Friday, May 30, 2014

Fave quotes

Random things that have resonated with me lately.  Just figured I'd share for the sake of sharing.  Not much else to report. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Beer Mile 3-Peat

It's official, I may have found my true running talent.  But sadly, it's clear in my year of working at this event, it becomes more painful as I get older.  I don't know how long I will be able to continue to prevail, but I pledge here to go down trying. 

Nearly a week late, but here is my Spring 2014 Beer Mile Recap.  I figured since the Beer Mile made the front page of today's WSJ, it was as good a time as any to pull this together. 

I've recapped my history with this event before, but in short:

I read this post about Amy competing in the event:
I wanted to do one here, so I dropped hints and kept my ear to the ground.  I found a group that has them twice a year:  once after fall races are done, once after Boston/spring races are done. 
One was held nearby in December 2012, but I was already home for Christmas.
May 2013, I finally competed.  Intimidated by the female field, but I won:
December 2013, I defended my title:

And last week, I went for (spoiler alert, and attained) the 3-peat. 

It blows my mind because while last week was my slowest win yet (adding 3 seconds to my Dec. 2013 time), I felt the most out of shape and the most intimidated, but I did it. 

Briefly, the beer mile consists of one beer followed by 400 meters (or actually, more like 397 meters, since you get to drink the beer over about 3 meters), repeated 3 times for a total of four beers and one mile.  If you vomit at any point before you finish, you have to run one extra lap (even if you vomit multiple times, it's still just one lap).  I have never had to do a penalty lap (and yes, I just knocked on wood). 

The race had a delayed start of about 10 minutes, but I think that worked in my favor since I'd eaten a Lean Cuisine cheese pizza and more time to settle is always better when it comes to an evening race. 

As the reigning female champion, I was given bib number 1F.  The first arrivals got busy setting up our beers on some bleachers on the infield.  I chose Bud Light Platinum again, which is 6% alcohol.  The beer of choice for most was Coors Fat though. 

When everyone else showed up, I'd had some time to tap the top of my first beer can in hopes of minimizing the foam before opening it (you're not allowed to open any beer in advance).  It was finally time to start.  The countdown happened, I hit the timer on my watch and popped my first tab to begin with beer one.  I was again, first female out of the gate.  Beer one went down easily, but unfortunately, my timing on finishing it wasn't great and there weren't any guys near me to chase on lap one.  I was pretty much running solo.  By the time I was at about 300 meters, I could hear someone who sounded female coming up behind me.  I was pushing hard on the first lap, knowing later laps would be tougher, so I did not get passed by her, but when I grabbed beer 2, I realized that it had been 4F right behind me. 

I was most intimidated by 2F.  She just ran a full in Wisconsin and she was trying "just to get back in the 3:20s" after doing lots of easy running.  That race was about 2-3 weeks ago.  Her marathon PR is not in the 3:20s.  It's in the 3:10s.  Yikes.  Uh, suffice it to say mine is not.  And as I've made very clear, I'm not anywhere close to PR shape right now.  Oh, and did I mention she loves beer? 

So it was a scary surprise for me to have 4F on my heels since I'd totally counted her out based on her past performances.  And also kind of scary, I didn't even know where 2F was, though I knew she was not in front of me.

I'd been trying to get in and stay in my racing head all day.  Now that I have all the extra free time in my life that comes from not doing a 30 day yoga challenge, meaning I have 2 extra hours every single day, I've had more time to read blogs when I'm eating lunch at my desk.

I had texted my husband at lunch on Thursday that I had two mantras for that night:
  • Hold nothing back.  Taken from Christina's post-Boston recap she posted that day.  This was the quote that resonated with me:  Every other race or marathon I run, this is the point where it hurts so bad that I’ll come up with any reason to slow to a more comfortable pace (a walk seems preferable). My reason, usually is, “Oh there’s no reason to kill yourself; it isn’t Boston or anything.” But today, I did not have that one.  “It is Boston,” I tell myself. “Hold nothing back.”

