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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting Pumped Up - No Matter What the Weather

So the weather in Atlanta this weekend has been like hanging with a meth addict.  It is incredibly unpredictable, swinging from wild extremes and you wish you could get it to sit down for 5 minutes and tell you why it is acting like that.  We started the week with weather in the 70's.  For those not from the south, Atlanta is not that south!  We are not a more urban version of Miami Beach.  As we say in the Bible belt, that is not what God intended.  Then as typical for the south, of which Atlanta is definitely a part unseasonable warm weather brought tornadoes and the obligatory victim with missing teeth and a dirty wife beater.  How I wish I were kidding!  It is amazing that I know dozens of highly educated water professionals with PhD's, Masters degrees, hydrology degrees, etc. you get the point.  As odds would have it, no one with an advanced degree has ever been affected by a tornado in the south, or maybe they just aren't looking to get their 15 minutes of fame via the poor man's version of Jerry Springer.

Anyway all of this makes running a challenge.  Not just for the obvious reasons, like running when your neighbors are boating past you on the street makes you seem like the crazy neighbor.  I mean when it is 70 on Monday and Tuesday and then apparently Noah was in town on Wednesday and we wanted to make him feel at home and then temps plunge on Thursday.  Today when the alarm beckoned it was a balmy 34 degrees.  It is enough to zap your enthusiasm.  So I know snappy quotes like, " what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." is all the motivation most of us need.  Right!  I think that is actually pop song.  For real how do you get pumped up especially when it seems all of the natural world is conspiring against you?

For Me:

Good music.  I love Rock My Run. (I may border a little on the Meth addict side)  If I am up at 4:30 AM and running with only the rabbits and the nocturnal Opossum for company I am going to listen to a run mix that gets me going and hopefully has a little Beyonce. 

Running Clothes out the night before.  When I step in the bathroom there they are taunting me.  "I dare you to go back to bed.  We will be right here waiting for you."  Really can you let running clothes talk to you like that especially at 4:30 AM?

This may sound pretty technical, so I hope you are paying attention.  Get out of bed without thinking.  It is 100 times easier to get out the door for a run if you actually get out of the bed.  There is also less chance you will get back in bed than if you stay in bed and rationalize the benefits of the run vs the extra sleep, warm pillow, the list goes on and on.  (For those who are scoffing.  This is science.)

Schedule it.  When I started really being consistent with my running was when I made the decision to treat it like I do anything else that is important.  I treat it like a meeting at work.  I mean think of using the excuses you tell yourself about not running with your boss, one time.  It will change your life.  For example:

Your boss:  "We had an important meeting this morning and you missed it.  Where the @#$% were you."
You: "Yeah I was totally going to do that, but it was cold out and my hamstring felt a little tight so I bagged it and went back to bed."

You will have a lot of time for running once you clean out your office.  It will be important to make those running shoes last, because you probably won't have a lot of extra cash.

It does not really matter what gets you out.  It will be different for everyone.  Just get out the door.

Monday, January 28, 2013

It is Your Choice

A friend on Dailymile posted this, and I stole it.  I stole it because I can relate to it.  It is not just obesity, we have some of that in my family, but alcoholism, bad nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle.  Now my family members pay the price.  Some people think it is a tough decision to get up every morning and run or workout, to eat the salad and pass on the burger. I guess it might be if I did not fully realize all choices have consequences. 

The friend who posted this also stated she had not been raised to be healthy, but she was the adult now and in charge of her choices.  How true.  We are no longer the sum of how we were raised, as if that predetermined our health destiny.  We are the adults now.  The only person our bad habits punish is us.  I don't know about you, but I want to be able to enjoy my life.  I want good health.  I don't want chronic pain and disease.  It may still happen, but things happen we can't control.  What I can be sure of, is it won't be as a result of my choices. 

I used to take pride in being the girl with the Straight A's who almost flunked P.E.  On Saturday I finished third in my age group at the race we ran.  I think I will take pride in that.  Only you are in control of the decisions you make.  Since it is your body and your life, why shouldn't they be good ones.    

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Year Goals Status Update

We all make resolutions, or goals, or whatever you want to call it in the new year. This blog gives me a chance to try and be accountable so I am grading myself on how I am doing so far. 

First the easy ones, easy because I was already doing them and only hope to continue doing them.  Not much of a goal, but we all need some padding to make us feel better. 

Goal: Try to run everyday. - Check.  I am still running everyday.  I have been since the week before Thanksgiving.  It is not as hard as I thought, but there have been a few days where it was touch and go.  Especially a week of rain where you look at that treadmill with as much excitement as you have for getting your flu shot. 

Goal: To Run a 1/2 Marathon. - Have made good progress.  I signed up for the Locomotive Half in Kennesaw for Sunday, February 17, 2013.  That is 3 weeks away.  I have been steadily working my own training plan and I feel pretty ready.  Next week while hubby heads to San Diego for a family visit, I will be doing my final long practice run (a two hour run as prep).  I don't have a bunch of performance goals for the 1/2.   I think those just interfere with my primary goal of not embarrassing myself by being hauled away in an ambulance.

