Friday, 30 April 2010

30 weeks

That’s all the time I have left. And no, I’m not talking about pregnancy. Well, at least not of a flesh and blood baby.

I’ve got 30 weeks left before I submit my dissertation—18 weeks to complete the full rough draft and 12 to edit the massive sucker. Nearly a decade of pursuit and half-assery is finally coming to a head.

Not surprisingly I’ve been thinking a lot about things recently—in between crazy internal freak-outs at my rapidly diminishing time frame.

My future is like a long dark tunnel. I can see a bit of light at the end now, but I don’t know where that light leads. Hell, I still don’t know which country I’ll be living in come January. And to get to this mysterious endpoint, I have to trek through that tunnel full of mental blocks, weariness and scary unknowns ... as well as my cranky but well-intentioned supervisor.

Amidst all this chaos and confusion is my running.

Training for my second marathon has been rather enlightening. I’ve discovered I don’t really care for long runs—at least not anything over 13 miles. Well, I don’t like them now anyway. They’re also a massive time-suck. On average I run them at a 12 minute per mile pace. That means for a 20 miler I trudge along for at least 4 hours. That’s hella long.

Running is beginning to seem like a chore to me now and that’s not what I want. I need running to be my release, the way I can decompress after a shite day of staring at the same Excel spreadsheets and tables and wondering how the hell I’m supposed to make all that mumbo jumbo understandable to a field full of academics who aren’t mathematically-savvy.

So I’ve decided that Edinburgh will be my last marathon for a while. In fact, it is likely my last race of 2010. I need to prioritize now and my dissertation and re-discovering my love of running have to come first.

Which leads me to the blog.

A little while ago, Nitmos wrote a post about the reasons people blog. Initially for me it was about accountability as I first stuck my toe into the running pool. Now it has become an on-going, informative and hilarious conversation with like-minded people. I learn new things about running and along the way I get to take the piss out of a good number of you. It’s a good outlet seeing as apparently there’s only so much sarcasm and mockery my real life peeps can take before they revolt. Huh, who knew.

But Diggin’ It always had a fixed endpoint. The tagline is “the life and times of an archaeology PhD student”. Either by completion or failure, that status will change in the new year. My question now is whether I should end the blog sooner rather than later.

There are two main issues—time and material. From here on out, I’ll be spending more time working. Therefore I need to have fewer distractions while still maintaining some outlets so I don’t go completely mad. However, with no races on the calendar and no specific running improvement plans, I’m wondering how much running-related material I’ll actually have to talk about. See the dilemma?

My options are to keep the blog going and post less frequently or to end it after running the Edinburgh marathon at the end of May. I’ve decided to go with the first option. But if, post-marathon, the well dries up, Diggin’ It will enter early retirement.

As for post-grad life ... I have contemplated starting a new blog. Something that would make me less identifiable, because I don’t want my future students to stumble upon the blog and realize it’s me. My current shtick is being a running grad student living in a foreign country. The new blog wouldn’t be able to contain anything about my profession, exactly where I live, race times or possibly even specific race names. I don’t know what my angle would be, hence why the new blog is still only a thought.

I’m not posting this to be melodramatic or as a cry for attention. It’s just me thinking out loud. It was through writing this post that I was able to come to a decision at all. I just thought I’d give you all a heads up so that when the time does come you’re not taken unawares.

And so this post doesn’t become a total downer, let me just remind you which race I’m running on Sunday.

Oh yes, there will be nuns.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

I'm so loocky

I feel honored to have taken a tinkle here.

As you can see, I'm still busy visiting the amazing sights of England. Awesome doesn't even cover it.

As I disappear again, I'd like to ask you all to answer a question for me:

Training and exercise aside, how far do you walk and/or cycle on a daily basis (e.g. for work commute, trip to store)?

Hopefully I'll post again on Friday. If not, then Monday for sure.

Later gators.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Keep on keeping on

My delayed 16 miler is now complete. It was broken up into a 6.4 mile loop and a 9.6 mile out and back to a friend’s place so I’d have plenty of opportunity to make it to a loo. Shitting myself whilst on a run has now become a major fear of mine, especially as my intestines decided to revolt on Monday night and continue to be a bit dodgy.

