Marathon Life

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Company Confidential

I am in a dilemma. There are things I want to write about on this blog that I would normally write about on my other Geocities blog since I had that one protected (only certain people had access to the URL). Now, this blog is public, out in the open for all to see. I want to be more open, but I can only be so honest. I can't be as confessional as I used to be in the early 2000s when I was updating my Geocities site like every day with various dramatic events (breakups, work dramas, etc).

I want to write about working at my new job that I started in May. I am working for a technology company. That is as specific as I will get on this blog. I have many observations I want to divulge. What I will say is this: I found something out today that did not thrill me - my company had a massive layoff last November and a significant percentage of employees were let go. Wow. I wish I had done my research. All this time I assumed that my company was immune to this recession. I guess I was mistaken.

It didn't make me feel safe. It didn't reassure me that picking up and moving to Orange County was a good decision. Are they going to do another round of layoffs this year? When? At the end of the third quarter? Will I be on the chopping block because I am such a new hire? There is another girl who started two weeks after I did. Will she too, be put on the chopping block?

We do not have history on our side. How do we prove that we are valuable in such a short amount of time? I am working extremely hard at this job to prove just how valuable I am. I have read countless articles about layoffs and how to avoid them. Let's face it. You cannot avoid a layoff if a decision has already been made months in advance. It's business and a business has to run its business how they see fit.

I refuse to live in fear. At my previous job I was so afraid of being laid off. It affected my productivity. The stress and anguish I put myself through was not worth it. I was miserable working for that company. Then one day, I finally I stopped caring. I embraced anything that would happen. Then, like a gift from God, I was given an opportunity to leave and accept a layoff deal. I took it and ran for the hills. It was the best decision of my professional life. I controlled my destiny.

I am much happier now. I have so much more confidence in my professional abilities. I am learning more and more each day. I am embracing my new job and absorbing as much information and knowledge as I can. I read white papers, take webinars, read articles, subscribe to RSS feeds via Outlook to be a better informed marketing professional. At my last job I didn't do that. I never embraced it. Now I am doing it. That's all I can do at this point. If I end up losing this job it won't be the end of the world. I am very motivated and skilled. I have money in the bank. I can collect unemployment again and search for another job while laying outside in the beautiful Southern California sunshine. Life won't be that bad. How bad could it really be?

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posted by Anthony at 11:28 PM 0 comments

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekly Running Tally - ending June 28, 2009

Each Sunday I will do an entry that will add up all my runs for the previous week and post my thoughts on my progress. My goal is to be in marathon shape by mid-October. I am contemplating doing the Long Beach Marathon on Oct 11 this year. Click here to see my training log from when I did the 2005 Long Beach Marathon. I believe I can do it if not other injuries surface between now and then. My current injuries seem to have subsided. I don't have a pain in my Achilles anymore and I don't have that stubborn pain in my hamstring that has haunted me since Dec 2007 and caused me to not run a marathon in all of 2008 and so far this year (missed Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon and Boston Marathon this year. I have my fingers crossed for a healthy recovery.

Min per Mile

June 22, 2009
First Run post-appendectomy. It felt like my insides were gong to fall out of me. It was painful but I made it through. HR max=172 BPM (91% of max), HR ave=151 (81% of max).
June 22, 2009
What a difference a day makes. I was 30 seconds faster per mile on this run and I felt a lot better. Not much abdominal pain. My heart rate reached a very high level. Probably due to running so much faster just a day later. Maybe the watch was off too. HR max=179 BPM (96% of max), HR ave=159 (85% of max)
June 25, 2009
I ran in the morning today since I had something to go to after work. I had a pain in my right leg that felt like radiating nerve pain. It went away after about 8 minutes. HR max=175 BPM (94% of max), HR ave=158 (84% of max).
June 26, 2009
Longest run yet. I still had the pain in my right leg but it went away after about 6-7 min of running. I ran along Bayside and into some private seaside neighborhoods. HR max=187 BPM (100% of max), HR ave=149 (80% of max).
June 27, 2009
I ran in the mid-morning since it was Saturday. I got the nerve pain slightly, not as bad but it was still there. It went away after 5 min of running. HR max=178 BPM (95% of max), HR ave=159 (85% of max).
June 28, 2009
Fastest run yet. I felt good. I ran on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. I added a hill that was about .3 miles long. I felt strong. No abdominal pain and not much nerve pain. I stretched a lot before, that probably helped. HR max=171 BPM (91% of max), HR ave=158 (84% of max).
Week Ending June 28, 2009
Not bad for considering I had my appendix taken out on June 9!

