This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Swim Team - One Year Later

A year ago, me and MiMi's adventure within swim team began. It was one of the most stressful events of my life with kids: watching the first day of swim practice.

But despite the ups and downs, swim meets became our summer. I have amazing memories of the summers spent on Tuesdays at the pool: three plus hours of sitting and waiting, for about a minute of frenzy when MiMi would actually swim. CJ would fill herself up on snow cones (I'm not kidding...that kids ate at least three snow cones within those hours), I would be drinking to calm my nerves, and Tim would just be kicked back, taking in the night.

This year, Tim received information from our pool for swim clinics for our swim team child. We signed her up for MOR (Marlins of Raleigh) in May, which ended up being nine sessions (MWF, for an hour, three times a week). These clinics were hardcore: there was no swimming incorrectly...the swim coaches were *right there* making sure arms and legs and head were positioned correctly. It was grueling -- non-stop swimming 50 yards each time...sometimes more.

Amazingly, she never complained or pleaded NOT to go. I'm not saying she was _excited_ about going each time...but she did love her that helped...but she just sort of went with the flow. She's so amazing that she's just so casual about this stuff.

Last week was the first week of our pool's Swim Team's practice. It was a completely different experience from a year ago.

MiMi swam without any problems. Many of the kids struggled, mainly because this was their first time in the pool since last summer. MiMi told us she was so glad she was able to do the swim clinic because she was ready for swim team.

The second day of swim practice, she told me she was going into the third lane -- which had the older kids. I asked why and she said that she wasn't a baby anymore and that the first (and second) lanes were for the little kids.

But she didn't go the second day...backing out of her intended plan. By observation, the skill set was varied in each lane but the first two lanes were dealt with one coach and the next three with two coaches (one with the hotty I like).

Day three, after a squabble over how to properly put on her swim cap (I did not do it right), she was mad at me that I impeded on the instructions that the coaches were giving to her fellow swim mates. And she stomped away from me, promptly placed herself in the lane 3 line, and dived off the board as if she had always been a part of that group.


She continued to swim the next 45 minutes with this air of confidence and sense of belonging with the "big kids".

Who's child is this?!?

I was floored. And proud. And reflecting on the year before...and how much of a basket case I was. And how much I love this kid. And how she surprises me nearly every day of my life.

Everything holds true as it did last year: I want her to enjoy it but I want her to do it right and to strive to do her best. I could care less if she comes in last place at every meet, as long as she feels she's doing the best she can.

But she did tell us that this year, she's winning a medal. And by the looks of it, I think she'll accomplish that goal.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's Not Gaydar...

Although I think I have a bit of that in me too...  you know, the ability to sense that another person might be gay? I am pretty accurate when I sense's that I don't always sense it with every gay person I encounter.

My other great ability is too sense the Christian person.  And it's not a conscious effort. It's as if my inner Satan in me comes out when I least expect it. Here are a few recent examples:

A couple of weeks ago, I was playing grass volleyball. I tend to have a potty-mouth but I have been able to make a habit of screaming "god bless America" vs. all the other crude words I prefer to say. On this particular day, at a pretty innoucuous miss play on my part, I yelled - really, really loud - GOD DAMMIT!!! There were a couple sitting at a picnic table nearby and I immediately apologized to them. They were laughing and the guy said "you know there's a prayer group going on over there...hahahaha..." I laughed it off too.

When our game was over and I was heading back to the gym, I noticed a large group of people at the picnic shelter...which is right next to the field where we were playing volleyball. Sure enough, it was a prayer group and I realized that it wasn't a joke. OOPSY!

A few days ago, I went running with a couple of friends of a new friend "Kevin".  He ran with me during the "Don't be skerred 5k". We got to be workout pals from out bootcamp class and with a few other friends, he joined the Titan Your Pants team for the Gladiator 5k. So it was tres amigos: me, Jenian and Kevin. I decided to come clean with Kevin and tell him how much I appreciated him pulling me through the race. But I also decided it was OK to let him in on my manic brain and reveal to him the torment that goes through my head during the end of a race.

"When we turned that corner? I wanted to tell you to just get the fuck away from me! I was so pissed at how much hurt I was feeling and you were the only one to blame. Hahahaha! $Bill is so used to this...he has run with me so many times. He thinks I am whack!"

Kevin sort of laughed and then apologized. "Don't apologize! It's not's me! You just have to have a coat of armor when you run with me." I say with such egotistical enthusiasm.

As i walked up half mile hill, while the other two ran it, I had plenty of time to reflect on this conversation. "Hmmm...I hope I didn't offend him."

