Friday, August 30, 2013

Would you rather, a(nother) running style survey

I'm on a roll lately with running-related questionnaires.  Here's another one that looked fun.  I found it originally on this post on Renee's blog.  And it sounds like she found it on this blog

As always, feel free to share your own answers, I'd really enjoy reading them.


#1. Would you rather bike 100 miles or run 100 miles?

I would rather run, especially if I could do it over the course of two weeks or so.  I was really into biking in high school but as a runner, I've developed a bit of dislike for bikers (I know it's a very small percentage that are rude, dangerous, whatever, but they give them all a bad name in my book).  However, if Berlin goes well, I am thinking about looking into getting a bike.

#2. Wear TOO many clothes and then have to carry them because it’s too hot or wear TOO little clothes and endure a little coldness?

I'd rather wear too little than carry my clothes. I don't really like being cold, but I really don't like having to carry things.  There have been very few occasions where I've ditched clothing mid-run with the intent of retrieving it (and that's because I couldn't stand carrying it but was way too warm).  Once, up north, I wore too many layers because it was in the 20s and I didn't know how to dress for that.  I took off one layer of long sleeves when I was warmed up and picked it back up on my way back to my folks' place.  And a couple times this summer I've started out in a shirt, done my warm-up, then taken it off to run hills and then carried it on my cool-down.  Right now I can't imagine being cold when I run.  Utterly inconceivable when it's August and you're in Dallas.  Cold?  What's that?  I don't remember any such thing.

#3. Would you rather run without your GPS or without your Music?

This one is easy -- without music.  I almost never run with music, it's just too dangerous.  I've only worn a GPS watch since about Jan. 2011, and I love the data (before that, I used a regular sports watch). 

#4. Would you rather run socially or run competitively?

This question is almost impossible.  I love both!  Train socially, race competitively!!!  But the whole point of the question is to choose one.  I like training socially far more than racing competitively.  That just hurts!

#5. Would you rather start a race in the front or in the back?

The front.  I'm never one to toe the line at the start because I'm not that fast, but I like to be within a few rows of the front in the average local race because I hate weaving around people, and at least this year, I usually finish with some kind of age group award in a smaller race, so I feel like I belong toward the front.  Finally.  Until the last couple years, I'd usually start in the middle or toward the back, but as my PRs have gotten better, I've cared more about cutting out needless weaving. 

#6. Would you rather run a race to raise money for a charity or in remembrance of someone?

I'd rather run in remembrance. I hate asking people for money (and I hate selling stuff).

#7. Would you rather have an awful race experience and PR or have the time of your life and NOT PR?

Hands down the awful experience and a PR.  In fact, since I've run long enough that I have fairly solid PRs at most distances, it's very hard to imagine a horrible race experience that would result in a PR.  I mean, I felt like I was dying but I held the pace?  I puked but it barely slowed me down?  Oh wait.  I just realized EXACTLY how this could happen.  The timeless question of whether you would $hit yourself for a PR.  My answer is a definitive and resounding NO -- unless it was a marathon PR of more than 30 minutes.  So I would rather have an awful experience and PR, unless it involved crapping all over myself during the race, then I would choose the time of my life and not a PR (unless it was a 30+ minute marathon PR). 

#8. Would you rather run on the right side of the road during a race or the left?

Usually in a race, particularly on roads, I like to run in the middle so there is as slight a slope as possible.  But if I had to choose, the left.  Those safety habits are deeply ingrained that it's my preference, even on a closed race course.

#9. Would you rather shower and take a nap after a long run/race or shower and be productive?

Take a shower and nap.  I'm so glad my husband usually works on my long run days.  I love my routine of going for breakfast with friends, showering, and then falling asleep to a Lifetime movie or Law & Order marathon, waking up just in time to put laundry in the dryer and cook dinner.  I wonder if anyone who responds to this survey really says they'd rather be productive.  Maybe I just run with a lazy bunch, but most my friends either nap or want to nap after our long runs. 

#10. Run with your significant other or your friends?

Run with my friends.  I only run with my husband a couple times per month since our paces don't line up.  I also tend to get too "coachy" with him.  But even if our paces were exactly aligned, I think I'd still choose my friends -- it's my chance to b!tch about hubby!  If we're having an issue, sometimes talking through it with my friends helps, and occasionally they even take his side, so I know I'm in the wrong.  Plus, if I didn't have my running friends, then it would be like I didn't really have any friends -- I already spend tons of time talking with hubby even if we don't run together, and the only other people I spend hours and hours talking to every week are my running buddies. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Yoga over Running?

Yesterday I elected to do a yoga class instead of running.  Who am I???

The answer I suppose is someone who has been doing marathons for about a decade.

Someone who has a running coach certification.

Someone who has a marathon in exactly one month.

Someone who really, really, really feels like she can't afford an injury right now!

So after five consecutive weeks of 45 or more miles per week, I had the calf pain on my long run.  I took several non-running days (did some core work and weights, but no running at all).  I then did some pain-free track work, but by the time I got to my easy miles that day, it hurt again.  So a couple more days off.

Then a solid but slow 20 mile run with no pain.  All good.  But then I was out of town for work, so I took another rest day.  And then one solid Tuesday run with my running buddies, still all good.

But then I tripped and fell at boot camp the next day, twisting my ankle and scraping the hell out of my elbow when I missed a very oddly (non-regulation shaped) curb. 

So a few more days off, but that was kind of inevitable since we were traveling for my 20th high school reunion and I had to move around my long run a bit anyway.

So the bottom line is that I had five weeks in a row at 45 or more miles per week, followed by two weeks of 28-29 miles per week. 

Not ideal just before you start to taper, but it is what it is, I'm mostly focused on being glad that it wasn't a more serious injury and that I now feel as good as new.  I'm lucky and I know it.

Haha, I couldn't help but sing that sentence.  I'm lucky and I know it -- name that tune. 

So this week, instead of jumping back in with both feet, which I might have done if I hadn't been doing this for about a decade, if I hadn't had to learn way more than I ever wanted about running, if I had more than a month until my goal race, or if I weren't super-focused on hitting my goal at Berlin, I have proceeded with caution this week.

I ran with my friends Tuesday morning and today (today was track again, very tough).  And I ran to work very slowly both those mornings.  But I haven't run home at all, and I drove to work yesterday.

I can't really completely credit my intelligence for the decision to drive.  Somehow I was short one outfit at work (my garment bag was actually packed from a couple weeks ago, before I had to drive my commutes because of the injuries).  And I had gotten the notion of going to yoga yesterday instead of doing a run home from work.  Plus the whole thing about knowing better than to build back up to doing too much too soon! 

So yesterday I drove to work, and I drove home, and I went to yoga after a quick dinner.  Instead of getting 7.5 slow commuting miles, I got an hour of a new-to-me type of yoga that was awesome and let me know this morning I'd done something to my muscles. 

The class description should have clued me in:
Sunstone’s Wood series serves to improve overall performance with a fusion of yoga, Pilates and our unique, resistance stretching - Pain Free Yoga™

Wood class is designed to strengthen and balance weak areas in the body deepening active range of motion while working on active strengthening techniques. It is the ideal complement to any of our other class offerings. Enjoy Wood as a stand-alone experience, or attend Wood as part of a progression for a well-rounded and restorative fitness experience.

