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Archive for March, 2011

I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but today is a very important day.

Today is the beginning of baseball season.

Now, I know that spring training has been going on for about a month now, and that’s been great. It would have been even greater if I’d managed to make it down to Clearwater to stalk see my players. But, that said, the regular season is just different.

Today starts the beginning of the 162 games that will determine whether your team is still playing through October, or whether they’re simply watching the games on TV.

It is not in my nature to be optimistic about my Phillies. That’s not to say that I don’t cheer for them, and cheer hard, because I do. You know this. (I’m also a big fan of tough love.) But I’m always just *cautiously* optimistic. Because it hurts so bad when you get your hopes up and fucking Cody Ross and Juan Uribe and some jerk they call Panda completely shatter your dreams.

But I digress.

This year it’s hard to not be a little optimistic – even with right-field feeling a little empty. Our pitching line-up is sick. There’s a reason that Phillies fans have been posting this photo all over the place:

(Sorry Blanton.)

Even the experts are on our side (for the most part). Of the ESPN season predictions by 45 analysts:

  • 42 put the Phillies in the post-season.
  • 27  have the Phillies becoming the National League Champions
  • 7 have picked the Phillies to win the World Series.

Now before you go telling me how that doesn’t mean anything, and it’s hard to predict how a season’s going to go, etc – save your breath. I know. But I also like knowing that there are people out there – experts – who have faith in my team’s ability. Because even when it hurts, I do, too.

I’ll be cheering the Phillies on when they visit DC in a couple weeks and my only wish is that they’d get here sooner.

Well, not my only wish. But some things are better left to the imagination.

 

I'll use any excuse to put this photo in a blog post.

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When I first made my 25 for 25 list, I thought for sure that the running goals would be the hardest to accomplish.

And then I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could get my sub-10 average pace if I did a race that was short enough that I could essentially sprint the entire thing. So the boyfriend paced me for the Love the Run You’re With 5k, and it was a success! Check one more thing off my list.

What I didn’t expect was that I’d accomplish that sub-10 goal twice.

This past weekend was the National SunTrust Marathon and Half-Marathon. Last year, this race was my first marathon. This year I opted to “just” do half.

Photo stolen from the boyfriend; post half-marathon (as you can see by the medals)

My initial goal was to beat the time I’d gotten at the LA Half-Marathon back in January. I always run a little better in cooler weather, and I knew what to expect from this course. But then, as the race drew closer and my training runs were fewer and farther between, I amended my goal to just enjoying myself. Gotta love lowering the bar.

When I stopped just after the first mile into the race for a bathroom break, I was even happier that I hadn’t established a time goal. Because of course I’d never make it with a stop. So I just ran, enjoyed myself, soaked in the sun, and appreciated the spectators.

Eventually I started to realize that I was actually making up the time that I’d stopped. Guillermo was telling me that I was keeping a steady pace, complete with several sub-10 miles! And I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could still make my original goal of a better time than LA (2:15:55)!

The thought gave me a little extra kick in my step and propelled me through the slight rolling hills. I was also wondering, in the back of my mind, if I’d ever catch up with the boyfriend. He’d gained a lead since I stopped for my potty break, so I hadn’t seen him since just after mile 1.

That is – until mile 9.

I spotted the familiar jacket stopping for a water break, and I said hello with an encouraging slap on the ass, naturally. And then I kept looking, side to side, sure that he would be right next to me to run the remainder of the race. And sure that he would pass me. (I haven’t beaten him in a race since March 2009.)

Honestly, I was expecting him to come out of nowhere and pass me just as we were nearing the finish line. Instead, he caught up around mile 12.5 and we ran the rest of the way together. And it was the perfect way to end the race.

When I stopped Guillermo and saw my time, I could not stop grinning. To call what I was feeling a runner’s high is an understatement. Not only had I killed my 2:15:55 goal, but I’d also managed to do another race with a sub-10 average (even though that fact didn’t sink in until later)!

I ran this half in 2:08:38 – my second best half-marathon time ever, and definitely my Post-Injury Personal Record (PIPR, as I affectionately call it). And, if you subtract the 3 minutes I lost to the bathroom break, it’s my best time overall. Ever.

To be honest, I’m still on a little bit of a runner’s high. And if this high carries over into the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler this weekend? Well, who am I to fight it?

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1. Find out if everyone is going tanning before the big day. If they are and you don’t want to, just be prepared to look like a ghost.

 

With a couple other bridesmaids - you can tell I didn't get the pre-wedding tanning memo...

2. Always make sure there’s booze in the bridal suite as you’re getting ready. The bride will thank you. Profusely. (Even if some of that booze is Mike’s Hard Lemonade.)

3. If you are wearing a floor length gown, try to convince the bride to let you get it hemmed so you can walk. If you can’t, be prepared to do a fancy kick-step maneuver as you walk down the aisle. Nobody wants a bridesmaid to go splat. (Okay, that’s probably a lie.)

4. Bring a date who can handle being on his own, takes awesome photos as you participate in the festivities, and won’t judge you as you scarf down the appetizers at cocktail hour because you haven’t had a chance to eat since breakfast.

5. In the end it doesn’t really matter if everything goes exactly according to plan, as long as the bride (and groom) is happy.

