Friday, February 26, 2016


I'm still not used to this:

Sometimes, I feel like my age is so much older than I feel.  But other times, I feel like I'm ancient (particularly if my body is hurting, creaky or achy, but also in my heart sometimes). 

This week has been rough and I think my husband and I are both feeling "old." 

This week, we got one of the two "bad" phone calls regarding my father-in-law. 

This was the first call, to say he's probably only got a couple weeks left.  We've been talking a lot about what to do.  My husband is torn between wanting to go visit again (Pittsburgh) and spend an afternoon talking with him, or wanting to just remember the last time he saw him (in December).  My husband has always been in regular phone contact with his parents (he's infinitely better at this than I am), he talks to them both multiple times per week, but it was still a surprise to hear how quickly his father's physical decline is moving now. 

As such, this week has had lots of tossing and turning, very little sleep, and just in general, feeling old -- old enough to lose parents apparently.  Ugh. 

My heart hurts for my husband.  He's so close to his parents, even though he lives further away than all his brothers (all of whom are within a couple hours' drive).  I wish so much I could fix it -- not necessarily fix the hurt, but more fix my father-in-law.

We just watched the Bond movie last week.  I'm not giving away anything to say there's a scene with a syringe-type drill into his head -- kind of like something you'd see at a dentist's office, but barely large enough to draw blood.  But I wish I could just drill into my father-in-law's brain and tinker a bit with whatever is causing the organs to shut down and inject some stem cells or whatever and have him be back to new.  I feel so useless. 

I know it's the cycle of life and all, and he's over 80 and has had certainly a full life.  I'm glad I've known him for more than a decade.  But I wish this wasn't the cycle.  And I wish my husband wasn't hurting.  I wish I knew how best to help both of them. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Do you call it winning if you win a lottery for a race you weren't sure you wanted to enter and you're not sure you won?

Well, I won the lottery and will have the option of running the Broad Street race in Philly on May 1! 

I still have to convince myself to buy a ticket to fly halfway across the country for a non-marathon race.  And honestly, probably not even a PR race.  But it certainly would be an experience!  The best scenario would be if I could schedule a work event for the following day, so I'll have to see what I can do, but usually my schedule is at the mercy of others, so it seems unlikely. 

But hey, I won the lottery! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Sunday, for the first time in over a month, we had rain. 

And then again today!

I have completely lost my resolve to run in the rain I discovered today.  I planned to do 6 miles with friends this morning, but abandoned the plan when I woke up to a cold rain.  It hasn't been below 50 here in ages (not normal at all), but this morning was high 40s with rain and wind, and I swear, I didn't think it could be any colder.  I've been very spoiled by the mildest winter I think I've experienced in 15 years of living in Dallas. 

I opted for an extra day of boot camp -- inside.  It's taper week, a few miles won't make a difference anyway I figure!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

In Amy's Head

One of my favorite parts of Saturday was watching the Olympic marathon trials at a big watch party to support a local runner who was going for a PR. 

I was mostly stoked for Meb.  He's my favorite marathoner by leaps and bounds. 

I was disappointed with the marathon coverage in general -- too many times cutting away from the race (for commercials, which I understand, paying the bills and all), but also for little profiles of the athletes -- which would have been awesome on a small inset screen so we could still watch the race.  NBC's coverage ended up missing several very significant moves in both races.  It would have also been great to have some coverage or info about other runners besides the top 4-5.  Oh well, at least it was on TV! 

After I knew Meb had his spot, there was very little coverage of finishers on the men's side, and naturally, all attention went to the women's race.

Anyone watching could see Shalene starting to fall apart toward the end, and her training partner Amy Hastings/Cragg (don't get me started on how much I hate female athletes with established careers changing their names) was clearly doing everything she could to help -- slowing down to stay with her, handing her water, clearly encouraging her.

I loved it! 

I'm also a huge Desi fan (Linden, Davila, argh, again, very frustrating), so I was excited to see her coming up on Amy and Shalene.  And I'm sure Amy was able to see her coming as well. 

At some point, around mile 25, as everyone understood, Amy left Shalene in her dust.  She appeared to be encouraging Shalene even as she pulled ahead. 

And Amy finished so strong, it was awesome!  And then she had to just stand there at the finish line and watch runners come around the final turn.

I kept wondering what was going through her head.

Was she just excited that she'd made the Olympic team?  Excited about the $80,000 she'd just won?  Hurting from just running 26.2 miles and kicking butt the entire time?  I was guessing not, she was probably just consumed with wondering where Shalene would finish, what had happened after she'd left her behind, and whether they'd make the team together.

I can imagine she wasn't surprised to see Desi turn the corner to finish second.  She had to have known she'd been bearing down on them. 

I can just imagine though how agonizing it was to wait to see who would be third.  Was she worrying that she'd feel guilty if it wasn't Shalene in third?  I wouldn't think she would have any reason to feel guilty, but obviously, plenty of feelings that are unjustified still happen in our hearts.  I wonder if she had a sliver of doubt about whether Shalene had even been able to finish.  There seemed to be at least a small chance she would stop -- voluntarily or not.  But Shalene kept at it. 

