Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hellooo, September

What kind of posts do you find on a running blog authored by a chick who hasn't been running much?  NO posts, apparently.  At least, that's what you'd find here.  If you looked.  If you're still here (which, apparently, you still ARE, because I have something like 90 subscribers in Google reader, even though it's been months).  That's amazing.  Who ARE you tenacious people?

I've really been taking it easy on the running lately.  Like, waaay easy.  No races, no training plans, no goals, not even much running.  I still just don't feel like it.  So there.  I've been quite active nonetheless, with some big ol' bike rides, some scattered running.  And Crossfit.  Oh yeah, Crossfit.  I think THAT's where my physicality has gone lately, and I am eating. it.  up.  I've been going regularly since April, and have noticed changes in my strength.  I'm developing some guns!  Well, more like little teeny-tiny pistols, maybe, but still.  It's toning me way more, all over, than running ever did, or maybe has added a LOT to the tone that running has given me.  I go, I hate the class while I'm doing it, as soon as it's over I'm all THAT WAS AWESOME, I love this!  And then I'm all, I'm a fking bad-ass!  Et cetera, et cetera.  

Not that much of a bad-ass, really.  My goal here?  I want to be able to do one, I repeat, ONE, unassisted pull-up by the end of the year.  December 31.  ONE.  This is not the goal of a true bad-ass (who could probably do 10, 50 at least), but one of a wannabe bad-ass.  That's ok.  I'm happy as a wannabe.

I'm also happy as a hiker, and that's why Tom and I found ourselves backpacking 40 miles of the PCT over 3 days this weekend.  

Happy, happy, happy!  We went ultra-light, with backpacks that Tom and I (mostly Tom, mind you) made ourselves a few years ago.  Fully loaded, water, food and everything else, my pack weighed in at 24# and Tom had 28#.  Not too bad for 2 nights and 3 full days.

This light pack, and my general awesome bad-assitude (hah!) allowed my to try something I've never done backpacking before . . . I ran!  Well, it was more of a shuffling-kinda-trot thing, faster than a walk, not a full on jog.  24 pounds does add up!  I was unable to run the uphills, I just lacked the power, but was able to move along relatively quickly on the flats and downhills.  Over the three days, we gained around 7600' and lost around 5000'.  In retrospect, there wasn't much flat.

There's Tom, way ahead of me on the trail.  He's a superfast hiker, and -- as we all know -- I'm a superslow runner.  With the combination of him motoring along, and with my mix of walking and trotting, we actually made really really good time, 10-15 mile days.

I also added another new thingy to my running inventory . . . a stick.  I've used it for about a month now, and only on really technical stuff.  I fall down - a lot - and this thing has helped with that.  I'm using the Black Diamond Z Pole, pictured here:

They come in pairs, but I only use one (I think two would trip me up).  Tap, tap, tap down the trail I go.  The thing is super light (9.8 oz for the 120 cm size.  I am 5'7, and in hindsight should have bought the 110 cm length.  Next time.  The 120 does work, but I find I want to not swing my arm much, and with a shorter stick it would be easier, if that makes any sense).  It folds and unfolds super quick and snappy.  For a while I dithered about trying to figure out where to stow when I was running and didn't want it (previous to this trip) -- hold it? put it on the side of my Nathan running pack? It was awkward.  I ended up just tucking it into the bottom of both straps, length-wise across the small of my back.  Sounds uncomfortable but isn't, and worked really well, even with my backpacking pack.

This stick thing has been awesome, and sure made running this weekend easier on my feet and knees.  I used to kinda snicker at all the walkers with their funny ski-poles, tapping around and looking foolish, but now I am a convert.  I have yet to fall over with the stick, and this from a runner who falls down nearly every time I go out.  This weekend it was indispensable.

Anyhow, we walked and hiked and ran.  We saw tons of wildflowers (soooo late this year, they're usually all gone by July or early August, but all the snow we had . . . ), oh and we saw snow (still out there in these mountains, for sure), got chewed on by mosquitoes, ate reasonably tasty homemade dehydrated morsels, had lots of great views, laughs and sore body bits.  Here's a couple of pics.  (I left out the one of my poor, mosquito-bitten legs.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Food and I

It has taken me no fewer than 43 years to admit that I don't "just eat the food that tastes good" but, in fact, am quite a picky eater.  There's lots of things that have caused me to make The Yucky Face, of which I surprisingly don't have a digital photo, but involves me squinching up my entire face, much like a child eating beets.  Or, this:

With the eyes all squinchy too.  Certain things are just . . . gross.  No matter how you slice it, stuff like . . . okra, for instance . . . is just slimy and doesn't taste good and I see no reason why I should eat it.  This makes me picky?  I'd rather think it makes me, say, the possessor of a delicate palate.  Discerning.  Able to state my preferences.

OK, so I'm picky.  There are certain foods that I would rather not eat.  Until a month ago, two foods that were definitely on that list were Yogurt (oo! Slippery! Sour! Curdled! ALIVE!) and Honey (oo! Sticky! Sickly Sweet! Remembrance of the childhood hate of Bit O'Honey candy! Gloopy!).  Never would either pass my lips in an unaltered form (seriously mixed with plenty of other foods? maybe).  Just, instant Yucky Face.

And then.  Then!  While I was in Greece, I was presented with (certainly did NOT order, oh no) a breakfast of Greek yogurt -- just called "yogurt", mind you -- drizzled with honey.  Omigod, not one but two! foods that I don't like, mixed TOGETHER in a bowl for fuck's sake, that I'm supposed to consume for breakfast, a meal I don't even eat.  WTF?  Tom's just like, try it! and -- with a sense of vacation adventure, but fully prepared to make The Yucky Face -- I DO!!  And, holy shit, my immediate thought is WHERE HAS THIS FOOD BEEN ALL MY LIFE????  And that is how this:
has become a daily staple in my diet.  I am right now counting down the hours until it won't be unseemly to stuff my face with some more.  Seriously, if you haven't tried this particular combination before, go right out and get yourself some because, like properly prepared fiddleheads, this is the food of the gods.  Mix in a little granola and I see no reason to really ever have to eat anything else.  It's that good.  Low calorie, full of protein, the definition of deliciousness.  You can even buy it with the honey in a cute little sidecar, all ready for the mixin'.  

All of which leads me to wonder . . . hmm, if I mix some other of Gross Foods together, might the same thing happen?  I'm thinking . . . banana and eggplant? cooked fruit and offal? marmite and fruitcake?

Living and breathing

What's been happening?

I returned from GREECE ON JUNE 2.

