Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10K, training and looming half... oh my!

I just realized in all my latest ranting and raving about insanity at work and how published authors got it ALL WRONG, I haven't updated on my running.  Last report had me mired in self doubt and thinking I should hang up my running shoes but feeling hopeful for the next 5K.  Since then, I've done another 5K and a 10K.  This time the 5K was part of a much larger event - a Boston Marathon qualifier - on pretty much flat terrain.  It was SO much better than that first stupid 5K which I would like to forever strike from the annals of my memory.  (Seriously, we should have delete buttons for memories that there is no way we will ever want to remember.  THAT run, would be the top of my list!) A couple of weeks later, I did my first 10K. 

I went into the 10K much more mentally focused and prepared with the mantra that I was NOT in it to compete but merely to complete.  At times I kept thinking about how it seemed that ALL the other 10K runners had passed me but then I remembered that I am a short chick with short legs and trying to go long distances, not sprint, and that it is my own personal best I'm ever trying to "beat".  There was a woman with a green shirt on just ahead of me that I kept thinking "if she doesn't pull away then I'm okay" to block out everything else.  She didn't... and halfway through the 10K route we met up with the 5K route where I got to start passing people left and right.  Then there was no way to know if anyone around me was a 10K'er or a 5K'er and thus could not be viewed as competition.  (At this point I admit I am a competitive monster and watch out when my body transforms into a COMPETITIVE runner and able to keep up with what my brain wants to do... oh boy!)  I finished the 10K with a time of 1:31 which was a tiny bit faster than my training time AND there were hills.  I didn't once feel like I couldn't go the distance and felt amazing afterward.  (AND I beat 8 other people as an added bonus for said competitive nature.)

Since the 10K, I've been increasing my training distances on my long runs in final preparation for the half marathon.  Two weeks ago two fellow Ragnar teammates and I ran down from the top of one of the local canyons to get a feel for how steep the marathon route will be.  You know what's more beautiful than my favorite canyon in the morning in the fall?  Running down it and hearing all the water as well as seeing all the scenery.  It was so much fun and I had my best 10K time and my fastest mile on that nine mile run.  (I LOVE downhill running!)  Two days ago I did an eleven mile run - yes, ELEVEN MILES - in the rain and felt fabulous.  Two and a half hours of straight running, in the rain.  I had SO MUCH FUN - crazy, I know.  Now I know exactly how to dress for cold weather - I needed something to keep my ears warm and some gloves - and am 100% certain I can do the half marathon distance this Saturday.  Because once you can do eleven miles, what's adding two more, right? 

What a journey it has been... My most ambitious goal I've ever shot for - train 12 weeks to run a half marathon as a brand spanking new runner - is in my sights.  I'm living proof that anything you put your mind to is possible.  Wish me luck on Saturday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Two words.... HATED IT!  And because I did, I don't care if I spoil it for anyone else.  So, here's your fair warning that if you don't want it spoiled you should quit reading.

Like right now...

Seriously, I warned you...

I don't want any hate mail because you kept reading and will curse me when you hear how it all ended before you read it...

If you're still with me you've either already read it or have no interest in reading it, right?

Okay, let me start by saying that I hated this final installment of an otherwise fabulous trilogy on two levels - both as a reader and as a writer.  We'll begin with the writer factor.  The whole thing was written in first person which means you only get to know what happens because Katniss (the main character) sees it herself or thinks it in her head.  When she's in the Hunger Games arena and under major action sequences, this is simply brilliant and the author, Suzanne Collins, did it so well that I forever sing her praises...  Well, until now.  So what happened with the last book?  Katniss is practically a secondary character - a pawn in a larger game - for most of the book.  So you don't actually get to know anything substantial.  Sure, she does stuff and sees stuff but none of it actually matters.  Then, at the end, when the game actually gets revealed and you find out that what she (and thus, you as the reader) thought were true about the other characters are not as they seemed, she shoots the wrong president.  And I had to read the ONE SENTENCE that tells about it twice to actually catch that something significant happened.  Then she gets locked into a cell under solitary confinement for months while she is on trial - which you never get to hear about or learn about at all.  Seriously, if that's the story then why didn't Katniss play a role where we could actually see the story?  Or, I get that you want a twist at the end but if we never hear anything about what happened while she was locked away waiting to die for her crime, why when that doesn't happen doesn't she get told what DID happen so we know!?!?  UGH, I could scream!

