Eight Incredible Things We Ate in Singapore and Cambodia (and New York)

The last two weeks have involved super fun, almost vacation-like visits to a new dentist for my third round of scaling and root planing procedures. If you don’t know what this is, you are extremely fortunate.

I’ve actually had it done twice before, but my new dentist (and my x-rays) suggested that I had not had it done properly, and there was significant plaque buildup. So back in I went for a couple of two-hour sessions involving lots of numbing shots to the mouth and ultrasonic instruments that make your eardrums buzz for ages afterwards.

All of which is to say, I’m glad I did not get this done before our trip to Singapore, Cambodia and Hong Kong. Because this trip was all about the food and the eating. A lot of eating. So much eating, of so much good food. The memories of all that great food helped me get through the two-hour dentist appointments.

Here’s a list of my favorite things we ate this trip, starting with New York, Singapore and Cambodia (Hong Kong is getting its own post. IT WAS JUST THAT GOOD.)

Birthday at Le Bernardin
Me with the first of SEVERAL birthday desserts this trip. This one at Le Bernardin.

Kingfish caviar at Le Bernardin, New York

We started the super awesome around-the-world birthday extravaganza in New York. We went up to the city the night before our Singapore flight, and lucked out on getting reservations at Le Bernardin. It cost a small fortune, but we had the Chef’s tasting menu. My perennial dining companion XFE pointed out that it was pretty unlikely we’d ever be there again, so why not splash out? (He’s a very good boyfriend).

This place, which in case you didn’t know, has three Michelin stars, is freaking amazing. Like, really, really nice. Far too nice for the likes of me. My voice is too loud, I hunch over my food, I eat and drink too fast, I gush a lot, and I wasn’t even sure what the small stool next to my chair was (to hold your purse, naturally). So, quite naturally, I started our dinner by knocking over my amuse bouche of soup. I swear, XFE can’t take me anywhere nice.

At Le Bernardin, the focus is on fish and there were several simply prepared all-stars, but my favorite was the kingfish caviar–a warm “sashimi” of kingfish, topped with Osetra caviar and a light butter broth. It was luxurious and briny and melted in your mouth. The seared wagyu beef with fresh kimchi was also amazing – fatty and unctuous – and I don’t even like kimchi.

Two sidenotes: my favorite thing about Le Bernardin (next to the purse stool) was that the huge round chairs swiveled out so you didn’t have to scoot your chair away from the table to get up. You merely turned to the side and gently lifted up and out of the seat. Classy. Oh, and we saw Eric Ripert peak his head into the dining room at one point. I was star-struck.

Continue reading Eight Incredible Things We Ate in Singapore and Cambodia (and New York)

A Post In Which I (Again) Complain About Running

(*Part of an Ongoing Series of Indeterminate Length)

I started running again this month. Because August in Washington DC is just so refreshing and wonderful and I have such a natural affinity for running that doing it in weather that reminds one of warm pea soup is so incredibly pleasant and even, dare I say it, downright easy. (For those not fluent in sarcasm, none of those things are true. Except for the fact that the air here is like warm pea soup. That’s dead-on accurate.)

August in DC is so gross even members of Congress flee the city.

It’s not that I had really stopped running. It’s just that I was doing it so infrequently that I could not, in good conscience, legitimately claim it as a form of activity that I engaged in. I think I had dwindled down to about once or twice a week. Then once you threw vacations, and moving, and work and blogging, and Real Housewives into the mix, there were weeks this summer where I didn’t run at all.

Slowly, I began to run out of excuses (no more vacations planned, no more moving, caught up on all the Real Housewives franchises). Eventually, I noticed that the obese Petunia (I mean, let’s not beat around the food bowl here. She’s fat. I love her, but she’s no smedium-sized pet) was able to outrun me during our little play sessions, such as they are. Adding insult to injury, she’s about 70 years old in human years.

So, in the interest of not keeling over while chasing a cat up the stairs (or trying to lift her. Because, I don’t know if I mentioned this, but she’s fat), I’ve been trying to increase my running. Not surprisingly, it has not been going well, mostly due to scheduling.

