Friday, April 30, 2010

Quarterly Year Reflections...

Back in January, I set some goals for myself in 2010 and here it is all ready the last day in April. I can’t help but pause for a bit and reflect on my progress so far on those goals. (It’s also a S-L-O-W-W Friday afternoon here at work.) So here are the goals and some reflection on my progress so far.

1- Save More Money- This goal has been progressing quite well, and I really feel a sense of accomplishment from that. From each paycheck, I have been putting about 15-20% into my savings account. With what I was able to save towards the end of last year and combined with this year so far, I have started having a bit of a nest egg. It’s not a really big nest egg but enough that if I lost my job tomorrow I could survive almost 4 months. (This also probably shows how small my income is that I can all ready save enough for 4 month wroth of living.) But all in all I find that rather eases my mind especially when you just don’t know what is going to happen with the economy the way it is right now. I have heard of people that have been years at a position that would be considered “secure” and they’ve been handed the pink slip. So I feel like I’ve got a bit of a buffer zone now. That’s good.

2- Do a half marathon in the Spring and maybe work towards a full in late Summer- I finish my first half marathon on the 17th of this month. I accomplished part of this goal so far. BUT I really have to question myself whether I REALLY want to do a full marathon. After finishing the half marathon, I couldn’t see myself really wanting to do a full one. The half marathon took enough out of me. A full marathon? I think it might be the death of me!?! I am signed up to do another half marathon this August up in Park City. I would like to try to be better prepared for my second half marathon. So I guess in a way this goal is being tweaked just a little bit. Two half marathons in a year, and see if I can improve my performance on the second half marathon. I feel that’s very doable.

3- Survive and maybe do better on the Slow Salty Dog Tri-  I don’t think there’s going to be another Slow Salty Dog Tri this year. Diane has been experiencing injuries and I just couldn’t imagine trying to do this event without her or on my own. And, the thought of signing up for an official event just does not appeal to me. Too competitive for me and too expensive.

4- Do at least one century bike ride-   The bike season is finally starting here “somewhat”. I say "somewhat" because it’s been snowing and raining off and on for the last two days here. I did however manage to get in a 38 mile bike ride in this last Sunday. It was a good ride with a fair amount of climbing.  I really feel like I’m on track for this goal.

5- On my bike go up and over Little Mountain then Big Mountain to East Canyon and all the way back- This kind of reminds me of a song that that goes on to sing..."To grandma's house we go!"  I'm hoping that if the weather gets it’s act together this Sunday I'll get to the top of Little Mountain.  I figure I need to work through this goal section by section; bit by bit and I’m pretty confident that I will accomplish this goal. But only time will tell.

Wow! As I look over these, I’m kind of bit surprised. It looks like overall I’m doing all right so far. It’s a respectable quarterly reflection. What do you think? Any suggestions?  Maybe I need to come up with something else for the #3 goal ?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mowing the Lawn at 2AM?!?!?

Just when I think I’ve heard it all; I hear this tale from a co-worker...

His son is mowing the lawn last night. As a side note: here at my work they subcontract mowing the lawn out; most times to a relative of one of the employees. I should also tell you of the graffiti that is happening on a white wall across the light rail tracks near my work. It’s an on-going problem, and at one time there was a wonderful mural in the place of the white wall. But due to the graffiti problem, it has sadly become a white wall that is always getting tagged with various shades of spray paint. It’s like a white chalk board that is proving VERY tempting to the local graffiti “artists” in the area.

Its 2AM in the morning and the co-worker’s son is mowing the lawn. Why 2AM, you ask? I guess it was the only time before the rain came this morning that his son had time to mow the lawn. “But wasn’t it too dark out?” I asked. “Oh, between the street lights and shining his car lights he could see the grass enough to cut it.” He answered. While his son was mowing the lawn, he called the cops on the taggers who had showed up around the same time to spray a colorful new purple on the white wall. The graffiti artists were long gone before the police arrived. But I had to wonder how the son explained to the police why he was mowing the lawn at 2AM in the morning. Oh how I would have liked to see the scene unfold...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Yawning Friday...

