Monday, January 30, 2006

Park Run

I wasn't feeling so good last night and wasn't any better this morning, so I went to see my doctor. By the time I got out of her office, got my prescriptions filled and took care of what was supposed to be a quick bank errand, it was late enough in the day that it made no sense to go back to the office.

Suited me just fine. Nothing interesting was happening there, anyway.

So I went home and even though I still wasn't feeling all that great, I had reason to think a run would help. It was a gorgeous day for it-- clear blue sky, a cool breeze blowing. Everything seemed to sparkle. I would've had to have been dying not to have wanted to run.

I drove to Memorial Park rather than run on the trails near home because my quads and hamstrings were tight and wouldn't have liked the hills around the bayou. And besides, I wanted to have restrooms and plenty of water fountains close by in case I started feeling bad again. So the park it was.

I usually only run at Memorial well after dark or as part of my longer Saturday runs. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't very crowded. I walked a little bit to warm up, then took off. Immediately I could tell it was going to be a tough run. My quads were protesting every move and I felt stiff, heavy and slower than tree moss. Ugh. But the glorious weather made it hard to get too bogged down in how my body felt. The sunlight was sparkling off the oaks and magnolias, the shadows were cool and refreshing and from time to time the wind would whip around a corner and play with my hair or tug at my cap.

So what if my body felt lousy? It was good just to be alive.

Toward the end of my run I saw a regular I hadn't seen in awhile-- Anorexic Woman. She's kinda scary with her sunken cheeks, hollow eyes and toothpick legs always encased in thick tights, no matter what the weather. But even she couldn't put a damper on my mood because she got me thinking of some of the other characters at the park-- people I hadn't seen in awhile because I hadn't been by very often in recent months. I thought about Lucky Shirt, who always wears the same dingy gray rag of a wifebeater tank, full of holes and clinging to his body only by threads and misplaced optimism. I thought about Park Guy, a golden-haired Greek god whose speed is matched only by his aura of mystery. No one knows his name. He never shows up at races. He politely and casually drops everyone who tries to run with him and so as often as he comes to run at the park, he remains unknown. I also thought about Park Guy's physical opposite-- an elderly man, torso curved to one side like a comma, who nonetheless manages to heave himself around the three mile loop nearly every night. He's scary, but his determination is fascinating. And then there's the Guru-- shaped like a cannonball, his skin the color of weak tea, sporting a white beard that flows below his waist as he trots around the park, glaring at everyone from underneath his fierce white brows. And watching the drama are two retirees who set up their folding chairs every afternoon in the median near the golf course, where they talk and wave to the regulars as they run past.

It's a strange bunch at the park sometimes.

I ran four miles and decided that splendid weather or no, my body needed some food and rest. I walked around a bit before getting in the car, reluctant to leave. The sun was a little lower in the sky and everything seemed to shine in the golden light. Shadows were lengthening, blue and slightly mysterious, across the trail and into the darker paths where the rabbits and coyotes play out their life and death games. It was that hour when all of nature seems to be holding its breath, teetering between daylight and dusk.

Anything can happen at that hour, because that's when magic happens.

Recent Workouts
Today: 4 mile run
Sunday: 45 minute core and strength training, 45 minute spin

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Long Run, Cloudy Day

I so did not want to get up this morning. After yesterday's whine that I was having trouble writing, I had a mini-breakthrough. Oddly, it came from the same character who had helped me out of a previous difficulty. He was only supposed to add a little local color, but I guess he wanted to be more important than that because he solved a plot point for me in a previous chapter. Then last night he went on and did something that really surprised me. It makes me happy when my fictional characters do things even I wasn't expecting. That's always a sign something good is happening with my writing.

So I was up until 3 am trying to finish that particular scene and when the alarm went off at 6:15 I was not happy at all. I reset the clock for half an hour and finally dragged my lazy self out of bed at 6:45. I looked at the cat and told him something to the effect that since the plan was to take a long afternoon nap, it didn't matter if I didn't get much sleep at night. Since the cat has lived his whole life sleeping whenever he feels like it, I think he agreed with my reasoning.

