Archive for ‘Me Time’

October 31, 2011

Race Weekend

So … 10k … check.

It was … not exactly what I expected it to be. But, as always, there are stories.

Saturday! Saturday dawned stormy. Being the trooper he is, the husband went out for his final 2 miles, mostly to test out the weather. Even better, he let me sleep in and then came home for cuddling. I got up, got some food, showered, and headed out to the expo.

Oh, the expo. What a disappointment. I’m starting to realize that my first experience with marathon expos (Pittsburg) was abnormally well done. For as much hype as this one was getting, it was just not that good. Small, with far too many people (blame that on the fact that we waited until the final day to go), and not all that many exhibitors. Most of them were other races looking for sign ups, and services (as in Aetna Healthcare, a Nissan dealership, various banks) that didn’t make any sense, other than being race sponsors. Oh, and the official race shop (which had a great variety of Marathon wear, but NO 10k … oh well!) was poorly stocked. Again, I realize it was the last day, but really, they said the jackets sold out THURSDAY. As in, the very first day. As in the day it was only open for 3 hours, in the middle of a workday.

Needless to say, I had a very, very disappointed boy on my hands.

Still, there were a few highlights. I got to sample some Sport Beans and stock up on flavors I LIKED. (Previously I’d only had the berry … not really a fan.) Also, Clif had all their products out for samples. I was finally able to convince the husband I just do not like Clif ANYTHING, and to stop trying. There was also a massage booth set up … and in 5 minutes I was able to get enough of an idea at just how good the masseuse was that I asked for her card.

AND! I finally managed to try yurbuds! You see, I have this problem with finding headphones I can wear more than 10 times. If they don’t fall out/hurt my ears, they end up shorting out. These, I’ve been told over and over again, are guaranteed to do neither. But buying them online is risky, because you need to be sized. Well … lo and behold, they were there! The salesman sized me, put them in, and then YANKED on the cord several times. Guys … it HURT, he was pulling so hard. And the things DID. NOT. MOVE.

I consider them $30 well spent.

After confirming that the races would only be cancelled in the event of an ice storm, we left the Armory to find … snow. I was highly amused and transfixed by the pretty (it was a coating, nothing big), but not worried.


Home, dinner, and mindless TV later, it was time to pack our bag check totes and lay out our gear. In doing this, I realized we are matchy matchy people:


For the record, the boy’s stuff was orange and black. Very Halloweeny indeed. So, undies/bra/tank/capris/jacket/headband/socks/long socks/shoes/bib … check. Off to the left there are Sport Beans, a baggy containing my ID/Metro card/cash, and a pair of sweats/sweatshirt that I would leave behind at the starting line. (They were donating anything left behind, which was AWESOME.) Oh, and a trash bag to wear over everything, if it was super cold. I was SET.

The morning of, it really WAS super cold. And dark … being 5:30am and all. I wasn’t fully awake as I dressed, but it was time to go, whether I liked it or not.


Goofy face and stance … just for you.

Since our starting points were in two different places, we split up in the metro. Arriving at The Mall, I emerged from the station to find … very few people. It was so cold, most were sheltering in the station. Not to be deterred, I dropped off my bag at bag check (the Marines and UPS guys there were the most cheerful, genuine people I encountered all day) and proceeded to march myself up and down The Mall … from the Washington Monument (or, as close as I could get) to the Capitol (ditto) and back. The moving kept me warm, and I donated the trash bag to a girl who was shivering in her race wear*.

A trip to the porta-potties later and it was time to get to my corral. The sweats were left behind there, and just as I was about to cross the starting line I threw my sweatshirt at a young girl (who’d been eyeing down the bright yellow hood) that looked cold. When I looked back, she was wearing it. ::grins::

The first mile and a half of the race were great. There was the excitement of the start, and then, barely a mile after, a drum group playing (and dancing!) loudly. Talk about enthusiasm. ::grins:: Then, we hit 14th Street Bridge.

The mile long bridge was not just frosty, it was iced over. From the looks of things, no one had anticipated it. Screams of “ICE!!” filled the air so that runners behind us would be warned, and the entire group I was in (probably about half way back) slowed to a very careful walk. We made it across the first bit unscathed, and when we got to the very center, found a patch of road not even wet, so we ran again … only to hit another patch of ice.