I caught up to Jenian (thanks to her long walk break) and mentioned my concern about offending Kevin. I expected her to say 'nah. Don't worry about kevin. He's cool like that." Instead, she said 'yeah. I don't know quite how to read him."  "Well, as long as he's not like some religious freak" I which she replied "oh, he definitely is...doesn't drink or do stuff like that..." My heart sank - just a little bit.  I like Kevin so I certainly didn't want to offend him...but, as Jenian offered, she and her fellow teammates already offended him with their drinking in the AM at the gladiator 5k and he's still voluntarily running with us.

OK. She didn't quite say that :-)  but I thought it would be fun to throw her under the bus since she will probably be reading this. :-)

Regardless, my point is: my evil incarnate comes out when I am around religious fervor. These are two examples. But I have yelled the C-word in front of my deeply christianed MIL, cursed the f-bomb around my BFF's future full-of-faith MIL, asked a Christian couple from our neighborhood if their impending birth of twins were Siamese. I don't have to be consciously aware of's like turrets syndrome! I can't help it!

But I'll least while I am out with acquaintences. Otherwise, what you see is what you get.  And while that sounds a little full of myself, you all can be just as bad as me...if not worse. You know who you are...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

About Last Night...

This is an example of our evenings at home:

I was looking for a movie for us to watch. No one had any requests. It was just a spontaneous moment...having finished watching So You Think You Can Dance. I ran across Night of the Living Dead and started watching it. About 15 minutes into it, CJ says "what about that zombie movie you told me about...28 days?"

"Let's just watch this"  I say.

"Nooooo...I want to watch 28 days."

"We are watching this."


So of course, CJ has to show her disdain. 
"I thought you said this would be scary." 
"I thought you said this would give me nightmares."

After searching on netflix, I saw the 28 Days Later was not availble via streaming. "28 Days Later is not availble".

"You can look on XBox."

After a few minutes of irritation, I say "Fine. We will stop this and see if I can find 28 Days Later. I've seen this movie anyway."

"NOOOO! I want to watch this!" This is now the second child...

"Never mind! If you're going to be mad about it!" This would be CJ.

So I go to Zune on XBOX live to find the movie. It is not available but 28 weeks later is.

"Let's watch that!"

"No. You have to see the first one first."

"What's the difference?"

"The first one is better anyway."


"I want to watch the other one!!! Let's finish it!"

"Never mind. We are not watching any movie now. We'll watch House Hunters. Satisfied?"

CJ: "OK. We can play our game."

So with House Hunters, we always try to predict which house will be chosen. About a week ago, we decided to make it a real competition. With one episode under our belt, we all were 0 and 1.
So we watch the episode and right before the big reveal, we all predict whether it's house #1, #2 or #3 that will be chosen.

Right before the reveal, MiMi changes her choice to a different number. This would end up being the right number.

"YAY! I win!"


"But they didn't say what was picked yet!" (crocodile tears)

Me: "it's OK. It counts."


"MOMMY, she is looking at me mean!"

"GIRLS. IT'S JUST A GAME. CHILL OUT. I didn't even WIN and I am not whining about it."


"MOMMY! CJ is being mean to me!!!"

Tim: "Um. I am going to bed."

I swear to Buddha, there has to be a fight about EVERYTHING. WTF????

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Don't Be Skerred 5K

Last Wednesday was the annual 5K race at my workplace. I posted my race report for this 5K in 2008, 2009, and 2010. I re-read them and they all sound the same and, in fact, the 2008 one could be used for last week's race. I am a broken record.

Instead, I will write about the little challenge that a small group of us have started with this particular if running it wasn't already challenging enough!

Let's see...maybe it was the 2008 race that my friends Steve and Rich decided to challenge me and a friend of mine: last one to cross the finish buys lunch. We did that again the next year but I didn't particularly like the fact that I was a potential "last one to cross" candidate, vs. Rich, who runs way faster than I ever will...well...we'll see. He's older than me so I may have time to catch up to his 7 mn/miles. :)

So last year, we needed to even up the competition, to allow slow people to compete with the fast people. Eventually, we came up with "predict your finishing time and no GPS or timer during the race". That worked out well. Eventually. I remember wigging out about the whole "no gps". Poor $Bill had to get my wrath over my silly hissy-fit. This year, we did the same thing and I was like Harold Camping preaching the Rapture with the whole "NO WATCHES OR ANY KIND OF TIMING DEVICE!"

