2:19 and Something

Yeah, so that would be me, about 20 minutes after finishing my first half-marathon. The picture is taken by my own camera phone, in OrangemanMike's car, on the way to get our celebratory eat on.

Don't I look happy? I was ecstatic.

The race was beautiful. It was also one of the hardest things I have ever done. When my trainer said that running was 90% mental, she knew what she was talking about. Because you can prepare all you want, but when it comes down to it, it's just you and the road and 13.1 miles stretching ahead of you.

That being said, the crowds were incredibly helpful during my quest for the finish line. Especially my friends and family in the crowds who had gotten up early to get to the race site, and had waited for me to run by them, only to walk to the next location and wait again. It was chilly yesterday if you weren't running.

There were stretches with no spectators (and I had chosen to run without my iPod) but even those miles felt good. The best feeling might have been at mile 10, when I made a left turn and saw the ocean, and knew that I was going to finish. (Or at mile 9, when I was offered Oreos, M&M's and Jelly Beans at the 'High Energy Station' and managed to find humor in my refusal.)

I ran the whole way. I beat my goal time. I actually sprinted across the finish line.

And when I was asked (by The Librarian) about a minute after I stopped running if I was going to run the NYC full marathon, I replied without hesitation.

"Oh yeah!"


Spring Cleaning

Hi Everyone:

I'm still not feeling great, but I'm running this Sunday. I went to my therapist this morning, and will be doing some healing work with LK this afternoon, which should (hopefully) empty out some of this junk in my head.

Because running with as little baggage as possible seems ideal.

I'll be back online Monday, and with any luck, be able to post some pictures from the race. Thanks for all the support.



Burn This Motha Down!

Wikipedia, "Scorched Earth" entry:
A scorched earth policy is a military tactic which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area. Apparently a translation of Chinese 焦土 (Jiao Tu), the term refers to the practice of burning crops to deny the enemy food sources, although it is by no means limited to food stocks, and can include shelter, transportation, communications and industrial resources...

Roiphe, New York Magazine:
There is something that happens when you burn your entire life down. The feeling is raw, close to the bone, jangly, nervous, productive.

(And seriously, I know that these are sourced wrongly. I'm out of practice since grad school ended. Bite me. I will, however, apologize for the randomness of this post.)

Along with the sickness and the race anxiety, and the other anxieties, I've been thinking a lot about tearing down, specifically related to the Ex Fiance. I'm not sure why he's cropping up now - perhaps because April is the time that I finally left for good, for the last time. Or maybe it's because the half-marathon is near our old neighborhood, and I half expect to see his face (or other faces that I left behind) along the race route.

Mainly, though, it's about that wonderful, ugly tendency/propensity of mine to destroy. There's something ultimately thrilling and terrible about watching yourself tear down your life - it's so extreme - yet, all of the times that I've done this, I can recall a detached numbness, followed by intense joy. How else can you describe the feeling of issuing a gigantic FUCK OFF to all of your carefully laid plans?

I don't know why I let the bullshit get to me, when really, all I should be leery of is the halfway.

Little, Very Little

  • I'm still sick. But as of today, I'm, um, expectorating, which I take as a positive sign that my body is making efforts to expel the illness from my lungs.
  • I still have a scratchy throat. Drinking cold water from our cooler helps...but also creates a lot of sloshing around in my stomach, and...added to the slight pervasive feeling of nausea that I've had over these past few days, it's not good.
  • Uninterupted sleep has been impossible this week. Even if I take Tylenol PM (or a glass of red wine), I'm still waking up in the middle of the night.
  • Regardless, I am running this race on Sunday.
  • The sickness and the race are extremely trivial when you consider this morning's event: attending the funeral of a work colleague's husband. I met her sons, one of whom grasped my hand and seemed not to be able to let go. This made me want to weep uncontrollably, which I delayed until I reached the privacy of my office.
  • My work environment became marginally less creepy today as we now have a security guard posted in our building, which came about after an "actively psychotic" woman entered yesterday and threatened several staff members.
  • Did I mention that I am running this race on Sunday?



I woke up yesterday morning with a sore, scratchy throat. I'm coughing frequently, and my ribs hurt. I'm not sure if this is an actual illness or allergies kicking in.

Nonetheless, I've been taking Tylenol PM and going to bed super early (8 pm last night. For reals. ) in the hopes that whatever is going on will be defeated by large amounts of sleep. I'm supposed to be taper-training and over-hydrating this week...all I can concentrate on is getting out of bed and getting to work.


More Running Advice

Suggestion To Self: In the future, schedule long training runs on Saturday, rather than Sunday, as Saturday night tends to be a difficult time to practice common sense.

