Unpublished Opinion

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Race Bandit

I ventured out on my five mile run this morning. I felt very good the first half and was actually running much faster than I had been the last few runs. I also switched to 7/1 which was good. I figure that I will do that in the first half of the race next week and then switch back to 7/2 if I need more recovery time. As I turned around at the 2.5 mile sign, the wind died. Or maybe it was just blowing the wrong direction.

Oh, I forgot to mention that during the first half I noticed lots of orange cones and tables with lots of little cups of water. A race!! Oh, my. I started to worry how it would impact me coming back, but decided to worry about that when I needed to. At about 8am, as I approached the 2 mile marker, I heard the gun go off. I looked up and saw a large group of women running on the upper level path. I then remembered that it was the Nike Women's Race: 5k and 10k. I forgot that it was today and surely didn't know that it was up in my neighborhood. I had nearly signed up for that race a couple of months ago, but I was afraid it would negatively impact my training to run a race the week before the half marathon. As it would turn out, however, I unwittingly became part of the race anyhow.

After I turned around and approached my three mile marker, I saw the long line of women running. And they were running fast. I stopped completely, trying to figure out what to do because they were running where I was supposed to be running. I merged with them for about 100 feet, just long enough to make it through the narrow passageway under the bridge and then was able to move to an alternate path. But soon, again, the time came where I was forced to merge with them. I did this as the 10k runners passed the three mile marker. The time clock read 23 minutes. I told you they were fast. I managed to (sort of) keep up with them for about a half a mile until they reached another point where there was an alternate path.

Part of me wanted to keep running with them. It has been too long since I was in a race. It has been too long since I ran fast. But I knew it would do me more harm than good. Even though I liked the people cheering, it made me feel guilty because I was a fraud. Plus, I would hate if I paid money for a race and a race bandit jumped on the course with me and started running. Granted, I didn't do it on purpose and really had no other choice, but still I felt guilty.

So I headed over to the bike path to finish the last mile or so. It was great to look over and see all of the women running. I had to fight the urge to yell "Girl power" or "Women Runners Rock!" I definitely will be signing up next year.

Only one week to the big day!!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Naked Brides

I do not understand why as soon as a woman gets the moniker of "bride," a portion of her brain suddenly takes over that makes her do crazy things...things she would never normally do...things that make other non-brides say "Hmm?"*

Today I apprehensively entered into that scary world. The world where all sense of normalcy is thrown out the window in hopes of getting that perfect gown. Yes, today, I went to Filene's Basement annual "running of the brides." Upfront, I must point out that I realize that this would be a more interesting story if I had arrived the moment it started. But, to be truthful, I was scared. I had heard the stories, I had seen the film, I had read Filene's Basement's own scary press release. I was very, very afraid.

So I ventured over there at 10am, two hours after it started, with butterflies in my tummy and fear in my heart. As I descended into the basement, I saw the racks and racks of white and ivory and my fear turned to excitement. A group of women were heading up the escalator next to me, all wearing shirts saying "I survived the Filene's Basement bridal event." Later I would want one for myself, but was unwilling to pay the hefty $12 cost.

I then heard what would be the first of about fifteen cheers that I would hear over the next hour, signaling a bride had found the perfect gown. I also saw a sad-looking woman wearing a sign that said "Tina. Size 4. Strapless. Ivory." It was almost like a "if found returned to Douglas Elementary" sticker you might have in a textbook. I was not sure if she was Tina, or Tina was her friend. Was the sign to help her remember what she was looking for or in hopes that other people would look at her and say "Oh I saw a great size four ivory strapless over there! It has Tina's name all over it!"

I then walked over to the first rack and started looking. It was not too crowded. No more so than a store during lunch hour. I relaxed. And then I saw her. A woman that would be the first of the (way too) many women I would see that morning...in their underwear. I could tell she had planned for this, as she had a nice matching set, but still...she was practically naked.

I know you might be thinking that it was no different than the gym or that "we are all women here," but that wasn't the case. There were several men...lurking. I can only hope they were with one of the brides, but even so it was...creepy. There were some woman that had clearly read the aforementioned press release and were dressed in a sports bra and shorts, as recommended. There were some clever women in tube tops. But most of them were just wearing regular undies and bras.

