Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ok, time to get serious

Thanks to an awesome combination of Mother Nature dumping a ton of snow on the northeast and a total lack of motivation, I ran a record low 53.5 miles in February.  I've run that many miles in a single week before!  I 'rested' 20 of the 28 days in the month.  With the exception of the weekend at Disney January wasn't much better.  87 miles, almost half of them run in two days for the Goofy challenge.  'Rested' 21 of the 31 days.  So, instead of the normal overtraining and not resting enough scenario I face, I'm over-resting if there is such a thing, I'm going to call it a lazy streak.  Not a streak I want to keep up so March is a new month and it's time to get moving again.
Last week was another tense work week and on top of that I had the annual Condo association meeting on Monday night.  Always interesting and really frustrating.  I am now basically the the President, Treasurer, and Secretary of our association because no one else steps up to do anything.  Half of them can't even pay the fees on time.  So, I have to deal with cancelation notices from the insurance company because we can't afford to pay the bill on time.  It's an awesome domino effect.  I sent out proposed budget options to all of the unit owners about 2weeks prior to the meeting with a break down month by month of our income and expenses and an annual summary.  We just barely break even right now and they all have these grand ideas for improving the property. 

To begin with only 4 of the 8 unit owners showed up, but thankfully we vote by percentage ownership and the owners of the largest units we in attendance.  Let me paint the picture for everyone, it's a small community, 8 units.  Four of them are owned by elderly people that are retired and on fixed income.  The other four are middle class, middle-aged people that work 40+ hrs each week.  Of those four, I'd guess  only two including myself have higher education/college degrees.  So, it's a mixed bunch and none of us are really qualified to manage a property, but we do the best we can with the resources we have which isn't much.  Our fees are extremely low in comparison to other condo associations, but in return we do not have any of the basic amenities that most condos have like landscaping and snow removal.

To start the meeting, one of the elderly women that arrived 10 minutes early, went off on me about suggesting to raise the condo fees again.  She complained about living check to check and having to pay for many repairs out of her own pocket for things that the association should cover.  I tried to explain to her that we either raise the fees so that the association has the funding to make repairs OR we pay for repairs ourselves.  We can't have it both ways - low fees and an association that pays for everything.  Trying to explain that to her was like I was speaking to her in a different language.  The second elderly woman that showed up is the one that NEVER pays her condo fee on time so I brought up enforcing a late fee which we have never done before.  She of course was opposed to the idea.  I explained the reason for a late fee is not to get more money, it is to encourage her to pay ontime.  Again, I was speaking in tongue and neither one of them understood.
Finally, my neighbor Annie showed up and we started the meeting officially.  After a lot of discussion and arguing we voted to raise the fees, not by much, but it was a compromise between doing nothing and actually having enough money to fix stuff.  We may be able to start squirreling away pennies each month so in a few years we can afford to fix something.  We voted for a $5 late fee, which will not discourage late payments, but at least we will get an extra $5 a month.  After that we had to discuss emergency repairs required and getting estimates for them.  So, when I asked for volunteers to help make some phone calls and meet with contractors for estimates, the women that are retired and home all day refused to help and that left me and Annie who both work fulltime 50-60hrs a week.  AWESOME!  Thanks for the help.

Anyway, that was just how the week started and work wasn't much better.  At least on the brightside, it stopped snowing and warmed up a little - into the 40s - so I could get out and run.  The last time I tried to run along the Charles after work the path was still mostly snow covered and a little icy.  Most of the snow has melted and it's pretty clear now.  Tuesday after work I got changed and couldn't wait to get out of there and RUN!  Literally and figuratively.  Stress from the week before and the condo association was bubbling up inside of me like a pressure cooker about to explode.  It felt really good to run.  I think for the past two months it's been kind of a chore to get out and run and I've lost that running for the love of running feeling.  I'm starting to get it back now.  I did a solid 6 mile loop and felt amazing afterwards.  The cold sweaty ride home in traffic, not as fun, but worth it.

Wednesday I had another awesome day at work (heavy on the sarcasm), and it was A LOT colder outside than I thought it was going to be, so instead of running I went home and opened a bottle of wine.  Thursday night, Kim met me at my place and we ran in downtown Lowell.  I thought it would be roughly 5 miles and my Garmin said 5, but Kim's said 4.3.  We felt really great, chatted the entire time and kept a decent pace so I didn't care how far it was, it only mattered to me that I had rediscovered that feeling, running for the love of running.

Friday I took a rest day in preparation for my long run Saturday.  Saturday morning I got up and ate some breakfast and headed out the door for 14 miles.  It was cool, partly cloudy, and a little windy, but overall it was nice.  I felt pretty good to start, not super fast, but I felt ok.  After the first few miles I determined I was just slightly over dressed and I was sweating a lot.  Then I started to get cold because I was soaked.  My pace slowed down considerably in the last few miles, but I still felt ok.  I couldn't figure out why until I got home and weighed myself.  I had lost several pounds in sweat and was severely dehydrated.  Still, I finished 14.2 miles and felt pretty good about it.

Saturday night I went to a birthday party for a friend that I ran Boston with on the Dana Farber Team.  It was really nice to meet his family and some of his friends.  I didn't get home until almost 11:30pm.  That's a really late night for me.  It was totally worth it though.  I had a great time.  It was nice to get out and meet a few new people and talk to adults outside of work and not in running gear. 

Sunday morning, I had a 4 mile race in Lawrence.  It's the second race in the Wild Rover Series, but the first race got postponed due to snow, so the 4-miler became the first race.  It's a tough course, basically 2 miles up a hill, then 2 miles back down.  I kind of like it though because I power past people walking up the hill, I pump my arms and turn my feet over and get up it like a champ.  I finished the race in 38:28, not a PR, but probably the fastest I've run in a long time.  I felt really great about it.  Plus, my friend Cherie was there and another friend Julie too.  I haven't seen either of them in a long time so it was nice to catch up a little. 

So far, this week is going a lot better than the last few.  Tension at work is dying down a little, not a lot, but enough so that the politics are tollerable.  I ran 6 miles along the Charles Tuesday and felt amazing.  Wednesday I ran 5.25 miles in Lowell with Kim.  Neither one of us really wanted to run, but both of us made the other one accountable so we got it done.  Afterwards I was glad we ran because guess what.......we're getting another foot of snow!

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