April 2010


Correction- we were running. Yes, this past weekend my two friends and I ran the Big Sur Marathon in Monterey, CA, and my other two friends ran the 10.6-miler. We’re awesome! Why on earth would anyone do such a thing? Well, I have a few reasons. Some of them are similar to my blog friend Kasey‘s.

  • I can
  • Someday I probably won’t be able to
  • Bragging rights
  • I wanted to see if I could do it
  • I sit at a desk all day
  • I needed a goal
  • I wanted to get a six-pack and run the race in a hott midriff-baring outfit. Heh heh (hint: that didn’t happen).
  • Some more reasons I can’t think of right now

So after some 468 miles of training (or something like that), we finally boarded a plane to Oakland, did some sight-seeing in San Fran, and made the last 26.2 miles happen! Side note- it may not be a good idea to walk around all day for two days in a row right before you run a marathon. Live and learn.

We picked up our bibs on Saturday

And that night, we prepared by taking some Tylenol PM to try and force ourselves asleep at 9pm. Nervous laughter and giggles filled our hotel room until the grumpiest one at the moment (love you Carrie!) complained until we all shut up. I labeled my banana so no one would eat it.

3am was merciless as all three of our alarms went off. We got dressed and trudged to the bus stop. An hour’s bus ride later, we were enjoying life (not!) downing bagels, Clif bars, and warm beverages at the starting line.

Carrie, Kristin, please don’t kill me. 🙂

We waited for the potties

Stretched a bit

And were off!

I felt really good during the first few miles. They were pleasantly downhill and through gorgeous redwoods, and the sun was just warming things up. I remembered the advice I had been given to take it easy at first, even though I really wanted to push it.

The woods opened up around mile 5, and we were suddenly running next to cow fields and the ocean. By this point I had sweated off pretty much all of my sunscreen, and I decided that I probably looked beautiful so I should take a picture of myself.

Here’s one of the first hills. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

The mile markers were fun. Some of them were funny, and some of them really teed me off (like the 20-mile with a picture of a guy running into a brick wall). Each mile marker had two people: one to tell you how long you’d been running, and the other to tell you your pace and projected finish time.

Here’s Pinocchio telling us that it’s all downhill from here! Notice his nose growing…

In reality, we were coming up on this beast!

Okay to be fair, I took all these pictures while in the act of running, so I think the camera was slightly tilted for that one, making the hill seem a little exaggerated. But what matters is that this stretch, mile 10-12, averaged a 6.6% incline. So yeah.

Fortunately these awesome peeps were drumming up a storm at the bottom of Hurricane Hill, and they got me really amped.

Unfortunately, I had been developing a blister right in my left arch for a couple of miles now, and I was procrastinating stopping for a band-aid. Visions of a sopping bloody sock and bloody footprints started filling my brain. At the top of the hill, some official race marshals rode by on their bikes. When they stopped, I decided it was time to approach them and ask for help.

“Do you guys have any mole skin?” My voice surprised me by cracking. Before I knew it, I was well on my way to crying. No! I can’t cry yet! They sympathetically told me no, but there was a first aid station coming up. I stopped to walk because trying to suppress crying while you’re running is exhausting, and my throat was starting to turn on me and close up. Once I pulled myself together, I took off again and bolted down the hill. I saw the welcoming view of a red shirt with a white cross on it, and the kind lady directed me to a chair. Then a kind man cut a nice big piece of mole skin for me, and I took off my shoe and sock. No bloody sock greeted me, and I laughed. What a boob I am sometimes.

It’s still a good thing I stopped, as there really was a pretty good-sized blister growing.

Onward!

The blister hurt just as much as before, but with no more visions of bloody footprints trailing behind me, I was able to block it out and just keep running on it.

Almost to Bixby Bridge, which is halfway!

I was leaning over Bixby Bridge puking when I took this picture.

Just kidding.

Isn’t it nice of a concert pianist to dress up in a tux on this warm sunny day and come play for us? I thought so.

Let’s talk about goals for a sec. Did I have one? Not really. I ran last year’s half marathon in about 1:59, but I knew better than to expect to just be able to double the time. A marathon requires more than a half. It requires eating. Real food, not just Clif shot blocks and other weird athlete food. It requires walking a bit, especially at aid stations. It requires at least one potty break. Plus, it’s just freakin’ long.

Also, not to make excuses for myself, but I simply did not train as hard for the marathon as I had for the half. I also gained a bunch of weight because “I was training for a marathon and could therefore eat whatever I wanted”. Bad logic, by the way. So I was thinking 4:30 would be fantastic, but probably not really attainable.

