually pick for my birthday dinner, just delayed a few days this year).  Monday we don't really have anything planned other than yoga and boot camp (not sure if they'll join me for camp or not), but there are about 6 more restaurants on her list, so I'm sure it will be lots of eating.  Then unfortunately they leave on Tuesday around lunch time. 

So much for my attempts to reduce my eating out!  Haha.

I really can't wait for her to get here!  Back to work so I can hopefuly scoot out a little early today. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Business Casual Attire

Our office is business casual.  To different people, that means different things.  My boss, a VP, (male) often wears slacks and a polo shirt, or slacks and a button-down shirt.  The male attorney next door to me often wears a short-sleeved button-down shirt and fairly casual pants.  The female attorney on the other side of my office generally works from home, but when she is in the office, she is dressed very casually.  The (male) president of our company usually wears slacks and a long-sleeved button-down shirt -- sometimes with cowboy boots or other funky shoes (he is very stylish).  The other VP I occasionally report to (female) usually dresses very casually -- sometimes a soccer type shirt and pants.  We're all allowed to wear jeans on Fridays, but that's no longer an issue for me, as I work from home on Fridays.

Most days I attempt to wear at least one dressier piece of clothing, either top half or bottom half.  Tailored looking slacks with a more casual machine-wash type top.  Or machine wash pants with a button-down shirt (which may be wrinkle release and machine wash, but somehow seems kind of dressy to me). 

It's very rare that I go totally casual as I did today -- a short sleeved polo shirt and machine wash khakis, along with navy loafer type shoes.

It's also very rare that I meet directly with the president of our company. 

Guess which day I had to meet with him. 

Haha.  Of course, I have lovely outfits that I have worn or plan to wear every single other day this week, but no, today, when this messy conflict issue first comes up and I need to discuss it with him, it is of course the first day in a month or more that I dressed totally casually.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Don't Do It!

Every time I am looking at my computer at work and out of the corner of my eye, see a guy on top of the building next door, I have a strong urge to leap to my feet, bang on the window and yell, "don't do it!  don't jump!"

On some level I'm fully aware that they're not planning to jump, they're just up there working, but it's a deep-seated reflex for me apparently.  It happens every single time I see it. 

Anyway, more Hood to Coast posts to follow! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

FMM: Tech Questions

I had one of the best weekends of the year.  Hood to Coast is an amazing race.  And even though I only ran about 16-18 miles, when I woke up yesterday morning, I felt almost as sore as after a marathon!  I will definitely have to do some more posts about it, sharing what the relay exchanges were like, and the many crazy van decorations. 

It was kind of weird to wake up this morning -- I slept more than 6 hours, there was running water when I went to the restroom, my husband was there, and none of my van mates were there!  But thanks to facebook, I'm feeling tons of love -- lots of race congrats, and today, lots of birthday wishes.  I'm so excited and content about where my life is right now.  I feel like the last month of yoga has made me feel calmer, and there's nothing like an awesome weekend of running to make me feel happy and confident!  Plus, the rest of my life just seems so ... solid.  Things are so good with my husband, my best friend comes to visit on Thursday, work is great (I'm finally getting my head above water again), and there is so much great stuff on the horizon -- particularly the big trip to China in October.  All I can say is that it's all good!

Since it's Monday and I need more time to get my Hood to Coast final thoughts together, I'm going with a Friend-Making Monday topic again.  But it's not a topic on which I'll have much to add, being completely not tech-savvy.  Oh well!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Tech Questions

1. PC or Mac?  PC. 

2. When did you get your first computer?  I bought a very heavy laptop in 1997 to use in law school.  My college roommate had a computer that she let me use for the years before that (and we had one at home from the time I was about 14?). 

3. Do you use cable, DSL or something else?  Ummm, I'm not entirely sure.  I don't even know who provides our internet.  For TV, we have two dishes (you have to have a second one here to get Italian stations).  The internet I think is through AT&T, but it's wireless.  Sorry, I truly have no idea how to answer this question!  Yikes! 

4. When choosing a laptop, do you think it’s more important to choose the fastest one, or the lightest one?  I'd go with the fastest one, just because a few pounds difference doesn't matter to me -- unless you're talking about the weight of running shoes, where I do a careful consideration of the tradeoffs between ounces and structure! 

5. What kind of cell phone do you own? Do you like it? I have an iPhone and I love it.  I am not wild about the service since there seems to be a dead spot on a major interstate in Dallas (which makes no sense to me!) and basically there was no service for about 100 miles of our relay this weekend (but we were all in the same boat, not much coverage by any provider in western Oregon).  But overall, it's good. 

6. How do you carry your laptop when you travel?  I have a Vera Bradley bag that has sufficient padding to carry my laptop, but there's not much space in the bag to cram in too much else -- basically my purse, a make-up bag, a book, and maybe an inch of documents.  This past weekend, I actually carried my laptop in a backpack, not ideal, but it worked.  I was able to leave my laptop in someone's hotel room during the relay, so I didn't have to have it in the van (which was good, because my suitcase got really wet when one of our coolers broke). 

7. How many e-mails do you send on an average day? I haven't counted but I'd guess I'm at about 100 work-related, and maybe a dozen or so personal. 

8. Do you ever blog using your iPad or similar tablet? No.  Using my phone very rarely (like for most of my posts over the last few days). 

9. What do you use more often – a desktop or a laptop?  Laptop exclusively.  I actually have a work laptop that I just plug into a docking station when I'm in the office.  Don't have access to a desktop anywhere. 

10. As a blogger, are there other gadgets that you need to get the job done? If so, what are they?  Not really, I guess my camera and iphone camera, but that's about it. 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions on your blog! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday, friends!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

HTC third run

The last run, leg 36, was surprisingly smooth.

It's funny because as we drove along the final legs of the run, some of which were really hilly, I kept saying that I was surprised to see so many runners in general running strong. I guess it's just adrenaline, but I kept telling my van mates that would not be the case for me.

I started off on gravel, which I hated. And there was very little course marking and very many turns and very few volunteers so it wasn't a great start. But within a minute, I was running with a nice woman who was my pace, very nice, and equally confused about the course. Just as I was seriously contemplating a u-turn, confirmation was in sight that we were indeed going the right way. Then we got onto pavement and it was time for my big uphill. Still smaller than the inclines some of my teammates encountered. I separated from my new friend here because, believe it or not, I was pulling ahead. And then I killed it on a couple miles of downhill. It was great. I am still astounded by my mile splits. I actually had one mile right on pace and one mile more than 15 seconds faster than predicted. But then it leveled out and I was back to running about 30 seconds per mile slower than predicted.

The worst part of the run was definitely the poorly marked gravel first mile. But second worst was right by the end. There was a street we had to cross and they had erected a pedestrian bridge over it. It was almost straight up, then across, then almost straight down. I walked a few steps on the way up then convinced myself to at least jog. I wanted to run down, but after a few steps it just didn't feel safe, so I jogged. Then I had to run along the boardwalk, which was cool but kind of sucked because there were a bunch of nonrunners on it, so there was a lot of yelling excuse me and weaving around.

I had to run on the sand for a little bit to finish, but it was awesome to be done.

Unfortunately, the immediate finish was also not wonderful.

Ideally, your team sees you finish, then they meet you in a corral, then you all run together across a ceremonial finish line. But I didn't see my team. So I had to wait without water or a sweatshirt or anything.

In reality, it was less than 15 minutes but it felt like an hour. There was no where to walk around and stretch, and there was no water. I was insanely thirsty. And because my clothes were soaked (it had been sunny and low 70s but felt hotter) and I was no longer running, so I was very cold.

But eventually I saw a teammate and shouted for him for a couple minutes but he couldn't hear me. Eventually some guy who felt sorry for me, asked who I was yelling for and went to tap him on the shoulder. He gave me my sweatshirt and went to grab the rest of the team. When they got back to me, I got my Gatorade and some string cheese to eat and life was good again. We did a team picture and then went to the beach party for a few hours. There was a band playing and beer and food. I drank one beer and felt pretty hammered. I also ate a soft pretzel, ostensibly to get in some sodium. We hung out at the party for a few hours but were all pretty tired.

Our van went out to dinner in Seaside, then we drove back to Portland. Cleaning out the van was a major project, but it didn't take too long with a couple of us working on it. Then I crashed hard. Slept about 8 hours, woke up and called my husband, then back to sleep for a couple more hours.

Then I packed up and am flying home now. Will have to post this when we land.

Amazing race experience. Great friends. Beautiful scenery. Lots and lots of fun.

HTC second run

Wrote a long post but it got deleted. Frustration of no cell phone signal. Somehow beat my time by a big 8 seconds total over the 5 miles. Crazy! But my "easy" leg felt so hard. My legs were heavy.

In terms of road kill, I was passed by three people (again, no women), including a guy who passed me mere seconds before the exchange, and I passed eight people, including a double amputee. Crazy impressive. Makes me think about my spring marathon where lots of wounded warrior amputees were out there competing.

Lots of traffic, which has been frustrating. We were supposed to have several hours off after my first leg. The plan was to go to three hotel rooms for the seven of us (we have a driver, a runner's spouse). Check in, shower, sleep a couple hours.