I started in late July, getting up at 5:30 am to get dressed, stretched, set up the coffee maker, and get out the door by 6 am. I did that to avoid running during the hottest time of the day. As it was, it was usually around 75-78 degrees, which isn’t so bad compared to the heat in say, Texas. The humidity, however, usually hovered around 85%, so it was still a struggle. Even on the 2-ish weekday mornings I was able to get up and out the door, I dragged my way through 3 miles (This girl gets it). Shit was hot. Plus my body just is not awake at that point.

But, I kept at it, mostly because I liked the fact that I had gotten the whole exercise business out of the way and could come home after work and plop down immediately on the couch. And, I could brag about it. People seem really impressed (as well they should) if you casually (or, not so casually) mention that you’ve already worked out that morning. Both of those were incredibly strong incentives for keeping up the whole morning workout thing.

There is a downside to running in the morning: if it’s a crappy run (which in my case, it almost always was), you’ve started your day out crappy. You’ve already failed and the rest of the day will just resonate with your inability to propel your body forward for 30 minutes straight without stopping and wheezing and walking and holding your side.

Then August came. Since the sun also likes to propel forward (and is much better at it), it started staying much darker longer in the mornings. It was still dark out at 6 a.m. In fact, the sun wasn’t even coming up until around 6:20. Being a big scaredy-cat who’s afraid of getting snatched on the running trail, I figured that, even though it’s hotter in the evenings, I would have to make the switch.

(And in fact, I should be scared, according to this recent news report about a different trail nearby. Morning. Night. You’re liable to get jacked. We should really all just stay on our couches.)

There have been a couple of upsides to running in the evenings, not the least of which is 30 more minutes of sleep. While it is around 10 degrees hotter at 6:30 p.m., the humidity is in fact 20-30% less, which really does seem to make a difference.

Also, my body has—presumably—been up and moving around for about 12 hours, so I’m already warmed up and stretched, so to speak. I still stretch a bit before running, but it doesn’t feel quite as jarring as it does in the morning.

In the mixed bag category—the bike and run trail I use is much busier in the evenings, which is great for safety, but dangerous. The trail is quite crowded with other runners who can’t drag themselves out of bed either and those bicycle commuters will take you down without so much as a glance backwards.

It’s not awesome, and I still sound like an overheated Darth Vader sneaking up on you on the trail (Oh, who am I kidding? On a good day, I might pass some middle age walkers), but these are my choices: getting run over by a Lance Armstrong wanna-bes or potentially getting attacked by some really ambitious mugger who likes to get an early jump on the day.

At least if I get hit by a cyclist, there’s a good chance I’ll do damage to their bike.

 

Weekend in Review: Burgers, Backyards, Sweaty Runs

This past weekend was gloriously devoid of an agenda. My house-spouse XFE took care of most of the errands when he got back on Friday, so there was very little running around. Only one brief trip to Home Depot, which is pretty unusual since we moved into the house. I’m pretty sure that if we hadn’t at least stopped by, the folks at HD would have sent out a search party and plastered Missing posters over the greater Northern Virginia area.

We spent Saturday poking around places like TJ Maxx, Homegoods, and World Market looking for decorative items and pillows. We’re not really knickknack people. We don’t collect things. This, however, poses a slight problem when you have multiple large flat surfaces to decorate. Thus, the trip to Homegoods, et. al. We mostly came up empty, except for these very cheerful striped pillows to classy up our plastic Adirondack chairs.

My personal interior decorator XFE did order these gorgeous mercury glass candle holders from Gilt. I have a candle addiction (no, seriously. I have a stockpile. And I have a blaze going pretty much every night.), so these are perfect for the house.  They came in Monday and will definitely fill some surfaces.

Personal chef XFE did a pretty good job of keeping my weight up this weekend by visiting his favorite man in the whole world, Steve the Butcher at Let’s Meat on the Avenue. The result was burgers with thick cuts of bacon, avocado, and cheddar and sriracha spiked mayo on Saturday.

Those burgers fueled my 3.87 mile run on Sunday (nope. Couldn’t make it one more time around the block for an even 4.) I started pretty late (around 9 am) and just about died.

