Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wine Online?

While checking the woot today, for the first time in awhile, I discovered that not only is there a wine woot, there is a t-shirt woot. Genius.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I Am A Runner

I came across this article by by John Bingham in Runner's World, and I really like its descriptions of a runner. Incidentally, I decided in May that I would run 300 miles by Halloween. I never publicly declared it, but I may have mentioned it to Eric while he was figuring out the shaky math for his goal. This Labor day, I accomplished that goal.

I just really like having turned into a runner. I've never been able to describe myself as any kind of athlete before. I love going out for a run, and watching all the cross country teams practicing, and thinking, "I'm like them!" I love signing up for a race, and lining up at the starting line with all the other runners, knowing that my name will be on the list of finishers. I love talking about running. I love knowing that I have muscles that I never dreamed of having. I love eating like it's going out of style. I love the nervous energy I have after a day of rest. I love getting up at 6am on a Saturday, when the sun hasn't risen yet, and running until it's hot out. I love sharing the bike path with bikers and dog walkers and joggers and other runners, all of whom say "Good morning" and "Great day, huh?" I love running hard on hills. I love hitting a PR on mile 10. I love encouraging new runners, and looking up to seasoned veteran racers. I love knowing that if I've had a bad day, I can go out for a long, hard run, and by the time I get home, I've forgotten all about the stress. I just love this new sport of mine, and hope I can keep running when I'm 60.

I AM A RUNNER because my runs have names. I do tempo runs and threshold runs and fartlek runs. I do long, slow runs and track workouts. My runs are defined, even if my abs are not.

because my shoes are training equipment, not a fashion statement. The best shoe for me is the one that makes me a better runner. I choose the shoe that goes with my running mechanics, not my running outfit.

I AM A RUNNER because I know what effort feels like, and I embrace it. I know when I'm pushing the limits of my comfort and why I'm doing it. I know that heavy breathing and an accelerated heart rate--things I once avoided--are necessary if I want to be a better runner.

I AM A RUNNER because I value and respect my body. It will whisper to me when I've done too much. And if I choose to listen to that whisper, my body won't have to scream in pain later on.

I AM A RUNNER because I am willing to lay it all on the line. I know that every finish line has the potential to lift my spirits to new highs or devastate me, yet I line up anyway.

I AM A RUNNER because I know that despite my best efforts, I will always want more from myself. I will always want to know my limits so that I can exceed them.

I AM A RUNNER because I say I am. And no one can tell me I'm not.

Two Pleasant Dealings with a Wireless Company

What I'm about to say here may seem a bit strange, so brace yourself. This week, I found it necessary to enter into the Sprint retail store not once, but TWO times and request assistance. Both times, I was given courtesy above and beyond what I expected, even beyond that which is common. I would even go so far as to say that the Sprint representatives were - gasp, choke - kind.

Trip One: My flip phone broke in two pieces when I dropped it for the kabillionth time. I'm lucky my computer is too big to carry around much, or I wouldn't have that for very long, either, the way I drop things. So I went in to inquire about getting a new plan before my contract was up. Not going to happen, but only because my parents are still on my family plan, which ends on October 19. In the meantime, my new friend Miguel found me a hands free set that I could plug into my somehow-still-functioning phone, so that I could make calls, until I found a better option.

Trip Two: I acquired a temporary replacement phone, and went back to the store to activate it, which is supposed to cost $36. Service with a smile to activate new phone, and transfer numbers - free. I left happy.

Probably still sticking with Sprint, especially knowing that my service issues were likely due to my crummy old phone. Try talking to me on my replacement phone. I trust that you'll actually be able to hear me now! All it takes is a few good customer service experiences, and you're a changed person.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oh, Google, How I Love Thee

There's no more satisfying use of a morning, in my opinion, than clearing out my Gmail inbox. I hadn't archived or sorted in weeks, and there were about 75 messages in there. Now it's empty. Everything filed away, nice and neat, just the way I like it. Now I can go to work happy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Giving Up Is For Quitters

On July 22, I decided to give up caffeine, cold turkey, only after a long road trip (for safety's sake, of course). Lots of reasons - I'm already a rather hyper and anxious person, and the juice only aggravated these symptoms. On top of that, it dehydrates, and I'm on an unending quest to stay well hydrated. Why drink all the water I do if I'm only gig to counter the effects? There's also the argument that caffeine is a drug, and I want to keep my body wholesome and free of mind altering impurities, but some might argue that one. Mainly, I wanted to prove that I didn't need the stuff. I could enjoy a coffee date and be creative, by ordering herbal tea or decaf drinks. I can drink water when everyone else is drinking soda. I didn't need to need it.

Well, I proved my point. Today I broke the caffeine embargo. I had a few extra minutes before work and decided to get a cup of coffee from the Willow Creek up the street, and after searching high and low for the decaf carafe, went with the Organic fair Trade Blend. It was fantastic, and definitely counteracted the effects of very little sleep the night before. I had energy all morning, and into the afternoon, and my mind had so many thoughts I could hardly contain them all. I had eaten a fairly substantial breakfast, so I avoided my typical coffee jitters, though I did need a few more bathroom breaks than my usual one per day. I also ran a bit longer than my usual mid week run, though whether to attribute that to the buzz or stress is still up in the air.

The verdict: Coffee may not be the devil's brew after all. I sure don't want to become dependent on it, or even make it any sort of habit. When I'm tired, I want to take a nap, or go to bed. I'll probably stick to decaf or half-caf most of the time. But once in awhile, when I'm in the right situation, I think caffeine can be a wonderful thing.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I Did It - The Taste Of Achievement

One year ago, I began jogging one mile a day, if that. It was hard. But I did it.

Two months ago, I made a bold proclamation to all the blogging world that I would train for and run a half marathon. It was hard. But last Sunday, I did it. I won't lie, there were a few times over the course of my training that I thought about giving up, or doubted that I would be ready to race this huge event. But the feeling I had crossing the starting line with a thousand other runners made me feel like I was part of something so huge, it was amazing. Crossing the finish line with five of my greatest friends screaming and cheering me on was pretty great, too.

Items of interest -
  • My Pace: I decided to block out the race into 4/7/3 mile increments, building up my speed and music intensity at each milestone. This worked out well, because while those who raced ahead at the start began to lag behind, I was just getting a burst of energy.
  • My Tunes: Of course, I coordinated my play list specifically to this game plan. This took awhile to select the exact songs I would like to listen to for 2.5 hours, give or take, but it was well worth it.
  • The Course: Perfectly hilly, not nearly as bad as I had expected. I actually did most of my passing on hills, strangely enough.
  • Gatorade: I never appreciated that stuff as much as I did last Sunday. When you're not quite sure when your next hydration point will be, you use that stop to its fullest. Some of the water stops were even fully stocked with energy gels, and oranges and stuff, which was crazy. I felt so taken care of!
  • The Necessities: Next time, I will wait until the second bathroom stop. I added 4 minutes to my total time by waiting in line for the port a potty. But I had to go, and I didn't know when the next one would be. I was annoyed by the men standing in line, however. Come on, guys, you don't need a little box!
Overall, I had a great time with this event. I'm not quite sure where my training will take me now that it's over, or what my new goal will be. I do need a goal, though.

And in case anyone's interested, I placed 516 out of 642 entrants. Check it out.