Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
And more . . .
And now 9:43 pm PST (US), approximately 50 minutes before the eclipse is to start! Time to get the good camera out.
11:30 pm PST (US) and the clouds parted:
And now I have to go to sleep. WAY Past My Bedtime!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Well, here it is, the gorging season has officially arrived and my email inbox is stuffed with exhortations from the most "famous running magazines of all" about "avoiding those holiday pounds" this year. It is kind of funny that most "lifestyle" magazines have the same messages, just different modalities. Damn those holiday pounds. But let me ask you, would anyone actually eat "Cream-cheese filled wraps and mini meatballs"?
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Today was the Seattle Marathon and I decided to go out to cheer on the runners, three of whom I did know and most of whom I didn't. So I decamped to the shaded and frigid corner of 24th Avenue and Interlaken, just before the 22-mile marker. This is such an interesting section of the course. A steep climb from the Arboretum, crossing an arterial, and then a gradual climb into Interlaken Park, in my opinion one of the prettiest places in Seattle.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
The problems were with the stage direction really and there were some rather silly elements in the set design. Imagine Grimsley sitting down holding up a toy ship. The expression on his face seemed to say "You are kidding me, right?" Or Tristan wriggling around on the stage (or his sick bed as it were). Shouldn't look like a fish out of water but it did.
This review gives you some sense of this fiasco.
I don't mind experimentation and all that. Hell, I welcome it! They could have painted everything silver and sat on boxes for all I care. But the beautiful passion of this piece was taken away and that is just unforgivable.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Man: That guy did Ragnar!
Woman: What's Ragnar?
Man: I've heard about it. You have to be crazy to do it
and so on . . .
I smiled a little, tugged my sweat stained Ragnar technical T away from my chest to cool down a bit, and walked slowly back to the car. I was tired after this simple day-after three-miler with fairly sore quads but otherwise alert and happy.
Was this crazy?
No, not especially. On the scale of 1 to 10 of crazy running a 187-mile relay with 11 of your closest friends, or casual acquaintances, or total strangers as the case may be runs maybe a 3. There are crazier things I can think of—Base jumping seems like a good candidate for an 8 or a 9.
- 222 teams
- roughly 426 (possibly as much as 444) highly (or snidely) innuendo decorated vans pulling on and off the roads in the 187 miles from Blaine to Langley
- contents of said vans spilling out in snoozing bunches every once in a while on stretches of grass and the inside of school gymnasiums
- 426 rolling running frat parties
- XXX numbers of volunteers monitoring all the runners, ensuring course safety, serving food, and shivering in the cold
- an alternative universe in which external happenings recede crazily into the background
- the intensity of forming relationships and bonds in the compressed environment of the task and the van knowing that in the end there would be a little awkward and bittersweet farewell (Facebook to the rescue!)
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
I ran something like a 8:13 pace on my last run and am feel pretty good. Never really thought that a Swiss Miss hot chocolate could taste so good.
Stomach has calmed down and I am going to give the rest of my Subway Sandwiches a miss as our cooled is no longer cool. No sense in tempting fate. Switching over to fig newtons, popcorn, almonds, and trail mix (if I can find it). Just ate a banana too.
Our next stop is going to be the camp ground at Deception Pass. if we guestimate what Van 2 does we'll have to start running again st about 3:30 am. Figure an hour for GVB's last run and i'll be going at 4:30 or 5:00.
Feeling so much better this year compared to two years ago. Running a bit slower I suppose but the big difference is that we started earlier and I am real still within my waking day.
Ok, time time to head out and see what is happening.
Roadkill? 3 for 4 total but whose counting. :-P
Now this all gets tough. It is 9:00 and I am getting closer to bed
time. Next run is going to be way dark.
Pretty moon out this evening. Soft sky. Mossies out in force.
SuperVan is getting a might funky but spirits are high.
Soundtrack? Neezie Pleaze
Sleeping and resting. Van 2 is hauling ass and we should be back on in an hour or so. Sunny and breezy. Lots of sleepy people out here.
I'll be the first runner who has to wear reflective gear for the evening.
Had my first smore in I don't know how long, since i was a kid maybe. Hasn't really improved since then actually.
Had a nice nap and seem to have gotten ahead of my hunger but, in truth, my stomach is not feeling so well. Seems to have settled though. Hope it does not give me trouble on thenrun.
It is interesting to look at the other vans and their running crews.
Here in van 1 there is a discussion of beer, premium beer. This following a discussion of food.
Ran an 8:56 for my first leg. We'll see how the second one goes. :-)
We pulled up just as they were calling out #86. hopped out of the van and sprinted out through the exchange. Garmin would not acquire so I couldn't tell how fast i was going. Steady breeze out of the west and then south west as we turned south along Birch Bay.
