Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lemonade Movie

If you haven't watched this movie trailer yet, please do so.
I resonates with me so deeply that I'm nearly moved to tears every time I watch it. These are my people in there guys - these are the other layoffees that took the lemons life handed them and started figuring out their own recipe for lemonade.

Anyhow. Watch the trailer, be inspired.
Yeah it falls of the page a little which is annoying but it's the smallest you tube had to offer. Original one is here, try that for HD version and full size enjoyment.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

On the run, chased by a crazy coach.

Did my first 5k of the year on Saturday after being sneakily talked into it by coach Mary Ann.  Got a voice mail saying "hey, I'm doing this 5k and you should come too, we will use it as a baseline for the winter, come on, it will be fun!".
Yeah right.  I'm in no way race shape yet, I've just started running and quite frankly it's all I got in me to make it through my weekly allotment of miles and workouts.  In case you haven't noticed, the calendar says August, and in Florida August is simply a code word for 'disgustingly hot and humid'.
Plus, the race started at 7:30 which was both too early and too late.  Too early for getting up and too early for it to be nice and cool.  And I use the term cool very loosely, see above for clarification for code word August.

So I decided to blow her off, but instead put in a really good effort at my Friday night workout.  Lara and I went out for 3 miles around dinnertime. It had rained earlier so the air felt refreshingly swampy. I had a great run and finally felt that the training was starting to pay off.
In retrospect I clearly overdid it and melted some brain synapses as I then proceeded to call coach up and tell her "why not, count me in".
Dumb dumb dumb.   But, since I said I'd do it, I kind of had to, so on Sunday morning I found myself downtown Orlando handing over a race registration form and pinning on a bib.
Mary Ann was way too happy for such early morning and insisted on doing a warm up.  Seriously? Isn't that what the first mile is for? 
I indulged her and sloshed half a mile or so and then made my way to the starting line.  Compared to the organized wave starts of a triathlon this mass start of about 2000 people felt huge.  I started way to the back of the pack,and as a result got to weave and bob around people slower than I am (YES, they do exist!!). 
Coach told me to go out easy for the first mile, then pick it up a little and walk through the water stops if I wanted.  I stuck to the "walk through the water stops" part of the plan, but also sprinkled in some short walk breaks of my own just for fun.  I also didn't exactly go faster during mile 2 but managed to sort of save face on mile 3 and had a good strong finish.
Clock time 32:19, chip time 31:12.   Happy I went and did it, 41st in my age group (out of 121). Now it's on to more jogging around the neighborhood next week, when tropical storms (or hurricanes??) Ana and Bill start approaching.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A slight case of the hates

Looking at my blog, I realize this thing is gravely misrepresenting me and who I really am. And, since this is my blog, I can't blame anyone else for it, gaahhh! Only one thing to do - and that is to just go ahead and reveal the true self on the blog for all of my 12 readers that might stop by.

Here it goes.

I'm argumentative. I love verbal sparring. I'm an ENTP (self diagnosed, thank you very much). Looking back, I think I can blame my dad for this, to an extent at least. Growing up, family dinners more often than not ended up being long and intricate debates. The topic didn't matter much, the goal was to paint the opponent into a corner and check-mate him/her there. Tools of the trade included irrefutable logic, supreme confidence and the ability to bluff like a world class poker player. Proper use of language was not only encouraged but strictly enforced (the Icelandic language that is, I'm still polishing my English).
I still enjoy a good debate and yes, I have been known to switch sides just to get a good debate in, although that is probably something I should not go and publicly admit.

I also have strong political opinions although it pains me to admit that I am not well versed in American politics to be able to really debate anything, so in these matters I'm relying purely on my intuition to know how cast my non-functional foreigner vote. I'll spare you those for now, until I become a citizen.

I'm also sometimes intensely annoyed and irritated by little things, to the point I could be called a hater. Two things that just this morning had me up in arms were Feedburner and partial feeds of blogs via Google reader.
I realize that neither are exactly big deals, but they still get under my skin. Since I'm home alone with nobody that can listen to my tirade on the topic, I turn to you trusty blog.


Feedburner, I hate you. I loathe your little middle-management tactics and I can't stand that you change the URL. Frankly, I don't get you. And now I'm even more pissed off because I looked at your website and realized that you have been swallowed up into the Google cloud. WTF, over. Google already has Analytics, stick to that and make Feedburner go away.
And as if that wasn't enough, then there is the topic of partial feeds via Google reader. I keep up with quite a few blogs on a regular basis even if I don't always read every post. I like to do this via Google reader on my computer or on the iPhone - that way I just visit one location on the web and peacefully get my news and updates.
I DO NOT LIKE to visit a bazillion different blogs to get my fill, already have carpal tunnel in the making so I want to keep my clicks to a minimum. You, owners of blogs with partial RSS feeds are the bane of my existence. You feed the first couple of sentences to the reader and then expect me to click over to your blog so you can get your damn clicks counted, probably through fucking feedburner. Well, news for you. Your blog better be absolutely amazingly interesting and awesome for me to make the trek via your special URL and odds are I'm just going to drop you from my list of things to read if that keeps up. Yeah, probably my loss, but whatever. That's just how it is.

In other unrelated news I haven't even pretended to work out in the past 72 hrs which along with a lot of caffeine probably explains why I am extra naggy at the moment.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Look at this beast


It's my new grill.  It even has a light on the inside so I can see when I'm about to burn the food to crisp. I think I'll be grilling a lot in the future, especially now that the evenings are reasonably nice again.
I've also been running up a storm, pretty solidly running 4 days a week which is an incredible feat for me.  Got my buds Lara and Sandy running too, helps heaps to have partners.
Over and out....   more blog soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Turkey Trot Challenge


Gauntlet has been thrown and I picked it up.... it's ON for the Turkey Trot Challenge 2009. The Turkey Trot is an annual race here in DeLand on Thanksgiving morning where you can run a 5k or a 10 miler and thus earn the rights to pig out on the Thanksgiving feasts later on.
For the past few years, we have had a few people do this race, most do the 5k, and then met up in the parking lot afterwards to enjoy some snacks and beverages whilst waiting for the 10 milers to finish, watch the awards and so on.
This year, I'm going to try to improve my 5k PR, which isn't really setting the bar too high, all I have to do is come in somewhere below 28:28. Yeah. I know, I'm no speedster. But this fall, I have my speedy friend Mary Ann kicking my ass. She helped me put together a training plan and is going to make me do speed workouts once a week after I get a little bit of base built up. So fun times ahead. And because misery loves company, I'm doing my very best to try to get as many of my friends as possible to sign up for this too :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ed Gaw Open Water Challenge

Despite a bit of Googling, I can't seem to find a link to the open water swim I did yesterday. It was held in Amelia Island, just north of Jacksonville, FL and featured a mile swim for the sane and a 5k swim for the crazies. The race was originally scheduled for May, but postponed due to dangerous surf and ocean conditions.
I haven't exactly been training for the past month as I got somewhat busy with the whole wedding/traveling to Iceland thing, so my fitness level leaves a little bit to be desired.
But, unlike running, I don't seem to ever completely lose my swim fitness so I figured I could make the mile. Since I had already paid my monies, had the opportunity to travel to the race with two great swim buddies (Cameron and Debbie) and a free place to stay, I figured why the hell not, would just treat it as a nice open water workout.

