Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh, And By The Way...

Lest ye think that my last post was really about the worst of the not-so-great ideas I have had (and I alluded to this briefly in said post) this was to be my backup post:

I wouldn't say it was my best idea, deciding to run a marathon...what has it gotten me so far? Let's see. This morning I was out the door at 5:44 am BEFORE THE BIRDS OF THE DAWN WERE EVEN CHIRPING, OK? The stoplight was still on FLASH FLASH FLASH mode. I was staring eight miles in the face in fucking 80% humidity and it was dark and I was terribly CRABBY after having gotten like three hours of sleep because I was tending to a dog who spent most of the night BARFING for no reason I could discern and it was so HOT in my house despite the A/C being cranked on full blast and I know my cat loves me but jeez he can get kind of hot and scratchy lying against my arm all night like that and my left calf muscle was bothering me and my right tibia is STILL not 100% with the goddamn program and I have ten more weeks of these Wednesday-Thursday eight mile runs at the hairy ass crack of dawn and I'm hungry all the time and I ran fucking 33 miles or something last week and that's just the beginning and I feel SLOW and FAT and LAZY and do I really? REALLY? have almost three more months of this before it's all finally fucking over and let's just say I've had myself one powerful gin smash at this time (and maybe more, who knows, or perhaps I might bust out the wine). And now I need to go shopping for goat cheese for my roasted beet salad which I am making for myself for dinner. Because my business wasn't colorful enough already, you know? There's nothing like turning the toilet bowl water magenta like Easter egg dye! Fun, fun, fun!

Yes, deciding to train for a marathon...well...I'm starting to wonder. Is it really that important to be one of that mythical "one tenth of one percent" of people on this earth who complete a marathon? My last post was all about trying to stand out, to be special, and failing miserably. Do you think I can finally do so with this endeavor? Is it worth it? IS IT?

OK. Goat cheese and soy milk time.

Writing Prompt: I Wouldn't Say It Was My Best Idea...

The blogosphere is wide, and I do read non-running-centric blogs (gasp!) including one of a lovely lady I know IRL who inspired me to lose weight and start running in the first place and last week she came up with the idea of a weekly writing prompt to help those of us who are sometimes less than inspired to come up with something fabulous to write about. So this week's idea, courtesy of She Likes Purple, is "I Wouldn't Say It Was My Best Idea..."

I wouldn't say it was my best idea. In fact, it was probably the worst idea I have ever had. No, wait. It was probably one of the worst ideas ever put forth in the history of the world.

In sixth grade, I decided I could finally become popular if I did something so outrageous, so unlike my quiet, bookish persona (not a winning combination in the rapidly developing world of adolescent cliques) that the popular kids (including the boy on whom I had a huge crush) would have to notice me.

What was it, dear readers? What grand idea could I possibly have come up with that I would now call the worst idea of my entire life (and yes, that does include my current crazy notion that I might, just might, be able to pull off completing a marathon)?

I gave our teacher rabbit ears behind her head.

In the official class photograph.

The one that was going to be sent to every member of my class and from there to countless grandparents not only in the San Francisco Bay Area but all across the country. (Dis)gracing bookshelves and refrigerators from coast to coast.

I was perfectly positioned in the row directly behind my teacher, who was seated in the front. I was slightly to the side of her right shoulder. I was primed. I was ready. This was going to make me the most famous sixth-grader in all of Loyola Elementary School's class of 1986. Maybe of all time. In 1990 (such a far-off, distant year...) people would still be talking about me, the wacky, wild, and wonderful girl who gave Ms. K the ol' rabbit ears in the class photo.

Word had been leaked. My classmates were edgy, glancing at me, muttering. Would I have the guts to pull off such a stunt? Me, who read so many books in fourth grade my teacher had to add an extra sheet of paper to contain all of the stars (one for each book) piling up next to my name? Me, who was one of only two girls in the GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program for my grade that year? Me, the dork extraordinaire?

My reputation as a nerd was on the line: it might come to an end that day. The photographer readied his equipment and called out, "Say cheese!" My left hand shot out and forked open right behind my teacher's head. It was done. I had done it. I was ready to receive my reward. Popularity, here I come! classmates were shaking their heads, whispering, "I can't believe she did that," and not in a good way. My stomach flipped over. What had I just done? Oh my God...the picture was going to be ruined...everyone was going to see. There was no way to hide it. I had been right behind her. What on earth had I been thinking?!

But wait! What was this? A commotion at the photographer's station. "We're going to have to take the picture again. The word 'school' was misspelled in the picture placard."

Holy shit. One of my classmates had misspelled the word school in the little square placard my teacher had been holding. Loyola Elementary Scholl, Ms. K., 1986.

