Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Holiday happenings

Happy belated holidays everyone! My apologies for not posting earlier but I decided to flip the bird at the internet for a while in order to block all reminders of the shit-ton of work I have waiting for me. It was a glorious week, let me tell you.

The Xenia family Christmas was as fun and eventful as ever. The tree went crashing to the floor twice killing about a half dozen ornaments in the process. We also managed to lock ourselves out of both the house and car one freezing day and were forced to break in the front door using a credit card, spade and a lot of brute force. Family bonding at its best.

The first half of my stay has been quite productive in a lot of ways. I’ve seen and chatted with a lot of my family, bought and wrapped gifts well before Christmas Eve, sent out Christmas cards, waded through a year’s worth of mail, broke out a can of whoop-ass on my credit card company for being disorganized douchebags, driven a car without veering into the wrong lane (much) and eaten almost everything on my food list. My stocking included York peppermint patties and I’ve pretty much eaten an entire batch of my grandma’s balls by myself. They’re delicious. The last item to tick off (Mexican food) will be taken care of this weekend.

What I have not been so productive at is running. In the ten days I’ve been here, I’ve run only once. Stellar considering I’m training for a marathon, no? But I have excuses. And a couple of them may even be valid.

There is no treadmill at the homestead, so all my running has to be done outdoors. That’s not a bad thing except the weather has not been cooperating. For the first four days here we had a cold spell which plummeted the temps into the teens. Add in the wind chill and there was no way I was running. Then there was a day of incessant rain and yesterday we got about four inches of snow. Now we’re heading into another cold spell which will probably derail things even further.

My location also needs to be taken into account. Take a look at where I am:

Civilized, this is not

If you’re thinking to yourself “Geez, this looks like the middle of nowhere”, you’d be right. We’re pretty much about a 20 minute drive from civilization and have no cell phone service. The homestead is on a dirt road next to Route 123. Even in good weather it’s impossible to run on 123 because there’s absolutely no shoulder, which leaves me with the dirt road.

The homestead is situated at the bottom of a hill, so the only direction to run is uphill. I’m not a fan of hills. There are virtually none in Nerdtown so I’m not used to them, hence I don’t like them. The road surface is currently covered in a thick layer of compacted snow, ice and gravel. I don’t own YakTrax and I’m not an ice skater. You do the math.

Though most of the route is quite picturesque with snow-covered trees and tinkling streams, the relative isolation makes the last part of the runable road rather disturbing. Here, take a look at this:

Nowhereville according to Xenia

As you can see, I leave the homestead and run south-west. Besides the sucktastic hills, everything’s fine as I’m surrounded by woodland dotted with the occasional quaint house. However, when the road turns toward the south and I crest the final part of the hill, things aren’t so nice. There are about a half dozen rundown shacks along this part of the road. They look like they’re straight out of the movie Deliverance. Apparently, these are their vacation homes. Nice. But the piece de resistance is the turn-around point—a large farm house which itself is actually fine, but no so much the gigantic scary barn next to it. It’s not a very inviting structure and by that I mean it’s straight out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. To be fair, the farm is only about a quarter mile from the next town, but I’m not a fast runner so you know that shit wouldn’t end well for me.

My irrational hysteria aside, the running conditions are less than ideal in Nowhereville and holiday sloth has taken away most of my motivation. I may have to rethink the spring marathon. Maybe I should choose another one a month or two later. Eh, I’m not too fussed about it at the moment. Grandma’s balls seem to be having a calming effect on me. Sweet.

All right, time for me to get back to stuffing my face and gaining weight.

Have a happy new year, everyone.

Later gators.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Gaseous cerebral emissions

Welcome to the random brain farts that are my thoughts lately.
  • I have not been able to concentrate on my work for the last week and a half.
  • I’ve not been sleeping well either.
  • My left eye has been twitching for four days.
  • And I have a headache at the back of my skull.
  • I need to calm the hell down and focus.
  • But I get to fly home tomorrow. YIPPEE!!
  • I am extraordinarily thankful I am not flying with British Airways. However, my friend Canadia is and she’s having a hell of a time right now facing the prospect of not being able to go home for the holidays or attend a conference at which she’s supposed to present a paper. Cross your fingers for her, folks.
  • The foot pain I experienced last week has abated. I RICE’d, used the tennis ball every day and even had the occasional foot massage. All is good, though I can tell my shin and calf muscles need to be strengthened so I continue with the simple exercises you all suggested. Thanks.
  • I totally need to start doing yoga again when I get back here in January.
  • As for your other suggestions, well let’s just say that being a one-footed kinky inebriated whore didn’t exactly sound like the best of remedies. I’ll take it under advisement for the next time though.
  • The temperature in NH is ten plus degrees lower than it is here in England. And there’s already lots of snow on the ground.
  • Not surprisingly, I’ve rearranged my running schedule this week in order to get my 10 mile long run in before I fly out.
  • Actually, I’m running the 10-miler tomorrow morning before my afternoon departure.
  • Hopefully I won’t regret that decision.
  • Yesterday I purchased a bright orange mesh vest with wide yellow reflective strips for running in NH.
  • I really don’t want to be mistaken for a deer or, god forbid, a moose and get shot while running in my home state.
  • Because that would, like, totally suck.
  • I took Aeolus in for his one month check-up and got him tricked out with a wire basket.
  • Now I can cycle with my gym bag and my backpack without the awkward balancing act and threat of road rash.
  • Did I mention I’m flying home tomorrow?!
  • If anyone has an in with Virgin Atlantic, could you please hook me up with an upgrade for tomorrow? I would be eternally grateful.
  • And by eternally grateful I mean I would send you a Popener.
  • I’m a poor graduate student. It’s all I’ve got, people.
Okay, that’s it for me. Back to not working on my craptastic dissertation. Have a fabulous rest of the week and a great weekend. Catch up with you again next week when I’ll be stateside, freezing my ass off and, hopefully, stuffed to the gills with tasty fatty American food. I can’t wait!

Later gators.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Race Report: Santas on the Run

Ho ho ho!

If you’ve never run in costume, I highly recommend it. Even if you show up to the race to find out everyone else is wearing the same thing. Come on, people, let’s coordinate better next time!

Sunday was the Santas on the Run race in Nerdtown. I was able to cajole Mortie and Aus into joining me so I didn’t have to feel like a lone idiot. The three of us met up and then made our way to the start where all the Santas were partaking in the customary cult warm-up exercises.

Sea of santas

Then we were off!



It was only a two mile race so everything went by pretty fast. I caught some of the run on video. Forgive the bouncing. I’m working on my in-race camera work.



As is usual with these charity races, groups of walkers abounded and impeded progress, so at the beginning I knew running for time was stupid and decided to just hang with my friends and enjoy the day.

It was all great fun and I hope to run it again next year. After the race, I cycled home in full Santa gear and got a lot of interesting reactions from passersby. I think I should dress up in costume more often. In fact, if there’s another nun run in London next year, I’m totally running it. Now that’s a habit I can get into. (badump bump ching!)

So now comes the moment where you all whinge and cry because I didn’t post a photo of myself in a Santa costume. Usually I’d just say tough titties, but I’m feeling kinda generous since it’s the season of giving, so I’ll make an exception. Here I am:

Oops, sorry, not me. I’m not much of a drinker. Could be most any of you all though. All right, here I am:

Er, okay, maybe that’s not me. But this one is:

I’m, like, totally hot, huh? It was kinda difficult to run in the Santa suit they issued us so, as you can see, I just held onto the girls until the run was over. Like, totally smart, right?

Okay, okay. That’s not me either. I know, hard to believe, huh?

All right, enough of the teasing.

I was sad that I didn’t have a Rudolph nose to wear so I photoshopped one in for your viewing pleasure. Other than that, the rest is actually me. However, I would like to point out that my mouth doesn’t normally look like an old lady’s vagina. That’s just the effect of the itchy fake beard. No, really.

Have a great week, everyone.

Later gators.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Paging Dr. Diagnosis

I have no idea if anyone took me up on my suggestion of guessing when I’d injure myself during this training cycle, but if you said Week 2, then you’re right! Go get yourself a cookie to celebrate. Jackhole.

