Sunday, October 21, 2012
I've just finished week 6 of marathon training and I'm 5.4 miles behind where I should be. I skipped an entire weeks and then skipped 3 of the weekly short runs (1 each the past 3 weeks). It's still early enough that missing those runs shouldn't affect my overall training, especially since I still have 24 weeks to go, but I have to start doing better.
So to help push myself in the right direction I've "re-committed" to SP...tracking nutrition, using the Other Goals page, restarted strength training. Ok, my strength training right now is basically just 2 sets of push-ups every morning but I fully intend to join a gym by the end of November. I have flyers for 2 of them that are reasonable close, on the way home from work.
I have to keep reminding myself to trust the training plan. The plan had me scheduled for only 3 miles today, which seemed...pointless?
Crazy Me says we can run several times that distance right now, why only go for a measly 3 miles?
Sane Me says the plan is designed to minimize the risk of injury by giving our body a chance to recover while gradually building miles; we have 24 weeks to get there, be patient.
Patience is not one of our virtues, never has been, is not now and never will be. Besides, we haven't been putting in the long distance miles so we don't need to take it easy. We're behind schedule! Run, baby, run!
We'll go 4 miles but no further. And from now on we stick to the plan. I'm in charge here, not you!
Keep tellin' yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.
So for week 7 I'm going to get back on schedule.
The nutrition tracking should help me focus as well. I'm not doing anything with the data yet other than watching calories in. At some point I might start fiddling with carbs & protein or whatever...or maybe not. I don't want this process to turn into a chore, which could easily happen if I start getting obsessive about numbers. I'm not looking to be an elite athlete and I won't let training take over my entire life.
Which reminds me of some more differences between France & the US. Food packaging here has nutrition info on it...but it is generally pretty sparse compared to what I'm used to. Calories, carbs, protein, fat & sat. fat, and sodium...and that's usually it. No vitamins & minerals. Makes me crazy because I was tracking those. And the order is different. Labels in the US are pretty much in the same order as SP (at least for the main categories), here the order is Calories, Proteins, Carb & sugars, Fat & Sat. Fat, Fibre, Sodium. Another crazy making difference.
The move itself went OK (except for the thieves at Air France, they are right up there on the list with my phone company), we got our container a few weeks ago and are mostly unpacked. There is still the spare room where I've been putting the stuff my daughter has now decided that maybe she shouldn't have brought (because she couldn't be bothered to sort her possessions before the move!).
More France differences...just about everything is closed on Sundays. So no errand running. Many things take longer...no going into a Best Buy or wherever to buy a washer and have it delivered the next day. One week is actually pretty fast, 2 weeks is common.
The washing machines are smaller than in the US. And take absolutely forever to finish a cycle. Or at least that's what it seems like since it is on the ground floor and we can hear it, unlike at home where it was in the basement. But I do think the cycles are longer. The dryer is in the basement. I'm going to have to translate the manual really soon because I can't figure it out. I can't seem to get clothes to dry.
And the dryer has this...water bottle thing...in a drawer I have to pull out and empty periodically. Don't know why. But each of the dryers the lady showed me had the same thing going on; she didn't speak English & I don't speak French so I have no clue what this is about. Near as I can figure instead of blasting clothes with heat (like in the US) here the "dryer" sucks the water out instead. Except my clothes are always still various levels of wet when the cycle is done. One more mystery of life.
The biggest mystery is the phone company and how the people here have not revolted and executed every last one of these so-called workers and managers. I utterly loathe my phone company with the passion I have historically reserved for push-ups.
Actually, I think I finally found something I loathe more than push-ups.
2 weeks to get someone out to hook up my phone/internet and get my cell phone. The cell phone delay was because the lady in the phone company store kept insisting my card and bank account were no good b/c the bank routing number the phone co. had on record didn't match what the bank gave me...so of course the bank was wrong. Mind, this was an official paper directly from the bank, which matched my checks and all my account opening documents...but the bank was wrong and didn't know its own routing number?
Yes, the phone company had the correct information and the bank did not know its own routing number. So they won't sell me a phone until the bank corrects its mistake.
Yeah. I couldn't make this up if I tried.
For the house phone I leave work early on a Wednesday to be home for the appointment...and they never show up. They were supposed to arrive at 1, I waited until 5 and had to leave to go back to work...they showed up at 6. And it was MY fault for not being there so they tried to tell the relocation lady who was dealing with them I would have to wait another week or two.
How well do you think that went over?
