Friday, January 30, 2009

No March ski trip for me

United Airlines sent me an email about a promtion where the flights to certain ski cities would be really, really cheap depending on what day you left and returned. This would allow me to spend 3 nights and 2 ski days in Jackson Hole, WY for as little as $565 for flight, lodging, and lift tickets. Gunnison/Crested Butte, CO for $154.50 airfare, $180 or so for lodging, $164 for lift tickets, $500 until you add the rental car, which was surpsingly high. No rental car needed in Jackson Hole.

I'm so tempted to do this, especially Jackson Hole, taking off on Sunday, returning on Wednesday as the deal is only for certain to and from dates. But when you factor in food costs, I have enough travel (Annapolis race, Cumberland race, Colorado in September) as it is, and really can't afford to spend that kind of money right now. Schucks. But oh well.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Latest Race Updates

I'll keep it short, still racing a lot in spring time.

March 1 - Half Marathon north of Annapolis: Signing up this weekend

March 15 - Reston 10 Miler, unless my family is visiting

March 21 - National Half Marathon in DC: Volunteering

April 5 - Cherry Blossom Ten Miler: Registered

April 19 - Maryland Mountain Marathon in Cumberland: Registered

April 26 - GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler: Still need to sign up

May 9 - Riverfront Revolution 10K: Under consideration, but will likely skip unless it becomes a half marathon like it was supposed to be at fist

May 17 - Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg

Any other suggestions are appreicated. 3 Half Marathons and 3 10 Milers in 11 weeks is a lot, but I'm ready. I'm skipping the May 3 Potomac Half Marathon because, sorry if I mentioned it before, but I don't want to / can't afford to pay $50 to race on the Mount Vernon bike path. That could be a volunteer opportunity since I'm not going to Pittsburgh for the marathon / half.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Interviewed by Zandria

I learned of this new tradition of blog interviewing from Zandria, now keep up with her! :) Here are the basic rules of this new interview tradition if anyone else wants to partake (I will interview the first two people who respond):

1. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. Be sure to link back to the original post.
2. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
3. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I think I've done my part so let's get the to questions from Zandria.

1) What do you like best about living in Alexandria, Virginia? Would you want to live (or have you ever lived) in DC?

My mailing address is Alexandria, so I kind of live there, but I pay car taxes and vote in Fairfax County. I live in both, I guess. What I like about it is I can live in an 832 square foot apartment for a (for the area) decent rate. I can walk to Metro in 20 minutes, 15 if I haul. The Gold's Gym that I frequent is only 3-4 miles away. There's a nice Target nearby, sueprmarkets and CVS are just as close, and there's a great little Chinese restaurant a 10 minute walk away. I'd love to live inside the Beltway as I think it would open up more social opportunities, but you can't have everything. Besides, it's only a $9-12 cab fare home from Old Town.

Live in DC? Sometimes I wish I did because if I could walk to say, the Mall, U Street bars, Glover Park, or even Gallery Place, my social life would probably be a lot more extensive than it is. But DC is so freaking loud all of the time. And as a single male, I don't notice the supposed surplus of women relative to men that The Singles Map claims there are; yes I freely admit I would move to a neighboorhood that was over 60 percent female and was proven to be in a heartbeat. So I guess I renewed my lease for another year in my tweener, not really suburbia but not really city neighboorhood.

2) You said that you’d like to meet new people, and one of the things you’ve done recently is visit the National Museum of American History. Do you think museums are a good place to strike up a conversation, or do you feel like you might have better luck somewhere else? (Do you plan on trying a wide variety of things, or stick to locations and activities that hold interest for you?)

If I'm alone, I, sadly, rarely strike up conversations. A lot of the time I get too worried I'd make an idiot of myself or get shot down and ridiculed. Museums could be a good place to strike up a conversation, but I'd feel more comfortable doing so if I was part of a group. I get too self conscious sometimes, even though if I'm solo it means I couldn't find anyone to go with me or I'm at something that interests only me. Other places? I've already figured out I won't meet the future Mr. Jeff's House at a bar, but it can be easier to hold casual conversations there, provided the music isn't at 120 decibels of course.

