Wednesday, April 27, 2011

marathons and too many plans

I, like so many other people I tend to surround myself with, have an uncanny ability to overschedule myself.  I got a friendly reminder from God and fate of my talent to do that today.  A few months ago, on a whim, I did what I said I would NEVER do and applied for the New York City Marathon lottery.  I said after Chicago '09 that I wouldn't run another marathon because it was so time consuming to train and the almost six hours that I spent on the course were really dang hard.  I walked a marathon for the Avon Walk last summer and started letting thoughts creep up into my head that maybe I should do another one, a big exciting one like New York.  (I've read testimonials that people like it better than Boston.) (And also, isn't that how childbirth works?  You forget the memories of the actual difficulties of pregnancy and delivery just in time to start having more children?)  Knowing that the chances of me actually getting picked to run it through the lottery were fairly slim, I went ahead and registered for it, without thinking it though and just figuring I'd find a way to make it work.  Part of my motivation is that after three years of not getting in through the lottery, you are given an automatic entry and I figured I should start that process at some point.  

Today was the drawing and I did not get in.  I feel a pretty big wave of disappointment because who likes to get rejected?  Not me, no matter the personal commitments and consequences involved.  After pondering it for awhile, I realize that this is just a sign telling me to slow down.  Adam and I have been talking about the possibilities of me going to yoga school in the fall regardless of where we're living, which would be at least a three month time commitment.  I wouldn't have been able to do that if I were marathon training because I couldn't miss an entire weekend of classes, not to mention the training requirements and trying to fit that in with a full-time job, my personal yoga practice and trying to go to school both days of the weekend.  This is just a step in the direction of pushing me toward facing my fears and getting my certification.  Despite the sting of being bummed that it didn't work out this year, it may be telling me that I am meant to do this next year or another year after that, when we are more settled in our lives.  

My faith is constantly being tested right now but small reminders like today give me reasons to still believe that God is always leading me in the right direction and on the path that I, and I alone, should be on.  And also, that I should watch what I have on my plate to make sure that it's just the right amount of activities and not overloaded.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

it's that time of year again

The weather this weekend was fantastic.  The 10 day forecast doesn't have any numbers that are in the 30's, high or low.  We are moving full speed ahead to May which is ever closer to another fantastic Chicago summer.  The weather makes things awesome but my favorite part of this time of year is that people start coming to visit again!

One of my sorority sister's from college, Jennie, was here with her husband this weekend.  As Adam mentioned, we went to a Cubs game (our first of the year) and went to our out-of-town company standby, Tango Sur for steaks and vino.

My brother and Sara are coming later in May.  Again, the only plans we have are to go to Tango Sur since Sara has never been yet.  I'm interested in trying Rick Bayless' sandwich place downtown, Xoco.  Having company usually means for us having treat meals out and/or trying new places.

I love playing tourist where we live because it is an excellent reminder that we live with in walking distance and short train rides away from some very cool restaurants and places.

Weekends at the Nard Dog house book up quickly over the summer so make your plans to visit now!

Home and Man Play Dates

Given the recent events that have taken place over the last few months have really got me thinking about life and everything in between. Going to therapy has taught me that I need to do a better job of understanding and expressing my emotions. I'm hoping that writing in this blog can be one avenue for my expression.

Something that has been on my mind a lot recently is home and what it means to different people, but more specifically what it means to me. I think this meaning of home is why I wanted to buy my condo. Having had 2 very big moves in my life, my definition of home has changed many times. When I was 15 we moved from Texas, where I had grown up and where all my childhood friends are, and moved to the burbs of Chicago. I immediately had a new place I would be calling home and I remember it being both sad and exciting. Then a year before I finished college my Dad got a new job and my parent moved to Florida. Obviously I stayed in Chicago finished school and ended up getting a job in the city. It was from this point on I think I always struggled with finding my "home" as a young adult. Living in my various apartments never felt like home for me, it was just where I lived. Visiting my parents in Florida never felt like home since I never actually lived in that house and I knew no one else in the area but my parents. So when it came time to think about buying a place I got excited because I thought I would finally be getting a place I could truly call home. My condo was and has been a home for me now for almost 3 years, but in the last few months it has started to feel more like my residence than my home. It has to do with our desire be closer to our family. So far in life I think that is what my definition of home is. A place where you can feel comfortable with all your friends and family. Chicago has the friends aspect, but there are no other Bernardi's or Breda's here. Florida has the family, but there are no friends there. For me many of my friends have become like family to me, so having good friends near is a very big part of the equation for me. Texas is the only place where we have both friends and family.

