Friday, October 31, 2008

Three Things

I have three things to tell you.

1) I have a new relationship with sleep.

I’m pretty excited about it. It’s called, “don’t go back to bed after waking up to go to the bathroom at 5:30.” I tried it this morning. I got up, went potty, put my running clothes on, grabbed the leash and a very happy dog and went for a really nice, pleasant run. And no traffic! When we started it was dark, and when we got home it was daytime. The whole getting up early thing was like being a little kid in a way, only instead of waking up my brothers and sister (and having them tell me to leave them alone), there was Luna, already awake, and waiting for me. I so should have had a dog when I was younger (meaning a little older than when we had Terry)...

2) We ran in inclement weather today.

It was drizzling at 5:49 when we started our run. And when we got back at 7:06 it was pouring. But we didn’t care. It was great (those old sneaks are good for this kind of thing, plus, once you’re soaked, you can’t get any wetter)! When we got home we made water footprints all over the living room and kitchen (even without our shoes and socks on). It was awesome!

3) The Italian Rotary club likes our idea and wants to help us fund-raise.

Then I got to work early (see point one) after a large breakfast (an omelet that was so expertly crafted I had to make a bis for lunch) and there was an email from the Italian Rotary club waiting for me. They met yesterday, a week after I gave my 5-minute introduction to WHO we are (ex-Rotary exchange students) and WHAT we want to do (run a marathon, raise money for the Rotary PolioPlus Foundation). Here is a translation of what the letter said...

“Dear Karoline,
Our club is happy to participate in your project, and would like to invite you to come to another meeting to work out the details. We are also willing to write to the Governor of your District and to Rotary in Paris for hospitality. A good opportunity would be the meeting of 6 November, when the speaker will be Maestro Romolo Gessi, an orchestra director, or on 4 December when we visit the wine producer Villa Luisa a Corona, with a wine testing and a talk by a wine expert on “Wine and art”.
In the car I have the polo I was telling you about, we sold them for 35€ of which I think 20€ went to service. I will give you the exact numbers over the next few days and confirm availability.

I chose the wine tasting (no offense to the maestro), and, as you can see, we are thinking about selling polo shirts to raise money (and maybe some events, too). I love this Rotary club. Here’s one reason why: the president of the club buys a pig every year, fattens it up, makes homemade sausages, and sells them (mostly to grateful club members) and gives the money to charity.

So I thought about doing that for this cause. But where would I put a pig? Guest bedroom?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hot Hal's advice

The idea of running a marathon has settled into my brain. I'm great with it. I love the look on people's face when they realize that by saying that I'm running a marathon essentially means I'm running 26.2 miles in one foul swoop. "Oh that's great, good for you" they say - although their faces can not hide the "what the hell kinda freak is she" look that they inevitably give me. But explain that I'm running my first and, quite possibly, ONLY marathon in Paris and their expressions change. I imagine that it is a hard idea to get used to that under normal circumstances, people travel to Paris to visit the Champs, Eiffel, Notre, Louvre, Mona, etc.... but hardly a single person can say, "Yeah, I'm going to run the marathon, and then enjoy one heck of an after party with a group of people that I haven't seen in nearly 20 years." Again, insert the "what the hell kinda freak is she" expression. It's a fun story to tell. I'm still sorting through my marathon book by Hal Higdon (aka Hot Hal.) My favorite section, for the moment, is the 10 truths about marathon achievement. In it, there are numerous quotes by people who have trained for and completed various marathons. Today, there are two quotes that I enjoy relating to:
"I enjoy knowing each week that I run further than ever before in my life. That really motivates me to continue the training." I can say that I enjoy knowing that I am currently running further than I ever have in my life - it feels good.

"Those lonely runs became the glue to my day. The marathon merely served as the impetus to get me out there." How true, how true. The marathon is the reason I get out there every day, but the running every day has brought so much fun and consistency to my day. While my training partner is in Italy (HEY PARTNER!!!) I can't continue leading you to believe that I am running my myself. For almost two years now, I have been working out with a former student, now colleague, of mine. Poor Chrissy will probably be ready to run the marathon herself if she continues to keep up with me. She is constant! She is there every day! While I'm running on the treadmill, she's walking on the treadmill next to me. While I'm running on the treadmill, she's doing circuit training with another friend of ours, Emily. On my 'days off' Chrissy and I do light weight work for the upper body. Chrissy and I have a blast chatting through our workouts - she really should come to Paris.