  • I can do hard things.  Taken from Janae.  I think she started using it when she first separated from her husband, but it's worked well for her in races. 

So I just took the beer before me.  I saw 2M expel liquid from his mouth.  He claimed it was not vomit, but foam that spewed out during a belch.  I didn't get involved in the controversy (I think one of the timekeepers was discussing whether a penalty lap was required).  I just drank the beer before me, not easily, but I emptied it, I held the empty can over my head, I threw it toward the trash can (and totally missed), and took off.  I was "blessed" (that's for you Michael) to have two guys also start lap 2 near me.  I hung with them for about 200 meters, and at that point, I was falling behind a bit, but I could see the drinking station, so I shifted my attention there to attempt to calculate my lead.  And I saw 2F starting her run.  If I'd had another beer in me, that might have been the cue for a total breakdown.  2F is fast.  She's a bad@ss.  She's a drinker.  She registers for Boston on the first day.  She hasn't gained 5 pounds in the last 6 months.  She makes it look so easy.  She's younger.  This can't hurt her as much as it hurts me.  Her mile time is probably at least a minute faster than mine.  I could have so easily started thinking all that and simply quit. 

But instead, Amy's comment from my first beer mile race recap came back to me:  "yeah, it's always that 3rd beer that separates the drinkers/chuggers from the non drinkers."  So I told myself I had a 200 meter lead but I was coming in to the part where my lead was sure to grow decisively. 

I tried to keep that and my mantras in my head.  I got into the drinking zone for beer 3 and yes, it was smoother than beer 2.  I had to stop chugging a few times to catch my breath, but 2F was still out there running.  And then I noticed 4F set out on a run -- a full lap behind me now!  Score! 

I finished beer 3 and went out strong.  By 200 meters, 4F was in my sights -- and even better, I could see 2F was still on beer 3.  And then I couldn't tell you what happened.

It was a crazy 200 meters. 

The mantras were going full force in my head.  A guy was coming behind me, and I used that as more of a reason to push.  It was all the magic I needed. 

I passed 4F and didn't get passed by 3M, the guy who it turned out was behind me, right on my heels at one point. It turned out to be a solid lap that was almost even with my split from lap 1.  Insanity! 

But oddly enough, in that magical 200 meters, I also didn't get passed by 1M.  I remembered very clearly from my last beer mile that I'd been passed by the lead male about 300 meters into my third lap (when he was finishing his final lap). 

I got into the drinking zone, opened beer 4, got the first solid third of it down, and realized 1M was just standing there.  Yeah, he was done.  6 minutes flat.  A new PR for him.  He must have passed me in a drinking zone without my realizing it. 

Then the other realization hit -- 2F was heading out for her lap 3.  Indeed, that beer three had been decisive, Amy was right, it separated me from the others. 

I was untouchable.  Well, untouchable unless there was vomit.  At this point, I realized "hold nothing back" didn't sound quite as good when I was trying to focus my mind on the idea of not vomitting.  Beer 4 was a bit of a blur.  Splits were being called to runners entering the drinking zone, but I was having trouble with the math.  And then it was done.  I was going bottoms up, confirming it was empty before I held the can above me head and tipped it.  Pitched it toward the trash and set out for lap 4.  I was again solo.  The guys who had started beer 4 just before me were still drinking.  2F was on the track ahead of me but out of reach.  But it didn't matter to me.  I just had to keep it all down. 

Resounding victory.  I finished the lap, crossed the finish line, took some celebratory photos, and took a seat on the bleachers to watch the rest of the race play out.  4F had a big crash and burn.  She really one had one good beer and one good lap in her.  2F was more than 2 minutes behind me.  4F was in disbelief at my time.  She'd seen me hold the empty over my head and I put her hand on the top of my head to prove it was dry, not even foamy.  She was amazed...

I am indeed untouchable.  Beer mile 3 peat.  Done. 