Amazingly, I was so fricking close to my predicted time of 29:00 minutes. I remember seeing the clock at the finish (this one is OK since you can't help but look at it) and seeing 28:49. I thought "I can beat my prediction!" and scurried (well, it felt like I was going fast but I don't think I really was much faster than I thought I was) over the finish at around 28:59 (so I thought). I was disappointed because I had run this last year at 28:30 and the year before in 26:xx minutes!

So when the results were printed out, I saw that my official time was 28:55, which made me feel better than what I thought I had (28:57). One of my competitors pointed out that I, in fact, DID look at a clock during the race and while at first I thought "damn...that's right!"...after $Bill said "if someone stops at the finish to make their prediction, that's on them..." At first, I was like 'what does he mean? why would anyone stop?' then it dawned on me that if one was running PAST their predicted time, they would stop in order to cross AT their predicted time.

Then I laughed because it is beyond me to do that. I am too competitive with myself that I would only be satisfied with _beating_ whatever time I predict. It's bad enough that I am predicting slower times for myself!

In the end, my fellow friend Greg predicted a finish time that was only 5 milliseconds off his official time. Pretty incredible! He's like PSYCHIC.

Despite my previous posts "complaining" about this route...and my refusal to run it for several years after my first time running is such a fun event to do. It's at work, organized by people that we work with, one year, the president of our company blew the horn to start the race, many of my friends and co-workers participate and in the end, we got a great workout and we can all appreciate everyone's time because we all know how hard it is.

It was a wild, active week for me that has me wanting more: last Wednesday the 5K, Saturday the Gladiator 5K, then Monday's boot camp finale with a three mile run...that apparently was indeed three miles and I did it in 26:45 (on the hottest day ever) -- a time that I LOVE LOVE LOVE. Watch out Rich! I'm coming after you!! I mean, not _after_ you in the finish but chasing your time...forget know what I mean.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Boot Camp 2011

Today was the last day of my eight week Boot Camp program. THANK GOD.

Just kidding...

...a little.

Today we did push-ups, sit-ups (full, not crunches) and ran three miles and compared it to our original numbers from eight weeks before. I was worried I wouldn't have improved, especially in the full-metal-sit-ups section, since I haven't been doing my homework.

Here's how I fared...all are done in 1 minute:
Push-ups (full military style)
April 4th: 25
May 23rd: 32

Sit-ups (old style)
April 4th: 30
May 23rd: 35

I thought I had only done 20 sit-ups the first time but I double-checked my exercise log and see I have 30, so I didn't improve too much. The full sit-ups are not good for my damaged neck anyway.

I attempted a pull-up, which has been my boot camp goal-mantra: ONE PULL-UP. That's all I want to do. One unassisted pull-up. Why one? Because that means I can do it and after one, comes n-number. But let me start with one and I will be the happiest girl in the world.

So if you read between the lines, "attempted" is the word. I did pull myself up about a 1/4" three times and that is a 1/4" more than I did the first week, so I am happy but man, I'll be elated the day that I pull myself up once.

Before that, however, we had to put in nine laps around the soccer field. Three laps equals one yes, three miles. I was expecting that at all.

To top it off, I forgot my running shoes so I was left with my $10 target specials that I keep in my locker for those days I MIGHT forget my shoes. Let's just say, I forget a lot of things, but I usually don't forget my shoes since that was the first time I ran in those...

It was so hot: 84 degrees, no shade, direct sun. And NINE laps around a soccer field. I had to really concentrate on the 'task at hand' so I wouldn't think about the fire within my shoes. I had a shoelace mishap but other than that, I kept a great, steady pace. I was pretty happy with my run and came in at 26:45...which makes me think it's not _quite_ three miles but whatever, I ran great.

One of our homework assignments was to create a motivational plate: get a paper plate and put stuff on it that motivates you. So here is mine...I made it last night and it felt like I was a kid again, gluing things together to make a collage. I love it. It is truly going to be my motivational amulet. MiMi, who helped me with it last night, told me she is going to hold it up for me when I run races.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gladiator 5K Race Report

Tim has been encouraging me to think about doing adventure races. I am pretty much squeamish about critters. But I am warming up to the idea...

A few months ago, I looked around for some beginner, easy adventure-type races. I learned about the Rugged Maniac, which was a little too soon for me to compete; the warrior dash, which is a great possibility, and a few others that are not in my area. Tim suggested I give the Gladiator a try since it was *in* Raleigh (well, really it's in CARY). Before I had a chance to discuss a team, I was approached - then promptly dropped - from a team. So my BFF Bill suggested forming a team and thus became Mud Minions with me, Tim, $Bill and AudreyPodrey.