Not really sure why I started my run so late. Oh yeah. Because this is the forlorn little cat face I have to tear myself away from when I go for a run. She sits at the top of the stairs and just watches me walking away from her.

After the minor heat stroke, I stayed inside the rest of the day, which suited my borderline agoraphobic/misanthrope personality.

We closed out the weekend with the inaugural Big Green Egg effort at the new house. Ribs, pork and beef, and corn on the cob. After dinner we sat on our cheap plastic chairs, lit some outdoor candles (I told you I have a problem), and finished off an Austrian red wine, called, I think, zweigelt (??).

 

 

I know there were other things going on Sunday night, including the closing ceremonies for the Olympics. I was fine with missing out on that until I found out that this awesomeness happened. That Kate Moss sure knows how to bring the fierceness.

Now that the Olympics are over, I understand there’s discussion of future events to add to the Olympics. One of the main contenders is pole dancing. Which brings us to this.

One Night In Bangkok Probably is Actually Sufficient

Oh Bangkok. I wanted to love you. I adore Thai food. You have such pretty architecture. And, one of my absolute favorite songs of the 1980’s extols your, erm, seedier aspects, shall we say?

A song, which Wikipedia tells me, has been covered by a Norwegian singer, a Swedish pop group, a Swiss DJ and a Danish boy band, so you have the Scandinavian vote on lockdown, so don’t worry about that.

But overall, I liked Bangkok, but did not love it, and while I’d be interested in exploring other parts of Thailand, I would probably skip Bangkok. Here are a few of my reasons:

  • It was hotter than blazes. Like sweating in places you didn’t know had sweat glands hot. Unrelentingly so.
  • It was very, very crowded. There are 12 million people in this densely populated metropolis. Compare that to the 22 million in the entire country of Australia.  And as a result…
  • It’s very, very stinky. Honestly, it gave New Orleans a run for its money. And so many different stenches. Especially along the docks by the river. As this blogger put it so well:

“Eau de Bangkok was a memorable odor. Combining the very worse Asia has to offer, it attacked the senses, an onslaught bloody enough to make a grown man cry, or at least foul enough to make a grown man’s eyes water. There was no escaping the city’s divergent odors; the sweet perfume of plumeria, the heady scent of incense from the thousands of shrines and temples, the reek of the river and canals that form an important part of the city’s transportation system (as well as a major part of its sewer system), the aroma of street side cooking on every block, weird tropical fruit that smelled as if someone had died beneath its skin, and the fragrance typical of a bustling Asian City overflowing with humanity and its offal. The aroma of Bangkok was a physical presence. It lodged in your throat like a pig wallowing in yesterday’s slop.”

  • And the poverty was nothing less than heartbreaking. Whereas we hardly saw any homeless people in Australia, in Bangkok, they were everywhere you looked. It was very humbling.

Mostly Bangkok gave me the same disoriented feeling I’ve experienced in Asian cities before: nothing looks right, even things I recognize seem off-kilter and unfamiliar. I always feel like I stumble through Asian cities in a sleepwalk state. Plus, as tall Americans, you really feel like you stick out and tower above most people, even though there were gobs of other tourists (Bangkok is a very, very inexpensive place, which makes it particularly attractive, I think).

An early morning boat ride down the river.

There’s always this aspect of sensory overload I get in Asian cities, much like what I experience in the bright lights and loud noises of Vegas. In Bangkok, there was just so much to see in such a small, tight space and so many unfamiliar noises all crashing on top of each other. This was particularly true when we were at the night market where there was just a crush of people (including tons of tourists) and stalls all crammed with cheap trinkets and fake designer goods.

We weren’t looking for anything, but if we had been, I don’t know how we ever would have found it.

Pretty sure I'm melting in this picture. This was at the Wat Po, which I think was named after thePoeLog.

Even when you escape the street stalls for the sidewalks, you’re assaulted with neon signs trying to lure you into the various bars and loads of people sitting on the sidewalks eating, talking to each other or on the phone, calling out to you, trying to show you a price list.

