Monthly Archives: November 2014
I’m breaking from song titles this week. But many will know the significance of this number. Two weeks ago, I completed my first half-marathon (13.1 miles). My goal was to complete the race in 2:30, which translates to about 11:30-minute miles. I crushed my goal with a time of 2:17:21! That’s one mile per minute faster. There’s a video clip of me crossing the finish line. I’m the one in the fluorescent yellow top and magenta skirt.
I learned a lot through the experience of training for a half-marathon.
1. We have a saying at work “Plan the work and work the plan”. I received a half-marathon training guide and I can count on one hand the times I either missed a run or modified it. I used an advanced plan and each run had a purpose. Speed, tempo, and endurance. I went from running about 11:30-11:00-minute miles to averaging about 10:30-minute miles.
2. As old as Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare”, slow and steady wins the race proved true for me. OK I didn’t “win” in the gold medal, crown of laurels way. However, I ran a consistent pace of 5.8 MPH. And I ran the entire way. The closest I came to walking was taking a few walking steps to connect with someone at a water stop.
3. I love running. That is not a phrase that would have EVER come out of my mouth a year ago. But about mile 10 I was running toward South Mountain. The weather was perfect – overcast, mid-sixties, and a slight breeze. We couldn’t have had better weather. I was at my steady 5.8 pace enjoying passing the buildings of mid-town Phoenix thinking, I am really having a good time. It was about the point when I stopped being passed and started passing others.
4. The race was a trip down memory lane. My husband and I lived in the Phoenix metro area for eleven years. There was the hair salon where I traded off seeing two awesome stylist cousins. One if not two projects my husband worked on at his last job. The fair trade coffee house I snarkily dubbed “The Communist Coffee Company” (because that’s how I roll). I could all but picture being pregnant with a toddler and meeting my husband for a no-fat latte. And a later visit where I held hands with a now preschooler while pushing an infant in a stroller. A few favorite restaurants. The Old Spaghetti Factory where we celebrated my husband’s grandfather’s 90th birthday. The restaurant we ate at the day our daughter came home from the hospital. The Mexican and Thai restaurants where we’ve eaten with visiting friends and family.
5. Half-marathons are addictive. I’m already thinking about running one scheduled for February. Originally, I planned to run the Rock ‘N’ Roll half-marathon but there’s a scheduling conflict. As I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago, my favorite thing to do is downhill ski. The race is MLK weekend so there’s no way I’m leaving the mountain because holiday weekend means night skiing. So I’ll be hitting the slopes on either a date night or evening of family fun.
Okay, I admit it. I am a Taylor Swift fan, especially her songs “You Belong With Me” and “Mean”. I can relate to both all too well. While I’m not exactly the “girl-next-door” type, I am the one who would have been friends with a guy who had no romantic interest in me. I’ve been in the opposite situation too, and I felt just as bad. The best situation is when friends fall for each other.
I loved Dawn’s The Hesitant Heiress and fell in love with her first-person narrative and likable characters. I was eager to read The Bound Heart.
Vance Everstone stole more than a kiss from Meredith Summercourt and ever since then she’s held out hope the elusive playboy will return from Europe and claim her heart. In the mean time, Lawry Hampton has returned from the West Coast and the two resume a friendship that began when they were children. The two are close and easy companions as Lawry helps Meredyth find her passion. And she does. Helping orphans. Enter Wynn, an adorable little girl who adds to the story in so many ways.
It’s no secret I’m a hero girl and Lawry is a fine specimen. Not only is he tall, fair, and handsome he’s a kind and caring man. I love the way he patiently waits for Meredyth and how he interacts with Wynn. Who doesn’t love a guy who’s good with kids?
But what won me over was Meredyth’s character. I’m a lot harder to please in the heroine department. And Dawn did a fantastic job of creating Meredyth. She could have cutout any number of cardboard characters from Meredyth’s pieces. The oh-so-sweet do-gooder. The privileged social crusader. The mindless debutante. The damsel-in-distress. Meredyth is instead her own person wealthy and slightly spoiled, she isn’t resentful of her position yet she seeks a life beyond parties and gossip. I could see myself being a Meredyth if I were in her social position during The Gilded Age. And of course, this is a Dawn Crandall novel, so you can’t leave out the mystery and suspense than make her novels as exciting as they are romantic.
My final assessment is that Ms. Crandall’s second novel is every bit as good as her first. And I might even give it a bit of an edge because Meredyth is such a relatable heroine.
As for my romantic story. I fell for my good friend. Twenty-one years later, he’s been the only one for me for half of my life.
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