I was sooo excited -- and nervous -- about doing this race. I don't consider myself adventurous, so the idea of doing these obstacles...and potentially holding up my team...was very intimidating. Here are the obstacles we were expecting on race day:
12-15 Obstacles depending on the course.
Distance – 3.1 miles. This race isn’t about time and distance, but about challenging yourself.
Time limit – The Gladiator5k has no time limit.

Gladiator Bars – Make your way across the gladiator bars while you’re suspended in the air.
Walls - This part of the course is littered with walls varying in height; make your way over them however you can.
Cargo Net - Three sets of cargo nets at 8’, 10’, and 14 feet one after another are quite the climb.
Ab Crawl - You guessed it, get down on your stomach to crawl thru more than 80 feet of cammo-nets.
Tire Valley – You’ve never seen tires quite like this. Make your way up, around, and through a never-ending valley of tires.
Tunnel Crawl – Crawl your way through a series of dark, damp tunnels.
Battle Walls – Without using your hands, high step your way over each post.
Balance Beams – Balance is a must on the downhill balance logs. Don’t miss a step or it’s back to the beginning.
Rope Bridge – Hold on tight while you crawl upside down along 29 feet of rope.
Glory Wall – Getting over the 8 ft Glory Wall is a great accomplishment, so get your biceps ready!
Monkey Bars – Make your way across the hardest monkey bars you’ve ever seen, while you are suspended in the air.
Fence Jumps – Jump and slide your way through a series of wooden fences. All of your body strength will be required on this obstacle.
Mud Pit – The race is finished off with a giant mud pit that must be crossed in order to finish.

Bill, Audrey and I have been part of a Boot Camp exercise program through our work fitness department. This has been a great way to train us for this race (and overall fitness) because it is grueling. We had a couple of our own obstacle courses during boot camp so I was feeling a little less intimidated about what I could accomplish on race day.

The night before race day, Tim had come home barely able to walk. He had been installing hardwoods for the past two days and the labor of removing carpeting, lugging hardwoods up to a second floor, and hammering them in, was taking its toll. I was sympathetic: "You better rest up!! We are racing tomorrow!"

This ended up being a bit of a karma-come-curse on me as I woke up Saturday morning with severe neck pain. I did NOTHING for the past two days and *I* wake up in pain. The irony. But I knew I could survive a 5K so neck pain or not, I was going to do this race.

We all meet up at the park at 9AM. We don't start until 9:45. Audrey and I, in hindsight, were given a premonition of what the race would become: on our way to the bathrooms, a guy spoke to us about how there were problems with getting the mud pit going and that the man responsible for adding water to said mud pit, was back this morning (remember, 9AM wave start and we had already met up!) to retry that obstacle.

We get to the start/finish and see a few of the first wave of runners finish.'s only 9:20AM. If they started at 9AM, that means that they have accomplished a dozen obstacles *and* ran a 5K in 20 minutes? Impossible? No...but not probable. I thought the first wave must have started at 8:45. No...$Bill confirms that one of the teams/runners came in at 21:50.

Second unknown-premonition: this must not be 3.1 miles and the obstacles must not be that bad.

We finally line up for our wave. I am pretty excited. But bewildered that it just does not look very crowded. I decided at that time that it MUST be because they (the race coordinators) are doing a great job.

We are off and the first part is running downhill. Audrey leads the crowd and $Bill mentions something about how Audrey always starts off fast and I hear Audrey yell "We need to get to that first obstacle before everyone else!". I LOVE THIS. She's here to compete. So I book it.

We realize the first obstacle is at the bottom of the hill, which is hurdles over three saw-horses. The guy in front of me literally jumps over them (hand on horse for boosting legs over). Through adrenaline, I ALMOST DID THE SAME THING but at the last minute, I stopped and just mosey-ed over them (quickly). At the last one, I landed hard and stumbled but instead of letting the stumble complete, I tried to get up and run...which made me fall. Instead of completing the fall out, I tried to get up and run, which made me fall again. I was so disoriented and for a split second, I thought that I would never stop falling. But I managed to get up with a little bit of embarrassment...

Next is running back UP the hill we just ran down. Now I realized why everyone was running slow while I watched the other waves. This sucked but we were all doing pretty good getting up that hill. Next was crawl under a cargo net and I got through this pretty quickly (thank you Boot Camp) except when my butt got caught on the final bar. I found this very amusing: my butt is so big that it gets caught by a bar...

All of us get through it and the third obstacle is the cargo net that we must climb up and down. This was not as bad as I had anticipated.

