Monday, January 28, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

Last Thurs I saw Spirit of the Marathon, playing in select theatres throughout N. America for one evening. It was great and inspired me to think about running a full marathon again some day soon. It's fun to be reminded of why we run and the high of that first time you trained for a marathon and realized what a feat you accomplished.

But, I have to admit that as much as I love running, professional runners tend to scare me. Watch this film and you'll see Deena Kastor (women's bronze medalist in the 2004 Athens marathon) looking skeleton-like, find out she's almost broken a bone in her foot and then power right through the injury and say she's "taking her rest time" by napping and sleeping well, in addition to cycling, running on a pool treadmill and keeping up with her strength training. She then goes on to win the 2005 Chicago marathon. I guess that's what it takes to be an elite athlete. Personally, I think it's unhealthy to will your body to do something it quite frankly shouldn't be doing. But, I guess that's what sets the professionals apart from us regular Joes.

As for me, I forged the snow we almost never get here in the northwest and ran my scheduled 10 miles yesterday. Definitely a little harder to run in snow that's not packed down when you're used to wet pavement or bark trails. But, it was an adventure.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cookies, cookies, cookies

Cranberries, walnuts and chocolate chips, oh my!

I made these yummy, but somewhat healthy cookies last Sunday (after running 13 miles) and had to promptly give all but 10 of them away so I wouldn't eat myself silly. Give 'em a try!

We made it.

Congratulations, it's officially Friday and the start of a three day weekend! Fridays make Monday-Thursday all seem worth it. I love the luxury of weekends in that I get to choose how I want to spend each hour and who I want to spend it with (if anyone). This weekend sounds perfect. I have a few runs planned, drinks with friends on Saturday night, skiing on Monday with dad and the bros and otherwise relaxing and probably reading a good book. Ah, it makes me smile already. Any big plans for the weekend?

In other news, C and I finished the 1/2 Marathon last Sunday exhausted but accomplished. It wasn't the best time for either of us, but considering we didn't really train a whole lot for it, a 1:48 (1hr 48 min ~ 8:14 min/mile) wasn't half bad. Plus, it was FREEZING. I think the pictures tell that tale. Gotta love mom and dad for coming out to cheer us on.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Living with boys...

is not all it's cracked up to be. And frankly, I'm not sure anyone ever said it was anything fabulous, but I like the phrase.

Let me first say that I have lived with guys before. First, I grew up with two younger brothers and a dad who seemed inept at putting their dishes in the dishwasher or ever doing anything for themselves thanks to us women who baby them along their way in life. Then, there was the summer after junior year in college where I lived in the shi*ty house near campus with a girlfriend and four of our guy friends where I was regularly cleaning up half empty beer cans and crusty dishes. And finally, when I moved back to "the Eug" for a full-time job I decided to live with an old roommate's boyfriend (and friend of mine) and two other guys for ease and cheap rent. But lately, I've been asking myself, "is the savings of $400 per month really worth it?"

Here are a few things I've noted over the past few days that make me question the savings:

1. beard and facial hair trimmings sprinkling the sink ledge and edging dangerously close to the toothbrush holder where my toothbrush sits

2. stomping up and down the stairs as I try to sleep, thanks to having a full-time job and needing my eight hours of shut eye

3. a clean dishwasher that goes unemptied until I can't stand eating my cereal out of Tupperware any longer

4. a living room half full of old computer parts, broken Nintendos and shipping materials for an eBay business that profits two of the roommates

5. a dryer that takes two hours to dry a load of laundry in and lately has been leaving black marks on some of mine. There goes all that hard-earned money to replace more ugly work clothes.

6. coming home to the sounds of shooting and yelling while a roommate cusses at his favorite video game...probably some mortal combat or military-esque game I would despise of

7. food that sits in the fridge for ungodly periods of time until I set it on the counter for the owner to toss

That's about all that's been irking me lately. Don't get me wrong, they're nice guys and for living in a good neighborhood with cheap rent, which allows me to afford to travel to races and visit friends around the country, I often find my living situation favorable to the alternative. But lately, as I look toward becoming an adult, I'd really love to have a place that is MINE, that I can invite friends (and even guys-gasp) over to and not be apologizing for the mess, lack of wall decorations, and uncleanliness in the bathroom and just hang out. But for now, I'm 25, have a real job and I still live like a college student, and I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The calm before the storm?

I've had this amazing calm over me the past few days that has spread to all areas of my life. I'm taking each day at a time, writing to do lists and actually checking a few things off, finishing books I checked out of the library and eating healthy without the usual stress-induced frenzy I put myself in. Maybe this has something to do with starting a new year?

I haven't defined my resolutions, but over the last few months I have taken a good look at the things in my life that have stressed me out in the past and have tried to eliminate those to the best of my ability. In addition, I'm hoping I can take 2008 on as the year I let myself be just a little more spontaneous and say yes when I would usually say no. That said, I am often a "yes" kinda girl, just saying "yes, ok, or sure" to please others and not really caring if it's what I really want. Well guess what, not in 2008. I'm saying yes to things that sound interesting and that I want to do, even if they make me a little uncomfortable.

My friend C and I have even been planning (and sort of training) to run this 1/2 marathon that is coming up on Sunday and I'm not really freaking out about it. Usually, I'm crazy anal taper woman come race week. But I decided to relax and not try to get a PR this race, just run it for fun. What a novel idea. So, C and I are going to run side by side, sweating our buns off and probably joking and laughing for 13 miles in the freezing cold. Last year it was 26 degrees on race day and the men with beards or staches had icicles hanging from their faces. This year the weather boasts 40 degree temperatures and maybe even some sun. We'll see...all that matters is that we make it to the end so we get our helpings of soup and bread. Yum!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Taking a break

A weekend in El Paso with two nights of just four hours of sleep nearly knocked me out. To add to that a night with no sleep spent in Vegas for New Year's Eve was well, the icing on the cake that pushed me over the edge. Tuesday, New Year's Day, we boarded the plane for our return north only to sit in front of a woman yelling like a banshee at 8am "Aye yi yi yi yi yi yi!" over and over and over again as our plane ascended into the clouds. In a coma-like state of exhaustion, I was in no shape to tell her to shut the hell up. Besides, I'm pretty sure she was either a. drunk b. clueless to normal behavior on a plane c. grew up in the sticks or d. all of the above.

Needless to say, I woke up Wednesday (my 25th birthday) with a full on head cold, sore throat, swollen glands and state of exhaustion after sleeping for 11 hrs straight. So, what did I do? Took a sick day. For the most part I slept and woke up to drink more water with Emergen-C and finally, being sick of staying inside all day headed to run club. Stupid idea, but I made it all 4.2 miles. Happy Birthday to me.

Yesterday, I went to work for most of the day and called it quits at 2:30 pm, only to go to Albertson's for some O.J. and to rent "The Holiday" because what's better than watching a holiday chic flick when you feel like crapola?! And then, I did the unthinkable, I took a day off from running. I know, I know...doesn't sound so unthinkable, but in my world it just so happens to be. The thing is, many of us rarely take a break from the things we're "supposed to do" to take care of ourselves. And I happen to be particularly bad at it. If it means giving up my workout, whether it be a party, dinner with friends, or illness I politely side step it. But not this week. This week my body is saying "slow down" and you know what, for yesterday at least, I listened. Today, my gym bag is packed and after leaving work, I will go promptly there to sweat out that O.J. After all, I can only take a break for so long.

Here's to a weekend of rest and starting those New Year's resolutions! As for me, I'm still trying to decide what those resolutions will be.