This time we were not so successful. People went sliding every which way … me included. Determined not to fall I windmilled my way through the paths of several racers, and managed to stay on my feet. Finally we got off the bridge, and continued running.

Less than a minute later, there was a shooting pain in my right shoulder, and my hand went numb. Uh oh … that can’t be good. I slowed to a walk and massaged my shoulder until the pain (and numbness) went away, and tried again. 30 seconds in … same deal.

This, to my utter disappointment, set the stage for how miles 2.5 – 6 would be raced … in 30 second spurts interspaced between several minutes of walking. A few times I pushed through to a full minute (and one time TWO MINTUES!) of running (with my hand hooked in the strap of my bra to keep it from bouncing) … but the pain in my shoulder started creeping up to my neck during those times, and I needed to stop right away.

I did, however Charge the Hill (in Arlington Cemetary). Though now, I wish I hadn’t. In all the pre-race communication, we were led to believe the finish was RIGHT AT the top of the hill. Um … not so much … it was 200 meters further. Had I known this in advance, I would have done the hill slower, and charged the finish line. As it was, when I got to the top and saw how far off the finish was, I stopped and walked. To have a Marine say “Only 200 meters to go, ma’am! You can do it!” I turned to him and said (while massaging my shoulder) “As soon as I can feel my hand, I’m THERE.” He looked shocked, realizing I was injured, and saluted. Which, for some reason, made me giggle.

I did run across the finish line. No stupid shoulder injury was going to rob me of that.

Standing in line to get my medal I had time to come to terms with what I’d just done … and not done. Pride at making it to the finish line warred with disappointment in myself for not doing more. But then, the Lt. was in front of me, congratulating me, calling me ma’am, and putting a medal around my neck. A finishers photo later, I was on my way to the med tent.


The medics were great. The woman assigned to me probed my shoulder for a while and then whipped out a portable x-ray machine. AWESOME, I tell you. She determined I’d not broken or dislocated anything, but that there was a pinched nerve … which explained the numbing and shooting pain … along with a minor strain. Clearly, I should have just let myself fall on my ass when I slipped, instead of windmilling.** She used a TENS unit to relax the nerve, and sent me on my way with some painkillers and orders not to exercise for a week, as more bouncing could re-pinch the nerve.

It turned out, I completed the race in 1:22:42 – a 13.19 minute pace. I have to be honest, this shocked me: I was SURE I was hovering right around (possibly slower than) 15 minutes. That I somehow managed to be well above 15 minutes/mile while walking most of the last 4 miles was stunning.


Yah, his medal is prettier than mine. But he went an extra 20 miles so he deserves it. And I like mine!

So … that’s done. While I wish I’d done better, there’s really not a whole lot I can do about it … especially when an unexpected injury, right? But I’ve learned a few things:

1. I run faster when not on a treadmill. I’ve been using a 10 minute pace for my training. It’s a speed that felt good, so I stuck with it. But seeing my time? When I know I was walking super slow for at least a mile? I can honestly say if I’d run as much as I’d intended, I would have finished 20 minutes faster … and 1:02 is an even 10 minute pace. Considering I’d planned on walking some of it anyway, that means I’m running MUCH faster than I thought. Now, to figure out how fast that actually is.

2. The only thing doing the entirety of my training on a treadmill did was not prepare me for how much harder impacts on the road are. But even then, it was barely noticeable. The hills and road changes didn’t affect me at all. I do not recommend this route to anyone else, and am going to consider myself lucky.

3. I need to be in lighter-weight shoes. I’m in a mid-weight padded shoe now, and I think I need to step down to a minimalist. I tried on a pair of Kinvaras a couple of weeks ago, and felt like I was in dance shoes. My Guides, by contrast, felt heavy the entire race.

4. Starting in the corral of the time I expected to run (1:10-1:19) was a mistake. What I failed to anticipate was that my expected time was a combo of running and walking. EVERYONE around me was expecting that time based on running the entire way. Which meant I spent all of my running moments darting around people … and a few times getting stuck and having to walk, just so as to not run them over. While it was nice to pass people, it was irritating to have them in the way. Next time, I start with the group running at the same speed I am, and let them pass me if I have to walk.

