Somehow, last night Tom and I hosted a little dinner party wherein I made a bit of soup and some lady friends came over for the express purpose of getting some henna tattoos. In honor of tomorrow's race, I elected to have my calves done. My friends? Went for other areas. I'm not sure exactly how to blog about this. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words. Be warned, there's tits and things ahead.
First up, A settles in for the "tramp stamp" ...
The process is pretty cool. The henna goes on really thick and black. You have to leave it in place for an hour or two to let it dry.
Apparently, if you eat only raw foods until dinnertime, you can have a figure like this. Personally I'd rather eat chocolate and jiggle. Nice tat, yes?
I'm up next.
I really like the designs she does on my calves!
Here's the finished product, after all the residue is scraped off, and some time has passed:
Moving on, my other friend (after checking with me) whips off her shirt and goes for the boob tat, shown here in a privacy-preserving illusionary mirror shot:
We have to wait an hour or two for the stuff to "set", so we settle in for some dinner.
As you can imagine, Tom (also good friends with these women, obviously) really suffered through this evening!
Boggs Mountain positively looms! On the one hand, I am very nervous about this race, and think I'm quite justified in being thus. Consider:
The longest I've run is 26.2.
In the past 2.5 months, I have only run about 50% of my scheduled runs.
These translates to about 60 miles a month.
I'm going to run 30 miles in a day.
2010 is the first year that I've truly run long distances.
4400' of elevation gain.
And loss. As Windnsnow suggests, I just might thrash my quads.
On the other hand, I am stoked. Rightfully so. Consider:
When I DO get on with my long runs (and they're often long; I don't do many 3 mile runs anymore. I don't know if this is a bad thing or a good) I've been running, kinda . . . effortlessly. I did 20 miles recently, and whilst it was slow (4:42 moving time, not counting all the fiddling and standing around time, which was considerable) it was pretty easy and enjoyable. I suffered a bit around 16-18 miles, but I'm finding that's pretty usual for me there, and I perked up nicely right after. I feel light on my feet and strong on my legs and capable of running long distances.
I run hills pretty much all the time now. I'm not running up mountainsides or anything, but my average 10 mile run encompasses about 1200' elevation gain, regularly. Hills slow me down, but don't take it out of me. I think I can handle the terrain without any big problems. I think.
I am completely unconcerned with time. If it takes me 10 hours to finish, so be it. If I hurt, I'll walk. If I break, I'll dnf. Pretty much any outcome is completely acceptable to me.
I'm hoping the facts that I'm very slow and very easy on myself, and feeling just on it and fine physically, add up to me having a fun, safe run on Saturday despite being so undertrained. I feel solid and confident.
What's the worst that could happen? That's rhetorical. Please don't answer!
This is the elevation profile for the Boggs Mt. 50k. That I'm doing next weekend. That I am wildly undertrained for. That's 4,400 feet of gain. I think I looked at it once before, like 3 months ago (when I, of course, figured I would be totally ready for it). I thought, Oh, no prob, I can handle that.
Now I'm just wondering, what the hell was I thinking? I think the only "flat" thing about it is when I fall FLAT on my face, as will surely occur. OMG, my ass is going to be so thoroughly kicked. Plus, I'm running with someone, I've got friends coming specifically to cheer me on, I've got a 20 mile Napa bike ride the next day, my longest run was yesterday at 20 miles (more about that in the next post) and I'm a lazy, lazy girl. I'm going to absolutely flail out there.
Ya know what? I CANNOT wait! I'm gonna have a blast!
also known as THE FUNNEST RACE I'VE DONE (so far!)
I've probably run 20 races at this point, I don't really know. All of them have been pretty low-key, low-attendance little local things with a couple tens of runners, maybe a couple hundred. I think the biggest event was probably the Reno Marathon, where there was maybe a thousand folks doing the half, but 106 doing the full (I came in 99th!!). I think every bib I have (and I've saved them all) has a 3-digit number. I'm small potatoes.
Or, at least I was. Running this race in San Francisco, with 19,999 other runners, was a whole different ballgame. The expo in Union Square, the night before, was positively thronging with people. Tom and I waited in line for about 1/2 hour for packet pick-up. Both of us just got a little overwhelmed with the bright!flags!music!people! I grabbed my bag and we headed for the side door. The volunteer was all, Don't you want to check out the Expo? I say, I don't do crowds so well, then skedaddled. So, if I don't do crowds so well, why choose such a big race? Because come to find out, Being in a Crowd, and Running with a Crowd are two very different things.