Friday they were to come back at 2...guess what time they showed up? 2:05! A miracle occurred! Took them an hour but they got the line hooked up...except I still didn't have phone or internet. I called the relocation lady, who called the phone company, who said...yeah, it's hooked up but now we have to activate the account...in 3 business days.
I was about a millisecond from having the grand-daddy of all temper tantrums at that point. My daughter had been stuck at home for most of the 3 weeks, completely isolated...no phone, no TV, no internet...nothing. Her school wasn't what we were told it would be and she was beyond miserable and she doesn't believe in keeping it to herself. And here they are telling me it will be ANOTHER 5 calendar days and I can't go all FFK on them because I don't speak the language.
It's a good thing for all concerned that there was no physical representative of the phone company in front of me right then; I have no desire to see the inside of a French (or any!) prison. I did thoroughly kill a box the phone company gave me though; it was not nearly as emotionally gratifying as I'd hoped.
The relocation lady must have yelled at them because Saturday afternoon, like magic, my internet turned on. I suppose the phone service did too but I can't figure out how to use the phone so I'm only guessing about that one.
Got the TV service hooked up too. 200 or so channels. I can get native language programming from Japan and China and all sorts of Middle Eastern and African countries...and the only thing in English is the BBC & CNN.
OK, I didn't really expect US programming...but England is exactly how far away? And apparently has no programming?
For myself I don't care, I don't watch TV anyway expect for the odd show...but it's just one more thing to add to the difficulties my daughter's been facing.
I'm surprised she hasn't killed me in my sleep yet.
Anyway, internet life is good for 2 weeks. Then on a Friday afternoon (of course) we come home to find that the internet fairies have taken our signal away...and they don't give it back for 10 more days. I call on Monday (actually a coworker called for me) and had an appointment with a technician made for Tuesday afternoon...who never showed or called. Wednesday we call again, they said oh well, he couldn't make it, they will run some tests. No word from them on Thursday so we call again. Oh, it's a problem with the phone line, not their equipment, so they reported the problem to France Telecom, 4 business days to fix. France Telecom comes out Tuesday morning - on-time yet! - and tells me (I think) that the lines are phone it's the phone company's equipment that's the problem.
I don't care, I just want it fixed!
I think he sensed that because he did whatever he did and I have internet again! But apparently no phone because I don't have the right plug or something, although it doesn't matter anyway since I don't know how to use it.
I'm just waiting for the damn thing to go out again.
In the meantime I ran my first race in France, on October 7. It was an 11km race, which seems kind of odd to me, but I've seen others advertised for 7km, 13 km, etc., so I guess it's normal over here.
I registered for both the HM and full marathon in Paris in 2013. The HM is in March, the full is in April, about 5 weeks later. Registration for the full opened at 11 am on the 17th...it took my 2 hours of constant page refreshes to get access to the site & get me registration through but I made it as one of the first 8000. Now I have to find some new running clothes to wear, I'm planning to go patriotic. But my bib number will have FANGFACEKITTY on it so I'm not abandoning my roots entirely.
Yesterday's run was in the cold drizzly rain and I took a road I hadn't taken before...to have it turn into a farm access road between the fields and become very muddy in places. And aromatic. I hadn't thought October was the month to spread manure but what do I know about farming?
It was still a really good run, before I knew it I had gone almost 4.5 miles and felt like I could have kept going for a lot farther. I took pictures which I will have to post another time since I can't find the cord to connect my phone, which is my work phone and is a leftover from the 20th century, so the cord is needed.
Yesterday was also my birthday so I bought myself 2 bouquets, lilies & roses. They make the kitchen smell very nice and flowery. Today I put up the curtains in my daughter's room and considered hanging the light. But I will have to consider that some more because it looks like hole drilling will be needed and 1) I don't have my power tools; 2) I'm not too thrilled with the idea of drilling where I know there are electrical cords; 3) I will have to repair any holes I drill in the house to return it to original condition before I leave & I want to keep that to a minimum.
So I will consider how to hang the light without having to drill holes. Then maybe I will also feel ambitious enough to change the direction of the refrigerator door. Or maybe not. After all, I am the Queen of Procrastination.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
For September I have added a new goal since as of today the Paris Marathon is a mere 190 days away : Marathon training.
I found a training plan to start. I think it is a Galloway plan, not sure, and I am not doing the run/walk thing. No offense to those who do follow that plan but I know me and know run/walk intervals just don't work that well for me.