I don’t have time to fart around on the internet today in order to diagnose said injury, so I’m gonna pass the buck on to you fine folks and hope like hell someone hits on the right answer. Here’s the situation:

There’s an ache in my left arch and in the inside of my ankle. Actually the ache spread from the arch to include the ankle. How nice of it to share the fun. I felt the arch discomfort at the beginning of last week. Wasn’t much so I thought it was just a one off. Now however it is increasing and I’m on the cusp of limping a bit when I walk. It’s still just a dull ache though. No sharp pains or anything.

Here’s what I think probably caused the pain:

About four weeks ago, I got fed up with the second toe on my left foot always feeling crammed in my running shoe and perpetually having a black toenail if it had one at all. I realized my left insert was the culprit. It’s a custom designed insert I got from the running store here last March and it’s supposed to last me a year. There’s an extra heel bit just a few millimeters thick on the left heel only. Apparently my left arch is a bit worse than my right one. Anyhoo, the damn thing was always detaching itself from the rest of the insert and migrating, so I thought I’d try running without it once. I did and after a few minutes of adjustment for my body, all was well and the toe was spared further discomfort. Yay.

The inserts are pretty beat up already and probably at the end of their life and I’ve only been wearing one pair of running shoes these last four months and they’re getting ready to be retired too. I’ve been doing my feet a disservice, I know.

I will be adding the stupid heel piece back on to my insert, but then my toe is probably going to lose its nail again. I realize that’s the lesser of two evils, but it’s still a pain. I’ll deal though. When I go back to the states I’ll be getting a new pair of inserts anyway, so I just need this one to hold out a couple more weeks.

Now I need to know what exercises, stretches, etc I need to be doing to heal and strengthen the left foot. Any informed suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

This of course does not bode overly well for my long run (just an eight miler) and the Santa run this weekend. Poopsicles. I’ve brought in a tennis ball to work today and am rolling my shoeless foot on it now in the hopes that this will somehow help. If for some reason this may make it worse, for the love of all that’s holy let me know as soon as possible. I’m an idiot when it comes to this sort of thing as has been made quite obvious from this post.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Later gators.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Potpourri: holiday edition

I don’t feel like talking about health and fitness stuff today, so you get this instead.

Staying warm on a budget
My desk in the house is right in front of a window. Cold air comes through the window and gets funneled downward by the curtain thus freezing my feetsies. My house in general is usually not that warm these days so I wrap myself up in my quilt when I sit at my desk. However, this still leaves my feet in environs equivalent to those of a meat locker. Well, genius that I am, I’ve come up with a solution. Sleeping bag + hot water bottle = lovely warmth and continued blood circulation. Huzzah! The one problem is if I have to get up in a hurry. Basically I end up falling over and flailing around like a turtle stuck on its back. God help me the day I end up bursting the hot water bottle in the process. I may drown.

Next week can’t come soon enough
I’ve been getting nostalgic recently. I’m sick of the rain and I’m sick of my dissertation. The holidays are here and the only thing I want to do is go home and enjoy it all with my loved ones. I realize most people bitch and moan about having to visit the old homestead this time of year, but as we all know by now, I’m not normal. You live far enough away from everyone for a while and you begin to appreciate what you’ve left behind. Having said that, we still do have a saturation point with each other. That’s why my visit is just under three weeks—I should be leaving just before we all start getting irritated with one another. It’s all about planning, people.

Anyhoo, since I can’t think much beyond simple bullet points nowadays, here’s random list-y stuff I’ve been looking forward to about the holidays.
And I’ve petered out. Stupid brain. So, what are you looking forward to/enjoying about the holidays?

Countdown to Crazy
Five days till I don the Santa suit and run my cranky ass through Nerdtown. What I find most amusing about all of this is that a lot of you expect to see photographic evidence of this stupidity. Silly rabbits.

Tonight’s the department Christmas party where everyone gets tanked on free booze and the grad students gorge themselves on the free food. Nothing like trying to act cool and professional while a sloshed faculty member sways drunkenly in front of you yammering away as you surreptitiously collect nibbles into a napkin for later. Hello awkward, my old friend.

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Water, water, everywhere

The Xenia’s one-woman Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5K was a success. Amazingly, I not only scored first place in my age group, but I also placed first overall. Outstanding, no? :)

Turns out I did get to celebrate Turkey Day properly this year, just not on the Thursday. Sunday night, I brought over a green bean casserole to a friend’s where he had cooked up an entire Thanksgiving Day feast. He did an amazing job, especially being heavily handicapped as he was (he’s British). Included in the menu was pumpkin pie. Amazing homemade pumpkin pie. It was delish! So for all of you who ate an extra slice of pie for me last Thursday, I’d just like to say thanks for your efforts, fatties. Too bad it was all for naught.

Here comes the rain again...
Thankfully I'm not forced to crawl through a river of shit first...

Contrary to my often inane ramblings on this blog, I’m not an idiot. I did realize England’s reputation for gray skies and perpetual rain. However, it’s one thing to understand it in a theoretical sense, but entirely another to live it.

This island’s BFF status with the jet stream is effing killing me. It rains all the damn time except for a few moments here and there. Light drizzle, steady rain, outright downpour with gale force winds. If a type of rain exists, it’s present in England.

Monday marked the beginning of Week 1 of my marathon training. I was supposed to go to the gym to swim. Nope, didn’t happen even though I felt like a total lard-ass after the Thanksgiving feast the previous day. Early this week we had a cold snap. Add to this the perpetual rain and there was no way I felt like waking up early to cycle in the freezing rain to the pool. Instead I pigged out on sugary goodness to celebrate my unstoppable aging process.

Tuesday rolled around with the first planned run of my training schedule—a simple 3 miler. Yup, you guessed it—freezing cold temps, incessant rain and my wimpy fatty self decided snoozing for an extra hour was a much better option than running in cold rain.

Finally on Wednesday, the cold snap disappeared and we were left with our usual mildly cold rainy conditions. It was drizzling Wednesday morning and, I hate to admit it, but I wimped out AGAIN. I resolved that no matter what the weather was like I was going to run that evening.

A little after 7 pm, I cycled home in a downpour. I trudged into the house and up the stairs and got my running gear on. I made sure my ipod was encased in its ghetto water resistant sleeve (i.e. a ziploc bag I cut up) and out the door I went.....into a perfectly lovely evening. It was no longer raining. Sure there were gigantic puddles everywhere, but I wasn’t being pissed on by the sky gods and that’s all that mattered.

I clocked in my best 5K time in weeks on that run. Psyched up about running and being in training mode again, I headed out early this morning for my second planned 3 miler for the week. It was a helluva lot slower than the first, but what did I expect after only 12 hours of rest in between.

Anyhoo, all this is to say I’m back on track with my training plan and feeling good. I’m looking forward to swimming tomorrow morning and running my first long run in ages this weekend. It’s only a measly 6 miles but since I haven’t been running more than 4 miles in the last couple of months, it’ll definitely seem long to me.

Okay, back to the dissertation grind for me. I’ll catch up with you guys when I can.

Later gators.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Plus one

I can't come out to play today, because today is my birthday! So I have lots of cake to eat and gifts to receive. Speaking of which, I believe all the gifts from you guys have gotten lost in the mail. Incompetent fools. Try harder next time.

Anyhoo, once I've been revived from my sugar coma, I'll post again. Hope everyone had a great weekend and survived Black Friday. Here's to a painless week ahead.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Check

So far so good this week. I’ve swum twice and got in a slow and steady three miler yesterday morning. Sweet!

The swimming is definitely improving which is making me very happy. Swimming was on my to-do list for ages. You know those items you always hope to tick off, but don’t because you don’t have enough money, aren’t thin enough, aren’t brave enough, etc. Well, screw that shit. I’m sick of waiting. I figure about a third of my life is over, so I better make the most of what I have left. I hope when I’m in my sixties and seventies I’m one of those scary broads who can outswim, outrun, outfun pretty much everyone and don’t give a rat’s ass that the elasticity in my skin is shot and my hooters are better acquainted with my knees than my torso.

