Snippets and tidbits and things

Hi! It’s been a while. (Memorial Day weekend was fantastic, thank you.) Here are things upon which I’m ruminating this week,  in no particular order:

1) Humidity sucks. Some jerkface called Mother Nature turned the “instant summer” switch on over the Memorial Day holiday, and yours truly was neither looking forward to it nor quite prepared for it. I should have known when, last week, it started feeling thick in the early mornings on my way to work. Cool, but still thick. This will continue through September, so I’ve no choice but to just get used to it, which I am slowly doing. Suddenly all of my runs have become ‘easy’ runs, if my times last week were any indication – it’s a good thing I’m not actively training for anything right now, since speedwork outside is simply out of the question. Come July, though, when marathon training starts for real, this is going to be a problem, so I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m going to have to get up at 3:30am to get my runs in before I leave for work at 6:30am. (and no, I can’t just run on a treadmill. I reserve that for rainy days only.) I am, however slowly, acclimating, if my times from this week are any indication; tomorrow’s long run – scheduled for 6am when there are forecasted 59 degrees and 40% humidity – should tell me for sure if I’m making any progress.

But man. 90% humidity at 8am really, really sucks.

2) Raw asparagus straight out of the refrigerator is my new favorite snack. OK, I wash it first, but seriously, it’s a genius thing. Chalk it up to Things I Didn’t Know Until Three Days Ago, when I lamented to my roommate out loud that it felt too hot to cook and that I wished there was some way to just eat asparagus straight out of the fridge. She looked at me like I had three heads, and told me that there was exactly nothing except the space between the fridge and me preventing me from doing just that. (I never knew, okay?) Thanks to asparagus pee, I won’t do this every single day, but for now, while the stuff is in season, I’ve found myself a new favorite thing to munch on while the rest of dinner is cooking.

3) Because I can’t be trusted to run a new route without some sort of fun incident, I got way totally lost while checking out a new neighborhood yesterday. [Last week, I took a wrong turn and ended up in a trailer park and got some pretty snide looks. This week, I ended up in a foofy housing development whose residents apparently all have to own awesome dogs to be allowed to buy a house there. I was ogling a gorgeous German Shepherd and I’m pretty sure that’s what caused me to miss my first turn…] Thankfully, I’d mapped out a couple of worst-case scenarios while mapping this run, and had devised a couple of alternative ways back to my starting point in case this very thing happened. One of those ways, the Super Last Resort Back, involved going up the entirety of the stupidly gigantic bitch-ass (sorry Mom) monster hill I drive up every morning on my way to work. I’ve run up about half of it before, but I always wimp out on the whole thing, or tell myself that it’s okay to quit. Today, there was none of that nonsense, and who knew – all in all, the hill’s actually not that terrible! So that was an awesome feeling.

In the conquering of said hill, a phrase popped into my mind when I started going up it and approaching the point at which I usually quit. I was gathering myself mentally for the hill to suck, when out of nowhere came the words “Do something you’re going to be proud of for the rest of the day.” It might reflect pathetically on my life that something as minor as running up a hill is what might make me proud on any given day, but you know what? I started thinking more about it, and I realized (while totally not paying attention to how much the hill kinda did suck) that this is a pretty good life motto to adopt. Every day, when I wake up, I should strive to do one thing at which I can look back at bedtime and say, “Yeah, I’m proud of the fact that I did that.” So, consider that a new thing for me to work on.

*ahem* Sorry. Moment of Zen over.