I think I ran nines although I ranged between 8 and 9:30.
Two road kills for me and I was road kill for two other people.
Currently parked on Grandview waiting for C. She is flying along.
Pleasant. Legs and lungs feel good. :-)
At the Ragnar start up in Blaine.
Nice drive up, everyone is awake (for now).
We've a 10:00 start, safety check in and briefing is done.
Very sunny and warm. Going to be hot.
We are team # 86, Ramblin Wreck and our official team color is ORANGE.
SuperVan is being decorated. Pictures to follow.
Me? Slept pretty well, good coffee to wake up. Second coffee from Starbux. Good? Not-so-much.
Getting excited about being runner # 2.
Running order is:
Getting hungry too.
OK, time to get serious.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
I'd like to forget last month.
Actually I know that I should remember it well and pay attention to the lessons of it.
As I sat on the train on May 3rd I thought I would take a week or so "off" and then be able to capitalize on all the strength and stamina that results from 18 to 20 weeks of training. Such fantasies smacked right into the reality of what I did to my body on the day before.
I won't say that running 26.2 miles is nuts but it turns out that it truly messed up my body something fierce. This past month has been a wash of frustration and, not pain, but soreness coupled with very low levels of motivation. So great the frustration and so low the motivation that even working through Higdon's post-marathon recovery plan was beyond my capability. In the month since Eugene I've run 85 miles. There are some lessons here and I've only just begun to pay attention instead of maundering about how hard this month has been.
- Get a massage ASAP after the event (My mistake was to wait a bit too long trusting on my own ability to stretch, yoga, and self-massage)
- Eat better (OK, OK, this one should be a given and, for the most part I've done OK but there is always room for improvement as I do love pizza and bagels a bit too much.)
- Wait to race (What was I thinking trying to race the Cougar 5-miler in May? Everyone has permission to dope-slap me when they see me next. It was an OK race but the first real indication that my legs were still played out.)
- Stop comparing myself to all the "real runners" out there in the Th8tas, my running forum team (I am not an ultra (yet) and may never be so why waste mental energy and angst trying to contribute to the weekly mileage. Every mile run is a mile run, a fact that I should not get to complaisant about.)
- Remember fondly how good it felt to put in a 20-miler on one day and then race a half-marathon the next as a way of boosting mood (Careful though as this could be depressing too.)
- Remember that running is supposed to be good processing time and therapy of sorts (at least it has been), a good way of working out work angst (and boy has work been angsty lately). Use that when things get rough.
- Don't push it. (I am getting old and things are not bouncing back as well as they did in the past. Be patient, it'll happen.)
Took me a while to think of all this and, though much of it is obvious, it is freeing to both realize it and to articulate it. Much of this misery has been mental so the "naming of it" has been remarkably freeing.
Time to lace up my kicks and head out there again, this time with a smile on my face . . .
Summer awaits! :-)
Monday, May 24, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
I really enjoyed the first act very much. It was raw and visceral and not too over-the-top. Very strong singing and, well, that third scene was just rough. I felt like I could really connect with the story, etc..
The second act lost me, especially the scenes in the hospital which were so (and I know this is opera) unbelievable. Really lost me when Amelia awakes from the coma and demands natural child birth. The doctor mewling about C Sections was especially weak although I know that this was a big issue in the, what, 80's and 90's. The final scene during the birth just annoyed me. Here we have something that is supposed to represent the continuity of life, the end of doubt, etc. and it devolved into a Marx Brother's comedy accompanied by so much noise. Clichéd representation of women giving birth. Perhaps the ghosts of Dodge and Amelia's mother would have been better set in their clothes rather than scrubs?
Loved the sets and the singing (it was all so very, very strong and exciting really) but the music was pretty unforgettable (it is movie music designed to drive the drama—it did—but nothing more, excepting the Navy Hymn. We ran into one of the people from our opera group who hated the music.
There were some other things that I just didn't think were as well integrated as they could have been.
Fear and risk is worth the payoff as a theme is pretty good. The Flier and Dodge and having a baby. But the scenes with The Flier, though intriguing dramatizations and contemplation just didn't seem to fit in so well. Neither did the Icarus scene. I understand in my head their relation but they didn't really gel together as well as they could have.
Going in to this we had talked to friends who were deeply affected by the story and the performance (mentioned this in the car yesterday). I wonder also if part of my reaction has also to do with the fact that I have not had a child? I know it to be a powerful event but, again, that is a mental thing rather than something I feel in my heart.
