Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Madison Summer - Why Leave?

What's going on in Madison, Wisconsin?

This is the second summer where I have decided not to go anywhere. I know some people think I like to travel a lot, but I am scaling back. And the main reason for this is that it is too hard to leave this great city in the summer.

The weekend before last, I wanted to do the following:

-Sundance movie (one of two in the country)
-Farmers' Market (the largest in the U.S.)
-Maple Bluff garage sales
-Dog Park (we have so many)
-Friend's birthday party
-Fruitfest at Plan B
-And of course, my daily run (million of paths)

And I did it all. The summers here are just fabulous. While talking with friends about going to New England or Canada over the summer, I just knew I would miss it here too much. I am staying put.

So I took a week off in July and decided to take a staycation. And I think a week isn't even enough to do all the great summer things I plan to do. Like go hiking at Devil's Lake, spend a day at the Goodman Pool and finally learn how to golf at one of our many courses.

Now flash forward to this past weekend and as usual, there were a million activities going on. I think I died and went to heaven when I received a text from a friend of mine who asked me to "drop everything and join her on her friend's boat." After a nice trip to the dog park with some friends, I walked a few blocks from my place, down a dock and stepped on the boat.

I have never experienced this boating scene before. And it was heavenly. The views were amazing, my friend was a blast and the day was perfect. I hope to god we do it again real soon. How many places can you live where you can walk out your door and have someone pick you up lakeside to be whisked away onto the water?

Monday, June 13, 2011

When I Retire

It was almost ten years ago that I sat on the porch of my (dumpy) college house and talked to every normal student who walked by. My dog was a puppy on my lap. Beer in hand and fluffy golden retriever puppy in my lap, I loved chatting with the neighbors and inviting them to join my housemates on the porch.

I do feel like this helped improve the size and quality of our sorority, but maybe it's all in my head.

At the time, I had recently returned from a visit from my aunt and uncle's condominium on Long Island and saw how their kitchen faced their cul-de-sac. Retired, my aunt would interrupt my dad who was reading the Times to tell him that "Tony was receiving a floral delivery" and she wondered who it was from. While my dad seemed annoyed by this interruption, me being the nosy person that I am, realized how nice it is to have a view of everything from the front of your house.

And while I returned for my senior year of college, I announced to my friends that while I was scared of getting old and being bored, I discovered that if I just bought a condo where everyone knows everyone and the kitchen faces the front, I would be very happy. And so retiring became something to look forward to.

Ten years later, I am on my balcony. Here in Madison, Wisconsin. I have a nice city view. My "puppy" will be ten on Saturday. I color my gray hair once a month. The dog snoozes while I sit on my Adirondack chair and read a novel, quietly. Occasionally, we look up to see a person and their dog walking by. Other than that, I am entrenched in the book and a glass of wine and she dozes and looks up and barks here and now, at some dog below. I don't really care about watching all the people I know receiving "floral deliveries" but I do like the peacefulness on a summer night. And although I am not religious, I feel blessed to have my furry companion. Every day is a blessing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Running on Madison

I don't know if I buy the whole "addiction doesn't exist" theory. As a coffee drinker and runner, there is no way I could really go long without those two things. I also used to smoke. And it was hard to quit. Most people are shocked to hear that I smoked because I appear to be a health nut.

The thing about my addiction to running is that it really is an addiction. When I was having stomach woes and was told to skip coffee, for some reason, I thought I would be just fine. By the afternoon, I had a horrible headache. By the time I left work, I was in agony. I sat on the couch, crying with a washcloth on my head and called the doctor (already took too much aspirin). We were reunited the next morning. I had no idea how much my body needed it.

As for running, I make no excuses. Raining - I won't melt. Snowing - there's a treadmill. Early flight? What's wrong with waking up at 4 AM? 16 hour work day? How am I supposed to get my energy the next morning? Sick? It will make me feel better. There is something so great about how I feel when I am done that it's not worth skipping. Forget it.

I do run 6 days a week. I take Sundays off for several reasons. 1 - my right knee could use it. 2 - I could use a day to sleep in (which is rare). 3 - I can dance late into the night and not worry about anything.

So last Saturday, as I ran my usual routine, I saw all of the "no parking" signs for the following day's Madison Marathon. As I ran, I said to myself, "I am going to do the 1/2 tomorrow. I did a marathon. I run about 25 miles a week. I can do it. No problem." I am an adult who does what she says, once the announcement is made.

I texted my sister and asked if she could come watch me run. She said "sure!" I announced to my boyfriend "Hey Chris! Guess what? I am going to do the half marathon tomorrow." He said, "You haven't trained." I said, "I will be fine!" I made sure he could watch me. He said it was no problem. I walked over to the terrace and registered.

I was very excited. So for someone who doesn't do a regular 10 mile run but still runs 6 days a week, it was no problem. I ran about 9 minute miles and I ran the majority of it with my neighbor who I happened to run into at mile 2 or 3. She is 58 and training for the Ironman. I had no goals. I just wanted to have fun. And fun it was.

For those of you who haven't raced a lengthy race, I have the following recommendation:

Line family and or friends up along various miles on the route because it gives you something to look forward to. I had the family at mile 10 and the boyfriend/dog at mile 8. It's very helpful.

I was hosting a Memorial Day BBQ that evening. I even managed to go dancing until bar time that night. So for those people who "feel old"," I hate to say it, but sorry - I don't. Running is an addiction. And I guess I have it.