Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Summer Run

In February.

This morning I dragged myself out of bed to go for a run.  Last night my phone said it'd probably be about 55, perfect for a run.  When I grabbed my phone before I got out of bed (my new habit lately - seems to be helping me to resist the urge to go back to sleep) and checked the weather, it said 72.  Seventy-freaking-two degrees.  In February.

When I walked outside, it was the same temperature as my house.  Only way more humid.  In February.

I ran.  I'm not gonna lie, it was rough.  My benchmark was 3 loops in 27:10.  Today it took me 27:33.  With a walk break, so help me gods.  I know this is just a preview for summer running.  And I really want to stay strong as the hot mornings start coming up, because I think that may have been what I was doing wrong in past years: I need to run through the first few weeks of discomfort due to temperature so my body will adapt.  I need to stay mentally strong.  I can do this.  Even if it is FREAKING FEBRUARY.

On the way to work this morning, the weatherman on NPR said today's low, 72, was higher than the normal high at this time of year, 69.  And it's supposed to get to 80 today.  IN FEBRUARY.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Long Time No Post

I have a good reason: stuff is really stressing me out.  And when you don't have anything nice to say, well, disappear from the blogosphere.  Ha!

But really, this blog is for me.  It is cathartic for me to throw out the things that are bothering me into the universe.  Even if I look like a Negative Nellie sometimes.  I'll tell you a secret: sometimes I am.  But sometimes I'm not.  Life seems to roller coaster into peaks and valleys for me.  Welcome to the valley.

So, without further adieu, stuff that's stressing me out, in no particular order:
  • AD is bad.  I don't think she is going to make it much longer.  We went to see her last weekend and they are making her sleep with this thing on her face.  Not intubated, because she wouldn't want that, but I think it creates like a positive pressure that forces air into her lungs?  It looks super scary.  And she's pretty out of it.  
  • P's dad just got diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer with mets to the bones.  He's undergoing hormone therapy and radiation treatment.  But I couldn't resist googling it.  And what I saw, well... it sucks.
  • P's grandmother, who is far away, also has cancer.  We get varying reports from JaMIL on any given week, but they are usually bad.
  • Speaking of JaMIL, she's coming to town on Wednesday.  To see AD.  Because I guess after a month in the hospital it is worthwhile for her to show up.  (/sarcasm)
  • P got news on Thursday that he is getting furloughed, starting today.  For 3 weeks.  Then he'll get called back to a temporary gig, then...?  It is the ? that I'm worried about.  3 weeks we can do.  Long term layoff would uber-suck.
  • I spent 2 weeks being a single parent in the evenings so that P could go see AD every night.  I love my baby, and I love AD, but I DO NOT love being a single mommy.  No siree.  Not after a full day of work.

I've had lyrics from Blue October's "Into the Ocean" stuck in my head for days now.  I keep singing it and playing it over and over:
I want to swim away but don't know how.
Sometimes it feels just like I'm fallin' in the ocean.
Let the waves up take me down.
Let the hurricane set in motion, yeah.
Let the rain of what I feel right now, come down,
Let the rain come down.

The feelings.  I just have so many feelings.  I almost feel like I'm in high school again, or college.  So angsty.  I'm trying to feel and release - let the rain of what I feel right now come down.  I'm trying.  But this is A LOT.  It is just a lot right now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Running this Week

(And last week.)  Has been a bit of a bust, until this morning.  I ran again, whee!

Interesting run this morning.  We're still adjusting to our new routines, so I didn't feel like I could venture too far afield.  So I ran my little loop course, each loop is just under a mile.  It was kind of a drag this morning: out is very gently downhill, and the wind was at my back (read: it was hot), and back is slightly uphill, with a strong headwind (read: hard).  Ha.  Would have been a good morning to take my other usual route, which would have had the wind at my side for most of the morning.

Benchmark: 3 loops = 27:10

The last half of the last loop I had a sudden realization that I was running in a "marathon slog" style.  My feet were barely coming off the ground.  And I was slow, slooooooow, slow.  So I made a conscious effort to look more like a "runner".  And wouldn't you know that I dropped over a minute in pace, just from thinking about how my legs were working and getting a little uncomfortable with it.  Lesson learned.  I can run 3 miles.  When I finish 3 miles I feel like I can go farther.  Now it is time to run it better, faster, stronger.  I need to focus on that.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

In Case I'm Not Here Tomorrow

My Dear Baby Zoë,

There is so many serious medical issues going on in your Daddy's family.  Aunt Dollie, Mawmaw, and now Papa.  Daddy and I aren't expecting to have anything go wrong, but after seeing Aunt Dollie worried about her will, and Nana not knowing a lot of stuff that would leave her in a bind if Papa died... well.... Daddy and I are going to get ourselves to a lawyer and get a will.

