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Races, races and more races

Races, races and more races

The funny thing about running is that if you don’t run consistently, it sounds (and is) really hard…but once you make a point to be out there several times a week, it gets easier and you can run further, and eventually you stop feeling like you are going to die and instead really like it. 10 Mile races seem to be the sweet spot for me. A 10 mile race certainly is not easy for me, but with a regular but not exhausting running schedule, I can tackle a 10 miler (and usually only be sore that day, and feeling better by the next).

I went in to the Army 10 Miler expecting it to be ugly. I knew I’d finish, but actually brought a Ziplok bag and towel with me, because I knew that I’d need to sit on a bag of ice on the drive home (darn you, achy SI Joint!). I wanted to do the race for 2 reasons- (1) My brother is in the army and was just deployed to Qatar, and I wanted to run this race in honor of him, (2) the race starts and ends at the Pentagon, and I’ve never seen the Pentagon before, so I thought that would be pretty cool. One of my co-workers told me that the Pentagon is a big squat office building and a parking lot, which it really is, but the run also went in and around DC, so it was a pretty cool sightseeing experience.

The race was on Sunday, so I got to DC on Saturday. I went to packet pickup, which was, in expected military fashion, remarkably efficient. The whole thing took maybe 30 minutes, and that includes me weaving through all the shopping stalls at the expo. Afterward, I had a whole afternoon by myself. I could have gone exploring in DC, but I didn’t want to tire out my legs with a big run on the horizon, so instead I treated myself to some QT at Nordstrom Rack (tragically, there is no Rack in Pittsburgh, so this is a real treat), and to a manicure and body polish at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. Back at my hotel, I carbo-loaded on some take out See Ew Noodles from a local Thai restaurant, enjoyed some television time with the remote ALL TO MYSELF, and went to bed at an early, sensible hour. #WildWoman

before running ATM

I got up pretty early to head down to the starting line. I stayed at the official race hotel, and let me tell you, I am SO glad I did. It was maybe a 10 minute walk to the start and finish lines, which made for nice warm up/cool downs. I would have loved to take race selfies of all the neat things I ran by in DC, but the race packet said that mobile phones and cameras were FORBIDDEN. And also that earbuds were FORBIDDEN. And that we were going to be going through a security checkpoint. Since this is the Army’s show, I thought it would be all SERIOUS BUSINESS, and I didn’t want to have to walk back to the hotel to put my phone away, so I just didn’t bring it with me. And you know what, out of 35,000 runners, I’d say that 34,999 had their phones, were snapping selfies and were rockin’ out to their own music. I started the morning bitter about it, but then I told myself that it was a beautiful morning, I was in for a beautiful run, and I’m going to focus on the scenery and not tether myself to all the little reminders that I usually use on my phone to pace myself.

You know what, it turned out really well! It was a crowded and enthusiastic course, so I wouldn’t really need to rely on music to keep me energized anyway. And because I wasn’t getting constant mileage reminders in my ears (and a few times wasn’t paying clear attention when I ran by the time boards), I just kept running and didn’t focus on how far I had come or how much further I had to go. This worked especially well at the 9th Mile, where I played a ridiculous mental game with myself, saying “Oh, I just woke up this lovely morning, and I’m a little sore and tired, but I’m just going on a 1 mile run” and as completely stupid as it is, it WORKED. I felt good about every mile of that race, and especially good in that last mile.

Now, after I stopped running is when it didn’t feel so good. I knew from the beginning I was not ideally hydrated, and my usual practice isn’t to drink water until after the race, if I’m running a distance that is 10 miles or less. I did drink water a couple times in the last half of the race, but I really should have been drinking more the days before and in the earlier part of the race. So when the race was over, I had a brief while of feeling very much bad, until I got myself appropriately rehydrated.

This HOOAH goes out to my brother, who deploys to Qatar in a few days. Stay safe, soldier! #ArmyTenMiler

The only downside of the race is that, because it is so big, there are a lot of waves and they take a LOT of time to get through. The first wave went out at 8, but mine didn’t start until 8:48. Of course I got to the corral at like 7:15. That is a lot of waiting time before going out on a long run.

I absolutely would love to do this race again. For the next time, I would either like to work on my speed and try to get placed in an earlier corral (no, I will not sneak into a different corral than the one I am assigned, that makes me NUTS), or maybe since I now have an idea of the lay of the land, I might just leisurely drink my coffee and show up a little later to the starting line.

My next big race is the EQT 10 Miler on November 9. I’ve barely run since the Army 10 Miler, but my bronchitis is really on the upswing, and absent any further complications in my life, I plan to be pounding the pavement again on Tuesday.

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Sometimes I am Stupid.

