Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Where is IT?

Not too very long ago, I was lying on my bed and staring at my ceiling. Wondering how the hell *IT* had just gotten all so out of control. I'm not exactly sure what that IT was. Combination of little ITs, I guess. Regardless, I hated IT. IT didn't feel right. IT was affecting my mood. I think IT was also affecting my wardrobe.

However I'm positive that IT was infringing upon my social life. The DC crew never would have tolerated IT. But all the way out here in San Francisco, where I don't really have any friends who tell IT like IT is without worrying about hurting my feelings (funny what constitutes REAL friends at this age...) no one said anything about IT. Eventually, though, even I had to confront IT. Because IT was making me sick of myself. So I set out to get rid of IT.

And now it's February. 28th. February will be finished in two and a half hours. And I just realized that I have no idea where the hell IT is. Did IT wander off? Or did I throw IT away? Did I just lose IT somewhere? IT could be anywhere, really. But where do I start to look for IT? I'd trace my steps, but there's a lot of steps to retrace...

February Miles Run: 123
February Miles Walked: 86
February Miles Elipticaled: 5
February Hours Spun: 3
February Hours Bikram: 12

I haven't really given IT much thought these past couple of months. Maybe I still thought about IT in January, but not really in February. I still don't have an effing clue what IT really was, nor do I know why IT was bothering me so much. I don't plan on ponder pondering IT much further, though. I'm glad IT is gone. I feel pretty great without IT on the brain. (Or on my chest, or pressing into my shoulders. Not to mention squished up inside my jeans...)

If I do find it, though, I'll put IT up on e-Bay. I hear they sell IT. Right? Not that I'd wish IT on anyone, but I'm done with IT. For good.

Monday, February 27, 2006

A Moment of Strength

Sopping wet and out of breath, fresh from my Bikram class, I found myself in a moment of weakness. I was tired. But Hot Yogi was working at the front desk... And I'm a total sucker for him anyway, but especially when he remembers my name and asks me how my birthday was. Anyway, I let him convince me to pledge to participate in the annual challenge at Funky Door: Try for Others.

Founded for a man who became paralyzed from the neck down during his senior year at UC Berekeley, Try for Others encourages the local Bay Area yogis to dedicate their practice to raising money to support individuals with spinal cord injuries. The hard core yogis have pledged to practice 30 times in 30 days, or 60 times in 60 days. Now, I'm pretty sure that there is no way in HELL I'd ever be able to fit that committment into my life at this point. Not if I wanted to keep training for a marathon. And not if I wanted to keep my new job, which is really starting to pick up! And certainly not if I wanted to continue to find some time to sleep. And eat.

Damn endorphins. And peace and presence and optimism and all the other benefits of yoga! And damn cute boys with great smiles. Who remembers my name and my birthday!!!!!

I signed up for the challenge. And starting March 1, I'm going to practice four times a week for 60 days. Considering right now I have only been able to make it down to yoga 2-3 times a week, 4 times a week for 60 days will be taxing.

But I guess I could have been pressured into worse things. And if I'm going to tell the whole truth, which I feel I should do, I wasn't really pressured to particpate in the challenge at all. It's a great cause. And the yoga has been instrumental in laying that foundation for my strive to achieve balance the past few months.

So maybe it wasn't a moment of weakness, after all. Perhaps it was a moment of strength.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Operation Skylark

They say, "To 'Skylark' is an old English slang term for going out in the night with boisterous friends and strong libations."

It was night. The 30-40 of my *closest* San Francisco friends who were in attendance were boisterous. And the Mojitos, not to mention the hard core shots, were definitely strong.

Packed into the little bar at 16th and Valencia, in the heart of The Mission, I celebrated my first San Francisco birthday. Bopping from conversation to conversation, hugging and thanking people for coming. Getting down to Old School Hip Hop.

If I were to judge whether or not it was a good party based on the fact that quite a few people were hating life this morning, I'd say Operation Skylark was a success. And if I were to consider the fact that I certainly broke a couple of New Years Resolutions throughout the course of the evening, I'd also give Operation Skylark my stamp of approval.

However, most importantly, if I were to weigh in the fact that I can't wait to conduct another Operation with many of these new SF friends, I'd say Operation Skylark made for a REALLY great birthday.

Oh and those broken New Years Resolutions? They weren't anything a few Advil and an entire Nalgene of water before bed couldn't fix.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Pendulum

I find myself either with zero potential boyfriends or in a state of Mandemonium. And my friends are either all in town, pulling me in different directions or dispersed throughout the world, leaving me alone in my apartment.

I either cry out of loneliness or for the desire to spend just 2 minutes with only myself.

Either my night stand is too small for every book that I'm reading or my bookmark is stuck on the same page of a thick Chapter 1 for weeks. And as for my room, you can either see your reflection in the dresser or you can't see your foot underneath the piles of clothes on the floor.

I either have nothing to wear or nothing I want to keep pent up in my closet.

At work, I'm either bored and gauging out my eyes or stressed and pulling out my hair. And in the car, I'm either coasting in third at 35 mph or approaching maximum overdrive in fifth.

Sadly, I'm either training for a marathon or I'm not running at all.

I'm either drinking like a fish or not craving even a single drop of wine. And most of the time, I'm either sleeping five hours a night or ten.

And when you really boil things down, I'm always either telling the 100% honest truth or lying. Through my teeth!