My very favorite part of the crowd was Lisa, who was running her very first half marathon. We found each other in the huge mass of people (thanks, cellphones), met and then bid goodbye to family and headed out into the sea of people.
There were pace groups! Assigned corrals (sort of)! Flash bulbs and humanity masses and, just, hordes! It's 6:30 in the morning and everyone has on tights and sweaters and hats and gloves and I'm standing there with my Tahoe insulation wearing (mostly) nothing but running clothes. Lisa and I chat and get to know each other a bit. Far away you can hear loud speakers going wawawa and waves of cheers pass through the crowd, but we are so far away from the start line where all the action is, we don't know what we're cheering about. I cheer and hoot and holler anyway, figuring Lisa better decide right now if she really wants to run this with some loud, obnoxious out-of-control woman she's never met. Bless her heart, I don't scare her off (or, she can't get away 'cause the crowd is way too tight) and eventually 7am rolls around and someone somewhere says Go! or whatever and the cheers really go up and we just . . . stand there. When you're in the 10:00 to 12:00 mile group, I found, you don't start at Go. You stand around and clap and shuffle a few feet then stand around some more. Later, you turn one corner, then another, and then . . . !! You see it! The start!
Right after I took this picture, I pick up or come into possession of or am given, I dunno, but somehow end up with the crown for my running outfit, a pink feather boa, which I wrap around my neck like Carol Channing (she had a boa, right? Whatever, I'm like an ostrich. Go with it.). 15:04 after the start (this becomes an important detail later on, methinks) Lisa and I cross the line! Woo hoo! We're off! I listen to about 20 seconds of my music, then turn it off and stash it for good. There is waaay too much entertainment going on for me to need my iPod (and this, friends, is a first). First, I'm surrounded by people and it's all I can do not to fall over, bang into someone, trip over discarded clothing or poke someone in the eye (I actually did poke some woman in the eye right after the finish, she was mad and shook her head disdainfully for 30 seconds like, The nerve of some people! while I muttered Sorry! and slunk away. But that's later). We're banging on downhill for a while, then it levels out and we're trucking along at a nice pace and Lisa says Look! Everyone's passing us! (it's true, they are!) and I, in the wisdom of my years of running, say There, there, Lisa, we'll pass them all later when we're strong and they're pooping out because they started out too fast! when in reality I don't know fuck-all about it because everyone always passes me and I never see them again, ever! but I want her to like me and not think I'm lame and slow (even tho I'm both) so I pontificate and then shut up. For a minute or so.
And then, wow! We're running through the early morning streets of San Francisco and this is just cool beans. Pass the TransAmerica building (sooo tall) then bang! onto the Embarcadero and it's so awesome being here and participating in this event that there's never a moment of boredom. First up we have a whole choir, for reals! and I'm excited because whilst I don't have a religious bone in my entire atheistic body, I simply love gospel choirs and their energy and clapping and big voices. Alas, they must have figured out that I was not down with Jesus because they were silent as I ran by, but still swaying and smiling and that was good, too. Lo! and behold, we do re-pass some of those people from the start and we continue to pass people for the rest of the race! (We were passed plenty, too, but that's nothing new for me, so why mention it?) Then there was more stuff going on all the time, breakdancers and Parkour dudes and tons of energetic, cheering volunteers (oddly, predominately asian?) and actual cheering stations and loud booming music and folks in costumes and weird hats and at one point I turn to Lisa and say (because this is, after all, San Francisco) "I expect to turn a corner and find a group of gay guys dressed up in leather and chains (ala Folsom St. Fair), cheering us along waving big dildoes at us." Actually, I left out the dildo part, but Lisa still looked at me strangely and didn't really respond. Sure enough, though, at one point there was a crowd of gay (or very secure-with-their-sexuality hetero) guys in hot pink body suits and make-up, handing out hard candies to us runners. From this I learned 2 things -- I really like hard candy when I run, and will brings some along with me in the future, and 2. You can dress more wildly than me and still go out in public. Introducing my new racing outfit:
The boa turned out to be too hot wrapped around my neck, and ended up around my waist for most of the run. My shirt's a little twisted up in this pic, but you can admire my pink tutu anyways. What you can't see is my hot pink dirtygirl gaiters, which complete the outfit. I'm thinking of wearing this get-up to every race ever, including the upcoming ultra. Whaddya think? Too much?