Added to that is the sense of debauchery I’ve basically coated the whole place with in my mind. I felt like everyone was hustling, or was on the make. In Bangkok, where prostitution is not only legal, but practically a sector of its tourism industry, I eyed every tourist suspiciously, sure that they were up to no good whether it was buying sex or fake Louboutins.

No fake Loutoutins here, just gold Buddhas here.

When we ducked outof the night market to grab a beer at a beer garden, a European couple sitting next to us were charming one of the Thai waitresses, taking pictures of her in cutesy poses on their camera phone. They didn’t know her, but sure wanted a lot of pictures of her. What in the hell would they want her photo for, I wondered. I couldn’t think of any good reason.

I’m not a puritan or anything. In fact, I came very close to buying several vibrators on chains at the night market  as party favors for Sorta Running Buddy Amy’s bachelorette party this weekend, but I know that Amy’s not into penis se toys, so me, the model of restraint, held back and did not buy those things. So that proves I”m not just not a puritan, but I’m actually quite considerate as well.

No, it’s not a sex-puritan thing. It’s more about the fact that more than anything I hate when people who have power and money take advantage of those who are weak or poor. My sense of justice and fairness runs pretty strong.

You have to love any place that has pink elephant statues in the median of busy roads.

I was also nervous about safety and scams, which there apparently there are plenty of in Thailand. On the day we went to the Grand Palace, they were closed for the afternoon. There were several “official” looking gentlemen out front directing us to some of the other tourists’ sites and trying to get us to use a tuk tuk. Apparently, these tuk tuks don’t actually take you to other city highlights, but instead take you to a whole bunch of jewelry and tailoring shops.

We did, however, visit a jewelry shop on our own, one that had been recommended by family friends. We spent a very cool and lovely afternoon at Johnny’s Gems, an institution among the diplomat and embassy circles in Bangkok. They even had a picture of Hilary Clinton shopping there, but I have to confess, I did not notice a single picture on the wall. I was too busy looking at the trays of gorgeous jewelry. They were quite accommodating at Johnny’s, even running next door to get you some of the best fried rice you’ve ever tasted.

A really unflattering picture, but I was more interested in eating my rice than posing for photos.

We also had dinner on top of a skyscraper. The Vertigo restaurant on top of the Banyan Tree hotel was stunning, overlooking the entire city. It was an unforgettable dinner on a beautiful night.

So between the whole eating fried rice in a jewelry store and dinner on top of a skyscraper, I guess I liked Bangkok maybe more than I initially thought. It’s a pretty interesting place for sure.

Another Day of Running Rants

Some random stuff.

First, thanks for all the concern and well wishes. I took two days off from running  and did a short, easy run today and didn’t die, so I’m pretty sure that means I’m adequately prepared for a half marathon. I think I’ll just ditch the rest of my training plan. Or not. We’ll see how the next couple of weeks go.

When did workout clothes get so damn expensive? I went to Target last weekend to buy workout pants. I blindly put some items in my basket (checking prices is for losers) and made my way to the checkout counter (oh, but not before perusing the razor blade refills and having a slight heart attack. $23 for razor refills? Apparently, I’m too poor to shave my legs. Sorry for you, XFE).

But back to workout clothes. As I was heading to the exit, I thought to myself, “Hmmm, that tally seemed a bit high, even for tempt-you-with-other-stuff-Target. Lemme see here…. 40 US DOLLARS for a pair of running tights??”

How you like my sweat-xedo?

I’m sorry, but we’re talking Target here. Champion brand. Not the evil, Michael-Vick-supporting Nike. At least I know that with Nike, there’s a huge premium for all those flashy commercials and endorsements, so I don’t even bother looking at their stuff. When’s the last time anyone saw a Champion commercial? I think not, Target. I went directly to the customer service desk and returned those bad boys. Now I have hairy legs and old workout shorts. You are all welcome.