We cruised up on Friday and spent the afternoon sitting by the pool at Cameron's friend house, sipping adult beverages along with deep and meaningful conversations.
Then a quick dinner at an Irish pub, early to bed and a crack of dawn early wake up call to get ready. At the race we signed in, got our swim caps and t shirts, donned swim suits, sunscreen and body glide and then boarded a bus to take us to the respective swim starts. I can tell you that being stuffed in a school bus with about 50 other grown ups of various ages, clad in nothing but speedos was quite the experience.
Once we got off the bus we walked to the beach and took our places on the beach. The gun went off and we ran into the nice and flat ocean. Pretty soon I settled into my stroke and started cruising. There was one buoy that we rounded at start and then nothing until he buoy to be rounded into the finish. They did park a boat close by that one so we had something to sight off, but with the sun glaring it was hard to see. I felt like I was swimming like a drunken sailor, zig zagging all over. Half expected to end up around the Bahamas. For much of the swim I kind of played tag with a guy wearing triathlon shorts and top. When we finally got close to the orange buoy, I saw a small pack of swimmers and figured I could catch them and maybe even drop the tri guy too. I caught the small fish, but the tri guy had something left in the tank too and beat me.

All in all it was a great race and it's good to be swimming again. Debbie did great and came in 2nd overall for the mile, and I think Cameron and Coach Bay did well too. I scored first place in my age group, it helps a lot when there are only 2 other competitors of that age!
I don't think the results have been posted anywhere, waiting on an e-mail with the times so I know what to beat next year!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Go Crocs, you can do it!!

During my morning scan of the interwebs I saw something about the Crocs shoe company going bankrupt.  I did some further digging and they aren't exactly tits up yet, but they aren't doing so hot either.  I love those shoes, they are just made for people like me: slightly fashion challenged and completely duck footed.   They work wonderfully to soothe tired and achy feet after long workouts or races.  Not that I'm doing too many of either of those right now, but I am working on it, cut me a little slack here!!
I used to be a hater, but when I went with a friend to shop for a pair for her mother, I by accident stuck my foot in one and there was no going back after that.
Came home with the original shape in winter camo, as seen up here to the left. I then later added a pair of flippie-floppies that I use for swim workouts, and it's probably thanks to those little guys that I'm not riddled with pool fungus and have much fewer wipeouts on the wet pool deck. And yes, since you asked, I don't for one minute hesitate to wear men's Crocs if needed, because I can't cram my plammers into the dainty little girly shoes.  

So, from one fragile little start up to another: chin up dear Crocs, hunker down and weather this storm, just whatever you do don't quit making these awesome, ugly-ass shoes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And I ran, I ran so far away...

Or I would have, if I was being chased by a flock of seagulls!



But in all reality I only went about 2.5 miles or so, ever so slowly.  But it's good to be back jogging (with a soft j), working on working off some of the extra junk in the trunk I brought back home from Iceland, the jiggling must stop!!
This weekend I am going to meet up with my speedster friend Mary Ann who is going to help me work out a workout plan.  That's a funny sentence, say that five times fast - work out a workout plan!
Then the torture will begin, in the Florida heat and humidity, but this time damn-it-all-to-hell, this time I am GOING TO STICK TO THE PLAN.   I want to run 5k's this winter for speed, I want to do at least a half marathon, probably do the 15k gate river run (need another pint glass for the collection) and do speed workouts with my fabulous business partner and lovely husband.  
I'm too broke at the moment to do full on triathlons, so damn expensive to enter, so I think right now is the best time ever to focus on running.

And I am going to need all the help I can get - send me all your motivational strategies!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Beer, beer, beer, I like beer.

I do, I do, I do.
It makes me wish I lived in Colorado, so I could take advantage of all the awesome microbreweries out there. I favor darker beer - from medium ambers to full on stouts and just about anything in between.
I'm no snob though, so I'll on occasion go for a nice pale ale or lager, provided those are served ice cold and in good company.

One of my favorite frugal blogs, Wise Bread, has this brilliant post on 21 uses of beer. Check it out and let me know if anyone decides to try tip # 16: making a beersickle. I'm not sure if I would like frozen beer, but I will stay open minded about that one until someone else tells me it's awful.
Now that I've embraced my inner baker and decided to forgo artificial breads that don't go bad even if you leave them in your fridge for a month whilst you pop home to Iceland - even those that have "natural" in their names - I'll for sure be trying the beer bread recipe, yum yum.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Run free lifestyle is over

And so is the hiatus from the blog and my other online duties....  damn it's been a long time.
I am now a married woman and have issue #1 of the Blue Skies Magazine out (and issue #2 breathing down my neck).
In the past few weeks I've been flung all over the world, spent time with my family, caught up with friends I haven't seen in years and finally arrived back in Florida.  Jet-lagged as hell, with a to-do list a mile long.
Towards the top half of that list is getting back in shape, running biking and swimming.  Won't be easy, but I'm fiercely motivated to work off the extra pounds piled on by eating the insanely yummy hot dogs and chocolate in Iceland.

I'm not really in the inspired mood at the moment, as I sit here and enter names and addresses into our subscription database, but I will leave you with this very cute post from one of the blogs I follow - Tall girl Running.  Although I've never squeezed out a kid, I can somewhat relate - the very same thoughts go through my mind every time I'm toeing the start line at an event that takes more than half an hour :)

That's it for now. See you in a bit, because I'm back :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Living a run-free-lifestyle

Ohhh yeah.  It's been sweet.  For the past couple of months, it's been all biking and swimming.  I haven't even laced up my running shoes or pretened to have any desire to go out for a jog.  I have even been toying with the idea of just not doing it anymore - calling it quits, for good.  And stick to swimming and biking, the two things I actually enjoy.
The main reason for my hiatus is the fact that I just can't seem to make peace with the run, I can't ever seem to get past a certain hump.  And it's always my lungs that stop me, I can't seem to catch my breath. Legs are doing fine, but I'm as out of breath as fish on dry land.  Nobody enjoys being out of breath, so it's understandable that I should hate running.
This spring it's been exeptionally bad and started to hit me in both biking and running too.  I usually bike with my Garmin heart rate monitor on, and during one particularily hard trainier workout, I noticed that my normally high heart rate was barely up, even if I was working my ass off.  Huh, curious.  I brought this up with a couple of friends who are in medicine and sports physio, and both asked if I had looked into EIA.  Excersize induced asthma.
I guess I should go see a doctor...

Quiet on the blog front

But not like there has nothing been going on.
Oh, it's been busy. Starting up a company - Blue Skies Magazine, and getting married in a month. Ooof! Magzine is going really well, have to rally up a few more subscribers before we go to print in a couple of weeks, but I'm all for starting slow anyway. Marriage prep going a little slower - I still don't really know what I'm wearing, still have to tie down the caterer and still have to wrap my head around the fact that in just 4 short weeks I'm going to be a wife!
But it's all good. We are planning a very simple ceremony in my hometown in Iceland, outdoors, up on a small hill overlooking the town. Odds are it might be raining, perhaps windy, most certainly chilly and maybe even snowing (yeah, not really).
I'm really excited that a bunch of our friends will be making the journey home with us and getting to know my roots, meet my Icelandic friends and family and hopefully experience some of the magic that the land of the midnight sun has to offer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Leak Detecting Dog!

My little pup Harvey (who is not so little anymore) has proven himself to be quite the character,  a wonderful blend of stubborn and sweet.  He's a smart little dog (yeah I know, all dog owners say that about their dog but this one really is) and he's very willing to work for food.
He's got a lot of energy that walks around the neighborhood don't seem to do much to dampen. I've taken him on a few jogs and he starts out great, but grows tired quickly.  I guess Harvey is more of a sprinter, so we play a lot in the back yard, jumping, fetching and bouncing around.