There were these fantastic people running the marathon who were serving as pacers. If you followed the 5:30 guy, you’d finish in 5 hours and 30 minutes. There was also a 5:00 guy, a 4:30 guy, and a 4:00 guy. Each one of them was holding a bunch of red and white balloons. I had passed the 5:30 guy a while back, and each mile marker announcer after that was telling me my projected finishing times of 5:16… 5:14… 5:14…

I didn’t really have expectations of catching up to the- wait, what is that?!?!?

Could it be? Is it he??

Baaaa!!! It’s the 5 hour guy! Have I ever been this happy? I could have leapt for joy, and I would have had I not contained myself. I did, however, make friends with people around me and excitedly proclaim how happy I was that I had passed the 5-hour guy.

I even made friends with this barefoot guy:

“Just stay ahead of the 5-hour guy” I told myself, “and you’ll have a 4 in front of your finishing time.”

That was my new goal. Is mile 15 too late to come up with a goal for your marathon? What did I care?

The hills didn’t stop after the dreaded Hurricane Hill. The second half of the race had many more rolling hills, like this one.

As I said before, the 20-mile marker kind of made me mad. I had almost forgotten about the “wall”, when this jerk had to remind me of it.

Half of the game is 90% mental or whatever, so this is the point at which I started to enjoy it less. Yes, let’s say that: enjoy it less. That’s why I don’t really have any pictures of the next 5 miles. It was one foot in front of the other, stare at my shadow, pick a person nearby and keep up with them… any tactic I could think of to keep myself going.

And remember my under 5 hour goal? Even though I had passed the 5-hour guy, the mile marker announcers were still telling me 5:02… 5:04… 5:02… 5:04…

I knew I had left a minute or two after the gun, so I could take a minute or two off those times, but I was cutting it too close.

Mile 23 gave  me strawberries from a local farm. I grabbed a handful and shoved them in my mouth as I ran by. I had also been shoving orange slices in my face at the aid stations, and eating shot blocks, and a granola bar. There was a sign shortly after mile 23 that said “Only 3 miles to go!” That might not sound like much compared to the 23 you’ve already run, but believe me, those 3 miles sound like a marathon in and of themselves. (Please pardon my melodrama.)

Somehow, I came upon mile 25. The end is near! But before you get there, you have to go up another huge hill. Thanks a lot.

Hallelujah, mile 26!

But I still have .2 to go, and I don’t see the finish line yet… where are my friends… I want to walk so bad but I can’t cross the finish line walking… I can’t let JP and Wendy see me walking… where is the finish line??

Around the corner, and there it was.

I crossed at 5:00:14. No 4 😦

Just kidding! Since I had actually left a whopping 5 minutes after the gun, my official time was 4:55:01! Half-assed goal accomplished! I hobbled through the food tent practicing my heaviest breathing and pseudo-crying, gathering up cookies and juice and fruit.

Here are my awesome friends and I with our cool medals.

Sigh… what a day.

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I’ve been out of town, but now I’m back! What have I been doing?

Here’s a clue:

More to come later 🙂

I thought it would be fun to join the “How I met my house” party over at Our Suburban Cottage. Forgive me if you already know the story, and forgive me as I’m trying to write it really fast.

I’m young. Single. Have a low price range. Somewhat “hip”, and snobby about which side of town I absolutely will not touch. Ha!

Let me tell you, in the nice part of town, the only places in my price range were pretty much ready for total demolition, and I’m not exaggerating. My dad was in town, and he drove around with my realtor and I, along with a brother here or there. To be honest, I don’t even know how we found my house. I kind of think we just saw a sign in the yard and stopped, but I’m not totally sure.

The house was empty, and had been for quite a while. The sign said HUD- Housing and Urban Development. Just entering the yard was enough to send your nostrils running, as I am sure that the flower beds and lawn had been being used as a restroom facility for numerous cats and dogs. We peeked in the windows, and were excited by the wood floors, arch, and quaint size (816 sq ft). Later we looked it up, and it was even below my price range. The next visit, the one where we actually went inside, would reveal why.