Speaking of ticking items off the to-do list....I’ve always wanted to run in a turkey trot, but haven’t been able to since I live in England and they don’t do those here for obvious reasons. Well, to hell with that. Tomorrow morning I’m heading out for a 5k run—Xenia’s own one-woman Turkey Trot 5k. Take that, colonial oppressors!

However because of work deadlines, I can’t take time off to celebrate Thanksgiving properly so all you lucky bastard Americans need to eat for me tomorrow. Particularly pie. Please eat a slice of pie for your homegirl. It’s all I ask. I know it’s a hardship, but try to take one for the team, okay.

And in case any of you were still wondering, my bike does indeed have a name now.

Meet Aeolus.

Big thanks to Mike at Running is Funny for naming my wheels. Aeolus is the perfect combination of Greek mythology and puerile humor (heh, he said wind) which totally fits both my bike and myself. I tip my hat to you, sir. In fact, if you so desire, I’ll even send you a Popener as a proper thank you. If you don’t want it, then you can choose another recipient from amongst all the irate commenters who will be sure to vent their rage. It’s up to you.

Since most of you will be in a tryptophan coma soon, this will be my last post for the week. Enjoy the holiday, my fellow Americans. To my Canadian friends, have a great rest of the week. Catch you guys again on Monday.

Later gators.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Prelude to Suckville

In a week’s time, I’m set to begin marathon training. Yeah, that’s gonna bite the big one seeing as I’ve only been running about once a week for the last month. Oy.

I’m not sure what I should have you all betting on—whether I’ll actually get all four scheduled runs in the first week or when exactly I’m going to get hobbled with an injury. Eh, I leave it up to you guys.

My running may be patchy, but at least my swimming continues. Went to the pool this morning and even after showering and eating lunch (chilli beef and rice soup from Pret A Manger—yummy) my hands still smell like chlorine. Lovely.

This weekend I went to a friend’s for dinner and to watch illegally acquired episodes of Glee. I’m not much for musicals. In fact I tend to hate them violently. But my friend assured me that the show was really quite good and worth a watch, particularly for the eye candy.

Hello, Mark Salling.

I'm a sucker for beard stubble. Sue me.


The good kind of man-boobs

At first I felt kinda dirty for lusting after him since he plays a 17 year old on the show, but then I found out that he’s actually 27. Totally legal. Huzzah!

And because I have nothing else to say, need some filler and want to take an unprovoked potshot at Vanilla Ian by stealing his schtick, here are recent photos of Julia Roberts running.

Courtesy of Popsugar

I had no idea she was a runner. Julia always reminds me of my sister Z which may be why I didn't think she was a runner--Z has shoddy knees and therefore does not run. Although they don’t look much alike in the face, they’re both tall, slim and have gigantic lions' manes for hair, though Z’s is dark brown. Okay, maybe my real life peeps-celebrity associations aren't spot on but at least they're interesting. My mother reminds me of Kathy Bates and my father of Sadaam Hussein. No, I'm not explaining those. You'll just have to guess...and be terribly frightened in the process.

Okay, that’s more than enough of my rambling. Have a great week, a short one for my fellow Americans. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Say my name

I’ve gotten off my duff and have one run in so far this week. I was supposed to get in another this morning, but since I was kept awake last night by the fight my crackhead neighbor was having with her possibly-no-longer boyfriend, that just didn’t happen. The run is rescheduled for tomorrow morning barring more ruckus from her house. Damn these thin English walls!

Yesterday I had my last swim lesson. My instructor was quite impressed with the progress I’ve made and I have to say so am I. I was a total catastrophe in the beginning and needed to plug my nose with my hand. Now I’m a little more coordinated (only thrashing around half as much) and can use both arms to propel me forward instead of holding my nose and praying to the sweet baby jesus not to let me accidentally swallow half the water in the pool.

Score!

My plan is to continue with swim practice three days a week. I’m still searching for the right rhythm and timing in both the front crawl and breast stroke. I think it’ll be like riding a bike—one day it’ll all just fall into place.

Speaking of bikes, take a look at mine:

My trusty steed

I’ve been trying to think up a name for him. And yes, it’s definitely a him. For Frayed Lacesname-her-bike contest, I suggested the name Hades. I was thinking of using that for my bike, more in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way since my bike is so NOT badass like hers. I don’t know. What do you guys think?

One more thing before I go. You know how I said I signed up for one last race this year? Well, guess what I got in the post yesterday...

Ho, ho, ho!

Christmas has arrived early this year. Good lord, what have I done?

Later gators.

Monday, 16 November 2009

American-style

Thank you, ladies, for all your excellent advice. Right now I’m treating last week’s episode as a one-off but if it happens again, off to the GP I go.

This weekend, I ran both Saturday and Sunday. Short distances as I’ve hardly been running lately and I didn’t want to risk injury by going all gung-ho crazy at the start. This morning I awoke amidst a rainstorm and got my shit together to head off to the gym for swim practice. I’m gonna learn how to do the front crawl properly even if it kills me. Which should be about Wednesday, I think.

Anyhoo, as the holidays inch ever closer, I’ve been making travel plans. I’ll be flying back to the states in mid-December and hanging out in the homeland for about three weeks. Three weeks of quality friends and family time, but, more importantly, three weeks to consume vast quantities of my favorite foods which I can’t get in England. I realize I don’t live in the backend of nowhere but there are plenty of foods you just can’t get over here. At least not without selling off an appendage or two to pay for it.

Here’s my list of must-eat foods while I’m stateside. So far, that is.
  • grandma’s balls (of the chocolate peanut butter variety—get your mind out of the gutter, pervs)
  • root beer (also possibly a root beer float)
  • chinese food (it’s different over here—not bad, just different)
  • christmas dinner (turkey with all the trimmings—I’m probably missing out on Thanksgiving so I’m really looking forward to this)
  • cheesesteak with mushrooms (from my cousin’s restaurant)
  • pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms (also from my cousin’s restaurant)
  • York peppermint patty
  • applesauce (they don’t do this over here—only this ultra sweet bramley crap for cooking with meat. I want my snack pack, bitch.)
  • different dishes of greek food (because it always tastes better when made by my family)
  • Cheetos (Z and I have a long-standing tradition of eating Cheetos and playing board games during the holidays. It’s our thing. Don’t judge.)
  • fudge (mom’s is the best)
  • pie—pumpkin, apple, blueberry... I don’t care just give me a slice.
  • Mexican food—preferably a chicken chimichanga and some garlic nachos with some super hot salsa.
Obviously I’ll also need a supersized bucket in which to vomit after I consume all of this crap as well as a seatbelt extension on my return flight to England. I don’t care. It’ll be worth it.

Ah, America, how I miss you.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Period. Full stop.

[Editor’s note: Gentlemen, I’m going to be nice for once and warn you that this is a serious post about gross women’s stuff. Feel free to skip reading today. I won’t blame you in the least.]

I haven’t been motivated to do any running or exercising this week. The weather has been crap and my body just hasn’t been up for it. It’s that time of the month again for me, which I don’t like to use as an excuse for not exercising, but considering the little episode I had on Monday, I’m gonna let it slide this time.

Monday I woke up early and was getting ready to go to the gym for swim practice. I was in the bathroom when things went wonky. All of a sudden I got really dizzy and felt nauseous. My reproductive organs and lower intestines also decided to join in the fun and went haywire. I almost didn’t know which end to put on the toilet. I decided I’d much rather clean up my vomit than anything that would get ejected from the lower end so I sat down on the toilet and leaned over the rubbish bin just in case.

I took deep breaths and just kept hoping it would all pass quickly. I finally went #2, but it didn’t end there. The cramps continued and they were horrendous. It felt like my uterus was trying to eject itself from my body. For the first time ever I actually broke out into a cold sweat. I soaked my pj top and had tracks of liquid running down my face. Granted some of them could have been tears—I had no idea then or now.

When nothing more seemed to want to come out of my body, I went back to bed and laid down. But the nausea and cramps wouldn’t go away, so I had to go back to the bathroom and hunker down just in case. I did this three times. The only painkiller I had was ibuprofen and I didn’t want to take that on an empty stomach, so I had to wait it out. Finally when the nausea abated, I ate a small banana and took the ibuprofen. I filled the hot water bottle, put it against my lower abdomen and went back to bed.

