Friday, August 08, 2008

A few more thoughts on the Kindle

I guess I'm just unlucky. I'm beginning to think I might have been better off with a Sony Reader. Somehow I got a defective Kindle. I had read about people having problems with it freezing, but didn't think I would need to worry about that. Well, I do.

So far (in the one day I have owned it), my Kindle has frozen 4 times. Frozen to the point where the key combination that is supposed to reset it doesn't work. Frozen to the point where I had to manually reset it (using a paperclip in a little hole behind the back cover.

Oh, and its "whispernet" doesn't work. It get a signal just fine, but then can't connect to the internet. Its not the cell reception - something in mine is broken.

At least the customer service at Amazon seems to be pretty darn good. They are overnighting me a new one, and then I have a month to return this one.

I'll update and let you all know if the new one has the same problems.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Kindle

As I wrote on Cathy's blog today, I bought a Kindle. I thought I would share my thoughts on it with you all.

Now, as for the wireless connectivity of whispernet, I really don't know anything about it. I knew it wouldn't be good in the apartment since my cell phone reception is so terrible, and I wasn't surprised to find that I didn't have any connectivity. I'm sure I will enjoy being able to download books instantly while I am away from home (traveling within the US or during my commutes after I move to Chicago).

As far as the reading experience goes - its alright, but not so fantastic that I think I will use it all the time. I big part of the problem is the screen size and the time it takes to refresh the screen or put up the next page. I read very quickly, and the lag time is extremely noticable. Its particularly annoying if you accidentally press the forward button. I wish the page held more words as well. I have my font set on the smallest font size, but its still not enough. I wish it could hold as many words as a regular book page.

All in all, I'm glad I bought it, and I think I will get a lot of use out of it. Its really going to be nice to have it in Europe (otherwise I would need to lug around a ton of books). Still, if I didn't read as quickly I wouldn't need something like the Kindle so much, but because I read so quickly its flaws are more annoying.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Warning

I'm taking this down in the next couple weeks.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I hate the new Microsoft stuff

A couple months ago, I bought a new laptop. After having major problems with converting a Microsoft Works document into Wordperfect (I work for the federal government so everything is in Wordperfect at work), I decided to upgrade to Word. Luckily I had no problem installing Word (the guys at Best Buy warned me that I might need a patch cause apparently Word doesn't recognize one of the versions of Works). Then I started using the Word 2007.

I hate the ribbon. I can't find any of the commands I normally use. I can't figure out how to turn on view codes. I'm annoyed that I had trouble finding Times New Roman (well, it took me a couple minutes). I don't care that the new default font is "easier on the eye" - everything I write for work has to be in Times. Its what people expect in my field.

I want the old Word back! I didn't switch to Apple cause I didn't want to have to learn a new user interface, and now I'm being forced to learn one by Microsoft. Why isn't there an option to view Word in the old user interface (also, I hate the new Internet Explorer on Vista - much harder to use the find in a document feature - which I use constantly on Westlaw!)

So annoyed (although my annoyance could be caused by the fact that I'm working from home on a weekend cause I have to make up for the stupid flight situation last Monday).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sleep Deprivation and Misery - It feels like a dream

I don't really know how to write about my trip home from Virginia. It was one of the worst experiences of my life, but I generally just grinned and bared it. What else was I going to do, what else was there to do? For those of you who didn't get random, slept deprived, slightly incoherent text messages from me, here's the story.

I arrived at the Williamsburg/Newport News airport an hour and a half before my flight. I waited in line to return my rental car (took 15 minutes), then waited in line to check in on at the AirTran automated computer thingy (another 15 minutes). The line to check in with an agent was super long so I was glad I wasn't checking a bag. The automated computer didn't "recognize my itinerary" so I had to wait in the line. That's when I discovered all the flights were delayed. Not a good start.

I finally get up to the gate about 20 minutes before my flight was supposed to leave (but no worries, it was delayed already) and checked in, got my tickets for both flights. I knew I was going to miss my flight from Atlanta to STL so I asked if the agent could check and book me on the later flight out. Great customer service person that he was, he told me that he couldn't help me and to check with the gate agent. I went through security (no problem there), then went to check with the gate agent. No gate agent. I went to a different gate, checked on my flight, found out I would definitely miss it (turns out it had already been cancelled), and was rebooked on a 9:58 flight (which was already delayed until 11:15). I called a hotel in Atlanta to find out if there were vacancies, but I didn't book it (a decision I would come to regret). Then I sat down and waited.

Around 5:30, we boarded our 2:30 flight to Atlanta. The flight was unremarkable. We arrived in Atlanta to chaos. Our flight sat on the runway for 45 minutes, essentially unmoving. We weren't allowed to get up and go to the bathroom. Finally, we got a gate, but when we got there, we waited another 20 minutes for a driver for the gate thing. As we deplaned, I knew I was entering a version of hell. I checked what gate the STL flight was leaving out of (now delayed till 1:10) and took the Atlanta tram to the C terminal. As I took the escalator up to the main level, I knew I had entered a version of hell.

People were everywhere and everyone looked angry. A line ran down the center of the airport, and the line spanned the entire AirTran section of the airport. All of the restaurants had lines out of the door. I wondered down to the Delta section (which was mysteriously less crowded than the AirTran section - even though they experienced the same weather in the morning - thunderstorms that were over long before I arrived in Atlanta). I ate dinner and drank a beer. Nothing to do but wait. I started chatting with another passenger. Around 11 we got kicked out of that place and headed to a second bar. Miraculously we got a table, and I decided it was a good idea to switch to diet coke. This bar was hot (I later found out the airport had shut off the air conditioning - yeah, standard protocol cause normally the airport would be empty then). At around 12:15, the random guy and I went our separate ways as his flight was supposed to leave at 12:45. At that point my flight was pushed back to 2:50 or so.

I continued waiting, and read a bad book.

As the night passed, more and more flights were cancelled. Not due to lack of pilots or planes, but due to lack of flight attendants. I watched as flights to New York, Bloomington, and Dayton got cancelled. At 2:30, they announced a gate change for my flight. When we arrived at that gate, there was a single man who announced that there were no flight attendants, but "they were working on it." I called that hotel back - no vacancies. I called many more hotels (hotels away from the city center) - no vacancies. I called car rental places (no one way cars available). I felt like crying. Finally, around 3, they announced that our flight was cancelled. People got in the long customer service line. I gave up.

I booked a flight on American ($300) for the next day, but I could tell it was overbooked and I wasn't yet ticketed. In a ridiculous move, I called my brother and sister-in-law (they have friends in Atlanta). My sister-in-law kindly didn't yell at me, but instead, listened to my story, and told me she would get their friends info to me in the morning (so I would have someplace to sleep while waiting for the American flight). A group of people booked a Limo back to STL, but I decided not to join them because I had booked the American flight (a second decision I would come to regret). At around 4, a girl came up to the group of us from the STL flight. She told us that a group from the Bloomington flight wanted to charter a bus, but the cost was too high since there weren't enough of them. Did we want to band together and charter a bus that would stop in STL then continue on to Bloomington. I decided that was worth a try - at least I could sleep on a bus. I called American, and discovered that I could cancel my booked flight since I wasn't ticketed. I cancelled and waited.

