Friday, October 29, 2004

Shaking my head in dismay and disgust

I saw the most appalling thing on my way to work this morning. I was walking down the street on my way to the train and passed this woman with two kids who was helping one of the kids to open his fly and pee against a tree. Like a dog. In broad daylight. On a busy, urban-residential street. When I realized what was happening, I was a bit past them, but I stopped and gaped at her and said out loud, "are you kidding me???" She either didn't hear me or just ignored me. Another woman coming down the street smiled at the threesome like the whole thing was oh-so-cute. In my mind this is just plain tacky, it shows no respect for the community and what the hell do you think you're teaching your children??? No self-restraint is needed in life, because it is, afterall, all about you, you, you. I know I sound older than dirt but, what is this World coming to?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Added to My Crappy Week

Posted signs around my apartment complex this week that there was going to be no heat or hot water today due to boiler repairs. No mention of what time this starts and ends, one assumes you will be able to shower in the morning before the repairs start. Not so much. Last night there was one, measly, sign in the elevator stating that the there would be no hot water after 10 PM. Well, first of all, if you live on the 1st, 2nd or even maybe the 3rd, floor, you might not have even seen the damn sign. Since I own a dog, I usually take her out the back way, which requires taking the elevator to the basement, so luckily I did see it. If I didn't own a dog, chances are I would never have seen that sign. So I took my shower last night. So now, while technically clean, I feel icky. My hair feels a little oily, I feel like there is a film over my entire body. And I just don't feel wholly awake. Which puts me in a bad mood. Added to my bad mood was the fact that this MAN decided that he had to wedge his fat ass in the middle of the three-seater I was sitting on this morning on the train (there was another guy, seated on the other end). When there were plenty of empty seats everywhere, he had to cram himself in there. I got up in a huff, said to Michelle (who was sitting across from me), "I'm sorry, but I can't stand to be wedged in like this" and stalked off and found a more reasonable seat. It makes me mad because it was so unnecessary, the train was not crowded, there were plenty of more appropriate seats that this guy could have sat in. Thanks for pissing me off first thing in the morning! ARGH!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

So, when I happened to run out for ten minutes at lunchtime today, I was shat upon by a pigeon, which is great as it is perfectly aligned with the crappy (pun intended) week I'm having. ARGH!


My Tuesday night Spinning instructor does this really annoying thing where she'll turn up the speed of the music she's playing to reflect the cadence of the spinning we're doing. So, for double-time, break-aways, and sprints (all of which comprise most of the session) the music speed just goes up and up until it sounds like Chipmunks Disco on crack. Why she can't just find the appropriate music to reflect the correct cadence is beyond me, but this method is very irritating.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Post to My Email Running List

Last night I had a lovely run in Central Park. I had a taken a little time off from running because of the leg pain I had posted about here a few weeks ago. In the meantime I have been spinning - but it kills me to be missing running in my favorite season, there is just something about Fall in NYC. Since I moved to Queens, Central Park is no longer my usual running route, but oh, how I miss it. This used to be my backyard. Now that the days have gotten shorter, it is no longer safe for me to run in my local Queens Park (Forest Park), so I have to be a little more creative if I want to continue to run. I can handle a treadmill run maybe once or twice a week, but I have to also be doing some running outside to keep my interest up. So last night after work I headed North to Central Park for a run. Luckily I have a New York Sports Club membership that allows me access to any of the gyms at any time, so I was able to change and lock up my stuff at a club on West 73rd next to the Park.

