March, In A Nutshell

 

  Okay, I admit it.  I’ve been a blogging lame-o, but here is a run down of some things that have been going on.  The first two weeks of March I participated in two 5ks; the first one I did my second worst on.  For some reason when I crossed the start line my body was telling me it just did not want to run.  Plus the cute little running skort I purchased only a week before chafed my thighs until they were raw.  Note to self: do a test run after purchasing any new work-out gear.  The second race was the following weekend and I did a bit better.  My timing was 30 seconds quicker than the weekend before and this run included a few hills. 

After that last run I drove down to meet our blogging buddy Maureen in Tucson.  We did a photo shoot which was so much fun.  As you might know, Maureen is a wonderful photographer and I got to meet a few of her favorite subjects; the horses.  Maureen’s home is a desert dream with a spectacular view of the nearby mountains.  There is a southwest print in my kitchen by the artist Downe Burns.  Everytime I look at it I think of Maureen’s home in the desert. 

Ana came out for two weeks.  We had a wonderful time which included many dinners out and some great chats over a glass of wine sipped in the evening on the back patio.  We hiked in Sedona and also here in Phoenix.  It was a pretty full two weeks.  Ana must have really enjoyed herself because she came back with her son this past Monday night.  What can I say?  She is the ultimate house guest.  I’d arrive home after work and the dishes would be done, along with a bouquet of fresh flowers on the kitchen counter. 

Athletica and I went to Carlsbad, CA for the race at the very end of March.  Carlsbad is this small seaside town that was a really fun place to visit.  We flew into San Diego, rented a car, and then drove up to Ocean Beach.  We walked the boardwalk on a very chilly day.  There were surfing lessons going on and people out getting some exercise.  At one point a tough looking bunch of guys road by on low-rider bikes that looked custom.  They wore shades despite the cloudy weather, however the tough guy image was soon diminished as soon as one of them rang their bell to get our attention.  Only in California.  We had breakfast overlooking the ocean and then headed up to the hotel in Carlsbad.

The race was pretty good and the course stretched along Pacific Coast Highway.  There were five 5ks altogether and they started us ‘old folks’ (40 and over) first.  The men went and then the ladies.  That is the first race I’ve done where they’ve arranged things that way.  There were lots of hills so there was a bit of challenge there.  What I really liked about this race was that at each mile marker they had the time listed.  I did 11 minute miles for the first two miles and then by the third my legs felt like they were locking up.  I was having pain in my left knee and hip.  I walked a good portion of it but decided towards the end that I would run despite the pain.  I passed a woman walking who said to no one in particular, “I don’t know why I do this.  I sign up and I get to it, and then I hate it.”  While I don’t hate running by any stretch, my sentiments at the very moment were quite the same.  However, I laughed and kept going.  I arrived only a few seconds later than my last race so I wasn’t too disappointed with my time, especially given the size of the inclines on this course. 

I limped over the finish line, met Athletica, and then headed back to the hotel to shower and change.  We hit up the beer garden afterwards and chatted with some of the other racers.  After two beers we were really feeling it.  I admit I probably should have stopped at one but hey, too late to take that back now.  As Ana says, you don’t buy beer, you rent it.  That being the case we needed to find a bathroom and the only thing available were the typical race port-o-potties.  Unfortunately there were no hand sanitizers available.  We headed over to the expo which was still in full swing.  We happened across an unmanned booth that contained a table with some a container with a pump on the top which I naturally assumed was hand sanitizer.  I was just about to squirt some of the liquid into my hand when a 30-something woman came over and said she’d be happy to help me, miss.  I’ll admit I gave her brownie points for calling me miss and not ma’am.  She then went on to explain that her product was not hand sanitizer at all.  It was the equivalent of what marathon runners refer to as ‘Gu’.  It comes in a small packet and contains sugar and caffeine to help stimulate energy.  Runners will take this when they need a boost (and not when they need their hands sanitized).  I felt so dumb, but as Jamie Foxx sings, “blame it on the al-al-al-al-al-al-cohol.”