The other day I was home alone and working on getting the pool back into service after a long winter of beeing a little on the green side.  With all that algae in, I was having to backwash the pool filter quite a bit. We had been struggling a little to keep the water level up in the pool, but I figured it was just because of the frequent backwashings, and also it had been really windy and dry.
Once I was done cleaning the filter I put the system back to filtration and was tossing a ball for Harvey whilst I waited for the pool pump to prime up - and it was sounding a little weird.
All of a sudden the dog completely lost interest in the ball, and the ears perked up.  He then ran to a certain spot in the yard and launched into mad digging mode, dirt flying everywhere.
I ran over too, going "what the eff do you think you are doing, you damn dog" wondering what had gotten into him.
Once I got to the hole, I saw that the Harvey had exposed a small cave that was making gurgling noises and at the bottom of the "cave" was a pipe.  Hot damn!   I ran back and turned the pump off, and the hole immediately filled with water.  

Once Cute Boy got back from his trip he dug up the pipe and replaced it, and now we have a beautiful crystal clear pool with happy pipes.  And a dog that got his fill of treats that day :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ack ack ack

Been a rough couple of weeks and the blog-lust has been minimal. I've been slacking both writing my own blog and reading others, which goes to show the sad mental state I've been in.
I had a whole post started (titled "the dumbest thing I ever did") about my lifeguard training, which I ended up cutting short and thus not finish - but just like the training I don't seem to be able to manage to finish the post. So I'm moving on, such is life.

It was a great time though, endless ass-kickings on the beach and in the ocean, and even in the classroom. I really liked most of it, but since I wasn't able to commit to a full time schedule and work weekends and holidays all summer, I realized that it wasn't for me.
My respect for ocean rescue lifeguards has increased leaps and bounds though, these people teaching the course were dedicated professionals that really know their stuff.

But, hanging with a bunch of 16 year-old kids for the better part of a week also evidently exposed me to a wide variety of high school germs that slayed me. I came down with a cold of the nastiest sort, stayed in bed for a couple of days and then it has taken me a whole another week to crawl back to a state of normal (more or less).
A couple of my friends and Cute Boy also got ran over by the same flu bus, so it's been a sad little squad in DeLand lately.

I've been swimming and biking as usual, and since summer is just about here it seems only logical to step it up a little bit.
I have a couple of events coming up, nothing really major though, just fun stuff.
My first relay ever is in Siesta Key in a couple of weeks - doing that one with 2 of the girls from my swim masters team. Should be awesome - and since I'm the only one with a bike in the group, the cycling fell to me. It will be kind of nice to be able to treat the bike like a 25 mile time trial - just plop it in the big ring and push hard, no need to worry about the run afterwards, yay! Just have to figure out the warm-up, maybe I can do a little jog or something as I doubt they will let me out of transition to tool around on my bike :)
Then there is a pool meet - long course (gulp) and at some point either an open water race or a sprint tri... plenty going on.

Then at some point I should probably get going with planning my wedding that is in a couple of months - but I'm sure it will all work out :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Head-on collision, bee-ware!

Went for a short bike ride yesterday with my friends. Pam and I rode from my house and pick up Mikey on the way, which gives us a nice 15 min or so to warm up at an easy pace before Mikey kicks it up a notch.
It was pretty windy, but keeping in line with my new motto of quality workouts, I figured the wind was just one more way of making sure I worked hard. There is a short stretch of rolling hills where we like to try to kick it up a little, and it starts with a nice little overpass. I was doing good, feeling strong and happy and powering my way up the hill when all of a sudden *THWACK* smack middle in my forehead.
Was it a bird? A plane? Superman? None of the above, it was a friggin bee. Or a wasp or something of the sort, equipped with a stinger. I yelped and then tried to yank my helmet off (the creature was still in there), but Giro does its job well so the lid sat on tightly. I squealed something to my riding buddies about pulling off, ripped my helmet off, had a small panic attack when I discovered the sting was still firmly lodged in my head. Mikey came over and was able to yank it out, much to my relief.
I don't seem to be allergic to bees, so we slapped the helmet back on and kept on going.
I now understand much better about the mesh I sometimes see in the front, there is a good reason for it folks, seems like I'm not the first one to have a high speed collision with an insect.
My forehead hurt like hell for the rest of the ride, but we managed to keep a good pace and had a blast, until Mikey almost got knocked off his bike by a giant dog that decided to bolt right in front of us - and then there was the giant 3-inc beetle bug that flew like it was drunk - I think that thing would have knocked me right off the bike had I hit it!

One way ticket to Bonktown, puh-lease!

Better preface this post explaining a term well known to most endurance athletes, the dreaded bonk.
Runners World website has a great bonk article here,  and the Urban Dictionary touches on it too (NOT talking about definition 1).
There are many versions of bonking and many levels, but they all have a similar end to the story: public embarrassment as you stumble off the course barely in control of your limbs or body, but your brain is still with it enough for you feel every painful moment in astounding clarity.
Or so I'm told.  See, I have never bonked, or really come that close.  And this has been my Achilles heel in races & competition, I hit the course so bent on conserving energy for what is to come that I move like an 80 year old on a walker (a feisty 80 year old though).  And as a result, I have had some of the must humiliating race passes in history.  Once there was an 11 year old kid that skipped past me (that was my first tri), then there was the 72 year old woman that I finally passed on the last meters because she had to stoop down to tie her shoe laces.  The list goes on, but to preserve some of my dignity I'm going to stop here.

At the Miami Int tri the other day, my friend and training buddy Sue beat me on the bike.  Not by much, handful of seconds, but still - she beat me.  The funny thing is that I am a stronger cyclist (not to mention 10-15 years younger), so I should have beat her. Right?  Wrong, she proceeded to whoop my ass.  Granted Sue is a phenomenal runner, but I should be able to at least keep up on the friggin bike.  I did good on the swim, and then for reasons unbeknownst to me, I sat back on my bike and watched all the other pretty bikes, the nice scenery, the friendly volunteers - basically did whatever I could to distract myself from actually pushing it.
I don't know why, but this time around being passed got under my skin.  I stewed on it for a couple of weeks and ended on having a bit of a "come to jesus" talk with myself last Thursday. 
A talk about goals, commitment, racing truly, about finding my fighting spirit and bringing the heat.
On Friday I had my last class of the Taste of Vision Quest coaching on the bike.  The classes have been awesome - the goal was to come out of there with more power, upping our wattage.
I tested in at measly 137 watts (average over a 40 min time trial hilly course) - and as usual had plenty left by the time it was over.  I didn't bonk, but I didn't do what I was capable of either.
So on Friday morning, when it was time to test out, I came to class with a new found resolution in my belly.  I was going to race this test, and I was going to give it all I had. Sue was in that same class, and there was no chance in hell I was going to let the woman whoop my ass once again (I could really learn from her when it comes to racing).
We set up the bikes, warmed up, and then I popped my Gu and toed the line. 
Off we went, straight up the first steep virtual hill.  Caution to the wind, I hit it hard.  The downhill came, I popped in the big ring and raced my ass off down that hill too.  For the first time, I was completely focused on the bike, in the zone.  For the first time, mind wasn't monkeying all over.  It was just me, my Orbea bike, the music and the course ahead of me.  Zen.
At the end of the time trial, my heart rate was starting to hit the red zone, slight tunnel vision setting in, the chilly goosebumps made an appearance - and I was happier than pig in shit.
I had upped my watts average to 160.  The coach was blown away, said it was one of the biggest jumps they had seen and was really happy that I had stayed strong the whole way through.
I smiled big as I walked over to Starbucks to claim my reward latte - I smiled big the entire day.
I smiled even bigger the following Monday when we tested into another round of VQ - this time coach said I was allowed to recover some on the downhills - and I ended up with an average of 168 watts.