The customer service was terrible. AirTran didn't offer full hotel vouchers (even if hotels had been available), only a 50% off discount. They didn't give us food, and after midnight there was no cold/cool water in the airport until around 6:00 am. There was no coffee. The only good thing I can say about them was they never rolled their eyes at passengers. The worst thing I can say, is the story of a woman with a baby (and I mean BABY - less than 6 months old). At around 3 am she ran out of diapers. When the customer service rep was told this, her response was "well, I guess you should have planned better, shouldn't you?" Yes, I guess we all should have - and not taken AirTran.

At around 6, the two people organizing the bus riders finally started being able to get ahold of bus lines. Various cost estimates and leaving times started coming in. At around 7, we heard a bus that could pick us up in "about 35 minutes" for $150ish a person (ended up being $175). The bus arrived at the airport at about 8:00 and seeing that big purple bus was one of the greatest feelings in the world. Finally, I would be about to sleep. Because we had lost some people, the cost had gone up.

The bus ride was miserable. The bus had driven to Birmingham the night before with a group of passengers who were smart enough to get out of Atlanta to take Southwest flights home on Monday. It hadn't been serviced or cleaned before we got on. There was no toilet paper (oh and did I mention that I got my period at around 1 am the night before). At first the bus was cool, but I could feel the heater at my legs. By the time we made our first stop, I was getting warm, was thirsty, and hungry. We stopped in Northern Georgia so the bus could refuel. The bus was gone for ages. In my paranoid state, I began to worry that the driver had taken our cash and left us there. I wasn't doing well.

Once we reboarded the bus, it was astoundingly hot, and never got better. The heat poured from the heater at my legs, but the driver swore the heat wasn't on and the AC was (very little air was coming out of the vents). I slept fitfully. I attempted to read, but the lines blurred before my eyes and the motion made me nauseous. I listened to the same cd on repeat on my ipod (it helped me sleep to listen to it like that). They opened the windows at the top of the bus to help with the heat. It didn't.

Finally, at around 6 pm, we crossed the river into St. Louis. It was wonderful to see the Arch. The bus dropped us at the airport and my parents picked me up and drove me home. I ate some dinner, watched a bit of tv, and went to bed.

I learned this morning, that if I had waited for AirTran I would have been booked on a flight that departed this morning (Tuesday) at around 9:10 AM. At the time, I left on the bus, AirTran was saying the earliest flights available were at 5 pm tonight. I called today and got my whooping refund of $86 (the roundtrip flight cost me $310 - so about 1/4 of the cost of my trip). I'll take it, but that doesn't mean I like it. I know I'm not going to get very much more. It means that the bus only cost me $100 to get home.

I hate AirTran.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jealousy

I left the restaurant glowing with a big silly grin on my face. It had been a four hour dinner with great wine, great food, and great conversation. He was perfect. We had so much in common. He is finishing up his phd and about to start law school in the fall. He's walked through African countries; he rock climbs; he SCUBA dives. He laughed at my jokes and made me laugh in return.

Too bad he's dating one of my best friends, and the dinner was my introduction to him.

I want one.

If You Plan It, They Will Come

Well, I'm officially not going to Italy by myself. First, my friend K agreed to come. It was a tough decision for her cause the month before my trip is the crazy time at her work. But, she loves Italy - spent a year there in college, and she couldn't pass up the opportunity (I told her I would subsidize her trip). After she booked her flight, my friends J & C (a married couple) started saying they might be interested. They booked their flights yesterday. So, instead of wondering around Italy alone, I'm going to be accompanied by three of my best friends (one of whom speaks Italian fluently) YAY!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

28

The number is surprisingly serious. It makes me feel old. I thought I would be in a different place in my life. I thought I'd own a home, not have credit card debt, or at the very least, know where I'm headed in life. The number makes me feel a bit groundless, a bit lost. I'm not sad - just unsteady.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What would you do?

This post is alternatively titled - Am I a bad person...

I spent last weekend up in Chicago for a friend's batchelorette party. A good time was had by all, even if I can't really comprehend what makes a drag show batchelorette party worthy (note to any friends out there - if I ever manage to find a guy who wants to marry me - no drag show, karaoke maybe, drag no). I spent the weekend with my friend L and her fiance. I also got to see my future home for the first time.

Anyway, on Saturday, before the party, L & I didn't have much to do. So, we decided to go shopping (not that I don't regularly hit up Ann Taylor and Banana Republic at home, but there is something "special" about shopping on the Mag Mile). As we were walking toward the bus route, I saw something that surprised me. I didn't know how to react.

I saw a guy open-hand slap a girl about a half-block up.

I almost didn't believe it was real. It seemed like something out of a movie or like they were acting or something. That doesn't just happen on the street. My pace slowed. I wondered what to do.

Then, I saw the girl launch herself at the guy. She clearly wasn't trying to get away. She was trying to pull him back, while yelling at him, and hitting him in the arm. At this point, L finally noticed. We slowed and stopped. I told her I didn't feel comfortable walking forward and asked if we could go a different way. We turned.

Suddenly, I heard the girl screaming behind us. We turned toward her, and the guy was now lying on the ground. Other bystanders when running toward them. Laura and I started toward them, but then noticed a cop car parked behind an ambulance on the next street (we sought help from the cop car/ambulance, but no one was there). By the time we got back to the scene - someone had called 911. We hung around the area till the ambulance showed up, but then we headed out. I didn't try to speak to the cops or anything.

A couple things remain in my mind. What should I have done after I saw the guy slap the girl (if the rest hadn't happened)? It wasn't as if she was trying to get away, and we were just a couple more girls. I don't think getting involved would have been a good idea. Should I have called 911 then? Would they even respond to a call like that ("hey, Chicago emergency department...yeah, I just saw a guy slap a girl on the street in the West Loop...you might want to check that out")?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Evil Lawyer

Have you ever noticed how, if a book has a lawyer character, that character almost always sucks. I mean, the character is almost always inflexible and boring and stuffy and rude (even if the character ends up being a good guy - aka Mr. Darcy in Bridget Jones). The lawyer is never witty and fun, never adventurous and quirky, rarely happy. Does this forecast a sad, boring, stuck up future for me?

Monday, June 09, 2008

things are coming together

I don't admit it often, but I'm superstitious. I believe in Fate. I tend to believe that things happen for a reason and that if a seemingly difficult and murky path suddenly becomes clear and obvious - I'm on the right track. I think this belief has influenced some of my romantic decisions, and I know its influenced some of my life choices (um - my law school=the best one I got into AND the one that gave me the most money, this job, my next job, my current living situation, my last living situation, leaving college early, etc.)

