Monday, July 19, 2010

Update and thoughts

Here I am again, being the laziest blogger. In a world where we constantly update everyone 140 characters at a time, it seems superfluous to write an entire blog entry. I might as well take all of my Facebook status updates and Tweets and smoosh them all together for a weekly blog post.

Anyway, here is a little update on what has been going on with me.

 - We are going to Hawaii next week! Levi is teaching a class at Schofield Barracks in Oahu, and I am tagging along for a relaxing vacation. I am looking forward to a lot of lying on the beach, swimming, eating, running, and hiking. I will need it after this week of getting my workspace in order and delegating my tasks to everyone else.

 - The weekend mini-vacations usually take up a lot of our off-time in the summer. This month we visited Williamsburg, Virginia and went camping at a friend-of-a-friend's beach house on the Chesapeake Bay. Those two trips were completely different experiences. In Williamsburg we went to an old tavern, stayed at a presidential-themed bed & breakfast, explored the William & Mary campus, and played around at Colonial Williamsburg in the hot, hot sun. The camping trip consisted of relaxing, drinking beer, catching crabs from a boat, relaxing, sailing on a catamaran, eating the crabs, and sleeping in a tent. They were both fantastic, and both full of things I had never done before.

 - I am quitting smoking. For good this time. Since I have tried and failed a few times in the past, I am attacking my addiction from all sides. I started taking Chantix four days ago, and my "quit date" is on Friday. Coincidentally, that is the day before I leave for Hawaii, which should make it easier. So far things are going well on the Chantix. The crazy-vivid dreams have already started, so that should make for a fun nighttime adventure.

 - Tomorrow is our sixth wedding anniversary. Woo!

 - I have a couple of races coming up this fall. I took it easy after the half marathon in June, but I am getting back into the running habit. (One of my top reasons for quitting smoking.) In September I will be running a 10K with a friend who wants motivation to lose a few post-baby pounds. At the end of September Levi and I will be running the Ragnar Relay with a group of ten other people. The Ragnar is 193 miles through West Virginia, Virginia, DC and Maryland. It takes about 30 hours and we all run three legs and sleep in a van. In October Levi and I are running the Army 10-Miler in DC. I am the most excited for that one, because the course takes us from the Pentagon, through the memorials, up to the Capitol, then back to the Pentagon. By then I want to be completely comfortable running 10 miles, like I was two months ago.

That's all for now. Maybe I'll find time to write from our house (with wi-fi!) in Hawaii.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I Did It! The San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

The San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon was three days ago and it was a success! I raised $3000 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and my finish time was 2:22, which was under my running goal! I was sure that I would need to stop and walk a few times during the race, but I managed to run the entire time.

The race was such a fantastic experience. I hit my stride in the second mile and somehow kept it going until almost the 11th mile. I started to get tired in the last two miles, but it was easy to keep running to the finish line at that point.

The bands and cheering crowds along the course made the day incredible. It was surreal to run along the freeway in San Diego with huge crowds cheering us on from overpasses. The race was put together very well with water and energy drink tables every two miles. They handed out salt for cramps and kept the runners supplied with gels. The bands were so great that I did not use my iPod the entire time.

I am pretty proud of myself right now, and so happy that the race was a pleasant experience. I am actually excited to do it again! I loved raising money for Team in Training, but I think next time I will do it on my own.

Levi went with me to San Diego, and my family drove over from Utah. They braved the crowds to meet me at mile eight on the course, then again at the finish line. Their spot in the eighth mile was perfect, because it was right at the top of a hill. I was starting to get a little tired, but seeing them gave me the boost that I needed.  Roger also flew over from Utah and he took us all out for a big pasta dinner the night before the race and met me at the finish line.

On Friday night we went to the race expo and ate way too many energy bar samples. We took advantage of our weekend in San Diego by visiting the Wild Animal Park. It was a great place to test out my new Canon camera. After the half marathon on Sunday we explored Balboa Park for a while before my family left.

Levi flew from San Diego straight to Alaska to teach a class, and he will be gone all week. His business trips give me a chance to try out new dinner recipes on myself and hang out with my girlfriends. Tonight is happy hour with Olivia and Saturday will be farmer's market and brunch with Sarah.

I am taking a few days off from running to let me poor toes recover. Only a few days though... next Saturday I will be running the American Red Cross 10K with a girl from work. Last June I ran my first 5K and this is 10K side of the same race. It is fun to see how far I have come in one year. Remember how nervous I was for that first 5K? Now it is like a run around the block. Well... a pretty long block. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blog? What Blog?

You'd think I forgot that I had a blog or something. It's been a few weeks.

Here is a quick update:

 - I'm up to eight miles and $1700 with nine weeks to go until the San Diego Half Marathon. My friends and family have been so supportive and generous... I am a lucky girl. I just signed the recommitment paperwork today, so it's official! One of my favorite parts of this whole running thing has been watching other people get motivated. A couple of coworkers who do not usually run want to start! I have signed up for 5Ks and the Army Ten-Miler with beginners because they have seen that my goal has motivated me to get better.