Lisa went with the pink theme, too, but because she's thin and beautiful (and not obnoxious in any way) she presents a much nicer visage:
I look like Petunia Pig. Bossy, too. ("Hey, don't take a blurry picture, random stranger with my phone! Dammit!")
OK, since this was a running race, let's talk about the running. Yup, we ran. In general, our pace was around 11:30 for most of the course. But the course? Was pretty damn hilly!
Lisa ran the first big hill at mile 6 like a darn billy goat, and that hill went on and on. She has virtually no practice running hills, though, so we decided after that one that walking them might be a better idea. Yay! I look for any excuse to slow the fuck down, even during a race, so I was happy to walk them. And there were a lot, it turns out. This profile might look kinda "eh, there were some hills" but you know what? That's 1,100 feet of elevation gain! In a half! That represents a lot of climbing!
And we climbed a lot and ran a lot and I paid no attention to time or pace or anything at all and just totally enjoyed every minute of the experience. Truly the best was being part of Lisa's first-time-ever experience. The last couple of miles were tough, tough, tough (them damn hills!) but she never flagged or lost her smile and I was so impressed and it was all just very cool. Yay! Finish line!
The finish line area was huge! There was sooo much going on! For the first time, I got one of those mylar blanket thingies and I was like Look! I'm an athlete! It was a good thing I got one of 'em, too, because as soon as we stopped it got cold and really rainy and I woulda been a mess without it. There was another bag to procure and groceries to get (Safeway was a major sponsor, so yes, there were groceries). Plus a finisher's tshirt (nice Nike thing, technical fabric and bright pink!), and a slew of firemen in tux's with Tiffany necklaces to hand out and well, you just don't see that every day. Lisa says "Oh, I gotta get mine from a hot one!" so here she is with her hot fireman!
This morning, I got an email from Nike with my "Official Time" of 2:56:53. There's nothing wrong with that, but I think it's bogus. Gary (who I forgot to make "raceready" and left on autopause) said 2:37. I stopped and peed once (only once!), so he can't be more than a couple of minutes off. I think they forgot (or haven't yet) figured the time it took us to actually cross the start line. I distinctly remember the clock saying 15:04 right before we crossed, so I'm calling it 2:41. So there.
So, all congratulations go to my new friend Lisa and her new PR! I had the best funnest, happy time during this half, and hope she did too (being her first, it had to be the superlative, right? She can run with somebody normal some other time!)
I STILL have been running less than I'm scheduled, but I've been doing better. The fatal flaw is when I'm down in Marin for my week of work. Getting motivated to run at all in between busy 12-hour night shifts has proven increasingly difficult for me. I did well when I had (for a brief time) a running partner, but left to my own devices I just decide to lay in bed a little longer.
When I'm home, I do fine. The other day, after not having run for a week, I went and cracked off a nice 17 miler. This was surprisingly easy to do, and the "easiness" gives me hope that I will be able to complete my ultra in two weeks without too much difficulty. (Hah! It might actually take me two weeks!). Oh, I know that 17 does not equal 31, but let me delude myself a little while longer.
I ran the Emigrant Trail, site of many long runs for me. I usually leave my car at one end and get dropped off at the other (I'd show a map, but I'm writing this on my phone and that's just way too complicated). Depending on exactly where you park, you're either in for 8.5 or an 11 mile run. This time, I parked -- and doubled it, for my 17 miler. A lovely Tahoe day.
I'm not sure what the proper blogging etiquette is regarding responding to comments ... Do you respond in the comment section (requiring readers to come back again)? Via email (seems so laborious)? In your head (uncommunicative)?
Whatever, this latest batch of comments is crying for attention.
