Category Archives: Crazy Cat Lady

Seventeen to go

Week One of Boston training is finished and I got through it with no ill will toward Sir Pfitzinger. Although with weeks Two though Eighteen still in front of me, I’m sure that will change.

I stayed 100% faithful to the plan with the exception of swapping Saturday and Sunday (assigned recovery run and long run, respectively) to accommodate meeting my normal running group on their long run day.

This was probably the most disciplined week of training I’ve undertaken since college. Here’s how it went down.*

Monday: XT and weights. 15 min on the rowing machine and 45 min of upper-body-focused lifting.

Tuesday: 8 miles Lactate Threshold with 4 miles @ 15K/Half Marathon pace. Looped around Piedmont Park to avoid traffic lights; finished in 1:05:24 overall with 4M tempo portion in 29:40. Wasn’t sure what pace to target; this felt challenging but manageable.

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: 9 miles General Aerobic. Nice and chill, did this one at lunchtime and enjoyed the sunny 60-degree weather! Finished in 1:19 (8:47 pace).

Friday: Weights. An hour of of heavy lower-body lifting: weighted lunges (45 lbs), hack squat (50 lbs), leg press (180 lbs), dumbbell hamstring curl (30 lbs), prone hamstring curl (70 lbs). 12-15 reps.

Saturday: 12 miles Medium-Long. Met up with my group and did our usual 10-mile loop. Finished that in 1:25 exactly. Tacked on an extra two miles solo afterward and ended at 1:42. 8:30 pace for the run which I was pretty happy with considering that I accidentally consumed an entire bottle of Pinot Noir the night before (ahem.)

Sunday: 4 miles Recovery. Easy run around GA Tech campus in 37:00, 9:15 pace. Am trying to purposefully keep recovery runs very mellow because that’s what this book says to do.

Total for week: 33 miles.

In other happenings:

Saw the Hobbit movie today. For fucking real, I did not realize they were going to squeeze three movies out of this thing. Halfway through, I was sitting there wondering why on earth things were moving so slowly. I get that some of the content comes from Tolkein’s appendices or whatever, but seriously…I don’t think making nine hours of Hobbit film does any service to the literature. And generally, I really don’t like this trend of splitting books in to multi-part movies.

(Looking at you, Twilight Part Eleventy. Can’t wait for, like, Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 6, in which we extend battle scenes to such ridiculous lengths that we forget what the fight is about and burn minutes by watching various characters stare at each other balefully. Not that they’re planning on doing that – I have no idea – but I wouldn’t put it past them.)

My Christmas Shopping. It’s in a disastrous state. There are so many things that need to be shipped off, like, tomorrow. Things that I haven’t purchased (or even necessarily identified) yet. I have no excuse for this because it’s not like I haven’t had time to do it. Apparently I just enjoy procrastinating.

But the stockings have been hung with care! I have no idea what will be put in these (nothing, probably…see above) but they are darn cute.

(Yes, our walls scream: Colonel Mustard did in in the Living Room with a tacky can of poo-colored paint! This color came with the house. And custom window treatments to match it, so it’s not changing any time soon.)

And I’m almost done with cards! I can’t even remember the last time I sent out holiday cards. Many years ago, when the concept of being an adult was still an exciting novelty.

But there are a number of people (mostly, my entire family) that we won’t be seeing in person this year, so I ordered ridiculous custom cards (complete with photos of our cats in festive attire…do not judge me), collected addresses, and got to it.

Because I had a moment of panic at the VistaPrint checkout and ordered approximately four times as many cards as I needed to, I’ll have a number of these gems leftover, so if you want one, feel free to email me your address.

Finally, about that bottle of Pinot Noir. I’ve recently rekindled my relationship with red wine. Even though it’s not particularly chilly here, it just seems right these days.

I picked up this the path 2011 Pinot Noir last week on the afternoon of an impromptu dinner party. I was serving lamb and didn’t have time to do much in the way of wine selection beyond flagging down the guy in the Whole Foods wine section, gesturing at the contents of my cart, and begging for HELP PLZ.

It worked out well, especially since there was an extra bottle left over all for me.

