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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mardi Gras Marathon

Today was a gorgeous day: the perfect running weather. It was cool but the sun was shining out of a brilliant blue sky.

This is me getting ready for a perfect run!
But my run was far from perfect. I'm disappointed. Actually I have good news and bad news; let's do bad news first.
Bad: my race. 4:08:20's the time, and I'm embarrassed to publish that!
I started poorly because the wave start meant I was stuck in my coral with no water or bathroom for over 30 minutes. I got stiff and cold and thanks to the no water, I was dehydrated for the entire race. I never hit my pace. Then the coughing started. I coughed, coughed, coughed, coughed. It hurt my lungs, slowed me down, and robbed my breath.
I realized that if I slowed down, the coughing lessened. But that really hurt my pace! And then...more problems. Yes, this is TMI, but around mile 21 I began doubling over with cramps. I was already cramping but I'm pretty sure my body was trying to tell me, "Quit running, you idiot! Go home and get in bed with a hot water bottle!" I discovered it's majorly difficult to run with cramps. Usually during those times I skip my workouts or go on short slow jogs because I experience a lot of pain with movement. Ouch. Meanwhile my knee began swelling so severely that my knee strap popped off by itself! Then I had to go potty. So basically, the last 4 miles totally fell apart. Not that the first few were great. I was jogging at the finish line.

Now I'm mad at myself because other than the injuries listed, I'm FINE. My muscles had plenty of miles left and I feel pretty good. No stomach upset; good appetite. I should have been able to do so much better!
Enough whining: on to the good news!
The good news is that my little brother Abe, while running a slower time than predicted, finished in 2:49:37 - the 16th finisher overall and easily capturing his age group. Pretty good for a first marathon! And he won $1000!

The after party was GREAT - Sister Hazel opened for Cowboy Mouth - and we spread out my space blanket and had some chips and beer.

It was beautiful weather for a concert and once I stopped moving my cramps subsided and I could enjoy the morning.
Overall mood: grumpy my time sucked, happy I finished, worried about my swollen knee, thrilled for Abe!
Next up: a review of the actual race.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pre-marathon check list!

Tomorrow is the Mardi Gras Marathon, in which my little brother Abe projects a 2:40 finish time. Let me repeat that: 2 hours and 40 minutes. I need to tell you Abe's story sometime: how he went from being an overweight teen to a running powerhouse!

I, meanwhile, just want to drag my wounded self over the finish line. Let's go over the pre-race checklist here:
1. T-shirts: check. We got our packets at the expo last night and luckily we were early enough to have our pick of sizes; I assumed I'd be a small but the shirts ran huge and I was able to exchange for an extra small.

2. Next year's registration: check. I'm so thrilled with this deal: if you sign up early for the marathon in 2011, it's only $65 PLUS you get a free girlie T-shirt! The soft cotton shirt on the left is the freebie. Only size L were left and I asked if there were any other sizes. The guy helping me immediately responded, "Oh, no, we're all out of extra large." "I was looking for a medium," I said scathingly (Abe laughed out loud). BTW I registered early for this year and only paid $50, a deal at just $1.90 a mile!
3. Course: reviewed. This is the stupidest course ever. The marathon and half marathon separate like 6 times! Take a look at this! And part of the course in Audubon park goes off-road. What?! Plus the way it is arranged at the finish, there is no road in to for finish-line spectators.
4. Wrist band: Um...check. They ID you at the expo and give you a wrist band in case you want a beer afterwords. I've NEVER been ID'd at a race. But then , I live in New Orleans. Has anyone ever been ID'd for race beer? Now I have to wear this band all day. Weird.
5. Healthy and prepared: NOPE! I'm not ready for this race at all! Let's go over my current health:
a. Knee: Recovered from apparent ruptured bursa, right knee. I can handle it with a strap.
b. Knees: I still have runner's knee in both knees thanks to bad shoes.
c. Groin: Suffering from a serious groin pull that actually lames me: at a certain point I can no longer lift my thigh. But oddly enough I can run through this injury. It hurts, but it doesn't bother me that much. I can't understand that but I'm not complaining!
d. Blisters: I actually still have severe blisters and raw patches from my barefoot running experiment over a month ago. Ouch.
e. Sick and coughing: I just got over a sickness that involved 105 F fever for three days. I'm a little shaky still and I have a residual cough. The base of my lungs hurt, and when I run I can actually feel my diaphragm hit my lungs - it feels like I'm being kicked in the lungs. This is my biggest worry for tomorrow.
f. This might be TMI but on top of everything else I have cramps. Boo for bad timing!
g. Underprepared: Ok, this one's on me. If I would get my lazy, wimpy behind out there when it was cold I would be in a lot better shape. No one to blame but myself for this one!