Amy must have been so relieved and thrilled to see Shalene turn that corner and come down the finish line stretch, and then to see no one chasing her down.

It was an exciting race to watch.  I was impressed with how Kara ran.  Though I've never felt any particular loyalty to Amy, Shalene or Kara (though at least Shalene and particularly Kara seem to be working hard to build fans), I hope Kara was proud of her finish and feels satisfied in knowing that she's got a lot of great running ahead of her if she wants. 

If the race had gone another 2 miles, I wonder what would have happened.  Of course there was no coverage of who was in fifth place on the women's side, but if that athlete had been running strong, there's no question in my mind she could have eventually passed Kara and probably Shalene if the race had kept going. 

It will be exciting to watch the marathons in Rio in a few months.  I certainly feel patriotic, and I'd be thrilled to see any American win either marathon, but I feel more like just a runner, not caring too much who wins, just wanting to see an amazing race and see someone's dreams come true, even if that person happens to be running on behalf of Ethiopia or Kenya or anywhere else. 

Friday, February 12, 2016


Given that Dubai was perhaps the most luxurious place I've ever been, I saw this top subject line in my inbox and I went on a little mental vacation from my desk at work. 

I can only imagine what this would look like...

And I can only imagine what it would cost!  Dubai is one of the most expensive places we've been (also in the running is Moscow, but Dubai seemed more expensive because we went to Dubai from India, which was crazy cheap).  (Incidentally, I've heard that some places like in the Congo (or maybe it was somewhere else?) can be crazy expensive because the only people staying in hotels and eating in restaurants are from NGOs, so no one is paying out of their own pocket, and the market takes advantage of that.) 

Anyway, speaking of nice hotels, we actually booked a great hotel in New Orleans at the end of this month for the marathon.  A little pricey, but it will be fun!

Thursday, February 11, 2016


I work in Philly fairly frequently, so I end up running there every so often -- it's actually like the scene of the crime for me:  when I stepped on that huge rock in September and broke my ankle, that was in a Philly suburb.

The ankle has made vast improvements in the last few weeks.  I am now pain free for more than 7 miles -- to the point where on a good day, I can't even remember which ankle it was!  Doctor is planning to check one more time, but I'm confident at this point that it's healing well and there won't be any surgery.

Anyway, one of the biggest races in the US is held in Philly every Spring -- the Broad Street Run, a 10 mile race. 

I happened to read something about it today, so I looked it up to see when registration is held and I just went ahead and entered the lottery!

It turns out registration opened Feb. 1 and closes tomorrow. 

Why not?

If I get in, I'm far from certain I'd do it -- I have some kind of mental hang-up about buying plane tickets for a race that's not a marathon.  But I'd at least consider it, and maybe even try to see if I have any flexibility to set a work obligation there around the same time.

So I'm officially in the Broad Street lottery.  Woot!  Signing up for races also makes me happy. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Red Eyes

As of about half an hour ago, I have officially booked 3 fun trips for the next 2 months and each and every one of them has me landing at DFW between 5 and 9:30 a.m. on a Monday morning and going to work that day.


But at least it's some good trips on the books.

At the end of February, we're going to New Orleans for the marathon.  Flights to come home Sunday night were crazy expensive, and the bonus to a Monday morning flight is that we can go out Sunday night in New Orleans with my running buddy (who may or may not run the marathon with me).  But it will make a 6:15 a.m. flight on Monday feel very early, but totally worth it.

Then at the end of March, we're going to San Fran for 5 days around Easter.  The only reasonably priced alternative flight was leaving Sunday morning before 6 a.m., which would have meant missing all of Easter with my nephew.  We were originally planning to be there for his first birthday in mid-March, but my bro and sister in law are going to spring training that weekend, so we thought Easter would be just as good.  But now I definitely can't give up wine for Lent since we'll hopefully make it up to wine country at least one day while we're there (I also can't really give up wine for Lent since it would be fairly meaningless since I don't really drink often.)  Anyway, the best flight option coming back since my husband didn't want to take another vacation day has us leaving San Fran at about 12:30 in the morning on Monday and flying a true red-eye, landing at DFW a few minutes before 6 a.m.  At least that should give us enough time to go home and change clothes before we both head to work.

Then, the following weekend, the first weekend in April, one of my best friends is having her baby shower in DC.  I just booked a stupid cheap flight there.  I had the option of coming back on Sunday night, but the flight was at 6:00 p.m. out of Baltimore, and her baby shower is at noon on Sunday in Arlington, VA.  I would have needed to leave for the airport by 4:00 at the latest, likely 3:00 or 3:30 to be safe, given that I'd have to return a rental car and everything.  That didn't sound like any fun.  I looked around and found an even cheaper flight ($162 round trip!) (and not on Spirit, which I've sworn off forever!) (and in and out of National, which is right by her house and doesn't require a rental car!) that comes back Monday morning.  I had the option of a 5:45 a.m. flight that would land at 8:20, or a 6:45 a.m. flight that lands at 9:20.  I went with the 6:45 one and figured I could still be into the office by 10:00, which wouldn't really be a big deal. 