But a building along the route caught on fire so there was a detour for vans and the runners. One of the guys in van one had to detour. Instead of 7.2 miles, he had 8.8. Ugh. And instead of hours of rest, we had less than 2.5 hours in the hotel. Probably less than 1.5.

So we were quite beat for our second legs and it showed in our times.

But we had fun. Lots of jokes about the cowbell, making animal noises, I don't even remember.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

HTC first run

Well, I just finished my first leg of Hood to Coast! It was much fun! Our team on the whole is going faster than planned.

I was really worried about whether I could sustain my planned pace, but I did! The race has you put in a prediction and I was way too aggressive I thought, but it was actually right on.

I still have major doubts though about sustaining it for two more runs though!

The good news is that being the last runner on our team, my runs go in this order:
Leg 12, 6.4 miles, moderate difficulty
Leg 24, 4.9 miles, easy
Leg 36, 5.2 miles, moderate difficulty

So the worst is behind me!

But my legs won't get any fresher...

My run was at night, mostly on a pedestrian trail. I had a net of 4 people that I passed.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Van mates

Well, I'm in Portland -- my big observations:  there are mountains that can be seen from the plane!  And even in the city, there are elevation changes.  There's water and it's green.  It's cold.  Everyone appears to either be wearing a full suit or looks homeless. 

I met up with the people from my van yesterday.  It's an interesting mix.  There's one guy who rented the van and has run it with this team before 2 years ago.  He works in the firm's office in a Dallas suburb.  There's one of his coworkers who works in the San Antonio office who is going to be our driver, and his wife is running.  The guy from San Antonio brought a friend who is a lawyer in Dallas at a Chinese company (!!!  I asked him right away in Chinese if he spoke Chinese, but he does not, but I was psyched to be able to manage that kind of basic conversation!).  They went to junior high and high school together and are both very funny.  Then there is a woman who is much younger who also works in the firm's San Antonio office.  And then one of her friends from law school who is a lawyer in Dallas but not with this firm.  And then me! 

I'm worried I was way too aggressive on my pace prediction, especially given the elevation changes that are apparent even from looking out my hotel room window. 

After we met up with everyone at the hotel yesterday afternoon, our entire van (all 7 of us) went grocery shopping, then came back to the hotels, then went out to dinner with all the people from van 1 on our team and the firm's other two teams. 

I can tell the people in my van are all great.  Not sure why I was worried, they're runners and lawyers after all!  Haha. 

We seriously had a good time, lots of joking about seeing Paris Hilton on the street, our driver attempting to convey an Usain Bolt step, just laughing about all kinds of stuff in general.  At this point, not a bad group with which to be crammed in a suburban for about 30 hours. 

A couple more hours, then we head out to finish up grocery shopping and await relay exchange where our first runner takes the reigns, at about 5:00 tonight. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012


All packed and ready to go run Hood to Coast. My first relay. Running with people I've never met. Fortunately from the pace chart, looks like I'm not the slowest or fastest on our team. This law firm actually has three separate teams, so 36 runners and 6 drivers. It will be quite the crew. I'm bringing my Boston Marathon backpack just to remind myself that I belong here, and I can do this. I'm worried I was far too aggressive on my pace prediction based on my runs lately, but so be it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Flip flops and aging

Short post today.  Given my parking ticket and very late arrival at work yesterday, I am going to try to hurry along a bit this morning.  Especially since I've been trying to leave (and succeeding) the office around 6 or 6:05 to get to yoga at night.  Well, same plan today, did boot camp, now I'm getting ready to work all day, then yoga tonight, then packing for Hood to Coast.  I'm very alarmed that I'm not yet packed.  For a regular trip, it wouldn't freak me out at all, I could pack quickly, but for a relay, I'm very worried I'll forget something really important.  I guess as long as I have my running shoes (which incidentally, I am very worried about forgetting because I need to wear them tomorrow morning to run, then add them to my suitcase), shorts, a sports bra, my phone, and a driver's license, I can buy anything else that I'd need.  I'm sure I'll have the basics, it would just be nice to have packed carefully so I don't overpack since there is limited space in the van. 

Anyway, my random observation. 

One way I notice that I'm getting old is how I walk when I leave yoga. 

I wear flip flops to and from yoga.  When I leave, I noticed that I hold the hand rail to walk down the stairs.  Kind of like an old woman. 

Flip flops + stairs + not being 20 anymore + loving activity and being very afraid of breaking a leg = me using a hand railing

Even though I know those hand railings are disgusting. 

It's just funny.  15 or so years ago, maybe even 5 or so years ago, I'd never touch something so dirty just to walk down the stairs.  Now, I hold it like I mean business.  Seriously afraid of wiping out. 

Random.  I'm getting older.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Parking Tickets

In Dallas, for an expired meter downtown, parking tickets cost $35.  I wonder if that's more or less than other big cities?

I learned that this morning, among other things.  Another thing I learned: if you have an August or September birthday, which are common months, and you think an hour on a meter will be long enough to renew your license at the DMV, you'd be wrong by more than 30 minutes. 

Also, if there is a business near your house that you go to once a year or so but don't look at frequently, don't assume they're still open.  After my DMV fiasco, I decided to go get my Chinese visa pictures taken, but surprise AAA has closed the location right by our house.  Ugh.  I hate mornings like this.  So I got to work about 2 hours late and only got one of my two missions accomplished.  And the visa picture has to happen today -- guess I'm going to have to also leave work early and hope that my yoga clothes don't show in the picture.  Visa applications are going in to the Chinese consulate on Thursday! 

Fun trivia:  when you apply for a Chinese visa, you have to list your profession:

Government official
Company employee
Staff of media
Religious worker
Active duty military personnel
Crew member
Member of national parliament

Househusbands are out of luck!  If you work for a city parks department, I guess that makes you a government official? 

Well, it's less onerous than our Russian visas were -- for that, we had to list every country we'd been to in the last 10 years.  And I had tons, and then there were endless questions about whether we had to list all countries that had stamped our passports even if we were just there for layover or plane connection.  And you have to list all chemical, biological, nuclear and firearm weapons training, which was very easy for me (none), but as big a pain for my husband as the list of countries was for me. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

FMM: Inappropriate Questions

I had a kind of unproductive and frustrating weekend.  Saturday was lovely and kind of lazy -- a yoga class, clearing off the DVR a bit, cheering for a friend competing in a Crossfit competition, cleaning up and then having a few friends over for dinner while I carb-loaded for Sunday's run.  My long run was 18 miles and fortunately went very well.  But then it went downhill.  I got home to 2 messes -- a broken garbage disposal that leaked under our sink (just a mess it appears, but will be a pain to get fixed as I'm about to go out of town for Hood to Coast), and a blaring fire alarm (the building fire detector had a defective panel it turns out).  It was a test of my patience and sanity (and eardrums) to clear out the stuff under the sink and dry it off while the alarm was sounding.  Then I fled to brunch -- way too much food (double hashbrowns and 4 plate-sized pancakes that I couldn't finish, but I tried, just to delay going back to that blaring alarm).  By the time I got home, the alarm had been fixed.  But then it was just too late in the day and my productivity had been sucked away.  I spent hours "resting my legs" while watching TV and studying Chinese and napping.  All the stuff I was supposed to do -- sorting out our Chinese visas, booking a hotel in Xian, packing for Hood to Coast -- just didn't happen.  Next thing I knew, it was 6:00!  Guess that means I'm going to be up late a few nights this week... oh well.  I'll work on the visas at lunch today, packing at night after yoga, and the hotel can wait until next week. 

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Inappropriate Questions

1. Will you vote in the upcoming presidential election?  Probably.  If I lived in a state where I actually felt my vote had any chance of being important, definitely.  But this year, we'll be in China for most of the early voting time, and then I think in Chicago the weekend before the election, so life may be very chaotic on election day.  So for the first time ever, there's a chance I won't.  The election is important to me, but Texas isn't going to be a swing state. 

2. Do you say curse words? Yes, but sometimes I make an effort not to, I seem to go through phases. 

3. Have you ever kissed a stranger?  Hmm, a stranger?  Like grabbing a random guy on New Year's and kissing?  No.  But kissing someone I met that day or night?  Yes. 

4. If you could choose to meet only one fellow blogger in person right now who would you choose?  Tough call.  Some bloggers that I read regularly have super-exciting stuff going on right now -- marathon training, tri training, babies, wedding planning.  Some bloggers have such interesting histories (things like being in the Peace Corps in Africa) that I'd love to hear about and I think we'd have so much in common.  And some of other favorite bloggers have basically stopped blogging, but I'd still love to meet them.  But since this question is on a Monday, and she seems to have had a really rough week last week, I'd go with Bella, who is the blogger who got me into blogging. 

5. What is the most inappropriate pick-up line that anyone has ever used on you? I've got nothing, it's been too long!  The wedding ring discourages hearing lines (or maybe it's just me!). 