ALSO: because I’m a wimp and refuse to run outside in (a) anything under 50 degrees and (b) in the dark, which now descends at the ripe old hour of 4:30 pm, I have caved and joined a gym. This was an easy decision. The gym I chose wasn’t picked for its variety of classes (there are none); the delightful spa-like locker room (doesn’t exist. But there is a bathroom. Very basic though. I think you have to bring your own toilet paper), or the vast variety of the latest and newest equipment (there are like, 5 treadmills, a bunch of elliptical, a couple of bikes and weight machines, and some free weights.)

No, Crap Fitness was chosen amongst all the more glamorous selections because it is literally two blocks from my house and I walk past it every night on my way home. You’re right, that is convenient. And unlike many in my running brethren, I’m actually ok with running mindlessly on a treadmill. Yes, it’s boring, but nobody gets hurt. No issue there.

The thing is: this gym is hot as hell. It’s like I’m bikram running in there. No you guys, seriously, it is HAWT. Really, really hot. Like two rats humping in a wool sock hot. Like so hot hens would be laying hard boiled eggs. What I’m saying is: the gym is a might bit overly warm.

Dang y'all, it is hot up in here.

I recently asked the girl manning the front desk if other people have ever mentioned it being hot, and she looked at me like I had two heads. Perhaps because I was bright red and sweating all over her counter? I dunno, but she said, “nope.”

I do not believe her. I have eyes and I can see other people getting really red and sweaty too. I can also see that there are no air vents near the treadmills whatsoever, so that’s probably part of the problem. But apparently, no one else in the entire world is prone to complaining except me.

I guess I should have taken advantage of Crap Fitness’ whole “one week free trial period,” but I thought that was merely putting off the inevitable since I had to join a gym at some point, why be picky? But now? One super sweaty month into it, I’m really starting to wish I’d been picky. It is nice to just walk down the street to the gym though. UGH.

I bought a fan to clip onto the treadmill but it is incredibly weak and ineffective against my Extreme Radiating Heat (ERH). I think it gives me more of a mental boost than anything else. Maybe I should tape some ice packs to my forehead and temples. What? I’d cover it with some sweet headband.  

Knees up! And happy as hell!

 Y’all seem real fond of the Gold Rush post, so there’ll be another one coming tomorrow, you’ll be happy to hear.

Run Review: Run for the Water 5k, Austin, Texas

I’m back! OK, what did I miss? I mean, Kim and Kris are still happy young newlyweds, right? And Jessica Simpson is totally not preggers, right? And Rick Perry gave an amazingly awesome speech in New Hampshire that’s going to help him regain the top of the polls, right?

Oh, so…..none of those things are accurate?

Well, I wouldn’t know, because I was eating and shopping my way through Austin. Yee-haw!

Also: I ran a race. So let’s start with that.

I'm right up there in the front somewheres. Not.

I ran the 2011 Run for the Water 5k, which helps the Gazelle Foundation secure access to clean water in the small African country of Burundi. There was also a 10-miler and a kids run. There were about 3,000 participants between the 10-miler and the 5k. They also had barefoot divisions in both categories, to which I say, hell to the no thanks. I don’t know if they cap the number of race participants, but they seemed pretty pleased with the numbers. I registered kinda late, September 13 and the fee was just $17.

The race took place at 7 am on Sunday, October 30 and it started and ended on the First Street bridge right in front of RunTex, a popular Austin running store. It was cold and dark when we started (I think the temp was around 50 degrees), but it was nice to watch the sun coming up as you ran back to the bridge at 7:30 am.

We were staying at the W Hotel on Lavaca and 2nd, so I had a short walk over to the start. Interesting note: the course went past the (fairly sparse) Occupy Austin folks who are camped out at the City Hall, but there were no comments or heckling or anything like I might have expected. The police had cracked down the night before and arrested 38 of the occupiers, so maybe that had something to do with the silent treatment.

Bag and tag pickup was pretty easy. You could pick up bags at RunTex beginning on Friday. I went on Saturday and there was no line or anything. The swag bag had the assorted promos for upcoming races, a voucher for a free Whataburger with purchase of sides, a pretty nice 2012 calendar featuring water projects in Burundi, and a sweet bright blue tech shirt. As we all know, I only care about the tech shirt.

I did not wear my shirt at the race. That's kind of lame. But I did wear it to the gym last night. So, here you go.

