I blame David

Running is, hands down, supposed to be one of the single best exercise for the whole body. In my experience it’s a slow death. But, having said that I endeavor to run, and it endeavors to kill me.

I don’t understand why, but I have never been much good at running. In the animal world I would not be a running type of animal. If there was an animal that knew how to operate a TV remove and order pizza, yeah, that would be me. But it annoyed me when I’d see people who looked like they should be in one of those motorized 3 wheels scooters and yet there they were pounding along the park just rubbing it in. My puzzlement at being such a sucky runner was answered when a couple of things came together and I believe I found the answer.

I saw a work-mate who was wearing the strangest, coolest, geekiest things on his feet. I know, right?

Short story, they’re called Five Fingers and they’re made by Vibram. He told me how he’d come across them and they were based on the mechianics of the human foot. Instead of locking the toes together and restricting the foot from flexing over objects, this allowed the foot to work the way it was intended. While I was enthralled, I was also skeptical. Then I came across this article and soon found others.
They all said the same thing. Running shoes are not the way we’re built to run. I had to know for myself. After a lot of reading, watching videos, and talking to others I got a pair.

I was so excited when they arrived and couldn’t wait to try them out. By the way, getting them on takes practice. The big day came and I saddled… uh… Five Fingered up. Though you can get socks made for them, many people say they don’t need them. I can’t begin to tell you how odd it felt with them on, but odd in a very cool kind of way.

Once at the park I turned my nose up at the paved bike path and let my feet run on the wild side, i.e, grass. The first mile was over in no time and I realized that instead of running heel-toe, I was landing more towards the ball of my foot. The fatigue I always feel in my thighs wasn’t there. I was using more of my calves and glutes than my thighs. By the second mile I was smiling and even laughed because although I was starting to breath harder it wasn’t the kind of gasping as deaths door I normally experience. I was experiencing running in a way I’d never known. It was almost, almost mind you, effortless.
But, as I neared the third mile I was becoming aware that something wasn’t right. I could feel the beginnings of friction on the outside edges of the balls of my feet. In true fashion I ignored it. In true fashion it got worse.

What I didn’t know, and what makes no sense AT ALL is that Vibram made these with a tiny seam right where I was feeling it. I decided to push through it. After all, how bad could it really be? Oh, about this bad. I’m pretty head strong but even I have limits and I couldn’t push past the pain anymore. I stopped and pulled them off. It was a painful lesson and I had another mile and a half of hobbling back to my car to dwell on it.
But there’s a giant difference between a set-back and defeat. I knew what I needed to do, besides heal, and that was to pick up a tried and trusted friend. This stuff saved my poor feet on many a hike and I knew it would do the same now.

It was a while before my feet were fully operational and a while longer before I felt like running again. In fact it was a long darn time.

You know how it’s so much easier to catch up on last weeks episode of 24, talk to a friend on the phone, play a video game, anything but run? Yeah, I’m the same way. But you know what happened? My friend, David, fell in love. Oh crap! Next thing you know he’s eating healthy. Mark and I are chowing down on some fine American processed food and David’s sending pictures of a plate of rabbit food he calls a snack. On top of that he’s telling me how he’s running. I was almost able to ignore it until… he tells me he’s lost six pounds. Double crap!!

Now I have to run. I can’t sit around while he gets all healthy and struts around while I feel like a bloated sack of protoplasm. So, today I bit the bullet. After work I came home, put some moleskin on my feet, donned my Five Fingers, and headed out to the park.
The plan was to run around the park, which looked like about a quarter mile from the road. If I started to find another sore spot I didn’t want to be far from the car. As it turned out there was a whole lot more park than I realized. I used the GPS tracking app on my iPhone and took off. The blue line is the actual path I ran as I was monitored from satellites orbiting the Earth. Honestly, does the coolness factor never end? As you can see I cut a corners because, lets face it, I was fricken tired!

I did over two miles which I wasn’t expecting to do, but you know what?  hehe, that’s right, no blisters. The Moleskin saved my feet.  Now if only they made Moleskin for my calf muscles. And once again my thighs are untouched by the running.

Oh sure, I’ll be hobbling tomorrow, but in my twisted logic I’ll be hobbling for all the right reasons. No blisters. Not sore thighs. And I get to give David the ‘ha ha I’m running too’ smug smile.

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I win!

After putting it off for, well, longer than I should have I got rid of the gardener. I know. A lot of people don’t have gardeners, but my reason for getting on was more vastly necessary. I didn’t want to do the yard work.

