Monday, May 21, 2012

Reminiscing on running

I just read through my post of running the Lakefront Marathon on October 4, 2009. I can't believe I did it.

What I didn't post about afterward was sleeping for 14 hours that night (until 11 AM the next morning), and sweating profusely the entire time I slept, like I had contracted the flu.

I didn't mention how every. single. muscle. and. joint. in my body ached. That I should have taken the advice of the brownie lady at mile 18 and submerged my entire body in an ice bath within hours of finishing the race.

I still have a vivid memory of attempting to walk down the stairs at Greg's house in Shorewood to get to the computer, grabbing both stair rails and dragging my legs down the stairs because my arm muscles -- although aching -- could still function compared to any of my leg muscles.

I'm not saying I'll ever run a marathon again. The training at best is difficult and at worst is exhausting and demoralizing;  the race, while gratifying, is still grueling; the recovery cumbersome and frustrating.

But running is still all worth it.

I continue to run now. I've actually convinced and succeeded in making my fiance, Greg (more on that later) run his first half marathon race this last weekend. We chose to run the Green Bay Cellcom half marathon. The first organized race I ever ran back in May 2009.

We ran the entire course together, pushing one another when the other was dragging behind (which was mostly him pushing me -- I'm pretty sure Greg was running on an adrenaline rush 90 percent of the run.)

We finished the race in 2:25:23, with an 11:06 pace. Not too shabby when it's 85 degrees F and humid at 9 AM in the morning. Officials cancelled the race officially at 9:35 AM, less than five minutes after we crossed the finish line.

Although we're both aching today, I think I *might* have  convinced him to run the Milwaukee Mini Marathon. Maybe.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Driving truck

On any given day, the office I work at might get two to three vendors stopping in to drop off product orders and goods for our branch. The FedEx guy, the Alterra Coffee dude, the Otis Spunkmeyer cookie man. In the winter, Luis the rug guy even picks up the soiled carpets every other week.

All these people – 100 percent of which are men, from my sample size – drive around southeast Wisconsin delivering and distributing goods for their company. They all may work for large corporations, but they drive a truck for eight to 12 hours a day, most of which is windshield time by themselves. No wonder they can’t stop talking when they see another human being.

Today the Otis Spunkmeyer man, Donnie, stopped in. He dropped off the cookies, and started talking about his company and the changes since their merger with a company in Sweden, and how banks aren’t what they used to be, and how he tried to buy a Lexus, and when he owned his liquor store a few years ago … I got half this guy’s life story in our 10 minute conversation (or lecture? I didn’t do much talking).

I can appreciate what they do, but I’ll take a cubicle in an office over a truck, any day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Milwaukee River Clean-up

It seems my weekends have been filling up quickly now that summer's around the corner. I'm excited about being able to see everyone again, and get outside with the nicer weather.

This last Saturday, Gregor decided to sign us up to volunteer at the Milwaukee Riverkeeper river clean-up in MKE's Lincoln Park. Although the wind was a little chilly, the sun was shining as we pulled into the parking lot around 9 AM. About two dozen people, ages six to 60, gathered around a sign-up table. We all picked up gloves, t-shirts (which look pretty awesome -- and who doesn't need more free shirts?), E-Z grabbers, and trash bags before heading out to scour the park for trash.

We wandered around the Milwaukee River banks and surrounding park for about 2-1/2 hours picking up used plastic bags, cigarette and cigar butts, plastic bottles, beer cans, and food wrappers.

Some people also found a laptop, steering wheel, a light-up Christmas snowman, a safe, and cash register drawer. (Local robberies, much?)

When we left around 11:30, there were about 25-30 bags stacked up along the road for garbage pick-up.

It felt good to help out the community; plus the park didn't look to shabby once we finished up. It's a never-ending battle -- but it was a good way to get outside, and make the city look a little better.

I also mentioned Gregor how he had posted a blog about the "Broken-window theory." But maybe if people see us doing our part to keep the parks clean, they might think twice about tossing that Oreo wrapper on the ground.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Earth Hour

I received an email at work encouraging all employees to participate in something I had never heard of: Earth Hour 2010. (

Here’s the rundown:

On March 27, 2010, from 8:30-9:30 PM -- for your own time zone, people all over the world will be turning off all of their electricity as a protest against climate change.

In 2008, countries all over the world participated. According to the website, “Global landmarks such as the, Sydney Harbour Bridge, The CN Tower in Toronto, The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness.”

I understand the concept – to show our reliance on electricity and power; and subsequently its global impact. Hopefully, it would encourage more people to use less electricity – or at least show them how much they really rely on it.

Along with most people, I’m guilty of wasting energy. On top of electricity, I’m talking about water and fuel too. I leave lights on all over the house (Gregor can attest – and I’m sure he will), my laptop and the television are constantly on when I’m at home, I wash dishes with the water running.

