Monday, February 28, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night...

So maybe that title is slightly inaccurate. But it WAS a seriously damp and foggy morning.

Inspirational right??? Just screams "13.1 MILES! Let's RUN it!" Either that or "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S LURKING IN THE MIST!" You decide. But run I did. And within minutes I was dripping wet. Yes, I sweat. No, not to the point of dripping. The 100% humidity made for some serious condensation though, and managed to keep things quite cool (lest you think my positivity lacking). So then I ran. Hearing the ocean waves nearby and eventually starting to catch glimpses of the scenery made for pleasant distractions. And I kept running. Made friends with Kevyn around mile 7. Yup, eat that rhyme! I attribute my finish in great part to her. Yup, HER. She was my positivity when I ran out. Literally, ran it right out of my system. And still had to run. Her conversation and push through the last two miles got me to my finish and her part way through her marathon. Keyword: FINISH. I crossed the finished line, bent in half, contemplated crying, thought better of it, and went on my way AFTER smiling what may have been the cheesiest grin of my life. Said grin was documented by race photographers who want to rip me off, so unfortunately it will not be posted here.

The funny thing? Kevyn and I had a conversation around mile 9 that still makes me laugh thinking about it. We were discussing her work at the YMCA---she teaches boot camp classes, race training courses, etc. A wonder woman and multiple-marathoner. And somewhere in the midst of it she turned to me and said "Really I don't even like running." My answer? "I don't either!" And there we were.

So...WHY?!? Really I can't give a definite answer. Eventually a post on Life Lessons Learned while Running might be in order. But I'm still learning them so for the time being that's out. For now, I think there's something to be said for overcoming physical difficulty. For learning to breathe when it feels impossible to do so. For tuning out the negativity that can literally weigh down our step and slow our pace. For encouraging others and working to get not only yourself, but others across the finish line. And somewhere along the way, to have a moment where music stops, thoughts quiet, calm reigns and you find yourself.

After 2:08:46.1. Less than goal time which was 2:15!!! I was almost ready to call myself a runner. And do note the change in weather. A light sea breeze can go a long way.

Six Days Later...

My first 10K! The Rodeo Run was not my finest moment, despite my "Can I get a Yee Haw?" shirt. Somewhere along the way I think I might have said "To hell with life lessons." Perhaps a bit more mental and physical recovery time was in order...

Bayou City Classic 10K
Bluebonnet 5K---followed by all you can eat Blue Bell ice cream!
Angie's Crazy Half Marathon
Step By Step 5K

The aim? 100 miles of racing in 2011. We'll see..

Friday, February 18, 2011

From Turkey Trot to Mardi Gras

10 Weeks of training. 182 miles logged. My first experience with GU. My first fitness magazine subscription---WHAT?!? Lots of Gatorade. Lots more water. A yoga regiment for balance. Plenty of complaints. One fall. A few tears. Solo. No music. Thoughts. Silence. And somewhere in the mix, a newfound love. Which I love to hate.

13.1 miles to go. But when I picked up my race packet and saw my number AND name inside, I felt a surge of excitement that might just last me through Sunday and the second race of my life. Here's hoping that a half-marathon will shortly be successfully checked off the life to do list!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Texas Stop Sign

There was a point in my life when things took a drastic turn of direction. So rather than settling into a pin-sized NYC apartment, I found myself roadtripping across West Texas with Mom. I had never been to Texas and can't say that my drive through the West was doing much to endear me to the state. It was a Sunday night and nearing dinner time when we came upon a settlement that seemed to have a few possible dining selections. Brief conversation ensued. Result: We weren't hungry just yet. Let's wait for a bit and find something down the road. MISTAKE!!! But perhaps one of the greatest of all time. As we continued driving, looking for "something down the road" it became apparent...that there was nothing. No more villages, settlements, towns, cities, or signs of life. Period. I began to understand what starvation was. A roadtrip without food at my every whim?!?! (Note: This was in pre-GPS days and we really had no way of knowing when our next food source might surface). And then, there it was, a beacon of hope blazing brightly in the distance. Or at least on the roadside signage. THE TEXAS STOP SIGN!

We walked through the door of Dairy Queen and into another world. It was a small-town Sunday evening. The sheriff was in and sporting his cowboy hat and boots. A table of old timers in their overalls stopped conversation at the sight of strangers. They needn't have bothered. I'm not a native drawl speaker and while I happily incorporate y'all into my current vocabulary, I was nowhere near such proficiency at the time. All in all, it felt as if we'd managed to step onto a film set for an old-school western or family feature. I can mark that occasion as the evening I started to fall for Texas, a state which has now laid claim to a serious portion of my heart. This song, in fact, was discovered for me by a MI roommate who might have heard about TX a time or two...

Singer-Songwriter and San Antonio native, Edith Frost from her album "Wonder Wonder."

The reason for this reminiscing? A weekend roadtrip and concert in Corpus Christi with the ever-fabulous MS and C(M)M! We hit that inevitable bathroom-break point of the trip, and lo and behold...there it was. The ever-present DQ. Clearly with the fates smiling on us, more than a bathroom break was in order. Note from the following picture who opted for the MINI Blizzard and feel free to hold it against HIM on future occasion.

Yet another trip to store away in the Texan corner of my heart.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Paris Playlist

A brief mental exercise for the middle of your work week:

Imagine you are creating a "Paris Playlist." 10 Songs. And...GO!

I'm going to imagine I haven't already made a playlist with said title, and in that imaginary world this song would be among my ten.
But if we exit the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, then I have to say I already made a "Paris Playlist" this week. And here are my 10 in Actuality. (Capitalized to effectively transport you into that realm).

1. Strauss: Elektra

2. Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro

3. Mozart: Die Zauberflöte

4. Bizet: Carmen

5. Puccini: La Bohème

6. Verdi: Otello

7. Berg: Wozzeck

8. Berlioz: La Damnation de Faust

9. Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

10. Gounod: Faust

Alright, so if you're not an opera nerd---apologies AND clarification: These are all operas. Go listen to them. If you already realized you were dealing with the operatic medium---congratulations AND clarification: I am not SO technologically inept that I would ever try to put the entire opera of Tristan und Isolde on a shared playlist. With anything. Period.

In fact, "Paris Playlist" is all operatic excerpts. Put it on shuffle and it's slightly terrifying. And seriously amazing. But I'm going to go ahead and guess that it's slightly varied from yours. (Because of course you participated in Exercise A.) And with my current oddities up for your review, I would actually like to know what made your list of 10. A "Paris Playlist, Vol. 2" might be in order.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wrap your Pipes

This morning I drove to work and found the parking garage completely empty, save for about 20 vehicles. Now, this is no ordinary parking garage. The Theater District Parking Garage in Houston, TX spans 18 city blocks underground with 3,369 parking spaces. On a normal day, it can be difficult to find a space. I find I'm frequently my most vicious when it comes to contending for said spaces.

SO....point: No one was working today. Why??? The epic snowstorm which hit Houston, causing multiple flight cancellations and sending the city's inhabitants into hibernation. Please watch the following video to truly appreciate nature's powerful hand at work.

The mayor encouraged Houstonians to stay home wherever possible, meaning that most of the city has been off work since yesterday afternoon. We at the opera like risk, however, and challenging the elements only furthers our artistry. Hence, no closure and Cosi recit coachings continued as scheduled. The adage holds true: The show must go on. Or at least the rehearsal of it...
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