I checked the Doppler and the promised rain looked like it was still in Austin so I got dressed and headed out. I wore one of my new outfits from the expo and felt very trendy and coordinated. Plus the shorts had one of those little zipper pockets in back, which I like. I decided to basically do a repeat of last weekend's run-- bayou trails, River Oaks, Memorial Park and home.

It was an overcast morning, one of those with a lot of low gray clouds moving around, but not a thick enough cloud cover for rain to be imminent. The clouds were fun to watch as they came in on the wind, constantly shaping, regrouping and separating themselves. Sometimes patches of clear sky would open up for a few minutes and we had sunshine, but the wind always brought more clouds to replace them and then the pattern would repeat.

I saw Jack Russell Terrier Guy as I was heading east toward Sabine. He had both dogs with him and I made a point of waving to them. When I got to the part of the trail that goes behind the police officers' memorial, there was a police helicopter sitting on the ground, engines and propellers going like mad. I always enjoy seeing helicopters close up. Or almost any other type of transport vehicle, for that matter. One of my grandfathers worked for American Airlines, the other worked for the Santa Fe Railroad, so I come by my love of transportation naturally.

I crossed the bridge at Sabine and headed west up Allen Parkway, stopping at Eleanor Tinsley Park to have some water and take off my long-sleeved shirt. It was still a little cool and breezy out, but I was warmed up enough to deal with it by now.

Oddly, there were no dogs yet at the dog park, but there were a few azaleas starting to bloom at one of the gardens along the path. It seems a little early for azaleas, but hopefully they won't all reach their peak before the big azalea season in March. When I got to River Oaks, I saw a few more azaleas, marveled over all the January roses at the rose garden, and even noticed a few bluebonnets in bloom at one house. It can't be bluebonnet time yet, can it? Weird weather. It's way too early for bluebonnets.

As I was leaving River Oaks, a white-haired gentleman in a plaid bathrobe came out of his house and down to the sidewalk to retrieve his morning paper. Don't those rich folks have servants to do that for them? He waved and said good morning, so I said good morning, too.

Come to think of it, everyone was pretty friendly today. Except for Memorial Park, it was mostly us regulars out there and the overall mood was very peaceful, very companionable. Just about everyone said hello, and that was nice. I don't know if it was the lack of pressure people were feeling now that the marathon is over, or if we were all just glad that the rain was holding off, but it was a very friendly day to be out running.

My legs felt a little heavy today, but I had a very solid run and my gait felt good. My right foot didn't try to point inward when I got tired, so I think the abductor exercises from hell are helping. The last two miles were a little uncomfortable, but I didn't notice any pain in the usual spots in my hips, knees, or along the IT band. It was only after I had come home and iced a bit that I noticed some pain in my right hip flexor. Oh well. It caused me no trouble on the run, which is the first time that's happened in months.

Small blessings.

Indian buffet was good, as always. The sky was seriously clouding over by this point and the wind was picking up. As we were driving home I told Dan I thought we'd make it just ahead of the storm. And sure enough, we'd only been home a few minutes when I thought I heard a light tapping against the window.

"Hush," I told Dan. "Listen."

We stopped what we were doing and were quiet for a moment. Slowly the light tapping that could've been anything at first grew louder, resolving itself into a steady beat of rain against the glass.

Nap weather.

Today's Workout
14 mile run

Friday, January 27, 2006

Rocker or Rabbit Trap? Posted by Picasa

Critters, Weather and Other Miscellany

My mother had to put her cat to sleep today. Poor kitty had been acting a little strange right before Mom went to the hospital. When she came home it was obvious the cat was in poor health. It turned out to be feline leukemia. All of my family's animals tend to be strays that just show up one day, so there's no telling why the cat got sick or how long ago. The cat was so sick that by today there was no longer any point to heroic efforts.

Poor kitty. And poor Mom. Her father died before Christmas, then she was sick in the hospital and now this. It does seem that bad luck runs in cycles, just like good luck.

Speaking of sick pets, Baruchito the hamster hasn't been doing very well. If you like critters, you might want to drop in and offer a few words of encouragement. As of this posting, he was rallying a bit.

