Archive for October, 2010

I am excited

…to be running another marathon.

…that the predicted temperature at start time is 49 degrees.

…to listen to all of your song suggestions.

…to see the signs that spectators have come up with this time.

…to have a Marine put my medal around my neck.

…to celebrate with friends after, and indulge myself with a day off on Monday.

I am nervous

…that I won’t fulfill my 25 for 25 goal, of finishing in under 4:58:57.

…that I’ll throw up right as I’m getting my medal.

…that I’m not as ready as I think I am.

…that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

I know that I’ve prepared for this race more than the one back in March. I’ve done twice as many long runs. I wasn’t sidelined with an injury. I know, logically, that I can do this.

But the nerves are taking over for now, so all I can do is just breathe.

While I’m psyching myself out, hope you have a great weekend and Happy Halloween!

(And, again, let me know if you’ll be out Sunday morning. Like I said, costumes are welcome!)

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Imagine that you’re walking along one night (or running, as the case may be), and you’re approaching a pretty busy intersection. There are street lights, of course, but it’s still pretty shadowy.

All of a sudden you hear a buzzing sound.

You also see a couple of 20-something guys crouching down on the corner, staring intently into the middle of the street. And then you see the remote control in their hands.

Then, only then, do you realize that they’re actually driving a remote control car. Up and down and across a dark street. A street that leads to an intersection. An intersection that remains busy, though it’s past 10pm by that point.

Am I the only one who thinks that’s not the smartest of ideas?

If I’d been running in the street (admittedly not a super bright idea), and that thing had startled me, there are no assurances that I wouldn’t have tripped and injured myself.

Graceful, I am not. (And I cannot afford any injuries with just three days left until Marine Corps.)

Also, once I ran by and realized what it was, I started imagining my reaction had I been driving. If I’d seen something dart in front of my car, I’d have thought it was an animal, and probably slammed on the brakes or swerved. Neither of which is ideal in traffic.

I actually got more annoyed the more I thought about it, and became even more convinced that it could be dangerous.

You might argue that I was overreacting a bit, and that I’ve got “fun police” stamped all over me. And you might be right.

But if I were really the fun police, I would have kicked the car as I ran by, upending it and ruining their game.

I think the fact that I didn’t shows great restraint.

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I’ve been in the DC area for a few years now, and there’s one thing that I’d never managed to do – until last night. I’ve either been busy, or it’s been rainy (or both), but I finally made it out to the High Heel Drag Race.

And the costumes did not disappoint.

The duos posed:

As did Snooki:

And, of course, it wouldn’t be DC without a political statement:

But this was, by far, the most elaborate costume I saw:

You don’t run in a dress like this. You strut. All the way down 17th Street.

The race itself was awesome. Believe you me, I can appreciate how hard it is to run in heels.

But the strutting. Well, the strutting is what made it fantastic.

P.S. Four days ’til the marathon! Please keep sending any motivational songs that come to mind!

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5 days.

In just 5 days I’ll be participating in my second marathon – the Marine Corps Marathon. The closer it gets, the more excited (and nervous) I become. Logically, I know I can do this because I’ve done it before. But this is also a different course, a different crowd, and different weather, and anything can happen.

As I did last time, I would encourage all of you in the area to come out to the race. I know it’s on Halloween, so you might have been out late the night before, but that’s okay – come in costume! Spectating for this race is an experience in and of itself.

But aside from crowd support, I’m going to ask your help with one more thing: music.

Before the last marathon I asked for your suggestions and I filled my racing playlist with all of it. It was exactly what I needed.

Now, I’m looking to spice it up a little bit more and add some new sounds into the mix. So what new songs have you discovered over the summer? Or, what old ones have you rediscovered? What gets you going in the morning, before work, or excited for a night out?

Feel free to send your suggestions all week – I’ll be in the process of constantly updating my iPod until race day.

In between continuing to question my sanity, of course.

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Well hello there.

To say that October has been a busy month would be an understatement. In the two and a half weeks since I last updated there has been marathon training (6 more days!), some disappointing baseball (go Rangers…), a couple birthdays, a couple races, and a whole lotta midterms. The stress levels shot through the roof and it looks as though they’ll hang out there until, oh, December or so.

That said, there’s something I’ve been wanting to share with you, and time is finally on my side. One of the races that we did earlier this month was the aptly titled Warrior Dash.