Later in the day we could hear drumming.  We followed the sound to a drumming circle where a very pregnant lady with dreadlocks and a peasant skirt invited us in to dance.  The group had gathered on a small patch of grass above the beach.  She took our hands and lead us in where one couldn’t help but move to the beat.  It was one of the neatest and most randomest things I’ve ever stumbled upon. 

We stayed one more night and then visited an old mission that was built in the late 1700s called San Luis Rey de Francia.  I love places like that.  We drove down to San Diego and had lunch on the water before visiting the USS Midway which was decommissioned some time ago. 

Like I mentioned earlier, Ana is back.  She, her son, Athletica and I will be heading to Tucson this weekend.  Myself and Athletica have a race and then we will meet up with Ana later to hang out by the hotel pool. 

So, that’s really been whats going on here.  Work has been completely crazy.  My breaks have been at a minimum as of late so I haven’t been able to get on here to post or read other posts.  I’m hoping to soon though!

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! 

 

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. 

 

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!

Another Tale From The Weekend

This past Friday night Athletica invited me over for a sleep-over at her house.  It was nice to just be out of the house.  We ordered pizza, had wine and watched the movie The Help, which was excellent, by the way.   I seem to also sleep a bit better.  The wine maybe?  On Friday I forced myself to eat three square meals.  Enough of this.  I won’t let this whole situation have that kind of control over me any longer.  I gagged a few times but felt so much better in the long run.

Saturday morning we got up early and headed over to Athletica’s gym.  She is friends with the owner and his wife.  The owner, Brian, is very passionate about his work.  He is very encouraging and there were plenty of knuckle bumps and high fives after a completion of a set of reps on the circuit.  One of the exercises involved sitting on an aerobic stepper while pulling a rope with heavy weights tied to the end across the studio.  Once completed, you grabbed the end of the rope and ran to the other side of the gym to repeat it.  It was really hard but I enjoyed it.  Brian stood behind me yelling, “Pull Monsoon!  Pull!  Pull!  Pull!”  And pull I did, grunting like a contestant on The Biggest Loser the entire time.  I would like to join this gym and may do so in a couple of weeks.  Athletica has belonged for a few months and I can’t get over the difference in her. 

On Friday I got my car back.  It seem to be running so much better but on the way home I noticed it was still smoking.  Now the radiator needs to be replaced.  I was hoping to just be careful with the car as it is not overheating, until I could afford to get it fixed in a couple of weeks.  This was not to be.  Yesterday I left for work and something was clearly wrong.  The check engine light of death came on.  Never a good sign.  I texted Athletica once I got to work and asked her what she thought it could be.  She called me a bit later and said that a friend of hers was going to stop by to run a diagnostic. 

By mid-morning yesterday I was frazzled.  I turned some music on and started to work.  Then out of the blue I felt like I needed to stop what I was doing and just sit peacefully for a few minutes.  It was so strong.  I wasn’t to type one more letter or turn off the music.  I gave in and turned around to see the wind blowing through the palm trees and other trees not indigenous to this area.  Interestingly enough, my music shut off mid-song by itself.  I felt so much peace for those few minutes and it brought tears to me eyes.  Guess it was my God moment or something. 

Athetica’s friend came out mid-afternoon and ran the diagnostic on my car.  The leak in my radiator is now huge and two of the pistons in the engine were misfiring.  I had no choice but to call the former other half and ask for help.  I was to meet him at the mechanic’s house after work and then I would take my former MIL’s car to work.  Somehow we got to talking about all that’s been going on between us and I was trying hard to keep it together.  The feelings are still so raw.  It just seems so useless to even discuss it at this point.  We got off the phone and where my boss was gone for the day I let the flood waters open again.  My office is actually a very safe place for one to cry.  The door is locked, the walls are sound-proof and I am the only employee.  One day during one of my episodes, a client called.  I was quite impressed that I could switch gears so quickly and no one was the wiser.

