Sorry little blog, I swear I didn't forget you..

Well, it's been a while since I've written anything. Why? I don't know. How have I been? I haven't been bad but I haven't been really good either. I don't know...

It's been hard to run this week. I've decided it's ok to dread going to the Y after work in January and February. It's really a billion times more crowded than usual. And it's been too cold to run anywhere else. I don't know if that's had anything to do with my mood. I really only exercised a couple times this week. (I wonder if I made my 8 times to the gym this month....). Otherwise I've been doing a lot of sleeping, feeling tired, and sitting around.

There've been a couple notable exceptions to this routine.

Last weekend my mentee wanted to go to the Mall of America with her friend so I took them. Yeah, we don't shop in the same stores. So I went in a store called "Rainbow" and did nothing except try not to feel old. It's such a role reversal from my typical day working with people who have grand kids my age.

This week there was one day when I ran six miles. I think I'm just going to declare a do-over on week 9 and try it again next week.

Today I went out with Amanda after work. We found the new Saigon. It's still on University not too far from the old spot. There's more street parking which is good becuase the lot is decidedly smaller. Then we went to Roseville Mall where I hadn't been since before the bridge fell down, literally. Amanda got some new clothes. I mostly watched. We had an interesting conversation about ear rings, my favorite piece of jewlry which Amanda mostly ignores.

I am super excited because both days this weekend look like potentially awesome running weather. Tomorrow in particular when the high is supposed to reach freezing or close to it. Apparently, it's not going to last long. Oh well, a weekend of running is still a weekend of running.


A Self Fulfilling Prophecy

To all of you "New Year's Resolution" and "I need to get back to the gym" people: I applaud your effort but there's too many of you and something has to give... I sort of really don't look forward to going to the gym because it's full of people. At 9:00 at night. Seriously? I'd like to think that's part of why it's hard for me to get exercising right now but I'm not sure...

This is an easy week for the marathon training. I was supposed to run 3 miles on Sunday but I walked. I wasn't *ahem* feeling well enough to run. Today I did 3 miles of hard work on the treadmill and then walked the last mile. I need to run 3 miles tomorrow and Saturday.


Liz Trains for a Marathon Week 7: A Happy Post

I amazed even myself by running today. I ran 5 miles of sprints and walked a mile at the end, which I'm counting as six miles. This may have been silly, but some time ago I decided that my limit to running on the indoor track was 5 miles. That's an arbitrary number to be sure. At the time it was as far as I'd ever ran on the track. It also takes about an hour which is also as long as my attention can be focused without going totally bonkers on that track. So, I ran my five miles, and then did some stretches as I walked the final mile. I'm looking at the training schedule and there's a few weeks where four of the five runs are longer than five miles. I'll either have to suck it up and run longer inside or pray for suitable outdoor running weather.

After running, I went to the new and improved Seward Co-Op. Apparently everyone else had that idea too. I think it's bigger than the Wedge. I wonder if it's the biggest co-op grocery store in the country. For a while the Wedge held that distinction. It's really nice inside and well done. Among other things they have a butcher now and a bakery. A bakery full of yum that is.

Then I stopped by Chipotle for a little lunch/dinner. This is what I did yesterday too. I now remember how hungry I was all that summer I worked at the science museum. I'd run 5 or 6 miles in the morning and then go to work. I ate Chipotle every day and was at least as skinny as I am now. Gosh it was great. Loosing weight is another thing I think about as part of this process. Certainly being on a liquid diet for three days in October gave me a bit of a jump start on the whole weight loss deal, but I'm wondering how skinny I'll be by the time this is all done. I'm also wondering what I'll have to do to stay that skinny.

While you're pondering those questions, here's some stuff to look at:
  • It's possible that once again, the Minnesota Department of Health found the cause of the Salmonella before everyone else. Way to go us. Last time it was something about jalapenos as I recall.

  • Looking back to my hometown, they've decided to do away with the phone book unless you "opt in" to getting one. I thought not having a phone book was an awesome idea until (I'm not making this up) this one night. A storm hit Minneapolis and knocked the power out. Among other things, it also turned off the sewer pumping station near my house. The water in the sewers started to back up and flood our courtyard. (Not a totally uncommon occurrence.) I live on the first floor you see, so the water was getting perilously close to my door (and my living room furniture) and I needed to call the sewer department to have them turn the pumping station back on. "No problem" I thought, "I'll just Google their nu....... Well, that's not going to work". (Remember the power was out?) Luckily I did have the phone book so I could hunt down this vitally important number. Although, now that I know that number, you can have the rest of the phone book. Save the trees for something else.