I'm still on a reduced training plan as I work on strengthening my core, hips and legs. The abductor exercises are excruciating. The only thing that gets me through them is knowing that they'll get easier if I just keep at it. I'm ready for that to happen, like, yesterday.

They're predicting rain tomorrow, clearing by Sunday, so we'll see how that turns out. As long as the rain holds off until late morning or so, I ought to be able to get in a long run. I'm prepared to do a combination of treadmill and other cardio in the gym if I have to, though. I don't do rain, especially not "a few storms might be severe." And then Sunday is the first bike ride of the spring season (nice to be in southern Texas!) so if my legs don't give me any trouble Saturday, my plan is to go do a nice easy fifty on Sunday morning. If Sunday doesn't work out though, I'm not worried. There will be an organized ride with rest stops and SAG support almost every weekend from now until June.

Sorry I haven't been posting more often. I'm kind of in a slump on my fiction writing right now, too. I'm still working on it every night, but the last couple weeks have been hard. It's work when the words aren't flowing. And I guess that has carried over into my blogging. I’m short on ideas and the words don't come easy.

Or maybe I'm just a dull girl these days. Gotta do something about that.

Recent Workouts
Tuesday: 30 minute core and strength training, 30 minute elliptical
Wednesday: 30 minute core and strength training, 45 minute bike - Spinervals 7.0 Uphill Grind
Thursday: 30 minute elliptical, 15 minute stairmaster
Friday: Rest Day

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Be my friend! Pleeeease? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Rainy Day

Today was one of those days that just never quite cleared up. If it wasn't raining outright, it was misting or threatening more rain.

No matter. I had been up too late the night before to consider a morning ride anyway, even if it hadn't been 100% chance of rain all day.

It ended up being a pretty typical Sunday for me. I read the morning news over coffee. I went to Central Market to pick up a few things, along with lunch for later. Then since I couldn't muster up the ganas to set up the bike, I did core and leg work instead. I'm really making an effort to work on hip flexors, ITB and pelvic stability, but some of these exercises tire me so quickly that I'm almost in tears before I finish my sets. The only thing that gets me through is knowing that if I keep after it, things will get better.

After my workout, I did a bit of writing and editing, took a nap, then got up and did a 90 minute spin session. I was pretty happy with how my legs felt on the bike. Yesterday's run was more difficult than it should've been and I had thought the leg work earlier in the day would finish me off. But I maintained good form and cadence throughout the workout, so I was pretty happy.

I was almost done and was starting to wonder what I should have for dinner when Dan called to tell me he was at a Vietnamese place downtown and did I want anything? I was a little anaerobic and my brain cells weren't working too well, so I told him to just bring me something. A little while later I was putting up my bike and he came in the door with spring rolls for me.


We're already married, but if I marry him again, is it bigamy?

Recent Workouts
Today: 45 minute core and strength training, 90 min spin - Spinervals 5.0 Mental Toughness

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Too much drama for me! Posted by Picasa

Drama Mama

Okay, I'm going to say a few things that will probably sound callous.

Why on earth do people in my family think it's okay to leave weepy, panicky voicemails about health issues when:

A. There is no clear threat to life or limb.


B. My presence is not needed and will not be helpful.

Basically, I got home from work Friday to find two voicemails from my sister (I have no idea why she didn't call me at work) saying that she was with my mother in the emergency room. So I immediately called my sister on her cell, my head full of terrible prospects, only to find that it was merely a case of abdominal pain. I asked a few questions, got a pretty good idea of what the problem wasn't, then talked to Mom, who was on pain meds and sounded pretty good. But even after we ran down the list of potentially scary diagnoses that had already been ruled out, she had to get her little drama dig in with, "But there's always the chance that they might have to do surgery!"

Okay. No picnic, there. And there's always the chance that they'll come back and say it's some really awful, rare thing that always makes for a better TV movie than reality. But isn't it a little extreme to go working the family into a frenzy just yet, without so much as a diagnosis?