 

The race was supposed to start with the 10 mile runners at 7, but I don’t think it actually started until about 7:08. After both the Burundi and U.S. national anthems, the race started. Then the 5k participants were called to the start line. We started a tad bit late as well, but I don’t remember the time. There were no corrals or pacers, you just kinda started wherever.

Which brings me to another important point: The main thing to remember if you are planning on running in an Austin race is that folks are way more chill about this whole racing biz. Some folks were running, some were walking, some just wanted to show their support for their running buddies by bringing their kids in a red wagon onto the course. Nobody seemed very competitive or like they were going for a personal record. So, you might have to bob and weave around some pretty laid back folks, their kids, their dogs, their grandparents. It almost seemed more like a parade than a race at times. It was definitely a less “runner” vibe than I get at a lot of the DC races. Don’t get me wrong: everybody’s very nice, they’re just not in a big hurry to get this race thing going.

The course was an out-and-back. I would not call it a flat course: there was a long uphill portion near the halfway point, but I’ve seen worse. The course support was provided by Keller Williams Realty and was pretty good. Lots of folks were out there to direct, which became pretty important when the two races split. I think there was one water station that you hit on the way out and back, and I saw Porta Potties at one point. No VIP potties though, so I didn’t stop.

My goal in all races is generally the same: don’t walk. I always try to run the whole race. This was a good race for me. I did not walk, and I finished in 30 minutes, 21 seconds, which is respectable. I came in 147th among the 5k women; 322 overall place in a field of 813; and 55th within my age group.

There were 493 women in the 5k and the average women’s pace was 37 minutes, so I did better than the average, which is great. Hell, I even did better than the average man, who came in at 31 minutes. Of course, the first place women’s finisher came in at 20 minutes, 38 seconds; and the first place man crossed at 16 minutes, 41 seconds. But, who’s counting.

The after party was pretty great as well. Whataburger was giving out breakfast taquitos and I saw several local businesses giving away breakfast tacos and coffee as well. No Juan in a Million though.

I almost never hang out after a race and this one was no exception. I grabbed a banana, a granola bar and a water and left since I was (a) cold; and (b) I planned on being back to the hotel by 8 am. By the way, I did not bring my camera and take any pictures, which I know is kinda lame, but I was just focused on getting the race done. Sorry. I’ll try not to be so lame in the future. Also: race pictures still aren’t available.

Oh, by the way, the first place finisher for the 10 mile race was Scott MacPherson from Cedar Park, TX. And he was hitting the finish line as I was walking back to the W. Turns out, he finished the whole race in 48 minutes, 49 seconds. That is INSANE. Much props to that dude. I take longer than that just getting ready to go for a run.

This guy is kinda fast. But I'm sweatier, so I think that means I'm working harder.

New Running Buddy: the Treadmill

Running buddy Amy has been a bit out of the loop (she went on vacation last week – Very rude. I did not sign off on that). Then she got “sick.” Man, the extremes this girl will go through to avoid running with me. I suspect it’s because I’m so awesomely fast. Or stinky. You decide.

I ran with these two chicks the first day without Running Buddy Amy, but I was waaay too fast for them.

But I’ve still been getting up at 5:30 to go run our regular 3 mile loop. And, not to be a big whiner and whatnot, but it’s been pretty hot and horrible. One lovely morning last week it was 81 degrees with 60% humidity when I left the house at 6 am. So….yeah. That DOES suck, thanks for asking.

While I felt pretty pleased with myself for getting up and running, I was also pretty displeased that I was finding the whole thing just so tough. I had to keep stopping for walking/breathing breaks (because breathing in the equivalent of hot soup is not conducive to maximum lung capacity, apparently). And I hate to take walking breaks. To me, it means failure. I know that’s a stupid attitude, but I feel like at this point in my running career (I’ve been running consistently for at least 3 years now), I should be able to run 30 minutes along flat terrain without needing to stop and wheeze.

This last weekend I actually went with XFE to the gym at his work. I hopped on the treadmill in the nice, climate-controlled gym, plopped in my headphones and zoned out for the next 49 minutes. And I ran 5 miles, pretty much non-stop. A HUGE improvement over my everyday performance. And, a big mental boost as well.