The stench of dog pee was so strong that it made you lightheaded. The carpets were destroyed. They looked as though someone had taken numerous cups of coffee and poured them all over the carpet Jackson Pollock style. Looking in the closets revealed that the carpet wasn’t even that old, nope, just peed on and left to sit for months, maybe even years. Huge holes graced the walls. The front door was scratched to hell by dogs. The back fence had a dilapidated “Beware of Dog” sign, confirming our suspicions that yes, dogs had lived there. The kitchen floor had a big 3′ puddle of water on the floor, no appliances, and a soggy hole in the ceiling that revealed the source of the water, a roof leak. The bathroom- oh, the bathroom. Disgusting, unlivable. Rotting wood lined the bathtub and shower, the surround had holes in it, and there were suspicious gray spots all over the walls. Curiously the toilet and sink looked new, though the toilet was taped shut (thank goodness). Did I mention there was an electrical outlet in the shower?

A trip down to the basement proved that we only thought we knew about the smell of dog pee before. The basement seemed to be where the crackheads (the only way I can imagine anyone living in a place like this is if they were all cracked out) kept their dogs most of the time. The “bedroom” down there consisted of some cardboard-like boards nailed onto some studs, an upside down door, and a disgusting linoleum floor. The rest of the basement was completely unfinished. I nearly cried upon seeing all the scratch marks at the bedroom door, and hoped that their dogs had found better owners by now who wouldn’t lock them in a basement for undetermined amounts of time. The cement floor had a layer of damp grime, and creepy shelves lined all the walls.

Needless to say, it was perfect!

Hahahahaha.

I can’t remember who was with me for that first visit. I think it may have been my dad and two brothers, all experienced renovators. Even they were looking around with doubt in their eyes, and Matt said “If you get this, it will be the biggest challenge any of us has taken on.” But it had charm and seemed sturdy, and I was kind of wooed by the fun things- the fireplace, arch, and huge back yard. The street was cute, quiet, and tree-lined, and despite being on the “wrong” side of town (remember what I said before about being too good for certain neighborhoods? Things change quickly when you start thinking dollars and cents!), it was very close to downtown, where I happen to work. It was two blocks from the grocery store, less than half a mile from freeway access… it just seemed right! Plus, I was excited about the thought of demoing pretty much everything and choosing all new everything for myself, as opposed to someone else throwing on some crappy renovations to try and sell their house quicker and calling it “remodeled”.

If you’ve been following my blog, then you already know some of the major things that have been done on the house. If not, feel free to poke around, and start with the Tour (which needs to be updated badly). And as always, thank you SO SO SO SO MUCH to everyone who has helped.

Maybe I’ll do a follow-up post. But just in case I don’t, the end of the story is that I love my house, I love my neighborhood for the most part, and I have zero regrets about buying it!

First of all, thank you all so much for your sweet comments to me about Misty. You guys made me cry (the good way) and truly made me feel better. What wonderful people there are in blogland! And in case you are wondering, I am doing better now, though I still miss her. Okay before I pull another Glenn Beck I better talk about something involving less emotions, like backsplashes.

I am stuck! Absolutely stuck. Which is why I haven’t finished the kitchen (definitely not because of laziness or lack of ambition…). I do realize that this blog is becoming more and more about me cluelessly asking for advice from all you kind souls and less about providing you with delicious “after” photos, but bear with me.

A while back I wrote this post about tile, and I got good feedback on this lovely greenish glass tile backsplash:

One problem is the price. These glassy beauts are around $15-$20 per square foot, or $3-$5 per 3×6 tile. Even in my little kitchen, that’s still a few hundred dollars.

I also have another problem, which is that I think I went a little too modern and cool in the kitchen, and it doesn’t really “go” with the rest of the house- the cute arch, the more cottagey feel… Tell me what you think.

Does this clean-lined (albeit unfinished) cool-toned kitchen:

work with this?

Things to note: the microwave is now gone; try to visualize the arch at the very top of the picture even though this is a bad pic; the blue wall doesn’t have to stay though it may have to wait for my laziness to dissipate; and that rug can go. Also, the wood floors will look better someday.

I’ve said it a billion times: I am not a designer, not even close. The only reason I even care is because I want to fit in with all the cool house blogs. Just kidding, but maybe 5% not kidding. But I really do want my home to be nice, inviting, “cohesive”, and all those other good design words.

Then I had a crazy idea. What if I tape up some white subway tiles (did I mention they are about 30 cents each?) that are leftover from the bathroom just to see what it would look like?

I feel like I should be hearing some big shot designer shout at me “Girrrrrrl! No way!” But let me plead my case:

  1. White subway tile has that cottage charm, which may be what my kitchen needs so it fits in with the rest of the house.
  2. I like white subway tile, but I’m just not sure if I like it in this room.
  3. Did I mention that it’s cheap?