In regards to the previous post ... I totally appreciate all of the Good job!s and Way to hang in there!s -- I'll take all of the strokes I can get. Thanks! But. The run outlined below wasn't a particularly bad run, or one I need validation for ... that, or some slight variation thereof, is what EVERY run is like for me! The half hour prep time, the endless gear misplacement and fiddling, the two miles of dwadling, the constant peeing, even the falling over into the dust (usually singing something like Domo Arigato Mr Roboto) ... this shit happens every day, folks.
OMG, I may be even odder than I think I am.
EMZ: Still, 3 minutes?!? Way to make me feel good!
LISA: I'm totally looking forward to meeting you, too. We'll be visions in pink!
EWA: Welcome #38! We'll see how envious you are when I'm shoveling out from under six feet of snow. Or waiting for the last of the snow to melt from the yard, in June. Or shopping at Safeway in December (a topic to be explored here at a later date). I kid, of course, Truckee's awesome. Most of the time.
SUaR: I would guess one would make Fucking Cheese by pounding the hell out of it. That's some cheese I do NOT want to taste! I once had a guy break up with me because, amongst a myriad of other failings, I swore too much. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out, motherfucker. He also thought I was too fat (size 9), too dumb, and not funny enough. I mean, c'mon!
FUNDERSON, Funderson, Funderson: My lack of preparation is in a different league than yours? Dammit, you're my litmus test. If even YOU are concerned with my lax running, I'm officially in big trouble. And I look forward to the time we meet up for a run. I travel lots. It's only a matter of time!
IRON MIKE: I only fiddle so obsessively for the first two miles or so. After that, I run like a normal person, more or less (minus the dancing, peeing and falling. Oh jeezus). Opposite of grace? Bootchez.
And last but most certainly not least, PAM: the leaver of this comment:
"So do you ALWAYS take your shoes off to take a shit, or was today special?"
I read this while filling my gas tank at some anonymous station near Sacramento and proceeded to wander around for the next five minutes laughing and chortling like a madwoman. Oh. My. God!!!
I seriously did not even think about what I wrote, or how it might read, until I read this comment. Too, too funny! To explain: ours is a strictly No Shoes household. I know, pretty out of character for me, but I pick my battles. On this day I chose not to flaunt defiance, thus Ready, remove shoes, pad over to the bathroom, shit, pad back, shoes on, etc. THEN do something like walk on the not-yet-dry deck.
Now I'm gonna be thinkin' that any day I shit with my shoes on is NOT a "special" day ....
To all of you: thanks for reading, and especially for commenting. I enjoy you ALL so much!
Wake up, late. Anything earlier than 9 is very optimistic. Tell your wonderful boyfriend all the things you plan on doing today, including cleaning both bathrooms and moving rocks around in the yard (a frequent activity around here). How you plan on being a rockstar girlfriend. Make a list of the many things you'll get completed today. Think about running. Wander over to the computer and spend the next hours adrift on websites and blogs. Feel it's suddenly vital to post something to your neglected blog, after over a month of inactivity. Fret. Post. Immediately and repeatedly, check for comments . . . Emz for the win, in 3 minutes!
Think about running some more.
Boil some pasta, fold clothes and spend more time doing nothing on the computer. Read. Realize it's 2:30. Nothing's done, no cleaning, no rock moving, you could always start on that . . .
OK, gonna go running now.
Spend no less than 20 minutes wandering around getting items. Mostly looking for running socks. Get your running clothes all together, start getting dressed, realize you already have running socks on. Sigh. Fiddle with everything for another 20 minutes. Water, belt, music. Headphones. String headphones around your clothes in a method only you understand. Realize you've done it for the wrong hydration system. Re-string headphones. Put on belt. Realize you're driving to your running destination, belt must come off. Undo headphones. Water, belt, music, put on shoes. Take off shoes. Take a crap. Shoes back on. Put belt and headphone assembly on without realizing it. Walk on newly stained (and wet) deck. Curse. Retrace steps, crawl through the woods (avoiding deck) to the car. Undo headphones and belt. Drive a mile to the trailhead. One mile.