"Hey Poe! Wait for us! All we can see is the smoke off the burning rubber of your Mizunos!'

Of course, I ran two days later outside and was pretty miserable/slow. I guess I’m not as awesome as I thought I was.

There are a lot of reasons why I run a lot better on a treadmill, many of which are outlined far better by this lady over here. She’s the bomb.com/awesome, and is one of the reasons I started my own blog. And, sometimes, I occasionally steal/borrow ideas from her. Seriously, she’s great and I read her everyday and I haven’t even gotten tired of her yet, which is amazing because I am a fickle blog reader. Anyway, she hits the treadmill nail on the running head, so to speak. And, she’s got the cutest freaking dog.

So most of the reasons she outlines, apply to me as well. But the main reason I think I do well on the treadmill (besides not having to worry I will trip on the stupid cobblestones in Old Town and fall on my face thereby knocking out my front teeth and breaking my nose) is pacing. Pacing is a huge deal for me. Because I really suck at it. I’m one of those runners who goes balls out in the beginning, even though I’m having an internal argument with myself on how I should really hold back a little bit so I can actually get back home. Every. Damn. Time.

The other pacing issue is, well, I have a finicky little bladder. I basically feel like I need to tinkle the entire time I’m running. Even if I don’t drink a drop of liquid 4 hours beforehand and I go to the bathroom 3 times before leaving the house. Basically, I’m running in a race against my bladder every single run. Which makes me run much faster than I should. Which then makes me feel even more like I need to pee. It’s basically a vicious circle. So having a bathroom nearby gives me a lot of peace of mind, which means I can calm down and run like a normal person.

Heidi and Brooklyn Decker doing the pee dance while running. That has to be it because there's no reason to be this happy while running.

Now, I’ve run on a treadmill before, so this isn’t exactly a newsflash to me. I always switch to a treadmill during winter, or as I like to call it, anytime the temperature drops below 70. But lately, I had been beating myself up so much for my poor runs, I had forgotten what it was like to have a good one. I might have to sprinkle a few more of those in from time to time.

OK runners. I know most “real” runners find the treadmill to be a deathtrap of boredom. Do you agree? Or are you running trails/sidewalks for life?

Did I Just See a Polar Bear Walk by My Cube in a Snuggy?

I’m very sorry that I did not post last night. I spent some couples time with my Country-Time-Buffet dinner-companion-for-life XFE, and fell asleep a bit early. I know. I’m a bad blogger. I’m hanging my head contritely. But today I want to address an issue slightly more serious than my bad blogging habits.

Gentle Reader,

There is an epidemic going on of….well….epidemic proportions. In offices all across America, people (especially women) are freezing while the sun shines hotly outside. Yes, despite the fact that there is a drought and heat wave embracing most of the country, our corporate masters are keeping the interiors of offices at a brisk 50 degrees at the tail end of July. I went outside yesterday into 91 degree heat to go buy a Venti-sized hot tea to cup my cold hands around.

I have a confession to make—I have purposely printed unnecessary documents just to warm my hands on the freshly printed warm pages. I have two sweaters in my cube, one to wear under my suit blazer, and the other to cover my legs. I have an illegal electric heating pad (we’re not allowed to have those, or personal heaters, in our cubes.)

My cube yesterday afternoon: One gray wool sweater, one scalding hot tea (I burned my tongue on it) and my illegal heating pad.

I would wear pants and long-sleeves to work, but I’m afraid of the stinky sweat this would cause during my commute (a 10-minute walk to the metro, about 5 minutes standing outside on a platform, 20 minutes in a hopefully-but-not-always air conditioned metro car, and 3 minute walk to work). Nobody should have to live like this.

I’ve seen all kinds of coping mechanisms here in cube-land. People wearing Snuggies, even. You know what outfits go with a Snuggy? None. That’s what. No outfit looks good covered with a Snuggy.

Why do the powers that be do this to us? It does nothing for my productivity when I’m going outside to thaw off, or have to stop typing to warm my hands on the heating pad in my lap.