3) You’ve mentioned that you are indecisive. How does this come across in your daily life?

Should I go out somewhere on a Saturday night? Should I go ski Saturday night? Should I study tonight? I can't seem to make decisions on a lot of non-8 to 5 things until the options have passed me by. One week I want to be an IT infrastructure guru, the next week I want to move towards business management (I have certifications/experience or degrees in both). In my daily life, I want to become more forthright and decisive on things other than going to the gym and running. Maybe I'm too hard on myself, but sometimes it seems like those are the only two things I can just say "hell I'm doing this and am fired up about it" and do them without hesitation.

4) You’ve run a number of races in the United States. If you could choose anywhere in the world (non-U.S.) to run a race, where would you go and why?

Anywhere in the world? Very good question, you'd make a great professional interviewer. I'd say Nepal or somewhere really mystic but just because I could ski at high altitudes without issue, doesn't mean I could run at a decent race pace there. I'd get irritated if I couldn't. So I'd probably say either Sydney, Rio, or Dublin. Depending on whether I was in the mood for the other side of the planet, debauchary, or Dublin. Here I go with indecision again.

5) I write a fair number of posts that are focused on my life as a single woman, including thoughts on dating and what I do/don’t want from a relationship. Do you read these posts, or do you skim over them? (In other words, do you read blogs written by females because we give you insight on the way we think?)

I read a decent amount of your posts because, yes I want to get the single female perspective on things. And your other stories are interesting. Most blogs I've found by reading other blogs and seeing link to them, and if the topics interest me (running, people being out and about, skiing) I read them more often. Except for Why I Hate DC, which I read for comic relief. If my friends have blogs, male or female, I read them. But it never hurts to have a female point of view on many subjects either, not just relationships.

I'm tired, it's late, so I hope these answers made sense as I thought about them for a bit.

Monday, January 26, 2009

T is for

Charlotte Harris took part in a game of Internet tag, then I did. She got letter R, I got letter T. Now, to post about 10 things I really like (love is a very strong word for a lot of these) that begin with the letter T. These are in no particular order, totally off the cuff or whatever, what was on my mind tonight, but 1 is probably my favorite:

10. Tesla Motors: Electric car, burns no oil. Yeah! If I could afford it I would do almost anything to get one of those. 3.9 seconds 0 to 60? Yeah if you ever had to stop on a highway, you have a lot less of an issue getting back on the highway. The 244 miles per charge, while it won't get you through any long trips, is a fantastic start!

9. Tesla the rock band: One of the most underrated bands of the late 80s era, I've learned that they are releasing another disc. Cool! Remember Modern Day Cowboy? The Way It Is? Song and Emotion? Edison's Medicine? Little Suzi? Great songs. No Machines. Straightforward rock with a touch of blues. Great stuff.

8. Tanzanian Peaberry Coffee. I need to get some, maybe Green Mountain Coffee Roasters will still have it.

7. Telluride. Even though I have never been there, it looks like the kind of place I'd love. Great Ski area, gondola to take you to and from town and the ski area, authentic Victorian town tucked into a box canyon. Tough to get to, which keeps the jackasses, asshats, and general douches out. If American Airlines or whoever ever offers a vacaton deal to go there again, and I have the leave, I am so there.

12. Tom Brady. September ain't far away, haters. He's worthy of 2 6s.

5. Tenleytown. Why? Don't know, just like the name. Kind of corporate, cheesy, and sterile, but near Fort Reno and American University. And its is the highest point in DC elevation-wise, even though it did not seem like it when I ran up Wisconsin Avenue from Georgetown to the MD border.

4. Turbo Tax: Lets me do my taxes in under an hour. Which reminds me, I need to go get it for this year so I can just get them overwith when my other 2008 employer sends me my W-2. I ain't got tons of time to waste on taxes. So something that makes my life easier and begins with T gets on this list.

3. Time from mid March through early November, otherwise known as Daylight Savings Time. Just switch to it year round already. I love being able to run at 7 pm without four lights on, have daylight until 7 pm for 4 months or close to 9 for a couple months. Getting out of work in broad daylight. Starting my Pikes Peak Hike at 5 am knowing I have 2 hours before the sun's up so I can hike in the cool sunrise. What's not to love?

