Friday, 27 February 2009

Archenemy

Thank you for indulging me in my whine-fest yesterday. Well, most of you. The pity party is now over. Of all the advice and suggestions left in the comments, my favorite was offered up by Blyfinn. I’ve got the butter knife, but no black squirrel. Would a pigeon do? Or, failing that, one of the little kiddies from the school across the street? I’m sure their parents won’t mind.

I went for a short three miler last night. The weather was decent and I was feeling fine if a bit winded during the first half. Then I felt it. Shin splints. Crap. This is the second time in two weeks I’ve had them on a run. Both times I was trying to push the pace so I just pulled back a bit. Nada. They were still there for the rest of the run. I haven’t had shin splints since I first started running. I’ve either lost a hell of a lot of fitness in the past few weeks or my apathy from last summer is now coming back to bite me in the ass. Or the shins so to speak.

When I was in the states last summer, I went to the local sports store to purchase another pair of shoes before I flew back here. In typical Xenia fashion, I waited until the day before I was leaving to go on this shopping excursion. I ended up getting another pair of Asics and some pretty insightful advice from a girl barely into puberty. Because of her young age, I didn’t really take her seriously at first, but then I realized she actually knew what the hell she was talking about so I set aside my preconceptions and listened to her.

She told me that my overpronation was a bit more than I had previously thought and that I should get some supportive inserts for my shoes. She told me of a local store that sold a particular brand that would be very good for me, but since I was leaving early the next day I knew I wouldn’t get them. So I proceeded to forget everything she told me and then neglected to look for any insoles once I flew back across the Atlantic.

Well, now I’m pretty sure I’m paying for it. More than ever now, I notice how much I overpronate and it’s beginning to bother me, both physically and mentally. And this is not just in my running shoes. I feel it while wearing my every day no-heels shoes too. Bleh.

Fingers crossed I have a little time today to stop by the local running store before I head on over to the train station in the afternoon. Hopefully I can get some decent advice about where to get some inserts for my poor feetsies. Maybe even for my regular footwear too. It definitely can’t hurt any.

So I’ll be running my races (yes, plural!) this weekend sans proper arch support. I’m really hoping the shin splints won’t be a problem on Sunday, but considering their pattern so far, I should probably bet on them making an appearance. My hopes for these races have definitely been lowered. No time goals, no PRs. Just finish, preferably not limping.

Besides destroying my arches on Sunday, I’ll be touring the Welsh countryside in a rental car on Saturday with my buddy Theresa. I’m the driver, peeps, so everyone best stay off the roads since I haven’t driven over here in years. Which side should I be on again?

Then after the races on Sunday I have to endure a two hour train ride home in my own sweaty stank. I’m sure it will impress my fellow passengers. Hopefully none of them gets off on it and Razzdoodles himself.

On a side note, isn’t Razzdoodle a great word? It’s like the new smurfy. I’m going to use it whenever possible in whatever context I feel like. It’s that versatile.

For example:

That girl just razzdoodled the pole. And did you see the razzdoodlerific guy over there? He totally razzdoodled himself watching her.

It’s just plain awesome.

All right folks, I hope you have a very razzdoodlerific weekend. Or not. Whatever floats your boat.

Later gators.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Something seems a bit off


One day, I get in five hours of work, the next 11 hours. One night I don't sleep at all, the next I sleep for 13 hours straight. As for running, well, none of that has been seen around these here parts for a solid week. That's really not good because I have two races on Sunday.

I'm tired, worn out, stressed out, freaked out and blogged out.

Anybody got some advice on how I can achieve a little balance in my life? Links, positive thoughts and pagan ritual sacrifices are all welcome.