We all went back to the organizer's house again for snacks and more beers.  My husband came to meet me there since I knew I wouldn't be able to drive home and had planned well enough to get a ride to the race.  We hung out until about 11 and headed home.  Needless to say, there was no boot camp for me on Friday morning.  The alarm went off at 5:00 and I got up.  It lasted about 3 minutes, and I went back to bed.  The thought actually crossed my mind that I could possibly get a DWI on my way to boot camp.  I didn't do a BAL calculator, but 4 beers in quick succession 8-9 hours ago, and then 1.5 beers more finished about 6 hours ago, it just seemed like a risk not worth taking.  And I was just soooo tired.  I went back to bed with the victory smile on my face...

There will undoubtedly now be even more pressure when I compete again in December, but hopefully by then I'll be back to close to peak shape and maybe I can go for a PR. I don't have the exact numbers handy, but I think last week was about 10-20 seconds off my original PR from May 2013. I should be able to do that with laser-like focus and spot-on hard-core training.

And hopefully this works, a shot of the WSJ story about the sub-5 world record. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day memories

I feel like I've been hit by a bus!

Three day weekends are so fun, but can be so exhausting.  No one in my family has died while in military service, which is interesting given that both my grandpas were in WWII (one Air Force, one Navy), my dad was in the Army, my uncle and aunt were in the Air Force, and two of my cousins (and one's husband) are also in the Air Force.  And of course I'm married to a former Marine.  But forunately, all living.  I think that counts as a military-heavy family?  I only have one uncle not in the military (and my momma and grandmothers).  So my Memorial Day rememberance was mostly confined to passing thoughts of nameless veterans.  I did read parts of two books about WWII, does that count? 

I spent most of the long weekend at my local bestie's parents' house.  We go out there every year primarily to hang out and to run a Memorial Day half marathon.  But this year there were only two of us doing the half!  The other three did the 5k, which I think is an understandable choice.  It's a half that kind of sucks -- very hilly, usually hot and very sunny.  Oh, and you're sometimes running in one lane on a highway with cars going about 50 right next to you.  But it's mostly the hills and the sun that make it suck.  I ran a solid 6 or so miles and then slowed down some.  When I know there's no chance of a PR, I can lose motivation.  I actually came to a dead stop at TWO water stops to refill my 16 oz water bottle that I elected to carry for an unknown reason.  I was really thirsty so it was nice to have.  The entire race was overcast and it even rained lightly for a couple miles and somewhat steadily for a short time.  It didn't bother me at all.  I'd borrowed a running hat from my bestie's mom and it made it feel cooler and less sticky.  I think I finished about 5 minutes slower than I did last year.  The highlight of the race was this kid that was walking around mile 11.7.  I told him it was only about 6 laps around the track so he should try to run, even just jog.  So he jogged a little and then started really running.  I caught up to him at 12 and he was walking again.  I told him no walking, we're almost done.  So he ran some more.  And walked again.  At that point, I was like, okay, kid, we've only got about half a mile to go, really no walking, come on.  It's sometimes funny to me that kids will just listen to adults.  I was expecting him to say something like, you can't tell me what to do.  But we ran together and chatted some.  He's really excited for summer.  Really, a lot excited for summer.  We got in sight of the finish line, less than a quarter mile to go, and he asked if we could sprint.  I laughed out loud.  We had been steadily picking up the pace and there was seriously no chance I could sprint.  I told him that I was just going to keep running but that he should definitely sprint.  He took off, quite impressive! 

Then we spent the rest of Memorial Day eating.  Stuffed portabello mushrooms, a 7 layer dip, Mexican street corn, "crack" potatoes, a lentil-feta-raisin dip that I made, and marinated mushrooms.  Dessert was cheesecake dip that I made, some kind of strawberry jello angel food cake, fried pies, fruit and ice cream.  Yeah, lots of afternoon napping!  We usually float around in the pool, but it was rainy.  We played Apples to Apples a bunch of times.