The run went as usual—slow, sluggish and mind-numbing. However, there were blue skies, lots of sunshine, the chance to run amidst horses (there was even a baby one!) and the opportunity to see two men on a bench next to the river drinking beer at 9:30 am. Class act, those two.

One more day of work and then I’m off to the south coast to collect my mom and aunt from the boat. Saturday cannot come soon enough.

Words from the wilderness
My sister Z continues to be trapped in the woods of NH. Although our family has been keeping her busy with running errands for them (*cough*lazy sods*cough*), she’s still found time to communicate another missive to you all. Again, my comments are red, italicized and in brackets.

- - - - - - - - - -

Stardate 04211032.5

I am still maintaining my post and have completed cleaning duties. Must find some motivation to move and stop eating everything in sight. Workouts not off to a good start. I did actually get dressed for one but did not complete the actual task. [That’s pretty much every day for me.]

Having the Visitor here over the weekend was a great and welcome break. Visitor had a great time even though the weather was horrible. I guess it's my fault I told him not to bring a coat. Who knew it was going to snow!

Visitor decreed that the cat behaved like a dog, e.g. follows you around, requires your attention at all times, is very vocal. [He doesn’t bark, but he makes a lot of Ewok-like sounds.] Visitor is not an animal lover, but took a shine to the cat. He called the cat his ‘filo’ (Greek word for friend) and decided the best form of communication was singing meows to him according to the commercial jingle.

Cat was totally in love with Visitor. [Cat has been trapped in an all-female household his whole life. He craves male companionship.] Visitor purchased a little bed for his new friend. [Damn thing is lined with catnip.] Cat now sleeps in his new bed all the time. [And is now a full-fledged druggie. Thanks a lot, Visitor! We know where to send the kitty rehab bill.]

Official photo from MTV Kitty Cribs

I have had my first encounter with the wildlife. Two wild turkeys came by for a visit. My first instinct was “Where's the cat?” [My furball may be old, but he’s still feisty and would try to take the damn things down.] I ran outside to see where he was and he was on the porch just watching them. My voice scared the turkeys and they turned back into the woods. Sadly, I thought of my camera too late and was foiled anyway as the battery was not charged! I will be better prepared for next time. Seems since that first sighting the turkeys keep coming back. Must be something in the yard they like. [The scent of cabin fever? Or kitty poop?]

Until next time,
Z

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This is my last post for the week. I’m not sure if I’ll be posting much, if at all, next week. We’ll see.

Have a great (early) weekend, everyone!

Later gators.

Monday, 19 April 2010

No fly zone

Finally got off my ass and got some runs in. Saturday I turned my speed work into an easy three miler. The shin splints reappeared but not so badly that I had to stop. Sunday I knocked out an eight miler with absolutely no shin splint pain. I maintained a slow and steady pace and ran on the canal path. Not sure what made the difference, but I’m happy things are getting back to normal.

For scheduling reasons, I’m postponing my 16 miler until tomorrow. This morning I got in 3 miles and then cycled to the gym for 30 minutes of swimming (another nolhtairt!). I haven’t been swimming in over two weeks, so it was definitely time to hit the pool again.

Another busy week ahead. My mom and aunt arrive via boat on Saturday, so I have to get in all of my planned runs for this week by Friday. Then I get to play tour guide for the next six days. Awesome.

The PMSing of Mother Nature
The Eyjafjallajoekull volcano is being a real mother f*cker. First off, its name is too long. I have a firm policy that no word should be longer than my surname which has thirteen letters. The volcano is in clear violation of my edict.

Second, bitch keeps spewing ash, although god knows I haven’t seen any sign of it. I guess it’s hella far up there. The only places I know of that have had debris actually land are Iceland (duh) and the Shetland islands.

The volcano is on a glacier which is now melting and causing massive flooding in Iceland. (On a side note, the Brits say the word glacier differently. We North Americans pronounce it ‘glay-sher’ while the Brits say ‘glass-ee-r’. Freaks.) Also, all of Eyjafjallajoekull’s current activity has the ability to trigger its larger volcano neighbor Katla into erupting too. Joy.

All flights in northern Europe are still grounded. All trains are solidly booked for about a week and the cost of renting a vehicle is now astronomical.