Anyway, over the weekend something fortuitous happened. One of my two friends in Chicago is officially moving to New York for 9 months, starting in September. Now on first glance, this seems like bad news or scary news, but its not. My friend and her fiance own a two bedroom condo in Lincoln Park in Chicago. My friend is not quiting her job for the move to New York, but is instead, going to continue working for the Chicago office of a law firm while "on loan" to the New York office. This means that she will have to come back to Chicago often. It also means that they can't rent out their condo to strangers while they are gone. So, it means that a lovely two bedroom condo would be mostly sitting (fully furnished and) vacant from late August to May. A lovely two bedroom condo that is three blocks from the Brown line (the line that goes most directly to the stop closest to work for me). I think I've solved my living situation problem.

It seems like fate, and it makes me feel better about my future in Chicago. We haven't worked out the details - in fact things are still very much in the "this might work" phase. I'll probably have a great place to live, in a great location, and not have to buy furniture for 9 months till I figure out what I want to do. I'll probably have a great deal on rent (since my friend will be back often and need share the condo with me). I'll be able to pay off debt and save money for a down payment.

I love it when things fall into place.

Monday, June 02, 2008

homeless or having multiple homes - depends on your point of view

As of Saturday, I am officially moved out of the fabulous apartment. It was a long week of boxing things up, going up and down (three flights of) stairs, scrubbing the bathroom, and vacuuming. I'll admit that I wasn't all that sad to move out - loved the apartment, didn't love the living situation. I no longer have granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, or a washer/dryer in my unit. To be honest, I don't really have a unit.

All of my furniture, plus most of my "household" items are currently sitting in a big pile in my parents basement. All of my clothes, my new laptop, a bunch of toiletries, and a blender are hanging out at my friend J's apartment. Luckily, J is renting a 2 bed and has it fully furnished (she has two bedroom sets). So, I'm living in her spare room until I move to Chicago (gotta love the possibility of living in 4 different locations in the next year). All of my worldly goods will stay with the 'rents until I've settled in to a place in Chicago - when I will have to move them up there - ug!

I've been exploring the new neighborhood. The bad news is, I'm no longer a block and a half away from the Park and a block and a half away from my favorite coffee shop. Also, I don't have Internet access at home, which is totally killing me. But, the good news is - I'm less than 1/2 a mile from metrolink. So, now I've got a metropass paid for by work (FREE!) and I'm no longer spending money on parking and gas. Oh, and a different location of my favorite coffee shop is about 1/2 a mile away as well. And I signed up for Netflix so I'll finally be able to watch the last season of Gilmore Girls (stupid ABC Family not showing it in reruns).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fall down, go BOOM

I'm officially done with those flip flops and the stairs. Slipping and falling down half a flight of stairs twice is totally unacceptable. This time the welt is on my ass - I was black and blue within an hour this time. Even sitting in my chair at work hurts (though in a bruised butt sort of way, not in a broken tailbone sort of way - the bruise is clearly only on my right "cheek"). Its funny cause of the swelling, I feel off balance.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I feel like I stuck my face in a cat

Yeah, I know that phrase doesn't make much sense unless you know about my allergies. Ug...cats and the eye itches.

Anyway, on Friday, I came down with "Kristin's plague" - well, that's what we're calling it around here. She had it first and gave it to the rest of us, so it gets her name. My throat itched; my head hurt; I coughed; I sneezed. It sucked. Yesterday evening I started feeling better. The headache went away.

Today I woke up feeling almost good. My headache was completely gone, and the amount of gunk in my throat seemed remarkably diminished. Plus the weather outside was perfect. So, I decided to go for a long bike ride out on the Katy trail. I was hoping to ride for between 3-5 hours. Let's just say, that didn't happen. I made it about 2 hours instead. By 40 minutes into the ride, I wanted to start scratching my eye balls out. Even though we've had an abnormally large amount of rain, the trail was dusty and buggy and full of pollen. My eyes ached by the time I had gone for an hour. I stopped, rinsed my heads, and then tried to rinse my eyes. It helped a little.

Then I decided today was a day to cut it short (well, shorter) and head back at that point. By the time I got to the car, I was dying for relief. Luckily I had napkins in the car. I doused them with water from my water bottle and did my best to clean out my eyes.

When I got home, I immediately took out my contacts - BLISS!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

jogging

"You're probably jogging right now, but..." Why did this question bother me so much? My friend certainly didn't mean to insult me when he left me this message yesterday. He was just trying to tell me where to meet him after I got done with my run. I'm sure he wasn't consciously thinking that I am a jogger rather than a runner, but ouch.

I'm not a jogger. I don't really know anyone who goes out for a "jog." I think that perhaps people who only run during other sporting activities think of slow running as jogging. I don't really know any runners that do. Jogging isn't really trying. Its bouncing, lumbering. Its certainly not steady. Its not getting your heart rate to 190 bpms. Its not racing. Its not what you do at a 5k, a half marathon, a marathon, or even a training run. Its not even what you do on a short recovery run. Jogging is not what you do to recover from an injury.

Yeah, I'm slow. My half marathon was slower than the fast people's full marathon. Running a mile in 12 minutes is an achievement for me. Hills hurt, and they make me slower. Three miles has been a long run lately.

Still, don't refer to my runs as jogs. I don't jog. I run.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Running Under the Arch

Today for the first time, I ran under the arch. I've never run downtown (well, outside a race) before. It was pretty amazing. I ran from work to the arch and then around the arch grounds and then back to work. The garmin was great - I knew I had gotten my three miles in, and I know what my pace was. What was particularly interesting was stop lights. Most of my running routes do not involve many stop lights. In the city today, I hit pretty much every light until I got to the Arch grounds.

Running on the ground themselves was pretty amazing. I was surprised at the number of runners I saw (I left work at 4 for my run). It was fun to see all the tourists wondering around the grounds. As I started my last mile, I decided to run down the arch steps to the river and back up.

I was actually pretty sore from my Monday run/training session with a friend. She's certified as a personal trainer, and if she lets you work out with her, you get free training. I hate squats, but man, are they good for me.

So, I was kind of slow, but I'm still recovering. Plus downtown is surprisingly hilly.

Miles: 3
Time: 39:12
Avg: 13:04 min/mile

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Work Out

I have a sad secret little confession to make. I watch Work Out on Bravo. I know, I'm ashamed.

Anyway, last weeks episode has raised quite a controversy. Jackie (the owner of the featured gym) fired one of her trainers after he came to talk to her because she and the office manager had been making fun of the breast implants on one of the trainer's clients (apparently the office manager was the one who made the jokes - but Jackie was laughing). The blogosphere seems outraged that she would be part of making fun of a cancer survivor and that she fired the trainer for refusing to drop the issue. While I agree that's not good, I have to say its pretty terrible any way you cut it. I would be horrified if I knew that the owner and manager of the gym I pay very good money to get trained in were sitting in their office watching my workout and MAKING FUN OF MY BODY!

