One More Race On Tap & Cheers to the Weekend!

 Today I decided to officially sign up for the Carlsbad race.  At first I was going to be a spectator but after being caught up in the energy of the whole experience in Sedona between hanging out with other runners, to the award’s ceremony, I knew that it would be so much more fun to participate.  They do get expensive after a while so I’ve had to pace myself (no pun intended) on registrations.  My closet is also getting filled up with t-shirts!

Athletica has also filled me in on the best places to grab a post-race beer.  As a desert dweller I also get the added bonus of seeing the ocean.  Can’t wait for that!

Thank goodness it’s Friday!  Between some late nights this week with a meeting with my women’s group, to church stuff because of Ash Wednesday, and then attempting to get my taxes done again last night (the first time they ran out of time and last night the Internet was down) I am ready for bed!  Then of course the workouts at 5am and getting used to a new eating plan are somewhat wearing me out.  Next week should be a calmer week and I look forward to hitting the hay at a decent hour.

Do I look 68 to you?

For Lent I decided to give up Facebook.  This has already proven to be hard because I’m somewhat of a social creature by nature.  My best friend texted me yesterday that she caught me on it already.  I actually hadn’t been on it but I guess it showed me as on.  Not sure what was up with that.  It’s going to be a long 40 days!  Regardless, maybe this will actually be encouragement to pick up the phone and call someone instead of Facebook. 

My cousin, who I thought had long left for Afghanistan, saw my post and texted me asking why I was giving this up.  It turns out he is still in the states for a few more weeks.  He will be shipping out shortly though.  I said that hopefully the time will go by quick and he’ll be back before he knows it.  His response: “Hopefully. . .lol. But we never count on hopefullies.”  I found it a bit chilling but real.  I don’t have the best feeling about his being away.  Its something I can’t place my finger on but I really hope this just stems from my own worry and nothing substantial.

Tomorrow I will begin the day with another work out.  This time I can sleep in a bit as it doesn’t start until 8am.  My endurance must be improving because I no longer feel like I’m going to hurl at the end.  After this I scheduled a day of beauty and will get my hair cut and colored.  My eyebrows also need to be waxed.  I’m looking forward to this. 

Well, here’s to a great weekend! 

 

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More Tales from The Gym (& a Mysterious Scale)

So last Friday I arrived at the gym at 5am to see that neither Athletica or Brian (the trainer)’s wife were there.  I was the sole candidate for early morning torture and Brian let me know I was in for it.  Where the heck was Athletica, I’m thinking.  I pictured her sound asleep in her warm bed, with her little chihuahua dog curled up next to her.  I was tempted to call her, laugh maniacally, and then hang up.  That will teach her to leave me on a killer solo workout. 

I will be honest.  This has been quite far the toughest workout I have ever done.  Slowly though, I’m starting to see some small changes, mainly in my arms.  Of course no one is exactly asking me for directions to the gun show yet but hey, that’s not why I’m doing this.  I am sore.  Each day something different hurts but it is a good kind of sore.  The other night I had no difficulty opening a jar of olives without the former other half’s help (now about that parallel parking thing. . .just kidding.  I grew up in a city so its second nature).

Just to give an idea of some of the exercises, one of the sets involves flipping a tractor tire up and back the length of the gym.  Here is a picture that shows the tractor with said tire.  It is the bigger tire, and man was that hard!

 The true test will be how my endurance is for running.  There is a run coming up on 3/10 that I’ve started training for.  It looks like my trainer is going as well.  Athletica and a few other people from the gym are doing that one race, too.  Monday morning we did lunges, squats and push ups (no girl push ups allowed, ugh).  In between we sprinted on the treadmill for 2 minute intervals.  The cool thing about all this is that I know I would never have pushed myself as hard as Brian pushes us.  When I looked down at the treadmill speed and realized how fast I was actually running I thought, wow, I can do this.  I can really do this! 

Running really is mind over matter at times.  I think that sometimes in a race I will stop myself and just start to walk when I know I could really be running. 