Universities in the UK run on a three term system. Third term begins next week. However, many professors and students are trapped abroad. People who were on fieldwork, at conferences or on holiday now can’t get back and vice versa. The British government is set to deploy three naval ships to start picking up trapped Britons at various ports.

With the exception of worrying about how my mom and aunt are going to get back to the states if the flight ban continues for another two weeks (funnily enough they have a stopover on Iceland. Yeah. Fan-f*cking-tastic.), I’m lucky in the respect that I had no plans to fly anywhere so am not suffering the direct ill-effect of Mother Nature’s temper tantrum. However, I will, along with everyone else in Europe, be hit with the craptastic side effects.

Most of our produce comes from abroad. The stuff from southern Europe can still be trucked in, but everything from Africa, Asia or South America can’t get here. If the flight ban ends soon, we’ll merely be hit with increased prices on produce for a while. If the flight ban continues...I don’t even want to think about it.

Right now, I just hope the debris doesn’t land here anytime soon, because it’ll totally screw up my long runs.

Priorities, I has them.

Have a great week, everyone.

Later gators.

Friday, 16 April 2010

FML

Even though this is a cut-back week for me, I’m guessing it’s not a good thing that I’ve only run once so far and have not done any cross training minus my daily cycling for transport purposes.

That’s kind of pants.

The gigantic cloud of volcanic ash swirling over Europe (thanks a lot, Iceland) hasn’t helped either. The weather hasn’t been too great lately with little sunshine and the temps have dropped a bit. Well, at least I wasn’t planning on flying anywhere any time soon.

Then there’s the usual soul-crushing life stuff that has dragged me down. Lots of work, poor nutrition, not enough sleep. Sadly, I’ve managed to regain those five pounds I lost a couple of months ago. Apparently, there isn’t a baked good I don’t like. Damn.

But that’s not even the worst of it. This week I reached a new milestone—I found my first white hair. And as things seem to happen with me, it wasn’t in the usual location on top of my head. Nope, my white hair was in my eyebrow. Really. Of course, I plucked that bad boy out immediately and then proceeded to whine to my sister about it over Skype. Although Z was sympathetic, she did put things in perspective for me.

“At least you didn’t find one ‘down there’ like I did.”

Word, big sister. Word.

The only thing that has brightened my gloomy week is this photo my sister sent me of my sleeping furball.

Posted for Sun Runner and myself since it appears we’re the only two crazy cat ladies feline aficionados in RBF-land.
[Correction: That would be three. So sorry, Coach L! My brain is mush these days.]
[Second correction: Apparently there are more cat people in the RBF world than I realized. I won't be so precipitous in future. What am I saying, of course I will...)


Wait, I lie. There was another bright spot to my week.


There are no words to describe the gloriousness of that suit.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

News from the outpost

I got back to running this morning after a three day break with an easy three miler. Or what was supposed to be easy, but I got slammed with shin splints and had to walk three times. Balls. I’m hoping this is just residual complaints from the hills of Somerset, but I didn’t suffer shin splints then so this is a bit strange. Here’s hoping my next run is less craptastic.

Dances with Cats
"Stop taking pictures and feed me already."

My sister Z is currently in possession of the BEST DAUGHTER EVER award. Momma X is off on holiday for three weeks. Mom has been caring for my geriatric diabetic cat since I left for university many years ago, so someone has to physically be in the house for the duration of her holiday to take care of my high maintenance furball. Since Z is a freelancer, she got saddled with the job. She has sacrificed her beloved Chicago city life for the wilds of NH for almost a full month. Bless her.

In compensation for the isolation and endless days of boredom ahead of her, I have offered to let her post on my blog. Here’s her first missive. I have, of course, taken the liberty of adding in my own commentary (red, italicized and in brackets). Enjoy.

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"This is my Post"

Stardate 04121032.5 [We grew up watching a lot of sci-fi.]

I have arrived at post in the depths and solitude of New Hampshire woods. The mission is simple – hold down the fort until Mom returns from the cruise ship. [And visiting her favorite youngest child!]

