Thursday, February 25, 2010
The last few days have been more difficult than I expected, to say the least.
I tweaked my knee while carrying a box, so even though I now officially live next to the track, I haven't yet been able to run on it. Instead, I get to stare out my window and watch other runners do their speedwork while I eat another serving of Wendy's fries/cold pizza/leftover Thai food because we are not at the point where we are actually cooking in our new kitchen. I feel a like a tire is slowly ballooning around my waist. Also, my lungs are unhappy because moving has resulted in the raising of dust, which in turn has caused asthma attack after asthma attack. Fun!
In addition, the cats have made it extremely clear they feel moving is the worst thing ever, therefore I must be punished because I brought this nightmare upon them. I literally have a scratch on my face (the result of putting Mari in the cat carrier) and had to throw out my bathrobe because someone apparently peed on it. (By the way, the photo is of Mari encountering our landlord's dog. I will probably be punished for this also at some point -- I expect a hairball in my shoe or perhaps a late night/early morning yowling session.)
And then there is the sheer horror of unpacking -- that moment when you open a box and receive the surprise of your life. Ex-boyfriend photos and hideous impulse buys are one thing. But my box of newspaper clips took this to a whole new level. When I opened the box, I discovered a rat had moved in at some point, shredded all of the newspaper, dragged two of Todd's socks in to make a more cushioned nest and then shit, pissed and possibly had a million babies all over the whole thing. (Um, cats? Hello? What the hell were you doing when this was happening?)
On top of all this, there is work -- the normal, every-day stuff that continues, despite the stress that is happening at home. (Or in between homes, in this case.) I think I spent this entire week in meetings.
So I am tired now. And in need of a very long run. And a massage. And a homecooked meal. And a whole lot of sleep.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Note to self: In the future, do not attempt to relocate at the same time you are scheduled to work at a major wine event.
As much as I love Premiere (a.k.a. where wine and media and buyers and extreme indulgence collide), it is intense and requires a lot of time and energy -- two things I am running low on because of the move. I had to be in St. Helena this morning at 7:30 (which meant leaving the house at 6:30) to uncork bottle after bottle of Chardonnay and Cabernet for a trade tasting. (My hand is bruised. I'm not sure how this happened, but it happened.) And of course, since no one wants to show flawed wine, I had to taste quite a few of those bottles to make sure none of them had TCA.
I know tasting wine first thing in the morning sounds awesome, but honestly, when I got to that 12th bottle of Chardonnay, I really just wanted a cup of tea and a doughnut.
Also, I was more worried about packing boxes and tomorrow's pending downpour than cork taint. (I hope this doesn't make me a bad person.)
Tomorrow is when we will be hauling the furniture over to the new place. Unfortunately, I won't be able to help until later because I'll be back in St. Helena for the big barrel tasting. (Yes, that's right -- super-young Napa Valley Cabernet at 9 a.m. Purple teeth, here I come.) Tons of media from across the country go to this event, so I can't miss it. Which means Todd will have to enlist some friends to carry the couch.
Still, despite all of the running around/stressing out/over-committing that is taking place, I did manage to indulge. (Duh. It's Premiere.) Laura and I had lunch at the brand-spanking-new Farmstead today, and I ate pretty much an entire order of potted pig all by myself.
I'm sure you are wondering what, exactly, potted pig is. See that little glass jar in the photo? It's full of pork confit topped with a layer of solid fat. (I bet you thought it was a candle. Surprise, surprise -- it's fat. Yes, I said the "F word.") You spread that artery-clogging goodness on a slice of toasted baguette and top it with a dab of Farmstead-made mustard and then giggle as your insides are tickled.
If I have a heart attack later, I will not be surprised.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Just finished an amazing meal of white truffles that our mushroom expert friend brought back from a recent foray in Oregon. We cooked up some pappardelle with an Asiago cream sauce and then topped it with shaved truffles right before serving. Seriously: The perfect way to end the long weekend.
