Friday, July 27, 2007


Kirk and I saw Rattatouile (check my spelling please) a few weeks ago as I am a big fan of Brad Bird, Pixar, and their animation machine. The Incredibles is definitely on my top ten favorites. Rattatouile, while not up to The Incredibles, was completely cute, fun, and had one of the best flashback scenes I've ever seen. However, there was a part in Rattatouile where a large number of rats invade a kitchen, and I was not the only one in the audience who gasped "Ewwwww!" at the disgusting sight of all those furry creatures on top of stoves, in ovens, and stealing food from the refridgerators. My first apartment in New York had a pretty severe mouse problem. At one point it was so bad that mice would jump out of our kitchen trash can, like something you'd see on Tom & Jerry, one after the other, like they were in a swimming pool and couldn't be happier jumping from the trash to the counter where we kept the microwave, then back down the wall to the little holes they'd constructed while I was sleeping. I went to great lengths to get rid of them, even going so far as setting those dreadful glue traps that, really, are totally inhumane. My only defense is that I was desperate. And disgusted.

When I was a kid I loved rodents; guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, mice. I had them all. Now, the sight of any of the above gives me chills. I hate their sharp little paws and their stupid little rodent teeth; I hate they way they scurry. I hate the word "scurry"! Just thinking about them now is causing my face scrunch up. There is a big difference between the animated rat in Rattatouile and the rats in real life. First, Rattatouile could talk, at least to his other rat friends. And, he could cook, so he had some talent. He was pretty charming in an animated rat sort of way. And there's Rattatouile's biggest plus right there -- he's animated!

"What does all of this have to do with running, Erica? I came to this blog to get some training tips, not read about rats." Okay, okay, I will get to the point. This morning, Alison and I were RUNNING, heading uptown on the WSH. Side note, we were doing 4 miles and we decided to pick up the pace -- less talking, faster running. Anyway, as we were going up this incline, a HUGE rat ran right in our path. My right foot was in the air, about to strike the ground, and if it had I would've come right down on the suckers mid-section. Alison got the worst, though. The rat hit her shoe and kept going. Oh, my face is doing that scrunching thing again! I hate rats!

On the flip side, we survived a faster run. No thanks to the rat.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What I Love About Running

I think I mentioned in a recent post that I suddenly have some free time -- taking an unscheduled hiatus from the desk -- which has allowed me to not only contemplate the rest of my life, but also spend more time working out. Today I treated myself to an extra hour of sleep, so I didn't start my 6 mile run until about 8:45. I also treated myself to a little soundtrack from the iPod. Music on a run is like a donut -- I don't have it very often, but when I do it's a delicious treat. (Side bar about music: when I first started running music was an absolute necessity. When I started training for the marathon last year I found, if I was alone with the iPod, that around mile 12, music became very irritating, and by mile 16 unbearable. I now prefer to be on the pavement with my thoughts, unless I'm on a shorter run, then music can be invigorating.)

I decided to do the big loop in CP, running against traffic as to avoid Cat Hill, which I'd already done a few times this week. I knew I'd have to do that crazy hill at the top of the park, but I find it generally easier running west to east instead of the other way. So, off I went, faster than my usual pace. I had to slow down around mile 3 as a result. As I got to that hill in Harlem I noticed that I was alone. It was so quiet, save for Mike Doughty singing in my ear. There were a couple of kids in the pool, but other than that it felt like the park was mine. And, I suddenly realized what a beautiful day it was and how grateful I am to be healthy and how lucky I am because for me running is a joy, not a job. If nothing else, I can put on my Asics and run. I always feel better after a run, I always feel like I've accomplished something that day, so other things I might not finish don't take on more weight.

I got past the hill, turned the corner, and there were the other runners. They don't know it, but I love them all, even the ones who don't know the rules of the road and get in the way. There aren't many of those.

I was back in my apartment by 10:00, at work by 11:30. I like this hiatus thing. I wish I had lots of money so this could be my life all the time.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pain? What pain?

Well, friends, I am afraid I'm going to have to deal with the fact that my left knee is, dare I say it, hurting. Noooooo!!!! This is a terrible time to have an injury -- not that I am injured, I'm not, I REFUSE to be injured -- but, my health insurance ran out, so even if I was injured, which I am not, I can't go to the doctor. I can go see Gene, the wonderful sports medicine trainer guy that helped me with last year's IT band issue. He's not terribly expensive and after seeing him I was able to run in two weeks. But, this is the beginning of Marathon training, and taking two weeks off would be a problem, I think. Or, maybe it wouldn't. Ciara trained for the Oregon Marathon in 12 weeks. Plus, I am already doing 15 mile runs. Ugh, I really, really, really do not want to deal with this. C'mon! On top of everything else -- I'm referring to my job right now, which, as been all year, is keeping me in financial distress -- I have to maybe, possibly, figure out how to cure my knee. Why were knees made so fragile? Why haven't we evolved by now to have strong-ass, unbreakable knees?

Let's talk about what I did this weekend. Well, the show I've been working on with Uma and Nicole opened on Saturday morning at 11:00a.m. (festival schedule. What can you do?) and was a big success! The show performed to a sold out audience. They laughed at everything. And, despite not having had a complete run of the show with tech, the actors were totally on and the show was tight. We had an opening day brunch, complete with mimosas (I drank 4) and beer donated by Sam Adams. Brunch was lots of fun and most of the audience was able to attend. When I got home I changed and went on a five mile run, mimosas swimming in my brain and belly. I think the adrenaline from the show gave me the energy to run those five miles, and I ran them pretty fast. I'd had little sleep the night before, too, so I certainly wasn't well rested. I do not condone or support running while intoxicated, but I have to say, it was an experience I didn't mind having, just that one time.

On Sunday I ran a much slower 15 miles, the first 10 with Alison. The last five miles were faster as, by that time, I was bored out of my mind and just wanted to be done. Wow, was I bored! Being bored on a run is awful because you can't think about anything other than "Are we there yet?". You just want it to end.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Erica & The City

Marathon training officially started last week and guess who forgot? I called Alison when I discovered week 18 (or week 1, though I prefer to count down) had come and gone with little more than a blink from me. How different from last year when I did nothing but think about the marathon. Every move I made, all social plans, my entire life last year revolved around my training schedule. Not that I'm behind; we've been training for the NIKE half in August, so I am doing long runs. Alison and I did a 10 mile run last weekend, and tomorrow we're meeting Amanda and Andy for another 8 - 12 mile run in the park. I've run 12 already this week. If I do 12 tomorrow and 5 on Sunday I'll be one mile under where I should be. Not to fret, though; since I've not neglected the weight training I count that toward my marathon time. In my mind I'm right on track. And, hey, my arms are looking good. Wish the belly would shrink.

Wow, I'll be 36 tomorrow. 30-freakin-6. I'm older than I ever thought I'd be. I feel like a 20 year old. And, if I do say so myself, I'm not looking my age. Definitely younger, though the puffy eyes are starting to give me away.

It's July and the streets are hot. My 5 mile run in CP on Wednesday was painful. Ah, the humidity. And the taxis. The exhaust from the cars is horrible.

I do love this city.