  • I was just talking to a friend about Borderline Personality Disorder. I've only read the first page of this article (I got distracted by... oh, look, a butterfly) but so far it's very close to my experience and written in an almost nonjudgmental way.

  • And finally, Bacon, it's what's for dessert. It's a fairly well written article except for the utter fail where they describe the "bacon covered chocolate" on sale at the 2008 Minnesota State Fair. As you can see, it's actually the other way around. But I'm just happy to be in the article at all. There's an idea for this year's fair.


Liz Trains for a Marathon: A New Reality

As I ran (6.5 miles, winding around a lake a few times) today, I was faced with a few... discoveries of reality:
  • It's cold here: Yes, I'm sorry we're like twenty days into the winter and already I want the place to warm up a bit. (Attention Universe: That's not my way of asking for global warming.) If there was some way we could speed time up towards my trip to Florida and slow time down while I'm there, that would be acceptable.

  • I haven't run 5 days a week yet: I only ran three days this week. I ran all the miles I was supposed to, but not all the days. It's easy to slap 3 miles onto whatever other run I'm doing at the moment. But there are going to be weeks where every run is 9 or 10 miles and there's no cheating on those weeks.

  • I sleep like a bear in the winter: I've changed my arrival time at work to 10am. (You may now eat your heart out.) Even so, I haven't exercised in the morning, well, every day except Tuesday this week. I think it's related to my diet, not enough carbs for running six miles in the morning. I'm not quite sure yet.

  • Every time I miss a run I feel like a failure: I was thinking (in all the free time I had running around the lake several times) that training for a marathon has made me feel like a failure sometimes when it should be doing just the opposite. Usually I feel like I can barely keep up with the training schedule (probably because my body wants to be asleep), and I feel like I'm missing runs, wondering if I'm going to actually do tomorrow's runs, and feeling bad about the whole thing. It's probably not the right outlook. I've run more this December and January than I did all of last winter. And I've run outside this December and January more than all the other year I've lived in Minnesota together probably. It's a real accomplishment. I just need to re-focus my attention on everything I have done.


Liz Trains for a Marathon Week 6

I ran what I'm saying is about 6 miles today. I kind of lost track at the end because I went back and forth around the lake in odd ways. But it was fun. Running on snow (and yes, I do mean "on") exercises muscles in my legs that seem to lie dormant much of the rest of the year. I seem to have found a warm combination of clothing and have discovered the importance of having fleece cover my face. I really only meant to run 3 or 4 miles today, but I decided that the effort I put into dressing for the cold was worth staying out a while longer.

Also, I found this web gem from my (possibly) future senator. It struck me as important, given my current place of employment. By the way, it seems to be a common thing that the Jewish Community is reluctant to own Volkswagons, but that's just my observation.


2008 year in Review

Since I don't send you all Christmas cards, I try to do a "year in review" post where I can sum up my activities for the year. It's really a pleasure (and sometimes fairly traumatic as well) to go back and read all of my old posts. What did 2008 hold for me?

January: The beginning of last year found me starting to remodel my kitchen and having one wall torn out in my bedroom for a while too. If you've never lived through a remodel, the experience is a little like this.

February: While the kitchen remodel was still obviously going on in February, the most exciting thing that happened was me becoming a mentor, which I still am actually. I'm glad it stuck. My mentee and I were talking about how sick I was the first day we met. This post almost does it justice. A better way of explaining it might be that I went to bed around 8:00pm that night. What was the kitchen remodel like in February? It was as exciting as at any other time and can best be summed up by "and you just left him there?" I still maintain that was the right decision. And of course, I actually bought the house in February too.

March: As the spring came, the kitchen started to look complete but that was a lie too owing to a fairly serious clog in my plumbing that took a few weeks (no, really, weeks) to figure out. On an exciting and happy note, Mark and Irmghard got married and I got a trip home out of the deal.

April: In April, the kitchen and living room really took shape because they were finally painted. That was about when I felt like the condo was mine and I wasn't living in some other guys house any more. Also, April was my month of not eating out. It was really successful and probably started me on the path to better cooking. I'm thinking about doing it again for a month this year. It was a good experience.

