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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ahhhh, That's More Like It!

After complaining about weekend heat, the running gods were like, "Ok, ok, sheesh, we'll give you one last cool spell!"

So, today, I woke to some lovely cool weather that's supposed to last a day or few. Nice. I'll take it.

I can't say I'm a faster or a better runner when I have temperate weather, but I can say the running is more comfortable, and therefore, more enjoyable. For me, it's a simple formula: If it feels good to be outside, I feel good running out there.

Do you have a "perfect" temp for running?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Summer Running

For those of you buried in snow, you're probably gonna hate me for saying this, but:

It was HOT this past weekend here in FL.

Like high-80s/low 90s hot.  It was like the weather suddenly decided to be July.  The shift was abrupt and, for the running, uncomfortable.  After both weekend runs, I returned home red-faced, dripping sweat, and with sausage fingers.  And, I didn't run more than 5 miles.

The other day, after getting back from a run, I picked Caleb up, and he recoiled from me, threw his hands up in disgust and said, "HOT!" 

I think summer was just briefly fucking with us because today it's back to a more temperate range in the 70s, and the forecast for the week looks like the heat hath reigned itself in.  But, it was a brutal reminder for how spoiled I get by "winter" here.

Anyhoo, for those who are living somehwere where your spring is feeling a lot like winter, forgive this brief diatribe about heat.  You're welcome to fling whatever insults you want my way.  Or, you're welcome to come visit FL. 

Your tourism pays my income tax, so I don't mind. :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Case of the Missing Blogger

I know it's uber-annoying to blog about not-blogging, but what can I say, I live by own rules! So, here's my list of excuses:

  • I've been busy.
  • Kids, work, home: This keeps me buzzing from one to the next from about 6:30 am until 9 pm.
  • Then it's beer time.
  • I'm streaking and it's going well.  Nothing much to report there.
  • I lack blog-spiration as of late.
  • Blogger's mobile app really sucks.
  • I mention that because I'm often "on the go" (gawd, that phrase is worse than the word "uber"!), so I like being able to update stuff via apps that I can access on my phone.  Facebook?  Easy.  Instagram?  Easy.  Twitter?  Easy.  Blogger?  Toughest shit in the world to compose on.
  • Probably because a blog post is more composition, and the other media is all compressed.
  • And if an idea is longer than about 3 sentences, these days, I tend to forget it.
So, that's my list.  Lame.

"They" say that if something's important to you, you make time for it; if it's not, you make excuses.  Guess that sums up my blogging right now.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Keepin' the Streak Afloat

Thanks for your condolences regarding my grandfather's passing.  I appreciate your sympathies.

My trip to Wyoming over the weekend to attend his memorial went well: All flights ran in a timely manner, the service on his behalf was nice, and it was great to visit with some family who I hadn't seen in a very long time.  It's a shame that it's events such as a death that reunites people, but in its own way, it's a good thing to have a significant reason to bring everyone together.  My family is kinda scattered, and I haven't seen some of them in well over a decade, so this was an opportunity to see and catch up with some cousins and aunts and uncles who I hadn't seen in a very long time.

We drank, we ate, we even managed to fit in a St. Patty's Parade.  So, the occasion was sad, but ultimately, joyful.  Thus, I'm thankful I had the opportunity and the means to make the trip and to attend the funeral.

Traveling, however, made the past 72 hours feel like a blur -- planes and time gained then lost -- and I feel a bit disoriented from it all.  But, guess what?  I kept running.  Granted, I had to pull out the "1 mile" card for two runs, but they saved the streak, so I'm grateful for that safety net.

I did manage a "real" run early on Saturday morning, though, in Cody, and it was lovely.  It was cold and windy, but running in the west is unique.  Cody is not as scenic as some other parts of Wyoming, like Jackson Hole, but it's pretty in its own way, and being from the west, I always feel nostaligic in such wide-open, sweeping locations.  I ran a road that wound slightly outside of town and up the side of a butte, and at the top, I had a wonderful view of the valley that leads into Yellowstone to the west, and the scattered mountainsides and buttes to the east.  In Wyoming, it feels like you can see forever.  It's grand.

On my return, I had snow spitting in my face, but I was feeling warmer and was lucky to not have significant wind (Wyoming is a WINDY place!).  I love the chance to run somewhere unfamiliar, and this was a great run to squeeze in to my trip.

Friday, March 15, 2013

It's Been a Week

Getting back into the groove of work is always a bit tough after a week's break, especially so with the time change.  Waking up in the dark has been an adjustment for all of us, and the week has been a struggle with bed times as well (because SOME ONE, hint: her name begins with an "N" thinks 9 pm is time to rock, not time to sleep).

Then, I caught a cold from Caleb, and the boogers runneth.

Then, my grandfather died.

He was 89, and had been diagnosed 6 months ago with extensive, inoperable cancer, and for the past few weeks, we knew his "time" was imminent.  His death then was both expected and, honestly, a mercy.  Still, it's sad to see someone go.  I especially feel for my mother.  Losing a parent must be particularly difficult, no matter the circumstances or degree of preparation.

So, this afternoon, I fly to Cody, WY.

Know where that is?

Probably not.  It's commonly known as the entrance to Yellowstone, but is also home to a whole lotta cowboys.  Because in WY?  There are still cowboys.  And, drive-thru liquor.

I'm catching a flight this afternoon, attending the funeral tomorrow, and then flying home on Sunday.  I wish my trip could be longer and could be for a happier occasion, but I am thankful that I can attend, despite the duration and the distance.

All this means the running has been minimal this week, and hopefully, I can still manage that minimal through the weekend to keep the streak alive.