I slipped in and out of sleep for the next hour and eventually the ibuprofen kicked in. All was better. To be on the safe side though, I decided to work from home that day. Except for being a little bit tired, the rest of the day passed without incident.

The whole thing was very strange. My body has never done that before. What’s also weird was that I was already on day two of my period. If crazy shit like that’s gonna happen, I would expect it more on the first day. I usually get the worst cramps a few days before and the first day of my period, but after that it’s minimal. This was definitely not my norm.

So I’ve spent the rest of the week being a lazy ass. No other incident has occurred but the concern is still there at the back of my mind. I haven’t run in almost two weeks and I feel like a bloated overstuffed cow. My cycle (and yes, it’s a long one as usual) is almost over and I’m looking forward to getting back out there. I’m just hoping that Monday was a fluke. Because if it happens again next month, I’m gonna have to see the GP. And I really don’t want to have to deal with that.

Have any of you ladies experienced anything like this before? Any clue as to what happened to me? All advice is welcome.

Sorry for the seriousness of today’s post. I’ll go back to being my bitchy sarcastic self next week. Promise.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Later gators.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Easy Rider

It’s finally happened. I’ve been talking about doing it for years and finally did it this weekend.

Nope, I didn’t dry hump Colin Firth’s leg or bitch-slap Britney Spears for continuing to disregard my you-need-to-wear-a-goddamn-bra edict. Those are still on the to-do list.

Bitches, I bought a bike.

Now don’t you triathlon freaks go all crazy thinking you’ve got a new convert. F*ck that shit. I know I’ve been swimming a bit lately, but there’s no way I’m going to squeeze myself into sausage-encasing lycra for all the world to see while I huff and puff through three sports, all of which I suck at. There’s a reason why I go to the pool so early—no one else in their right mind wakes up before dawn to use the pool hence it’s just me and possibly one other loon at most.

I bought the bike for transport purposes. My only other mode of transportation in this town is my feetsies, so it takes me an age to get anywhere. It used to take me twenty minutes to get to the gym from my house. Now it takes less than five. Halle-freakin’-lujah!

Of course I also plan on taking some scenic bike rides on the weekends now. There are plenty of trails around here and I also now have an annual pass to Blenheim Palace, which will be a great destination for longer rides.

Now all I have to concern myself with is playing in English traffic. Which side of the road am I supposed to cycle on again? *gulp*

Yeah, yeah. I know none of you give a rat’s ass about any of this. You just want to know who won the Popeners. Well, here you go, you greedy bastards.

The Popener for the funniest comment goes to joyRuN. Sweet baby jesus, woman, your desperation is freaking hilarious. I know I’m going to hell for laughing at you as much as I have, but damn that was funny. Thanks for the entertainment. You’ve well earned your piece of blasphemous Catholic tchotchke. But seeing as you winning has probably enraged G, you might think about posting that photo of your ass to appease him. You did offer after all.

The random winner of the second Popener was commenter #7...
...who is the fabulous Merry.

Congrats ladies! Just email me your snail mail addys and I’ll get those Popeners out to you this week. However it may take them a while to arrive....if they do at all. The Royal Mail was on strike for a while, but now it seems a cease-fire has been declared until the new year. But there’s still bitter underpaid postal workers to contend with as well as a backlog of mail to get out. Lovely, no?

Okay, that’s it from me. Have a happy rest of the week, everyone.

Later gators.

Friday, 6 November 2009

What would you do for one?

My self-hate reasserted itself as I again went to the gym ass-early yesterday morning for more swim practice. I continue to look like an uncoordinated gasping hot mess while attempting a front crawl. It’s a beautiful sight, I’m sure.

This afternoon I resume my swim lessons where I can not-so-proudly tell my instructor that I’ve made sod-all progress and she needs to repeat everything she taught me last time. Awesome.

My attempts at swimming have been the only exercise I’ve gotten in this week. I had also planned to run this evening, but scratched that to accept an invite for dinner at a Greek restaurant. Of course, I’ll be making up for the calorie fest (flaming cheese!) this weekend by running both days which is not really a hardship since I’m itching to get back out on the road. I miss running.

With not much else to say (unless you want to read about my dissertation--yeah, I didn't think so), I thought this might be a perfect time for a giveaway. Thanks to my recent sojourn in Italy, I’ve once again stocked up on the holy grail of tacky souvenirs, the Popener. In order to be the recipient of one of these fine pieces of Italian craftsmanship (to which Viper can attest seeing as the one he won broke during its first use), you need to leave a comment on this post answering the following question:

What would you do for a Popener?

Funniest answer (to be judged by myself and my officemates based on the answer’s ability to make tea/coffee come out of our noses) will win a Popener. To be fair to those who are funny bone-challenged, I will also have the random number generator choose a second recipient for a Popener. Because I’m awesome and that’s how I roll. And no, the same person cannot win both. Because I said so, that’s why.

Deadline for posting an answer in the comments is Monday, November 9th by noon EST. The winners will be announced Tuesday barring any unexpected academic crap that I may have to deal with.

Have a happy weekend, everyone. Catch you again next week.

Later gators.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Apparently I hate myself

This conclusion resulted from a realization that some of my actions of late fall into the two main categories of self-hate.

1) Causing oneself pain voluntarily, and

2) Putting oneself in embarrassing situations. Again, voluntarily.

So, what exactly have I done to myself lately?

Well, this morning I woke up (voluntarily!) at 6:30 am after less than six hours sleep to drag my ass across town (20 minutes on foot) to use the gym pool. I’m continuing my swimming lessons this week and next so thought I should get in some practice. The result—I still suck at swimming. Basically I look like a retarded baby whale missing a flipper.

While that is embarrassing, I’ve also managed to set myself up for a total mock-fest in December. I’ve officially signed up for one last race this year—a two mile run in mid-December. What’s so bad about that, you ask? Well, while running those two miles, I’ll also be sporting a felt Santa suit and beard. Ho, ho, ho, bitches!

In an effort to morph my self-hate into general misanthropy, I’ve coerced nearly a half dozen friends into joining me in this endeavor. However, to date, I am the only one to have actually registered for the race.

Misanthropy wins. I hate people.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Busted

So yesterday a colleague and I were heading out to the store to pick up something to nibble on during afternoon break. Before leaving the building we stopped at the toilets to do our respective business.

So I entered the bathroom, locked the door and reached for the pull on my zipper. It was at this point that all hell broke loose.

Three of the teeth on the left side of the zipper decided to liberate themselves from my jeans. As I pulled the tab down, I heard a rapid fire ‘ping, ping, ping’. With sinking dread I looked down at my now derailed and totally unfixable zipper.

Feck. In fact, double feck.

Thankfully I was wearing a long, loose top that covered the damage. After finishing my intended business, I exited the bathroom and met back up with my colleague. I told her my embarrassing predicament. Good friend that she is, she laughed at me outright and then dragged me to the store anyway where I proceeded to purchase a small bag of crisps and some Rolos. Because the obvious thing to do after busting out of your jeans is to consume 400 unhealthy calories in one sitting.

Fatty don’t like logic.

To be fair to myself, those jeans were over six years old and at the end of their life anyway. Still, it doesn’t make me feel any better. The last time I exercised was Monday night when I went for another seriously slow three miler. Perhaps my jeans were trying to tell me something. Like stop working so long at the office and MOVE YOUR FAT ASS.

That’s just a guess though.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Looking ahead

You know when I said I might not run the Rome marathon in the spring?

Yeah. Well, I’ve changed my mind.

Yesterday I was chatting with the smartest person I know (my mother, natch) and she helped me to see the light. I explained I was afraid that I would obsess about marathon training which would in turn distract me from finishing my dissertation. This is a valid concern as this is exactly what is happening with a friend of mine. Either that or it’s his mid-life crisis. Hard to tell sometimes.

My mother’s response to this? “Then don’t obsess about it.”

Word, ma. Word.

She proceeded to point out that this was obviously something I really wanted to do and the only thing holding me back from doing it was me.