That is all.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Monday machine gun fire

It’s a quick one today because I really need to get back to work.
  • No LSD over the weekend so I have to make up for it today after work. Yucky.
  • This teetotaller actually had a pint of beer on Saturday, but definitely of the girly variety. My archy buddies were proud.
  • Why do tennis players always make sex noises when they hit the ball?
  • My half-assed commitment to running and fitness appears to be inspiring some people. I’ve unintentionally guilted a few individuals into pursuing physical activity and may have recruited about a half dozen people into running a local race in May. Just call me Typhoid Xenia.
  • Not surprisingly, I’ve been slacking on speedwork and strength training for a while now. However, Mike and last week’s TIART contributors have inspired me to change my lazy ways. Thanks guys!
  • My wall calendar for 2009 features views of Scotland. I’m so partial to February’s pic though I may not change it for the rest of the year.
Highland hairy coo. So cute!
  • I’m counting down the days to Friday when I take the train to whales Wales. Yay for running in random places!
Hope you all have a great week. Catch up with you later.

Friday, 20 February 2009

A landmark day

I’m famous, bitches! Okay, maybe not famous per se, but I’ve at least achieved the RBF version of it. Tom and Amy at the Runners Lounge interviewed me for this week’s Open Mic Friday. If you haven’t already heard enough about my life in the past few weeks, now you’ll get to read a little bit more. Eh, at least I provided some photos to spice up the prose. And no, they’re not of me. Intrigued? Well, go check it out already!

It’s pretty funny how some things in life fortuitously line up. This post is my 200th on this blog. Holy moley! Who knew I had this much junk to talk about ad nauseum? And that some of you poor suckers would keep coming back to read it. I would just like to thank you all for sticking with me for this long. Your endurance for painfully pathetic prose is extraordinary. I salute you.

Rest assured this will be the last post-aversary I will be celebrating since I plan on culling my archives over the next few weeks. Check them out while you can, because pretty soon they’ll be forever gone from the blogosphere. Good riddance, really.

And since I have nothing else of interest to talk about, I’ll just give out some link love. Here are some of the bloggers who entertained me this week:
  • Continuing his cause of flooding the blogosphere with TMI, Glaven posted one of the funniest pictures yesterday. Unfortunately, it involves his son and penis snipping. Seriously, Glaven, your son’s going to kill you one of these days.
  • JoySashaY joyRuN posted a photo of her homemade protein bars. They look like crap, literally, yet I still want to try them. I should probably start to worry about myself now. She also talks about her craptastic swimming session which really makes me not want to ever learn how to swim. Ever.
  • Kristina has gone green. And not in the good way.
  • Ellen posted a video of a very energetic Bon Jovi fan at a Celtics game. I like a little Bon Jovi myself, but dang!
  • Chia’s arrival into her new home state was greeted with much fanfare. And by fanfare I mean explosions and fireballs. Way to make an entrance, my friend!
That’s it for me today. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

It's a miracle

My Google Reader has been taunting me for months with how many unread posts I had. Seriously. The lowest number I’ve seen during that time was something like 160. Finally, finally, yesterday my hard work paid off and I saw this.


Halle-frickin’-lujah!

Of course today it’s back up to 14, but at least it’s still only in the double digits. Huzzah!

The spin class on Monday went well. No chafage and there was even a double bonus. Not only was there a hot runner on the treadmill who I got to stare at through the glass wall of the spin room, but there’s also a new gorgeous spin instructor. Methinks I need to sign in for the later Monday session to partake of this new scenery.

Tonight I have a ten mile run on the books. I once again contemplated getting those miles in this morning but knew before I set my alarm last night that it just wasn’t going to happen. I think the only thing that will get me out of my morning rut is daylight savings time which, in England, doesn’t happen until March 29. Crapola.

To add to all that, current plans for later this year look like they will prevent me from running a fall marathon. Right now I’m not too sad about this since I have a long way to go training-wise to hit my dream time of 4:30. The rest of this year will probably be better spent running shorter distances and increasing my speed as well as shedding a few more pounds. Then maybe I can run the Rome marathon next March. Sounds good to me at the moment anyway.

All right, folks, hope you have a not-too-crappy Wednesday ahead of you. And if you don’t, well, here’s a video that will at least perk up your puerile sense of humor.



Later gators.