As I walked through the racks and racks of dresses I spotted a few I liked, but the fear returned. Would I, too, have to get naked to find my dream dress? Would I have to bare flesh in order to fully experience the moment? But then, a glimmer of hope: I saw a woman walking with an armful of dresses. I watched her as she walked into the (you will never guess) dressing room! That is right, the actual dressing room. The place that non-brides go and trying clothing on, while maintaining their self-respect and dignity. I quickly went back and grabbed four dresses I liked and went to the dressing room.

Now, I expected a line or perhaps the same scene of nakedness taking place behind the security of the dressing room walls. I told myself I would wait for a room if need be or even change in the open, so long as I was in the dressing room area and away from the wandering eyes. But, as I walked in, the clerk pointed me to a (gasp!) empty dressing room. In fact, they were almost all empty. In addition to the one other bride, there was one older woman trying on cute summer tops.

You might be thinking that the dressing rooms were small and would not accommodate the three or four friends that the other brides brought along or that the mirrors wouldn't be as good, or any such other excuse as to why the brides would choose not to be in the comfort of a dressing room over the completely wide-open space of the main part of the store. But, alas, that was not the case. There was one large room and several medium sized rooms. They were big enough for the bride and one person to help zip her up. Outside the rooms, there was a three-way mirror and several small mirrors. And plenty of space there for several of your closest friends to ooh and ahh as you twirl about.

Which makes me wonder why, then, were the brides choosing nakedness? Maybe they wanted the full "running the brides" experience. Maybe they were doing it because everyone else was doing it. A grown-up kind of peer pressure. I don't really know. I am happy that I did not succumb to it.

You may be wondering if I saw any catfights over dresses and the answer is no. I think I arrived too late for the drama. I did see a couple of tear-stained faces and a lot frowns (like Tina). I also had a woman try to weasel her way into getting my dress. I had it hanging up on the end of a rack as I gazed at it one last time, just making sure it was THE ONE. She walked up to me and said "Ooh that's pretty! What size it?" while proceeding to push me aside and check the tag. I replied "It's one size bigger than I would like, but it is the last one like this" and picked it up and headed to the register.

Victory was mine as I paid for my beautiful dress. I am very happy. And no one had to see me naked.

* Now, I realize that this is not true of all brides. Kiki was a fine bride, as was my friend Karen, whose wedding I was in several years ago. I venture that I, too, am normal. At least so far...

Running Survey

I don't have anything creative or interesting to report, so I am going to complete this survey, which I have seen on a couple of running blogs that I read. I am not yet cool enough to be in the in-crowd and have someone select me to complete it, but just like in junior high, that will not stop me from following the cool kids around, trying to do they are doing.

Q: What are you training for now?
Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon on August 7.
(Eek! only nine more days!!)

Q: If you are raising money for a cause, what is it and why is that cause important to you? No. I had considered joining the Run for the Lungs team by the American Lung Association, but just never did. I guess I am just selfishly doing this for me.

Q: What is the furthest distance you've run in your training and what is the furthest distance you will run before your event?
I already had my peak training run of 10 miles. This weekend it is back down to five and then the big race is the following weekend.

Q:What is your favorite flavor of gu? (or other sports gel)
So far I have tried Apple Cinnamon and Strawberry Kiwi. They were both pretty yummy, once you get past the weird consistency.

Q: How many days a week do you run?
Three, per my official race training plan. The two runs during the week are by time (this week 40 min, 45 min) and the long weekend run is by mileage.

Q: Are you injured in any way right now? If so,what are you doing about it? Not that I know of, except for my recurring blisters. I thought I was purchasing blister blocker Band-Aids, but realized they are the healing kind, so I guess I will save those for after the run and head back to the store in search of the preventive kind. I am also NOT GETTING SICK, despite all of E's germs trying to invade me.

Q:What is one item of running clothing/gear (shoes don't count) you can't run without?
Actually, if you take out any one item from my current set-up, the stars become misaligned: Cool Max top, Champion running shorts, Champion sports bra, special socks, Asics shoes, watch, running sunglasses, i-pod armband and i-pod. (If I had to pick one it would be the bra because I can run and not hurt myself without the i-pod, but that certainly is not the case without the bra!)