With lots of ripe plum and a hint of black pepper, this bottle was nothing but enjoyable. The winemaker (Don Sebastiani and Sons) is probably most known as the operation behind supermarket labels Smoking Loon and Pepperwood Grove (both of which, if my memory serves me, are okay for the price point) but at just $12, this bottle seemed to be a cut above those in terms of value.

Bottom Line: Yes, I’d absolutely buy this again. Maybe not to drink the night before a long run, though. (Purchased at Whole Foods, $12.)

Time to address a few more cards before hitting the sack. Hope you all had a great weekend!

*Two things here:

1. I want to document my weekly Pfitz 55 adventures because (a) personally, it’s beneficial for me to sit down at the end of the week and reflect, and (b) it seems like some people are genuinely interested in reading about it. In the past I’ve done chart-like thingies but I’ll admit I’m a little turned off from formats like  that because so many people are using it to whore for Pinterest now. And I’m not really in to updating my RunningAhead log these days. So for this Boston training cycle, I might just write a weekly day-by-day narrative, unless y’all have other suggestions.

2. I realize it’s controversial to write out a training plan’s workouts on the internets, where someone could theoretically piece it together for free rather than buying the book. This particular plan is sooooo already out there online that I’m not going to worry about it. But if you’re thinking of following this plan, I’d definitely suggest you buy the book, as there’s a lot of background and other info that’s very helpful.

Our new holiday tradition

I know I shouldn’t, but I cannot help myself. The pumpkin shirt was so perfect.

If cats are in charge of hell (seems likely, when you think about it) I’m sure they have a special place for me there.

For the record, this ugly Christmas sweater is the same “Medium Dog” size from Target and, unlike the pumpkin shirt which was just a little too snug, it fits him much better. All 20 pounds of blubbery kitty are well-contained; no swaybelly oozing out here!

On that note: get excited about Valentine’s Day.

Two important Halloween lessons

I was 24 the first time I felt like a real actual grown-up on Halloween.

My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I had just moved in to our first real actual house in a real actual neighborhood. As the end of October drew near, it occurred to me that we might be visited by real actual trick-or-treaters.

I had never hosted a trick-or-treat before. I’d always lived in apartment buildings where the corridors teemed with drunk twenty-somethings on Halloween rather than candy-seeking tots. So when the big day came around, I went to Costco and bought what seemed like a ludicrously large bag of candy…

…and emptied it into a bucket. Excited, we poured glasses of wine and waited.

With the first few rings of the doorbell, we jumped up from the couch, ran to the porch, and cooed at the cute little kids in their costumes before generously offering up multiple treats. After all, who wants to be that stingy house that only gives out one thing? We were young, we were cool, we were only, oh, a decade or so removed from the trick-or-treat experience ourselves! We did not want to be that house.

 Things were going great for about an hour.

And then we saw the buses.

As we soon learned, the next neighborhood over had a Halloween tradition that involved bussing its kids into our neighborhood (which was, admittedly, more affluent and probably safer) for trick-or-treating. Which would have been fine, except…

our candy situation. It was dire. Our generous payout policy had left us nearly bankrupt.

As the school buses disgorged hundreds (literally) of tiny pirates and zombies and fairy princesses, my husband carefully rationed our dwindling treat supply while I crashed around the kitchen, searching for anything that could be construed as an appropriate offering.

A half bag of Hershey’s Kisses and a box of granola bars bought us about five minutes. At which point we began to discuss how we were going to shut things down in a tactful manner. There was no ebb in the tide of children pouring on to our porch. It was inevitably going to be awkward.

Then I had an idea, and fetched our bucket of spare change.

Word spread quickly, and before long we had an actual line at our door.. As it turned out, these kids were way more excited about nickels and dimes than they were about Butterfingers and Snickers. Gasps and shrieks of excitement echoed around the porch as we doled out coins.

I don’t even know how much money was in the change bucket. Probably a decent amount. We’d been planning to eventually cash it in and spend it on something fun. Which, actually, we totally did.

And it was a small price to pay for two important lessons:

(1) There is nothing wrong with being that stingy house; and

(2) When it comes to Halloween Candy, always buy MORE. (There’s only upside!)

It’s been eight years since we lived in that first real actual grown-up house. We’re in a different neighborhood in a different state in a different time zone now, looking forward to another first trick-or-treat experience. I have no idea how many kids we will get tonight, but if a busload shows up, I am ready.

