Sunday, August 31, 2008
But today? I hit a major milestone.
It's not that I ran 7 miles. I'd done that before.
Not that I did it happily, even looking forward to it the night before. That happens with most of my long runs.
Not that I did it on my birthday - if you'd told me a year ago I'd eagerly run 7 miles on my 47th birthday, I'd have laughed hard enough to make stuff come out my nose - I like long runs enough so that it was a treat.
Not even that I ran the first two miles through knee pain.
No, it was when I got home and realized I needed to go to the store to pick up eggs for breakfast for the sleepover boys we had last night. And, without any sense of irony, I asked Rob to smell me, to make sure I could go to the store.
It didn't even strike me until fifteen minutes later how odd that was. No, I don't remember ever asking my husband to smell me.
I think that qualifies as Hard Core.
Tomorrow starts Week 1 of training for a solid first 10K in October. Wish me luck!
Friday, August 29, 2008
First, caloric output. My 8:00 class (which starts at 8:10) is at the farthest possible point on campus from the BART station. Straight uphill, probably about a mile. The BART train drops me off at 7:55. There is supposed to be a shuttle, but there hasn't been so far...I don't think they pay much attention to the schedule. So this morning I shot out of the BART car, bounded up the steps, and then strode up the hill at a madwoman's pace. I was only 3 minutes late, but that meant I had to sit at the top of the auditorium (after first walking in front of the teacher, always fun), which was another climb.
And it's like that all day (although the 8:00 is the worst). I honestly don't think I could do this if I hadn't lost weight and started running. The good news is that between the running, the biking to and from BART and the insane amount of walking with 20 pounds on my back, I get to eat a lot more.
Second, shoes. Footwear became an obsession this week. I stupidly wore flip flops on Wednesday, not realizing how much walking there would be, and my feet still hurt from that. I'm afraid I will be a little old lady in tennis shoes from now on.
Third, shoes. I am astonished at the shoes of the average female undergrad and some of the grad students. Two, three inch heels. Sandals that must cut into their feet like crazy. Espadrilles with a high wedge that must make their feet burn like the sun. To boot, it's about 145 degrees today, and 3/4 of the girls on campus had on painted-on blue jeans. Oy. I suspect I was just as vain when I was 18 or so, but it makes me want to smack them.
Fourth, I am old. It's getting better, but I spent the first couple of days amazed at how old I feel on campus and in classes. Somehow I was led to believe that there were lots of "re-entry" students. There are not. Education has quite a few, Public Health has 2 (including me) in my department, maybe 5 in the whole school. I don't see any in any other department buildings, at all. It's not a big deal, it's just a fish out of water thing.
Fifth, it's hot. UC Berkeley is a public university in a state that doesn't really "do" education. Air conditioning is not the top of the list of priorities. It's just hot. All. The. Time. Again, so glad I lost some weight before doing this.
Sixth, they're making me DO stuff. I'm already behind on homework, but mostly because I didn't buy books until today. I do have the better part of a day's worth of work for this weekend, though.
The good stuff? There's lots, but it's all just sort of good feeling stuff in my head. I love being challenged, love the stuff I'm being asked to do and discuss, love the ideas I'm already shifting about things, love the campus "buzz". Oh, and Yogurt Park, the froyo place. I love that, too.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The young'uns in my last class were all just as tired as I was by 4pm, though...lots of yawns. That made me feel better. Oh, and if I ever felt, "gosh, I can't go to school while my kids weren't adults, it's way too hard and they need me too much"? Get this: in my department there's another mom student (actually there are a couple) who has three children UNDER FIVE YEARS OF AGE. One of them, cough, is two months old.
I am a whiner.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Facebook: I am having more fun than I can describe getting in touch with old friends and acquaintances (they're old, too). I am hopelessly inept at in-person social situations, but on-line I'm witty and charming and personable (or maybe I convince myself I am) and so it's like being at the best cocktail party, ever.
Then there are little things, like those cute sporty flats I bought 'cause they were OK for walking. They cut into the side of my heel walking up the long campus hill. And I need something to keep my lunch cold. And an extra battery pack for my laptop.
But yesterday I found the bike parking at the local BART station, which solves a bunch of problems for me (I won't go into them all), and it's free and there are always open spaces and it's secure parking and in a safe spot for me. That was a triumph.
And this morning I managed to roll out of bed even before my alarm went off at 5:30, put the water on for coffee (I'd cleverly set everything up the night before), put my gear on and head out for four decent miles once I'd had a cuppa joe. That was a HUGE triumph. I even borrowed Rob's strap-on head lamp so I could see the sidewalk, avoiding a broken ankle.