When it was finished I leaned over and said to M that the second act needed revision. We'll see if it does. The audience around us was pretty lukewarm and it took a while for them to get on their feet. Quite a few people, including Stattler and Waldorf, bailed on the second act which, frankly, is a shame because there were some very neat things in this that I hope they are able to refine. It is nice to see such operas coming out of the American context and using contemporaneous themes and characters.
Eaglen? Very pretty singing. Actually, it must have been neat to compose the vocal parts for the specific singers chosen.
Would I see this again? Sure would.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
I am sitting in business class which, oddly enough, actually has less leg room than the reserved coach class seat I had on the trip down to Eugene last week. I do have power for my laptop and can go into the Bistro car to use the wireless network there if needed. I might just do that in a bit.
I've been taking photos out of my window at each stop as a sort of running record of the trip. There have been prettier scenes on the opposite side of the train but I've eschewed them. Interesting. You sure see the a** end of a lot of towns this way. Sometimes you don't see anything at all.
So here goes:
Oregon City, Oregon
Red Light Hold (just outside of Vancouver)
Hold at Boeing Field
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Eugene Marathon 2010
The Bottom Line:
Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/32031153
The Director's Cut:
This has been an amazing trip, my very first to Eugene, and I've been soaking up the sun as well as the University Atmos. A really pleasant campus and I gather that I am seeing it in its finest spring sun and bloom. Almost makes me want to trade in my Seattle gray but that might be premature given how little of the town I know. Well, I know it a bit better after today.
Just got back from Espresso Roma on 13th Avenue. I wrote my dissertation at the Espresso Roma in Isla Vista so the place brings back some good memories except that the coffee is not so great compared to what I am now used to and, well, walking in it just smelled funky (closed and humid). I tried to read but was having too hard a time concentrating so I walked home. My legs are tight and tired but I can still manage a standard walk and a rather sprightly clip. It is a very sunny 66 degrees out there and the coffee has given me some focus so here goes!
I was up at 5:00 this morning but that really just meant that I got out of bed having been just below the surface of consciousness all night. Rattled around the room trying to get things going as it were and ate (a banana and scone with OJ) before headed out the door at about 6:30 to get to the start. It was chilly but not too bad and the sun was coming out. It was going to be beautiful day.
Two start corrals to chose from, sub-10 and plus-10, and I got in line at the front of the plus-10. My plan was to go out easy for a warm-up and then come up to cruising speed (9:30's) over time.
Standing there I started to get really woozy. I mean like pass out woozy and a bit nauseous. Not sure why this was going on. My HR was really in the mid-90's, this is low for me when I am waiting for a race to start, so perhaps it was just nerves. Kinda scary and I was worrying what this might mean for the run. Even considered bagging it right there but decided to start and see how things went. I think Mac and Cheese was not the best night before dinner for me.
Bump and Go
Didn't hear a starter's gun or anything but pretty soon the lead runners were away and we started moving forward. I didn't start running until I hit the start mats and off we went. Boy can people chatter up a storm during the first moments of a race, before the reality of the effort hits.
By mile two I was doing alright, feeling solid, mouth-breathing away, and trying like mad NOT to go out too fast with all the talking Half-Marathoners.
The course is hillier than I expected it to be but not overwhelmingly so. This is one of the times that I am thankful for living in Seattle. Nevertheless, people around me were actually grousing about it though which became a little annoying after a while.
I was, for the most part, on my own. Water stations every two miles with Gatorade and water and I hit every one, alternating between Gatorade and water (the taste of which was another thing people were grousing about). This went on at least until someone shoved a small bottle of Gatorade into my hands as I went by. I carried that the rest of the way, drinking out of it as needed, while getting water exclusively from then on. By mile 24 I wanted to get rid of that bottle but crossed the finish with it as if it were an old friend. Perhaps by this point it was.
It was nice to see something of Eugene beyond walking around near the campus and also the train station. It reminds me of a Midwestern city like the one that I grew up in. Lots of people out cheering us on which was pretty cool. For the first time in a race I managed a lot of smiling. Perfect running conditions too. Sunny and cool with indirect sun.
At about 9.29 I had to go to the toilet. Actually it was before that and I had just skipped a bunch of Porta-Potties (even thought of turning around). We came back through the start area and so I got to use the facilities there. No waiting and lots of choice. Not sure why this happened but I did lose some time attending to the issue and spent the rest of the race reeling back in all the people whom I had passed.
The interesting thing is that at the 9-ish marker the volunteers were giving out bananas and, well, I am not so sure that is such a good idea. There was mashed banana everywhere along with the peels. All I could think of was that last scene of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World" in which Ethel Merman slips on a banana peel. Yet another smile on my face combined with care in my step.
