Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm Just Saying...

I seriously want to make out with Forrest Mars Sr. you know, if he hadn't died in 1999. He is the absolute genious behind the peanut m&m and therefore I love him. I'm currently having a torrid love affair with his product.

Here's an interesting history of the m&m:

Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts

I like to think I'm a little bit of both - although my sister may tend to disagree. While I have not been "in the middle of it all" I have seen things, and frankly my street smarts tell me when to get the hell out of the way so that I'm not sucked into "the middle of it all" but they also tell me that we have big problems in the world that need to be addressed, which is my book smart way of thinking.

For example I can read about homelessness and tell you statistics on the subject and the people who are homeless but I've never experienced it, so it must mean that I don't really understand it.

However, I do understand that a homeless man on Rodeo Drive of all places, screaming at me, telling me he will blow my f'ing head off is probably mentally ill and needs more help than the crumpled dollar in his used McDonalds coffee cup will get him...he needs services, counseling, drugs - and not the kind he's used to. He probably needs to detox and he certainly could use a shower, a hot meal and some clean clothes.

And that's when book smarts meet street smarts. I think that the more data you can collect while providing people with services - going out onto the streets and talking to people, getting their story, finding out what got them to the place that they're in (which you have to have street smarts to do) - will help you develop programs and services that will ultimately solve problems.

I'm not saying that data is magic or that collecting it is easy. I just wish that there was some understanding that numbers aren't just pulled out of thin air (unless you're doing the most unscientific study in the world). People are out there in "the middle of it all" asking questions and gathering information, turning it into data and studying it - looking at trends and anomalies and coming up with solutions to put to use in the real world.

And, sometimes those solutions that we come up with on paper don't work "in the middle of it all" so you make changes until something sticks. The truth of the matter is that you don't really know how something is going to work until you implement it. Will giving a homeless person $100,000 to buy a home solve their problem? They wouldn't be homeless anymore right? Or would helping them with any AODA issues they have, teaching them job skills and interview skills among other things help more? You have to look at the data to see.

Numbers and people interpreting those numbers - the "book smart" people don't always have the answers and I firmly believe it's why you have to coordinate with the people that have "street smarts" to really start addressing some tough issues and finding solutions. Maybe I'm optimistic though.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some Fun Numbers

485.33 - the number of miles I have run since January (there may be a few I've missed because of laziness in recording in January/Feb.).

122.75 - the number of miles I have run in August alone...and we're not done yet people!

3 - the number of months that I have run over 100 miles in the month (I've read that sentence like 17 times and I'm still not sure if it makes sense. I'm sure my editor Jake will let me know...)

20,591 - the number of stairs I have climbed since June 2nd - which means I need to get kicking some stair butt so that I can get my "Mt. McKinley" challenge done at the Y (29,380 total stairs) before August 31st.

5 - the number of 5K races I have run

1 - the number of 8K races I have run

27:11 - my personal best in the 5K

3 hours, 22 min. - the amount of time my last run took (19.14 miles)

2 - the number of Snapper games I have gone to this summer - which makes me sad, they're always so fun!

12 - the number of times I have moved in my "adult" life (that does include a few moves to and from Green Bay, to and from Los Angeles and my current move) - you'd think I'd be good at it by now...I'm not.

8 - the number of books I have read since June

0 - (and this is NOT a joke) - the number of shoe purchases I have made since June (Ok, I SERIOUSLY have to go shoe shopping...Off Broadway on Sunset Blvd here I come!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sometimes I Argue With the Voices In My Head

Don't get all scared that I'm like Sybil or something, but today I had some rather large arguments with myself - all in my head of course, because as much as I think it's normal to sing out loud when I run, I draw the line at arguing with myself. I mean a girl's gotta draw a line somewhere right?

I ran 17.04 miles on Sunday. In 2:58:08. It's a little over a 10 min. mile, which I'm not all that excited about, but I need to slow down a little on my long runs. However, that's neither here nor there, the point is, I ran for like 3 hours and didn't complain once. In fact, I enjoyed it. A lot.

However, today, I had to argue with myself to get out of bed and continued that argument for six and a half miles. That's like an hour of running. When my alarm went off at 5 am I hit the snooze, even though that's sleeping in for me. I had to say, out loud, to myself: Get UP!

I slowly got up and got out the door and started off, and as soon as I started I immediately started an argument with myself. It went something like this:

"Do I REALLY have to do this today?"


"Are you sure? I'm REALLY tired."

"Seriously. Yes."

"I really hate this."

"But my body feels awesome, and it's only 6 -1/2 miles."

"Dude, that's 6 - 1/2 miles; that sucks."

"It's not 8, or 17. I just ran for 3 hours on Sunday, this is cake."

"I really hate this but I really love cake, I should be eating cake right now instead of running."

"No, I love this and it's why I can eat cake. Look, the sun's coming up and it's pretty out."

"It's hot, this sucks, I want to be back in my bed."

"Seriously, shut up and run."

"I think I'm going to get eaten by that turkey staring me down."

"Well, run faster then."