Temperature: ~90° Humidity: ~60%

So yeah, I'm sore in all kinds of weird places (hamstrings and under my rib cage particularly) and I'm proud of myself today!  I expect my miles for this week will end up around 45, which isn't bad since the schedule has us at 56.  If I'd picked running instead of yoga, I would have been in the low 50s this week, closer to on target, but closer to a possible set-up for reinjury.  I expect next week will probably be similar in miles since I'll lose a commute day with the office being closed for Labor Day. 

And then I just need one very solid tough week and I'll be into the taper.  Whew!  I'm just getting so excited!! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Reunion Fun

Of my graduating class of about 325, about 100 came to our 20 year reunion last weekend, which seemed to be a great number -- I got to see many of them and had time to visit with those I cared about. 

Our class was very lucky that a few people took charge of the reunion and did an amazing job of organizing it.  There was a photo booth, a photographer roaming to take candids and group shots, a buffet, special vegetarian meals, a cash bar, a showing of our senior video, about a 15 minute slideshow of photos people submitted, and a dance floor that eventually filled up (playing the greatest hits of the 90s and today!). 

What was most interesting to me was seeing how some people had changed, or hadn't.  Obviously we are all about the same age, but some people looked so much older, and others looked so much younger, like we were maybe at a 5 year reunion.  And there didn't seem to be any clear theme other than guys who lost or were losing their hair definitely looked older.  Some had gained weight, but some of those people didn't look any older.  Some had lost weight since the 10 year (myself included I think).  A couple people had probably lost weight since high school but not many, and the ones who come to mind for the most part seemed to look older than I'd expect.  Some people seemed to have about the same build as in high school -- and yet some of them looked older, some looked the same. 

Another interesting aspect was to see how personalities have changed.  The two women who come to mind as the main organizers were both prom queen types.  I was acquaintances with them in high school (I'd gone to Europe with one, and I took 4 years of French with another), but we never were what I would call friends -- no dislike, but never socialized.  I would have probably assumed they were kind of snobs since they both definitely ran with the cool kids.  Both of them now seem insanely wonderful, kind and friendly, not at all clique-ish.  But a couple of the guys seemed to have matured not a bit, which was kind of funny and maybe a little sad. 

Overall, I'd say it was more fun than the 10 year reunion, though the 10 year had much more surprise since it was pre-facebook.  Even though I've gone off FB this year, I still remembered details about the people I was friends with and that was kind of fun because it gave us common ground and easy conversation -- I knew who had kids, who runs marathons, who lives in the same area, some jobs, etc. 

But of course the best part was being with my friends.  Some of them I hadn't seen since I got married, and others I probably hadn't seen in 10 or 20 years.  Yet it felt like not a moment had passed and I spent so much time laughing and reminiscing with them.  It's so funny to hear stories that people remember in which you played a part but of which you have no recollection. 

One woman was there who I remembered but I wouldn't say we were close in high school, aside from maybe freshman year -- she definitely gravitated to the "bad" crowd, while I gravitated to the debate crowd.  Anyway, she was telling me that when we'd met in seventh grade, I got her hooked on Days of Our Lives.  It was so funny to hear that.  When I was in 5th and 6th grade, we lived in Minnesota and I used to spend a lot of time at my best friend's house there, particularly in the summers, and her mom watched DOOL.  And therefore she knew all about it and when we played Barbies, she always wanted me to pick who I'd be and I had limited choices -- Kayla, Hope, Jennifer, etc., all characters from DOOL.  So I'd picked up on the show and would sometimes watch at her house (definitely not allowed at my house!), and apparently I hooked someone else who still watches.  I watched on and off in college, and even a bit as an adult since my husband and I started living together, but I've been off it for about 5 years now.  Maybe I'll go back.

It was amusing to hear other stories where people remember me doing or saying something, or being there, and I had no memory of it.  And of course I had some of the same -- things I remember doing or saying with others and they didn't remember. 

After the reunion was winding down around midnight, there were several groups standing and talking, including us with a bunch of my friends, making plans to go to a nearby bar to keep the fun going, making plans to meet for breakfast the next morning. 

Totally awesome weekend! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

FMM: Questions and Answers

We had a 5 day weekend focused on a road trip to Kansas City for my 20 year high school reunion.  It was the most fun weekend I've had in ages.  I spent a lot of time with some of my favorite people in the world, including some that I hadn't seen in way too many years.  My high school class was about 330 people, and about 110 registered to attend, plus many brought spouses.  Of course there were dozens of friends who came to mind who weren't there, but I had so much fun hanging out with those who were there.  I'll have to do a separate post about it! 

Now it’s time for FMM since it's Monday and I'm dragging my feet on getting the business of law underway...

friend makin 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 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!

Questions and Answers
1. What is a typical weekday like for you? 

A "typical" weekday is hard since my days aren't all the same, so like Kenlie, I'll pick a typical Tuesday as well.  I stir around 3:30 when hubby gets up to go running (he starts work early on Tuesdays and has to get up at an ungodly hour to get in a pre-work run), but I go back to sleep until 4:45 when my alarm goes off.  My local bestie picks me up at 4:57 and we drive to the running store (we car pool, and I drive on Thursdays).  I go run with my friends, usually between 8 and 10 miles, frequently with some marathon pace or tempo work on Tuesdays.  Then I stretch for a while and ride home with my bestie.  I make a smoothie, watch the news, and sometimes do some organizing.  Then I leave the house by 7:45 or so (that's a lie, but that's the goal, it's usually closer to 8 when I leave), and I run at a very leisurely pace the 3.75 miles to my office.  I boot up my computer, look at a few emails, get organized, then go downstairs to the gym where I shower and get ready for work.  I'm back at my desk and working by about 9:30 usually.  I usually have a snack (2 tortilla rolls filled with spinach and blue cheese) around 10:30, then I usually make lunch around 1:30 (frozen meal with a side of frozen peas).  I work, work, work.  Reviewing pleadings, reviewing invoices, drafting reports, responding to emails and phone calls, taking notes on my cases, drafting correspondence, etc.  Mid-afternoon I usually eat a bag of grapes and by 4:30, my accounting buddy is texting me to see what time we're leaving the office that night.  I usually ask for 8:00, she asks for 5:00, and we compromise on about 6:30.  I change into my running clothes and head downstairs to wait for her while she goes to leave her purse and work clothes in her car.  Then we run/walk along my commute home.  She usually stays with me about 1.75-2 miles, then she u-turns to go back to the office, and then she drives home.  I pick up the pace and run the last 1.75-2 miles alone.  Hubby usually beats me home on Tuesdays, so he's working on making salads when I get in the door.  I'm usually pouring sweat and insanely thirsty.  I slowly catch my breath, and we sit down to dinner (usually something leftover or microwaved, plus salads).  We often watch a 30 minute show off the DVR during dinner -- lately, House Hunters International, or one of the Fox cartoons.  Then we clean up the kitchen and go to bed, ideally by about 8:30 because that early alarm comes again on Wednesdays...