I ran the Reno Tahoe Odyssey 178 mile relay RACE ON JUNE 3-4.  I am damn sure my 11 teammates, especially the 5 in Van #2, thought I was certifiable, for I did not sleep nor shut the fuck up for 27 hours.  Someone saw fit to give me a cowbell, a move they surely regretted.  WooHoo, go runners!  Woohoo! CLANGCLANGCLANG!

Somehow, my team adopted my standard race outfit of tutu (and various other pink items) and we were called the Truckee Tutus.  They were awesome.

And, lo and behold, I ran . . . fast!
Leg 8: 4.6 miles, 51:21
Leg 20: 4.2 miles, 37:03
Leg 32: 3.9 miles, 32:05
No, I'm not going to tell you how much elevation loss change there was, either.  Let's just say I have found that I'm really NOT a slow slow runner, I just need to run downhill more often.

I ran another maybe three miles in support of a lagging teammate.  So maybe 15-18 miles all together?  After I was done, and for the next day and a half or so, I swear I felt like I had run a marathon.  Joe Cocker-ing all over the place, stairs one at a time, gimping around like an old lady.  I was not expecting that!

ON JUNE 16th, the SNOW finally FINALLY melted from our yard, assisted by a prodigious amount of shovelling.  Yes, in Tahoe we shovel our yards.

Also ON JUNE 16th,  I returned to work.  Quite a chore after 6 weeks of, well, NOT working.  The time off has seemingly done the trick (so far).  As far as I can tell, my raging case of burnout has lifted, because I no longer seem to hate everyone for simply breathing in my airspace (fear not, funderson, I still hate everyone for plenty of other reasons ;-), and once again  I look forward to going in to work and can leave 12 hours later with a smile on my face.  Hopefully this state of mind lasts at least until a month or so before my next vacation in December.

ON JUNE 21, I WEIGHED 145 pounds. down from my all-time OMG! high of 158 what, 2 1/2 months ago?  I did my little detox diet thing, and haven't dieted or anything since then.  What I DID do, however, is cut almost all refined sugar out of my daily diet.  No candy, no sweets and, most importantly, almost no coca-cola.  The last is a huge one for me, the drinker of usually 3 cokes a day.  I haven't sworn off cokes (or sugar, for that matter) absolutely completely forever, because I don't think I could actually do that.  I just try to make decent choices, mindful choices, and go with that.  This means maybe 1 coke a week? and a dessert or whatever if I really want it.  Mostly, somehow, I don't.  Funny enough, once I made it through the 3 weeks of no sugar, all of those cravings kinda went away.  I am very, very happy with the food I am eating these days.  I've been keeping to Crossfit two times a week (and oh jeepers that's a fucking killer of a class, I always suck, I'm always gasping, I'm always last, I love every minute of it (at least in retrospect) which no doubt has helped with the weight loss (or muscle gain).  I'm fitting into clothes I haven't worn in a while.  I have a sort-of goal to be under 140 by August.

Running?  Yes, I've been running.  This year, for the first time in a looong time, I don't really have any plans.  No upcoming races, no goals, no nothing.  I THOUGHT that I was going to do a couple few 50k's this year at the very least, in preparation for my 50 mile goal of next year.  My knee injury in December, and the looong wait for my mojo to return (has it? maybe.) have made me toss the 50k distane (and, seemingly, races all together) out the window for now.  You know what?  I just don't care. I am perfectly happy going out 3-4 times a week, running 5-7 miles a go, taking my sweet old time and not following any kind of schedule at all.  This is a first!  I'm just plodding along and not telling myself this week it's 20 miles, next week 30 and I must increase my long run right now!  LONG run?  What's that?

Funny, I don't feel at all lazy or unmotivated or pressured to do more, do better.  Not that I've ever done better, but you get the drift.  I'm . . . content.  Just running 20-25 mile weeks, slow as I ever was, trotting out there and back.  This is pretty comfy.

Having said that, I'm considering a 50k in October, and still want to run a 50 miler next year, so I'll have to whip together some plan sooner or later.  Right now I'm just a-cruisin'.  Do I want to run today? Yes? No? My only rule is, make it at least 5 miles a pop.

I should make an adjunct rule of, run, then Come Home and Blog About It, because then maybe I'll have more than one post a month.  Thanks for hanging in there!

Monday, June 6, 2011

An excellent question from The Mayor

Found in a guidebook in Milos, our next destination after Santorini.  This has provided us with, quite literally,  hours of entertainment.  But we are slightly odd ducks.  Your milage may vary.

Please don't mind me, I'll just be over there, trying to block air in a skin bag.

Return to Normalcy

I've returned to "normal" (as evidenced by my lack of posting, hee hee).  I have fixed the previous post, which was simply FUBAR'd, but is now all legible and matched with photos and all that fancy stuff.  And worth going back and taking a look at, if'n you care to.  When it posted for the umpteenthh time all jangled up, back when I was still in Greece, I just kinda lost all tolerance and stopped blogging while intoxicated international.  I've been home now for a number of days, and lots of stuff has happened in that time.  I'll be working on a post soon.  However, there was one important enough thing that happened, relayed in that previous FUBAR'd message that prolly no one read, that bears its own little bit of repeating.

Back in ol' Santorini, an island famous for its sunsets, we was hanging out under this sunset:

and Tom proposed to me, and I said Yup!

More posting, coming soon,

Thanks for hangin' in there.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The latest news (for the third and final time)

Well, Santorini turned out to be all that we had expected, and more. We are presently on a ferry (really quite comfortable -- I hadn't known what to expect) bound for the island of Milos, which ought prove to be of a very different character than Santorini.

As for the former, we decided to see a bit more of it than our feet would allow and had the hotel arrange for us a couple of scooter rentals. Alas, despite the fact that I drove a motorcycle for some 5 years and Tom is, well, Tom, without a moto license we could only rent this piece of shit:

I'm sure if we had rented in person we could have haggled around the license issue because subsequently I saw plenty of folks on scooters who had obviously never even sat astride such a thing before, never mind having a license, but whatever. We got the beast.

This thing was a huge piece of shit, beginning with the fact that well, it's a quad, compounded by the fact that it was thrashed to within an inch of its life. Certainly there were better quality quads available, because we SAW the fancy ones with all the bells and whistles like, you know, functioning mirrors and blinkers and stuff. Bits of ours were literally held together with bailing wire and staples:

Nevertheless, we clambered on in good faith and headed out to explore the island. I left the driving to the much-more capable Tom. A wise choice, as driving the thing turned out to be less about driving and more about just keeping it from crashing. The engine sounded just like a refrigerator with two hours to live, GAAARRRRrrrrrrrrGAAARRRRrrrrrrGAAAAARRRRrrrrr! What a pig!

