Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian

Saturday, September 29, 2007


A while back I was tagged for a meme by Pink Theory at Luminous Vegans. I have stalled enough, waiting for....what? I don't know. My life to become interesting enough to provide something of value? Anyways, here are the rules (copied from LV)

Rules:#1 Players must list one fact, word, or tidbit that is somehow relevant to their life for each letter of your first or middle name.

#2 When you are tagged you need to write your own post containing your first or middle name game facts, word, or tidbit.

#3 At the end of your post choose one person for each letter of your name to tag. Don’t forget to leave a comment telling them, they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

#4 If I’ve tagged YOU (the bloggers that I've tagged are listed at the end), please join in on the fun!

T - Talent. I have none. Can't draw, can't sing, can't really do much of anything. If I had my druthers I would love to be able to sing. It wouldn't have to be great or anything but the ability to keep a tune would be awesome because I love music.

R - Running. I am not fast but over the past four years, running has become a constant identifier in my life. I am, therefore I run. And I run with Cosmo. Hence the Runswithdog.

A - I think I might have to skip A. I have pondered this letter and even asked the husb to contribute. He came up with ambitious (I think he was being sarcastic), aggressive (unfortunately, I think he was not being sarcastic) and anxious (not sarcastic here either). He also said alienated. WTF? Alienated from who? And to top it off lastly he said I was not 'antediluvian'. I asked him what that meant and he didn't really know exactly. And so I wasted 5 minutes of my life looking it up, telling him the definition and then having to listen to him try to justify it's appropriateness related to me. It turns out I am younger than the great flood and Noah. Oy.

C - Countries. I am willing to go anywhere. I love to travel. I will go anywhere at least once, even if I never really cared about going there. I guess you could say I am an indiscriminate trip dreamer :-)

You know, I am not the most introspective person and finding something for those four letters really kicked my butt. It was a good thing I decided against using runswithdog!

I am going to tag 5CGs, AndyandBrian'sMom and Trailhoundz. My bet is 5CGs won't do it but maybe TH will because she loves this kind of stuff.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Situationally Unaware

I came across that term in a comment on the NYT's food blog and it struck a chord with me. It is the exact term I have been searching for - how to describe all those people who stand around with their heads up their asses, completely unaware of their surroundings. Case in point:
Local Library
Returning books

There is a little chute in the front counter for book returns but the staff prefers you just stack them on the counter - it is easier for them to get to the books and check them back in, I guess. I walk in to return my books. There is a large woman and a small boy standing in front of the book return. There is one of those umbrella strollers behind them, tipped over because there are heavy bags looped over the handles. The large woman, pretty oblivious to the stroller or the boy is talking to another woman who is standing over to the side. She, the boy and the tipped over stroller are right in front of the book return. I can't get to the book return to return my armload of books. She keeps talking, the boy keeps picking his nose. The stroller remains tipped over. She turns around, looks at me, turns back and keeps talking. The boy now progresses to making monkey noises. She keeps talking. I say, 'excuse me' and am not heard over the din of monkey hoo-hoos. In a fit of perversity, I decided to wait her out. Finally, the conversation comes to an end - only after checking out books. Turns out she was waiting to check out books in the return line even though there was no one in the check out line!! She uprights the stroller, grabs the monk- er boy by the hand and wanders off with nary an acknowledgement or apology tossed in my direction.

WTF??? I wish I was back in NYC where not only would the person have moved, apologizing at the same time, they probably would have grabbed the books out of my arms to return them themselves! I am encountering this type of behavior more and more! Is it just me? Do you people come across these situationally unaware folks who seem to think they are the only inhabitants in their special little world? On second thought, I don't even think I can classify this woman as 'situationally unaware'. She was aware all right. She just didn't care.