I have been given the following official instructions:

1. Inject cat twice daily with insulin
2. Feed cat twice daily or when he whines so much you cannot do otherwise
3. Pet cat as often as possible and acquiesce to his demands for affection and companionship at all times
4. Pay bills as they come in
5. Take trash to the town dump
6. Don't move anything (yeah, about that...) [Z has a bad habit of re-organizing when she cleans. Drives our mom nuts.]
7. Clean up cat poop

I arrived on site very ill. Had a mandatory recovery period of two days and then began organizing what will be my home for the next 3 1/2 weeks. Provisions slim upon arrival. Outpost itself was in exceedingly poor condition. Well not really, but it needed a spring cleaning. Therefore I have assigned myself to clean-up duty which is already under way. [Z has a bit of the OCD when it comes to cleaning. And when I say a bit, I mean a lot. Plus our mom is a smoker. You can see how this combination can cause issues.]

There have been no visitors to my post and no word from the outside world. (Well, not really but it sounds good.) I have ventured out and made initial contact with the locals. At the Office of the Post in a nearby village, the proprietor appeared distraught that I wished to transact business with her at noon which, unbeknownst to me, was closing time. However she accepted my purchase and my day proceeded on. Closing time at noon on a Tuesday? Hmm. I must learn and adjust to the new customs and habits of the people here.

Tomorrow is a full day of cleaning and catering to the cat’s whims. This weekend will bring a visitor from the outside world who is coming for a tour of the countryside to see what it has to offer. [Mostly boredom, allergies and the occasional tick.] This will be a welcome break to my tasks and duties but I will still keep the status quo and stand my post!

With love, [and copious amounts of cat fur]
-Z

P.S. I have already started talking to myself...and to the cat. [Sadly, this is actually normal for us.] Will begin workouts next week.

- - - - - - - - - -

As I understand it, future posts from Z may include such exciting topics as ‘the tango of the wild turkeys’, ‘night time is the right time for flood lights’, ‘Blitz Krieg Funf’, ‘the introduction of Jolly Green to the natives’, ‘city girl and country excrement’, and ‘the dingo ate my baby and other bizarre tales’. Do stay tuned. Or at least entertain my sister in the comments. She’s bored stiff, people. Help her out.

Happy hump day, everyone.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Shattered expectations

Saturday I woke up at the ass-crack of dawn to run the 21-mile course of the Bath Beat. Local Bath peeps organized this event which comprised countryside treks of four distances – 12.5, 17, 21 and 26.5 miles. The Bath Beat is predominantly a walk with some crazy folks, such as myself, choosing to run it. The organizers email you written directions a couple of weeks in advance and it’s up to you to map that bad boy out on an ordnance map...if you can. I tried to use MapMyRun and failed miserably, because it’s nearly impossible to detect stiles, gates and the like on a satellite image. Also, although the distance to each checkpoint was given, there was no indication in the instructions of how much distance was to be traversed between sections.

So with little sleep and a whole lotta ignorance, I headed out on the run at 7:30 a.m. Not even a mile into the effing thing I was off track. Thankfully I wasn’t alone as another runner was ahead of me and we were able to sort it out and get back on track. The other runner, M, was an Englishman in his early 50s. We seemed to be going at a similar pace so we decided to stick together.

My hopes of a flat course were dashed after the second mile as the next three miles were straight downhill—a very steep hill. Since we were making a huge loop of the countryside, we were going to have to face that god awful ascent at the end. Balls.

M was a chatterbox which was good seeing as I’m usually a bit quiet around new folk. He talked and I listened, learning about the area, his running history and the like. We made it to the first unmanned checkpoint just fine but got a bit lost halfway to the second one. Thankfully M is from the area so we took a bit of a detour along the roads to get to Checkpoint #2. We were adding extra distance to our trek, but at least we weren’t lost.
Little parish church

The friendly folks at the checkpoint offered us sandwiches, cakes, water and juice. M’s wife was there, and at each subsequent checkpoint too, offering encouragement and knowledgeable support. She’s a runner too and had run the London marathon in under three hours. Dang!

After the second checkpoint, the remainder of the course was through fields (some ploughed) and along public tracks and footpaths (some pretty damn muddy). Almost all of it was freaking hilly. Eventually, some of the faster runners caught up and passed us. Everyone was very friendly. One guy was running the 26.5 mile course with his border terrier. I had to help the dog over one of the stiles as his owner ran ahead not realizing the little guy was stuck behind the fencing.
One of about 20 or so stiles we had to cross. That number doesn't include the kissing and regular gates we had to pass through.