Q: Do you have a talisman you are planning on taking to your event? If so, tell us! E is my lucky charm. We have yet to map out how we will meet up during the event, but usually we pick one or two spots along each course. He takes my picture and being able to see him gives me encouragement.

Q: Share one thing about yourself we don't know.
My one year running anniversary is August 12!!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

New Reader!

Welcome to my newest reader, none other than E!!!
Well, he read some entries yesterday. Only time will tell if he will return.
(Is there such a thing as too much Simbasmom?)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Learn something new everyday...

Now, I had heard of parasailing, windsurfing, and obviously kites, but today I learned of something new: kiteboarding; also called kite surfing. Here are some photos if you don't know what I am talking about:

From Real Kiteboarding:

From the Kiteboarding School of Maui:

What makes this story of my new found knowledge interesting is this: I saw a guy kiteboarding today..on Lake Michigan. Yes it was that windy today and yes, the waves were plenty high. I wish I had taken my camera with me on my run. But then again, how could I have predicted a guy surfing on Lake Michigan???

Just around the corner...

So I got a shocking e-mail today. And no, I am not talking about a yucky spam message telling me how to see videos of man/donkey action. Aside: Welcome to all of those readers who arrived here by searching for "man/donkey action." Sorry to disappoint.

Anyway, so the e-mail I got was from the organizers of my half marathon. I had remembered reading on the website that a week and a half before the race they would send all runners an official e-mail providing the bib number and packet pick-up information. So that e-mail arrived today. And I said to myself "Why are they sending this so early, I still have (a glance to the calendar)...oh shit."

Not that I didn't realize that the days were slowing ticking away and are fast approaching single digits. It is just that this e-mail, I don't know, makes it real.

Did my slow 40 minute run today. The path was completely empty, which is surprising because it is the coolest day in weeks.


From the Chicago Tribune:

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mind over matter.

I am trying to convince myself that I am not, will not, cannot, be getting sick. E started not feeling well yesterday. I implemented the forehead-only kissing rule. Hopefully I am not already infected with whatever scratchy throat/headachy/cloudy-head thing it is that he has.

With 11 days until my race, I really don't have time for any sickness.

One other unrelated thing. Did you know that cats don't have a sweet tooth? I guess that explains why Simba has never jumped on the counter to steal some cookies, the way certain dogs in my past did.


Thanks to kikis' sister for being my 1000th visitor!*

* I realize that 990 of those are my family visiting over and over again, but I don't care!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2005


E and I went to Milwaukee today to the Indy Car race to see Danica Patrick. It was hot. (and I don't mean "hot" in a Paris Hilton-esque way, meaning great or fantastic). Literally, it was hot. As in 100 degrees. Heat index about 110, or so I was told.

Other observations: It was louder than I thought it would be and I thought it would be very loud. My earplugs worked well. We were too low (because we are cheap) to see the opposite side of the track, but we were right at the start/finish line, which was fun. The driver introductions were on a stage right in front of us. So was the start of the race. And so would the finish have been, had we not left early.* Once Danica was out of the race due to a crash, I lost interest and it seemingly got hotter. Luckily E agreed and we left. Plus we had a big jug of lemon-flavored Italian ice waiting in a cooler in the car. It was calling our names. All in all it was a fun experience, although I am sure that years from now I will just remember how hot it was.

An aside to the assholes that cheered when Danica crashed: I realize that seeing a woman succeed in what you believe to be a "man's sport" is threatening to you and you fear what would happen if women actually got equal rights in this country. I also realize that you are upset that you can never get as far as she has and it makes you question your own masculinity. But I would prefer if you kept your misogynistic ideology to yourself. If you need to assert your manhood/show people you have a bigger penis than you do, just go buy a sports car or something. Thanks!

*Important note: I do not leave sporting events early due to the weather. I sat through the entirety of opening day of Comerica Park in 2000 (17 below with the wind). I didn't leave when it started snowing/thunderstorming/hailing at various events over the years. I stuck it out until the end of the Michigan/Purdue football game in 1995, even though it was 5 below, not counting the wind. So you have to understand that this was hotter than anything I had ever experienced. Had we stayed for the whole race, I likely would have been sick. Just don't want ya'll thinking I am a wimp.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I had a feeling...

