C25K, Week Two, Day One

July 31, 2007

In week two, I’m supposed to do six 90-second runs, with two-minute walks in between.

I did the first two runs, skipped the next two and did the last two. Bleh.

I can’t wait until it cools off outside!

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SparkPeople

July 29, 2007

I’ve gotten hooked on this Web site where you can log how many calories you’ve consumed and burned throughout the day. You can set goals for nutrition, fitness and motivation, and keep track of your progress.

And it’s free!

SparkPeople.com


Downtown

July 26, 2007

Yesterday I had the day off of work (and a rare breather from a never-ending freelance project), so I went into downtown Richmond to meet Patrick for lunch. Here’s where he works:

(The one on the right.)

We had a nice lunch at Sam Miller’s and then I went back to his office for a tour. His building has a lovely cafeteria and a very nice gym. I met his boss, too, who has a great view of the river from his desk. He said that sometimes you can see big thunderstorms coming right up the river, so of course I had to share my near-death experience from last week. Poor Patrick must be so tired of hearing that story …


Weekend in Greensboro

July 26, 2007

Last weekend I went back to the Triad for an old friend’s wedding shower. Carla and I worked together at the ill-fated Triad Style magazine before it crashed and burned in 2003. She stayed on as a graphic designer with the daily newspaper that owned it, and has worked there since.

This company boasted of never, ever laying anyone off, despite tough times in the newspaper biz, in all their long history. So, at the end of Triad Style, they offered to find me a new position at the big daily newspaper. After some research, they took me into the HR office to tell me about the exciting possibilities in my new position: emptying the change from newspaper boxes around the city.

As intriguing as that “opportunity” sounded, I declined. And I let them know that it would have been kinder to lay me off than attempt to demote me from associate editor to change-emptier. Hmph.

So the wedding shower was full of people who work with Carla at the paper, and they had horror stories about the past month at work. Guess what happened to 40 or so people, including a lot of reporters and photographers? They were laid off.

And the way they did it! One Thursday afternoon, the publisher sent an email out that said something like, “We have to lay some people off, and it’s happening right now.” (I guess when you’re doing that in a newsroom, there can’t be a lot of advance notice.) As soon as everyone had read and absorbed the email, they looked up to see people getting tapped on the shoulder and led into the auditorium. There the unfortunate employees got an official apology, and a team of security guards led them all to their cars. They couldn’t even clean out their desks or say goodbye to anyone. One reporter had moved from out of state to take a job there — she started on Monday and was laid off on Thursday. Cold!

Anyway, Carla’s job is safe. I’m so glad I left there, though! It forced me to move back to Fayetteville, which led me to Patrick and a very happy life. I do cringe when I see those newspaper boxes, though.

After the shower, I met up with my old roommate Mike for a night out in Greensboro, just like old times. We were both astonished at how different everything is. We made our way in from opposite sides of the city, and stayed on our cell phones, yelling, “Oh my God, there’s a Costco on Wendover!” “What is this big building at UNCG?!” “Is that the deli?!”

Our old apartment is still intact, but the house where Mike was living when we met was torn down and replaced with an H&R Block. The Rockola where we worked our fingers to the bone is a drive-through bakery! And our beloved Babylon, where we danced ourselves silly, is now a burrito restaurant. It ain’t right.

Downtown is booming, though! It used to be a bit of a ghost town, but now it’s got loads of restaurants, shops, a huge park and a giant baseball diamond. I wish I had taken more pictures there before, because now I can’t remember what any of those spaces used to be.

After taking it all in, we ate at Natty Greene’s (the former Paisley Pineapple) and bored the waitress with our memories. Sigh.


C25K, Week One, Part Deux

July 24, 2007

I started over on Week 1 today. I hadn’t really completed the runs as prescribed last week, and I didn’t want to move on to Week 2 until I’d gotten Week 1 down. So today I started fresh and I did the whole thing! All eight runs!

It got kind of hard around number seven, but it felt so good to be finished. There was a lovely cool breeze right after that eighth run, and I almost jumped up and yelled, “Woo hoo!”

There are still 10 weeks until the 5K, so I’m still on schedule. My dad is going to run it with me!


My new favorite thing

July 23, 2007

The whole running thing has forced me to adopt a few other healthy habits. I’m going to bed earlier (usually), eating lighter foods and drinking loads of water.