Happy Halloween!

Some of us are happier than others.

WTF is this? A straitjacket?

Lady, you have ruined my fourth afternoon nap.

We are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.

EVER.

This is not going as planned

When August turned to September, I was all set to increase my mileage. November Half Marathon! 40 and 50 mile weeks! OMG!

That hasn’t happened.

I seem to be stuck at 20-something miles a week. Sure, there are reasons: busy weekends, a streak of poor sleep, those pesky “funjuries.”  But at the end of the day, if I wanted to run more, I would have. Because even with those minor setbacks, I certainly could have.

Here was two weeks ago (which I never posted because look how much it, with the exception of that track workout, sucks):

Partying it up at a music festival was more fun than going running.

Last week:

After five days off, my shins were feeling better (no more pain walking around) so I tried an easy run. That went well, so I jumped into a 10-miler with my running group on Saturday. Although it was sucky to get out of bed in the dark (and I almost bailed), I was so glad I went.

Looking back, it wasn’t like it was a horrible week of working out. It’s not like I spent the week on the couch or something. I just have a hard time getting over the fact that I only ran 21 miles.

For the last few years, my “low” weeks have generally been around 40 – not 20 – miles. After my last marathon last April, I deliberately decreased my running for a few months. 20 miles a week (along with lots of cross training and strength training) became the new normal, which was fine.

But I assumed it would feel easy and natural to bring the mileage back up once fall hit. For whatever reason, it hasn’t.

I’m not really worried about my short term plans. The Atlanta Half Marathon is still 8 weeks away, and although I want to run hard, I’ve never had my sights on a PR there. The course is hilly and, realistically, I’m NOT going to be drinking wine while prepping Thanksgiving goodies the night before? Unlikely. I’m running it because it’s supposed to be a fun race and to give myself something to focus on this fall.

And also to motivate myself to build up my base so I’m in a good spot going in to spring marathon training.

THAT is what I’m more worried about with this whole, “Oh, I’m running 25 miles a week but I feel like I’m in good shape and it’s fiiiiiiiiiine….” attitude.

An attitude adjustment will be needed. At some point. I’m not going to force it quite yet though. I’m still hoping it will happen on its own, especially as it starts to actually feel like fall. (We are still having highs in the 80s down here.)

Blah. Running is hard and all of that.

Anyway, since this post has been nothing but me whining about my lack of motivation, I’ll leave you with a picture of  my newest subcontractor:

Our concrete patching project is currently on hold due to rain. Sub is napping on a fleecy blanket. I hope she doesn’t think she’s getting paid for today.

Helping me help you

Like most bloggers, when I’m feeling particularly hard up for content, I wander over to my stats page and examine the list of search terms that have brought people here.

And then I feel a surge of pity for those who, having trusted Google to lead them in their quest to answer their (often weird and obtuse but probably somehow important in a way I cannot fathom) questions, ended up on this site.

And THEN, I start to ponder these people, and the situations they’ve gotten themselves in to. I create little drama-filled backstories for them. I wonder if they ever figured things out. (Yes, I have too much time on my hands)

So, if any of you random Googlers are still hanging around here, give me another shot. Maybe I can help.

1) The feline and the specter

It sounds like this person believes his bedroom is haunted, which is causing his cat to stay away from the room.

Guy, you are in luck. I have an easy solution: SEND ME YOUR GHOST.

Because I have the opposite problem. My bedroom attracts my cat like a magnet, especially when the door is closed. Bonus points if your supernatural being is most active between the hours of 3 AM and 5 AM, because this is when my cat is least likely to avoid my bedroom.

Problem solved.

2) The ass chafers

I think the real question here is: what CAN’T you put in your butt crack during a long run? The world is your oyster!

(Oyster! There’s one answer for ya!)

Okay, but seriously: I get lots of search hits about running and butt chafing (and also, of course, chaffing). Is this because people are too embarrassed to ask their running buddies for advice about that searing strip of raw skin down in the crack, so they turn to Dr. Google?