Monday, 16 February 2009

What I Need

This weekend was the Freakishly Flexible 5K. In honor of our wonderful Nancy, I ran 5.7 miles instead of 5K, but in a rather shite time of 1:04:58. Eh, what do I expect when I don't keep up with my training plan.

Last week, I saw the movie He’s Just Not That Into You. It was pretty funny actually. The only thing I didn’t like was that for the entire weekend I’ve had The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love stuck in my head on repeat. It was good the first day, but now it’s just killing me.

Tonight I hit the gym for another spin class, this one non-chafing, I hope. The rest of my week is shaping up to be rather onerous with lots of work and little time to faff about.

And since I’m once again desperate for blog material, I stole this non-tagging tag from Marcy. Google “[your name] needs” and type the first ten results. That’s it. Here are mine.

1) Xenia needs moderate to strong currant (sic) to be healthy and thrive.
How do I tell what kind of currant I’m eating??
2) Xenia needs overtime to top Lebanon, 78-69.
What do the numbers indicate? Missile strikes?
3) Xenia needs new schools, but not now.
I disagree. I’ve been to enough schools. I only need one more and that’s the one that’s going to employ me.
4) Xenia needs certain trace elements to be present in the water.
As long as it’s not urine, poop, snot, mucus, vomit or jizz...
5) Xenia needs iodine to grow and be healthy.
Huh. Who knew?
6) Xenia needs help.
Fo sho.
7) A Pulsing Xenia needs a home Classified Threads (sic).
Well, considering this post, I guess this one is rather spot on. *shudder*
8) Xenia needs a new YMCA.
If it has a cheaper membership fee than my current gym, I’m all for it.
9) Xenia needs volunteer mentors for summer camps to bring hope to hurting kids.
I’m a saint. Score!
10) Xenia needs Head Varsity Football coach.
If he looks like this, then you betcha!
The wonderful Kyle Chandler

Apparently, I'm a town in Ohio, a village in Illinois and an unincorporated community in Missouri. Oh, I’m also a genus of coral. Awesome.

When I put in my real name, I found a whole new set of needs:
1) to realize that she is in fact not a bad ass
2) Facebook
3) to go
4) help
5) a big family
6) an adoption sponsor
7) an exorcism video by Cherish
8) a baby-sitter
The kicker for this one is that the beginning of the sentence was “When it comes to sex”.
9) friends
10) to start again

So I guess I’m a possessed social pariah who needs to be adopted by a big family so I can start over again. Oh, and I need a baby-sitter for sex. Yeah. I’ll leave it there then.

Have a great week, everyone.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Interview with a slow poke

Monday and Tuesday saw me back to spinning again after a six month hiatus. And boy is my ass feeling it. I’m also suffering from a nasty chafing incident involving the bike seat, my nether regions and a feminine hygiene product. I won’t go into the details (too late!) but I think I now have an inkling of the trauma women face with female genital mutilation. I still can’t walk normally.

Okay, now on to less disturbing topics...

Our girl Chia has helped me out and answered my whine to be interviewed since I’m once again worried about running out of decent blog material. Lord knows I may have to resort to using bullet points soon. (The new RazZdoodled? I’m doing my best to change the definition for you, buddy.)

So here goes:

1. Who/what was your inspiration to start distance running?
I no longer felt comfortable in my own skin and was looking for an exercise that wasn’t going to bust my pocketbook wide open. (Little did I know.) My friends Merry and Theresa had recently taken up running and I thought I’d try it too. I’ve been grateful to them ever since.

2. Growing up did you ever participate in any athletic programs?
My freshman year in high school I was on the track and field team. My events were shot put and discus though I was forced to try long jump at one meet. That didn’t end well for me. I also played basketball from eighth to tenth grade. After that I was all nerd all the time and didn’t play sports anymore.

3. Do you ever fear the unknown when you're deposited in other countries and have to find somewhere to pull a long run out of your American ass?
The only two places I’ve ever had any concern about this were in Rome and in Iowa of all places. At the time I didn’t have access to MapMyRun so I had to wing it at first. Running in the pre-dawn hours into a sketchy part of Rome wasn’t my best running experience, but it was all right. I’ll never know what’s out there unless I put on my shoes and venture out, so it’s worth the mild anxiety in the end. Also, that anxiety equals faster pacing. Score!