Now on to something a bit more light hearted. This weekend one of Jen's college friends was in Chicago for the weekend with her husband and the 4 of us went to the cubs game and dinner. We ended up spending the whole day together and had a great time. Before I met her husband, we'll call him Joe for the purposes here, a buddy of mine and I were talking about this very common situation. The situation where you are going to be hanging out with a friend of your wife's and you know you are going to be left to hang out with the husband (aka a Man Play Date). I have been very luck in these situations so far as all of Jen's friends (that I have met anyway) have married great guys that I now consider friends of mine. The experience this weekend was no different. Joe is a great guy and we had a blast hanging out. However, I have heard horror stories of these encounters not going so well, or being very awkward. I am very thankful that Jen and I seem to get along with a lot of different people, and that our friends have married people who we enjoy spending time with. I guess I wanted to mention this because when we move back to Texas I see a lot of situations like this in our future. Depending on which city we end up in one of us will probably already have a network of friends there, and the other will be at the mercy of the "Play Date". Most likely it will be me at the mercy of the "Man Play Date" so again I am thankful that so far all of Jen's girlfriends have found guys that I get along with and could spend time with if the girls were not around. This is pretty important since I know it is going to be very hard leaving all the great friends we have made here in Chicago, and I know having a good network of friends is important to us.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

catch up

We went to San Antonio for a wedding last weekend.  It was beautiful (both the wedding and the weather for our visit).

 mi madre
 Sara and Mere
Mr. Adam T

We ate almost every meal outside.  I had two breakfast dates at Ruthie's (home of what is currently my favorite bean and cheese taco in town, and seriously, I know because I am a connoisseur of such things).  I went on a fruitful shopping trip with the ladies for clothes that I can now wear to work.  

Speaking of such things, my new hours are going swimmingly with the (tiny) exception of getting there an hour late on the first day.  Trust me, after years of working for an airline, I am even more Type A ridiculous about being late to things.  I had the nervous tummy of a lifetime that hit as I was walking in the rain toward the El train station and saw a myriad of every emergency vehicle you could imagine.  I'm not sure since I haven't taken the time to watch the news since but apparently a train got stuck on the tracks.  At the time they were telling everyone it was a derailment though, so it was a way more dramatic scenario than necessary.  The Chicago Transit Authority doesn't have a very good emergency response plan.  There was no information other than the three busiest lines were all delayed and/or not running.  To make what is a long and rather stupid story short, I ended up getting completely soaked in the rain (also it was 36 degrees) and finally made it to work 1 hour and 50 minutes after I left home.  For reference, it should be a 30-35 minute process door to door.  To find out that they shut down the three main arteries toward downtown at the tail end of the morning rush for no real reason was kind of frustrating.   

Anyhoo, I'm currently nursing some sore hamstrings because Adam and I, along with our friend, Heather, ventured out into new fitness territory on Tuesday night.  We tried a TRX/Kettlebells class.  While Adam and I were familiar with the Kettlebells aspect from prior experience, the whole TRX suspension stuff was a complete departure from anything I've ever done before.  It's basically these straps and handles that are bolted to the wall and you use them in a bunch of different ways to hoist your body around.  There were at least three exercises that I just could not do because they were so hard.  Our instructor was stacked and even she would shake a little during the demos.  We loved it and signed up for next Tuesday already because the class caps at 8 people and it can be hard to get in.  I frequently shop fitness prices (and know from work experience what things cost) and the deal we get at our little studio is the best in town.  I will miss Spring Pilates when we leave this area, it's only 3 blocks from our house!  

out of all of these, the only one we did was the chest fly you see in the top left and let me tell you I was nowhere near that low.  obviously we have something serious to aspire to!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

six months ago

I know everyone says this but so far, October 16th, 2010, was the best day of my life.  It's going to take a lot to top it.  Almost every single person that I hold near and dear to my heart was gathered in one place with Adam's nearest and dearest.  They were all there to celebrate us and the beginning of our life together.  It was 14 months of hard work and planning and I could not have done it without the support and love from Adam and my parents.  The day was better than my wildest dreams.  There were so many times I didn't think my grandmother would be able to be there, let alone stay at the party until the bitter end with us.