Brian has this special scale he uses which measures body fat, bone density and dehydration.  You basically stand on it like any other scale and then you hold onto these two handles that come up out of the scale.  This was rather an interesting tool.  Here I am thinking I am in such good shape and then I got a harsh dose of reality.  Although I’ve lost 45 lbs in the past couple of years, the scale showed my body fat being much higher than I thought.  My body also thinks it’s 68 years old (I’m 43).  Hmm.  I wondered how accurate it was.  Athletica stepped on and although she is in her mid-50s, her body shows as being that of a 28-year-old (hence why I call her Athletica).  So…I guess I have some work to still do.  At least my bone density is good and I’m not showing a lot of fat around my organs, which is important.  I can only imagine what the scale would have said if I were still 45lbs heavier.  Yikes!

The scale here is similar to the one Brian uses but the handles are on the sides.

 

In addition to this new workout regime, I started a new eating plan that was provided with the gym membership.  It is sooo much food!  Yesterday was the first day and I wondered to myself if this was correct.  My boss is a fitness guru so I asked him about it today and he said that sounded about right.  There are five meals a day which contain carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Certain fruits and veggies are counted as carbohydrates, as well as some dairy, too.  This is all very interesting.  I’ll be curious to see what the results will  yield. 

 

Statehood Day, Valentines and Some Other Things

Arizona Statehood Day

Happy Anniversary to the state of Arizona which celebrated 100 years of statehood yesterday.

 The red and gold of the flag are to commemorate Coronado’s expedition of the Seven Cities of Cibola in 1540.  It also represents the western setting sun.  There are 13 which represent the 13 states that first entered the Union.  The star represents copper, as copper is widely mined still throughout Arizona. 

The blue matches the blue in the American flag. 

Pretty cool, huh?

 

4am comes very quickly!

This morning was the first day of the early morning workouts.  I was in bed early last night where my eyes were shutting somewhere between watching Sheldon and Raj from The Big Bang Theory duke it out with nerf guns while blaring Indian music, and a cheezy make-out scene on Glee.  I was up and out early and headed up to the gym.  Athletica was already there.  It is by far one of the toughest workouts.  My arms felt like they were going to fall off, literally!  However, I’m happy to be there and look forward to having a much stronger body.  My nausea seems to have returned.  This has been tough because I of course have to eat to keep up with these workouts.  Sometimes I can’t even get the toothbrush in my mouth without gagging.  I’ll be happy when this passes.  In the meantime I will ride this out and keep pressing forward.  It can’t last forever.

Valentine’s Day

Last night the ex came over as he had a bit of news to share.  I was civil to him and was semi-surprised to see that he had arrived with a bouquet of copper-colored roses (in honor of the AZ statehood maybe?), a card and a pizza.  I of course hadn’t thought of getting him anything.  We sat at the table and out of habit I grabbed a dinner plate and served him the pizza.  I sat across from him.  His news was that he is moving to N. Dakota for work.  Oddly enough I was devoid of emotion at the news.  We made small talk for a while.  I finally got up to place the roses in some water and then read the card.  He has never been of the sentimental variety so I read the note inside and tried not to cry in front of him.  I thought about it later on while watching tv that maybe he loved as much as he is capable of loving.  That is just it.  End of story.  That was his best.  I don’t know. 

Monday night was rather interesting.  DGF changed his status on Facebook to make it look like he was single.  Let’s just say Miss Unaware is now Miss Aware and was not happy about the news.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this was done for my benefit.  He texted me that evening.  My grandmother used to have a saying in Spanish that was a long the lines of  ‘you’ve made your bed, now lie in it’.   That would have been quite fitting if I could’ve remembered what it was.   Despite my vow to never speak to him, I ended up texting him back to never contact me again.  Lament to someone else.  I’m quite certain a Happy Valentine’s Day was had by all involved.  Idiot.  This will be my last mention of him going forward.  I have enough drama going on in my life without having him adding to it.  He’s played upon my sympathies long enough.

A client came in today and handed me a $50 bill.  I asked what it was for and he said I should use it to go out to lunch.  Then he handed me another $50 bill and told me to give it to my boss.  Before tucking it into my purse I waited for my boss to arrive because I wasn’t sure if it would be unethical to take it or not.  I guess it was okay.  Is that a pedicure I see in my immediate future?  Actually, it will probably end up in savings.

My cousin left for Afghanistan this past weekend.  He promised to send his address over there so that I can send him a care package or two.  He also said he’d be flying into Phoenix after this tour is up and that we’d paint the town red.  I so hope that he gets back here okay.  I will pray for his safety every day.  He’s a tough kid though.  That won’t keep me from worrying regardless.  Be safe, my dear cousin.  Godspeed.

 

 

New Beginnings, Great Food and a Veritable Ending

Friday night Athletica and I went to a group activity at a local bar & grille that featured a classic rock and blues band.  The singer in the band was the host of the activities group that sponsored this event.  It was fun but a bit loud when trying to speak to people.  We ordered a small pitcher of beer and sat with the rest of the folks in the group who were all from back east.  I met a girl from Virginia who is a hair dresser and a guy from Florida in his 20s who flashed open his sweatshirt revealing a Dropkick Murphys t-shirt when I mentioned I was from Boston.  It was really fun getting out that night.  We didn’t stay all that late.  When the band finished up their set we decided to call it a night.  Athletica had a race the next afternoon and we had plans to meet at her gym that morning.  We said goodbye to the group and the activities leader and band member, Steve, came over to say goodbye.  He shook my hand a little longer than necessary and I just got this strange feeling by the way he was looking at me that he was interested.  On the way home Athletica called and said, “That guy likes you.”  I let her know that I had figured that out.    Its becoming increasingly clear that what’s looking for me and what I will eventually be looking for are two different things.

Saturday morning I joined Athletica’s gym.  We were both riding the stationary bikes to warm up when Brian, our trainer, announced that we were to go directly to the bulletin board to read something he had posted.  Apparently he had seen my Facebook check-in at the bar the night before and wanted to brush us up on how alcohol works as a detriment to fat loss and weight training.  Note to self; either don’t friend trainer or stop checking in at bars.  😉  I thought it was kind of funny actually.  I guess I won’t be posting anymore pics of my exotic martinis either.

I made a six month committment to this gym.  This will require 5am workouts at least twice a week.  Tomorrow will be my first pre-work workout.  Wish me luck!

Saturday night was the Chinese Hot Pot dinner.  I drove out to the east valley and I was actually thinking of backing out.  I’m so glad I didn’t.  I sat at a table with three other ladies that I had never met.  We were given slips of paper to fill out what we wanted to add to the hot pot.  The 4 of us had to decide what broth we wanted in the pot.  We could choose 2.  In the center of the table was a small burner for the hot pot. 

 I chose udon noodles, tofu, Korean pumpkin and taro for my dishes.  The restaurant also provided two different types of soy based dipping sauces.  It was absolutely scrumptious!  I felt like I was talking to old friends rather than three ladies I had just met.  One of the ladies was from Cuba originally and another was from my home town.  That was really fun.  The other lady was so into food.  She talked about some of the more sumptuous meals she had and she described them as ‘orgasmic’.  We split a piece of Japanese green tea cheesecake which was so good that it almost brought tears to my eyes.  The owner of the restaurant has them flown in from a Japanese bakery in San Francisco. 

Food has long been a topic of discussion in my family.  We love food.  I felt like I was with them.  It was so wonderful.  I can hardly wait for the next event.

 I sent DGF an email today ending my friendship with him.  On Thursday evening I received a text from him that was completely inappropriate for someone who had a supposed girlfriend.  I asked him if he were really ready for a relationship.  He responded back that he probably wasn’t.  Shocker.  The more I thought about it over the weekend the more I knew I just needed to put an end to all this for my own well-being.  I told him that I cared very deeply for him but this is where the story ends.  My gosh, wasn’t it only a little over  a year ago that we were making plans for he and his wife to go out with me and my husband for dinner?  Sometimes I feel like I am living in the Twilight Zone.  Or maybe Alice through the looking-glass?  Nothing is what it seems, or at least what it was.

He didn’t respond right away and I figured he must be out with Miss Unaware canoodling somewhere for the Valentine’s holiday.  He emailed me back and suddenly he is single.  Go figure.  Being true to my word that this would be the last time I contacted him I let it go.

