A dark day in sRodville, for mighty sRod has struck out

I got hit up with a surprise double-header today folks. The following two events happened within one hour today:

1. My boss pulls me aside and says that our client has signed a new contract for 2008. I already know where this is headed because our client has cut back about 50% of spending for 2008 compared to this year. Turns out that new contract does not include me or my direct report; we will both have to be taken off the team. This is effective immediately for my direct report. She is already on a new team and working on their stuff. For me it's different. There is no other open position at my level in the agency right now. Our client has agreed to pay for me for the rest of the year so that I can finish my projects, but come mid-January, if there is still no position open, I will have to look for a job.

2. I have a conference call with our client to present an advertising campaign for a new service that will launch in early 2008. Our client and I are presenting to the third party that is providing funding for this campaign (think co-op advertising), so that we have their blessing before preceding with the campaign. The entire conference call is a downward spiral. Everything we have planned is wrong--very wrong. Turns out we were not given enough information from the third party when we were briefed. Our "big idea" is shot down in seconds and the rest of the recommendation needs to be completely revamped.

Ouch. If the first one didn't get me, then the second one did.

I ran nice and hard today after work--I'm going to enjoy dinner, eat a fantastic dessert, and see what tomorrow brings.


And we're off

Today was the unceremonious kick-off for training for the 3M Austin Half-Marathon.

I woke up at 5:40 and hauled my butt—and the wife’s—over the gym by 6:15. Although for some reason, without the wife it only takes 20 minutes to leave the house. Grrr. If there is one thing that bothers me most it’s when people mess with my routine, I only put up with this disruption because, well, it’s my wife and she puts up with all my crap (like waking up at 5:40 to go running).

When I get to the gym, I realize that I’ve put on the wrong glasses. I have regular glasses and exercise glasses. Why? Back in the day, the exercise glasses started life as regular glasses, but then I realized that they were getting green and gunky with all the sweat from running. In order to avoid this happening to future glasses I got a new pair of regular glasses but held on to the old pair and used them exclusively for running. Now it’s about four years later and I have the same exercise glasses—even though my prescription has changed. Lately, I’ve realized a second benefit to these glasses: the ends of the legs curve around my ears so the glasses don’t slide or move. This is unlike my regular glasses, which, if I tried to run with them, would fall off the second I started sweating.

(And why no contacts? 1) I can’t get the friggin’ things on and 2) do you know how much contacts go for people with an astigmatism?!)

So I have to run without my glasses. Not the first time I’ve had to do this. Basically, it’s the same as normal running except that I can’t read squat—making for an interesting run since I can’t see anything on the treadmill’s dashboard. I start off fine with the first 800m repeat @ an 8:20 pace. And then, when I’m about to start my second 800m, I start hitting buttons. Since I can’t see anything, I end up hitting the “pause” button instead of the “increase speed” button and suddenly the treadmill slows to a halt. In an effort to correct this I hit the “pause” button again, since I think that will undo the pause. Nope. Doing that actually turns off the machine. Damn you Precor! Why are all your buttons black?

I utter an “oh shit” and start the machine again. At least I hadn’t started the repeat yet.

The rest of the run was uneventful, except for my stomach protesting the early morning run. Another grrr. A not-too-difficult five 800m repeats under my belt, hooray. I can put a big ol’ check in the box next to Day One. Now I just have to keep this up for another 10 weeks and I’ll be cruising through Austin at a superstar 8:00 pace. Or so says Ryan Hall, my personal Half-Marathon training coach.


Went on a run with my friend Johnnie

Somethings I will never understand:
  • How to ask for directions
  • Not to play with fire
  • How the stock market works
  • Where oats, green beans, and barley grow

Now you can add "Don't mix Johnnie Walker and running" to that list.

Friday night was a going away party for one of the people in my office. Who picks a Friday for a work party? I have no clue. But when I give the bartender my credit card to open up my tab, she says there is a $25 minimum. No problem with meeting that minimum since, like any good NYC bar, a (half-empty) glass of Black Label here is $9. And there's no real problem with having three glasses of whiskey because we stopped for pizza before hitting the bar. The problem here is that I'm planning a six mile run the next morning.

So over the course of the next hour and change I throw back the three glasses of whiskey. Then, as I'm about to head out to meet my wife, my coworker pulls me over and says to have a shot with him since he has yet to meet his $25 minimum. So I down a kamikaze with him and get out of there before any more alcohol gets in my body.