4. What would you rather: Run faster or run longer distances?
Hands down it’s run faster.

5. What is your almighty power song?
I’ve never claimed to have good taste in music. The stuff that keeps me pumped and running at a decent clip are mostly dance and 80s/90s songs. My power songs seem to change every few weeks or so. At present, they include Snap’s Rhythm is a Dancer, Tears for Fears’ Everybody Wants to Rule the World and U2’s Where the Streets Have No Name.

To play along:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions of your choosing.

Have a happy hump day, everyone.

Monday, 9 February 2009

7 and miscellany

RunToFinish held a virtual race this weekend, the 7 on the 7th. I signed up.

So, did I run this weekend? That would be a no.

Between the weather and lack of motivation, I just didn’t do anything this weekend. That’s a lie. I’ve been baking* which is not helping my tightening jeans situation at all. It also didn’t help that the gym closed super early on Friday and didn’t open on time on Saturday so I was forced to miss both of the classes I signed up for. Weak English and their fear of snow. Grumble, grumble...

Instead, I ran 7 today. On the human hamster wheel. At the gym that was surprisingly open even though there’s the fear of a few snowflakes later today. A miracle indeed.

I ran it in 1:19:27. A crappy time for most of you, but pretty respectable for this slow poke on her LSDs.

Another miracle—I finally got to sign up for a spin class which is happening this evening. It’s taken me two weeks to get into a class. That’s insane. Let’s hope the double workout today helps counteract the not-so-healthy food I’ve been enjoying for a few weeks now.

To counter the foul mood the English, their pansy ways and their shit weather have put me in, I leave you with these fun links.
  • I really wish I had been in Liverpool station when they filmed this T-Mobile commercial. Looks like fun.

  • This one’s been popping up on Facebook. A clip from the Ellen DeGeneres show with probably the funniest caller I’ve ever heard. Here’s a snippet from the convo: “I love Jesus but I drink a little.”

All right, that’s it for me today. Hope your week is starting off well. I’ll catch up with you guys later.

- - - - - - - - - -
*I need to both thank and scold the Erratic Epicurean for bringing the Pioneer Woman’s cooking blog to my attention. Everything so far, including the fruit bars (with raspberry jam...amazing) that I’ve been packing away like they’re going out of style, has tasted fan-freaking-tastic. The only problem is that it’s not helping the jeans situation mentioned above. Oy.

Friday, 6 February 2009

TMI times 25

This week hasn’t been stellar on the fitness front. I’ve run once (a 4 mile tempo run on Monday) and attended a body combat class on Wednesday. I’m hoping to at least get 3 miles in today as well as a body pump class. We’ll see if that dream actually becomes a reality though.

Since I don’t have much spare brain power left to think of anything else to write about, I’ll just recycle a tag I got bitch-slapped with on FB. Here are 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about me, with a few slight changes from those posted on FB to protect the innocent me.

1. I cave to peer pressure, hence me writing this godforsaken list.
2. I should have been named Jean. I'm glad I wasn't.
3. I've always wanted to learn how to play the piano so I could re-enact that scene in the movie Big where Tom Hanks is jumping around on the gigantic floor piano.