I found the fire within.

So now I have a new policy.  Every workout I do, I do to the fullest. No more tooling around the block or the loop, no more junk yards in the pool.  Each workout is a sacred privilege and will be treated that way.  I'm on a mission to reach my potential.  
I just bought a whole block of tickets to Bonktown.....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gentle Leader - yeah baby.

Being the the proud owner of an insanely energetic dog + being in the middle of becoming a reformed runner, I've decided to start jogging (with a soft j) around the neighborhood again to let him blow off some steam. And to give myself an excuse for going so slow, I can blame it on the dog.
Harvey is very strong and a bit on the skittish side, so every time a squirrel stirs in the bushes he thinks its the aliens coming to get him. His "run for the hills" attempts are a bit much, even if I by now have wildly strong arms & shoulders from swimming. Plus I look like a dork digging my heals into the ground trying to control a dog screaming "anal probing lady, anal probing, lets get the hell out of here!".
Forget about either of us staying calm with bush-dwelling-aliens on one side and cars on the other - my dog whispering talents just don't go that far.

Clearly help was needed, and I remembered a friend having great luck with this collar contraption unit that goes around their nose. So I made a mad dash to the pet store and picked up one of those "gentle leader" head collars. Frankly had no idea PetCo sold miracles, but that thing is one. Super easy, one end slips over the snout and the other goes around the head like a regular collar. No strangling, easy to adjust, and the collar sits high up just like the Dog Whisperer dude likes it. Oh. My. God. Night and day difference.
Harvey isn't exactly thrilled about the nose job, but adjusted pretty well immediately. And we both enjoy that we can now go for jogs and still preserve some of my dignity.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tri-ing!!

I am noticing that the triathlon section of my life hasn't been so "tri" lately.
The swimming has been awesome - hitting the pool at least twice a week doing quality workouts with fun people and a brilliant coach. Getting strong enough to consider doing pool meets!

Biking has been almost awesome, been doing this bike class called "Taste of Vision Quest Coaching" with structured workouts aiming to build power & improve wattage on the bike plus at least another fab group ride every week. Getting stronger by the day but feel I still need just a little bit extra before I can call it awesome.

Running. Well, yeah. Right. It's that thing with the shoes?
My dog brought me a nice looking Brooks Adrenaline the other day - I think Harvey wanted me to dust it off before he'd even consider chewing on it. Feeling a little ashamed of myself, I went and found the other shoe, dusted both off and laced them up.... yes - running is back on the books again. I suck horrendously but every jog I make I come back a little stronger. Sticking with it this time dammit, I HAVE TO, if I want to make that lifeguarding test in a few weeks!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lifeguard? Me? Hmm.....

A buddy of mine is a lifeguard at the beaches and the other day he told me they were having tryouts for summer positions. And then proceeded to suggest that I go give it a go. At first I laughed it off, but then as I thought about it, I decided why not. Could at least go and do the swim to see if I made the cut, and then take it from there.
Pay is not so great, but hours are totally flexible and I do love the sea and the sand... and if I make the cut and get a job, this could be the best tan my white little body has ever had (yes, I'll be slathering on the SPF's...).

So last Saturday, I showed up at the pool with a bunch of 16 year olds - and gaaaak - I felt old. Jumped in and did a little warmup and then tested. Had 10 minutes to swim 500 meters (and they werent skimping on it, 22 lengths of the 25 yd pool). I cruised it at a nice pace and got in at 7:52, not too shabby. Even beat out a bunch of the kids, especially those that didn't even bring a pair of goggles or a swim suit to the pool tryouts.

Then sat around for a bit and waited for my official American Idol style pass (except we got orange ones) and was instructed to show up for class Monday, April 6th.
It was fun, and I've been kind of excited about it. I know I have a ton of work ahead of me getting back in running shape, and evidently you need to be able to swim a 50 in 30 secs or under, and that one is going to be friggin challenging too. Glad I have a couple of weeks to train.... I'll need it. If I don't make the cut, then at least I got a head start on getting in shape for the season, so it will be all good :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nammibindindi

You have always wanted to learn how to speak Icelandic right? Well, welcome to your first lesson. A hard one. Not because the word is all that difficult, the word is pretty cool and sounds funny. You pronounce it somewhat like num-eeh-bin-din-deeh. See, that was easy.

The big deal here is the meaning of that silly word: candy-strike. I'm essentially "on the wagon" when it comes to candy and am not allowed to have any. I am not quite sure how this happened, but a friend from Iceland has been doing nammibindidi for a couple of weeks now and raves about it, says she's not even tempted by candy anymore.
During a moment of not thinking things through, I jumped in and said "ohh, so cool, count me in, I want to do it too! I want to be healthy and thin and not high on sugar all the time, this is going to be awesome!".

It should be pretty clear to anyone reading these words that I was jacked up on sugar when I made that desicion, as at the time I was busily rewarding myself generously for having had a crappy race the day before.
Now the question is, can I be held responsible for my own actions when high on sugar? Do I have to actually go through with this month long nammibindindi? Do I have an out?

The law seems to think that I made a binding verbal agreement. I haven't been able to find literature to support my theory that high octane sugar rushes cause temporary insanity, so it looks like I have to go through with it.
I'm going to try to stick it out, at least for the day. Oh, cruel world. I will just have to try to forget about that nice looking bar of dark European chocolate stashed in my pantry.
I am going to allow myself to have cokes one day a week, on Saturday. They will be chilled to perfection and I might even go exclusively with glass bottles.

This better be good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Survived another one!

Back from the Miami after a long weekend of swimming, biking and running.  Didn't bring back a PR (wasn't expected or even likely), but was happy to survive.  And, was pretty happy with my swim actually - especially since I opted not to use a wetsuit as I felt I would get too hot (the majority of age groupers had one on). The bike was "meh" and the run sucked (as expected) but it was a good experience all in all.
I'm glad to have the first race of the year out of the way and now can focus on doing sprints, woo hoo!

My buddies Sue and Sharon did awesome.  Sue didn't quite PR but almost - if the bike hadn't been so windy I am sure she would have.  This was Sharon's first tri - and her 2nd open water swim.  She's gone from barely making it from one end of the pool to the other to swim nearly a mile in open water in less than 4 months - totally proud of her.
My next tri isn't scheduled until beginning of May so for the next 6 weeks I am going to try to make peace with running.  Sharon (who is an exceptional runner) is going to help motivate me and instead I am going to get her going on the bike.  Yay for teamwork - and  having someone to hold me accountable - clearly I need that when running.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Being unemployed is being very busy

When I first found myself without the regular schedule of a daily job, I figured I would have all the time in the world, to do whatever I damn well pleased. I envisioned a whole week of Sundays, where each day would sort of idle by, in a state of pleasant calmness.
Turns out Father Time doesn't give a rats ass about my state of employment and if anything the days are going by FASTER than before.

I have a couple of other unemployed friends - one by choice (happily refers to himself as a kept man) and the other one decided to take some time off from working, having been on a monthly deadline for the past 22 years. What I have noticed is that both of my unemployed friends are just as busy as my other friends holding down full time jobs. And get this - none of us have kids!