In other non-running news, yesterday I had a great time hanging out with my friend Newell. We took the Balboa Island Ferry over to the peninsula and boggie boarded. The waves crash very close to shore so basically you drop 2-3 feet each time you catch a wave. The positive is that you can ride many waves. The negative is that you can get hurt and it's very voilent if you catch a wave the wrong way.

I got thrown down by a wave that crashed directly behind me (I was trying to avoid the wave) and bruised my arm and slammed by butt on the sand underwater. Water went up my nose and in my ear. It was ok though. I stopped boarding at that point. I noticed you have to use your abs a lot for paddling to catch waves so since I am still sore and my doctor said I cannot do any type of ab exercises I called it a day and laid out on the beach. I hope to board some more when J**** comes into town on Thursday for the holiday weekend.

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posted by Anthony at 4:33 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Less Pain and Faster

Today's run was a lot better than yesterday although my heart rate was higher. I ran 4.8 miles in 32:44 for a 6:47 pace. My heart rate reached 179 (96% of MAX!!) but my average overall was 159 (85% of max). I did not feel any abdominal pain during the run. I just had a lot of general pain from a lactic acid build up. Before yesterday I had not run for 15 days so I will be sore this week as I get back into it.

The good news is that the pain I was feeling in my right Achilles area has not come back and my hamstring seems to be fine. I had this Achilles issue for about a month and a half before I had my appendectomy 2 weeks ago. After suffering the hamstring injury while playing tennis in Dec 2007 and going to physical therapy twice in the past year, I believe I have finally kicked this injury. What I have learned: hamstrings take forever to heal, sometimes well over a year. They are stubborn muscles that need time.

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posted by Anthony at 11:10 PM 0 comments

Monday, June 22, 2009

Running without Stitches

Today I was given clearance to run again. I showed up to a general surgeon here in Newport as a follow up to my laparscopic appendectomy (see past post here) that I had on June 9. It's been 13 days since the surgery and 15 since I last went running. I walked 5 miles this past Saturday and about 4 miles yesterday. I was just itching to run so I walked at a fast pace. It was fine.

Today I finally ran for real. According to my Nike + iPod device, I covered 4.2 miles in 31:25 for a 7:20 minute per mile pace. That's about 20-30 seconds slower than my typical training pace, but I was pleased. My Polar SD200 heart rate monitor read that my average BPM was 151 (81% of maximum heart rate) and my max heart rate reached 172 (91% of max). For most of the run it hurt slightly, almost like I had a cramp in my abdominal region. My core is just very weak at this point. It will take time to adjust. By the end of the run I was getting used to it. My doctor told me I wasn't allowed to do any weights or ab work for at least another 2 weeks. But at least I can run. That's all that matters.

I had a very enjoyable Sunday here in Newport. I was supposed to go to LA to go to Milk to eat their blueberry chiffon blue velvet cake with white icing (YUM), but plans didn't work out with my friend. Instead, I just stayed here in Newport and took the Balboa Island Ferry (photo courtesy of to the Newport peninsula to go to the beach. My friend Newell from San Diego came up. It was really nice and took all of 10 min to get there by foot. The ferry from Balboa Island to the peninsula is just 5 min and runs all day, everyday until 2AM. It take 3 min to walk to the ferry. It costs $1 each way to take it.

After we got back my friend Steven and Joe came by to visit since Joe was working for the week in Newport and staying at the Hyatt, about a mile away. We walked around the island, watched the sunset and the abnormally high tide. The tide about 1 foot below the top of the concrete seawall. I can only imagine if there is a storm serge. My roommate said it does flood slightly but it's only ankle deep in the streets. They actually drain the canals around the island to prevent an overflow. It's so odd. We ended up eating at Picante Martin's, which is very good and cheap Mexican.

