Thursday, July 28, 2005

Stephanie tagged me, so here goes...

I like Stephanie's blog.

Q: What are you training for now? (Oh! The timing!)
A: The
Las Vegas Marathon (December) and the Royal Victoria Half Marathon (October). If those don't work out, the Connemara Marathon in March, in Ireland. Plus, if I can't do Vegas, I still have an entry for the Seattle marathon, which I might just change to a half.

Q: If you are raising money for a cause, what is it and why is that cause important to you?
Um, I'm not. I should be, but I'm not. AIDS research, poverty relief. Science education for girls. Actually science education for everybody.

Q: What is the furthest distance you've run in your training and what is the furthest distance you will run before your event?
A: 10 miles. If I stick to my schedule, I should do three 2o-milers.

Q:What is your favorite flavor of gu? (or other sports gel)
A: So far I've only tried Road Runner Sports own brand vanilla. It has the texture you'd expect to get if you blended a selection of body fluids with a bunch of sugar. I'm open to something new.

Q: How many days a week do you run?
A: Five, all being well. My natural instinct is to do everything to excess. If five days is good, why, seven must be even better. Three miles are good? Watch me do five! See last couple entries for information on how that all turned out. :-)

Q: Are you injured in any way right now? If so,what are you doing about it?
A: Why, yes, I am! My therapy so far consists of bitching on the Internet and wearing a big ol boot. I have a podiatrist appt on Tuesday.

Q:What is one item of running clothing/gear (shoes don't count) you can't run without?
A: Running bra. Bandanna on warm days: I sweat so much that putting sunscreen on my forehead blinds me when it melts. Plus I think it makes me look like a pirate.

Q: Do you have a talisman you are planning on taking to your event? If so, tell us!
A: My boyfriend gave me a lovely necklace for my birthday. In one way it's too fancy to run with, but it's light and when I'm tired it makes me feel good to put my hand to my throat and touch it.

Q: Share one thing about yourself we don't know.
My first job involved copyediting Doctor Who books and soft porn. Not as glamorous as it sounds.

Now I tag Jeff, Sarah, dark o'clock, and Trisha.

Don't want to get all The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow on your ass, but you know, things aren't so bad

I'm feeling so much better today. First, I have a stylish orthopaedic boot, which I anticipate being a pleasure to bring through airport security tomorrow - especially flying to D.C. - and secondly, I'm really encouraged and boosted by thoughtful e-mails and comments that have made a huge difference to my mood. They really did help. Thank you so much (and thank you to P for putting up w/ the histrionics).

And anyway, I did a bit of research. Sometimes you're only off for around three weeks - even five will probably put me in the ballpark for a long slow Vegas run (not that I was expecting a fast one). And if that doesn't happen - why, I've just registered for the Connemara Marathon! Twenty-six and a bit miles through the some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and another opportunity to go home (and in March! When the west of Ireland is at its most magical!). Not a bad alternative, and an extra four months to train, so I might even do a better time.

Plus, off to D.C. tomorrow. When I get back, I'll be hosting the Rundown. You know the drill - got some interesting posts or news or race reports? Bring it!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

So it goes. I guess.

Thank you for the good wishes on the foot. I appreciate it a lot.

It looks like I have a stress fracture in my foot. The pain increased a lot today, and my foot was swelling over my shoe like bread in a loaf pan, so I decided to see a doctor, which involved much fussing over the internet on account of the fact that I've never gotten around to getting a primary care physician and needed to find someone in a hurry.

I have to see a podiatrist to confirm - apparently these things don't always show up on x-rays - but for now, I have to stay off the foot as much as possible. It can take 6-10 weeks of healing before you can run again. So Vegas might well be out for me this year.

I had no idea just how much I love running, and love the progress I've been making; I had no idea how important running this marathon is to me, or how much I love connecting with fellow runners on the Web, until I sat this afternoon watching fat salty tears fall beside my foot on the x-ray mat.

"Your foot must hurt a lot," the technician said sympathetically.

I'm lucky that I rarely stay down for long, and I'm sure that in a day or so I'll be feeling positive again - plus there's a chance that the podiatrist might have a different view - but I have to admit it: I'm feeling pretty low right now.

Smoove out.

god DAMN it, my foot hurts

So this morning I pretty much had to limp home from the Fremont Bridge: my left foot hurts like hell when I put weight on it. What can be the cause? Hard to say. Mileage has gone up, but by a reasonable amount; new shoes seemed to be fine after their first long run. The pain is at the ball of the foot, right under the toes - it hurts when I flex. This better not be anything scary. So I'm gonna bite the bullet and rest tomorrow, and longer if necessary. One friend has already had to cancel his marathon plans because of injury. It sounds heartbreaking. Better to take a couple days off now.

But in other news - on Friday I'm of f to DC to see my oldest and dearest friend before her baby arrives and our landscape is changed (and improved!) forever. I'm so excited that if I didn't have a painful foot I'd be dancing down the corridors.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Runner to tell female marathoners' stories on film

The subjects of his film are four women runners, three of whom are training to qualify for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Delalis and his wife, Eve Drinis, 43, travel to various races around the country to film the four women as they train and compete.