Being volcanic in origin, the beaches of Santorini are not the typical white sandy things of the rest of the Cyclades, instead offering some more unique varieties. We spent some time at a black beach:

a red beach,

and, my favorite, a kinda gray beach:

and had ourselves a really nice lunch at a traditional Greek taverna. The island is covered in vineyards. Interestingly, due to the hot, arid climate here the grapes are not grown in the fashion you might see in Napa or, presumably, France. Rather, they wind the vines into "baskets" on the ground, which hold in as much moisture as possible, and thus the vineyards look like this:

We stopped at vineyard and got ourselves a great bottle of the local wine for about 12 bucks. Super tasty!

Yesterday we once again headed out on foot for the town of Oia. Knowing the terrain better, this time we covered this distance in record time, though this time Tom pretty much beat me. Walking. Then asked me to pose for this picture:


We had a delicious seafood lunch at this picturesque spot:
Well, mine was delicious. Tom ordered calamari, so he got what he deserved. Granted, it was probably the best calamari I have ever tasted, but in my mind there's a built-in limitation there.

We returned to our room, I cooked up a pretty tasty dinner, we downed yet another bottle of the local wine, and under this sunset:

Tom proposed to me and I, of course, said yes.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Live from Santorini

I did one more long-ish (10 or 12 miles) run in Switzerland, up and down and all around, it was complicated and variable and beautiful and there was a lot of elevation and terrain changes. It would have made a fine blog post (and someday may still do so) but for now that ship has sailed and lots of other stuff has occurred (like a day in Athens checking out the Acropolis and other ancient treasures), more time passed and we find ourselves in Santorini and it's simply awesome. This place is super busy and quite expensive in the summer, but I think now is the best time to come because it's a slower pace, much less people and actually quite reasonable in price.

We got here yesterday morning, wandered around a bit, inquiring at different guest houses and villas and "apartments". There are some super duper fancy places here, costing well over $400 per night, even now in the off season. We oohed and aahed and then avoided such places, eventually finding an awesome little room that would undoubtedly be off of our radar in the high season, but which we snagged for a cool 60 Euros per night We got a funky room in the Santorini cave-house style, complete with kitchenette and stunning view. The cave-house thing (built to better withstand earthquakes) really lends a lot of character:

It's a small little 7 room place, perched along with tons of others on the famous Santorini cliffs. We feel like we really lucked out with this place and are getting a huge bang for our buck, especially after this was delivered to our little private balcony this morning:

It doesn't get much better than that!

Well, actually it does because we got up this morning and decided to journey to Oai, a little town some 6 miles away from where we are staying in Firostefani, via a twisty-turny up and down, concrete cobblestone kinda-pavé sometimes dirt sometimes gravel always changeable path that runs along the cliffside from here ...

... to there ...

And I found out that, much to my chagrin -- at least in this type of variable terrain and constant elevation changes -- Tom's super fast hiking speed and my super-slow running speed are, embarrassingly conveniently just about the same. I'd trot past him on the flats and downhills, he would invariably catch up to me (even passing me once, oh the humanity) on the uphills, averaging out to a really enjoyable time for us both.

Who could this be?

We tackled the 6 hot miles in perhaps an hour and a half (we both walked at a reasonable pace for the first and last half-miles -- too crowded for speed). We then wandered around the little town of Oai for a little while.

If I haven't mentioned it (and oh, I think I have!) Greece seems to have a lot of dogs that .... just wander around and then fall asleep, like, everywhere.

Santorini, obviously, has the same canine population, as well as the feline version:

and no one seems to really care much at all (except for the tourists -- including me -- who were crowded around taking photos of both of these animals. Dumb tourists!). Perhaps no one really minds because this, this! surrounds us all:


So we wandered around and around, then had a nice leisurely lunch, did a little grocery shopping for tonight's dinner and then . . . ran the 6 miles back home. In this way I achieved a couple of things: got the exercise I've sorely been missing the past couple of days, got in a two-a-day in preparation for June's big 178 mile relay race (remember that commitment?), received solid confirmation of just how fking slow I really am (though I prefer to think of it as how fast Tom is), and made room in my belly for this little snack (please note the lovely view -- later, we'll photoshop out the power lines):

ps. I think I've swapped my CocaCola habit for a beer habit. I'm considering that to be an improvement.

pps. Santorini is known for its sunsets. Here's what is happening right now:

ppps. Lost 2!!! followers today! Where'd you go?

Monday, May 23, 2011

My morning

So it's been a little difficult to blog, due both to Internet issues (now non existent) and Bootchez laziness issues (always existent). We have made it out of Athens and are now in amazing Santorini. Right now we are on our deck overlooking the Aegean Sea and omymy, I'm just in heaven. Check out our view:

((because I said Internet probs nonexistent, the photo wouldn't post. I'm blaming it on BlogPress, though. Damn. Imagine beautiful, world class view, fancy people doing yoga, dogpuke. Sorry!)

Taken just now. Wow. On the little deck below us, some group of tourists (and this place is crawling with them) is doing a yoga class. Five minutes ago one of the stray dogs (plentiful in Athens, less so -- but still present -- here) ambled over to the class, laid there, got up and vomited -- twice. Right in front of the class. Giving new meaning, I suppose, to Downward Dog. Upchuck Dog?

Sure, I can manage not to blog for days and days, but as soon as a dog pukes, I'm all over it! (the instructor covered it up with an overturned plant pot).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Oh, sorry!

Sorry about the last post! Man, I was pissed! It was such a looong post! Remember, save and save often. I think the network timed out? I dunno but I'm mad at BlogPress because it sure acted like it was saving.

Anyhow, I did what any good runner will do, and I went out for a run. There's some really nice trails right out the back of the hotel. I ran some, I picked some flowers, see?

Then I came back to the hotel, showered, and bought myself some of that wine out of the vending machine, see?

So now I'm feeling better. I'm sitting here at the red table in the little hotel lobby because, even though it was advertised as such, it does NOT have wireless in the room. If I were paying for the room, I'd complain, but I'm not so I'll cope.

Speaking of the hotel, the company Tom's working with booked us into a place he hasn't stayed before, the Hacienda Hotel. Yah, we come all the way to Switzerland to stay in a "Mexican" hotel. Before we left, Tom and I had a bet: on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being Holiday Inn and 10 being, oh, any Mexican restaurant in America, exactly how kitchy would this place be? I went with a six; Tom, whose been to Switzerland numerous times, chose a more reserved three. Actually, we were both wrong. With the exception of the requisite sleeping Mexican etched into the glass doors . . .

. . . (well, perhaps not so visible in the photo but I ain't going back upstairs, trust me it's there), it's like . . . Ikea. Like a -1, maybe.