The second I get home I pass out. No water, no food, just go straight to bed--well, couch, then the bed. Rock starness personified.

The next morning I wake up with a mild stomachache, but it comes and goes and is more annoying than painful. I drink my weight in water, take a shot of GU and then head out for what I keep telling myself is going to be a nice six miles.

One mile into the run I realize the whole thing was a bad idea and just want to crawl over to a bench, curl up, and take a nap. But even if I convinced myself to do that, I couldn't. It is 39 degrees and windy--and of course I am wearing shorts. So stupid. Who wakes up hung over, puts on shorts, goes running in freezing weather, and does a hilly six mile run? Well, I do. This reeks of the bee sting fiasco at the Baltimore Marathon, except this pain is self inflicted.

I take walking breaks after miles two, three, and four. Although by mile five I must have sweated out all the badness because I started hauling some serious ass at that point. I finished with an average pace of 8:40--not exactly the 8:00 I was hoping for. But I finished, which was enough of a battle to make up for those extra 240 seconds.

I'll consider this a lesson, although I can't say I've learned anything: I am simultaneously starting my training for the Austin Half-Mary and starting the holiday party season. Johnnie is one tough SOB when he teams up with his friend Tryptophan.


Why hello, welcome to my home

Ok, for the past few weeks I've been laughing my ass off over this clip that my boss showed me on the good ol' YouTube:

You only have to watch the first minute or two. It's so incredibly, unbelievably, and thoroughly bad. "Do you like this dress? It's very dramatic." I do think it's dramatic, and I also think it's giving me a migraine. I love it.

But then my boss showed me the parody of the video (note: this is not appropriate for work, children, or anyone with reasonably high moral standards):

Holy Hanna. I almost peed my pants the first time I watched this...and the second through fifth times. It's just so hilarious on its own that I don't even need to comment.

On the running front: I went running this morning. My first attempt after Footgate 2008. It was patchy through the first mile, but managed to work the kinks out. The rest of the run (4 miles in total) went pretty well with a 7:55 pace for the last mile and an average pace of 8:37. The only thing is that it's been forever since I've been to the gym before work. So I have to train myself to like it again.


Update on Footgate 2008

Went to see the doctor yesterday morning.

She started poking at my foot with her finger and at first it felt fine--I thought I was on the high road to self recovery after the two hour soaking in Epsom salt on Friday night. And then she started scratching at the thing and OOOOOOOO she found it. So she whips out a needle and says she's going to numb the area and start prodding around in there to see if she can get it out. I thought: Great! This is exactly what I wanted, she numbs it, she clean the hell out of it, and it'll be smooth sailing.

But then I discovered that numbing medicine BURNS LIKE A BIATCH. She said: "You're going to feel this needle, but it's just gonna be a baby needle." Yes, the prick of the needle was tiny, but when she started pushing in whatever was in that syringe--sweet. mother. of. JESUS. When I felt that burning in my foot my other leg spasmed--perhaps in an act of sympathy for my right foot. Man that burned. And since the first shot didn't seem to numb the area all the way she had to do it a second time. OUCH OUCH OUCH.

(As you can tell I am a big baby when it comes to needles and doctory stuff. When doctors need to draw blood I always tell them I have to lay down--because I've come very close to fainting on various occasions. The sad part about it is that none of these reactions are voluntary. It's just that any time I'm around a needle all the blood leaves my head (no idea where it goes). You should see how grossed out I get when watching ER or even nip/tuck. It's pathetic.)

And then the ball of my foot went numb. She started probing at the area with I don't know what--I didn't want to look. Then she switched tools and started probing some more. About five minutes later she cleaned up the area and put a bandage on it. She said she cleaned it out and left the wound open so that if anything was left in there it could come out. She said to soak it some more in salt water and to call the podiatrist if it didn't heal in the next couple of days.

So I got home, soaked the foot for another two hours in salt water and then headed out to Target with the wife. After that insanity we came back home and tried this fish restaurant around the corner from our apartment (very good eats there). Then we came home, I soaked the foot some more. And then we watch 5 hours of movies and random programming on TV. (BTW, there is nothing good on Saturday nights.)

It's now 8am and the foot feels fine and dandy. There is just a little bit of tenderness since it's still healing, but otherwise I should be good to go to Dim Sum (yum!), do groceries (boo!), and go to the gym (finally!).