Training Update

The cold is finally all gone with the exception of a lingering, innocent little hack at night. And my training is back on track. But I am slower. Oh Gawd, am I slower. My schedule calls for a weekly tempo run, intervals and a long run. I added into that mix a fourth run - less than 3 miles. Just a jaunt to keep the leg muscles from atrophying and the calorie count from jumping. I thought the route was 2.82 miles. And I was throwing down some killer times so suspicious minds and all that jazz......I re-calculated the route. I did it using USATF, Gmaps and Mapmyrun. The overall concensus is 2.46 miles. So one day it was a 12:12 miles (just 2 seconds a mile faster than my 6 mile run WITH WALK BREAKS earlier in the week!) and today was 11:13. The real kicker is both times, I felt like I *was* running fast. Oh well, guess it is going to take a little longer recovery time for me....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Laugh for the day....

for the week, for the month? Who knows. I have just been giggling to myself for days over this.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Shout out to AMT.....

I am sure you won't want to miss this.

***Along with my daily dose of celebrity whoring, I have become quite the devotee of food blogs :-)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

NYC - Part III

Day 3 in NYC.

Since we hoped to leave in the early afternoon, we used this day to get a couple of letterboxes in the Riverside Park area and we wanted to eat lunch at a place I found on the Internet - Strictly Roots. Strictly Roots is at 2058 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd (aka 7th Ave) between 122nd and 123rd.

Okay, after the disappointment that was Vegetarian Dim Sum House (I am beginning to wonder if all the Americanized Chinese takeout I have eaten over the years has corrupted my palate and I am just unable to enjoy true Chinese food. After all, this place is raved about so much - did we hit it on a bad day or do I just not know good food when I eat it?), Jen and I needed some good food. We needed to hit a place that would feed us, feed our souls and minds. And boy, did we find it. This place has some mad, cheap grub that will stick to your ribs. The food is served cafeteria style but they also have fresh, made to order items on their menu. We stuck to the heating trays and just pointed up our lunches. Each item is priced differently, by serving. Jen asked for the plantains and the tempura tofu which were each $1. Yeah. $1 per serving. She got a juice and was all set for $4. Her plate:

A close up of the plantains:

Man, these were good. I was picking the caramelized sugar out of my teeth all the way to the Delaware Water Gap.
I ordered the collard greens, the red beans, and the mac and cheese. With a juice, my total came to $10. Even though we shared each others food, we still couldn't eat it all.

The collards:

I loved these. Jen thought they tasted overcooked and from a can but I know better. My mama is from Alabama :-) These were delish.
The mac and cheese:
This was good. Day-um good. We ate all of this. It was creamy, cheesy and pure comfort food. I would go back just for this.
The beans were okay, but with plates full of stand out food, they suffered by comparison. They had some baked goods but we passed on those because of the amount of food we ordered.
The Strictly Roots mural:

Yeah, get thee to this place :-) But avoid the bathroom - yeesh. That's all I am going to say about *that*.

One last thing - per my previous you have any idea how hard it is to letterbox in a city that people can't wait to help you out? Walking around with papers in hand, looking confused guaranteed someone stopping to offer directions. We had a person pull over in their car while we were at the Cloisters! So, in our best helpful tradition and to try to keep the NY nasty reputation alive, I offer you this:
This is Jen, trying to discreetly rehide a box in the Riverside Park area. Miss White Shirt and Black Purse is lost and is supposed to meet someone here. She decides, of all the helpful and nice NYers around, to hit us up continually for advise and directions. Us! The only people around who don't want to strike up conversations with complete strangers, who could care less if someone is lost, who don't want to talk to ANYONE. We are only concerned with getting the box, stamping in, rehiding, with no one else around the wiser. She came up to me 3 times - 3 TIMES - with inquiries about the location, the time, can she borrow my phone, blah, blah, blah. I am proud to say that I did my best to brush her off and turn her away. It is sad when a couple of folks from Syracuse pretty much display the only "typical' NY behavior :-)

Edited to Add: Strictly Roots menu

NYC - Part II

Sunday - Day 2

Three things I have decided about NY.

1) No one sweats in that city. Seriously. We would head out and by the time we got the subway station on Broadway, the sweat would be pouring down my neck and my hair would be soaked. People were just strolling around me, cool as a cucumber. WTF?? I spent most the time looking like a drowned rat. One benefit was that I sweated so much my need for public bathrooms was practically nil.