This confirms my suspicions about the police shooting in London. BBC NEWS: Shot man not connected to bombing.

This is what happens when you have a police policy of "shoot to kill" anyone that may be attemping to set a bomb off on a train. It apparently also includes "shoot to kill men wearing coats that want to ride the train, simply because you followed them there from a house that maybe someone that might have been involved might live."

Is this the place that we are at now? Shoot to kill, then ask questions later? Scary stuff for Londoners to have to add "police" to their list of fears.

10 miles, 125 minutes.

So I did it. TEN MILES. What better way to let you truly understand the experience than to take you with me, mile by mile.

(For those of you with limited time, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post for the shortened version).

Mile 1: As I started out, I saw the running groups huddled together near their starting point. Although it was already 7am, they must have been waiting for some stragglers before they got started. I felt grateful for the lateness of some people as it gave me a bit of a head start. Of course they eventually caught up and passed me, but at least I had some time alone before the swarms arrived.

Mile 2: I thought that there was some sort of race going on at that time, because I saw some people with bib numbers. There weren't any signs or drink tables, though, so I am perplexed. There is one guy that I see every weekend that runs with an old bib number on. What is the deal with that? Is he trying to show people he is a racer? Is he trying to motivate himself? Is it stuck on with glue? Doesn't he wash that shirt?

Miles 3-5: The first half of the run went very well. I had a lot of energy and felt good. I switched to Run 7, walk 2, and it seemed to make the time and distance go a bit faster. I followed the packs of runners this time to make sure that I stayed on the right path. When I did my 8 mile a few weeks ago, I wanted to get away from them and took the bike path, missing the 4 mile marker and my turn-around. This time, though I made it to mile 5 and felt great.

After sending E a text message letting him know my progress and downing an energy gel while I waited for him to send back a note of encouragement, I turned and headed back north.

Mile 6: I initially felt good after I started, as I think the energy gel and the stopping for a moment had cooled me off a little.

Mile 7: Took an extended walk of about 3-4 minutes. Saw cute baby ducks swimming in the harbor. They were fluffy still and reminded me of the baby penguin I want.

Mile 8.5: the sky darkened and it starting sprinkling. I was not worried about myself getting wet or anything, but was worried for Ms. I Pod. So I took her off my armband and placed in her the protective pocket on my water belt. Then for the last mile and a half I had to run without music. It reminded me why I only run with music. I could hear myself breathe. I could hear how loud I was as my feet stomped down onto the gravel path. I had to hear people's stupid conversations in even more clarity that I do with the headphones on. "So do you think he'll call you?" "He totally better call me." Yucky. I tried to sing songs in my head, but I kept forgetting the words. I got so annoyed that I made a wrong turn near Wilson, but was able to get back on track.

Mile 9: A big soccer tournament with lots of wee soccer players was getting started. They were all so cute in their matching jerseys.

Mile 10: I managed to get in a final kick at the end and pass some slow old ladies, which made me feel good. At least I am faster than the senior citizens today!!!

Overall it was a good experience. I think that the cloud cover helped. I started the exact same time that the half-marathon is starting and I think it will be okay, provided it is similar weather. I kinda wish the half marathon was next week, because I would just like it to be over already.

The damage: the same re-occurring blisters on my bunions and in between my first and second toes (because of the way my toe turns as a result of the bunion). damn genetics. Why couldn't I get the tall gene instead of the bunion gene?

Short Version: Ran, saw people, saw ducks, it sprinkled, put i-pod away which sucked, saw cute kids, passed old ladies. Felt good.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Change is good.

In true Gemini fashion, I do not like things to stay the same way for long. I enjoy rearranging furniture and typically do so two or three times a year. Since E moved in though, everything is sort of like a pack of sardines. It doesn't look cluttered, but everything has its own place and to change one or two things would necessitate a complete overhaul. I don't have the time or energy for that. So, I had to change the color scheme of my blog.
Hope you like it!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Drop it like it's Hot.