I have planned a number of entries for this blog over the last two weeks:

- A recap of Mr. Beez’ and my visit to the Big Harvest Potluck

-Sharing a piece of writing I did at the Big Harvest Potluck that I was exceptionally pleased with

-A recap of my participation in the Army 10 Miler

-A recap of recent re-visits to Cure and Spoon

And a few other miscellaneous things. You’ll notice, however, that for about a week, I have flat out failed to post. This is because I am stupid.

I’ve been told time and time again that being tired, being stressed, and failing to adequately care for oneself can lead to getting sick. I am, however, stubbornly of the “Oh well, I’ll just muscle through it” mindset. Also, and this is completely ridiculous, when I’m feeling sick I am always in denial about it. I tell myself that I’m not really sick, but rather I’m just being lazy and complaining, and need to get my butt in gear.

So even though I felt sick enough that I had to come home from work early on the Friday before the Army 10 Miler, I still told myself “I’m just tired,” and pushed myself through that race. And then I took a week off from running because of my mother-in-law’s death, but still didn’t feel well. Then this week, I still didn’t feel well, but told myself that I was just lazy, and again made myself run. Finally, on Thursday, I hauled my butt to the Doctor’s, because a persistent cough for 2 weeks just didn’t seem right, and learned I actually am sick. It’s just bronchitis, and I have a whole mountain of medications now. But now after two weeks of yelling at myself that I’m just being lazy, and feeling a very brief moment of vindication at the doctor’s office at having a real diagnosis, I’m back at telling myself that I’m an idiot because if I had just rested and taken it easy when I first started feeling sick, maybe I would have gotten better much more quickly in the first place.

In any event, I worked from home today and never got out of my pajamas. And I plan to get some rest in over the weekend. Even though my next 10 miler race is only a few weeks away, I think it will be OK. I’ve got to get better anyway, since I certainly can’t run in this state, feeling like I’ve got an anvil sitting on my chest. For now, rest, water, soup, antibiotics, inhaler, trashy TV. But pretty soon, it looks like I’ll be back at it.

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In Memoriam

As I climbed in the car to drive home from Washington, DC, my husband called. His mother had very unexpectedly passed away. And after my shock gave way, I cried nearly the whole drive home, knowing that we were going to have to explain to our 4 year old little girl that her Grandma, whom she adored, was gone forever. By “adored,” I don’t just mean “she loved Grandma.” I mean Grandma is literally her absolute favorite person in the whole wide world. She wakes up every morning and begs to go to Grandma’s house. This girl loves Grandma. And Grandma loves her back. She’s got her own bed and own toys and own everything at Grandma’s house. Grandma doesn’t just babysit, Grandma calls us and says “I want that baby for the weekend.” They are absolutely the best of friends.

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My relationship with my mother in law was a complicated one, but we had reached such a good place in the last year or two. We weren’t the type to really be buddy buddy, but we did spend time together sometimes, and enjoyed splitting the cooking duties for the various holidays. She liked reading this blog. When I hopped on her computer yesterday to share the funeral information on her facebook account, it was touching to see that she had a link to this page right on her desktop. Most of all, we had gotten to such a good place with respect to my little girl. Grandma spoiled her, absolutely spoiled her, which I wasn’t thrilled with, but I was OK with them spending weekends together, without the watchful eye of mama, and they could eat all the cookies and paint their nails and go to Chuck E Cheese, and revel in their own little rebellions.

It’s only Tuesday, but it’s been a hard week. Baby Beez kind of understands what’s going on. She’s been informing lots of shop clerks and random strangers that “My Grandma died,” which is very awkward. We’ve had lots of advice and support and followed all of it, but it is still hard. Mr. Beez and his dad have the heartbreak of worrying over Baby Beez’ grief, with the crushing load of losing their mother and wife on top of that. We’ve all had to confront an emptiness that we did not expect and were not equipped for.

Baby Beez is four. Everyone keeps telling me she will remember her Grandma. I think she will. But I’m afraid her appreciation for the depth of their relationship will fade over time. It breaks me up, thinking Grandma might just be someone in smiling photos. I want her to remember how much she loved her Grandma. How for her, Grandma could make absolutely everything OK (especially when mean mom told her she had to eat all the healthy food before she could have cookies). I didn’t see Grandma as competition or some kind of cheat to the everyday rules. She was Baby Beez’ escape to 24/7 FUN. I was so glad they had that together.

Tomorrow is the viewing and Thursday the funeral. If you know my husband, please give him a hug or send him an email. He needs that love right now.

