Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Marathon is Over

I was never interested in running a full marathon.  I have always thought that 26 miles sounded ridiculous:  a distance that could cripple a person.  Why do that? I don't have to announce a battle to anyone.  I was content with running 13 and trying to improve my time incrementally.

But when I came home a couple of month ago and told Chuck about the Utah Marathon, with its half marathon option, he asked, "Well, why don't you run the full marathon?

Because it sounds like a good way to die?
Because I'm too old?
Because I don't have time to do all the training?
Because even if I had time, I don't want to spend it all running, running, running..

But then, we were talking about it in front of his son one evening, and Glenn said, "So are you running the full marathon, or just one of those wussy half-marathons?'

"The full marathon, of course."

Goading works on me.

So then came all the training:  hills, trail running, "short" runs of 6-7 miles.  Weekly long runs that become longer and longer. 

A few weeks ago, I ran 16 miles for the first time, and it went well!  I was stoked.  Chuck helped me by waiting for me along the route with Gatorade, Gu and encouragement.  I could envision myself actually accomplishing a marathon!

Then, last week, I went out to run my 18-mile run, and only made it 11 miles before my knee started to hurt worse and worse.  With 6 miles to go, I had to call Chuck to come and pick me up.  I iced my knee and Chuck was not discouraged.  "Take a week to rest.  We'll try 18 miles again next week.  This is totally do-able for you. You're just tired from your trip to Washington."

True, my knee stopped hurting after a few hours; so I was all set to really nail the 18-miler today.  I was up at 5:30 AM.  Vaseline between my toes; peanut butter granola bar, waist pouch-thingy with Gu packs, a water bottle, Walkman, etc...

At about the five mile mark, my knee was starting to bug me enough that I noticed it. Just before mile 10, I had to stop and consider my situation.

"If I stop, I will not be able to run the Utah Marathon - I will have fallen too far behind on my training.  If I keep going, I risk serious injury."

I was upset, too, because without intending to, Chuck had madet his into a big deal for me.  I really wanted to show him that I could do this.  At mile 10, I told him that my knee hurt, but that I was going to power through.  At mile 11, I really thought I could.  I told myself little parables of mental toughness, and told myself that any messages that came from body parts below my hips were no longer going to be accepted. 

At mile 12, I felt like I was running in dive flippers.  I couldn't step up onto curbs any more.  I saw Chuck waiting for me in front of an elementary school and ran up to the car.  I just leaned against the car and thought about all the time I had put into this project though the summer; and how, if I got into the car this morning, that was the end.

So, this is the part where I give you the alternate ending - in which I force myself to continue, finish the18 miles and emeerge on the other side of the pain.

NOT.  I got into the car and Chuck drove me home to rest my knee.There won't be a marathon this year.  Maybe next.  In the meantime, I will pretend that I am content to run half-marathons and just work on improving my time. Incrementally...

Monday, September 10, 2012

When I'm Drunk on Cheap Whiskey and Diet Shasta Lemon Lime.

It makes all the great ideas I had for writing make for the door.  I think I would rather take a flying leap onto Chuck, toss his "Game of Thrones" book onto the floor and take advantage of his person. 

It was a slow day, anyway.

Both kids forgot things at their father's house this morning, which turned into a bit of a fiasco, I guess.  First of all, Sara needed her running shoes, because she has decided to go out for Cross Country.  We called her dad and asked him to leave her running shoes out on the front porch, so we could pick them up on the way to school.  Unfortunately, she forgot all about socks. After knocking and not getting any response, she went around back, got the hide-a-key and let herself in.  Her visiting grandparents woke with a start, thinking she was a burglar; and popped out of their bedroom to see if their lives and Simon's property were in mortal danger.  ("Mom, I was wearing flip-flops!  How could they really think it was a burglar? Since when do burglars wear flip-flops?")  So she got a pointed stare from her grandparents and a chewing out by Si,when she woke him up by going into her bedroom.

(They think everything is a burglary.  I remember once, getting garden equipment from the garage and taking it to the back yard to do something; then getting yelled at by Si, because someone could have "robbed us blind"!  In Cottonwood Heights?)