"We want the general public to know that women can be just as accomplished out in the running world as men," Delalis said. "It's getting better, but there's still a bias against women in running. You tend to think of male runners."

In addition to showing the relevancy of women runners, Delalis wants to portray how these particular women incorporate running into their busy lives.

Full article here. I couldn't find any references to this on, but while I was there I decided to check out marathon movies. There are seven just called Marathon, of which this - "a view of the Olympic Games at Barcelona, using the marathon race as the weaving thread" - seemed the most interesting. The search did yield the intriguing The Porno Race, "also known as Marathon Love, VM i samlag (Sweden), and World Sex Festival (USA)."

Netflix is less useful: The Sports Documentaries section puts has no running category, and the Other Sports category offers movies about poker, ice skating, and Lingerie Bowl 2004: The Ultimate Catfight (2004).

Any recommendations for great, inspiring distance-running movies that don't feature drill-wielding Nazis?

Monday, July 25, 2005

I'll share the Burke-Gilman with you ladies any day.

Here's what I saw when I crossed the Fremont Bridge yesterday to get onto the Burke-Gilman trail: 2,400 women on the last leg of a 60-mile walk that raised over $6 million for cancer research.

Man, this was awesome: apart from maybe one or two tired women grimly trudging to the finish, the whole trail was full of laughing, partying women who'd walked almost 60 miles and were closing on the finish. Saturday night they'd spent camped in Marymoor Park - can you imagine how fun that was?

Next year, I am so there.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Back in the running world there are challenges I can't imagine facing...

On July 12, in 24 hours, 36 minutes and eight seconds, the Seattle man won the Badwater, one of ultrarunning's toughest events. Before the California race, Jurek had never run more than 90 minutes on pavement. Nor had he trained for the intense desert heat, except for arriving a week early to the Death Valley start area. And, he'd just come off of winning another world-class ultramarathon two weeks earlier -- barely any recovery time between two colossally demanding endurance feats...

"You dig down deep, whether it's the deep recesses of your body or your soul. It's very soul-searching in a way," he said. "Even though everything else seems to be unraveling, you try to find a way, a source of strength. And, you don't always know where that comes from."

Full article here

"It is time now to get serious about religion - all religion - and draw a firm line between the real world and the world of dreams."

Polly Toynbee in today's Guardian (what a motherlode today!):

Enlightenment values are in peril not because these mad beliefs are really growing but because too many rational people seek to appease and understand unreason. Extreme superstition breeds extreme action. Those who believe they alone know the only way, truth and life will always feel justified in doing anything in its name. You would, wouldn't you, if you alone had the magic answer to everything? If religions teach that life after death is better then it is hardly surprising that some crazed followers will actually believe it.
Full article here.

Perhaps they told you that science wants to reduce their life to simple laws.

The Guardian's Bad Science column is the highlight of my Thursdays, debunking the pseudoscience that gets passed off on the gullible by what columnist Ben Goldacre memorably called "New Age moron-fleecers". What's the dumbest thing anyone's ever said to you about science at a party?

Last week, I was at a party and somebody starting telling me that the theories produced by science would be different if it had been done by women. I asked her whether she thought Newton's three laws of motion might have turned out differently if he had been a woman, and she said yes, of course. I asked her how, exactly, she thought that Newton could single-handedly change the fact that acceleration of a body is proportional to the force acting on it, divided by its mass? And she walked off.

Full article here.

Does this mean I've become a serious runner?

So a couple of years ago (there was no snow this year in Washington) I decided to learn to ski, and off we went to the slopes. My friends would vanish to the high pistes, and I would practice on the bunny slopes with the babies. I'd lie on the snow like an overturned tortoise while these tiny space creatures would come flying past me, sailing on toy skis. One of the space creatures - I will always remember this - was clutching a blankie.

So two things mark the beginner skier: the whole lying-on-the-snow thing, and the brand-new shiny ski clothes. Meanwhile local kids in ratty rain gear pulled over their jeans are carving up the mountain, way up there on those peaks that will be forever foreign to me.

A while ago I bought a spiffy Adidas running shirt. I loved it so much - it really does wick everything away, an important factor when you sweat like I do - that I went and bought the matching shorts.

This morning I pulled them on and just before leaving saw myself in the hallway mirror in my matching branded shirt and shorts, and thought: You look like a dork.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Do run run run do run run

Check out the latest Rundown here. Nice job, and a good intro to a few bloggers I haven't read before.

I'll be hosting on August 2. I'm still trying to come up with a theme - the pressure is on - so send me your blog links!

Monday, July 18, 2005

60-year-old blind woman completes half-marathon...

... two years after breaking her leg in a skiing accident. Extraordinary.

Full article here.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Double it and add a 10K - why, that's a marathon right there!

Ten miles! Ten miles!

I'm ecstatic, I'm high on nature's MDMA, and I'm full of excellent dim sum I ate right afterwards.