So that is going to be three Mondays where I look (and likely feel) like I've been hit by a train. 

Incidentally, when I look at my American app on my phone, I can see the one other non-work trip that is booked for 2016 -- our big annual trip in October.  And we are scheduled to leave Montevideo, Uruguay at 9:10 p.m. on a Monday, change planes in Miami, and land at DFW at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, and then proceed to head into the office after weeks away. 


So my big tip to anyone reading, buy stock in Visine, I'm going to do my part to sharply boost their sales in 2016!  But since one of my biggest joys in life is buying plane tickets for fun, I am totally on board with this plan. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Morning Mezzo

When I had my best training season ever, I was running pretty high mileage for me (chump change for others).  High mileage for me is when I have multiple consecutive weeks in the 50s.  I've done plenty of marathons where I rarely get into the 50s for a week, and when I first started running, there were races that I trained for and I rarely got into the 40s for a week.  But when I'm running strong, mid-50s is where it's at for me.  I seem to find I get injured if I go over that.  And I am very good about mixing up my miles -- some quality, but also plenty of junk miles.  The best junk miles for me are commuting miles. 

If I do my full commuting week, it adds about 19 miles to my schedule.  Commuting miles are the best junk miles because I do them alone and I'm never under a serious time constraint (if I was ever running late, I'd just shower at home and drive to work).  So 19 slow, easy miles per week. 

Sometimes VERY slow and easy, especially when I can talk my accounting buddy into going halfway home with me one night per week.  That adds in a couple miles of walk-run.

At my peak, doing high mileage with a full commuting week included, the most I ever run before I get to work is about 12 miles.  That happened fairly regularly on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  I would run about 8 miles with my running buddies, go home for breakfast and sometimes a dry shirt, then run another 3.75 miles to work.  And then on Tuesdays, it would be a 15.5 mile weekday because after that morning 12, I'd work my usual day and then run the 3.75 home.  But it was broken up so it never felt too long.

Well, today for the first time ever I think, I did my highest pre-work mileage.  I ran a morning half, and then some!  (Half is "mezzo" in Italian.) 

I decided that with a marathon later this month, I couldn't afford to totally blow off my weekend long run. 

But on the other hand, I have the foresight to recognize that I consume more alcohol at Mardi Gras than pretty much the rest of the year combined, and odds are very high that a run will not happen there.  And even if by some miracle it does happen, I'm usually not inclined to go very long -- something about standing around watching parades and then wearing heels and dancing at a ball all night...

So I told myself to suck it up today.  I was only running 6 with my usual crew, but one of them ran to the grocery store where we met, so after our group 6 miles, I ran him home, then back to my car.  That got me to 8.  I was thinking I'd drive home and then run the trail by our house, but it was so cold this morning.  I figured I'd be freezing if I got in the car and stopped sweating on my drive home, even though it's not very far. 

So I ended up grabbing water at my car and heading toward the lake, then zigzagging my way back to the car, ending up just over 13.5 miles. 

On a weekday!


Of course I'm totally dragging ass now.  If I'd needed to do a running commute on top of that, I'd probably still be out there, crawling slowly toward the office...

I need to plow through major work so I can leave early tonight to start our trip.  But now, any Mardi Gras miles will be bonus miles.  Exactly my goal! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Festive Options

The feeling of life rushing by me seems to come in cycles.  I'm definitely in one of those now!  Between still carrying about 25% more cases at work than usual while my new co-worker gets up to speed, to trying to get in some loooong runs before a marathon in a few weeks, to trying to be good about cooking more, I feel like I'm spread kind of thin, which has meant no blogging (but yeah, still reading, always seems to be some time in the morning or during lunch...).

Anyway, after seeing Gracie's post showing her ball gown for Mardi Gras, I realized that I need to make a decision on mine.  We're heading out on Thursday this year, so my goal is to pack tonight if possible. 

I have two choices for this weekend.  Unfortunately, both have their drawbacks.

The first choice is this blue one. 

The downsides to the blue:
It is a re-wear (I wore it in 2008).
It needs to be steamed (and we leave on Thursday). 
I hate not wearing a real bra.

Then there is my brand new option.  Unfortunately, it also has its downsides. 

Downsides to the black one:
It is black.  Lovely for evening gowns, so BLAH for Mardi Gras.
It is one-shouldered, which my best friend's husband hates (but I've done it once before, and yeah, he's not my husband, and I can deal with him teasing me).
It's new -- I can return it for a few more weeks if I decide to go with the blue one.  It wasn't super-expensive (about $200, so moderate, but some dresses can be crazy pricey), but obviously saving money instead of spending it is always good.

I have a feeling I'm going to pack both of them and decide that night. 

Either way, very excited about the trip!