Until the midway point we had been running on all the flat points and the gentle inclines, but walking anything very steep or treacherous. Considering M is a lot taller than me, I was at least walking at a fast pace. But M was obviously getting tired, so we were walking more and more of the course, and occasionally getting off track. At this point, I started to consider this whole thing like a leg of The Amazing Race. As long as we weren’t passed by any of the dedicated walkers, I’d consider it a win.
One of the many villages we passed through.

If I'd had blue face paint and a kilt, I would have yelled "FREEDOM!" as I flew down the hill whilst trying not to faceplant in sheep poo.

During one of the steep climbs, we came upon a field with a bull and some she-cows. I’ve been told never to get into a field with a bull. I was proven right. At first M and I tried to give the cows a wide berth, but the bull was having none of it and came towards us. M and I took the hint, backtracked and then made our way to the barbed wire fence at the side of the field. All the cows, including the bull, followed us, but we were both able to make it through the fence in time, although both of us got cuts from the wire in the process. Better than being disembowelled by angry cows though.
Mad cows.
Note barbed wire at bottom of photo. I think it still has a piece of my flesh hanging off of it.

M and I trekked through mud and passed farm animals of all varieties. More runners passed us, but thankfully no walkers ever caught up to us. The checkpoint volunteers were kind and interested in why an American was running the course. The Des Moines half marathon shirt I was wearing (thanks again, Razz) was a bit of a giveaway to my nationality.
A great place for a spa treatment

He looks like a bit of a baaaad ass.

I hope this doesn't apply to cattle too. Or people...

Mr. Ed?

My little pony...

At one of the last checkpoints, M’s wife quietly urged me to head on if her husband was holding me back. Though I knew I could have run a lot more of the course, I didn’t want to part from M. He had really helped me out in the beginning. If I had been alone, I would have gotten severely lost and probably quit halfway through. It was only right I stick with him now and make sure he finished.
There were also sections of stairs. My thighs are still feeling the burn. At least it was scenic.

And that’s exactly what I did. The final ascent was a bit of a slog as I knew it would be. I waited for M at the top and then we ran in together. With the terrain, all the walking, getting lost multiple times and the time spent chatting at the checkpoints, it took us over 6 hours to complete the course. I had expected to finish in no more than 4.5 hours. Shows what I knew.
I really hope that's just mud I stepped in.

My feet were dirty and soaked through from all the puddles and mud. When I got back to the B&B, I discovered the biggest blister ever on my big toe. It nearly doubled the width of my toe. Yikes.

Sore, disfigured feet aside, I had a fantastic time on the Bath Beat and saw some of the most beautiful countryside in the process. And of course I celebrated afterward with some tea and cakes with Mr. Darcy.
I hope you all have a great week ahead. Catch up with you when I can.

Later gators.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The getaway

A short 3 miler yesterday morning helped expel the lingering soreness from my legs from Monday’s long run. This morning I should have hit the track, but I hit the snooze button instead. However, the weather today is gorgeous and there’s still time for me to do my repeats later this afternoon. Hooray for small miracles.

This is my last post for the week as tomorrow I’m heading to Bath. I’m running the Bath Beat 21 mile course on Saturday as my first of two 20-mile training runs. I’m hoping like hell there aren’t too many hills but considering I’ll be running through the English countryside, I think I’m shit out of luck on that one. Eh, I’ll live.

Though my stay in Bath will be brief, I have an appointment for tea with Mr. Darcy. A perfect post-long run treat, no?

Happy early weekend to you all. Catch you again next week.

Later gators.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Open letters

To the guy wearing cargo shorts who passed me during yesterday’s 18 miler:

I see you’re fashion forward backward. However, it’s not appreciated when you pass me in that get-up (nice cotton jumper, by the way) when I’m wearing actual (though admittedly cheap) running gear. I hope you chafed your bits. A lot.