I entered by Strawberry Fields and was surprised to see so many people still lingering around and enjoying the peaceful area, even though the sun had set. I headed across the 72nd Street Transverse and then up Cat Hill. My conditioning (while not stellar to begin with) has faded enough that I knew pretty much immediately that it was going to be an ugly run. I didn't care though, I knew it wouldn't be ideal, I was just happy to be out and running again and enjoying Central Park and the crisp Fall weather. It was a struggle, but I needed the hills of CP and so I managed to run (and walk) the inner 4-mile loop. It was enjoyable seeing the myriad of people out there, many of whom I suspect are gearing up for the Marathon in another week and a half. Lots of thoughts went through my head while I struggled. I thought of many of the runs I've done in Central Park over the years, some in races, some for training some just for fun. All the varying degrees of condition I've been in over the years. I remembered how great I felt the first time I was able to run 3-miles without stopping. I remember one weeknight run I did in the rain where I felt so strong, like nothing could stop me, setting my sights on people running ahead and blowing past them on the hills. I remember struggling to run even a whole mile on other runs, just like I was struggling last night. I wondered if I would see Neil Cook biking alongside a coaching client. I wondered if he would remember or recognize me if I did. Mostly though, my thoughts were on the Marathon. My own NYC Marathon experience (run in 1999) and how great it was. How great I felt. All the wonderful (and not so wonderful) training runs I did in Central Park and that feeling of finally entering Central Park on Marathon Day and the relief that I was going to make it. Feeling like I could accomplish anything. Running last night up and down the West Side hills, I saw that the fencing is already up for Marathon Sunday. Soon they will be painting the Finish Line. It's an exciting time to be here and running in Central Park makes me almost feel a part of it. I finished my run feeling satisfied. Not in my performance, which was dismal, but in the knowledge that I continue to want running to be a part of my life, that I still feel a part of the running community. I was... happy.

Good luck to all who will be in NYC to run our marathon. I will be volunteering at Mile 18 at the PowerGel station, so wear your DRS gear so that I can cheer for you.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Local Services

Yesterday morning I walked to Forest Hills via Queens Boulevard looking for a place to drop in and get my hair cut. During my travels, I happened to pass a tanning salon that had a banner outside advertising 24-hour service. Oh good. Next time I have a 4 AM tanning emergency, I'll know where to go.

(ended up getting my hair cut -- far too short for my pudgy face -- at Super Cuts for $12.50)

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Stupid Baseball

Okay, I so much am not a baseball fan. I am basically happy to hear if the Yankees won, but I don't really need to watch the game (I can only handle it if there is LOTS of beer involved). But did they really have to lose to the FREAKING Red Sox???? We are now doomed to an entire year of listening to the gloating of smug Red Sox fans -- GAH!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

So, I've talked before about how my father was married about a year ago, how he was engaged to his new wife almost a year to the day after my mother's passing. Well, he has been living in wedded bliss ever since. He's traveled to Italy and New Mexico and Florida and Bermuda and Vermont and Martha's Vineyard and I can't remember where else (they're basically off somewhere every couple of months). Right now they're on the West Coast: California, Seattle and wherever. Anyway, I hear from him maybe once a month or so, but when they're traveling, I get a postcard. From her. And the worst of it is, She. Always. Spells. My. Name. Wrong. Because we all know that the name "Debbie" is very complicated to spell. I don't know why my own father can't take one whole minute to write a "Hi Deb, love Dad" (only with him, it would be "Luv" not "Love" -- I'm splitting hairs, I know, but little things like this illustrate clearly the non-existent affection that exists in my family). It just irks me to no end. What little, tiny effort does it take, if you've already bought the postcard anyway? A postcard from her is meaningless to me. ARGH!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Work Stress

ARGH! I'm being pulled in a million different directions by various people at work this week. Stressed! And the stupid Marketing Department schedules a meeting with me to go over these web reports I developed for them (like, two months ago, I might add) first for 11:00 this morning, then changed to Noon and now changed to 3:00 PM! Nothing like screwing with my entire day! As if I don't have enough other things to worry about -- sheesh. At least I know that they're now looking at this stuff I worked hard on. The reports are pretty high-profile too, all the mucky-mucks will be using them and they deal with revenue so you know that they'll be scrutinized to death. Yikes!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Everyday Heros

A huge congratulations needs to go out to JoeB this week for realizing his dream of running a sub-3 hour marathon! He put in months and months of hard work (65-mile weeks, running 2x a day, etc.) and made the goal he had been striving for. There is inspiration there for all of us.