Goal: To Read more. - I am doing pretty well with this.  I have already completed 7 books this month.  I signed up with Good Reads for their 2013 reading challenge and committed to reading 60 books this year.  If you could not tell I like to use the Internet to help me be more accountable.  People who know me might think that is pretty funny, because some might say I am the most self-motivated person they have ever met.  That, by the way, is not always a good thing.

Goal: To run 1500 miles in 2013. - So for all you mathematicians out there, you know that is approximately 29 miles a week.  I am a little behind that averaging 27 - 29 miles a week.  I still have time, but I may not make the 1500.  I will crush the 988 from 2012.  Really this is just a way to make sure I keep pushing myself.  I try to focus more on being able to run without injury, so sometimes I don't make the 30 miles a week. 

Goal: To eat healthier. - Just to be clear, my normal diet did not consist of chocolate ice cream, Frito's, and fried chicken prior to 2013.  BTW my husband wishes that was our regular diet.  I had a pretty good diet.  Mostly I wanted to add more salad, eat out less, and eat less processed food.  I have been pretty successful adding more salad.  We are now eating about 5 a week with our dinner.  I have not been as successful with eating out less or the processed food.  Sometimes a girl is just tired or late!  I have done well about bringing my lunch to work so I don't go out at lunch. I haven't given up just trying to be honest about where we are.

Goal: To watch less TV. - I think we have done better with this.  I no longer just watch TV.  I cut out stupid reality shows about housewives and endless bickering.  I can't help it, I am still addicted to food competitions.  I know, but I get some good recipes from them. Today we had an Asian Purple Cabbage Slaw.  Thanks to Lizzie on Top Chef!  If there isn't anything I want to see I shut it off and read or do something else.  We could probably do better with this and like the eating healthier I am still trying.

Not being exactly where I want, but working toward improvement is why I call them 2013 Goals not resolutions.  We are a month in and I think I am doing okay.

New Goal: Finding a new job. - For those who have read my blog you know I have made the decision, following a talk with my boss, to find a new job.  I don't just want to jump frying pan to fire so I am really trying to take my time and decide what the next best move is for me.  It is definitely a goal to be in a new job by the end of 2013.  I kind of look forward to a new challenge and a fresh opportunity.  How are your New Year goals going?  It is never to late to evaluate, adjust, or recommit!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Husband and Wife Running

Today hubby and I ran a race with our running club, The Atlanta Track Club.  We have been running races together since March of 2011, when he told me all he wanted for his birthday was for me to run one race with him.  Also a friend of mine on Dailymile ran his first race with his wife.  He has been asking her to join him running and today she did her first race with him.  He ended up walking most of it but stayed with his wife the whole time.

I think running with your spouse is a great activity to share.  We enjoy quality time together and good health.  When we ran our first race my husband started with me and then he took off.  I had never run before let alone run 3 miles.  Actually I was fine with him taking off. I needed to figure out if I could really do this or if after 19 years together was I still so in love with my husband that I would agree to do things that I would never do.  You know we have all done it? 

Example:Guy you are trying to impress: "Do you like Nascar Racing?"
You: "Hell Yes."
Guy: "Great.  I thought this weekend we would go to the speedway and camp out in the bed of my truck overnight so we can start drinking beer at 7 AM with all my buddies."
You: "Did you read my diary?  This is exactly my entry under 'Romantic Dream Date'"

If you knew me before I started running you can clearly see a similar pattern, but maybe a little less starry eyed.

Husband (guy who should already be impressed that I clean his house, cook his meals, and do his laundry): "You know what I really want for my birthday?"
Me: "Did you take the garbage out, they come tomorrow?"
Husband: "For my birthday, I want you to do a 5K with me."
Me: "A 5 what"
Husband: "5K Race, you know run."
Me: "Why? Is someone going to be chasing me on your birthday? "
Husband: "I think it would be fun.  Something we could do together?"
Me:  "What the running or the ride in the ambulance?"
Husband: "Just try it for my birthday."
Me: "I couldn't just get you a car?"
Husband: "I will run with you"
Me: "Okay if you run with me."

See story above he did not run with me!  Also I did not end up in an ambulance and I did learn to love running even when I am not being chased.  Exercise with your loved one; it will make both your bodies and your relationship stronger!! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Running Clothes

So this is totally my husband and me. Our laundry does consist of our work clothes and other necessities but with both of us running 7 days a week the bulk of our laundry is definitely dry-fit running clothes, compression sleeves, and running socks.  Oh yeah my streak is still going. 

I have noticed everyone has a running style.  We all have a kind of look that we sport when we are out running.  For me I like to be girly.  I have to have a little pink.  My compression jacket is bright pink.  I mean bright, you can see it from space, pink.  But it makes me feel feminine and cute.  I am not going to lie I am definitely in the cute runner girl camp.  I will also tell you I love the cooler weather.  Not just because no matter how cute your outfit is, excessive amounts of flop sweat is not attractive, but because I LOVE running tights.  Since I live in Georgia and wearing them any other time of the year would result in death from heat stroke I love the winter.  Winter is the only time I can wear them. My husband is always looking for a race signature.  Something you wear or do every race.  So I wore my hair in pig tails at a race and several folks commented.  Voila! Signature race look.   Now for races I always wear my hair in pig tails, (hey I feel young and free when I run).  I usually have a color coordinated outfit and I even have matching sweat bands for the summer.  Some may say that makes a less serious runner, but who says you can't enjoy the way you look when you run? 

