Thursday, October 27, 2011

No sick! NO SICK!

Ok, I haven't posted in a while and I feel like I have wanted to for so many things (i.e. last minute entry into the Baltimore half marathon for training, discovering Arlington Cemetery by foot, finally making it to the new MLK Jr. Memorial via a long run, etc).  Maybe one day I will catch up BUT right now I need a safe space to say I am SO NERVOUS -- not for the race (well, ok that too, but not this second) but because I got sick two days ago and I am supposed to do my 20 mile run this weekend and I am scared that my stupid sickness is going to ruin my training.

This is probably the most important run in the whole training schedule -- it's the longest run you do before the race and then you taper for a few weeks.  It's so important that it be this weekend, too, because you dont want it too close to the actual race.  And running 20 miles on a monday or tuesday would just be crazypants. Crazypants, I tell you.

So, I worked from home today and drank a lot of tea and water and just tried not to move.  Conserve energy and only get up to pee.  What's so crazy to me is that yesterday morning I wasn't feeling so hot but I still managed to get a nice run of 10 miles in.   How can our bodies manage that?!  So maybe even if I am not feeling awesome on Sunday (already pushed this from Saturday to Sunday... but it's also maybe supposed to SNOW in DC on Saturday and be beautiful on Sunday, so that's a no-brainer anyway) then I will still be able to do it?  And just be sick a few more days as a result... BUT get the run in?  Do I sound like an addict right now?  I need to get this run in!

Maybe the bright side of all of this is that my sickly body is actually getting me to BEG to do a 20 mile run.  Rather than fear it or dread it, I just honestly hope that I can be healthy enough to do it!

I've got about 60 hours.  Please send vitamin C thoughts and zinc dreams my way!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head... and sneakers

I normally avoid running in the rain; it's one of the reasons I have a gym membership.  On Friday, however, I needed to do a 15 mile run and it was raining and there was no way I was doing 15 miles on a treadmill -- a girl needs some standards.  And because of scheduling conflicts, I couldn't put this run off.  In the back of my mind I knew that running in bad weather was a necessary evil.  After all, what if it rained on race day? I needed to know I could power through, even in less than ideal conditions.

So after assured me once again that it was not going to stop raining for the rest of the day, I laced up for what was going to be my longest run ever and my first experience with rain running.  Water belt: check. ipod in plastic baggie: check. Waterproof headphones: check. Baseball cap to keep rain out of my face: check.  Route mapped out: check. Could everything on my person get wet and would I still survive?  yes and yes.  And so I was off.

The first few miles were pretty nice.  I actually found that since I was concentrating on the rain, I wasn't thinking much about running and so the distance sort of melted away.  It also turns out that the rain feels pretty nice when you're running, especially in humidity.  I ran along Rock Creek Park and down past Watergate at which point the trail opens up and the Potomac appears on your right.  I watched the rain hit the water's surface; an uninterrupted downpour of grey on murkier grey.  I passed the Lincoln Memorial and the brave tourists with their umbrellas and their cameras. I passed the Korean War Memorial with the troop of hunched soldiers in their heavy ponchos and was reminded that there are much more challenging things than running.  That monument always gives me chills.

Every time the rare runner passed I felt a sense of camaraderie; we're both braving this weather to run!  We're both sopping wet! We're hardcore!  Of course, it wouldn't really be fair to call myself hardcore at this point -- I never run in the rain. These people passing me probably ran in the rain all the time.  Weather probably meant nothing to them.  They laughed in the face of weather. If there was a way to eat weather for breakfast, these people probably did it as a pre-race snack.  I was an impostor, pretending to be a part of their hardcore, weather-eating club when this was in fact my inaugural race.  I was accustomed to oatmeal!