2. Name one song that never fails to make you happy and one song that you always listen to when you’re sad.

"Hangin' Tough" by NKOTB always makes me smile.  "Janie's Got a Gun" seems to work when I'm down, but I'm not really a big music person.  I'm generally a very happy person, so if someone dies or something else makes me sad, I don't think I'd think to put on music. 

3. Did you watch the VMA’s last night? 

No, we were driving back from Kansas City.  Due to some post-official-reunion festivities, the breakfast we had planned with a few good high school friends got pushed back from 9:00 until 10:30.  So we met at the local Cracker Barrel and stayed too long, putting off the inevitable goodbyes.  We left KC around 12:45, and we stopped for a "real" dinner, and got caught in traffic for a big building that was on fire near the highway in Norman, OK, and we had to stop at the grocery store for spinach, bananas and grapes to get us through the next few days, so we didn't get to bed until after 10, which meant the 5:30 boot camp this morning was extra hard! 

4. Share at least two [talents] that you possess.

I'm a very good proofreader (though you wouln't know it from this blog) and I'm pretty good at puzzles and logic problems. 

5. Share one thing that you wish you had the confidence to do.

Running regularly without a shirt (I've chronicled my experience with that here). 

6. Tell us about one insecurity that people might be surprised that you have.

I worry I'm not smart enough.  You'd think Phi Beta Kappa and a top ten law school would fix that, but nope.  I noticed it this weekend particularly with my high school friends, feeling like I was behind the curve, etc. 

7. If you could be the CEO of any company, which one would you choose to lead?

I've never had a desire to be the CEO of anything -- maybe McDonald's and I could completely change the entire thing?  Make it all vegetarian and all healthy and all organic?  Haha, that probably wouldn't work with their business model. 

8. List at least three hobbies that make you happy.

Obviously running is my favorite hobby!  Cooking and doing jigsaw puzzles are other current hobbies that make me very happy. 

9. Is there someone in your life that you wish you could say “I love you” to?

Not really.  I mean, there are plenty of people that I feel like I love but I don't tell them.  For example, I feel like I love my boss -- in a completely not romantic or even personal way, but he's a great boss, he is an integral part of my happiness at work, he's a good leader and a nice guy.  But yeah, saying I love you to him would not be good.  And the same is true for some co-workers, some friends from high school, etc., it's some kind of not romantic love, but not appropriate to say it.  But for my regular friends, my family, and of course my husband, I say it all the time. 

10. Share one cool thing that happened over the weekend.

I went to my 20th high school reunion in a dress that was slightly outside my comfort zone.  I asked hubby if it was "too slutty" given that it had a side slit, and he's like, there's no such thing as too slutty for a 20th reunion, you're not going to this event to network!  It was funny.  I wore it and it was fine -- a tasteful dress, not too high a slit, and I had so much fun and felt totally comfortable in it. 

Here's a picture of the dress, it's by Missioni (for the record, it looked nothing like this on me, and of course it was not even close to that short on me since I'm only about 5'5" and the model is probably 5'10"):

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!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Running groups in other cities

This year, I have sent more variants of this email than I ever have before:

I live in Dallas and found your group on the internet.  I will be in town next weekend (Aug. 24 and 25) for my high school reunion. I'm currently training for Berlin, and I train regularly here with a group, so I am dreading the idea of doing a solo very long run that weekend. Do you have a group going long on Saturday (ideally) or Sunday?

My schedule calls for 20 miles, and I'm very flexible re: pacing. I will have a car and I'll happily drive to whatever location would have a run close to what's on my schedule.

I have sent that email to several groups in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City this year with various details and I LOVE how well it has worked out for me.

I'm definitely a social runner.  I believe in doing easy runs at a conversational pace, and I find that when I'm running with people, the miles click by so much more quickly.  And of course it feels like multi-tasking in ways -- first and foremost, it's quality time talking with friends, getting all up in the business of all our daily lives, struggles, thoughts, plans, etc.  But at the same time, it's networking, it's consulting with experts (asking a contractor what he thinks about switching out our water heater, asking a doctor about a case at work involving a delayed diagnosis of ALS, asking a computer guy what he thinks about a problem I'm having, asking someone who used to live in a city where I'm going for work to give me restaurant recommendations, etc.), it's about hearing different points of view and just connecting with other people. 

Basically, for any given run, even speed work, I'd rather run with people than alone.  Even running side-by-side and not talking makes me feel safer (I assume they'd call for help if I got hit by a car or just randomly collapsed), I don't worry about getting lost, I feel compelled to keep going when I might otherwise quit, and it helps to feel like someone else is struggling with you. 

In Philly, I found the Fairmount Running Club.  In Pittsburgh, I found the Elite Runners and Walkers.  And this weekend in Kansas City, I've found a group called RUNbelievable (no apparent website, but a fellow runner from high school hooked me up). 

So far, two of the groups have been totally awesome and have made me feel right at home.  And I have a feeling this weekend's long run will be similar.

Reaching out to find groups in other cities was new to me in 2013 and something I think I'll keep doing as long as I continue to run and travel. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Painful Photo

I've been calling this the "summer of chafe."  It sucks.  I have chafed (chaffed?) more since April than I probably have any other year as a runner.  And it makes no sense to me since if anything, this year the weather is cooler, and if anything I weigh slightly less than other summers (but actually, pretty much the same I think). 

It's happening to me everywhere.  Under my arms.  All around my sports bra and heart rate monitor.  Between my legs.  All around the waistband of my shorts.  Anywhere I pin gu or chomps and it rubs.

It sucks. 

I'm wearing body glide for even the shortest of runs, but it still seems to happen at least 1-2 times per week.  It's killing me.  I need a new plan.  I'm open to any suggestions. 

This is what happened on my commute:

Not sure if it was caused by sports bra or HR monitor. But OMG, it hurts. I have a hot spot under my right arm right now too, but that's too hard to photograph.

I should just be happy my leg isn't hurting, but honestly, the chafing has made this a fairly painful running summer. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

FMM: School Days (and an injury update that's good!)

Buckle in, I’m in a hotel room with no reason to rush out the door, so extensive weekend notes prior to FMM…

While it seems like I could choose a lot of words to describe my weekend: family, fun, vine, restaurant-week, puzzling, lake, the best word is actually relief.  I did my long run yesterday, 20 miles, and it was all without leg pain.  It sucked to take the majority of a week off this close to my race, but it seems to have done the trick – knock on wood.  I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me.  And I had a totally awesome weekend, so the fact that my long run almost overshadows it is very telling as to how much it was weighing on me. 

My brother got into town on Friday (for work this week) and the three of us went out for lunch.  I finished up work, and we hung out for a while, then we went to pick up one of our neighbors (a guy who just moved here and I found out when I met him, works for the same company as my bro).  The four of us went out for drinks at one of my favorite restaurants, right by our house (Abacus), then we came home and dropped the neighbor off and went out for a late dinner (at Bijoux).  It was restaurant week in Dallas, so we’d made reservations at places that offer special limited restaurant week menus, 3 courses (app, dinner, dessert) for only $45 per person, part of which goes to a good cause.  So delicious meal Friday night, complete with dessert. 