So, what is keeping me so busy you might wonder - and I will tell you. Just not now, because right now I'm at the tender stage when a dream goes from being ethereal and intangible and goes on to become a reality. I touched lightly on the subject in this post, and am happy to report that things are starting to take form - I'm following that proverbial dream and I am now ready to dive into it headfirst.
Funny enough it was at job interview where I had that realization. I had an impromptu interview offer, with a company that I actually like and the position sounded interesting. I dig the product, I have experience with similar things, I know I'd be good at it and I know they would love me. About halfway through the casual interview I all of a sudden knew, without a doubt, that it is my destiny to push forward with my little project.
Call it fate, calling, whatever - I just know it's meant to be. The pieces are coming together, this is what my odd journey through life so far has been preparing me for. This is it. I KNOW I can do it and do it successfully.

There may be dragons, so send me support vibes and any surplus Raman noodles you might have. Because I'm going to need both in large quantities.

Miami Tri - holy cow it's time

Here we are once again, a race just around the corner.  I'm very well prepared and ready to rock both the swim & the bike.  Running, not so much.  For some reason, I just can't seem to lace up my running shoes and go for a run to save my life!  My hip flexor plus my old blood clot circulation issues started acting up, so I took a little time off to let it heal.  It came back pretty good, but my motivation to run didn't. 
So I just sort of pretended not to notice that I wasn't running and pretended not to notice that the days on the calendar were ticking by with increasing speed.
I jogged 4 miles the other way and that was friggin hard, so I am not entirely sure how I am going to fake my way through a 10k and not look like a dumbass.  Oh well.  When the circulation in my left leg isn't quite what it should be, I have always been able to get by doing the Galloway stuff (run/walk) so that is my plan for the weekend.
Right now I'm thinking 10 second run followed by a 10 minute walk, hee hee hee....  

It's going to be a blast though - traveling down with 2 good friends, a bunch of good music, wetsuit, goggles, bike and running shoes in the back of the car. 

Send me some happy thoughts come Sunday morning, I'll need them as soon as I get off the bike!!
Then when I get back, I am going to start running.  Because now I have a plan....   and a partner to kick my ass.  Good times ahead.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bolla bolla bolla!


This week is a big week back home, for Icelandic children (of all ages).
Monday was "Bun Day" - a day where Icelandic kids get up early in order to catch their parens still in bed. Mom and dad then get a spanking with a specially made "bun paddle" - screaming "bolla bolla bolla" as they spank.  Parents must pay with one cream puff (bun) for ever spank they take, so those mornings tend to be a lot of fun.

Following Bun Day is "Bursting Day" (Shrove Tuesday), and in the late afternoon you start picking up the heavenly smell of "Saltkjöt & Baunir" as most Icelandic homes and many restaurant start cooking up the feast (salted lamb and split pea soup).

Once the entire nation has passed out in a collective Bursting  Day food coma, Ash Wednesday morning comes along bright and early.  In the old days, ashes were collected into small bags.  As a prank, these bags were then secretly pinned on to peoples clothing.  Nowadays, this custom has given way to another one that more resembles the American Halloween.  Kids don costumes, form teams and walk from one business to another, trading songs for bits of candy.

My favorite has always been Bun Day, so this year I got a recipe from a friend in Iceland and set out to make my own Bollur.  Much to my surprise they turned out great, and they also turned out in large friggin numbers!   I'll be eating Bolla's well into next week if I don't manage to give some of them away.
That said, I better grab my bag and hit the pool, to burn off the Bolla calories :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A graph and a couple of good blogs

I keep up with quite a few blogs on the pages of the internet. Some I read in all their glory at their own proper URL's, some I read plainly through my trusty Google RSS reader, some come through my Mac's mail RSS feed. I read a variety of blogs: medical stuff, triathlon blogs, run/swim/bike specific blogs, all kinds of Lifehacks are greatly favored and then there are of course blogging friends and family members that I like to keep up with.

Laura who authors the running blog Absolut(ly) Fit had the dubious honor of joining me in unemployment recently. Her company gave her a severance package and a nifty little chart, plotting out how her emotions and moods would swing over the next few weeks.
My company politely requested that I would not let the door hit me in the ass on the way out (just painted) and skipped out on both the severance package and the chart.
Thankfully Laura shared her emotional roller coaster road map, so I borrowed a copy to share on my blog:


As the graph indicates I went through the first set of emotions like a BASE jumper going off a cliff and found myself sitting knee deep in my own sorrows for about a week or so. Thankfully Cute Boy was gone to France for most of that period, which was spent having deep and meaningful conversations with the newly adopted dog about this cruel world and diabolical ways of man. Since he'd been a bit down on his luck too, Harvey understood completely and was very sympathetic.
I'd like to think that right now I'm well on my way to the series of smaller speed bumps of anger and acceptance and on the way to all kinds of opportunities.

But, it's a sensitive topic - and an emotional workout and a half putting on a brave face every time well meaning buddies ask "soooo..... how are you doing?" (spoken in half whisper, whilst the person looks at you sideways like a sad puppy). Some are even so distraught on my behalf that I end up consoling them, which is ass backwards.
So. Don't do that. I only have so many of the overly chipper "oh I am doing just fine, you know it will probably end up being the best thing ever" replies left in me before I start throwing punches. If you want to talk about my life as a lay-off-ee (and I'm ok with that), visit Penelope Trunk's blog for allowable topics and tactics. Even if you don't want to talk about the dirty deed of laying me off, visit the blog because it's a damn fine one.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ideas

Eventually my current state of unemployment has to come to an end. It's been nice to take a couple of weeks off to clear my head, boost the body and generally enjoy the vacation I have been meaning to take. I guess it's technically a staycation since I didn't go anywhere - but sweet it has been.
Now that I am slowly preparing my return to the workforce, I must say that I am a little burned out on "working for the man" and will admit that I have been looking at alternatives. I worked my tail off for 9 years and I know what I did made a difference in dollars for the man - I have the spreadsheets to prove it. At the end though, that was all forgotten when new winds blew through management and the only solution to the rough morale was to get rid of all the unhappy people. Errr, lay them off I mean, uuhh, because of the rough economy. Yeah. That's it.

Working for the woman seems like a better idea, especially if that woman is me.
The thing is that I like to work. I like some form of structure in my life, I like working towards a goal, and I would friggin love to be able to set my own hours (even if that leaves me working a lot of them). I also want to reap the benefits of my hard work and I hereby promise that if I make money I will not save all of it, I will see it as my holy duty to stimulate the economy, in particular through buying workout clothes/equipment, shoes and travel to races.

So. I have been looking into a couple of things that would ultimately make myself my own boss.
It's scary and fabulous at the same time. Can I do it? Will it work out? Can I eek out a living and survive the start-up? Will I fall flat on my face? Am I going to be an embarrassment to my friends and family? Is it going to make me run slower or faster?

All these questions.... well I guess there is only one way to find out.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Uphill


Tómas Guðmundsson is a well known Icelandic poet and writer (well known in Iceland at least).  One of his poems (Fjallganga or Mountain Climb) tells a tale of a young man scrambling his way to the top of a mountain. It's funny, but only if you know Icelandic (I'm not aware of an English translation).