6. Do you sing in the shower? No.

7. How often do you get drunk?  Probably about 3 times per year on average.  I probably drink more than one drink about once every few weeks.  I probably have a single drink or less about once a week on average (it's odd to say that right now since I haven't had any alcohol in a pretty long time, but I'm sure I will after I finish the relay this weekend, and then next weekend while my best friend is in town).  When I'm in my peak training weeks for a marathon or tapering, I don't drink at all.  But as for actually getting drunk, I'd say about 3 times a year. 

8. Have you ever been fired from a job?  Not really, more like the soft "you should look elsewhere and can work here until then" kind of thing.  But at that job, I also knew it wasn't working for me and had already been looking. 

9. Were you popular in high school?  I didn't hang out with the "in" crowd, but I had a solid group of friends -- mostly debaters and tennis players.  But I wasn't picked on and I was friendly with many of the "in" crowd (just never would go to parties or anything with them). 

10. Who is your current celebrity crush? Don't really have one unless you count Gianfranco Fini...

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions. Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday, friends!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The English Language

I've been thinking that if I ever take over the world and unify us in language, there will be a few changes to English.

First, what "we" means will be broken into 2 different words (same with "us").  One for meaning the speaker and the listener (and maybe others), one for meaning the speaker and others but not the listener.  So "he invited us" will be clear to the listener if he invited the speaker and someone else, or the speaker and the listener.  "We'd better go" would let you know if you're supposed to go too, or if the speaker is leaving with someone else. 

Second, there will be a special word for that random hair that you can feel stuck to your shirt and occasionally brushing against your arm.  It has to be one of the most irritating feelings.

Third, there will be multiple words to represent love -- there will be one word for romantic love, one word for family/friend love (and pets), one word for one-sided love from afar, and one word for feelings toward inanimate objects (like I love pizza wouldn't mean saying the same word as how you feel about your mom or your husband). 

I may have to come back and supplement this list as time goes on, but those are the three prominent deficiencies in our language that I've been thinking about lately.  Much nicer than yesterday already.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Messy Morning

SPOILER ALERT:  This post contains lots of bitching.

I feel like I have had the worst morning today.  The worst.  I'll attempt to distill it into a few critical mistakes or sources of unhappiness. 

First, I left the house late.  I woke up in a big hurry.  It's Thursday, which means hill training, which means meeting at a special place (a hilly neighborhood), which means about 2-5 extra minutes of driving before I run, yet I still wake up at the same time as when we run from our usual place (very close to my house).  It would be smart to wake up 2-5 minutes early on hill days, but I don't do that for some reason.  Instead, I try to have my clothes laid out for me, so usually I can be out the door pretty fast.  Somehow, this morning though, I looked at facebook and left the house barely in time to make it.  We meet to run at 5:15 and we start running at 5:15 sharp -- I try to be there by 5:10 at the latest.  But today, I left the house at about 5:02.  Oops. 

I get in the car and get out of the garage.  On my lap as I drive, I have my phone and a granola bar.  I now run with my phone as I'm officially coaching people (just so I can call 911 if needed), and I always eat my granola bar on my drive.  My stomach can handle it (it did take a long time to get used to it though), and I believe in having some fuel before running so that you're relying on the best energy sources (rather than relying on the "bad" energy sources). 

Second, I started driving to the hills.  Within a few blocks, I realize something is horribly wrong.  Horribly, horribly wrong.  Like I can't see anything.  Oh yeah, with the facebook distraction, I forgot to put in my contacts.  This is possibly the first or second time only in my entire life that this has happened.  I'm so near-sighted, it's very difficult to do anything without my contacts or glasses.  And driving without visual correction is a recipe for disaster.  I can't believe I didn't kill anyone.  Thank goodness the roads are pretty deserted at 5:04ish. 

So I drive back home, pull back into the garage, unset the alarm, run all the way up to the third floor (where both my glasses and contacts are kept), put in my contacts (I figured that it was worth the extra 30 seconds to wear the contacts instead of glasses and be more comfortable on my run), run all the way downstairs, reset the alarm, drive again.  Much better this time.  You know, I can actually see curbs, cars, people, traffic signals, etc.  Always a good thing. 

Third, I get to the hills with moments to spare.  I've eaten my granola bar and put on my watch while driving, as well as put my phone into where I usually carry it.  But I haven't even tied my shoes yet.  I park, I get my shoes tied, and then we're off and running.  But something is wrong with my watch -- I usually look at instant pace, and it seems to think I'm running 60 mph.  Not. 

Well, eventually it smoothes out, but it's still somewhat frustrating because it screws up my paces and averages.  It might have meant that I ended up going out too fast (not 60 mph, but still, too fast). 

Fourth, I have an okay run -- not great, but based on the last few weeks, certainly could have been worse (but based on the last few days, could have been better).  But the pure essence of the run sucks.  It's hill repeats.  I know they are good for me, but man, running them is both hard and boring.  The plan was to run a warm-up mile-ish containing 1 hill, then run 7 hill repeats, then run a cool-down mile-ish containing 2 hills.  But since we ran the 7 hill repeats on a hill that one of my friends hates, I deferred to him on the cool-down route.  He wanted a bit higher mileage than I did, so he picked the longer cool-down route, meaning instead of 2 cool-down hills, we had 3.5.  And I was hanging way back from my friends beginning on the 7th repeat, and then for all 3.5 cool-down hills.  Even though they were doing the cool-down hills slow and easy, it was still too fast for me. 

So basically I felt slow and generally like death for a significant portion of my run.  But since it wasn't for all of the run, I'll count it as "okay." 

Fifth, I got home and remembered I'm having my blood drawn this morning.  So no breakfast.  My new employer requires these annual blood draws to do biometric screenings -- I guess they're not really required, but if you do it, my employer pays about $600 per year toward your health insurance.  So completely worth it.  So I showered and got ready for work.  No idea how it took me as long as it did.  I think I kind of got sucked into my book a little, so somehow it took me over 1.5 hours from the time I got home until the time I walked down to the kitchen to get my food ready for lunch. 

Sixth, I remembered to make my breakfast to eat at the office.  But that took forever.  I made a smoothie to drink, filled a cup with coffee, got some frozen breakfast sausage, etc.  Plus I had to make my lunch.  So I didn't leave the house until about 8:50, and my blood draw appointment was at 8:30.  Oops.  Fortunately I knew it wasn't a big deal.  Worst case scenario, they can't get me in right away and I have to wait half an hour at the lab or something.  But still, at this point, I'm running much later than planned. 

Seventh, I was completely overloaded when I left the house.  I was attempting to carry:  my blood draw paperwork, a book to read in the waiting room, my phone, my yoga clothes bag, my lunch, 2 cups (one cup with a lid with coffee, one cup without a lid with my smoothie), and then my yoga towel and bag.  I'm sure you see where this is going.

I got in the car and was trying to arrange things, and of course spilled the coffee off my armrest and backward, covering the carpet on the backseat floor.  So much for the lid.  Back into the house, unset the alarm, run to get paper towels (found some on the first floor fortunately), run back to the car, drive to the lab for the blood draw.  Now I'm late, hungry, AND pissed about the big stain that is probably going to be there in my car because I didn't have time to clean it up well.  And I almost never eat in my car or drink anything other than water, so aside from sweat and high-heel damage, the interior is in really good shape.  Until that first coffee spill today.  So the interior WAS in really good shape. 

Eighth, I have some trouble finding the lab.  Why can't addresses be prominently displayed for every single building?  But I make it there, go inside with my book, my water, my paperwork, my phone and my purse.  Slow elevator, but I'm too frazzled to try to find the stairs, and at this point I'm really, really late for my 8:30 appointment.  It's well after 9. 

Tons of difficulty with the lab staff trying to figure out how to input my work requisition number.  But eventually they get it in there, and I go back for the blood draw.  No waiting!

Ninth -- and then I remember.  D'uh.  I ate a granola bar on my way to the hills.  Totally didn't think about it, pure routine.  By this point, that was 4 hours earlier, but you're supposed to fast for at least 8 hours.  I decided to have the blood drawn anyway.  I seriously eat without thinking in the morning before I work out.  So now my blood work will probably show that my blood sugar is all out of whack or something.  Ugh!!! 

I just couldn't face the idea of possibly going through that entire morning all over again -- both because it sucked so much and it's going to be hard every single day for me to remember at 5:00 not to eat, so even if I'd postponed the blood draw, it probably would have been the same problem next time. 

But now I'm at work, drinking my smoothie, wishing I could just have a fresh start to the day, but at least it can only get better...  I kind of think that if I wasn't doing yoga all the time, this is the kind of morning that could have reduced me to tears or shouting.

Deep breaths...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Return to Bikram Yoga week 3

Here are recaps of weeks 1 and 2.  Now on to week 3.  Seems like time is flying by.  It's hard to leave work early enough to attend class at 6:30 p.m. (and I feel like my work to do list is piling up as a result), but it's getting a little easier, mostly because I realize all that work will still be there tomorrow.  I have a good routine now of eating basically two lunches at work (11ish and 3ish), then another snack around 4:30, then having quiche for dinner at home right after class -- and doing this challenge is a lot easier when the food part is covered without much thought. 