It was a lovely lazy weekend.  But something about not being home meant I just came back exhausted.  I have a feeling these 4 days of work are going to feel like 5 or 6...  Should be a good week though.  Track meet, happy hour for a running buddy who's moving away, and maybe a day of a running commute again! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Days of Doubles

This week featured three consecutive days of double workouts, and I'm quite proud of that.  It's hard to believe that this was routine for me most of last year, but I'm just so out of the groove now.  I'm guessing I've had morning and evening workouts less than ten times this year prior to this week (and that's counting the social runs before the big local St. Pat's race). 

Here's how this week unfolded: 

Monday night, I worked late.

Tuesday night, I went to our local track meet.  It's a series of 6 weeks long (I missed the first because I was in Pennsylvania) and is truly an all-comers meet.  There are kids who look to be about 2 "competing" in the 100 meter event.  There are guys in their 60s.  There are distance runners (at least a few), and there are sprinters.  I'd say the average participant age is about 16 -- lots of lots of people in the 10-13 crowd, which brings down the average.  I'm by far one of the suckiest runners out there.  I competed in the first heat of the 1500 meters and the 800 meters, and I was toward the back by far.  For example, for the 1500 meters, they sort you by mile time until they have a full heat.  So the first call was for mile times 5:30 and slower.  That would be me.  Not enough people though.  So then 5:15 and slower.  Still not enough.  Then 5:05 and slower, and we finally had enough people to form a heat.  Yikes!  But for whatever reason, it's something I really enjoy.  I like passing the 6 year old in lap 3 who went out too fast.  But more than anything, there's just some satisfaction in DOING it.  Running hard at night in the Texas heat on a track with strangers.  I also did the 100 meters (dead last in my heat by a long shot!), and the long jump (no fouls on my 3 attempts, but more than 10 inches shorter than most of my jumps last year). 

Wednesday night, I commuted home with my accounting buddy.  She had an amazing year last year and I honestly believe I contributed in some way.  She lost about 80 pounds (and she's short!) and she credits me with it -- obviously she did the work though.  But I did make exercise plans with her, push her not to quit, and nag her about drinking water (including making her chug entire glasses if she'd filled up when directed and it wasn't empty when I went to refill my own).  Well, she took most of the winter off from running.  It was exceedingly cold here, balmy for you northerners, but cold for us.  She stayed active though and actually did personal training sessions at her gym at least twice a week.  I'm proud of her, but as I push myself to get back to commuting on foot regularly, I want to have the accountability of knowing she's going to run me partway home at least once a week.  So I pushed myself to commute on foot Wednesday morning so we could head toward my house together after work (and then she u-turns and returns to the office and her car solo).  She kept me company for about 2.25 miles, which was great.  We did some walking when she needed it, but her level of progress is so far beyond where we started that it's amazing. 

Thursday night, last night, was the beer mile.  Again.  This will get it's own post, I promise, but the short version is ... 3-peat!  Absolutely thrilling! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Small town Pennsylvania

Without spending more than 10 hours a week doing yoga and about 10 hours a week getting ready for or doing laundry from yoga, I feel like I have all this extra time right now! 

For lack of anything better to share right now (I am debating whether or not to post about the mess that occurred at my house on Sunday...), here are some fun photos from last week's trip to Philadelphia. 

I have tons of cases there for some reason, and usually end up working downtown since many are in federal or county court there, but last week, I ended up in a Philly suburb because that was where our mediator of choice officed. 

That is the most disappointing thing about the trip -- it was a mediation, so there's no reason to believe I'll be back there again.  The two best things about the trip (aside from kicking @ss at the mediation) were the insanely lovely 23 mile running/biking trail across the street from my hotel, and an awesome ice cream place about 6 blocks from my hotel.