Anyway, it is a 30 week plan, which was exactly the timing from the week I started. It has me doing 30 minute runs on Tuesday & Thursday, an "easy walk" on Fridays (whatever that means) and gradually increasing long runs on Sundays. Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays are rest days. I actually started at week 3's distance of 5 miles so I'm just repeating that week until I get to week 4, so I can get used to running regularly again.
I looked at the Hal Higdon plan but rejected it because a) it is much more aggressive, being only 18 weeks; and b) has me running consecutive days which strains my knees and causes me to burn out. I don't want to devote my entire life to training. They have a 36 week plan, which is basically just two 18 week plans stacked together, but even that was pretty aggressive with the consecutive running.
Yes, I know marathon training is a big commitment but it shouldn't be a chore either and I need the down time to do other things. I have the time to build up slowly without deliberately risking injury by running long distances on consecutive days, which I know is not good for me specifically.
The Higdon plan did have a good point, where the daily run mileage added up to the Sunday long run total. I might incorporate that idea into my training plan, at least for now. As the long run miles get higher I will probably not continue (I just can't see doing two 10-13 mile runs on Tue/Thu and then a 20-26 mile on Sunday towards the end of training). But we'll see, plans aren't written in stone.
I know I will make adaptations; on Sep. 30 I am supposed to run 6 miles and only 2.5 on Oct 7. But Oct. 7 is the day of the 10k run I registered for so I will continue running my 5 miles until the race, and then the next week run the scheduled 3 miles, skipping the 2.5 entirely. I'm sure I will have to make other modifications as I go. Today is another 5 mile run, actually a little over 5 miles based on the route I take. And - bonus - No Never Ending Hill of Death on the Sunday runs!
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
OK, it was totally my fault I left my iPad on the plane when we arrived in Paris. I was stressed and jet lagged and stressed...and I just forgot I had put it in the seat back. My fault.
As soon as I realized what I had done some several hours later in the hotel I tried calling the travel agency...zero help, it is after hours on a Sunday and no one answers the phone at the after hours number. I leave a message (and 2.5 weeks later no one has returned my call!), and try again in a few hours, get a real person and she gives me an e-mail address for Air France. I shoot them off an e-mail and pass out from the jet lag.
Next day is Monday and I have a lovely automated e-mail from Air France saying they'll look into it, if you don't hear from us in 8 days we couldn't find it.
OK, an automated e-mail? Really? Why am I not feeling comfortable with this?
Monday afternoon, after perusing the Air France website, I send a message to Contact Us asking who to call for items left on the plane. Their response was to send the e-mail I had already sent.
No response by Saturday morning so since I had to go back to the airport to return the rental van I figured I'd stop by Customer Service and try to move things along in person. Finally got to the baggage department after being passed around (and to be fair these people were helpful in telling me what they could and couldn't answer and pointing me in the next right direction). Baggage claim guy says nope, absolutely can't help you, have to send the e-mail. I told him I already did on Sunday, it is now Saturday and there is no response. Baggage guy says sorry, can't help, send the e-mail; no, sorry, there is no phone number for the Left Items warehouse, no sorry, you can't talk to anyone else, you have to send the e-mail only.
And - of course - the requisite 8 days have more then passed and would you believe I never received a response?
I know, hard to believe that anyone is really doing anything to find it when all you get is an automated response telling you don't call us, we'll call you. So I sent them another e-mail...which came back undeliverable. Amazing. Do they have me blocked I wonder? Nope, on Monday this week I sent a brand new one instead of a response and it went through...and returned the same automated lie.
I tried calling the travel agency, thinking they talk to the airlines all the time, they should have a number of someone somewhere I could talk to. Nope, so sorry, you have to send the e-mail.
I've tried calling Air France in Detroit and in Paris...sorry, can't help, send the e-mail. I asked a French colleague to do the same figuring maybe it's b/c I'm an American & don't speak French...sorry, send the e-mail.
I know that no one has even tried using the iPad because it has been offline this entire time. Which tells me it is just sitting somewhere. And no one at Air France is looking for it. Or at least that has to be my assumption because I have absolutely zero response from them.
Take note Air France...automated messages that say if you don't hear from us we didn't find it are NOT A RESPONSE! And do NOT inspire any confidence that anyone is actually doing anything ESPECIALLY when you refuse to actually let customers talk to you.
What are you afraid of that you can't publish a Contact Us phone number? Hiding something like a pack of thieves taking advantage of your customers' forgetfulness?
NOT feeling in a very generous or understanding mood today.
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