Wed., 8-8, Class 15:  Owner of the studio David was the instructor.  I had him a lot back in the winter and he's great.  He's been on vacation for the last few weeks.  Several times I considered sitting out a posture, but I didn't.  Didn't feel like the class was particularly good or bad.  Found out that there will be no class next week Sunday, so maybe I'll wait until then to take the day off that I've been contemplating. 

Thurs., 8-9, Class 16: Had the instructor that hubby had for his first class, Julie. She used to irritate me but seemed great tonight. I kept contemplating sitting out a posture but I didn't. I guess I came out of the very first triangle early. But she also gave me a tip on the other side of triangle in the first set -- to lock my straight leg. Something else to remember.  I have officially spent 24 hours in yoga class now since I started this 30 day challenge.  Wow.  An entire day. 

Fri., 8-10, Class 17:  Managed to go to class at noon today.  Instructor was Andrew, for my second class with him.  He might be my favorite.  He's so nice and his classes don't seem excessively hard, probably just because he's so nice.  But class overall was so-so.  If I had to summarize in one word, it would be burp.  Ugh.  I was glad there wasn't any food in me, or I would have feared the word would have been vomit.  But that seemed to go away by the time we got to the ground, but then I had another problem:  I could not stop thinking about and sipping my water (or putting ice in my mouth and sucking on it).  Ugh.  What a crutch.  Very frustrating. 

Sat., 8-11, Class 18:  Instructor was Gina, whose accent I don't like on the word mirror, but class was good and she's a great instructor.  Another person with a great attitude.  And oh, it seems like we get to rest a long time between postures on the floor.  Maybe it's because she is quiet a lot, that makes it seem so peaceful.  As for me personally, decent progress in the standing balancing series, finally!  And I managed to cease and desist on the water-drinking -- I finished my entire bottle, but actually had some ice left at the end of class.  That's the huge bonus to using ice from home instead of ice from work -- bigger cubes at home last longer.

Sun., 8-12, Class 19:  Instructor was Tom from Oregon, the one with the accent on "front mirror."  I took it easy in class because I'd had an awesome long run that morning and I didn't want to overdo it on my legs, but I didn't sit out anything, I just didn't push hard.  Progress observed on toe stand and seated head to knee stretching.  So much progress I was smiling when I came out of the postures!  One of the things I hate the most though is when my head is upside down and water runs (off my body or off my sports bra) into my nose.  Then when I tip my head upright again, a huge stream of water runs out of my nose.  Yuck.  I ran out of water today at the very end of class but had ice left.  Clearly I had the big ice cubes from home...

Mon., 8-13, Class 20:  Instructor was Tom for Oregon again.  And he must have been in a hurry.  Seriously, not a breath between postures while we were standing it seemed.  He really discourages drinking water other than at the 3 usual times, and somehow he was convincing enough that I went along with it until we got to camel, then I snuck an extra sip, and then again before the seated separate leg stretching, but in general, much less thirsty than the last week or so.  But of course I went straight from work, so no ice left at the end of class to suck on -- tiny ice cubes at work, so it's all melted by the time we get to the floor series.  I also felt much less distracted, and I did my best toe stands ever.  Very exciting.  And I managed to keep breathing while I was attempting toe stand.  I think I had been holding my breath a bit in the first one, which made me feel a little dizzy before the second one.  I'm trying to work on that.  Anyway, there's still a lot of room to improve in toe stand (along with probably every other posture except maybe the breahing ones), but I'm really happy to feel like I've improved so much in just 20 days in that one. 

Tues., 8-14, Class 21:  Instructor was Tom from Oregon again and class did not get off to a great start for me.  There was a LOT of traffic between my office and the yoga studio (about 4 miles apart), so I was running in later than I like and there were very few places left, it was a crowded class.  I ended up about 4 rows back (our room has a total of 6 rows), which is outside my comfort zone.  I really like row 3, and I can deal with row 2, but that's about it (oh, and as with church, I really only like to be on one particular side, I should let go of all that, I know).  Anyway, I could barely see myself in the mirror, the woman in front of me had her feet in my face, the women on each side of me seemed to sit out about half the class.  But class itself was good.  Either because the room was more crowded or because of my position in the room or just because for some reason it was cooler, the class didn't feel as hot to me.  I also did well with holding off on the water.  I did an extra illegal chug before and after rabbit, but only because I had enough left to drink then!  I notice that I have trouble pushing myself in the first set of the forehead-to-the-floor pose, and by the time we're in the second set and I'm ready to work hard, it's over.  I need to get better about that.  But overall, felt like most postures went well.  And there was less counting what's left in my head or thinking about work or anything else.  Best quote of the night (in sevasana (sp?)): "let go of your monkey mind, stop chasing it, relax."

And there you have it, 3 weeks of yoga done, attending every single day.  31.5 hours spent in class, plus about 20 hours spent driving to yoga, getting my mat laid down, waiting for class to start and then driving home.  Who knows how much extra time spent on laundry, changing clothes to leave work, and showering.  But I'm feeling pain-free in my running (not even any aches or twinges to mention), very healthy in terms of not sick, very healthy in terms of my eating (that whole yoga-every-night inhibits much else), very healthy in terms of my water consumption (but that was never an issue for me).  I'm also maybe a tiny bit calmer and more patient.  Maybe.  And maybe I have a bit more good will toward others.  I'm also down a few pounds total from the start, but I am braced for the return of those pounds when I break this routine.  But what I saw on the scale this morning was a number I haven't seen regularly since fall of 2010 when I was trying to qualify for Boston, and then spring 2011 when I was training for Boston.  That's kind of nice!  I wasn't up a ton from there (those months and today are the bottom end of my usual 10 pound range; but since the post-Boston trip to Italy last spring, I've been riding in the middle of my 10 pound range, sometimes more around the top).  Either way, a nice little bonus! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weather Predictions

Last summer in Dallas was not pleasant for running.  I mean, it's Texas, I know summers are hot here -- it's the trade-off that I am more than happy to make for a mild winter. 

But last summer was horrendous in a record-breaking way.  Looking back at some of my posts, I can almost feel how miserable it was.  First, we had a major streak going of days at 100 or higher, and we broke the streak with a single day in the upper 90s, thereby losing out on that record.  Then, we set our sights on the record for annual days at 100 or higher.  I was writing about how gross and miserable it was.  And then finally, at the very end of August, we had our 70th day at or above 100 degrees, breaking the all-time record.  It was so triumphant.  I was blogging about telling those people who complained about the summer of 1980 to suck it. 

After that summer, we had a surprisingly mild winter.  No snow or ice that I remember, plenty of mornings that just weren't that cold.  I could run in shorts, and even short-sleeves sometimes.  While the winter of 2010-2011, when I was training for Boston, was horribly cold -- I remember a particularly miserable run in the sleet and wind; I labelled that post "mental strength" and for good reason -- it was still one of the toughest and most miserable runs I've ever done.  And that year, there were some big snowfalls and the city shut down for days on end, the roads were sheets of ice, covered in snow.  Everyone stuck home from work for snow days. 

But having such high average temps all winter this past year made me brace for something even worse this summer.  Like if it didn't cool off in January, I had no prayer of anything live-able in August. 

But this morning was downright lovely.  The temp was in the mid-70s at 5:15 when I started running, and there was even a breeze toward the end of the run that almost felt cold!  It's hard to believe that a year ago, our lows weren't even dipping below 80.  A single morning at 79 felt like it had been sent from above.  And this year now, we had both days this past weekend that were live-able, and then today.  I usually count on getting that first cool breeze in mid- to late- September.  It's usually right before the people doing early marathons (like Chicago, Beijing, NY, etc., most of my friends and me) start to taper.  The breeze comes and the mileage drops.  Everything starts feeling so good. 

I can't decide if I should be pessimistic about this morning's loveliness or not.  I mean, maybe it will last and we'll have an awesome rest of August and a gorgeous September.  Or maybe we'll have this one great week, and then the heat-monster will be back and will beat us down even harder because we had a taste of the coolness. 

I think I'll just try to enjoy it and not worry too much about what's to come.  It's inevitable that we'll have more mornings in the 80s.  I'll just try to remember the gift of these few days fondly...

Hood to Coast Next Week

I've been living in this cycle lately where my life goes like this:

4:45 Wake up
5:15 or 5:30 Run or go to boot camp
9:00 Go to work, try to eat and drink all day while solving the world's legal problems
6:00 Leave work to go to yoga
6:30 Yoga
8:15 Get home, scarf dinner
9:00 Bed (ideally, it never seems to work out quite that early)

I have made a conscious effort lately to enjoy a few quiet and low-key weekends, but now it's already mid-August and the chaos of 2012 is almost upon me.

Starting NEXT WEEKEND, my weekends are going to be the opposite of quiet and low-key.  For pretty much the rest of this year.  Wow. 

