Moe, for better or worse

This blog used to be called "one year in the life of a short fat runner"; then it was called "Am I a runner? you decide." I've decided running isn't the thing I need to talk about'll come up for sure, but it's just one part of me, so I think I'll just call this blog: Moe, for better or worse.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a first...and then some

I registered with my team today for Reach the Beach.

Age * [40] (Race Day)


I just read a fellow Kickster's Runner of the Day thread and in it he talks about how his advancing years makes his quest for improvement more urgent. I am older than he is and certainly I don't have the talent or motivation he has with regards to running. I will never qualify for Boston (I don't even intend to run a marathon) and I will never see a 6 min mile.

Can I still see improvement though? And is speed the only improvement? As I train to run longer distances and learn to push myself more, I am always amazed at what becomes easier and what becomes harder.

It is easier to get out there and go when I know I can get through at least a couple of miles without too much anguish. It's easier because I know I will feel accomplished when I'm done. It's easier knowing I have friends who support me and people who are proud of me despite my slow times and poor performance.

It's harder now to slow down. I am not even remotely speedy...but my legs pick up time and again and I need to be careful, because I need to cover the distance...not run fast. It is harder to stay positive and not criticize myself for my lack of speed or progress or for walking during a run. It is harder somedays to go because I am tired and weary and my legs are fatigued.

But I go. And I run. I haven't missed a run in something like 4 weeks. My runs are long run is barely a recovery run for my marathoning friends, and my weekly mileage is still less than 15 miles. (That changes next week.) I still struggle on my runs and want to give up sometimes. I am terrified RTB is going to be an exercise in frustration when it's supposed to be fun. I'm particularly worried that I will just fail...that I won't be able to run at all.

But I know I'm making progress and I haven't felt this good about running...ever.

My coach told me the other day, "your excitement and happiness is more than enough payment for me to do what little I really do. You're the runner, I just make suggestions...."

Maybe he's right. After nearly 4 years, maybe I AM a runner...and that makes me happy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

39 and 364 days old

I will be 40 tomorrow.

As one of my friends pointed out to me...I won't be any different tomorrow than I am today. Nothing will change overnight. (He wasn't quite so gracious in his delivery, but his heart was in the right place.)

Still, 40's a big milestone.

40. The start of my 5th decade. (That was the ungracious way my friend explained it to me.)

40. I will be in the Master's group now when I run. My next race will be in a different age group (this is a first for me, since I've only been running for 4 years or so).

40. Mammograms will become a necessity not a suggestion.

40. Old enough to have kids in college...people will wonder whose mom I am, no longer which college I attend.

40. The age you thought of as old when you were a kid. Or 25.

I have a lot of reasons to fear 40, more than many, I suppose. 26 years ago I'd just finished my cancer treatment. I have the scars (physical and emotional) to prove it. I was unable to have children, as the chemo kept me alive but damaged me too. I desperately fear cancer is again in my future and imagine that my time is more limited than most. I don't talk about getting to old age, because I fear I won't.

And yes, I know I shouldn't think this way, and yes, I know I can't predict the future and yes, I know I'm healthy and I exercise and eat fairly well and I'm doing the things I should...but it's just hard.

So bear with me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Midnight and other madness

DH and I just got back from a great weekend in So Jersey/Philly. We went down by train last Friday night, all the way to Philly where my dear friend Lori's DH retrieved us. We planned this weekend visiting around a race called the Midnight Madness, part of a 24 hour relay/endurance event. Our race would consist of one, 8.4 mile loop along the Schuylkill River, starting at midnight. Illumination was a must and most illuminated would get a prize. (Lori, with a crazy pair of LED specs, won! A Nike sport watch!) The race was the impetus to get us there...but visiting with Lori, and meeting her new little one, plus meeting up with a bunch of my dear friends from my running community was the real reason to go.

The race itself was...interesting. 80+ F and 80+ humidity at midnight made for hot, belabored, uncomfortable running (so hot, I eventually stripped off my reflector vest and ran in just a sports bra and shorts...if it hadn't been dark that never would have happened, let me assure you). I was as close as I've ever been to throwing up during the entire run. So close, I had to stop moving all together to ride out the nausea. We ran slowly and walked parts, but finished running and smiling.