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Finally, a day where I feel like I’ve got it somewhat under control

Finally, a day where I feel like I’ve got it somewhat under control

Since I have the tendency to share every word I think and every tiny thing I do with the entire internets, I not-infrequently find myself in a situation where a friend is about to embark into the wild world of working-parentdom, and they sweetly assume that since I have not had a public meltdown in the last four years, I have some little bit of wisdom to impart about how to “balance” work and life.

Here’s the wisdom: I have no idea what I’m doing. None of us do. There is no “balance,” there is only triage, and just barely enough time to get the most demanding emergency under control before moving on to the next one. I fly by the seat of my pants. I do the best I can, but I usually have too much exhaustion and too little patience.

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Today, though. Today was OK.

Mr. Beez and I both work jobs where our time is not entirely our own, meaning that we can’t make it to every class party or even know for sure whether we’ll be available or not on a particular day. Baby Beez is at an age where sometimes she cares and badly wants us there, sometimes she couldn’t care less. So I try to keep an ear open and follow her lead. If she doesn’t say she wants me to be at something, I don’t worry much about it. But if she says she want me to be there, I do try to make it happen.

Today was the class trip to the pumpkin patch. She’s been talking about the trip all week, about how she’s going to RIDE THE SCHOOL BUS and get to pick a pumpkin and, did I mention, RIDE THE SCHOOL BUS. She never mentioned any interest in me coming with her, so I did not pay much mind. What do you need mom for, when you get to RIDE THE SCHOOL BUS?

This morning, I trudged through the brutal morning tasks of making the lunches and feeding the pets and dressing the child and dressing myself and doing my hair and makeup and getting in the car. Although my morning was to be spent working at my desk, I had a hearing scheduled for the afternoon, so I was in a suit.

As we rolled down the hill to her school, a tiny voice peeped from the backseat, “Mommy, will you come to the farm with me?” She was so earnest, I couldn’t say no. I didn’t have time to go back for another outfit, so I went to the farm in my business clothes. I got hay dust on my pants and mud on my shoes. But she was so glad I was there as she snuggled up in my lap on the hayride. And even if I looked a little shabby when I got back to the office, it was worth it.

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As with many 4 year olds, often the idea of an outing with Baby Beez is far more appealing than the outing itself. I will imagine us exploring museum exhibits or singing together at a kid’s music performance, but the reality ends up full of whining, covered in boogers, and with me desperate to unload the kid and go hide on a couch with a book. Today, though, it was all in sync. She was happy, I was happy, she found a lumpy-bumpy pumpkin in the patch just like she wanted.

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We had a sweet morning together. Today, it worked out ok.

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October feelin’

Welcome to October! I haven’t felt much like blogging lately. Maybe it’s because I’ve been very busy, using up all my brain and my words during the day. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been more interested than reading words than writing them lately. Maybe it’s just because we haven’t been out to too many new restaurants lately, so that usually abundant stream of inspiration is not so abundant right now. But even though I’m not writing as much, I’m still here, I’m still reading, I’m still kicking. And here are some things on my mind tonight:

Page Dairy Mart’s last day for the season is scheduled for October 24. Sad. Even though the chocolate chip cookie sundae is di-vine (featuring Nancy B’s cookies), my favorite and go to is coffee soft serve with hot fudge and whipped cream. I need to stop on down there to get one last treat before they’re gone for the cold months.

Page Dairy mart Chocolate Chip Sundae

American Horror Story starts again tonight! It’s the only show that I regularly watch. My favorite season was season 1, but this whole circus thing looks especially creepy. I like to think I like scary things, but in real life I’m a giant crybaby and get too scared. American Horror Story tends to be just the right level of scary for me (meaning it tries to be scary, but isn’t really scary). Relatedly, my husband has banned me from ever watching a Paranormal Activity movie ever again, because he’s not a fan of being up all night while I cry over nightmares.

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My birthday is next month. If all yinz guys wanna bake me a cookie table, I won’t complain. Also, I think the fact that 99% of the pictures I pin on Pinterest are baked goods is not helping me any with my (failing) efforts at losing weight.

I’ll be going on a mini solo trip this weekend to Washington DC to run the Army 10 Miler. I’m going to basically have an afternoon ALL TO MYSELF. I’ve already booked a trip to the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, and I think I’m going to go see Gone Girl (yes, because I drive 3 hours to go to see a movie that I could see at a movie theater 2 miles from my house) and go to bed early, because I am a WILD woman. But when you’re running 10 miles around the Pentagon the next day, hiking all over to sight see isn’t the wisest idea anyway.

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Autumn clothes are my absolute favorite. Sweaters and cowl necks and boot socks and all things lovely and warm. Things I want want want:

Want.


Want want.

I just downloaded Hollow City, which is the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and am very excited about reading it. Spooky!

Hollow City