Saturday we slept in a bit, had breakfast, ran a couple errands and decided to go to the lake and rent stand-up paddleboards.  Sadly, they were all booked for more than an hour, so we made afternoon reservations since it was a mild (for Dallas in August) day.  We ran another errand and then headed out for a restaurant week lunch (at Nosh).  We got home, worked on the puzzle a bit, and then went back to the lake.  My husband did not like the stand-up paddle boards.  He stood up and paddled for a while, but ended up being happier basically laying on his back on the board and napping as he floated around the lake.  My brother and I paddled about halfway down the lake to the bathhouse, and then paddled back.  All told, we spent about 90 minutes paddling. 

Lots of people had told me it was a good core workout, but my brother and I agreed that either we were doing it wrong, or it was out of shape people saying that.  My feet were a little sore (a lot of pressure standing on the board, balancing, not lifting your feet at all).  But no core soreness or even arms. 

After our SUP experience, we basically got home and it was time to shower and head back out for another restaurant week dinner (at Hibiscus).  It was also very good, and even though our reservations were fairly early, I was completely beat when we got home and went to bed early to be as ready as possible for Sunday’s long run. 

Yesterday was my first 20 mile run on the schedule.  And since I’m doing a fairly abbreviated schedule, it was an important run.  My schedule only has two runs of 20 miles each, and one longer one (about 22-23 miles).  Last week I ran with my friends at the track on Thursday and my leg was fine.  We had 800 meter repeats at half marathon pace (so slower than yasso pace).  I did them all and felt good, but just to be safe, I got a ride back to the starting point instead of running any cool-down miles, and then I decided to push my luck and do a very slow and easy run to work (another 3.75 miles).  Before I was even halfway to work, my leg hurt.  Same place (upper calf on my left leg), and it was bad.  It hurt even to walk.  I was starting to panic, thinking I’d really done it.  Pushed too hard and done real damage or something. 

Well, somehow on Thursday, I managed to scratch my eye with my contacts very severely.  It turned all red and puffy, and by Friday, I was at the eye doctor, a total mess.  Friday morning, I went to boot camp but didn’t run at all.  But it was almost like my eye hurt so much that I didn’t even notice the pain in my leg.  Long story short (heck, long story long at this point), I am supposed to wear my glasses until tomorrow, and then if I’m back in Dallas, I have another appointment and he will try some new contacts for me.  Of course this particularly sucks because we’re supposed to leave town on Wed. morning to go to my high school reunion.  In glasses?  Ugh.  I’m not a particularly vain person I don’t think, but I really hope I can wear contacts for the big event.  Though I really need to get a dress or something too!  I haven’t put much thought into it (aside from trying to make long run plans and being excited about seeing about 15 people who I really miss). 

Anyway, back to yesterday.  My brother said he’d go with me for the run, and in my mind, that seemed like a good plan.  While I figured there was no way he could run 20 miles (no offense to him, he runs, and he’s in great shape, but lately he’s been training for a 100 mile bike race and only running about 25 miles per week), I also thought it was very unlikely that I’d make it 20 miles.  So we met up with my running buddies Sunday morning and we set out for 20 miles, not knowing how it would unfold.  We held back a bit on the pace, and my brother said he was thinking of turning around at about mile 6.  Well, mile 6 came and went and he was still there.  As we ran, he said he was now thinking 7.  Then 7.5.  At that point, I was pushing him to go 8 miles before turning around, since there was a water stop at 8 and I thought that even though it was cool, he wasn’t used to the weather and could easily get dehydrated.  Well, at mile 8, my buddies egged him on.  A bunch of the guys talked trash and told him it was only 2 more miles, then we’d u-turn.  And my brother caved and stayed with us.  WTH?  Did he give in to peer pressure like that in high school?  I’d expect more.  Haha.  He probably gave in because he really thought 20 would be do-able with virtually no running base, particularly since he was going at my slower pace. 

Well, by mile 12, he was not loving life.  He said his legs were heavy and I could tell he was slowing down.  He had directions and he told me to go on without him, that he’d run a bit further, then he’d take the sag wagon.  It blew my mind, but he made it to mile 16!  And equally mind-blowing for me was that at mile 16 I was still pain free.  He and one of my friends grabbed the sag wagon, and I continued on.  By mile 18, I figured that if I could go another half mile, then I’d just tough it out and finish the 20 (but if it hurt by 18.25, I’d turn around to the water stop and take the sag wagon).  But 18.5 came and went, and then 19, no pain.  Around 19.3, I felt a slight twinge in my calf, but it was gone so quickly I wasn’t sure if I’d imagined it.  Bottom line is that I got all 20 with no calf-related pain!  Sweet!! 

I stretched for a while, went out for tacos with my bro, went to buy 40 pounds of ice, took an ice bath at home, packed up, and then he and I went out for lunch (hubby was at work).  We did a restaurant week lunch (at Central 214) and I was definitely hitting my max on eating out.  The food was good, but dessert was almost too much (don’t worry, I ate the entire piece of cheesecake, but I kept thinking I’d stop).  Got home from lunch and transferred laundry to the dryer and hung up our running clothes, then I was out the door for the airport, saying goodbye to my bro.

The airport was the biggest disaster ever.  I got parked about an hour before my flight, cutting it too close, but at DFW, that should have been fine.  15 minutes for security (had boarding pass on my phone), then 15 minutes to get to the gate and buy a bottle of water before boarding.  But as soon as I walked in the terminal, my plans were foiled – there was a massive line for security, 45 minutes they said, so I hauled butt down to the next security line, about 15 gates away (a long haul).  A much shorter line there, but I was nervous about not making my flight.  Finally got to the front of that line and they couldn’t take mobile boarding passes there.  I almost died.  I ran (literally) back to the other part of the terminal to print a boarding pass, but it was too late to print one.  The flight was LEAVING in about 20 minutes.  The attendant where I was trying to print a boarding pass said the nearby security line could take mobile passes, so I went to the line and proceeded to BEG people to let me cut in front of them.  Thankfully, there were about a million kind souls in line.  I don’t know what I would have done otherwise.  I bypassed probably 50 people, rushed through security, ran to my gate, and boarded as the last person less than 90 seconds before they closed the doors.  Yikes.  I am so angry at myself for letting that happen.  I should have known that Sunday afternoons can have huge lines, I just should have planned so much better.  I definitely need to pay a big one forward – I feel like I owe about 500 favors to random strangers. 

So this morning I’m sitting in Philly, here for work again.  Hopefully going home tonight, but it will depend what unfolds today.  Hoping to settle a very stupid case.  The problem is that since it’s so stupid, I don’t want to pay much to settle it, and since I don’t want to pay much, of course there’s a chance I won’t be able to settle it.  We shall see…

I have about another hour to kill before I have to leave for the conference, so plenty of time for FMM today!
It's a perfect topic for me since my high school reunion is next week! 
friend makin 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 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!

School Days
1. What was your favorite subject in school? I would say Social Studies or History.  Or French.  In high school, it was definitely debate. 

2. Did you attend elementary school and high school in the same town? No.  Elementary school through fourth grade in Milwaukee, then another state for 5th and part of 6th, then the KC area for the end of 6th through the end of high school.

3. Are you still friends with anyone that you met during school?  With a few people from 7th grade onward.  One of my best friends was a year ahead of me, and we stay in touch and she came to our wedding, as well as a guy who was my year and another best friend.  There are a couple other people that I am occasionally in touch with, and back when I was on facebook of course, it was easy to keep up with about 100 of them that I'm connected to. 

