Monday, February 18, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

Jiggity jig!

Yes, I am back in NYC, I arrived Saturday afternoon. I left the show I was doing in Florida a couple of days early because I had a wedding to attend. Fortunately I was able to get a friend to sub in for me there.

Before I get into travel and wedding stories, and even a little about running, let me take a moment to say hello to Mo, and thanks for the kind words! The best place to find marathon training info in my archives is summer and fall of '07, that's where the bulk of the long runs were. You can also check my training log on Buckeye Outdoors by clicking on the sidebar and checking my mileage and training during those months; I was really good about logging everything. Enjoy those ice baths!

It is good to be home. No offense to anyone (I hope) that it was strange -- and good! -- to get off the plane in Newark and see people who weren't 80 years old and white. After a few weeks in south Florida, and especially after living in a retirement community as I do when I'm there, you forget that there are other ethnic groups in the world. Ahh, variety.

Sunday was my friends Margaret and Andrew's wedding. My roomie Laura was one of the maids of honor, as was our friend Shirley. It was held at Battery Gardens, a restaurant and catering facility inside Battery Park. I've run by this place a number of times during marathon training, it's along the West Side Highway path, and I had no idea what it was. From the outside it looks like an extension of the building it sits next to, the Department of Homeland Securities Training Facility (for real), and it's accessible by a junky service road. But it's beautiful inside, and the views of the water were magnificent. The service was lovely, very personal, and of course everyone looked beautiful. Since I live with Laura I got the inside scoop on the tasting menu, and that was what was on my mind when we went to the pre-wedding party on Saturday night -- what's on the menu? Priorities, people! It was served buffet-style, which was a great idea, and I had heard so much praise for the short ribs that even though I normally don't eat meat, I tried some. They were pretty darn good (there was also pasta, salmon and Peking duck for entrees.) And though I don't eat dairy, I made the exception for the wedding -- well, not the cake, it was a tree of cannollis and Beard Papa cream puffs. We had been told that they overbought on the cannollis and cream puffs and to eat our share. I did my duty.

I should've run on Saturday afternoon when I got home, or Sunday morning, but I was operating on fumes. I'm the world's worst flyer. Not paranoid about the flight, but everything surrounding the flight -- missing the flight, getting searched, can't take my carry-on on the plane. The first time I flew my cat to Florida, I had to fly her in cargo, and they lost her. I was able to find her -- ON THE CURB OUTSIDE, unattended. That was traumatic, to say the least, and from then on I've been super-paranoid about checking anything, and it just spills over into everything else. There's other stuff going on, too, that I'll get into another time, and between that, and packing, and making sure the show was going to be okay without me, I got maybe 5 hours sleep total over 72 hours.

But I'm home now, and after 8 actual hours of sleep two days in a row, I went for a run today (Monday.) Okay, let's check the date: February 18. And the temperature. 60 degrees! Wait, did I really go back to NYC, or just loop back to Florida? I went out for a welcome-home 5 miler. And lo and behold, five minutes into it I was sweating up a storm. In February. In NYC. It was so humid out, the cool breeze did nothing to help. But it was a definite improvement over Florida. And while I didn't forget how hilly the Park is, my legs kind of did. Ah, Cat Hill, how I missed ya! Not. I'm going to try to get some hillwork in while I'm home, since there's precious few of those where I train in Florida. I used my Nike+ to track the run, and it's so funny to see the difference -- mile 1, which has a lot of small rolling hills (from 59th St to 72nd St) was an 8:20 mile. Mile 2 has Cat Hill, it was a 9:10. I wasn't pushing or anything, the other miles were 9:17, 9:18, and 9:04. I have some doubt as to the accuracy of the pacing per mile on the Nike+, but I'm happy with a reasonably correct result, and it did feel ultimately like a 9 minute mile average.

Oh, two other good things that happened this week: I was able to see the amazing Miri Ingwer and have her fix my right butt cheek. As I suspected, she took a look at me and said, "The problem isn't your hamstring, it's your hip," and proceeded to bend, twist and stretch me into a pretzel. And for two whole days, there was zero pain! It wasn't that I was in constant agony or anything, it was just a nagging ache that I would feel while running, and also when I sat for a long period of time. Now that I've got a plane ride and a bunch of runs behind me, the ache is starting to return, but now I know how to address it, and that a few more sessions when I return to Florida will vanquish the pain from my ass. If only everything else WEREN'T such a pain in my ass...

The other thing is that Matt, my Stenotrader buddy, souped up my steno machine. He did an overhaul at the end of December, and shimmed the keys to shorten the stroke length (less length = more speed.) It felt great, but I realized at the beginning of my last week in Florida that the shimming made the paper notes stack up on top of each other. See, you can use the machine with paper -- which I have to do in school when I test -- and without, when I plug it into the computer and use it with my steno software, which is what I do out of school. When notes "stack" it's like you're typing them on top of each other, the spacing between lines is too narrow and they become hard to read. You can make these adjustments on better machines, but mine is just a 200 student model. So Matt took my machine back and put a motor in it, so it can run in manual mode with paper and space properly, or electric mode, like the 400 model (still a student model) which requires much less effort, with or without paper. So in essence he made my machine 200 better. Thanks, Matt!

Off to practice now. More anon!

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