Which then brings us to the story itself that I hated from the reader level.  I never thought her and Peeta should be together.  I really liked Gail and wanted them to end up together.  And when Peeta came back brainwashed thinking she was the bad guy after he gets rescued from his captors and tries repeatedly to kill her, I was convinced she would end up with Gail.  So what the FUCK?  It was completely anti-climactic how Peeta gets "cured" of the brainwashing and then Gail may or may not have been responsible for the bomb that killed Katniss' sister which also never gets resolved.  AND, we never get to find out for sure what happens to Gail - if he didn't get to be with Katniss who he loved, at least tell us that he is happy elsewhere.  Is that too much to ask?  And after everything is said and done, this amazing girl who was partly responsible for a revolution and bringing down an oppressive government.... votes to keep perpetuating the violence she fought against?  Really?  And becomes, in the end, an emotional vegetable who lets life happen around her?  WITH PEETA?  UGH...

Seriously I hated the way it ended and wish I had never read past the initial book which stood alone quite well, thank you very much.  Without the second book we wouldn't have seen her and Gail's relationship and really there was no need to take it past the first Hunger Games that she survived.  Who needs a revolution... just go home and tell the tale you lived to tell.  It probably was initially written as a single book and some agent somewhere told her "hey, this would be great if we expanded the story line and did a trilogy"...   Wouldn't that be a bite in the ass if somehow it was the author revolting herself against such a suggestion?  If you haven't read any of them, just read the first and call it quits.  Nothing works out in the end and you'll just be mad...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Time for another rant...

It has been quite some time since I had a rant and rave session... something necessary on a daily basis before I switched cubicles to one NOT on the aisle and therefore subject to all the crazies and their hallway meetings.  I'm in a really good area of the cube farm now... nestled between my supervisor who is off in meetings more than he's at his desk and the technical team lead who just works all day.  I realized after moving that the incessant chatter that drove me crazy and made my lack of a concealed weapon permit a good thing for those around me is not what the real problem is - it is when that chatter is NOT work related that I get crazed.  Since my move, I hear probably more chatter but because it is primarily work related, it doesn't bug me!

There are two people within earshot of my new cube who are in the bottom third of the productivity scale on my team... Today one of them had a group of two other slackers gathered and were discussing - wait for it - the eating habits of their dogs and why, when they feed their dogs and cats half of their food, they just can't understand how they don't lose weight.  At one point, I heard one of them proclaim that she'd found not eating an entire bag of potato chips at night had led to her dropping a few pounds.  Are you kidding me?  An ENTIRE BAG of potato chips by yourself?  My arteries closed up a bit and my stomach rolled at the thought of it!  Another one said she makes an extra grilled cheese just to feed to her greyhound.  Well, that might be why your diet of "feed the dogs what I eat" (yes, that's what she referred to HER diet as) isn't working since you are still consuming the same food but making extras to give to the dogs.  The conversation devolved into the dynamics of sharing a bed with multiple cats who demand their own pillows and I entertained thoughts of a .22 bullet.  I can only assume that these people are single women because I don't know a man who would put up with that kind of shit.  Although, clearly, I just might not know the right kind of people. 

One of these days, the insanity of how LITTLE work is actually performed at my work place by people expecting a paycheck every couple of weeks that they've done very little to earn will be exposed and something done about it.  In the meantime, I will quietly scream "SHUT THE FUCK UP" under my breath multiple times a week and rant and rave on the blog when that doesn't cut it. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My First Blog Award!