4. What activities were you involved in as a student? My main activity was debate (I was really destined to be a lawyer).  As far as sports, my main activity was tennis.  I also liked French Club.

5. Did you bring your lunch, or did you get it at school? I think I usually bought it at school but I don't have strong memories.  In elementary school, there weren't choices (it was a single meal for everyone), so then I looked at the menu and told my mom what days I wanted to bring my own lunch.  But by high school, there were options and there was something I wanted. 

6. Did you enjoy shopping for clothing and school supplies?  Not really.  I didn't end up with tons of new clothes (large family, lots of hand-me-downs in the early years), and lots of begging for the school supplies I wanted (trapper keeper, etc.). 

7. Name a song or a band that reminds you of high school.  Here comes the hotstepper.  There was a dance group or spirit squad or whatever and I remember wanting to be on it initially.  They were called the starsteppers I think, but then I heard people calling them the star-heffers and I was appalled (I hadn't made it through the try-outs).  On some petty level, I think that nickname for the group made me feel better about not having made it. 

8. Did you like school?  Yes, for the most part.  I had good friends, but of course I didn't really like homework or waking up.  But I liked the learning part and was lucky to do well without a lot of effort. 

9. How long have you been out of school?  20 year high school reunion is this coming weekend!

10. What did you like most about school? What did you dislike most about school?  This relates more to grad school, but I liked being in school (and not working!), and of course I loved having a network of friends.  I guess I most disliked homework. 

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.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Would You Rather, a running style survey

As evidenced in the many months (? years?) I've been doing Friend Making Monday, and the presence of multiple other questionnaires on this blog, you know I love doing them.  Particularly ones about running!  So I found this one that seemed different and I thought it would be fun to post the questions as well as my answers.  Particularly since I'm not really running this week. 

I originally found it on this post by Renee.  And it looks like she posted in response to a post she found here (but I copied it from Renee's blog because I liked her colors). 

Feel free to post your own answers, particularly if I read your blog a lot, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on your blog. 


Do a tempo run or hill repeats?
A tempo run.  I hate hills and I really hate hill repeats.  It's even worse because in Dallas, I've had about five to ten negative encounters with motorists or bicyclists -- unless you count while doing hill repeats, where I've had a negative encounter each of the two times I've done repeats in the last month.  Sometimes the "fueled by anger" can help me power up one more hill, but generally it just makes me even more miserable. 

Hydrate with water OR hydrate with a sports drink?
Water.  But I usually do sports drink about every 6 miles.  Here is my rough pattern for a long run:
mile 2 - water
mile 4 - gu/gel/chomps and water
mile 6 - sports drink
mile 8 - water
mile 10 - gu/gel/chomps and water
mile 12 - sports drink
mile 14 - water
mile 16 - gu/gel/chomps and water
You get the idea.  This has worked well for me for a long time, so I am very concerned about the fact that the Berlin marathon appears to have stops with water every 5k, and sports drink every 10k.  The sports drink is fine, but I'm used to having more water.  On my next few long runs, I need to try mimicking the race course more. 

Itch constantly as you're running or sneeze constantly
as you are running?
I think I'd rather itch.  I think I'd have to come to a complete stop before I could sneeze.  And if I had to pee even a little, ugh! 

Compete in the Olympics as a runner or in another sport?
(What sport?)
I'd love to be an Olympic runner!  Something like the 100 meter, or the marathon, wouldn't matter, just as a runner.  I guess my second choice would be figure skating, but since I don't really know how to skate beyond loops at a rink that I do about once a decade, I pretty much have no shot at that.  Haha.  Wait, I also have no shot at being an Olympic runner unless a vast majority of the fit and fast population dies out! 

Be a short distance sprinter OR be the energizer bunny, holding the same pace for a long period of time?
I'd rather be able to run for a long time. There are all-comers track meets in our city one night per week for six weeks and it's always funny because I do all kinds of events, but I always have to go in the slowest heat -- the announcer will call it "the distance runner heat" or the "women over 30 heat" or whatever.  Bottom line is that I love all running, and it would be awesome to be super-fast at the 200 or something, but I'd much rather be able to sustain a pace for 20 miles. 

Do speed work on a treadmill OR do speed work on a track?
Track 100%.  I have never done speed work on the treadmill, and I pretty much hate the treadmill so I generally avoid it except for about five runs per year where it feels necessary.  Speed work is always hard, but at a track it just feels real.  I do most my track work now at a track on SMU's campus, occasionally at a junior high up by Hillcrest and Walnut Hill (for Dallas people). 

Do core work OR stretch post run? (Now do you really do either?)
I'd rather stretch, but honestly, I usually do both (though core work is never post-run).  I think around the time I was in my mid-30s, I got into the habit of walking for a few minutes immediately after a run over about 5 miles, and then doing a few stretches.  I've also gotten pretty religious about doing a few minutes of stretching after all my weekly long runs.  While I'm hurting right now, I feel like I generally run pretty pain-free, and I credit that to cross-training and post-run stretching.  I go to boot camp twice a week now (was three times a week until a couple months ago), and that usually includes a fair amount of core work. 

Have no toe nails OR black toe nails?
Ugh.  I think right now I'd have to say no toe nails.  I have one that has been black for practically a year, and it's just kind of permanently blistering and swelling underneath.  It sucks.  I have recently lost both my little toe nails and so I just put blue polish on the stub and they don't hurt at all. 

Wear an army pack while running
OR wear lead toed boots while running?
Lol.  I hate this question.  I just kicked major @ss last year in a marathon where I had to wear an army pack (mine weighed in around 43 pounds), and I still have a scar on my lower back from where it rubbed off all my skin.  I was so happy to get rid of that blood-stained back pack that I thought about having a party with my running buddies to burn it.  But I can only imagine how much lead-toed boots would hurt, so I guess I'd reluctantly choose to don the pack again, even though I think that major slow-down on pace took almost a year for me to recover from and get back up to full speed. 

Run twice a day three days a week or
run once a day for seven days a week?
I think twice a day three days per week.  I love having at least one complete rest day per week.  Right now (well, until last week), my schedule was 3 formal group runs per week, 1 informal group run per week, and 5 commuting runs per week.  9 runs per week has been my pattern for months, so I actually don't blame that for my current over-use pain -- I think that is more attributable to higher mileage on the group runs, and some pacing issues. 

Have side cramps your entire run or
have leg cramps your entire run?
Side cramps! I'd think that they were be easier to deal with, because at least I could keep moving forward.  My most recent calf pain started as what felt like a cramp.  I think it would be much easier to move with side cramps.  But actually, even that would probably mean "rest day" for me.

Fun questions!  Thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Breaking Point

I have never been a "high mileage" runner, at least as most marathoners would define that term. 

I've kept careful running logs over the years, and I usually make a point of chonicling my weekly miles of training on the blog just before a marathon:
  • here and here in 2010 right before my first BQ,
  • here before Boston 2011, and
  • not here before my fall 2011 race
  • 2012 wasn't applicable because the first race was while wearing a 40 pound weight vest, and the second marathon (Beijing) was cancelled before I started to taper, and then I never bothered to chronicle my training for my personal make-up race. 