Thanks to Injustice Anywhere for bringing my attention to this fabulous website. You can translate anything into Snoop Dogg speak. See my blog translated here. Hope you find it as funny as I did.

Race Anxiety Already???

Last night I had the first, but certainly not the last, anxiety dream about my upcoming race. At least I am assuming that is the root of it.

The Dream:

I was staying out of town somewhere at a hotel in preparation for a race. Betty was also there, but staying across town. The night before the race we were going to pick up our race packets/numbers, but decided to go to dinner instead. My oldest sister was also there. The morning of the race, I guess we overslept, or maybe we had the time of the race wrong, because by the time we got there (Betty and I arrived at the same time from different directions), there was a group of 6-8 women in a runner's stance, waiting for the gun to sound. They all had on the blue race shirts from my last 5k. They also wore fanny packs. And had 80's hair. I said to Betty "This is a lame race, there aren't even ten people. Plus they are starting now and we aren't ready, so we will come in last." Betty agreed that there was no point in running this race, so we headed over to get our free shirts and then go home. Just then a large group of (also blue-shirted) runners came right at us. They all ran on either side of us (and the check-in table).

I went back to my hotel and I noticed that the maid was in there cleaning. For some reason I had a whole bunch of food in my room and she had packed up neatly for me. In really nice tote bags. I remember thinking that it was worth it to come to this race, even if I didn't run it, because I love tote bags.

Storms and Steam

About 20 minutes before I was set to leave work yesterday, I got a text message from Betty warning me that we were in the midst of a huge thunderstorm and to be careful on my way home. This was very helpful since I have no window in my office and am unaware of changes in weather. It could be snowing in July and I would be clueless. Shortly thereafter, there was a lot of commotion in the hallway. I heard someone say "It looks like War of the Worlds out there." That comment obviously came from someone with a window. I then heard thunder. I imagined what horror was in store for me as I made my 12 minute walk to the bus stop. E emailed me a helpful hint of keeping my head above the water when I swam across town.

Luckily, though, by the time I left the office, the storm had stopped. The air had that sticky after-the-storm feel and I got a few sprinkles on my head, but nothing major. After I got on the bus, I felt proud that I had managed to maneuver my way around the storm and get through it unscathed. Then I got home.

There are very few worse things to read on a little white sign on the front of the apartment building door during stormy 90+ degree weather than this:

The air conditioner is out in the entire building. We are aware of the problem and the contractors have been feverishly working on the problem. We hope to have power back shortly.

Sigh. While riding up in the elevator, I worried that I would find a sopping wet Mr. Kitty panting and crying. He was completely unfazed, however, and was actually under the covers! When I got into the apartment, it didn't feel too bad. Thinking that the temp was tolerable, I set out on my regular Wednesday activity of the laundry.

The laundry room was much hotter than the apartment, but I don't stay down there with the clothes, so I thought I could handle it. I returned back upstairs, with the intention of emailing E and complaining about the air conditioning, hoping to garner some sympathy. Then I received another unfortunate message:

You have limited or no connectivity. You may not be able to access the internet.

Sigh. Then I started feeling warmer. Then I got even warmer when I went back to the laundry room. I surmised that the A/C must have gone out not long before I got home, because now the temps were much higher throughout the building, likely increasing as the hours went by.

Then I took one load of laundry out of the dryer and it was still soaking wet. Fun stuff. A woman on the elevator told me that many of the dryers were broken the night before and that people were actually putting their wet clothes into her dryer! Who does that? That is so rude.

Clothes finally dry, I began folding them. I got hotter. E called and I was finally able to complain about the A/C. I also told him that it would be too hot to turn the oven on and that he should bring me Wendy's. (I had to get something for my pain and suffering).

Later I realized that the temperature wasn't too bad...so long as I didn't move. So I laid still for most of the rest of the evening, fans blowing all over the apartment. The A/C finally kicked back on around 11pm.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Roseanne on DVD

I just read that the first season of Roseanne will be released on DVD at the end of August. This brings me insane amounts of joy. The whole original cast reunited at a bowling alley for the DVD announcement. Wish I could have been there. Counting the days until the release....

Monday, July 18, 2005

What is that beeping!?!?!