In the six months we've been married we have:

been to three foreign countries together  (Canada, Argentina, Chile)
put our condo on the market
started the process to move our lives back home to Texas
buried my beloved grandmother
attended three weddings
I ended a job and started a new one
Adam learned to ski on a combined family trip

It's been a roller coaster of big life changes and emotional events.  I'm just thankful to have the best seat partner I ever could have hoped for.  I need to remember to be more humble to God every day that I'm blessed to spend with Adam.

Monday, April 11, 2011

a pleasant transition

I get new hours at work next week when we get back from San Antonio.  I have been the opener at work now for two months.  I told myself I could learn to like the 4:45 a.m. start time.  I fooled myself into thinking that because I used to wake up at ungodly hours a few days a month when I was working for United that I would be fine.  A night owl like me can never get used to a schedule like that, I learned the hard way.  In honor of my last four days of wake up hell, I made a list of the things I am not going to miss about waking up well before the crack of dawn.

-3:30 a.m. alarm blaring.  It never got easier.

-Rainy/snowy/super cold mornings, not because of the weather but because of the increased homeless people on the train.  At 4:00 a.m., I like my personal space.

-The fact that my morning commute coincides with the closing time of the late night bars.  I won't miss being bothered by drunk people almost every morning.  I'll spare you the details of things I saw and heard.

-The homeless people that sleep on the doorsteps of the property.  Kicking out homeless people is scary and unfortunately it is my job.

-The rude man that comes every morning and still has no social skills to even acknowledge me even though I see him and check him in every morning.

-The several heart attacks I have every morning when I encounter something unexpected in my path (see above: homeless people, see also:  bunnies, rats, cats, people on my street).

-Falling asleep in yoga class.  For someone who wants to become a yoga instructor, this was the thing that probably stung me the most and was a huge part of my motivation to ask for an hours change.  It may be the most relaxing hour of my day but that doesn't mean I want to sleep through it.

-The groggy/dehydrated feeling I get every afternoon after laying down for a nap, no matter how long or short said nap is.  This was another area that I was hugely mistaken about.  Afternoon naps aren't so fun when they are mandatory to function.  And pretty much the entire time I spend between waking and going back to sleep for the "night" is groggy and cranky.  

-The longer commute I have because my preferred train line isn't even running when I need to go to work.  

-The second cup of coffee that has become necessary and the cost associated with that.

I could probably think of quite a few other things that suck about it.  I generally spend the entire time from leaving my front door until I'm safely locked inside the building at work freaking out that something bad will happen to me.  You know the saying that nothing good happens after midnight is so true!  There are lots of sketchy people I encounter along the way to work each morning.  Even the few people that I have come to "know" from riding the same train every morning are semi-shady characters themselves.  

I'm thankful to still have a job and to start living normal grown up hours again instead of my current todder bedtime of 8:30!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

shamrock shuffle 8k

Today Adam and I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8K, which is the largest 8K (4.97 mile) race in the country.  I'm not sure how many races there are at that distance since it's kind of odd ball, but it is known as the official kick off race to the Chicago race season and there were 40,000 people that ran this year before they capped registration sometime in Feb.

I really like the 8K distance.  Even though this is a completely crowded race from start to finish (don't even get me started about people who start walking almost immediately and that they should start in the back of the pack), it's run over several parts of the marathon course.  I'm pretty sure they share the same start and finish line.  If my memory serves me correctly, it's basically the start, a section of the middle and the infamous Mt. Roosevelt just before the finish that are exactly the same as the marathon, give or take a few blocks.  It's something special to run on the streets downtown and in the Loop with so many other people and it brings back fun memories for me.  Mt. Roosevelt is probably the only 'hill' in the Chicagoland area and although it's pathetic, it's just before the finish.  Both this year and last, I had thoughts going through my mind such as "HOW ON EARTH DID I DO THIS HILL AFTER 25+ MILES?  SERIOUSLY!".  Even after 4 miles, it's a challenge.