And see how thick the cement walls are? It's like a fucking bomb shelter. Hence, no Internet in the room. The people in the next room could be having an orgy and we'd be none the wiser. There's NO airflow, and it's tiny in there (also, twin beds!), but again, it's comped, so I'm happy.

Though still pissed at the internets.

Ok, did I actually break the internets? Now I can't even sign on. If you're reading this, it means I've actually gone UPSTAIRS and am sitting in the hallway, the HALLWAY! signing onto the network that's supposed to work in the room (but doesn't). The freaking PHONE can sign on, but the iPad can't. Meaning you might not see another post from me till Saturday, when I actually might have some access. I'll just post this, write a bunch, and post it when I can. I take back the "sorry".

I'm still drinking all the wine, and might buy myself another bottle even.

Note: this post is a little old. My "lost" and redone post is a few deep back there, it posted for the day I typed it, not the day I posted it. It is called Route of the Counts, so check it out. Who knows where this one will post. Now I have SOME email access, but not the best. Traveling, you know. Had a great run yesterday, will get to that. Arrived this evening in Athens, within spitting distance of the Acropolis, oh my oh my. Just had an awesome meal, and now relaxation time. I'll be in touch, with yesterday's fun time and all the fun to be had in the coming days. Thanks, folks!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Ok, so the internets seemingly have broken my iPad. All of the sudden, it refuses to be recognized. Perhaps it's still digesting the lovely post I wrote? In any case, whatever. I'm not writing big long posts on the phone. Just forget that noise. I'll be writing posts, you'll just have to wait until Saturday or Sunday (or the return of my iPad's sanity) to be able to see them. If you've been a longtime reader, I think you can cope with a few days of silence from me. I'll be back, and I'll be writing and running. And, oh yeah, during all this computer frustration? I've been drinking the wine out of the vending machine.

Hang in there. Soon, there will be a veritable FLURRY of posts for you to read.

Mmm, vending machine wine ...

Oh my fuck!

I just typed a super long post, complete with funny and pictures, and the shitty wifi at this crappy hotel just ATE the whole ficking thing. I want to cry! An hour and a half it took! Fuuuck! I'm going for a run. I'm sooooo pissed!

Route of the Counts

Alright, I'm done complaining for now. I'll just save a lot, and somehow marry all this text with the photos at some later date.


So, yesterday's run was labeled as "Route of the Counts". I found it, and a .gpx of the route (which I had major technical difficulties with, natch, but I managed to sort of get it on my phone, though not on the Garmin) on a Swiss tourism site. I also, happily, printed out the halfway decent topo map provided. It's good to have some backup, as we will see. I'm not sure why it's called Route of the Counts -- parts of the trail were well marked with lots of info, paragraphs! of info, but it was all in French and, well, you know. There were lots of little chapels and I guess the Counts had something to do with them. Alls I could think of was "ONE kilometer! Ah! Ah! Ah!" like, 15 times. I'm a simple, simple girl.

Random bus or train photo. You can't go wrong here.

So, I took a bus, then another bus, then a train -- omg I love the trains, why don't we have them everywhere? -- to the end of the line, Montbovon (ok, add a "ó" and maybe a "ć" and perhaps a ' or two, drop the "t" and the last syllable and fake a French accent, very good!). If you've never seen a "village" "nestled" in the "mountains" then by all means visit Montbovon, because really?

. . . you can't make this shit up. I know in the US -- Tahoe, anyone? -- we sometimes try to replicate this look, but it ain't nothing like the real thing. Just, amazingly lovely. So I got off the train, sat and just looked at things for a while, headed into the woods and promptly got lost. Not lost lost because, despite the fact that I can't seem to ride a bus in a foreign county without making a spectacle of myself -- never mind what I said a few posts ago, I've screwed it all up since (twice!) -- I can read a map, and I for sure was not where I was supposed to be, and couldn't figure out how to get there. THERE was on one side of the river, and I was on the other, and I couldn't really care less about it because I was seeing things like this 17th century bridge

and this, too

And I've never seen anything like that outside of New England. There were just wonderful sights everywhere, proper Route be damned. So I just kept on trotting along, finding myself in the village of Lessoc (Pronunciation? Lé Sóck, in my head) around mile 3 (Ah! Ah! Ah!).

Right in the center of this picturesque village there was this freshwater fountain. Seemingly in every Swiss village, town, city, everywhere, there's a fountain or a trough or some kind of potable water flowing, I don't know what for. There's even a stone trough just down the road from the hotel (not rural), and last night I saw them in the capital city of Bern, too. Maybe they're for these guys

who are also everywhere, mooing away, with big Swiss cowbells clonking and everything! I was right, there's a shitton of cows in this place! There are also a shitton of these in the fields

Yeah, turnstiles, which never failed to make me laugh in this odd setting. I kept on looking for somewhere to put a quarter.

In the next village after Lessoc I managed to cross the river and find the "proper" trail, some 4.5 miles (Ah! Ah! Ah! . . . ok, I'll stop now) in. Back into the woods! The whole run was fantastic, paved roads (true one-laners, like driveways), dirt roads, single track, fields and cowshit, the whole gamut. A not-so-rickety bridge over a deeep gorge

and, man, the scenery was simply off the hook.

Basically, I ran alongside a big ol valley, maybe 500 feet up, along the edge of the fringing mountains. They call them "hills" around here, actually the "pre-Alps" because compared to the ALPS, well. They're still mountains to me, Tahoe girl. I don't know what my elevation gain/loss was, that'll have to wait till I get home. I'm guessing maybe 1500 feet for the whole run, perhaps less.

This is maybe halfway through the run. My new haircut, which is shorter than I've worn it in years, isn't exactly suitable to the running outfit. I look like I have some kind nimbus around my head in the shadow I cast.

It occurred to me perhaps the trail would be better named Route of the Cords because the last maybe 4 miles (Ah! Ah! . . . oh, forget it) were lined with enough cordwood to make a wood-burning (and -gathering and -cutting and -stacking . . . and re-stacking) girl like myself fairly swoon. If you are a fellow wood-burner, you understand.

I've never seen anything like it. These loooong sections of 20" cordwood, beautifully and precisely stacked, maybe 8' high with corrugated tins roofs, going on for hundreds of feet. This is something I've since seen time anytime again here, everyone must have wood stoves. Ad they're always precisely, evenly stacked, like by a machine. Or a Swiss.

(((please imagine a nice pic of a horse in a field of wildflowers. Technical difficulties))

I stopped here for about two minutes (I stop a lot when I run, so what?) and all I could hear was the horses going "snuffle-tffddd-tffddd" or whatever that contented sound is that they make, the wind swishing through the flowers, and the ubiquitous clanking of cowbells in the distance. Quintessential Swiss scene right here.