I don't care whether that woman was a cancer survivor or just had breast implants because she wanted bigger boobs. I don't care whether she had every part of her altered with plastic surgery. If there is one place where a woman should feel comfortable that the people she pays aren't going to making fun of the way she looks, it should be at an exclusive gym. I'm sorry, its disrespectful no matter what.

Also, I don't really care whether Jackie was making the jokes or not, she was laughing at them. And, appologizing to the client's boyfriend and apparently, not repremanding the woman who made the jokes - not cool. Jackie is trying to get obese people on board with her "Sky Lab" project, but what overweight person wants to work out in a gym knowing that the gym manager very well might be making fun of them behind the glass wall - and knowing that the owner is laughing right along? Not me. Women have enough body issues. We don't need to have gym staff laughing at us as we try to tone up.

So, yeah, the boob jokes were unacceptable whether that girl had cancer or not. And, as the owner, Jackie should have told her employee so without being prompted by the boyfriend. I think I am far more offended that she apparently didn't see anything wrong with making fun of the way a client looked as long as she didn't know that client was a cancer survivor.

Still, I'm not boycotting the show, yet (though I would NEVER go to her gym). I used to like it, and I'm hoping that it get better again.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

toys and accidents

I boughts myself a new toy yesterday. Something I've been wanting for a long time. Something that I found onsale for about $100 less than I'd previously seen it on amazon. I bought myself a Garmin Forerunner 305 at REI. At $164.99, I couldn't pass it up. Before buying it, I did my research to figure out whether it was worth it to upgrade to the brand new Forerunner 405. While the 405 looks great, I decided to stick with the 305 for the price. The main upgrades for the 405 (which is about $200 more expensive for the model with a heartrate monitor) are its size and the fact that it connects to your laptop wirelessly. Now, as a girl with a pretty small wrist, the size difference really doesn't matter to me. I'm not going to be wearing either one as my "everyday" watch like some guys might. As far as weight goes, the 305 is less than an ounce heavier.

I love it. I've tracked two workouts so far (a 2.75 mile walk and a 3.39 mile run). I love being able to see exactly what my pace is. I love being able to see my heart rate. I love having an easy tracking system with motion based. I'm particularly proud to see that even with walk breaks my average moving speed (stopped at 2 lights) was 12:09 minute miles. That's awesome for me with the walk breaks. I'm super excited about the purchase and being able to just run and find out later what the distance was - especially with the multiple moves coming up. Its going to be great since I won't know the running route distances like I've known (well, been guessing, but guessing almost exactly right) my current favorite routes. I feel like the garmin gives me a lot more freedom.

On the accidents side - don't worry I wasn't involved - just watched in happen. As I approached a stop light in the park, I slowed down and was going to wait for the light to change. The runner on the other side of the street ran across to the median. The car that was on my side saw this other runner (I assume it was the other runner cause it was pretty clear I was stopping at the light) and stopped her car even though she had the green light. BAM - a bicyclist ran into the back of her car. Now, the biker was pretty pissed (he had some right to be - the car had the green light and stopped), but still, if the biker had been paying attention, he wouldn't have hit her. The car didn't really have many options; it could: (1) keep driving and hit the stupid runner who was crossing against the light, or (2) stop and let the runner go by. Clearly, stopping was the better option. If only the biker had been paying attention. As I ran off (after the light had changed), the driver and the biker were still engaged in an argument about how stupid the driver was. Fun stuff...

Guess now I know why bikers hate runners.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Doing Something



I've posted about this before, but I want to do something. I've never met Elden or Susan (and I probably never will), but Elden has touched my life in profound ways. I read his blog daily, and it has been a source of much amusement. I've laughed with him and now I'm crying with him. Anyway, this is my little attempt to help.

His friend Kenny set up a place for donations - Here's what Kenny had to say:

Dear Readers of Fatcyclist.com,

This last week has been truly tragic learning of the down turn of Suzan’s illness. As I read these comments left by all you good people, the over all theme is the same. “What can we do for Elden, Susan and their kids?” I decided it was time to stop wondering and time to start doing. I set up a bank account in Elden’s name at a local bank here in Utah. It is linked to pay pal. The pay pal account is winsusannelson@gmail.com . If you don’t have a pay pal account you can also donate by going to my business’s website http://www.kennysphoto.com and clicking on the link in the middle of the page, where you can donate with the credit card of your choice. Please know that all funds collected will go directly to this bank account and after a two month period will be given to Elden, Susan and Family. Elden is unaware of this account, until now, of course. I’m not sure how he will react to this comment, but if he removes it, I’m going to continue to put it back on his blog and I invite you as fatcyclist readers to also put this on your own respective blogs. I truly believe that we bless our own lives, when we help others, so I hope that Elden will allow us to help him through this very trying time in his life. He truly has touched each one of us, through his writing and his friendship.
Respectfully yours,

Kenny


This isn't tax deductible and its not going to research. The money will go towards the Nelson family - taking care of Susan.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I wonder what a palm reader would say about me now

I've had my palm read twice in my life. Once was on a bus in Vietnam - by a girl who wasn't a professional. I liked what she told me -- I would be rich (not my parents, not my spouse, but me), I would have one great love, and I would have the opportunity to travel for work.

The second one was at a bar in this city. She guessed that I was in a creative field (she was SHOCKED I was a lawyer) and predicted I would be changing career directions in the near future.

Both of them remarked on how smooth my hands were (yeah, I guess I'm not used to manual labor).

I wonder what the would say if they saw my hands now. My hands can no longer be regarded as smooth. As my friend Jenny said - no boy wants to hold my hand. The rock climbing has left me with torn calluses, ripped up fingers, and short jagged nails. I'm proud of my hands now.

Then, there's the fact that I can't turn my right hand over (stupid broken elbow). I wonder what that would tell a palm reader...Maybe when I'm in the 'burg I should go to the scary palm reader place and find out.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

walkin' to the beat

In the past, when I've been recovering from an injury - I've followed the instructions in my favorite book (Complete Guide to Running for Women) and have done a structured run/walk program. I've gotten back into running shape by running specific amounts of time and walking specific amounts of time. It was always on the treadmill.

This time I'm doing something different. I'm kind of not interested in structure. I certainly don't want to be on a treadmill if I can be outside in the park on a beautiful evening. So, this time, I walk to the light at the end of my street, stretch while waiting for the light to change, and then start my run as I cross the street into the park. I run for the legnth of a song, then walk for the legnth of a song, then run for a song, then walk etc. Its amazing how quickly a run goes by this way. Park of me is tempted to keep doing this even once my leg stops bothering me. My runs never hurt, and I'm still running each mile in about 13-14 minutes.