Todays race:  it has been awesome outside today.  We have the windows open and I broke a little sweat when I was heating up dinner on the stove.  Compared to the 30's and 40's we've been having as highs lately, it's downright hot (but I'll take it)!  I got to wear a sleeveless shirt, which is saying a ton since last year I wore a beanie hat and several layers and I can remember being FREEZING the whole time.  Back to the run, I started in the same corral as Adam and we figured we'd run together for awhile before he'd inevitably leave me in his dust (like last year, which is the only time I've ever considered not finishing a race but a course official yelled at me to get back on the course so I figured I might as well keep going).  We ran a really fast mile 1, about 9:30 pace.  For me, this is extremely fast.  I struggle quite a bit with my breathing as soon as I get under 10 minute miles.  I felt really good, I never completely lost control of my breathing and at some point during the race, I figured I'd just push myself as hard as I could instead of letting up to a slow jog.

I felt like I fought a lot of obstacles during the miles.  There were points when I felt crampy or struggled to get a full breath of air but I was determined to try to stay with Adam as long as I could.  At one point, we hit a long straightaway and we were going downhill just ever so slightly that I could see the hoards of people in front of us.  I remarked to Adam that I felt like I was watching flowers wilt.  The sun was beating down on everyone and you could see people slowing down and/or stopping to walk.  The two of us kept pushing and weaving in and out of slower groups of people.  I'm not usually one to ever pass people, especially late in the race so it felt really good for a change.

When we hit Mt. Roosevelt, I could feel the adrenaline rush and I just took off.  A wise friend once told me never to let up during hills because the faster I run them, the faster they're over.  I felt like I was going to die for a couple of seconds after we climbed the hill but at that point, the finish line is in sight so we kept on going and finished in 50:41 (according to Adam's watch, I haven't checked chip times yet).  For me, it was one of the best races I've ever run because I listened to my heart and overcame the mental battle that every runner faces.

Legs wise, I haven't felt that strong in a really long time.  Which was completely unexpected because I have done next to no running lately and I've only been practicing yoga regularly.  It's a good feeling to know that all of the hard work I've been putting in lately on the mat is paying off in my physical condition.  I'm sure the regular breathing exercises that I do in yoga class are helping with my asthma and race breathing too.  I definitely felt the runner's high today and I'm so glad this is only the beginning of the 2011 season.  I'm not feeling very sore and I'm hoping that continues through tomorrow and Tuesday, although, I'm looking forward to hitting my yoga mat tomorrow for some serious stretching.

I forgot my camera but we did take a couple of pictures with my iPhone of our happy post-race faces (did I mention you get free beer with your race bib?  this is pretty much why we run).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

feeling thankful

We FINALLY have two showings on the condo today after 2.5 long weeks of nothing!  I'm so thankful that I had the foresight and hopefulness to do a pretty nice cleaning of the place on Thursday afternoon/night.

Even if nothing comes from either showing as far as offers, I am thankful because this will provide us and our realtor with real live feedback and we'll know if we have any changes to make.

My fingers are crossed!  This is such a big step in the right direction.  Prayers are being answered.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

There go the Hawks

So I'm going to write this one with the iPad and see how it works out. I'm sitting here watching the Hawks probably blow their chance at the playoffs seeing as they gave up a goal 17 seconds in. It crazy to think back to where we were last time at this year. Jen and I were looking forward to summer, much as we are now, putting the final touches on our wedding, and starting to get ready for our bachelor and bachelorette parties. Sometimes hard to look back and think about all the good things we were looking forward to, and now times seem so bleak at their worst. However, I think we still have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to.