And I ran a bit more, then I got tired. I don't know how far I had really gone at this point, because throughout the run, Gary kept losing satellite reception (for the first time ever) but he was telling me 9.5. I think it was more like 11. I was supposed to go another 3, but down in the distance I saw a village, and a village means a train, and a train meant I could rest my tired ass. The fact that it was down to the village really spoke to me, and I answered and headed on down. I took this random picture just to show what the average Swiss country house (chalet?) looks like:

and to point out that decorating with tacky plastic animals seems like a universal affliction. That's a plastic swan on the front step. My goodness.

So I missed the train by all of three minutes (punctuality, people, punctuality) but I didn't mind a bit, as I just sat at this tiny little station for an hour looking at the pretty scenery. It just doesn't get old, or boring.

Train, bus bus. I include this last photo only because these two teenaged girls:

each had pet rats, which crawled all over them for the entire ride. I think the girl in grey's rat is crawling up her sleeve, and the girl in black is either looking at her rat nesting in her décolletage, where it spent an inordinate amount of time nestled between her breasts with its little head peeking out. Either that, or she's wiping rat shit off her chest. There was a lot of that going on, too.

(((eh, the first draft was much better, of course)))

ps. OMG, not only is Tom's company providing the wireless that is making this post possible, they are also letting us use their in-office washing machine. Awesome! And, it's true, nowhere in this urban area is there anything approaching a laundry mat. Maybe everyone just buys new clothes . . .

I can ride the bus!!!

So, I have to say, Switzerland is probably the most civilized country I've been to. The place is clean as could be, it is stunningly beautiful, the people seem super friendly, the public transportation is amazing (I knew the time on my phone was a bit off because the bus was always 4 minutes late. My bad, of course. Phone time is now correct.), and omg! did I say how beautiful it is here?

The only "problem" I've had is that very small area I am in does not have a lot of English speakers, it's all French and German. Like I said before, I just speak Spanish and smile a lot, and, well, I'm still here. Ive been getting by on my own, but miss Tom's German. Though I can't for the life of me find a laundromat in this city -- even the tourism office, which of course speaks english, says there's no place here to do your own wash. I went to the place they suggested and was quoted the equivalent of $10 just for a pair of pants. Um, no thanks. So I've gone out to eat instead, with my laundry at my feet like a homeless woman. And here I sit, eating a $23 plate of rice noodles -- they're really good!

I'm also drinking -- a glass of water! If nothing else, my little 21 day detox diet has broken (at least for now) my terrible cocacola addiction. I didn't drink a single one for weeks. The other day, though, I had a coke because it was offered to me and why not? but I drank it, fine it was okay but held no real power over me. Oh, and I've lost somewhere around 10 pounds, I think. And I'm eating much, much healthier, even while on vacation. My unofficial goal is to be under 140 on my own scale at home when we return from Greece. We will see what happens, I'm not overly stressing about it.

So yesterday I went on a probably 12 mile run through the countryside. That's what this post was supposed to be about, but somehow sans Internet connection my pics have all disappeared from my local draft and, really, it's all about the photos. So I'll get back to that when I get back to the hotel and can reconnect.

Today I had another 20k run planned, but no. I dunno if it's the fact that it's three days into a huge time shift (why is everything always worse on day three?) or yesterday's run, or the fact that last night I slept for maybe four hours, but I woke up this morning feeling super tired and lazy and uninspired and the long bus trip and semi-grueling run I had planned just didn't seem very attractive in the light of day. So, that's for tomorrow. Today, my plan is:

Laundry = fail
Funny, interesting blog post with lovely pics = fail, so far
Learn more French = fail (it's the pronunciation that gets me)
Little run 'round the hotel later today = hopefully not fail
Manage to get on the bus, the CORRECT bus, get a ticket and pay for it, smile and say thank you and sit down until I get to my destination and then get off, WITHOUT creating undo drama, screwing up the language, fumbling senselessly with the currency, misunderstanding the process or in any way drawing unnecessary attention to my foreign self = SUCCESS!!! (it did take 3 days and like 7 bus rides, but still, yay me!).

It's important to have at least a few reachable goals.

Alright, so I just got back to the hotel, and here's another way the Swiss are more civilized:

Yup, that's beer and wine in the vending machine. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I have arrived in Switzerland! The trip was long, long, long, but happily uneventful. Tom has gone off to work on our first day here, and will be working long hours for the remaining four days we are here. What's a girl to do?

Well, first off, I'd better learn some damn French. I've travelled quite a bit, but NEVER alone internationally, so it's just a bit daunting. We are in the French speaking area of Switzerland, and while it seems that a good portion of the people speak at least a smattering of English, I feel waaay out of my depth. In fact, right now I am sitting on a bus, waiting for it to turn around and go back to the station because, well, it's the wrong damn bus. No worries, as we've just passed through some lovely countryside and I was able to see more of the area. It really is beautiful out here.

The lack of knowing the language is tough. It really makes me appreciate the small amount of Spanish that I have, because it is JUST enough for me to get by on the basics (in a spanish speaking country, natch) I am very much at a loss with French, though, and am super lucky that english isn't too much of a rarity. Also, Tom speaks pretty fluent German, so when he's around I'm covered. When he's NOT around, I just smile a lot.

Nevertheless, I'll make my way around. I've got train and bus tickets lined up for my first run, tomorrow, outside of Gruyere (Ooooh, like the cheese). It's a 17 km run through the countryside. Whilst this is not the run wherein I actually get to eat cheese, I'm sure it will be pretty spectacular. Two other very cool runs planned while I'm here, hopefully I don't screw up the public transportation again. I think I have it dialed in, though. This afternoon I've just "wasted" a couple of hours due to my own ignorance, but I did get some really nice views.

Tomorrow I will try to get my shit together, both with photos and mastering the train and bus. Meanwhile, Tom and his company have invited my out to dinner for tonight, and I'm looking forward to that. I may have an hour or so to squeeze in a run (assuming the bus I am NOW on is the correct one!) before then.

It was snowing when we left Tahoe, I am simply thrilled to be in this lovely spring weather!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

On the launch pad!

What's the point of this photo?

Let's see, is it to highlight the shoes? Just your average pair of trail running shoes, right? That's what I've thought, lo these six months they've been hiding in the back of my closet, patiently waiting for the snow to melt so they could feel the trail once again. Look closer, as I failed to do, and you might notice a few things. May I point out:

1. They are two lefts. Whilst I have been accused of "having two left feet" I am, in fact, normal in some ways, and that includes having both a left AND a right foot.

2. Ergo, they are from two different pairs of shoes, as one can easily tell by noting the fact that one is blue and the other is green, if one were actually paying attention.