As it turns out, it's a case of diverticulitis. No one's idea of a good time, but hardly worth all the dramatic buildup.

They're keeping Mom a few days so they can administer intravenous antibiotics, but after that she's good to go. No surgery and no long-term health implications so long as she goes forth and eats her roughage like a good girl.

Maybe it's me and Dan who are the weirdos here, but neither one of us has ever called our respective families over a medical issue. Not the time Dan needed stitches. Not the time I had to have a benign breast lump removed. (Okay, that freaked me out a little because I'd never had surgery before.) And not when Dan had kidney stones. It just didn't seem important. I don't know how other non-family members do it, but I'm saving my "panic and pity" capital for the big stuff, thankyouverymuch. And praying in the meantime I'll never need to draw on that account.

So if you call me in a panic, wanting me to participate in your little tragic opera, please have it be a real emergency or at least something you need my help with. Speak to me in calm, reasonable tones. Tell me how I can make things better. But don't call just to tweak my emotions. Hit and run ain't cool.

Recent Workouts
Today: 14 mile run
Friday: (attempt to) rest day
Thursday: 30 minute run - intervals, 30 minute core and strength training
Wednesday: 30 minute elliptical, 20 minute strength training
Tuesday: 55 minute bike - Spinervals 11.0 Big Gear Strength, 30 minute core and strength training

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Messy Eaters Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Houston Marathon

This year I had the bright idea of watching the marathon splits for the lead runners on my computer before going out to my favorite corner near mile 23 to watch. This worked perfectly. Instead of getting out there way early or just barely too late, Dan and I were out there and ready when the first runner came around the bend five minutes later. I was very surprised that there was no helicopter this year. Usually the lead runner gets a helicopter in addition to the pace car and police escort. Oh well. If I were an elite runner, I'd insist on a helicopter, but that's just me.

Runners trickled by slowly for the first half hour. Many of them were grimacing in pain, but their bodies kept going strong. The next half hour we started seeing runners whose forms had deteriorated. Pain was etched on their faces and there were odd little things like flailing arms, a catch in a step, a sideways tilt of the pelvis.

Things settled down a bit after that. Dan had to leave and I ran home too, to use the bathroom and shed one of my shirts. It was turning out to be a warm day. I would've liked to have ditched my jacket, but I had loaded the pockets with things that my friends on the course might need, and it wouldn't be a disaster if I got a little warm later on.

I ran back to my corner about the time the 3:40s were going by. Then the 3:45s. This is always about the time I start getting misty-eyed. I look up Memorial Drive and think about what I could've done if I wasn't dealing with an injury and if my training had gone according to plan. I can be pretty chipper out there watching the fast runners and the ones who are slower than I would've been even on a worst case day. But when the ones in my pace range go by it's hard to keep my mind from drifting into whatifs.

But luckily I didn't have much time for that. I saw Steve, introduced myself and ran with him to the next water stop. He was doing great and I hope he thinks so, too.

Then I went back to my corner and waited for my friend Bonnie. She came around the corner alone and off pace but looked strong and was chatty, so I fell in with her and we ran up Allen Parkway together. I was disappointed at the music this year. Last year there was music almost the entire way up Allen Parkway, but this year it was pretty scanty. And when we got downtown here was no music at all until we turned the corner onto the last straightaway to the finish line. The finish was six blocks away but even I, who had only run three miles, felt like it kept receding the more we ran. At least we had music, though.

We were almost to the barricades when a guy collapsed up ahead of us. The only person who moved to help him was a guy with a half marathon finishers' medal around his neck, so I said good-bye to Bonnie and went to see if I could help the guy on the ground. His name was Mark and his calves had locked up. I tried to massage one and it was like a rock. I took a packet of Bio-Freeze out of my jacket pocket, gave some to the guy with the medal, squeezed the rest into my hands and we went to work on Mark's legs.

"You're a cyclist," I observed, hoping to distract him from the pain.

"Uh, yeah."

"I could tell by your razor stubble," I teased. "You do tris, too?"

"Not today, he's not," Medalguy said.

"Well of course not today," I replied, and we all laughed.