Anyway - I must stop blabbing. I had a great workout today. The new sneaks are feeling great. I must concentrate more on stretching better. You keep reading - we'll keep running.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Three-Mile PRs

Congratulations are in order for Laura, running partner, and Ed, twin brother, devoted blog follower. Both ran their fastest three miles in history this week and last. Great job! For Ed I smell a Breakfast 5k in Paris for your future! I will start checking for cheap flights!

To both of you: May these Personal Records be the first of many!

Get out there, Girl, and run!

I was feeling kind of lousy over the last couple of days, which may be related to a red-meat overdose I think I suffered on Sunday at lunchtime. Here’s what happened...

My friends, Giorgia and Marco, who are very nice people, hated the idea of my spending a Sunday alone (knowing that husband is out of town until Thursday. He’s touring around Germany for work/beer...) and so they asked me if I wanted to go on a nice, leisurely COMPLETELY UPHILL (I know I sound like a broken record here, but have you been to Trieste? Think San Francisco...) ride on the bike path (which used to have train-tracks and choo choos on it in the olden days). If you go long enough and far enough, this steady incline will eventually take you over the border and into Slovenia, and at the VERY VERY end, you get to MAHNIC (pronunciation: mock-neech), which is a restaurant and brewery where you eat large platters of assorted meats for cheap (and I am all about quantity!).

I decided to go light. I had a beer which was a light color (There’s no such thing as a large beer, by the way. They only have “small” and “medium”. So I had the medium), a plate of potato gnocchi with goulash (I soaked up every bit of juice, too, with whatever I could find, falling just short of picking up the plate and licking it), a platter of roasted potatoes (now I’m starting to think it was actually a potato overdose), which I shared (very “light” of me, n’est-ce pas?) and I shared a plate of beef Tartare (which you may know as cannibal sandwiches. Remember New Years in the 70’s? Served on toasted rye rounds? Yup, it’s just as good as you remember. Maybe even better...)... Don’t think I wasn’t picking off of other plates, either! Because I was! And I even contemplated dessert, but they didn’t have the one I wanted, so I went without and actually felt disappointed (rather than relieved)!

Then we hopped back on our bikes again (my first bike ride in 6 years, by the way, and my backside is still in angry rebellion) and rode all the way home. Only this time we didn’t have to pedal. At all. It was THAT downhill...
Then I got home and the cramping started. Uck. And it didn’t let up until this morning. And the worst part? No one to complain to! Dog? Don’t care. Husband. Outta town. Laura? Yeah, Laura! I’ll complain to my training partner Laura!
Here were my complaints: My tummy hurts. I don’t feel like running. I think I pulled a muscle in my hip. I’m feeling a little malaise, I don’t know if I’m up for a marathon. Can we ask them to make it 26 kilometers instead of miles? Etc. You get the idea “blah blah blah bellyache bellyache bellyache...”

Her answer?

“Get your mojo going, girl. I can't have you all down in the dumps on me. I count on you (or at least the idea of you) to keep me motivated. The snow is going to fly this week and I can't have you complaining of sore bunions, or something. Get out there and tack on the miles.”

I think my partner spelled out the moral of this story with a TOUGH LOVE APPROACH. Kari, quit yer bellyachin’ and get your butt out there and run.

And, you know what? Today I felt better! And I got out there and ran before the rain started coming down.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Laughter, Tigers, and New Sneakers

Again, some of the best banter between me and my running partner takes place behind closed doors, so to speak. I spent the better half of this morning e-mailing Kari about small details of our training. Most of our comments would make absolutely no sense to anyone other than her and I, but you must believe me when I say it - these short e-mails make the training for this marathon a blast. I must say that I depend on Kari for her input on things like proper clothing for winter training, advice on gps devices that are out there for runners, thoughts on cross-training, how come new sneakers that are identical to the old ones don't fit like they should, ideas for what to wear to Paris in April (will it be cold enough for winter jackets? Should we have someone make us special matching jackets for the occasion?)... on and on we go. I think our messages are going to quickly turn to where the after-party is going to be and who we are going to put in charge of planning it. (Kari, I strongly suggest that it NOT be either of us OR our husbands.)

In any case, we are creating a very unique relationship. Kari and I communicate each and every day - multiple times. Even though she's an ocean away, it feels like we are running side by side. I wish you could hear us laugh as we train for this marathon - I think my friends think I'm nuttier than usual (as if the whole marathon idea didn't seal the deal, now I'm belly laughing in front of the computer every day.)