3. Which means, some time ago, I WAS NOT paying attention, you know, when I was gathering stuff for Goodwill, and I must have taken only ONE of my worn out trail shoes, matched it with ONE of my mostly brand new and very slightly used trail shoes, and then donated the fuckers, I guess to some one legged trail runners? Like, months ago. Therefore,

4. Highlighting the shoes must NOT be the point of the photo, because why? would anyone! *ever* (much less publicly) admit to not only throwing away a perfectly excellent -- and pricey!-- pair of running shoes, but also rendering them completely and utterly useless TO ANYONE at the same time? (also, writing sentences that are probably quite hard to read. oops)

So, the point of the photo?


To show off how nicely this morning's pedicure (suggested so wisely by Rose and Lauren!) covers up the oogy toe of the last post, of course.

No other point here, folks.

Tomorrow will find me on a plane -- for 15! hours -- headed for Switzerland.

I have plans for Switzerland. Fribourg, to be exact. I'm gonna go running through the countryside. I have whole bunch of runs planned, with topos and .gpx. I'm gonna be a running fool.

There's even one run where I get to stop and sample cheeses along the way.

Seemingly lots of cows are around, too.

Stay tuned.

stuart . . . i cannot get the earring image out of my mind, even a week laterr.  just, ewww!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Really oogy photo in here

Sure, read the last post and see what kind of running I've been doing lately. HOWEVER, whilst busy not running, today (!) I passed a runner's milestone (somehow). Behold the evidence:

THAT is my Morton's toe, and that would be the toenail separating itself, for no apparent reason, from the nailbed. Yes, folks, I am on my way to the true distance runner sign, ugly-ass feet.

How this happened when I haven't been running a lot, I dunno, but there it is. 10% off my next pedicure??


Well, Hello Blog!  And people!  New readers and followers!  6 new ones in the past month, a month in which I have not blogged a word!  Wow!  How does that happen?

We've been here before, folks.  Yes, another [insert long stretch of time here] has passed and I've not blogged, read much or in any other way contributed meaningfully to the blogosphere.  I've REALLY retracted this time, though, and have blown off my coach, my training plan, and perhaps even my running plans for the fall.  I even considered permanently pulling away from my digital existence COMPLETELY ala Pieces of Me, Formulaic et al and just getting on with life.

But.  BUT!  I keep on writing these cool blog posts in my head.  Even if it never makes it beyond my head (see the last month), somehow that voice just doesn't go away.  I've thought about how my running has just been dribbling along, I have this awesome coach that I am avoiding hugely (so easy to do with email!) for no real reason, I'm continually finding things to do other than running, and I'm all, What the hell do I have to blog about, really?  Not the great distances that I've been piling up, the tips I've learned I can pass on to another, not the pain and triumphs whatever yadda yadda yadda, so what's the point?

Well, perhaps the point is that I'm struggling a little bit here, moreso than I have at any other time in my running life and maybe I should be documenting that, too, because that has to be a part of at least some runners' lives.  So, new readers, if you want to read about some fine, motivated "real" runners who run when they should, blog when they should, do speedwork allowing them to run at faster than walking place, follow plans and are generally all-around good schmoes, click on just about any of those links on my sidebar.  If, on the other hand, you want to be abandoned with no warning for looooong lengths of time, read sporadic posts consisting mainly of why I haven't posted in a while, interspersed with an occasional witty remark (often about shit) or photo of a very cool place, plus, oh yeah, a very occasional post about actually running (albiet slowly), well then you've found the right place!  Pull up a chair and settle in for blast summary of the month of April, after which I will probably fade back into the woodwork again and not post for weeks.

I've never really excelled at positive affirmations, obviously.

Oh, and I also recently got an iPad . . . therefore I must blog.

It's been happening, though less than it should be.  I dunno, I often just don't feel like it.  No reason, not too lazy (because I've been doing other things than laying on the couch), just . . . ?  When I run, I'm as happy as a clam, Yay! Whoppee!  Look at me, I'm a runner!  Loving it! and I just want to do it forever.  But making the first step out the door has become a bigger and bigger obstacle.  I have NO idea why, and I'm not even upset about it and I have NO idea why.  ?  Sure, me, fancying myself a Long Distance Runner with Ultrarunner aspirations, me of the can't-run-fast-so-I'll-run-long-instead "fame", yeah, me . . . has been averaging 10 mile weeks.  Yes, me, who went out and hired a coach and has a professional training plan and all that to see what my potential is, . . . me, continues to ignore training plan and everything that goes with it (Genuinely sorry, SUAR).  I guess my potential is for, 10 mile weeks?  Wow!

But you know what?  For some reason, I really don't much care.  I'm quite ok, for now, with my sporadic flailings.  I'm not kicking myself for my lassitude, as I have done in the past.  I'm not thinking myself a lazy, no-good runner.  I don't feel guilty (except, a little bit, for how I've handled (not handled) the coaching commitment).  I'm just . . . waiting.  For this period to be over.  Someday, and I think its going to be someday soon (or, not), I'm going to wake up (and after 15 minutes of bedsuck) and suddenly feel like, Hey! In July I'm gonna run a 50K or whatever (hopefully that happens soon, or, no 50K in July!) so I better lay down some miles in a hurry here!  Until then, I really am enjoying my little 5 mile runs.  Training?  Naaaah!

Certainly accounts for at least some of my running ennui.  Because with this I have been challenged.  Weight lifting, cardio, and general hard fuckin' work can be found in the walls of a Crossfit gym.  I am WORKED here, one month in (and, yes, I suck hugely and am easily, easily! the slowest, weakest person in the class, time and time again) . . . and I love it.  I've humiliated myself, hurt my tender arthritic back, dropped weights on the floor clang!, drooled and come very close to vomiting, and I love it.  Twice a week (I've missed 2 classes all together) I head in all chirpy and ready and twice a week I slink out of class all shaky and weak and I love it.  I'm waiting here, too, because I just know I'm gonna wake up one of these days and just you fucking watch me do a push-up, then a pull-up, then just take a look at my guns, man, because they're gonna be spectacular.

Oh man, oh man, I am on a diet!  I have never dieted a day in my life, but woke up the other week (here I go with the waking up thing again, maybe if I just stayed in bed?!?) and weighed 158 pounds (on my 5'7" frame) and thought, Holy Shit! I'm gonna be 45 and FAT!  And I took a look at all the Cokes and potato chips and 3 am vending machine visits (what else are you gonna halfway through a shift?) I've had and am like, surprised?!?  So I did a little research and overheard a conversation or two and made a phone call and got myself on a Detox Diet.