By mile 10 the rain was coming down a lot harder and the puddles were getting bigger and I knew that I could either duck out now and finish at the gym or, because of my route, be committed to finishing the last few miles in the storm.  Maybe it was a lame decision, but I opted to finish on the treadmill.  I felt confident that 10+ miles in the rain were adequate to prove to myself that I could do it and honestly, I was just completely soaked - sneakers, pants, hat - the works.  So I finished my run at the gym and then ran back home. And I felt good!  The last few miles were tough and my legs were definitely tired, but this was one of the first runs where I have started to feel like I can actually reach 26.2 miles.  Maybe it was crossing the half-marathon point and getting closer to the length of the full race.  Or maybe it was that even at 10 miles in, I still felt pretty strong.  In any case, my rain run gave me more confidence going forward and made me feel good about training (I had sort of started getting nervous and psyching myself out a little, and I know that that is a big danger with distance running).  I feel good knowing I have almost 2 months till the race and things are on track.  Oh god, a track -- can you imagine running 15 on a track?  60 laps. SIXTY. Maybe rain isn't so bad after all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Destination San Diego Half Marathon

Yesterday I ran a half marathon. I am still having a little trouble digesting this fact because it was such a non-event, in comparison to the two other times I have ever run that distance.  I've run the Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2009 and in 2010 and so my past experiences running a full 13.1 miles have been comprised of big crowds, crisp temperatures, commemorative shirts, thousands of other runners, and adrenaline.  Sweet, sweet adrenaline.  And then at the end, you get a medal! And a banana!  And other such food that your recovering body craves! You take pictures and revel in that post-race glow and marvel that your legs have stopped moving for the first time in 2+ hours. You get a free massage, for god's sake.

My run yesterday, in comparison, was just a training run.  And in some ways it was a special one because I'm in San Diego visiting a good friend and was able to plot a course that took me through Balboa Park and along the Pacific Ocean and then -- and this was weird -- past the San Diego Airport (a necessary course to get to Harbor Island Drive Park, but a pretty boring stretch).  I got to explore a city by foot, which is one of my favorite ways of seeing a place.  But it was 13.1 miles that were largely alone, especially because this run was on a Monday, when most of the rest of the world is at work.  By the last 3 miles I was running along a touristy section of Harbor Drive.  My legs were burning and feeling the ache as I dodged the tourists and pedicabs.  When I squeezed my fists I could feel the salt build-up, the grittiness upon my skin a sign that my body knew this was serious.  But to the tourists taking up the whole damn promenade (cause let's face it -- it's not fun to admit, but by this point I was silently cursing anyone in my path whom I had to run around and expend any more energy than was necessary to get to the finish -- those inconsiderate bastards!!) I was just another runner out for a nice morning jog.

Really, it doesn't usually matter to me how people consider me when I'm on a run.  Part of what I like about running is clearing my head and using the time to push my body according to my own limits -- it's not about competing with others in any way.  I have been forever scarred by being the slowest runner on my High School track team and now I run against myself and no one else.  But in comparison to the last 3 miles of a big race, my final miles yesterday felt anticlimactic and almost alienating.  When I reached the end, I stopped my Nike+ tracker and Lance Armstrong's voice came on, congratulating me on "my longest run yet!"  (note: this is because it registered as 13.11 for some reason instead of 13.10.  This was not purposeful, believe me.  If I could have run .01 less, it would have happened).   But aside from Lance, there was nothing.  Tourists kept milling about, none of them holding congratulatory signs, none of them even giving me a banana.  I walked up the hill to my friend's apartment, stretched, showered, and ate some crackers with peanut butter.  No medal. No free massage.  I still felt like I accomplished something, but this time my run was not the goal in and of itself.  It was just a step on my way towards running twice that distance.  I should mention that while Lance was talking to me post-run, I had the terrifying thought that "in just over two months you are planning on running double that amount."  DOUBLE.  Later, in the shower, I thought "Yup, you'd still be running now."  Lying on the couch even later I started to have the same thought and quickly pushed it out of my mind.  I know that training for a marathon is part physical but also part mental.  So freaking myself out is not the way to accomplish this goal.   Bad Lauren.  Bad.  Instead, I guess I just need to remember that running 13.1 miles, with or without an official race, is a big deal for me and I should feel great about that.  And that I have a whole 10 weeks left to get to the 26.2.  And it's going to be okay.  It has to be.  I mean, with Lance on my side, how can I not do this?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Iron Man and Air Conditioning

An unfortunate reality of training during the summer is the heat; the sticky, sweaty, stuffy heat of D.C. that even at 6:00 in the morning is too much for a girl like me to handle.  So for the summer months, I keep to the treadmill.