To help with that last part, I went to Target in search of a reusable water bottle. This is what I got:

I love it so much! It keeps the water cool, fits in the cup holder and is just the right size. Plus, that little loop on the top makes it easy to carry around. I plop a few lemon slices in and refill it throughout the day.

(This means about 35 trips to the bathroom every day, but Patrick swears that’s good for me.)


White-Water Rafting

July 21, 2007

Short version:

It was a total nightmare, and then it was kind of fun.

Long version:

I reported to work at noon for the river rafting adventure. Turns out there was a whole “non-rafting” group, who were going to see a movie instead. Had I known about that option, I might have signed up for it. But I had already arrived in shorts and sneakers, with sunscreen in hand, so there was no turning back.

We all drove our cars to the point on the river where our trip would end, and then carpooled to where it would begin. Our guides got us all suited up in helmets and personal flotation devices (You’re not supposed to call them life jackets, because “only you can save your life.” Fifty bucks says a lawsuit brought on that little change.) We slathered ourselves with sunscreen and learned little things like how to paddle and how to get back in the raft if we go overboard.

Note: None of these photos are mine; my camera wouldn’t have survived. I just threw some photos from around the Web in here to illustrate things a little better.

So we all get in our rafts (after squishing ankle-deep in mud – I didn’t like those sneakers anyway). There are 11 of us in two rafts, plus a guide for each raft. We paddle out to the middle of the James River and then look upstream. Black clouds are gathering, and a bolt of lightning jumps across the sky. The guide in the other raft says we’ll just paddle to the next put-in and then get out and wait for it to pass. Word.

(Incidentally, this storm made the news.)

We’re paddling like crazy, occasionally getting pinballed off of rocks — and then we slide right on top of one and can’t budge. The guide moves us all to one side of the raft to try to get us off the thing, but it isn’t working. Right about this time, the black clouds reach us and giant drops of rain come hammering down. The wind is hot and has turned the whole river into little white peaks. One of my raftmates (a level-headed guy not given to exaggeration) yells, “Hey, is that a tornado?” On the bridge upstream is a swirl of debris that sure looks like it’s turning into a funnel. Yikes.

No amount of bouncing, pushing and pulling is getting us off this rock, so the guide yells (through hail now) that we need to get out of the raft. One by one, we wobble off of the raft and onto a tiny rock. Six of us are huddled there like little penguins while our guide shimmies the raft back into the water.

Suddenly, she’s screaming at one of my raftmates. (I’m still not sure why, something about not staying put. He was right where she told him to be, but I think she got disoriented and thought he hopped to another rock.) She’s cursing angrily at him and the rest of us are just stunned.

OK, so now the fearless professional is clearly freaked out. The swirling debris, the waves, the hail … all of this has been sort of an unusual experience ‘til now, but freaking out is contagious and I’m about ready to cry. But the raft is finally clear, and we all get back in.

The other raft, meanwhile, sailed right up to shore before the storm caught up, so they’re all wondering where we are. We finally paddle around the corner, soaked and wide-eyed.

 

We all hang out on the bank for a while, waiting for the storm to pass. I’m tempted to climb back up to the road and call a cab, but our guide has calmed down and apologized for freaking out. We’re slowly starting to laugh about our near-death experience, so it seems like the rest of this day might actually be fun. Once we’ve gone 10 minutes without seeing lightning, we get back in our rafts and push off.

I’m so glad we did, because the rest of the trip was super fun. As we made our way around rocks, our guide pointed out lots of Richmond landmarks and explained some of their history. (Hollywood Cemetery looks really cool from the water!) We went past Belle Isle, where people were swimming and sunning themselves. As we got into downtown Richmond, I could see Patrick’s building (he thinks he might have seen us too!) and the Federal Reserve Building.

 

At this point, there were class 4 rapids and we had to compete with some kayakers for room to move. The other raft flipped, but we were all able to stay in ours. We’d had enough drama in the beginning.

When we got out, we were tired and soaked to the bone, but the non-rafting group was waiting for us at Legends Pub. Patrick was there too, and had already met half the gang before I arrived. They all loved him, of course. The raft survivors had a good time telling our war stories and Patrick (who always thinks I’m exaggerating) got to hear about our trauma from more than one source.

Now that I know what I’m doing, I want to go out again. Who’s with me?