2. Tea: Green Tea, White Tea, Iced Tea. Sweet Tea. After last call beer, I mean Cold Tea. Pumpkin Spice Tea, Cinnamon Tea. Boulder Dushanbe Tea House. Hell, even licorice tea. It's all good. Not yellow tea though, you know what they said about not eating yellow snow. Don't heat it up to be tea.

1. Trail Running. One of my dearest activities to my heart. Few things like getting outside away from it all when you can hear the leaves underneath your feet. Running on a pure trail as is, climbs, drops, rolling mini hills, having to watch your feet everywhere causes you to concentrate more. Not to mention having to watch for things like tree roots keeps the faster peeps from getting too far ahead of me. he he - Seriously, trail running puts me at peace for nearly a whole day. Burke Lake Park? Fountainhead Regional Park? Prince William Forest Park? Great Falls, VA? Yeah! Find me some more places to trail run and I'm there. Catoctin in Maryland? Uum, hike one day, trail run the next, camp in between? Yup.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jeff's New Museum Expeditions: National Museum of American History

Okay, so I realized that I spend way too much time alone and need to get a life besides running, the gym, and work. I appreciate every minute I spend with friends, running, et al, but want to get into more varied activities in the worst way. So I decided to hit the National Museum of American History today. I initially planned to run home from there, about 12-13 miles, but caught a cold yesterday and this morning so decided to just go to the museum and work out later.

This was one of the best museums I have ever been to. Many historical journeys were taken, I saw exhibits on transportation advances, immigrant contribution to life and industry, ancient American musical instruments, and the Lincoln Exhibit. Lincoln was a transformational, legendary figure who was more than deserving of this exhibit. There were lots of objects from his life, the overall collection is something that must be seen.

The very best thing about the museum was the original flag that flew over Fort McHenry when the British tried to take over Baltimore during the War of 1812. Yes, that flag. Is in the museum and it was jaw-dropping to see. The flag that was flying when Fort McHenry was being defended, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star Spangled Banner. I'm going to go back just to see the flag again.

There are other things I want to see that I will see on my second visit. The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise is something I really want to see. I didn't see the Invention at Play exhibit this time so I will next time.

After I finish viewing this museum, the Museum of Natural History is next, I have been to this but it was nine years ago. Then it's the National Museum of the American Indian. All these great places, free of charge, and until now I have been one of the DCites who shrugs at them or doesn't go to a lot of them for whatever reason. I had only been to the Botanical Gardens, Sculpture Garden, most monuments, and the small art Gallery at the Canadian Embassy since moving here in April 2006.

This not visiting many of these fine attractions stops right now. This will get me involved in different things outside of my normal pattern, get me introduced to new experiences, and most of these things are FREE. I do not want to repeat what happened to me in Colorado: assume I'll live there forever and not go to a place like Rocky Mountain National Park in four years, figuring I'll be there until I'm 80 so I have tons of time to go. I make no predictions as to where I'll be in a few years, but I don't want to find myself leaving DC for somewhere else in 2013 or whatever not having visited all of the Smithsonian and other museums. So if you want to go to some of these places, holler.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My planned 16 mile run became a 15 mile run with a 7-11 Stop

I intended to run from Mile 8 to Mount Vernon and back, but something potentially really bad happened a couple miles into the run. Note to Jeff, do not boil the water too much in the name of making sure it doesn't freeze by the time you're outside for a half hour. The bladder, that's what the water holders are called in hydration packs (or least it's shorter than hydration reservoir which is the official name), became split. Yup, most of my 2 liters of water, gone. Drinking fountains along the path, frozen. Damn.

Fortunately I remembered where there was a 7-11, thanks to a run in October when I got lost. Change in plans. New plan, get a Gatorade, 32 ounce bottle of water, and chug a Sobe. I never recommend chugging liquid no matter how badly you need it, and I needed it badly. It affected me for the next couple miles. The overall run, I would have liked to have run at a faster clips, but 15 miles is still one of the longer runs I have ever done.