See, she’s a smart lady.

This is pretty encouraging talk from a person who REALLY wants me to finish up my degree and soon. And no, it’s not because she wants a grandchild.


Because my mother understands that if I wanted to play Russian roulette with an explosive colon on a daily basis, I’d just move in with my grandmother.

The plan now is to spend the next five weeks building up a base and then officially start marathon training on.....yup, my birthday. I like the symmetry of that—complete my first marathon on my birthday, start training for #2 on the same day a year later.

So I’ve been taking a look at potential training plans. I kinda like Hal Higdon’s Intermediate II plan, mostly because I like the idea of running half the distance of my long run the day before. My major weakness in running is not pushing myself enough. Since I don’t expect to be experiencing the same zen-like I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-my-time-is-hey-look-at-that-pretty-cloud attitude I had in my first marathon, I need to better prepare myself this time around. Enduring extra difficult slug-fest long runs during training should better prepare me mentally for the pain of race day. I like that. Well, at least in theory.

However I like to cross train so I’m worried about burning out with running too many miles each week. So I think I’m going to limit myself to running three or four days a week. What type of runs all those are going to be yet is still to be determined.

I guess things will become clearer once I figure out what my race goal should be. My ultimate marathon goal is 4:30. But that’s gonna take a hell of a lot of work over the next five months to accomplishment as well as needing a big whopping miracle. Me thinks I need to get realistic and lower my goal.

How does 4:50 sound? It would be a 26 minute PR and shave exactly a minute per mile off my time. It may sound like a cop-out not going for 4:30 but I’m all about keeping my expectations low with running. And men.

Speaking of men underperforming (mildly awkward segue but I’ll take it)....gentlemen, have you seen this affront to your collective marathoning machismo?


Yeah. Why does that not surprise me.

All right, folks, that’s it for me. Have a great week ahead. I’ll catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

About time

Upon my return to England I walked right into Deadline Central and have been bogged down with more stuff than I was prepared for so the first two things to go were exercise and blogging. It’s been a craptacular almost two weeks, let me tell you.

But finally on Wednesday, sick of everything but most especially my expanding waistline and perpetual lack of energy, I left the office at a reasonable hour and went for a three mile run. It’s been a month since my last run. Let me repeat that: ONE MONTH. I couldn’t believe it either until I looked at my running log. Holy moley.

The run was fan-freaking-tastic. Until after when I looked at the numbers. I took it easy during the run but pushed myself a little bit here and there to stretch out my muscles. I thought I was running 10:45 to 11 minute miles.

Um, no. Make that 11:43 per mile.

Fuck a duck.

Yeah, I should have anticipated this. You can’t walk away from running for a month and then come back as if nothing has happened. Dues must be paid, retribution exacted.

Today my quads are sore but, oddly enough, in an almost pleasant way. I’m hitting the gym this evening for Body Combat class and then on Friday I plan on getting in another three miler.

My plan right now is to take things easy and slowly get back into a decent fitness routine. Currently there are no races on my schedule for the rest of the year, though I’m eyeing a 10K in late November. Need to suss out logistics first though.

As for marathon training....well, I don’t know. Like Kristina and everybody else in my real life who submitted a ballot, I didn’t make the cut for the London Marathon. (Damn you, Branson!) There’s still Rome, but I also have a dissertation to finish in a year, so marathon training may be put on the back burner until that’s mostly completed. We’ll see. I’m still debating.

Okay, so that’s what’s up with me. If there are long periods of blog silence here at Diggin’ It, it’s because my dissertation is keeping me busy. But I promise always to re-surface to update, support, chide and heckle you all. I do so enjoy it afterall.

All right, folks, that’s it from me. I’ll wish you all an early happy weekend now. See you next week. (Hopefully!)

Later gators.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Paint by numbers

My kickin' headgear. Admit it, you're jealous.

I’m back!

Frightening, isn’t it?

Okay, so here’s the rundown of my last two-ish months. And to make it marginally less onerous for you all, I’m doing it bullet point style. (Hi, Razz!)
  • Number of weeks spent in the field: 6.5
  • Number of different nationalities amongst the excavation crew: 14
  • Number of languages I learned to swear in: 5
  • Number of times I swam in the Tyrrhenian Sea: 1
  • Number of times I visited Rome: 4
  • Number of Popeners I came back with: 9
  • Number of said Popeners I will be giving to Diggin’ It readers in one fashion or another: TBA
  • Number of days it took me to catch the Mega Cold from one of the many dirty, germ-ridden people on site: 4
  • Number of WEEKS I spent with the worst head cold ever: 2.5
  • Number of times people shrieked ‘SWINE FLU!’ at me when I coughed or sneezed: total exceeds calculation
  • Number of days I had off from work because of said cold: 0
  • Number of times I was reminded never to taunt karma ever again: total exceeds calculation
  • Number of sunburns acquired: 1
  • Number of kickin’ farmers’ tans acquired: 1
  • Number of mosquito bites acquired: total exceeds calculation
  • Number of times I cursed Mother Nature for creating those stupid useless pests in the first place: total exceeds calculation
  • Depth of the hole I dug: 2.5 meters
  • Number of times the hole needed to be enlarged and/or stepped in order to comply with Italian safety regulations: 4
  • Depth of building rubble that needed to be pick-axed through to get to something representing occupation debris: 1 meter
  • Number of late antique burials uncovered on the site that impeded work towards original research objectives: 14
  • Amount of cool shit uncovered on site: total exceeds calculation
  • Number of ancient shitters uncovered on site: 1
  • Number of times I ran: 2
  • Number of times I wanted to run but was unable to because of Mega Cold, exhaustion and/or late working schedule: total exceeds calculation
  • Number of times I became concerned about potentially beginning marathon training next month with sod all for a base: total exceeds calculation
  • Number of pounds I lost anyway: 5
  • Number of times I thought about you all: a fair few
There endeth the bullet points.

Basically I had a fantastic time minus the no-running bit—met some great people, dug some super archaeology and learned more than I could ever have imagined. Now I’m back and ready to get things back on track with my running.

I have to be completely honest with you though. I took a look at my Google Reader today and the number of unread posts was astonishing so I pressed Mark All As Read to save myself the trouble. So if anything life changing happened to you in the last two months let me know about it in the comments because there’s no way in hell I’m trudging into all of your archives now. Nuh-uh! I need to hang on to the little sanity I have remaining. Forgive me.

All right, folks, that’s it for me. I hope all of you are doing well. I’ll try to catch up with you all soon.

Later gators.

Friday, 21 August 2009

So long, farewell...

It’s time to hit the road. Or the skies as the case may be.

My bag is partially packed. Not surprisingly, my running paraphernalia will probably be the last items to go in.

Over the next several days, I have crap-loads of work to do and much socializing to cram in, so this will be my last post before departure.

It is unlikely I will be blogging when I’m away on fieldwork. Yes, there will be access to the odd internet cafe, but the only thing I’m going to be arsed to do is check my email about once a week. So if anything mega amazing happens while I’m gone (e.g. Vanilla discovers humility, Nitmos defects from the Church of Garmin, Razz stops using bullet points or Viper becomes a teetotaller), send a girl an email. I need to be made aware of this shit.

I haven’t prepared anything to post while I’m away either, but I haven’t totally disregarded you, my readers. To help ease your pain and distress at my departure, I created a list of things you can do while I’m away. I petered out after two items though. Eh, they’re all you’ll need anyway.

1) Wallow in your suffering and pine for me.

It’s only right.

And,

2) Check out the blogroll to the right. There’s a reason it’s posted there. These are the people I go to for a laugh, enlightenment and inspiration. Also, I heckle about a handful of them on a regular basis, so if you could pick up the slack for me while I’m away that would be fabulous. I’d hate for them to miss out on having their self-esteem deflated on a daily/weekly basis.

On that note, it’s time for me to go. Enjoy the rest of your summer and the beginning of fall, my favorite season. To all those racing in the next two months, I wish you the best of luck. Take care, everyone.

Till we meet again.

-X

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Ouch

Man, my weekend sucked.