Next weekend is Hood To Coast, a relay in Oregon that goes from Mount Hood to the seaside town of Seaside (wonder where they got the name).  197 miles covered on foot by a team of 12 runners.  I'm so psyched to have the opportunity to do this, let alone with my expenses paid, thanks to a law firm client who invited me to be on their team.  The firm is actually sponsoring 3 separate teams, so it's a smoothly-run operation, at least I hope it is.  And it turns out that I get the "glamour legs" portion of the run -- meaning I'll be the last runner on our team for each portion of the run (running legs 12, 24, and 36 of the 36 total legs).  Since our team's first van will start just before noon, I will wait for 6 runners in van 1 to run all their portions, then all 5 other runners in my van will run, then it will be my turn, probably beginning at about 8:00 on Friday night.  I'll run about 6 miles, then our van will get a break for a few hours, where we are going to stop at a hotel and clean up.  My second leg will be about 5 miles, probably around 6:00 Saturday morning.  Then again, our van will get a break for a few hours, which will hopefully mean a big breakfast.  Then sometime on Saturday afternoon, probably around 3:00, I'll get to run leg 36 of the relay, about 5 miles again, and I'll get to soak up the glory of being the one to cross the finish line.  Hood to Coast is supposed to be one of the best running experiences in the country, and several friends who have done it have ranked it along the lines of marathons like Boston.  I'm not as excited as I should be because it's just been so busy lately with yoga taking up pretty much every free moment, but I think as soon as I get packed up, it will hit me.  Very excited about it! 

Then after I get back from Hood to Coast, we have my birthday that week, and then my best friend and her husband come to visit on Thursday, and they'll stay through Labor Day weekend, leaving on Tuesday.  And they're not bringing their twins, which is a big score!  Cute as those kids are, I'd rather have my friend all to myself! 

Then in September it's several weekends filled with my favorite races and the state fair, and possibly a trip to Pittsburgh for hubby's high school reunion (he's still trying to decide if he wants to go, and if he goes, whether he wants me to go too). 

Then I have a quiet first weekend of October, then we leave for China on Oct. 10 I think.  We come back very late at night (after midnight I think) on Oct. 28 (a Sunday), and I have to work Mon-Wed.  Well, technically, I'm working all week, but on Wed. night or Thurs. morning, we have to fly to Milwaukee for my brother's wedding that weekend.

So the first weekend of November will be the wedding and family stuff in Wisconsin. 

The weekend after that, Nov. 10-11, I'll be out of town in San Antonio, visiting my friend there and running the marathon.

The weekend after that, Nov. 17-18, we have another one of my best friends coming to visit. 

The weekend after that is Thanksgiving, and then it's December!  A weekend of shopping and baking, our local marathon, and then we fly home for Christmas on Dec. 20. 

So you can see why next weekend kind of marks the end of the year for me.  It is going to go so fast.  It will all be so much fun, but it will be over before I know it. 

My big project this coming weekend is to get all my packing done for Hood to Coast.  I've started a packing list, but I need to do things like look at the weather before I do much more of that. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

FMM: In the Kitchen

This was an awesome and fairly low-key weekend. 

Friday I got done with work early, so we went to see the Bourne Legacy movie, thenb accepted a last minute dinner invitation with a few people. 

Saturday was sleeping in, yoga, errands, volunteering for a couple hours, and making a big pasta dinner, my usual Saturday night routine to be ready for a long run on Sunday. 

Yesterday's long run (17 miles) was perhaps the highlight of the weekend.  After having such a horrible 15 miler the prior weekend, I really needed a solid run to boost my confidence.  I think 80% of the credit goes to the weather.  It was actually down into the 70s and the humdity was in the 60s and there were some clouds.  That was all I needed. 

A couple notable things on the run -- loose dogs nearly gave me a heart attack, especially since we thought one might have been a pit bull.  We were kind of running in the hood part of the time.  But the dogs completely ignored us, thank goodness.  And I've been sucking on ice cubes in yoga so when I encountered bags of ice on the run today at mile 13 or so, I put a big one in my mouth to suck on for a while.  I no longer feel like I have to spit it out because it's too cold or anything (though I did worry about tripping and choking).  But then maybe a mile later, I had major stomach cramps -- like to the point I thought I could have gone on "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant."  I kept running, figuring I'd go to the next water break (about every 2 miles) and then bag it if necessary, but the feeling passed.  I wonder if the cold was just too much at that stage in the run?  Who knows.  All that mattered to me was that I felt solid and had a great long run.  Then I went home, watched (and blogged) the marathon, went to yoga, made a quiche for dinner during the week, made dinner, and started watching a Netflix movie (Stalingrad, only halfway done, and even for someone like me who loves WWII movies, including German ones, I wouldn't recommend this one). 

So since it's Monday, here we go again, Friend Making Mondays!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

In the Kitchen

1. How often do you cook at home?  I guess it depends on how you define "cook."  If you count things like microwaving frozen vegetables, microwaving a homemade quiche, heating up those pre-made packets of Indian food that just take a couple minutes in the microwave, making a big salad, etc., making store-bought pasta with store-bought sauce, then I'd say almost every night.  After a crazy June of eating out, I tried to be better in July, and I'm trying even harder in August.  My schedule right now means I get home from yoga around 8:30, and since I get up at 5 or earlier, going out to dinner isn't really an option -- and I don't do fast food -- so I come home and scrounge up something quick. 

2. Do you eat more fresh produce, frozen or canned produce?  Mostly fresh, but frozen sometimes when we're out of fresh stuff.  The only canned produce I eat -- occasionally artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, kernel corn, olives. 

3. What are a few unusual staples that can always be found in your kitchen?  Spinach, frozen fruit, soy milk, English muffins, protein powder, Greek yogurt, grapes and apples.  For hubby, his staples are bananas, cherry tomatoes, and canned tuna. 

4. Look in your fridge, then tell us about the healthiest thing in there.  I'd say most the stuff in there is pretty healthy -- I'll try to add a picture below.  Best foods:  Spinach, Greek yogurt, water. 

5. Now share the most unhealthy thing in it.  Beer and vodka.  Followed by margarine and butter I guess.  Avocado is borderline -- could be healthy but I like to eat the whole thing, which isn't great.  And there are a lot of Lean Cuisine meals in the freezer that I can use in a pinch to take to work for lunch, or even for a quick dinner if necessary. 

6. Do you eat leftovers?  Yes, whether home-made or from a doggie-bag.  I actually think being in Africa even for a short period of time changed my life in this regard -- I feel very strongly about not wasting food.  So many people have so little, it's not fair or right to waste what we have.  The pic I took of my fridge shows a big tupperware of leftover pasta from Saturday night, as well as the quiche I made to eat this week. 

7. Do you use coupons at the supermarket? I don't grocery shop, but I'd say I give hubby coupons (usually the kind that print out with your store receipt) about 6 times a year, and he basically never uses them. 

8. How often do you try new recipes?  Usually a couple times per month.  Last night I made something I found online called "Marge's Zucchini Pie."  No idea where I found it and no idea if it will be good.  I was looking for something with egg and/or cheese along with vegetables that I could quickly reheat for dinner every night after yoga. 

9. Do you make grocery lists? Do you stick to them?  I always make a list for hubby of the non-recurring items we need (like if we're out of paper towels, or I want marinated artichokes for my salads that week), but I trust him to get the regular items.  Though he frequently forgets random stuff, I will say it used to really stress me out, but he's gotten better about remembering and I've gotten more relaxed about improvising.  And since we've started using a shared list app on our phones, he's near-perfect on the non-recurring items -- there's no longer a risk he'll overlook something I wrote out of order or that he meant to go back and get.  He crosses each thing off the app and it disappears, so he can see exactly what's left. 

10. If you could buy one food item that would magically be calorie-free, which item would you choose?  I'll go with cake -- I basically killed half a cheesecake all by myself last week that was leftover from our dinner party, would have been nice if that had been calorie-free. 

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions. Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday, friends!

Fridge, freezer and pantry contents: 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olympic Marathon 2012 Recap

Blogging while I watch the race today.  The weather is not great for the guys running in London today.  Apparently it was mid-60s at the start, with humidity in the mid-70s.  By mile 2 it was 70 degrees with 77% humidity.  Ugh.

It's funny to be watching the marathon right now, I just finished my 17 mile group run this morning and we were saying it felt like September.  We had temps in the mid-70s but only 67% humidity, and there was even the slightest of breezes.  But best of all, we had clouds.  We finished about 10 miles before the sun came up, and we ran in full sun for a few minutes, but then we had cloud cover for the rest of the run, which was insanely awesome. 

Given the choice, I'd have picked running in Dallas this morning over the Olympic conditions.

However, the Olympic course is flat -- the lowest point is 5 feet, the highest is 58 feet, and their biggest climb gains 53 feet in .8 miles.  That's nothing. 

But what I think makes this course so challenging (besides obviously the weather today) is that it includes over 90 turns and bends including 4 u-turns.  That's a lot and honestly, wouldn't be something I'd pick for a race.  But that should mean great crowd support today -- it's really awesome weather for spectators. 

In the first couple miles, my favorite part was seeing a Latvian runner waving at the cameras.  It makes me think how excited some of these guys must be, particularly some who in some ways are just like the rest of us -- no hope of winning, just out there to run their best.  I have no idea who the Latvian is, but he's not right up front and I'd think I'd know if he was one to watch. 