It was a very difficult mental struggle this morning which was new to me. I mean sure, I've had days when I don't feel like running or it sucks but I usually get over it pretty fast. This however, lasted for an entire hour. Annoying, and I felt a little crazy. I need to get back on my mental track of "I can, I will, and I am able." Hopefully Thursday, when I do 8 I don't have the same fight.

At least the turkey didn't get me. Those things seriously creep me out...but that's for another day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

As My Year Comes To An End

My birthday is about 3 weeks away and as my year comes to an end and I get ready to be 28 and put together new resolutions for the year I'm starting to reflect on my year as a 27 year old.

I had a great 27th birthday - and as most of you know, I love the excuse of a birthday to throw lots of great parties, and get people together. My 27th was no exception. I had a great dinner with friends at JMK Nippon in Rockford, drinks with Madison friends at The Old Fashioned, my mom's meatloaf for dinner with my family on my actual birthday, followed by a fun party at their house to end my celebrations.

It was a great way to ring in being 27.

(P.S. I so totally miss that brown jacket)

My biggest goal for my 27th year was to run the 5K Fall Classic Road Race at the Y...something I always said I would do but never worked toward getting there. This year however, I ran it...well most of it, there was a small chunk of time I needed to walk. But the thought of finishing 3.1 miles and not coming in last was something that I never thought would happen...but it did. On October 20, 2007 I finished in 33:16 only a little bit under an 11 min. mile. And, not only did I finish, I got 2nd place in my age group (and I do believe there were more than 3 of us in that group!).

Fall was filled with lots of fun trips to the Apple Hut, the Pumpkin Patch, and trailer with Jane, Jack, and Jamie. Lots of fun outside as the leaves turned.

Fall is my favorite season. I love the transition from tanks to sweatshirts, the crisp air, kids starting school, the changing of leaves...everything about it is great to me!

Thanksgiving time brought Chris home from Vietnam to visit! I always love his whirlwind trips back to Beloit - it's always an adventure!
Thanksgiving weekend also took me to Fort Wayne, IN to visit Stanton, it was fun to spend time with him in his hometown, meet some childhood friends, go for my first run ever with him, watch some hockey and spend time with his dad!

I got to take a quick trip to California at the beginning of December to hang out with Stanton, Mike, Betty, and AJ - As always I had a blast with them and miss them dearly throughout the year!

I also ran the Jingle Bell for Arthritis 5K on December 1st and ran the whole thing in 27:56 vastly imroving my October time!

Christmas was a blast this year, and the tree was packed with presents. Although this was Chesney's second Christmas it was more fun with her as she could rip open her presents and play with her toys!

Capitol Dems Christmas bowling was again a great time and while I never do well it's always fun to play hooky for a 1/2 day to hang out with friends, bowl, drink some beer, and celebrate the holiday season!

New Years Eve 2007 was spent with Rachel in Milwaukee! We went to a fabulous party at the Intercontinental Hotel and followed it up with MOCT. We had a cab blessing at the beginning of the night but waited around for hours to get year we'll plan better! Overall though it was awesome! And, I rocked the silver sequenced dress!
I was lucky enough to spend 2 1/2 weeks in Vietnam and Thailand with Chris at the end of January and begining of Feburary. It was one of the most amazing trips, filled with cool sightseeing, new friends, lots of relaxing and beach time, unbelievable food, and some great quality time with Chris.

St. Patrick's Day in March took me to Fabulous Las Vegas with my parents, sister, Aunt Jane and Uncle Jack to celebrate my sisters 21st birthday over a year late! We had an awesome time as always and got to catch STOMP! which was an unbelievable show!

In April I ran the Crazy Legs 8K race in Madison. It was such a fun event - TONS of people and we finnished on the 50 yard line of Camp Randall - I did well considering it was SO windy and finnished in just over 45 min. - That was my first 5 mile race I ever did so I was very happy with the outcome!

The first weekend of May I ran off to New York City for the weekend to catch a game at Yankee Stadium (before the historic one is torn down!) with Stanton! We had a great time at the game, despite being FREEZING and had a nice weekend bumming around the city! Chris came home again in May and we celebrated his birthday, had a fantastic "Hot Punch Party" and got lots of catching up done! It was also at the end of May that I decided I would train for a Marathon!

The first week in June I chopped my hair, caught up again with Chris for his sister's wedding before he left to spend a year in Iraq.
I've spent the summer running - constantly running, which I am LOVING! I have also gotten some fun times in Milwaukee in, hanging out with Rachel and partying at Soho 7. I've had some fantastic "dates" with my awesome niece and I just love spending time with her! I've gotten to catch up with Heather - not as much as I would like, but a few times over the last year - and I've watched my niece become an awesome swimmer which I'm so excited about! I've had great dinners and wine nights with Katie and fun monthly dates with my mom and with Jamie, Kendra and Katie.
I'm figuring out who I am again and remembering that little set backs will make me stronger in the long run. I really believe in the mantra on my road id "tough times don't last but tough people do" - oh how true! I'm trying every day to be a brave, tough woman.
I'm remembering to be thankful for my amazing family and the most wonderful friends a girl could ask for; for my job and my boss and that I'm able to not only afford to travel but to take the time off to do so; for my health care and my new found health; for my body no matter what it looks like, it is mine and I'm thankfull it allows me to do things I want to do and that I find fun; for having the ability and luxury to decide where I want to go and what I want to do with my life next. I could go on and on but I fear I'm going to sound like I entered a Miss America pagent...
It has been an amazing year so far, one that I'm sure I will be reflecting on a little more in the coming weeks - and as my being 27 comes to an end I will get to jaunt off to LA once again for Labor Day weekend getting to hang out with my LA peeps and Rachel is coming with me!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Most Perfect Sunday Morning