And so it goes, back and forth and back again. Up to the feast. Down to the famine. And back up again. Gouging eyes, yanking hair, and one more time gouging eyes.

Tick-tock-tick. Starved-stuffed-starved. Blind-bald-blind.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006



It's the number of letters in the alphabet. And the number of miles in my favorite race. (Give or take 0.2... OK, give 0.2.) It's the number of asanas in my Bikram classes. And the number of States I have visited.

And now, it's the number of years old I am.


Should be a good year...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Now We're Cooking

There was a quick twitch, and then the sirens bellowed. I immediately jack-knifed into an upright position. I cannot STAND that twitch. Not that I'm particularly fond of that sirening, either, but the twitch is the worst. It signaled the completion of my seven (glorious) hours of prep-time. It was time to emerge from the oven.

I don't know why 5:05 feels so much earlier than 5:35, but it does. Maybe it was just my nerves. 7 miles loomed. On a treadmill, nonetheless. 7. That's the start of the serious distances. Sure, tons of Gym Rats can bang out 5 miles on a treadmill. And many a fitness enthusiast has run the 6.2 miles that constitute the 4th of July 10K. But let the distance creep up to 7 and see how many flies flee the kitchen.

Today was my first weekday long run. Which means that today was the day Marathon Training REALLY got started. 1 mile warm-up walk (downhill) to the gym. 7 mile Tempo (flat) on the treadmill. (01:00:30!!!) 1 mile cool-down walk (uphill) home. All total of 9 miles before 9:00 a.m. Not to mention the additional
2 mile walk (downhill - thankfully!) to work.

Yes, we are officially cooking, now!

However, if we're going to be honest about it, I'm feeling a little Well Done. Over-cooked, for everyone but my mother. I felt great after my run, but by noon I was exhausted. Maybe I didn't eat enough for breakfast after my workout. I felt particularly ravenous all day, and I still feel that way now, in fact. Maybe I'm not as hydrated as I should be, although I swear I've guzzled up about a gallon of caffeine free liquid the past 15 hours.

So it's off to bed. Tomorrow's run won't be as taxing. So I'm hoping I can bring this body down from a crisp broil to a low simmer...

Oh, The Joy of Training!

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Winning Combination

I had to make it to the gym in less than 15 minutes or I would likely have to wait for a treadmill. And miracle of all miracles, I didn't have to wait for a SINGLE light. All the crosswalks said GO the entire way.

By the time I reached the gym, I realized I only had 35 minutes to run 4 miles. Because I really NEEDED to leave the gym by 6:00 PM to make it to 6:15 PM yoga. Done. It's so wonerful that my lungs and legs are becoming so dependable.

Now, if only my brain would follow suit.

31-11-27. No.
31-27-11. Nope.
37-11-21. Not quite.
31-07-11. SHIT.
31-11-07. Not so much.
37-11-27. WHAT THE HELL?
37-07-11. Are you EFFING kidding me?

Angry-Bitter-Frustrated? Yes. Hell yes.

The jumbling of numbers that could possibly constitute the winning combination went on for almost ten minutes. And as the minutes ticked on, the more aggravated I was getting. Do you know how impossible it is for me to block out the obsessive-compulsive computatory mathematical calculations my brain INSISTS on performing in these situations?

Nic's Brain: How many different combinations involve 31, 11, and 27? That's easy - 6! ...Yeah, but what if 31, 11, and 27 aren't the numbers? ... Well I know 31 is in there... Or do I? ...Well, I'm 100% sure that of the follwing five numbers - 31, 01, 07, 11, and 27 - some combination of three will work... FUCK! That's 5 choose 3! I'm going to be here FOREVER.

How do you compete with that?

From what I can tell, the only way to go is balls out. Demand that the quasi-photographic memory of yours kick in and help out. Overpower the permutations! Picture that little sticky tab that was on the back of your lock. No, don't cry, just picture it.

31... 01... I win!

But not in time to make it to yoga. I have to admit, sometimes I'm not sure Nic + Nic's Brain is a Winning Combination. I drudged home, wondering why the hell Brain INSISTS on performing permutations against the will of my conscious mind. And why Brain so readily lets go of the combination to a lock I've been using almost daily for the past three months, and had opened 35 minutes earlier that day.

Stopped at a light, I kept hearing Brain tinker... 10-36-14... 10-36-14... 10-36-14... Oh, that's rich. Brain remembers the
combination to my seventh grade locker.

Sometimes, I guess you just can't win.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Playground

They conglomerated in the parking lot. One huddle here, and another over there. Chatting and stretching, the scene resembled Adult Recess. And I found myself The New Girl figuring out how to make some friends on the playground.

7:45 a.m. sharp, the whistles blew. (Figuratively.) Recess commenced, and we were off! Conversations that began in the parking lot hadn't missed a beat. And those huddles started to feel more like cliques than packs. It was hard to join a conversation let alone introduce myself. Why ask, "What's your name?" when "How fast are you?" is pertinent?

A couple miles into the run and I determined that this pack was Boston-bound. Their pace was intense - a little too intense. Determined to ignore my Junior High insecurities, I decided to drop back to the next pace group. The long run was going to be difficult enough without feeling like I was the last person picked for the team.