5. This is not the race for an empathetic person to run alone. There were far too many “In Memory Of” shirts going on. Being the shorter race of the day, there were a lot of families. I was choked up almost the entire time, but the shirt that got me crying were a family who had each shirt personalized. There was 1 “In Memory of My Grandson”, 2 “My Son”s, and on a 10-year-old girl “My Brother”. The photo was of a handsome boy, no older than 20 at the most. I was lost.

6. Backpacking on number five, it’s also a very lonely course. Most spectators/entertainment are not out yet, as they have a full 2 hours before the front-runners of the marathon came through. (It kind of made me feel like my race was the “red-headed stepchild” of the day. Race organizers should do something about that.) Add to it the fact that 80% of the course is on freeways where there CAN’T be any spectators, and you have one quiet course. I regretted not bringing my iPod by mile 2.

7. I’m glad I got lazy on my training. Hurting myself and needing to walk was disappointing … but if I’d trained properly and planned on running the entire thing? I’d have been devastated to be forced to stop. Not saying this excuses my laziness, but it makes me just a little bit glad for it.

So, all in all … an accomplishment yes, but a learning experience even more. I’m already signed up for another race (the Jingle All The Way 8k in December), so I intend to do things properly there. I’ve got one “could’ve-should’ve-would’ve” under my belt. Now, on to being a brave adult.

Thanks, everyone, for the support along the way … it really means more than I can say.

Oh! And for one last little bit of fun … at least we know my reflective patched clothing works:


I had a good giggle over that. ::winks::


* I was one of the only people in throw-aways. How does THAT make sense?

** The last time I didn’t just let myself fall on my ass I broke my wrist in 2 places. You’d THINK I’d have learned my lesson!

October 26, 2011


Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a few patterns emerging. Or … re-emerging. That’s a better word.

I’ve started listening to music in terms of choreography.

Moving the furniture out of the way, to create a dance space.

Picking clothing based on how I can move in it.

And then there are the shoes: I bought a pair of soft leather flats about a month ago. I wear them maybe 3 times a week … and I’m noticing some wear in them. Specifically, in the spots my splits usually wore out in first. Which means I’m unconsciously standing and moving in dance patterns.

Somehow, something has shifted in my brain. I’m getting back into the thought and movement patterns I lived with for so long … and have tried to ignore for the past 5 years.

So let’s be brave.

I booked my spot in the Merce Master Class.

::deep breath::

September 14, 2011


Over the last couple of days I’ve been reminded of just how much I was enjoying my life a few years ago … and how much I miss that.

First off, looking up a construction project here in DC, I came across this. Half way through it I realized just how masterfully put together it was. And my appreciation grew. Because this is what I used to do for a living. Offering Memorandums, they’re called. Marketing at it’s finest … making an area, a project, a company look attractive, spinning the demographics, detailing all the little things that make this package SPECIAL … and then, of course, laying it out so it all comes together nice and pretty. It was a job that allowed me to be creative, and at the same time hold my completed work in my hands, and know I’d done well.

I lost that job due to world-wide layoffs (I was with a Fortune 500 company at the time) in July 2008. Commercial real estate was coming to a crashing halt, and there was no way I was going to find a comparable position with another company.

It took me until April of last year to find ANY position in commercial real estate, and this time, I’m on the property management side. It’s something I enjoy, and am good at, but sometimes I really miss the marketing. REALLY miss it.

Then there was Monday night. Driving home from bible study, I called my dad to catch up. He filled me in on all KINDS of things (he’s working again, my sister got a car, an uncle moved, etc etc etc) that I would have heard about right away, if I were still living in California. I miss it. I miss being able to be close to my dad and my siblings (the rest of the family is an entirely separate post). I HATE that I will not be there to tag along with my sister as she plans her wedding. I mean, sure, I’ll be involved in the planning (mostly because I don’t mind putting myself in front of her when psycho-opinionated-family-members start up, having had it done to me) but … when she shops for her dress? When she wants to sit down and giggle over magazines? When she’s overwhelmed and needs a good cry, hug, and some wine?