Overall, I was gradually increasing the miles and very happy with the results (like I said, it still wasn't high mileage by most marathoners' standards).  My pattern for the last few years has been to start hurting whenever I have two weeks in a row of mileage in the mid-50s (that mileage used to be blog-worthy, and even lower amounts as well). 

This year was unfolding differently. 

I think the big change was that I was commuting to work on foot 5 runs per week and those were junk miles in the truest sense of the term.  3.7 miles each way, so up to 18 miles or so per week.  I would go very slowly sometimes, frequently accompanied by a coworker who's just starting out or by a good friend who's coming back, both of whom pace 2-3 minutes per mile slower than I do on my own.  But even when I was alone, those 5 commutes per week were usually very, very easy and slow. 

This year I think I moved my breaking point higher. 

I can do more weeks in the mid-50s, but either way, then I break. 

I have completed 12 weeks of training so far for the Berlin Marathon.  At this point, I only have 4 more long runs (and then a couple shorter long runs while I taper).  The current plan goes 20-20-18-22 (that second 20 is in doubt since we'll be out of town for my high school reunion that weekend). 

Here is my current training break-down for 12 weeks (the one week where I had a Saturday long run I am counting it as being done on Sunday, and I'm putting the Sunday miles on Sat, just to keep the total picture clearer):
  • 0-29.9 = 0 weeks
  • 30.0 – 34.9 = 3 weeks
  • 35.0 – 39.9 = 1 week
  • 40.0 – 44.9 = 2 weeks
  • 45.0 – 49.9 = 3 weeks
  • 50.0 – 54.9 = 1 week
  • 55.0+ = 2 weeks

But this past weekend, as I mentioned, I think I hit the breaking point.  Coincidentally (NOT!), I have been over 47.5 (so upper-40s) the last five weeks in a row.  If I were a hashtag person, I'd say #overtrained, or #overtraining, or #toomanymiles, or #toomuchtoosoon, or #maybemyrunningcoachcertificationshouldberevoked.

I'm hoping a few days off will fix it, and then I will proceed to take it easy while I ride out the remaining weeks of training.  Maybe drop some of the commuting miles if necessary. 

If a few days off doesn't fix it, I guess I won't be meeting my goal time in Berlin, but I still feel like I've accomplished something in that I was finally able to sustain higher miles for longer. 

And the rational part of me is pretty sure that this current pain should resolve before race day.  After all, it just started hurting on Sunday, and I had gotten in at least 14 miles before the first little hint of pain.  Biofreeze will surely cure all, and then I will head into Berlin with the strongest training history and the highest mileage I've ever had...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When bad things happen to bad people

You know that book about when bad things happen to good people? 

Well, sometimes bad things happen to bad people. 

And sometimes that makes me smile.  Karma is a b!tch. 

At my last job, there was one older woman, a legal assistant, who made my life miserable.  And I'd moved to that small law firm after following a very good friend from big law.  And that same woman made my very good friend's life miserable too.  This legal assistant actually snooped through my friends desk and spread all kinds of rumors about her.  But I don't really bear much ill will toward her.  She is old and in poor health, and almost everything about her life seems miserable.  I can almost understand why she would delete documents, lie, blame, etc.

And there was one person at that job that I thought was a friend but it turned out had something very hateful and cruel about me behind my back.  As soon as I found out about that, I cried the requisite tears, and then I distanced myself.  I was polite but I never had another personal conversation with her again.  It was sad because I'd travelled to Mexico to go to her wedding, and I'd spent many a weekend afternoon at her house working on our scrapbooks together.  Things in her life have gone badly since I changed jobs, and I'm sad for her.  While she wasn't nice to me on that occasion, I think she has a good heart and she deserves to be happy. 

And then there the final office drama queen.  She was a fairly young receptionist and I thought she was a pretty horrible person as soon as I got to know her.  She said bad things about almost everyone I think behind their backs, and she struck me as very two-faced.  One thing I remember about her was that she would frequently tell me how disgusting my lunch smelled.  That was odd since I was a vegetarian and she would eat things like tuna and I would never say a word.  But I'm sure some foods I ate didn't smell great, but really, no worse than hers.  One of my favorite frozen meals to eat for lunch is an Amy's meal called Mattar Paneer.  It has a strong curry smell -- I think it tastes insanely good and I like the smell, but whatever, I'm sure not everyone does.  But you know, people made all kinds of things in that office (and my office was near the kitchen), and I just kept my mouth shut.  One of the funny things is that now she's become a vegan, so she probably eats a lot of the same stuff I used to bring for lunch.  I think she became vegan not by choice (i.e., ordered by her doctor), but she's lost over 100 pounds since, so that's good. 

I don't know why I'm struggling to think of some concrete examples about her, but she just struck me as evil.  She was the opposite of a team player, she was condescending (ironic, given her job and many aspects of her life that seemed far from ideal), she was petty, she was two-faced, she was bitchy, she was unprofessional, she was lazy, she did not make the world a better place. 

Well, this past weekend, my very good friend who I'd followed to that firm (she also left) came over to help me work on a jigsaw puzzle, and then we went out for lunch.  She had all the gossip on these people.  The old legal assistant is still smoking a pack a day but has emphysema.  The one I had thought was a friend has since gotten divorced and while she was apparently hoping to get back together with her husband, he has now gotten someone else pregnant.  And it turns out that this receptionist has gotten divorced.  That wasn't a big surprise to me.  She was young when she got married (maybe in 2010 or so? I remember being at their wedding reception and I was already married).  She was immature and from what I heard, she's gone through some pretty big life changes (becoming a vegan and losing 100 pounds are definitely good changes, but they can take a toll on a marriage).  I don't look at her getting divorced as any kind of kharmic payback or anything.  Obviously divorce happens to lots of people and as hard as it is, it can sometimes be a change for the best. 

But the big news is that she lives in some random suburb and the local police there apparently recently approached her and indicated that they suspect her husband (or ex) as being a serial rapist!  What???!!! 

Now really, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.  Imagine how it would feel to find out you were married to someone who did that to women.  But if it has to happen to someone, it couldn't have happened to a nicer person.  Especially since she's out of the relationship and safe, it's kind of funny to me that she'll have this among her list of horrifying life experiences (coupled with not being a nice person, etc.). 

I feel bad about writing this post.  I might hit delete later today...

Monday, August 12, 2013

FMM: Have you ever (2)?

I don't want to write about my weekend.  Friday and Saturday were fine, but my long run (18 miles) yesterday was bad -- injury bad.  I don't know for sure what's going on.  I saw a sports injury PA afterward (yes, true panic for me, to see someone on a Sunday, within an hour of finishing the run), and he actually said that he thinks it was just muscle fatigue, nothing to worry about long term.  He recommended ... I'll pause to let you guess ... hmmm... RICE!  Go figure!  So I have been very good about the Ice and Compression parts, I went to boot camp today but only did abs and arms, so pretty good about the Rest part, and I will elevate after work tonight. 

I just have to remind myself that this always happens before a marathon.  For me, usually, something hurts a lot at some point.  And I usually get through it fine.  But I'm very freaked out.  It hurts a lot.  It's my gastrocnemius.  But it's Monday, so I don't have to write about my weekend, I have a topic all ready for me!  This is a repeat topic (original answers here, I've been doing FMM forever), but of course answers change as life goes on. 

friend makin 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 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!