Mazel tov!

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While in San Jose this past weekend for Wedding #1 of the 2011 season, during a brief moment of downtime, the boyfriend and I were flipping through the TV channels in our hotel room.

(And by “the boyfriend and I,” I mean “the boyfriend.” We all know I don’t operate the remote.)

Anyway, after one particular flip I saw Don Johnson’s familiar face.

Nash Bridges!

The boyfriend looked at me with a mixture of concern and disbelief. “My mom watched this show,” he informed me, emphasizing mom.

So? I loved it! Nash and his yellow Barracuda…” I trailed off as he kept looking.

Wait a minute.” He took a deep breath. “Did you also watch Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman?

I could feel my face light up. “Yes! It was so good! We used to watch it as a family!

He sighed again, almost in resignation. “Okay. What about the one in a hospital with the guy from Mary Poppins?

Diagnosis: Murder! Yeah, I didn’t watch it on a regular basis, but sometimes.

But you still knew what I was talking about. These are all shows that my mom loves. How old are you?”

To be honest, he has a point. I may be 25 on the outside, but I do have an 80-year-old soul. Apparently I’ve had one for quite a while.

And that 80-year-old soul would still gladly watch Dr. Quinn and Sully over Jersey Shore any day.

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…of Lent, that is.

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow, and I’ll begin once more the time-honored tradition of giving something up. I know that there’s a general feeling of, “well, giving up a particular food, etc. isn’t going to make me a better person,” and I get that. But one of the main points of Lent, as I understand it, is sacrifice. And what counts as a sacrifice to you, or what will make an impact on you, is a personal decision.

That said, I’ve decided this year to give up something new. It may not sound like much, but it’s kind of a big deal to me.

Last year I wrote:

While talking to my mom about it yesterday, I mentioned trying to give up Diet Coke and she immediately looked worried. “But, won’t you get a headache without your caffeine in the morning? What will you have instead?” And it’s true. I don’t like coffee; I get bored with tea. Diet Coke is what gets me going. (In fact, I have one on my desk at the moment. So, I guess I won’t be giving that up…)

This year I’m done rationalizing.

I drink Diet Coke like it’s water. I have one every morning, like coffee, and usually another one (or two) throughout the course of the day. Particularly during classes.

But not after today.

 

Goodbye, my friend

I realize that terming this a sacrifice may seem extreme. But think about something that you have or do every day, something that’s part of your routine. Now think about stopping cold turkey. I can’t imagine that it’s easy – and I don’t think it’s supposed to be.

So, in the spirit of Mardi Gras indulgence, I’m sipping on my current Diet Coke, knowing it’ll be my last until Easter Sunday (April 24th). And I’m prepared for the headaches and the caffeine withdrawal (I think).

I’m just not sure that the boyfriend’s prepared to deal with me like that.

Wish him luck – he might need it more than I will.

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This past weekend, in an attempt to cross something else off my list, I took advantage of a free Sunday morning and went to church. I’d heard a lot of good things about this particular one, and it seemed like a place I’d be comfortable going to. I was there a little early – I wanted to get a feel for the layout, and not rush – so I sat down on a bench near the receptionist’s desk and began reading some of the material.

There was a man already sitting down near me, but I didn’t think anything of it. Until he started talking to me.

At first it was just the normal small talk – hi, how are you, and the like. And it was nothing new. I’m used to random people striking up conversation with me. But then this conversation got a little weirder.

Church Guy held up what looked like an album cover with a picture of a woman on it.

CG: This is my girlfriend. This is my girlfriend. Isn’t she pretty? Isn’t she pretty? (He had a tendency to repeat things – not everything, but the important points, I’m guessing.)

Me: *nodding politely* Yes, she’s very pretty.

CG: She’s very pretty. Very pretty. You’re very pretty, too. You know, I’ve known her since 1976! 1976! I bet that’s before you were born! How old are you?

Me: *even while thinking that I need to extricate myself from this conversation* I’m 25.

CG: 25? So I could be your father? I could be your father. She could be your mother!

At that point, after politely nodding once more, I stood up to ask the receptionist the way to the sanctuary, figuring that would be the end of it. But, as I asked her, Church Guy interjected: “I’ll show her, Mary! I got it!

We walked to the stairs, and as we got to the first landing, he asked me, “Will you do me a favor?” He put the album cover of his girlfriend on the ground and said, “Will you just step on this, please? Just step on it.

Me: No. I really don’t feel comfortable doing that.

CG: It won’t hurt it at all! Look!

He picked it up and showed me that he’d reinforced the back of the picture with duct tape.

Me: No, I’m sorry. I’m really not comfortable.

CG: Please? I just want to take a picture of you stepping on it.

Me: NO. I wouldn’t want anyone to step on my picture, and I’m not going to step on anyone else’s.

CG: Okay. Just keep going up then. The sanctuary’s that way.

And with that, he turned around and walked back downstairs to the reception area. And I started to wonder – how is it that these people always find me? I know I could have been ruder or a complete bitch, but that’s really not my style. And it’s not like I ever actually felt threatened.

I’ll be honest: I really liked the church, but I probably won’t spend too much time in the reception area anymore. There’s only so much crazy a girl can handle on her own.

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