Case In Point: EB's bachelorette party on Saturday night in which massive amounts of Mexican food, tequila and [shudder] Jager-bombs are consumed, followed by 11.5 miles on Sunday morning at 8:00 am. (Who was I to say no? I was surrounded by a pack of 26 year olds and felt duty bound to represent the over-30 age group.)

Let's put it this way - you did not want to be anywhere near me during that run.

The only comfort I can glean from this experience is that next weekend's race should be easier without yesterday's obstacles.



When I stepped on the scale yesterday after my training session with C., I was pleasantly surprised to note that I have lost some weight. I'm not quite sure how this occurred, since I continue to be The Girl Who Ate Manhattan, and Parts Of Brooklyn, Too.

And this morning, I remembered why I never weigh myself, as lower numbers on the scale apparently give me license to indulge in McDonald's fries (large) and a Starbuck's Soy Mocha (venti).

Later today, I'm leaving the office early (comp time!) and going on a 6 mile run in this beautiful weather to atone for my sins. Perhaps I should do this while covered in tinfoil/saran wrap.


Gotta Have...

"To choose what is difficult all one's days, as if it were easy, that is faith."
WH Auden
I'm struggling with my faith this week. (No, not religious. Geez. In general. Faith in general. Generic faith, if you will. )

Small leaps of faith allow me to get out of bed in the morning and leave my apartment and be present throughout my day.

I'm not sure what to say about the larger jumps. I'm looking for signs that things are going to work themselves out. This annoys me, because things and stuff and whatnot always DO work themselves out for the best, in their own time, and this is rarely evident while all the things and stuff and whatnot are going on.

Maybe I need to make 3 lists, each titled with "things", "stuff", and "whatnot" so I can realize how insignificant they are. (They will not be important, at some given point in time. This I know.)

Or I could write some haiku. Or be unrepentantly silly. (Or understand that those two things are not mutually exclusive.)

Or do anything else that reinforces that I can just be.


I Am A Hobbit

My appetite / eating is out of control lately. Out of control.

I find myself eating second and third breakfasts, and then multiple lunches and dinners. Example: on Friday evening, I took down a pita filled with roast chicken / cheese / hot sauce. An hour later, I had 4 empanadas and a large salad. Yet another hour later, I finished an entire pint of ice cream. And then I got out of bed around 11:00 pm to have a snack (graham crackers with peanut butter & soymilk). The rampage continued for most of the weekend. (The highlight might have been the cheeseburger with avocado and bacon, accompanied by a baked potato the size of my head and loads of Easter candy, consumed with MS on Saturday night.)

J. assures me that he was eating 4 or 5 pints of ice cream per week at the height of his marathon training. I guess that is something to keep in mind as I troll the aisles of the grocery store, looking for my next fix - that it's all about the running.

Addendum: I'm definitely thinking about the training as I sit here and chug a 32 oz. Gatorade (56 grams of carbs, yo!) because it's scientifically formulated. There's even a diagram with chemical compounds and a human body, so you know it's true.


Operationalizing My Environment

I was feeling a little...wild...when I arrived at work this morning, and realized that I needed to make some adjustments if I was going to have a 'successful' day (and when I say successful, I mean, a day spent actually doing what I'm supposed to be doing, rather than trolling my thoughts).

So I comprised a list of the stuff that I need to do...

And made another list of the stuff that is bothering me...

I had another cup of coffee...

I stretched, took a deep breath, and made myself smile at my reflection in my office mirror...

'Borrowed' an extra lamp from our supply room, and turned off my overhead fluorescent light...

Got out of my personal email, and logged in to Pandora...

And somehow felt less complicated than before.



While filling out chart notes for a client, I stated that she had purchased a 'sound machine' to help with relaxation exercises.

And this led to thinking about Miami Sound Machine (of all things) and now 'The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You' is stuck on a loop in my head.

Oh dear lord I wish I was kidding about this.

Water. Everywhere.

I got caught out in the rain this morning.

I had to go to the UWS to pick up my tax return (a futile venture, because I don't have enough money in my checking account to pay for preparation of said tax return, which means I'll be going up there tomorrow morning again) then to the hospital emergency department to check for any reports from the overnight shift and finally to my office.

It was not a good morning to be outside. I arrived at work soaking wet, and had to wear sweatpants for most of the morning while my work pants dried by the heater (classy!).

The positive thinking might not cut it today. I believe I'm going to require some Ben & Jerry's.


Bright, Bright Sunshiny Day

Yesterday evening, I medicated my grumpiness with sushi, white wine, tasti-delite (thanks for the suggestion, Caitlin) and the company of a good friend.

