Friday, April 30, 2010

It's my birthday

So what's on tap:

1) budget meeting at work. Yeah, that'll be rough.

2) lunch with a friend from Cali

3) last run before half marathon. Due to some family stuff, I haven't been running in two days so I am psyched for a long, slow evening run along the beach.

4) A trip to La Esquinica with the Baltimore / Barcelona ladies.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Almost there

Only 5 days to go! I'm getting a little nervous because the half marathon cut off is 2 hours 30 minutes. Kind of strict, huh? Please note that the above picture from the race's website is all men and all serious. (In Spain, running is still a man's world. In most races, you're lucky if 10% of the participants are women.)Basically, I've accepted that I might come in last in the mitja marató, but that doesn't bother me!

So, some questions, in case anyone out there would like to offer some advice:

1) I've been running in capris up until now because a) it hasn't been that hot and b) because my spandex shorts ride up, don't have pockets, and show off some very pale thighs. Will I be too hot in my capris? Should I just stick with them as to not add an unknown to the race?

2) To I-pod or not to I-pod? I've become pretty addicted and feel that music helps me run, but I also thinks it's important, especially in a race, to be aware of other runners around you. (Now of course, it's important to remember that there may not be any runners around me since most other participants will probably be very tall, fit, speedy French and Catalan men who have never even seen fast food or touched a donut.)

3) Coffee. American coffee. How will I transport it? You see on Saturday night we'll be sleeping in a wee village and Sunday morning everything will be closed before the 8 am race. Is it really gross to prepare a thermos of coffee the day before?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fog Shovelling

Left the house late, at 8 pm, and got sidetracked at the neighborhood pasta shop. The pasta ladies ordered some pizza slicers from the US, you see, so I stopped in to admire the new cutlery. Apparently the best pizza slicers don't come from Italy but rather from Italian knifemakers in America. This, clearly, is important stuff to know before setting off on your run or getting started on your German literature paper.

It was a quick, misty run. There were moments, along the beach, when I could only see a few feet in front me and I felt as if I were running totally alone, shovelling through the fog.

6.5 km in 39 minutes. Short and sweet. And done. Tomorrow 10 k in the early evening.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Last Long Run or Frühjahrsmüdigkeit

Less than 2 weeks for the half marathon! I did my last long (well, long-for-me) run on Saturday. 18 km in 1 hr 58 minutes. I was tired, more tired than I've ever felt during any of these long training runs. Hmm, did the last weeks of training suddenly catch up with me? Or perhaps it's simply Frühjahrsmüdigkeit, spring tiredness.

I was due for six miles this evening but as I walked home from my German literature class this afternoon, the sky began to darken. Was this just typical spring weather or was the cloud of Eyjafjallajokull ash passing over us? By 6:30 I was safe inside my piso and it was pouring so my run was canceled and thus far my Frühjahrsmüdigkeit has kept me from the gym.

So, yes, I've been pretty lazy today, but last week my Three Changes Challenge (see
went fairly well:

1. I did bring lunch to work twice. God, today I had an awful lunch out with two catty co-workers so I'm really going to stick with this goal for the rest of the week.
2. I've been doing my sit-ups (ugh) and push-ups. So many sit-ups that my stomach hurts like hell.
3. I've been reading (some) for my masters. An hour each and every day--no. And I haven't written anything. But I will this week!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Correr a correos

Yes, that's what I did today: a quick run to the post office where I mailed two baby presents, one to NYC, one to Sheffield, England. While it may be normal and acceptable to walk around town in workout gear in the US of A, it's simply not in Barcelona so I was a little worried about waiting in line at the post office in running tights and a tech shirt. I mean a quick stop at the grocery store after a run doesn't usually seem so out of line, but suddenly, at Correos, beneath the beautiful ceiling and amidst people in stylish winter coats, I felt, well, ridiculous and dorky. I was number 689 and number 682 looked very familiar. He was, I realized all too quickly, my very tall, very handsome German-American neighbor, K. I hid behind a marble column until he left! Thankfully he must have mistaken me for a lost tourist. Good thing he didn’t realize his ever-so elegant neighbor has been parading around town in running gear!
After successfully avoiding K, I continued down to the beach and ended up doing a 5 mile run in about 45 minutes. Pretty fast for moi, perhaps Map My Run is wrong.