It's official... what I have suspected all along is true:  there ARE more than three of you out there who are reading this blog.  On second thought, since the award came from one of you I actually know about, maybe I'm wrong.  At any rate, I have been awarded my first blog award.  I'm gushing inside and all a-twitter like a school girl!

I'd like to thank my fellow writing pal Christauna at Art n'Writin for bestowing upon me the first honors earned by my little blog.  I hope the tea cup and roses somehow fits into the whole space here since I'm going to post it proudly.  I've never been so happy to see cutesy girlie stuff which is not really my style.   

So, there are rules to getting this award and here they are:

Accept your award and post it on your blog along with a link to the person who has sent it to you. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you have newly discovered. You must contact the person to let them know that you have chosen them to receive the award.

Okay, enough with the fine print.  Here's where you get to learn the ugly crazy truth about me. I blog... a lot I think... but I don't actually read that many other blogs.  Let's face it, I am insanely busy.  I mean, seriously! Full time job, two kids, running 20 miles a week training for a half-marathon (16 days and counting by the way!), playing fantasy football obsessed with beating my nephews which also involves watching a lot of football, shuttling one of my kids to dance 7 hours a week, AND trying to write a novel in all my non-existent spare time.  So, I've recently been on the hunt for awesome new blogs to read so I can pass the award to others I deem worthy and thereby claim mine for my own.  (I sense a future blog post here... stay tuned!)

So without further ado, here is my list of people I think deserve the award because 1) they have kept me entertained enough to keep up with their blogs in what little time I have or 2) are ones I found noteworthy in the week when I went searching for new and interesting people to follow... in no particular order.  Of course, there are many more I like but several of them have already received the award and thus cannot make MY list...

Tickets For Two
Bethanne Strasser
Amber Ruoti
The Rejectionist
Kristie Tencarre
Stacy Malone
Sara M Eden
The B.S. Cafe
Dan Wells

Some of these blogs may never claim the "Lovely Blog" award since I tend to follow an eclectic mix of cutesy and irreverent with an emphasis on the irreverent.  But, that's my list and maybe, just maybe, one of you might find something worth adding to your reading list.  Yes, it isn't the requisite 15 but I'm claiming my award nonetheless.  I never was one for following all the rules to the letter anyway so why start now?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Another year, another novel

Here's today's hard reality of being a writer.  Sometimes the projects you spend two years of blood, sweat and tears on don't end up published.  Sometimes, they don't even end up finished.  My first novel is currently going into this bucket.  I made this decision subconsciously a couple of months ago but I wasn't really ready to let my baby go.  I've spent two full years on it, still believe in the idea, still love my characters and eventually will return to it.  But, because I love it so much I'm not willing to use it as my "first" and thus major learning experience.  So, I'm shelving it... for now.  I've spent the last couple of months editing and finding more work than I thought to get it up to par and ready to write the ending.  I still know where it ends and how, just have to finish the re-write of what's already written so I can finish it up at some point.  For now, I'm switching gears and preparing for this year's NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which starts November 1st.  This time (my third) I'm going in armed with another year's worth of learning and knowledge about how to write better and will spend October coming up with an outline so I am better prepared.  I am not sad, I'm being real.  And if talking to other writers this year and learning from them has taught me nothing else, it is that it takes writing many completed books to finally figure out how the whole process works.  Getting caught up and overly attached to one project over another just sets you up for disappointment.  So, I've tried my hand at urban fantasy - this year I'm tackling a straight out fictional work.  We'll see how I like it since I don't even know what "my" genre is yet.

So, as long as I don't die, two days after I run my first half marathon I'll exchange my impossible seeming running project for an impossible seeming writing one.  Having been successful at NaNoWriMo last year, I know it is not impossible and I'm determined to win again this time around!  And, most of my writing group will be toiling right beside me.  I'm SO excited!  Since I'm not going to be ready to hang up my running shoes, I sure hope my family is as supportive of me this year as they were last.  Running and writing... all at breakneck speed?  Should be an interesting month!