2) People are way, way too nice in NYC. We practically got a private tour in one of the museums we visited. Every time we even as much as slightly paused on the sidewalk, someone would ask us if we needed directions. Once, just slowing down in front of the steps in a subway station, I asked Jen if we were heading up or down town. Two old men were right there asking where we were heading. Once, walking down a street in Harlem, we asked one man for directions and the three of us were interrupted by another woman chiming in with her version of the directions. Where is the cynical, push-you-aside-to-get-where-I-need-to-go New Yorker?

3)Every single freaking male subway employee is African-American, Hispanic or some other non-Caucasian demographic and is absolutely drop dead GORGEOUS. Is is a job requirement? Ladies, I am telling you, we saw some FINE men working those trains and they knew it too. They knew we were checking them out and were all about making eye contact and smiling.

Sunday, our plan was to hit a couple of 'living' museums, you know, the type where they have restored private homes to a certain historical era. We had a few letterboxes we wanted to get and we were going to hit Vegetarian Dim Sum House in Chinatown and an art place.

First up, the Morris Jumal Home. We thought it was closed because it was locked up. We finally were let in with a scolding from the employee because we wandered from door to door and she couldn't find us. Now, she was a good old-time brusque New York public servant :-) The Morris Jumal House:

Jen acting as Henry the Navigator

She did an awesome job. Usually when I travel with the husb, I have to do all the navigation so it was a treat to relax and be told where to go. It was also a delight to travel with someone who shares my delight in public transportation and living museums :-)

I don't know what I was thinking but I took no pictures of the Merchant's House Museum. The Morris Jumal House was fine but if you like this kind of stuff, the Merchant's House Museum is a must see stop in NY. This place is great.

I was very excited to go to Vegetarian Dim Sum House in Chinatown because I heard so much good about it. Maybe it was an off day but I wasn't really impressed and I don't think Jen was either. All the fried food had a tired, identical taste as if the it was all fried in the same old oil. Jen did like her fresh kiwi juice:

We ordered sweet and salty dumplings, which were stuffed with vegetables and decent tasting:

Spinach dumplings. I actually liked these but I don't think Jen cared for them.

Steamed 'pork' buns. Blah.

Fried turnip cakes. Blah.

Sorry about the quality of pictures - I tried taking these without a flash as to not disturb the other diners.

After eating, we hit Pearl Art Store on Canal Street. You could tell it was back to school time because there were tons of students wandering around clutching their supply lists. The store was awesome and Jen was positively orgasmic, wandering around, looking at all the handmade paper. I actually think she might have moaned once or twice out loud LOL. The paper was beautiful and very reasonably priced. I picked up two sheets to use to make books.

We found two letterboxes this day, one up by the Cloisters and one, Halloween Adventure, which ranks right up there in my fave five boxes ever. We had a blast with this box. Location was great, clues were great, it was just awesome. I would definitely recommend this box to anyone heading to NYC.

NYC - Part I

Been back from the Big City for almost a week but haven't blogged the trip yet - I am a disgrace in bloggerville :-) Jen was prompt with her account. She is much more responsible than I. LOL
Ah, what can I say? New York. I LOVE New York. Luve, lurve, heart it. Anyway you want to say it.

We drove down on Saturday afternoon (in the Prius, 50.9 mpg, thank you very much!) and arrived around 5:30. We stayed with my daughter who has a very nice two bedroom apartment she shares with a roommate, in the Washington Heights area. We lucked out and found an awesome on street parking spot on W 170th, right across from a police station. The prius was parked and stayed right there until we left Tuesday afternoon. The apartment is a 6th floor walk-up and everytime I hiked those stairs, I thanked myself for all my running!

We went to Jen's old college friend, Christie's play that evening. It was good. Really good. A very, nicely professional production. I don't know what I was expecting but I enjoyed it a lot. We then went to the afterparty at a bar around the corner from the playhouse. Both of Jen's friends from school, Christie and Jody were very nice, friendly and welcoming.