While most sane people are sleeping at 6 am on a Sunday morning, and some people are just getting home from a night of partying and making bad (but fun) choices, I am getting ready to "do a long run."

This Sunday was no exception. I was in bed Saturday night by 10 pm, up around 5:45 and out the door a little after 6 to run 15.25 miles.

My "short" runs of 8 miles on Tuesday and Friday were harder this week than they have been in awhile, I was hurting by the end and my times weren't fantastic. It was a crappy week where I had to pull myself out of bed (which was HARD) and hit the road (which was even HARDER). But I got them in.

However, on Sunday, everything was right with the world and my body and I kicked out 15.25 miles in 2:31:15 (UNDER a 10 min/mile average!). I was PSYCHED.

The run was made even better by following it up with a delightful breakfast on my parents' beautiful new patio with my family (my grandparents and aunt Beth included!). Filling up on eggs, bacon, toast, muffins, juice, fresh raspberries as well as catching up with my grandparents and aunt was fabulous!

It's funny to say that a perfect Sunday morning starts with a 15.25 mile run, but I feel fantastic when I'm out there on the roads, taking in the scenery of the river and the neighborhoods of Beloit, doing a lot of self reflection and self discovery...the road is my Church and this Sunday the sermon was amazing. I can't wait to see what next Sunday brings with 17 miles to ponder life...and hopefully I can talk my dad into making breakfast for me again!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

So I'm having a relationship with a football team

Which, would be totally hot and exciting, if it weren't so damn sad right now.

I feel betrayed and heartbroken and mad as hell because the love of my life since you know, I was 12, has taken up with another woman.

Life will move on, I may even learn to love this new man in my life that wears green and gold and is from California (he has SOME redeemable qualities) but I can assure you that when I see the old one, I will long for the better days when he used to be mine.

Or something like that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I can't handle the suspense

Don't the Green Bay Packers know that I have stuff to do? Important stuff. And more importantly, don't they know that I can't get it done until they all stop being little babies and tell me what's going to happen?

The press conference that was suppose to happen between 9 am and noon was postponed - to 4:35 - I mean really - that's ridiculous.

My ultimate opinion on this whole Brett Favre coming out of retirement thing was that he shouldn't have come out of retirement - I hate that he's so Michael Jordan ish - that was annoying. Make a decision, and if you don't know what you want then just stick around. You can always quit a job you have (that's my mom's mantra).

However, if Favre wants to play, he should be playing in Green Bay - I do feel bad for Aaron Rodgers, but let's be honest, the kid will have plenty of time to throw some bad passes, and, I will throw up if I see Favre in anything but the Green and Gold (I'll throw up even more if he's wearing purple - or heaven forbid black and orange - GAG).

Ok, the press conference is going to start - in 2 min. I'm going to watch intently praying that I don't have to throw up. Then, I may get some work done.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Rainy days and Mondays always get me thinking...

I'm not really down today, despite the wet, dreary weather we're having...and that it's a Monday on top of it. But I am certainly contemplative.

This weekend was a whirlwind of activity - I got a lot of throwing away done, worked an early morning shift at the Y on Saturday, a fantastic 14.22 mile run on Sunday morning (I kicked my butt with some awesome hills), more moving, a great Dem picnic on a lovely Sunday afternoon and dinner with three of my favorite girlfriends. It was great.

As I sat at dinner last night, at a table outside overlooking the Rock River and listening to my girlfriends catch up, I realized there are just some people who know you...really know you.

The four of us used to be inseparable, but times change and we grew and got more into our careers; into and out of relationships, and the three of them into lasting ones; we spent a lot of time a part as I jaunted off to LA; we made new friends; we have changed, but the one thing that remains is that these women know me and I know them. No matter how much time apart, no matter what new things come into our lives, getting together with the three of them brings me comfort.

It's amazing to think about all the times - both good and bad - I have shared with these women. These are the women I turn to most when things are askew in my life because I know, no matter what, there is no judgement from them and mostly I know that I can count on them. I can count on them to say the right thing - or say nothing at all and it will all be alright.

These are women I turn to when I need to remember - both the funny stories and the hard times that I've made it through. They jog my memory because they were with me...and will always be with me.

These women are more than my friends, they're my family, and I love and appreciate them more than they can ever imagine...and although I don't get to see the three of them in the same spot very often, when we are all together it makes me smile...and dinner on Sunday was a fantastic end to my very busy weekend.