Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tentative steps

Yup, I've at least started running somewhat regularly again, if not exactly following the schedule I made for myself.  Perhaps even better, I've managed to go running in Marin!  Granted, I called out sick (not sick at all!) to do it, but whatever, who's paying attention to the finer points?  Not me, not me.

I just got it in my head to take a "mental health day" and called out sick to work Saturday night.  I slept super late, like till 7pm, took myself out for a nice dinner, and then long about 10pm I laced up my sneaks, strapped on the lights, and took a jog through the Marin headlands.  I'm definitely getting the hang of running in the dark, which I started doing about a year ago (much to the unease of my friends).  This night, some of that unease (you can't run at night, it's dangerous!  you'll get attacked!  ahhh!) crept into usually oblivious me, and I kinda got a little freaked the first mile or two, thinking about people hanging out behind bushes just waiting, hoping . . . Esh, after that I didn't worry about it much and had myself a very slow, very chilly, but ultimately very satisfying 5 mile trail run.

I ran the next day, too, another new-to-me trail run near where I live there, through town and up a big mountain.  I kept it to just under 4 miles, but am glad to have found this spot (thanks, maps on my phone) as it eventually leads into the huge network of trails Marin has to offer, and is only about a mile of street running from my little room.

Two little runs, not much to crow about, but at least when I look back on February on my running calendar, there's actually some runs there.  Added to the week before, I've actually got some consistency there.  Huh.

And, yay, Pam!  Thanks for the comment!  Loving you, and thanks for sticking around!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Still breathing

Really, last year was not much of nothing in regards to running.  Beginning the year with a knee injury (ITBS, from running on a cambered road) to ending the year with a knee injury (patella-femoral syndrome, most likely, from moving 6 cubic yards of dirt in my yard), to lots of Crossfit in the middle, running just went pttthpp.  In the past 365, I've run 322 miles, according to Garmin.  That's not much milage for a used-to-be-self-described "ultrarunner".  And you know what?  I have not minded one little bit.  I've certainly stayed very active with Crossfit and occasional (VERY occasional) runs here and there.  I've trimmed down from a high of 158 pounds to my current (and current for over 6 months) weight of about 140.  The weightlifting has certainly made a difference to my body and my physical sense of myself, in a way that running never did.  I've been feeling fit fit fit.  I've thought about running, and then whooosh the thought is gone.  I carry my running bag each and every week to Marin, where it stays firmly stashed in the back of my car, never even unzipped.  I've just really lost . . . interest.

And yet.  I've not stopped entirely, and have averaged about 25-30 miles a month.  Yeah, not much.  And yet.  Every time (EVERY. TIME.) I go running, I'm happy.  Every time, I feel better after than I did before.  Every time, my mind feels a little calmer and I feel a little less insane.  Every time when I finish, I say to Tom (or at least think about saying) "Please remind me how good I feel right now."  Every time, I'm all, Look at me!  I can do this!  I strap on my shoes, my iPod, my Garmin and my hat and I am STILL (322 miles a year notwithstanding) a runner.  It took me forever to be able to run 3 miles, forEVER, and I'm so pleased that I still can.  Long before I became a runner, I dreamed of running.  I still remember these dreams, of running calmly and effortlessly and full of breath, dreaming this at a time when I couldn't have run a mile if you put a gun to my head.  I am not that person anymore, and know that I can run like that person in my dreams.  I can run like that today, and I can run like that tomorrow.  I still have it, and I still love it.  I've just drifted away a bit.

So today I sat down and made myself a proper running schedule, a 12-week build to a half marathon in May.  I'm not actually planning a race in May, mind you, but in the past have done so. much. better.  following an actual written schedule (It's Tuesday! Run 5 miles, your phone SAYS SO!) than just going out when I feel like it.  I'm scheduled to run 4 days a week, building up to a 40 mile week.  Once I'm there, who knows.  I might just stay there.  I may continue on to my ultimate goal of running a 50-miler.  I may just drift away again.  All I know is, hey readers!  I'm going to start running again!

And perhaps blogging will follow, though I can't imagine I've got any readers left.  If I do, and you're one, please leave a quick comment, even an anonymous one, because I now have absolutely no idea who might be left.

Am I back?  I'm not sure.  I might be!

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.