Butt chafing happens, y’all. To lots of runners, including me. Do not be ashamed. You can put Body Glide down there just as you’d put it on any other part of your body. Or, there are specific products made just for ye olde arse. Hell, you can even use regular old vaseline.

Here’s a related question that I see sometimes:

Honestly? While exercising? Probably none.

There is no evidence that this person is asking about running-specific underwear applications, though. I will say for everyday use, I think Hanky Pankys are pretty damn great. And I actually do wear them running sometimes, especially with thinner tights/capris/booty shorts. I don’t even notice that I’m wearing them, and they’ve never caused a chafing issue.

And I can’t believe I just blogged about that.

Moving on…

3) Le supermarché français

Just like it sounds, yo. PUB-licks.

At first I thought this was a really stupid question, but then I thought that maybe this person thought it was, like, French or something with a silent -x?

poob-LEE?

Yeah, no.

And for what it’s worth, I still don’t think it’s such an amazing store, although the rotisserie chicken has grown on me.

4) The person who doesn’t want to invest in a sixpack and be inevitably disappointed

That is easy. THIS ONE.

5) The hapless motorist

Here ya go:

HTH!

(No, but really…what does it look like when a tire needs air? It looks flatter than normal. And if you’re not sure, take two quarters to your nearest gas station, check the pressure, and top off if necessary. Filed under: Things I’m Glad My Dad Taught Me When I Was 16.)

6) The redneck pervert

It’s a good bet that this is happening, somewhere, right here in the state of Georgia right now! If not, almost certainly in neighboring Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Florida.

Or is it, like: to where do they drive? To Wal-Mart? To the local landfill with a bed full of trash? To the police station because they’ve just been robbed of their clothing? To your house to appease your girl-on-F150 fantasy, Mr. Googler? So many possibilities.

If this is too complicated for you, I’d suggest checking out your local adult video store. There’s a niche for everything, right?

7) The baker with jaws of steel

Good lord, are you trying to be the least popular parent at the bake sale?

Here’s my tip: stop by your local poob-LEE and pick up some macarons instead.

8) The organized entertainer

YES. I must admit that I feel validated every time someone lands on my blog after searching for this because I’m pretty sure you all thought I was crazy after that post.

This is probably the only arena in which I will ever exhibit that level of planning and organization. And I do it, like, twice a year.

Bring on Thanksgiving…this year is going to be even more complicated since I’m running a half marathon in the morning. Post-race shower beer will definitely be a milestone on that critical path.

9) The person who thinks the Google box is her sassy pants, straight-talkin’ BFF

Probably.

10) The person who actually might have found what they were looking for

I gotcha covered.

(No makeup. SO BRAVE!)

And with that, I’m back to…whatever it was I was doing before I went down the search-term rabbit hole. I can’t even remember.

Maybe Google can help.

An eventful night in my bedroom

It’s Friday night. I have the house to myself and plans to attend a 12-mile run with a slightly-faster-than-me group on Saturday morning.

7:30 PM: I eat a delicious yet responsible dinner involving a juicy beef burger patty and lots of sweet potato fries. And I haven’t had a beer all week, so hot damn it’s about time.

[Meh. Avery Brewing’s White Rascal is a Belgian-style white (think Blue Moon). It’s the perfect thing to sip on a hot August night, but I was underwhelmed. It tasted kind of like an Arnold Palmer. 5.6% ABV.]

9:00 PM: I’ve burned through four of my expensive (but worth it, because they actually work) mosquito cones.

Also, there are probably cats in the kitchen agitating for dinner. Time to head inside.

9:15 PM: Beer number two is a Brooklyn Lager rummaged from the depths of the fridge. I sip it slowly while working on a new writing project that’s been banging around in my skull all week. I write almost 2,000 words, which makes me happy.

10:30 PM: Big glass of water. Teeth brushed, face washed, lights out. I congratulate myself for being a paragon of maturity and responsibility: sober, well-fed, plenty hydrated, and about to get a solid 8 hours of sleep before my morning run alarm.

11:30 PM: I am still awake.

12:30 AM: I am…still fucking awake.

12:45 AM: Just drifting off when I hear a thump. I mean…a THUMP. Wide awake again, with irrational visions of robbers and serial killers dancing in my head. Probably, it was one of the fat cats jumping down from a nocturnal romp on a banned countertop or something like that, but…

…OMG SERIAL KILLERS.