Monday, October 04, 2004

So. Tired.

I think my lack of sleep on Saturday night has caught up with me. Had a lousy night's sleep last night too, weird, since I was exhausted. Can no longer concentrate at work, this afternoon is completely dragging -- ARGH! Also doesn't help that my cubicle is a damn sauna. Please let this day end. Quickly.

Favorite Time of Year

I spent a gorgeous morning in Central Park yesterday, couldn't have asked for better weather. I was cursing myself at 5:30 when I had to force myself out of bed after about four hours of sleep, but I didn't really mind too much once I was awake and showered and looking ahead to the day before me. Some storms had blown through the day before leaving the air clean and crisp, with that perfect Autumn sparkliness that seems to be unique to the North East. Walking Lola at around 6:00 AM, it was still dark and a carload of guys passed me who were obviously driving home after a night out, they looked at me strangely standing there with my dog in my running clothes, and I looked at them with a shudder remembering the days (only a few short years ago) when I might have just been arriving home after an all-nighter. I was on a train headed to Manhattan while it was still dark, sipping a coffee and enjoying the quietness of the early hour. I felt oddly... content. Hmmmm, interesting.

I was up to Central Park by about 7:15 AM and milling around the packet pick-up for the race shivering a little bit in my shorts and running jacket. Since I was so early, I was able to enjoy seeing the event starting to come to life as more runners and volunteers arrived, as the sun rose and the volunteers continued to put the race site together. I leisurely sat on a bench by the Sheep Meadow until a race official squawked at us with a bullhorn to line up. With a couple of minutes to go before the start of the race, I finally pulled my running jacket off and tied it around my waist. After some short speeches, the horn blew and we were off. This was a short race, only 1.7 miles -- the lower Central Park loop. My one and only goal was to the run every step of the race (and not resort to walking at all). I figured that this should be easy since I ran every step of the 3.1 mile race I ran just a few weeks ago on a similar course -- this is half the distance, easy. Right? Well...

Because I had been to the race start early, I had lined up relatively early. And, although I seeded myself properly near the back, the race officials kept moving everyone up to fill in the empty spaces in the line-up. As a result, as we started, I found myself mixed in with people who were faster than I am. Lots of people passing me spurred me on to running a bit faster than I perhaps can handle right now. I also found myself almost hyperventilating, unable to really regulate my breathing, which added to my problems of pacing myself and caused me to be out of my comfort zone pretty much immediately. It was not pleasant. Still, I ran. And kept running. First it was looking for that one mile marker. Seemed to take for forever to come. We wound down through the 72nd Street Transverse, up the little hill between the Bethesda Fountain and the bandshell and past all the lines of half-marathon runners milling around waiting for their race which was due to start in about a half an hour. Then it was a turn South and up a rough hill and under the half-marathon starting line while those race participants cheered for us as we came by. Kept thinking, 'I must have gone a mile already, maybe they just aren't marking it because this is such a short race' and then I looked at my watch and saw that I had only been running eight minutes and change -- doh! Guess I haven't gone a mile yet afterall. Sheesh. Once I finally did find the one mile marker, a quick glance of my watch showed me at pace over a minute per mile faster than my pace at my last race (the RFTC 5K). Maybe this explained my discomfort so early in the race. Still, the race was short, so the only thing to do was to just keep running. It was hard. Every step had me wanting to walk, I had a huge mental struggle with myself not to give in at each second. I continued to win this war with myself and pushed and pushed myself onward. I hoped to gain a little recovery on the bit of downhill before hitting the Southern part of the loop, but downhill didn't seem to make much difference to me on this day. I just had to mentally grit my teeth and keep going. Finally the final turn up the West Side came and the long hill up past the Tavern on the Green and to the finish line. I think it's about a quarter of a mile (give or take) from the turn around the bottom of the loop to the Finish. So close, yet so far. I couldn't walk now, I made it this far, I couldn't do it, even though there was a crappy hill to be run between me and the finish line. I had nothing left, I was running, but there was no sprint left at all. I felt nausea rising, a new problem for me, so I added the struggle not to boot to the struggle to keep running. Up that hill, argh! Why does it always seem so long??? And I finally stumbled over the finish line, having run every step of the course as was my goal on this day. I weaved for the chip removal station and held my shaking leg on the step for removal barely able to stand upright. Pretty pathetic to be so wiped out by a 1.7 mile race! Shortly afterwards Ellen appeared beside me, she had started the race farther back in the queue and had run most of it with me in view ahead.