It was a good decision. What a difference 30 seconds makes! Slower but friendlier. Much friendlier. Not too much slower, however. 60 minutes strong and we'd already logged 7 miles. Most of the group was planning on a 16 miler, but those who were completing shorter distances began to break off at that point. I hung in until Mile 10, and then I broke off to head back for a 14 mile finish.

Today's comraderie was great, but I also enjoyed my four mile solo finish at the end. It was an opportunity to re-focus and re-affirm why I lace up so often. Because even while part of a pack, running is still largely solitary. Only you can keep up with the pack. And only you who will take yourself across that finish line. In the meantime, it's always great to have some more fans in the stands and friends out on the playground.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

-- Sigh --

It involves total upheaval of the chest, a shrugging of the shoulders, and an upward gaze. When I'm in a good mood, it releases a delightful humming sound. My lips curl upwards and my eyes crinkle.

My sighs are works of art, really. They can take on many moods. And as any of my current or former roommates will attest, they communicate more effectively than my mouth, my speech, my fingers, my writing.

Tonight, my sigh is telling everyone that I had a pretty fantastic day. Nothing too eventful, but when you find yourself really happy for no real reason you know it's for real. I made it to yoga this morning. Work was pretty good. And I ran some pretty fast miles after work. I felt so good that I decided to spin, too. And then I made myself some pretty fantastic Tilapia for dinner.

I am eyeing up my bed. I cannot wait to disappear under the comforters. I am breathing in, and I am smiling. Giddy that I get to wake up and do it all again tomorrow.

-- Sigh --

What a difference a few weeks makes...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I Must, I Must...

Even though hardly anyone was going, and I had a run scheduled, I went to the Happy Hour. Because I'm new, and I want to be friends/friendly with my co-workers. Because I think it's important.

And I had a drink. And a protein bar. And a good time, actually. I'm glad I went. And after that drink, I excused myself and began the walk to the gym. And I wasn't even bitter about it.

I got to the locker room, I secured a locker, I started to change, and then annoyances of all annoyances, I find NO SPORTS BRA in my bag.

You men have it so effing lucky...

To apply a positive spin to my frustration, I walked home vowing to continue to run like hell until my boobs fall off. Damn that stupid seventh grade exercise!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I'm Looking Through You

90 minutes on the mat. And in front of the mirror.

90 minutes of confrontation. With your sweat glands. And with the way you smell and the way you taste. Confrontation with that sway in your back, and with the small freckles on your shoulders that you hadn't noticed before. Confrontation with your stomach and hips. Your breasts. With your aching back and your muscles that shake from the hard work. Confrontation with those sticky 13 pounds.

90 minutes of eye contact. With your OWN eyes. With
eyes that are more hazel than brown these days. Kind of like Mom's... And 90 minutes of maintaining that contact. That stare. That intensity.

90 minutes of looking. At your face, mostly.
Looking at the way your eyebrows arch. And the slight crook in your nose. The warm wrinkles that are starting to form around your eyes. Looking at the way your face contorts when you are frustrated. The way you breathe when you are tired. The way you stand when you want to give up.

Sometimes you look at those eyes and find exhaustion in that gaze. And pessimism. But with time, and many many many 90 minutes, you find strength in those eyes. In YOUR eyes. And after enough of those 90 minute stares, you actually do start to see strength. You see YOUR strength.

You look into that mirror and see how all of their preaching about distraction isn't such a stretch. And you think that maybe you actually can find that ellusive internal presence of which they speak.

Because one day, while you're on that mat, during those 90 minutes in front of that mirror, you realize that what started as a blurry, difficult gaze to maintain has turned into a crisp, clear vision. Looking at yourself for those 90 minutes is no longer as taxing. Instead, it is somewhat relaxing, and relieving. To see yourself in all your clumsiness, your roughness, your ugliness. You are stark. But entwined within you see your grandeur, your glory, and your beauty. You are calm. And you are happy. And you feel good.

Yes, even in that skin. Drenched in sweat. Tasting of salt. Behind that stomach. Between those hips. Inside those eyes.

You look into that mirror believe that you can do anything. And you do. And you will.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Bartender

EAB has a theory about dating. One to which I fully subscribe and believe I have partially co-authored. Having lived with her at the time, if I'm not a co-author I am at the very least a reference. Her theory, as she would surely attest, is that women have to date a lot of different types of guys before they finding that ONE. EAB fully admits that the ONE may only be the ONE FOR NOW, and I have to agree I might be seeing things more on her level lately now than I had previously; however before *ONE* is found, we must, of course, first kiss the frogs.

And The Jock. The Musician, and The Artist. The Older. The Younger. The Surfer, and of course, The Burnout. The Cowboy. The Meathead. The Dork. The Brain. The Banker. The Bartender. The Ass Hole, and The Sensitive One... The Comedian. The Loner. The Renter.
The Homeowner. The Still Lives with Parents. The Foreigner, plus The Boy Next Door. Not to mention The Butcher, The Baker, and The Candlestick Maker.

Enter The Bartender...

It started nicely enough. I met up with a girl friend for drinks, she brings her boyfriend, he brings his friend. (The Bartender) When The Bartender gets up to use the restroom, The Boyfriend asks The Girlfriend to sit next to him and a seat opens up next to me. The Bartender takes the seat and conversations commence. Without trying, I proceed to woo him. (Obviously) He walks me home.

I will admit that I really WAS glad he asked for my number. But when he asked to come INSIDE to "kick it" for a bit, I was not so excited. "I have to run tomorrow morning," was all I could think to say.