All today I have been yawning and yawning. It's the Friday Yawn's!  It's like a challenge to stay awake for some reason.  I've been getting more sleep this week than I've gotten in months.  I haven't once been to the gym this week (bad of me, I know) but I can't help but want a little time off after the half marathon.   But I also tend to wonder if that could be why it seems this week I'm having more and more trouble getting up in the morning.  Or another possibility is that after that long run my body is just plain worn out... Or it could be that I finally caught that new cold that's been making the rounds here at work.  The possibilities and I'm trying to figure it out. 

It's been a strange week, and I'm so glad to see Friday. At the beginning of the week I weighed myself and discovered I was up 4lbs. WHAT?!? I ran a Half Marathon and my weight was up? Well, it turns out that after an extreme workout like that your muscles have a tendency to swell. Thus, more water and thus more weight. So my weight has slowly been coming down as the water is slowly working it's way out of my muscles. A bit of a disappointment because I was hoping I might lose some over all from the event. Nope, no such luck.

Tuesday night, I attempted to bike up one of my favorite canyons. I made it about 3/4 of the way before my thighs started screaming for relief. The even harder part was holding my legs still as I coasted down. I had to quick pedal every now and then or I was afraid that my legs would literally turn to stone. But the good news is that the next morning, my thigh muscles were finally loosened up to the point where going down stairs was no longer punishment. Those three flights of stairs to my apartment always seem to come back and bite me.

Wednesday morning I went on a 11 mile bike ride before coming into work.  The thighs even felt better and I was almost walking like any other normal type of person.  It was still an issue to bend over and tie my shoes.  I opted for slip-on and had that pretty much covered.  Another aspect I noticed is that I had breakfast after the ride (not normal) and OH MAN was I ever hungry!  It was like I had this uncontrollable urge to snack all day long. [Note to self- Breakfast? What were you thinking?  You never eat breakfast!]

Thursday morning I had planned to go to the gym and attempt a slow run but I was too tired when the alarm went off.  No way was I making it to the gym.  My body said,"  Ha!  You're dreaming woman!  The only way you are making it in your dreams is if you dream your way there!"

And so here I am stuck in Yawning Friday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Half Marathon 2010 Photos... Are In!

Here are all of the photos that were taken of me during the run. I'm rather surprised... I'm photogenic! LOL! The first four are taken while I was slowly running through Liberty Park. The rest were taken while in the Gateway Mall.

So what do you think of my finishing pose?... I think it needs some work!

Here's myself and my friend Janet near the finish line. She's fast! Janet ran it her half marathon in 2 hours 9 minutes! Go Girl Go!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Text Message: Yes! I AM SO DONE! I did it!

This was the message that I sent a few minutes after I slowly ran across the finish line of the Salt Lake City half marathon. Of course, that was after I wiped the tears from my eyes. About two blocks from the finish line the SLC Marathon turns north on an open shopping mall (Gateway Mall) and there were at least a couple of thousand people cheering you on. I found my emotions were getting caught in my throat about a half block through this entire crowd. People were clapping, yelling, whistling, and cheering YOU to the finish. (Above photo- taken with my cell phone before the start of the marathon.)

It was something I had never experienced before, and I was overwhelmed with the emotion of it. A block and a half later as I crossed the finish line, I was bawling! Shortly afterwards a volunteer slipped a finishing medal over my head. Then, another volunteer got concerned as tears are running down my face and asked if I was okay. “Yes, I’m okay.” I said that I was over come with emotion. These were tears of joy! I finished it! Then I hugged a friend who had finished the half before me.

It’s been almost two days and I still can’t quite grasp the reality of it. (Though, my muscles are grasping the reality of it quite well.) I managed the feat, my first official half marathon, in 2 hours 50 minutes and 15 seconds. I finished about 5 minutes later than what I had planned. About 4 blocks from the finish the “I’m TOO Sexy” song played on my MP3 player. It should have been my finishing song but I was beyond worrying about what song the MP3 player was on. I was just trying to concentrate on finishing.

The last mile was the hardest. (Why is that? It’s the same way in cycling too.) It’s as I’m running along State Street (the main drag) in Salt Lake City with the Capitol Dome shining in the distance that I come to the hardest part of the run. You can see all of the runners ahead of you and there’s a slight incline in the last block before you turn left. I continued to run up the incline though my feet are really starting to scream. But this wasn’t a run anymore it was like a fast paced march up the hill. As I turn to head west towards the Gateway Mall and run south along Temple Square, I decide I need to do segments of walking and running. I count out 20 foot falls of running then 20 foot falls of walking. So thus, I’m counting along as I enter the Gateway Mall. Then I lose all concentration, and become an emotional mess!