I thought it would be similar to Run Amuck, last year, but it surpassed all my expectations.

The course is little more than 3 miles, depending on which location you’re at, and filled with obstacles. There were hay bales to jump, cargo nets to climb, and a freezing lake in which to wade and roll over logs in order to cross. And that’s all before the mud pit and the fire.

Let me show you.

This is what we looked like when we started:

(Our outfits are tame compared to what some people came up with.)

This was the end result:

The next-to-last obstacle was a mud pit with barbed wire strung over the top, so you had to crawl. Or get snagged. Your choice. Spectators were hassling runners who were trying to stay “clean” and booing those who just waded into the pit. So there was only one thing do to – dive head first:

The boyfriend chose the bellyflop route, but either way, we were all all in:

And because the mud pit wasn’t enough of a challenge, there were two rows of fire to jump over before finally crossing the finish line:

Talk about earning your medal.

I’ve never been so happy while covered in mud:

And because of the festival-esque atmosphere, we actually hung out for a while after we finished – listening to the band, having a couple drinks, and scoping out the rest of the costumes – to help plan for next year.

Note: ALL photo credits go to Memo who played photographer/mom/awesome spectator as we ran. And next year, she’ll be joining us.

Anyone else interested?

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Best record in the NL East: check.

Best record in the National League: check.

Best record in all of Major League Baseball: check check.

So, you can see that it made sense for me to be at least a little confident going into the first game of the NLDS against the Reds. Especially with Halladay on the mound. I mean, I know that anything can happen in the playoffs, but still. I was optimistic.

But even I couldn’t have predicted a game like that.

A near perfect game (a one walk no-hitter, if you haven’t heard) to start off the post-season is more than this girl could have asked for. And Halladay deserves it, for sure.

I wish I could say that I was watching the game at a bar, on the edge of my seat, high-fiving other Phillies fans throughout the nine innings.

But you know where I was? In class. Listening to a guest speaker speed through a lecture on international political economy. And then spending another hour talking about isms. Yes, it’s as exciting as it sounds.

Of course, I was watching the game unfold, thanks to my trusty smart phone. And I noticed the no-hitter around the fourth inning, but because of the very nature of it, I couldn’t say that out loud to anyone! So as far as my classmates knew, I was just a crazy chick compulsively pressing the refresh button and staring at her BlackBerry. Admittedly, not far off.

I was going to say that I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high, but it’s too late. They’re already up there. At the risk of jinxing it, I can’t help but feel that this first playoff game is a good omen for what Phillies fans are now calling Doc-tober.

And has he ever earned it.

No pressure, Oswalt – but are you ready for tomorrow?

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Sometimes I wish I could bring you all to class with me. Because I’m afraid that words won’t do it justice.

I’ve told you about history class with Professor Jason Statham and SmugJGU. And I was fairly confident that SmugJGU would be the entertainment for the semester. But, not only does my class have that guy, we also have that girl.

I noticed it on the first day of class when, in the course of introductions she told us that a) she was an Army brat, and therefore incapable of having a hometown (and was incredulous that PJS should even ask), b) she speaks several languages and, because of that, when it took her some time to answer a question she apologized, “I’m sorry, I don’t think in English,” and c) she’s an overachiever, a statement that was somehow meant to differentiate her from the rest of the class.

And I really, really wish you could hear her tone.

Maybe smarter isn't the right word. Maybe it should be nicer, or less pretentious, or less wrong.

In any case, the second week of class she was gone, and I thought that I’d gotten lucky, but it only was a tease. She’s been back in action the past few weeks and “better” than ever.

Very often, when she contributes to discussion, it’s so harsh a comment that no one knows how to follow it up, and the conversation just dies. Other times, she’s blatantly wrong, and I get an inordinate amount of pleasure listening to PJS correct her.

And yesterday, as we were talking in breakout groups about the Enola Gay, and everything that it represented – even more than being the plane that essentially ended World War II – she argued that she didn’t see what the big deal was. It was just a plane. And so PJS turned to our group and told her, “That’s kind of the whole point. We’re talking about things in history that have become symbols, and have taken on a greater meaning.

Apparently she embraced that, because later in the big group discussion on whether or not symbols can be taken away from you, she declared, “They can take my symbology from me when I’m dead!