Sit in car and continue to get ready. Take single key off of key ring, put on belt, string headphones. Sip of water, inhaler puff, get out of car. Realize headphones are caught up in seatbelt, re-string. Curse. Begin to doubt ability to function as human being. Lock car, double tie shoes, press "play" and hear Play That Funky Music, run 100 yards. Stop and remember to start the Garmin. Run another 100 yards. Stop and fiddle with waist belt, phone. Run 300 yards. Stop and pee. Walk a few steps, then continue running. Run 500 yards! Trip and fall, tucking and rolling in the dust. Giggle. Sit in the middle of the trail for a few minutes, then get up and run some more. Hack and cough and feel short of breath. Stop and restart the Garmin again (stopped after the fall -- you wouldn't want to mess up your speedy times now, would you?). Run another 500 yards, stop. Pee. Blow your nose. Run a little more (oooh, quarter mile?). Take some walking steps, because you deserve it. Pee again. Run some more, stop and look at the pretty view, have a sip of water. Try to tell yourself other runners do this, too. Fail to be convincing. Continue to fiddle and dwaddle for two miles. Pee again. Finally start to "feel" the run and get on with it (knowing that "getting on with it" doesn't mean you'll actually run any faster, just means that you cut down on the dwadling. Somewhat.) Sing along, loudly! (and wildly off-key), to your 70s soundtrack, sometimes throwing in dance steps and jazz hands. Hope no one sees you. Leap! off the trail in a flurry of clutzyness when a mt biker comes up behind you, startling you out of your Cher chorus. Trip again, pee again. Think about turning around at least 3 times. Run, run run.
Reach the car, bleep! off with Gary, hack up a lunger. Think about stretching, but don't. Take 3 minutes to find car key (which is in the same pocket it always is). Get in car. Drop and pick up key. Close car door on dangling earphones. Sigh.
Think about how none of your plans for the day happened, and you've just left more chores to cram into the next day.
Try to convince yourself that you are, indeed, a rockstar. For running.
1. Yeah, no posts for a month.
2. Haven't even been *reading* many bogs!
3. I've been sick (but that only counts for like 4 days, so . . . )
4. Running . . . hah! I think I've gotta be the most untrained runner out there, maybe with Funderson.
5. August: 47% scheduled miles run.
6. September: 30%. 30!!!
7. Today I'm blogging instead of running. Lame, for one who blogs as little as I do.
8. I've got all kinds of new running gear, like a Nathan pack and cool Moeben armwarmers, new trail shoes and 2 pairs of road shoes. Would be easy to justify if I, you know, ran.
9. Oh, yeah, that ultra at the end of the month. My first. 50k! That's like 31 miles, yo!
10. Guess how long my longest run has been lately? 15.7 miles.
How much do I NOT suck?
1. Yesterday I ran 15.7 miles, mostly on new local trails, and totally loved it! I felt like I coulda run a lot further, but it got dark AND I was super hungry. I called for a ride home (rightfully, this should go in the "I Suck" column for coming in early, but I really loved the run, so suck it).
2. I'm running the Nike Women's Half in two weeks. This is awesome because:
a. I *think* I'm trained enough to run for 13 miles.
b. I'm meeting and running this race with Lisa. This a big step for socially-awkward me. I'm wearing a tutu and looking forward to hooting and hollering and having a great time at this, my first big-venue race. (I may be awkward, but no one calls me shy!)
3. I'm running the Boggs Mt 50k at the end of this month. This is awesome because:
a. OMG, me! running an Ultra! Even when if I crash and burn, just the fact that I'm contemplating such a thing gives me a mental boost (AND physical terror, but hey).
b. I do believe that RBR might be joining me. Another social leap! This is especially thrilling because I think, in each other, she and I might find the perfect (read: slower than imaginable, and potty-mouthed) running buddy.
4. In the past few months, I have totally embraced my slowness. I may have paid lip service to this concept before (and secretly thought sub 10:00 miles were the shit), but lately . . . well. Fuck it. I run 14:00 trail miles, a little faster on the roads, and that's what I do. I won't ever run faster, I won't try to run faster, don't want to run faster, this is who I am and if you want to run with me that's the speed we're running because that's the speed I run. I am a slow runner. YAY! I'm a runner!
5. I think I have the capacity to run really far, especially if I, you know, run.
6. I have 37 followers (and 53 subscribers) on this blog!
7. I am teaching myself how to cook Indian food. Yesterday I made my own fucking cheese!
8. I plan on running today after finishing this post.
Thanks for hanging in there, readers. I hope to start posting with a bit more frequency, but don't hold yer breath!