Pluses of the treadmill:

  • A.C.    And this plus cannot be emphasized enough.
  • The little fan on the treadmill that cools my face so nicely.  It's really quite nice.
  • Treadmill Bonuses: watching the Daily Show, Colbert Report, and various movies on my phone.  Sometimes even watching bad music videos on the TV hooked up to my machine. A good Britney video can do wonders for your running pace.

Minuses of the treadmill:

  • The monotony.  
  • Law of physics: Time spent running goes, at a minimum, 2.3x slower when on a treadmill than when on the street.
  • No new places to discover, no new routes to explore
  • listening to music can get old quickly (where as running outside I am great with my running playlists)
  • Did I mention the *!?&ing monotony??????
  • staring at those damn numbers in front of you rather than at trees. Stop taunting me with your skewed sense of time, you stupid treadmill!

If I was a bigger person -- and a less sweaty one, at that -- perhaps I could convince myself to run outside at least half of the time.  But this is D.C. and I am a heat wimp and so for the time being, I am relegated to my deluxe hamster wheel.  Which brings me to my next point and a plea for help:

If I am running long distances on the treadmill and I need to fight that messed up law of physics, I need some form of distraction or entertainment.  I tried watching The Office this weekend on a 7 mile run but it doesn't get me going the way a good Girl Talk tune does.  You know what did work pretty well though?  Iron Man 2.  There were explosions, there was action, there was a terrifying Mickey Rourke with scary electrical-whip death weapons.  Plus the plot was pretty good for a superhero sequel!  Heart rate goes up --> legs go faster --> run goes more quickly.  Everybody wins.  Of course, I found myself contemplating torts and who would be liable for the mass destruction inflicted throughout the film (pretty sure Hammer is vicariously liable for hiring Ivan... though the military hired Hammer... within Hammer's scope of duty to hire Ivan? Hmmmm) but that is another post for another time.

The important lesson I learned from Iron Man 2 is that I need to ditch the indie films and the dramas and the rom-coms for the time being, and focus on Netflix's "action & adventure" and "suspense" suggestions.  Given that I almost watched Step Up 3 the other day in search of an adrenaline fix, I need some help with this.  Does anyone have any good movie recommendations of action/adventure films that are not totally brainless and are exciting to watch?  No blood and gore, please!

Thanks for the help!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A real summer and a really big goal

As of next week, it will have been a full year since I endured the satanic ritual all law school graduates must succumb to if they have any hope of actually practicing law after graduating with three years worth of law school debt.*  One full year!  Sometimes I find myself referring to "last summer" and catching myself because I'm actually referencing the summer of 2009; not the summer of 2010.  The summer of 2010 was a blur, and not really a summer, in the proper sense, at all.
Was it hot?  Yes.
Was there sunshine in the fields and meadows? Yes.
Was there sunshine in my heart?  No.  No there was not. Terror did a pretty bang-up job of keeping the  mnemonics in and the sunshine out.  May, June, and July of 2010 might have technically happened, but they were not my months; they belonged to Barbri and the New York Board of Law Examiners, joint tenants of my soul (and terrible renters, I might add).

Since that dark period, I moved out of Philly, moved down to DC, became a morning runner, went back up to Philly to run a half marathon, broke my ankle, recovered from said broken ankle, and learned that if you ever get divorced you should really try everything possible to avoid litigating that mess (note: I did not get divorced.  I did, however, work--and still work--for a judge who handles many divorce trials. And they are not pretty. A painful divorce is one of those things that I believe must be worse than the bar exam... so there's some perspective for you future-bar-takers, I suppose.)