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posted by Anthony at 10:46 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Since I moved to Newport Beach I have not had a DVR. We just have the regular cable and probably won't get a box. I still get most of the channels except for Sundance, IFC and Logo. I still get Bravo, TLC, Food Network, etc. I am going through DVR withdrawal. I miss my AT&T U-verse where I could record on the main TV in the living room and then watch those recorded shows in my own room, anytime. I also could I never know what is on TV on a given night. Granted, it's summer so many of my favorite shows are off the air until at least late September. The only thing I would watch is "So You Think You Can Dance". Wait, it's on tonight and I forgot! See, I don't have a DVR mentality anymore. Maybe it's good I don't watch TV as much. I can always watch things on-demand from the various network web sites and sites like Hulu and Joost. I still need to finish watching the two-part finale for "Desperate Housewives".

Speaking of Housewives, I haven't really gotten into any of the seasons except for the original Housewives of Orange County. I think the NJ season is trashy (never watched it) and I never really watched the NYC housewives except for the first season. I am better off. Now, I am living in the OC so I may have an Housewife run in. Will I be hanging out on a deck drinking margaritas with them soon? I don't think I am plastic enough.

They really need a main gay on the show. None of the housewives really have one. Well, I think Jeana has that one mess of a fat gay designer friend. He was the one who didn't pay Vicki the rent on her second home, that Jeana was trying to sell after losing more than half its value. Tell me, how does one make THAT much money selling insurance policies? Vicki is living way beyond her means. I think many of these Housewives are. I'd love to see their expense books. They probably have a lot of debt.

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posted by Anthony at 9:40 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Almost crashing on the Rocky Mountains

Maybe I am overreacting just a bit. But, last Sunday on my US Air flight from JFK to San Francisco (on my way back to Orange County) we were routinely moving along during the 6 hour flight. We had some turbulence about an hour into the flight. Then about 4 hours in there was a sudden jolt of turbulence. The pilot came on immediately and said in a stern voice, "Take your seats now!" People had been up and about in the isles, waiting for the bathroom. Then about 5 seconds after that first sudden jolt was a MAJOR, MAJOR jump/fall/jolt like I have NEVER FELT on an airplane IN MY LIFE!! It was insane. I sat in the back of the plane where people had been standing up trying to get back to their seats. Two larger men were thrown in mid-air. Everyone screamed. We must have fell, like, I don't know, a few 1000 feet. It felt like we were going down right then and there.

I thought, "This is it! My life will be splattered all over the Rocky Mountains below." Then it felt like we were in this tube or rollarcoaster, headed down on a very large and steep slide into the mountains below. For about 20 seconds it felt like this. I thought about my life and what I accomplished. Was this it? I was grabbing onto the armrests, not that they would have saved me when we crashed. Then we seemed to level off and there was some more moderate shaking for about a minute. Then it all stopped and things felt normal again. During the entire incident "Desperate Housewives" continued to play on the TVs.

I have never felt so scared and helpless in my life. My heart rate was beating extremely fast the entire incident. I would estimate that my BPM was at least in the 170s. I routinely run with my Polar RS200SD Heart Rate monitor and when I run I average in the low 150s. This felt like an all-out sprint! Talk about an adrenaline rush. The people next to me, a couple in their 50s, were very calm considering the circumstances. I'm just glad to be home safe. I am looking forward to NOT flying again until August when I got back to Houston to see J****.

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posted by Anthony at 11:03 PM 0 comments

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Leaving NYC today back to OC

Well, it was quite an interesting trip to New York this time around. I was glad that I was able to spend so much time here, despite the appendectomy. I even worked remotely for 2 days and got a lot done. I feel better and better each day. I am eating solid foods again and think I may be able to exercise in 1-2 weeks. The doctors told me at least 2 weeks post surgery. We will see. I have a follow up appt in Newport a week from tomorrow.

Last night I went to see the movie The Brothers Bloom at The Angelika with my friend and old roommate Leigh Anne. It was an ok movie. I actually had an intense cupcake-induced food coma for about 10 min while watching it. She came over to Nathan's with 6 cupcakes from Royale Bakery. They were so good. We split a chocolate one and some other one. Then after the movie we went to The Hummas Place since I hadn't eaten yet. The whole wheat pitas were nice and warm out of the oven. We got grape leaves and some type of humas with beans on top and a hard boiled egg that was sliced and put in the middle.

Nathan was a grouch yesterday for some reason. Maybe it's all the food he eats non-stop. Maybe he's on his period. Or maybe it's because he realizes he will be forced into the real world on his own in a matter of months! No more being a Manhattan House Husband. Seriously, if Logo or Bravo did any kind of reality show about gay house husbands he would certainly be cast.

