Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Month: March 2009 (page 1 of 2)

I'm officially not young anymore.

I was born in the evening around the time most people are watching the evening news.

My friend Mofo is going on a trip later this year with Contiki. I checked out their website and saw all these cool trips. Then I saw this

. What makes traveling with Contiki different is not only do we take 18-35 year old travelers from around the world to the most desirable destinations, but we also encourage them to experience these places in a completely subjective and unique way. It’s not just what you see, it’s how you see it.

*Gasp* I’m too….OLD! I ran to the mirror. I believe I got MORE GRAY HAIR!

Well maybe not old but I have officially hit a milestone. I am no longer considered young. Young is, for demographics purposes, eighteen to thirty-five. Today, I hit the 36 post. I am no longer young. I’m apparently too old to get away with the stupidity of youth. I’m no longer a “stupid college kid” or a “fresh young thing straight out of college.” I am, for all practical purposes, old enough to know better.

Of course, this means that I’m feeling really stupid right now.

The day was a lazy day. Actually, it was a day filled with a long to do list but no immediate deadlines. I procrastinated like a champ. I got a PhD in procrastination. I had two clients come and I ended up chatting with them for long periods of time. I guess that wasn’t wasted time. I was rapport building. I got some paperwork done. No upsetting drama filled phone calls. Then I went home and ate one of my favorite meals (lasagna). I got some presents from my parents. News that the grandparents presents were coming in the mail. Watched some TV. Kicked some ass on Mafia wars over the course of the day. Pretty nice.

Of course, this is birthday week and the weekend is for the MEEK to END.

With my birthday being about ninety days from the beginning of the year, it’s a good time to reassess my goals and test out those resolutions.

1. My running has been fairly consistent and good. I’m gaining fitness with fewer walk breaks and my pace is getting faster. Unfortunately, I haven’t done enough hill training and need to find some hilly terrain with sidewalks or a large shoulder so I can go up the hills without worrying about death and dismemberment due to an automobile accident.

2. I had intention of doing yoga at least twice a week. I also entertained the 100 pushup challenge and the 200 sit-ups challenge. To date, I haven’t even done the diagnostic test on either one. So I’m guessing I should start with something. I at least need some sort of strength training.

3. There is the career management thing which I’ve thought about and I’ve gone to events and shaken hands and made contacts. Usually if I met someone, I either get a card or google where they work (if they tell me) and send a “nice to meet you” note with a card. Yeah I’m cheesetastic. Or a networking genius. Still actual bonafide job hunting is slow. Focus on marketing here. hrmm… not sure.. NOT SURE AT ALL.

4. I know that one goal was to complete the Little Rock Marathon and I DID IT! woo hooo. I had a goal of trying a marathon near the end of the year. That’s 9 more months to train. it’s doable. I’ll still be the last person to finish but I can definitely get the fitness level to finish. I will pick a flatter course than Little Rock, for good measure.

5. I also am planning to be more social. I’m working on it.

Weekend Bits

A criminal defense attorney in Louisiana was stabbed 38 times by her own husband. RIP Compadre

Yesterday I woke up after 3 hours of sleep and went to a CLE on criminal law. It was entertaining and educational. You can’t get much better than that. There were also a lot of Star Trek references. I was too tired to stay in touch which disappointed. I at least wanted to catch upon my movie watching. I haven’t seen The Reader among other things. A storm was coming so it probably was for the best.

The old 97s are coming to Tulsa. I’m excited even if you aren’t.

I have discovered food gawker. It’s food porn with links to the recipes. Now it’s time to cook.

There’s a 5K next weekend in town. I’m a running.

Tomorrow is also the beginning of BIRTHDAY WEEK! This might be the beginning of “over the hill” ness over at Merlisser land. What age is considered “TOP OF THE HILL” anyway. Yes there will be birthday week perks!

REUNITED! and it feels so good.

My sweet baby cats came home!

Interesting times.

I have yet another funeral to attend. It’s a friend of the family. She was one hundred years old. It wasn’t a surprise. She had bleeding on the brain and wasn’t eating but yes. Three funerals in one week. That’s pretty spectacular for someone who isn’t in the medical or funeral home business and didn’t experience some epic tragedy like a school shooting or a bus accident.