Footgate 2008

Update on my legs:

My left leg has recovered after I overexerted my left hamstring/calf muscles during Sunday's urban rebounding class. It seems like it was just a strained muscle. By Tuesday everything felt normal in that leg.

The story with my right foot is not so rosy. Since Sunday it has not made any sign of healing. Actually, after days of trying to walk on it, I realized on Thursday night that the foot was swelling up. Right now, the ball of my foot and my toes are all significantly swollen. On top of that, I picked at the cut with tweezers and some clear goo came out. Wonderful. Swelling + goo = infection.

I'm going to the doctor in about an hour to get this checked out. I'm really hoping that its nothing. That my foot is reacting normally and that this isn't some major infection. I'm also hoping that she tells me there is nothing in my foot. I don't know what I stepped on, but it was tiny--I think it was a little rock that just got stuck to my shoes and dragged into the apartment. The hole it made is only about 1/8 of an inch long and I can't imagine that something is lodged in there.

For now, I will continue to hobble and be pissed as hell that I can't run.


Et tu foot?

With Olympic Trials and the Marathon going on last weekend there wasn't really any where I could get to easily for a run. So I decided to finally try this urban rebounding class at our gym that my wife goes to every now and then. Basically, it's a step class but on trampolines. And of course, coming off a Marathon, I hit this class at full throttle--since nothing could be worse than a Marathon.

It was pretty fun (except for the complex coordination part, which I failed at) and I got into it. By the end though, the muscles behind my left knee had had enough. Everytime I would bend that knee I'd get a sharp pain on inside of the leg. So much for assuming I was in peak physical condition.

But other than this soreness/strained muscle-ness, I finished the class unscathed.

Fast forward to that evening.

I'm walking around the apartment barefoot putting away groceries/putting away laundry/cursing my 1,000 year old computer, when I step on something small and sharp. OUCH! I turn over my right foot and see a tiny puncture right smack-dab in the middle of the ball of my foot.

Great, so now I can't bend my left leg because its sore and I can't use my right foot because it has a wound. So much for coming back strong this week.


Super Month is Over!

Thank Jesus!

We made it to November 1--I didn't think my wife and I were going to make it. For the next three weeks we won't have a single anniversary, marathon, hotel reservation, 13-hour work days, surprise guest, rental car, birthday party, road trip, pumpkin carving party, delayed flight, or holiday to worry about.

So we will be recovering this weekend and doing absolutely nothing, which may even include not running. The NYC Marathon is this weekend and I won't have a damned place to run because of the Olympic Men's Marathon trials on Saturday and the race on Sunday. We'll, I'll just jump off that bridge when I get to it...tomorrow night...when I'm trying to decide what route to take the next morning.

Speaking of running, last weekend's run was AWESOME. Not only were there perfect conditions for a nice little six-mile run, but I held an 8:25 pace!! Ok, yes, that's only a little bit on the fast side for me--not exactly new territory--but the strange thing was that I wasn't running fast! I was slowing myself down most of the time! Every time I would feel myself going too fast I would slow myself down. I didn't force a single step until the sprint at the end. I've had runs where I'm pushing the hell out of myself throughout the entire run to get an 8:25 pace.

If that doesn't teach me the lesson of pacing, nothing will.

Also saw one of my running fears come to life in front of me: a head-on runner-on-runner collision. I was passing this one woman who appeared extremely concentrated on her running. As I was passing her on her right, I saw a couple running against traffic coming straight at this woman. Since this woman only had a foot or so of street between her left side and the curb I sped up so that she could slip in behind me and go around the couple coming at her. But said woman did not move; she kept going straight. The oncoming couple didn't separate or fall in line either, they too were in the mood to play chicken. Meanwhile, I'm just watching them get closer and closer until BAM!!

The woman I was passing and the woman from the couple slammed into each other. And I'm not talking just a brushing of the shoulder. This was a full-on, face-in-face, tangled arms crash. Assuming each was going at about 5 mph, that's a collision speed of 10 mph--ouch! But in true New York style they just kept on running, not checking if the other one was ok or pausing to see if they themselves were ok. It seemed as normal to them as wiping sweat from your face. Amazing.

That's about it for running...haven't been able to get on a set schedule because of the general craziness of things. But will pick things up this weekend and next week.

For those of you curious about that pumpkin carving party mentioned above, here is my finished product: