6.2 Miles and All Smiles

Me Rach 10k

We came. We ran. We actually finished. was our mantra (check my Twitter timeline) after my friend Rachel and I finished Richmond’s Monument 10k on Saturday. The race was my first 10k and only the second run I’ve done in my adult life. The first run was a 5k turkey trot that I ran with one of my fourth graders in Savannah, so needless to say this was my first quasi-competitive run.

I was initially a bit anxious about the race given my inexperience and the fact that 40,000 others were descending upon downtown Richmond for the event. But after a strong 6.5-mile run earlier in the week, creating the perfect playlist and some solid advice from my friend and running guru, TL, any anxieties began to be replaced by growing excitement.

And following a Friday night chalk full of carbs and Arrested Development, I awoke on race day ready to conquer the world. A beautiful morning and spectators beginning to line the street greeted us as we walked to the start line to join the other runners in our wave, which was comprised largely of unseeded runners like myself.

Then, at 9:08 a.m. we were off. It took mere seconds for me to realize how truly the race lived up to all the hype, what with the throngs of chanting folks (many drunk) dotting the streets and median and the sea of motivational signs (“Run Now. Chase Later.” and “Go Random Stranger Go!” topping the list) suffusing your gaze every which way you turned. The incredible atmosphere, along with the simple fact that such a diverse crowd had come out to participate, made the race so much more inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable to run.

I ended up finishing in 52:27 – well under the one-hour goal I had set for myself. I have to admit, however, that just finishing the race was reward enough and the reason for me smiling like some kind of smitten school girl as I met up with Rach afterwards before proceeding to pound a Powerade and wolf down a granola bar.

This euphoric feeling lasted all day and continues to creep up when I smile back on what was one helluva Saturday. I was toying around with the idea before, but now I have no doubt a half-marathon is in my near future. As a few friends have commented, I’m hooked!

As I sat watching the live stream of yesterday’s Boston Marathon, I imagined the sense of euphoria that the marathoners would soon be enjoying after crossing the finish line. It was only hours later, however, that a completely different feeling filled the streets of Boston; one of shock, panic and utter dismay at the senseless bombings that occurred near the event’s finish line.

I was so thankful to find that my friends in the city were safe, and I know I join people all around the world in praying for the victims and their families, the authorities and the people of Boston. I hope justice is soon served and that one of the nation’s greatest sporting events in the Boston Marathon returns in full force in 2014.

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I Now Pronounce You Work Husband and Wife

Office Marriage 2

I think we’ve all heard of the office husband/wife dynamic, which many of us in our respective workplaces have had the privilege of experiencing. While I was fully aware of the work marriage phenomenon, it wasn’t until I read Seth Stevenson’s article in this month’s GQ that I realized there’s such a clear etiquette to the process.

In his article, Stevenson lays out a number of guidelines to follow when considering your next office marital partner, a task he was suddenly forced to undertake when his office wife unexpectedly up and quit one day. In my limited experience, the most important and applicable rules here are that one partner should be in a relationship, both work partners should remain monogamous and that you should never marry up or down the organizational ladder.

I’ve been fortunate to have a work marriage at essentially every stop in my early professional career, with each undoubtedly helping me maintain some perspective and much-needed sanity in the workplace. I can’t say they’ve explicitly followed Stevenson’s guidelines, but they’ve been pretty damn close which is why they’ve been so successful – no divorces yet! And as strange as it probably sounds, I’m pretty sure that I’ve become a better partner in actual relationships because of my work marriages.

So, if you aren’t currently invested in a work marriage, take a good look around the office and get on it. You don’t know what you’re missing!

Overheard on the Bus…

Me Bus NYC

I’ve become a big fan of taking the bus whenever possible on my trips up and down the East Coast. I know the general perception of traveling by bus isn’t a positive one, but Megabus and the Greyhound Express have treated me well since moving out here.

With one of my favorite past times being people watching, an added bonus is that there’s no shortage of this on the bus. We hadn’t even left the station on my trip up to NYC today when I heard the following conversation going down with the girl sitting behind me…

– “You don’t love me anymore?”
– “Whyyyyy?”
– “Don’t break up with me.”
– “Mike, don’t do this to me!”
– “I can’t do it without you!”
– “You’re killing me.”
– “Okay, we’ll talk about all of this later.”

I can only imagine Mike’s responses on the other end of the line during a convo that included entirely too many moans and uncontrollable sobs for it only lasting a hot second. Furthermore, I’m sure the last thing in this world Mike now wants to do is “talk about all of this later.” I’ll admit I was hoping round two would take place at some point during our six-hour bus ride, but I’m sad to say it didn’t.

Oh, and I definitely recorded the conversation at the prompting of a friend I was talking to over text. And yeah, I know I’m a terrible person…

Seth MacFarlane, I’ve Got Your Back

Watching major awards shows and sporting events allows me to completely nerd out. It’s on such nights that I can be found on my couch watching while live tweeting like I’m in some kind of catatonic trance – taking a quick sip of my beer or pausing to banter with friends being the only acceptable distractions.