Once I was able to have some water and a little bit of a walk, I felt completely recovered. It's amazing how quickly you snap back. We made our way over to the Norwegian Festival that was being held in tandem with the races where we were able to enjoy a NY bagel with fresh smoked salmon and Norwegian cream cheese. There were also waffles available for those who wished to indulge (I drew the line here as we had plans for lunch later). Shortly after settling on a bench with our bagels, Harriet joined us. She had walked the race and so finished a bit behind. We had plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful morning in Central Park as Ken was running the half-marathon. At one point we made our way over to part of the race course and was able to cheer for Ken as he passed by. We also had time to watch the little kids' races and meet up with our friends, Jorge and Silvia,whose son, Lukas, was running in the 3-year old's race. We finally went back to the Finish Line by the Sheep Meadow to watch the half-marathon runners finish and to wait for Ken. Ken finished faster than his goal, so everyone ended up having good races. From there we had a nice leisurely stroll through the bridle paths of Central Park, finally exiting on West 81st Street and then over to Amsterdam Avenue to enjoy some BBQ ribs and pitchers of beer outside in the sunshine.

I just love this time of year!

Friday, October 01, 2004

Impressions from this Week

Gawd, I've been so damn lame about blogging lately. I've been really swamped at work and just seem to lose any inspiration by the time I get home each evening. This week has been punctuated by work, work, work, two spinning classes, torrential rain (Tues) and an LIRR tunnel fire and subsquent system shut-down (Monday). That's it in a nutshell. I have. Not. Run. I'm an ass. Actually brought my stuff to work on both Monday and Wednesday with the intention of going up to Central Park in the early evening for a run and in both cases my intentions were thwarted by circumstances (the LIRR debacle on Monday and being swamped and stuck at work on Wednesday). Hoping next week will be a lot better. For what it's worth, the busy-ness at work has been (for the most part) a good kind of busy, so I'm not really complaining too much. I have a 1.7-mile "race" on Sunday. That's right, 1.7 miles. heh. (could it be any shorter?) AND I get credit towards automatic entry into next year's NYC Marathon -- not that I plan to run next year's NYCM, but it counts, if I did (the NYRRC has a policy for members that if you run a certain number - I think 9 - of scored races in a given year, that you are guaranteed acceptance in the next year's marathon). Anyway, I'm not even thinking of a marathon, I just think it's kind of cool that this little 1.7 M race counts. Anyway. What else? hmmmmmm. Oh, Michelle had a party last Saturday night as a sort of combination house warming/birthday celebration. Let me say that her apartment looks EXCELLENT! Oh yeah and there was this drunken guy there who kept wanting me to sit on his lap. I do not sit on laps, at least not at my current girth. Sheesh. Let's see, anything else to report... oh, it was my Lola-Girl's birthday yesterday, that little fat-ass pug just turned four. Time sure does fly.

Okay, one last thing from Spinning class last night. Why do these spinning instructors always say things like, "keep your eyes on the road"? They do realize that we're on stationary bikes inside of a gym. Don't they?

Anyway, that's it for now.