• sisters on a mission.

  • Three sisters. One in Virginia. One in London. One in New York. None of whom wear shorts. Ever.

  • the mission?

    Taking delight.
    Learning Italian.
    Getting to Italy.
    Wearing shorts.
    In Italy.
    June 2011.

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racing for life

Cathlin and Heather, medalists

Yes, I can now officially say that I have raced internationally.  Woot!

Cathlin and I ran a 5K women-only Race for Life at Finsbury Park in London on Sunday, my last day in the UK.   The course meandered through the beautiful park – some on-road, some off-road (i.e. grass), and several long upward inclines including a so-not-fair  hill at the finish  (rude).

I developed a wicked stitch in my side about 5 minutes into the race that lasted until the very end.  I blame it on the milk I had with my cereal for breakfast.  Still trying to work out what I can and cannot eat before a run.   It was distracting and definitely took a toll on my energy.  I confess that I walked a bit on a couple of the hills – less than a minute total though so not too bad.    Cathlin was a rock star and kept jogging but stayed beside me.

We finished together in 34 minutes and 40-something seconds – about 8 minutes faster than my first race in the spring!  Feeling good.


it’s good to be versatile

We interrupt this blog for an important announcement: I’ve been tagged as a versatile blogger!  Many thanks to Laura at SeeGirlRun for the props!

The Rules (there are always rules):

  • Thank the person who gave you this award.
  • Share 7 things about yourself .
  • Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
  • Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.

So, seven things about me.

  1. I love foreign languages. At one time I thought it would be really cool to be an interpreter at the U.N.  I speak a smattering of Italian, French, German and Spanish.  I learned Italian when we lived in Naples Italy for three years in my early 30s and can hold a decent conversation after many hours explaining various gas leaks / plumbing problems to the tecnico.  My High school French classes have stuck with me.  I learned German basics when I lived in Stuttgart in my 20s (noch ein bier bitte!).  And finally, after one junior high semester of Spanish I still remember how to count to 100 and say hello, how are you, I’m fine and you?  I would love to be fluent but I just get by instead,  sometimes speaking a mix of French and Italian (Fritalian) when I can’t remember the appropriate word in the appropriate language.
  2. I once received a shocking proposition from an Italian Lothario! As I mentioned, when we lived in Italy, I spent a lot of time with the tecnico that worked on our house.  Salvatore was in his late 70s  – a grandfatherly figure with a twinkle in his eye.  He spoke no English and suffered through my broken Italian at first but by the end of three years I could hold my own in our conversations.  Before we moved back to the states he stopped by while my husband was at work for one last goodbye.  He led with “I want you” as he gazed up into my eyes (he was only 5′ tall and I am pushing 6′).   As I’m thinking to myself “You want me to what?”, he followed up with a barrage of “I love you, I love you, I love you!”.  OK, now I’m getting it.  Obviously I had been sending signals all these years.  I thought I had been saying “I smell gas” when in actual fact I had been saying “please take me now”.   He told me that lots of American women go home with Italian babies.  Somehow I managed to choke out that I wasn’t that kind of woman and ushered him out of the casa.  Yeesh!  It still gives me the shivers.
  3. I had a mid-life crisis. OK, well not really.  I just had a major career change.   I used to be an engineer but at 40 I went back to school to get a B.S. in Interior Design at night with a full load while continuing to work as an engineer full-time during the day.  I went year round.  It was a busy three years but I did it and I loved it!  I practiced residential design for a couple of years but currently I do commercial work.
  4. I dig photography.

    ode to monet by opiliones

    I took a film photography class during my first year of engineering school and fell. in. love.  My flickr name is Opiliones.  I haven’t posted much since I started my new career but one day I’ll get back to it.  You can see my most popular photos here.

  5. I like projects. I always have something crafty going on.  I learned how to crochet when I was ten.  I used to hang out in my yellow bean bag chair, crocheting granny squares while listening to Gordon Lightfoot on my record player (um, yeah, it was the 70s).   These days, aside from fixing up our house, I’m making rugs, scarves, stationery and jewelry.  I have an etsy shop which is currently on hiatus until I have time to get my act together and photograph my growing stash of jewelry.
  6. I like to write. I had lots of dreams as a kid and one of them was to be a writer.  Probably because I was such a dedicated reader.  It was either that or environmental scientist (again, it was the 70s), or an interior decorator (!).  I loved writing stories when I was a kid and still have some of my early work tucked away.  Through the years I’ve indulged my writing fantasies through online classes and blogging.  Running in Pants is my third blog.  The first one is kaput but my second blog, Mixed Bag, is still up and running.  Although I haven’t updated it in a few years, I’m surprised that it still gets daily hits.  Power of the internet.  My last post was a listing of six weird things about myself – and for the record I did get rid of the braces.
  7. I’m a breast cancer survivor. And that is weird to think about.  It was only a teensy tiny bit o’ cancer (Stage O) and was removed with a lumpectomy.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to have chemo, didn’t lose any hair, wasn’t exhausted all the time.  But I did have to do six weeks of daily radiation – no dramas there either.  It’s been well over a year since I finished my treatment but one of my girls is still slightly tanner than the other.   Weird.  Anyway it all worked out and I was given a clean bill of health.   Doing the Komen race was my public “coming out”.   I don’t intend to hide it anymore.

So, there you go.  More information than you needed or wanted to know about yours truly!  I don’t know if I’ll be able to come up with 15 people to tag that haven’t already been tagged but to get started I’m passing this on to:




Looking forward to what you all come up with!

wearing the pink for 5k

doing my part to kick cancer's ass

When I signed up for the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure last week, I fully intended to just continue my C25K Week Three workout with additional iterations as needed.  No biggie.  But then David persuaded me to try to run the whole thing.    I had my doubts – I really did.  How was I going to manage 5k when I was just now running three minutes continuously?

I spent a lot of time in denial for the last three days.  The “slow and steady” advice from friends and coworkers was not convincing.  What if I run out of air?  What if my legs give out?  What if it’s really humid and the sun’s in my eyes and my shoelaces come untied and I trip and fall in the middle of the bridge and have to be carried out on a stretcher in front of thousands of Richmonders?  All valid concerns in my mind.

Then I read the quality of the try by MrsFatass and How to Meditate While Running from Runner’s World, both of which gave me some strategies for dealing with the mental aspect of the challenge.   And focusing on the meaning behind the race helped me look beyond myself  to the bigger picture.

I wish I could say I ran all the way.  I didn’t.   Did I mention the hills?   And the wicked headwind?  And my exceptionally poor running form (which I seriously need to work on now that I’ve seen the photographic evidence*)?   Anyway, despite my excuses, I did run jog 34 out of the 42 minutes it took me to finish.   Woo hoo!  My longest stretch of running was 21 minutes – that’s seven times longer than my three minutes earlier this week.  And I met my goal of finishing in 45 minutes.  Not a lofty goal but a goal met all the same.

Next year I’m running the whole way.  In 30 minutes.  In shorts.

* Many thanks to David who slowed to a snail’s pace to keep me moving and take action shots of me that will never ever be posted on the interwebs.