My best friend from high school was in town this past weekend, the one who will be marrying Jen's best friend. We had his bachelor party and it was a blast! We went to a great steak dinner then off to a box for the Bulls game. We couldn't have asked for a better time. It was so nice to see an old friend I consider family. I think that's the hardest part about being here. While we have great friends here that I cherish, most of my old friends that I have had for a very long time do not live here anymore. I never really knew how important having family close to me is, but now that I don't have it I miss it.

I got my performance review at work this week. While the review was great in terms of my performance, the feedback was worthless. Based on what has happened in Japan we had to layoff quite a few people which means I'm in for another crappy raise. While its hard to complain about a raise since I still have a job, I know our company has done very well and could afford for us to get a decent raise. Based on my piss poor raises over the last few years and trying to sell my condo I feel we are never going to get out of this recession. I'm so sick of our country's leadership I feel that no one has any idea how to pick us out of this, and we as a country will fall. It hard for me to say I would be shocked, but based on the greed and stupity I seem to witness on a daily basis I say were getting what we deserve. Especially with people like Charlie Sheen making millions on a show where he does what, sits and talks about how crazy he is while his girlfriends make out? When I hear a show like this sold out in 6 mins that makes me lose all faith in humanity and think it's only a matter of time before we end up like the dinosaurs.

Now the Hawks are down 2-0, well at least this will probably be the year for my Cubs...

what i'd really like to say...

What I'd like to be posting about is my typical negative fare of these days so I'm going to let the urge pass and see if I still feel as irked as I currently do tomorrow.  2011 has turned out to be extremely challenging so far and I don't see reprieve in sight just yet.

It's a lot more fun to talk about the good things that are happening anyway, so here you go:

-We are running a five miler this weekend (which is good and bad, seeing as how the last time I meaningfully ran was the half marathon we didn't train for in November).  I am so thrilled to kick off the outdoor running season and it's supposed to be really warm.  Like capri running pants or shorts warm!  We have lots of friends running and I am looking forward to an awesome post-race meal at one of my favorite pizza places on earth.  I need to find a half marathon to run in the upcoming months so that I have a strong goal to work toward.

-I'm getting new hours at work in the next two weeks.  I can't even express how awesome this is going to be for both mine and Adam's lives.  Only seven more 3:30 a.m. wake up calls.  I can't wait to research my new yoga options with the better schedule.  I'm looking forward to new challenges.  I'm looking forward to not requiring the second cup of coffee just to survive yoga and I'm pumped to hopefully not fall asleep in class anymore.

-We're going home to celebrate a wedding next weekend.  It will be our second trip to San Antonio in three weeks and I am looking forward to it as much as I was the last time.

-Our last trip needs to be its own bullet point.  Other than the fact that I drank entirely too much on Saturday afternoon/evening, I was lucky to not suffer through a hangover.  I had time with both parents, met some important people that I hope like me as much as I like them, had a great girls afternoon with two of my best friends on the planet, had a middle of the night impromptu road trip from Houston with my partner in crime, celebrated a wedding shower, hung out with the vast majority of my extended family, accomplished a lot of errands in a super fun rental car (yes, that was actually really fun for me since we are carless here), got to eat Chick Fil-a with Adam, and spent quality time with the best dog ever.  We accomplished an awful lot in our short time there and I can't wait to go back.  Adam even got to go to the NCAA Elite Eight game.  We packed in fun to almost every minute.  I took my camera but sadly didn't take the time to snap a single picture, which is ok since I was busy living life instead of documenting every second.

-Last weekend, I celebrated another wedding shower for one of my best friends who is getting married to one of Adam's best friends.  We rehashed our "epic" (and Amy, if you're reading, that trip was totally epic) trip to Australia.  I can't believe it's been so long and I am still so proud of all of us for doing something so amazing when we had the chance.  We have so much to look forward to in the next couple of months including a Bachelorette Party on the East Coast followed by a wedding on the West Coast.  Our mini-vacation to San Diego will be welcome when it finally gets here!

Writing this post was so much more therapeutic for me than the one I thought I'd rather write where I'd complain.  I have a great deal to be happy about and to look forward to.  There are quite a few bad things happening to and around us but I want to make a concerted effort to see my glass as half full for the time being.