Let me say first off that I don't believe in diets.  I think that if you're heavy and want to lose weight you need a lifestyle change, and to eat less and exercise more, and all the cabbage soup and lemon-and-cayenne you can slurp up is not going to make any effective, long term change in your body type or overall level of health.  It's not rocket science.  Eat less, move more, get over it.  And I eat a fairly healthy diet, most of the time, and I exercise more than many and am pretty healthy for an old broad.  But.  BUT!  I have terrible habits.  I drink an insane amount of Coke in any given day (not even diet coke), I skip breakfast, always! I love my jalapeno potato chips, late night snacking and second helpings.  Chocolate!  Cookies! Yummy!  After all, I'm a runner, right?

This kind of thinking has got me to almost 160 pounds.  Fit pounds, but a lot of big jiggly belly and wiggly arm pounds nonetheless (though my ass and legs look great, thank-you-very-much!).  And before that 160 turns into 170 turns into 180 (as, inorexibly (sp?), 130 has turned into 140 and 150), it's time for me to break my shitty habits and re-style my way of thinking about food.

Thus, I'm doing this 21 day, dietician-supervised "detox" diet.  3 weeks to make a habit, 3 weeks to break a habit, right?  I'm one week into this plan, which (briefly) consists of: No wheat, dairy, alcohol, refined sugar or corn.  No calorie restriction, not really.  Very balanced, organic meals of lean protein, mostly unlimited veggies, and a little bit of healthy fats (I typed "farts", and there's that, too!).  Tea and sweet-tasting, no-calorie fizzy herbal energy drinks.  LOTS of protein shakes, which also replace some meals.  3 "meals" a day, including breakfast (yes, Bootchez, breakfast!).  The point is to wean myself off of all potential dietary "toxins" and see what happens.  For me, the point is to learn a new way of eating.  Force myself into good habits.  Pay more attention to what I am fueling myself with.  Balance.  I don't intend to come off of this diet, and then continue with it.  I don't intend to go back to my soon-to-be "old" ways, either.  I intend to balance it out, and move forward eating healthier, eating organic, eating more balanced meals, and laying off the damn Cokes all the time.  I intend to pay attention.  If, in the 21 days, I happen to lose 10 pounds, that's all well and good but it's not the main goal.  I did weigh myself the morning of day one (154 pounds), and won't weigh myself again until just before the end.

So far, it's been going amazingly well, I am totally surprised with myself.  Minimal cravings, really tasty foods, and I'm leaning to cope with the protein shakes.  I'll write more about the details later, but essentially I am eating super healthy, absolutely NO PROCESSED FOODS and . . . I am not curled up in the corner wishing for the sugar gods to visit.  Not yet, anyway, 6 days in.  I haven't cheated (oh, well, I guess I have as I have had 2 shots of tequila, but whatever), I haven't been too too hungry, and I'm really enjoying my (organic, health-food-store-purchased) meals.  It's way too early to say, but I am very optimistic.

So, anyhow, that's April for me.  I feel like I'm right on the verge of . . . something.  Don't know what.  Headed to Switzerland (running!) and Greece (running! and beaches!) in a week and a half, and am so totally burnt out from work that that seems far too long away.  I'm happy, active and eating well.  Life is pretty damn good.  I'll try to keep up with the blogging!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Some things

Yay! for running.  I feel like I'm really back into it now, making my milage (sort of),  running to a schedule, running in Marin (wow!), just enjoying the whole thing.  The month of February and part of March was kinda like, Eh, I guess I have to go running.  Lately, I've been way more into it and enjoying running again.  I feel as though I've fully recovered from my ITB injury (which I am convinced happened because for one run only I ran on a really cambered road, and no other reason.  I will stay away from such roads in the future, and hopefully will never have ITBS again).  Now that I'm starting to put down long-ish (over 6 miles) runs again, my bowels are dis-remembering how to function while running and, oh, yesterday's run? 5 miles.  4 port-a-potties.  3 poops.  Jeepers.  Hopefully they sort themselves out quickly.

Yay! for Crossfit.  I started this high-intensity strengthening program 3 weeks ago, and it. kicks. my. ass.  Due to my wacky schedule, and the fact that this shit is pricey! I have only gone 2 times a week.  So far, this is plenty.  Some classes I can get through relatively easily, meaning that whilst I am inevitably the slowest person in the class and have to have a number of exercises modified to make up for my complete lack of upper body strength, I can, in fact, complete it and go on with my day.  There's been two classes so far (emphasizing upper body strength, natch) that have floored me, leaving me weak as a kitten, trembling and ready for a nap.  In one hour.  Very powerful stuff!  I'm totally into it, and am learning to lift weights and do all these other exercises that will strengthen my core and upper body (as well as lower body, which is pretty strong already).  I really like the variety and the intensity.  This is NOT for the faint of heart, and I'm really enjoying the challenge.  Even though, like I said, I suck hugely at this (no surprise) and am the only weak, jiggly middle-aged woman in the class.  But they all had to start somewhere, and I can only get stronger and improve.  I'm ready.  What HAS been a surprise, though, is that since I started attending I HAVE GAINED 8 POUNDS.  Now, I assume that this is muscle or whatever, as I don't feel any heavier, and muscle weighs more than fat and yadda yadda yadda this I know because I actually weigh more (like, 10 pounds more) since I've really been running a lot (say, the past 2 years) even though I am thinner and clothes fit better, etc., etc., etc., but holy shit! I weighed myself this morning and (Tom, don't read this!) ZOMG!!! I weigh 158 pounds.  This is a huge number for many reasons, not the least of which is ZOMG!!! 158 POUNDS! (I'm 5'7", medium frame), I've never NEVER weighed so much in my life! and, WOW!  That's just, big (for me!).  The other big reason this is a huge number is (and this is totally tongue in cheek, well, 90% tongue in cheek, you know) TOM weighs 158 pounds, most of the time, and I long ago decided that I. Will. NOT. weigh more than my partner, no way no how.  Been there, done that, and I coulda squished him (AND I weighed like 140 at the time, so he was just a skinny little fuck). (OK so Tom just went in to the bathroom and with clothes keys and shoes on he's bringing down 162.  But I weighed myself naked this morning, so.)  We have always had a running joke that once I outweigh him, that's IT and we're done, 7.5 years together notwithstanding.  We have reached that point and oh!

Boo!  for 158 pounds.  Now, obviously, I'm joking in the preceding paragraph.  He won't leave because I outweigh him (will you, honey?), no no no.  BUT!  Some kind of rubicon has been crossed and I need to get my shit together., weight and health wise.  I continually think, Hey! I'm a runner dammit!  I can eat whatever I want because Hey!  I'm  runner dammit!  and now I'm about to top the scales at 160 so, now, NOW something's gotta give.  Yeah, it's just a number, and, It's how I feel, and, It's how I look, and, It's how my clothes fit, and, [insert platitude here] and . . . I'm sure that's what a lot of people have told themselves on the way to 200 and beyond.  So I've reached a point where, gasp! I'm considering a diet/no bullshit self-assessment/habit change.  I generally eat well, but have terrible snacky habits and drink an astonishing amount of Coke.  I eat late at night.  I eat way too many carbs.  I'm ready to start to think about changing this.  I've started researching some options.  I should have some kind of plan together soon.  I'm ready to take stock.  Change is a'coming.