A will for us isn't really complicated.  Each of us gets everything, or if we both die, you get everything.  It isn't rocket science for a little family like ours.  The biggest decision is really who would take care of you if you lost us both.  We have a lot of good people in our life, so the problem isn't that no one is there, it is simply figuring out who would raise you like we would, or like we would want.

And that led me to this letter.  Baby girl, if I'm not here tomorrow, here is what I've learned.

I want you to play in the mud.  And enjoy it.

I want you to take classes in things that interest you.  Keep them up if you love them, or move on if you don't.  But explore the world.  I took classes in ballet, tap, gymnastics, piano, and voice, and violin.

Which leads me nicely to: play an instrument.  Any one you want.  And if you hate it, try another.  Being in band was one of the best, most fun things I ever did.  It was also one of the more difficult: from band I learned how to practice hard over a long period of time - how to work towards something.

I regret that I didn't do a sport.  I wish I had, and so I hope that you do.  I think playing on a team would teach similar lessons as band did, but in a different way.  I also think it would set you up for a lifetime of healthy living.

I want you to eat whatever you want.  But in reasonable, moderate portions.  If you are like me, you'll be able to eat whatever you want until you are in your mid-20's.  Enjoy that!  Then after that, be reasonable, be moderate, and be healthy.  I don't want you to fight to be a stick-figure, but obesity leads to many challenges that I also don't want for you.  I want you to live a long and healthy life.

I want you to be given your first car, but I want it to be inexpensive (but reliable) and used.  And I want you to drive it all the way through college.  Then once you have your first job, if you want a newer better car, you can buy it yourself with your own money.  There are a few reasons for this: most teenagers get into wrecks.  I know you have probably grown up to be a very responsible teenager, but bad things can also happen to good people, and your lack of experience dictates a less valuable car.  Plus, the insurance cost on a newer, nicer, more expensive car would be insane.  I want to buy you a car and insure it for you.  But I need to be able to afford it.

I want you to go to college.  I want you to have fun there, but also work hard and get good grades.  There is time enough for both things.  Get a degree in something you love and are passionate about.  If that something isn't the most lucrative... also get a back-up degree in something that makes you easily employable in a field that earns decent money.  Get both degrees NOW, the first time you're in college, and trust me that this is a good idea.  It will be much more difficult to go back to college later.

When you buy your first house, you want your monthly mortgage payments to be less than 25% of your monthly take home pay.  If you walk into an older house and see how beautiful it *could be*, then you are going to spend A LOT of money on that house.  Plan accordingly.

Marry only one person.  And don't have a child until you are with that person.  In fact, don't have a child until you have been married to that person for a few years.  Your Gaga's rule for me was no babies until I was 30. I broke her rule a bit: I married your Daddy when I was 26, and had you when I was 29, but close enough. Your Gaga wasn't saying this because she didn't want grandbabies.  In fact, she desperately wanted grandbabies.  But she wanted me to be in a good place in my life for you.  And I was.  I want that for you too.

I want you to take vacations.  Travel.  See the world.

I want you to have the freedom to choose your religion.  Or lack thereof.  Don't follow the crowd on this one.  Religion is an intensely personal choice.  Only you know what you need to believe in your heart to make this world a better place for you.  Believe that.

Your name, Zoë, means life.  Your father and I chose it for you because we believe that life is the most sacred thing.  It isn't to be wasted.  Live every day to the fullest.

I love you with all my heart.  I always will.  And if you are reading this because I'm gone, then I'm sure my last thought was for you.  I love you.

Friday, February 3, 2012

US Olympic Marathon Trials Spectator Report

I'm sorry I'm late with this.

We got up at the crack of dawn to head down to downtown Houston, aiming at being about 30 minutes early before the Trials started.  We were even earlier than that.  Parking wasn't too difficult, yet, but expensive!

I had decided the night before that we should try to watch from near the convention center where the racers would pass us 4 times each without us having to move (which would be difficult with the baby).  We walked immediately to near the start line, but I was really wanting to be closer to the finish so that we could see how the race was shaking out.  I didn't know if we'd be able to cross the course once it started, so we took the chance and gave up a really good spot to cross Discovery Green and get on the finishing stretch.  We got lucky!  We ended up in a great spot, just after mile 26 but before they made the final left turn to the finish line, under a lovely tree, and on the side of the road where the runners would be taking the "shortest line".  We could see a side-angle of the big viewing screen that was set up for the bleachers, so we should be able to keep an idea of where the runners were and their pace so that we didn't miss a pass-by.  We were also in the park, so it was great for the baby wrangling that we knew might occur.  It was ideal! 

Fairly shortly after we arrived, we saw the men run by on their way to the starting line.  We could hear the announcer, and the gun being fired.  Then we just had to wait 10 or so minutes until they passed by us the first time, which was *so* exciting!  I could feel my heart racing immediately, and the baby was obviously in love with spectating, since she kept asking (and signing) for more!  She was in luck, because pretty shortly the women started, and then we literally had a "sighting" every 20-30 minutes after that!  My ex-work buddy J showed up and helped us wrangle, and Preston's ex-work "daddy" J showed up and kept him company for a bit, too.  "Daddy" J was running his first half the next day, which he finished in 2:08ish, way to go J!