So, I am looking forward to a few things.  This coming weekend Athletica and I are going to Sedona.  I have Friday off from work.  There is a race early Saturday morning.  We are staying at a really nice resort and will probably also do some hiking through the red rocks.  It should be so much fun and I am looking forward to a change of scenery.  The following weekend I am doing a few activities with that new activities group I joined.  This includes seeing a blues band play and also dinner at a traditional Chinese restaurant.  Athletica used her frequent flyer mile points for two tickets to Carlsbad, CA in April.  She is in a race and I’ll just be going to relax.  It was incredibly kind of her to offer and it is nice to have things to look forward to.  My beach cruiser will most likely remain on lay away for a while due to the costs of my car.  Luckily I have 90 days to pay for it and it hasn’t even been a month yet.

Not too much else has been heard from DGF.  While I lay in bed Sunday evening reading a book on Kindle through my phone, a message came through.  Thinking it was just some random email I decided not to check it right away.  About an hour later I checked and it was DGF.  “Happy Sunday,” is what it said.  I suppose he was either testing the waters with me or the new girlfriend may have been in the restroom.  I promptly ignored it and went back to my book.  In time I suppose, we’ll probably talk…but it won’t be today and most likely not tomorrow either.

Racing Through A Desert City

Back in the spring when I signed up for this race that took place this past Saturday evening in Tucson I was not thinking about the heat and what it might be like right about now.  Temps hovered in the low 100s most of the day.  My main concern was hydration so I avoided any alcoholic temptations on both Friday and Saturday before the race.

Athletica and I checked in to get our bibs and our free t-shirts.  The shirts were quite impressive; not your typical cotton t-shirt, but were made of the same material as some of my sports tops that are supposed to absorb sweat.  I was also quite impressed with the picture printed on the front.  This will most likely be worn with shorts rather than the gym.  It’s too pretty to be sweating in.

We arrived early enough to walk around to some of the booths that were set up.  There was a man set up with packets of chia and he explained the many health benefits to us and to another runner whose name really was Chia!  Zoom had told me about this during another race so I happily popped a handful of these seeds into my mouth, followed by a swig of water.  They are supposed to help keep you hydrated. 

Speaking of hydration, I must have done a darn good job at it because I suddenly became the incredible peeing woman!  I made no less than 5 trips to the port-o-pottys before the race started.  Better to be prepared I suppose.  😉

A few minutes before the race began we all lined up at the finish line while a gentleman who was either related to or knew Gabe Zimmerman, aide to congresswoman Gabby Giffords that was shot in Tucson back in January, said a few words.  Unfortunately the crowd was very chatty so I couldn’t really hear what was being said.  The gentleman did get very choked up.  Gabe Zimmerman was one of a few people who lost their lives that day in January.  

The race began and where this was a run/walk through partially blocked city streets, I found it a little challenging getting around the walkers and strollers.  However, as hot as it still was despite that the sun had gone done already, there were folks outside with their garden hose spraying away onto the crowd of runners.  I’ve never been so grateful!

The first mile we passed through an older section of town that had been restored.  Old adobe homes painted in bright colors lined the streets, their door steps leading right onto the narrow road.  I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and charm of it.  It made that first mile go by very fast.  Half way through the second mile I really started to feel the heat.  Still, I trudged on.  I passed a teenage girl who was holding onto a post and was close to getting sick.  Luckily her Mom was right nearby. 

We passed another street with more interesting old homes, including a converted old brick church that looked like it easily could have been over 100 years old.  By the time I got to the third mile I started to feel like that cartoon character in the desert crawling towards that oasis that is really a shimmering mirage.  I started to wonder if when the finish line came into view it would be real.  My legs at this point just didn’t want to go.  I really had to push myself to keep running.  Athletica has been running for years so she of course was long done by the time I got to the end.  She waited in the sidelines and high-fived me as I ran through the finish line.  It took me 40 minutes to complete which is the worst I’ve done so far of any of the 5ks completed.  I was a bit disappointed in my time and kept thinking, heck, this is my 10th summer here.  I should be used to this heat by now.  Maybe I should just be happy I didn’t feel like hurling and that most importantly, I finished.

Rather than hang out in the crowd we decided to go back to her parent’s house where we were staying and celebrate our efforts with some champagne.  We swung by that fine purveyor of international cheeses, Wal-mart, and actually ended up with a half-decent havarti.  The lady behind the deli counter saw us in our running garb and couldn’t believe we had actually run in this heat. 