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To the slim Asian chick who was wearing my exact same all-black running outfit:

Whilst it’s embarrassing that we wore the same outfit during our respective runs, it’s bound to happen so no hard feelings. You pulled off the chic ninja look well. However, in the process, you made me acknowledge (against my will) that I was in fact not pulling off that same look. Chubby red-faced ninja? Yes. Chic ninja? No. Thanks a lot, biotch.

- - - - - - - - - -

To the asshat who stole the wire basket off of Aeolus when he was parked in MY FRONT YARD:

While I am thankful you didn’t take Aeolus along with the basket, I should inform you that if we ever cross paths, I’ll be turning your testicles into a pair of earrings. You’ve been warned. Have a nice day. F*cktard.

- - - - - - - - - -

To my fellow Easter party-goer:

The festivities were quite enjoyable and though most of us were distracted by the antics of the children, I must say your attempts at stealth failed miserably. After the feast, we all heard your likely intended but not silent fart and saw you try to wave it away. Unfortunately it was not odorless. More’s the pity. Why you seemed to think the small kitchen with no open window was the best choice for this endeavor is beyond me seeing as you pretty much ‘nuked’ all the Easter leftovers. What was especially perplexing was the fact that the patio door leading to the outdoors and the lovely spring day was just feet away from you. That was a major tactical error, sir. Hopefully one from which you have now learned something useful.

- - - - - - - - - -

To my aching knees:

It appears you dislike runs over 14 miles in length. I do apologize but I did do all that I could to lessen the potential damage by running on the dirt and gravel canal path as much as possible yesterday. I am sorry that I was inconsiderate and neglected to ice you down post-run, but you did not immediately let me know of your discomfort. However, I tip my hat to you for informing me of your uncomfortable state at 5 am this morning, waking me from an already restless sleep. I did say I wanted to start waking up earlier. I just did not envision it in this way. Next time I will be more specific. Please hang in there for another seven weeks. After the marathon I will give you a much deserved hiatus from long runs. Promise.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Beg, borrow or steal

It’s a Bank Holiday today on the English isles. That means the university, including the libraries, are closed, as well as a few shops here and there because apparently capitalism is not understood in this country.

You would think this means I get a day off too. Wrong, my friends. PhD students don’t get holidays. They’re just called work at home days. Bah humbug.

Because of Easter festivities, my long run was postponed until today. I still have not run it. Why? Because I woke up with mega cramps and before I could take any ibuprofen I had to eat something, but I wasn’t hungry. Yes, it’s one of those days.

So the plan is to work a few hours as I sit at my desk in my pjs with a hot water bottle against my lower abdomen then get out for my long run. I know of course you will all be waiting with bated breath to see if I complete this task. I will update this post later with my accomplishment...or epic fail. Because really, it’s a toss-up at the moment.

[Editor’s note: Thanks to Merry at Sheesh for letting me steal borrow her accountability-post format. I really needed it today.]

Training du jour: 18-mile run.

Update: Done.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Two in one

Yesterday morning I hit the track for the first time ever since living here in Nerdtown. On the schedule was 3 x 800 m.

Oh, and the track? It’s this one:

[Editor’s note: I adore you guys to bits, but in all seriousness, please refrain from typing the name of the university/town or the full name of the lovely Sir RB who made this track famous. I do not want to encourage more local traffic to my blog than I already get. Many thanks.]

It was an unusually sunny morning but colder than a penguin’s balls. Not surprisingly I was the only one at the track. I did a half mile warm-up and then ran the first 800 m repeat. As usual, I went out like a bat out of hell and felt like ten kinds of ass the entire time. I completed it in 4:17.38, well below the 4:30 mark I was shooting for.

And to top it off, I wasn’t even going half as fast as Sir RB. That’s balls.

Just as I completed the repeat, my friend showed up. We had half-heartedly planned to meet at the track should the weather not be complete crap. He’s not a morning person so I didn’t really hold out hope he would show up, but he did. And I thanked him for that because I was about ready to scrap the other two repeats because the first one left me feeling like a giant pile of poo.

My friend went about his own run and I continued on with my final two repeats. I took them both at a much better pace—pushing myself but not to the brink of death like the first time. I completed them in 4:33.78 and 4:34.34.