Next task, which I've started, look into a replacement for what got torn. And go to Target and get some duct tape in an attempt to fix this one for the time being. And the side pocket on my new duffle bag that is torn because the zipper got stuck last week. Jeff, just go to Target already and fix this stuff.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I went to The Concert

I got out of the Smithsonian metro stop at 2:35 pm, was on the mall by the time it started. Being a "native" really helped me maneuver through the Metro stop. I ended up just downslope to the west from the Washington Monument. It was an absolutely, positive fantastic experience, even with all the people who wanted to cut in front of where I was to jump down on to the walkway to get closer. The walkway was 40 feet to the west of me without a jump, only one couple was really rude after we told them where the path was to get closer. Everyone else was good about it.

Even though hearing and seeing the jumbotron was challenging at times, it was definitely worth going. An amazing performance by all involved. Garth Brooks, Usher/Stevie Wonder/everyone, and The Boss / Pete Seeger especially stood out. It was chilling just to be there when Obama was speaking; today it was very, very good to be chilly.

Being a native really helped me get home in just over an hour, even with a 20 minute walk home from Metro. Even if it was away from where I was going, I walked up to Gallery Place/Chinatown to make sure I got on a train and wasn't waiting at a platform for hours on end. Worked for me, got on the train before it got crowded at L'Enfant and most of the crowd was still at the Smithsonian Station.

Help me stop being so indecisive

With regards to social and even exercise activities, I am far too indecisive for my liking. The inaugural concert is four hours away and I still have not decided if I am going or not. Sad, but true. I have deicded that my 16 mile run is waiting until tomorrow, while I will do my "Belle Haven Hills" run in a few minutes. But help me with this, why can't I decide what I am going to do with my non-work life. Why can't I just choose a choice and go with it full steam ahead?

I wrestled with the decision to not go on a long run yesterday because the "Feels Like" index for 8 am was 1 degree. Right choice, as I had a good spinning and weights workout. But I can't be decisive for two days in a row and that bugs me. Help me.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

All in one shopping gone mad........Walgreens now serves coffee

Yup, I got coffee this afternoon, a Mocha flavored coffee, at Walgreens. Crazy, I know. But I was coming back home from the gym and other errands, and happened to see an electronic sign advertising $2.99 gallons of milk. Okay, I need some milk soon so this is my last errand, I was a bit tired and wanted some caffeine. But not too much, so the 12 ounces for 99 cents seemed like an okay deal. Coffee was actually pretty decent. They did have a machine that grinds beans on demand, i.e. you don't have 6 hours old coffee grinds becoming your coffee beverage.

Every store is trying to be all things to all people, of which very few do it very well. But I'm content because the coffee was pretty good. As was the fish burrito I had at Moe's. And the lines at SFW Shoppers were pretty short. 4 pack of flashlights at home Depot for $5? Wow! I only wanted one flashlight that is smaller than the one I have but just as powerful. I found 4 for $5, when the reason why I went there in the first place was to get a screw to fix my spinning shoe.......I found a good deal in this mad world.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Will the last Patriots Front Office employee turn out the lights?

I guess this is the price of success. Thomas Dimitroff leaves to run the Atlanta Falcons scouting and talent acquisition. They go from a freaking sad embarrassment to a playoff team in one season. Scott Pioli gets to run the whole show in Kansas City, I guess Matthew Stafford will wait a while to get picked since Pioli's too smart to wast the 3rd pick on him. KC will be on their way back. While Josh McDaniels was an on-field coach and not a front office employee, he's now the head coach in Denver. Two more Patriots assistants may be leaving this week. Not to mention Romeo Crennel and I even have to say Eric Mangini getting head coaching gigs a few years ago. Charlie Weis to his dream job too. A sign of a successful franchise for sure that so many people move to steps up, but how many hits can an organization stand?

And, go Eagles. I'll come back when I think of something to write about.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New Seven Wonders of Nature!!!

