Monday, August 29, 2011

"rest" days are anything but restful

I hate rest days. They are boring. Not that I desperately want to get out and sweat everyday, but there is a certain amount of smug pointage that comes with exercising, and on rest days, I have to get my smug elsewhere. Fortunately, the cow-woman in the Volvo who nearly hit me this morning is comfortably stupider than I am, so thanks for the smug, you ignorant slut.

So come on, dear readers of whom I have none: how do you get your smug on?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Oops I did it again

After the misery of the Portland Marathon, I swore left, right, upside-down and sideways (and backwards, since that was the only way I could walk) I would NEVER EVER RUN ANOTHER MARATHON. Apparently I didn't mean it. Come April 2012, I'm going to attempt to run the "challenging" Big Sur marathon. (I love that they call it "challenging," because, you know, other marathons are "easy," "carefree," and "a breeze.")

I suck at documenting stuff (note absence of info about Ragnar, which was awesome, and RSVP, which rocked), but I thought I'd try again. Since I don't officially start training until December, this is the long, dull ramp up to the beginning of the marathon schedule. Lucky you!

So here's an exciting photo to be getting on with: my shoes. And the icky wrap thing I wear around my leg in a somewhat superstitious attempt to ward off shin splints. These will likely NOT be the shoes I wear for the actual race, but they're close enough. Anyone want to follow the schedule with me? I'm doing Hal Higdon's Advanced 1 this go round, I think, so if you're interested in joining along (not on actual runs as I don't much like running with other runners, sorry, but you're welcome to join me here on the blog), you can find the training schedule here.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

training by racing?

I should probably explain that, for me, "racing" is basically "slightly faster training." I don't really race 'cause I'm not fast enough to place anywhere and I live in terror of pushing too hard too soon and not being able to finish. So, if you're at all impressed by the idea of multiple races in a month, by all means go ahead and be impressed! But like your momma once told me: you're easy.

So last weekend I did the Coeur d'Alene 1/2 marathon (you can't cross the finish line until you spell the town name correctly, but I'd done my homework), and today I'm heading out in....8 minutes to run the Mud & Chocolate 1/2. I'm hoping to go light on the former and heavy on the latter.

I have bagels. I've had coffee and done what my friend Rachel insists on referring to as "serious business." I'm already wearing my Garmin and I'm a little queasy. Yep. Must be race day.

This is a trail run at the Redmond Watershed Preserve, an area I've never been to. I'm not expecting a PR here, or even close to it, but staying under 2 is my main goal these days for halfs. I'll let you know. I'm also planning my first "Really Like Ragnar" set of runs for later this month. That's the bit where you run your first leg, wander around feeling nervous for a few hours, run your second leg, try to sleep a little, run your third leg in the middle of the night, all interspersed with peanut butter and fear.

Again, I'll let you know.

If you see me out trotting up hills in the wee hours of o-dark-thirty, please wave. If you must honk or otherwise make a loud noise, could you wait until you're where I can see you? I'm planning on being jumpy and carrying my pepper spray, and that could just be ugly for both of us. I'm also planning on taking video on the AngstCam. I think that could be very amusing. Or deathly dull.

Wish my luck this morning, as you know I'm wishing for you. Two minutes.


Sunday, May 08, 2011

No-regrets Ragnar

I decided for reasons I am yet unclear on that I wanted to run in the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage race this year. Because I don't have 11 friends foolish enough to do this with me, I submitted my name as "looking for a team," and some women rashly invited me to join them.

Every runner on a 12-person team runs three legs over the course of 187 miles (Blaine to Whidbey Island) over "a day, a night and a day." Legs vary in distance and difficulty, from 5K to over 10K, from "easy" to "very hard." Teams have a limited window to complete the distance, but at this point, I'm having a hard time nailing down exactly how big that window is.

I said I'd be happy to run any leg, so our team captain gave me position 1, with legs 1, 13 and 25. This is perfect: not so hard that I'll end up getting our team swept off the course (I hope), but not so easy that it won't present a real challenge. It also means I get to start with a representative from every team (the only time we'll get to see that) and run from Peace Arch State Park, which sounds pretty frickin' cool.

Especially since the last .75 miles of my final leg looks something like this:

I has a fear.