So - keep with us, we're having fun. Hope you plan on joining us for more laughter.

AND, by the way, I bought new sneakers yesterday - AHHHHHHH, my feet thank me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I know first aide

I spent the last two days becoming re certified in first aid so that I can continue my winter training in the school weight room - and, of course, recognize symptoms of things such as shin splints, stress fractures, ankle sprains, muscular strains, compound fractures, compression fractures, neck injuries, spinal injury, death... (I don't think all will eventually apply to my marathon training, but I bet I will become familiar with a few of these.) As I sat in training, watching 30-year old videos presented by a 70-year old man, I kept thinking that I really should be outside running. It may be one of the last nice days before I need to put on the underarmor and hit the snow-covered road. I am not sure that my lungs will survive the cold runs in Upstate New York, but then again, I'm not sure that the will survive the LONG run in Paris, either. SO, I will continue my mind game (mind over matter, right?)

If any of you know much about training for a marathon, you will know that you spend three weeks building up your weekly mileage, and then take a step back to allow your body to recuperate for the next big push toward increased mileage. This week has been a step=back week for me. I was really looking forward to this week for a while, cause it looks so good on paper. What I have experienced, however, is that the quick, short, small runs are becoming more difficult than their longer counterparts. Curious. I don't know if it's because I get into a better zone, or because I enjoy the buildup of mentally preparing myself for an hour run...I can't figure it out. I can say that even though my two and three mile workouts felt brutal this week, they were fast. I don't know how or why that happened. It brings a smile to my face to know that my speed is improving - I'll keep you posted in ten weeks when I have to go 15 miles (it nearly pains me to type that.)

On the logistics home front, I am working on finalizing travel and lodging plans for the trip in April. I have a former student of mine joining me - still trying to determine whether she is old enough to participate. Both she and I saw age 18 at one point and now we are seeing 20. In any case, I am really hoping that she comes with us - perhaps a breakfast 5-k through the quaint streets of Paris is in her future (sounds very nice, doesn't it?) I think many people who plan to travel to Paris with us could accomplish this - wouldn't it be fun? Anyway, she already has hotel and plane reservations so I must catch up with that this weekend.

So, where was I going with this? 1 - if anyone gets hurt in Paris, I got you covered. 2 - I should keep running the long runs because they are easier (???) and 3 - call me if you need any information about where we are staying in Paris. (we should be close in order to party-it-up after the marathon)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Stay away from those Google maps!

I was so happy on Saturday when I went on this REALLY REALLY REALLY long run. Two hours, in fact. I went around almost the entire city. I started at my house, went up the big hill I told you about last week, crossed the big street, went up to the bike path, took it all the way to the bridge (a long steady incline, by the way), crossed it, went up (again, almost VERTICAL!) all the way up to Cattinara hospital, KEPT GOING, yeah, past the gas station, to Ferdinandeo street and turned left. I kept going and going until I got to the street that goes down through the Boschetto and takes you all the way down to Via Giulia (Can you believe that? All the way down to Via Giulia, on the road, yes, not taking the short cut!!), turned left, waded through the slow people clogging up the sidewalk, went all the way to Via Carducci (I know, I could barely believe it either, and no, the smog, it wasn't that bad), then took that one parallel street (you know the one I mean, the one that goes from Piazza Goldoni to Via Molino Vento, Corso Saba, no?) to Via Molino Vento, UP THE HILL (I know, I should have been dying by now, but I actually felt pretty good!) and kept going and going until Via Costalunga and took that bad boy all the way to my house, but since I was still short of my goal of two hours, I kept going until I got to that loop where the number 34 bus turns around. I turned around then, and ran home. I sprinted that last twenty seconds or so. I felt great! Two hours EXACTLY!

When I told people about this mega loop that I did, they were dumbstruck, awed-- jaws dropped to the floor, incredulous looks said: "Is that even POSSIBLE? We've never HEARD of anyone going THAT FAR EVER IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!! YOU ARE AMAZING! YOU COULD RUN THAT PUNY PARIS MARATHON TOMORROW!!!" and that's how I felt, too.

Until today. I made a big mistake. I checked the distance using that routing tool on the Runner's World website where you can plot and save your favorite routes...