A line in the poem says something along the lines of "landscape with names is so much more interesting than landscape without" - so true.   I was reminded of that yesterday when I joined two friends on a cycling trek to Clermont, which can only be described as the "Florida Alps". The hills might not be huge, but they are many, and nothing is flat for more than a tenth of a mile.
For 3 neverending hours we rode up one hill and down another, rinse lather repeat.
I kept asking Sue (the ring leader) the names of the hills, because to me they were big enough to be worthy of names. She kept replying "nothing" so I decided to name a few.
The first one I named Three Hump Camel hill, fitting because it was sort of 3 hills rolled into one. Next one up was Buckaroo hill, named so for the uneven pavement patchworked in a semi straight line.   Then there was Sweet Jesus hill, named after a sign close by. I liked that one because it was pretty much all downhill.
Sugarloaf Mountain was already named, and the picture of me with this post is taken just before I attacked was attacked by the hill. Oh how I wanted my good old Cannondale with a triple chain ring on the front when I was about a third of the way up.
Sugarloaf happens to be he highest point of Florida peninsula, standing proudly at 312 feet (95 meters) above sea level. It seems so very little when you type it out like that, but oh-so-very-much when you are standing at the bottom of that hill knowing you have to balance on two wheels and self-propel your ass up the thing.
The final hill was one in a quiet neighborhood named Skyridge or something like that, and there was this demon of a hill.  After struggling up that beast 3 times (not even ashamed to admit that I zig-zagged like a drunken sailor) I named that one "I-think-I-have-Asthma hill".
Thankfully it was mostly downhill back to the cars after that.  All in all an excellent workout in great company, on a beautiful day.
Unemployment doesn't get much better than this.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Really, Kellogs

This is just too good not to share - was sent to the group by our masters swim coach, who clearly has a decent sense of humor.

Wii Fit Gravely Insults Man

Cute Boy was lucky enough to stumble over a Wii Fit board the other day and brought it home with him. I was over the moon, been coveting one for a while. We hooked it up to the Wii and then had a small fight over which one of us could go first. Cute Boy argued he had been the one to find it and thus should start, and I couldn't argue with that logic.

He grinned broadly, hopped up on the board and got started with the set up. You get to use your own Mii (a mini-me of sorts that represents you in games and during Wii Fit activities).
The Mii is made to look like you, cartoon style, and for the Wii Fit they are outfitted in groovy little workout clothes.
First time on the board, the Wii Fit puts you through a series of evaluations designed to test your balance, figure out your BMI and  and then proceeds to give you a 'Wii Fit Age' based on it's calculations.  Once Scott was done with the series of tests, his Mii appeared on the screen, bathed in a spotlight.  The Mii was clearly anxious: twiddling thumbs and beads of sweat dripping. After a quick drum roll, the Wii Fit Age plonked down behind the Mii in big giant green letters.  42 it said - and the Mii's shape rounded a little as a result.  It was priceless, especially since my future husband is a very fit and athletic guy. He does carry a bit of muscle though, which is not accounted for in the BMI indexing, so the poor little Wii had no option other than come to the conclusion of fat.
Cute Boy (Fat Boy?) was stunned and completely offended and then skeedaddledd off to lick the wounds.  As a result me and the Wii Fit board have been able to enjoy a lot of time together since, as the boy is avoiding it. We have put a few more people through the test since and it seems that the Fit board is generally more polite towards women than men, which is fine by me :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

In Bruges

In this day and age of unemployment, I'm managing to keep busy with projects around the house and projects outside of the house and of course the occasional workout here and there.
New pup Harvey was happy to meet Scott and the two of them instantly fell in love. I'm still head over heals for Harvey, to the point that I occasionally allow the beasts up on the couch (I'm a big old softie).
My friends from Iceland came for a visit for a few days - it was great to have them around, especially since they brought some tasty Icelandic candy with them. They also introduced me to one of the most fantastic movies ever: In Bruges. If you haven't seen that one yet, I highly recommend that you put it on the list. Colin Firth is easy on the eyes and the humor in the movie is awesome. Pitch black, just the way I like it.
The reviews say it is full of existential dread, which also happens to fairly nicely sum up my current emotional situation as well, the whole unemployed situation is starting to feel a little unproductive.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Man vs toilet

Public restrooms can be dangerous places, but I never knew just how dangerous. Yesterday I happened upon this post here, telling the tails of a gentleman in my very own hometown, quaint little DeLand, who was mauled by a toilet at a public restroom. To add insult to an injury, the assault took place in the public restroom located at the police station!

The NewsJournal ran a story on it, but in case they might take it down or disturb the link, here it is below.

Loose toilet seat sends man to emergency room


DELAND -- A man who stopped in at the DeLand police station to use the public restroom was injured when a loose toilet seat shifted, smashing his penis, police said.

Robert LaBollita, 51, said today he had to go to the emergency room because no one at the police department or the fire department, which was called after he reported the injury, would provide antibiotics. He said he was worried about an infection because the injury happened on a public toilet.

"All the fire department people gave me is sterile water and a bandage," LaBollita said.

LaBollita said he was on his way to the library Monday and stopped at the police station at 9:34 a.m. to use the public restroom. LaBollita told police he sat down and the seat moved and "pinched his penis." LaBollita suffered a bruise and broken skin, he said.

LaBollita said he had no access to medicine and asked for an antibiotic to treat the injury, the report said.

DeLand fire paramedics came to the police station and told LaBollita how to treat the injury, handing him a bandage, the report said.

"It was painful. I was quite traumatized when it happened," LaBollita said. "I am 250 pounds. Imagine that, that's all my weight pushing on that."

The investigating officer wrote in his report that the toilet seat was loose and that he gave the information to the people responsible for repairs. Police are required to file a report anytime someone is hurt on public property.

LaBollita said he is not litigious but has not dismissed the option of a lawsuit.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Aqua jogging

I swear even the damn shrimp is faster than I am.
It also has way more legs....
Turn up the sound for music that makes you want to go out and run!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sore and tired, but setting benchmarks

Working out, err, I mean training, is taking it's toll.  I'm sore and tired, achy and feeling old enough to race in the 70+ age group. 
But the magical things are happening.

1. My running has improved, sort of.  For the past couple of weeks when I have set out for my runs (well, jogs), the first mile has SUCKED.  No small suckage either, but full blown Dyson-bagless-lifetime-hepa-filter suckage.  Complete with intersperced 30 second walk breaks at random intervals because I simply can no longer bear the agony.  Complete with a powerful urge to rip of my running shoes and throw them in the nearest ditch (my running & biking routes usually always include at least one ditch for this very purpose).
But, after the first mile goes beep on the Garmin, my legs all of a sudden decide they would like to get home faster and I easily drop anywhere from 30-60 seconds of my min/mile pace. And then am able to sustain that semi-comfortably all the way home.

2.  Bike is improving, but that part is sort of going as expected. I usually get my bike fitness back easier and quicker than running.

3.  Swimming is going so awesome that I don't even know where to begin.  I ended up joining the most awesome masters group ever this fall, and the coach has spent a lot of time and laps refining my stroke and building endurance and core strength in the pool.  We are now getting to work on speed, and I'm already faster than I have ever been - and feel as if I have just started tapping into the awesomeness.

Well, now it's on to a new week and new challenges.  Along with training my J-Lo bootie off I plan to get cranking on my employment situation, or lack there of.
Oh and you might wonder what the featured picture has to do with the contents of this post. Short answer would be "nothing", long answer would be "well, in training there are benchmarks aren't there, and maybe I sort of am comparing my current state to previous states and kind of setting the *now* as a benchmark for future states".
And the really long answer would be that I want to start paying more attention to photography and take more pictures.  So from here on out, just about every picture featured on this blog will be either taken by me, of me or somehow about me (and in rare instances, stolen off the internet by someone who shall remain nameless).  Cuz tiz my blog and I do what I want.  Meh.  Oh and naturally I expect compliments on my beautiful photos, so get to it.

