The truth about Petra

Petra has been a character in an on-going romantic drama in this blog, and many people have inquired if she’s real.

Some lines of dialogue I’ve written for myself and Petra actually occurred. In several posts, including the very first one, I describe being swept off my feet by her. This also happened to me. However, Petra is not real. She is based on someone else.

A bit more than a decade ago, a woman held a position lasting a few months at my jobsite. It didn’t take long for me to become especially attracted to her.

Though she seemed interested in me, I thought it could be just friendliness and politeness. One day I walked past her as she chatted with a work colleague. As we walked in opposite directions, I looked back at her. At the same moment, she did too. With the meeting of our eyes, I knew the attraction was mutual.

We talked often and sat next to each other at lunch. But we did not talk about “us”. Away from work, I thought of her all the time, and I developed the greatest desire I’ve ever had in my life – to simply be at her side.

As the end of her stay neared, I broke our silence and told her how I felt. I made an arrangement to keep in contact despite it not quite being appropriate. This arrangement was discovered and reported to a supervisor. It caused turmoil and plenty of emotional pain for us both. A workplace barrier was put in place between us which threw a very wet blanket on my attempts to be with her.

After she finished her duties at my worksite, I spent several months trying to overcome the obstacles that kept us apart. Contacting her was not possible, and I was devastated not being in her company.

Though I not once touched her, I thought of her constantly. My mood alternated from pleasantness of imagining doing simple, everyday things with her, followed by a big sadness.

This may not be manly to admit, but my grief was so intense, I could not avoid breaking down in tears several times a day. Sometimes there were people around, and it was a chore to stifle it or find some privacy.

The months went by and I went on long walks lasting hours to alleviate my despondency. One afternoon as a bus came toward me, I got the idea to throw myself in its path.

I exalted this woman to such a degree that the term His Airness, which was used to describe Michael Jordan, I modified and thought of her as Her Wonderfulness.

One afternoon I was working in my backyard, and as I day-dreamed pleasantly about Her Wonderfulness, a gust of wind knocked down a storm window, shattering it on rocks. The analogy of a dream being shattered did not escape me. I was upset, but I refused to accept it.

A year and a half after our separation, a reception for a retiring co-worker was planned, and my discarnate mentor highlighted the possibility of Her Wonderfulness attending. I hoped that my long wait to reconnect might happen.

Her Wonderfulness did come, however, she was in the company of her new boyfriend. She and I did not talk.

A few months later, several co-workers and I attended a seminar, and my discarnate mentor hinted over and over that the boyfriend was a rebound relationship, and since Her Wonderfulness and I worked in the same field, she’d be there and we could talk.

She didn’t attend, and I was disappointed. At the lunch break, my work colleagues went to a nearby restaurant. I walked to a nearby park bench and ate alone.

As the seminar was about to resume, a co-worker, the only person I’d confided in about Her Wonderfulness, told me she’d been at the restaurant they went to. She came to their table to show off her engagement ring.

These disappointments are just a few of many involving this woman. I was never bitter or angry. Instead, after the sadness and grief of each disappointment passed, I regained hope that eventually we’d reconnect.

Around two years after the incident that initiated our separation, my daily crying began to ease, but it took more time to get completely over her.

My discarnate mentor informs me that my pursuit of her, and being thwarted over and over again, has been the most important part of the preparation for my future role, which I detailed in the post My Daily Stress.

The last I’ve heard, she is married and has children. So many years after it happened, the shattering storm window incident has held true.

Though I’m no longer despondent, grief-stricken or need to go on long, daily walks, on occasion something will trigger the emotion that is attached to my experiences with her, and I will break down just as I used to do every day.

Twice-a-year laundering

There’s a Seinfeld episode in which George ponders buying enough clothes so he’ll always have a clean outfit, yet do laundry only once a year. Using this as inspiration, I’m developing a system to achieve the more modest goal of twice-a-year laundering which I believe will be award-winning.

You’ll save lots of time and money, and if you air-dry you’ll shave even more dollars off your utility bill. For years I’ve been stringing a line between the metal posts of my patio for hanging laundry.clothes dryingRunning clothes, which are a very needy segment of the laundry population, deserve special attention.

Though running on a hot day can leave a T-shirt soaked with sweat, I’ve found it can be worn a few times before starting to smell. However, since I often run alone, I can continue wearing the same odoriferous shirt without offending anyone. Most longtime runners, after years of entering races, have enough shirts to easily go six months without washing.

Here are important strategies to follow if you want to be a laundry superstar:

  • Don’t wear a coat when it rains. Getting your clothes soaked is just like washing them.
  • If an item starts to really smell, store it overnight in an empty pizza box. Your clothing will smell like pizza, and who doesn’t like the smell of pizza?
  • When showering or taking a bath, you can clean soiled underwear or socks just by using them as a wash cloth.
  • On rainy days, get your clothes washed by laying them out in the yard. Phosphorous, an important ingredient in detergent, is a common air pollutant. Combined with rain, it gives your clothes an effective acid wash.
  • On warm summer days, choose the no-clothing option. Your friends’ shock will change to admiration when you explain that you’re conserving our planet’s precious resources.

