Tuesday, September 27, 2011

separate, but.....separate?!?

Don't get me wrong; I'm all for equality. Yes, women should be paid the same as men for the same job. Women should have the same rights as men to vote, own property and complete higher education. But what's happening right now with the IAAF is just ridiculous!

Here's the full article on what constitutes a woman's world record in a marathon. Basically, the current world record of 2 hours 15 minutes and change held by Paula Radcliffe no longer counts as she earned that record at the London marathon---a mixed sex race. She had an unfair advantage because she was racing with men and they pushed her to run faster and harder. They are now claiming that only records set at women only races should count for women.

In my opinion, I see several problems with this new "rule." All the major marathons are co-ed endeavors. Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York all have a mixed field. These are the marathons that people know about, have heard of and are possibly hoping to qualify for or be chosen in the lottery to run these races. Now, the most important races in the sport can't have a world record set at them? Where does that leave the elite women runners? Competing for cash but not time? (Trust me these majors pay out significantly more than the smaller races)

This is a major step back in the history of women's running. The first woman to enter and try to run the Boston Marathon was Katherine Switzer in 1967. Race officials tried to pull her from the course for the mere fact that she was a woman. It wasn't until 1984 that the Olympics allowed the women's marathon to be an official event. ( I still remember watching that race and being so proud that the American Joan Benoit Samuelson won on home turf!) Before that it was believed that "women just couldn't run that far." (even though they'd been doing it for several years at other marathons).

The major complaint for women setting record in co-ed events is the fact that the men push the women to be faster. Who's to say the women don't push the men? Let's be honest, I don't know any man that likes to get beat by a woman. Yes, it happens to many of them in co-ed races but I guarantee the sight of a woman coming up on a man only encourages him to run a little faster so he doesn't get beat by a chick!

My final issue with this potential rule change is the atmosphere of all women races. I'm not opposed to all women's events; I'm running the pink half marathon next month is Park City. You can even read my friend Rhielle's thoughts on all women's races. In my experience, all women's races are more about the swag bag, making friends and wearing pink not about the competition. Most all women's races are designed to help women feel comfortable and confident racing. They provide a safe haven for women who don't want to compete with men.

I think if we're really going for a separate but equal playing field when it comes to road racing, we need to let women set women's records at co-ed or same sex events. There will always be separate records for both men and women; I just hope we don't see an asterisk denoting a record set at a co-ed event.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

the kindness of co-workers

I work in outside sales. I love that I don't go into an office everyday. On occasion, I miss the Monday morning catch-up or the water-cooler conversation. For the most part I don't miss that day-to-day interaction with co-workers. It's just never been that important to me. I much prefer the randomness of my days and getting to converse with a variety of people. The downside to all of this is you never quite develop great relationships with your co-workers. Sure I see them on occasion; we work together on a semi-regular basis. But, it's rare that I have the feeling that a co-worker's "got my back." Recently this all changed.

Earlier this year I was working with a potential client. Things were going along as expected--there were a few bumps and set-backs but everything was progressing smoothly. Then, without notice, they seemed to fall of the face of the earth. I couldn't get a response via phone or email, my co-worker experienced the exact same thing. I just chalked it up to a lost client. Not something I like, but something that happens in sales.

Then just as suddenly this client was back calling and emailing. However, this time they were irate. Why wasn't anybody calling them back? Where was their contract? What had happened? I started the process again and thought things were moving along. Until the day I received that awful email! I have never been spoken to via email or in person the way this client spoke to me. There was nasty language (stuff that would make a sailor blush!), inaccurate accusations and phrases that weren't meant to be nothing more than hurtful and rude. I was shocked and decided then I was through with this customer. Fortunately, my co-worker felt the same way and so we were through.

Boy was I wrong! Here we are 3 months later. That client has now signed a contract (for which I will get all the benefit) and has started using my product. The thing is, I haven't spoken to this customer since June when that nasty email was sent. As it turns out, this client contacted my co-worker a few weeks ago. This kind gentleman took over the contract negotiations and closing of the deal (knowing he wouldn't make a penny off of it) so I wouldn't have to work with this client again. His actions almost brought me to tears when I heard. Not only did he negotiate the contract. I also learned that upon visiting this client again he informed them their actions and word were inappropriate, they had no right to speak to me that way and if they ever felt the need to use that kind of language they could speak to him directly. Don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty tough girl who can take care of herself. But to have someone defend me that way was unexpected and truly appreciated.