Happy February every one - shortest month of the year so get on with enjoying it!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dog whispering

The other day a friend forwarded sent out an e-mail to the group about a puppy-dog that was looking for a home.  She called him "Stinky McStinkface" and said her vet had estimated him to be about 5 months old, of uncertain breed.  She said she'd love to keep him but couldn't, as she already has 2 dogs and a hectic life. 
In a swift moment of weakness I e-mailed her back and said "oh let me come and meet him, we have been thinking about getting a 2nd dog - and if it doesn't work out, since I'm unemployed I can at the very least help foster him until we find a suitable home".   Cute Boy instructed me to drop everything and go get him, and announced that he had already named him Harvey.  
Harvey seems to have a mild case of demodex (skin mites), had sores on his feet from nails rubbing and needs to have the balls lopped off, but other than that he seeems to be a healthy and happy pupper - remarkably calm.
I am doing my very best to head the wisdom of the Dog Whisperer and try to remain a calm and confident pack leader.  Having to put on a show for Harvey might be the best thing for me right now, because I am feeling anything but calm and composed about being unemployed.  Teetering on the edge of panic even, but hopefully that is temporary.
The first night went well, our 11 year old dog Daisy is cautious about the new addition, but so far things are good.  The 2 cats went mildly apeshit, Herman freaked right out and in the span of 20 seconds taught iBite to hiss, never seen him do that before.   After vocalizing their displeasure they both headed for higher ground and observed Harvey from the safety of the dinner table.
iBite seems really pleased to finally know how to hiss and has spent the past couple of hours quietly hissing himself to sleep. 
Harvey paid no attention to the cats but set about exploring the new digs and pretty quickly settled down in a dog bed and took a nap.
He still seems a little timid but should perk right up once he figures things out.  Hopefully everything will work out for the best for this little guy who has been a little down on his luck lately.
If anyone cares to guess the breed(s), leave a comment!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mea culpa, doggy style


Came home this afternoon after a successful trip to the bike store, where I scored a round skewer for two dollars. I will need this skewer thing for the next 8 weeks, when I embark up on something called Vision Quest Coaching, in my attempt to become a bad-ass cyclist. Or triathlete. Or perhaps the fastest unemployed person on two wheels!
Coming back home I noticed that the family room floor was awfully crunchy and a swift inspection revealed kitty litter all over the floor. I use the fabulous crystals that absorb odor and fluids, and generally work great when placed in the litter box. Strewn all over the floor, they are just annoying.
As it turns out, the cat had not miraculously stopped shitting over the past few days (which would have been nice), instead the dog had figured out how to snake her long nose into the Booda Clean Step Dome and snatch what I can only describe as crunchy dog snickers bars. Yuck.

I also came home to one guilt stricken dog who stood in front of the door with the tail between her legs. The damn dog just HAS to be Catholic, she was born guilty. Every time she does something bad, she comes and confesses and then crawls into a corner and mutters Hail Marys to herself in Doggish, until repenting is complete.
Next step is to secure the lid firmly to the base using a bungee chord. Stay tuned for further updates from the Poop Snatcher.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Job hunting from vacation

My first day as an unemployed person is over and done with.  I will admit to sleeping in a little bit (after first getting up and feeding the zoo) but since getting out of bed I've been busier than an one legged man in an ass kicking contest.
Resumes have been written, edited, e-mailed and re-edited, thank you notes and e-mails composed and sent, calls returned, visitors greeted and so on and so forth.
Oddly, most people are taking the news of my layoff a good deal harder than I am, so seemingly my role in the whole episode is to convince well meaning friends that I am doing just fine and do not need heaping helps of Prozac to get through the day.
Turns out being unemployed is no picnic, not yet at least.

I have a few options that I am exploring, and honestly have to say that I have been really touched at all the outpouring of support and positive vibes sent my way.  Former clients and customers are getting in touch landslide style, all offering to recommend me to their mother brother aunt and father that may be hiring.
Three of us got laid off the same day and one has already found a suitable job.  Personally I want to take a couple of days of vacation (yes Americans, I said vacation - google it!) to clear my head.
I have a couple of options I'm looking at and am actually really hopeful regarding a certain position.
I don't want to say what it is out of fear of jinxing it - but hopefully before too long I will have good news to share here.
In the meantime, life poolside is grand - I might get tan one day, and continue to work hard biking, running and swimming.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I believe... change is a-comin

One of the blogs I subscribe to offered up a real treat today.
It quotes a piece that NPR did on 7 year old Tarak McLain, who was born in Thailand but now lives with his family in Austin, Texas. The kid is remarkable.
For the 100th day of kindergarten, their teacher asked them to bring in a 100 of something - and this is what Tarak did. He wrote up his 100 believes. 30 of them are listed below, I'm not sure where the other 70 are. For the full effect, I recommend listening to Tarak read his list - click on the "listen now" button on the NPR website.

Here it goes.
  1. I believe life is good.
  2. I believe God is in everything
  3. I believe we’re all equal.
  4. I believe we can help people.
  5. I believe everyone is weird in their own way.
  6. I believe hate is a cause for love.
  7. I believe that when I meditate I feel peaceful.
  8. I believe we should be generous.
  9. I believe brothers and sisters should be kind to each other.
  10. I believe kids should respect their parents.
  11. I believe I should not whine.
  12. I believe people should wake up early.
  13. I believe people should go outside more.
  14. I believe in nature.
  15. I believe people should use less trees.
  16. I believe we should help the Arctic and rainforest animals.
  17. I believe people shouldn't throw litter on the ground.
  18. I believe people should not smoke.
  19. I believe God is in good and bad.
  20. I believe in magic.
  21. I believe people should not give up.
  22. I believe love is everywhere.
  23. I believe that God helps us to have a good time.
  24. I believe we live best in a community.
  25. I believe we can protect people in danger.
  26. I believe we should help the poor.
  27. I believe it's OK to die but not to kill.
  28. I believe war should not have started.
  29. I believe war should stop.
  30. I believe we can make peace.
Sounds like a pretty decent set of believes to me.
On a personal level, I would like to believe that in my life, a change is coming - a change for the better.
Today I was laid off from a job that I have held for the past 9 years. Out of those 9 I enjoyed 8 great years and have been fortunate to work with some exceptionally good people. I'll miss them. Then there are a couple that I won't miss, but that is how the world rolls.
I will admit that even if I saw the writing on the wall a copule of days in advance, I am still a little bit stunned and shell shocked. But I will be ok. Between Cute Boy and I, we will work things out somehow.
Maybe now is the time to back to school like I've been wanting to or start brushing off that old resume and start applying for fresh jobs. Either way, I am going to take a few days to ponder things over, gaze at the ocean, ride my bike, swim, run and figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
I am ready for the next adventure - bring it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

28 degrees: Unacceptable.

That is the forecasted low for tonight. Mother-effer, that is COLD and really out of character for Florida.
To add insult to injury, the heater in our house is broken so there will be no warm air flowing through my newly repaired ducts. The experts we have checked with suggest replacing the AC unit and air handler/heating thing at the same time since the AC is on the fritz as well. Since I don't have the big bucks handy I am going to just have to suck it up.
I'm pretty good dealing with cold, contrary to popular belief. I don't LIKE cold but that doesn't mean I can't HANDLE it - I'm from Iceland after all.
For tonight, I have a plan. It's pretty detailed and involves layers, hats, beanies and fuzzy animals. The dog (comes equipped with undercoat and overcoat and a generous layer of insulating fat) will serve as foot warmer and each cat will be strategically placed on either side of me. That will a) keep me warm and b) keep them from tearing at each other. Blankets will be sprinkled liberally on top of the whole set-up and my space heater will be right next to me burning kilowatt hours like it's going out of style. And under all that, I will peer out, one hand on the remote, watching reruns of Obama's inauguration.
Any complaints from the furry ones about inappropriate use will be filed away under "when you vacuum up the hair you shed on my floors by yourself we can talk about this".