So that's it. Do you think I'm ready? Can I do this? Will I spend the last 4 miles limping? Will my "two free beers" be worth the humiliation of wearing a wrist band for 26.2 miles?
Check back tomorrow for details!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A little art in my life

Way back before the world of pharmacy sucked me in, I was a fine arts major. That's right, prim and proper ol' me wore head scarves and grew bean sprouts in my room and said things during critique like, "I can really feel the emotion in your lines".
I do still love art but you know, it's hard to make time for art when you're working full time and going to school full time. Thank goodness those school days are over and I've had more time to whip up some art projects!
One recent project was a pair of botanical prints for my sister in law. I didn't take any pictures of the finished pieces, but here's one of me working on the night jasmine print.

I have sketched the blossoms, but hadn't painted them yet. The other print was of English lavender.
I'm slowly working on a "swamp" theme for the dining room, and I started with these easy pelican drawings. I use watercolor pencils but I don't add the water: watercolor pencils have a softer line than graphite but are easier to control compared to pastels. I'm planning a long alligator watercolor for our dining room mantel...if I ever get around to it.

Don't you like the effect the Christmas lights have on the artwork? We have lights along our chair rails.

Sometimes I use acrylics, although they bore me. Here's the pear detail from a still life in my kitchen. I can't show you the whole picture because I hate the frame. I need to replace it.

This weekend I made a sculpture for our bedroom that I am OBSESSED with. I admit I copied this one. There is an absurdly talented artist in our area named Steve Martin and I first saw these zany wire sculptures in his gallery. I loved that the wire looks like a 2-D pen doodle but the bends of the wire make it 3-D. I made one of my own and hung it over our dressers and I think I'm in love with the shadow-play it creates on the wall.

For perspective, here's a zoomed out view so you can see it over our dressers.

I have so much leftover wire that I'm thinking about a doing a mermaid next - wouldn't the hair and tail be so fun?!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Car and Symposium Trouble

I forgot to mention something yesterday. Two things on my car broke. And nothing on my car has ever broken before. I'm very good to my cars, except that I tend to spill coffee in the seats and sometimes I cook bean burritos on the dash if it's sunny out. I really do that. It's solar cooking at its best. I might share the recipe if I'm asked politely.
Here's the damage:
1. My gas cap snapped off the little plastic chain. This is minor but exceedingly annoying.
2. My car's check engine light came on. I am a firm believer in ignoring lights that come on in the car (as Big Bang Theory's Penny says, when alerted to her flashing check engine light, "Oh yeah. I've got to put some electrical tape over that."). But I also noticed a sort of thumping when I'm stopped at a light, in drive, foot on the brakes. I will have to bring my car in, and this is the first time ever for me except for repairs when someone hit my parked car. TWICE. (Two hit and run incidents in the space of a month!). Other than that, I've been blessed with a very low maintenance vehicle that has only needed oil changes in 5 years.
By the way, I drive a Scion xA, which is no longer made. But it's a great car. It is TINY but ridiculously ROOMY. You can seat 5 more comfortably than in many SUVs, and the hatch back allows for a lot of storage. I really like that the seat position allows you to sit up instead of reclining like many cars. I just like that better. And of course, it fits in small parking spots and gets good mileage. I think I just wrote all that to persuade myself that this car is worth the hassle of going to the dealer!