Rollercoaster Thursday

I never know what each day is going to bring.  Some days I am on top of the world, like this past weekend, and other days I feel paralyzed by my thoughts.  I remember the coin I gave DGF the day his wife announced she would be by with the divorce papers.  The coin said “This too shall pass.”  Its funny, I find myself recalling some of the things I told him when he was going through this and realized I’m much better at giving advice than taking it.

Speaking of DGF, Monday morning he emailed me and wanted to know how the race went.  I had told him a long time ago about it so was quite surprised that he remembered.  He texted me about 9pm that night just to say ‘good night.’  Does anybody else find this odd?  I started thinking about this the next day and none of my other guy friends (or girlfriends for that matter) ever randomly text me goodnight.  Maybe I am just reading too much into this.  I do miss him but not enough that I would pick up the phone and call him right now.  I feel stupid enough on a regular basis after what has transpired than to put myself through something equally as stupid.

On the weekends I can busy myself with things.  During the week I think too much.  I feel somewhat lost although I’m trying to figure it out.  Its interesting.   A little over 10 years ago I moved out here with all my personal possessions, including three ferrets, in my SUV.  I didn’t know a soul.  Upon arrival I had to go over to Target to purchase a pillow and a blanket, then I slept on the floor of my new apartment.  I had to figure everything out on my own and it was a welcome adventure.  Maybe its just all in the mindset.  At least now I have a home and friends.  I know my Glendale from my Scottsdale.  Why does this seem so much more scary?  That is what I’m trying to figure out.  Maybe some days its just supposed to hurt like hell and other days will be okay.  Maybe that is normal and I have to just accept that this is going to be how it is for a while.

Ana emailed me this past Friday.  She asked if she could come stay with me during the month of March.  At first I said, sure.  Then the thought of this brought some anxiety.  Just as two wrongs don’t make a right, a recovering train-wreck under the same roof with a train-wreck to be, does not equal the Orient Express.  A lot can change in a month though.  She has a 9-year-old son who she is extrememely close to, that she would be leaving behind.  All I can think of is that things have got to be pretty bad if she has resorted to these measures.

Last night I got ready to go running after work when my ex showed up wanting to walk the dog.  “We can go together,” he stated.  “I’m running,” I responded.  He hooked  the dog up to her harness and then I took off, leaving him in my dust.  It was probably another of my better timed runs.  Maybe I should start bringing him to the races to walk behind me.  It may increase my timing even still.  It’s funny because I picture with every stride I’m leaving all that behind.  I’m running away.  Every time my feet have struck that pavement I have felt a little bit of the anger leave.  So I will keep running and running and running until all this is so far behind me that he’d never catch up.  That all this will some day be a distant memory and I will never glance again at the picture of us I still haven’t taken down and ask it, “How could you?”  It’s not okay.  There is nothing he could possibly say that would ever make it okay or take away the hurt of what’s happened. 

I didn’t ask for this. 

A few weeks ago he brought me dinner when I was sick.  I accepted this as I had no food in the house and was too sick to go out.  Funny enough, here is what our fortune cookies said:

Mine: “Faith is knowing there is an ocean when you can only see a stream.”

His: “The things you have dished out in this life will come back to you 10 fold.” 

No lie. 

Rumor has it karma is a bitch.

Classic Rock, Red Rocks, and a Little Race Called the Sedona Marathon

 Friday morning we left to go to Sedona for the race Saturday morning.  Classic rock tunes seem to be our soundtrack for the weekend.  Before checking into the hotel we headed straight to the expo at Tlaquepaque (tah-lak-ah-pack-ee) to pick up the bags and bibs for the race.  Vendors were set up selling everything from socks for runners to skin products.  What caught me right away was that there was just this energy among everyone there.  From the vendors to the fellow runners, everyone seem to be brimming with this energetic camaraderie. 

Athletica and I stopped at this one booth for a local fitness club.  The owner of the club spoke with us about a different technique he uses when training his runners.  I learned so much this weekend.  Running is so much more than slapping a pair of sneakers on and hitting the pavement.  He spoke about proper gait, etc…  The tent was decked out in exercise gear with a rope hanging from the front.  After speaking with the owner and one of his trainers (who were both highly attractive men, I may add) we went to leave and I walked headlong into the rope that was hanging from the tent, smacking my forehead.  I am still so socially awkward.  It’s a wonder I was ever married at all.  Yep, charming ’em all one at time!  (Or in this case, two at a time).  Athletica and I went to lunch and had a good laugh over it.