The day started with a slight chill in the air up at the Legacy Bridge up by the University of Utah. It was still dark outside as I breathed a sigh of relief escaping from the sardine- like packed Light Rail train that dropped the runners to the start. I cheered on the last batch of cyclists as they started their event with lights and fluorescent vests on. I got in line for the start. Not too close to the start; I didn’t want to get trampled. As I waited for the start I got to watch the dawn come up over the mountains as I stood among thousands of runners. It was rather an amazing feeling.

The starting horn blared and for the first 5 minutes everyone was walking across the starting line where the timing chips were acknowledged. Then it was a slow run, and then I finally managed to set off on my 12 minute average pace. It was rather interesting seeing traffic stopped like parking lots waiting for all of the runners to pass by. Some you could tell were angry while others got out of their cars and stood and cheered on the runners. The runners were claiming half of the roads. There were people in lawn chairs along the way with signs and names of people. Cow bells were commonly shaken. Then there were photographers with cameras. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find a couple of good shots of myself on the site in a couple of days. So instead I'm leaving you with a poor shot of me taken by me before 5AM that morning....

Oh and did I mention that...

Thursday, April 15, 2010


“AN-TIC-PaTION, AN-TIC-PA-A-A-TION, It’s making me wait!” Or so the Heinz Ketchup commercial used to go and this probably dates me. The picture of that ketchup taking its sweet time to come out of that bottle holds in my mind. (I also see the picture of my little brother going through a “phase” where he put ketchup on everything except his breakfast cereal. Yuck!) But that commercial alludes to a great deal that’s going on for me right now.

This Saturday is my first official ½ marathon event and I tell you that AN-TIC-PaTION can be a killer to the nerves. I had a friend ask me if I was…Excited? Nervous? Excitedly nervous? Nervously excited? I couldn’t help but think that I was all of the above.

I’m not sure what to expect and thus I’m dealing with these HUGE mood swings of ANTICIPATION. It’s worse than the weather! “Hey, check back in 5 minutes and my mood will be swinging the other way.” It’s worse than that time of the month by at least 10 times, but I haven’t lost my temper with anyone or gotten snappy with my boss. Thank goodness!

It’s like this major distraction is going on in the back of my head and I’m having a really hard time focusing. I’m trying to work at work. That’s not going very well. At home I’ve been trying to paint a bicycle-themed painting but having no luck. All I can do is wait for Saturday to come. Then, it’s what happens-happens type of situation; be it good or bad. There’s nothing I can do now, and I will admit that it’s frustrating.

So this morning while I’m trying to distract myself from all this waiting (and I should be working), I find myself looking up Anticipation on several different websites. Yes, I will admit a desperate and total waste of time. But it’s helping a little bit and it’s kind of interesting sideline to focus on. Here’s what Wikipedia says about Anticipation…

Anticipation or being enthusiastic is an emotion involving pleasure (and sometimes anxiety) in considering some expected or longed-for good event, or irritation at having to wait…. See also hope. A name for pleasured anticipation is excitement.

I’m really leaning towards the anxiety emotion part of anticipation but I will admit there is some of the excitement in there. It’s sort of a mix logy of emotion about … 70% anxiety and 30% of excitement.

Then I go off on another time wasting and distraction spree, I start to look up quotes on-line. Here’s a couple that kind of stuck with me…

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, nor to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly”.—Buddha

Awww, Buddha! You are a wise man indeed but it’s easier said than done! It’s very good advice if only I could just focus in on the here and now but this anticipation is making me distracted and making me wait so that I’m unable from being able to see the here and now.

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” – Ben Franklin

So in other words,” Don’t worry be happy and walk in the light.” Well, that’s one way to look at it, and should simplify the whole for me. NOT!

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday… may I keep my sanity and manage the eternity of waiting until you come? I HOPE!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Orange Soda + Zucchini = Not Good!