After that, there is more running and again, at the bottom of this hill (which is the same hill we just ran down, then up, now back down) is the fourth obstacle: balance beam. Audrey tells us: "take it slow and just finish. If we fall down, we have to start all over." Wise words. Then $Bill says "there's no one there" and I'm looking and I see that there aren't very many gladiators on the balance beam...but there are at least six beams and I'm thinking "why does it matter that there aren't a lot of gladiators there?" Once I get on the beam, I realize what Bill meant: there is no referee to watch if anyone falls or not. So anyone can fall and just keep going. Another bad sign...

Next is a LOT of running. It's a pretty run, and it feels a bit cool through the wooded trails, but man: WHERE ARE THE OBSTACLES? And then I see wall. Yikes. I have to climb up and over that wall.

The wall is built a bit staggered so you could get a teeny bit of your toe on a panel and jump over. This is what we did...and luckily, Audrey and I managed to get over since the guys went over first (after I clearly stated: help the girls over first!) and were waiting for us on the other side.

Then more running...and then we hit a second, much taller wall than the first one. This one did not have the same toe holds that the other one did but fortunately, Bill went to the top to help pull me and Audrey over, while Tim manned the bottom to help boost us up. This was the best obstacle of the entire day for me as it truly required my upper body to hold me up to get over on the other side. It ended up being a 8 foot wall and without a foot hold on the other I had to pull myself down, holding my whole body up while I slowly lowered myself as close to the ground as possible.

Back to running...a lot of this running is UP. I only recall a few moments of running downhill, but the rest was up. Bill called it the hillstacle and added that as another obstacle.

I may get the rest of the obstacles out of order now but I think the next one, #7, was a balance beam that went up, then down. The team in front of us walked up using a leg on a separate beam - sort of a crab crawl - so I did that and jumped off the end. Again, no referee to determine if we were doing it correctly or not.

Then there were tubes we had to crawl through. I went through this pretty quickly (man, I'm good at these crawl things after I figured out to keep my butt down!).

We ran a bit more and came to another crawl under a camo thing with water. I did a crab walk so that only my feet and hands were in the water and got through fast with Bill. We waited for Audrey and Tim and Tim was the next to come out and he was liked SOAKED. I was like "how the hell did he look like he just went through the black lagoon?" My hair was only soaked with sweat while he was drenched to the bone! Audrey came through also looking more soaked that Bill and I.

After this was the tire valley which was merely a bunch of tires on the ground, with tires hanging from the top, that we traverse through. Here we hear Titan My Pants, are 'rival' team from work, rooting us on.

I am hopeful because this means we have about three obstacles left. We get to a gate and a volunteer says "run to the gate and touch it then run back". Huh? What is that? Run to the gate and touch it and run back? That's an obstacle? Well, we did it and during this little sprint, I felt pretty good despite the fact that it seemed kind of stupid. I catch up with speedy Bill and I turn around and Tim and Audrey are right there...I thought they would be further behind but nope, they were right there. So we are now approaching the finish and I mentioned something about the mud pit to which Audrey and Bill tell me that the black lagoon thing WAS supposed to be the mud pit. Huh? So we're missing two obstacles! And before I have time to complain, the finish is in sight and we scream at Audrey to sprint, which she does and leaves me behind. :)

So...had a blast running and playing with my pals BUT as I told Tim this morning, this was an obstacle course built for me. There is no reason CJ or any other 14 year old (minimum age to participate) could do this, except for liability I guess. It looked like someone just pulled this together at the last minute...nothing was close to what was described in the show notes. And for us, we paid $65 per person to race. Others paid $80 and there was NO race day registration or someone would have been out $100.

I can't find the race results anywhere although Bill says he saw the results before he left and we came in at 28:41 which is great but certainly, not a 5K time w/obstacles for me alone.

I'd like to do something like this again...but one more challenging. Maybe the Warrior Dash in August. It can't be any worse (AKA easier) than what we did yesterday (with respect to the obstacles).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Olivia's Tiger Mom

Last week, I was getting ready for work with The Daily Show playing in the background. MiMi suddenly screams excitedly "Mommy! YOUR BOOK IS ON THE TV!!" and I rush over and see The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother on the show.

In the past weeks, when I have mentioned how much I enjoyed this book, I get a lot of those "oh-no-she-didn't" looks. It's as controversial as the Brad Cooper trial: what side are you on?

Hey, I am not saying I am on any side of the tiger mom issue. I am just saying I KNOW so many people who have had similar parents and it doesn't seem offensive to me *at all*. My Western dad was strict but he rarely laid a hand on me. Oh. I did get spanked. But with one hand, smack on the butt (only body part). Well, until I was a teen and I remember getting a slap on the face. On the other hand, many of my cousins had the strict ways of the Asian world. And they are perfectly fine.

