Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Honey, You Married MacGyver"

Right before Husband left to fly to US Indoor Championships this weekend the strap on Dexter's detection collar broke. What is a detection collar I hear you ask. Well, we have an underground wire that runs the perimeter of our property and it sends out a radio signal. If Dexter gets too close to the wire, the signal is picked up by his detection collar and warns him, via a Beep, that he is getting too close to his boundary. If he pushes his luck, which he does often, it will then issue a small shock which he should instantly back away from. I say should, cos little Dexter has been known to hear his Beep but think "f*#k it, I'm goin for it anyway" (yes, my dog has an Irish accent too) and he belts it across the boundary wire leaving his owners (Husband and I, but mostly Husband) in angry, hot pursuit, on foot. Its seriously funny to watch and I wish I had some video footage of the whole fiasco to share.

Anyway, with the strap of the detection collar broken this meant that if left outside, Dexter would be a high flight risk. But staying inside was not a option either, he's way too hyper and Fintan is not a fully fledged fan of his company just yet. So this left me with a few options.

1. Buy a new collar, which would entail sitting down with a booklet full of instructions, in a variety of languages, in an effort to get it programmed. Hmmm? I'm thinking "No" on this one.

2. Wait until Husband gets back on Monday and have him deal with it. Again, "No". We are not what you would call the perfect TV family. We (Fintan, Dexter and I) would go nuts if stuck in the house together all weekend. Someone would not get out of it alive.

3. See if I could find a temporary solution by pulling a MacGyver (popular 1980's TV show).

I went with option 3.

While on a hunt for some safety pins strong enough to withstand the wrath of Dexter I came across one of Husbands old rock-climbing grippy things and straight away I knew this was the answer. And it was. I immediately went to work on the collar and in less than a minute the problem was resolved. OMG, I was so happy for myself. I even went so far as to announce to the world, which is to say I made a phone call to Husband, telling him that he was the proud owner of a very smart wife indeed. Up to this point, I swear he had zero idea. Now thank goodness, he knows.

And of course such intelligence needs to be documented/photographed cos Lord knows when my brain will fire on all cylinders like this again.

I'm not 100% sure but is my dog looking at me with pity? Does Dexter think I'm sad?

After 3 hours of obedience school this week my dog now finally sits and stays on command.

Look, Dexter is morphing into a good dog right before my eyes. So proud.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Its All About The Small Things

Its the small things that matter, thats what I tell Husband all the time. Its not always about the expensive gifts, the oversized bouquet of flowers or the big shiny diamonds, although once in a while would be nice (wink, wink Honey), but more often than not, its all about the small things. The texts messages. The hidden notes. The little gifts brought home just cos it made you think of me. These are the things that matter. The things that make me smile.

A couple of weeks ago one of my best friends, Jennifer was getting ready to design her new business card. Jennifer is a rockin make-up artist working hard on getting her own business started, so she asked if I would take her head-shots.

We got together on a chilly but dry Sunday morning, set up a mini studio and had a blast working a variety of different looks. Some even had the added touch of lipstick on the teeth, a new and edgy trend both of us felt would never catch on, so we opted to not include these particular photos in the final cut. Instead we went for the shot that Jennifer looked most like herself, natural, fresh and honest.

And can I tell you, when the cards arrived from the printers, I was blown away. The text and layout was simple, yet professional and when I flipped it over, there was Jennifer, my photo, looking stunning and amazing. My smile was as wide as the grand canyon. I was so excited for her and extremely honored to have helped, even in a small way, put together the type of business card she was proud of and one that I know will lead Jennifer towards a thriving and successful business.

Jennifer, you are a smart and driven women. You have a huge heart and even huge’er (yeah, I said that) personality. While my part in your venture is small, I hope it contributes to something much bigger down the line.

And just in case your curious, here is the final result, Jennifer’s business card, front and back.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

World Record? Not This Time

Its true I haven't been very efficient with my updates, apologies for that, life sometimes gets in the way of one's blogging. But I'm happy to report that the pacing went well and if we're going to take it a step further and focus on honesty, well I have to say, honestly, before this race I was terrified.

This was a World Record attempt. The athletes in this race were going to be running hard. They would be following the pace set, trusting it to be exactly what they needed in order to stay on course for a World Record. When I tell you I was feeling the pressure, I was in fact, feeling the pressure. Not to mention that as we were being led towards the stadium for the race, a friend of mine wished me luck and told me "remember, if your not running fast enough, these Ethiopians will just push you out of the way". OMG, like I wasn't nervous enough.

