Saturday, March 19, 2011

Race day?

The baby alarm went off this morning at 6:30 am and I looked out the window to see a snow storm. It's a good thing I signed up for a 5 mile race the night before! Spring starts tomorrow, can you tell?

I put on my big girl panties and my race # and forced myself to go to the race. I'm trying to qualify to run 2nd seed at Bloomsday (this allows you to run toward the front of the race which is excellent when there are 50,000 runners racing) and I needed to run 5 miles in 37 minutes (7:24/mile pace) to qualify. This wouldn't be a problem pre-baby but it's a challenge for me right now so time to get to the starting line! Here's how the race went:

Here's how the race went:
Mile 1: 6:59
Mile 2: 7:22
Mile 3: 7:21
Mile 4: 7:41
Mile 5: 7:41
Total: 37:20

I missed Bloomsday 2nd seed qualification by :20. The girl in the finish shoot ahead of me asked the race official, "Where do I sign up for Bloomsday? I just qualified for 2nd seed!" Ouch. That hurt. Perhaps a little discipline with pacing would have helped me this morning, that was quite a fade at the end.

Live and learn but you can't learn if you aren't out there living!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Races aren't couples therapy

Last weekend I returned to racing, a little post-baby test of my running legs. I was surprised by my results and realized I should be pushing a little harder in training. Even though I'm still far away from pre-baby form, I can do better and that is exciting. Life post baby! I take nothing for granted.

Anyway, at the race I saw a woman being paced by a fit looking guy. She was going a decent pace, probably 7:30/mile and he was encouraging her. She looked miserable.

This is a pet peeve of mine, this couples racing. It started for me in 2003, yes, I hold a grudge that long against people I don't even know. I was volunteering at Ironman Coeur d'Alene and part of my job was to hand out finisher's certificates the day after the race. I had the box of certificates for people who finished 13 hours and under. A couple approached my table, holding hands and looking all happy and in love, and they ask for their finisher's certificates. They finished one minute apart in a race that covers over 140 miles. Just speculation on my part but they probably spent some time together on the course. 

(I'm not with these dudes)

I did Ironman CDA a year later and my boyfriend at the time (he later lucked into the husband role) showed up at various parts of the run course to cheer me on. He had a bike and was cruising around to encourage me. How nice! I think I told him to go to the finish line and leave me alone or he would never see me again. 

At the end of a long race, the last person I want to see is my life partner, the person who knows me better than anyone, saying corny things like, "You look great!" when my hair is encrusted with lake water and sweat, my torso is splattered with snot from misfired snot rockets, and I'm really hoping no one can see that I have half peed my pants several times because my body is in shock from 12 hours of continuous exercise. 

Some of my favorite moments in my relationship with Bill come from our athletic adventures. Hours spent together training or exploring or even lifting in the gym are our forte. On race day, I'll see you at the finish line. We can go to couples therapy later. And yes, you need to use your sense of humor to read this.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Don't hate me because I telecommute

It's 3:25 pm and I just finished working for the day. I work part time for Oregon State University but I live in Spokane, WA. It's probably bad, but I'm still in my PJs and I haven't combed my hair yet today. Typically I run at noon and then get dressed after showering post run, but it won't stop snowing today so I'm still not dressed.

There are a lot of fun and positive things about telecommuting, obviously I have more time at home which is invaluable since I had a baby 16 months ago. I also feel like I have more flexibility since I don't have folks watching a clock to see if I leave 5 minutes early for lunch or not. Another little perk is I save time and money by not having to commute to work.

But it does have its downside, which I know people won't listen to, but I think its a pretty heavy downside given the situation with the economy: I lose my connection with the people I work with by not being present in the office every day. A typical telecommuting agreement can be terminated by an employer at anytime, and since I moved to another state, that means I am out of a job if the agreement gets terminated.

When I tell people I telecommute, they get this faraway, grass is always greener look on their face and ask me, "So how did you swing that?"

You won't like my version of how I become a telecommuter either. I worked in the same job for 9 years, during which time I endured 3 leadership changes, several office reassignments, and a whole lot of drama that caused almost every person I originally worked with to quit.

After having a baby, I approached my boss with a telecommuting agreement and he agreed to it. It helped that I had already been on maternity leave and managed to keep things handled while I was out of the office. I think that all of these things combined together made for a sympathetic situation.

Despite all that, I feel that I can lose my job anytime. Things are changing again, we have new leadership and I have no relationship with the new person. I miss having co-workers to chat with and a place to wear nice clothes to everyday. But... I love being home so that the moment my child wakes up and yells "Mama! Mama!" I can go to him, even if I have to hand him off a short time later so I can go back to work.

My advice to anyone interested in telecommuting is to first think of how it will benefit your employer, research company policy, and then approach your boss with a realistic proposal. I think most people just wistfully talk about it but never do anything about it. You never know if you don't ask. If it does get approved, don't waste time, work hard and manage your time with integrity. And never let your boss catch you napping on the job.