I didn’t run on Friday but got out for a four miler on Saturday. I had big plans for a long run on Sunday, but that was before I maimed myself.

Sunday I woke up early to log some hours in at the department. Apparently I was not yet fully awake whilst dressing because I accidentally slammed my foot into the side of the bed. The littlest toe took the full force of the impact, so I hopped around and did some lamaze-type breathing until the initial wave of pain subsided.

I thought it would be all right until I noticed the blood. Not truckloads but enough for me to break out the generic neosporin and bandaid and play doctor. Wearing sneakers to work wasn’t the best idea as my toe decided to swell. I switched over to flip flops later which helped, but I knew there was no way I was going to be able to run, long or short, with my damaged toe as I was already hobbling when walking.

I started to worry that maybe I had actually broken it, but yesterday the swelling went down significantly. The cut is healing nicely though the skin around it is still an unhappy purple color. I should be good to go for a run later today though.

Oh, and if you’re curious, MCM Mama won last week’s guessing game. I only logged in ten miles for the week. Well short of my twenty mile goal, but ten is definitely better than the previous week's total of seven. Improvement, no? Congrats, MCM, for correctly estimating my level of slackassery. I stand in awe.

Hope you all have a great week.

Later gators.

UPDATE: Went for run. All is well with toe. Cue confetti and marching band. That is all.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Preparing for launch

Lately my life has been consumed with work, preparing for my trip and playing the occasional competitive round of Sporcle with an office mate. To date, I am the reigning champion in naming all 195 countries in the world even when handicapping my opponent three minutes.

I’m such a nerd.

Anyhoo, recently I wrote out a list of everything I need to pack for my trip. Since I’ll be digging, researching, swimming and running while I’m there, I have a lot of clothes and accessories to cram into one checked bag which can’t weigh more than 20 kg (or 44 pounds for my fellow Americans). This includes a pair of steel-toe work boots and my trowel.

F*ck a duck. Call Dr. Who, I need to borrow his Tardis.

I’ve decided to call this packing endeavor Operation Holy Mother of God How Is This Going to Work. Or Preparation H for short as I’m too juvenile not to steal cheap jokes from the Austin Powers movies. Wish me luck. I’m gonna need it.

Because of the slowly increasing chaos in my life as of late, I haven’t run since Tuesday night. However, rain or shine, I’ll be getting out tonight and again this weekend. I might not reach 20 miles for the week like I wanted, but I’ll definitely be in the teens. At least there’s that.

All right, folks, that’s it for me. Have a great weekend and good luck to anyone racing.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Something feels a bit off...

Despite the odds, I met up with a friend and ran on Monday night. I spent the entire three miles burping up burger and blocking brunch from blasting out my bottom. At least I was entertainment for my running mate.

I also ran last night. Both times my right hip felt really uncomfortable. Still. It’s not painful per se, just very tight and achy. Now I may know why. Is it because I’ve been having loads of crazy acrobatic circus sex lately? Sadly, no. Instead it appears it’s because of work.

Yes, you read that right. Work is killing me.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been working longer hours at the department—coming in early, leaving late and even working on weekends. Both days. (Editor’s note: Dedication, I has it.) Most days I even eat at my desk—often lunches composed of cheap sushi, carrot sticks and non-anal leakage inducing Pringles supplemented by copious amounts of chocolate and baked goods. (Editor’s note: Balanced diet, I don’t has it.)

My desk is situated right next to the windows. Lucky me. Unluckily, since this is an older building, there is a pronounced slant in the floor from the exterior wall moving inwards. I managed not to notice this until my office mate who sits directly opposite me mentioned that her left hip was bothering her. The extra dedication to our dissertations recently is causing us to sit for longer periods of times with our hips out of proper alignment. No wonder I’ve felt like a broken geriatric lately.

Which leads me to ask the all-important question: can I get workman’s comp for this shit even though this is not a paid job?

Now I’ve moved over to the desk next to me which is on a more level floor surface. The occupier of that desk is away for another month doing research so he won’t mind. Hopefully. Fingers crossed that this does the trick and my hip feels back to normal soon. Or whatever tends to pass for normal for me anyway.

All right, that’s it for me today. Have a happy hump day, everyone. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Hit me with your best shot

Last week I got in a measly seven miles. Bah. This week, I’m shooting for twenty. To amuse myself, I thought I might make this into a sort of game and have you all guess how many miles I’m actually going to run this week. Winner gets bragging rights, because I can't be arsed to provide a real prize at the moment.

My running week is Monday to Sunday so I currently have a big fat zero. I’m planning on running tonight, but I also have an appointment to shove a gigantic burger into my mouth later this evening. Looks like I’ve double-booked myself. Oops. In the interests of fairness I should also inform you that Aunt Flo is visiting me and I’m hopped up on ibuprophen.

Sexy, no?

Have at it in the comments. I’ll let you know who ‘won’ next week.

Before I sign off, I would like to invite you all to join me as I stalk Jess’ blog today for news of baby Norah’s imminent arrival. Best wishes for a speedy delivery, Jess.

And because I’ve just mentioned babies, I’m posting this pic for the sole fact that I think it’s adorable and feel the need to share.

Raging hormones allow me to disregard the fact that this creature has the ability to tear my face off. Nice.

Have a great week, everyone. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Hating, Wishing, Loving

Hating...
  • My current lack of energy, focus and motivation.
  • My lack of mileage this week.
  • The locals, tourists and summer students who clog up the streets and sidewalks and are as discourteous as it is possible to be.
  • English summer which consists of rain, rain and more rain.
  • My drug dealing neighbor who leaves her cats out in the pouring rain so that I and everyone else in the area have to listen to the poor creatures yowl incessantly.
Wishing...
  • This f*cking chapter would be done already.
  • I had become a vet instead of an archaeologist. I’d have my degree and be employed by now. However, my soul would already be crushed by how many animals I’d have had to put down, but frankly I’d take a crushed soul and a paycheck over dissertation writing misery at this point.
  • I was on Santorini. (Z, I envy you.)
  • I could run in Port Meadow, but am afraid I’d get stuck permanently on the muddy trails.
  • I would not let the weather affect my mood so much.
Loving that I will soon be...
  • Bitching about how hot it is.
  • Working out of doors every day.
  • Digging up some really cool old shit. (Not literally. Well, maybe if I happen to dig up a sewer system or lavatory.)
  • Swimming in the Tyrrhenian Sea for the first time.
  • Reminded of why I love what I do.
One of these days, I’ll actually try to write a Hate-Wish-Love post that’s funny. Sorry, I just don’t have it in me right now.

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend. I’ll catch you again next week.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Greek-style

For the past two Mondays I’ve had a different spin instructor at the gym. He’s fine and the change of pace is rather nice, so I’m definitely not complaining.

Two thirds of the way through the class, he played a song that was very familiar to me, but not in a spin class setting.

It was Zorba the Greek.

I could not stop laughing to myself the entire time. To my surprise, it made for a great sprint track.

This Monday while spinning to this song, I was reminded that a good chunk of my family is now gathering together in Greece for the marriage of one of my cousins. I managed to get out of going because of my current workload and impending fieldwork travel. I’m not overly fond of weddings (blasphemy for a girl, I know) so I’m not bothered by not being there. However, I am bummed that I’m missing out on seeing some of my favorite family members. On occasion I have a bout of homesickness for my faraway loved ones, but I just remind myself that if I keep my nose to the grindstone, I’ll see them again soon enough. Sucky consolation, but it’s all I’ve got.

Depressing, huh? Well, how about this anecdote from my childhood to help lighten the mood.

I was a tomboy growing up. My sister Z was a girly girl. To drive her crazy (my job as younger sibling) I farted in her presence whenever possible. She would loudly wail to my mother that I was disgusting and why couldn’t I do that in the bathroom.

Eventually I agreed with her sentiment. I would fart only in the bathroom from then on. Of course she didn’t bargain on the fact that I would wait until she was in the bathroom before opening the door a smidge, sticking my bum through the opening and letting one rip.

Bathroom dutch ovens. I’m just all kinds of classy, no?