My hubby on the the other hand has a very unique style.  First of all he is impervious to temperature, so regardless of the weather he is usually in shorts and a T-shirts.  I think he has been lying to me all these years about being born in Vietnam!  I think he is actually an eskimo!  The best part is with his shorts and T-shirt he will wear his wool hat and his gloves.  Mind you this is not a look everyone can pull off. And before you ask?  Hands off Ladies he is all mine!

There are lots of running clothes and styles. What's yours?   

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's with Guys

Okay so what is with guys? I mean is everything a competition, even when no one else knows you are competing?  There is a term "chicking".  It is used when a girl passes a guy.  My husband lives in fear that some day it will be this girl and he will be the guy.  That fear is about as based in reality as  his belief he is going bald and that as he celebrates day 770 something of his running streak, he has beer belly.   To clarify not likely!

Yesterday was a long day at work followed a frustrating conversation with hubby, mostly my fault, because I was already having "Kathy's terrible, horrible, not very good day!"  I don't know if I can adjust to this new attitude where I am so unsatisfied at work and just can't seem to find the passion and conviction I used to have.  I need to find a way to adjust to it.  Anyway story for another day. 

So this morning when my alarm went off I thought "hey I am ready to run."  Not, "hey I should be medicated.  What am I thinking?  It is 4:30 in the morning and 28 degrees out."  Nice departure from the norm.  I get dressed do all my morning chores and head out the door.  It is beautiful, stars are out, cool air, but no biting wind, like yesterday.  Wednesday is Chiropractor day so I had some extra time.  Thought "Cool I can do an extra mile."  I am feeling good and apparently I am not the only lunatic in my hood, because several folks were out this AM.  It is really hit or miss with pre-dawn running company.  Today it was like black Friday out there. 

So I am enjoying my morning zen and the perfect weather when this guy dressed like we live somewhere north of Antarctica, instead of a suburb of Atlanta, runs out of side street while I am crossing the street.  He gives me that quick wave, smile and nod.  Ladies you know the one it says, "hey there little ladies aren't you cute in you little pink "running" jacket.  See you later."  So I finish crossing and I am just starting my run.  I noticed Nanook of the North was not exactly burning up the pavement.  I think great!  I am warming up, I will let him pace me and stay behind him for the first mile.  Maybe I should have let my buddy in on this little plan.  Once he had paced me through my warm up I was feeling good.  So I just ran past him.  Same quick wave, smile, and nod.  Ladies, you know the one it says, "thanks I am working on starting slower and you helped me out!  See you later."  I don't think he appreciated this.  When I passed him he had this look in his face and it wasn't "the hey little lady look."  Then he pushed the hood off in that way guys do when they are pissed.  I did not expect to see my friend again, but when I reached my 2 on my out and back and turned around.  He was still out and I passed him again as he was making his way on the road.  This time no smile, no nod, no wave.  Instead he jerked his hood back up over his head.  I just smiled to myself. 

Running is really only about what you do.  Dude you were up at 4:30 AM in 28 degree weather running!  Good for you.  Who cares if a girl chicks you.  Why would you let me affect your run?  If you happen to read this and recognize yourself.  "Thanks.  I have been having a lousy couple of weeks and today you made me smile and enjoy my run more.  Also thanks for pacing my first mile."  Believe me there are plenty of mornings where I could slowly pace your whole run! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Not there Yet...But Still Moving Forward

So no surprise if you have read some of my other postings, I am a liberal. Today is both Martin Luther King Day and the President's second inaugural. Today Barack Obama stood on the Mall and hearkened back to the principles that once guided the creation of this nation. In his short life Martin Luther King Jr. often tried to bring us back to these same principles. Today as I watched a man, that agree or disagree with his politics, you can't deny is the embodiment of the American Dream. For every single mother watching, or grandmother raising their mixed grand baby, they could hold them close and truly believe, what in the past they might have thought a hollow promise. "Your destiny is not decided. You are more than the sum of your circumstances. You can be President one day." Only this time, today, they can say, "see he is."

Following our run this morning a radio station was playing a lesser known King speech about the interconnection of the world. My husband and I were lamenting that it has been 50 years and somethings haven't changed. As we entered the house and my husband turned on the inauguration and we watched in silence. I wondered if he thought what I thought. Some things have changed. We aren't where King dreamed we would be, or even where I believe most Americans want us to be, but we do get closer. Today I was moved in a different, less visceral way than 4 years ago.

I can admit I was one of those who watched the inauguration of our first black president, though racially mixed, clearly African American, and wept.  Frankly I had two thoughts. First, I never thought I would live to see it and second I had an impending sense of dread for him and his family. I worried that he might face a fate similar to: Abraham Lincoln, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Bobby Kennedy. Those who stood up and called for us to live a life better than our self interest and fears, and found it hastened the end of their lives.

Today I was moved to see what is the embodiment of America, the one we can be in our best moments. The one where the little boy of questionable mixed origins, missing father, unwed mother, partially raised by a grandmother can work hard, get a scholarship, have a dream and stand before a nation and remind us of guiding principles we sometimes set aside.