Wide, wide awake.

1:00 AM: I consider turning on the TV but the remote is out of reach. I grab my phone instead and spend the next 45 minutes reading the entire internet.

1:45 AM: I pop a melatonin, turn on the Pandora sleep station, and set the my sleep timer app for 30 minutes. Roll over and finally….

2:45 AM: There’s a baby crying in the hallway and it wakes me up. WTF?

Wait, it’s just the cat and her Baby Wail.

A couple of years ago, Emmy started doing this super creepy thing where she meows and it sounds just like a human baby crying. We have no idea where she picked it up. Apparently it’s an actual thing and it’s called a “manipulative meow” (charming), but I avoid crying human babies at all costs so I don’t know how she learned it. Unless imitating a dying infant is, like, embedded in her genetic code or something. Which I would have to admit is pretty badass.

Emmy only does the Baby Wail in one specific circumstance: at night, outside our bedroom door, when it is closed. And come to think of it, I’ve never actually seen her do it. (She’s just…there when one of us inevitably open the door.) So it’s possible she’s a supernatural shape-shifter of some sort.

In either case: you win, cat. 

2:50 AM: I get up to open the bedroom door.

To my surprise and relief, Emmy immediately curls up beside me and goes to sleep instead of prancing on my bladder or kneading my face or drinking out of my water glass or finding a plastic bag to lick compulsively.

3:00 AM: Emmy’s supernatural powers apparently extend into the thermonuclear realm. In just a few minutes, she’s managed to raise the temperature in the bed by about seven hundred degrees. I get up and switch on the ceiling fan.

3:15 AM: Still awake.

I consider wine. Or vodka. Or NyQuil. This is miserable.

I’m still thinking that I might actually get up for that 7 AM run, though. I mutter a complaint to the snoring cat (bitch), reach for my phone, and punch the icon for this white noise app that I downloaded a long time ago but have rarely used.

3:45 AM: White noises are obnoxious. I turn the app off. I give up on running and deactivate my alarm. It ain’t gonna happen on fewer than three hours of sleep.

[insert long pause here]

10:05 AM: I wake up, fully rested and refreshed.

My running group has been done for 90 minutes now.

FML. Glad I got some sleep, though.

[insert dramatic pause before postscript here]

Yes, I know I’m being whiny. Yes, I know I could’ve sucked it up and gone to run anyway. Yes, I know that my anxiety about running farther and faster than I have in months is probably what kept me up in the first place. Yes, I know your small infant kept you up all night and you can just-wait-until-you-have-kids me all you want but I already have a fucking cat that meows like a baby which is way creepier so there.

Basically, what I’ve taken away from this is that being reasonable and responsible doesn’t pay.

Remind me of that next weekend when I’m attempting a Saturday morning run after an indulgent dinner and a bottle of wine.

At the very least, being in a drunken food coma is a good way to guarantee sleep.

The impenetrable cereal box fortress

I care about my cats quite a bit. They are indoor cats, they eat overpriced grain-free cat food, they are theoretically calmed by an expensive electrical diffuser that imitates kitty pheromones, and yadda yadda yadda.

When we moved into our new house, with its multiple direct-outdoor-access doors, I dug out these collars that I’d frivolously bought them a couple of years ago when we lived in New York. Designer collars from this cute pet shop in the West Village, complete with custom tags engraved with their names and my phone number.  Collars that were completely unnecessary, at the time, for a pair of apartment-dwelling felines. Collars that ended up in a box under the sink, because the clink-clanking of the bells and tags was obnoxious in our tiny apartment.

But now? Even though I would never intentionally let them outside, it eases my mind to have them carry identification. Just in case, you know. Especially since we’ve had countless contractors in and out of the house lately.

This weekend, there was a weird and scary moment where my husband and I both realized that we hadn’t seen either of the cats all day.

“Did you feed them this morning?” I asked.

“No, I thought you did,” he replied.

And we both looked down at a pair of empty, crusty food bowls. A situation that would have, under normal circumstances, inspired a feline uprising.