Cue up the Mary Tyler Moore music...
Monday, August 25, 2008
While I have more social skills than the average person pursuing an education in biostatistics, that's not saying much. But despite my hatred of small talk and "networking", by two o'clock I'd managed to make a whole slew of new nerd friends, including my new stats professor who plunked himself down next to me at lunch and answered all my questions and even explained why they let me in to Berkeley (all that studying for my GRE was indeed worth it!).
I now have a pretty clear idea of what it is I'll be studying over the next four semesters and why, whom to talk to about skirting the silly rules designed for 22yos fresh out of undergrad, and even who might be willing to hire me once I get out of here. Plus I now have the campus wi-fi system figured out, and I got a free lunch out of the deal.
Tomorrow we get the library, career center, and internship talks, and then Wednesday they fire the starting pistol at 8:00am with Probability and Statistics in Public Health.
Lori, you should TOTALLY do this. Just the lunch alone is worth the trouble! :-)
Saturday, August 23, 2008
In fact, pretty much the biggest excitement I'll have today is watering my plants.
On a motivational running note, for those who don't know the story of Magda Lewy (one of the American women in the Olympic marathon and a local girl), here's her blog post.
Although I feel terrible for her, I found this story (short version, she smacked her knee hard getting out of the bus AT THE OLYMPICS, and it became so inflamed that she couldn't finish the race) strangely comforting. As the bumper sticker says, sh*t happens. And it doesn't just happen to hapless idiots like me, it happens to Olympic athletes.
The older I get, the more I'm convinced that there IS no plan. Life just happens, and it's up to us to make the plan from what we get. I think Magda will do great things with the hand she's been dealt, and I'll continue to hold her up as a model.
Friday, August 22, 2008
This is the first of Joe's, the family event. He got a Wii (as you might expect), and was suitably surprised and delighted. It's our first gaming system (although we did bring in a DS last year). It's been lots of fun, and running it on the big screen means it's a more social thing than the computer gaming. (Well, more social within the family, anyway.) So far, I rock at bowling, suck at tennis. Actually, "suck" is not really the right word. I cannot, canNOT, hit the ball. It is impossible. Like a comedy routine.
I threw in the towel yesterday to sleep in, and will do an afternoon run today (fully caffeinated). Somebody tell me it gets easier. I really want to move forward training for a 10K, and this is the only way I can see to do that with my upcoming schedule.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Because they've always done it, for the whole eight years we've lived in this house. Totally crazy wild crow cawing/shrieking/honking, from dawn until well after nightfall, every day. Some kind of crow mating ritual, or maybe they just get ticked off and loud in August, who knows?
And for the past few years, it's coincided with change, huge change, in the life of our family. First Annie going to school, then Joe, now me. Each change drawing us farther out into the wide and wonderful world, but farther apart from each other. Things to celebrate and mourn, each August.
Tonight, listening to them outside, I feel crazy excited on the cusp of the coming year, for all of us. Annie is anxious and excited about a huge academic and social year for herself, happily ensconced in a job that she loves with employers who are treating her like family (in a good way). She's essentially ready to go out into the world as an adult, just spending this last two years lining her ducks up.
Joe has grown up so much this summer that it's almost unbelievable. We stopped by two of his teachers' house to pick something up tonight, and they, like me, marveled at the changes in him. Like when he was a toddler, every day seems to bring some major new developmental change and wonder. This year he will be a leader, already asked to come help integrate the new students at school, already talking about stepping up on his frisbee team. Tomorrow he turns 12, but I can already see him at 16. He's going to be fine, just like his sister. Like her, too, he's clamoring to get back into the mix at school, while still appreciating the peace and slow pace of late August.
Rob has a promising start to the school year, after two very rough years of teaching "intervention" reading, something for which he has no training. I have my fingers crossed that he will get a break, and get to go back to teaching the history and current events classes that he loves. He's enjoying presiding over his family of outward-looking students, gracefully willing to pick up slack for me. Or maybe just happy to have me out of the house more.
And our vacation showed me that even as we all move farther out from the hearth, we're connected and always will be, even if it's by a long thread. We're more interesting when we have adventures, and have more stories to tell over poker and pizza and root beer floats.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The marathon was, however, a weird one. But three cheers for old ladies Domescu-Tita (who won the event, age 38) and Dara Torres (age 41) who was shown taking silver in the 50m swimming event right after. A good night for middle aged moms.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I think the extreme pace we led after we left Pender Island and the amount of caffeine we were consuming while away has led to a let down. I'm too tired to think even about doing something fun.