Obviously I should consider these last two FAILs, but I don’t. What I failed at was setting my 800 m pace. My ultimate marathon goal is to break 4:30. However, I know I’m nowhere near that right now. I need to shed a few more pounds and have more consistent training for that. Instead, I’m actually training for a still optimistic 4:45. So, according to Yasso, my repeat times should be 4:45.

But that seems a wee bit high considering my repeat times, no? Maybe I should change my pace goal to 4:40 or 4:35. What do you all think?

Food, chocolate and bunnies, oh my!
As happens every few years, Catholic and Orthodox Easter have fallen on the same date. Boo! It’s a crime against humanity to deny me two different Sundays to gorge myself on yummy food in the name of religions I don’t or no longer practice. The cruelty!

Regardless of your religious affiliation or lack thereof, I hope you all get to enjoy an extended holiday weekend of indulgence and sloth. It is the American (and possibly American-Lite Canadian) way after all.

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone.

Later gators.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Confrontation

This is potentially the concluding chapter in The Chronicles of Crackhead Neighbor...amongst other things.

Monday night Crackhead neighbor decides to have a loud house party until the wee hours of the morning. She hasn’t done this in ages, so we, the flatmates and I, grumble about it but hope it’s a one-off and try to ignore it. We should call the Noise Complaint office, but we know it’ll be the death knell for her in respect to a court date and then the loss of custody of her child. She’s a crackhead, but we feel bad for her sometimes.

However, all that empathy went to hell in a hand basket on Tuesday night when she decided to repeat Monday night—loud music, loud voices, lots of banging around. Around 3:30 am one of my flatmates, TweedleDipshit, cracks. She’s beyond livid and really I can’t blame her. Everyone in this house is a PhD student and we’re all under deadline at the moment, so Crackhead’s antics are not helping any.

TweedleDipshit (hereafter TD) is going to knock on Crackhead’s door and ask as politely as she can (i.e. not really) to can it. Knowing this is not going to end well, I decide to be back-up for her. TD and I may have our disagreements, but she’s not a bad person. The third and last housemate in residence at the time, TweedleDee (hereafter referred to as TDee) is an Englishman which means he’s a pansy without testicles and will dither uselessly in the house as we do the dirty work.

It’s cold and drizzling so I throw on a fleece jacket over my pjs (aka sweats) and hang back as TD takes the lead. She knocks (i.e. bangs) on the door until Crackhead answers. Crackhead is drunk/high and happy until she sees us and then she becomes drunk/high and belligerent.

TD asks Crackhead to tone down the party and (not so subtly) threatens to call in the authorities if she doesn’t. Crackhead retaliates by calling us uptight bitches, etc. TD goes into a massive hissy fit. Irritated beyond belief and cranky as hell, I start throwing back sarcastic and instigating comments. I can no longer help myself; patience is gone.

Soon Crackhead and TD start pushing each other. I try to break it up but then one of Crackhead’s friends/tenants comes out and pushes me. Then all hell breaks loose. I’ve never been in a fight before. All I remember is the adrenalin and fear, a mass of bodies and my fist connecting with flesh.

I guess either TDee had called the cops or one of the other neighbors did because within a blink of an eye the cops are there trying to get a handle on the situation. We’re all being pulled apart and held back. A cop has me in a death grip, his arms around my waist and neck, trying to prevent me from joining the fray again.

Eventually more police arrive. We’re all dragged off individually, give statements and then four of us are taken into custody—me, TD, Crackhead and her friend who started the fight with me. We’re booked on disturbing the peace and common assault. TDee eventually arrives and posts bail for TD and me.

Now we’re awaiting our court date. To add to the fun, TD and I are both North Americans which means we face deportation if convicted. My application for a European passport has not gone through yet and might never if I’m convicted so I have to rely on the student visa in my US passport which is now surely going to be revoked.

Needless to say, my family is not particularly proud of me at the moment. My supervisor is away on holiday and does not yet know my situation. Financially I’m in shit seeing as I have to pay unanticipated legal fees and I’m probably going to get kicked out of my doctoral program seeing as I’m likely to be kicked out of the country. On top of all of that, I now have a black eye, a fractured right hand and am missing a chunk of hair from the back of my head. So basically I’m looking pretty hot.

There is no silver lining here, at least not that I can see.

Well, except for the fact that it’s the first of April.