“Shit,” I said, and we each headed to opposite ends of the house in search. As I bounded up the stairs, worst-case scenarios swam through my mind: a roofer had left a door open, a curious kitty had wandered outside and into the adjoining yard of our neighbor – the owner of an ill-trained Rottweiler who growls menacingly at me every time I leave the house….

I heard my husband’s laugh before I heard him call to me that he’d found them.

So: our bedroom is currently kind of a mess. Truthfully, we’re 31 years old and have never owned an actual bed; so I ordered a simple metal model from CB2 a couple of weeks ago. It was attractive and reasonably priced, but apparently the downside is that it’s a bitch to assemble. So this half-functional bed frame, along with the enormous box that it came in, currently presides over our bedroom.

On top of it, in it, on it, around it…it appears that this box is the best thing that has ever happened to our cats.

It’s kind of hilarious. Although our two kitties have always gotten along, they have never exhibited BFF behavior…until now. I’ll peel up the corner of the box top and see both of them sitting in there…almost conspiratorially. I immediately feel as if I’ve interrupted an important meeting, and leave them to their conferences, gently replacing the box’s lid so as not to scare either one in to thinking they’re in trouble.

So the inevitable question becomes: what am I going to do when we finally figure out how to put the bed together? And then it’s time to get rid of these boxes? It will break their furry little hearts.

Of course, there’s no reason to feel sorry for an animal living in this household. Our cats are as doted upon as a cat can be. But it still makes me shake my head when I think of the money I’ve spent on pheromone diffusers and catnip toys and all sorts of other implements to keep them calm and happy during this transition….

Really, all they needed was a big ass box.

In other news, I ran 8 miles this morning. That is as far as I’ve gone since the Gansett Marathon, which was over a month ago. It was slow for me (around 9:00 pace), but I felt okay. I think my legs are still recovering from last Thursday’s hard weight session. They felt heavy and sluggish. Meh.

Bed time for me…I’ll be back tomorrow with a weigh in and weekly workout recap, among other things. Hope y’all had a good weekend!

This starts today

The last carload of crap has been hauled. The boxes have been unpacked. The major furniture items and appliances have been selected and purchased.

It’s been 23 days since the marathon.

I’m running out of excuses to miss workouts. And the long, physically laborious days of moving and unpacking where I simply must put up my feet and sip on a glass (or three) of Sauv Blanc at sundown…well, those are pretty much over at this point too.

So: this starts today.

I’m not sure what this is, but as I mentioned last week, I do know that I need to take my running mileage down for a few months. Aside from a short break in December, I’ve been in marathon training mode since last August, gunning for high mileage (successfully last fall; not so much this spring) and not really doing much in the way of strength training or cross training.

And that was great. It worked just like it was supposed to. It got me the PR and BQ that had eluded me for a decade.

It also got me a beer gut.

There is a reason why miles make champions. It’s because running lots of miles makes your body really efficient at running lots of miles. And that’s exactly what you want if you’re trying to be a competitive distance runner.

The downside is that most of us who run what I’d call “ambitious hobbyjogger” mileage (say, 40 or 50 miles a week) on a consistent basis spend a lot of time exercising and probably burn relatively few calories for our efforts.

Probably. I’m just conjecturing based on my experience over the years. Factor in the inevitable metabolic slowdown that comes with getting older and I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that distance running may not be the best way for me to stay in shape.*

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing it, obviously. Because that’s not my primary motivation. But in the “off season,” I figure it can’t hurt to focus my efforts elsewhere for a few months and try to get a little leaner for the next training cycle.

So…this, whatever it is, starts today.

No more weeknight beers. (Most of the time.)

No more fried food. (Unless it’s something really good.)

Some running, obviously, but more like 20 MPW.

Track workouts.

Boot camp.

Weights.

F*cking yoga.

And regular check-ins with this thing:

As of today, it tells me that I weigh 133.6 pounds and am composed of 23.8% fat and 37.8% muscle. (The other 38% is probably Dos Equis and tortilla chips, based on my weekend activities.)

[Edited to add: I’m 5’3″, so while that’s a perfectly healthy weight for me, I do have room to lose a few pounds and still be at a healthy weight.]

I don’t really have a goal, I just want the numbers to move in a direction that indicates less of the squishy stuff and more of the firm stuff.