This was driving up to the hotel, I got excited because I knew I was close, thanks to GPS, and I saw this bike sign for a path crossing the street:   

Hotel was a Residence Inn (not many options there!), but that meant a full fridge: 

And the "fill my fridge" card.  If the room had included a blender, I would have been so happy.  I could have placed orders for spinach, frozen fruit, carrot juice and soy milk, and I could have made my usual breakfast smoothie.  But no blender (probably for liability reasons, see?  I can't help thinking like a lawyer sometimes), just a microwave and a coffee maker:

On my way out in the evening, I scoped out the running trail.  Signs with mileage meant I knew it would be good: 

But this street nearby made me nervous.  See, I think of Pennsylvania in general as a hilly place, and Dallas is not a hilly place.  This street had a large incline, so I was worried the running trail that ran perpendicular to this street might be horribly hilly:

Small town signs: 

An odd statue at the Veteran's Memorial Park.  Not sure exactly why they depicted a family, I mean, I suppose most vets have families and maybe feel like they're fighting on behalf of families? 

The dedication plaque, to all vets, whether in war, conflict or peace: 

Armed forces flags: 

I like this picture because it gives a good sense of the main drag in town.  Lots of little non-chain restaurants, many with outdoor seating, on street metered parking, crosswalks.  Very cute: 

And big churches on the main drag.  If this were in Europe, I'd have gone in them and taken photos just for the sake of doing so.  I think I have roughly 1 billion European church interior photos taken so far by me over the course of my lifetieme. 

The town's public library (oh, and a runner, just running down the sidewalk in the evening): 

This was a diner with a neat mural outside: 

This was my destination, a little ice cream place called Scoops that had been recommended to me: 

Menu options.  "Water ice" is a big thing there, but it didn't appeal to me as much as ice cream.  As for flavors, I knew I'd get black raspberry, but for my second scoop, there were about 10 flavors that appealed to me: 

Banana splits, not mine: 

What remained of my ice cream cone on the walk back to the hotel, that's mostly black raspberry, with a bit of cherry vanilla remaining on top: 

Another picture of the library: 

A random "discoutn shoes and clothes" store right on the main street.  Rent must not be too high, or the business must do better than I'd expect. 

And of course plenty of local sports apparel in store windows: 

Historical plaque.  I don't like the hyphenation of Revolution.  Seems there should have been a better way to do that. 

As I went a different way back to the hotel, I saw another part of the running trail and was excited to see it went all the way to Philadelphia!  That's about 15 miles away!  I knew I'd be set in the morning, and was actually wishing I'd come prepared (time, clothes, fuel, etc.) to do a long run.  It would have been fun to do a 15 miler or so on the trail. 
There you have it, all you ever wanted to see in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bathroom Etiquette Question

So what do you do if you really, really, really, REALLY have to pee (let's say you're in the habit of drinking tons of water, but also very busy at work, so you wait until you're seeing yellow and ready to pop before you go), you go into the only women's restroom on your floor at work, and your secretary is in there standing by the sinks on a personal phone call on speaker phone?

I know I've mentioned before that she is one of my least favorite people in my life right now, but really, who does that?  Why wouldn't she just leave as soon as the door opened and someone else was coming in? Or at least take it off speaker?  I guess I understand that she doesn't have an office door to close for personal calls, but there are conference rooms and even stair wells where you could prop open the door that must be much more pleasant than a restroom. 

So what do you do? 

Do you go in a stall and start peeing?  And given that our toilets are sensored, possibly have an auto-flush when you stand up and she's still on the phone? 

Do you go in a stall and wait for her to leave? 

Do you stand awkwardly by the sink hopping from one foot to another, pretending to fix your hair and trying not to listen the phone call to see if she'll leave? 

Do you actually try to ask her to leave by pointing to the door? 

Do you risk an elevator ride to another floor, hope it's not a secure floor so you can get to the restroom, and go there? 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Contented sigh

So this weekend's mission was to find the Jawbone UP (fitness track type bracelet) that I lost last Sunday in cleaning the garage. 

After the bracelet was lost, I played around with the app on my phone and found out that it has a tracker.  That's somewhat interesting -- it basically means I can always be tracked.  I suppose that's the case anyway, since except when I'm running in the morning, I'm usually with my cell phone, which can obviously be tracked as well.  But the Jawbone really is always on my wrist.  It can only be tracked from my phone, but I'm sure someone at Jawbone HQ could somehow find me if they wanted to.  Or find my body if the bracelet were on me and I were dead. 

