Saturday was Relay for Life, and though I suppose it was a success, it was kind of a disappointment compared to other years that I’ve done it. How well the Relay goes is largely a function of how much effort you put into it beforehand, and as you all know, I didn’t put much effort in because I just planned to go 24 hours before. My last minute e-mail blitz to my friends and family resulted in donations of $10/mile, which I decided was worth it. However, because I planned to walk ahead of time (instead of last minute at 1 AM like last year), I was kind of lax about my walking. Last year I was powerwalking and took no breaks (except to stretch or use the bathroom as needed). This year, I walked a few laps here and there… but still did the 80 I was attempting in order to make 20 miles. My feet/ankles were sore at the end, but my legs were totally fine, and the next day, I had no soreness at all. Huge improvement over last year, where I could barely move for two days after walking 18 miles. I know walking is different than running, but I am taking the fact that 20 miles was an easy walk as a sign that I am (almost) ready for a marathon. I’m thinking about taking a lead from Christine and just going down spur of the moment for the Country Music Marathon next weekend… will let you all know what I decide.
Anyway, I was surprised to see that there was literally no one walking on the track by 10 PM. Even earlier, there were very few people walking… but it was kind of hard to tell because it wasn’t an actual track; it was the main quad at Columbia. Non-Relay-people were walking around and hanging out all day, which is fine, but one of the coolest things about Relay is seeing tons of people that you know are all there just to support a great cause. There just wasn’t that energy or spirit, and even though we raised a decent amount of money, it didn’t give me that same great feeling I’ve gotten from doing it in the past.
Thank you so much to those of you who offered to donate – that is so sweet of you! You can visit my donation webpage here if you would like to contribute.
One cool thing to note about the Relay is I got to talk to Ben Stein! I met him a year ago at a gala for the Fund for American Studies, which was founded by the father of my boyfriend at the time. We went to this huge black-tie affair in DC, and it was a really cool experience. I have to say, my picture from then is a lot better than my picture now, but hey… I was in workout clothes this time. I forgot to get the pic off my camera yesterday, but when I get home this weekend I’ll post it. Ben remembered the gala and we chatted for a while about that, and he seemed impressed with my current job and asked me a some questions about my work. Cool!
One other really creepy/funny story to share (note: please skip this paragraph if you are under 18 or squeamish). I left the Relay around 2 AM with my friend Joanna. We had been warned about how sketchy the area around Columbia was, but the subway was literally right on the corner of the quad where the event was, and there were two of us, so we took that instead of a cab. After waiting for about 20 minutes for the train (I really hate going above 96th street… it seems like a different world and the subway just does not come often), we finally got on. As we were sitting there exhausted, I noticed the guy across from us smiling sketchily at me. He had a big bag on his lap, and his hand on his lap so the bag was covering it. I noticed a slight bulge in his pants, and wondered fleetingly if he had his hand down his pants… but told myself that I was completely perverted to even think about something like that. I was a little creeped out by his weird smile and the way he was looking at me, so I looked away for a while. When I turned back… I saw it. Yes, his penis. My instincts before had been correct, and it was now out of his pants, and he was still smiling at me. Now, here is where I wonder what’s wrong with me. Instead of immediately getting up and moving, I wanted to be polite so I was like “hmmm, I’ll wait till the next stop and that way we can move and it won’t be obvious.” HOW DUMB IS THAT. This guy is sitting there masturbating while looking at me and I was concerned with the etiquette of being rude by moving. I leaned in to Joanna and quietly whispered “um, that guy has his penis out. Let’s move on the next stop.” She took one look (and later told me that now his eyes were closed but he was still smiling creepily), grabbed my arm, and was like “let’s go. NOW.” Thank goodness she had better instincts than I did! Honestly, sometimes I think I could be getting robbed and the robber would start coughing and I’d be like “oh dear are you okay?” We moved, and right after we did, we came to a station and the guy got off the train. I was SO freaked out… have never had anything like that happen before, and I was just appalled, scared, and shaken. I still can’t really believe that actually happened.
On Sunday, I wanted to get back in my workout habit after a week off for my sunburn, but didn’t want to push my legs too much… so I decided to go swimming. I hadn’t been swimming in months, but I managed to do 50 laps (23 yards each) of straight crawl, with no breaks! I’ve never done straight crawl before… I usually alternate with breaststroke, which I find less intense. And to do that after several months away from swimming… yay! I was really proud of myself. It would seem that my fitness level is much higher than it used to be, so I am thrilled.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned my lap counting technique before. I discovered this while Googling some kind of device to count laps, and found advice from a swimming coach who said you should count letters rather than numbers. He said you always remember if you’re on lap C or lap E, but it’s harder to remember if you’re on lap 3 or lap 5. Therefore, designate each lap with a letter, and each set of laps with a theme. In the past, I’ve done foods, animals, and countries (so if I’m on lap c, I’ll think cottage cheese, camel, or Canada). Yesterday, I decided to do my laps with a resolution theme, so for C I was thinking “Call an old friend to get back in touch at least once a week.” It was really relaxing and enjoyable to think about different small steps that would make me happier. If you’re interested in doing something similar, you can get some inspiration from The Happiness Project.
In other news, I finally was able to get pictures off my camera, so I’ll post my Cooper River Bridge Run report later today. Happy Monday!