This morning I woke up earlier than usual planning on running 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym. I lacked the motivation to run yesterday and needed to make up for it on my training schedule. I felt a tad bit bloated but nothing unusual as I headed out the door to the gym. So thus I found myself 20 minutes (1.75 miles) into the run, rushing from the treadmill to the restroom stall in the women’s locker room at the gym. OMG! Thank the Lord I made it, but I felt like (and still do) like my innards are wreathing in toxic gases. Argh!

I blame it on the orange soda and zucchini that my dinner comprised of last night. I know it sounds like a rather weird combo, and I will admit that I’m not a well balanced type of eater to begin with. But for some unknown reason last night I found myself craving orange soda. Orange soda? It’s been years since I’ve had one but still the craving was there. Strange! So before I cut up and sautéed a HUGE zucchini in bit of olive oil and spices. I jumped in the car and ran to the local 7-11 to cure my craving.

Oh my! I’m paying for the whole combo-event today. I teased one of my fellow employees that the women’s restroom is annexed to my office today while I fast walked to it the 50th time. I would’ve called in sick but one of the gals has been out since (all last week) her husband passed away, and the other one had a doctor’s appt. So that really only leaves me as being in the office. So here I am trying to be the responsible one answering phones and performing my job duties between restroom visits. What a way to spend a Monday!?!

On a side note—Mary, the Popette, had a very lovely birthday luncheon at Mimi’s Café on Saturday. I realized I had forgotten my camera four blocks before I arrived at the restaurant. Go figure! So thus I do not have any recent photos to post of the event here, sorry. I gave her one of my oil paintings that she has admired for a while; Couple Along the Coast. She was pleasantly pleased with the gift.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Happy P.O.E.T.S. Day!

As a friend who has a great deal of humor once emailed me and wished me a Happy POETS Day! POETS Day? I thought to myself," Is this a national holiday I don't know about?" No, it's not that came the reply and answered. It is...Piss- Off- Everyone- Tomorrow’s- Saturday! The idea has rather stuck with me since. So while everyone is saying the TGIF, I’ve got this other version of “It’s Friday” flag waving going on in the back of my mind. (Thanks, Jeffy!)

None the less, it’s always with quite a bit of relief that this day arrives each week, and I look forward to the release from the bondage of office work. Not that I really hate my job, per say. But it’s like the flood gates to the weekend open full and all of the possibilities of spending my time in other ways come flooding at me. Yes! I can bike, run, hike, read, paint, or lounge if the mood suits. Awww~! What a beautiful thing the weekend can be!

The weather looks good for the most part this weekend. Saturday I’m planning on catching a bike ride then later on catching a couple of birthday celebrations. By the way the Popette (Ms. Mary Patrick) turns 77 today. We are going to Mimi’s Café to celebrate her birthday tomorrow. (I will probably have pictures on Monday of the event.) Sunday, I’m hoping the weather holds out so I can catch a 5-6 mile run outdoors. Somewhere in there I hope to be able to work on an oil painting that has been floating around in my head—I just need to let it out before I go insane. Oh, that’s what weekends are made for! So what are you plans for the weekend? What ever you may do, I hope that you have an enjoyable weekend!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Recovering & Reading Addiction

I'm still recovering from the run this last Sunday. It's amazing how much 12.1 miles can take out of you. My blister is almost healed and the other pains are going away.

But here I am being a total loafer... Not my usual thing. I've been playing with doing a bike themed painting but I've really been taking a break from painting. I kind of felt a bit burned out preparing for the solo show in March.

This weather that we have been having is not a help to my mood and motivation. On Monday and Tuesday, it was snowing. Snow in April? But I guess April snow showers can also bring those May flowers too. One of the local ski resorts was bragging that they had 24" of new powder on Tuesday morning. (Good news for those that ski; and maybe some day I'll try to downhill ski.)

So anyway, here I am sitting on my behind, and I have discovered that I am addicted to the Twilight book series by Stephenie Meyer. The first one Twilight, I read in two days. The second, New Moon, I snarfed down in three days. And here I am a day and a half in the third one and I'm all ready on page 207 out of 627. I can't seem to put them down and I really need to... the inside of my refrig is almost empty except for a few bottles of beer that's been in there four 2 months (I keep for friends that visit), a few bottled waters, and three bottles of wine (in case of certain friends visiting). The laundry basket is getting rather heaped but I can't seem to put down these books. Dishes are sitting in the sink-- rinsed but need to be thrown into the dishwasher. This is REALLY sad!