Today is the first weekend sans the gardener and the lawn was looking shabby. The weather report is warning me of a big storm coming in and I realized that if I don’t get it done now it’ll be days before I can mow the lawn. Braving all manner of alien creatures of death, I ventured into the garage and found my relic of a lawn mower.

Now, in my mind I thought, ‘I’ll get the mower, cut the grass, put the mower away… done!’ Uh… no. My garage is … disorganized. I think I’d of had an easier time of walking out of Fort Knox with 500 gold bars in my pocket than wrestling that mower through the gauntlet of my garage.

Undaunted, I kept at it and got the mower outside where it promptly crumbled when it was exposed to direct sunlight. Okay, just kidding, but it hadn’t been out for a very long time. As you can guess, the next hurdle was to get the thing going. At first, it didn’t want to start. Also at second, third, eighteenth, and twenty fifth. But, if there’s one thing I’m good at it’s brainlessly trudging away at something.

With a hearty and sweaty yank of the pull-cord the multi-bladed monster coughed to life. Soon I was guiding it over the raw, untamed nature that is my front lawn. Now it’s trimmed, the mower is back in it’s holding pen, and me? I’m standing in the lawn with fists on hips surveying my handiwork.

Oh yeah… it’s a Monday

It’s such a Monday that it couldn’t all fit in 24 hours so it got an early start on Sunday.
Sunday started fine, but that was early on. It started to go bad at about the same time the Packers, more specifically Aaron Rogers, literally threw the game away.
What? But the game had just started, you say. Yes true, but I saw that second play has a portend of the ending.
I was right.
Everyone kept saying ‘it’s a close game, keep watching’, or ‘The Packers are coming back’, or ‘It’s anyones game’. My response was, ‘It doesn’t matter’, ‘It still doesn’t matter’, and ‘No. No, it’s not anyone’s game. The Packers will lose.’
Sour grapes, is what I hear. Nope. Not that, either.

Despite the doubtful looks, and although I don’t advertise it, I have a sliver of psychic ability. No, I’m not nuts. It’s there. Many of my friends and I have done experiments that have confirmed it. Years ago when I told my daughter she didn’t believe me. We played a game where she’d think of a shape and I’d guess it. After getting them all right she didn’t want to play anymore.
So, when I saw Rogers throw the intercept in the second play of the game, I knew the Packers would lose. In fact I told a friend that Rogers would hand the ball to the other team and what happened? How’d the game end?

Added to that I had wanted to go running, but it was late by the time I could go running and by late I mean dark. Not enough lights at the park by then. Don’t feel like ending up on a milk carton.

My ‘Missing Karen’ meter was at an eight and hasn’t moved much since then.

Then comes Monday. I was really looking forward to my morning call from Karen, but she was held up with some pretty important things so it wasn’t until I pulled into the parking lot at work that she was able to call and then Skype did a personal best in messing up.

You know this next part from when someone is telling you a story where things happen in the same way a mason lays brick after brick in building a wall, so don’t groan when I say, “And then….”

… and then, my property manager calls to tell me that my trouble making tenants are moving out. That’s two empty units, now. Sure, they were trouble makers, but they were ‘paying’ trouble makers. This has got a heard of red flags waving around in my head. I need to get those units rented and fast.

… and then… things at work picked up and suddenly deadlines have moved up; people are looking for deliverables sooner; I’m being asked when I can have this, and that, and that other thing. My eyes shift left and right like I’m in an old spy movie until I can think up a good enough guess so when I miss the due date I can be close enough that nobody cares.

Now first, let me thank you, dear reader, for staying with me this long. It’s not the most entertaining thing to read about someone elses woes when you have a full plate, but I’m putting a lot of faith on the adage “misery loves company”.

Now it’s only the afternoon as I write these words and the realization that the day is far from over means there’s so many hours between now and midnight.
Has this Monday spent all it’s energy or is it only pacing itself and has even more bombs to drop on me.

Fingers crossed I’ve seen the end of this Monday.
Did I mention, I have to pay bills tonight?

I get home to find a note from FedEx. The package I ordered is not at my door. Nope. It’s waiting for me to pick it up. Pick it up? But… I ordered it to be, here’s the operative word… ‘deeeelivered’. Nope. The shipper didn’t mention that I have to sign for the thing so I either have to be home, or go pick it up. sigh…
Then I discover that because the insurance company didn’t get $40.00 dollars from me, they cancelled my policy. I’ve been with them for over 20 years and they cancel me. I call and arrange for the policy to be reinstated, but they screw me for an extra $50.00. Do they wave the fee? Hey, it’s Monday, remember?