And what a weekend it's been. We've been moving stuff into the new house throughout the past few days -- any time there's a spare second, we're shuttling over boxes and clothing and whatever we can shove into our cars. And we've been trying to get rid of all the things we can't take with us -- had a garage sale Saturday, which overlapped a raid-the-wine collection party. (My memory gets fuzzy here -- I seem to recall telling those last few garage sale shoppers to make me an offer because "I am drinking and cannot bargain.")
Then yesterday was Valentine's Day, and I volunteered to work at the wine bar because I hate the damn holiday so much and figured I'd rather make some money than spend it on contrived Hallmark sentiments. Luckily for me, most of the world succumbs to said sentiments, and I ended up bringing in quite a bit of cash last night. Never thought I'd say this, but hooray for gender roles and feeling unnaturally pressured to order Champagne and dessert "just because."
Sunday, February 07, 2010
I could beat myself up over the fact that a person dressed in a furry unicorn suit is faster than I am.
Also, two of my co-workers -- who have never run a half marathon before and claimed to have undertrained -- outran me by two minutes.
But today's race wasn't about all of that. Like I said, my goal was to have fun, and that's exactly what I did. It was a gorgeous day in my favorite city, I ran stronger than I had expected and it really was pretty cool to compare this year's race experience to last year's. I ran a 2:09:48 this morning vs. 2:23:03 a year ago. Not a PR, but still huge!
And things were clicking -- all the little changes I've been trying to make in my running are finally starting to take effect. The hills feel different -- I've learned how to lean into them (thank you, ChiRunning) that it's like gravity is pulling my body up (which is an oxymoron, but I don't know how else to describe the sensation), instead of my legs doing all the work. And all the time I've spent on cadence and turnover showed today too -- the stretch on the Great Highway is still my least favorite part of the race (basically, it's a mindfuck where people start bonking, you get blasted by wind and sun, and the terrain is flat and boring yet peppered with potholes), but I pulled through just by keeping a rhythm going.
And I was in a better place mentally too -- it was much easier to block out other runners' conversations and not feel get down on myself if someone passed me. I also didn't dwell on little aches -- no "my hamstring hurts slightly therefore I should give up." Instead, I focused on the sheer joy of being out there. (Although I do have to say that I really thought about quitting after Mile 9, when paramedics were surrounding a pretty fit-looking runner who had passed out facedown on the left side of the road, while on the right side, some guy was barfing. I was so simultaneously freaked out and grossed out that I wanted to run off the course and as far away as possible instead of continuing on. But I hung in there.)
Overall, I am happy. True, if I had trained harder, I probably could have PR'd. But this was a good effort and a fun morning. And now I am looking forward to a little downtime before the next event.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
Race day is just about 12 hours away. My bib number is pinned on, the timing chip is on my shoe and I'm presently digesting a meal of angel hair pasta.
My goal for tomorrow: To enjoy every second. Because it feels damn good to run.
Hard to believe it's been a year since my first race. Who would've thought I'd keep coming back for more?
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
The starting line is less than four days away, but for some reason, I just can't focus. True, I've been running and have had some amazing breakthroughs in recent weeks (unbelievable tempo run last week), but I haven't stuck to my training program and haven't completed the mileage and speed workouts I had originally planned in preparation for Sunday's race.
Take today, for example. I set out on what I hoped would be a 5-mile lunchtime run, but my workout turned into a 5K. The reason?
This damn mushroom.
I ran past a whole bunch of them and got excited because I thought they might be morels, so I cut my mileage short, doubled back and started picking mushrooms. You should've seen the check-in desk guy at the gym when I came back from my run carrying a big, black, dog-poop-looking mushroom: "So, um, what do you have there?"
(I actually now think the mushrooms are black elfin saddles, which are still edible, though not as good as morels. But don't worry -- nothing will be consumed until I hear back from our mushroom expert friend. No death by mushroom here, thank you very much!)
Anyway, I have a feeling the Kaiser Half is going to be a test to see exactly how well I can race with just the minimum amount of training. This is definitely going to be interesting.