So, that's all that.  Could I compose a less graceful conclusion?

Saturday, March 09, 2013

St. Patrick's Day 10K Race Report

This week, I made a last minute call to run a nearby 10K this morning. 

10Ks are a rare bread in my woods, so I like to run 'em when I can.  Plus, the weather's been so cool lately, and the race was cheap ($25), so why not?

The morning was cool by my standards (55 degrees), so I was a bit frozen at the start, and it took me the first mile to warm up, but after that, the race was glorious!  It was a flat, fast, easy course, and with such lovely running temps, the run was nothing but a peach!

My first mile was a bit slower than the rest (9:25), but by the end, I was burning the course down (8:20 pace), and I finished with a new 10K PR:

Have you ever seen a PERFECT race like that?  I mean in terms of distance?  Do you see that I ran EXACTLY 6.2 miles?!  I don't think, in the 8 years I've been running and racing, that I've EVER done that before!

I was happy with the new PR (by more than 3 minutes, no less!), but afterward, as I re-hashed the race in my mind, I knew that I could've given it a stronger effort: it was a perfect race (cool weather, flat course, small participant field), and I think a 54-something 10K was achievable; I just didn't push hard enough in the first 3 miles.

Oh well, I get another chance at the 10K in a month when I run Gumbo Limbo (although, that promises to be about 30 degrees warmer and a heckuva lot more humid; plus, there's hills).

Lastly, get this: A Finisher's Medal!

For a 10K!  Medal-madness, I tell ya.

At least it was reasonably sized...in fact, it's a darn zippy little race token...other big races can take note.  Something like this does just fine.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday: How Do You Read?

Not as in "how" does one navigate the cognitive process of transcribing symbols into ideas, but rather, what format do you use to read?

Cuz, in this day and age, we gotz choices!

Admittedly, when e-readers first began to emerge, I was a hater.

Because not only do I love to read, but I also LOVE books.  I just love them.  I love the look of them, I love the way their spines neatly line up on a book shelf, I love the smell of their glue, I love the feeling of turning a page, and I love the places where you can browse books: bookstores and libraries.  Perhaps it's this last aspect that I love most of all -- partially because I have such fond memories of them from childhood.

My mother was a librarian at our small town's local library for a big chunk of my childhood, and every day after school, I walked to the library and spent my afternoon there as she finished her work day.  I read or did homework in the bean bags situated in the kid section, or I often helped my mom shelve books (yes, I was an 8 year old who knew the Dewey Decimal system).  I loved the library and all the books in it.

Equally, I loved the bookstore.  In particular, when we were with my dad, every other weekend, he regularly took my brother and I to do one of 3 things: Go to the zoo, go to the natural history museum, or go to The Tattered Cover (a beloved independent bookstore in Denver).  The Tattered Cover was (and still is, although they're not in their original location now) a Wonderland of books.  4 stories of wall-to-wall books.  Certainly, I also benefited from my dad's weak spot for book buying, and my brother and I always got to walk away from the store with a new read to add to our personal libraries.

So, winding back to the emergence of e-readers, I couldn't fathom that they would ever appeal to me because I felt I'd be robbed of something integral to my reading experience.  But, I was wrong.

Because something else happened: My own kids.

Kids, in case you don't know, come with a lot of stuff.  We live in a small home where space, especially storage space, is in short supply.  Thus, in order to make room for their stuff, I had to get rid of some of my stuff, and you know what takes up a massive amount of space?  Books.

Simply put, e-readers solve the problem of accumulating more STUFF.  And, once I began reading in this way, I also began to love the ease and convenience of e-reading.  If, for example, I finish a book late at night and want to buy and start a new one, it's a matter of minutes and I have a new read at my finger tips.  Plus, they are (slightly) cheaper.  So, now I often read on either the iPad, or even on my iPhone -- tiny screen, but it's incredibly convenient -- or on the Kindle or Nook.  Yes, we own them all.  We are reading gluttons.  But, that doesn't mean I have completely abandoned the classic book book.

In fact, the two principle drawbacks of e-reading (browsing isn't the same, enjoyable experience and lending is harder) still make physical books advantageous.  Plus, every now and then I like holding something tangible.  Something I can flip to the end of a chapter or the end of the book and give myself a sneak peek (bad habit?  honestly, knowing the ending ruins nothing for me) and something that gives the reading some heft.

So, essentially, I read in just about every available format, and the one thing e-readers helped me re-confirm is that I don't just love books.  I love reading.

How do you read?  Do you own an e-reader; if so, which one?  What do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of reading in different formats?

Monday, March 04, 2013

Midday Mileage

Spring break + a cold front (only 50 degrees today!) = a solid run. An awesome way to spend my time off!

Friday, March 01, 2013

February Tally

It was not an epic month, in terms of running, but I managed the two principle things I wanted to:

  1. Kept the streak alive.  Total # of days is now at 59.
  2. Hit 100 miles.
I feel like time, and sometimes, my lack of scheduling my time well, kept getting in the way in February.  Days where I had wanted or hoped to run longer sometimes got interrupted by other matters to attend to, and I had more days than I would've liked where I had to trim my planned distance due to time constraints.

Fitting running in on a daily basis is kinda like a precarious game of Jenga, and even if I don't build the tower I want to, I'm just happy when the whole business doesn't collapse.

For March, I plan to continue streaking, duh.  And, maybe strive for more mileage.  Two things work in my favor in March for the latter goal: Spring break next week and the increasing daylight in the evening.

We'll see how it goes.  How about you?  Any special March Madness running?