Then it was Nathan's turn.  We were driving along after dropping Sara off at school when I noticed that he didn't smell too good.  "Something stinks in here."
"Yeah.  Huh.  I don't know what that could be." 
"Nate, when it the past time you changed your underwear?"
Does anyone else out there have 10-year old boys?  He had no idea, really.
"Nate, you smell.  You can't go to school like that.  The other kids will tease you.  We need to put clean pants and undies on you!"

Everything he had at my house was already in the wash load that Chuck had just started, so there was nothing for it.  About a half-hour after Sara burglarized the place, we were back in the driveway.  "Use the hide-a-key, Nate." 
"No, Sara already woke everyone up.  I'll just knock at the door."

So he knocked at the door and after a few minutes, Si came to open it.


I think that, if Sara hadn't warmed everyone up to the sense of injustice brought upon them by preteen children, he would have had an easier time.

Si thinks that, when the kids are in my custody, their home is with me and they are not residents of his home.  They should act like guests, calling in advance to make sure it's all right to come over (which we did by the way; but no one answered).

My opinion is that when the kids are with one parent, they may still consider the home of the other parent to be their home.  I do agree that, when the kids need something from the home of the custodial parent, the kids need to call and check in advance.  But if it is an emergency and he non-cusodial parent won't answer the phone? If I know for certain that he doesn't have a woman spenidng the night, since his parents are here visiting? Then what?  Any divorced parents out there who would like to weigh in?  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oreos in Maryland

Chevy Chase, Maryland

I am eating Oreos on the seventh floor of the Marriot Courtyard Chevy Chase.  That is because I came rolling in here at 10:30 PM with a stomach that thinks it is 8:30 PM and wanted a nice salad or something.  Unfortunately, room service closed at 10:00.  I was feeling sufficiently peckish that I wandered back downstairs, desperate enough  even for McDonald's, if necessary.  Luckily, they have a little alcove with a microwave and Lean Cuisines.  There were yogurts, Oreos, peanuts, etc...

I'm good now.

I am here in Maryland to do some contract work for the Center for Applied Linguistics.  I have to admit that I don't have the best attitude about it.  I would prefer to be at home; training the new teacher I just hired, snuggling up with Chuck at night and dealing with the Horse Ointment Situation (more on that topic below...)  But here I am. I want to try to embrace my situation, so I decided not to get a cab and to use the Metro instead.  I enjoy the sensation of descending into the subterranean world and coming up in an unfamiliar place.  I like riding down a dark tunnel, stopping periodically for the door to open and streams of interesting people to file past me.

I emerged fro the Metro at Friendship Heights in Chevy Chase, oriented myself to the nighttime store windows, and pulled my wheelie case up Wisconsin Avenue to my hotel.  It is now after midnight here and I want to get up at 6:00 so I can go for a run.

Before I sign off, the Horse Ointment Situation.  Just when I think I have pretty much seen it all at my job...

First of all, if you have ever hung out much with Mexicans you know that they come from a culture with far fewer food and drug regulations; and that they will go for a home remedy  over a doctor visit almost every time.  So, last week (unbeknownst to me) one of my students, Ricardo, brought a bottle of lotion to school.  If I am understanding him correctly, this is a topical cream kind of like Ben-Gay, only for farm animals.  So Ricardo uses this stuff to ease the pain in his muscles after a hard day lifting sheet metal; and he brought it to school to offer to another student in this group, who also gets aches and pains from work.  The student he wanted to give it to was not there, but another student in his group was, and she saw the lotion bottle sitting out on the table.  "Oh, good,"  she thought, "Lotion."  She rubbed it all into her hands, and when Ricardo saw her he was alarmed.  He warned her that the stuff was not recommended for human use; and that no matter what, she must not try to wash it off.  "Do not apply water," he said.  But she did, and the resulting cramping has debilitated her for a week, now.  Her arms are killing her; she can't pick anything up; she can't grip. 