I guess it doesn't really bother me.  My husband and I have each other's passwords for "find my phone" to track each other.  When I was regularly running to and from work, it was nice to know that if I got hit by a car and ended up in a ditch, not getting home when I was expected, he'd be able to see where I was.  I occasionally track him on the weekend when he's gotten off work and is on his way home (my never-ending attempt to have a hot dinner on the table exactly when he walks in the door on Sundays, when I usually attempt a meal from scratch).  And of course we track when a phone is missing, but neither of us have ever had a phone stolen (knocking on wood).  I left mine in a bookstore once on a shelf, tracked it, went back to the store and it was still on the shelf where I'd been sitting on the floor looking at books in the section. 

Anyway, I guess being trackable in general and being trackable by your spouse at pretty much all times could be a whole separate post. 

But my point today was about my Jawbone search this weekend.  I'd decide the search had to happen on Saturday or Sunday because my Jawbone was fully charged last Sunday when I lost it, and the battery lasts ten days, so after that I wouldn't be able to track it.  The tracker was confirming it was in the house.

So after the 5k Saturday morning (bah, don't ask, positive splits, slowing about 10 seconds per mile each mile, finishind in an okay overall position but no AG award, which was a surprise since my time was okay, a couple minutes off a PR, but not horrible and the race wasn't huge, but it turns out that 3 women not taking overall awards were in my AG and all ahead of me! bah!), because my husband really wanted to take out the trash and I was mildly concerned it had come off in the kitchen (I was trying to peel roasted beets and was a little worried it had gotten caught in the kitchen trash somehow, or in the boxes of stuff I decided to pitch last week when cleaning the garage), I loaded a ton of trash (boxes and boxes) into my car and drove a few blocks away (just another paranthetical in an attempt to make this the longest sentence in the history of my blog).  Then I tracked my Jawbone from my car with trash boxes and bags, and the tracker indicated the Jawbone was still at home.  So we finally got rid of the trash, and I felt pretty safe that it wasn't in there, not entirely sure I could rely on the tracker.  Then I went grocery shopping with my husband (something we do together about twice a year because he hates it because he says I'm worse than a whiny five year old because I ask for so much junk food).  We came home to unload groceries, then I went to volunteer for a few hours and he went to work to catch up on some stuff.  So when I got home, I was solo on my mission to find the Jawbone.  

I don't know exactly how much a Jawbone costs, mine was a gift from my folks (my mama has one too, and one of my sisters in law, so we are all on a team and can encourage each other on sleep, steps, etc.).  But I'd guess about $100 to $150.  So not really bank-breaking and no reason I couldn't just buy another one.  But you know how sometimes you dig in your heels on principle?  Yeah, this was that.  I'd synched it around 1:00 last Sunday, spent about 5 more hours in the garage (I was looking for a contract that I knew was in a box, but then I just wanted to clean it all), I finished some laundry, and then started cooking dinner.  My husband came home from work and while we ate, before we went to mass, I realized it was gone.  Given that definite itinerary that was 100% in our house, and the tracker confirming it was in the house, and I knew I hadn't taken it off intentionally (but that it had slipped off), I knew it had to be somewhere I could find.  So I was just determined to find it in our house/garage instead of buying a new one. 

Since I'd already cleared the boxes of trash, the next step was to load storage boxes into my car and drive them around to see if I could narrow down whether it was in a box that we keep in this little space under our first floor stairs in our garage.  Don't get me started on the fact a lot of that stuff could probably be pitched -- lots of non-Christmas holiday decorations we pretty much never use since I don't decorate for anything other than Christmas, boxes of old cards, letters and mementos, empty boxes in case we ever move, boxes with form files from back when I was actually litigating cases, filing boxes with old account and tax statements.  For me, it's the constant trap of having no real need to pitch it since we're not short on space.  I suppose one day I'll get around to ditching or donating it, but that wasn't the point of either weekend's exercise. 