Maybe its the weather, maybe its the month of no running, and maybe its actually just that I'm in the mood for some non-stress running right now. I know I'm not training for anything - partially cause the heat kills me and partially cause I need to properly heal before I training again. It could be that I'm just running for the joy of running again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Back on track

Last week I ran Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I did the whole run/walk thing. I felt great on Monday and Wednesday, but Friday, well - not so much. I still have pain in my right leg tonight. So, more rest is in order, I guess.

As instructed, I iced my legs after every one of the runs. I streched after a walking warmup. I didn't push myself (all three runs less than four miles each). I've taken my aleve about an hour before running - not much else to do.

Still, I think I'll be able to run again tomorrow (if I don't have any pain). Also, I'm actually paying attention to the eating again - the biggest change being eating less often in the building cafeteria and drinking less alcohol. I don't want to gain more - and I really don't want to buy new clothes.

I'll get back in the swing of things. Give me a couple weeks.

Friday, April 25, 2008

when the future's uncertain...travel...

I've been on a airline ticket purchasing binge the past two days - spent close to $1500 that I don't have for fun trips in the future (and dang it its gonna be worth it). After months of deliberation and slight sadness over the fact that I have no friends who have the money or time to take two weeks off in August to travel around Europe with me, I finally took the plunge.

I'M GOING TO ITALY!!!

I bought round trip tickets to Venice (cheapest tickets I could find - save enough to pay for a train pass). Now I get to spend the next few months planning my trip. Do I want to go to Capri or the Amalfi coast? How much time do I want to spend in Rome or Florence? And most importantly, where should I eat? I'm excited and nervous - its a trip I've always wanted to take. Still, I'd love company. If you have some free time at the end of August/beginning of September (and I know you) and you want to bum around Italy for a couple weeks, let me know. Otherwise, I'm going to have this adventure all by myself, and I'm okay with that too.

The other ticket was slightly less exciting but still very fun.

I'M GOING TO WILLIAMSBURG!!!

Seriously - yay weddings and seeing college friends and eating snow-to-go and seeing historic sites and driving down the colonial parkway and sitting by the beach/James river and going to the cheese shop and everything.

Who needs to worry about work when you have vacations to look forward to.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

And my doubts just got bigger

Last night, I learned that one of my 2 good friends in Chicago is probably moving. Again, I felt my stomach drop, and I suddenly wondered, "what have I done?" I not normally one for regrets, but this doesn't seem like my normal situation to me. Have I made a big mistake?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Earthquake

So, I woke up at about 4:30 this morning to a vibrating bed. I quickly realized it wasn't just the bed that was vibrating - the whole building was shaking and rattling. It really freaked me out.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

the wait is over

And the winner is...Shin Splints (or tibial periostitis if you are medically inclined).

Mere minutes after writing that last post, my doctor called. The good news is its not a stress fracture and whatever the heck is wrong with my connective tissue is not in danger of "rupture," whatever that means. The bad news is, its actually in both legs...yippy! And apparently, the right leg is just worse. So - the treatment is: warm up with walking before running, stretch, go back to running slowly using a walk/run pattern, ice after every run (whether my legs hurt or not), and take naproxin (as I can't take Celebrex - yeah Sulfa drug allergy). Also, the doc recommended that I bike or swim instead of running for a while - till the inflammation goes down a bit more. We'll see about that one. I mean, its been 3 weeks of no running at this point, and its slowly sucking my will.

still waiting

so, yeah...Still waiting on the test results. GRRRRR!

The good news is that the bone scan tech said she didn't see anything extraordinary.

Waiting sucks...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

self-diagnosis

I saw the doctor today. Now, I know exactly the same as much as I guessed when I went in. I either have shin splints or a stress fracture. The good news is I don't have any weird anatomical defect that is causing the problem: my hips and ankles are normal;, my knees are normal; my feet are normal (well, the left one is super flat, but since that's not the bad leg, we are ignoring it - plus I already knew that). I also learned that I was correctly treating myself - and that my decision not to run until diagnosed was a good one. I also learned that since I'm allergic to sulfa drugs, celebrex (a NSAID that has some sulphuric something or other) is not for me.

You can't normally see a stress fracture from x-rays so on Friday I get the pleasure of returning to the hospital for a bone scan. Its not exactly the quickest process (inject dye a couple hours before the actual scan). I have to be at the hospital at 10:30, get my injection at 11, get the bone scan at 1. The hospital is about 45 minutes from my work, so I'm guessing no work for me.

So, no running at least till I get the results of the bone scan. I guess its a good thing I got that gym membership.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I'm a spaz

Yesterday I blogged about my hike. I left out the funniest part.

I locked myself in a bathroom.

That's right, I locked myself in a state park bathroom. I went in, turned the deadbolt, and went about my business. After I washed my hands, I went to unlock the deadbolt. It turned, sort of, but not enough. The door wouldn't open. I became more aware of the bugs and the heat and the fact that there weren't any windows that I could reach. I began to panic. I turned off my ipod, pulled out my bottle of water, put my hair in a ponytail, and reminded myself, that I would be alright. I had a bottle of water (not to mention a sink and flushing toilet); I had entertainment in the form of both a book and my ipod; I had my cell phone. I continued to futz with the lock and the door, and pulled out the cell phone and dialed the only "adult" I knew would know where I was and could help me out - my roommate's mom. She was surprised by my predicament, offered to drive out to see if she could help me (I was about 25 minutes away from her), and then gladly got out her phone book to look up the state park's office to call them to let me out. I continued to twist and bang on the door, hoping it would yield. She had just dialed that parks office, when the deadbolt gave just a little bit more and suddenly I was free. I didn't need the park rangers to come rescue me, I had managed to free myself from a rusty old bathroom deadbolt. Lesson learned: be careful of the locks you lock behind yourself.

Second spaz attack: I fell down the stairs outside my apartment. I was attempting to walk down the stairs in brand new flip flops and talk on the phone at the same time. Clearly, I am not adequately skilled for this endeavor - and suddenly I found myself lying on the ground saying "Fuck!" I'm bruised on my lower back and just above my right elbow (I KNOW). The elbow is the bad one, but at least when I stood up I knew I was fine cause I thought to myself, well that doesn't feel like a break. Lesson learned: new flip flops are slippery.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

wet feet and bruised butt

This weekend was the perfect spring weekend. The sun was shining, the trees were in bloom, and the temperature was in the mid sixties. Perfect. Its the kind of weather that almost makes up for the months of rain we've been having around here. It was the kind of weather that forces you to just go outside and play. And play I did.

Yesterday, for the first time since the accident, I got on my bike. Like me, the bike was not fully recovered, but it doesn't seem that much worse for the wear. After putting the chain back on and fighting with a bike rack, three of us headed out. I wanted to start nice and easy, and around here, easy means the Katy trail. We rode out to Creve Coeur Park, biked across the Missouri (even though the flooding hasn't been on the Missouri yet, parts of the flood plain were definitely getting hit). We then rambled along till we got to downtown St.Charles, where they happened to be having a highland festival or something (well, my friends "rambled," I more accurately, pedaled as hard as I could to keep up - I'm sooo out of biking shape!). Imagine three girls weaving their bikes through throngs of people, some of whom were fully decked out in their ren. faire gear! We ended up stopping and listening to a bit of the "concert" and grabbing a beer. Somehow I managed to get beer in my helmet - don't ask - before we headed back to the car. 20 miles and fighting back my fear.