That’s not to say I haven’t taken steps to stop wasting energy too. I’ve used my cruise control more on highways (saves gas, fewer run-ins with the 5-0s); I try to grab all the items I need from the refrigerator at once when I’m making a meal; I turn the water off when I brush my teeth.

So this March 27, I’m going to try turning the lights out for an hour. Maybe I can get a little creative, and figure out what to do for an hour in the dark.

Get your head out of the gutter.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

In like a lion, out like a lamb

There’s light at the end of the tunnel. Finally! When the calendar hits March, the days start getting longer (March 14 = daylight savings), the temperatures get warmer (March 20 = first day of spring).

This weekend, I’m looking forward to the temperatures hitting the mid-40s. That’s right – above freezing. We haven’t seen that kind of heat wave since November.

The big plans on my list? Going for my long run. Outside.

I decided to keep with the running, and signed up for another spring half marathon. I chose to run the Door County Half Marathon on May 1. Since January, I’ve been training indoors on a treadmill at the gym. Let me tell you, they’re a necessary evil; but, treadmills SUCK.

Gregor and I just moved to our new place in January, so I’m not too familiar with the area yet. On my first outdoor run, I can’t wait to investigate and explore the good trails, find out which routes have sidewalks, check out the scenery, and figure out how to avoid the terrifying traffic on Mequon Road.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hot air

I followed the story yesterday of the six-year-old boy who was presumably stuck in a man-made hot air balloon his storm chasing parents constructed. Read the story here.

Turns out he was hiding in the garage attic the whole time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why jobs are like boyfriends

When I got laid off in July, I was bummed out. I sat around by myself, I cried, I ate and drank things I probably shouldn’t have. I discovered websites I didn’t know existed through hours of daily Internet surfing.

Now I’ve been looking for a job the last three months, with little to show for it (except an updated resume and a bunch of business cards from people I’ll probably never talk to again). Then I realized, looking for a job is like looking for a boyfriend. Observe.

The break-up

Sure, we had disagreements and fought once in awhile … but I thought I was pulling my weight. I helped out when I didn’t need to. I made you feel good when you were down. I gave you my heart, and you stomped on it. With no forewarning, nonetheless. What did I do wrong? Of course, I had to figure we were both having problems and dragging this out longer than necessary. But we were both comfortable, weren’t we?

Do I talk too much? Did I ignore you? Did I break the fax machine one-too-many times? And much like a severed relationship, I’m left wondering why instead of just moving on and getting over it.


Now what do I do with all the hours I would usually spend with you? I can’t go and hang out at your place. That would just be weird, and needy. Instead I sit on my couch for hours watching terrible daytime talk shows and rented movies. I sit in my pajamas and I don’t shower until 2 PM. I eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. Along with ice cream, pizza and cheeseburgers.

When I’m feeling a little better, I try to find some fellow singles to go out on the town on a Tuesday night. But I can’t because ALL MY FRIENDS HAVE JOBS.

The first date

Finally, for weeks, I’ve been searching and searching for that someone special. We meet online and notice a connection. Hey good lookin’. Say, you’re in the Milwaukee area? You need someone with my kind of experience? You like grammar and correcting typos? Let’s meet!

We decide on a day, find the location and pick a time to meet. I have to dress to the nines and make sure I’m on your A-game. I’ve only got one chance to make a good, lasting first impression.

When I get there, I have to talk about myself. Incessantly. Not only that, but you have to make yourself sound good. Not only that, I have to make sure I ask you questions too.

The callback

This is usually done by phone or email. Texting in either situation is absolutely unacceptable. So far, I’ve received at least a dozen emails before and/or after an interview saying why I’m not their type. “You don’t have enough experience,” There were so many well-qualified applicants and it was difficult to choose,” or, my personal favorite, “I’m not sure you’d move for me.” (Not a direct quote) Fine. I’ll move one. It’s not like we knew each other that well anyway.

But the trouble always is, you don’t always know exactly why they didn’t pick you. You can’t read minds, and ask that potential employer why they made the decision they did. What’s that person you picked got, that I ain’t got?

Going steady

I’ve dragged the metaphor on, you can probably figure this one out. It’s when the job you’ve been seeing says they want to offer you a place in their heart. Or a cube, as it were. You want to support me and give me insurance? Let me celebrate holidays with you and meet all your friends? That sounds swell.

In all respects, I’m still single. Sure I’m playing the field right now with a few freelance opportunities; but I have yet to lock down that lasting relationship.

That said, I can still say I learn from every job I meet. I realize that some of the interviews I go to, I wouldn’t want to work for a particular person or company. Or I realize that I really, really want that job … but they found someone that can type faster, joke better or has more, ehem, experience than me.