Well, as I was loading my car for the first non-trash trip, I found the Jawbone.  It was wedged between a duffle bag stuffed with other rarely-used luggage, and the wall.  Happy dance.  

I loaded the boxes and Christmas decorations back in and just felt so satisfied.  Ah.  Vindication?  Either way, happily back to tracking my sleep and my steps. 

Fun photos from the search: 

A showing of how empty the space got before I found the Jawbone (it was wedged by the duffle bag on the left of the photo):

Boxes and crap loaded into my car for a drive:

4 bins of Christmas decorations (and we don't even have a tree right now!  we donated ours last year and need to buy a new one).  Fortunately, I didn't have to unpack any of these:

And all loaded back into the space:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

US Airways Frustration

Yesterday was not a pleasant travel day.  Unfortunately, I was flying US Air, since the miles I get on US Air will eventually merge with American (where most of my miles are), and since the flight was at a better time for me. 

Well, I ended up running late getting on the flight.  Had to mail a first communion package to my niece, slow for no reason traffic right by my house, construction at the airport terminal, not many parking spots, huge lines, etc. 

Got to the gate and they had already boarded everyone in the area, so I was able to walk right up. 

The guy at the desk forced me to check my bag, he said the overhead bin space was full.  It wasn't a big rollerboard, so I asked if I could put it under my seat.  He said no, it was too long, and I'd have to check it.

So as instructed, I left it at the end of the jetbridge, and then walked onto the plane.

Only to see that at least 33% of the overhead space was open!!!  And only about 5 people boarded after me, so well over a third of the space was empty the entire flight. 

Argh!  F-bombs were flying in my head.  I wasn't in first class but since the first class attendant was the first person I saw, I asked if I could just grab my bag and put it up above, but he said no, for inventory purposes, it had to go under the plane since it had already been ticketed.  I asked why on earth I'd been told they compartments were full and forced to check my bag when that was clearly 100% false, and he didn't really have any good answer -- something like, oh, I guess he just assumed it was full by now. 

I was so angry.  Of course I was landing around rush hour and I knew spending the extra 15-30 minutes to wait for my luggage would only make traffic worse.  And as soon as I sat down in my seat and my bag was headed to the bowels of the aircraft, I realized I'd actually put my purse (with my inhaler, wallet, etc.) in my suitcase since my suitcase was fairly empty and it didn't fit well in my laptop bag/briefcase.  Fortunately it didn't matter.  I didn't need the inhaler or anything else, and the wait in Philadelphia for luggage wasn't horrible.  But it just really pissed me off. 

Oh well, my hotel is right by a really cool running trail, and they had a little dinner buffet in the hotel restaurant with an awesome salad and decent cheese pizza, which meant I just went out for ice cream for dessert.  And they have a breakfast buffet that I'll hit up in about an hour when the defense counsel I retained gets to the hotel to meet me. 

I totally hate hashtags (and I don't tweet), but these are the ones I'd consider:
#homesoonIhope (do you capitalize I in hashtags?)

Some photographic evidence of empty bins, which I was told were full:

This picture is my favorite.  Taken from my window seat, looking at the bin directly across from me, which had room for at least 2, probably 3 suitcases the same size as mine:

And on that last "hashtag", seriously, I love the names of places out here:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Packing Up

Well, if it wasn't official before, it's official now.  Summer has begun in Dallas and it will only get worse for the next four or so months...

It's been warm and humid for the last few morning workouts and today, I came home from boot camp and it was seriously like I'd jumped in a pool of water.  My clothes were soaking wet. 

Supposedly it's going to cool down a bit this week, but I won't be here to see it. 

Setting off for a lovely trip to Philadelphia for work. 

Ironically, it actually looks like the highs and lows for the next several days will be warmer in Philly than in Dallas.

Lucky me! 

And as another bonus to not missing any warm weather with the trip, I also get to miss the first all-comers track meet of the season!


Sigh.  But maybe I can try to do something fun while I'm there I guess.  Trying to find a bright side, but just not seeing it.