Running straight to the bathroom

An issue many runners have before a race is using the bathroom.

Should I go here or find some bushes? I don't like the smell coming from that thing.

Whoa, what a smell! Should I use this thing or find some bushes?.

Early in my running career, I used to get very nervous at track meets. I really had to go just before my race, but the output didn’t match the need to go. It became obvious that being nervous had an effect on need to urinate.

Wait - thing is flooding. Maybe I need to launch a rescue operation.

I don’t like those two wet spots. This is a Superfund site in the making.

Sometimes the call of nature arises very urgently in the middle of a race. A friend trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon told me she had to go just two miles into the Windermere Marathon in Spokane, so she stopped at a port-a-potty. She missed qualifying for Boston by thirteen seconds.

There’s a YouTube video showing a very famous woman marathoner stopping at the side of the course during a marathon and relieving herself in front of spectators and a running camera. Obviously this was a very embarrassing, yet best option for a dire circumstance.

I’ve never had to stop mid-race to go, but when I was younger, on two occasions I was caught too far from a public restroom while on a winter training run in a residential area. The need to go was so urgent I could not put it off, and I’m not talking No. 1 here.

Knocking on someone’s door would be asking too much, so searching for the best secluded spot was the only option. Yet a typical neighborhood in broad daylight does not have many secluded spots.

In both cases, I solved my issue in a different way. However in one of the cases, “solved” was not a delightful outcome at all. I’ll leave you to ponder what happened.

Petra coming home!

When Petra accepted a job offer from the National Institute of Running Sciences in Washington, DC, I was very upset saying sayonara to her and our plans of living a lifestyle we call intense realism. However, I talked to Petra on the phone yesterday, and she’s moving back to Spokane.

After getting off the phone with Petra, I jumped for joy.

After getting off the phone with Petra, I jumped for joy.

She has already given her notice and put a deposit down on a place here in town. An incident the first month on the job as director of corporate relations led to the change.

Things started so well that Petra was looking forward to a long career at the Institute. However, one day a group of employees held a spur-of-the-moment stairs vs. elevator race in the Institute building, which happens frequently.

But this time, the Institute’s CEO was part of the group, and he challenged the newbie, Petra, to a race covering twelve floors. The CEO is in his mid-40’s, an excellent runner, and Petra figured he would easily outrun her elevator ride.

In a rare circumstance, no one got on or off the elevator, and it picked up speed with each floor. The CEO also ran into a big group of employees who were going down the stairs for lunch. Petra reached the twelfth floor first, and the CEO begrudgingly acknowledged losing. However, he looked quite displeased the rest of the afternoon. Petra figured losing to a subordinate who was also new on the job did not sit well with him.

A few days later, she was moved from her large, corner office with lots of windows to a cramped, interior one with none. The CEO stopped talking to her and didn’t include her in important meetings.

Petra thinks he felt totally emasculated even though she hadn’t done anything but ride an elevator to the twelfth floor. Trying to interact with the CEO was like talking to a brick wall. Petra said, “There was nothing I could do, and I didn’t see the situation changing anytime soon, so I gave my notice.”

Though I felt badly for Petra, I am so glad she’s coming back to Spokane. And she told me she’s glad things turned out this way because she can’t believe she passed up the chance to live the intense realism lifestyle we envisioned.


New men’s marathon WR widens gap

At the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 28th, 30-year-old Dennis Kimetto of Kenya lowered the men’s world record by 26 seconds and became the first person to run under 2:03, finishing in 2:02:57. He covered the course in an average per mile pace of 4:41, an amazing performance.

Dennis Kimmeto. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commoms

Dennis Kimmeto. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commoms

When I heard this news, I slammed my fist on the table. Then I went on a long drive to a remote area and yelled obscenities for half an hour.

I was not angry about Dennis Kimetto breaking the world record. What’s got me seething is the women’s marathon record hasn’t been broken since 2003.

In a post I wrote earlier this year, I expressed my frustration and on-going intense angerness about the lack of a new women’s marathon world record. In the time span since Paula Radcliffe set the current mark of 2:15:25, which admittedly is an excellent time, the men have broken the record six times.

In my post, I chastised women marathoners for spending too much time getting together with friends, shopping, going out for frozen yogurt, and having wine parties.

Obviously my advice has not been heeded, and I am outraged, incensed and infuriated. Whenever someone mentions the word “marathon”, I go ballistic.

My anger management counselor says my anger is mis-directed. No way! He’s wrong!

Women marathoners, this is what I want to see happen so a new record will be set:

  • Make your weekly long run a daily thing.
  • Sleep less, run more.
  • Every marathon you enter, make breaking the world record your goal.

I can’t get over how livid I am about no new record for so long. I am so, so mad right now….I need to vent!venting anger