The countdown continues...
Three weeks till I depart for fat camp fieldwork. Prepare yourselves for the bloggy silence and long weeks of pining for my return. Or, more likely, you’ll forget me within two days and I’ll return and no one will bother reading my blog anymore.

Ingrates.

Well, I guess I’ll still wish you a happy hump day anyway. But grudgingly.

Later gators.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Asking for it

Last week I was having lunch with friends, one of whom just came back from holiday in the Mediterranean with a souvenir— a huge whopping cold. Her boyfriend was also recovering from vacation flu, possibly of the pork variety. That’s when it hit me:

I haven’t had a cold in over two years, if not longer.

People around me seem to get sick all the time—head colds, flu, allergies, etc. This is not surprising considering the university environment in which we reside. But me? Nothing. Talking on the phone to my mom yesterday, I found out that I’ve also never had the flu. No strep, no mono, nothing.

Apparently I have the immune system of a god. When all you weak folk get taken down by whatever disease ends up wiping out the population (bird flu, swine flu, mad cow, other non-livestock illnesses), I’m still going to be here. Just me, the cockroaches and Twinkies.

Mmmmm....Twinkies.

My friends joked that we should have my immune system replicated. But I don’t like to share, so you can all suck it.

Now before you begin to riot, take my name in vain (if you haven’t already) or heckle me for tempting fate, let me assure you that I do have my weaknesses. Paramount amongst them appears to be my right hip which is of the caliber possessed only by people 70 years or older.

I didn’t run after my swim lesson on Friday and I took Saturday off completely, sadly ending my exercise streak of twenty days. Yesterday I finally hauled my lazy ass up and went for a quick three-miler. Or what should have been quick had it not been for my hip which was hella stiff. It loosened up a bit as the run progressed but it’s still not great. I’m gonna keep on stretching it and hope that does the trick. If that fails, then I guess I’ll just be put out to pasture with the other work horses. And since I’m immune to their diseases, I’ll outlast them all and be supreme ruler of my domain.

So either way I win. Score!

If it makes you guys feel any better about being so weak, when I do get colds, they’re pretty major ones. Once during the holidays of my junior year at college, I was visiting my dad who, god love him, is one of the world’s worst hypochondriacs. He thought I sounded like death, so he immediately dragged me to the doctor’s office where I got some so-so drugs and a nasal spray. That spray was a lifesaver on my departing flight, but it couldn’t prevent the death stares I was getting from my fellow passengers. They were just lucky I didn’t taunt them more by licking all the armrests.

Sometimes it’s fun to be a carrier monkey.

Another time I had a cold that lasted for three months straight. My cough made me sound like I had TB. The department administrator begged and pleaded with me to get an appointment with Student Health Services and I eventually caved. Twice. Both times I was told by a university doctor that the cold would run its course, just be patient, and, oh yeah, here are some condoms.

Uh, thanks. I guess.

So there. See, I am human. Just with a much better immune system than the rest of you. That’s all.

Ok, weaklings, that’s it for me. Have a great week. I’ll catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Back again

Yesterday morning I woke up with a major pain in the upper right part of my back. I was looking to run six miles that morning since I had plans for the evening.

I started running and it just plain hurt. I immediately downgraded the run from six to three miles. No way in hell I could go that long with that much discomfort. It felt better when I was running slow, so that’s what I did. I ended up with the worst pace ever. Seriously. It was even slower than my pace for my two 20-mile training runs last year. Total suckage.

Today my back is improved, but still not great. I’m set for an hour swim lesson this afternoon and hopefully a three mile run this evening to have this month’s running mileage beat last month’s. We’ll see how it goes.

Farewell, my friend
Today my one sane flatmate is vacating the house. She’s moving on to greener pastures and leaving me with the two f*cktards in The House That Crazy Built Rented.

Over the past twelve years, I have lived in various apartments and houses with numerous different flatmates. From friends and colleagues to people I didn’t know at all. From all of this I’ve realized one universal thing—it is the luck of the draw finding someone you can live with harmoniously. And it is a very rare thing indeed if that person is also a friend.

Canadia is just such a person.

I will miss her common sense, directness, cooking and wine-fueled musings. But most of all, I will miss her sanity, which is a very rare commodity in graduate living.

Happy trails, buddy. And thank you for promising to visit me in the nuthouse when I get locked up for murdering the nitwits. Should be any day now.

Swords, sweat and sex
All right, enough of that sappy shit. Let’s send off the weekend in style, shall we.

My friend Ellen emailed me this video promo for a new tv show that will air in January, I believe. It’s another sword and sandals epic series with lots of T and A. Love how we’re doing the ancients proud.



This show is a combination of Gladiator, Rome and 300. Literally. Originality, thy name is not Hollywood.

That’s it for me, folks. Have a great weekend. I’ll catch you again next week.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Defiance

Yesterday after my morning run, I headed to the pool for some swim practice. There were three other people already in the pool by the time I got there, so I found a strip of water that was relatively unoccupied and did my thang.

I had the feeling I was violating some pool rules. Nobody said a single word to me, but the looks I was receiving felt kinda condemnatory. I found out later that I was supposed to wear a swim cap. Okay, fine, but that doesn’t require that you give me hate-looks, you uppity bastards.

I have now purchased a condom-like cap for my next trip to the pool. It’s so not comfortable. Is having long hair really that much of a sin? Come on, people.

Weighty issues
So the other day I stepped on the scale to see what the damage was. Then I had some private time with the porcelain throne and afterwards, for shits and giggles, decided to weigh myself again to see how much my evacuated poo weighed. (Editor’s note: Don’t act all shocked by this. You know you’ve done it too.)

I weighed in a pound heavier than I had before I pooed.

What. The. F*ck.

My poo wasn’t even weightless. Somehow it had defied gravity with a negative mass. How is this possible?

One of you scientific folk need to explain this to me. Because if that happens again I’m going to set fire to the damn scale. That’ll teach it to toy with me and the laws of physics.

All right, that’s it for me. Have a happy hump day, everyone.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Sink or swim

Friday I had my first swim lesson. And as you can tell from the appearance of this post, I didn’t drown. Woohoo!

My instructor is fabulous. We worked on breathing and proper kicking. This week we’ll be moving on to the various strokes. So far so good. I need to hit the pool a couple of times on my own this week to practice what I’ve learned so far. I’m hoping to do so at the least busiest times for the pool because I feel like a bit of a tool having to break out one of those foam noodle things to swim with. Eh, the trials of the beginning stages.

My running has also been going well lately. I’ve been getting in just over 20 miles for each of the last two weeks. I need to get in at least 12 more miles by Friday in order to beat last month’s total of 64 miles. Perfectly doable, so I’m not worried.

In other running news, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy was taken ill during a run yesterday.

Sarkozy (right) followed by conga line of bodyguards.

He was rushed off to hospital to have a million and one tests done to find out what the problem was. Apparently, it was nothing other than his being a douchenozzle. Can we say weak? Yes, we can.

The only reason I bring this up is that this incident will inflame the hysteria of the ignorant about the perils of running. Every once in a while I come across someone who warns me about how running is bad for me and will grind all my joints to dust, damage my internal organs, etc, etc. Now I’ll probably hear it more frequently thanks to this little news item.

Thanks a lot, you philandering French twit.

To end, I need to mention a little bit of site news. In a month’s time I will be taking off to do fieldwork. That means Diggin’ It will be going dark. I’ll be away for at least six weeks but possibly longer. Just thought I’d let you know early to help minimize the hysteria my absence will inevitably incite. And by that I mean Glaven having (another) mental breakdown. Be strong, buddy. I’m not pulling a TFH, I promise.

Okay, that’s it for me. Hope you all had a great weekend. I’ll catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Anatomy of a Bikini Wax

The process proceeded thusly this morning:

Greet random stranger.

Get told to take off my trousers.

Hop onto table and get awkwardly positioned as instructed.

Random chit-chat is commenced by waxer as she proceeds to violate my nether region.

I respond with short, terse replies as I grit my teeth each time she yanks back on the waxing strip.

She finishes one side and asks me if it looks all right. I look down and notice I’m bleeding where she just waxed. Since this doesn’t seem to faze her, I assume it’s normal. I reply that it (assuming she meant the carnage) looks fine. She proceeds to torture my other side.