4) So you know I’m now, um, sort of obsessed with the baseball club named the Washington Nationals? Well. As I wrote a couple of posts ago,  I recently decided that I really, really wanted to get up to D.C. to see them play this year, and I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out when would be the best time for that to happen. As it turns out, this weekend is looking like the only time I’ll be able to make it up north to Nationals Park, which I guess is a good thing because HALLELUJAH I HAVE TICKETS FOR SATURDAY’S GAME that is very nearly sold out. HOT DOG. (I will probably eat one or five of those there.) I’m going with saint of a boyfriend, who earns double-sainthood for actually procuring the tickets online while I was trying not to freak out over the phone with him while I watched my other options blow up in my face in the span of five minutes. In the end, the result is that we have tickets, and I think the seats are good, but I really don’t care because there is a game and I will be there for it and I am going to drink beer and eat ballpark food and be entirely pleased with the fact that I’ve paid entirely too much money for all of the above. I got myself so excited about this on Wednesday when we bought the tickets that I actually gave myself a headache. [Sometimes I wonder if I’m not a neurotic dog, or something.] Since then, I’ve been only sort of obsessively planning the details of our trip, maybe including but not limited to the most efficient map of stops at food stands that we are going to do in relation to locations of beer and bathrooms.  Probably I will work myself into a frenzy over this, and probably be so excited Saturday morning when I go out for my run that I will way, way, over-speed my run and somehow manage to fall asleep later at the surely pivotal moment of the game. (If you think this is ridiculous, you should know that I’ve fallen asleep during action movies in theaters more than once.)

Sigh.

5) As of June 1, which is today, my A/C will have remained off, still, and while I anticipate it will actually get turned on this weekend, I still feel like I’ve won. I do, however, keep taking progressively colder showers, which will at some point become untenable, even though they feel quite good, especially when I can’t tell if I’ve just been outside running, or swimming.

6) Many excellent things happened over Memorial Day weekend, but one of the most was the discovery of a soft-serve ice cream parlor right up the street from my sister’s house. She and I were reminiscing about summers spent on Long Island, New York, at our grandparents’ house; she grew up with the stuff, and it became one of her favorite things about visiting my grandparents after she, my mom, and my other sister moved to Maryland before I was born. When I got old enough to understand why the clarion call of Mister Softee was, indeed, a wonderful thing, it became one of my favorite things about those visits, too, and I soon joined her when she ran into the street waving her arms like a lunatic at that obnoxious white truck that was still half a mile down the road. [She’d stand there and dance until the guy pulled up, at which point she’d keep dancing and greet him with a loud “WOO-HOO!”]

Our last visit to that house – and that street – together was in the summer of 2000, when my grandfather died. My aunt, who had been living with him, sold the house not long after that, and I went back by myself in 2001 for one last visit before she moved out. That summer of 2000 was the last time I had Mister Softee, and anyone who’s had it and understands how wonderful it is and how damn near impossible it is to replicate will know exactly how excited I was to hear from my sister that this new ice cream parlor up the road did soft-serve just like Mister Softee and no, she wasn’t kidding. I finally got there the day before I left, and I took one taste of that chocolate swirl drenched in chocolate sprinkles and I was nearly in tears, I was in such heaven. Memories, rushing back at me, with one stupid lick of an ice cream cone! It was sublime. As soon as I got back I asked my sister if they were open year-round, which they’re not, but apparently they usually stay open through the end of September, which I instantly proclaimed brilliant, because…

Hey, guess who’s going back to the area in September to run a half-marathon, and is crashing with her sister, and now knows what she is going to eat the second she gets back from finishing? This girl! OH HELLS YES. I anticipate a PR for the half, because nothing is as good a motivator for me as ice cream. Well, that, and my brother-in-law caught wind of the reason I’m going back for the September visit, and took about five seconds to decide that he wanted to run it with me – this guy smokes nearly a pack a day and can roll out of bed with a hangover and just peel off 8 miles like it’s nothing, because he’s in ridiculously good shape and has lungs of steel – so even though I know it’s not theoretically possible, I’d also like to beat him, just to show him I can.  So not going to happen…. maybe. 😉

7) I know I’ve said it before, but really, Smartwool socks are awesome. All of the stuff I splurged on last week, actually, has been performing exceptionally well for me. I don’t know how on earth I ever made it through warm-weather running without sleeveless shirts before, though; they are a godsend, I tell you. So, no buyer’s remorse here, since the gear has all been immediately useful and good at what it does.

8) It’s National Donut Day, and the people at my local Dunkin’ Donuts laughed at me when I walked in to get a coffee and the gentleman helping me at the register started to say “So you get a free donut with a beverage purchase today”, and I (perhaps a little too excitedly) quickly exclaimed “I know! That’s the whole reason I’m here!” I have many favorite donuts, but I think the butternut donut is totally underrated. I just finished it, and I’m in sugary, saturated-fat heaven. Nom nom nom!

Okay, that’s it! Happy weekend, dear reader(s).

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