WHAT?! 15 kilometers??? THAT'S IT??!! IN TWO HOURS?! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING! I started asking around, verifying streets. Was it really THAT one?? Maybe I was actually on another one that was another 10km away...

But, alas, no. I actually ran 15 km in two hours (I usually run 16k about 30 minutes faster than that, and I'm not even fast!). At this rate my projected finishing time for the Paris marathon? An astonishing, mind-numbing, snail-like SIX HOURS!!! Laura, I don't think there's a balloon color for that. I am in big trouble.

But the truth is, HAL TOLD ME TO RUN SLOW AND I LISTENED (go to his site, you'll see, long runs should be slow, I don't think he meant this slow, but whatever...). The problem is that I wanted to go for a long time (two hours is a personal record) and also get 18-20 km in (I finish half marathons, which are 21km, in under two hours, every time!). So naturally this was depressing.


The next day I climbed up a really steep mountain... it was almost VERTICAL, ever heard of Everest?? It was a little like that! It took three hours up and three hours down, and I felt really great about doing it. Just don't ask how far it was or how many meters up we went. I only know that it was REALLY TALL and REALLY LONG and that my legs feel like wooden planks today.

Let's just leave it at that.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hello - I'm parking the car

So, I was on my way to a concert last night when my cell phone rang. The id said New York. I wasn't sure who it might be, but I decided to answer the call. "Hello?" Who is this?" The person at the other end of the call said "Laura?" - - - "Yes, yes, yes, it's me, Laura. " - - - "Laura, it's Kari" Now, about this time I'm thinking, gee I don't know a Kari in New York. That's strange???? Then it occured to me my training partner from ITALY _ KARI!!! "OK - KARI? What are doing calling me?" I went on to explain to her that I was in a car full of people, two of whom were on other phone calls, the rest of whom had no idea where we were. I was the only one who knew how to get to the location of our concert. IT WAS HECTIC at that particular moment. I felt awful, I couldn't prioritize between parking the car, telling everyone else to shut up so I could take a call from Italy, or tell Kari that I couldn't talk right now. I tried doing all three to no avail. So, I hung up, found a quiet place and waited for her to call me back. I gave my concert-going companions directions to the locale and waited waited waited. When the phone rang the second time, I was prepared to chat with my long lost friend Kari. The connection was awful, but it was great to hear her voice. Voice to voice, it is very clear that we are going to have a blast in Paris. It was hard to get a word in edge-wise as we were both trying to bring each other up to speed on our current goings-on. The high point of the conversation was certainly her telling me about her chili and deviled egg dinner party that she just hosted at her house. Now, that is fantastic. Who doesn't like deviled eggs? It left me wondering how many Italians feast on deviled eggs from time to time. Curious, is that an American delicacy?

In any case, Kari's phone call was the highlight of my evening. Yes, I went to see Sugarland - a band that I don't claim to know much about. Having seen them last night, I will probably buy their cd and add some of their songs to my workout mix. (they were very good) They put on a great show, but their opening act - Kari Steckley - was the highlight of my night. I recommend that everyone who follows this blog try their best to come watch her in Paris on April 5th - I'll be there for sure!!! (hahahaha)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Can you say BUSY?

This week has been busy busy busy. By Sunday night, I will have run a total of 17 miles, gone out to eat three times, attended two concerts, visited one Haunted House, taken the kids to a birthday party, worked out five times, run a Breast Cancer 5k, watched a football game, watched a soccer game, taught about the Civil War, explained the pros and cons of foreign oil vs. nuclear energy, given twelve baths, (and I'm sure I'm missing something.) In between all of that, I have been finalizing the last minute details about our fundraising campaign for Polio Plus. I promise I am going to call on all of you to help me meet a $20,000 goal - - - more to come later.

On the Paris trip homefront, my husband has decided that it is in his best interest to come to Paris - if nothing else, to watch me drag my ass across the finish line. I am psyched that he has decided to cross the Atlantic for his first time. I can't wait to have him there. I also am so psyched that so many friends are actually considering making the trip, too. My friend RJ just said that he's coming with us - I can't wait. I believe we have another exchange student joining us for the run - have to confirm before I name drop.

We have started looking at flight information and hotel details. It is all coming together. Seems so real when we are actually booking things.