4. I ran a marathon and want to run another one.
5. I remember virtually nothing about US history and am always afraid I'm going to get caught out on it like in the Jay-Walking segments on The Tonight Show.
6. I want to know what it's like to be pregnant, but I'm not sure I’d make a good mom.
7. My lucky number is 5.
8. I have a brother who is almost 28 years younger than me and I wonder if he'll ever think I'm cool.
9. I feel deficient not being able to speak Greek.
10. Oddly enough, my first language was Greek. (See, it’s true: If you don’t use it, you lose it.)
11. My favorite ice cream sundae is chocolate ice cream with peanut butter and hot fudge sauce on top.
12. Just typing #11 put 5 pounds onto my thighs.
13. I worry about the health of my family a lot.
14. This is not what I thought being 30 would feel like. It's not bad, just not what I expected.
15. I've only seriously entertained pursuing four professions in my life--a veterinarian, a marine biologist, an astronomer or an archaeologist.
16. I wonder why I never chose a profession that didn't require a decade of schooling to achieve it.
17. I'm a lefty, but my dad tried to make me do things right-handed when I was little until my mom told him to knock it off. This is why I do some things right-handed now.
18. I secretly hope to be on Jeopardy one day.
19. I'm really looking forward to the day when I get called 'Professor X'.
20. I've not so subtly been telling my sister to get knocked up because I really want to be an aunt.
21. Although I can't wait to move back to the states after I finish my PhD, I'm afraid of the weight I'll gain by living the car-dependent lifestyle once again.
22. I'm a cheapskate in everyday life so I don't feel too bad when I blow large sums of money on plane tickets to cool places.
23. I can never regret not applying to Dartmouth because then I wouldn't have gone to my undergrad alma mater and met my Taiwanese sister. Holla, Ellen!
24. When I retire, I want to live in a Queen Anne house and spend my days refinishing furniture, quilting, reading books, getting serviced by my cabana boy Gerard Butler, and yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn as I wave a shotgun at them.
25. I daydream all the damn time.

There you have it. Even more information about me you didn’t want to know. Let’s all hope next week sees me running more. Or at the very least writing better posts.

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

- - - - - - - - - -
UPDATE:
If you haven't already heard, there's going to be another virtual race happening on February 14 in honor of our wonderful Nancy and the crappy diagnosis she got from the doc. The fabulous USJogger is holding the Freakishly Flexible 5K on that weekend. So stop by his blog and tell him you're in like flynn then run some miles that weekend for our hobbled homegirl. She more than deserves this collective shout-out of internet love and support.


We love you, Nancy!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Shudder

This has absolutely nothing to do with running, but I thought you’d all get a kick out of my pain. Here’s the background info.

I live in a house with three other people. Since we’ve all been on various research trips and away for the holidays, we haven’t all lived in the house together until this week. My friend and housemate Canadia and I have been living very peacefully and happily in the house together since mid-January. The other two, whom we not so affectionately have dubbed The Twins even though they are in fact a couple, arrived back on Sunday night. To say they are not exactly sane is an understatement. Sadly, we were not aware of this fact until after we agreed to move into the house.

So Canadia spent Sunday night at her bf’s. Monday morning, I sent her an email. That email and her response are what follow.

- - - - - - - - - -
To: Canadia
From: Xenia
Subject: shudder

Hello Canadia,

In the wee hours of this morning (4 am-ish), I awoke to the sounds of people having sex. I was rather groggy at the time, but I could have sworn the house was shaking. Now it could have been our crackhead neighbor, but when I woke up at 7:45 this morning I heard her kid through the wall. Granted he could have gone into her boudoir after awakening from whatever corner she puts him in, but I’m not so sure.

I feel dirty.

I may need to start taking some serious drugs in the evenings to make sure I don’t wake up again in the middle of the night. I’ll probably end up wetting the bed, but I think it’s a justifiable risk.

Hope your day’s not sucking.

-X

To: Xenia
From: Canadia
Subject: re: shudder

As soon as I saw the subject of this email, I knew what was coming.

I shudder in response. Even if it was the crackhead neighbour. Although, it probably wasn't, given we've never heard that before.

The event involving our housemates wouldn't surprise me, given they've just returned from a month and a half with the parentals, where I'm sure they weren't at it, at all, or loudly.

This is disturbing. Highly highly disturbing... particularly because my room is DIRECTLY below theirs. And the house shaking might not have been a delusion either, given their mattress is pretty much on the floor up there.

Oh gawd. That's so yucky.

I liked it better when it was just us.

I will do something terrible if I am disturbed by sex tonight!