Since I'm off running at least till Wednesday when I see the doctor,I decided to go hiking today. I drove out to Castlewood state park, south and west of here - on the Meramec. Now, I hadn't been out to the Meramec since the flooding,and its still pretty bad out there. About half the park is closed (including parts of the prettiest trail). It was odd to see the trees submerged up to their midpoints. I parked by one path, and then had to cross a creek (normally a dry creek bed, but not right now). I hate wet shoes, but it was worth it. Going up high into the river bluffs - staring at the valley below me. Catching sight of the boys bouldering on the side of the cliff (which they were NOT supposed to be doing). Stepping off the path so bikers could get by on the singletrack (its a multi-use path). Being amazed at the trail runners pumping up a very steep hill. My running shoes don't look so new, they look like they've had some fun.

One thing can ruin a perfect spot like that - smoking. I just don't get it. Why would you climb a river bluff so you could smoke your foul smelling cigarettes and drink a 40. How is that a good idea. The beer is fine, but the cigarette...ICK!

Friday, April 04, 2008

40 years later

I'd never read the entirety this before, but I think its worth reading, especially today.

I See the Promised Land

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Swimming

I actually sucked it up and joined a gym so that I could start this swimming nonsense. I'm not much of a swimmer. The last time I spent any serious time in a pool swimming was on swim team in 7th grade (now that I think about it, I looked pretty good by the end of that summer). What I've done in the pool since then can more accurately be described as "floating." Most of my pool time has involved a large inflatable raft with cup holders and lots of spf 15. It has not involved things like goggles and swim caps and lane dividers. It hasn't involved kick boards or paddles.

I'm very unused to exercising without the distraction of my ipod. I think that's the thing that is taking me longest to get used to with swimming. There's nothing but me and my thoughts and the slight ache in my shoulders (doubling up with swimming and rock climbing should give me pretty nice arms for sleeveless shirts come summer). Most of my thoughts involve this line of thinking: "stroke stroke stroke breathe stroke stroke stroke breathe..." Sometimes they involve, "wait what's that dude doing in the bleachers..." or "man, water aerobics is funny to watch..." or "I really hope that guy's speedo doesn't fall off..." So, yeah, very productive thinking time.

On a different note, must learn to do a flip turn without getting water up my nose.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

going to the doctor's again

You may have noticed that I haven't been writing about the running much - even though I declared that I was going to try to run the half marathon again. Part of it has been that with all the traveling (4 trips to Chicago in the past 2 months), I didn't make time for my long runs. Part of it has been that the weather here sucked and I can't run more than 5 miles on a treadmill. But, the biggest part has been my right leg - weird bone pain.

So, when I first started training for the half in January, I was also going to Zumba classes on Monday nights. I think the combination of the two - with the jumping then the running, just did my right calf in. I had pretty intense pain - I actually had trouble walking for days afterward. When the pain got so bad I couldn't walk well for days afterward, I gave my leg a rest. I didn't run for a week. I iced it. I bought new shoes (cause well, doesn't that always solve everything), and I kind of quit training. Now its been two months since that pain set in, and my leg still isn't right. In the past month I haven't had a single run that has been over 4 miles and my mileage for a week is minuscule.

This week I ran a relatively quick mile on Tuesday (woo - 10:20), and a nice slow run on Wednesday (14 minutes at 5 mph). Wednesday night my leg hurt bad, in that same spot. (Its kind of on the back of the tibia right beneath the bulk of my calf muscle). My leg still hurts now. When I press on the spot on my bone the ache worsens. So, now I'm afraid that I somehow let a minor case of shin splints spiral into a stress fracture. Its not normal to still have pain from a one mile run 4 days later.

So I made an appointment with a doctor. In the mean time, no running for me. I think I'm going to take up swimming.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Major life decisions

Today I made a major life decision. I'm officially committed to a job and moving to Chicago. I know what my salary is going to be and when I am going to start.

It wasn't an easy decision for me. I had doubts. I know that the work and the pay will be good, but I'm not so sure about everything else. I love my mid-sized Midwestern city. I love my friends. I love that I know where everything is, and I love that I know what to expect. I'm a bit afraid of change - I've never been good at change. I'm scared of starting over in a new place. I'm scared of having to learn where the post office is, how to drive in city traffic, and how to navigate a bus system. I'm scared of being lonely and alone. I'm scared of leaving my comfort zone. I'm scared that I'll fail.

For the past couple weeks, since I learned that I hadn't gotten a different job, I've walked around with a knot in my stomach. I've been unsure whether my stomach hurt because my instinct was saying don't go there or because I was afraid of making the wrong decision. Every time I thought about my choices, my mind whirled and my stomach clenched.

I'm not sure I made the right decision. I'm not sure I'll be happy. I'm not sure if I should have waited and explored other options. I'm not sure if things were meant to be.

For the first time as an adult, I've accepted a job that doesn't make me want to jump up and down with joy - I have no desire to go out and celebrate. I feel unsure about whether "congratulations" are in order. Instead, I wait in nervous anticipation of what the future holds.

I don't like change, but several months ago, I committed to myself that I was going to attempt to make this change. I've made my choice - now I have to wait for the results.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I am my mother's daughter

As a child and teenager, I used to roll my eyes and be mortified by the fact that my mom would talk to strangers. She would randomly sit down next to someone and suddenly they would know my entire life story. Sometimes she would speak to people without prompting and they clearly wouldn't want to talk to her. But more often, people would approach her and chat away for hours at end. I was always embarrassed.

Recently, I've decided that I've got more of my mom in me than I previously thought. I am approached by random and talk to random people. I'm sure many of you remember my experiences with meeting people on a train, in a grocery store parking lot, and in the sauna at a gym. My recent random meetings have now expanded to include at a free hotel happy hour and at an outdoor ice skating rink. Here's the stories:

A week or so ago, I was up in Chicago for some interviews (still waiting on the results, I'm freaking out a bit) and was staying at a pretty nice boutique hotel in the River North area of the city. My hotel had a free cocktail party from 5:30 to 7:00. After a long day of interviewing (caught a flight at 6 am, finished interviewing at 4:30), a drink sounded pretty good. I had dinner plans to meet up with some friends around 7, so I figured, what the hell, I'll just go to this happy hour and enjoy a nice glass of wine by myself. When I got up there, I noticed a group of gentlemen (two older guys and a guy about my age) sitting at a couple tables and chatting. I sat down next to them and shortly was drawn into the conversation. The guy my age was moving to Chicago and was up there looking at apartments. I gave him some advice about neighborhoods and we all chatted amicably for the next hour or so.