He called just like he said he would, which was a pleasant surprise. But at 10:00 PM on a work night. "Wanna hang out? Kick it? Watch a movie?" HELL FUCKING NO. It's 10:00 PM and I wake up early. OK, my decline was nicer than that. But he kept calling at 10:00 PM at night. On WORK NIGHTS! So, I declined a couple more times. To which he finally replied at one point, "You know, you're never going to see me if you don't want to hang out on a weeknight. I work on weekends." So I responded, "Well, if you're not going to call me at least a day in advance before 10:00 PM you'll never see me again ever." To which he countered, "I don't plan in advance."

Add that to the list. The I Don't Plan in Advance Guy. He's normally a hybrid between The Ass Hole and The Loner. And I dated him already, too. (We're friends now, though.)

So, we planned in advance. We hung out - I mean "kicked it" - for a second time a couple of weeks ago. He came over to my apartment; because, oh yes,
The Bartender doubles as The Still Lives with Parents. (That doesn't really bother me, but it adds to the story...) But isn't watching a movie at MY apartment without first going on a date or doing something else kind of a coupley thing? Or at least a third date thing? An after you've gotten to know the person a little bit thing? I mean, I do possibly get that on his night off he doesn't want to go to a bar for a cocktail. I guess it's not ENTIRELY his fault that The Older and The Homeowner - hell, even The Younger and The Sensitive One at least took me out for a drink first. And then dinner. And THEN we hung out/ordered in/watched a movie. That started early. In time for me to go to bed early for work the next day.

Oh, can you tell that I'm just not feeling it? Maybe I would if we ever went on a date instead of just kicking it.

So, I haven't called him much. When he called last week, I was conveniently sick. Which was actually a huge inconvenience for the rest of my life, but it was a convenience in that regard. Now he's in L.A. for a week. He wants to move there. Another sign, another reason why I'm just not feeling it. I hate L.A. and I have this strange aversion to people who want to live there. (Blame The Ass Hole-Brain-Jock hybrid I dated for almost four years, perhaps?)

It's just that I have learned to read the signs. (Thank you, The Cowboy.) We're on entirely different schedules. And I guess
I've just learned that there is a difference between finding someone attractive and finding yourself attracted to that someone. He's a nice guy, though. Don't get me wrong, he's a nice guy.

EAB would say that it's all been good. At the very least, I get to check another type of man off The List. But seriously, can I please find The Surfer, soon? I think I've dated almost all of these types by now, save The Surfer, and I don't know if I'm any closer to finding The One/The One For Now.

I know he's out there. Or they're out there. And when I find him - or each of them - I'm sure there will be a little bit of every type there. But while I'm asking, would it be possible to send me a
Jock-Musician-Brain plus a side of Dork-Sensitive, with Comedian on top? Please?

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Thanks to the magic of my DVR-ing skills, when many weeks ago I configured DVR to record the entire Arrested Development series, I actually DID record the final episodes that aired on Friday. Seeing 4 episodes under My DVR just now as I set a recording for Grey's Anatomy just completely made my night. How did I ever live without DVR? All that excitement aside, I still am in mourning. And I thought that since I will no longer be able to WATCH Arrested Development, I should LISTEN to Arrested Development on my iPod.

So right now I am listenting to "Tennessee." Because, in addition to needing more Arrested Development in my life - in all forms - Dude, "I've really been real stressed. Down and out, losin ground... Problems got me pessimistic... Why does it have to be so damn tough?"

OK, I'm kidding. I'm not entirely down and out. But I did go to Tennessee today. Alright, Tennessee Valley. Just another gorgeous set of trails and mountains and ocean out in Marin County.
Since yesterday's run didn't go so well, I thought it would be a good idea to get a change of scenery. Why attack the same road again today when I could change things up a bit and run some trails?

What a TERRIBLE idea! Trail running is effing hard. Especially when the trails go straight up mountains. And when you are still getting over a cold. Eh, who am I kidding it was only 10% the lingering cold. 90% of the problem was that I am just not in shape for trail running up mountains. Well, maybe that 90% should be divided between not being in shape to run up mountains and the effects of drinking one's face off over the weekend. Friday night I had too many beers and Saturday night I had too much red wine. Which I think is healthier than beer, but still. My face fell off in a bar somewhere over the weekend. And on the mountain today, I was again reminded that I can't drink like I could when I was 20. (Growing up sucks!)

But back to the run. Anyway you look at it, it was t-o-ugh. And I think I'm going to hurt tomorrow.
I'll definitely have to run more hills if I plan to make it to the top of a certain Heartbreaker!

Running aside, the views of the Pacific Ocean at the peaks and ridges were glorious. And at one point, you could peer over other mountains to see the top of the San Francisco skyline. You could see the waves crashing against the rocky coast. And you could see the amazing homes built into the mountains framing The Bay.

I took some pictures which I'll post soon.
(Patience! I used an old disposable camera. The pictures have to be, what they call, DEVELOPED.) But in the meantime, Dad sent a couple of pics of the 18" that fell on them... Check 'em out! As grueling as Tennessee was today, I doubt it was as grueling as shoveling the driveway with Brother and Dad!