Yesterday we decided to drive back into the area we had run in to get a better look.  I keep a camera on me at all times for moments like these.  Here are some of the shots I got from the Old Tucson area:

 

 

 

 

Getting Back At It

Saturday morning was the appointment that came after the awful decision I had to make last week.  I spent as much time as possible with The Weasely One who was clearly dying.  Hubby was out of town working so luckily a girlfriend came with me.  I suppose I don’t need to go into how painful it was.  The vet staff was awesome though.  They were very compassionate and I noticed during the final moments that both the vet and his assistant were in tears too.  What gives me some peace is knowing that she lived a long life, longer than most ferrets I have known, and also that when things were going awry health-wise that I always seem to come up with the means to provide her with the medical care she needed.  She was a blessing in my life and when the rawness of her loss wears off, I’m sure to be left with wonderful memories.  And not to mention pictures.  She was probably the most photographed pet I’ve ever had.  When I’m ready I will post a slide show of her throughout her life.

So Saturday afternoon I headed down to Southern AZ with the same friend that had accompanied me to the vets.  I wasn’t sure if I’d still go or participate in the race but she convinced me to go anyway, otherwise I’d be sitting in the house alone all weekend.  The race was held in this beautiful area of Tucson.  It was a 7.4 mile loop altogether with a gradual incline leading to the top where once reached you traveled back down.  It was a sunset run and the area was peaceful and gorgeous.  No cars are allowed on the paved road and there is nothing but miles of mountains and desert scenery.  I ran for only 2 miles of it and walked the rest.  After the 2 mile run, it felt like my hips and thighs had been struck by lightning.  I’ve never experienced so much pain while running.  I came close to falling down.  It was frustrating and I actually broke down and cried.  Not a lot because I felt ridiculous being the only runner in tears.  I think a week of not eating, drinking or sleeping was taking its toll.  I surprised myself that I was even able to run that far.

Towards the end, after the sun had set, I happen to look up and see a spectacular almost full moon rising above the saguaro lined mountains.  It was beautiful but seem cruel at the same time considering what I had to do that morning.    

Sunday my friend treated me to a pedicure for my birthday this week.  It is amazing what just a simple pedicure can do for one’s spirits.  We headed back to Phoenix later on in the afternoon.  Hubby got called out to yet another job site so it was a bit difficult arriving home by myself.  Truth be told, I was dreading it.  It’s like pulling a band-aid off your heart.  You just have to deal with it.  I’ve had a ferret in my life every day for the past 15 years.  Yesterday was the first day.  I suppose each day will get better.

Another Race Down

Saturday morning was the Nun Run.  It was sponsored by the Sisters Of The Poor Clares, hence the name.  I had planned on doing the 5k and Athletica had signed up for the 10k.  Saturday morning hubby got up early with me and he, Abby and I traveled down to a local park where the race was being held.  Athletica was already there.  Her race started before mine so she headed off to hers first.  I joined the throng doing the 5k at the top of a grassy hill.  A guy with a mohawk blew a horn and we were off.  A woman near me stumbled and luckily a man caught her before she fell.  That could have been disastrous.

The race brought us down to a canal where participants ran for a little over mile.  Then we cut across a grassy area, went under a bridge and up onto a sidewalk before cutting through a baseball diamond.  After the first mile and a half I was just feeling… off.  It was like hitting a wall or something and I just didn’t feel quite up to par as past races.  I continued this run/walk for most of the race.  It was a warm morning and we ran by a man-made lake with paddle boats tied up to the dock.  Mallard ducks mooned me while they fed.  I had to chuckle at how funny that looked and semi-wished I had a camera. 

Before the race I had grabbed a bottle of water.  The label on the bottle read Phoenix Catholic Cemeteries & Mortuaries.  I had this silly thought that if I happen to keel over in the race then they’d know where to send me once they pried the bottle out of my cold hands.  LOL. 

I ran the last 1/2 mile to the finish line and was just happy to finish.  I did it in 38 minutes which I think was the same time as last time.  I wondered later if I could have pushed myself harder to run when I was walking.  It was just an off day.  It’s gotten quite warm here so even for early  morning it was warmer than normal.  We waited for Athletica to finish and she said she had struggled, too.  She also blamed the heat.  The last two races were during the Fall so were quite chilly and more appropriate for running.