It is all of that possibility that I am reminded of today, that makes me angry when we fail to rise to it. It is the love of everything we could be, that makes me question when we fall so far below that possibility. When we don't make education a priority.  When we act like we have dominion over a fragile ecosystem.  When we subjugate someone's rights because of our own discomfort. When we don't put helping the least among us to rise above our own self-interest that  I am reminded of Maya Angelou's quote.  "Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible."

I promise no more soap box.  Just a reminder today that we can be more than we are when we live up to the possibilities inherent in this Country and stand up to fear, ignorance and prejudice with love, tolerance, and compassion. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Run

I love seeing Atlanta on a run.  Today Hubby and I headed downtown to enjoy the newly opened section of the Beltline and the Freedom Parkway Trail System.  After our run we headed over to an area they are revitalizing for the reward: great coffee and a chocolate Croissant. I am also using my long runs to prep for my half marathon that is about a month away now.  I am checking on how to fuel and more importantly ladies, to choose the right shoes. 

I am pretty sure I am going to wear my NB 730s.  They are light and pretty minimal but have a little more support than my Minimus Rd so I think they will give my foot a little more support on the long run.  Today Hubby ran the 7 miles with me.  I really appreciate this, because I know he does not enjoy running long distance as much as me. I will give him a break next Sunday and head out on my own for my long run.   To add a special level of difficulty there are about 100 restaurants lining the Beltline and all you could smell was brewing coffee and brunch!  I know he was thinking how many more miles before I get to eat? 

The Beltline is a great amenity in Atlanta and it is lined with original art projects.  That provides a much appreciated break in the run for pics and also great material for my blog!  There is nothing like using your run to explore new neighborhoods and get to see folks. 

Today s pre-run fuel I had one piece of whole wheat toast with natural peanut butter.  I also had two of my sports beans.  I felt fine.   This run is over half the distance of my 1/2 marathon so I don't think I will need that much before my race.  I would rather err on the side of less and carry a few sports beans than eat too much and have a side stitch.  Weather was beautiful here and when the sun is shining in Atlanta the other runners are friendly and happy.  Today everyone was waving and wishing everyone a good morning.  It was a fun way to kick off the day.  Just one of those runs with my favorite running partner, enjoying the weather, art, good coffee, an a cool neighborhood.  Hope everyone has a great day!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Runner's Quiz

So if you run you know there are some kind of questions that define runners .  Below are just a few.  For fun which are you.  I answered for me.

1) Do you run naked? - Not usually but if I just want to run for fun, yes. Get your mind out of the gutter! It means with or without technology. 
2) Music or footfalls - Running by myself I love my tunes love Rock My Run absolutely addicted.
3) Minimal or stability? - I am a no frills minimal girl
4) Running skirt cute or ridiculous? - Cute! If you love it rock it.  Wear what is comfy.
5) GPS Watch or Phone App - I run alone a lot so phone App. Love ismooth Run.
6) Treadmill or outside - So for those who could hear me complaining all the way to Alabama about our weather this week, I am an outside runner.
7) Run alone or with a partner - I do both.  I think running is good couple time, hubby might disagree and probably spends half our runs thinking "why did I ask her to run?"  Careful what you wish for, sweetie.  I also enjoy my zen solo morning runs cranking my music watching the stars.
8) Morning,  mid day, or evening runner? Totally morning.  Sadly I realized this week I need it more than coffee.  How did that happen?
9) Favorite Race Distance? - For me 10 K right now.  Long enough to enjoy getting lost in the run but not too long.
10) Formal training plan or winging it? - I am regimented in every aspect of my life, except running.  With running I let my body dictate and my over active mind takes a backseat.  That is liberating.
11) True or False you're only a real runner if you run a marathon? - False.  You are real runner when you run.

Bonus Question:
Complete this sentence.

I could not run without__Body Glide (Oh and my supportive Hubby)_____________________

Have fun and keep running.  Sun is back in the ATL.  Loved my morning run today felt like myself again.  Looking forward to a three day weekend with my husband and some nice running!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What a Week

So grateful to live in the sunny south!  It started raining here on Sunday afternoon and it still has not stopped!  Right now we are under a potential winter weather advisory!  For those not from the south think of a winter weather advisory in Atlanta like a very polite version of Armageddon with a stock pile of bread and milk.  Also everyone automatically starts driving about 5 miles per hour even though it is actually still 40 degrees and raining.  Psychologists should really study the southern winter weather effect.

Anyway it goes without saying that as an early morning runner rainy dark mornings mean treadmill runs!  I don't mind running in the dark in mornings, but with rain those who barely pay attention to me now in "ideal" conditions are likely to make me a permanent part of the pavement.  Have I mentioned I am not a huge fan of the treadmill.  I usually find my center for the day on my morning run, but running on the treadmill just leaves me feeling less than satisfied and like I am missing something, like driving to your favorite restaurant only to find it closed down and now you have to make do with the perfectly fine Chinese place next door, it is adequate but it is not what you wanted, craved or expected.  (See, I bet you thought I was going to compare it to sex or something. Gotcha!)