"Take me to another place... Take me to another land... Make me forget all that hurts me... Let me understand your plan..."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

On the Radar

The scenery was nice. So nice that it actually looked like scenery. Painted on a canvas. The coolest, crispest blue to contrast the warmest red arches of the most beautiful bridge. Flecks of white scattered throughout a deep navy blanket that silently rippled in the background. It was a perfect back-drop for my first "performance" in more than a few days.

My right hip felt kind of tight. And my left foot was kind of crampy. My breathing was a little too heavy. And my pace was hella slow. Ker-plunk. Ker-plunk. Ker-plunk. But what was most odd was my virtually non-existent balance. All over the map!

However it's better to be all over the map than to not even show up on the course radar. And it's great to be back to my cold-free self.

Friday, February 10, 2006


During recent banter with my father over email, he requsted I elaborate on a theory I doumented in a recent post. OK, elaborate isn't exactly accurate. He disagreed with my theory that the skinny people sitting around the dining room table at our holiday gatherings are all in-laws.

Without naming names, we agreed that of the 5 in-laws at the table, only two can be deemed, "skinny."
Dad said, "...2 out of 5 does not bode well with your in-law theory. Go back and update your blog! Ha ha ha."

Dad, I think you are arguing the wrong point here. For the record, "...and the skinny people are all in-laws..." has an entirely different meaning than "all the in-laws are skinny," which is what you were arguing in your emails and why you have some beef with my theory. Which isn't really a theory - it's more of an observation, but whatever.

Let's discuss further...

Let's let p represent the people who are skinny.
And let's let q represent the peole who are in-laws.

My argument that the skinny people at the table are in-laws can be logically represented in terms of p and q. What I was saying, was "if p then q." If you are skinny, then you are an in-law. Dad, unfortunately, you were arguing the CONVERSE of my statement, "If q then p." In this case, the CONVERSE of my statement would be, "If you are an in-law, you are skinny." Mathematically or logically speaking, the CONVERSE of a statement is not necessarily true. And as you argued over email, it is not true as applied to our real-life family matters. So kudos, you're point was correct, but you were not correctly analyzing my argument.

Because I'm your daughter and you love me, and because I think you need this logic refresher course, I am going to keep going. The
INVERSE of my statement, "If not p then not q," or for the skinny in-law scenario, "If you are not an in-law, then you are not skinny," also cannot be deduced to be logically true given my original statement. However you weren't arguing this point, so this is all fluff right now.

But - I do want to point out that the CONTRAPOSITIVE of my original statement,
"If not q then not p," which In this case would be, "If you are not skinny, then you are not an in-law," actually DOES have the same logical value as my original statement itself. So if you were arguing this point, you'd be wasting your time, but you'd be right.

I'm going to wrap things up, now. (If only I could find a therefore sign on my keyboard...)

Therefore, I am still right. And you are technically right, as well, but because I'm disappointed that your argument was not entirely valid, I am going to crown myself more right than you.

There is an additional lesson for you, here, though - and it's one I think you will like. You SO got your money's worth by paying Council Rock School District taxes and then agreeing to pay 3/4 of my college education at UVA. I probably could have learned this stuff at Penn State - or even Drexel - but it was more fun down in Charlottesville.

And actually, I think I get a bonus lesson in all of this, too. Because I guess in some strange way, I miss asking you to help me with my algebra and calculus homework. Hell, I think I actually miss even HAVING that homework.

So I will pine away for some night after dinner in the future, when my little 14 year old son or daughter is attempting to solve the infamous Algebra 1 word problem about how long it will take the boat to travel up the river against the current. And I will look forward being able to say, to my child's dismay nevertheless, "It would be easier if I showed you how to do this with a derivative..."


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Think Pink

Hands down, conjunctivitis is the best illness on the planet. You're super contagious so you can't go to school. And yet you feel 100% fine. Save the crustiness that tends to ooze out of the eyes.

The problem with a cold, and a chest cold nevertheless, is that it is NOT conjunctivitis. You're probably not too contagious after the first day. But for a few days, you can't really move. Or remember things. And OH, the hacking. You feel like crap. I REALLY feel like crap. And I bet I will be feeling less than great for the next week.

I didn't make it to work today, much less to the trail, gym, or yoga. I guess I have been going pretty strong lately. It's not entirely surprising that some germs got the best of me.

Still, I'm frustrated. Because even though I feel like a complete hacking blob, I am antsy to get out of the apartment to do something. I feel like I all the momentum and excitement and good healthy vibes I've been building the past month and a half are colliding into a wall. All the energy is going to dissipate and I'm not going to be able to collect it again.

That's another problem with colds - they make your outlook suck.

So, I'm going to head to bed. The latest Runner's World arrived today, which begs a question: If I miss MY training run, does reading about the training runs of others make up for it? It does today!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Short List

It was one of the top 5 days of my life. (Naturally, I keep a record of these things.)

Brunch, Booze, and Birthday Cake. A celebration of my 25th birthday.
Being a total addict for both Sunday Brunch and birthdays, (mine in particular) I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate than with an all day brunch with everyone and everything in DC that I loved. 40 friends. Mom. Dad. Brother. 4 dozen eggs, 3 rounds of pancakes, 2 dozen bagels. Many many many mimosas. And Bloody Marys. And after the brunching hour, there was beer. Beer. Beer. Beer. And wine. I can't believe that there was also wine. I actually used to know the count of bottles consumed that afternoon, but I think I've blocked it out by now.