They also aired an interview with Meb, who is my favortite of the Americans.  He won a silver medal in 2004, but didn't compete in 2008.  He's 37!  The interviewer commented that he had the largest cheering section -- 24 family members came to watch him run, and he said about 25 friends did as well, just to see him.  Man, I hope he kicks butt today.  It's his last Olympics.  He went alone in 2004 to Athens, so he's really happy to have everyone there for him.  He thinks he'll be able to hear them on the course, and it will give him more energy.  I mean, just like me!  He won the Olympic trials this year, and he won the NYC marathon in 2009, so I really hope he can get a medal, but realistically, here at mile 4 or so, they're predicting a 2:08 Olympic marathon finish, and that would be a PR for Meb by a minute.  His best so far is 2:09:08. 

The commentator just said that for Meb to get a top 10 finish would be fabulous, a medal would be miraculous. 

He and Abdi (another American) have been up at the front for the first few miles, but there's a huge pack.  Not sure where Ryan Hall is, the third American.  I think he's in the front pack too, just not right up front.  He doesn't have as much experience as Meb and Abdi.  He's clearly an awesome runner, but I think people with more marathon experience generally tend to do better.  But time will tell I suppose!

Brazil is out front now at mile 4.  Maybe a little bit slower pace than expected.  Kenyans and Ethiopians have the fastest times on paper, but this is a race you have to run smart.  No South American man has ever run the marathon, so it would be pretty incredible if he did this (though unlikely), what a cool lead-in to Rio.

By the way, hubby and I are talking about maybe going to watch the Olympic marathon in 2020 when it's in Rome.  That would be pretty awesome. 

Now mile 5 and Meb is out front of the pack (the Brazilian is still a bit in front of him though).  Ugh.  I don't like that.  I'd rather he ran with the pack more.  It's a lot of work running out front alone.  There are a a couple guys very close to him, but it would be nice if he could slip in behind one of them for a few miles at least.  Eritrea and Morocco are with him, but the whole pack is really right there. 

The Brazilian is a 2:12 marathoner they said, so not likely he'll be able to hold it.

Oh yeah, saying he's a 2:12 marathoner blows my mind.  Insanely fast, and more insane that there are many who are faster.  I wonder how long it will be before the 2 hour mark is broken.  I think it will happen in my lifetime.  Keep dropping about a minute every 10-20 years.  Crazy. 

They're saying the crowds are deafening.  That's got to be so exciting. 

Wow, mile 6 and the Brazilian, Almeida, is grabbing water from spectators and pouring it on his head.  Oh my, it's got to be hot out there.  I'd be surprised if they really hold the 2:08 pace.  But Beijing was hotter and that was super-fast, so I guess they can do it.  I just can't imagine.  Italy is in 16th place right now. 

Sefir of Ethiopia is pretty far back.  He was one of my picks to place top 10.  Right now he's right in front of Hall, the American.  Hall is in 39th place.  The commentators are saying it's hard to believe Hall would fall that far behind as a matter of strategy, especially when up front they're not going very fast (HA, I snorted when he said that, it's all relative!).  He's allowed himself to become detached and is further back than expected.

Hall's pre-race interview said he's self-coached.  That's interesting.  He almost doesn't make sense when he talks about strategy, running out of himself, etc.  He said he wants to stick himself in the front, but apparently that plan isn't working.  He just said he's "God-coached."  Hmm...

Italy's up to 15th now.  They're hitting 7 miles (or at least Hall is, leaders probably around 8).  4:45 for the last mile for the leaders.  OMG. 

Yikes.  They just showed an Austrian going through one of the u-turns, cramping up, hopping, limping, then sitting.  Something very severe and traumatic, maybe his Achilles.  They're guessing it was a pre-race injury, not something caused by the u-turn. 

The lead pack is starting to break up already.  The pack of 25-30 is whittling down.  Mile 8 and a lot of my favorites are up there.  Kiprotich is in the lead now.  He's one of my picks (haha, I know, I know, not rocket science for me to have picked all 3 Kenyans in the top 10).  Abshero is in second, another pick of mine.  They're just hitting mile 12.

Meb is now back to 16th place.  Wow.  They're really stringing out!  Meb started running in grade school.  He kept beating his own mile time and his gym coach said if you keep doing that, you'll go to the Olympics some day.  He went home and asked his dad what that was.  His family is originally from Eritrea, which had a civil war in the mid-80s, and his family fled to California as Red Cross refugees.  The parents and 7 kids on food stamps, 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, eventually 11 kids, and his father would wake the oldest kids up at 4:30 a.m. to practice English from a single shared dictionary.  Now that family includes a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, an MBA, and of course MEB!  These are the kind of stories that make me love running.  People who overcome so much.  And it makes me feel a little patriotic too.  Though yeah, I'm happy to see them all run fast.  In October it will be 25 years in the U.S. for his family. 

So the marathon has been the same distance since the 1908 Olympics.  26 miles, 385 yards, set so the course should go past Windsor Castle.  Anyway, mile 9 now, Kirprotich is still out front, and then there is a chase pack of about 7, and then a string behind them.  The Brazilian Almeida is back to 12th place now, 26 seconds behind the leader. 

Kiprotich has won his last 4 marathons and he is the second fastest man in history, just 4 seconds off the world record.  And he's the London marathon champion.  And he just ran 2 miles in 9:06. 

Dear Lord! 

He's got a lead of about 15-16 seconds.  The group behind him has the advantage probably, but you never know, he might set the pace for the rest of the course.  It's just so early for a break.  The commentators definitely think it was too early for such a move.  16 miles to go, which is a long time to hold a lead. 

Marial they're showing now, from Sudan.  He competed for Iowa State and is now competing without a country.  They had a big interview with him in the London paper.  He left as a Christian refugee and has lost 8 of his 10 siblings, was kidnapped by nomads, was taken by the army and had his jaw broken with a rifle butt, and then went to the US as a refugee. 

I seriously can't fathom overcoming the circumstances that some of these people endure. 

Marial in the US works in a home for mentally disabled adults from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m.  He sometimes uses the track at the University of Arizona, but otherwise he just trains on the roads. 

Kiprotich is still in front and the chase pack is a lot of Kenyans and Ethiopians and a couple I don't recognize.  They're really rocking today. 

Hall has just left the course.  Dropped out of the race.  There's one of my picks gone.  Did I just pick him because I wanted to be on the Hall bandwagon?  In a few years I think he'll really do well.  Meb is in 17th (40 seconds back) and Abdi is in 29th place.  Maybe Ryan would be better off with a coach in human form?  It's obviously a tough day to be out there.  I could see him making the team in Rio. 

Mile 11 at 52:56, so up to a 2:06 finish prediction.  The first 5 miles were 24:44, then 23:23 for the second 5 mile segment.  That's what thinned the crowd.  Kiprotich is taking water at every aid station. 

Shoot.  Abdi is out too I think.  He's walking.  He's got great abs.  Meb is now the only American left.  Abdi is walking backwards I think.  Oh my.  He's covering his face with his shirt.  Oh, that's so sad.  Well, maybe human coaches aren't really an advantage. 

Lots of the guys are grabbing sponges.  It looks so hot.  Kiprotich's average over his last 5 marathons is 2:05:13.  Wow.  It's possible he could hold this pace.  Unusual tactic, but his lead doesn't appear to be growing -- the chase pack is pretty close to him. 

The chase pack includes a Ugandan and a Brazilian.  Kiprotich just hit mile 12.  He just ran a 40k training run, his longest, in under 2:10.  Meb is at the back of a pack chasing the chase pack.  Kiprotich has a 14 second lead, but given all the turns, he is out of sight of the pack.  They say lots of the athletes are going through the misting stations, it's hot in the sun, they're all being careful about taking water. 

Wouldn't it be amazing if Kiprotich did this, with a break around mile 8?  Maybe earlier?  He just hit mile 13.  He's still heading for a 2:06 pace.  He's shaking out his arms, just like I do!  Chase pack of 7. 

Kiprotich after secondary school got a job as a traveling salesman.  He read about Tergat breaking the world record in 2003 in Berlin and he started running then, at age 21.  Now at age 30, he's leading the Olympic marathon.  Wow.

Kiprotich accidentally passed a water stop and had to double back a few steps to go get his bottle.  But he's not skipping the water stops.  Very smart.  He's got 16 seconds on the pack right now.  He must have been in some big mental haze.  Only 3 in the chase group now, including Kirui and Abshero, plus a Ugandan!  Kiprotich just made a u-turn, so he can see exactly how many are how close behind him. 

The chase pack of 3 looks really close.  Hall just said that his hamstring was tight and getting progressively worse, his stride didn't feel fluid from the beginning, so he stopped.  His first DNF in his life.  "It's a real bummer."  Wow.  He said he's in shock, it hasn't hit him what happened.  He knew his body couldn't handle it today.  Meb is "well-back" at the moment. 

Kirui has a lot of experience too.  He was a pacer for Gebrellaise (sp?) before, so he really knows what he's doing.  The gap is now down to about 7 seconds.  "The writing is on the wall."  We have a real race on our hands if they tighten this up. 