Thank God for poor spellers. I had been rescued from a horrible death in the flames of adolescent embarrassment! When the picture was taken for the second time, I did not repeat my mistake. I kept my hands firmly behind my back and the resulting picture, the one that still resides in my school scrapbook, shows nothing out of the ordinary (if one doesn't count the terrible mid-80s fashions).

We filed down from the risers and lined up against the wall of the multipurpose room for individual pictures. I busied myself with my black plastic comb (the one which said "Unbreakable" on its side) and exhaled a deep sigh of relief that the incident had passed unnoticed by my teacher. I decided that was to be the end of my attempt to become popular. Crazy antics were just not my forté. I would leave the classroom shenanigans to someone with an already-established reputation as a class clown and general fuckup; there were a few in my class who filled that role nicely.

Suddenly my teacher was standing in front of me. We were almost at eye level; I was a tall kid and she a petite woman. Her face was grim. "Sarah. Did you put a 'V' behind my head in the picture?"

Every single one of my classmates' heads whipped around, every pair of eyes rested on me. I felt like I was going to pass out. There was a roaring in my ears. I silently wished the linoleum-tiled floor of the multipurpose room would open up and swallow me (this being northern California and mere miles away from the San Andreas Fault, this was not as far-fetched a possibility as you might think). I wanted to disappear off the face of the earth. I wanted the accusing stares and snickering to stop and my teacher's furious face to vanish.

My teacher's voice cut through my desperate daydream: "DID YOU or did you not give me RABBIT EARS in the picture?"

Oh, dear readers, you might have thought that my original idea was not my best idea. What came out of my mouth next was the product of an even worse idea. I decided I had to lie. Why? I don't know. I was so embarrassed, so humiliated. In a tiny voice, I whispered, "No." My teacher straightened up, glaring at me. I think she knew I was lying. She had to know I was lying. My face was burning. I stared at the floor, looking for signs of the giant crack which would shortly be taking me away forever. My teacher didn't press me. She didn't point at me and yell, "Liar!" She didn't say anything, just walked away. I got my individual picture taken without incident. My classmates found other things to discuss. In my photo I am still a homely, crooked-toothed, skinny girl with a bad bowl haircut and an ugly magenta splatter-paint dress. Look at me. There was no way I was ever going to be popular. Not in a million years. No nutty antics would ever change that (well, not until I got braces, grew up, went to graduate school, and discovered beer, but that's for another time).

As for the cute boy who was the object of my (and many of my female classmates') affection that year, the one whom I set out to impress with my grand idea in the first place? That's the best part...he grew up and became this.

I never had a chance.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Six Word Race Report Challenge

Edited to add: Boy, the Six-Word Running Memoir certainly has taken on a life of its own! Now it's part of Runners' Lounge Take It And Run Thursday.

TK over at Pigtails Flying issued a challenge to her readers to come up with a six-word race report in the vein of Not Quite What I Was Planning. I was only supposed to write one in the comments, but I got rolling and couldn't stop...

(I'm only posting them here because TK said I had to and I can't say no to a fellow runner! (especially one as awesome as she))

(Also, yes, I know this is the second post in a row for which the idea thereof was stolen from someone else. I clearly don't have an original thought in my head.)

Dexter-Ann Arbor 10K and A Most Excellent Race 5K: “Personal records fueled by alcoholic beverages.”

Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon:
“Seven hour drive, sub 2-hour PR!”

Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 5K:
“32:58 in 2006, 25:01 in 2007.”

Run For The Rolls 1-Mile:
“Won age group, six delicious rolls!”

Big House Big Heart 5K:
“Finish inside Michigan Stadium? I’M THERE!”

Meteor 10K:
“First 10K race means automatic PR.”

Shamrocks and Shenanigans 5K:
“Broke high school PR. I ROCK!”

I could also have said of this race: "Free beer glasses at finish: awesome!"

Detroit Half Marathon 2007:
“First half marathon. I did it.”

I imagine my six-word race report for the Detroit Marathon (which hasn't happened yet) will be something like "What the hell was I thinking?"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fatigue, Smells, Camp, And Other Things

Taking my cue from Nitmos, this is a post containing a jumble of things, not all of them running-related.

What Am I, 6 Years Old?: 9.5 miles of running on Tuesday plus 7 miles of running on Wednesday equals my going to bed at 8:30 last night. I think this is called "overtraining." What can I say, during hill work on Tuesday evening I made an effort to stick with the guys in my group on the second loop. I ended up running a 7:45 mile (and yes, I was ahead of them or right on their heels the entire time. Ha!). After crashing like a tired toddler after dinner yesterday (a situation not helped by the two pints of Bell's Two-Hearted Ale I consumed with my hamburger) I decided to dial back on my run this morning, which I did, but in mileage only. I ended up running four miles at an 8:18 pace.