I won't be cold, I'm not even a little bit worried. In fact this might even be fun, sort of like going camping but still be in my house with running water etc. As long as the pipes don't freeze.
But the scheduled workout, that damn 4 mile run, well that might just have to take place indoors as much as I hate the treadmill. We'll see....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Running osmosis experiment: failed

Dang, it's Sunday again!
Kept busy all week trying to get back in shape and do that work thing. 
Now that I have a coach, my workouts are on a schedule and I am expected to perform certain things. Looking at my schedule for this week it feels a little like I am going to have to perform a miracle (small one) to fit it all in, but I think I can do it.

Until now I have been working to improve my running through unconventional methods such as osmosis.  I have spent some time hanging around faster runners and even sometimes go watch them race.  I had expected that simply being around faster people would make me faster. 
So far it hasn't, but maybe that is just because I haven't spent enough time doing it.
 
Well, now we will never know, because coach Helen doesn't believe in this theory.  Her philosophy is somewhere along the lines of "if you want to be a good runner you actually have to do some running" so gone are the lovely weeks of low-to-none mileage.
They have been replaced with strategically structured workouts with pickups, intervals, long runs and all kinds of things.  I am a little skeptical, but will give it a try.  I will be sure to update you on my progress right here on this very blog, as soon as there is anything to report. 
Now all I can say that all this running is making me very tired and I expect that condition to remain.
But, I will keep on keeping on, and we will see where this running theory takes us.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I am thoroughly over this crap.

Chest cold returned with a vengeance. Unasked, unwanted, unwelcome. Slept 10 hrs straight and woke up feeling a wee bit better but still not quite my usual self. My lungs burn and energy is at an all time low.
I'm not even up for playing Wii Fit, which should really bring into focus what a sad shape I'm in.
iBite the Cat thinks I'm one big giant heat-pad, put on this earth for his pleasure and comfort. I'm too weak to swat him off constantly so every time I nap pass out, I wake up with him on my head or on my chest. He's purring with pleasure, I'm gasping for air.
I want a Coke so bad, but can't bring myself to get up off the couch and to the fridge to get one.
Can someone get me a Coke, please?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Plodding along

Cute Boy has always said he could spot me in a crowd of thousands from a mile away because of the way I walk. I always assumed this was because of my gazelle-like grace and it appeared to him like I was floating on air. Makes sense, right? Me, light as a butterfly.
Turns out I interpreted his comment very wrongly, basically I couldn't have been further from the truth.
A few days ago as we walked out of the grocery store he pointed out a girl in the parking lot and said "look honey, she walks just like you!". Excited, I looked up expecting a fellow gazelle stepping lightly to the ground, but instead locked in on a woman clonking her way through the parking lot. Shocked, I looked around - surely he couldn't mean that ogre - but there was nobody else around.
I looked back. The clonker was headed for her car, full speed ahead. I don't know how to describe it, but it is almost as if she didn't have hip joints or any flexibility. Anywhere. When she walked, she sort of hiked up a leg using her shoulders or something, slung it over, plonked it to the ground and returned the fozzilized hips to neutral. Rinse, lather, repeat for the other side. Over and over and over until she reached her car, loaded her bag and hucked herself in the front seat. All with the grace of a troll.

I watched in silent horror. There was nothing fluid about this gait. It was the kind of gait that is so horrible that gazelles would DIE if they ever saw it. The kind one would only expect to see in movies like Godzilla. It was the gait emploied by Edgar from the movie Men in Black. And that my friends, is my gait. I'm a clonker.
I need to get myself to a therapist of some sort to have this checked out, but maybe - just maybe - we have now discovered the reason for why my running sucks!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yaaawwwwn. And a coach.

Well, back to work today. Getting up early wasn't very hard as I've been getting plenty of practice lately - but finding motivation and staying on track proved a bit more challenging. It's good to be getting back into the ole routine though - although I still need to work on getting to bed earlier!

Other than that, the latest news is that I got myself my own private ass-whoopperer (a coach). She's a little energizer bunny who runs like the wind and gives the boys a run for their money on the bike. She doesn't love the pool in the same way I do, but that is fine - as I already belong to a masters team complete with what might be the best swim coach in the world.  So with all these resources at my disposal, if I don't go ahead and improve this up and coming season, I only have myself to blame.
Coach Helen sent me a form to fill out, so tomorrow come up with a list of events I'd like to do and goals I'd like to meet. Sounds pretty official, and a little somewhat scary. 
Once we review the plan, she will write me up a schedule and then comes the hard part.....  - I am going to have to follow it. Yikes.
I think it's going to be awesome, but I also think I'm going to need a healthy dose of self discipline - wonder if I can find some for cheap during all those January sales that I see popping up everywhere!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A step at a time

So far 2009 seems to be functioning properly, like a good new year should.
This morning we got up early (I have a feeling that is going to be recurrent theme for the year) and made our way out to the beach for a morning run.
I love mornings, not many things better than being at the beach just as the sun is coming up. Cute Boy on the other hand loathes mornings and claims that it physically hurts* him to have to get up early.
Having to get him up, dressed and out the door is no easy task but somehow I managed to get both of us to Silver Beach on time, running shoes laced up and water bottles rolling around in the back seat. We were greeted with a gorgeous sunrise, a light breeze and a bunch of tourists - some crazy enough to be hopping around in the freezing ocean at 7:30 in the morning. Must be Canadians.
I did an easy out-and-back with Shirley, 20 mins each way, and called that the long run for the week. She bounded like a gazelle and chatted the whole way - I gasped for air and moaned "yes" and "no" as appropriate. It's just so much better to have a running buddy, preferably someone that is just a little faster for optimal torture inspiration.
The remarkable thing was that I enjoyed just about every minute of this run - but by all means don't let that get out or the gods of running will strike me with the side stitch from hell or a black toenail or something equally awful.

*That statement has not yet been evaluated by the FDA and thus should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. In short, I'm calling shenanigans on the whole "you don't understand how it hurts me to wake up" thing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 - it's here!

Hot damn.  2008 done and gone, just doesn't seem like it stuck around for very long.
The picture above is from my hometown Akureyri, Iceland - where people know how to celebrate a new year (well they pretty well go apeshit around the entire island).

Here in Florida, we rung in the new year with a few friends in a fairly vacant downtown DeLand - amazingly enough on any given Tuesday you will find more people hanging out than were in attendance at the local pubs on New Years Eve.
I guess all the hard core cats went to Orlando or Daytona, but we opted to stay local and take it easy.  I was the DD (designated driver) as I can't take more than one hangover every 8 months or so, and my last one was still too fresh in my memory.  Surely a sign of old age.
Today Cute Boy and friend Brian are licking their Patrón inflicted wounds and catching up on sleep missed in the last hours of 2008.  After generous helpings of eggs, bacon and hash browns stomachs and heads seem to be feeling better, nothing like a little bit of grease to ease the pain.

2008 was a pretty fine year in retrospect.
Many goals accomplished, but a good few slipped by.  If it had to do with running, it pretty well didn't get done the way I'd have liked, but that's what 2009 is for.