To say this was not the week to miss out on the run that is so integral to me being the easy going, compliant, placid, friendly, even tempered person everyone wishes I was is an understatement.  The work issues from last week linger, and those of us from the south are conditioned to see sun.  Five days without it really makes you edgy and let's just say less genteel.  Not only that, I am in the middle of my half marathon training and Tuesday I just could not even fake it through my TM run and bagged it a little over a mile in.  Don't lose faith completely!  I did use the time for core and some upper body conditioning.  I know what a wuss, poor me!  I couldn't bare to run on the treadmill in my own house.  I really do sound like a whiner.  Well yesterday was time to "suck it butter cup!" 

I got up in the morning and checked outside.  Pouring down rain.  Thought to myself "now that's a nice change of pace."  Did something I have not done since May, I reset my alarm for 5:15 and went back to bed.  When the alarm went off I told hubby "don't go run without me tonight.  I am going to run after work."  Did I mention I hate running in the evening almost as much as I hate the treadmill.  (Wow I am really high maintenance!) Yep I am one of those!  A morning person!  That person that bounces out of bed as if I was just coming in from running errands.  Feet on the ground, day started.  You may hate us.  If that is the case just watch us around 4 PM.  That is when we have officially shut down and we can't blame it on needing our coffee.  My run yesterday in the rain, at 5 PM was a suck it, stop whining moment.  I owe the hubby for his patience and for slowing the hell down!  It is amazing the difference in our running abilities based on the time of day.  Running with him at 5 PM when he is in his zone is like running with Mo Farah especially when I look like this. Well I did it and I didn't die.  Hopefully this winter weather advisory will be like most we get in Atlanta, a fabulous financial boom for Mayfield and the now defunct makers of Wonder Bread!  It is finally drying out for the weekend and next week.  back to training and hopefully back to finding my Zen on the road! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Experiences

You know that phrase sometimes when a door closes a window opens.  Well last week a conversation with my boss was more like close a door and push you out a window.  I have to admit I was reeling after a conversation where my boss explained his myriad of problems with my performance.  Let me see if I can remember them?

1) I know too much about water and that makes my co-workers uncomfortable.
2) I am too passionate about what I do, too animated when I speak.  Apparently that is off putting. (Please read this in a monotone while absolutely still and staring ahead.  I would not want you to be offended.)
3) I do not say  "I don't know" when I do know the answer a co-worker or customer is wanting.  Apparently this is preventing them from the fun of a day long wild goose chase in search of assistance. (By the way the reason I know is because I study water and our system on my own time to make sure I am a valuable resource to my organization.  What a loser!)
4) I don't make enough mistakes.  (Lucky for me he had a remedy for that.  I should just admit to a random mistake even if I did not actually make it.  "It makes people feel better."  I guess this is how I am supposed to kick off meetings from now on.)

All of this was the prelude to him telling me these characteristics mean I have no future at my utility and it was in that moment...okay not exactly in that moment.  I can admit after he told me all of this all I could think about was that I had just received an exceeds standards in my review in every subject area he just told me has ended my advancement.   I was also mourning the nights, weekends, holidays, and vacations I put off my husband, friends, and family to answer e-mail or return urgent phone calls.  Apparently that kind of attitude will not tolerated in local government.  I mean come on!  We have to draw the line somewhere!  It was in that room in that moment (after I caught my breath)  I realized why Government workers have such a bad reputation.  It is because the leadership drives out the over achievers to make sure everyone is on a level playing ground! 

I can say with absolutely certainty they did a good job with me.  This conversation was Thursday.  Friday I had a meeting of other sustainability professionals and I let my network know I was looking for a new opportunity.  All of this may sound bad, and I have to admit Thursday night and most of Friday I was dumbstruck and depressed.  Then I remembered I had been feeling the square peg in the round hole syndrome for over a year. 

Over the weekend with some wine and a great husband, I realized that I no longer felt that guilt about moving on.  In fact today was a first for me, and maybe I even understand some folks better.  Never since I started working at age 14 have I ever gone to any job, any day of work and thought "I do not give a #$^& about this place."  Today I did.  It was liberating.  I just did what they pay me for no more no less.  I was working 7-4.  I answered my phone I attended my scheduled meetings. I did not worry about how everything made us look or what precedent this decision was setting.  The best part was telling my boss when he asked about an important customer referred by one of our political leaders "I don't know."  I mean he should be proud, right?  That is what he asked me to do.  He did not look as happy as I thought he would!  The job hunt is on for me.  I have a preliminary phone interview on Wednesday. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

So You Want to Race...A Few Tips

So it is January, the time our minds turn to improving ourselves, and for some folks that means starting a new exercise program like running.  I say welcome aboard.  I love running; so I only hope others will join in and share that same love.  There is running around your neighborhood or local park by yourself or with your friends or family and then there is racing.  You might think it would be so exciting to join a race and be surrounded by others all out to enjoy the communal experience of running together.  It is fun.  Running in races gives runners a reason to lace up in less than ideal weather or get out of bed when all common sense says what is your problem?  Do you know it is 4:30 in the morning?

If you are doing your first race here are a few things I have learned that might help you and your fellow runners get the most out of the race.