Last night my boss called me about this HIV symposium.
It turns out that yes, I'm going, and this is great news for my job of course. There will be lots of networking opportunities and an enormous amount of information to learn. There is only one tiny problem. The conference starts on a Thursday night - the same night as my in-laws bought us tickets to Wicked for Christmas! I absolutely can't pass up this symposium - it's an honor for me to be asked to go - but I feel bad for my in-laws. I'm not sure how to handle explaining this to them. I'm sure they will understand but I still feel like an ungrateful wretch!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why am I not aware of events on my OWN calender?!

This is a weird Monday. Actually, it's a beautiful day for sitting out on the porch reading the mystery I just checked out of the library. But first I have to check out the mystery of my own calender.
Commitment I didn't know about #1:
My dad emailed me asking when I was picking up my little brother for the marathon expo and packet pick-up. Not only was I unaware I was Abe's ride....I didn't even know he was running the marathon. He will probably smoke the competition.
Commitment I didn't know about #2: I got a call from corporate today asking me what flight I was taking to Phoenix for the HIV symposium in April. I didn't know there was an HIV symposium in April and I sure didn't know I was going. But if the company wants to send me to Phoenix for a few days, hey, I'll take it.
Commitment I didn't know about #3: Tulane Medical School emailed me today and asked which date would be better for me for a one-hour lecture for their OB/GYN residents. I'm lecturing Tulane residents?! I'd given out my name while doing clinicals at Tulane and I guess they decided to have me back for a lecture!
So I guess I'll spend the afternoon sorting that out. THEN I will sit in the setting sun and read my mystery!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A run on a beautiful day!

After 2 weeks of being sick and months of highly unusual cold weather in New Orleans, the stars aligned and I got in a gorgeous 10.5 miler Saturday morning. Look at this weather. Be jealous, cold weather readers! What a day to be outside!

And I got plenty of "outside" Saturday, too. For one thing, there was the run. I was hesitant to try running with my lingering cold and wretched cough, but it was so lovely out I couldn't say no. My run took my down Magazine street, Napoleon Avenue, and St. Charles, plus a few loops in Audubon Park. The picture above, however, was actually taken during the afternoon in the French Quarter. I was downtown early in the afternoon for high tea at the Windsor Court, a thank-you tea hosted by my sister in law. She was treated some of us to tea who had helped her out during her performance of My Fair Lady last summer. She was Eliza Doolittle and I, since I sew, was her costumer! Isn't a thank-tea a charming idea?
Anyway, the picture was taken after the tea, when I met the hubby for the Aints funeral. Yeah...we had a Jazz funeral for the Aints paper bags. The paper bag tradition started during a 1-15 season for the Saints when fans started wearing paper bags over their heads, they were so embarressed to be fans. Now, after the Superbowl win, we had to bury those bags. Obviously. Or it was just a chance to drink in the streets now that Mardi Gras is over. You decide.

Either way, it was a beautiful - dare I say it? - Spring day and we enjoyed it the fullest!
Today there's a thunderstorm outside so I'm going to huddle in front of an Olympic hockey game and eat Oreos. Or I might have wine. Or both. What's a good pairing for Oreos?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Foody Friday: Orzo, the gourmet fast food

I love Orzo. It's a small, rice-shaped pasta with endless uses and a wonderfully fast cooking time. You can throw it in soups, add butter and Parmesan, use it as a side dish with various vegetables, or even base a main dish on it. Orzo is on my list of "must haves" for a complete pantry.
Orzo is great for kitchen experimentation (as I like to call dinner when I haven't been grocery shopping in a week). I rely on it for fast meals with flexible ingredient lists. Last week when I was in a rush to make dinner I grabbed a trusty bag of Orzo and whatever else I had and made:

Orzo with sausage and leeks

1 lb orzo
1 bunch leeks, coarsely chopped (wash well - leeks hide dirt!)
1 lb Italian breakfast sausage
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
sage, salt, pepper
splash of sherry