Shortly after 7, one of my friends called to say she was on her way to pick me up. I knew the boy had no plans for the evening so I invited him along. After thinking about it for a minute, he said sure. Before my friend got there we talked some more in the lobby and he got my number. I think the dinner conversation probably scared him off (it was overly girly and gossipy), but it certainly made for a fun evening. I doubt I'll hear from him, but that totally made my interview trip more exciting.

Then last night, I decided to go ice skating at Steinberg rink (its a large outdoor rink in Forest Park). The ice was almost perfect and there was practically nobody out there (cold and windy night). The older guy who was out there chatted with me for a little bit, but then we drifted off to other things. After a while I noticed that I was being pretty much tailed by someone else. I had my ipod on, and he asked me a question, so I had to pull the ear buds out from under the earmuffs to hear him. I then proceeded to spend the next hour skating with him and ended up driving him home (he doesn't have a car and took public transport to the rink and it was cold and windy out).

I think he was trying to ask me out to dinner when he commented on the fact that he always ends up eating out even though he has leftover at home (and I of course was oblivious and commented how I ate out way too much last weekend and needed to eat at home). Then he asked me if I would be skating on Saturday afternoon again. I wouldn't commit. Part of me wondered if he was just being polite or if he liked me. And, if he liked me, why ask the vague, "will you be there again?" question - why not just ask for my number? Anyway, we'll see if I see that one again.

So, yeah, I talk to strangers - hell, I invite them to dinner and drive them home.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

sometimes things don't go quite as planned

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I've had some stuff going on in my life that I can't really write about. Until yesterday I hadn't run in over a week, and I think the half marathon may be off my plate this spring (though we shall see).

The good news is that I'm doing really well; I've had some great interviews, and I feel very optimistic about a future in Chicago.

The bad is pretty terrible. Horrible things happened. I had friends who were personally affected and my workplace was somewhat involved. I feel some guilt, some anger, and some fear. I was in complete shock. On to of that I had a minor medical crisis. Nothing serious and I'm completely fine (though had to undergo a somewhat painful procedure that I will not recount here).

Last week sucked.

This week is better. Hopefully next week will be even better.

Weight: 167.6
Miles: 4 yesterday, elliptical today

Thursday, January 31, 2008

doubling up

Last night, I ached when I went to bed. My legs felt like jelly. My arms could hardly be lifted over my head, even my face hurt (I think I have a slight sinus infection). Yesterday, I ran my four mile pace workout. It felt great. I'm very happy with my speed - running 1/2 a mile at a pace that I could barely maintain for a quarter mile a couple weeks ago was pretty cool. After my run, I cooled down, took a body shower, ran to the downtown grocery store, grabbed a quick high calorie dinner (mmm quesadillas), and drove over to the rock climbing gym. I knew it wasn't going to be a good day for climbing cause just taking the steps up four flights to get my car in the garage was hard. I always thought I climbed too much with my arms, but last night, with completely blown legs, I proved that I actually use my legs quite a bit. I sucked last night (couldn't make it to the top on any wall - I'd start shaking about half way up), but it was way fun.

After that, I drove home and started packing. This weekend could be pretty major for me in the work area of my life so wish me luck. By the time I climbed in bed last night, I was utterly exhausted physically, but I still couldn't sleep. I had hoped that the physical exhaustion would help, but instead I lay there slightly uncomfortable from muscle soreness and got thought about my excitement and nervousness...its gonna be a long weekend.

Weight: 166.2
Miles: 4 (43:40 - slow 1 mile warmup, 400 meters fast, 200 slow (repeat), 1/2 mile fast, 400 meters slow, 400 meters fast, 200 slow (repeat), 3/4 mile slow cooldown)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

cookie dough

As some of you may know, I have a bit of a binge eating problem. I generally live in denial that its really a problem, and most of the time, I manage to suppress the general urge to binge. Still, certain foods are trigger foods, and no matter how bad I know they are for me, I can't resist eating myself sick. For me, cookie dough is one of those foods.

Most of the time, I can pass the prepackaged rolls at the grocery store and not even think about the craving. Most of the time, I don't long for the taste and the full feeling that comes from cookie dough before I get sick. I don't generally buy it (unless I'm really depressed and well, ok, sometimes when I'm super stressed). But, when its in the house, sitting there, open, with no purpose other than snacking - ohhh...how evil and tempting.

My roommate bought a tub of cookie dough for her birthday party. She intended it to be a drunk food - possibly to bake cookies with, mostly to be eaten with a spoon. She opened the container earlier that day (and how proud of myself I was that I didn't open the GIANT TUB of cookie dough that had been sitting in my fridge for three days and dig in before then), and that was a good portion of my lunch that day. I ate it again the next day, and the one after that, and the one after that, and again today. I've gorged myself on giant spoonfuls. I think a good part of my continued hangover on Monday was due to dough consumption rather than alcohol consumption. As long as it sits in my fridge, I am tempted and generally give in to that temptation. The sad thing is, I don't even like chocolate chip cookie dough - I love sugar cookie dough, but the chocolate chips make it ... blah:-P yet still, I eat and eat and make myself sick.

Sometimes, especially times like this, I worry that I should seek treatment for my binge food eating. Why do I do this to myself (note that I would NEVER buy a GIANT TUB of cookie dough on my own - although I have been known to buy a roll of cookie dough and eat myself sick on those too)? Grrr...

Run: 5 miles - 1 hour, 1 minute
Weight: 169.2

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm officially old

Sunday was my roommate's birthday, and we had a big party on Saturday night. I don't drink much these days - maybe have a beer three times a month, so my binge drinking on Saturday night was a bit much for my body.

I had anticipated the fact that I was going to feel like crap on Sunday. I figured I wouldn't get my long run in on Sunday, but it didn't matter cause I didn't have to work on Monday. Surely I could easily run my 5 miles on Monday. Not so much.

Monday, I actually felt worse than Sunday. My stomach was still rebelling (I never threw up, but just curled up in a ball and wanted whatever was eating my stomach from the inside out to finally die). I ate nothing for most of Monday and didn't get dressed or leave the apartment. So, I didn't get my 5 miles in that day either.

Now, I'm torn. I think I'm just going to continue with the schedule and pretend that I didn't skip the five...or maybe run five tomorrow instead of the three that's on my schedule...stupid hangover...

Friday, January 18, 2008

addiction

So, I've known for quite some time that I'm addicted to caffeine. I can't go a day without a jolt or I get terrible headaches. But, I always thought that I was just addicted to caffeine. I never would have guessed that it was also soda - not just the drug, but the product.

The first couple days of my no soda ban were easy. Switching to coffee instead of soda was fine in the mornings. I sort of like the ritual of brewing coffee - the warm comforting rich bitter smell waking me up and easing me into my day. I like filling up my mug and hopping in the car to go to work. It feels very grown up.