Pretty crazy.  But last 5k was the slowest of the day.  Kiprotich seems to be slowing down.  Darn.  It would have been cool to see him run away with it.  The pack of 3 is only 5 seconds back now.  The pack is Kirui, Kiprotich of Uganda, and Abshero, all 5-7 seconds back, then a Brazilian in 5th who is 27 seconds back.  Meb is just over a minute back and in 14th. 

Kiprotich just got caught during the commercial break.  He's running with Kirui and Kiprotich of Uganda now.  Abshero is back a little.  Man, I hate the commercials.  I can't believe we missed something that big!  Abshero has only run one marathon, and that was Dubai in January.  I wonder how he'll do.  At mile 17, he is 12 seconds back from what is now the lead pack of 3.  The Brazilian in 5th place is not the same one who was leading the race early on. 

Now they're starting the final 8 mile loop.  Kiprotich from Uganda is fairly unknown, Kiprotich of Kenya was a pre-race favorite, and Kirui is a world champion, so these final 3 will be interesting if they all hold on and no one else joins them. 

Now Meb is about 2 minutes back.  Only about 7.5 miles to go.  Kirui "looks really fresh and bubbly to me" according to the commentator!  But he's predicting that the level of camarderie will go down now.  The Ugandan actually trains in Kenya, so it's kind of cool they're all together.  He said there was a lack of trainers in Uganda. 

They show these slo-mo shots before commercial and you can see them grabbing water from the spectators and pouring it on their heads.

The practical side of me wonders, are their shoes getting soggy?  When I pour water on my head, my feet slosh.  Heck, if I sweat too much, my feet slosh.  I wonder how they feel right now. 

Meb is in 10th now, about 2 minutes off the leaders. 

They think Kirui did Kiprotich a favor -- he didn't pass him and pick up the pace, they held it maybe even a little slow.  They gave Kiprotich a chance to rest.  Instead of the usual 15:00 for 5k, this last one was 15:17.  They think the Kenyans are how discussing how to run the ret of the race.  Abshero is slowing down a lot. 

5:05 for mile 20.  4th place is Brazil, about 50 seconds back. 

Last year, of the top 20 in the world, 18 were from Kenya; running distance there is a road out of poverty.  They win about 92% of major races and are a big inspiration to kids at home.  Wow!  It lifts you out of the chaos of daily life in Kenya, and in running, the marathon provides the most economic opportunity. 

Very pretty, the bells of St. Paul's are ringing.  Now 4th place is 59 seconds back, and the total time is at 1:44.  The two Kenyans are running side-by-side, kind of leaving out the Ugandan.  Aww...

Meb looks like he's still running good though, right on the heels of a couple guys, possibly moving as fast as the leaders or even a little faster. 

At mile 22, Kiprotich of Uganda is a second back from the pair of Kenyans (Kirui and Kiprotich). 

They're all grabbing water.  Now they're into the final u-turn and Kiprotich of Uganda was so close to Kirui and Kiprotich of Kenya that they probably didn't even see him.  But now at least 4th can see where everyone in front is.  But Meb is apparently in 6th now!  He's picking them off -- very impressive. 

Ooh, at mile 23, Kiprotich of Uganda has passed the two Kenyans.  4:57 for that mile.  He sailed past them in a turn and then did a big surge on the uphill.  Wow!  What a move!  Now the Kenyans are a second back from him!  Oh, how embarassing for me if I didn't even have the winner in my top 10!  Haha.  Oops. 

Meb has moved into 5th now.  That means he and the Japanese he just passed have both passed Abshero. 

Kiprotich of Uganda getting a gold would be huge for Uganda.  They haven't had a gold since 1972 in the 400 meter hurdles.  Wow. 

Brazil still in 4th and now over 1:30 back.  As they head into the final downhill stretch, you can totally tell that Kiprotich of Uganda trains in Kenya with a former 5k world champion -- he's really got some pull at the end.  He's opening it up like crazy with only about 10 minutes left of running.  Kiprotich of Uganda finished 9th in London last year (and both the guys right behind him have done much better there), and he hasn't raced much this year -- 3rd in Tokyo, and a 10k race in the UK only about 10 weeks ago. 

At mile 24 Kiprotich of Uganda has 12 seconds over Kirui of Kenya, and 25 seconds over Kiprotich of Kenya.  4:42 for that mile, one of the fastest for the entire race.  They're predicting low 2:07s for the finish now.  Wow, even at mile 24 the leader is grabbing his water bottle to drink and he's actually carrying it for a minute or so to drink a lot of it. 

Best moment so far:  1:59:40, Kiprotich of Uganda sees a bunch of people with Kenyan flags on the sidelines and does a little finger wave and has a big smile for them. 

If we end up going to Rome to watch, I'm totally taking a few flags to cheer!  US of course, but also probably some East African ones -- they deserve the support and admiration.

Even near mile 24, Kiprotich looks totally relaxed.  But when there's a camera actually next to him, he is just sailing.  I can't believe how fast he's moving.  Kiprotich of Kenya in contrast you can see doesn't have an easy rhythm.  Kiprotich of Uganda hit mile 25 at 2:01:56.  Second place Kirui is 20 seconds back, and Kiprotich of Kenya is now 56 seconds back.  Wow, what a drop!  I wonder if he'll be able to hang on for bronze.  4:58 mile 25.  Wow.  It included some uphill. 

Finally around 2:04 Kiprotich of Uganda starts to look a little more off his rhythm.  He's wiping his eyes a lot and doesn't look quite so smooth now. 

Wow.  2:05:05 and Kiprotich of Uganda takes water and a sponge!  Geez, it must be so hot.  At that point even I'd be tempted to skip it under usual conditions.  He's got to know that there's just a few more minutes and he'll be done -- though I guess a few minutes at that speed is just under a mile.

And Kiprotich of Uganda grabs a Ugandan flag from spectators a little prematurely I think, but wraps a Ugandan flag around his shoulders and wins it in 2:08:01.  First Ugandan marathon medal!  When he crossed the line, he kneeled down and you could see all these crazy muscles in his quad! 

Wow, and it turns out it's the only Ugandan medal at the London Olympics -- gold in the marathon, the one that I think is most impressive.  Second Ugandan gold ever (after the 1972 one). 

And then the rest of the field comes rolling in.  Unbelievable how many are between 2:08 and 2:20. 

So, here's how I did on my predictions (I had to look a lot of these up because stupid NBC seemed to think the only runners that matter are the top 4 finishers and the 2 American DNFs, they didn't even show a top 10 list, as they did with the women's (notably when there were 2 Americans near 10th place)): 

Mutei (KEN) -- 17th, 2:14
Dino Sefir (ETH) -- DNF
Kiprotich (KEN) -- Bronze medal, led the race for a long time, 2:09:37
Abshero (ETH) -- DNF after running 35k -- must have really been hurt to not finish the last few miles
Meb (USA) -- Fourth place!!!!!  2:11:06
Feleke (ETH) -- DNF
Kirui (KEN) -- Silver medal, 2:08:27
Hall (USA) -- nope, DNF
Fujiwara (JAP) -- 45th, 2:19 (after he crossed the finish line, he bowed to those behind him or the crowds, interesting)
Pertile (Italia!) -- 10th place!  2:12

The ones I missed: 
Kiprotich (UGA) -- Gold Medal!!  2:08:01
Dos Santos (Brazil) -- Fifth place, 2:11 (not the Brazilian who was leading early)
Nakamoto (JAP) -- Sixth, 2:11
Nyasango (Zimbabwe) -- Seventh, 2:12
Paula (Brazil) -- Eighth, 2:12 (again, not the Brazilian who was leading early)
Szost (Poland) -- Ninth, 2:12

Also notable:
Almeida (Brazil) -- 13th in 2:13 (the early Brazilian who was out in front)
Marial (no country, South Sudan) -- 47th in about 2:19

Not bad considering there were over 100 starting, and considering 45th place was only about 15 minutes back from the leader.  But yeah, I missed picking the winner, I picked two Ethiopians who didn't finish, when actually all three Ethiopians did not.  So I correctly guessed 4 of the top 10.  And another 4 of my guesses didn't finish. 

Meb grabbed a flag before the finish, waved it as he crossed the line, crossed himself twice, then stopped his watch!  Then Meb hung out in the finish area, smiling, posing for pictures, and my favorite, grabbing hands with the other guys who came through the line. 

In his finish line interview, Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda said the initial pace was too fast for him so he had to stay with the pack.  When the Kenyan moved into the lead, he still couldn't keep up and had to stay with the group.  He decided to break when he did because he wanted a medal.  He tried to settle it then.  He also said he loves the people of his country, then he said he likes them.  AHHH!  I cannot imagine how happy he is! 