Once in the stadium I started to find some calmness. My head switched into competition mode and my focus began to settle on the job at hand. When the gun went off I got out hard to ensure my position at the front of the pack and to take control of the pace. I was about a half a second too fast on lap one, but with a little tweaking I was spot on for the next series of laps. At this point there were no sign of Ms. Burka clipping at my heels or throwing me aggressive elbows in a effort to get me out of her way. So I took that as a sign of encouragement and powered on with a sense of things going as planned. Once I reached the point where it was time to step aside, I did so as efficiently as possible and then took a place in the in-field so I could watch and cheer the rest of the athletes on towards the World Record.

Sadly, the result was not a World Record, but Burka did manage to set a new Stadium Record and the rest of the field followed with a string of SB's (season's best), PB's (personal best's) and NR (National Records). As a pace-maker seeing results like that, makes you feel like a proud mom. Like you somehow had a hand to play in the successful outcomes of these athletes. You set them up, you gave them the tools and when it was time to let them go, they exceeded your expectations. Ok, thats probably taking it a tad too far but you get the idea. Basically I was happy with my job and I was happy with the results achieved by all the athletes.

And here is a copy of the results achieved. And there is that awful "DNF" next to my name. Ahhhh, I swear I'll never be comfortable seeing that. Its my personal and egotistical belief that that, is completely unnecessary.

1Gelete BURKAETH4:23.53SR
2Kakedan GEZAHEGNETH4:24.10PB
3Maryam JAMALBRN4:24.71PB
4Sylwia EJDYSPOL4:27.75PB
5Ingvill MAKESTADNOR4:28.49NR
9Charlotte BESTGBR4:32.29PB

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Global Pacing

This weekend I'm on the pace-making trail again, but this time we're not going local, we're going global. Yes, I'm off to Birmingham, England where I'll be pacing the women's mile at the Aviva Grand Prix and I'm pretty excited/nervous about the whole affair. Why? Well, the nerves were triggered last night when Husband read an article from the IAAF website (which is the International track federation website) saying that 1500m athlete Burka was making an attempt at breaking the world record for the mile in Birmingham this weekend.
Initially I thought he said "Bertha" was making an attempt at the record and honestly, in my twisted mind, Bertha did not sound like someone who could break a world record for the mile. Bertha sounded, for want of a better word, well, bigger. A buxom type girl if you will, who might be more comfortable power cleaning 4 Mini Coopers at the World Weight-Lifting Championships in Latvia or some other Eastern European country instead of trying to run 8 laps of a track. So I told him not to worry, I could handle old Bertha. But her name was not Bertha, her name is Burka, as in Gelete Burka, World Indoor Champion from Ethiopia. Now this changes everything. When it comes to distance these Ethiopian's do not play. They are hardcore and have endurance for days. I will definitely have to be on my A game this weekend if I'm to help pace Burka to her World Record. There are serious times to be hit at every point of the race and no room for error what so ever. But I believe I'm ready. Training went well this week, so all thats left to do is show up, wish myself and Ms. Burka luck and haul ass right from the gun.

I'll be leaving my laptop behind in Atlanta, all in the name of traveling light, but I'll be back in the US Sunday evening and if there is anything big to report in the mean time, then I'll hijack someone else's computer in an effort to share.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our Very Own Winter Olympics

We just can't get a break here in Atlanta. This has been the coldest, wettest Winter in many many decades. Mother Nature is mad and she just wont let up. This past weekend saw yet another round of dropped temperatures and several inches of snow-fall. And while its cold and inconvenient, it sure is pretty. Our little property was transformed into a Winter wonderland and I couldn't resist whipping out the camera to capture this totally lick-able scene.

If you look closely, you can just about make out our driveway.

This picture makes me want Christmas back, bad.

Saturday morning I was up early enough to capture the magical light from the sunrise.

The lake is in the right-hand corner of this shot, but its hard to see cos its covered with a film of ice. Not thick enough to skate on this time round, thank god.

Dexter couldn't get enough of the snow. He ran, rolled and ate so much that he threw up a big glob of clear, icy liquid.

Fintan had a blast too but was confused about where the earth had disappeared to, so he kept burrowing and burrowing until he reached a surface he recognized.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Struck Down

I made it to Boston. In the face of record breaking snow storms that threatened to ground all flights in or out of the East Coast, I made it. The snow-storm decided last second to skip the Boston, New York area and dump mostly on the nations capital of Washington. Good for me, bad for the people of Washington.

However, upon arrival in Boston, not long after I checked into my hotel, I had a surprise gift waiting for me in my room. The gift? The flu. Yep, we're talking full on body ache, head ache, sore throat and temperatures ranging from hot and sweaty, get these covers off me, to cold and shivery and please page reception for some extra blankets. It was a disaster. Luckily I didn't race until late Saturday evening, so I stayed in bed all day. Drinking fluids and popping flu pills. I got up a couple of hours before the race, convinced I wouldn't be able to run. But I decided to take it one step at a time starting with the first step of actually getting out of bed and seeing how things go from there.