It took a few minutes, but we finally started making a little progress. Mark's calves were hardly loose, but they weren't bricks any more, either. We got him to his feet and I walked him to the final barricade ahead of the finishing chute. I wished him well and he took off at a slow trot that must've felt like it would kill him. It brought tears to my eyes.

After that I started walking back up the course, looking for other friends of mine. I was around mile 24 when I ran into Sylvia. She was running alone, which isn't typical because she has lots of friends. So I fell in with her and found she had been dealing with a hurt foot since mile 8. I ran with her to the start of the barricades and then walked back up the course again.

I was starting to think I wouldn't see anyone else when I saw Felix around mile 24, walking with the big American flag he always races with. I ran up to him and asked what was up, why was he walking? He said everything was hurting and it was too hot out. I've never run with Felix for very long because he usually has an entourage, but this time he must've been in a pretty bad spot because as I fell in with him and he kicked up the pace to a shuffle, he asked me to talk to him. So I talked. I talked about anything that came to mind. And every time I fell silent, he'd say, "Keep talking." And so we went along like that, sometimes trotting, sometimes walking, down Allen Parkway, into downtown and up to the barricades where I stopped and watched him run through the crowds as the announcer called his name.

By now the race was almost over. The race clock read 5:52 and there wasn't much time for anyone still out on the course. A heavy man, shirtless and jiggly slogged past me. I glanced at my watch and smiled. He was going to make it and have bragging rights forever over all those skinny people at the office. An elderly woman passed me, head up, striding confidently. She would make it too and put the lie to anyone's assertion that you're ever too old to chase your dreams.

I wound through the shadows of the downtown skyscrapers and back into the sunshine and green of the paths along the bayou. Stragglers were still coming in, chased out of the roads and onto the sidewalks, most of them holding up bravely, all of them disappointed. Just finishing a marathon is something to be proud of, and I know they’ll understand once they're beyond the disappointment of today.

By now I was tired and hurting. Both hips hurt and my feet hurt from my new insoles. My muscles were tight from yesterday's run. And I was thirsty. So thirsty! I hadn't taken any of the water offered by the volunteers, so I was glad to come up to the water fountain at Eleanor Tinsley Park.

It seemed to take forever to walk all the way home. Three miles is a long way when your feet and hips hurt. But it was nothing compared to a marathon. So I soldiered on, stopping to help a straggler give directions by cell phone for someone to come pick her up by the dog park at Montrose.

Then there was another water fountain, Waugh Drive, a little dog-leg and I was at my bridge to Jackson Hill. The bridge seemed higher than usual. I guess I was more tired and sore than I realized. At the top I stopped and looked down on my trails and looked toward downtown where so many people achieved their dreams today. It made me smile.

And then I walked down the other side of the bridge and up the street to where my own finish line and my own fans were waiting for me.

Recent Workouts
Today: approx 5 mile run, 5 mile walk

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

Yeppers, today is my birthday! One more year and I'll be racing with the masters!

Exciting, isn't it?

I actually did most of my birthday celebrating yesterday. I took the day off and started things right by sleeping in until 9:00. Then I took my bike to the shop for new tires and to get checked out for the spring ride season. The owner of my LBS is a friend of Dan's and expressed doubt that he could get to my bike this weekend because he was over-biked and short-staffed. "Want me to ask Dan if he has time to come help you out?" I asked. Jeff brightened up immediately and said to have Dan give him a call if he wasn't too busy.

Next I dropped off my RX-7. It had been making a funny noise. We popped the hood and found -- oops -- a broken alternator belt! Amazing that the car was still cranking. So I gave the mechanic the key and walked home, about a mile. It was a nice day for it. I stopped at Walgreen's on the way for a few things and was annoyed that they didn't have multi-packs of 60 watt fluorescent bulbs. I'm trying to change over to all fluorescents as the incandescents burn out, but I can sure get a better deal than $7 per bulb.