And later on in the night, when we arrived home, with rum over ice, poured into a coffee cup. (I'm not sure why I used a coffee cup. But there's something delightfully trashy about it.)

Today, a new tactic. Positive thinking: I ran six miles this morning. It's sunny. The bakery across the street still had raisin bran muffins when I arrived at 11:00 am (they're usually sold out). My new shampoo smells great. At last count, 8 people will be traveling to watch me race on the 29th even though it is far away and absurdly early. I live in New York City. I'm getting a tax refund. The weekend will be here soon.

I'm just going to continue like this all day and see where it leads me. I'll probably manage to annoy myself and others, but I'm committed.


Grumpy Dwarf

I'm not feeling it today. At all.

I set out this morning to complete a 6 mile run. Easy, right? Well, for some reason, I decided I would do a lap around the perimeter of Central Park instead of my usual Hudson River route. And I was all psyched and ready...

...until I got out there and my oatmeal was sitting like a lump in my stomach, and pedestrians were in my way, and it was cold, and blustery, and I narrowly avoided stepping in a huge pile of dogshit, and my knees were bitching, and I was tired 2 blocks in.

So I turned around at 89th Street and ran home.

I think I just really need it to be Spring. And when I say Spring, I mean - I need the weather to be better. I need to be able to sit outside. I need to get a slight tan. I need to wear my new sandals.

I need a lot of things that aren't going to happen today.


All Work, No Play

Taking a Mental Health Day (as I did on Friday) is good in theory, but not so good in practice when you return to a gazillion urgent phone messages and a mountain of paperwork, including a new grant application due within one month.

Running should be fairly intense this week as April 29th is approaching sooner than I would like it to (note to self: staying up all night on Saturday does not make for good training conditions on Sunday).

Mentally, I just need to be okay with where I am, and trust that I don't need to take any drastic action to get where I need to be. And to know that I am beautiful and loved. (Cryptic? Maybe. But not to me. )

But really, the biggest task in front of me this week is to exist on the $.74 in my checking account and the loose change at the bottom of my wallet until Friday payday.


My Body Is A Wonderland

5 years ago, when I left The Nightmare Fiance (also known in some circles as Dodged A Bullet With That One) I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands, and sitting around thinking about The Cancelled Wedding wasn't really doing it for me. So I embarked upon a fitness/diet plan which I quickly became obsessed with. After a few weeks of getting up at the crack of dawn to go to the gym, and carefully monitoring my eating habits, I started to feel a difference. I wasn't weighing myself, but I had more energy, and I was fitting into clothing I hadn't worn in a long time.

At week 7, everyone noticed. People I barely knew were stopping to ask me how much weight I had lost. Friends said that I looked 'skinny'. Most memorably, I met up with Ex-Fiance to return the engagment ring and was gratified to see his surprise at how I had changed. (Never, never underestimate the power of walking away from someone for the last time and feeling like you have the upper hand.)

This week, I'm having a similar experience (not with an Ex, since there are none around to spite at the moment) wherein lots of people are suddenly seeming to notice the changes in my body. But here's what's different: my attitude. Because lately, I've just been running and weight training, with no goal other than finishing this race on the 29th. I'm finally appreciating the solidness of my legs for their strength. I'm allowing myself to eat a lot because I know that I need the fuel. For the first time in a long time, I feel comfortable in my body.

So watch out, 13.1 miles. I'm just about ready, and I'm coming for you. Soon.



Friday: J. and I went here to see them. Amazing. At one point, I leaned back into J. and we were sort of swaying along to the music and the lights and I felt completely happy and calm, and slightly giddy at the same time.

Saturday - Day: Subway ride of shame from the LES (why, yes, I always go out for coffee and bagels in the morning dressed in sparkly sandals and massive bedhead) followed by 5 mile run along the Hudson followed by my dad picking up me and 10 pounds of laundry for a trip out to The Jerz.

Saturday - Night: Preparation for The Peanut's birthday party.

Sunday - Morning: I skip church (and the possibility of an awkward set-up) to run 8 miles. Yup, 8 miles. In about 90 minutes. I then rush over to The Peanut's birthday party (princess theme, of course) for a blur of small children, relatives, confetti, and cake. And the sweetest 3 year old in the world. The Peanut is my BFF.

Sunday - Night: Unofficial birthday party for JP at The Gaf, including multiple games of Big Buck Hunter, leading into...

Monday - Morning:...a slight case of the Guinness flu, which I am attempting to medicate with a cranberry muffin and a gallon of water.