Anyway, Nathan said we were going to do something on my last night in the city, but then his friend Eric invited him to an art opening or something in Park Slope, Brooklyn. And for some reason I was not allowed to go (BULLSHIT). We have known each other for over 10 years now. So I can spot a lie from him from a mile away. He just wanted to hang out with his friend by himself and leave me all alone with nothing to do. Anyway, all is good now. We both can be a bitch to each other but we are brutally honest always. I always call him out and he can't stand it.

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posted by Anthony at 8:46 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Larparscopic Appendectomy and other VERY BAD things in NYC

What a contrast a few days make. On early Monday morning (6/8) I felt this pain on the front part of my stomach. I didn't really know what it was. After a another few hours I then started to feel nauseated. I was worried I had food poisoning again. The hell I went through back in Oct 2008 on my work trip to Germany was creeping back into my mind. This time, I wanted to fight it with all that I had. I didn't have that much to give though.

I wanted to be better for the next day as I was going to be at the Atlantic Design & Manufacturing show and on my feet the entire day. I took a bath and the warm water on my stomach felt better. I left the house thinking I was better but walking from the subway to the Javitz Center was a task in itself. I got to the booth and started feeling the nausea again. Around 12:30 or so I went to search for some probiotic yogurt. I had been driking Kefir all day Monday and brought some with me to the show but ran out. I went to a grocery store/eatery and bought a Dannon yogurt and some chicken noodle soup. I began to feel sick again and had no appetite.

I left the trade show around 2pm and I barely made it to the subway. I got in and my co-worker told me I should get it check out since she thought it was appendicitis. I got back to Nathan's apt and slept for a few hours, laying on my stomach since that was the best position to make me feel good. I decided to just go to the ER at St. Vincent's Hospital about 5-6 blocks away.

I checked in and after waiting an hour I was given a bed. A few nurses talked to me about my symptoms and drew blood and urine. I then waited another hour to be seen by a doctor. He said I most likely had acute appendcitis and they would have to have surgery to remove it. I got an x-ray done and was supposed to have a catscan. Within another hour I was booked in surgery and they didn't give me the catscan.

I have never had a surgery before other than my wisdom teeth taken out. It was weird but the whole thing felt like it took 5 min. I simply closed my eyes and then was woken up in the recovery room. I had the nurse call my mother and J*****. My cell phone was already locked away somewhere. I stayed over night and then I was discharged around 11am. The most interesting thing happened was when my doctor (Dr. Justin Steele) who performed the surgery told me that the appendix was in very rough shape and almost gangrene-ish. He said he was surprised I didn't have symptoms a lot earlier than Monday.

Dr. Steele's words made me think about my supposed "food poisoning" sickness I had while in Germany in Oct 2008. Was this related to that? Had I gone untreated for all this time with an appendix that was ready to burst at any moment? If untreated an appendix rupture will result in death after 8 hours. I am so glad I went with my gut, pardon the pun, and decided to go the ER route.

Since I just got my new insurance through work, there was a slight problem getting all the correct information. I will have to pay $250 since I was admitted to the hospital but all other services are covered at 100 percent. Let's see if this actually is the case. Healthcare in this country is fucked up.

It's so ironic that on Monday I watched the shocking Michael Moore documentary Sicko while sprawled out on the couch in pain. In the film Moore showed us how countries like Canada, England and France have it made when it comes to universal health coverage. In England, you not only don't have to pay when you visit the hospital for any service, but if you don't have enough fare for a train or bus, an actual cashier will PAY YOU MONEY! Crazy. I really hope under the Obama administration we can get universal coverage. It's nice to dream anyway.

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posted by Anthony at 7:03 PM 0 comments

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Loving every minute in NYC

I am havinc such a great time in New York. I was able to fly in on Saturday since I had to be here for a trade show on Tuesday morning. It was the same price if I left Monday morning, so I thought, "Why waste time when I could stay with Nathan in the West Village?" I'm glad my boss allowed this. And I am not even staying in the hotel room when the show starts on Tuesday ($319 a night at the Westin in Times Square). So I am saving the company money and everyone is happy.