Cook Orzo according to package directions while you prepare the leeks and sausage part. In a large skillet, fry sausage. Drain excess fat. Add leeks; stir and cook. Add mushrooms; stir and cook. When almost soft, add cherry, salt, pepper, and sage (about 1 tsp) to taste. Add water if the mixture starts to stick. Stir in drained Orzo; heat well.
If you want you can add a smidge of provolone to the top. My hubby did this - I didn't like it.
YUM. Leeks in anything = perfection!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Valentine

Original Valentine's Day plan:
Since I was working on Valentines Day and the hubby was riding in a parade, we decided to go out to dinner on Saturday instead. We made reservations at Sara's, a pricey but delicious everything fusion restaurant (seriously. I can tell it's fusion, but I can't tell what we're fusing with what). They have a salmon dish with wasabi that will make you slap yo mama.
Actual Valentine's Day:
I felt so sick Saturday I called and canceled our plans during the day. I felt too weak to even stand up at work so I figured we'd better not even try to go out. But you know what Mr. Charming did? He surprised me by ordering duck salad and an antipasto plate and I came home to a table set with wine glasses and candlesticks. So we sort of had Valentine's Day dinner anyway, although honestly I was too sick to taste my food (don't tell hubby that though).
We exchanged cards and both laughed because we got each other matching cards: they feature wine glasses and heart cut-outs on the front. Last year our cards looked different, but the messages inside were virtually identical (which either means that we are oh-so-connected-and-in-love, or Hallmark is running out of stuff to say).

I must say I did quite well on the card because I actually wrote the hubby a love sonnet - a real one (Shakespearean iambic pentameter!). I'm ridiculously pleased with myself over this.

I'm now sitting in my PJ's before getting ready for work. I called a doctor friend of mine and begged for an antibiotic rx Tuesday because I really was too sick to function. I NEVER take antibiotics so that should tell you how bad off I am! About an hour after the first dose I felt much better and I am now on the slow mend.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras!

It's Fat Tuesday and I'm off work... but I'm home sick. I've been sick for over a week now and I think I caught a bacterial secondary infection because Saturday I was suddenly much much worse. And I had to work the weekend in the French Quarter! During Mardi Gras!
By "much worse" I mean "could barely stand". I haven't been this sick since swine flu. I don't know where I put my little immune system; it sure seems to be missing these days.
I think I'm turning the corner (now that my 105 F - yes, that's 105 - fever broke) so I'm staying home this Mardi Gras so I can fully recover. But I definitely got a taste of it working in the quarter this year. Some of the revelry I saw:
- Old old man came in to pick up rx's and I noticed he had a big red lipstick mark on his cheek!
- A family came in with pig noses and wings (pigs fly...Saints won the Superbowl!)
- A college kid from Vermont showed up in a wheelchair after breaking his leg in 2 places falling off a balcony.
- Middle aged women from Ohio squabbling over the last glittery "mardi Gras 2010" cheap-o T-shirt in size large (which the "winner" then wore. As my husband pointed out this is like buying a souvenir DC T-shirt, then wearing it for your capitol tour).
- A New York man asked advice for what he thought was a spider bite but what was clearly an advanced staph infection on his leg. I urged him to go to the ER but his wife argued with me because she didn't want to miss any of the parade! (Eventually I won the argument and the man ended up getting the infection lanced, cored, irrigated, and packed; he had antibiotics injected, then showed back up at my pharmacy with prescriptions for 2 other antibiotics to take by mouth. He was very grateful I'd insisted he go because the doctor told him a few more hours and he might have ended up in the ICU...however, his wife was STILL mad at me for making her miss some of mardi gras!)
- Heard over the intercom system: "As a reminder to our patrons, there is NO SMOKING in the store."
- Several woman chose not to purchase their prescriptions after I told them they couldn't drink alcohol while taking the drug.
- More than one tourist wanted to know how they could cure the red flushing of their face after drinking a Hurricane (it's a gigantic red drink with about 5 alcohols in it).
- We sold out of handwarmers, bottled water, aspirin, "chasers" (those scam tablets that are supposed to prevent hangovers), and basically every form of Pepto Bismol.