I know I've got a long way to go yet, and ten miles must soon seem like not such a big deal - but right now, I'm over the moon to have reached double figures without aches or pains, falls or flaying.

New kicks

I quit work early yesterday - I've been working crazy hours - and headed off to Road Runner Sports in Greenlake for what was an interesting if financially imprudent visit.

It was time to get new shoes. I'd had my gait analyzed at The Seattle Running Company, and I've been fairly happy with the Brooks Adrenaline shoes they recommended. But they didn't feel perfect, so I wanted to try something new.

To analyze your gait, the Seattle Running Company videotapes your feet and ankles as you run on a treadmill. Then the guy looks at the footage to see how you run.

Road Runner Sports, however, uses a different system, called Gait Analysis by Presto Scan. You walk onto a pressure-sensitive pad, and a snapshot of the pressure patterns on your foot is sent to the PC.

It's really interesting to see. Turns out that while my previous analysis said I was slightly pronated, this time the guy told me I had a high arch and a very balanced foot for my height and build etc. "I'd just recommend a cushioning shoe," he said.

After a few runs around the block I ended up with the Asics Gel Nimbus VII. I love them. They feel like I'm walking on air; they have a funky design; and the mesh in front is so light you can feel the breeze on your toes when you run. It's a lovely, lovely feeling.

I'm in love with my new shoes.

Friday, July 15, 2005

A simple idea. Let's do it.

From an e-mail forwarded by my sister in London:

Following the disaster in London . . .East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national "In Case of Emergency (ICE)" campaign.The idea is that you store the word "I C E" in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you want to be contacted in case of an emergency. In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them. It's so simple that everyone can do it. Please do. Please will you also email this to everybody in your address book, it won't take too many 'forwards' before everybody will know about this. It really could help the emergency services in doing their job. For more than one contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc.

Get that ICE.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

You've got 50 minutes to beat Beethoven

Something new in road racing events is happening Friday night in Windsor. The Beat Beethoven Run for Breast Cancer will challenge runners to cross the finish line before the conclusion of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which will start at 7 p.m.
Brilliant idea. Full article here.

I have foreseen the manner of my death.

My end will come either under the wheels of a Burke-Gilman summer cyclist or, all murder conviction appeals exhausted, at the hands of the Washington State executioner.

And you know something? It will be worth it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Exercise withdrawal can be mood-altering

This totally makes sense to me. Since I've started running I've become intolerably chirpy in the morning. I missed running this morning because of sleeping late, and already I feel grouchy and unfocused.

"After only one week of exercise withdrawal ... approximately three workouts missed ... there were significant increases in feelings of fatigue and decreases in feelings of vigor."After two weeks, the symptoms got worse: The subjects were more tired, depressed; they felt pangs of guilt over missing exercise. These feelings correlated with a loss of physical fitness. "The people who lost the most fitness were the ones who experienced the largest increases in negative mood," Berlin said.

Full article here

Sunday, July 10, 2005

O Canada! Oh yeah. For sure.

God, I love Canada.

I'm actually lucky enough to have a Canadian passport - I was born in Montreal - and it's looking pretty good after our road trip through British Columbia.

We headed through eastern Washington - due to some poor navigation on my part, with a brief detour to the Grand Coulee Dam - to take the good ship Martha S. across to the Colville reservation and on to the nicest border crossing in the world: Danville.

Then on to Nelson: a perfect mountain town. It has everything: good food, bookstores, a beautiful bridge, fantastic coffee, and intoxicating, dizzying mountain scenery. Plus, everybody is skinny there. The local newspaper has a "Pet of the Week" column, which last week featured a ginger tom called O.J.

We stayed nearby, in Banfour, for three nights - I was ready to move to Kaslo - and then took the ferry across Lake Kootenay - it must be the most spectacular ride in the world. Then on to Invermere, and some kayaking. My friend and I took a trip to Banff, hoping to find out something about the exhibition my sister, her partner, and her ex-husband had there last year. No luck - but we got to see Banff, and we also got to see Lake Louise, which looks like somebody took a perfectly beautiful Alpine lake and did some entirely gratuitous Photoshop job on it to make it even more beautiful.

Kelowna was a surprise. You don't get much Canadian wine in the States, and we chose our first winery pretty much because it was near the hotel.

The Mission Hill winery was as beautiful a setting as I've seen. It's designed like a contemporary version of a Tuscan villa. We ate like kings and I've decided to assume that the waitresses found our conversation amusing. We did, anyway. In fact, the last three days of our trip were just full of the most fantastic food. At Mission Hill we had a tasting menu, of which I especially remember the pea soup: bright and zingy, with a spoonful of goats cheese in the centre.

In Vancouver, we had another fantastic meal at Tojo's - recommended without reservation: go for one of the chef's tasting menus.

Did I run? Well, I ran four days, including one eight-miler. Man, that was hard - I haven't checked the elevation, but I think we were pretty high. But I'll run this week. Right now I'm sleepy and tired and ready for work in the morning. We've just eaten lobster and mussels washed down with a lovely Mission Hill Pinot Blanc.

I can run tomorrow.