Yay! for plans.  Big news!  I am taking 6 weeks (6 weeks!) off from work starting May 9.  I need to reset my slightly burnt-out brain (after 10+ years in Emergency Medicine, I am just starting to feel a little bit frayed), and am hoping this will do the trick.  Tom has to go to Switzerland on business, and I'm tagging along with him.  5 days in Friborg (mostly alone for me, as Tom will be working lots of long hours), then we are heading to . . . Greece for 10 days.  I'm thinking a day or two in Athens, and then The. Greek. Islands.  Oyes.  We are planning on spending time on two islands, I just haven't quite figured out yet which two.  Any suggestions?  After which, we'll return home and I'll have another 3 weeks to chill out some more.  I'm planning on running a lot, and sleeping a lot.  Not much more.

May 9 can't come fast enough.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Garmin tells me

In the past 30 days, I've run 12 times for a total of 60 miles.  Average pace around 12:00.  3 days a week.  Definitely getting on track after the minimal running in the preceding months.  I'm getting used to paying attention to my pace now, and -- wonder of wonders -- I am just beginning to watch my pace fall a bit.  So I *just now* looked back at some random runs from last month, and the month before, and the year before and -- I am surprised, but Gary don't lie -- my pace is pretty much the same.  A bit more consistent from run to run, but pretty much the same.  I'm surprised because it feels different, I think maybe I'm getting . . . not faster but stronger?  (dunno how I can say that directly after my last post, but whatever).  The past two times I've been in Marin, I've done the un-doable . . . I've actually ran, instead of just hauling my running bag back and forth like I have done the past, oh, year.   

I am getting there.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Long Run FAIL

Ech, went out for my 10 mile, 11:50 pace run today and failed on all fronts.  Well, I  did manage to get out there, but that's where the success ends.  10 miles?  More like 6 something.  11:50 pace?  Well over 13:00. Nice circular loop and come home with head held high?  Naw, sheepishly call for a ride home.  I'd have my head hung low but when it comes down to it, I don't usually fail quite so stunningly so I see this one as a gimme.

I dunno what happened.  I started out with lotsa sleep, a happy stomach, beautiful weather (it must have been 60 out there, lots of melting happening!), the right clothes, all the time in the world . . . and I never got anywhere with it.  Just never had the mojo.  Never got the "high".  I got super bored.  I stopped like every three minutes, not for any reason, just to stop.  Look around.  Put my hands in the snow (it was hot out!).  Decide which turn to take next.  Start running again.  Till I stop.  Again.  Eventually, I didn't get going again, and walked.  A bit more, then what the fuck am I doing out here? and I called, oh yes I called Tom for a ride home.  If every run were like this one, I would not be a runner!

Happily, this run is now behind me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

There's a warming trend in town, so maybe someday we'll see the yard again.  It is melting fast and furious around these parts and soon all the snow will slide off the roof.  Hopefully, this year it does NOT take out half of our walkway.  I think we'll have snow in the yard well into June.  Let's say, June 7th is the last day there'll be appreciable snow in on the ground at our house.

Two big changes on the running front.  First, and perhaps the most interesting, is I am picking up my pace a bit.  I have never paid much attention to pace, except mostly in an after-the-fact kinda way.  Or, having a glance at the Garmin, I'm running that slow, really? realization in a very idle way.  While I am NOT laying down any even remotely quick miles, I AM paying more attention to how fast I am going.  Not that I'm necessarily succeeding: each of my runs these days has a given pace, though I find myself using that pace as a suggestion rather than a mandate, and I'm averaging about 30 seconds slower than my "goal" pace.  Overall, though, my running speed has definitely improved over the past month.  I'm much more consistently averaging a a sub 12:00 pace.  Seems like it, anyhow.

I don't know where I intend to go with this.  I can't imagine ever going out to run a sub 4 hour marathon, or anything even approaching that.  I guess I'd like to think that maybe I could trot out a good 5 hour one, though, and finish strong and easy.  Maybe I'll pick a nice pace and learn how to just churn it out, hour after hour, and be solid and consistent with that.

The other big thing is that I am finally managing to run while I'm working in Marin.  These five days, every other week, have always been my Achilles heel.  I always chose sleeping or reading or just not moving for a while over any kind of run in the midst of working a whole lotta shifts.  The past two times I have been there I have gone running, and no, it hasn't killed me.  So I don't know why I've had such a hard time in the past.  I feel much better for banging out those runs.

Another thing?  I seem to have forgotten how to blog, or at least how to write a funny ol' post.  Jeepers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Springtime in Tahoe

Someone said something about it being spring now?  I think maybe this means different things to different people.  It has meant different things to me at different times of my life.  When I was growing up in New England, it meant soon it would be warm and rainy and green and flowers.  When I was living in the Vigin Islands, it meant the sea would warm back up from the cold cold 75 degrees up to 78 degrees and I could swim again (my blood got thin, I think).  Now that I'm living in Truckee, spring means . . . not a whole lot.  Not this year, anyhow.  Here's our house . . . 

. . . it's somewhere there, under all that snow.  (Compare with this photo from back in February, which I thought was a lot.  Little did I know). Know that our house, like many in Tahoe, is elevated well above ground, and the part that's in shadow in the pic is an elevated walkway from the garage, and is perhaps 15 feet or so above the ground.  So that, my friends, is a shitton of snow.  A couple feet of it is snow that has already been shoveled or has fallen from the roof, making it higher right along the house, but we must have at least 8 or 10 feet in the yard itself.  I guess we'll have snow in our yard well into June!

This is the view out of many of our windows.  Again, the ground?  Is at least 10 feet from the bottom of the sill.

There's another 4 feet or so forecast between now and Saturday.  Spring?  Hah!

All of this snow, of course, has had an impact on my running.  I don't mind running outside in the cold, but visibility is crappy when it's snowing so I don't go then.  Usually the day of and the day after a storm, there is so much snow in the road that there's just no shoulder to run on.  On these days I can run in the gym, but can only manage at most 5 miles before I lose my mind.   We've had a load of snow this week, so I've pushed my long run and tempo run to the weekend, while I'm in Marin.  This is a terrible strategy, as I can barely manage to run while there, but I have to change that habit damn quick and get three (!) runs in this time.  Yeepers!