So I went home, got the Toyota, and went downtown to the Houston Marathon Expo. OMG! For whatever reason, this was totally my year! I ran into several friends, including Burt and Sally of Luke's Locker, and my massage therapist, Mary. I bought a new pair of Brooks Adrenalines. I ate ice cream and Clif Bar samples. I watched sock demonstrations. (How sick is that?) I visited the animals at the Humane Society booth. No rabbits, darn it, but I dropped some money in their donation jar anyway. I totally ruined my "old school runner" creds by buying not just one but two sets of matching running shorts and tops. I bought socks. And miracle of miracles, I found that Brooks still makes the pants that match my super-soft, ultra-special jacket that I bought last year. The pants were softer than cream and 20% off the $55 price. I grabbed a pair and have found an excuse to wear them everywhere, since. I was about to splurge on yet more socks when for the good of my pocketbook I decided I needed to get out of that hell-hole of worldly temptations.

So what did I do next? Uh… I went to my favorite consignment shop and spent a lot more money.

Right. Aren't other people supposed to buy things for me on my birthday? What's wrong with this picture?

I spent my last $5 on stamps on the way home so I could send out a magazine subscription renewal, then went home and dragged all my loot upstairs. I was still prancing around in my new Brooks pants when Dan came home. He was unimpressed. I looked great in them and they're just so, so soft! What's not to like?

Okay, I'll shut up about the pants.

Dan went and helped out at the LBS today and paid the ticket for my new tires and for trueing the front wheel. We had lunch at the Indian place around the corner and it was a nice, quiet day.

Tomorrow morning is the marathon. I wish I were running, but the hip still hurts. I noticed that next year the marathon will be on my birthday-- my 40th. Now how cool would it be to run my first race as a master on my birthday at my hometown marathon? Maybe 2007 will be the year I break the jinx.

I'll be at mile 23 tomorrow morning to see the runners and check up on my friends. Full report will follow.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Recent Workouts
Today: 1 hour elliptical, 9 mile run
Friday: rest day, some walking

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Rabbit. Top view. Posted by Picasa

Postal (Dis)Services

For years we've had a problem with mail delivery to my department. We're in a building off campus, but our mail is still routed through the university system. Fine. But even though our building has a ginormous red number on the outside, even though we have a clearly marked mail room and even though we have a very neatly labeled mailbox, our mail still ends up in a totally different building in an unmarked box next to Accounts Payable.

Not all of our mail, mind you. Some of it ends up where it belongs. And therein lies the mystery because there is no difference in mail code or address between what ends up in the correct box vs what ends up in the next building.

We've tried for years to get this problem corrected, but the good folks in our university's Postal Services department deny that this is even happening. They say our mail couldn't possibly be ending up in the next building in an unmarked mail slot and if it is, someone else is doing it.

Right. We have Evil Postal Gnomes that go around moving mail from one building to the next just to confuse us.

So today my assistant was fed up and convinced someone to come out and actually look at the problem. And you know what he found? Not only did he find just what we've said for years-- an extra "secret" mailbox full of our mail in the next building, but he also found another, extra-special, uber-secret unmarked box also full of our mail!

Okay, so our mail is being delivered to three different places, including one so secret that even we aren't allowed to know where it is. Great.

But once again, Postal Services denies that it is they who are doing this! No, it most be those pesky Postal Gnomes again, up to their old mail-stealing tricks!

Well, at least Postal Services now acknowledges that we're neither crazy nor lying when we say we're not getting our mail. It's progress, I suppose.

Gonna buy me some Gnome Spray this weekend.

Recent Workouts
Today: 45 min gym cardio, 3 x 15: 15 min elliptical, 15 min stairmaster, 15 min treadmill
Tuesday: 30 min elliptical, 15 min strength training
Monday: 30 min core and strength training
Sunday: 90 min bike: Spinervals Tough Love (1st half only)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

You Can't Be Sirius?

My husband's friend gave him a satellite radio yesterday. Nifty! It's a slightly older model, but it does everything a satellite radio needs to do and it has a cradle and various gizmos for it to work in the car as well as in the home, hooked into speakers. It's pretty cool. And free, except for the monthly payments to Sirius.

