Friday, November 30, 2007

It's Memphis Time

I'm finally in Memphis. Arrived yesterday afternoon from Minneapolis, and I'm glad to be out of Minnesota! Checked into my hotel downtown and did a little bit more work. I'm right across from Autozone Ball Park, which is where the race will finish. If I can stumble over the finish line, I'll be able to crawl back to my room!

Dinner last night was half a block down at Rendezvous. I dunno - I still prefer Corky's, but Memphis Ribs is better than no ribs at all. The place is like in a basement off a deserted alley, but inside, it's bustling. I was seated in the front section, and there's one side room and one back room, both of which open to more rooms, which open to more rooms, and on and on. There's a few old guys whose only job seems to be escorting people deep into the back of this maze. This one guy would reappear from the back every few minutes, and I'm not kidding, he'd yell the exact same thing every single time to the hostess up front:

"Howmanyyougot Baby?" ... pause ...
"Awl-right, burr-ring 'em on!"

Then he'd turn around and disappear with another pack of people following him.

I had a small order of ribs and a side of red beans and rice for carbs. Forgot to take a picture of it before I started, but this is it half-way through.

This morning I worked some more from my room until about lunch time, then took the rest of the day off. I wandered down to Beale Street where I saw BB King play years ago. The whole place was pretty much deserted today, and I ended up at Cafe 61 for lunch. It was great! I had a Jimbolaya and for extra carbs - the Crawfish Mac 'n Cheese.

After lunch, I headed out to the Expo. I ran into this Memphis Trolley thing almost immediately, but decided I probably should walk off the lunch a little bit. It was about 4 blocks away.

The weather was just a touch chilly but bearable. There was no line at all at the Expo. Got my bib, chip, and goody bag in about 45 seconds. The long sleeved cotton t-shirt is, well, cotton.

It wasn't a big expo, and mostly the same merchandise as other expos. However, I did run into a couple of familiar faces hanging on the wall at one of the booths!

Dinner tonight, I think, will be back on Beale Street, hopefully more alive this time. Kings Palace Cafe looked pretty good for gumbo and blackened chicken pasta! That should keep me tied over until race time tomorrow, no?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Is That December Around The Corner?

My sister's family just left after spending Thanksgiving week with us. 3 teenagers and no DSL - somehow we survived! My DSL died and I took the opportunity to switch providers, which somehow through the wonder of technology still takes 5 to 10 business days. Something's wrong when UPS can ship me a new modem in two days but someone can't flip a switch to start the flow of electrons in less time than that?

Anyway, I haven't been posting and I haven't been reading much. Blogger isn't quite optimized for dial-up access. I have been running still, and I can't believe my race is next weekend already! I ran this past Wednesday in shorts and no shirt. By Thursday, I was running in long pants, two long sleeved shirts, gloves, and wool hat - huh? This cold front and rain looks like it's staying for a while.

Memphis is looking at a 60% chance of showers, high 53, low 46. No matter - I'm ready to rock 'n roll! Rae and Brent - are you guys still coming into town to run? How about a RBF meetup? Anyone else running Memphis?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Top 10 Signs You Won't Be Winning NYC

Other than the fact that the race ended 6 days ago ...

Friday, November 09, 2007

San Antonio Francisco

Fall is usually a very short season here in Texas. One day it's summer-blazing hot, then it rains like a monsoon for a few days, then Fall is over. This year, it can't make up it's mind. Half the leaves on my trees are already rotting in the pool, while the other half steadfastly clings on. I don't have the stomach to clean it up until everything has come down. And some neighbors have the nerve to put up Christmas lights already. Amazing.

My morning runs this week have been bone-chilling refreshing. I've been comfortable in shorts, but double layered on top and with gloves to boot (to boot, he he).

Memphis is coming up fast, but first, I have a few trips to make. Vegas again next week, then short trips to Pittsburgh and Minneapolis. American Airlines has an annual Road Warrior contest. The rules change every year, and it's never about the total miles flown. This year it's about pictures. They've chosen five finalists. Go vote for this guy - I'm glad it's a good enough idea that there's at least two of us doing it!

While I was fooling around with my travel pictures, I put a couple of them together and stumbled upon this. Different cities, different dates, perfectly aligned. San Antonio Francisco. Weird huh?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pink Is Good

Midway into my 8-miler this morning, I ran into my good friend J., who was just pulling out of her driveway. J. ran the Dallas Half last year, finishing well in 2:16 despite minimal practice. I had to lend her my running gloves the night before the race, and even threw in a couple packs of GU for good measure. She rolled down the window as I approached her SUV.

J.: "That orange sweatshirt must be what's making you run so SLLLOOOW!"