I did a double take. All I could think of was Boondock Saints: “Symbology? I’m sure the word you were looking for was *symbolism.* What is the symbolism?

Unfortunately, no one else seemed to notice. Or they were just trying to avoid engaging her (no one responded), as it rarely ends well. But I giggled to myself, and vowed to keep better track of her comments for pure entertainment purposes.

I don’t know what we’re going to do when it’s her turn to actually lead discussion.

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I made a fabulous discovery last night as I was attempting a little econ homework. I remembered that I had my old graphing calculator – a relic last used regularly in 2002-03 for Mrs. Scherer’s calculus class – and wanted to see just how accurately I was drawing these supply and demand curves.

My intentions changed, however, when I remembered something else I’d used the TI-83 Plus for: games.

More specifically, Super Mario.

Of course, once I remembered the time I’d spent playing that game, I was eager to see if my skills were still in tact. Unfortunately, figuring out how to access the program proved to be the hardest part.

I’m sure that when I first bought the calculator I tossed the directions aside without a second thought. I know for a fact that in order to even get Super Mario on the apparatus, I had to appeal to a couple tech savvy gentlemen. But I’d never had any trouble starting it up – until now.

I swear, looking at the calculator last night, it might as well have been in another language. Every button has a bare minimum of two functions, and only certain combinations will unlock the secrets of the machine.

But apparently (after more attempts than I care to admit) I can still speak the TI-83 basics.

And I can still eat mushrooms and shoot fireballs like a champ.

Because I really needed another way to waste time.

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  • I do not like all of this rain. It puts me in a dreary mood and stops me from riding my bike. (The drowned rat look is not a good one on me.)
  • I do, however, love this cooler weather and the opportunity to snuggle up in sweaters and under blankets.
  • I am sad that my Eagles embarrassed themselves yesterday.
  • But I’m thrilled that the Phillies will begin the NLDS at home in two days.
  • I’m anxious about the two midterms and editorial I have due next week (and another paper due the following week).
  • I’m comforted, though, by the friends I’ve made who I can study with, and the encouragement and support I’ve gotten thus far.
  • I’m becoming more and more nervous about the Marine Corps Marathon.
  • I’m also becoming more and more excited.
  • I was exhausted getting ready for work this morning (even though I shockingly got nearly 9 hours of sleep).
  • But thanks to my part-time schedule, I’m done for the day, and only have class left.
  • I don’t relish returning to my apartment, considering the mess is stressing me out. It looks like my closet/dressers threw up.
  • Folding and putting away clothes, though, is mindless, and that’s often what I need after class. (That’s not to say it will all get done.)
  • I will probably fall asleep tonight trying to finish the last few chapters of my history reading.
  • And that’s okay because, quite honestly, I find the Enola Gay controversy fascinating.

And if this is the most that I have to complain about, I think things are going pretty okay. And I am very very grateful for that.

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Think about it:

  • September’s weather can be a little hit or miss, but October’s usually perfect (minus this rain).
  • It’s the beginning of postseason baseball.
  • There’s Halloween (and, consequently, playing dress up) to look forward to at the end.
  • In the spirit of Halloween, there are always scary/cheesy-scary movies on TV. (If I still had cable, and time, I’d be watching ABC Family’s annual Halloween countdown. One family friendly scary movie every night! Though, that version of scary usually includes Harry Potter…which I’m okay with.)
  • And, of course, October is my biggest race month.

– There’s the super fun Warrior Dash scheduled for next weekend – during which I’ll get an amazing Viking helmet. (Photos to come, post-race.)

– Then the Army 10-Miler two weeks after that, which I’m determined to enjoy more than last year.

– And finally, on Halloween morning, there’s the Marine Corps Marathon. Last year I ran the 10k, this year it’s all 26.2.

One of my 25 goals was to run the MCM faster than I did the National Marathon. As I get closer to the date, I’m honestly not sure that will happen, but I’m still SO excited. The atmosphere is unlike any other race I’ve been a part of – as both a runner and as a spectator.

It’s still nerve-wracking to be starting my countdown now (only 30 days!), but in a good way. I know that the crowds (and, let’s be honest, that enormous medal) will make the hours of running well worth it.

So, even though I don’t really get to celebrate Halloween this year, I’ll survive. And, along with the cheers of Marines, I’ll be rewarded with this:

I’ll just have to save playing dress up for another weekend.

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