As a person who likes to keep up on current affairs, I actually watched the Obama press conference. It, for the most part, was a very serious and somber occasion with questions about serious subjects that could mean the beginning of the apocalypse: economic distress, war in Afghanistan, Iran, health care, etc. There was one little item that turned my frown upside and caused a ferocious spat of giggles that put my pants in peril of being pee’d on. Here it is.

QUESTION: But on AIG, why did you wait — why did you wait days to come out and express that outrage? It seems like the action is coming out of New York and the attorney general’s office. It took you days to come public with Secretary Geithner and say, “Look, we’re outraged.” Why did it take so long?

OBAMA: It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking about before I speak.

I believe that’s called BOOO YAAAAA! I know he didn’t. oooh yes yes he did!

MEOW!

I know he didn't.

Both of my tom cats have absconded and haven’t been seen for two whole days. This is very unusual. Even if they stay outside, they’re usually lazy enough to come in and eat some food for 10 minutes before going back out. SO it’s very weird to not see them. Maybe they found a new family that serves better food. They are food whores.

I miss my babies. I hope they’re okay and haven’t gotten in any bad fights or eaten by big dogs. You laugh by my cat Max was mawled by a Rottweiller that someone let run around at night. (Our tiny town is too cheap to have a dog catcher work any time except 9 to 5. Everybody knows this and lets their dogs out after business hours).

I ran into a high school classmate of mine and we talked about our class. I asked about a classmate and he said that she was a big muckety mucket at a large bank. He also gave me her married surname and said he googled her. Well, I used to be a private investigator so far be it for me not to do my own googling investigation. Why yes she is at a large bank and she is high enough on the ladder to be giving statements to the press. I did see one article that used her name and the letters “CDO” I wrote my MBA friend and sent her the article, she writes back

Collateralized Debt Obligation these are the people that made those banks fail.

So I guess my classmate isn’t going to be showing up to the class reunion.

In other news, my brother changed the cell phone ring tone on my technologically tone deaf mother’s cell phone to crowing roosters. My mother, of course, has no idea how to change it back. Hilarity ensues.

Sitting on the phone … listening to musak.

About two weeks ago, my beloved three month old laptop quit having power. Even though it was plugged up, the power just kept going down. Finally, it completely died and I took it to the local computer store thinking it was a faulty battery or a faulty power cord. They told me that I had a potential motherboard problem. This is bad. Really reallyl bad. In fact, I was told that if it wasn’t under warranty, I would be better off just buying a new laptop.

(insert loud swearing here)

So today between two appointments, I had an hour to kill and gently pressed the keys to my phone to customer service. Ring ring ring.

First I get the nice computer lady voice who says in spanish that if I want to speak in spanish to press some other numbers. Then I was asked if this was about a bill or technical support. Then I had to push this twenty gazillion digit service number that is written in -2000000 point font on the back of my computer.

Then I got a human voice. A human voice from what I believe is in or around the Indian subcontinent. One of the first things I hear is “Would you like to hear about your special service called “Your Technical team”? For $179 dollars per year, you can get a North American Technician and they will attend to your call within 2 minutes.” Wow way to profit on American’s xenophobia. computer company of mine.

So I answer a few questions and get sent to another technician. I have to tell the same twenty gazillion digit phone number. He then asked me to say and spell my name. He spelled it back using the NATO phonetic alphabet SWEET!

After all that, there was some talking about my computer problem. My computer died. The battery ran down. It wouldn’t turn on. I thought it was the power cord or the battery itself. Somehow the battery wasn’t charging itself. I took it to the local computer repair shop because I wasn’t about to send it off if it was a battery issue.

Huh huh says computer guy. Then he starts giving me all these constructions over the phone like take the battery out and turn it on. Unplug the computer and replug it. Press FN, FU, and the power button. Do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around, then press the power key.

None of these were successful. He put me on hold and I had to listen to the most gawd awful classical music I have ever heard in my life. I’m a classic music fan but oh this was some bad music. I mean bad as in it was staticy and poorly executed. I swear I heard a wrong note.

He comes back and gives me some more instructions.

So in a couple of days, I am going to receive a magic box. Inside the magic box, there will be a piece of paper with aphone number. I will take the super duper secret piece of paper with the super duper secret phone number and replace the piece of paper with my lap top. I will close it and call the super duper secret phone number listed. Then the ninjas will come and pick up my computer. Then they will take it to the dojo and kick the shit out of my computer until it decides to act right.

or something like that.