Once I started my warm-up I'd made the decision that I would be pacing this race. So now all I had to do was stop thinking like a sick person for the next hour so I could get the job done. And I did get it done. I ran well, hit the targets set for each point of the race, stepped aside when it was time and let the rest of the field battle it out to the finish. 20 minutes after the race, I was a struggling patient again. 1 hour after the race, I'm grumpy, needy and begging to be brought back to the hotel so I can lay down. I'm a childish mess and all I want is my bed and someone to take care of me. Luckily I got both, Husband saw to that. One thing I will say about my illness, it has given me quite a deep and husky voice, compliments of a sore throat and cough and I swear my singing skills have improved to the level of Toni Braxton or Bonnie Tyler as a result. Were I to audition for American Idol right now, I feel confident Simon Cowell would be handing me a ticket to head straight for Hollywood, my voice is that good. I just need to get these minute long coughing fits under control and we should be in business. Coughing fits are not sexy I hear.

In the mean time, here is a photo of pace-maker extrodinare, me. Taken this very weekend in Boston. Thanks Photo Run for forwarding this.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Girl Interrupted

To say its been one of those weeks is a complete understatement. If I was a man, I think I'd be working a comb-over right now. Stress affects us all in different ways, for some reason men loose their hair, or so my dad's been telling me for years. I however appear to have walked onto the set of some 1920's movie, you know, where motion is captured unrealistically fast. Where the cops are chasing the bad guys, or the cowboys are chasing the Indians in that jerky, fast-forward, wobbly style of film making of the time? I am the classic chicken with her head cut off. So much to do. No idea where to begin. Nothing is getting done. Solutions are nowhere to be found. Can't focus. Can't focus. Stress levels are ballooning. Emotions are high. I want to cry. No, I think I want to laugh. No, wait, I definitely want to cry. Hold on, where's Husband? Maybe if I yell at him? Yes, I know its not fair, but do I need to remind you "FOR BETTER OR WORSE". "FOR BETTER OR WORSE I TELL YOU". Well welcome to worse.

I am a classic Girl Interrupted right now and its exhausting. Living inside my brain this week has been nothing but draining. I'm so ready for the weekend. I'll be flying up to Boston Friday after work where I'll be pacing the women's 1 km at the Boston Indoor Games. Really looking forward to that. The change of scenery. The opportunity to burn off some nervous energy on the track is probably just what I need right now. That or a fruity girlie cocktail complete with mini umbrella, preferably pool side on some tropical Island. Hmm, maybe that can be the plan B.

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm A Horrible Person Me

One thing I noticed about us Irish people, and it took a move across the ocean before I realized this about myself and my peeps, but we love our "Double Singular". What do I mean by that? Well, we appear to be in the habit of referring to ourselves twice in any given sentence. For example: "I love pizza me". Note the "I" at the beginning of the statement and then the perfectly placed "me" at the very end? Don't ask me why we do this. Don't ask me how it started. I have no idea. My guess is that we want to leave the listener with absolutely no doubt whatsoever that we are in fact talking about ourselves.

Having said that, I now have to confess, "I'm a horrible person me". Today I did something I'm not comfortable or happy about. Today I reacted in anger and frustration to a situation that could have been handled for want of a better word, well, better. But I allowed the red mist impair my vision and cloud my mind and in the moment I lost all reason and logic. As a result someone I care about was hurt, not physically but emotionally and let me tell you, it does not feel good. Quite frankly, it makes me feel like poo. But I couldn't take back. It was already out there and no fancy DeLorean time machine with built in flux capacitor could bring me back to the point where I still had a chance, a chance at handling it differently. It was too late for that. Eventually my friend and I did get the opportunity to talk and I was able to take full ownership of my less than savvy reactions and apologize, which has helped a little. The rest I will just have to learn from and move on.

But in a effort to pick the mood up a little and not end the blog on such a somber note, I'd like to mention a few positive things that have happened over the past few days.

- My pace making job in New York went well and I even managed to get 135 seconds of fame on ESPN's TV coverage of the meet.

- The car in front of me at the toll bridge today decided to pay my toll too. Good people still exist.

- The coffee shop in our office building finally fixed their cappuccino machine.

- Finally thank you to Peter and Mikala for forcing me to try the homemade Moroccan soup with peanut butter, which I was adamant I would hate due to the presents of peanut butter. As it turns out, you were right, that stuff was soooo good.