I remember standing on the steps at SKB's house that afternoon, looking out on all the people that had come to celebrate #25 with me. I remember watching my dad tell ridiculous stories to SKB. I remember MMG and CLG hanging out with my mom. And I remember AFS taking a genuine interest in my brother; I remember my brother actually opening up to her. And to me.

I have this picture from that day. We are all standing around the table about to sing Happy Birthday. We are all laughing and smiling. This picture is how I will always remember DC. A year ago, I could not have imagined that I would be spending birthday #26 on the other side of the country. Without a single person in that picture.

My roommates want to have a combined birthday party in a couple of weeks. And I'm preparing the list of people I would like to invite. I know it's only been six months, and that I shouldn't expect to have 40 names. But I didn't expect this guest list to be SO short!

However, one of the OTHER best days of my life was February 22, 1999. My 19th Birthday. My first brithday celebration at UVA. My first birthday with the core of those 40 amazing people whom I miss so much.

So yes, it's a short list. But it's the San Francisco Short List.

Let the Countdown to #26 begin! (14 days...)

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Do you ever feel yourself being persuaded by marketing? For example, do you ever find yourself in the shampoo aisle at Walgreens deciding between Brilliant Brunette and Garnier Fructis and going with the Brilliant Brunette because you can HEAR the commercial in your head? And you're thinking, "Yes! I MUST have this because the Brilliant Brunette is SPECIFICALLY FORMULATED to ILLUMINATE my drabby brown hair."

I know, it's ridiculous. However, I've also felt myself being affected by the ambush of the newest Kaiser-Permanente ads. The company's most recent campaign promotes general health and well-being through a series of advertisements on billboards, newpapers, magazines, and commercials. "Escape the gravitational pull of the couch," is one of my favorites. As is the broccolli newspaper ad. (See 'em all...)

So you can imagine the uplifting spirit I found today, at the Kaiser-Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon. There were no ChampoinChips, nor were there clocks at the mile markers. There wasn't an expo the day before the race nor did we receive any finisher's medal. It was no frills, just do it, bare bones running. But it was nice. That's what it's all about anyway, right?

The race started in Golden Gate Park at Stowe Lake and ran East back into The Haight around the Panhandle. The first couple of miles were a little tough. My legs were feeling kind of heavy, and I was concerned I hadn't fueled properly for the distance. But the sun was shining and it was warm and I pushed through. But it was just so crowded. So on top of feeling uneasy about my legs I was also getting kind of pissed off. I'm normally nothing but supportive of all the race participants but today some of the walkers were pissing me off. MOVE OVER! There is a STAMPEDE behind you! Apparently Runners High hadn't kicked in yet.

We rounded back into the park by Mile 3, running past the Conservatory of Flowers and the DeYoung museum. The pack was finally starting to thin, and the course began to present us with some small hills. All in all, there was a nice mix of terrain, and I tried to take advantage of the downhills whenever I could. Still, at Mile 5, my legs were just not cooperating. I guess they just didn't felt like racing today. I popped open a Gu and began to feel a bit better. I ran through Mile 5 wondering if Gu REALLY works or if it's all in my head. I'm sure it's a bit of both!

Because there were no clocks at the mile markers, race volunteers lined up whenever they could to call out times to everyone. It was a nice effort, but it was kind of hard to hear them. So when I crossed Mile 6 and heard 51:30, I thought to myself, "Holy effing crap!" Maybe I didn't hear that right. How is that time possible? Here I am, feeling like I'm running through mud, with a time that translates to about an 8:30 pace. Perhaps even a little faster because I didn't cross the Start Line right away...

I figured THAT would explain why my legs weren't cooperating. So I bargained with them. I said, "Legs, i will rub copious amounts of Ben Gay on you when we get home if you'll just PRETEND to enjoy the rest of this race. We've got an hour more to go, then I'll take you home and feed you a breakfast burrito. We'll drink coffee and read The Chronicle and watch a movie. Perhaps The Incredibles or maybe even Legally Blonde. After that you can sit on the couch and watch The Superbowl. Just keep going and start to like how it feels. Just a little. Deal?"

Bribery. It always works! The Legs continued to carry me. Right-Left-Right-Left - Leap-over-the-puddle - Right-Left-Right-Left - Watch-out-for-the-person-who-feels-like-walking-without-moving-to-the-side. Before I knew it I was running into Ocean Beach and out onto The Great Highway. Grabbing water and Gatorade I began to feel invigorated. Just looking at the Pacific Ocean has such rejuvenating effects. And of course, it was nice to welcome The Legs to the course. Racing is so much easier when The Legs are just as invested as the rest of you.

Soon enough, I was approaching Mile 10 and a volunteer with a megaphone. He yelled, "85 flat!" And part of me didn't believe him. Another part of me DID believe him, though. That part wanted to give up at that point. That part thought that 8:30 pace for 10 miles seemed like good enough for the day. But we were so close. And I could see The Beach Chalet restaurant at the foot of Golden Gate Park up ahead. The Finish Line wasn't far. Only 3 more miles! 3! NOTHING! So I promised The Legs Season Two of Arrested Development on top of a movie. And true to form, the bribery again worked. We made it through the last three miles. They weren't entirely easy, nor were they very fun. Especially considering the little hill at 12.75 miles. But eventually I saw balloons. And we - Me and The Legs - gave it all that we had to make it to the Finish Line. Crossing with a smile, and feeling pretty good.