Still, a few days ago, I began to have a slight understanding of what an alcoholic feel like (I'm not comparing, but beginning to understand just how hard it actually is). For the past week or so, around 2 pm, I've started craving a Diet Pepsi. I want it so bad. I used to get one every afternoon at that time, and I know I have the fifty cents in my desk drawer and that the soda is mere steps away. I think to myself, "Its just one soda. One soda won't hurt you. It will help you get through this long afternoon." But, I have somehow managed to resist.

The problem is, I know its never just one soda. If I let myself get one, I'll want one again tomorrow. I know that having one an afternoon will lead me to start buying 12 packs again (and going through about 3 twelve packs a week). Maybe I don't need to give up soda forever (though I suspect that I do), but still, for right now, I know I have to resist.

No run last night, instead I managed to deal with some car issues, buy new running shoes, and work late - gonna run 3 tonight.
Weight: 167.4

Thursday, January 10, 2008

ode to the basement bomb shelter

Recently I read an article about how gyms are what are making people fat. I don't really buy the substance of the article, but it got me thinking. A lot of the gist was that the modern bells and whistles of a gym do more harm than good. People think they are supposed to be entertained at the gym. Overweight people are intimidated by the skinny people, giant mirrors, and complicated machines. They think that doing a few reps on a weight machine will do the trick. I have found that for me, the gym environment really does make a big difference about whether or not I go.

My current gym is a perfect example of this. Its on the first floor of a federal courthouse in a drab windowless room. It was built in the space where the day care would have been, except, I work in the first federal courthouse built after Oklahoma city, and well, they decided that a day care was a bad idea. There are two tv sets that are constantly set to CNN. There are no mirrors. There are four fans in the place, and the magazines are whatever other people have brought in and left behind the desk thing by the door. There is no pilates room, or separate weight area
(the Marshals have their own training room - not to be shared with the common folks), or juice bar, or laundry service.

Its pretty basic stuff: six treadmills (only four that can take running, two are for walking only), two regular bikes, one recumbent bike, two spin bikes, six ellipticals, two rowing machines, a pair of stair climber, weight machines, and free weights. That's it. There are no personal trainers or membership fees. No time limits on the cardio equipment.

I love my gym. Its simple and easy. Its never crowded after work (although lunch time can be busy). I never feel like I'm being judged for my workout. On days like today, its perfectly ok for me to run two miles and then hop on a bike for 20 minutes.

I think I do best with simple places with people who leave you alone. Last year, I joined a 24 hour fitness. The manager guy who always remembered me and said hi, creeped me out. I dreaded going to that placed lined with windows to the outdoors, mirrors, hundreds of televisions, and blasting music. Just walking into the brightly lit interior made me feel inferior. I don't know why. It was a beautiful gym, but I never belonged there. My membership lasted all of six months. Even though I had that beautiful gym that was available 24 hours a day, I instead mostly headed down to the basement bomb shelter that was the free gym at work. I felt safe and secure there. It feel good to be spending a significant amount of time down there again - it makes my mom sad though, cause no way am I meeting any guys at the gym...

Miles: 2
Weight: 170.2 (don't know why its up right now, I'm still doing WW and I've been good - gonna keep trying - I know weight can fluctuate and its not the end of the world)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The park again

Today I ran with a friend. It was my first scheduled "training run" for the half marathon. I forgot how hard hills are, especially the hill at the end of my street. I'm sore and tired and it feels fantastic.

The required run was actually 3, but we ended up doing something more like 3.6 or 3.8 cause well, I needed a pee in the middle. When your bladder calls during a run, not much to do other than be in pain or find a bathroom. I chose bathroom.

Today was also weird because of the weather. The temps here were in the upper 70s today - it was downright strange. It was super humid too. Everything was sticky and the sweat didn't have anywhere to go. The bathroom at the visitor's center was so humid that the metal part of the toilet was wet with condensation.

Miles: 3.4+ (google maps guestimate - tomorrow I'm calibrating a Nike+Ipod sensor - yay!)
Weight: 168.6

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Come on baby light my fire

I've never run any significant distance at this weight before. Last year when I was training for the half marathon I maintained a weight that was generally just shy of 160 pounds. I wasn't pleased to be running at that weight at the time, but accepted that was where I was at. It didn't really make thing too difficult - all my running tights still fit, my shirts, etc. This year, I'm 10 pounds heavier and now I've got some added complications-

Friction. Last night when I started running on the treadmill in some loose fitting workout pants (not tights)...I noticed the sound of my thighs rubbing together. Honestly, I was actually a bit concerned - there seemed to be enough friction going on for me to light a fire. Although I can say that it didn't end up altering the run, it wasn't entirely the most comfortable thing. I'm thinking it might be a good thing if I can lose some weight before the long runs kick in.

Weight: 169.6
Miles: (last night) 2.6

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

on again

I dislike New Year's Resolutions, in part, because of their reputation. New Year's Resolutions mean trying to change for a couple weeks and then forgetting about it when life intervenes. That's why, while I'm making some changes, I refuse to refer to them as resolutions.

First, I've given up soda. As of my return from Chicago for Christmas, I haven't had a single drop of soda. I'm still addicted to carbonation so I'm back to carbonated water (go through about a twelve pack of cans in 4 days). This is because I've noticed a pattern: I gain weight or have more difficulty losing weight when I'm drinking soda (diet soda, sugar soda, it doesn't matter). I don't know if that's corralation or causation, but regardless, I'm not drinking soda. I do best on a water/carbonated water/coffee routine (note that I'm not giving up caffeine - coffee and tea are still acceptible).

Second, I'm training for a half-marathon again. I know that by the end of my training last year, I was sick of it and couldn't wait to not have training runs on my schedule anymore. For that reason, I'm not signing up for the race yet. I've got the training runs in my calendar and a training partner all lined up. If the end of March comes around, and I don't want to spend my Sundays hitting the trails in Forest Park, I won't. But, I think I will want to. I enjoyed the actual race immensely, and I love having a committment to myself to be running. It gives me an excuse for being obsessive about my exercise.

Third, I signed up for weight watchers online, and I'm going to lose the weight that I've gained since the broken arm (and hopefully a bit more). I know that as the training ramps up this is going to get more difficult, but I also know that I have to do this. My weight will only keep going up if I don't do something about it and I don't want to be the round thing I was when I graduated college ever again. Hopefully, in the next couple of months (while training is still relatively light), I can lose the 10 pounds that are currently making me feel bad about myself.

Finally, I'm posting my stats here again even though they embarrass me. I've become depressed about my lazy girl on the couch weight gain (or broken elbow weight gain) and I know I can't really hide it from the world anyway since you can see it on my face and in my waist. So:

Weight: 171 (ug, how did it get this bad!?!)
Training: Running 30 minutes (about 2.5 miles) with a 4 minute walking cooldown afterward