Kate and Jen on the subway to the theater:

The crowd outside the theater after the play let out:
Successful Wells Alumnae, Christie, Jen and Jody (?), all a credit to their university:
Party On Garth! Seriously, that is my beer she is holding, Jen only had a soda in the bar :-)

Bud was a Bust

At least it was for me. Other people had stellar outings, more about that later.

This race is jinxed for me. I signed up two years ago, came down with shingles 2 days before the race. This year I got sick again. Cold, sore throat, achy, cough, what have you. It started a week ago Wednesday so I thought I could throw it off, but no dice. I modified my plan and thought if not the 10 k then I could walk the 5k. No dice there. Heartbreaking because it was cool and drizzly, just how I like it.

Now Bridget and Wendy went out and tore up that course, Bridget under 60 minutes and Wendy 1:03. I am way out classed by my running partners :-( Sue also ran her first 10k without walking, or so I am told. She wandered off after finishing and I didn't see her under the beer tent.

I am coaching the new run group starting tomorrow. What a joke.....they are all faster than I am! LOL Seems like it's mostly runners from the previous group and they want to move up to the 10K distance. Works fine for me - think we will shoot for the Jingle Bell Run in November which has a 10k.
Edited to add: A picture from our Friday night pre-race dinner hosted by yours truly. From left to right: Shannon, Kris, Sue. Around on the left is Mick with Wendy hiding behind him. Not shown is Bridget, Bill, Andrew and myself. It was a really fun, fun, noisy, lots of laughter type evening. We covered everything from Alton Brown's man boobs to running to Jen's upcoming 'date'. And yes, you do see a white plastic lawn chair in the picture. Bridget had to bring hers because my kids have taken all my folding chairs to use in their various apartments.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Run Report

W and I tried to do 4 miles today. We ended up walking twice for a quarter mile each time. The weather forecast is for record highs and an ozone warning for today. I thought we could beat the heat, but it beat us. I didn't take Cosmo. It is hot and humid outside. All that means to him is that dog hating monsters in the sky will be making loud noises at him even though the forecast says nothing about thunderstorms. This is how he spent his morning:
One week to Bud. I am not feeling 100% confident. According to McMillian, I should be able to do the 10K in 1:07:29. Nice and firmly in the BOP :-) However, I don't think I can maintain a sub 11 pace for over 6 miles. I am shooting for 11:15 or around 1:09/1:10. Very, very nicely in the BOP :-) Boy, when I look at that time written out all I can think if that is a long time to be out there running. Extended weather forecast is calling for a high of 70 and sunny for Saturday.
Tomorrow will be 5-6 miles and then Jen and I are off to NYC. I am going to run the first mile with Shannon, her first straight mile run since she has been injured.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Better late than never. The trip to Montreal was very nice. It was about 250 miles away so we drove. Frankly, the northern NY and southern Canadian landscape is pretty unremarkable, very flat and boring. The city of Montreal is remarkable for it's architecture. I found it to be a very clean, very friendly city, although a few people have told me their experience is different, as least in regards to the friendly part.

The night we arrived, we walked down to Vieux Montreal, the old part of the city and stumbled upon a street festival celebrating the history of the area. There were vendors dressed in historic garb, demonstrating and selling traditional craft items. Andrew checking out a display:

We came across this interesting fruit/vegetable (?). It tasted like a cross between a grape and a cherry tomato. Any suggestions as to what it may be?

Canada has a large immigrant population. China Town was one of my favorite neighborhoods to walk through:

Vieux Montreal was especially picturesque:

I ended up not running. For all my good intentions, I really didn't expect I would. I decided to use these few days as a break and to give my legs some recovery time. Of course, I then went out and proceeded to do my best to completely walk every area in the metropolitan Montreal area. I was practically crippled every night :-)
However, the best part of the trip was the formal dinner on the last night. It was hilarious to watch a bunch of newly admitted FSA's throw down their calculators and pocket protectors
and cut loose for the evening, intoxicated on relief, the thought of no more exams and lots of free booze.