Heck, I didn't even need a cab to the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana since I parked at my work garage, which is 1 mile from the airport. I researched and took the shuttle that runs every 30 min from the front of the Marriott, right next to my office garage in Irvine. Door to door from my apt in Newport Beach to the airport it was 30 min. Then from Laguardia I took this express bus that was only $12 to get to Grand Central. From there I took the subway to the West Village.

It got me thinking, it's amazing how wasteful people can be in Corporate America. People opt to stay at big, fancy hotels when there are so many cheaper alternatives that would save corporations a lot of money and keep a higher profit margin. Granted, not everyone has friends who have empty guest rooms that are convenient to the subway, but you can totally stay at a million hotels in much hipper and interesting neighborhoods.

It reminds me of a time when I traveled to NYC for a tradeshow in 2001 when I was a marketing assistant at now defunct NewsEdge in Burlington, MA. I opted to stay in a hotel through some online hotel site right in Washington Square. It was only $152 a night compared to the $279 per night hotel near the site of the trade show in Times Square. I took the subway everywhere (cheaper than taxis). Bottom line: I wasn't wasting company resources. I have been at group dinners with sales executives and they would order $50 and $100 bottles of wine. They would order like 10 appetizers and the $35 steak. They would order like 4-5 alcoholic beverages each! They felt entitled to do this. I'm sitting there thinking, "Wow, we are about to have layoffs, the economy is shit and you're ordering a $35 steak and 5 drinks on company dime???"

Times are tough, but I know how to "make it work" while traveling on business. Imagine if most people took this approach. Imagine if most people weren't trying to take advantage. Companies would save millions of dollars. I could be a personal consultant and help companies strategize in their corporate travel. If a conscious effort was made a real impact could be made at organizations.

I really love NYC and totally would live here if it wasn't so cold in the winter. They should uproot NYC and place it where Los Angeles is and everyone would be happy. Today I went up to 125th Street in Harlem with my friend Jason to see at the Studio Museum. It was several videos by performance artist Kalup Linzy, who dresses in drag and performs several songs and skits. It was pretty funny. He has a lot of stuff on myspace and Youtube. Oh, and this was totally FREE. We then walked down through Central Park and saw some cool waterfalls before getting too tired (we walked 3 miles) and caught a subway back to the West Village around 77th Street.

I went with my friend Anh to Rice to Riches in SoHo and got their Rocky Road flavor. This is one of my favorite dessert places. What a unique concept. You have about 12 different flavors of rice pudding and they put it in a plastic container that is reuseable. I now have two. A small creation is $6 and worth every penny. There's a sign on the wall that says "No Skinny Bitches" so my friend Anh took a photo of me in front of it. I will post once I get that photo after she posts to Facebook.

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posted by Anthony at 4:14 PM 0 comments

Monday, June 01, 2009

Goodbye San Diego and old cell phone bills

Last weekend I went back down to San Diego to get the rest of my stuff. I didn't think it was that much but my car was filled to the brim and I couldn't see out the back window or to my right. Very dangerous when driving on the highway but I stayed in the same lane most of the time.

I didn't realize just how much stuff I hold on to like very old cell phone bills. I have cell phone bills from Cellular One (then became Cingular) from 1999! At work we have a shredder bin that is locked so I took them in today to get rid of those. There is no need to hold on to those. I got rid of all from 1999-2003 before I changed to Verizon.

It was interesting to note that back in 1999 I only receive 15 peak minutes but free nights and weekends from 8pm - 7am. My bill was only $20. Then in 2000, I received 30 peak minutes. When I changed to a national calling plan in 2003, I received 150 peak. Now I receive 450 peak minutes and nights/weekends begin at 9pm, which is really annoying. When it was 8pm it was perfect. Of course the cell phone carriers want you to use as many peak minutes as possible to make the most money.

I really limit my peak usage though. I have come close before, but I just use Skype instead. My bill is always $55 and that includes $5 for 250 texts and another $5 for insurance. I have an LG Envy 2, so it is a reltatively expensive phone. I don't want to take any chances.

It was bittersweet to leave San Diego. I really will miss the city but I am so close. It's just meeting people up here in Orange County that will be the hard part. The next few weekends will be busy since I will be in NYC for work next weekend. I'll get to see Nathan, Jason and Leigh Anne. Then the weekend after that is LA Pride, so I'll drive up to see Alexis. Then the weekend after that I should be in Newport.

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posted by Anthony at 9:12 AM 0 comments

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