I didn't know anything about this until I read Express this morning, but I thought this New Seven Wonders of Nature" contest is really cool. Worldwide Monuments Conservation is the organization's goal, a very noble one. I need to look at all 261 options and see which 7 I would choose. Mount Fuji? Grand Canyon? Sumidero Canyon in Mexico? Too many choices. Tell me what you think of all of these treasures. It's going to take me hours to read up on all of them, I'll learn a ton about places I barely new existed, if at all.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Headphone rule for many running races modified - in many cases it's up to the race director

While browsing around I came across this rule modification regarding usage of headphones. From what I gathered, it's up to the race director to decide if headphones should be allowed in non-Championship races.

Any thoughts? Well, in hopes of attracting traffic to the blog, I'll give you mine. I normally don't pay much attention to whether or not races I run in are "championship" or not. I do know the Ukrops Mounment Avenue 10K in Richmond is the US 10K National Championship race, and am generally aware if there's prize money for the top runners. But I don't give it much thought beyond that. I'm a realist, while I have improved my running tremendously in the last 10 months, I ain't winning any prize money unless the first few hundred or thousand runners, depending on race size, all get disqualified.

My view is generally, don't be over the top in enforcing the rule, but headphones in large races should be a no-no. That's for safwety reasons, when you are sharing the course with several thousand runners, the chances of someone not hearing a fellow runner or volunteer yell something that could prevent a collision because their MP# players are on too high, you know the drill. Yes, having music can help you get into a running grove, especially on flat, relatively uninteresting stretches of land (Hi, Hains Point!). But I don't want to be involved in, or especially be the cause of, a collision because someone couldn't hear someone, zoned out, you name it.

Smaller races with less participants, usually no big deal. I admit to wearing headphones during one race in Alexandria last year, and have carried my MP3 player with me but turned it off during a couple others. And I would be very tempted to having music with me during a half marathon or (gulp) marathon, as it could really help stay focused during tough stretches. But I would not wear them if I felt my safety and other's safety would be compromised. Most very large races such as the Army Ten Miler have absolute bans, which makes total sense. Or any races where racers, other runners, and bikers share the path.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy 2009! Year Three of a 1/1 Tradition

Happy 2009 all! I took part in year three of what is a new tradition for me, live hockey in DC on New Years Day. This year's game was at night versus the Tampa Bay Lightning. Despite long periods of sloppiness, the home Capitals won 7-4 against a Tampa team, while playing a bit better recently, is plain bad.

Odd game, I hope Tampa's Jamie Heward is okay. Ovechkin hit him as part of the play, Heward suffered a concussion, it looked like he was going to get up before he sprawled to the ice, it was like a delayed injury, I thought it might have been spasms near the neck a couple seconds after the initial shock. Both the stretcher and flatboard were brought out, never a good thing. The people carrying the flatboard weren't the speediest, maybe because they didn't want to slip on the ice and become bad injuries #2 and 3. But it didn't look good either, as my buddy Bill mentioned, a little urgency here, fellas. From what I've gathered since the game, Heward was held overnight and should end up being okay fairly soon.

At the very end of the game, this assclown on Tampa tried picking a fight with Matt Bradley, who basically told him, take off the helmet with the visor or no deal. This is the same assclown who started a fight with a guy on the Florida Panthers last week, and got smacked down by Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada and deservedly so. Not to mention that he ran Mike Green on his previous shift. He's the new assclown of the week. Of course he knows if he takes his helmet off, Bradley beats him up and adds to his 1st Star profile for the evening, earning the Gordie Howe Hat Trick (goal, assist, fight) in the process.

1/1/09 was a good day. Hockey, 5 mile run with the running group, slept in, got my laundry done, freeing up time this weekend in the process. I'm not going to make any resolutions that I can't or won't keep. But I did weigh myself and adjust for clothes to get the 1/1 measurement. I really want to keep the 35 pounds I lost off, but am holding off on getting new clothes until I'm sure it stays off. I don't plan on pulling a three peat of the 15 lost pounds by St. Patrick's Day since I'm happy to report I'm at the "toughest to lose" stage. I also need to study for my MCSA Security track, we'll see how that goes. Happy New Year!