While we stood talking a cheer came up from the crowd.  One of the nuns, dressed in full black habit and running shoes, was crossing the finish line.  Her rosary beads were swaying in her sash.  You don’t see nuns in full habit these days.  There were several young women nuns who were running.  It was very different to see as I’m quite used to the Sisters of No Mercy (thanks Flamingo Dancer for this term.  They were stationed in my area too) dressed in normal attire from my childhood days in Catholic school. 

All in all it was a good race.  While my time wasn’t horrible, I felt like I could have done better.  In my age group I placed 31 out of 84 runners which isn’t bad.  Due to the terrain though I felt like I had been beaten with a baseball bat yesterday.  I was achy all over.  Today seems to be better.  So there it is.  Another race down.  🙂

Just A Quick Update

Spring has finally arrived here and temps have been hovering around a glorious 80 degrees.  I’ve still been working on my fitness goals and am now officially down 32 lbs.  There is a 5k race this weekend and I’ve signed up for it.  Luckily it is early so the heat should not be an issue.  I will be curious to see how I do timewise compared to the last race back in November.  Friday evening I purchased a new pair of running shoes (finally!).  My old ones have got to be more than a decade old.  I honestly can’t remember when I purchased them.  It had to be in Boston (I think).  The new ones are Asics which I haven’t worn before.  They were like running on two clouds.  My body felt so different and I wasn’t nearly as sore.  Running in my old ones was probably much like running in bare feet.  And to think I was blaming my soreness of old age!  My Mom, the athlete of the family, said that you should replace your shoes every six months.  Oh. (or should I say d’oh?)

Since my co-worker was laid off last November, the job of answering the phone has fallen on  me.  While it hasn’t been too bad managing the other tasks that I’ve taken on, the phone is just one of those things I can do without.  We run an ad on TV so while most of the calls are either clients or potential clients, there’s been a fair share of nut jobs that call.  When they can’t get their way and get something mailed to them which is something we’ve never done, they immediately assume that we must be a scam and make no bones about telling me so.  A lady called today and of course asked for the mailing.  I explained we had a website and she responds that doesn’t have compter.  I then explained that she was more than welcome to come down and visit us and she said she doesn’t have a car.  So therefore where we don’t do any mailings we must be a scam.  *sigh*  Then she hangs up.  I try not to take it personally when one of these idiots calls but man, don’t waste my time or yours if you already have it your head that we are a scam.  I for one would certainly not be here if that were the case.  Seriously, get a life. 

Next Friday I’ m  taking a half day at work and having my hair done as a treat.  Woo-hoo!  Since making the appointment late last week I swear I’ve been counting down the days.  Its going to be such a treat.  😀  8 days to go!

My best friend lives on the gulf side of Florida.  I haven’t seen her since her wedding over three years ago.  My Aunt has a beach house on the Atlantic side just south of St. Augustine.  I stayed there years ago and have a tattoo on my ankle as a reminder of that trip.  I asked my Mom over the weekend if she thought my Aunt might let us possibly use it for a long weekend.  She seem to think that she would be fine with it.  I emailed my best friend and asked her if she would be up for a girl’s weekend this Fall.  Of course she said yes.  It’s a six-hour drive from where she is at to my Aunt’s place but getting there is usually half the fun.  We’re thinking late September.  Man, that will be so much fun!

Hubby wanted to try a buffet restaurant over this past weekend.  I wasn’t sure what they would have there or how it would be.  I haven’t had the best luck with buffets.  This particular restaurant was the exception though.  I was quite impressed.  They had a huge salad bar and with lots of healthy selections and also various food stations featuring steamed veggies and broiled chicken.  There was of course generous amounts of fried foods, and other things that taste great but aren’t particular great for you.  Even the dessert bar had sugar-free options which was quite impressive.  It was called The Golden Corral.  I had never been there and I know we didn’t have them back east.  All in all it was really good and I think I’d go back.  It was clean, too.  Always a plus.