And I am definitely not going to turn this in to an OMG WEIGHT LOSS blog and then crow about how inspirational I am because I lost ten vanity pounds. (Although if it could get me a book deal? I totally would.)

But assuming it’s not horribly offensive to you guys, I’ll share my progress (or spectacular failure and lack thereof) as it happens.

Anyway. I have a yoga class to get to. So I’ll leave you with what may end up being the final tragic photo of Emmy, on the cusp of her demise:

I could not come up with a worse place to nap if I tried. Unless your goal is to get squished by someone coming down the stairs who doesn’t see you because you are snoozing cluelessly under the first step.

*I’m sure there’s an inflection point somewhere. If I were able to consistently log 80 MPW instead of 40 MPW, I’d probably lean out. And obviously, the vast majority of elite and accomplished distance runners don’t have spare tires…they probably also have more willpower than I do when it comes to their diets. And better genetics. I realize that I’m oversimplifying and there are a lot of factors that affect one’s body composition, but it’s my blog and I’ll make sweeping generalizations if I want to.

By the numbers

Alternate title: The sort of crap you come up with after staring at your computer for an hour and failing to produce any ideas for intelligent blog posts.

(It’s teetering dangerously above “WHAT I’M LOVING NOW!” or “THE ABCs OF ME!” on the scale of blog cop-outs. I know. Sorry.)

Anyway. In descending order….

65: Degrees and sunny this week. I’m officially under springtime’s spell.

And I’m having fun exploring Atlanta in my running shoes. Yesterday, I headed downtown and putted around the Olympic Centennial Park, which isn’t all that big (about 3/4 mile around) but is very pretty. I’m a sucker for parks surrounded by tall buildings.

51: Miles logged last week.

I guess this was my peak week. That mileage number really should be higher and I really have no good excuse as to why it wasn’t. Fail. I don’t think a PR is in the cards for me next month.

On the bright side, I did have a good tempo on Wednesday and my long run on Saturday was pleasant enough…well, it was pleasant until mile 17ish, when it became decidedly less so.

I’m trying not to take that as an omen. When I’m running a marathon, I usually hit the crash-and-burn stage around 18/19. At CIM last December, I didn’t hit it until 23/24 and that made a huge difference in my overall performance. I credit last fall’s higher mileage for that. Mileage that I have NOT been logging this spring. Ugh.

8π√3: Correct answer to this one stupid math problem that had almost made me hurl BARRON’S NEW GRE against the wall last night.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’d like to continue my education at some point in the near future, and to do so, I’ll need to subject myself to humiliation at the hands of Educational Testing Service. So I’ve started “studying” (I use the term loosely) in an attempt to minimize the damage.

Awesome bonus: apparently they made the GRE harder last year. That’s what I get for slacking.

But I can now find the area of a quarter of a circle superimposed on an isosceles triangle. Super useful life skill, right there.

33: Pounds of cat under which I found myself buried when I hit the couch for a study break.

They’re not big boned, they’re just fat. (I wrote that on a Post-It Note and stuck it on their litter box, but someone took a crap on it and then buried it. Huh.)

18: Days until the Gansett Marathon! Yikes.

9: Miles I’m planning to run tonight, including some mile repeats. This is about as appealing as it sounds.

3: Bottles remaining in the six-pack of Sweetwater 420 I picked up on Monday.

This is the best my local grocery store can do, beer-wise, but I can’t complain too much! This American “West-Coast Style” Pale Ale is everywhere around here and it’s a decent little beer. With the descriptor, you’d expect something like a Sierra Nevada, but it’s nowhere near as big as that. Instead, it’s mild and very drinkable with mellow hops, strong carbonation, and a little citrus. 5.6% ABV.

Bottom line: Not the most exciting beer in the world, but enjoyable enough! (Purchased at Publix, $9/6)

1: Minute until I gnaw my arm off if I don’t stop with this useless blog post and make myself some lunch. Happy Wednesday!

The Candy Cat story

Meg and I met in college, but it was after graduation when we became really good friends. Those were the “LA Years,” which are legendary for many reasons, but chief among them is the mischief made by me and my blonde counterpart.