Anyway, Olivia Munn has a Chinese mother. I love this little segment:

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

This is the third novel by Neil Gaiman that I have read. And while I wouldn't put any of his three books in my top list of best books, I do love Neil Gaiman's writing style. It doesn't even make sense to me to have the author as one of my favorites but not his books...but this is how I feel.

The book is a tome. Five hundred eight-eight pages in paperback. But it is filled to the hilt with amazing characters and quotes. I did not start writing or citing pages with great quotes until latest, so I missed all that I read early on.

The story is about a convict-soon-to-be-an-ex-convict and the many people he meets after his release.

Shadow is released from prison early. It almost seems as though the warden is NOT going to let Shadow out at all. But he does. On account that his wife Laura was killed in an auto accident.

With nothing left for him in the outside world, he gives in and begins a job with Wednesday. Gaiman then takes us to the world of Gods: you know, Odin, Easter and Sheba-type Gods. A battle is about to take place between the new gods and the old ones, with Wednesday leading the old ones and Shadow being his right-hand man.

In all of this, the wife - Laura - pays occasional visits to Shadow. Remember, she's dead.

The road to the battle of the Gods is weird and sometimes confusing. There are *a lot* of Gods and people in this book and it gets hard to keep up but amazingly, it works.

It is an amazingly intricate story, with so many characters and Gaiman just writes so richly. I loved reading it and his writing definitely reminds me of Stephen King. Apparently, this novel is about to become a movie. That will be an interesting flick to watch.

A couple of quotes from the book that I loved, besides the best one from my recent blog post.
There are tales intermittently peppered throughout the book, about how the Gods came to be, in America...and in this part of the tale, there is a discussion of death:
The shape does not change: there was a human being who was born, lived, and then, by some means or another, died. There. You may fill in the details from your own experience.

And when Laura pays another visit, after some time away. And of all places for a dead person to visit, it would be at a graveyard that Shadow walked upon, during his time at an idyllic little town called Lakeside:
"So," he asked. "How's death."
"Hard," she said. "It just keeps going."

As I wrote earlier, there are so many profound quotes and I just didn't have the mindset to write them down. If you like a bit of fantasy you should give this one a shot. I DON'T much care for fantasy and *I* enjoyed this. I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Boot Camp, Biathlon, Gladiators, Oh My!

Spring brings a new fervor that new classes and programs take full advantage of. I am grateful for that.

My running game has been slack for quite some time now. I have vowed not to enlist in anymore races *in advance* but to run them when I feel like it.

That won't last long but first, I need to get back into a routine.

But before I get into a routine, I need to do other stuff.

And the other stuff came in the form of several activities, including women's wallyball (lost the season but not without a fight) and grass volleyball (not doing so hot and the season is pretty much done).

Biathlon training was really a "class" where a dozen of us rode spin cycles at various tensions, then ran, got back on the bike, ran, etc. I had never done the spin cycles, not was I ever interested. But my interest in trying a triathlon - a really simple easy a kid's triathlon with an adult division :) - prompted $Bill to encourage me to give this class a try.

I'm glad I did because I ended up enjoying it and not hating the biking part so much. Granted, biking on the spin cycle is not like biking outdoors. I know this from experience. But biking and running was something different for me and I didn't foresee it being as fun as it was.

The week of Spring Break was a mock race that I came in from vacation to do. There is definitely a fine line between "fun", challenging, hurt, and competitiveness. The mock run was so hard for me physically and mentally that the following week, which would be the final class...the "race"...was even worse.

When Kristen the instructor started talking about prizes for the top three men and women, my heart rate elevated. I am so scared of competing. I came in first girl at the mock race and I felt even more pressure on myself.

And just to level set this: the one girl that could blow the men and women out of the water was not able to attend the last two days of the class.

I was NOT looking forward to the run part. I already feel like I am not in my best possible shape and the person who ran the mock race was not really me but some other persona that came out and ran an 8:15 mn/mile with little training.

But we were off and I tried to keep my pace in check. It's hard when your brain is in motion with all the noise: I'm at pace with the slowest girl! I can't move any faster! The lead girls are going to be too far to catch up to!

For the first quarter mile, I tried to keep a comparable pace behind the first three girls, hoping that I could pick up speed at some point. But I was whining: This hurts. I don't like this. I give up. I'm going to quit.

And then I catch up to the third girl. I want to say "great job!" but I have no strength except to keep running to speak to her. I think she is in the same boat as she says nothing to me either.