We checked into the hotel which we were pleased to see had the Comfort Number beds.  That was an interesting experience as it fills with air when you increase the dial numbers and then deflates the lower you go.  It doesn’t take much to amuse me sometimes.  Later we went to find the race route and then over the spaghetti dinner at the Elks Club. 

So many people from all over the country were there.  Many of them had traveled alone.  We met a woman from Seattle and a man from Dallas.  There was a couple from Maryland that had a goal of doing a race in every state.  So far they were 4 states in. 

We were up and out early the next day and man, was it cold!  Athletica always told me she did better in the cold than the hotter weather.  I’ve only raced in the heat it seems so didn’t know the difference.  Her race was first.  She did the half marathon.  I did the 5K.  I ran in a crowd of tutu’d women and a man with a giant fake moustache.  People were pumped and their energy was infectious.  What was really cool were the number of kids running.  Dads with their young sons and daughters were clearly at the head of the pack.  With the obesity problem for so many kiddos these days it was nice to see this.  Even the announcer brought it up before the race.

After the count down I was off.  The air was so cold that I could barely feel the tips of my fingers and toes.  Athetica was right.  Running in the cold seem to be better.  The sun came up right about that time and struck the red rocks.  What can I say?  It was absolutely beautiful.  No words can describe it.  The first 1.5 miles was pretty much uphill.  The half way point seem to come up awfully quick.  I wondered if the course was correct.  Athletica confirmed later that it was.  I did my absolute personal best on this race, even breaking my record from the first 5k I did back in my 20s.  I think there may be a 10k in my future. 

While running I remembered a dream I had a few years back that I was in a race and was moving effortlessly uphill.  I was on the edge of this mountain looking down into the valley where snow was melting into lush green fields.  It was an incredibly peaceful surrounding, much like Sedona.  At the time I had that dream I wasn’t even really running.  I’ve been told a couple of times now that when you increase your body’s strength that it also increase your mind’s strength.  So maybe I really owe it all to running for being able to make some tough decisions as of late.

  After the race I walked back to the car.  All participants got the medal above which I was so proud of!  They are shaped in wedges and will form a perfect circle after the next three years of Sedona races.  How cool is that?  I headed back to the hotel, showered and threw on some yoga pants and sweater.  I was grateful for such a hot shower with plenty of pressure.  After I picked Athetica up and we went to lunch at a funky little diner that is decked out in space ships and aliens.  Despite the kitschy decor they have the best burgers and beers.  They are also open later than any other place in Sedona. 

Later we attended the awards ceremony.  There was a beer garden which we partook in.  There was dancing, too.  Yeah, I couldn’t help myself.  It was very fun. 

The mayor of Sedona handed out the awards.  We didn’t stay for the whole thing but it was pretty impressive to see men and women in their 70s still out there running the full and half marathons.  We went back to the hotel and had dinner there.  Then at about 6pm we got in our p.j.s and watched several episodes of The Big Bang Theory.  I laughed til I cried.  Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in so many different engineering departments through the years that I could relate to the characters.  We were asleep by 9pm.  Party animals are we.

  Sunday morning we packed up and then went hiking.  We drove back to an area Athletica had seen the day before on her run.  We hiked up to the top of this butte following Dow Trail which consisted of many switchbacks.  We were breathing like we were oxygen deprived due to the altitude.  We stopped to take a few pictures and felt a bit light-headed.  Best to stay away from the edge which was fairly sheer and dotted with cactus.  Ouch!  We made it to the top of the butte which also contained a very sheer drop and sat to have a snack, avoiding getting too close to the edge.  It was such a wonderful day for a hike.  The sun warmed everything quite nicely and there was a gentle breeze blowing.  It was so incredibly quiet. 