We were both a little lonely. She, on the heels of a breakup; me, with a boyfriend who worked 100-hour weeks. We started making dinner together a couple of times a week – Hamburger Helper, mac and cheese, pasta with marinara – which eventually morphed in to hanging out pretty much every night.

She had a cat; I had a cat. She liked Bud Light; I liked Bud Light. It was one of those easy friendships where the question isn’t do-you-want-to-hang-out, but -where-and-when.

On a typical weeknight, we’d convene with our respective cats at one of our apartments. The cats would play, and we’d drink cheap wine or head over to the local bar, where we’d hang out for a while, shooting pool or playing darts, and then coyly tell whatever guys were hanging around us that we had to go home and bathe our kitties. (Which was totally true, and I mean that literally.)

Our favorite bar with a little dive called Del’s on Santa Monica Boulevard in West LA. We could walk there from Meg’s apartment. The beer was cheap and the jukebox was well-stocked with classic rock. It was the antithesis of the typical LA bar scene, and it was perfect.

Del’s was totally our bar. Our “Cheers.” Everybody knew our names. I can’t even tell you how many nights we spent at Del’s. Hundreds, probably.

Sadly, though, all eras must end. Meg started grad school and moved up to Northridge. The Valley. A long and treacherous journey from LA.

But I missed my friend, so fairly regularly, I packed up Emmy and make the trek up there. Kraft dinners were just as lovely in The Valley, but one thing was missing. Our bar.

One day, I got an excited call from Meg. (This was before texting, kids.)

“I FOUND IT! I found our bar,” she gushed. “Get this: it’s called the Candy Cat. A cat bar! I drove by it earlier today. We have to try it!”

I completely agreed and immediately planned a trip up to the Valley.

A few nights later, with bellies full of mac and cheese, we left the cats (shampooed and blow-dried, of course) to play and headed over to this promising new establishment.

Now, if you have half a brain, you can probably see where this story is going. But Meg and I don’t even have a quarter of a brain apiece, apparently, because we charged ahead cluelessly.

“There are cats on the front window!” I squealed as we pulled up.

“Oh good, there’s parking in the rear,” Meg noted, turning in to the driveway.

We parked and walked toward the back door.

“Dude, check out that girl’s shoes,” I whispered with a slight nod toward a young woman smoking by the curb, looking sullen in a trench coat and platform heels.

We smiled smugly and quietly congratulated ourselves for being the kind of chicks that go to the bar in flip flops. We were rocking ponytails and tee shirts. We didn’t need to try so hard.

Two bouncers loomed over the door, from which muted Def Leppard blared behind. One asked for ID and a $5 cover, and immediately the other cut him off, gave us a once-over, and waved us in. “They’re cool,” he said.

Hell yeah, we are, we thought.

We crossed into a brightly-lit room. A little too bright. There were a lot of lights. Colorful lights.

“It’s…a theme bar?” I said, genuinely confused. There were two bars and a pool table but why did it seem to be all guys…?

Then we saw the boobs.

The cartoon cats. The rear parking. The platform heels. The cover charge.

What happened next is the kind of moment you remember forever; when I think of Meg and our friendship, those next few seconds pretty much say it all.

A look passed between us. It said: Convey no emotion. We cannot leave now, we’ll look stupid. We have to act like we totally meant to come here.

“You get the cues, I’ll rack ’em?” I said.

“Sure. Bud Light?” she replied smoothly.

So we hung out for a couple of hours, shooting pool, chatting with random people, singing along to classic rock, trying our best to give off a casual, we-come-here-all-the-time vibe. And it was almost like being back at Del’s again…but with more sparkles. And more boobs.

In the car on the way home, we recapped.

“That was fun but I think we should, you know, keep looking,” Meg said.

“Yeah…I don’t think that’s our bar,” I agreed.

We never did find our new Del’s, and eventually Meg and I both moved out of Southern California and on with our lives. Although we haven’t lived in the same city for years, she’s still one of my very best friends. On the rare and happy occasions when we do get together, it’s like nothing has changed. We still share a brain – and yet somehow, even with our combined craniums, lack common sense. It always leads to good fun.

Meg’s getting married in a few weeks. This weekend, I’m in Miami for her bachelorette party.

I can’t promise that we won’t accidentally end up in a strip club – excuse me, I mean a theme bar.