Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Week 3 of Marathon Training

Monday: Planned easy 6 Reality: easy 6!

Tuesday: rest Reality: rested

Wednesday: 6 Tempo Reality: I ran about 7 miles, but they were hard! The humidity was killing me and it wasn’t easy to keep a tempo pace. My shorts were wringing wet.

Thursday: Easy 6 Reality: Five and change with the Abster. Pace was decent.

Friday: cross Reality: Drank too many beers after work and went to bed destroyed from the work week.

Saturday: 13 miler Reality: This run sucked and I don’t know why. When I got about six miles from home I seriously wanted to cry. My legs weren’t hurting, I just had a sort of all over body tiredness. It wasn´t a hangover either. Just a weird sort of burn out. It was cloudy and super windy, so I can’t even blame the heat. Culprit: lack of sleep throughout the week, I think. Please tell me what you think! Have you had failed runs like this, where you just sort of turn off?

Sunday: long bike ride with Charles Reality: Charles went to visit his grandmother and I went to the beach. Cross-training was a 20-minute swim in the very clean, but freezing cold sea!

Week 4 Plan:

This won’t be easy because I’m traveling to Venice for work, but I’ll hope for the best.

Monday: easy 6.

Tuesday: 6

Wednesday: Venice, probably 0

Thursday: Venice, probably 0

Friday: Return from Venice and try for a 10 miler in the afternoon

Saturday: 15 mile hike with friends.

Sunday: easy 10

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Staying Out of Trouble

Running is my time to think. My hour to push through the frustrations of the day and come through with a few epiphanies or at least feeling calmer and more optimistic. Tonight I realized that I’m getting too caught up in office politics, getting upset and overly sensitive about supposed slights and perceived trespasses. I want to be involved and recognized on demand, when in reality I don't need to be involved constantly and Catalans don't recognize work the same way Americans do.

I work in politics, but my job is to read and to write. A perfect job, so why do I go looking for trouble? It’s like middle school all over again.

So, the next time I feel the urge to write an email, make a phone call, or utter a sarcastic remark that will just stir up trouble, I’m going to take a deep breath, take out my trusty green notebook and write.

It only took 32 years and tonight’s six sweaty miles to figure that out.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Week 2 of Marathon Training in the Summer-like Barcelona Spring

Monday: Planned easy 6.

Reality: 4 miles in 38 minutes. I got home late from work and was hungry and grumpy. Yes, the run was short but it felt fantastic.

Tuesday:Planned rest day. Reality: I rested.

Wednesday: Planned 10k Tempo run Reality: 10 k in 57:19 Tiring, but invigorating.

Thursday: Planned Easy 6

Reality: I ran five and change with Abby. I didn’t go far as I hoped, but I probably ran a bit faster with A than I would have run alone. And I got all her gossip about her trip to Greece so reality was actually better than my plan.

Friday: Planned 1hour cross-training. Reality: I did 30 minutes of weights / core.

Saturday: Planned 12 miler in the early morning

Reality: 12.5 miler in the mid-morning. I had a great run. Yes, it was hot, but I stopped at every water fountain. I didn't take any gels and didn't have any stomach problems. For months I’ve been scared to run down through the St Adrià beach, which is known for cruising, but on Saturday I conquered my fears. Yeah, there was a lot of cruising, but there were also families and dog walkers and everybody just minded their own business. Why should I be scared of men cruising for men, anyway?

Sunday: Planned 1 hour of yoga. Reality: 2.5 mile run to beach with backpack. Swim in the sea. It was glorious! Yup, that’s why I live here.

Plan for Week 3 of Marathon Training:

Monday: easy 6

Tuesday: rest

Wednesday: 6 Tempo

Thursday: Easy 6

Friday: cross

Saturday: 13 miler

Sunday: long bike ride with Charles

Our terrace with plants in full bloom:

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Mother Sect

I’ll forewarn you dear reader that I’ve been grouchy all day. I took a rerack this morning, which meant having to rush to get ready for work in twenty minutes and making a very bad choice about to what to wear. I chose my high-waisted pinstripe pants and high-heel ankle boots. Thus, while I looked pretty good—surprisingly tall and skinny for moi-- I’ve been extraordinarily uncomfortable all day due to a wedgie and pinched toes. So, there, that’s the preliminary to the following post.

I turned 32 last week and have reached, I'd say, that window period for having children. I have a stable partner, a decent job, and I'm not getting any younger. “It’s now or never.” “I just wished I’d done it sooner. “You don’t want to be pregnant at 40, trust me.” I hear this kind of thing all day long: at work, at parties, at Sunday lunches, from Spanish people, from Americans, from men at meetings in London, from old ladies at the gym. But today, today I think takes the cake, today I’ve been hounded by the mother sect on three separate occasions.

After a rather uneventful morning at work, all stuffed into my pants, I hailed a cab and headed up to Eixample to meet my friend Emma for lunch. Emma is 38, a tireless worker and mother to an eight-year-old. She's a great friend---thoughtful, bubbly, creative, and six-months pregnant. It was a long lunch, and about half of the time we talked about having children. Well Emma talked, she basically campaigned and I simply tried to play defense.

Instead of explaining the real reasons why I haven't gotten pregnant, I made excuses: I’m working a lot, I don’t have family here, etc. But Emma had a righteous answer to each and every excuse. “Everyone works; it’s just a matter of prioritizing.” “You have to make your own new extended family of friends, a network.”

But I'm quite confident that I could prioritize and I know I could form a network, I already have! There isn't a doubt in my mind that "everything would work out" or "that I'd find a way." But you see, that really isn't the issue. I don’t need a pep talk. I’m just not entirely sure that I want to have kids. Being able to handle it isn't enough, and perhaps I want other things in life.

As I hobbled from lunch to the metro, I tried not to get angry. The woman’s pregnant, she’s excited, just let her be, I thought. Anyway, I had another very important task at hand: waxing. While waiting at the waxing center, I enjoyed about 20 minutes of peace: I was off my feet and able to read the Spanish edition of In Touch magazine and a bunch of the Bin Laden coverage in the Times. Then, Cristina, my wonderful waxer called out “Scarlett!” I gave her a hug and two Spanish kisses and said, “I’m so glad to see you back! How’s your baby?”

Cristina reported that the baby is growing very quickly and muy guapa, of course, and then she looked down at my stomach, shook her head from side to side, and said, “And you when?” And then it began, half an hour of hot waxing and yet another sermon on why one should have children NOW. No waiting, no reasoning, no thinking, just do it. By the time, I got my clothes back on I felt like I’d been through a small battle and my wedgie was really bothering me. As I left, Cristina asked, "But you do want kids, don't you?" A part of me wanted to reply, "No, didn't you realize I'm a selfish bitch?" But I just nodded and said assured her, "Of course I do."

Before heading home, I decided to see if I could find some comfortable cotton pants for work. And, in one of the day’s small victories, I found a non-wedgie-giving pair fairly quickly. Just as I was coming out of the dressing room, feeling fairly content, I saw Llucia, a reporter I used to work with. I recognized her even from behind, she's got the narrowest of shoulders and this amazingly thick, shiny auburn bun.

It was only when I said her name and she turned around that I felt slightly faint. There she was Llucia Riba, the single career girl extraordinaire, pregnant. “Hey,” she said pointing proudly to her belly. “I’m just trying to find something I can wear this summer with this guy.”