Have You Ever?

1. Jumped out of an airplane? No, but I think I would.  I'm reading a book right now about a D-Day paratrooper and it's very inspiring.  He comments that growing up in Astoria, Oregon, weighing 80 pounds, at one point he jumped off the roof of his house with a 5 foot beach umbrella -- yes, a paratrooper at heart.  He acknowledged how lucky he was that he didn't get seriously hurt.

2. Lived alone? Yes.  From the time I graduated from law school (age 24) until hubby moved in with me (age 30). 

3. Met a celebrity? Yes, but nothing too notable. 

4. Said something to someone that you immediately regret saying? Yes.  And it would be lovely if I could say that hadn't happened since I became an adult, but of course I can't...

5. Had a manicure/pedicure? Not in the last 2 weeks, but many times. 

6. Gotten a hickey? Yes, but not recently. 

7. Owned a pet that was not a dog or a cat?  We had fish sometimes growing up, and I had a turtle in law school.  As an adult living alone, no, no pets ever. 

8. Been outside of your home country?  Not since China in October -- it feels like it's been forever!!  We love to travel so much and I can't believe it's going to be more than 6 weeks before we get to Germany.  Gotta get out of here annually...

9. Kissed your best friend?  Not in the last hour!!  But I pretty much make it a daily habit now!

10. Eaten food that fell on the floor?   Yes, as Matt Lauer says, what matters is the moisture content of the food (assuming it's not a floor in a public place).  If a skittle hits the floor, fine to eat.  If a slice of pear hits the floor, not fine to eat. 

11. Met someone online (in person)? No (but do you count meeting people from work that you communicated with via email first?). 

12. Been on TV? Yes, interviewed as a person on the street on MSNBC in about 1998 or 1999, and then on a program about home sales in about 2002.

13. Had braces?  Never, very lucky to have straight teeth naturally. 

14. Gone skinny dipping?  Yes.

15. Been to the opera? Yes.

16. Been caught making out by a policeman?  No, but caught by my parents and caught with a police officer. 

17. Sung in public? Not since law school karaoke basically (unless you count being in a group singing happy birthday).

18. Handed out candy on Halloween? Yes, but not lately.  This year we'll be out of town and we were last year too. 

19. Been snowed in? Yes.  More so in Texas than when I lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  They were much better equipped to deal with it.

20. Fallen in front of other people? Yes, but not recently fortunately. 

21. Cheated on a test? Never intentionally.

22. Regretted saying “I love you” to someone? Not really.

23. Finished a meal in a restaurant and realized that you didn’t have your wallet? No.  I've realized it right before walking into a restaurant though, and then not gone in (or made sure whoever I was eating with could front me the funds). 

24. Shot a gun? Never as an adult. 

25. Heard a song that was written for (or about) you? Yes.

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

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Running Fashion Faux Pas

You may have already seen this top 10 running fashion faux pas list/slideshow on, but if you haven't, it's worth a minute to check it out and chuckle.

Here's the link:

By the time I got to the third one (actually, the commentary more than the picture), I was laughing at my desk. 

My group of running buddies includes the fourth (and he's super fast, so no one really talks trash about it). 

I'm guilty of number 6, but that was only due to a mid-run casualty.  And since I said mid-run, my hair was already a sweaty, wet, knotted mess.  Oh, it was ugly...

I'm totally guilty of number 8 if I take the time to lay out my clothes the night before (which I do about 60% of the time).  And even if I don't lay out my clothes the night before, since I track my shoe mileage and I have several color options (neon yellow, pink, blue, white, and a different shade of blue), I tend to make my choice in the morning based on outfit...

I knew someone who did number 9, but she wasn't really a runner, more just came out for show.  I think she was looking for a husband actually.  Needless to say, within a few months, she was gone.  The whole concept of this boggles my mind about as much as number 6 does.

I probably do number 10 sadly.  Whole lotta leg for people to see, but the few shorties that I have seem to be the only ones that aren't driving me crazy during the summer of chafe...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stranger on the Street

This is probably post # 492 about how my husband and I are different.  And this is probably post # 399 about how he is a better person than I am.

When we were visiting my in-laws in Pittsburgh last week, one night we'd stayed home for dinner.  My mother-in-law had cooked and we (well, me and my in-laws, not my husband) had dishes of ice cream and strawberries for dessert. 

I've mentioned before that my in-laws aren't exactly active people.  They are significantly older than my parents (my husband is the baby, so his oldest brother is nearly my parents' age).  And they're not in great health.  But really, I'm not sure they were ever very active people, at least not when I met them about 8 years ago, but they've certainly become less active in the last eight years.  They spent A LOT of time sitting and watching TV.  It kills me.

I certainly watch my fair share of TV.  But I also work, run, live, etc.  I'm sure it's different since they're retired, but it seems like all they do is watch TV.  I could watch a day of TV, but they tend to either 1.) watch baseball, 2) watch Fox news at a VERY HIGH volume, 3) flip channels about every 60 seconds.  None of those are enjoyable for me. 

So after dinner, when they were moving to their TV-watching positions, hubby and I went for a walk around the town where they live. 

They live in a Pittsburgh suburb that definitely seems affluent.  I haven't looked at housing prices in Dallas in a long time, but for a pretty typical stand-alone house in their town, there are probably 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, and the house is old, probably 2 stories.  I'd guess given the proximity to downtown and the suburb's characteristics, houses like these would be $300-400k in Dallas.  But in their suburb, they're more like $600-700k.  So definitely nice. 

The town has a couple main streets with traffic lights, but it's very residential.  In the heart of town, there's a post office and a city building, the cafe where I tend to set up shop and work all day, several restaurants, some offices (lawyers, realtors, etc.) and a bunch of little shops (Talbots and Aveda were the only chains I recognized, lots of little retailers, bakeries, etc.).

Bottom line is that the town feels very safe. 

But when we were walking past some shops on the well-lit main street, a young "tough" looking guy started to talk to me.  Since there were a bunch of people on the sidewalk, my husband was actually walking a few steps behind me and and we weren't holding hands or anything.  The young guy had a lot of tattoos and looked fairly strong, and was wearing saggy jeans, a t-shirt and a ball cap, and he was carrying some kind of bag.  He was maybe 23 or so?  I don't think race plays into this at all, but if it matters, he was white.

He said something to me about having just gotten out of the hospital and his phone battery was dead and he wanted to use my phone.  I kept walking and because I didn't want to be rude, I said something like, "I'm sorry, no, I can't help."  I might have even lied and said I didn't have my phone.  I honestly can't remember.  All I know is I said no and I kept moving. 

Why did I do that?  I had my phone with me.   

But my husband is a softie.  When we talked about it afterward, he said that he looked at the guy and figured if the kid took off with hubby's phone, hubby had a decent chance of chasing him down (not sure I could have).  But hubby also noticed that the kid had a medical hospital type bracelet on his wrist, and what appeared to be a hospital plastic bag with him.  Hubby dialed the number and gave the kid his phone.  The kid talked to someone about who was going to pick him up and there seemed to be some confusion about where, and the person he was calling didn't have a car but was going to relay the info to someone else or something.

