Monday, March 26, 2012

Shamrock Shufflin' Success!

I completely forgot to update you on my training last week because life just got in the way.

In any event, I had a rather lazy last week pre-race. I got out for my Sunday long run (another 4.8 miles!) and then only ran one more time. The weather was hot, I was tired, and I barely eked out two and a half miles WITH walk breaks. I felt terrified for Sunday.

Sunday came. I woke up on time, feeling rested and ready to go. I was ready to beat my self-set goal of finish these eight kilometers in under an hour. After a very quick finish, I started to get tired. I accidentally shut off my running app in my phone. My pandora switched from the upbeat poppy music that keeps me going to a total emo channel. WHAT WAS HAPPENING?! We got to the end and there was a hill. It seemed NEVER-ENDING. Right around the corner was the finish.

I finished. I didn't take walk breaks save for the two water stations where I quickly downed a cup and trotted right back out there. I didn't even pause for P.I.C. to take my photo. I was in the zone.

My result? I beat my goal. I FINISHED! I DID SO WELL. I am patting myself on the back still, if you can't tell.

I celebrated by eating brunch and drinking bloody marys with good friends. After brunch, we went home, slightly buzzed. I signed up for a 10 mile race that's in nine weeks.

Let the training (and subsequent updates) resume. No rest for me.

I learned my lesson. Be VERY wary going out for brunch on a runner's high with running friends who will use those endorphins and vodka to convince you it's a good idea to run twice as far.

I'm doing it. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday update with a special thank you.

Before I update you on my training, I wanted to say thank you. I wrote a deeply personal post yesterday that revealed more information about myself than I usually do. (I mean, you all know my aversion to sauerkraut in the workplace, but that's not all that personal. Furthermore, I'm thinking that aversion does not make me special. People who LIKE the smell of sauerkraut in the workplace are in the minority. But, I digress.)

I am not a depressed person, nor do I live a bad life. I know this. I know that my student loan burden does not make me special, nor does it render me special treatment. Basically, I wrote about it because it sucks. At times, it makes my life very difficult. On the whole, I have a good life and I don't really want for anything, aside for more vacation days, that is.

For those of you that empathized, sympathized, or just said something nice? Thank you. It means a lot to me.

IN ANY EVENT. Let's talk about my rock star training.

The Shamrock Shuffle is now less than two weeks away. Eeeek! But not really. I downloaded a new running app to my phone and set out to run four miles on Sunday. I realized within a few blocks that the GPS was not working and I wouldn't be able to track my run. I decided on a loop and figured that I would stop after 40 to 45 minutes of running. I got to a certain street and felt okay, so I kept running. I got to the point where I decided, "Alright, let's see if I can run until I either get home or reach an hour, whichever is first."

I made it home. 58 minutes. I then mapped out my route. I ran 4.81 miles. No walk breaks. (And yes, if you are doing the math, you realize that I run approximately a 12 minute mile. SO WHAT, I KNOW I AM SLOW.) This is about 1.3 miles further than I have ever run in my entire life.

I am so proud of myself. I am nearly ready for this shuffle. BRING. IT. ON.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On loan forgiveness.

I signed a petition today regarding student loan forgiveness.

I am a lawyer. I started law school in 2002. When I began law school, the office of career services assured me that the average starting salary for its new graduates was $90,000.


I didn't go to a top-tier law school, but it was a solid top-100 school. It still is. I should not have had any worries about my future employment. I signed on the dotted line. I borrowed thousands upon thousands to attend law school. I didn't borrow the maximum. I had a scholarship and some grant money. Additionally, I worked twenty hours of week my first two years of school and even more during my third year. Truthfully, the money I borrowed didn't seem real to me. Why? I was going to make enough to pay off my loans in ten years. If I graduate law school at 25 (or 24 in my case), I will have that paid off by the time I'm 35. That's good debt, right?

Um, no.

I was fortunate enough to land a job within two months of being sworn in as a new attorney. However, even in private practice, my job did not afford me anywhere close to that promised salary. No worries, right? I just needed experience to get one of those jobs. My ten year plan was not necessarily off track. Two years later, I left for greener pastures (meaning, more money). I still struggled with my loan payments.

Two years later, I took a job with the government at a significant pay cut. The main reasons? I wanted a better life. I was completely miserable at my last firm. I temporarily went into forbearance to get on my feet. Six months later, I resumed paying my loans. In total, I have been paying my loans for over six years. My current balance? Nearly $15,000 more than when I exited law school. I have had a steady job since my first job. I have paid something, whether a partial payment or a full payment, on my loans since 2005. I have not defaulted. Yet I still cannot seem to make a dent.

A few months ago, my boss told me that he was only a few years away from paying off his loans. Rather than feeling happy for him, I felt complete despair for my own situation. More than that, I became very angry.

While I full accept responsibility for my loans, I am angry. I am angry that my education cost so much money. I am angry that I was promised a certain salary and have yet to come anywhere close to that amount as an attorney with six years of trial experience. I am angry that because my loan payments take up so much of my income, I am unable to save for my future. I cannot fund an I.R.A. I cannot save up for a down payment on a house for my husband and myself. I can barely find the money in my budget to allot for vacation, one thing that is more important to me than the house, the I.R.A., or even food. I'm kidding. (But not really.)