Sunday’s Oscars was no different. I’m generally a big fan of the event because I’ve always appreciated the caliber of the nominees. My one resounding complaint, however, is how altogether stuffy they tend to be every year.

This year, insert host Seth MacFarlane into the mix. Yes, I know he’s widely perceived as a douche, but I’m a big fan of the guy and am impressed by how insanely creative and successful he’s been over the course of his career (I mean, need I say more than Family Guy?).

And while MacFarlane was admittedly a bit more crass than the typical Oscars host (e.g., Lincoln joke), he had some brass and remained true to his comedic persona, making the event far less stuffy than in the past. Unlike most years, I actually looked forward to the camera panning back to him for a monologue… or dialogue with William Shatner.

Despite what many have said about the guy, who was massacred on Twitter for his performance (he’s since said he’ll never host again), I was thoroughly entertained throughout this year’s show. I know my sense of humor can be a little more “bro” than some, but if the Oscars has any hopes of connecting more with the younger generation – a legitimate concern – the show should feature a host who’s actually relevant and relatable to us (i.e. our parents, grandparents and today’s young adults).

Sure, MacFarlane wasn’t a Billy Crystal crowd-pleaser type, but the show itself still lived up to its reputation as the gold standard of Hollywood awards shows and garnered its best ratings in three years, reeling in younger viewers. So recruit some younger celebrities like him to host, or at least someone like Steve Martin who viewers of all ages find to be timeless and funny as hell.

Really all I ask for is relevancy and an end to of the inane stuffiness that had so come to define the Oscars until recent years. Let’s have some more of this…

ABC News did a great job summing up MacFarlane’s best and worst moments as this year’s host…

My New Kicks and a Surprise Lesson in Science

Sauconys

With it being a new(er) year, I’m trying to be better about staying on top of accomplishing personal tasks after becoming so consumed with my professional life in recent months… or years, really. With my Nikes showing definite signs of wear, one of my needs as of late has been a new pair of running shoes.

After talking with my bud and running guru, TL, I set out to buy a new pair of kicks  this past week. Of the sagacious advice she offered, the one piece that resonated most was the need to visit an actual running store versus going to a general sporting goods store like Dick’s.

Her advice could not have rang truer. I hit up a running store near me and talked at length with a guy who happened to be a semi-pro runner and the roommate of the assistant track coach I worked with last year at UR (University of Richmond). He asked me a variety of questions and had me jog around the store to get a better feel for my running style and specific type of foot.

I know there’s a science to running, but I had no idea the same was so true for actual running shoes. Purchasing a shoe that matches your specific foot is essential no matter how serious you are about running. Unlike most instances in life, you can’t buy a pair of running shoes simply based on aesthetics. The guy was adamant about this and made the very astute point that you don’t even see your shoes when you’re running. It’s precisely all about the fit.

Not that I’m any kind of aspiring pro runner, but I’ve been running around 15 miles every week and felt it was high time to invest in a quality pair of shoes. After a couple times running in them, I have no question that I accomplished this with my Sauconys and definitely inspired to get out and run even more now.

I Mustache You to Read This

TL Valentine

Today I came home from a pretty cray workday to this belated but very baller Valentine from my friend TL. Not only is she punny, but she also gets my penchant for mustaches.

I’m fully on board with the stache trend and owned a sweet iPhone case displaying one until I recently decided to retire it after taking photos at a postseason awards banquet and looked up to find coaches and other dignitaries getting a good chuckle out of it. It was obviously one helluva conversation piece, but it was equally as unprofessional.

Not in college anymore, Zach.

While I’m not currently rocking a stache, I’m actually thinking about growing one soon; been contemplating it for awhile now. Maybe this summer — when anything seems to go — and definitely in Movember to help raise money for prostate and testicular cancer. I think I could pull it off.

And what a great idea for an actual V-Day card, right? Eat your heart out, Hallmark.

Eight Years Later (i.e. Old Balls)

SWinco DC Reunion

I met up with two of my fellow SWincos (’05 Summer Welcome Leaders), Lacey and Marian, in D.C. this past weekend. Our former boss just Facebooked all of us Summer Welcome Alumni with the newest group of leaders this week, which reminded me to post this pic… and that I’m old as balls.

It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since that fateful summer that undoubtedly became one of the highlights of my undergrad years. I met some of my favorite people in life that summer, including my best friend.

Now we’re all (mostly) grown up with real jobs and scattered across the country, so when I travel it’s always nice to have the opportunity to see a familiar face and reminisce about the good ol’ times, many of which I can only laugh about at this point.

And as this past weekend proved, regardless of how long it’s been since reuniting with old friends, it’s always as if no time has passed by.