May: In May I started having some interesting internet experiences and apparently ethical decisions too. I also raced for the cure, visited with my parents, and did 29 days of giving.

June: Happy Birthday Lizzie. And congratulations to Jenny and Doug on finally getting married. I'm really happy for you both. I also had one of two really bad sicknesses this year in June. I loved it when the doctor looked at me and said, "well, if we don't fix this, your brain will get infected." Well, that's not good. And Bonnie told me she'd be my match maker. I don't think that was a totally serious offer, but it wasn't totally in jest. Either way, I had a really good time writing that.

July: The summer was fairly uneventful for me. I was saving my vacation time for South Africa. I did have an exciting home improvement accomplishment though.

August: At the end of the summer, I did manage to make it down to Chicago to see Mom and some of her side of the family. But, as any Minnesotan knows, the most important thing to happen in August is the state fair. Every time I see those pictures I think, Chocolate covered bacon? Seriously?

September: In the beginning of the fall, I ran my first 10K which Eric. But what I really remember is that month came in like a lamb, and went out with a roar. Sucks.

October: Really, the bulk of October also felt like it was spent dealing with bed bugs. But wouldn't you rather read about the time I was in New York? Johannesburg? Cape Town? And then when I came back I got so sick I thought I was going to die. But not a bug from Africa, just some regular American stomach virus.

November: Sometime this fall, I also decided to run the marathon in 2009 and began my training. Training has been an up and down process. It's been a little discouraging at some points, with all the snow and the cold making me want to hibernate. But it's also been exciting and I can feel myself getting stronger. I also wrote my 1,000th blog post. And one of the most memorable and powerful moments of my life as an American came in November.

December: One of the most encouraging times in Marathon training came in early December. Just another reason to live the iPod. And of course, I got drunk for Christmas went home for Christmas and visited with friends and family alike.

2009 started out with what is sure to become one of my favorite traditions. Is it wrong I want to go do it again already?


Liz Trains for a Marathon Week 5: An High Act of Friendship

Tuesday, I did go to the gym and did the elliptical for over 3 miles, which I've decided to count as running, especially in the winter. There's only so much I can do on that track. I do love having the track there though.

Today, we are also counting an activity as a 3 mile run. What was the activity? A supreme act of friendship. Last year, I read about this thing where they cut a hole in the ice on one of the lakes and let people jump in as sort of a new years day tradition. I wanted to do it. Kelly and Amanda's reaction (I'm paraphrasing here) was "no, you dipstick, are you crazy?" I quickly decided I was crazy and spent a perfectly pleasant 2008 not jumping in any freezing cold water.

So I was mildly surprised when Amanda left me a message saying she wanted to jump in the lake this year and would I go with her. Remember the part where I got over it last year? I said yes because I didn't have an actual reason not to. Although as the day got closer I started thinking, "seriously?" The rules for participating say you have to hold hands with at least one other person when you jump, so neither her nor I could back out and let the other person down.

The reason it counts as a 3 mile run is that we were in what can only be described as a mob for a good 90 minutes waiting in line to go jump. They (wisely) keep the divers inside and let them out in groups of 30 or so, and there were around 500 people there (guessing based on last year). Amanda and I, being least experienced, had to jump last, so we waited for a long time.

What was the dive like? Well, we got up to this hole that was 8'x30', with a rope tied about 8' out. The rules say we had to go under that rope (so as to get totally immersed in the lake). But once under the rope, the Shoreview volunteer firefighters stick a pole in the water and if a diver grabs onto the poll, they'll pull the diver the rest of the way so they can climb out. We're watching all this while standing outside in 20* weather in our bathing suits.

Amanda and I were both thinking, "it's 30 feet, seriously, we'll swim". And then I hit the water. We had a plan to go in the water and under the rope in one. So as soon as I was coming up for air I let go of Amanda's hand. That's when my brain stopped. I couldn't think, couldn't move, was only aware of utter cold. Like nothing I've ever felt before. I reached out for the stick and thought "take me home boys".

My contacts kept freezing to my eyelashes and my eyes kept freezing shut which was distracting. And it didn't really start to hurt until I was looking at this metal ladder with icicles on it that I had to climb up to get out. I have never felt a pain like that in my life. But it was short lived. As soon as I got my towel on, I felt much better. I think next year I'm going with a big robe or blanket.