Weird Smells: Why is it that every time I go to the bathroom at work I come in after someone who apparently ate nothing but beans, sauerkraut, and spicy food for the past three days? Phew.

The Worst Week Of My Life: Unlike Laura, who had a fantastic time at her running camp, the week I spent at running camp my sophomore year of high school was by far the most horrible seven days of my entire life. I actually got sick because the "nutrition" we were given (I still shudder when I think about the slimy, gelatinous Borg Cube of...some pale, flabby, and tasteless foodlike substance....that caused me to run for the bathroom and puke during breakfast) was woefully inadequate fuel for the amount of running we were doing. I'm surprised I didn't get a stress fracture, either. I would not hesitate to say that it was even worse than my first week following my tonsillectomy when I was 24. Yes, recovering from oral surgery was more pleasant than my week at running camp. Two years later I went to what I affectionately call "nerd camp" and had a much better time.

Beer, Beer, Everywhere: Friday (that would be TOMORROW) I have the good fortune to be attending the Michigan Brewers' Guild Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti. Certain person(s), commence feeling envious.

Hail to the Victors: I registered for the Big House Big Heart 5K again! This is the race which finishes on the 50-yard line inside Michigan Stadium. People who have been with me on this blog for a long time will recall that I ran this race last year and had a wonderful time.

Hooray for Small Towns: This weekend is the Chelsea Summer Fest. Saturday some friends are coming over and we're going to attend one of the music concerts and then eat lots of grilled foods and drink beer on our deck. Summer rocks!

I Listen To More Obscure Music Than You: Please to be checking out Anna Ternheim and A Shoreline Dream (thanks to my most recent Paste Magazine Sampler CD).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Isn't It Ironic

Large banner on church lawn at top of Broadway St. hill in Ann Arbor, which also happened to be the seven-mile turnaround point for those of us doing a 14-mile run this morning:


14 miles (new distance record!)
Humidity: approximately 85%
Sweatiness: outrageous
Fatigue level upon returning home: high
Sense of accomplishment: good
Sense of dread in the vein of "I have to run 12 more miles for the marathon? There's no way!": very high
Post-run rehydration: Erie Brewing Company Misery Bay IPA

Friday, July 18, 2008

Embarrassing Secrets

We're on some network down time 'round the cube farm, and I don't have anything better to do at the moment.

Thus, I challenge my regular and not so regular readers/commenters to 'fess up as to their favorite guilty pleasure TV show (if you have one, that is). To set the mood, I'm about to do the same and bare my seedy (seamy?) underbelly. Here goes.

I watch Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team.

There. I said it. It's out there. *sigh* What a weight off my shoulders!

Edited to add: I guess I should be embarrassed that I can't spell "embarrassing"(it's fixed now).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

8 Before 8

This morning I did the first of what will be many 8-mile runs before work. I got up at 5:35 which is insanely early for me and was on the road before 6:00. I have to say, it was rather nice being out and about so early. The temperature was very agreeable, unlike this afternoon's projected high of 92 degrees. The roads were mostly empty. The birds were in full morning voice and I even passed a house with a rooster somewhere in the back that was crowing frantically. In order to squeeze in my 8 miles I had to come up with a new route around town, so I swung out into the country past the high school, through a couple of subdivisions, and then back onto my normal path through the cemetery and past the Jiffy Mix plant. It was no trouble at all and I even got a short cooldown walk at the end. I am pleased with my new route and I will be happily doing it many times over the next two months.

8 miles

In other news, yesterday I had the opportunity to meet the fabulous TK in person. She's in Ann Arbor on business and we managed to meet up at a local hotspot for drinks and dinner. I am perpetually amazed at the way the Internet has brought into my life people whom I would otherwise never have known. I have made several good friends in this area that I met online. I think the Internet was the best thing to ever happen to a somewhat antisocial introvert like me who has difficulty making friends. I wish TK and I could have gone for a run together but it just wasn't meant to be this time...though we've already discussed how and when we will see each other next!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Vacation Brain

You know your mind is still on vacation when you go to the gym and forget your towel and are forced to dry off post-shower with many cheap, rapidly-disintegrating paper towels and one's semi-gross gym shorts instead.

The words "pat dry" have new meaning for me now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Am Every Runner

I could be anyone...I could be everyone...

Yes, folks, I am back from vacation, where I had myself a goodly number of runs including a very nice 12-miler on Friday during which I was the recipient of some saved-up karma or something in the form of a public Port-A-Potty at the precise moment when I was in dire need of such a thing.

The universe is just.

Oh, and y'all are truly prodigious bloggers. I have over 100 running blog posts to wade through today on Google Reader! Jeez, people, don't you ever take any time off?