1) If you know you are a new and slower runner don't start in the front.  As you run more you will realize that so much of your energy is wasted zig zagging past runners who would enjoy the race more if people were not constantly pushing past them.
2) If you need to take a break and walk that is so okay as long as you pull over to the right.  Not so okay if someone is running behind you and you just stop; at that moment you cease to be a fellow racer  and become a somewhat pliable speed bump.
3) Running with friends and partners is great.  Becoming a moving version of "Red Rover Red Rover" is not so cool.  Running or walking five abreast on a narrow race course can put other runners trying to pass you all in a risky position.  Ever try to pass someone while one foot is in a gutter and another is on the sidewalk?  We can look at as a great balance drill but most of us just curse you all under our breath.
4) Racing is multi-sensory event.  Sometimes we get carried away snapping pictures, socializing, and we forget to pay attention to things like when the Porta-Potty is vacant or you are next in the T-shirt pick up line.  It is really  important to keep lines moving.
5) Courtesy counts!  If the race has a staggered start and there are folks behind you who are supposed to race before you; it is okay to offer your place in the Porta-Potty line or the number pick up line.  Maybe someday you will benefit from the same courtesy.
6) Racing in sucky weather is a challenge for the runner, but usually the adrenaline from running minimizes that.  Volunteering to stand stick still and cheer on total strangers in inclement weather and hand them water, really sucks!  Always thank volunteers even if you are gasping for air!  It is just as easy to wheeze "thanks" as "oh My God."

With all that said I hope your first race is only the beginning. I know for me I finished my first race and proudly announced I would never do that again!  Also I am pretty sure I did everything listed above.  So by now you know I am either really melodramatic or a liar.  Hope this January you took up running and you found a new love!  Happy running and courteous racing to all!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Life on the Edge

So who doesn't like to walk on the wild side, live on the edge of insanity? As my co-workers drop like flies from the Flu and various other ailments, I realize that the ultimate life on the edge move...signing up to run your first 1/2 Marathon during the height of a Code Red Flu Season.  So officially I am no longer associating with any living human beings, or as you will be called until February carriers. 

You may ask how can someone whose job is largely about speaking to large groups and meeting with professionals and customers going to avoid personal contact?  It won't be easy, but living on the edge never is, now is it?  First of all I am implementing a conference call only zone.  If people want to collaborate, face to face interaction is overrated, especially when everyone is a virus incubator.  As to speaking to large groups I have thought about a few options: can I set up a web component and appear virtually?  Since I work for a local Government, and we are currently discussing whether we can afford the ongoing decadence of staples, which can't be reused, over mandating a reusable paperclips only policy.  I think the virtual me will have to wait.  So we move on to precautions.  I am sure you have seen those folks wearing the surgical masks.  I am not sure I can show up to speak in a surgical mask.  I am pretty good at overcoming obstacles with an audience, but the mask does make it seems that I think they are all the equivalent of the Monkey in Outbreak, and it is hard to get folks to warm up to you after that.  So hand sanitizer it is, on my key chain.  You laugh but "The Bing Bang Theory" has made germaphobe, anal nerds very don't hate! 

Mostly I am just training, taking my vitamins and supplements, and eating right.  Hopefully in a weird turn of irony, good health will keep me healthy.  Who knew?  Seems drastic, but it's my best bet!  So in case you see me and I duck behind a desk or parked car instead of hugging or shaking hands don't take it personally it is just part of my half marathon training.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Real Runners

So what makes someone a real runner?  I often wonder about that when people talk about running.  To some people you have to run a marathon to be a real runner.  If the "marathon" is the only thing you trained for and you never lace up again are you more real than the runner who runs consistently 3-5 steady miles a day?  I heard someone say real runners mix up their training.  They do intervals, LSDs (not the drug, sorry to disappoint all you would be runners), Tempo Runs, Fartleks (real word), recovery runs, and easy runs. 

Sometimes I get exhausted just reading their schedule for the week.  Are they more real than the person who laces up and says today I feel good I think I will run a little farther and a little faster?  Real runners have equipment and fuel right?  I mean real running can't be as simple as shoes and a place to run?  We need foot pods, heart rate monitors, GPS watches, running apps, tech gear, hydration systems, and compression gear.  I mean real running is serious.

I don't know why we complicate everything.  Theoretically shouldn't running be the easiest least complicated exercise.  Talk about an exercises that is just about you and what your body can do: running should be it right? 

What Make a Real Runner: A comprehensive Technical Evaluation

1) They run.  I don't mean a certain pace, schedule, distance, or race.  I mean, while most slackers are lying in bed or watching TV a runner puts on shoes and runs.

Pretty complicated huh?  It does not matter where.  It does not matter if you run with the chord of your ear buds under your shirt or wear it (gasp) dangling outside (newbie).  It doesn't even matter if while waiting for the light to change you are mock running in place.  FYI...don't do that.  You look ridiculous, and it really pisses off real runners!

Monday, January 7, 2013

What Matters More...The Search for Meaning in Your Career

Today at lunch a friend and I were discussing the topic I most dread lately: my career.  First I have to say I love what I do and I am truly passionate about water and especially water resource planning and sustainability.  Lately a couple of things have been going on, you know when it seems like the whole cosmos is on to something to do with your life and you are the only one left out of the loop.  Well where my career is concerned, that is what seems to be happening. 