They might just spit on it and give it back to me.

I’d like to think facebook applications for keeping me from pulling my hair out during this dire situation.

Ruminations on a Sunday

In the last three days, I have attended two funerals and have clipped out the obituaries of two other people that I know that have died. I’m not sure why this week was the week that God would have his Spring Cleaning of Earth but he did. Some were of the age that it was only a matter of time since very few of us live til ninety. Others were battling cancer. One guy just had a heart attack in his hotel room out of the blue. No one even knew he had a heart condition. He was found slumped over in a chair with half with half a cigarette sitting in the ash tray. Apparently, he had been smoking it when he slumped over.

While it’s plainly obvious that everybody dies, it’s never obvious the when, where, and whys of a particular person’s death. Is it random or meant to send a message to the survivors? I have no idea.

I’m also beset with people who are slowly dying in piecemeal. I have a friend who has battled cancer for years. He’s had surgery on his jaw. He’s had chemo and radiation. It came back. He got more jaw surgery and more chemo. He’s lost and gained more weight than most people do in a life time in the span of months. His mother is 100 and is in a nursing home. She can’t even eat right anymore without choking on her own food. Her memory goes in and out of consciousness. She keeps saying that today is the day she will pass. She’s been ready for quite a while. Her husband died over twenty years ago and two of her kids are already gone. There are also other people out there whose memories have long died, breaking the hearts of family members who are stunned that the sick don’t know who they are.

Strange times, a friend of mine who lives in one of the more “nicer” neighborhoods found a guy sleeping in the bathroom near his gym. The economy has come to this.

Sometimes it’s just hard to breathe when you read about these things.

This weekend, I saw I Love You Man. I will confess at the outset. I love Paul Rudd. I would watch Paul Rudd read the phone book. Okay now that I got that out of the way. This movie is far better than the previews hint. The characters were more fully rounded and “real people” as opposed to stock characters. It seemed plausible that the main character would be engaged to his fiance and that he would end up being friends with his new “man friend.” Of course, the men are into Rush and go to a Rush concert where the main character’s fiance was the only woman there. That was funny as hell. AND TRUE! The soundtrack is pretty nice too. (I Love You, Man)

My big fat geek half marathon.

For reasons that to this day I don’t fully comprehend, I have always been a person that other people underestimate. For example, my guidance counselor recommended that instead of taking AP English and Calculus that I take a two period class called Office Lab that taught you how to use all the secretarial machines. I ended up being the one who made the perfect score on the Calculus semester test. There was the time this girl told me that my boyfriend was “TOO FINE” to be dating “someone like me.” (How she managed to live with all her hair perfectly placed on her head, I’ll never know). When I had my first meeting with my piano teacher in DC, I bought a piece I could play to show him my level of proficiency. He told me that this was a “very difficult piece.” Yeah I played it. He was impressed. UH HUH. That’s what I thought.

I’m thinking maybe I should get “that’s what I thought” tattooed on my butt.

Sometimes, I have found that I underestimate myself. I’m a perfectionist and see my flaws and weaknesses a lot more than I see my strengths. As a result, I like to do something that scares me a little to remind me that I’m alive and capable.

I began running in DC. DC has some beautiful running routes. There is the National Mall, which has a gravel trail where you can run from the Capital to the Lincoln Memorial and back again. The sidewalks are wide enough that you can run across the Memorial Bridge into Arlington National Cemetery. Rock Creek Park has a bike and running trail.

Sometime relatively soon after I started running, I thought about completing a marathon. It sounded so over the top that I just had to do it. I had a friend doing the Aids Marathon training program and through that I learned about the Galloway Method

So I put the marathon on my bucket list. I then broke it down to the smaller goals with a 5K, 10K, and a half marathon on my list as well.

Life happened. I moved. I gained a ton of weight. One day woke up and realized, HOLY SHIT I”M FAT! I’m really really fat! and started back to running . . very very slowly. So far I’ve lost about 20 pounds.

Last Saturday was my half marathon: The Little Rock Marathon in, where else, Little Rock, Arkansas. I printed out the training schedule on the site and went to town.

As any longtime reader of “run melissa run” knows, I have been panicking about this race for a good two weeks. I’ve never run a race with this many people. I had visions of being trampled by other runners. I’d never run a race this long. Would the hills kill me? Will I lose my timing chip? lots of concerns.