In 1:51:05 clock time. I have to type that again because I'm kind of shocked still. 1:51:05... That's 8:29 pace! And, why that's a PR!
What a great way to start the 2006 Racing Season. Bribery with The Legs and all!

And there, in the finish chute, I finally found my Runner's High. It was a little late in coming today, but better late than never. I guess you can't always find a runner's high on a run. Sometimes you find it while walking back to your car when it's over. When you figure out that you just had a PR. And you realize that you are on track to have another one in San Diego in June. And when you realize you're not as far away from qualifying for Boston as you thought you were. When you realize that ALL you have to do make it to Boston is keep that pace you ran today - that 8:29 - for another 13.1 miles. Yep, that's ALL!!!

So, I'm pretty stoked. So stoked that I'm using the word, "stoked." Again. STOKED! Dude, that's thrice. And man, I love the word, "thrice." Seriously.

Kaiser, keep those ads coming. I don't mind being influenced by your marketing schemes. In fact, i am quite liking their effects! In return, I promise to continue to "Be [My] Own Cause." And I promise to eat broccolli. I promise to be pro-antioxidant and I promise to resist the gravitational pull of my couch. And above all, I definitely promise to continue to Run. To Walk. And to THRIVE.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Just a Half

Today one of my best friends from college called. It went like this:

Him: "Hey! How's SF? What are you up to?"
Me: "Hi! Good, good. Everything's good. Right now I'm walking back to my apartment from yoga and a quick run. It's pretty gorgeous here today."
Him: "Man, it's snowing in Chicago... ...So you've been running a lot?"
Me: "Yeah, I'm racing tomorrow, so I just did a short easy run today."
Him: "A race?! How long is it?"
Me: "Oh, just a Half."
Him: "A half?"
Me: "Oh, um, a half marathon..."
Him: "Right, just wake up and run 13 miles before noon. You're an idiot."

It is not my intention to belittle the Half Marathon. I'm sure that come Mile 11 tomorrow, I am going to wish it was Mile 13.1. But I really DO feel like tomorrow is ONLY a Half Marathon.

Which is kind of cool, you know?

Now if only I could find some safety pins for my bib number...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Don't Sniff, Blow!

Today's horoscope, compliments of my Customized Google Homepage and the folks at Tarot.com:

"The previous months may have demonstrated the importance of your friends and their steady presence in your life. If, however, you're looking for new friends, now is a great time to make overtures to others in order to start creating more fellowship. Remember, being social is a conscious choice. Going out of your way to build community will be rewarded in the weeks ahead."

Do you see why I believe in this crap?

So, although I am struggling through the beginnings of a cold, I feel that it is my duty to go to this dinner party I've been invited to attend. I drank 3 16 oz glasses of Airborne today. Not to mention two cups of tea, and probably 8 more 8 oz glasses of water. My desk looked like a fraternity basement... sans cans of beer.

And I had to pee so many times today that I'm worried people in the office think I have a "habit." The sniffling and the tissues aren't making that image any better, either.

Hopefully this crap will be blown to the curb in time for Sunday's race!

For now, time to shower and consciously be social. I'm building a community tonight!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