After our hike we stopped for lunch and then hit the road.  We had just gotten into the Phoenix city limits when Athletica realized she didn’t have her purse.  I pulled into a gas station parking lot and we searched for it.  No, it wasn’t there.  I called the restaurant in Sedona and sure enough they had it.  I put some more gas into the car and turned north back onto the I-17.  We headed back to Sedona.  The staff recognized us from a few hours earlier.  We decided to stay for some warm sopapillas and honey before heading home.  We ended up missing the Superbowl and all the illustrious commercials but all in all, I would not have changed a single thing about this past weekend.  When we left Sedona, the almost full moon illuminated the giant rocks below.  There is no show that can compare.  The adventure continues. 

 

Off To The Races. . .

Tomorrow Athletica and I leave for Sedona.  I really can’t wait just to be away.  In my mind I have prepared a mental checklist of all the things I need to pack.  It’s going to be chilly with the high of only 32 degrees Saturday morning when the race starts. 

 The former other half will be taking care of the dog while I am away.  In all honesty I wish he would just take her permanently.  She’s developed a few bad habits and I think she is on a mission to punish me for his leaving.  My livingroom set is something I worked very hard for and the livingroom is one of my favorite rooms in the house.  Lately I have seen the tell-tale signs that she has been sleeping up on the couch.  This is a new habit of hers and no matter how much I threaten with the paper and yell, she continues.  Oh, she’ll roll over submissively as if she is promising me she’ll never do it again, but if they ever gave out academy awards for dogs, she would definitely be in the running. 

A few weeks back she jumped up on the bed and was rolling around maniacally.  At first I watched in amusement, until, that is, I heard the unmistakable sound of fabric ripping.  I lifted up the comforter to find that she had completely stuck her through the sheet and was sitting there as if wearing a poncho giving me that goofy dog grin.  I have yet to replace the sheet and woke up one night with said sheet looped around my shoulder.  I guess she thought I needed my own version of the Snuggy.  Little bitch.

Today I got up and decided to treat myself to a little more care than I have been.  I picked out an outfit that I haven’t worn in a while, flat-ironed the heck out of my hair and put on a little more makeup than I am accustomed to wearing.  I gave myself a parting glance, thought, okay, I look good, and then headed out the door.  Gradually moving forward, I am. 

 A cousin of mine called the other night from the Boston area.  I have not seen him in close to 20 years but we were reacquainted back when I was home visiting over the holidays.  He is in the army now and is due to be deployed to Afghanistan any day now.  He is three years younger than me and I always considered him my little cousin.  It was nice that he called.  I was expecting him to be long gone.  He and his girlfriend were at a bar and all of his friends had been treating him to drinks not knowing when he’d be getting the call that he would be shoving off.  My cousin was somewhat wild growing up.  I do recall there being lots of trouble and in my grandmother’s later years she confessed to me that she really didn’t care for him that much.  I always thought that was so sad.  My cousin lost his Dad, my Uncle Bob, late last summer. 

I find it so interesting sometimes how paths cross over and over again in life.  When my cousin and I spoke at my Mom’s party I felt this familial connection with him that I hadn’t remembered feeling since we were little kids.  I remember my grandmother sitting with her latch hook rug kit and out of all of us kids she was babysitting, it was just my cousin and me who asked her to show us how this was done.  I remember her purchasing kits for each of us and the three of us sat in the livingroom of her little apartment while the rest of the kids played games or watched an old Elvis movie on tv.  My cousin’s rug kit was of Snoopy and his dog house and mine was of a sunset scene with a palm tree in the foreground (go figure).  I meant to ask my cousin if he remembered this and completely forgot.  At the end of the conversation, over the din of the bar noise I could have sworn he said “I love you.”  I was taken aback by this and think I responded with an “Ok” but it was nice to hear it from a family member who means it.  I will worry about him every single day he is away.  He’s such a tough guy though.  If death were to approach him I have a sneaking suspicion that death would get the surprise of its life with a swift kick to the teeth.  Such is my cousin.  Always was, always will be. 

I talked to the former other half last night.  He said he never saw himself as a divorced person.  I said I never saw myself married to someone who could do the things he’s done.  There was nothing he could say. 

Well, I’m pushing it a little harder today.  I feel the need to keep things organized and clean, more so than usual.  From my office to my home I feel the need for order.  It keeps me calm.  Yesterday I saw the following picture on Facebook and thought it was so true.  Enjoy!