Me (thinking): "It's burnt orange, and it's a running jacket, not a sweatshirt. Hmmm - must not be a Longhorn fan."

Me (thinking some more): "Oh hey yo! Nice silk pink camisole top and matching pink flannel space cowgirl jammie pants. You don't see that every day on a training run!"

Me (out loud): "Don't bother changing out of your jammies just to drive your kids to school, you're probably not going to run into anyone but me. (Pause) And just because I have a photographic memory doesn't mean you have to start worrying about anything, ok?"

I was thinking as I ran off, on days like this, who needs GU?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Great Weekend

Yesterday was a wonderful day. While it didn't start out quite as planned, by mid-afternoon we were watching the Purple Haze cruise to a 4-0 win in their last game of the season. More excitingly for the girls, they finished a remarkable 8-0 for an undefeated kindergarten girls season!

We're so proud of Sydney and all the girls, who have progressed from the first few games spent picking daisies to the last game where 4 different girls scored our 4 goals. Here's a pic of the team that struck fear in the hearts of all who had to play against them! Syd's in the back, 4th from the right.

Actually, they're all just wonderful kids, princesses, all of them! I love this pic because we unknowingly had them staring straight into the sun - the poor girls are giving it their best "cheese" smile but can barely get their eyes open! We moved them later and got some better pics, but this is still my favorite. They all got cupcakes and medals after the game, and Syd finished as the top scorer on the team!

Later that afternoon, I had planned to get my 8-mile pace run going again, but somehow ended up with a 2 hour nap instead! I woke up a few times feeling guilty about it, but not guilty enough to prevent me from falling back asleep again!

This morning, with the nap plus an extra hour from daylight savings, I tossed and turned long before it was time to get up. I still had visions of my daylight savings fiasco from MCM last year, and I wasn't about to repeat it this year. Thankfully, I made it safely to the DRC Half this morning by 7:00-ish.

The race started right about 8:00 am. I planned to use this as a training run, with a 10:06 min/mile goal time. This is what ended up instead:

Mile 2: 18:54
Mile 3: 9:25
Mile 4: 9:24
Mile 5: 9:23
Mile 6: 9:21
Mile 7: 9:00
Mile 8: 9:07
Mile 9: 9:17
Mile 10: 9:07
Mile 11: 8:29
Mile 12: 8:36
Mile 13: 8:42
Mile 13.1: 0:55

Total time = 1:59:45. Not a PR, but I'm totally happy with it for a training run. I have a prefect stranger to thank for it too.

Somewhere past mile 9, I fell into step with another girl running. We seemed to have the same pace, and were pushing it a bit. Without looking at each other, or saying a single word, we ran side by side for most of the next few miles. It was a surreal connection. It wasn't competitive at all, just us two pushing each other.

Through twists and turns, through water stops, through squeezing past or going around other runners, we'd slow down to let the other catch up, then push the pace once again. For almost 3 miles, not a word. I spent most of that time wondering how I was going to keep up the pace, thinking about how badly I wanted to finish together so I could thank her for making this a great run, thinking about how much gatorade I had spilled on my shirt at that last water stop! We must have passed more than a hundred runners along the way.

Then 3/4-mile from the end, inexplicably, she stopped. I took 2 steps before I realized what had happened, and then I hit the brakes and turned around. With a half-smile half-gasp, she said "I can't go on". I said softly "Yes you can, c'mon, we'll make it". And so she picked up her feet again and started running, the pace a touch slower, and we continued down the last mile. After the final turn, with the finish in sight, I pointed ahead and said to her "it's all yours". She kicked up a final sprint, and I followed her in to the finish.

While they were collecting our chips, she thanked me for pacing her in. I congratulated her for her strong finish, and was thinking I should be the one thanking her for pacing me! We went our separate ways, and I never saw her again.

Later this afternoon, to cap a great weekend, we celebrated Sydney's 6th birthday with a joint birthday party with her buddy Alaina and 37 other kindergartners! Thankfully it was outside at a pizza party place and not at home!

Last but not least, Susan and David finished NYC! Go over and tell them how great they are!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Left Brain's Connected To The Right Knee

But the right brain should've taken over. Why did I think today would be a good day to break in a new pair of shoes? Race day is a month away, and the old pair has faithfully done it's thing. Tomorrow is a half mary tune-up, but before that, an 8-mile pace run today. Not so.

At half a mile, my right knee started hurting. At one mile, my left shin started hurting. At one and a half miles, I finally decided this was all connected from the left shin to the right knee to the new shoes. I bagged the run and walked home. It's still early, I'll get my run in sometime today.

In other "exciting" news - I recently "discovered" this website. Those "English Lit" majors or aspiring "journalists" (and some "real" ones) among you might get a chuckle or two out of it.