Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Runner's Life for Me

I am a new woman.

I am pretty sure I can never tell my mom about my attempts at running a half marathon. If I did, I'd have to confess that Amanda has inspired me to do two things that she could not achieve in 34 years: she couldn't get me to wake up early or exercise with any regularity. And now, thanks to Amanda, I do both. For the past two weeks, I have been waking up between 5-5:15 everyday. Most days, without my alarm going off. Twice a week, I get up, get dressed and go running with my mid-week teams. Other days, I go into work earlier than I ever have so I can leave early and meet the evening running teams. This is my schedule every day, but Sundays, where I sleep in until 7. It is another one of my life's little ironies that I cannot share with my mom this little tidbit that would bring her so much joy.

I have learned however that getting up and driving to a beach trail does not imply a state of awareness. Take this past Monday for example. I got up and drove to the Torrey Pines Lodge, parked my car and greeted my team. We stretched, warmed up and proceeded to run approximately 4 miles in 3-1 intervals (I was able to run 7-2 intervals for most of the way). As we made our way back to the cars, all I could think of was the Cliff Bar in my bag. However, as I approached the car, I realized something didn't look quite right. Perhaps it was the driver's side door that was left wide open, making it easy for any potential car thieves to easily enter and make themselves comfortable. The funny thing is that the doors were locked, just left ajar. I consider it my contribution to the joy of my morning running mates...

On a serious note: I am so overwhelmed and honored by everyone's help and contributions. I appreciate your faith in my abilities and your generosity. I am meeting survivors whose enthusiasm is contagious, volunteers who come to support us and family members who are thanking us for our efforts. It makes early mornings and shin splints trite, and almost anything possible.

With the exception of today's painful run, I am able to run 1.5 miles at a time, but almost 4.5 with intervals. This is a much more realistic goal than my initial plan of running miles at a time. My intervals are increasing (longer runs, same length walks) as is the distance that I'm running. I need to address the shin splints that are the biggest limiting factor right now, but they are getting a little better.

If you have any suggestions to actually be awake in the morning or run/jog more effectively, please share. If you can't believe that I abandoned my open-doored car for an hour on a holiday morning, I have a bunch of witnesses who are probably still laughing at me. And seriously, why would I make this up?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

News From Around the World

Bush Lectures Arab World on Political Reform, Women's Rights

He then proceeded to teach a few lessons about sacrifice , the importance of good oratory skills and political etiquette.

Ok, so he stopped with political reform and women's rights. But that's probably because most of his audience already practiced good torture techniques and unfair treatment of women.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Me and the News of the Day

About seven years ago, I lay curled up in the corner of my closet crying softly and whispering into the phone. I loved the man I was talking to so fiercely at that moment, I was probably the closest person in the world to him. I wanted to reach in and hold him, protect him from what was to come. This man had stood by my side during some of the happiest and saddest moments of my life. Over the years, I had watched him with so much love, gratitude and confusion.

I cried as he told me what I had suspected for years. As he whispered his journey, I thought of how afraid he must have been to tell me his secret. Me. Loving, admiring, me. Prudish, uptight, cautious, me. Why else would his voice tremble as the words tumbled out, finally making real what he had fought for so long...

"Are you crying?"

"Yes.", I whispered.

"Where are you?"

"In the closet." And the moment I said it we both burst into hysterical laughter.

"I just came out and you went in? Must you always do the opposite of what I think you will?! Now why are you crying? It's not like you just figured out what's been out of place for most of your life. "

"I'm crying because you woke me up early on a Saturday morning and I love you.", which was partially true. I did love him, and he did wake me up. So much, that I was crying for judgments that would be passed on him, the attacks he would hear, the cruelty that people would inflict on him, and strangely enough--I cried because unlike me, he would never have a wedding. I was sad, confused and angry.

Many years have passed. I took him to his first gay bar; I woke him up one August morning to tell him I'm getting married later that day; I introduced him to my husband; I tried to set him up with cute guys and listened to his misadventures in dating. I can't say I haven't worried or occasionally judged, but I have always loved him protectively. This year I asked what he wanted for his birthday, he said a husband would be nice.

And today, I kept checking the news for him and learned that he can have one in California.

Congratulations, my friend. I'll start working on your birthday gift. Please give me more advance notice for your big day than I gave you on mine.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Run Run Run

For about two weeks, I have been writing and re-writing this post and not posting it. This is a post about something much more important than my curious little blog.

Last month, my blogger friend Manda was diagnosed with leukemia. While I have never had the pleasure of meeting Amanda, I felt the same way I do whenever one of my friends is taken ill. I planned a menu. I had every intention of cooking a bunch of food and sending it across the country to people whose tastes I did not know. But as I made my grocery list, I realized it wasn't a very realistic way to cheer anyone up (plus, I didn't want to tempt fate by sending perishables). Nor was my idea to coordinate a bunch of fellow Pajiba fans to create a podcast of her favorite books.