My race profile is 6.3 miles (hard), 4.4 miles (moderate) and 7.8 miles (very hard) for a grand total of 18.5 miles.

I'm not that concerned about the distance, since I've run farther than that doing marathon training and races. What spooks me slightly is the little-sleep, wow-my-teammates-are-fast aspects. I don't want to be the slowest, and I really don't want to be the grumpiest. I calculate my third leg as happening sometime in the middle of the night, which should be interesting....

I'm going to try to limit my incarnation as the seven dwarves to just four: Bashful (at first, I've never met these women!), then periodic rotations through Sleepy, Happy and Dopey.

So Friday began my somewhat unintentional training for the Ragnar. I went for a run that just happened to be slightly longer than my first leg. So I decided to see if I could do all three legs in 24 hours. Saturday morning I went for a moderate (read: leisurely) 4.4, and Saturday afternoon ran a hilly 8 to, around and back from Discovery Park. It went surprisingly OK.

I'm hoping to do a more realistic trial run as the race day gets closer: an early morning hard run, a late afternoon moderate run, and a middle-of-the-night nasty. If anyone wants to come along for that one, some company sounds just peachy.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Help with the Hills

It's 36 degrees out there. Thirty-six?! Rly? Spring is acting like my brother who nearly had to be induced when my mom was a few weeks past the due date. (That's a question: who past the due date, mom or baby?) How does one induce spring artificially, and what are the potential consequences?

Anyway, I'm just about to go on out for a long run, and it has me thinking about the race I did last week. The run itself was fine, but even more interesting were the conversations along the way. Most of the time, I prefer to run the same way I prefer to fly on an airplane--without talking to the strangers around me. But long-distance running can get awfully boring, so runners often move from conversational partner to conversational partner depending on gait and goal time.

One woman was from Canada, but given that we were on Whidbey Island at the time, she was closer to home than I was. We chatted for awhile, she was a runner at about my pace and strength level, so it was reasonably comfortable. All of a sudden, half-way up one of the bigger hills, she said, "Talk to me. I want to walk."

So we talked. About nothing in particular except that we were doing fine, all was well, no one needed to walk, we could see the crest of the hill (never mind that there was snow on it, and Mallory's remains), etc. etc. We got to the top just fine and then got separated at the next water stop.

Many runners invest a lot of ego in being runners: I know I do. So asking for help and admitting you want to walk is a big deal. And she was running really strong at that point; I was surprised when she said she was thinking about walking.

I looked for her at the finish line, but I couldn't find her, so I don't know the end of her story. I'm sure she did well.

This little tale has neither punch line nor happy ending (nor ending at all, really), but it made me wonder if I'd ever be brave enough and strong enough to do what she did and reach out, ego and all, for help getting up the hill.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Clipped, a modern-day fairy tale

What do you do when you hate your stupid temp job, and an animated--if deeply creepy--icon on your desktop offers to give you the world? Read the story after the jump.

Eat your heart out, Virginia Woolf

I'd like to think Virgina Woolf would be proud, and maybe a little envious. I have a room of my own. (And I'm gaining 5 pounds a year, but I don't think that's what she meant by "have five pounds a year.") I am ensconced. There's no other word for it.

The room is nice. It's downstairs in our house and peeks out from under the balcony of the second floor. My bird (squirrel) feeders are outside this window, and once the birds have adjusted, they'll be back. Right now there's one soggy house finch looking miserable and cranky in the bottom branches of the plum tree. It's been a long, wet winter.

My room has, at the moment, two cats (one on my lap, the other staring out the window), two computers and one human. And for writing, that's about the perfect configuration. Toastie, my partner, has set up the computer for me so it gets WiFi. There's an odd-looking thing doing the backstroke on my shelves which he tells me is the antenna.

This is my writing space. My staring-into-space space. I am fortunate, I know, to have this space, so here's my promise not to waste it, squander it, twist, fold or multilate it.

Join me?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Free books to libraries, schools

Now Marietta has found her way to Kindle, I reckon I can reduce the stock of physical books in my parents' basement. If any school teacher or librarian would like some books, I'm happy to pass them along and get them in the hands of readers. All you pay is postage. If interested, please add a comment below so we can get in touch.

To review the book in advance,