When I returned home from my 5 mile run yesterday, E said that he had heard a high-pitched beeping sound and thought maybe it was his cell phone and me trying to reach him. I sort of ignored him at that point about the stupid beeping. Mostly because I was hot and he had greeted me at the door with the "helpful" comment "Wow you look really red." No, really? I didn't know. Thanks for the tip.

Anyway, later on, I came out into the living room and heard the beeping. We tried to find the source, checking the obvious places: appliances, watches, cell phone, cordless phone. No luck. I started to unplug things and then listen and would hear it again. BEEP! Looked under couch. BEEP! Then I recognized the beep as sounding like the smoke alarm when the battery is low. (one time when I still lived at home we had a spider that was crawling back and forth over the test button, causing it to beep and the sound recalled that memory). Assured I had cracked the mystery, I climbed onto a chair and removed the battery. I listened. BEEP! Damn. "Maybe it is just telling us now that there is no battery," I offered. E looked at me in such a way that I realized the own stupidity of my comment and replaced the battery.

I decided to time the length of dead air between beeps in order to ascertain whether it was electronic, assuming that if the beeps were spaced equidistant apart, it was likely some kind of warning or low battery on something. I timed it. 37 seconds between beeps. Keep in mind that before this was all over, I had experienced the beeping for an hour. That is almost 100 beeps. It was torture. The other problem was that the sound kept moving around the room, or so we thought. We were certain that some kind of beeping animal was running around our walls. It is coming from the air conditioner. No it is coming from the bookcase. No it is coming from the kitchen.

Finally we determined it really was coming from the central air unit. But where? Was the sound traveling from the floor below us? I turned the air off and listened. BEEP! I removed the cover. BEEP! I looked around inside. (it was really gross in there and something that I would not recommend, unless you are looking for a renegade beeping thing). I pointed to different things and asked E if they belonged: a gross pipe that looked rusted, some tube covered with hair, etc.

Then I saw it: A little white thing. I pulled it out. It beeped. A water alarm. Which would have been helpful if it had indeed been warning us that water was accumulating within the air unit. Or if we had actually PUT the damn thing there. An alarm is not too useful when you don't know where/what it is. It was not, however, alerting us to any problem other than the fact that its battery was low. I calmly removed the battery, when really I wanted to fling the damn thing across the room. I listened. Silence.

Never have I appreciated quiet so much in my life.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

See this movie.

I want a penguin!

A baby one!

Friday, July 15, 2005


Monday, July 11, 2005

Course Map

Here is a picture of what the course is for my half marathon.
It looks really far.
It is really far.
Courtesy of the Chicago Distance Classic website.

Sickness and Running

No, not me (although I may still be stricken by the Montpelier Plague affecting a good portion of my family). My computer has a sickness. It is a sickness that will not go away, no matter how often I visit Symantec and download new virus definitions. That is why my blogging has been lackluster. I apologize to my three loyal readers.

My half marathon training is going well, although this week I will likely have to run on the treadmill as the forecast is high 80s and thunderstorms most of this week. This past Saturday I ran 8 miles. Yes. 8 miles. Actually I think it may have been longer, because I took a wrong turn and was not on the path that has the mile markers. I kept waiting to see Mile 4 and when I didn't (even though it had been about 8 minutes since Mile 3.5) I turned around. The path was packed for 8am. Lots of marathon training groups and bicycles. I will have to move this weekend's run to Sunday, because Mr. Kitty has a vet check up Saturday. It is (ONLY) 5 miles. Then next weekend (23rd) I do the longest run in the training program. 10 miles!!

Work sucks for many reasons these days. After all the recent "resignations" it has got me thinking. I feel like if people refused to resign and said "No, fire me" they might not actually get fired. I know of two people this happened to in the past few years. I figure if they really want to fire me (and they have actual cause to fire me) they would just do it. Why would they be "nice" and let me resign??
Hopefully I won't have to reach that point, but I am trying to prepare myself so that I am not shocked into silence if it happens. I think that is what has happened to many of my former colleagues. They got surprised.

Okay, that is all for today. Hope that was enough to tide you over for a couple of days.

Friday, July 01, 2005