I had a pretty good first week back at work. I had thought I would be all sleepy and out of sorts after my spoiled rotten week of no commitments, but everything went fine. No need for more than the usual amounts of caffeine, etc. I put all my Christmas chocolate into a glass dish in the break room and wasn't tempted by anyone else's candy offerings. I got a lot of good work done and even managed to impress a few people by volunteering for a little project that was easy and fun for me but a puzzling conundrum to my business manager.

Yay, brownie points!

I was disconcerted though, when she called me a few days later to ask for an update and called the project by a completely different name. For a moment I was a bit frantic. Holy crap, I'm supposed to be working on a fiduciary whatsit page??? Oh…. the checklist! LOLOL! Two linkage options tested and a third option in testing mode. Whew!

Fiduciary whatsits, indeed.

I had a mostly pain-free week, although as you can see from my stats below, I slacked on the running. But maybe that's what I needed to do because I was able to do the first twelve of my 14 mile run today without any problems and only added my cho-pat strap for the last couple miles because I thought I could feel a little whisper of pain in the patellar tendon and I had some hills coming up. The pain may have been my imagination though, because tonight the only thing that hurts is my right tensor fascia latae.

On this morning's run I saw what I think was the Houston Fit group getting their last pre-marathon pep talk. I almost went over to listen and say hello to some of my friends, but I think it would've only made me feel bad. I ran into a friend over the holidays who will be running next Sunday though, and I'll keep an eye out for her from my usual spot near mile 23. If she's hurting and isn't running with anyone, I'll run with her for a bit and try to distract her and keep her on pace. Miles 23-25 of the Houston Marathon can be brutal because of the hills and dips of the Allen Parkway underpasses.

I'm thinking of taking this next Friday off from work. I did it last year because it was my birthday and I enjoyed having a four-day weekend. (MLK Day is always a holiday for us at the university.) So even though my birthday falls on Saturday this year, I think I might start a little tradition by always taking Friday off and giving myself a four-day weekend. This would give me two four-day workweeks in a row, separated by a four-day "weekend."

I could live my whole life like that, I think.

Recent Workouts
Today: 14 mile run
Friday: Rest day
Thursday: 35 minute bike - Cyclerobx
Wednesday: 45 minute elliptical, core and strength training
Tuesday: 45 minute bike - Spinervals 1.0 "No Slackers Allowed"
Monday: 30 minute elliptical, core and strength training

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy 2006!

Happy New Year, everyone!

We kept things very low-key last night. I think my years in the restaurant/club business turned me off forever to going out on "amateur nights" and New Year's Eve is one of the biggest amateur nights of them all. With my holiday break rapidly winding down, I was happy to spend the evening at home, no stress, no pressure, just doing things I enjoy doing.

Today was our belated Christmas gathering with my family, so even though the weather was nice for it, I didn't get a run or ride in. Instead Dan and I picked up some breakfast breads and coffee cake at Central Market and we got out to the house around mid-morning. I hadn't seen my father since summer, so it was nice to spend a little time with him. Gifts were only so-so. I only got one thing I really wanted and it was a book. I got a couple of other books that were cool and a lot of useless stuff. Sometimes I swear I'd rather have the money than the stuff, but it's the thought that counts, etc, etc.

I'm not into New Year's resolutions, so you won't see any of that here. If something is a good thing to be doing, then you should be ready to get started any time of the year, not just January 1. But I like Commodore's idea about having themes for the year. I want this year to be about pulling back a little, reassessing and rebuilding instead of just forging on ahead. In sport, my body demands it right now. At work I've strayed too far from the basics that got me where I am in the first place. I'm doing well on the home front, but there is always room for improvement-- getting back into cooking again and being a little less lazy about letting clutter pile up.

So that's where my focus will be in 2006-- getting back to basics, cleaning up, paring down, getting stronger so I can move forward from a place of strength and focus.

Happy New Year!

Recent Workouts
Today: Nothing yet, core work and maybe some cardio if time permits
Saturday: 12 mile run
Friday: Rest day
Thursday: 30 minute run - intervals
Wednesday: 45 minute elliptical, strength training