If something unexpected comes up, I don't have that "emergency fund." I use my credit cards entirely too much. I feel guilty after dinners out with my friends, knowing that the $75 I spent on dinner and drinks would be better spent in savings or toward my loans.

In all honestly, I fear that I will never pay off my loans. Allegedly, I have thirty years to pay off my loans. That means I will be paying these loans until I am in my fifties. My children (who are not even a spark in my eye at this point) will likely be in college as I am making my final loan payments.

I know I borrowed that money. I know I have to pay it back. But I just don't see how. What's worse? The market is so much worse for lawyers (and law students) now. At the very least, I have a job. I have coworkers who make my job enjoyable. My work is different every day, which I love. I have health insurance. But my office is on a raise freeze. No cost of living. No experience-appropriate bump. Nada. Zilch. I get nothing.

How am I supposed to save for my future when I know that I will have these loans hanging over my head for over two decades? Am I supposed to get a part-time job because the job I got (for which I borrowed over $100,000 to work THIS JOB) does not pay for my loans and afford room in my budget for savings? I just don't know.

This loan forgiveness plan makes sense. It would ease not only my burden, but also the burdens of thousands of similarly-situated lawyers (or graduate program-educated professionals). So sign it. Or don't. Maybe you'll accuse me of being an idiot for borrowing the money. Perhaps you will chalk it up to a bad investment and tell me to just deal with the repercussions of such. But I think many of my fellow classmates and those graduating in the subsequent years might agree with me.

To the coworker who is on a two-day sauerkraut bender.

I LOVE sauerkraut. I really do. Ever since I traveled to Munich for the first time and lived the entire weekend on a diet of sausage and sauerkraut (washed down with beer, OBVIOUSLY), I have loved it. In fact, I ate it nearly every meal when I was in Munich two weeks ago. I really love it.



It smells like fermented farts, and I don't like it. How am I supposed to get anything done when I am trying to figure out WHO FARTED?

Thank you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Shamrock Shake.

Next year, when everyone and their mothers are going crazy about the return of the Shamrock Shake at McDonald's, please remind me of the following facts:

1. A SMALL (12 ounces) has 540 calories.

2. It doesn't taste as good as we all pretend it does. Let's be honest, if I'm drinking something cold and minty, I'm gonna hope there's some creme de menthe in it, you know what I'm saying, Grasshopper?

3. The feeling in my gut after drinking approximately 75% of one small shake is not pleasant.


Thursday, March 8, 2012


One thing that is fun about German? You can just put all the words together and make a "SUPER" word. (Only they would say ZUPERRR. That's just how they pronounce this. Funwithgermanpronunciation.)

As you may have deduced from my braggy post yesterday, I took a quick jaunt over to Munich for five days to visit my dear friend. Yes, I'm quite the world traveler, I know. I am also aware that I made a lot of statements about how good it was to be home and not traveling for awhile. Please ignore anything that I say like that. If the opportunity presents itself for me to travel, odds are good I'm readjusting my grocery budget to nothing but ramen to make it happen. FACT.

In any event, we made certain to hit up on of my previously favorite spots in Munich, Hofbrauhaus. It's not the biggest beer hall, nor is it the oldest, but this is the very place in 2003 where my traveling companions and I picked up a stag party and ended up at some underground German club 'til...I really can't remember. It was light when we got home.

Here is a good comparison of how one might tell that I have grown up.

Hofbrau 2003: "Oooh, unruly British boys, let's go talk to them!"
Hofbrau 2012: "Ewww, drunken people almost puking, let's not sit there."

Hofbrau 2012: "Oh, thank goodness, they have the small beers. WHAT? You only sell the big beers after 6 p.m.? I guess we will split one."

Hofbrau 2012: "Oh, hello there, British gents. You're married and you have a long-term girlfriend? How pleasant, you're not creepy in the least."

Hofbrau 2003: "WOOOO! LET'S GO CLUBBING!!!!"
Hofbrau 2012: "Well, we've had two small beers and a pretzel, I suppose we should see about dinner."

Sigh. I guess I tend to be a bit more lame these days, but I'm okay with it. My 2012 visit didn't produce the epic night that my 2003 visit did, but I will tell you what, there is something to be said about wakingupwithoutahangover.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wacky Wednesday.

Yes, I had a rather heinous day today, but I do NOT want to discuss it. It is Wednesday, the unofficial day in which I bore the crap out of all of you and update you on my training.

I was in Munich for the weekend (NO BIG DEAL, RIGHT?!) and managed two runs. GO ME. (And best gal pal. GO HER TOO.) We enjoyed the lovely surroundings of the Nymphenburg Palace and its lovely grounds consisting of trails through a forest and ponds with all sorts of crazy ducks and geese. While I skipped out on two strength sessions, I did log running miles and counted my hours of walking as my cross-training. Four miles on Sunday and three miles on Monday. We walked for part, but still...miles are miles, I say.

While I'm not as great or as fast as I had hoped, I am amazed that I have stuck with this training program so well. I might deviate a day or two, but I get back into it.

This morning, the scale was one pound less. NOT TOO SHABBY.