I don't think I've ever had a co-worker (even ones that I've had a great relationship with and saw everyday) treat me so well. This guy is a gem! If he treats me this way, I can only imagine how he treats his wife. How do you express gratitude for such kind actions? I did send him & his wife a gift certificate to one of my favorite restaurants with a kind note. But, it just doesn't seem like enough. To be honest, I'm not sure I could ever repay this small act of kindness. I only hope that some day I'm able to pass along this same type of kindness to someone else.

Monday, August 29, 2011

my near death experience at the hands of UDOT

As you may or may not know, I'm training for an Ironman 70.3 (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). As part of my training, I have to get in a longer bike ride each week. Lucky for me, I have a great friend, Rhielle, who is willing to do all these rides with me. Last week we decided to do our loop through Francis and the part of the Jordanelle bike course to add the extra miles. We also had our friend Sonia join us, so it was destined to be a great time!

As is typical of Utah in the summer months, there is construction everywhere. We knew that part of our route was under construction, but it was less construction than on any other route we might ride. We headed out fully prepared for a few bumps in the road. When we hit Oakley, there was one 3 mile section that was a single lane of traffic. Being the law abiding citizens that we are, we stopped to wait for our turn to navigate through the traffic. Rhielle went up to talk to the flag person to inform them how we would proceed through this section to ensure our safety. It was agreed that we would follow behind all the cars since we would obviously be slower than them. As we would be the only people on the road, we would ride down the middle so we were more visible. The man at our end would radio ahead to let the next person know there were 3 cyclists riding through so no cars would be sent before we reached the stop point for cars.

Everything seemed to be going as planned. We waited until all the cars had passed, got in line behind them and took off on this 3 mile section. The road was winding and slightly downhill. This was great as a cyclist; I had the whole road to myself and could maneuver through the turns without fear of any cars. Or at least that's what I thought. Just as I started coming around a curve there was a car directly in my line of travel. And, right behind it was another car, actually a big diesel a truck and a full line of cars heading out on the one lane road. I'll admit, I panicked a bit. Obviously our plan for safety hadn't worked. I was able to move out of the path of the first car. And fortunately, the big truck slowed down enough that I could move over to the non-working lane and travel the last quarter of a mile in safety.

Needless to say, we were all pretty upset with the flag person who had sent cars before we had made it to safety. After some heated words spurned on by all the adrenaline, we learned that she had not been notified that there would be 3 cyclists coming through at the end of the line of cars. She apologized and we completed our ride without further incident.

I tweeted about my experience and even mentioned the offending UDOT region, UDOT Region Two twitter account. I guess they don't really monitor their account because I never got a response. I even called the UDOT office, logged my complaint and asked for a call back. That was a week ago and I still haven't heard anything from them. The best part of the call--I was told that all the work is contracted out, so it really wasn't UDOT's fault that I was nearly killed in a construction zone. I'm sorry! Those contractors are representatives of your organization and as far as I'm concerned they are UDOT. I've since sent an email through the UDOT site requesting that they call me back. I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

china: american care package edition

*not pictured a small bag of Cheetos and a Hostess fruit pie for jg

One of the best parts of prepping for my trip to China was getting together a little care package of American goodies for meggie. During all the email exchanges during trip prep I continually asked if I could bring her anything from the US. I always received the same response---nothing! Okay, she did ask for a couple of necessary items that she had shipped to me from drugstore.com. And eventually, she did joking ask if I could bring her a diet Mountain Dew.

Well, that request got me thinking......and happened appears above. I just wanted to do my best to take all of meggie's favorites from America. It was so much fun figuring what to take, how to pack it and what meggie would be most excited to get. I was almost as excited to give meggie all her treats as I was to get to China!

When I saw meggie and jg at the airport, jg immediately grabbed my bag. I was so worried he would comment about how heavy it was and question what I had packed. Luckily, I didn't ask any questions so i didn't have to worry about ruining my surprise for meggie.