Not to mention that I haven’t seen our nephew since he was 2 weeks old. The husband has NEVER met him. Baby boy is teething now, it’s been so long. And the godson is growing up far too fast. I’m incredibly blessed that he’s the type of child who remembers everyone … he doesn’t forget me when I’m not around for 6 months. He knows me, and knows that I’m special. But I hate that I’m missing this last year before he’s off to school.

Basically, I’m just down in the dumps about it all. The fact that the long dark winter is only a few weeks away is not improving my mood. So I sit here. Wallowing to myself. ]


Nothing to see here. Move along.

August 15, 2011

One Year

A year ago, this happened:


It’s hard to believe a  year has passed already. It seems like we’re just getting started. And yet, at the same time, it’s hard to believe it’s ONLY been a year. It seems like so much has happened.

One thing is for sure, this year has brought out the best and the worst in us. It has given us the time and space to kick and scream and grow … both independently and together. We’ve been able to test out the promises we made, and fine-tune our plans for our future. There have been nasty fights, big miscommunications, and many tears. But there have also been moments of complete trust, amazing understanding, and total honesty. All in all … I think it’s been weighted on the good side.

Looking at the state of our marriage, I can honestly say we’re in an even better place now than we were on our wedding day. As it should be. It’s been a trial by fire (how much madness can you fit into one year?) but we are here, holding onto each other, and knowing we’ll make it. What more can you ask for?

To continuing to feel, today and forever, the pure joy we felt on this day last year.


August 4, 2011

Boxes Boxes Boxes

Around our little corner of the blogosphere in the past few weeks, there has been a LOT of moving talk. People forced to move, people thrilled to move, people contemplating moving. So, today, let’s join in al the talk.

Guys, for the first time in the past 3 years, I’m not moving. HOORAY!! But MAAAAAAAN do I have some stories from past moves … you see, I’ve moved a grand total of 11 times in my life … and no, I’m not a military brat. Lots of stress? Yes. But it makes for good story-telling.

Take, for example, the fact that it wasn’t until 2 moves ago that I learned moving is a great time to purge the general collection of nonsense that you tend to accumulate. I was more of the mentality “I’m moving from a 1 bedroom apartment into a rented room? I’ll make it fit, dammit!” Ugh. Too. Many. Boxes.

But here are some of the highlights … if only to make you all feel better about your moves…

1. Moving from one rented bedroom to another in the same house.

Somehow, though I had 2 weeks to shuttle all my stuff, oh, 20 feet down the hall (I was taking over the master bedroom in an effort to rid myself of a shared (with 3 guys) bathroom) I managed to be sitting, in the middle of my bedframe (the mattress having already been moved) surrounded by little bits of randomness, at 10:30pm the night I HAD to be out of the room (the new guy was showing up at 6am to move his stuff in). A friend came over to help (read: brought booze), and ended up making a game out of how much he could carry the 20 feet without dropping it … you know … as you do with a load of laundry when your basket is nowhere to be found. Stray socks anyone?

At one point (while sitting in the middle of the floor) my best friend called to break up with me. I shit you not. I sat there on the phone, slightly drunk, while she went on about how she needed to “reevaluate our friendship” because the guy she liked liked me instead. (Said boy was the one who was currently moving my belongings down the hall.) I remember going “well, ok then”, hanging up, and continuing along with the booze-and-moving-games routine.

This would be the same move where I electrocuted myself by being a GENIUS and not turning off my  power before installing a new light switch. Note to all the geniuses out there … bare live wires are not for touching. ::nods::

2. Moving out of my apartment a week before heading across the country.

The movers came to take away all the large pieces of furniture, and (of course) I was not ready. Things were not packed. (Do we sense a theme here?) So as they took my furniture, I was running around, throwing things in boxes, to be trucked across the country. Somehow, that got done.

Or almost. They left, and I realized I had 4 large boxes hiding in my closet. Well, crap. Enter the shiny new fiance who’s come over to help me load the car for our trip. 6 hours later he says it’s not going to fit. I’m adamant it will. He can’t get everything to fit. I tell him he’s doing it wrong.