Far from the Madding Crowd
We split off from the Half Marathoners just about at the 10-mile mark and things got really quiet and very sparse. Eerily so even though we were running along a main road. Running through Springfield (I think) was very neat. The main street was pretty quiet but had lots of interesting shops (not boutiques or anything but real shops and storefronts of a rather human scale). People were out all over the place cheering us on from porches and front yards.
LiquidGold at the half. Man! That is intense! Like molasses. I have to say that I liked it and it did give me energy but the flavor is very strong. I had been gelling every 5 miles as planned and was feeling pretty strong but by mile 10 my stomach was growling and I was getting hungry so this honey and molasses concoction was quite welcome.
Some climbing and then around Autzen Stadium and Allen Baker Park where we went right past a dog off-leash area. It was fun to watch and to be cheered on by clots of people. Being "out" of the city and surrounded by green grass and trees was just refreshing and in the distance I could hear more cheering and muffled drums. Drums!
The closer I got to the 17 mile mark the louder became the unmistakable sound of a pipe band's drums. Disappointingly no pipes just drums but just before I reached them they started up with a nice march, Scotland the Brave. I whooped and waved as I went by. At that moment I would have paid them to run along side me or would have slowed down to march with them the rest of the way. I heard them again across the river on the way back and it gave me a thrill. There's not a Scottish bone in my body but there is something about the pipes that makes my heart soar and the hair on the back of my neck stand to . . .
On the subject of music. Eugene and Springfield sure put on a well-meaning show but it wasn't all that motivating. With the exception of the pipers, a Beatle's cover band (I think), and a middle school dance team everything else was this kind of whiny downbeat rock or acoustic guitar. Don't get me wrong, it was nice to see the people out there playing and I wouldn't trade it but the lack of a beat was a bit hard to take at times.
Bad Garmin! Bad!
After the pipers I noticed that my Garmin had stopped and that my mileage and time was off by about a mile. Bummer.
We were, again, on a bike path next to the river and I was running strongly and feeling alright. It was here that I started catching all the people who I had passed earlier but whom I had fallen behind because of my pit stop. It was also here that people's wheels started coming off. We were a rather thin crowd now and I went across the 30K mats alone. Stomach was growling again so I gelled just after the 30K mark and then when I got to the 20. No wall.
And then it got serious
Of course 20 miles is when the race really starts. 6 more miles. By this time the sun was full out and beating directly down. At least it was flat and even a bit downhill. I just ticked the miles off, trying to maintain a even pace and steady stride. Walked the water stops, etc.. More wreckage. Just before making the final southward turn towards the Stadium I passed a guy who was obviously done in and running with a upper body move that I cannot even describe. Lots of other people limping along too. Then I passed a couple walking along. He was supporting her and she was complaining of being very cold. She looked very pale. I offered them what remained of my Gatorade but they declined. Honestly, I felt like pulling over and vomiting too and I am not sure why.
Then it was onto Franklin and onto the campus. So many people still waiting and cheering which gave me a boost and kicked into a higher gear for the finish. Got passed entering the stadium by a woman wearing a tie-die shirt and running skirt. She zoomed around three other guys running three abreast. I said "good on ya" as she went past.
Turning into the stadium was kind of intense. Not only was I almost done but but I kicked it into sub-eight mode and then felt a searing stitch on my right side that almost made me double over. That would have made for an interesting finish wouldn't it? I held it, looked up at myself on the Jumbotron, heard my name called by the announcer, hit the mats, and was congratulated and high-fived by the volunteers. One guy put a blanket around me and I just walked on down the track smiling I think. I hope.
At the finish area I got a couple of pancakes and hunkered down by a fence to eat them. I had one bite and felt like I couldn't have any more so I ditched them in a compost bin and walked back (slowly) to the hotel. Dropped my stuff into the room and hit the pool for an ice bath that felt so good.
GI issues today which is pretty unusual for me and my face was caked with salt the likes of which I have not yet seen. PuddleThumper suggested that my body just could not take the water and gel combination and that is why things were going off the rails a bit. I think she is right about that. I'll bet my electrolyte tabs are right on the counter where I put them when packing for this trip—a forgetfulness I'll be sure not to repeat in future.
My goal was to beat my (unofficial) Portland time of 4:24:xx and I came close at 4:26 and I'll confess that alongside relief at being finished I was also a bit disappointed that my time was not faster. But looking at the data and considering the fact that I do not feel as beaten up as I did after Seattle Rock N Roll last year I am patting myself on the back for a job well-done. Basically even pacing for the first and second half of the run, a real first for me.
This was such a nice run that I think I would do it again.
See the Register-Guard website: http://www2.registerguard.com/mm/index.php/slideshows/comments/eugene-marathon/