After we arrived in Yangshou, I could hardly wait to give meggie all her treats. We headed to their apartment to drop off all my stuff before heading to dinner. I started to unpack and give meggie the items she had requested. I then tossed her what appeared to be a hand towel stuffed into multiple ziploc bags and told her she should open it. When she opened it, she discovered the diet Mountain Dew.

I then proceeded to give her the other items pictured above---lots of meggie favorites! One of the best items I was able to take her was some dill pickles. Thanks to Wendy I learned that you can get dill pickles in little individual wrapped snack sizes. It was so awesome to had those to meggie. She is a lover of dill pickles and it is something she can't find in China.

I love that I was able to take a surprise and a little piece of America to my sister living in China. And, my bag weighed about 15 pounds less after emptying all of meggie's treats.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

oh the jet-lag!

As soon as my sister (meggie) and brother-in-law told me they were moving to China, I knew I had to go visit them. I'd never been to China and figured this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Back in January, they moved to the south of China; to a small town called Yangshuo. Sadly, I would be nowhere near the Great Wall, the Forbidden City or the Terracotta Soldiers, but I was going to visit a beautiful area of China.

After what seemed like a week, (but was really only 2 days) I arrived in Shanghai. I had about 17 hours in Shanghai before catching another flight to Guilin. I arrived late at night and headed to my hotel. Rather than change my clock, I figured I could just calculate when to set my alarm. Well, if you know me and math, it will come as no shock that I set my alarm to get up at around 7am (not 9am as I had anticipated). Oh well, I felt great so decided to get up and head out to do some sight seeing.

I wandered down toward the People's Square. It was so interesting to see several groups of people doing various forms of Tai Chi. There were people with fans, swords, scarves and just themselves. It was fascinating to see all the people up and about at that time of day. I wandered over to The Bund. If I was going to be in Shanghai, I had to see this area. It was so beautiful!

After walking through the city for about 2 and a half hours I was getting a bit tired and definitely hungry. I decided I'd better head back toward my hotel. Just around the corner from my hotel was a great area of all sorts of street vendors. I wandered looking for something tasty to eat (I knew my mom would not approve of me eating from a street vendor!) I found this yummy looking sesame filled pancake looking thing (yes, that's its official name). I bought a couple of pieces of fruit from another vendor. Then went to a little store and bought some water and juice to round out my meal. It was definitely delicious!

After packing up my stuff, it was off to the airport for another flight. By now I thought I'd be through with flying, but I guess the thought of seeing my little sister soon was enough to get me back on the plane. I must say, I like flying in China--they don't make you take your shoes or jacket off when you go through security. Quite a change from travel in the US! I couldn't wait to get to Guilin.

After getting my luggage, I walked to the lobby area and witnessed the most beautiful sight! There jumping to look for me was my sister! I was so excited to see her and jg. I was also lucky that one of their co-workers had some business in Guilin and was willing to give us a ride back to Yangshuo. It was only a 1 hour 45 minute drive and I would be to my destination. (for those of you keeping score, I traveled for close to 24 hours to arrive in Yangshuo) As soon as we got in the van, I could wait no longer---I had to give my sister one of the many American treats I brought her--Cheetos!

We headed to meggie's favorite mei fun place for some delicious dinner. Mei fun is a delicious noodle dish, served in broth with pickled radishes and spiced green beans. It was after dinner that things began to get fuzzy--I was exhausted!

Here's an example of just how "fuzzy" I was: On my last night in Yangshuo as we were headed back home, I said I wanted to stop and get a beverage. meggie and jg said we'd just stop at the same place we went the first night I arrived. I thought, great. When we arrived at this mysterious store I had no recollection of ever having been there before. I swore up and down that I had not been to this store, but a different one. meggie and jg assured me that we had been there. We all agreed that my memory was not to be trusted as I could hardly walk straight I was so exhausted.

I had no idea that around the world travel could take it out of you. My brother-in-law was determined to keep me up until 9:30pm (and he barely succeeded!)  I didn't want to spend my vacation sleeping. So I decided that it was just mind over matter to get over my jet-lag quickly. Ha! I had no idea.

**stay tuned for the American gift basket, me v. a piece of limestone and many other adventures. sorry if these posts seem a bit tedious, but i'm using them as a journal of my adventure.