Men, first pass.
And then it is a story of sighting.

Women, first pass.

After sighting.
Men, second pass.
After sighting.

Women, second pass.

After sighting.
"Hi running!" (Men, third pass.)
After sighting.

Women, third pass.
When it finally came down to the end, we were right where Meb ran by with the flag, just before he saluted the soldiers lining the route.  It was so cool.

This was also where Ritz put on his surge.  I don't have a photo because I was screaming my head off.  I swear, I felt him surge.  I could see it.  I could feel that he was probably a little too far out but that he had a chance.  It was incredibly exciting.  And heartbreaking.

Some of the soldiers would applaud as runners ran by... I found that... just... really powerful.

Then the women came around for the last time, Shalane leading. Then Desi. Then Kara.

I love that Kara looks like she's hurting in this photo.  You know, she had her kid just a few weeks before I did.  Somehow, I feel validated that she looked like she was struggling.  But I also feel inspired that she was able to make it to the Olympics.

The Kid was asleep before we even made it back to the car.

Good day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quiet Run

This morning when I stepped out of my door it was dead quiet.  Like I stepped into a soundproof room quiet.  Post-Ike quiet.  I actually stopped and just stood there because it was eerily quiet.  No AC units (yes, AC in February), no wind in the trees, no dogs barking, no airplanes flying, no cars driving by.  Really really quiet.

I started running and the only sound was my footfalls and the occasional drop of water because it was so humid/foggy this morning that drops of water were spontaneously forming in the air and falling like a gentle rain.

I ran for about 5 minutes in silence, then I ran past a house with its AC on.  And a bird started tweeting.  The newspaper delivery lady drove by, a dog started barking, a quick breeze blew through, and the world started turning again.

But what a strange bubble I stepped into this morning.

P.S. 3 run week, bitches, oh yeah!!  And enough days left in the week that it could potentially even be a 4 run week.  (But I'm not committing to that. (Because whenever I commit to something like that in writing, I fail. (And failing sucks.)))

P.P.S.  Does my "run" last night with Zoë count as a run?  It was only to the end of the block and back, and I was all up on my toes and practically running in place so she could keep up with/beat me, but it was by far the best run I've had all week!  She is so cute when she runs.  She ducks her head down and charges forward, high stepping it, squealing and laughing the whole way.  That's how running should be!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Goal Review

I'm still going to do my monthly goal reviews, to keep me honest!

Goals for the Year:
Lose 12 pounds in 2012.  Weight on 1/1 was 138.8.  Weight this morning was 132.6.  That is AWESOME progress.
Read at least 12 books (other than to my child) in 2012.  4 books read (and enjoyed) in January.  Also great progress!  I have a bit of mommy-guilt when I read and enjoy it, but stopping pumping at work has really helped because I now read on most breaks and all lunches.  I've only really taken time to read at home on Fridays, which I can't/shouldn't always do, but if I do it once a month, I'm (trying to) giving myself permission to not feel guilty about doing something for me.
Race 12 times in 2012.  No races this year yet.  DNS at the EP5K due to baby sickness.  Considered several other races, but due to various family issues, never registered for any of them.  Am vaguely considering registering for the Buffalo Wallow Cross Country 6K in February.  Next race that I'm actually registered for is 3/3 - the Woodlands Fun Run 5K.  I've got 2 other strong potentials for March, so I'm not panicked about not racing in January or potentially February.
And I have one other secret 12 goal. 2 accomplished towards the 12.  Yay, me!

Eating Goals for January:
Don't eat out: as I talked about earlier, that didn't work out for me, but I'm still pleased with my total 5 times eating out in January, considering the hardship of having AD in the hospital. 
Don't cook anything massively incompatible with my goals: done. 
I didn't track calories all month (and I hadn't made it a goal), but the few weeks I did track did me lots of good.  I feel quite aware of what I'm eating, and that is a very good thing.  I need to start tracking again if I feel myself slipping.

That's it - a very successful month for me!

Goals for February:
Continued progress towards 2012 goals.
Keep eating out to a minimum - maximum once a week.
And this is an unusual category for me, but I've been wanting to get our finances in order for a long time.  Goals for this month are: rollover my IRA, start an IRA for Preston, start a 529 for Zoe, get Preston into direct deposit, get Preston's dues to start automagically deducting, and get the last automatic payment to stop coming out of the credit card account that I want to stop using.  That's a lot, but just one or two of these a week will get it done, and none of these is difficult.  We just have an inertia issue, I think.  The current book I'm reading is Saving for Retirement without Living like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery by Gail Marks Jarvis. :-)