First several of my friends have recently retired or moved.  Believe me, if retirement were an option, I would not be posting this blog because Hubby and I would be packing ourselves and the furkids to get ready to move out of the "progressive" south to the Pacific Northwest.  Since we both have several years before making that a reality, back to the career quandary.  These friends have moved on; it has a twofold affect.  I miss working with them and they leave vacancies and opportunities. Simultaneously, it seems everyone I interact with professionally has made some cosmic leap that I have not.  They keep asking me.  What is next for me?  Where I am going?  What am I doing next?  They say this as if what I am doing right now is an item on the "Kathy's been there done that" checklist in the sky.  I must be the only one without a copy.

Here is the thing.  I really do like what I do and there are a few perks I am reticent to give up.  First, never underestimate how valuable it is to have a job no one else in your company understands.  No one knows what I do or anything about it.  I am pretty much free and clear to do whatever, say yes to any project, and go anywhere I need to go.  I can checkout at 8 AM to say I am going 90 miles down south to Macon and no one will ask me why I am doing that.  If you think money is a heady aphrodisiac, try unfettered autonomy, especially if you are a little bit of a control freak.  Plus so few people in Georgia focus on sustainable water supply that my expertise always gets me interesting opportunities.  Plus I have positions on all kind of state and national committees and have friends all over the world.  Tough to give up.

So all of that sounds pretty good.  Here is the other side of the coin.  Back at the shop, though they know I have this weird expertise, they don't always recognize what value I bring to our organization. Sometime I might get a nice opportunity with the state but my own utility forgets to include me in big projects and discussions about our future and the direction we are going.  So I guess this is more like rambling.  When do you stop being an expert and just become stagnant while everyone else moves ahead?  Can being happy and content at what you do, even though folks think you could move up in a more official capacity, still constitute success?  I guess this is something I have to figure out, because destiny or the cosmic forces at play seem to be squeezing the walls tighter.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Regimented Running a Buzzkill?

So running is fun, right?  That's why we do it.  The wind in our hair, the test of woman against the elements.  Can I really run in just a long sleeve Tech shirt?  Do only wusses wear gloves if it is 40 degrees?  You can see scenic places on foot.  By the way that picture is not me beside a should have been a sign for the Silver Comet Trail, but either our Parks Department is replacing signs all over the trail or we have the weirdest thief working in our area.  Today Hubby and I headed out to enjoy our last partner run of our two week vacation.  It has been great being off and having time together and we have had some great runs and done some nice hiking.  All good things must come to an end, especially if we plan to, I don't know, pay for food, a place to live, running shoes, etc.?
So anyway after running I have been on this New Year goal of us eating out less and eating healthier.  Healthier for us and out wallets.  So we were sitting down to salad and Spinach Ricotta Tortellini post our run.  We started talking about brace yourself...Running.  We were discussing that several of our friends on Dailymile seem to have just dropped off the face of the map.  We recognized a couple things they had common.  They had a very specific goal.  You know?  A holy grail PR or a "I am going to run a marathon."  They either achieved these things or they missed their goal.  Either way the results were the same.  They stopped running.  For some they checked that bucket list box and did not know why they needed to run anymore and for the others they let disappointment and failure to reach an arbitrary goal steal away running.  What both of these folks had in common was while they were pursuing that goals through regimented training plans, outlined in lengthy posts that gave me far more info than I needed to know about their Oxygen threshold; they forgot one thing.  They forgot to fall in love with running.  Just running: not performance, or accolades, or admiration.  Just lacing up shoes and heading out to run.
They never let the goal go long enough to actually enjoy running.  I know sometimes it is about how we look in our jeans, or the number on the scale.  Sometimes it is nice to see your name in the top of your age group.  To me all of these things are icing in the cake.  When I think of running tomorrow, resuming my 4:30 AM solitary run I haven't once thought maybe I should do intervals.  I did think I hope Beyonce's "Run the World (Girls)" comes on my mix as I crest the first hill home after a morning spent watching the stars and enjoying my health and how strong my body is.  Sometimes you have to put the goals aside and just run.  We talk about training bases for races, but what about the very base of a lifetime of actual love of running!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Reading Someone You Love

So if you are reader you know that feeling of reading a book at just the right time in your life and you think: this book is written for me.  It is a magical experience and that book forever holds a place in your heart and mind forever.  For me there have been a few books like that.  Books that after reading them you were both exhilarated and sad, because those characters felt like friends and now they were gone. Like they moved away or died unexpectedly. 

Books have the ability to do that in a way a movie or TV shows can't.  They transport you, in part because you are an active participant and not a couch potato observer like the other mediums.  It is more akin to listening to music.  Some books like that for me are A Separate Peace by John Knowles.  I was sure I understood Gene, always in the shadows of his far more outgoing roommate, quiet and studious and not sure he really belonged.  It spoke to me of my High School experience and that is when I read it.  I also had a secret fascination with the dark side of human nature and this book was so rich in that theme. 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and I am not even sure why.  There was something tough, fearless, and odd in Scout that reminded me of myself. I was a little in awe of my father like her, though he fell short of Atticus' unwavering commitment to equality and justice. 

As an adult I read We We're the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates and that Irish Catholic family, too proud to admit mistakes, so they were compouned and caused permanent rifts and damage.  Covering them up by drinking and  running away rang a little too true.  It was profoundly sad in its universal accuracy. 