Monday, April 12, 2010

La Familia

My weekend began Friday evening with a much needed nap. I had had a long, rather disappointing meeting from 4 to 6 and when I got home around 6:30 I was exhausted so I slipped into bed with the book that had just arrived—Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. One minute I was reading about Haruki’s training runs along the Charles River and the next thing I knew my own Charles was saying, “Hey it’s 8:30!” I jumped out of bed, thinking it was 8:30 in the morning and that I was late for work, but Charles, laughing uncontrollably, assured me that it was 8:30 de la tarde.
I was tired, I was out of it, and I was hungry! And so when Charles explained that we were meeting his sister, Raquel, and brother-in-law for dinner at 10:30, I was, well, mad as hell. 10:30 that’s late even in Spain for dinner and it would be all a whole group of us meeting so we wouldn’t even, possibly start eating until 11…
Our food arrived at 11:17 and I had already downed a beer. I wanted to DEVOUR everyone’s food, but concentrated on eating slowly and nodding my head politely at people’s conversations. No one ordered dessert, which saddened me. At 1 am we left the restaurant and Charles announced that he was exhausted and turning in. And of course, I was tired too and should have gone right home—I had a long run planned for the next day, but I felt this strange familial obligation to stay. Raquel had driven down to Barcelona for the dinner— a two-hour drive, on a crowded highway—and I know she’s been having a rough time at work lately. At work and at home, actually. The least I could do was stick around for an after dinner drink. And so, by 3am Raquel was crying on my shoulder and encouraging me to order another beer. I was thinking of Murakami, he who left behind his jazz bar and late nights and began to rise at 5 am, write for three or four hours and then run. I thought: Whose path, whose code should I follow? Haruki Murakami’s or Vito Corleone’s? My sister-in-law is in dire straits, how I could be so cold, so selfish as to say “Chin up, buttercup, I gotta leave now, I’ve got a training run tomorrow.” (As a side note, I’m already in trouble with my in-laws because the half marathon is the same day as Charles and Raquel’s cousin’s first communion.) So, dear readers, I stayed in the smoky bar until closing time, 4 am, but when I crawled into bed next to Charles, I whispered, “You owe me one.”
My Saturday morning (if you want to call it that, I woke up—definitively— at noon) was brutal. I’m here to tell you that headaches are caused not only by alcohol (I only drank 3 beers and 2 glasses of wine over a very long 5-and-a-half-hour period), but also by intense inhalation of second-hand smoke. Anyway, long story short, I felt like ass, and (this is unrelated to me behaving like I was in the Godfather) my right pinkie toe, which had been feeling bruised all week, was suddenly throbbing. I fuelled for my run with some peanut butter and honey on toast, but then proceeded talked to Ali on the phone instead of actually leaving my apartment.
Charles, who had worked that morning, got home at 2 pm and I guilted him into coming running with me. “At least for the first few miles, then I’ll take off on my own,” I said. But, about a mile into it I knew that a long run was not going to happen, so I just accepted that I would do a 5-miler with a gruelling headache. Charles left me in the dust once we got to the beach and I went slowly and begrudgingly until about the third mile when something suddenly clicked and I, quite miracously, got my running mojo back. My head still kind of hurt, but suddenly my legs were working and I was in a running groove: right then and there I decided to give up my drinking and silly sentimentality for at least the next three weeks and focus, not on family obligations, but rather on yours truly. No more drinking. No more late nights. I will be Haruki: grouchy, solitary, and dedicated.
Saturday night, we headed over to our neighbors’ to watch the Madrid-Barça match, which thanks to some impeccable tiki taka, Barça won. Yes, there were temptations for drinking (and for silly sentimentality), but I— rather stoically—drank water. By 1am I was in bed and Sunday morning, bright and not all that early, I completed my long run of about 17-18 km in 2 hours and 4 minutes. This included a bathroom break at Vila Olimpica and a Gatorade purchase in the BCNleta. The run felt fantastic and I didn’t even indulge at Sunday vermouth with the neighbors or at the new Vietnamese restaurant where we ate on Sunday night. Sunday vermouth after a long run and Vietnamese food sans beer—pretty impressive, huh? Now I just have to work on getting up at 5 am and working on my novel.

Monday, April 5, 2010

PMA (goals for spring/summer 2010)

My little Easter break is ending, and, as usual, I didn't get as much done as I would have liked. I still haven't seen my friend K's new baby. I'm still finishing my paper on Edward Said, which is due tomorrow. I haven't organized my spring / summer clothes or even folded any laundry, but I did get a fantastic 10-miler in on Saturday and I got to see some friends for dinner one night and my in-laws for lunch one day. Charles and I have had fun going to the movies and to the grocery store together. We've actually had time to just be together: to walk to the beach, to take naps, to go for a few runs. I had a great conversation with my mom yesterday and now feel a bit better about our summer vacation plans. (Living far from home, I get super neurotic about vacation plans. I need to know--months in advance-- exactly how much time I will have with each family member, when, and where.)

This morning, during my 5-miler, I decided on a few goals to help me make it through the next few months with a PMA (positive mental attitude Bad Brains style:

1) work on my masters (read or write something) for at least an hour everyday
2) keep up with running after the half marathon. Sign up for some races for June and July.
3) do some sort of strength training three times a week
4) do not gossip at work about stupid work stuff. I will eat lunch by myself, with a book, just as I have my whole life.