As I went through my mail after work one day, a way to help found me. I had received an invitation Team In Training, a non-profit group that raises funds to support The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I originally learned about The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society a few years ago when my friend Karen was diagnosed with lymphoma. They provided her and her family with support and information as she prepared for her battle. Now, I saw this as an opportunity to do something practical and supportive. Knowing that Amanda had been training to run in a 5k before she got sick, I thought it would be the perfect thing to do. I called Amanda and asked if I could raise funds in her honor, and she generously said yes.

Now, I have a plan.

This year, for the second time, I will be participating in the San Diego Blood Bank's Naked Juice 5k. As a fairly regular blood donor, I have supported blood banks in every city I have lived in since I was in college. This year, especially in light of reading Amanda's updates, I have decided to make an annual tradition of this event. Last year, I walked the 5k with M, my mother and friends. This year I hope to run. If you live in San Diego or SoCal and would like to join my team, please let me know and I'll provide you with details.

More importantly, this week, I begin my training and fund raising efforts with Team In Training. Of the various races that we could participate in, I have selected to run a half marathon in October. If you have ever seen me, you know that this is a bit of a stretch, considering how I could probably roll down a hill more gracefully than run the streets of San Francisco. I am not an athlete, nor am I fit. But I am determined. Very, very determined.

I am asking for your support and donations (which are 100% tax deductible) for an organization that does great work for those who have a difficult and frustrating battle ahead of them. My goals this year are to meet the minimum fund raising goal of $3,300 ($875 or so of which I must raise by June 26, 2008) and to cross the finish line. They may not seem too ambitious, but I want to meet my goals. I know that with your help, I will easily exceed both of my goals. The sooner I meet my fund raising goals, the sooner I can devote my attention to training. Lots and lots of training. I will provide regular updates about my progress for your entertainment.

I ask that you donate whatever amount you feel comfortable. You can donate a little bit every month from now till the race and I would greatly appreciate it. Please pass this link on to your friends and family and encourage them to donate as well. If you have trained for distance runs or have any tips, please share (I don't want to make my team look bad). And if you think you'll be in San Francisco on the day of the race, please come and cheer us on. I'd love to see you as I cross the finish line.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Random Thoughts

  • I finished my PM Certificate program tonight. I'm pretty sure I never want to take another class again. At least for another couple of months. Does anyone need a delightful project manager?
  • I had every intention of running after my class, but after eating dinner and changing, I lost steam. Which means I will be up at 6, ready to run.
  • I may soon lose my secret identity--which freaks me out just a little. I thoroughly enjoy hiding behind this curtain of anonymity. But if I reveal my identity, it will be for a great cause.
  • During the past week I have spoken to a co-worker who makes me laugh so loud, that I have to scuttle to one of the empty offices with my cell phone to save face. Thank goodness for brilliant people.
  • An old friend who I had semi-lost touch with just got married. I never thought I would see him look that happy. Which means, I am very, very happy for him (and his new wife).
  • I had forgotten how much I enjoyed crocheting--something I will have much more time to do now that I don't have my class project hanging over my head.

Did I mention that my class is over? Weeeeeee.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

"That Is My Patriotism"

How can people say Obama isn't patriotic? He recognizes the great potential we have as a nation, he knows this isn't a popularity contest and he says he wants to continue a tradition of standing up for the little guy that helped get him where he is. Plus, he knows how to speak. Well.

To paraphrase him, this campaign is about you--and your values. Do you want a military man who does not support the troops getting the benefits they have been been promised, but boasts his military credibility; a candidate who stoops to the lowest form of pandering regardless of its consequences or do you want a man who will admit he is not perfect, but that he will try his best to live up to what we can be as a nation? What are your values?

Coffee v. Orange Juice: The Mature Choice

I like to think of myself as relatively intelligent. Actually, that thought depresses me a little, because I know a lot of people around me who are much more intelligent on every level: emotional, intellect and practical. I may be the one who brings the average down. So you would think that I would be happy to know there are people out there that make me seem like a genius. People like Ben Stein for example, who make my grasp of science seem mind-bogglingly complex. Or people like this idiot who judge a person's maturity by the beverage that person consumes in the morning.

I know there are different standards for measuring maturity. I will even admit to being a bit of a judgmental snob. But if we apply the standards of the article that coffee drinkers are more mature than orange juice drinkers (I know, just suspend any intelligent thought and just go with it), wouldn't that mean that alcohol would be a more mature beverage than both? And using that standard, wouldn't we have to elect an alcoholic to prove that someone is no longer childish?

Oh, wait. We DID that already. Twice. And everything worked out just fine.

Thanks/Blame to Andrew Sullivan for bringing such insanity to light.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mad Science

I want to be outraged, but I'm pretty sure this has just left me speechless: Ben Stein rejecting science. Not personally (although I'm assuming he did that soon after he lost his mind), but as a concept. Why? Because science is evil. It seems Mr. Stein holds science responsible for the death of his family members during the Holocaust. He's not saying people abused their powers and used science for evil purposes, just has they had done with religion and politics for centuries. No. He's holding science responsible.

Yep. I got nothing. Maybe Alex can help. Anyone? Anyone?

*I would mention where he was interviewed for this brilliant bit, but that would make a celebrity of Crazy Pat on my blog.