I would also say right now I am reading a book that was transformative for my husband and that is a different experience.  I am reading A Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.  I was only a paragraph in and I could so clearly see my husband, as an adolescent, reading this book and thinking someone gets it.  The irony, the tone, the wit, defiance and the privacy of Holden Caulfield so clearly aligns with who my husband is.  I feel like I get to know him a little better by reading this book.  I can almost pull out the passages that he would have been reading and laughed at or reread.  I would encourage you to read a book that your loved one says was transformative for them. It is like a new way to get to know them all over again!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Registered for My First Half - Here We Go!

Today I registered for the Locomotive Half Marathon on February 17, 2013.  This will be my first 1/2 and one of my New Year goals.  I am excited because I like trying new things.  I am hopeful that I won't embarrass myself especially since my husband has said he will be there and is threatening to video my run across the finish line with his I-phone.  U Tube here we come!! 

I think I have a solid base for doing this and I think I can make just a few alterations to my existing running.  I will extend my Wednesday AM run, since I have extra time that morning because I see the Chiropractor before work.  I will be doing my long runs on Saturday solo so I can extend them.  Hubby will get a break from me.  Though he is always welcome to come, but distance is really not his thing.  He can do it; just prefers not to.  That is cool.  He is a very disciplined runner working on the third year of his running streak.  We will do an easy Sunday run together, consider that our "church" time.  I will cut back my Friday runs to an easy 1 mile on the treadmill as a recovery day. 

There are a few things I have to figure out in my training.

1) What shoes do I want to wear?  I will be test driving all of mine, except my trail shoes, on my long runs.
2) What kind of fuel do I need?  I am usually a light eater before a run or nothing at all.  I suspect it won't be a lot. 
3) How much do I need to hydrate?

I think I have a pretty good idea about most of these, but I will just be fine tuning a little in the weeks up to February 17, 2013.  This will also help me with my other goals like running 1,500 miles in the year and running everyday.  I love when a plan comes together!  At least I hope it comes together!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Oh Yeah...That's Why

So a lot of people think I am strange.  I don't eat fast food, I get up at 4:30 in the morning to run.  I come and sing Happy Birthday at all the office parties but I never touch the cake.  Some say "Kathy is so disciplined, some say Kathy does not know how to have fun." 

I would say Kathy has seen the other side of fun.  I got to spend the day today taking my mother to several Doctors.  Eight years ago I got to bury my father at 68. My sister has had two spinal surgeries.  Let's say they haven't made the best health choices.  Lifelong smokers, never exercised, never ate fruit or veggies, drank to excess and enjoyed a fairly sedentary life.  When I got home today my hubby had waited for me to do a late run.  I had not eaten since breakfast but I grabbed a piece of fruit and a couple pieces of Beef Jerky and said let's go.  I needed to get out that door.  Maybe those same folks that think I am weird, would say it is discipline or my regimented, no fun self.  I would say I needed to get out that door, because it may be a disciplined, no fun life, but I want exactly that: a life.  I don't want to end up with an existence rather than a life.  Hubby and I have plans after we retire and they hinge on both of us being healthy and strong.  So I don't consider forgoing the cake and rising early to run a sacrifice.  I don't consider my chiropractor a waste of money.  I consider all of these things as an investment in our future and I am grateful to have a partner that sees things the same way.  Nothing worth having ever comes easy and that goes for health, even though we more often associate it with wealth.

Why do I have so many goals for 2013 that revolve around physical and mental health and strength?  Because nothing is worth anything without it!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Toughin' it out

Happy New Year!!!  Nothing like starting off the new year looking like a drowned rat.  Hubby and I banged out the Atlanta Track Club's Resolution Run 5K this AM to start the new year off on the right running shoe!   What perfect race weather...45 degrees and pouring rain.  You have to look at this way, if you start the new year this way isn't everything else downhill? 

I enjoyed the race.  There is something about being allowed to run through puddles when you are 43 years old.  It is like "in your face, Mom" for all the times you heard "don't play in the puddles.  You'll catch your death."  I think I surprised my husband; we had agreed not to race together and he took off about .2 miles into the race  At a little over a mile guess who was tapping him on the shoulder...this girl!  My running has improved for sure.  I am proud of that.  Mostly I was happy because running with him is always more fun.  Plus there were a lot of photographers on the course and if he and I run together we can buy one set of pictures! 

So today is officially the end of my Runner's World Holiday Running Streak and Day 51.  I still feel good and I have been loving running everyday so, as I said yesterday, I am going to keep going at least for a while. 

Several folks showed up today just to get their shirts and wussed out on actually running the race.  I don't know about you, but I think if you are going to wear the shirt you should have earned it.  I mean it is one thing if you have a family emergency or you get stuck out of town, but a bunch of folks proudly said "I am not running in this weather.  I just came to get my shirt."  I guess to each their own.  To me they cheated themselves out a fun time running like a kid through the rain, and they missed out on an opportunity to challenge themselves.  Really with a run like this the hardest part is mental.  Once you're're wet, and when you are running you don't even feel it.  Also believe me you never loved coffee and warm clothes more than after a run like today.  We will be relaxing the rest of the day.  I am reading a novel by Barbara Kingsolver Prodigal Summer  about the environmental impact of humans on the Appalachian ecosystem.  Hubby will be enjoying some bowl games!  Hope everyone enjoys their New Year!!