Alright, that is all you get for now. I forgot to add to my list of things accomplished - SLEEP. Must go.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Under the Eiffel Tower

I don’t have very many pictures here of my year abroad as an Exchange Student. There are three pictures from that year that I really love, though, and think about them from time to time.
One of them is of Lawna Hurl and me laughing our heads off on a top bunk during the weekend in the Ardennes that Rotary organized for us- we had switched sweaters, both of which were itchy Icelandic wool (not surprising—she’s Canadian, and I am from the Great White North). Then there’s the picture of Laura and me on the train. She is showing off her Dutch shoes that she has just used to clomp up and down the aisle of the train on the way back from Amsterdam. Luckily, Laura had that one still and scanned it. I posted it to this blog to illustrate how crazy she is, that it’s not a new thing.
Then there is my all-time favorite. It is in Paris (another Rotary trip). It is Leon Rothenberg, Tate Shadbourne, and me under the Eiffel tower. Whoever took the picture had to lie on the ground and look up to take it (Laura, were you the photographer?).
I recently found this picture by accident. It was hiding in a bag of good-bye cards from my friends from Falmouth, on Cape Cod, where I lived before I moved here, cards that I cannot bear to read-- or throw out.
I was rummaging through the bag looking for something else when I found it, the three of us staring up at me in a triangle. That’s my Paris. I can’t wait to re-create that photo in April. Leon, are you in? and Tate, where is that guy anyway?

Are you there, Hal? It’s me, Karoline

From October 9, 2008.
I wake up, face Paris, and say my prayer to Uncle Hal Higdon, “Dear Hal, Please let me be able to get my run in today—however far it is.” My eyes are puffy and tired, my legs heavy and unwilling...and it is as if Uncle Hal heard my prayer, because today is Thursday of week one (it’s the second time I’ve done week one): “HILL WORK. 3X”
So I run a good 3.5 minutes to where the big hill is behind my house. I know every step of it because I huff up the thing 3 or 4 times a week just to get up to the bike path. It’s steep. It takes about a minute or so to get to the top. Yes-- one minute—one very intense minute of hell. In fact, no one would look at me funny for driving to the top and parking there to get to the bike path. People do it all the time-- they drive up a hill that would take one minute to run.
So I run up it three times. That means today’s training is more or less a 3-minute run plus 3.5 to get there and a nano-second to get back home, because it is so much easier compared to going up that hill (by the way, every time I run this hill I wonder if I have sports-induced asthma). Then I get home and hit the shower. All done for the day and it only took about ten minutes.
And tomorrow, Friday? It’s REST DAY!
Thank you, Hal. AMEN!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Backward Glances and Creativity

It has been a busy week for me. I've been known to take on a bit too much. Consequently, I'm forced to be a bit creative with my workouts. Yesterday, for example, I was enlisted to be athlethic trainer for the football team at work. Nothing like the smell of high school football players, and then having to tape their wrists and ankles. Now THAT's dedication, right? I was talked into doing stats at the game - what a gorgeous day. SO, Indian Summer in upstate New York basically means that I forgot sunscreen and water, got a nice sunburn and verged on dehydration. Well, this all got me to about 5:00 where I just didn't feel up for a run.

Hot Hal is always saying that you can shuffle workouts a bit. So, I ask you? Does mucking three very dirty horse stalls count as cross-training? (upper body, core, legs. back) I gotta think that it does.

I made contact with my very first track coach this week. I only just found out that he is the Superintendent at a nearby school. I thought it would be fun to get his input on my training. To give some backgroud...... in elementary school, I wasn't the most healthy of kids. You would have described me as overweight and relatively inactive. Well, in the summer between 7th and 8th grade, I grew about a foot and lost about 20 pounds. Mr. Amundson asked me if I was intersted in running track. So, in 8th grade, I joined the track team. It was a BLAST. For those of you who didn't run track, let me just say that you missed out on the only co-ed sport in high school. Tons of fun. So, my bad luck revealed that I was pretty good at the 800 (half-mile sprint.) Ask anyone, not the most fun race in track. Well, I was good at it. By 11th grade, I held the school record and made it to State Qualifiers three times. Long story short, Mr. Amundson was very encouraging of my running. Toward the end of our season, when I was training for sectionals and State qualifiers, I often had to workout with Coach all by myself, because everyone else was done with their season. Mr. Amundson left our school shortly after I stated running track (9th or 10th grade) but I had hoped that he would remember me. I sent him an e-mail breifly explaining our marathon goals. I got a response back and hope to hear more soon. Maybe he'll give me some training advice.