Why do they try to overcompensate for the sweltering air outside by creating icicles inside? It’s not like we have a revolving door letting the heat out every time someone comes in. It’s an office building!

Thanks PassiveAggressiveNotes.com. No really, that's a website and it's hi-lar-ious. Go check it out. But then come back here, please. Thanks.

And, it’s not very environmentally friendly or economical, especially at a time when gas prices are through the roof. We put all this effort into not wasting and recycling paper, only to destroy forests of trees to crank up the AC to Arctic levels. It must cost corporate America a lot of money to maintain this frigid environment. I’d rather raise the temperature a few degrees and get a raise with all the wonderful cost savings. (By the way, you aren’t saving money or energy if I’m using an electric heating pad to stay warm.)

Denver has tackled this issue head-on. A couple of years ago, Mayor John Hickenlooper decreed that all city buildings should raise the thermostat four degrees. “It saves money, it’s benevolent to the environment and it makes people happy, right? It’s more comfortable. What’s not to like?” he says.

Indeed, Hickenlooper, indeed. (Pretty fun name, by the way. Congrats on that)

Office-induced hypothermia is a serious problem. Not as serious as restless leg syndrome, perhaps, but almost. And perhaps, I propose, more pervasive. Maybe I should start a telethon for it. We could use the money to buy every office worker one of these or some of these.

Is it cold in your office? Have any coping mechanisms you want to share? How many sweaters do you have stashed in your cube?

Running Like There’s Free Beer at the End (there’s not)

Like other middle-class, upwardly mobile, yuppy white women of a certain age with nothing better to do, I have taken up “running” in the last few years.

I put “running” in quotation marks because mostly what I do is trudge along a few steps behind my much-faster running buddy, Amy. What I really do should rightfully be called “forward-propelling-at-a-slightly-faster-than-a-crawl-pace-without-falling-on-my-face.” (Is that a haiku?)

Her ponytail literally swishes.

This is particularly true in two instances; the first being when I run with Amy. For some reason, when I run on my own, I’m thoroughly convinced that I’m a speed demon. But running with Amy somehow makes me feel slower, even though she’s way faster than me and I try to keep up. Running with Amy also seems to make me more prone to complaining. And walking. I take a lot of walking/complaining breaks.

The other instance where I suck at running is during the height of summer. For some reason, no matter how many great running days I put under my spi-belt during the fall and spring, when the summer gets here and the humidity gets up there, I become the biggest slug. All of which is pretty understandable, but it’s also hugely frustrating.

Amy after our run this morning. Fresh as a spring daisy.
 
 
Me after our run this morning. Notice necklace of sweat. And beginning of underboob sweat.
 

Now, it doesn’t help that these two instances of incredible slowness coincide with each other. Amy and I primarily run together in the summer, when it gets too hot in the evenings to run, and we need each other to motivate us to get up at 5:30 in the morning. 

When the alarm goes off every morning, I totally think about throwing it at Petunia (calm down, she’s fat and would cushion the thing, it’s not like it would break or hurt her). But thinking of poor little Amy standing around on a dangerous(ish….ok, not really) street corner in Old Town waiting for me while I continue dreaming of eating BBQ with Matthew McConnaughy really guilts me into getting up. I mean, OT at 6 am is sketch! Amy might be accosted by someone with a super friendly dog on a Starbucks run. The “someone” is on a Starbucks run, not the dog. Dogs don’t drink Starbucks. Do they?

The point is, well, running sucks. But luckily, I have a running buddy who somehow puts up with my heavy breathing, sweating (it’s CRAZY! And very stinky. Like a boy), complaining wreck of a self. And just like writing, I keep trying.

Oh yeah, that's my back sweat. That pose is doing nothing for my butt.

Any other runners out there? Do you have a running buddy? Are you a morning or evening runner? Any tips for heavy/stinky sweating? Should I just roll deodorant all over myself or AXE body spray myself? I don’t want to be attacked by all those female models so maybe I’ll stay away from AXE.

Trying to cool off by blowing air up towards my sweat catching hat. I literally wear that hat only to catch sweat.