Slowly, I take on girl #2. I forget who was who but I think it was Jenian, a running pal who is in much better running shape than I am. Again, we say nothing to each other but I silently tell her GREAT JOB and think that she will pass me again at some point.

Girl #1 is miss sprinter...the one that constantly states she is not fast but in a fricking sprint, beats the hell out of me. I know that she IS competitive and that she would pass me even if it took every bit out of her so I hope that I can do something by taking advantage of my own adrenaline and get a big gap between us.

Then I pass the one guy and he, too, is very competitive and the rest of the run for me is sheer hell. One: because all I hear now are footsteps behind me, trying to beat me and Two: my brain telling me to just stop, walk, and give up. If I had a jacket on, I would use that as an excuse to stop and walk: take off the jacket and wrap it around me. It's a ploy I've used many times!

But I didn't. Even when I heard a PA system go off at a nearby school that there were tornado warnings - I almost gave up then and just walk off the entire course.

But I kept going, crying through the pain, vowing to never race again in my entire life, thinking about Tim telling me I give up too easily, knowing $Bill would be proud (since he knows I haven't been running regularly) and I came in first girl.

It felt good because I beat out at least two other girls that are not beatable, so victory tasted even better because the only way to beat them was to push hard.

If that wasn't enough, I am also partaking in Boot Camp with the same competitors from the biathlon.

That training is no joke. Domino makes us hold planks during roll call and decides to have pleasantries while slowly taking roll call. It's enough to make a person like me really pissed off at him.

Last week was a great day, especially for those of us signed up for the Gladiator 5K: we did an obstacle course after the "last man 'standing' holding planks", and a nearly 1.5 mile run.

We started with 20 tricep dips, run down to the softball field and crawl under the cargo net...jumping jacks over two ladders on the ground, then crawl under a teeny-tiny bar, with a second teenier-tinier bar. Next was running to a section that we then had to do crab kicks across the field, then two more bars to crawl under, to end with a dash down the field, UP A STEEP HILL, and ten pushups...then do the whole thing over again.

Fuck me running that shit was hard. I was caked in dirt. My teeth had dirt. My nose, my eyes, my scalp.

I got three rounds in and my faster friends, including the two girls that I beat in the biathlon, got FOUR rounds. I wasn't the fastest but I also wasn't the slowest, as most everyone else only did two rounds.

And when all was said and done, we still had to do pull ups and I managed to do three quarter inch pull ups that made me very proud of myself.

The Gladiator 5K is just a couple weeks away and it will be my first obstacle course-type race. The obstacles could include the following:
* Gladiator Bars – Make your way across the gladiator bars while you’re suspended in the air.

* Walls - This part of the course is littered with walls varying in height; make your way over them however you can.

* Cargo Net - Three sets of cargo nets at 8’, 10’, and 14 feet one after another are quite the climb.

* Ab Crawl - You guessed it, get down on your stomach to crawl thru more than 80 feet of cammo-nets.

* Tire Valley – You’ve never seen tires quite like this. Make your way up, around, and through a never-ending valley of tires.

* Tunnel Crawl – Crawl your way through a series of dark, damp tunnels.

* Battle Walls – Without using your hands, high step your way over each post.

* Balance Beams – Balance is a must on the downhill balance logs. Don’t miss a step or it’s back to the beginning.

* Rope Bridge – Hold on tight while you crawl upside down along 29 feet of rope.

* Glory Wall – Getting over the 8 ft Glory Wall is a great accomplishment, so get your biceps ready!

* Monkey Bars – Make your way across the hardest monkey bars you’ve ever seen, while you are suspended in the air.

* Fence Jumps – Jump and slide your way through a series of wooden fences. All of your body strength will be required on this obstacle.

* Mud Pit – The race is finished off with a giant mud pit that must be crossed in order to finish.

My team consists of me, Tim, $Bill and AudreyPodrey. It's going to be fun.

Homeless in West Memphis

My poor dad.

A few months ago, he had just proudly moved into a ground floor apartment near his place of employment, the VFW, in West Memphis, AR. For years, he had lived down in the next "town", in an aging motor home. He was content in that little place but apparently, the winters were a bit tough so he finally decided to move into a heated place.

We stayed the night with him at his place when we went on our post-Christmas visit to see him and my mom. It was a great place in a great location.

Or so we thought

The recent flood from the Mississippi engulfed my dad's place. Not once, but twice. He was told Wednesday to get his stuff out and find a new place (along with the rest of the complex) and before he could say 'sure', the Health Dept. demanded that everyone pull out their belongings ASAP or they were going to do it for them.