They turned out to be unfounded. I took pictures. Here we go.

packet pick up

This is where I picked up my “packet” with my number, timing clip, and all the necessary items needed for the race. The expo was nice. I met some of the nicest people while I was there. Runners, as a group, tend to be really nice people. Maybe it’s true what they say about endorphins and mood. I saw lots of nice things and ended up doing a little shopping.

Cool shirts at the expo.

I did not buy either one of these t-shirts.

Goodies

I bought The Stick, which is billed as a “self massager” (no not that kind of massager). IT was worth its weight in gold. I got some gloves, a ponytail headband, a bumper sticker, a magnet, and some jelly beans.

I did my carbo loading at Dam Good Pies. This is an awesome restaurant with great food. I highly recommend it.

Best shirt ever.

I almost wore this shirt to the race, thinking it would be hilarious and might give the spectators a little chuckle. Then I remembered that my pants were black. Oops.

The race itself. Well 6 a.m. is really freaking early. My mother wanted to go with me and since I’m not a morning person, I was more than happy to have someone else with me to wake my sleepy head up for the race.

I started the race with my intent to do 2 minute running/1 minute walk break splits for the duration and I kept this up easy breezy until somewhere between mile 9 and 10.

Around mile 7. (when mothers with cameras attack)

This picture is around mile seven. Our hotel was on the race route and my mother waited and came outside and took this picture. Obviously, I’m not what you would call pleased with my mother playing Paparazzi.

Somewhere around mile 9 and 10, I got real tired. This route was significantly more hilly than the training area in my town. In fact, Little Rock is a lot more hilly than Melissa land in general. The hills had gotten to me. I began walking up the hill in front of the Governor’s Mansion. After that, I pretty much walked the rest of the route. My goal was just to finish. I didn’t care if I was last.

I finally got to the last turn. I got some lipstick at the lipstick aid station and crossed the finish line about 3 1/2 hours later. One person cut off my timing tag. Another person put my finisher’s medal around my neck.

My finisher's medal

(my finisher’s medal)

And none other than Mr. TMFW himself put the mylar blanket around me to keep me warm. By this point, I was so tired I wanted him to tuck me in bed with some warm milk and read me a bedtime story.

The post race atmosphere is a little odd. People are tired and yet supportive. I ate a slice of pizza, some chocolate milk, and a banana. I found my mother. I called my Dad.

“Hey Dad”
“So how did it go?”
“It went alright”
“Did you finish all 13 miles”
“yeah”
“REALLY!”

Uh huh that’s what I thought.

Bragging rights.

I learned a lot during that race. I learned that I need to find more hills for training purposes. I learned that in running, like life, the two biggest things are to show up and to keep going when times are tough. Everything else is gravy.

,

13.1 represent.

Me and my medal.

I survived. I wasn’t dead last. I’m a happy (and sore) camper. It’s also late. I will write in detail later.

Tell my parents that I love them.

I’m leaving to go pick up my race packet at the expo. I will be checking out the BBQ contest at the Clinton Library-maybe see the Peter Max exhibit. There will be 13.1 miles of running. Hotel checking. Maybe some independent movie watching. I am missing the St. Patrick’s Day parade but I might check out the rest of it.

Now that it’s here, I’m having the angsty, Oh no 13.1 miles. What if I die? Tell my parents that i love them.

I love all you guys…. and My mother gets the cats. Todd gets the piano music…

Oh crap I’m kidding. a little.

Getting by on less

Power of Less, The: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life

I checked this book out of the local library. I have been a regular reader of the author’s blog, Zen Habits for quite a while.

This book is a synthesis of the website itself with the basic theme of productivity spelled out: to get the most out of life, cut out the busy work and focus on the essential. The author then goes into detail with steps on how to achieve this aim.

Some of his ideas include:

Figure out your values and the three most important things to do. Eliminate or cut down on the other things. Be in the moment and do only one thing at a time. Pick out two or three “most important tasks” (his words) and put those at the beginning of the day so you get something done. Pick one or two times a day to make phone calls instead of throughout the day.

This is an easy to read book and while some of the ideas have been presented in other formats, this book seemed to put them in a far more simple format than I’ve read elsewhere.

Now the book doesn’t address the person who has so many commitments because of their need to please so many people and it doesn’t address the person whose work schedule has more tasks than can be chopped up into only three important tasks.

I do think that most people who read this book will get something out of it.

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