So I'm sticking to my training program, but how is the rest of the resolve coming along?
  • 5 servings of vegetables a day: This goal is total bunk, but I continue to strive for 5. Salad, salad, salad. Morning, noon, and night. OK, not morning. But veggie omellette or veggie burrito or 5 a day ain't happening. Oh, and for the record, mushrooms and tomatoes count as vegetables.
  • Calling my brother once a week to say hello: I keep calling. And I keep asking how he's doing. I really do think that one day, this whole "conversation" thing will click for him, and he'll ask me how I'm doing. Until then, I will press on...
  • Wearing more hats: Probably the easiest one on the list. I have been crocheting a lot lately and I even made myself a couple of new hats.
  • Reading at least one book each month: I'm going to give myself some slack here. I am almost done with Blink, which for the record doesn't hold a candle to The Tipping Point. But because I'm also reading Wired magazine now, I learned that author Malcom just entered a deal to turn Blink into a movie. A movie! Are you kidding me? God, I effing HATE L.A.!
  • Running a marathon PR of 3:50: Well, the marathon hasn't happened yet, so I'm off the hook on this one for now, but I think I'm on track...
  • Cooking a new meal for dinner once a week: I have been doing a lot of Tilapia lately. I'm mildly obsessed. But I almost didn't cook this week because I really have to go to the grocery store and it's amazing how far the 3 blocks to the nearest store are. So I got creative the other night and cooked up an interesting version of chicken sausage scalopine with a side of high-fiber quesadilla. Yum.
  • Putting at least $250 into my savings account each month: Score! I opened an ING account, too, so I'm going to get some great interest rates. And I've set up my account to withdrawal the money automatically on the same day I get paid. I won't even miss it!
  • Taking the GMAT: Dolt! I haven't thought much about this one.
  • Applying to business school: Can I get a double dolt and a ditto!
  • Sending birthday cards to my friends and family: I've missed the January birthdays. Damn! I forgot all about this little resolver. Luckily there are many February and March birthdays coming up.
  • (Really... for good) Getting over the exes: HA! Was I joking? I haven't talked to them, though. This resolution would be a lot easier if I could meet someone here that I want to go on 4 dates with!
  • Exploring more of San Francisco: Check! Went to the Moma last Friday, ran across the Golden Gate on Sunday, and checked out some good restaurants, too. Dottie's for brunch in The Tenderloin and Andalu for dinner in The Mission... Never stop exploring! Never Stop Exploring!
  • Ending binge drinking habits: I think I had a total of 10 "drinks" this month. 7 of them can be attributed to the visit of EMI. I imbibed in the others last weekend.
  • Resuming taking dance classes. I believe we've been over that nonsense. But my mom just sent me my old dance bag, so I guess I'll be going back again sometime soon. I better start warming up those deep-buttock turn-out muscles, now.
  • Learning how to ski... or snow board: Damn! Not going to get to this one again. The roommies are headed to Tahoe this weekend but I have a half marathon to run. Soon soon. Soon soon.
  • Taking golf lessons: I think I reserve the right to delay this resolver until the rainy season ends.
  • Paying off my car: On track. Oh so very excited to get rid of that bill. And all of the stupid junk mail that accompanies it. BTW, I get AARP mailings because my dad's name is co-signed on the car loan. Thanks, Dad. Thanks.
  • Flossing daily: I have grown to love the floss. I am partial to Glide. Try it. It definitely hurts so good.
  • Taking vitamins each morning: 1 One-A-Day, 2 Multiminerals, 1 Viactiv Calcium Chew, 1 Fish Oil, and 1 Glucosamine Chondroiton. I need to get better about taking the Iron supplements though. You can't take them the same time you take Calcium, which is totally throwing me off.
  • Drinking less coffee and more tea: The new office has a rather impressive collection of tea. I am particularly partial to the Decaf Vanilla Chai.
  • Being on time: A very relative resolution, don't you think? I plan on continuing to adjust my frame of reference to rig this one in my favor!
  • Eating more fish: Nic + Tilapia = True Love. I think I've been eating it about 3 times a week. Fishy!
  • Eating less peanut butter straight from the jar: Actually, I take back what I said about the futility of attempting to eat 5 servings of veggies a day. Because I think I have a genetic mutation that prohibits me from using a knife to spread peanut butter on something other than my tongue before it enters my mouth. There was only one thing to do: all nut butters are banned from my apartment. For a while, anyway...
  • Taking a great vacation somewhere warm and tropical: There is still time. It would be much easier if I found a friend with a place in Cabo...
  • ______: Like I'm telling you!
  • Religiously applying anti-wrinkle cream: Yes, and no, it's not working!
  • Singing loudly and often: All the time! Especially in crowded places!
  • Laughing much: Despite the rough patches this month, I still believe I managed to get a couple of snorts in. But I have yet to pee my pants.
Quite the resolver I am...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Metamorphosis

I didn't make it home tonight until after 9PM. Sweaty but satisfied with my efforts on the treadmill (30 minutes of easy running) and at Bikram (90 minutes of difficult asanas - I wasn't very balanced this evening), I am content and proud of the evening's accomplishments. And as I walked home, I reflected a bit on the first month of 2006.

Miles Run: 120
Miles Walked: 144
Miles Elipticaled: 3
Hours Spun: 4
Hours Bikram: 9

I have made it either to the gym, to yoga, or to the trails every day this past month. My jeans are a little looser, my legs firmer, my arms more cut. My butt amazingly tighter although very much still a classic round Italian. I can run for hours without getting winded. And my tempo pace is comfortably at 8:30. I can get through Bikram classes without feeling sick and dizzy. I still don't like broccoli but I am trying to eat it. An I once came home from a bar (where I only drank water) and made myself peppers and hummus for a midnight snack.

Had I not caught myself (longingly) staring into a McDonald's while waiting for the bus tonight (no need to scale the Sacramento Street mountain after 2 hours of exercise, at night, in the dark, by myself...) I would have thought I'd metamorphosised into LGA.

I do some pretty good thinking at bus stops and tonight I realized that I haven't eaten any fast food in the entire state of California save one cheeseburger and half an order of french fries at In N Out. And that was in August. In Los Angeles. And In N Out is technically healthy Cali style fast food, so I don't even know if it counts as a true fast food indulgence. I have been so good the past month I am a little shocked. Not to mention slightly grossed out at myself. I can't stand those girls who go to the gym every day and eat salad for every meal and holy shit I am one of them. I didn't even have a bite of cake yesterday at work for KR's birthday. Not even a bite! What the hell happened to me?

I guess what happened is that I realized how serious this shit is. Not just the numbers on the scale, but the overall importance of being healthy. My family isn’t necessarily blessed with good health genes. Gather the extended family around the dining room table at Christmas and the skinny people are all in-laws. My brother takes medicine for high blood pressure. My mother takes medication to manage osteopina, the early signs of osteoporosis. She also takes medication to manage high cholesterol. My grandfather had Type II Diabetes and suffered from various other heart problems. And my mother was just diagnosed with some strange heart issue, too. I thought my dad had high blood pressure for a while, but he said he didn’t.

So this isn’t just a diet. And it’s not just an exercise kick. It’s a commitment to being healthy. For the long term. Hell, forever.

And so far, I feel really good. I am going to PR my next marathon without a doubt. I am going to be excited to get a physical next month and see that my cholesterol is still low. I want to be the first person in my family who doesn't have to take medication to manage osteopina or high blood pressure or heart problems or Type II Diabetes.

Bring it, February. Bring it.