**sorry for the lack of pictures. i'm on the road ,but wanted to start posting before i forgot everything. as soon as i return i'll post all my pictures to an album for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

room with a view

After several hours on an airplane, I finally arrived in China. Now, this is the view from my window every morning I wake up. Gorgeous, no? 

I got to spend a bit of time exploring Shanghai on my own before heading out to Yangshou (where Meggie and jg live) I was so excited to see the two of them waiting for me at the airport in Guilin. Unfortunately, the weather has been nothing but cold and rainy since I arrived. Hopefully it will soon clear and we will do some climbing and exploring. In the meantime, I'm eating every delicious food I can get my hands on, and there's a lot of it here! We've done some shopping and some indoor bouldering. There will definitely be more to share. But for now, just be jealous of my amazing view!

Monday, December 20, 2010

sisters, sisters......

Every year around Christmas time, my sisters and I watch "White Christmas." It's one of my favorite holiday movies. The performance of "Sisters, Sisters...." is one of our favorite. We're often heard singing it to each other throughout the year. I really love my sisters and feel very blessed to have them as sisters.

The other day when I attended the Jingle Jam with Wendy, I became a bit envious. All of Wendy's kids and her sisters kids attend the same elementary school. And, they all live within about a half mile of each other. As if that weren't enough, they all meet at Wendy's house each morning with their kids to finish getting ready and take the kids to school. There was definitely a pang of jealousy in me when I learned that.

I adore my sisters and wish that I got to see them everyday. My closest sister lives about 250 miles away in Hurricane, UT. I see CJ a handful of times throughout the year. I stay with her twice a year when I do the St. George tri and the Kokopelli tri. If I ever decide to do the St. George marathon again, she'll provide me with lodging for that as well. She also comes to Provo a few times a year--usually involving the Hurricane State Football championship game or some other sports related event. Sadly, when I see CJ it is only briefly and it is rare that her kids (and sometimes even her husband) are around. I wish they were closer so I knew those nieces and nephews better. I will take what little time I get with CJ as she is a busy mom of 4 teenagers.

My next closest sister lives about 280 miles away, at least for 10 more days. When Meggie got married, Jonathan took her away! Yes, he still had school to finish and his school was BYU-Idaho. But, still, we once lived within 5 miles of each other and spent a good deal of time together. I did go visit them in Rexburg over the summer (and ran a half marathon while I was there). Jonathan has been great and brought Meggie down to visit several times. Each of their visits are so fantastic and I've grown to love Jonathan more and more with each visit. Now, not only has Meggie left Utah, she will soon be leaving the country. She and her cute husband and heading to China for several months. It's an exciting adventure for them, but Meggie will be dearly missed. The best part, I have an excuse to visit China now! I can't wait for that.

And then, there's Mandy. Mandy lives 1200 miles away in Texas. I go visit her every year and she is good about coming to Utah. But, gone are the days of diet coke and a crossword puzzle in the history department. And, now that Mandy has 2 adorable kids, it will be even harder for her to make the trek to Utah for some sister time. I went to visit Mandy for Thanksgiving this year and boy was that trip not what we had planned. We were both looking forward to some good sister time; Mandy's last hurrah before baby number 2 came along in January. Well, Lucky's brother had other ideas and he just didn't want to wait until January. That cutie-pie decided November was a better time to arrive. I had a fantastic time with Lucky, but Mandy and I missed out on some good sister time. We did the best to cram a week's worth of playing into 24 hours, but it just wasn't enough.

As Wendy told me about the fun with her sisters, it really did make me a bit jealous. I thought how fun it would be to live within a mile of all my sisters, to see each other everyday, to have our kids (well, not that all of us have kids or any school aged kids for that matter) attend the same school, to enjoy play dates at the park. I miss having my sister's around to watch a good (bad?) made for TV movie with me. I'd love to see CJ and more of her kids' sporting events. I wish I was around to help Mandy right now and spend time with Maddy watching Monsters, Inc and playing outside. I wish Meggie was around to help me feel hip and cool and do fun crafting projects. Hopefully one day we will all live closer to each other. Until then, I will just have to enjoy what little time I do get with them. And, at least we can talk all we want thanks to mobile-to-mobile minutes.