My schedule calls for getting up at 5:30am weekdays starting Monday, too, so maybe my body is reacting to that in advance.
The girl child is working at her coffee place this afternoon, and I may have to pay a visit.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
T minus 10 days. So excited my eyeballs are bugging out.
Home, unpacked, plants watered (Mom, thanks for trying! They're all just fine.), laundry in process. We had to scurry from the OR border when we found out the princess was scheduled to work tonight, instead of tomorrow like we'd thought. But it made the trip easier to stop driving at the gas-saving snail's pace of 60mph and up it to 75+ like normal people.
Happily, no important messages on the machine, and mail doesn't get delivered 'til tomorrow, so there's no news to fret over, which is the worst part of coming home. Also happily, although I was sure I'd gained at least 30 pounds on this trip, the scale didn't budge an inch while I was gone, so I have no excuses to not get back up to full speed on the road asap.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Other things we saw in Portland: The Grotto, the Old Church (for a non-religious family, we get around), Pioneer Square and Old Town Pizza (reputedly haunted, although we were unmolested by spirits), plus various sites via drive-by. Then we came back to Troutdale, where we had a hotel that would allow Cal, and hung out by the Sandy River for a nice swim.
Grants Pass was next...I wish I had glowing things to say, but truthfully? We had the worst meal of the whole two weeks, Spouse was the last to catch the stomach bug, and the kids and I drove around town for several hours trying to let him sleep. We finally ended up seeing WALL-E at a 9:00pm Wednesday night showing (um, yeah, we were all by ourselves). Cute film, though...yes, yes, as my children will happily recount, I did cry at the end of a G-rated animated film with almost no dialogue.
I decided to skip a run this morning in favor of hitting the road with wheels an hour earlier (and avoiding the morning temps on what is predicted to be a 104 degree day). We'll be home by late tonight, and tomorrow is back to the real world...and running in familiar territory and comfortable temps. I'm utterly amazed at how good I feel after 4 weeks of iron supplementation. Four on the treadmill yesterday was just nothing at all, barely got my heart rate up. Can't wait to dive back in to training.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Then we arrived in Vancouver, and were amazed, astonished and astounded at the beauty of this city. Wicked good food, too. Our favorite venue is Granville Island, a rehabbed industrial area. We're headed back there this morning for breakfast before we cross back over to "The States," as we now refer to home. We also loved Stanley Park, just incredible.
Sadly, we miss Seattle this trip - we now have so many friends and loved ones there that we perversely decided to skip the whole place, hurting everyone's feelings instead of just some (uncle, cousins, two close ex-co-workers, favorite college buddy of Spouse, and Lori and her girls, whom we've visited before!). We needed this to be a "just us" trip. Plus Seattle is the capital of the West Coast Ulti circuit, so we've seen Pike's Market more than enough over the past two years, and will again.
Tonight we will be staying in Troutdale, OR, outside of Portland. Tomorrow is a day in that fair city, and then down to Grants Pass to see the caves. We had to forgo our planned trip to the OR coast, as we couldn't find hotel space willing to take Cal. Looks like not all US tourist spots are hurting from the gas prices.
Running: the Olympics are inspirational for the middle-aged am athlete, aren't they? I've had two great, great runs this week - my final run on North Pender, four miles with the last mile at 9:34, and yesterday along the Vancouver sea walk at a much slower pace because I kept getting lost and had to backtrack and read maps. I feel recovered enough anemia-wise to start building some stamina again. I picked up a later edition of Galloway's book while I was at a used book place on Pender, and his pointers on form helped enormously in keeping my heart rate down at decent paces. I think I'll let him train me for a while and aim for finishing a 10K this fall without embarrassing myself, not so much racing it.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008
It was a gorgeous run, along the river and through downtown and then through Avery Park, including the stunning rose garden. Nice running paths they got here.
Yesterday's highlights included a fabulous (I mean FABULOUS - just incredible food) lunch at Standing Stone Brewery in Ashland, OR, followed by the nicest food server EVER chasing us down through the streets of Ashland to return our forgotten camera to us. Dinner was here in Corvallis at the Fox and Firkin (no url), also super food and great service.
We should be in Portland for lunch and at the Canadian border by dinner. Tomorrow we take a ferry out to the wilds of BC.