 - My wonderful husband, Levi, has been asked to speak at the i2 America's User Conference. He teaches a link analysis class to the military, and the main software that he uses is called Analyst's Notebook and was created by i2. They want him to speak about intelligence professionals learning to use this product to catch bad guys. He will be giving a 50-minute presentation on Tuesday, April 6th. I am so proud of him! You can see his name on their website here:

- Levi's class has been requested by a unit at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, so we will be traveling there in July. Since he does not have an assistant instructor right now, it looks like I will get paid to fly to Hawaii and help him out! I think we will stay for nine or ten days and take advantage of the free flights.

That is about it for now. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow Days

It has been a snowy February in the DC area. We had a storm on Saturday, February 6th that gave us about 24 inches. We had another storm on Tuesday, February 9th that gave us another 11 inches. We were buried all week and almost everything was closed. We were able to make it into work for a few hours before it started snowing on Tuesday, and again on Friday. I did not know cabin fever until I spent almost an entire week in the house!

You would think that I would have seen it as an opportunity to get things done. I cleaned the house a few times, ran on my neighbor's treadmill once, and did an iota of homework. Besides that, it was the laziest week that I have ever had. When the roads were clear and we were allowed to go out into the world, I was still scrambling to get homework done before the due date. The Snow Week also would have been a good time for me to get sick. No, I even put that off until it was good weather.

One day the electricity went out in our neighborhood for twelve hours. It wasn't so bad during the daylight hours. I could still cook on our gas stove. By nightfall it was starting to get cold in the house so we joined our neighbors around a firepit in the Brown's backyard. We had a little wind-up radio set on a classic rock station, and we sat around and talked for hours.

Another day we walked to our favorite Peruvian chicken restaurant for lunch because the roads were too bad to drive. Everyone was walking in the road since the sidewalks were covered with snow and ice. It was a sunny, cold day, and everyone in the neighborhood needed to get out of the house. There were families walking down the middle of the street pulling kids on sleds to the grocery store and walking their dogs in the knee-deep snow.

During the snow days Levi and I played board games together and with our neighbors. We cooked and baked and watched movies and took naps. It was a forced vacation in our house. As happy as I am to be free again, we really had a lot of fun trying to think of things to do.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Always on the Defensive

It's no secret that I tend to get defensive when I am criticized. I don't accept constructive criticism from loved ones very well. I can take it from coworkers and supervisors, only because I will wait until I am at home to get defensive about it.

In my defense (ha ha), after I step back and think about things I am a perfectly pleasant person again. I just need a chance to see the big picture, understand that I am blowing things out of proportion and that criticism does not mean that the criticizer thinks I am always wrong/terrible at my job/ugly/stupid/mean.

I think that, to an extent, this is fairly normal human behavior. Mine just seems to go a little farther because I happen to work with my husband. I love almost every aspect of this arrangement. Seriously, it is fantastic 97% of the time.

The 1% that I do not always love is when I want to leave work and Levi doesn't, or when he wants to leave but I want to finish something, but we have to drive together because we carpool. That is not a big deal and is very rare. Plus he is really accommodating in situations like that. (I am a little more impatient.) Other couples say that they would not be able to spend that much time with each other, but that is not a problem for us.

The 2% that is sometimes an issue is this defensiveness issue. When I complete a project at work and a coworker makes a suggestion, I have no problem taking that suggestion and either implementing it or "taking it into consideration," which means mentally telling them to go to hell and deleting their email.

However, when Levi makes a suggestion about my work I get defensive and want to rip his head off. Let me be perfectly clear that he is a smart man and makes very valid comments and suggestions. This is my own weird personality flaw showing itself to the world. I mean, I don't even understand it myself. What do I want him to do? Only give me praise? If he really thinks that something can be done in a more efficient manner, he should definitely tell me, just like he would tell anyone else in the office.

I know that I can't simply stop being defensive overnight. So the first step of my stop-being-an-idiot process is to keep it under wraps. When Levi says, "that looks great, but you should probably include blah blah blah in paragraph five," I need to keep my lips firmly closed, nod my head, and walk away. I can be defensive in my head for the next two hours if I want to, but he will not know it.

If I can accomplish that for a week or so, my next step will be to verbally acknowledge his suggestion. No agreeing or disagreeing, just repeating it back to him without using a bratty tone. Um... let's see if I can get through step one first.

Check out my Team in Training Fundraising Website!

Like I said in my previous post, I registered for the San Diego 1/2 marathon yesterday through Team in Training. Last night they sent me a link to my fundraising website!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Commitment Officially Made

This morning I faxed in my paperwork to join Team in Training (TNT) for the San Diego Rock 'n Roll 1/2 marathon on June 6th. The kickoff party is this Saturday, so pretty soon I'll have a training team and an honored teammate and a training schedule. I am so excited to really get into this. I am even more excited for it to warm up outside so I can run on something other than a treadmill without wanting to die.

Speaking of running, I hit 5 1/2 miles on Saturday, which is another record for me. I enjoy building up mileage a little each weekend. The 3 mile runs during the week are nice, but I don't walk away feeling like I am Superwoman. Doing better at each distance run, however, definitely gives me that feeling. Let's see how long it takes me to Superwoman it all the way up to 13.

Now that my registration paperwork is turned in, TNT will create a fundraising website for me within the next few days. My fundraising (aka badgering, begging, guilting, etc.) will be starting very soon. I plan to hit up family, friends, Facebook friends, coworkers, my neighbors, people in the neighborhood I grew up in, my mom's coworkers, my friends' parents, and everyone else I can possibly think of. Get ready with your checkbook. :)