Karoline - how is this week looking for you? Can't wait to have a post from you....our followers are getting bored of me. We need some friendly banter.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What keeps me going?

So, Karoline did not fall off her stilettos, it seems that she is swamped at work. I, like you, miss her posts (so witty, so witty) but she e-mailed me to say that she is offline the majority of the day. Of course, ever trying to ONE UP ME, she managed to go for a one-hour and forty minute jaunt. That, for one, keeps me going. I want to be able to say that I ran for over an hour and a half. My legs aren't there yet. I DID run for 50 minutes today - my legs felt great before, during and after. I want to be like you, Kari.

I reconnected with a high-school friend this evening. We were talking about jobs, life, kids, beer, and local gossip. She said that she wants to run a marathon at least once in her life. Damn, if I'm not doing that right now. That, for two, keeps me going.

The fact that our friends are actually considering joining us in Paris - to run or not. The fact that the crazy notion has entered other people's minds. The mere idea of getting to Paris with some friendly faces around me (Kari, Josh, Jill, hopefully more to come), that, for three, keeps me going.

All the encouragement from followers of this blog (and on facebook, at work, at home) makes me smile every morning. I look forward to seeing if there are any words of encouragement attached to our posts. I check the e-mail for small messages of 'you go girl.' My students have started a cheering section (ok, maybe heckling) That, for four, keeps me going.

Thanks for keeping me going. I still can't wrap my mind around 26.2 miles. BUT, I am further today than I was last week. I can't wait.

Now Introduce Yourself!

What a great surprise to see the post by HE SINGS. But who is HE SINGS? This is Josh, the opera singer from our exchange group (doesn't every group have an opera singer?) whom we have been gently coaxing into running with us on April 5th. He, like me, is living in Europe, so it seemed crazy for him not to! The carrot we used was that we would all get skinny together, and if he promised to run, he could blog with us.

It worked. Welcome welcome welcome Josh, and congratulations on your first run!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Beginning

I know this is going to sound weird to the rest of you, but I feel so terribly accomplished because I took my first run today. Actually, I caught a glimpse of myself in a large window as I was running past, and think that it looked like a sort of meander slightly sped up on film. I didn't care, though, because I WAS DOING IT. Again, don't laugh, but a friend suggested I start with just a 15 minute run, so that I would feel a sense of accomplishment when I finished. She was right. Now, I will just add in 5-minute increments until I hit 30, then stay there for a while.

Anyway, I know it was small, but I did definitely feel more awake afterwards, and alert as my mind had been cleared.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's all coming together

I haven't heard from my training partner in nearly three days. I can only imagine that she fell off her new pair of stilletos that she bought while in Milan and can't find the help button. In all seriousness, if Kari's life is half as busy as mine, it is a miracle that she can even find time to breathe, let alone train for this marathon.

I had my first 'not so good' run on Saturday. It was kind of bizarre, considering it was only 3.5 miles. I decided to run around 11am. I knew the minute my pink saucony hit the pavement that it was going to be a challenge. I was rocking to my typical tunes, but my legs just didn't feel it. As I trudged through the workout, I was preoccupied with thoughts like how I was going to deal with jet lag and a marathon, what it would feel like when I hit 20 miles, what road races I could register for between now and the snow season..... Before I knew it, my legs had carried me safely back to Robbins Road. As I looked at the watch, I was shocked to see that I had, in fact, run a fairly fast time. Shocked as I was, I went inside and said, I shall never again run at 11am. I don't know what makes 6am or 9pm better, but my legs are begging me to never do it again.

Sunday was a nice hour-long walk with my good friend Heather. We had a great chat about her new house and the upcoming football game between our rival alma maters - GO RAIDERS. I now know that HOT HAL is right when he writes about the great thinking and conversation that takes place during the daily workouts. I can solve the world problems and catch up with friends, and train for a marathon all at the same time. Can anyone else say that? I had the day off today, but decided to lift some weights - nothing extra staining.

So, that's all I have for tonight. I hope to start getting some photos up here - probably of me sweating, or something.

PS - I have a lunch meeting with the Rotary District Governor on Monday. It looks like we are going to put together a plan to promote our Polio Plus fundraising on the district level. Keep reading for more info about that.

Friday, October 3, 2008

What balloon are you?

"the organisers of the Paris international Marathon offer the chance of running at the same pace as experienced runners who, easily identifiable by a coloured balloon that can be seen from afar, have the task of completing the 42.195 km within a pre-determined time."