Also making me pissy today -- I lost my Jawbone yesterday.  I undertook some major garage cleaning and I never left the house between when I synched it after my morning run and when I realized it was missing during dinner before we went to church, so I know it's somewhere in the house or garage.  So frustrating.  I hate losing things.  I think it just somehow came off, which has never happened before, and I've worn it pretty much daily since early September. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Vacation planning commences

So it's official, as of today, we are clear to proceed for vacation for a few weeks in October!  I suppose I should technically put in a vacation request as well, but my work is never an issue -- husband's is much more finicky.  But his vacation is officially approved now, so no work and no on call for him.

That means it's time to start planning for real. 

We know we want to go to India, but we have to decide if we'll go anywhere else or not.  We did some research in February about where else we may go. 

And India is a big country with lots to see.  We only have the Taj Mahal on the agenda so far, but I'm sure the more we look, the more we'll want to see. 

Excited!  And this means I also need to start saving for plane tickets.  I haven't researched yet, but I'm guessing they won't be cheap...

If only money could grow on trees just for me (well, and any of you, but not everyone because then it wouldn't have any value)...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pre-Mediation Fun aka Work Travel

One thing I've tried to focus on in the last 6 months or so is trying to make work travel slighly less miserable.

When it comes to food, it's a fine line -- sure I can eat tons of fancy and fatty delicious stuff on the road, but I usually end up kicking myself later.  But it seems to be a routine.  I can't seem to find room service that will make and deliver my morning green smoothie!  And I'm stuck with a fairly fixed menu when I'm in a courtroom or a mediation room -- usually there is one option that we can order from, and if I'm lucky, there's something vegetarian on the menu.

But dinners are even harder.  I either go out with other attorneys, in which case I often consume things I'd never have on a weeknight at home -- dessert and alcohol.  And even when I'm dining alone, in some ways I feel like I'm compensating for being somewhat unhappy about not being home, so I go ahead and order dessert.

It took me a while to add some photos, but I was in Montana a couple times in February and March and I made an effort to keep track of what I was eating and drinking so I'd have notes for my next trip there, probably in June.

Flying into Salt Lake City: 

I got some grilled tofu with veggies and brown rice for an awesome lunch at an airport in Salt Lake City.  Dinner was delicious (at Plonk) but way too cheesy to be healthy -- and the few cocktails weren't great.  No surprise I felt like crap the next morning and cut my treadmill run short. 

Breakfast at the hotel each morning was oatmeal and berries: 

Then it was all kinds of fun in an unusual office (complete with boards and a fun bookshelf), and of course doing actual work during the mediation (which featured a cheese sandwich for lunch).

Dinner after mediation was solo, since I missed my flight.  I went to "the best restaurant in Missoula," the Pearl Cafe. 

A couple menu shots (just turn your head sideways to read, sorry...): 

My soup (and wine): 

The best part of the meal -- my dessert was butterscotch pudding: 

But aside from eating, the main thing I'm trying to do to make work travel more enjoyable is to take advantage of down-time to do something fun. Usually, I'd work or watch TV in my hotel room. But part of me has been a bit mentally disengaged, given all the turmoil at work this year. That helps me recognize that I should step away more.

The most recent trip to Montana was perfect. My flight landed a bit early, I'd worked all 6 hours I'd been travelling, and so I had some free time.

Obviously, the pool wasn't an option: 

The primary entertainment seems to be gambling, which doesn't appeal to me at all: 
And even going for a morning run up to the M (which you can see toward the top of the hill in the picture below) wasn't an option since I was told it would likely be icy and snowy and dark: 

So instead, I decided to hit the slopes and buy a half-day lift pass to Snowbowl!   

Totally awesome and so much fun compared to a usual work trip!

But aside from having great snow to ski, the weather was the opposite of great overnight, when I had to go to the airport early the next morning: 

My rental car with the snow that accumulated during dinner -- and no scraper in the car! 

But safe and sound and onto a snow covered plane: 

And home toward Texas: 
So it's a fine line between not being gone longer than necessary, but getting to do fun things while I'm gone so I don't hate work travel as much.