So just tell me if I’m crazy. Does the kitchen mis-match the house? Does it matter? Should I spring for the glass beauties or is that too extravagant and are they not that cool anyway? Do the white subway tiles clash? Would they even accomplish the goal of tying the kitchen in with the rest of the house anyway? Should I change the feel of the rest of the house rather than trying to suddenly make the kitchen “match”? Any other ridiculous questions I haven’t thought of?

You know I love to hear from ya!

Sunday was a pretty tough day for me, as I had to let my sweet little foster doggy Misty go. Even though I was just her foster mom, I had really grown quite attached to her. The thing is, I never expected anyone to adopt her. I mean she’s 9 years old, she’s a little rough around the edges (has a history of aggression when living with other animals), and she is far from winning any beauty pageants.

Observe:

What she lacks in the glamor department she makes up for in plenty of other ways. Hours of her companionship and love, her excitement when I got home, her sheepishness when she got into the trash (which wasn’t often enough to get too mad about), and her jumping high enough to sneeze into my mouth one time (yes, that happened) all contributed to me totally falling in love with her. I got her when I bought my house 7 months ago, and she really helped me transition into living there by myself.   In return, I kept her out of a kennel for 7 months. She really felt like my dog, but I am hoping and praying that her new family will love her just as much as I did and that she’ll love them back.

The goal was for her to be adopted into a forever home, so this is very bittersweet. Maybe with an extra dash of bitter.

Here we are on our last day together (don’t mind my swollen red eyes).

She's trying to lick me!

Rockin' girl with a mowhawk

Snuggles

Smile!

Even though I hate this picture of me, I had to put it up because she's so adorable.

She looks like a walrus or something in this one

Just keepin cool

I love you, happy girl

I never saw myself as a real “animal person”. Yeah I’ve always liked them, but I’m not one to put doggy wallpaper up or anything. But through this experience I have learned a few things, and one of them is that I am more of an animal lover than I thought I was, and I believe everyone has the potential to be an animal lover as well so watch out! Another is that I probably won’t foster a dog again, because it’s too hard to part with them.

If you are wondering why I didn’t just adopt Misty, the simple answer is that by the time I realized how much I really loved her, her new family was already very excited to have her and I didn’t think it was right for me to suddenly change my mind just because someone else wanted her (although it was very tempting). Also, I am happy that I served my purpose of getting this indescribably wonderful dog out of a boarding facility for 7 months, and I am excited to help another dog in the future after I have grieved this one.

Today when I got home, it was every bit as hard as I had worried it would be, and I must admit that I’m sitting here barely able to read the screen through the tears. I feel like a major boob for crying so much about it, but everything I look at reminds me of her. Even her wiry hair that’s still on the couch, the surviving bits of her toys in the yard that I caught a glimpse of, the yard itself… I guess at this point all I can do is trust that I made the best decision for her and try to move on myself. Shit, this is hard though.

Thanks for reading.

This is a pic of my house shortly after I bought it. The roof has been completely torn off and redone, I tore off the ugly awning thing over the window, and I replaced the front door because the previous one had been used as a dog’s chew toy, scratching post, and bathroom. For those of you who only know me in cyberspace and never had the privilege of coming inside my house when I bought it, let me just say that I wish there was a way to put a scratch n sniff on my blog. Or not, because I like you more than that. But this post is not about the smell of dog pee so strong it grosses out the sewer line inspector (the sewer line inspector!)– it’s about doors!

Anyway. So here’s a pic of my house, showcasing my new $40 front door (behind the storm door that was in surprisingly good shape).

Let’s get a closer look. It was $40 for a reason, which is that it desperately needed paint.

This is where my sweet sis comes in. I had some brick red paint lying around from one of Jonny’s old paint jobs, so she took it upon herself to use it! I was skeptical at first, but I was pleasantly surprised. Then she went a step further and took my little doggy door mat to Lowe’s and found some green paint to match for the storm door.

The end result (sorry about the glare):

The place isn’t quite ready for it’s shot in Curb Appeal magazine, but I think the door really sweetens it up.

Drawn at random…

Sara at Russet Street Reno! Congrats Sara, it’s all you’ve ever dreamed of! Your very own Williams Sonoma Vegetarian cookbook!

And can I just say that you are spot-on with your perception of vegetarians as “sexy, funny and all-around nice people”? You are. Thanks for playing everyone!

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