Of course, because I complicate things, I had to make a mess of my parking situation. I was counting on my husband to drive me for most days because of course parking in the French Quarter right now is insane. But on Sunday the hubby was actually riding in a parade himself and was unavailable, so I planned to take a cab. HA! Not a single taxi service answered their phone. I was sick to the point of being too week to dial the whole phone number without taking a break to rest my hands...and I had to call like 30 numbers, all fruitlessly. I should have simply walked to the nearby college areas and hailed a cab circling to pick up partying students, but I wasn't thinking clearly. Instead I drove downtown and parked in my double-secret parking spot in the projects. I can't tell you where I park because it's my secret, but I ended up walking about 18 blocks to work while basically one degree from death (that very morning I'd taken my temp at 105). That was horrible!

The effort of typing this has totally sapped my energy so I must go lay down now. Happy Mardi Gras everyone!
Later: my cute Valentine's day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Warning: About to vent!

Since I am still a "floater" pharmacist I work at various stores when needed, just covering vacation and sick days. This week I worked at a store with a student at my old pharmacy school and boy, did she give me an earful. Apparently, there is a lot of concern in the class of 2010 about job offers. Basically, there aren't enough. That's because - ta-da! - we're in a recession! I guess I thought that people knew about that, but they don't it seems. The opinion I've heard from students is one of entitlement, as if they are entitled to a job when they graduate. Many students only got offers out of town or out of state and are angry about it.
That rankled me to begin with. This is a very competitive job market right now. Even the best of the best are unemployed. No one is entitled to a job right now!
Now to make matters worse,this student began telling me that the class has pretty strong opinions about MY job. You see, I'm pretty well-known at school since I shared all my class notes on a website and everyone now uses "gracenotes". But some people hate me for making A's and being a teacher's pet. Yeah, that's just how it goes. So what. But anyway, there is some resentment, and it is showing now. Several students have expressed outrage to my company's human resources department over being turned down for a job. One argument is that the hiring was done haphazardly with no regard to experience. As an example these students point out that I was hired, and "she has no retail experience, only hospital". Major flaw here: I had TEN, count them TEN, years of retail pharmacy experience when I graduated! I had hospital experience, too, but that's because I like having multiple jobs. Furthermore, I have a nice clean little resume: good grades, experience, research, volunteer work, etc. I'm pretty sure that - plus my knock 'em dead interview skills - had something to do with my hiring.
So here is my little rant: No one is guaranteed a job in this economy. You may have thought when you chose pharmacy school, back when there was a pharmacist shortage, that you were promised a job, but times have changed. Companies are cutting back. You know what that means? It means companies are getting picky. They can afford to only hire people who fit their goals. So that means all of you students who were slackers in school and failed classes - your GPA might matter now! All of you students who called in to work all the time - your company history might matter now! All of you students who picked fights at work or spoke disrespectfully to your boss - your reputation might matter now! And all of you who are decent students and workers but never went the extra mile and never did extra projects - even this might matter now! In fact, I didn't get a job right away out of school. Yes, I got several offers (some of which I foolishly turned down - poor judgment) but the one I went with went into a hiring freeze right around graduation. I was definitely upset, confused, and bitter at the time, so I understand the resentment to a certain extent. But I don't understand thinking that you are "owed" a job offer. The best case scenario these days is outstanding workers get what jobs are available. In the worst case, even the best workers can't find employment (especially in some areas of the country). Sending an ugly letter to the company you wanted to work for won't get you hired: in fact, it almost nixes any chance of a future job.
So stop complaining and protesting and shooting yourself in the foot and widen your job search. Believe me, I feel for you. I was there last year. It's time to buckle down, perform, and wait out this recession!
And best of luck to all of you, even the losers who thought I shouldn't have been hired. My prayers are with all the families out there who are unfairly dealing with unemployment right now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let's lenses.