-C

- - - - - - - - - -

Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not saying our house should be a no-sex zone. Hell to the no! What we’re saying is that the idea of those two having sex is that disturbing. Seriously, my mind is seizing even as I type this. It’s like when my mom unfortunately told me the story of how one of my uncles decided to play a joke on my grandmother. He bought her a vibrator for her birthday. She opened it up in front of the family and everyone got a good giggle. That is until my grandmother, sweet-Betty-Crockerish-knitting-&-quilting-midwestern-salt-of-the-earth woman that she is, replied in all seriousness, ‘Oh thanks, but I already have one.’

Shudder.

And trust me, the Twins’ faults, of which there are many, extend well beyond loud sex. In only three days, it’s been mentioned that I was ‘working late’ when I hadn’t returned home by 6:30 pm and that it seems like I cook ‘a lot’. No shit, Sherlock. I’ve got a dissertation that’s not going to write itself and I live on a budget so I don’t want to waste money by eating out all the time.

Bloody hell.

My wonderful affordable apartment has now lost all its appeal. Looks like I’ll be searching for somewhere else to lay my head once my lease is up at the end of the summer.

Anyone got a spare room they can rent me for cheap?

Monday, 2 February 2009

Economic time crunch

And I’m back. I can feel your enthusiasm through the interwebs. It’s heartwarming.

So yeah, I’ve been kind of busy lately. Still am actually. But unlike some people, I’m not letting that shut my blog down for an extended period of time. Mostly because, unlike those people, I really need you guys. Without you, I’d probably slack off with running in the face of my jam-packed schedule and I really don’t want that to happen. I need to read about your training and races, struggles and triumphs. Also, I need you guys to metaphorically smack some sense into me every now and then. You know, the usual.

However, I do need to make some changes since there are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done. So, I’ll be cutting back on my blog reading and commenting. I’ll still post two or three times a week, but definitely no more than that. And if I do, yell at me. That means I’m slacking and I really can’t afford to right now.

Okay, enough site news, now on to more important things.

I’ve been getting in at least three runs a week. Hell, I even ran with another person one time. That’s a new one for me. It was rather nice chitchatting with someone as opposed to zoning out to my ipod. Huh, who knew.

The weather has been hella cold though and only promises to get colder this week. [Editor's note: In fact it's snowing today. We're expected to get a whopping 6 inches and it's being touted as the worst snow accumulation in the last 18 years. The English are silly creatures, are they not.] I may have to suck it up and run at the gym. I despise the dreadmill, but I hate the cold even more so this is definitely a case of the lesser of two evils. It still makes me feel dirty though.

And just so you all know last week wasn’t all fun and games as I was drowning in a sea of work, I also managed to lose a small chunk of flesh off my right thumb. It didn’t happen while doing anything cool though like being in a knife fight or in a major construction accident. Instead, I lost it to this thing.

Damned dirty ape!

My housemates must have a twisted sense of humor because this is the only peeler we have. It doesn’t look sharp, but trust me, it is. I was peeling a butternut squash and the second swipe saw the blade gouged into my thumb, even slicing into the nail.

It didn’t look that deep at first so I just wrapped my thumb in a paper towel and kept on cooking. Hell, I was only halfway through preparing dinner, I ain’t got time to bleed! [Editor’s note: If anyone can name the movie that quote is from, you’ll win my respect. Okay, maybe not my respect, but you’ll make me feel better about knowing so much useless random crap.] The bleeding eventually stopped, but only after I had dripped blood on the counter and the cutting board. Yes, I cleaned both thoroughly. Two days later, I removed the offending (and most definitely dead) flap of skin to prevent it catching on anything. Now I just have to deal with the ignominy of having a split nail and a divot in the top of my thumb. Eh, it could have been worse.

Yeah, so that’s a crappy way to end a post, so here’s this little gem of a video I found at Roni’s Weigh. Check it out.



I’ve been slacking off about going to the gym this month, so when I watched this on Friday I immediately called to book into the evening spin class. Sadly, it was already full, but I’m planning on hitting Tuesday’s class. Well, if I can wake-up early enough to book in that is. Wish me luck.

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