Meb's post-race interview was great too.  He said he didn't want to finish 4th, but he'd take it.  Obviously he really didn't want to be 4th in the trials, he said that would have been devastating (interestingly, at the trials this year, fourth place was just moments behind third place, I wonder if he'd gotten to run instead of Hall and Abdi if he'd have done better).  But fourth in the Olympics was good and he was proud of himself and his country.  He said his motivation was Carlos Lopes (of Portugal), from 1984's Olympics in LA, and he was going for his time of 2:09:21.  Meb said it was awesome to hear his family and all the "USA! USA!" chants.  He felt great about being in 10th-15th place and working his way up to 4th.  He even plugged his book, Run to Overcome.  He said that with all the opportunities Italy (woot!) and the US gave him, he and his family worked hard to be the best citizens they could, to accomplish their dreams. 

So there you have it, possibly my longest blog post ever, one of my first Sunday posts ever, and the least professional Olympic recap you'll ever read.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Marathon Predictions

Since the men's Olympic marathon will begin in about 12 hours, I thought I'd make a list of my top choices, AKA who I will be cheering for the loudest tomorrow. 

Here's my list of the top 10:

Mutei (KEN) (having an AWESOME year)
Dino Sefir (ETH)
Kiprotich (KEN)
Abshero (ETH)
Meb (USA) (older, tons of depth, and absolutely amazing)
Feleke (ETH)
Kirui (KEN) (wouldn't surprise me if he finishes top 3, has a lot of depth)
Hall (USA)
Fujiwara (JAP)
Pertile (Italia!) (the only Italian runner) (this is a heart pick, rather than a head pick; he's older, but go Italy!)

I know, I'm really going out on a limb there picking all 3 Kenyans for the top 10.  Haha.  But I'm very curious about how many I'll get right as actually ending up in the top 10.  I think Kisri will hang with the leaders for a long time (and if I didn't love Italy, I might have put him in there).  I'm going to cheer for Marial, who is country-less, too (formerly of Sudan, ran Twin Cities in 2011) as well as Li, of China, of course. 

Very excited to put in my 2012 sports-watching hours tomorrow! 

Friday, August 10, 2012


If I move to Jamaica, will I be a faster runner? 

How insanely incredible is Usain Bolt? 

How awesome was that 200 meter final?

I must note though that I hate how television coverage seems to be largely ignoring the marathon, especially since I think of the men's marathon as kind of the premier event of the Olympics.  I'm very excited to watch it Sunday morning.  I hope it's not too warm for them.  I hope Meb gets to the podium.  Actually, I hope all the Americans do well, but most of all, I just want an amazing race by everyone. 

But I'm just too awed by Bolt to really focus on much else.  I think I watched the 100 and 200 about 40 times each.  Wow. 

I mean, I seriously think about it and I can't fathom someone really running that fast.  From above, it doesn't look that crazy fast, but when they actually show a track-level view, it blows my mind.  Seriously.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Return to Bikram Yoga week 2

Meant to post this Tuesday night but somehow forgot.

By way of background, I did a month of Bikram in November, attending class most days, then I did a 30 day challenge in January -- going to class every day for 30 days except one (and then doubling up another day).  Then I took a complete break.  I started doing another kind of "lightly heated" yoga (85 degrees I think?) in April and did about 15-20 of those classes (only an hour long each).  Then last week Wednesday, I started another 30 day challenge at Bikram.  I'm keeping notes so I'll have the record.  Week 1 was recapped here, and here is week 2.

Wed., 8-1, Class 8:  An instructor that I remember having a couple times in January, Christina.  At least she says the word "mirror" the way I like it (which is to say she pronounces it normally, which I cannot say about instructors Tom and Gina).  But she gives very little rest between postures.  First and second set are separated by about 2 breaths.  But I'm not super sore, and I actually drank less water during class.  By the time we were done, I had about 1/3 of my bottle to chug before laying down for the final minute or two.  Balancing series went well, I'm feeling real progress.  Also, new friend.  On Monday I think I noticed a guy that used to go to boot camp with us was in class.  I haven't seen him in ages -- he's rarely on FB and he was dating someone at boot camp, I think when they broke up, they both stopped coming.  Anyway, he was there again tonight.  We said hi and chatted for a few mins before class.  And it turned out he knew the guy who was sitting on the bench next to me too.  As our mutual friend went to set up, he and I talked, first about how we knew him (he was a college friend to that guy), and then about yoga.  The two of them signed up together for something different, and have been going about 3 weeks.  Also, tonight was lesson 7,657 in "don't judge a book by its cover."  There were a few people around me who didn't look like typical yogi (yogis?), but during the postures I was so impressed at how strong they were -- good examples for me, particularly since I don't think I look like a yogi...

Thurs., 8-2, Class 9:  another class with the only instructor I had regularly in Nov/Jan and seem to have fairly regularly again, Caroline.  Classes seem to be going much more quickly.  It's like we're almost done before I know it.  A little intimidating b/c I got moved to row 2 (it was getting crowded and we all had to move up to make room at the back), and almost directly behind me was my instructor from Monday, Tom -- ugh.  It makes me worry that he saw all the stuff I do wrong and he'll call me out on it next time he's my instructor.  I was also maybe a little more off balance, but I definitely am seeing progress.  Forehead getting closer to floor, milliseconds in toe stand... 

Fri., 8-3, Class 10:  New to me instructor, Andrew, and I liked him.  Class was unremarkable, but for the most part I felt like I was still making progress.  I went in the morning (9:30), so only about 14 hours after my last class. 

Sat., 8-4, Class 11:  Least flexible class yet?  Delayed onset of sweat -- again -- because the class was less than 2 hours after I finished a run.  My run was short (only 2 miles) but fast because it was part of a relay.  Overall, the class was just brutal.  An instructor that I think I had once or twice back in my prior yoga life.  Oh, I should note, in all fairness, that I drank a lot last night.  We had a couple friends over for dinner...  Felt like I couldn't balance on one foot to save my life.  Honestly, when I think about it, not sure how I even walked since that involves fractions of a second with weight only on one foot.  Based on my performance in this class, it seems like that might be a struggle for me. 

Sun., 8-5, Class 12:  I struggled again.  The oldest instructor we've ever had I think (based solely on looking at her neck, eyes, and hair), and perhaps one of the best.  She was friendly, encouraging, and helpful.  Felt significantly larger than usual (bloated?) and very inflexible.  Perhaps it was because it was only a couple hours after I finished my crappiest long run of this training season?  Or perhaps it was all the cheesecake I ate this weekend?  Not flexible, hot, uncomfortable, ready to be done. 

Mon., 8-6, Class 13:  Christina was the instructor again, and again, very little rest between sets while standing (barely enough for one breath in and one out), but a bit too long on the floor series (she starts talking and we just lay there).  Class was better I think, but for maybe only the third or so time ever, I left the room during class.  That's highly discouraged, but when we moved to the floor, I could tell I didn't have enough water to make it through class.  So when we rolled to our bellies, I stepped out and refilled my bottle.  So I skipped one half of cobra.  But otherwise it seemed to be okay.  It felt oppressively hot, and I was fidgety, but I survived. 

Tues., 8-7, Class 14:  Christina again as the instructor.  It's funny because our classes are usually about 20%  male, but I feel like 50% of her comments are toward men.  Maybe that's because with fewer guys, it's easier to learn their names?  But tonight, two specific comments directly to me -- before then I didn't even know she knew my name.  One compliment and one suggestion.  I need to learn the names of the postures, but in awkward pose, where you go up on your toes and then squat down with your arms extended, she specifically called me out as doing a good job.  Then in seated fixed firm (which just seems impossible to me -- my legs are sufficiently tight that if my feet are touching my hips, there is no way my butt will be resting on the ground), she noted that my feet were curved in too much.  I'm definitely pigeon-toed but the only places I see it are in my running photos and in yoga.  Anyway, I will work on implementing her straighter feet suggestion tomorrow.  But best part about this class was that I felt better -- finally!  And I noticed massive improvements again in two postures (toe stand, probably best of my yoga life, and in the standing one where you reach your forehead toward the floor between your feet -- closest I have gotten this month, still have a ways to go, but definite progress). 

Also, just to document officially, the order in which Bikram yoga is seen in my body:  abs, thighs, arms.

And this week 2, particularly the last few days, are when I've finally gotten my nutrition in a lock.  I have figured out what and when to eat during the day so I'm not starving in class -- my solution is basically to eat two separate lunches (one around 11, one around 3) and then some fruit right around 4:30 which is basically as late as I can eat without feeling like it's coming back up in half-tortoise.  And almost equally as wonderful in my book, I have figured out a post-class dinner -- quiche again (a little frustrating that it took me this long to figure it out, I think I came to this revelation back in January also, and then promptly forgot about it).  I made a quiche on Sunday (broccoli portobello) and it is the absolute perfect dinner after class.  Ideally, I'd add a small side salad, but that seems to be just too much effort.  So a big piece of quiche, and then for the last few days, followed by a big piece of cheesecake (leftovers from dinner party on Friday, finally gone now).  But that seemed to be sufficiently quick and give me enough calories that I wasn't so hungry.  Score for finally getting it down!

Massive progress I'd say for this week in general, and also shocking impact from a single night of unhealthy food and too much alcohol.  And I no longer feel like I'm in desperate need of a day off from yoga.  A chance I'll take one day off in the next week, but nothing concrete planned.