Overall it was a great race...but more importantly I got to spend time with some of my favorite people enjoying what we do, sharing stories and aches and pains and laughs doing something a little mad and very very fun. It might have been weird and wacky and even sorta dumb ("you're gonna run Fairmont Park at midnight? do you have police protection??") but it's the kind of adventure every adult needs to remind them that life is about doing what you love and spending time with those you love.

Even if you have to feeling pukey while doing it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

a wink and a smile

Random thought in my head today.

A wink is like every happy thought, every hug and smile and kind word and gentle touch; like laughter, and fresh peaches and ice cream and cupcakes and fluffy white clouds all wrapped up in a single tiny gesture.

even if it's someone you don't know well, a wink sets your heart aflutter...and when it's someone you love, even more so.

Next time you're across a room from someone you like or love or want to...wink at them. Set their heart aflutter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

well, it was a nice view while it lasted...

I've posted once or twice about my job and that I'm struggling with the responsibilities of it. I made a major decision today and talked to my boss. Once things become official, I will post the outcome, but suffice to say, I am relieved.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

And so it begins...

serious training, that is.

I am running in a very big relay in September. Reach the Beach...200 miles from Cannon Mt, to Hampton Beach, NH. I will be running 12-13 miles over the course of 30 hours or so; I am tasked with 3 legs of approximately 4 miles each.

My coach sent me my training schedule today. He told me it's conservative. I actually agree. I wonder if I'll think that in 4 weeks time? We shall see. At any rate, here it is...

There was some discussion about getting me up to 25 miles a week...but at the moment, I max out at 18.5. I need see if I can work this schedule into a half marathon training for October...taht might boost my mileage up. But I'll let my coach determine that. He's been a GREAT help to me and seems to understand how and why I run. I don't know if I could do it without him. Thanks Glenn.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

NoiseTrade Widget--free music...legally

My buddy Bleu just put an new release up on this site, with a project called The Major Labels. You can pay as much as you want for the download...there's some other stuff on here as well...and more to come. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

a little relief...

I don't talk about work much here. For some good reasons, not the least of which is too many people forget that their blogs are public (unless password protected--anyone ever encountered one? no? my point exactly) and no good can come from saying too much about work in a public forum.

However, I will freely admit that I am struggling some at work. I was promoted very shortly after I started working here and I will acknowledge that I need some guidance and training around being a manager in a very corporate setting. I've managed information departments in the past...but that experience hasn't quite prepared me for the expectations of my current position.

I attended two training sessions today, open to all managers and supervisors; most attended at least one. Both were quite good. I also met with our executive trainer today. She was most wholeheartedly helpful...and has offered her assistance and guidance to me in individual face to face meetings once a week.

That was a huge relief to me. I don't have to go this alone and I have someone to help me figure out how to do what needs to be done.

I'm not willing to give up this position yet (although it is a can be my choice to do so), but I need all the help I can get!

I sighed a sigh of relief when I left the trainer's office today knowing I wasn't going to have to struggle so much, at least on my own.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

About running

Some of you have noticed...and commented on the address of my blog. "Short Fat Runner". Ok, so that was the title of this blog when I first started it...I've changed it but since a number of people have it linked, I've left the addy. As a few have pointed out, I'm not that short or fat, and it's this kind of defeatist attitude which makes me rarely call myself a runner.

Things have changed a lot for me lately with regards to running. I'm still very slow, and no matter who tells me it doesn't matter, it's about getting out there and doing it, the fact is I am truly and interminably slow. No middle of the pack for this girl. Does it matter? When, maybe, maybe not. Would I like to be faster? Yes, desperately, if only so my friends don't have to wait around for long periods of time post race for me.

However, running has gotten easier lately. I've had many more good runs than bad lately...and the bad ones have been so spectactularly awful, they can only be chalked up to many elements fighting against, certainly more than just my head failing me. I've been consistent lately, getting in my runs when I'm supposed to and getting in longer and longer distances. I've pushed myself to run faster on shorter runs, and seen results. I've actually started to think of myself as, and think like, a runner.

This holiday weekend, I challenged myself with 2 races. One a longer race for me, 4.25 miles on July 4th and the other, today, a 5K. I had different goals for each. I wanted to get through the 4.25 miles without falling apart. That was about it. I thought if I could finish in less than 12 min miles, I was doing great. If I could do it without walking...that would be a triumph.