I’m to the point where it hurts so much I fear I’ll have permanent lockjaw. Trying to stop audible sucking in of air through teeth as each strip is pulled because it makes me sound like Hannibal the Cannibal talking about eating someone’s liver with fava beans and a nice chianti.

I joke about being too scared to get a full bikini wax. She, in all seriousness, replies, “Well, it does hurt a lot.” Sweet baby jebus.

Left alone in painful glory to get repantsed.

Pay her for the honor of torturing me then leave, relieved to have gotten my run in early this morning so as not to have to worry about chafing my now sensitive crotchal area later today.

There endeth the bikini wax.

- - - - -
Last night I had another long-ass workout at the gym. Body Combat followed by two miles on the mill then a 30 minute strength training class. I cranked out 3 x 400 m at 8:31 pace and proceeded to demoralize the weightlifter dude on the treadmill next to me with my bursts of speediness. I was sure he was going to give himself whiplash with the number of times he kept looking at my machine’s console. Heh.

My first swim lesson is tomorrow afternoon. I’ll let you know how it goes next week. That is if I don’t drown.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Validation from sketchy 'scientific' studies

Thanks to today's Cranky Fitness post, I've discovered that I'm a freaking genius, but will always be a slow runner.

I can live with that.

So, which are you--an intellectually superior blue-eyed wonder or a speedy brown-eyed athlete? Or are you one of those sad bastards with hazel or green eyes? Since you weren't included in the study, I'm assuming your eye color provides you with no discernible advantage. Sucks to be you.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Monday Miscellany

Here’s a little bit of everything for you.

Despite the weather being a little nasty, I managed to run both days this weekend. Take that Mother Nature! (Dear Mother Nature—Just kidding! Please don’t punish me for that.)

Bean soup + vegetarian lasagne = significant gaseous emissions. Sorry, Ozone. My bad.

A little while ago I was just stepping outside my front door to go for a run when my neighbor saw me. Noticing my attire, he asked, “Going for a run?” I answered in the affirmative. He then made a face that clearly expressed his dislike for running. I laughed and went on my merry way as his wife proceeded to berate him for trying to escape to the pub.

I need to set up an appointment with the waxer this week as my first swimming lesson is on Friday. Must remember to down copious amounts of ibuprofen in preparation for onslaught of pain. Wah.

Last week, I texted my (one sane) flatmate this: “Went 2 bakery & bought iced cookie man. Just took him out of bag & he only has one arm. I got gypped!” While at the bakery, I also picked her up a gingerbread man (I hate to get fat alone) and left it on her desk with this note: “Your cookie dude has all his appendages. Lucky bitch. –X”

All right, folks, that’s it for me. Hope you all had a great weekend. Here’s to a non-sucky week ahead.

Later gators.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Fetch, Fido

I thought I’d throw you all a bone and try to put up a real post for once. I know your lives have been desolate without me recently, as is to be expected, so here goes.

Yesterday I was in the changing room of Primark (a cheaper, lower class version of Target) trying on some potential dig trousers when a gaggle of American teenage girls invaded the area. They were louder than a foghorn and annoying beyond belief.

I did honestly consider advising them to tone down their idiocy, but I knew the likelihood of me being able to do that without being a sarcastic bitch was pretty much nil, so I decided against it. I don’t need the cops called on me in this country for creating a disturbance. At least not again.

This entire town has been invaded with summer school students—primarily US college kids and hoards of teenagers from various European countries here for English language study programs. It’s enough to make us year-round residents wish the annoying undergrads were back instead.

The little continental cusses travel in ginormous packs and are as inconsiderate as all get-out. I’m forced to play the most perilous game of Frogger as I have to weave in and around the groups on the sidewalks and eventually onto the roadways, subjecting myself to irate cyclists and motorists. Good times.

These kids are a boil on the butt of humanity and I wish their parents had seriously considered other methods of contraception besides pulling out.

Oh yeah, this is supposed to be a running blog...
Last night I attended two classes at the gym, Body Combat and Body Conditioning. However, there was a sizeable time gap in between them even with the first class running over. With every kind of gym equipment at my disposal, I of course chose to use the treadmill. It is the least offensive of all the machinery and that’s saying something seeing as I hate treadmills.

Not only did I decide to get a couple of miles in, I even made it into a speed session by knocking out 2 x 400 m at 8:47 pace. I haven’t done intervals in about a year and I haven’t attempted a tempo run in weeks, so I expected to feel like five kinds of shit after this, especially after having just suffered through an hour of mock combat moves. But in fact I felt great. Like I could have got in a few more or at least have run those two intervals much faster. Huh, will wonders never cease.

In total yesterday I worked out for two hours and I felt fabulous afterward. I credit my mojo not to regular exercise, but to the new pair of panties I was wearing which had a cartoon monkey sitting in an inner tube plastered across the ass. In my (fashion) defense, they were on sale at Primark and I desperately needed to replenish my utilitarian-but-not-granny-panties undergarment stock. Sue me.

All right, folks, that’s it for me. Hope you’re all doing well. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Taciturn Tuesday


Hanging out in the garden.

Hope you're all doing well.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Horizon

There are no races on my calendar for the rest of the year, but not for lack of trying. Nothing is going on around these here parts when I’ll actually be in residence which kinda sucks for me.

So with nothing to train for, I’ve just been going about my business. Running a bit, a little cross training here and there, the occasional pushup, and so on.

All this is to say I have nothing to blog about. There’s other stuff going on in my life, but that’s not for blog fodder, so basically I’m tapped out. The only interesting contribution I have for you all right now is a literary one. If any of you are Jane Austen fans, I would recommend you read Linda Berdoll’s Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife. It’s a continuation of Pride & Prejudice and quite entertaining. At least I think so. If for nothing else, I suggest you pick it up because at one point the ...er... excited male member gets compared to an enraged squirrel. That’s just plain awesome.

Hope you’re all doing well. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Celebrating independence with the colonial oppressors, Take 2

It’s hotter than hell here. Er...or so I’m told.

Actually, I know most of you are suffering worst temps than I am, but you need to take into account that the four years I’ve spent living on this island have not only increased my tolerance for bland food and broadened my vocabulary, they've also weakened my ability to withstand high temperatures. It’s only in the 80s here and I’m bitching. If it cracks into the 90s I’m probably a goner.

Not much else to say from here. Working, hanging out, apparently giving myself a higher chance of melanoma with increased sun exposure.

So as not to leave you without any inanity, I thought I’d enlighten you all with a bit of brilliance. A couple months ago I read The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl. Of all the heartfelt and touching moments in that book, the one thing I took away was this.

If someone around you farts, particularly a significant other/friend/family member, say this:

“Shall I reply?”

Best. Line. Ever.

All right, folks, that’s it for me this week. Hope all you Canadians had a great Canada Day yesterday. And for my fellow Americans, have a happy 4th this weekend. I’m gonna try to hunt me down some wieners and set something on fire on Saturday. That sounds promising, no?

Later gators.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Trivial Tuesday

Let’s just say that focus is not one of my virtues at the moment. Read the disjointed post below at your own risk.

This morning I went for my final run of the month—an easy 3.6 miles with a half dozen fartleks thrown in for good measure. This brings my monthly tally to just over 64 miles, my new highest mileage month of the year. Yay! Next month, I hope to surpass this total yet again. I’ve got a pseudo running plan set up for the next eight weeks. Now let’s see if I have the attention span to follow it, shall we.

My lower back has ached off and on for about a week now. I think it’s because of my crappy desk chair. See, work is bad for me.

Thanks to Roisin, my new favorite website is Texts From Last Night. Love. It.

I’ve signed up for swimming lessons which begin in three and a half weeks. I’ve never had proper lessons before so my current mode of swimming makes me look like a spaz. I’m hoping to correct that.

Since I’m gonna be in a bathing suit for all to see, you know what that means don’t you. It’s bikini waxing time again! I will of course give you all the gory details since I am a TMI machine. You can thank me later.

Okay, sadly that is all for me today. Have a great rest of the week, everyone. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.