In other words, when we run the marathon, we will be keeping our target balloon in sight, if possible, so that we can come across the marathon as close to our four-hour target as possible. I think that we will be going GREEN (which just sounds trendy, right?) In the determiniation of this goal, Kari sent me a link to an article which outlined a 6,000 calorie diet created and maintained by explorer Ernest Shackleton. Jokingly, Kari suggested that we need to follow this beer-laiden, goose-fat festooned, chocolate fondant dripped menu. As I read the food that this foolish explorer ate in order to maintain his energy on his expeditions, the thought occured to me that if WE decided to take on 6000 calories a day, we very well may need to be tethered to the GOOD YEAR BLIMP to get us through the Marathon (rather than that green balloon.) Just my initial thought.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Congratulations, you are number 33784.

Being the team that we are, I also registered to run the marathon. Here is what mine said:

Félicitations ! ---

Vous êtes inscrit(e) à la 33ème édition du Marathon de Paris qui aura lieu le dimanche 5 avril 2009.

Inscription pour:Nom : WILLIAMS
Prénom : Laura
Montant : 63.00 Euros
Numéro de dossard : 33784

I, too, opted for the cancellation insurance - I'm not counting on my legs falling off, but the way things go, anything is possible.

And, Karoline, I might add that some of our best words today were lost on our followers - as our e-mails were hysterical. I think there are some dietary recommendations that we must share with our friends. Just an idea for our next post. Until then, because there is so much to write that everyone will find funny and interesting, please enjoy with us our pride in our registration today.

Coming up next time: who did get numbers 1-10?; what ballon will we be following?; why do people work out at 6am?; is a 6000 calorie diet too much?; and job description for my personal assistant.

Please forward any topics that you would like us to write about.

Congratulations, you are number 33712!

I did it. I registered for the marathon and just got my confirmation back. Here is what it said:

--- Félicitations ! ---
Vous êtes inscrit(e) à la 33ème édition du Marathon de Paris qui aura lieu le dimanche 5 avril 2009.
Inscription pour:
Prénom : Karoline
Montant : 63.00 Euros
Numéro de dossard : 33712

Note the bargain price of 55 euros because I signed up early, and, oh yeah, that 8 euros, that is cancellation insurance in case my legs fall off.

Start your day with CAKE!

Two good things have happened since I came to Milan yesterday (I am actually in Vimodrone, which is on the outskirts of town). One is that I found out that my friends Francesca and Giuseppe live really close to my office--a five-minute walk, which is unheard of in Milan-- close enough to arrive at work with my hair still wet after my 25-minute run this morning on a beautiful bike path alongside a little river, and a shower. The second thing is that today is Francesca’s 45th birthday, and her birthday party was THIS MORNING AT 7:15 A.M.
And, you know what that means... CAKE! First thing in the morning! Now THAT is what I’m talking about!
Did I mention that it was PEAR flavored? I had two big pieces. Then I went for my run. Today is the best day!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

If I am going to do this, I must do it right....

Kari is in Milan. That sounds so glam - "yeah, I trained for the Paris Marathon in Milan this week." Doesn't sound as glam as "yeah, I trained for the Paris Marathon in LeRoy, the home of Jell-O." At least I don't hum 'watch it jiggle' as I run my four miles - no comments from the peanut gallery.

I finally spoke to a person at Rotary International to find out all the little details about how to collect money for an international charity. I won't bore you with all the small nuiances, but I will say that it will be a challenge, but certainly do-able. Kari, I am thinking of hiring a personal assistant to manage my life in order to continue with our efforts to run a marathon and raise money for this AWESOME ORGANIZATION (product placement) I've made contact with several clubs and officers from my home district. I am working on getting some contacts for Belgium - gotta keep up with Karoline's Italian efforts.

As I ran this evening in the rain - see former post about blown fuse - I was happy that my chest cold was clearing. I felt much better running. It made me thankful that my coughs are becoming productive. BUT, It made me come to the realization that if I am going to become this "professional runner" I am going to have to learn how to hack a loogie. All of my attempts to clear my throat resulted in it landing either down my sweatshirt, on my chin, or on my sneaker. I must master this skill before April - damn, another thing to work on. I dare say that my training partner will not appreciate this lack of precision on our jaunt through Paris. Any suggestions?

That's all I have for today. I have a 5am workout wakeup call.