So my dad is now homeless.

He is staying in his office at the VFW and has a positive outlook on it "I'm steps from work." "I have a nice big room." He'll get something soon enough but most likely, his yearly trip to see us (this time in June) will be postponed.

I mentioned this to CJ and MiMi, while eating my mountain of yogurt from Yogurt Mountain. MiMi whispered something that I had to ask her to repeat three times, because she was so tentative and sad to say it...but in the end, she said "So is he going to have to get a sign?"

If you don't get it...she means the sign that the homeless hold at the corner that says "I am homeless. Please help." :)

I Dedicate This Song To You: Cee Lo Green's Fuck You

I have been reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman and it is chock full of amazing quotes that I have been furiously trying to keep tabs of. The one I read this morning was so great and I was thinking about how I would incorporate it into my book review. But after reading comments, watching the interview below, and my own feelings of frustration and revulsion, I know exactly where to use it.

Here it is: to all of you that think Brad Cooper is guilty of the murder of his wife:
"Fuck you...Fuck you and fuck your mother and fuck the fucking horse you fucking rode in on."

Yes. I don't care about you and your ignorance. If I hear you tell me once more he's guilty, you're out. I will respect you more if you keep your god damn mouth shut around me.

And, unlike many others who state they don't believe there is evidence to prove he is guilty, but he might be...SHUT THE HELL UP AND OWN UP or MAN UP. We live in a nation that is INNOCENT UNTIL PROVE GUILTY. So until one is proven guilty, they are fucking INNOCENT. So Brad Cooper is 100-fucking-percent innocent.

There is ZERO evidence, AKA NO PROOF. And you fucking women out there that think having an affair makes you a murderer? GROW THE FUCK UP. You are so god damn stupid.

Some trivia for you who are appalled at Brad's affair: Did you know that Nancy Cooper also had an affair? Did you know that nine months after that affair, she had a baby? Jim Pearson. Look that shit up. He didn't even tell the Cary Police about it when he was questioned about Nancy Cooper.

Am I angry? Just a little. Why? Because this type of injustice occurs every fucking day and I am sick to death of the masses, sitting on their god damn throne, acting like hearsay and media is the real deal. They are too god damn lazy to actually THINK for themselves, to LISTEN to what's happening and PROCESS IN THEIR OWN HEAD what is going on. If we had a society that could actually do that, we would have less injustices happening in the nation.

And then there are the gung-whores (yes, my word) who can't wait to finish a case and come out as swift action heroes, putting away the "bad guy". But only for the reason of looking good to the public versus actually trying to be a moral, ethical person and put the right one away.

And how do we allow inept judges to continue preciding over a trial that they cannot even understand? It's just horrific and I am ASHAMED of all of you. I am not surprised, just embarrassed for your livelihood.

I wish I were rich, a bright lawyer, a forensic Network expert, a woman of power, well-connected, or anything possible to help with these injustices. I would sign right up to help bring justice to Brad Cooper. Alas, I am a mere mortal who has sense enough to know, as many of us who I know, and don't know but follow on the boards/twitter, that this is a travesty of justice on the life of an innocent man.

"We" crack on defense lawyers, stereotyping them as defending a guilty man but what about the god damn prosecutors who prosecute innocent men?

BTW, don't fucking ask me who did it. I am not the god damn police. It is not MY fucking job. Your arguments against my belief will be trivial so don't even bother. YOU WILL LOSE because I don't care about your shitty, ignorant belief of him being guilty. It will be over for you and I won't blink an eye. I DON'T KNOW WHO DID IT BUT I DO KNOW IT WASN'T BRAD COOPER.

Footprints at scene of body dump do not match Brad Cooper.
Wheelbase of tire tracks of body dump do not match Brad Cooper's car.
Nancy Cooper called Brad from the house the morning of her death.
Brad Cooper was at a Harris Teeter between 6 and 7AM the morning of her death. There was proof in video surveillance that was showcased in 2008 and no mention of a proposed earlier time of death UNTIL after this video was released.
There was a witness who saw her jogging that morning.
And the infamous google map. First, 27518 is Brad Cooper's zip code. But that part, apparently is moot, as there is enough evidence to show tampering. But if you actually followed the trial with an objective mind (i.e. NOT thinking he was FUCKING GUILTY FIRST), you would know that this evidence wasn't heard by the jury because it wasn't admissible. Why? I have no fucking clue other than the judge was not technologically advance enough to know anything about it. Why that would have the judge NOT allow the evidence is a wonder to me.