Trumped by Technology, As Usual

It’s amazing how quickly I forget my own actions and am tricked by the way technology connects every part (arguably too many parts) of my life. Take, for instance, the following scenario:

 10:15 a.m. average Tuesday morning in the gray walls of my cubicle

I receive a forwarded email at work from a co-worker about an event in Portland that I might want to attend. My train of thought goes something like this as I skim the text for the basic info, “Oh cool, what day is that? Huh, I don’t know if I can make it… whatever, I’ll just look at it at home when I’m not distracted.”

I proceed to then forward the email from my Microsoft Outlook work email account to my personal, unprofessional-sounding gmail account (which I will likely open on Google Chrome later in my work day when I lose all sense of self-control and check my personal email at work).

45-60 seconds later…

I glance at my smart phone sitting just beyond the reach of my desk phone and coffee cup to see the blinking green light indicating a new notification of some kind.

“Sweet, someone cares about me, wonder who text or emai… wha…? Why is my name on the… Oh, right. I just emailed myself. Damn.”

I wish I could say this hasn’t happened over a dozen times. But if I did say that, I would be lying.

(Let me just email this blog post to myself now that I’ve written it on my work email account.) It’s a vicious cycle.

Yeah, It’s One Small World Out There

After fighting with an almost-seven-year-old iBook 4 for several years, I finally broke down a couple weeks ago and purchased the new material-love of my life: a refurbished MacBook Pro, which has since changed my life (and leaves me with no excuse not to blog regularly). I’m reconnecting with people all over the world (literally) now that my main email correspondence isn’t done either 1) at work as I flip between my gmail screen and excel spreadsheets or 2) on my smart phone when I attempt to write an email using a keypad made for someone the size of a toddler.

In my recent reconnecting, I’ve had the chance to “hang out” (no, not on Google+, who uses that?) on Skype video chat with friends in Germany and Scotland, all of whom I haven’t spoken to in months. When I said to a friend, “Wow, video chat is awesome, it just feels like I’m hanging out with the person I’m talking to!” he response was a mediocre, “Um, yeah…” Apparently everyone else discovered this several years ago. Welcome to 2012, Liz.

The most noteworthy, random reconnection came when I found out my friend, Chance, and his wife, Valerie, who are currently serving in Malaysia, are expecting a baby! (This too was old news because, naturally, everyone found out on Facebook before Christmas and I’m just hearing about it via email three months later.) I responded to the mass email update about baby shower planning with a personal message relaying the usual congratulatory remarks. Chance replied right away with the following:

I’m bummed we couldn’t connect over Christmas, but I think you may have become a part of our baby’s life anyway over the break. [Right off the bat, I’m thinking, “huh?” and proceeded to re-read that sentence a couple times trying to figure out what the heck he was talking about.] We went to Goodwill in Seattle (Lynnwood, specifically) to look for baby books, clothes, and all that stuff. Valerie had a bunch picked out and as we were flipping through them after we left, we saw “Elizabeth Purdy” written in a child’s handwriting on the first page. Kid you not. I don’t know if your parents cleaned house and donated to Goodwill, but it looks like you’re passing on a childhood book to us. Is it possible there’s another one of you in Seattle? Hard to believe.

Ha, hard to believe, indeed. I hope little baby Edman follows in literary footsteps set before him/her(?)!

(I’d also like to thank everyone for their suggestions about what to name my new bike. I received many ideas, sometimes in the form of text messages that simply read, “Charles,” “Thomas,” “Daphne” with no further explanation. My mom suggested “Chandler” so I could have Joey, my Subaru, and Chandler, my bike, but the Friends reference was a bit much–I already refer to “Phoebe” and “Ross” as though I hung out with them last night. I’ve tried out several names on the rides to and from work and am still struggling to find the perfect fit, but Daphne and Tommy are the final contenders thus far.)

Shamrock Success

Today it was confirmed that I am not a terrible runner.

I’ve had a love/hate/hate/hate/love relationship with running for about 10 years and besides one brief attempt at running the St. Patrick’s Day Dash in Seattle as a high school freshman (with Annie Mesaros, who dragged me along because she was just so excited to be on the Edmonds-Woodway XC team), I have never run in any races. And I’m not really sure why? I even managed to live in Spokane four years and escape the Bloomsday run. But today, my no-race legacy ended when I was further initiated into being a Portlander by participating in the 34th Annual Shamrock Run with 32,000 other crazy people.

Talk of the Shamrock Run surfaced among my roommates in early January with all sorts of aspirations for group training sessions and a whiteboard chart in the house documenting our weekly mileage. We immediately named ourselves appropriately–Team 2512 (our house number)–and signed up online paying $30 to get up early one Sunday morning in the distant future and run a length never before achieved: 15k.

As you may have predicted while reading the previous paragraph, the hopeful January ambitions were quickly altered when the whiteboard remained at the bottom of the basement steps untouched and two of my roommates registered for the 8k, rather than the 15k. But, I had acted too quickly signing up online, and I refused to turn back now; I was running the 15k, and worst of all, I was actually telling people about it.

So my usual routine of 30-minute morning runs a few times a week continued, but my roommate, Shereen, began suggesting longer weekend runs with big hills. Knowing that I had paid $30 and March 18 was now circled on the calendar in big red marker (metaphorically, of course), I struggled to find excuses of why I couldn’t accompany her.

The result?

My roommate, Shereen, and me ready to take on the 15k Shamrock Run.

Ran the whole thing without stopping, my time: 1:31:34, pace: 9:50.

I’m not exactly setting world records, but I will call it a personal best. My breathing and heartrate stayed low, and I stayed, mentally, very positive.

In fact, I may have experienced the endorphine post-run high, because I was smiling through the last 2 miles, high-fiving every little kid standing on the side cheering because they were just too cute, and at the finish (when I assumed I would be keeled over wanting to die) I was… fine. I mean, I definitely felt like I had run, but, it felt great! After abandoning Shereen on the first major hill at the four mile mark (even though I said I wanted to run the whole thing together, I’m a terrible running partner!), she crossed the finish line two minutes after me and we shared an attempted-high-five-turned-hug to celebrate and congratulate one another one the longest either of us had ever run.

My other roommates completed their 8k successfully and I had a beer in hand at 10:15a.m. I mean, it was part of the deal signing up, so I indulged for novelty’s sake, but who really wants a beer on a Sunday morning after running 9.3 miles? A lot of people apparently, but I stomached 2/3 and called it good-enough.

So when’s my next race? Don’t worry, I’ve already been asked and invited to run a marathon in June. Let’s not get too crazy just yet. I’ll keep you posted.