Today I woke up with a sort of itchy feeling in my eye that is probably due to this nasty cold I picked up Sunday. Or it could be because I left my contacts in last night, but probably not because I leave my contacts in every night. Maybe it is because I haven't changed my 1-month contacts in about 5 months. Yeah. I don't have very good contact hygiene (or "high jeans" as a potential employee wrote in her resume when outlining her childcare duties at a pre-school. Haha. Hahaha.). I will put a new pair of contacts in and take them out only when they literally fall apart. I sleep in them every night. They are like security blankets for my irises.
I was sort of surprised to discover that not everyone does this. In fact I have one friend who threatens me with vision loss whenever she sees me because she heard that I hadn't taken out a pair one night.
Indulge me a little here. Do you wear contacts? Do you replace them regularly? Do you remove them at night (GAH! If so, how do you see your dreams?!)

I'm kind of interested in getting an informal poll. In the meantime I'm going to go rinse my eyes with saline and deal with it, because I was supposed to have a day off today to recover and instead I got called in to work. People always call in during Mardi Gras. *sigh*

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Who Dat? NOBODY!

I can't really describe the happiness and insanity here in New Orleans following the Saint's Superbowl win. I have to quote Wynton Marsalis, who put it best when he said, "It's like waiting 43 years to hear somebody say 'I love you' back, and they do."
As the seconds ticked off the clock New Orleans erupted: you could hear a roar rising over the city. We ran out of the house to the craziness on Maple street and hugged strangers. Our neighbors threw their furniture onto the street and set it on fire (college kids!). Our guests cried. My husband lost his voice.
We ended up heading downtown with our friend Rena, one of David's childhood friends displaced by Katrina, who actually flew to New Orleans from DC in a snowstorm to watch the game in NOLA. We squeezed onto Bourbon street and took an obligatory photo:

But really the most fun was on Poydras, where bumper to bumper traffic blared the "Crunk" song and everyone hung out their windows giving high fives or sat on the hood of their cars screaming. We rolled in after midnight and I think we might have been the first New Orleanians in bed that night (I had work at 8 am though...although quite a few people took Monday off and many of the schools here closed).
This Saints team brought so much camaraderie to New Orleans. If you're in New Orleans right now, you have thousands of friends close by, I promise you. If you want proof go open your front door and shout "Who Dat" and I bet you hear a "NOBODY!" from down the street. What a weekend: we united behind our team and we united behind our government (oh yeah, we elected a mayor outright, without a run-off, this weekend).

And I caught a miserable cold Sunday night running around jacket-less and now I'm sick in bed. It was so worth it, though.

Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dear thighs, I'm sorry I insulted you so many times and made snide comments in the dressing room.

Because, dear thighs, your enormous girth may not be such a bad deal after all. Sure, you force me a size up in jeans, creating the dreaded saggy butt and waist gap we all detest. And you have prompted questions like, "Do you speed skate?" and "How do you buy pants that fit?" You certainly killed my modeling career (oh, ok, maybe there were other contributing factors to that one). I'm pretty sure you're the reason someone yelled at me, "You want a biscuit to go with dem chicken legs?" during a race.
But you know what? Your extra inches are not the dreaded F word (fat) or the dreaded C word (cellulite) but are thanks to the much more acceptable M word (muscle).
Geez. Take a look at that muscle!

Is it any wonder that my skinny jeans don't fit just right?
Now I know this sounds silly but honestly that picture grosses me out. Ew. Weird looking hamstring. But hey, I guess that's what running and never stretching will do to a girl.
There. I have persuaded myself that big thighs are ok. I will now go to work happy.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Happy birthday hubby!

Yesterday David turned 35, shockers. I'm married to an old man! That's middle age!
We went out to dinner at Coquette on Magazine, one of my favorite places to get a cocktail. At this point, I would insert a charming photo of the two of us dolled up to go out to eat, but I can't because the birthday boy was too tired to take a photo when we got home (I believe it was a food coma). However, I loved my outfit so much I'll describe it to you: black cigarette ankle pants, navy and purple patterned chemise with thick black lace edging and neckline, and snug black blazer. I wore black snakeskin heels with double ankle straps, a silver cuff bracelet, and large silver filigree earrings. It was a chic way to stay warm on a date. We ate ourselves silly and ordered the Port au Price to drink, a spiced rum and sherry cocktail (proceeds benefit the Red Cross' efforts in Haiti).