So, she came to tell me about this, and I had to hold a summit conference between her and Ricardo.  I told Ricardo that I need to know what is in that lotion.  I need the bottle, the package, the instructions:  anything I can get.  I wanted him to bring every it by the school this morning before I left for Maryland, so I could call Poison Control while sitting in an airport somewhere, and get advice for the affected student.  He couldn't get it to me before I had to leave town, so I asked him to bring it to school, have the receptionist scan all the pertinent information for me and e-mail it to me.  Hopefully it is waiting in my inbox so I can deal with this when I am not falling asleep.  Luckily, I think her hands are getting better...  She says she can move more now than she could before.  This is my first ever poisoning at Guadalupe. 

Fading fast!  Time for bed.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Budget Babe and More

It's cool this evening.  There are fewer moths fluttering around my lamp.  Chuck is curled up, dozing; but I can tell by his breathing that he isn't asleep, yet.

It has been raining on and off all day.  The coolness helped me with today's long run.  I only had to do nine miles as my training stint for the upcoming Utah Marathon (yes, I'm running a marathon, because I'm dumb); but it was a hilly 9 miles.  One of those roads that you think is just a LITTLE hilly until you actually are running on it, and then you know the truth.  And the truth will make you puke.  Or want to, at any rate.  I looked at the various dead squirrels and the dead deer by the side of the road and thought, "That looks appealing.  Maybe I'll just lie down here, too."

I was not keen to do the run, but I was very keen to get the exercise.  I have been plagued lately with dreams of ballooning fatness.  I had another one last night.  I just got fatter and fatter; my fat would fill my arms; I had to squint to see over my plump cheeks.  Chuck watched from the dream's sidelines, disgusted at my hugeness. 

We went to see Hope Springs tonight.  It was funny, but I found it vaguely depressing.  Was that me, before, when I was married?  Not exactly, but partly.  I remember perishing for affection that way.  Do I worry that my new relationship is going to be like this?  Not exactly, but partly.

Pondering the future of my relationship may have been the low point of my day. However, I did manage to leave Chuck out of it.  I have made an appointment with a therapist for relationship counseling (yeah, I know, it should include Chuck, but I think the poor guy has had to listen to my unburdenings enough already.  We can pull him in later, if he likes.)  I hope it helps.

The high point of my day was going over to the home of another couple who live in the neighborhood and asking them if they could join us for dinner tonight. They couldn't - they had other plans.  But we had fun chatting and getting to know each other.  They are long-time acquaintances of Chuck's, but they have never hung out socially.  I plan to do something about that.

[Wow.  Sudden downpour.  It sounds LOUD on this barn roof.]

Since it is the first of the month, it's time for....


This month's big question is about booze.  How much is reasonable to spend on alcohol?  Is it a grocery?  Here in Utah, you can only buy weak beer at the grocery store.  Everything else has to be purchased at a State Liquor Store.  Is it a grocery if we get it at the grocery store, but booze if we buy it at the liquor store? 

I am the buyer of alcohol, because it is a consumable.  According to the rules that Chuck and I have come up with for living together, consumables are my purview.  Here is what I have come up with for booze rules:
1.  Weak beer, purchased at the grocery store, doesn't count;
2.  If I manage to earn more than I spend by at least $1,000, I will spend $200 at the liquor store;
3.  I will take a trip to the liquor store on the first of each month, and what I buy on that trip is our allotment for the month.

Gray areas / difficulties:
1.  What if we drink up all the wine before the end of the month, and then we have a dinner party?  I will need to buy wine for the party.  I can hardly say, "This evening will be alcohol free, because we have run out of wine for the month."  Yes, people always ask, "What can I bring?" and wine is always nice.  But as a host, you can't assume that the guests will supply the evening's alcohol. 
2.  If is is delicious and in the house, Chuck will consume it.  Rationing doesn't work well for him.  So the stock-up idea may not work. 
3.  The reason that I am able to save $1,000 is because I am living in Chuck's house and not paying rent.  I am in charge of a number of household expenses, but given the amount I am saving by living with him rent-free, what do I owe him, as far as the wine rack is concerned? 

My LDS friends will not have a lot to say on this topic (except that booze is expensive and unhealthy)  (I know, I know, but I like it), but if any of the rest of you have good advice for budgeting for booze, please let me know.