The day that I finished the New Moon-- that next day I HAD to go to the library to get the next book. It's almost like I needed my next fix! This is SO unlike me to get like this especially with a BOOK! A BOOK? I'm all warped over a book! Makes me wonder about when I go to the library for the next one and I hope I maintain my sanity if the next book isn't available. But if you should happen to hear about a strangled librarian, well-- It was probably me that performed it. Just when you thought a librarian was a safe occupation!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sore, Stiff, & TOO Sexy?

Today I’m trying to silently suffer the consequences of my long run yesterday. I have stiff legs, sore muscles and a huge blister in the in-step of my left foot but for all this I really feel pretty good. You see, I surprised myself yesterday, and that doesn’t happen often. I ran 12.1 miles on the “dredmill” in 2.5 hours time. Wow! At this pace I will probably finish the half marathon in about 2 hours and 45 minutes. I'm really rather excited about that possibility.

I've popped the blister and slapped a couple of bandaids over it. I'm limping a bit today. During the run yesterday, I didn't feel the "pebble" like effect of the blister until mile 11 on the "dredmill" which I thought was pretty good, and it was only on one foot. I figured this could be worse, and can live with this if it happens again.

It was as I was stretching on Sunday morning after the run with my MP3 player still playing that I think I may have figured out what song I’ll be running/walking or maybe dragging my ass across the finish line. “I’m too sexy for my shirt, I’m too sexy for this song, I’m SOO SEXY—It HURTS!” I had to chuckle and I thought how apropos for that to be the finishing song. Here's the song....

I’ve been playing and re-playing with the song list in my MP3 player in preparation for this half marathon. I have songs from Creed, Tina Turner, the Knack, Tom Petty, the Temptations, Flogging Molly, and even others from the 60’s. A little bit of everything with a whole lot of variety. Hey it managed to get me through 2.5 hours on the "dredmill"; so I figure it can get me through 13.1 miles on an outside course. I just hope that the weather is good. I’ve even gone through and timed a walk only song about half way through to give myself a bit of a planned break. The walking song—“Don’t Worry Be Happy”.

What do you think? A good walking tune?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday & Happy Easter!

It's Good Friday today and I'm happy to see the end of this Lent season. I will admit that a great deal of my happiness stems from having no more FISHY Fridays. Oh, I know that's terrible of me(the ever struggling cafeteria Catholic) but having only fish on Fridays when I always seem to get cravings for something with chicken or beef in it has been quite the struggle for me this year. I will admit that part of the fact is that I'm not really that fond of fish in general to begin with, but I think I've noticed it more this year because I didn't do my usual giving up the three C's-- caffeine, coffee, and chocolate. I only gave up soft drinks this year and that I will admit wasn't much of a stretch. I had earlier in the year decided to give up all artificial sweeteners. So most of my Diet Cherry Coke was out, and that really only left regular soft drinks which do not play well when you are trying to lose weight.

Wishing you all a WONDERFUL and HAPPY EASTER! I hope the weather is good where ever you maybe.
They are predicting rain/snow here on both Saturday and Sunday. I had hoped to run the actual route of the Salt Lake City Half Marathon on Sunday but it looks as though the "dredmill" shall be the better deal. Darn it! This will be my last really long run before the SLC Marathon. This will be the real test to see if I'm ready.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Happy April Fool's?

It's been a strange day. It was snowing when I came into work today, and I was listening to a radio station that was doing an April Fool's Joke of a "Men's Expo" complete with arm wrestling, sales of sporting equipment & hunting gear, and even... a HAIRIEST BACK Contest! WTF?!!? I was still cracking up about it as I pulled into the parking lot at work.

Upon coming into the door, one of the guys told me a co-worker's husband died last night so she wouldn't be in. Me, still being in the April Fool's Day mode laughed and said that's not a very funny April Fool's joke! "It's not an April Fool's Joke, believe me," he said. It has been a very somber affair here at work since. This is the most somber April Fool's Day I have ever had. I can't help but think what a strange day to have a death on.