And now, now, I'm training for a marathon.  My first.  My first time running anything more than 13.1 miles.  I'm nervous that my body won't hold up, that four months is a long time for nothing to go wrong, that once I start my job as an associate in October I won't find time for my long weekday runs, that training will take over my life, and that at mile 25.5 I might collapse on the streets of Philadelphia (la-la-la  la-la-la  la).
But I'm also really freaking excited. And I'm excited to write about it all here.  And at the end of the day, I feel like if I can get through studying for the bar exam, I can run 26.2 miles... right?


* Except if you went to law school in Wisconsin and plan on staying there. You jerks.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reasons I actually MISS law school

Over the 3 years of law school, one of my common refrains was that I looked forward to finally having my nights and weekends back once I got back to the real world of having a job and having a real-person life.  Now that I am living the dream, so to speak, I find myself wishing for the student's schedule once again.  I know.  The grass is always greener, right?

I realize that most of these things I say I miss about law school are in reality things I miss about the graduate student's life: flexibility, freedom, using my own laptop to do work.  That sort of thing.  Don't get me wrong - I love, love, LOVE my nights and my weekends.  The freedom of my Sundays is almost overwhelming.  I'm not going to say I WANT work on these Sundays but I will say I am still trying to figure out how to deal with such glorious unscheduled chunks of free time.  Reading things can no longer be called "work" - it's purely for pleasure.  This is great... just a little unnerving.  And this just makes me realize what a law student [read: type-A nerd] I truly became in those 3 years.  It's gonna take some work to undo the damage, but I am committed to the project.  Until then, I thought it would be a good exercise to compile a list of things I miss about my former life:

  1. The internet.  Good lord, how I miss the internet.  It's way less acceptable to procrastinate at my job, on the taxpayer's dime, than on my own time when being distracted by feministing and dcist and sociological images just meant I would need to work a little later into the evening.  I miss blogs and linking through continuously until I really was not sure how I got there, but I was so happy I had made it to say, this.  Sure, I still have the weekend to catch up, but it's not the same.  I feel like I was in a pretty serious relationship and one of us now works in a different city and we can only spend time together on the weekends.  It's been rough.  I'm still committed, but I just hope he doesn't take my lack of attention personally....
  2. Running in the afternoons.    The crisp fall air. The leaves turning color.  Seeing the faces of other runners.  My morning runs which are often in the dark are just not the same.  I still love them, but I don't get to savor them as much as I got to savor my late-afternoon, pre-dinner runs.  This is only going to get worse as it gets colder too and 6am briskness becomes 6am frigidness.
  3. Food Shopping at 8am... on a Monday.  There is nothing in the world like a fully-stocked, almost empty Trader Joe's.  Nothing.
  4. Coffee and Breakfast at Home.  I miss leisurely mornings where I would wake up early, make coffee, and work from home for a couple of hours before heading to school.  Drinking out of an actual mug; having time for some cereal.  I still have coffee and oatmeal at work, but there is something about enjoying it in the comfort of home that made mornings lovely.
I am sure I will think of more things.  I will also say that I do miss the sense of community at law school and the constant and varied intellectual pursuits in which I could surround myself.  But at least that I can try to replicate in other ways now.  Figuring out a way to sneak out of work at 4pm for a run... probably not going to happen.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Why we need to write things down

In Contracts class we learned that some contracts require a writing to be enforced and others don't (statute of frauds).  There's a lengthy list of what needs a writing and what does not, but one of the main things to remember is that if a contract can be completed within one year, then it is not within the statute (this is for performance contracts... if you contract to buy goods it's a different story, but that's another rousing tale for another time).

So if performance can't be completed within one year from when the agreement was made, the agreement needs a writing.  It doesn't matter if it ends up taking more than a year - it just matters if it was theoretically possible.  In my book, there is a special bullet for "lifetime contracts."  As in "I employ you for the rest of your life."  Does that need to be in writing?

In the state of New York, yes!  Write it down!!
But on the multi-state exam, nope!  And why is this, you wonder???????

Oh, here's the explanation:
"A contract measured by a lifetime (e.g. a promise to 'employ until I die' or 'work until I die') is not within the Statute because it is capable of performance within a year since a person can die at any time."

Thanks a lot, contract law.  Like any of us need reminders that life is short and time is precious when we're stuck inside reading about contract law.  I hate you.