I managed all three. I struggled a bit around 3.5 miles, but at the moment I thought for sure I would walk, a song that reminds me of a supportive friend came on my IPod and I knew he was thinking about me and I could keep running.

I was very proud of myself, even if my husband and my friends' families had to wait in the rain for a long long time for me to finish.

Today I ran a 5K. My dear friend and coach told me to "run fast". I knew what he meant and I knew I should have been capable of running a PR today judging by my best time (slooooow, 36:55) and how I've been running. I ran with my fellow Slowmen who promised to stick with me step for step. was not a good day. It was hot. It was humid. I was still tired even after a good night's sleep and my legs were still weary from Friday's race. We started running...Victoria set our pace and in other circumstances, it would have been quite reasonable. But within the first mile, I was nauseous. And my legs just weren't having it. We probably got through the first mile--about 11 mins (there were no mile marks on the race course itself, just some ones we found later on the actual path)...and I started walking. Chris is an enthusiastic and encouraging running buddy, and he started picking out points to run to. "We're running to the third light pole!" "To the green sign! Not the tree! the sign!" He made up songs about running to keep me going. I ran fast when I fast that even with walking we somehow managed to run the one marked mile in just under 10 mins. The last mile was difficult but we made it...and when we saw the finish, I glanced at my watch. I knew I had a PR in the bag...even my extra goal of a sub 35 min 5K. I looked at the official clock...and sprinted in.


2:18 less than my previous best.

Running is getting better. I am getting better at it.

It's about damn time.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Anyone need a sandwich?

I love sandwiches. I just do. I'd rather eat a sandwich for breakfast than pancakes or waffles or eggs...esp eggs. I put lots of things on sandwiches, things that maybe seem weird but end up delicious. A recent dinner sandwich was grilled linguica with sauteed broccolini on lovely boule from Fornax. What more could you want? ok, maybe a beer or a nice glass of red, but still, that was a great sandwich!

Summer's here, which means fresh tomato with salt and pepper and mayo. Heaven on a slice of white.

A good sandwich is a balance of bread, meat, cheese, veg and condiments. Too much of anything and it throws the whole thing off.

The biggest mistake made in commercial sandwiches is the bread. Too dense too heavy too thick...just too MUCH. Good bread is essential, but it's still just a vehicle the the fillings.

I like a lot of veggies and a medium amount of meat, if any. I like only a little cheese and often take off some if it's overwhelming the other parts. You can never have too much avocado or lettuce, esp if you're using mixed greens, but they need to stay on the bread...if they're falling out...well, then maybe you can have too much of both. Tomatoes, peppers, cukes, sprouts, asparagus, green beans, all welcome in my sandwich makings list....

Sandwiches are comfort food of the highest order in so many incarnations for me. After spending a summer in Spain in high school, I craved a grilled cheese sandwich made with American much as I loved Spain, that sandwich was home...and I was homesick.

Some sandwiches aren't on bread necessarily, but other starchy foods, like tortillas. I made refried black bean quesadillas for supper one night recently that were divine. Simple, straightforward, easy...but oh so good.

I have a favorite lunch time treat...a visit to the Falafel King. He recently moved shops and I had to go find him in his new location...I probably spent as much on gas as I did on the giant falafel sandwich I bought ($3.99, loaded with delicious falafel, tahini sauce, lettuce, tomato and some sort of middle eastern pickles that I love and need to find, on beautiful fresh pita bread); the King knows me now, and always hands me a falafel over the counter dipped in hummus for me to nibble on while he makes my sandwich.

Among us runners (yes, people, I'm calling myself a runner now...get over it), we often joke that someone who is too thin, should eat a sandwich. Honestly, I think the world would be a better place if we all just sat down and ate sandwiches together. It's something we all have in common and we could try to learn from each other, if only by tasting what each of us likes or thinks is good. There's no religion, or politics, or anger, or hate in a's just a bunch of ingredients, layered together in a way that's tasty, filling, satisfying and makes you happy. Sorta makes you think that it would be a good analogy for a nice place to be, huh?

Today's lunch was turkey on multigrain ("oaty-wheaty bread") with avocado, baby greens and mayo. It was pretty darn perfect. :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

um yeah...

I'd like everyone to give me a break.

That would be really great if you could do that.

Because I really can't deal with any more stuff right now and I don't want to lose my job or my friends or my health over it.

Much appreciated. Thanks.