David's hard to buy for because he only likes expensive things, and he likes things I don't know much about. For example, he probably would have like a new lens for his camera, but I wouldn't know what to buy - nor would I want to pay that much. So I decided this year to get him "a weekend" instead. I came up with a weekend full of events on the Northshore. For those of you not from New Orleans, the Northshore is Nola's redneck cousin. I used to live there when the hubby and I met, and we sort of make jokes about it. We used to call it a "honkey tonk date" when we went out to eat there, so I came up with a full honkey tonk weekend. I made an illustrated book describing each activity for the weekend. So David could also have something tangible, I bought a Saints championship hat...which I had to go to 5 stores to find! Everyone was sold out! Finally I found the display hat at the Sport Authority all the way out in Harahan, and I persuaded a manager to hold it for me in exchange for chocolate (shout out to Kenny at the Clearview Sports Authority!). Ah, the things we do for love!

Do you have anyone hard to buy for in your life? If so, what are your solutions and the best ideas you've had?
How about some of the not-so-good ideas too?

Monday, February 1, 2010

"THE WALL" 30k - worst race evah!

Sunday I ran "The Wall" 30k in Destrehan. Here I am, up all bright and early and ready to run!

Here's the hubby. He went back to his warm bed.

I went out to the worst race ever. Here is why:
- The course is awful. It's 15 k down a straight boring path and back. And it's the top of the levee, so it is totally bare to the elements: no shade, no wind cover, nothing. And it's hideous: the view is the ugly side of the levee, full of garbage, industrial boats, abandoned 18 wheelers, and empty containers.
- It was a frigid 27 degrees with zero sunshine and 89% humidity. The wind was bitterly cold and whipping across the levee. Even standing was hard, let alone running!
- Everything on me hurt: my knee hurts, my feet are covered in blood blisters, I have a pulled groin muscle, and I'm not in much shape.

So the race. Well it turns out that I missed the memo that if you weren't competing in the state championship 30k you should start 1/2 an hour early. So it was me in my layered T-shirts alongside all these elite athletes wearing clothes made from spaceship remnants. The field was very small, so immediately we were all spread out and I was left in the bitter cold with no wind cover - the wind was seriously the worse I've ever run in and I was struggling terribly. The first few miles were the hardest. In fact, I decided at mile 3 that this was the worst I had ever physically felt. Ugh. Around that time I was...not joking...doing about 12 minute miles. At the beginning! I am not making this wind up: it was utter misery!
Anyway, I managed to make the turn around and the wind would be less in my face after I turned around (it was from the side, but would be sort of more towards my back). On the way back, my shoe came untied twice, and once my CAR KEY (tied to my lace) BOUNCED DOWN THE SIDE OF THE LEVEE. I had to scramble down the side to grab it! This was killing me! I did feel a little better without the wind directly in my eyes and lungs, but it was still cold, gray, and ugly. I never really got into the swing and never warmed up. I was so numb at the finish, but some sweet lady brought me hot chocolate! How cute is that! And instead of medals they gave out beer glasses, which is nice since I break my glasses like their new years resolutions. My time was HORRID - 2 hr and 53 min - but I got some good marathon practice I guess. I still need pacing practice! I got a picture after I reached my car - the sun had sort of come up (ha) and this bridge, the start and finish, is basically all Destrehan is known for. Destrehan is ugly.

After the race I drove home - and stopped at Target. The closest Target is not near my house, but it was on the way back, and I had two gifts to buy off Target registries. I left my race number on so people would not think I was just an insane unwashed being stealing a baby stroller and several towels.

Once I got home I showered and the hubby and I drove to the in-laws for his birthday. His dad made steak, and I could eat it: I bought a Vitamin Water "Revive" potassium drink at Target, and it really calmed my stomach (I tend to get cramps after running). Either I needed the potassium, or I didn't run fast enough to cramp.
We didn't stay too long though because I was falling asleep!
I really, really need two things: rest, to heal all my hurting body parts, and not-rest, to build up endurance. Argh, there's the rub. What to do?