The kid gave back my husband's phone, thanked him, and we continued on our way.  We gave up about 2 minutes of time when we weren't in a hurry, and certainly helped someone out. 

So why didn't I do that?  Is it because as a woman, I'm more wary/afraid of guys asking me for things?  Or is it because I'm just a b!tch?  Hmmm... what would you have done? 

I think if it had been a female who had asked me, I may have said yes.  But I'm definitely not a trusting person in general.

Either way, I'm glad I "married up" on the niceness scale.  He's a better person than I am in many many ways...

Monday, August 5, 2013

FMM: My Community

I had such a great long weekend.  We flew to Pittsburgh very early on Wednesday morning and spent 5 days with my in-laws.  It was so wonderful.  I was very sad when we left, realizing that we'll never visit them in their condo again.  They move into an assisted living community in about a month.  Well, partially assisted living -- they'll have an apartment there that they'll live in until they need to move to the nursing home.  They will have their own kitchen in the apartment, but they'll have one meal per day in a dining room for the community. 

One of the main highlights of the trip, oddly enough, was running.  I had 8 miles of "rolling hills" on the schedule on Thursday, and a long run of 15 miles for the weekend. 

The hills I ran for the 8 miles on Thursday were anything but rolling.  They were so steep that I was insanely sore on Friday and wasn't even able to run a few easy miles. 

Saturday I found a running group by searching online and sending a few emails.  The store Elite Runners & Walkers has a training group connected with it, called In Motion Athletics, and their coaches invited me to join them for 15 miles with a drop-in fee of $15 to cover water/gatorade stops, etc.  It was awesome.  They had a variety of paces and I think I ended up running too fast up front, but I was talking to a guy (Stuart) who was so nice, and it just felt so good with the cooler temps.  I couldn't help it!  It rained for about the first 6 miles, and then it rained hard for about a mile, but then it slowed down and eventually stopped.  But running in the rain was refreshing, and having it be 25* cooler than Dallas weather, it was like a dream.  Just like in Dallas, I ended up having some awesome conversations with the people I ran with.  One guy is a metallurgical engineer who basically makes titanium.  The one I talked to the most works for a sporting goods retailer on a type of software that manages about a third of the stores' inventory, and we ended up covering such personal topics as why he thinks he got divorced (a question I love asking people in hopes that maybe I'll learn something valuable) (and oddly enough, we covered that topic before I asked in the final mile or so what his name was again!).  I ended up going out for a massive breakfast with about 6 people from the group afterward including Lara, Sue and Stuart.  That was kind of funny -- another common theme among running groups across the country -- a group breakfast involving many clean plates!  I had three huge pancakes and I ate every bite.  It was fun meeting everyone, hearing about their race plans.  One of the women was training for NY, and she'd been there and ready to run last year when the race was cancelled.  Lots of the other people were planning to run Columbus.  Anyway, it made for an amazing long run and I've already told them that next time I'm in town, I plan to link up with them to run again. 

Sunday I just had to run a few more miles.  I headed back out for a flat warm-up mile and then tackled a crazy hill that was straight up for about half a mile.  I just had to do it -- we don't have hills like that here, and with the 25* lower temps, it was just irresistible.  I can't wait to get to work today and connect my watch to my work computer where my ANT stick is so that I can see the elevation profile from my runs in Pittsburgh. 

Besides the running, of course, there was lots of fun family time.  Hanging out with a couple of hubby's brothers, and a great big dinner at a cousin's house with her kids there, one of hubby's brothers, plus hubby's parents and his aunt.  The time just went too fast.

I worked remotely on Wed, Thurs and Fri (saving all my vacation days for Europe).  Since his parents communicate a lot by shouting (in a lovely Italian way), it was kind of nice to be out of the house so much.  I got a lot of work done too!  It always stresses me out a bit since my family doesn't do much shouting.  I think it may have been worse this trip because his mom in particular is very stressed and distressed about the upcoming move.  But realistically, it's a good plan.  They're both in their 80s and not in good health.  His dad is in great physical shape, but he has dementia.  His mom is improving her physical health, but still overweight and shaky, so not in a great position to be a caregiver.  It will be good for them to have help nearby, but it's still going to be a hard transition. 

And now... Monday! 

FMM:  My Community
friend makin 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 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!

My Community
1. Where were you born? Did you grow up there? I was born in Milwaukee and lived there until the end of fourth grade.  I moved to Dallas after law school. 

2. Tell us about your favorite spot in your city.   Tough question!  I guess I'd say the lake is my favorite spot in Dallas.  I just did a big post about it last week, which is here.  I like running there, I like the water activities, I like the arboretum, overall it's probably my favorite spot in Dallas other than our home of course. 

3. Do you volunteer for any organizations? If so, will you tell us about it? Tons!  I think volunteering is very important.  I usually aim for 10 hours per month.  I would like to do more, but right now, there are just other ways that I seem to prefer to spend my time.  I volunteer with our local Italian club (which is where I met my husband, and I served on the Board of Directors there for years), and of course I volunteer with running-related groups.  I also do occasional events with a local homeless shelter, a shop that helps homeless people get clothing for job search, and then Habitat.  And there's the occasional charity of choice for an alumni group or something too. 

4. Tell us about your favorite local restaurant.  Dallas has a great dining scene, and I always claim to have two favorite restaurants within a short walk of my house.  Abacus, which is a five-star restaurant and an amazing dining experience with lovely staff that are lots of fun.  And Cafe Madrid, which is Spanish-style tapas, and always fun to share with friends. 

5. Has your city ever experienced tragedy? If so, how did it recover?  Not really.  There was a tornado that hit downtown Fort Worth right before I moved here, and we've had remnants of hurricanes, but that's just amounted to a lot of rain.  Our city's most famous tragedy was of course about 5 months shy of 50 years ago when Kennedy was assassinated. 

6. Share at least one unique thing about your neighborhood. Dallas is not a pedestrian-friendly city, but my neighborhood is very walkable, and a great mix of business and residential.  Within 1.5 blocks, I have at least 20 restaurants, a Starbucks, an Apple store, and about 6 great furniture stores, as well as a Crate & Barrel and a Z Gallery. 

7. If you could do one small thing to change your community, what would you do? I would set up real public transportation like a subway that went to places like the airport, where it would really be useful. 

8. The Powerball is currently up to 400 million dollars. Would you move to a different place if you won? We would probably keep a house in Dallas (perhaps even our current house, which is really all we want here), but I believe we would buy a house in Italy (probably in Pizzo Calabro, or in Nicastro, which is in Lamezia Terme), and we'd spend most of our time there.

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!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Shopping weekend

Just thought I'd share a few weekend scores.   I am not a person who likes shopping, even for running-related gear (which is the least painful shopping of all), so I tend to keep a mental list of what all I need and then suck it all up in a single trip. 

So this past weekend, a ew sports bra and baby body glide (to take to Europe and use before the marathon) were the highlights. Also got a new little ball for rolling (bigger than the ball I use sometimes to roll my feet) and a sample packet of laundry detergent. Running clothes in the summer can get funky so I'm going to try it.  And then some new fueling options, socks, and a water bottle.