Fighting ensues. 20 minutes later he looks at me and says all weepy-like “Happy Anniversary.”


3. The cross-country move.

A week of family vacation after the above mentioned anniversary debacle, we repacked the car to head out to DC. This time my dad and I did the arranging. EVERYTHING FIT. ** Barely, but it fit.

Barely, in this instance, means that when I bought a bag of chips at the first gas station, I had to hold it on my lap, because I had no other room. Oh, and whoever was in the passenger seat had to sit with their legs up. For a 2,600 mile road trip. Hrm.

Told you … the tea/bags? The box wouldn’t fit, so I had to start shoving little things everywhere.

The overexposed bit? That was the blanket covering my knees, since I had to keep my feet up.

We were such healthy eaters.

The drive itself was … exhausting. 5 days in close quarters with your shiny new fiance can go really well, or really poorly. In our case, we fought. A LOT. BUT … we came out on the other side feeling like we’d accomplished something big together. So all in all … win.

Then the truck didn’t show up for 3 week and we had to sleep on the floor, waiting for the bed.

You win some, you lose some.

4. The most recent move – 2 miles.

Moving 2 miles sucks. It’s close enough that hiring movers is stupid, but still far enough that you need to have a friend with a truck. Luckily, I had a friend with a truck. =)

We got the keys to our new apartment 1 week before I left for California for our wedding. I spent the first few days painting the walls, and then moving things over bit by bit (dishes, clothing, etc.). The furniture and final boxes, however, had to wait for the truck.

So, we started out bright and early, on a clear, warm day, 3 days before I left for Cali. We determine it’s going to take two trips, but no big deal. We get the first done, no problem. (Though it did involve a friend hanging out the back window of the pickup truck, holding up the bookshelf that was too tall to lay down in the truckbed. I was following along behind, FREAKING OUT.)

The second trip is lighter, and takes much less time to get everything packed into the truck. The bedroom furniture, all the lamps, and various boxes. Easy easy. Jason (the truck owner) and I decide to head up to the old apartment one last time to see if we missed anything. I head up first.

Suddenly, the power goes out … and now Jason is stuck in the elevator. NO GOOD! It comes back on a minute later, only to shut off again right away. This happens for about 2 minutes.  Finally he makes it out of the elevator and we do our last sweep. At one point I go to look out the window, for a final look at the view.

It was pouring.

We raced downstairs (not ABOUT to trust that elevator again) to find the 2 other friends who were helping wildly tearing everything they could out of the truck bed … which had by then (5 minutes tops) collected almost 2 inches of water. We all set to work, and get almost everything out before we realize it’s just too late. The mattress, luckily, hadn’t yet been loaded, so it was dry. But the dresser, nightstands, and several boxes? Drenched.

These amazing people helped me load everything into the smaller cars, and take it over to the new apartment … where they also helped me unload … even though we all looked like we’d jumped into a swimming pool. The dresser was beyond help (I’d had it since college, and it was cheap Ikea pressboard. The thing just cracked up the side), and the nightstands had some nasty water damage. Only one box was beyond help … and of course, that was the one with all our tax records. ::sighs::

It was not a good day.


So yes, I’ve had my share of nightmarish (even if they make me laugh later) moves. Which is why, when faced with the idea of moving into the city this year, we spent a whole 24 hours thinking about it and looking at renters websites … and decided to extend our lease.

Thank goodness for home.


* This is definitely not the first, or last time I’d been particularly vicious on a happy occasion. For example … I gave him HELL about not saying he was ‘in a relationship” on FB while he was at school on the opposite coast (What? You know you’ve been there.). ROYAL HELL. On the day that he’d decided to do it … to surprise me. ::sighs:: This apparently runs in my family, as my sister gave her fiance hell about not feeling like he was committed to their relationship … the day AFTER he bought a ring he’d yet to give her. At least we’re idiots together.

** My dad and I ROCK at the packing-a-car game. I think it has something to do with the hours upon hours of Tetris matches we played when I was younger. Spatial awareness FTW!