And finally, I thought I’d end the evening by treating myself to a cigar. The torch I use has this little red slider which adjusts the flame. Normally, it’s set low. I nice tiny little flame. But, someone (I’m not naming names) wasn’t happy with it there and turned it up the last time they used it. So, when I was holding the cigar in my hand and triggered the flame out shot this long spear of flame that went beyond the tip of the cigar and burned me, but good.

Ah yes. It’s been a Monday.

LOOK OUT!!! Um… nevermind

You ever have one of those  __________ (days, weeks, months, year) where you’re just not feeling it at work? There’s not a single fiber of motivation in your entire being and though you make an honest effort your motivation EKG is flat-lined.
That was me. I had stuff todo. Nothing pressing, but you know… stuff. (sigh) You’d of been proud of me. I worked up enough energy to at least look like I was into it. I’d do that frown-thing to look like I was concentrating. I’d scroll document pages up and down. And hey! I even read a little of it. Impressive, huh?

Now, I’m at my desk. I’m not bothering anyone, keeping to myself, all incognito, like, when I hear the distinctive beep-beep-beep of a dump truck backing up. Backing up to my desk, in fact.
No kidding, in less than two minutes I have three emergency database files I have to create and send out today! a project that’s got what they laughing call a ‘constrained’ timeline. Constrained? A boa constrictor would die with envy at how much they’ve crushed the timeline of this project. And (here’s the kicker) I don’t know zip about the systems I’m supposed to do the analysis on, AND I have a yearly performance evaluation to write about myself, don’t get me started on the genius behind that one, AND … ah well, you get the idea.
It’s what’s called, around here, as a ‘hair on fire’ moment.
I could have cared less. My manger was at my desk telling me all this and I could see he was anticipating that expression on my face, you know the one, deer caught in the headlights screaming ‘Holy #%*&!!! I’m gonna die!!!’  Yeah, that one. But instead, I shrugged a shoulder, couldn’t be bothered to shrug both, and said, “These things happen.”

Now, there is a difference between feeling unmotivated and not doing the work. I’d like to joke about it and say I just dumped everything in a drawer and surfed the net, but that’s not how I operate… mostly.
On a normal day I’d have freaked out by this tidal wave, but that’s not today.  I did sort through a lot of the stuff and found out that about half of it was A. not an emergency, and B. had already been done by someone else. So, if I’d of panicked only to find out later that I’d let myself stress over a workload that didn’t exist I’d of been pissed off the rest of the day. I’d go into detail why, but it’s complex and, um, this is a post about the lack of …

At least Spartacus won most of his battles

Christmas and New Years bring us hallowed half days at the office and  those much lusted after days off. Ah, the glee we feel as we almost skip to our cars to drive off to home and hearth and not look back.

Few of us are strangers to the Grim Reaper that shows up in the early afternoons of the last day off from work. We feel it’s Dementor like effect as it sucks the happiness out of us, reminding us that tonight you’ll have to set the alarm to wake up ‘on time’, to be at work ‘on time’. Ugh.

Come that first workday morning we grudgingly leave our beds and mumbling ancient Summarian hexes on those most deserving, we shuffle through the process of getting ready for work.
Well, that’s what I do anyway. And while this is going on I’m mentally preparing myself, too. Preparing for the office politics, that one person who corners you in the break room and never stops talking, trying to be okay with different shades of putty grey, etc.

By the time I was riding the elevator to the office floor I was mentally set. Not happy, but set. When I stepped through the office door I discovered all that mental effort was kind of like Spartacus boning up on his sword skills just before facing an army of 50,000 pissed of Roman Legionnaires. Optimistic.
What I failed to account for was that while I was taking off a long holiday weekend, so was the office building air conditioning. All the energy, momentum I’d psyched myself up with was snuffed out as I was drowned in hot, humid air. Suddenly all I wanted to do was lay my sweating head on my desk and let the heat pull me back to sleep.  Thankfully I could fall back on my Swiss blood and trudge though. It’s 12:58 PM as I write this and it’s gone from hot and muggy to just warm.

Tonight it’s Taco Bell and Star Trek.

By the way, I’ve heard that it’s a kind of annoying how the Flickr photos don’t open a new window. I’m trying to find a way so it will. No luck yet. Any of you hot shot HTML gurus want to offer some suggestions, let me know.